Browsing: Venerability

January-February 2007

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During the opening week of Some Men at The Philadelphia Theater Company (PTC) last summer, [Terrence] McNally discussed topics gay, political, personal, and sexual-and even had a few comments about the Pope and Judy Garland. Here is some of what he had to say.

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CO-AUTHORS Lillian Faderman and Stuart Timmons have written an ambitious and groundbreaking book that should at last give Los Angeles the prominence it has long deserved in gay history. Indeed the modern gay movement may be said to have been born in L.A. with the founding of the Mattachine Society in 1950 and of ONE, Inc. in 1952, and with the publication of its magazine, ONE, in 1953.

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Gerry Studds led a remarkable life, one well worthy of a memoir. That he decided not to write one was characteristic of the man. Articulate, witty, and enormously smart, he captivated audiences large and small; he was, in short, charismatic. But his persona was never about him, an almost eerie quality in a politician. Principles motivated Gerry Studds. He didn’t care about fame.

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“I HAVE, I admit, the old-fashioned yen to go happily to my grave with one foot in the closet,” writes pretty-boy actor John Carlyle in Under the Rainbow. Thank God he resisted the impulse. In this rescued memoir, Carlyle lifts the curtain obscuring the intersection of the movie industry, homosexuality, and mid-century Los Angeles.

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IN HER LATEST NOVEL, The Night Watch, Man Booker Prize nominee Sarah Waters explores the experience of same-sex and other “deviant” forms of love in World War II-era London. Opening in 1947, the novel moves backward to 1944 and concludes in 1941. Although she often alludes to the past when recounting the events of 1947, Waters, in reversing the chronology of her narrative, requires her readers to understand the consequences of the past before fully comprehending their causes.

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Perhaps I say this every year, but it seems we lost an extraordinary number of major figures who contributed significantly to the GLBT community in 2006- people who made a difference in the advancement of gay and lesbian rights, others who created the works of art and literature that illuminate our lives. They will all be sorely missed.

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THERE IS no elegant design to Facing the Night. Ned Rorem’s new book is divided simply into three parts: diary entries made between 1999 and 2005, recent musical writing, mostly about composers Rorem has known, and program notes, including those written for his well-received 2006 opera Our Town.

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FOR NEARLY A QUARTER of a century, Pedro Almodóvar has been crafting films of increasing beauty and complexity. They are films that explore the political and cultural detritus of the Spanish psyche. Like all great art, they transcend their particularities to offer a vision of the human condition that resonates with all of us.

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Takes on news of the day.

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