A Passage to England
THIS BOOK is a great idea and, sadly, rather a great disappointment. The subject – broadly speaking, the relationship between the spiritual and sexual aspirations of three key gay male writers of the last century has long warranted investigation. It is only lately, and in passing, that Forster’s engagement with Eastern society and religion hasMore
The Breeding Imperative First it was New York’s high court, and now Washington state’s has ruled against legalizing same-sex marriage using the old argument, in effect, that marriage is for making babies.
Out Came the First Coming Out Play
THE COMING OUT STORY is the foundational myth of modern gay life. The term itself dates from outbursts of liberation activity in the late 1960’s and the militant slogan Out of the Closets and Into the Streets.
When Lesbian Love Came to Broadway
IN 1922, “one of the most terrible plays ever presented in New York,” as the Evening Telegram (Dec. 20, 1922) called it, shocked Broadway with its portrayal of a family that lives off prostitution, a father’s failed attempts at Jewish respectability and, most importantly, a riveting lesbian love scene.
Proof that Poetry Can Be about Assholes
IN 1949, alerted by his friend William Burroughs that his name had appeared in compromising letters seized by police in a drug raid, a 21-year-old Allen Ginsberg worried where to secure his journals and manuscripts of poems lest authorities suddenly descend upon his own apartment and confiscate these records of his drug experimentation and ofMore
The Gay Republican Conundrum
EVEN AS the perimeters of GLBT freedom have widened in the 21st century, the once vibrant community of activist gay Republicans finds itself in a crisis threatening its future viability in American political life. The shift in control of Congress in the 2006 midterm elections has cost them whatever influence they may have had onMore
Joe Orton’s Sexual Revolution
HE WAS NO ORDINARY JOE: during his short but meteoric career as the baddest queer of the postwar British stage, Joe Orton (1933–1967) was getting it both ways. A working-class rebel and an ex-convict, he rubbed elbows with London’s fashionable circle of closeted aristocrats and theatrical big boys. But while the likes of NoelMore
History of the Ridiculous, 1960-1987
DURING THE TWO DECADES between 1967 and 1987, dramatist, actor, and agent provocateur Charles Ludlam would rebelliously change theatre in America for the next generation. As the founder of the Ridiculous Theatrical Company and the author of 29 raucous and highly entertaining plays, Ludlam quite literally became the “belle of the ball” of the WestMore
Fassbinder the Playwright
CHICAGO’s TRAP DOOR THEATRE opened its 2006-07 season with a production of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s play The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant. The play, written in 1971, and made into a film the next year with Fassbinder as director, tells a story of a famous fashion designer from the title who falls for theMore
Flagging: Propelled by Momentum
THERE’S SOMETHING RAPTUROUS about watching fabric spin so fast that discrete shapes dissolve into the blurred trails of after-image. Even a few seconds of watching a gifted flag dancer are enough to flip a switch in your mind, unhooking part of your consciousness; it’s the outer border of trance. Born about thirty years agoMore
The ‘Lincoln Debate’ Revisited (again)
The Case Is Far from Closed HISTORIANS Bill Percy and Lewis Gannett had an article called “Lincoln, Sex, and the Scholars” in The Gay & Lesbian Review last year [March-April 2006]—another part of the ongoing effort by Bill and others to annoy heterosexuals by cheekily suggesting that some American idols were actually on our team.More
More Than a Woman
Kate: The Woman Who Was Hepburn by William J. Mann Henry Holt & Co. 656 pages, $30. MAY 12, 2007, marks the first centenary of the birth of Katharine Hepburn, in Hartford, Connecticut—though Hepburn had always claimed a 1909 birth year until the publication of her memoir Me in 1991. As it happens,More
Drag Kings in Paris
Don’t Kiss Me: The Art of Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore Edited by Louise Downie Aperture. 240 pages, $45. IN THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY of Alice B. Toklas, Gertrude Stein’s recounting of her expatriate life in Paris before World War II through the eyes of her lover, the narrator notes that they were “inMore
O Cursèd Spite!
Identity Envy: Wanting to Be Who We’re Not: Creative Nonfiction by Queer Writers Edited by Jim Tushinski and Jim Van Buskirk Harrington Park. 267 pages, $44.95 THIS IS an eclectic anthology of engaging essays and memoirs whose message is that the desire to be someone other than who we are is an integralMore
The Big Picture (in pictures)
Gay Life and Culture: A World History Edited by Robert Aldrich Universe, 384 pages, $49.95 THIRTY, even twenty, years ago, a book titled Gay Life and Culture: A World History would have been unachievable because much of the research needed to produce such a work did not yet exist. Forty or fifty yearsMore
Short reviews of Queer Youth in the Province of the “Severely Normal”, Talking to the Moon, and Mr. Ding’s Chicken Feet.
Movin’ to the Nitty Gritty
Turn the Beat Around: The Secret History of Disco by Peter Shapiro Faber and Faber. 369 pages, $17. AN AUTHOR who promises the “secret” history of anything sets the bar pretty high. There’s an implication that what waits between the covers is insider information previously known to only a few—there’s even a hintMore
East of Haiti
Erzulie’s Skirt by Ana-Maurine Lara RedBone Press. 242 pages, $15. SET IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, beginning some time after the dictator Trujillo came to power in1930, this book tells the story of two women, their separate childhoods, and their lives together both in the country and in the city of Santa Domingo. TheMore
First Person Circuitous
In his latest book, Michael Lucey, who has already written about same-sex issues in Balzac and Gide, examines very carefully how three French citizens involved with same-sex desire-Colette, Gide, and Proust-took advantage of the newness and fluidity of the concept of homosexuality to advance his or her own unique viewpoint over competing ones.
A Gazillion Little Pieces
35 Cents by Matty Lee Suspect Thoughts Press. 205 pages, $16.95 IN THE WAKE of the recent scandal surrounding the popular yet fraudulent gay author JT LeRoy—not to mention the Oprah Winfrey-fueled outrage over James Frey’s fabricated tale of drug addiction, A Million Little Pieces (2005)—the question of truth and authenticity in aMore
100 Years of Innuendo
Glances Backward: An Anthology of American Homosexual Writing, 1830-1920 by James Gifford Broadview Press. 385 pages, $22.95 (paper) THANKS TO THE INTERNET, we can now go to http://books.google.com and find the full text, cover to cover, of such proto-gay novels as Shirley Everton Johnson’s 1902 The Cult of the Purple Rose, Bayard Taylor’sMore
Scenes from a Marriage
Homo Domesticus: Notes from a Same-Sex Marriage by David Valdes Greenwood DaCapo Lifelong Press. 214 pages, $22. WHEN YOU SEE a couple walking hand-in-hand down the street, it kind of makes you smile, doesn’t it? Ah, young love. You know how it is: two people meet and sparks fly. They date for awhile,More
Sweating It Out
The Lavender Locker Room: 3,000 Years of Great Athletes Whose Sexual Orientation Was Different by Patricia Nell Warren Wildcat Press. 358 pages, 24.95 FOR MOST GAY MEN of a certain age (and doubtless many lesbians), reading Patricia Nell Warren’s The Front Runner was a rite of passage on our way to a newMore
Year of the Eccentric at Sundance ’07
SUNDANCE is undoubtedly the most GLBT-friendly of the major international film festivals. This is true not only because of the large number of gay-themed films on display, but also because the people that attend Sundance are there because they love good films and couldn’t care less whether a film is “gay” by virtue ofMore
On Being Out as a College President
The author, currently president of Hampshire College, previously taught classics and comparative literature at Berkeley, the University of Colorado at Boulder, and Yale University, and served as executive dean of letters and science at Berkeley. A version of this essay first appeared in Inside Higher Ed (insidehighered.com), January 25, 2007.
To Barbara Gittings, 1932-2007: Thank You
BORN IN VIENNA, Austria, on July 31, 1932, to an official of the U.S. diplomatic corps and his wife, Barbara Gittings was a daughter dedicated to freedom. With passion, creativity, and relentless determination, she helped shape and lead one of the 20th century’s most significant struggles for social change, the gay and lesbian rights movement.More
Forster’s Maurice: A Revolution Out of Time
In my youth, I had strong gaydar when it came to literature, reveling in the homosexual undertones of the classics. Looking back now, it’s hard to believe that anyone could be blind to the quintessential gayness of Moby-Dick or Leaves of Grass, but at the time reading such works aroused no suspicion. When IMore
Why We Wished at The Well of Loneliness
I first discovered the 1928 lesbian novel The Well of Loneliness when I was growing up in my academic parents’ house full of books. I became aware that this book had been banned in England, and I believed this was because the English legal system of the time still enforced Victorian morality, unlike the legalMore
‘Openhouse’ Takes Root by the Bay
A longtime activist for GLBT senior issues, Adelman is the editor of Lesbian Passages: True Stories Told by Women over 40 (1996), and of Midlife Lesbian Relationships: Friends, Lovers, Children, and Parents (2000). This interview was conducted last November via a combination of tape-recorded phone conversations and e-mail exchanges.
The 1979 March’s Place in History
… the more I’ve thought about what I wanted to say, the more I’ve found myself skeptical that the march is anything more than a footnote in history. …