Browsing: Virtual Times

January – February, 2006

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… Robert Hofler’s cultural biography of [Henry] Willson focuses heavily on his greatest known creation, Rock Hudson, but the book also tells a story about the Hollywood system in a bygone era, in a sense setting the story straight about gay Hollywood.

Willson is a figure worthy of a biography in part because of his key role in shaping the careers of many stars … As a star maker, Willson “invented” the Hollywood hunk and its other great incarnation, the teen idol, exemplified in his creation of Tab Hunter.

Hunter tells his own version of the story in his new memoir …

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THE BIBLE for writing quality fiction advances the following three commandments: avoid clichés, develop a distinctive voice, and show rather than tell. Occasionally, there comes a novel that stands in direct opposition to these commandments and still manages to render a decent narrative. Frederick Smith’s debut title, Down for Whatever, is not such a novel.

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IT’S HARD to pinpoint exactly the way in which the computer has changed gay life. The gay community as we knew it in the 1970’s and 80’s would have vanished anyway (though it’s hard to admit): AIDS, assimilation, generational shifts would have accomplished that. And, of course, the computer has been famously liberating: …

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ALTHOUGH PHOTOGRAPHER Robert Mapplethorpe has been dead for sixteen years, New York City’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum has a vested interest in keeping his images, and public interest in them, alive. The late photographer left a sizable legacy to the museum (there’s a gallery named for him), and since 1992 the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation has given the institution 200 of his photographs and objects, making the Guggenheim’s collection the largest museum holding of Mapplethorpe’s work.

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… IT USED TO BE that going to a gay bar meant being in the thick of gay community, gay culture, and gay activism. There would be fliers up on a bulletin board somewhere near the pay phone. There might be a fundraiser for the local LGBT community center or there might be some political conversation. … While the Internet is a powerful tool for organizing and for getting the word out about GLBT issues-from news on legislation to advice on how to bypass heterosexist adoption laws- I worry that it’s lulling us into a false sense of security. …

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The following is excerpted and adapted from an article that first appeared in the Journal of Homosexuality, Volume 49, Number 1, 2005.

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… The problem is exacerbated by the current political climate, which treats gays and lesbians as a marginalized population. It is our hope that this piece will spark concern and promote action by gay and lesbian organizations and individuals to address this under-reported but widespread social ill that afflicts our community.

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“AS HOMOSEXUALITY becomes more socially acceptable, we may even begin to find families based on homosexual ‘marriages’ with the partners adopting children.” So said Alvin Toffler in Future Shock, the 1970 publishing sensation that introduced Americans to “information overload” and assorted other innovations he predicted for the coming years.

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FAN FICTION, in its simplest definition, is fiction written by the fans of any popular narrative, be it a novel, a TV series, or a film. While private fan fiction may be as old as fiction itself, its origins as a genre for public (albeit esoteric) circulation can be traced back to the start of fan magazines or “fanzines” in the 1970’s. With the advent of the Internet, the genre has suddenly become available to a mass readership, and this has alerted more people to the phenomenon and to its possibilities than a fanzine could ever hope to do. .

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