Painted Angels and Tainted Fruit Essays, Features
Stephen Crane began a novel to be titled “Flowers of Asphalt,” about a country boy who comes to New York to pursue his dream, only to end as a street hustler dragged down by drugs and syphilis.
Emerson’s Manifesto, Thoreau’s Nature Essays, Features
Everyone agrees that “Self-Reliance” is an indictment of mindless conformity and a challenge to think for oneself. But it has rarely been recognized as one of history’s first manifestos for people to be honest about their sexual nonconformity.
1928: Out Came Hall and Woolf Essays, Features, Lesbians
Two revolutionary works of literature by queer women writers, and lesbianism would once again become the subject of intense dispute. Published within three months of one another, Radclyffe Hall’s The Well of Loneliness (July 1928) and Virginia Woolf’s Orlando (October 1928) both deeply challenged the gender conventions and sexual mores of their time.
Leyendecker the Sly Essays, Features
J.C. LEYENDECKER (1874–1951) was an artist of many firsts. With his illustrations for The Saturday Evening Post, he can be said to have invented what the modern magazine cover should look like. He was one of the first popular artists to achieve a kind of greatness, and, as the most widely seen image-maker of hisMore
Robert Patrick at the Caffe Cino Essays, Features
As Patrick himself recalled later in life, the Caffe Cino was the “Ground Zero of the 1960s ... a coffee-house, a theatre, a brothel, a temple, a flophouse, a dope-ring, a launching-pad, an insane asylum, a safe-house, and a sleeper cell for an unnamed revolution.” His novel was Temple Slave (1994), a fictionalized but nonethelessMore
Splendor on the Patio Essays, Features, Lesbians
Moby Dyke is not just the slice of Americana that all road trips provide, nor just a portrait of the splintering of sexual identity in the homosexual community; it’s also glimpses of a writer’s past. Indeed, the sheer specificity of those memories produces its best prose, particularly when the author returns to the state inMore
The Quest for Sex in the Middle Ages Essays, Features
Elan Justice Pavlinich’s Erotic Medievalisms: Medieval Pleasures Empowering Marginalized People explores the range of medieval English literature as well as modern cultural phenomena finding inspiration in the Middle Ages.
The Wife of a Tell-All Diarist Essays, Features, Lesbians
Review of Ann Walker: The Life and Death of Gentleman Jack’s Wife by Rebecca Batley and As Good as a Marriage: The Anne Lister Diaries, 1836–38 by Jill Liddington.
Short Reviews Book Review, Briefs, Film
Short reviews of the books RAVING: Practices by McKenzie Wark, QUEER PRINT IN EUROPE edited by Glyn Davis and Laura Guy, AMERICAN CLASSICIST: The Life and Loves of Edith Hamilton by Victoria Houseman, and WHEN LANGUAGE BROKE OPEN: An Anthology of Queer and Trans Black Writers of Latin American Descent Edited by Alan Pelaez Lopez; andMore
Community of the Dispossessed Book Review
Kids on the Street is an admirable, thoroughly researched, and carefully documented history of the once vibrant queer culture of the Tenderloin and Polk Street. Featuring scores of interviews with one-time Polk Street denizens, it is also a lament for the displacement of the multiracial, multigender culture of San Francisco’s first post-Stonewall queer district. DrawingMore
Short Life of an Actor in Un-gay Times Book Review
Mallon’s investigation of Kallman reads like an autopsy, even though the reader is warned that his story “is inspired by actual events considerably altered by the author’s imagination.” Yet there’s an authenticity that’s both frightening and compelling. Mallon has pierced the heart of darkness at the root of Kallman’s soul. Kallman might deserve to beMore
Poetry Briefs Book Review, Briefs, Poetry
Short reviews of To the Boy who was Night: Poems Selected and New by Rigoberto González, So Long: Poems by Jen Levitt, and Romantic Comedy: Poems by James Allen Hall.
Design for Living, Living for Design Book Review
George Austin Dennison and Charles Frank Ingerson's 55-year relationship is at the heart of The Splendid Disarray of Beauty, and it’s what readers of these pages may find most fascinating.
X = Writer + Artist + Composer + … Art, Book Review, Lesbians
CATHERINE LACEY’S new book, Biography of X, is an innovative novel chronicling the life of an influential, outré, fictional performance artist named X, narrated by her grief-stricken widow, an investigative reporter, CM Lucca, who is contemplating suicide. Angered by a recent unauthorized biography of X written by a man who never even met her, CMMore
You Know That Voice Book Review
Shapiro has many reasons to be cheerful. He is tall and good-looking and has a devoted husband, a great job, famous friends, and a singing voice that landed him a job with the band Pink Martini. For those of us less blessed, all of this can be a bit overwhelming. What makes The Best StrangersMore
Intrigue at AIDS, Inc. AIDS, Book Review
Death in the Sauna exposes the political, financial, and international world of AIDS research, showing that not all such organizations are as altruistic as they appear: greed and corruption rear their ugly heads. It also brings to light the homophobic forces working against these organizations, which force men like Lister to remain in the closetMore
Midnight Love Affair Book Review, Film
In his reconsideration of Midnight Cowboy, Jon Towlson suggests that, when seen from all of these perspectives, the film represents an important turning point in the presentation of gay themes—not quite a celebration of gay male bonding but a crucial step in this direction and thus a forerunner to many films that followed.
American History as Sung by Taylor Mac Book Review, Music
TAYLOR MAC is a boundary-breaking theater artist whose creativity and accomplishments defy categorization. In a career spanning 25 years to date, the actor, playwright, performance artist, director, producer, and singer-songwriter has racked up a slew of awards and nominations in their many fields of endeavor. Their work has attracted the attention of numerous scholars andMore
Prepare to Be Dazzled Art, Reviews
The fullest expression of Dazzle’s work comes in his partnership with MacArthur Genius grantee Taylor Mac, with the entire fifth floor of the museum devoted to the stage costumes he made for A 24-Decade History of Popular Music. This was Mac’s queer retelling of U.S. history through the American songbook, a lesson in the past reframedMore
A Rock Built on Sand Film, Reviews
Kijak’s documentary, Rock Hudson: All that Heaven Allowed, wants to show how Hudson was the ultimate victim of the “celluloid closet,” as film historian Vito Russo called it back in 1981. This was the same year in which Hudson underwent quintuple bypass heart surgery due to his pack-a-day smoking and alcohol intake.
B.T.W. AIDS, BTW, Politics: GLBT Rights
Blue Shift The battle between the “red” and “blue” states took a turn when Massachusetts hired some billboards in Texas and Florida to promote the Commonwealth while subtly criticizing the homophobia of the two host states. The billboards say simply “Massachusetts For us all” and show pictures of happy LGBT couples. Governor Maura HealeyMore
How Allen Ginsberg Humanized Madness Art Memo
IN 1949, more than five years before writing his landmark poem “Howl,” a 23-year-old Allen Ginsberg was for eight months a patient at the New York State Psychiatric Institute (PI), where he got some much-needed help in the form of psychotherapy. From this hospitalization he took experiences and insights that would eventually find their wayMore
AS A SUPERFAN of Neil Bartlett—I’ve raved about four of his works in these pages—I recently went back to his first novel, Ready to Catch Him Should He Fall (1992), reissued in 2017. In the new introduction, Bartlett acknowledges his debt to “two of my favourite collector’s items in the pre-history of British gay fiction,More
Mary Oliver, a Poet of Beauty and Grief Art Memo, Lesbians, Poetry
MARY OLIVER (1935–2019) was famously private and accustomed to her ways of working as a poet, writing often about how she walked with pad and pen at dawn every day through the woods and along the shoreline of Provincetown, and later in Hobe Sound, Florida. Years ago, when I was an editor at Country LivingMore
Early Fall: ‘Cracking the Closet’ Editorial
IN OLDEN TIMES the concept of “the closet” didn’t exist, and the idea of “coming out” had yet to be invented. Nevertheless, starting in the 19th century, a number of artists and writers found ways to “crack the closet” by expressing their sexuality between the lines or in the interstices of their work. More