Browsing: Return Trips

July – August, 2006

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Today we tend to take lesbian images for granted. While k d lang, Ellen DeGeneres, and Melissa Etheridge are visible lesbian icons, there is no uniformity to the lesbian image because, unfortunately, lesbians are still held up next to straight women rather than next to other lesbians to construct categories of normal. Tiraz True Latimer’s Women Together / Women Apart doesn’t make this mistake. …

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THE CHALLENGE for any writer of a memoir is to make the story interesting to someone else who, unlike a psychotherapist, isn’t being paid to hear it. A writer’s fame can guarantee an audience, but those lacking fame often resort to hyperbole and sensational drama. This is not true of Wade Rouse in his coming-of-age memoir, America’s Boy. …

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IN THE GAY ARCHIPELAGO, anthropologist Tom Boellstorff of the University of California, Irvine, sets out to define, interpret, and reflect upon what it means to be gay in Indonesia. …

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GAVIN BUTT’S BACKSTAGE exposé of the New York art world of the 1950’s careens between artsy jargon and artsy gossip. He rather defensively lays out his thesis in a lengthy introduction peppered with breathless 55-word sentences stating his themes. Doubtless the author is on his guard because he incorporates hearsay, rumor, and urban legend into dissection of this pivotal post-World War II Manhattan subculture.

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ODESSA, IN WEST TEXAS, feels like the remote edge of something in the way you might imagine Vladivostok: far from anywhere, exotic, but not the kind of exotic that attracts tourists. It’s an oil town, mainly. Buildings are tacky, functional. The land is flat, dry, barren, with a local culture to match: the big deal in Odessa is, famously, high school football. West Odessa, bleaker still, is the scrubby outskirts where they put the “adult” stuff that Odessa doesn’t want.

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A “RICE QUEEN” is generally defined as a white man who’s attracted to Asian men, while a “potato queen” is an Asian man who’s attracted to white men. The terms are often used disparagingly, with rice queens seen as sexual imperialists and potato queens as self-hating race traitors. For this reason, it takes some nerve for an author to come out as either on the cover of a book. But the authors of the two books under review have done just that …

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[Edmund] White shared his thoughts about his new book just prior to its April release at his home in the Chelsea section of Manhattan, where he has lived with Michael Carroll since 1995.

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A GATHERING OF ANGELS, by gay Texas poet Larry Dean Hamilton, relates a remarkable life story through a lyrical, sometimes dreamlike prose style. …

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“WHEN THE FIRST Christian pervert, St. Paul, made nature a crime against Christianity, civilization was finished,” writes poet Harold Norse in “Nocturnal Emissions” (1973). “Had he been handsome instead of hideous, the whole course of history might have been happier.” Norse’s opinion is shared by novelist Gore Vidal who, in Live from Golgotha (1992), presents Paul as a sexually maladroit troll obsessed with the handsome, teenaged Timothy.

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