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“THE MIDDLE WEST is nowhere; an abstract no-where. However earnestly writers proud of being natives of it may endeavor to give it form and character, it remains out of focus, amorphous, and a mystery,” wrote Glenway Wescott in the introductory essay to his collection of stories Goodbye, Wisconsin, originally published in 1928 and recently reissuedMore
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The Choice of Skin
… Skin Lane, set in 1967 London, centers on Mr F, as the book calls him, a 46-year-old man who is a cutter at a furrier’s. His solitary, regimented life is disturbed by a recurring dream of a dead, dark-haired, white-skinned boy hanging in his bathtub.
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IN HIS INTRODUCTION to Big Trips, Raphael Kadushin-a senior editor for the book’s publisher, the University of Wisconsin Press-affirms his hope that the sixteen entries in this anthology will address two unfortunate tendencies in today’s travel writing.
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… The Body in Question is a long overdue testament to the power of Peter Flinsch’s art, and one anticipates that this book will help to bring it to the attention of many more people. There’s also a pleasing arc to the book: …
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Reliable Penpals
IN THE REALM of 20th-century American literature, the collected correspondence of Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell is among the most important sets of letters that we have between two poets.
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No Ordinary Love
JOHN CROMER, the hero of Pilcrow, Adam Mars-Jones’ new novel, is the son of a British Air Commander father and a snobby mother who’s insecure about her class standing.
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Nothing Down
… This is in many ways a coming-out novel, written in an unadorned style with a deliberately limited vocabulary forming short, mostly declarative sentences.
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Out of Morocco
MOROCCAN EXPATRIATE Abdellah Taïa has spent the last eight years in France, writing, acting in films, and living the dream of being an intellectual in Paris. The jacket copy for Salvation Army broadcasts that Taïa is, or is reckoned by some to be, “the only gay man” writing about a country in which homosexuality isMore
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THE ESSAYS collected by Philip Kolin in this volume expand upon historian David Bergman’s observations concerning “the genealogy of transformation that occurs as successive generations of gay writers work through each others’ material, transfiguring a homophobic trope into a somewhat celebratory one.”
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Short Reviews
Reviews of Out and Proud in Chicago, Queer Cinema in Europe, Two Parties, One Tux, and a Very Short Film about The Grapes of Wrath, and Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South.
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An exhibit of the Polaroid photos of Robert Mapplethorpe
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… The first feature-length documentary on gay themes to win an Oscar, The Times of Harvey Milk depicts with startling frankness and immediacy Harvey Milk’s political ascendancy as the first openly gay politician elected to public office in a major U.S. city.
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LARGER THAN LIFE, the statue of John Betjeman (1906-1984) in the newly renovated St. Pancras International Station in London serves as a reminder of the late Poet Laureate’s love of rail travel. But its proximity to the Victorian Midland Grand Hotel has an added poignancy, for the hotel’s dining room was the scene of oneMore
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… Jordan’s one-person show and his new memoir of the same title tell the story of how he got to where he is. While not a leading man, he has been able to have a very successful career as an actor.
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Letters to the Editor
Feedback from readers
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In 1873, when French poet Arthur Rimbaud was staying in London with his more famous lover Paul Verlaine, the spark-striking and strategically untruthful nineteen-year-old added two years to his age so that he could pass through a set of doors normally closed to minors. …
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Harvey Milk was working for an insurance company in New York City before he became the flamboyant politician portrayed in Gus Van Sant’s recently released movie, Milk; he lived on the Upper West Side, voted for Goldwater, and loved to go to the opera. …
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In the aftermath of the passage of California’s Proposition 8, a new generation of activists emerged to protest the loss of the right to marry one’s same-sex partner. The GLBT media has dubbed this new wave of activism “Stonewall 2.0.”
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  Letters between Forster and Isherwood on Homosexuality and Literature Edited by Richard E. Zeikowitz Palgrave Macmillan 196 pages, $74.95   The Creator as Critic and Other Writings by E.M. Forster Edited by Jeffrey M. Heath Dundurn Press.  814 pages, $90.       The BBC Talks of E. M. Forster, 1929-1960: A Selected EditionMore
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Tying the Not: How They Got Prop 8
… An analysis of how the pro-8 forces succeeded reveals a campaign of misinformation and unlikely alliances, one that took years of planning dating back to at least the mid-1990’s. It also reveals a shrewd, media-savvy, and well-funded grassroots organization that understood California’s complex geographic and political landscape.
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The Obama Inauguration: Signals and Prospects
THE January inauguration of President Barack Obama saw unprecedented levels of GLBT participation. With hope in the air, expectations for forward movement on civil rights ran high. But the Obama transition sent mixed signals, leading some to question prospects for follow-through on promises made to the GLBT community.
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MORE THAN half of the world’s remaining sodomy laws-laws that criminalize consensual homosexual conduct-are relics of British colonial rule. This is the conclusion of a major study by Human Rights Watch released late last year in a 66-page report titled “This Alien Legacy: …
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PRIOR TO moving to Lebanon, I’d joke with my friends, saying that I was traveling back in time to a world that resembles that of the late 1960’s in North America: a country that lacks openly gay public spaces and where the vast majority of homosexual men are closeted due to a strict patriarchal system.More
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… Paradoxically, most subjects of the early photographs of Gay Liberation, while out enough to be photographed, were not named in any caption and are thus anonymous. However, I was able to identify a number of the people in the “Come Out!” photograph, and even tracked down a number to get their recollections about theMore
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BTW
News of the day with commentary
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WITH THE DEATH of John Costelloe, the actor who played Jim “Johnny Cakes” Witowski on The Sopranos, fans of the landmark TV series (1999-2007) lost an important player in the show’s most gay-positive, and perhaps most crucial, story line. The 47-year-old actor and former New York City firefighter shot himself late last year in hisMore
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