Allan Bérubé’s Gift to History
THE OBITUARY OF ALLAN BÉRUBÉ that appeared in The New York Times began with a reference to his MacArthur Fellowship and then moved on to Coming Out Under Fire (1990), his groundbreaking history of gay men and lesbians during World War II. Such obvious attention to these two markers as the signal achievements of hisMore
In Your Face
THERE’S A SCENE in Alan Ball’s All That I Will Ever Be, as staged by director Serge Seiden last March at Washington’s Studio Theatre, that’s rather startling. When the lights come up, we see a hustler pounding his client’s ass so hard that the chair on which the young man lies spread-eagled keeps sliding acrossMore
Bette at the Bathhouse
FULL DISCLOSURE: I came of age in the 90’s and always thought of Bette Midler as that middle-of-the-road star of Beaches who sang the movie’s treacly theme song, “Wind Beneath My Wings.” Sure, she had her brassy broad routi, but this pseudo-outrageous, semi-tough-talkin’ persona seemed tailor-made for Middle America. So imagine my surprise when, aMore
The Dancer and the Dance
IN APRIL 1962, Rudolf Nureyev was convicted under Soviet article N43 of treason against the state. Traitor number 50,888 was not present to defend himself against the charges, which had resulted from his dramatic defection to the West at Le Bourget airport, Paris, the year before.
A Spirit of the 60’s
Martin Duberman writes in his book Stonewall that “the 1969 riots are now generally taken to mark the birth of the modern gay and lesbian political movement,” he is only reflecting how the coastal cultural establishment has come to monopolize the writing of gay history. That view of history needs to be broadened.
Following is the introduction to the forthcoming book, Sex Variant Woman: The Life of Jeannette Howard Foster (Da Capo Press). Reprinted with permission.
Sebastian’s Nocturnal Dream Shows
THOSE OLD ENOUGH will recall the classic photograph of the blond young man sticking flowers into the rifle barrels of soldiers who were there to defend America against the hippies who had vowed to levitate the Pentagon in a massive demonstration in October 1967. The young man was George Harris III, who went through manyMore
Banned in Milan!
IN AN ESSAY titled “The Autumn in Florence,” Henry James reflected on the physical changes in the city that had been, for a brief period in the 1860’s, the capital of the newly formed Italian state.
A (Mostly Homo) History of Arab Sexuality
JOSEPH A. MASSAD, an associate professor of modern Arab politics and intellectual history at Columbia University, does not shy from controversy. His departmental home page provides his response to an ad hoc grievance committee report that investigated allegations he intimidated students who disagreed with his political views on Israel. Massad turns the tables and accusesMore
Just How Sexy Were the Greeks?
… James Davidson is famous for his fascinating study of Greek culinary pleasures (Courtesans and Fishcakes, 1998), and many scholars (including himself) expected him to provide the new paradigm on Greek homosexuality. Instead, he has refurbished a Victorian model: Greek love was not all about boys and sex; it was all about couples and romance.More
THIS NEW BOOK of readings assembles eight autobiographical narratives written by late 19th- and early 20th-century Frenchmen (and one Italian) who were attracted to men, providing readable translations and just enough footnotes to answer obvious questions without slowing down the reading.
Black Power on Film
AT FIRST GLANCE, this scholarly analysis of the impact of cinema and television on “common sense” (commonly accepted but not necessarily sensible) images of “blacks” and “women” within a racist, sexist, homophobic, postcolonial, capitalist culture looks like a summary of earlier theories.
In Praise of Vice
BRUCE BENDERSON’S iconoclastic new novel minces no words when it comes to the present state of contemporary culture: he believes a lot of things have changed for the worse.
Harlem á Clef
RICHARD BRUCE NUGENT, one of the youngest members of the Harlem Renaissance, and the only openly gay one, seems poised for his own literary renaissance. More than twenty years after his death, Gentleman Jigger, which Nugent wrote in the waning days of the Roaring Twenties and the early years of the Great Depression, has finallyMore
A Sheath for All Reasons
… In The Humble Little Condom, author Aine Collier writes about the history of something that millions of people use but don’t discuss in polite company. …
Out in Africa
… The action of Sundowner Ubuntu, the fifth in the Russell Quant series, is set in motion when Russell is hired by a middle-aged woman named Clara Ridge to locate her, son whose juvenile delinquency caused her husband to disown the boy when he was only sixteen. The recent death of her flint-hearted husband hasMore
Can You Get That?
“MORE AND MORE I dread futility,” confesses one of Adrienne Rich’s speakers in Telephone Ringing in the Labyrinth. “Maybe I couldn’t write fast enough. Maybe it was too soon,” Rich muses in another poem, as if her message might be better understood by future generations.
Standouts at Sundance 2008
… While there were noticeably fewer GLBT films at this year’s Sundance than in recent years, the festival never fails to recognize filmmakers whose work projects the lives of gay people into the cultural landscape. …
Jonathan Williams, Mountain Poet, Dies at 79
Jonathan Williams, who died on March 16 at age 79, was known for many things, but dullness was never one of them. Photographer, poet, essayist, folk art aficionado, and founder of the Jargon Society-an enterprise devoted to publishing “maverick poets, stray photographers, oligarchs, and characters,” and …
Heath Ledger and the Idolatry of Dying Young
ON THE AFTERNOON of January 22, 2008, actor Heath Ledger was found dead in his Manhattan apartment, having taken, it was later learned, an overdose of prescription medications. …
Toby Johnson’s Journey Into the Gay Heart
TOBY JOHNSON is co-author, with Walter L. Williams, of Two Spirits: A Story of Life with the Navajo (2005), a historical novel that creatively recounts the brutal history of how Union soldiers mistreated the Navajo people in New Mexico just after the Civil War. It turns into a tender love story between the two-spirit “berdache”More