Browsing: Stage Hands

March – April, 2007

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ADDING to his already impressive roster of works on human sexuality, renowned author, sex educator, and therapist Marty Klein has surpassed all previous efforts with this incisive exploration of the sexual battleground that our country has become. Following the title of the electronic news-letter he publishes, he offers “Sexual Intelligence” as an antidote to the widespread ignorance about sex that prevails in the United States.

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STERLING HOUSTON, an experimental playwright who died last year, embodied the archetype of the American artist who moves with those dreams out into the world and comes back home with his dreams intact to carry out his major work. His life also illustrates a motif of the modern acceptance of homosexuality and the spread of gay culture: the gay artist who goes to the big city, gets liberated, and returns home to spread the good news of liberation, urbanity, and an outsider’s perspective.

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IF THIS BOOK is any evidence, Jeffery Dennis one of those people who can pepper conversations with references to Fabian, Frankie Avalon, and Foucault with equal ease. In Queering Teen Culture, Dennis traces the representation of male same-sex desire from the anxiety-ladened post-World War II family sitcoms all the way to the open (though not always satisfying) depiction of homosexuality in the teen comedies and dramas of today. Along the way, he also examines the spectacle of teen sexuality in the on-screen portrayal of juvenile delinquents, beach blanket buddies, androgynous teen idols, and what he refers to as “the rigidly homophobic Brat Pack.”

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WHILE THE TWO YEARS he served in prison for having engaged in homosexual acts were very hard on Oscar Wilde, the greatest sorrow he experienced as a result of England’s stepped-up persecution of gay men in the 1890’s was the loss of his two young sons. As he wrote to Alfred Douglas in the text that came to be known as De Profundis:

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WHEN AMERICAN Film-makers include gay characters in their films, they tend to focus on them as problematic-the problems of coming out; the heady, tragic problems of finding a boyfriend; family problems; and on and on. For films that incorporate well-rounded gay characters but aren’t about the supposed problems posed by gayness, it’s usually necessary to look to the U.K. or the Continent. Nicholas Hytner’s The History Boys, the film adaptation of Alan Bennett’s Olivier- and Tony-Award winning play, is the latest of these…

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THE IMAGE you see below was the first page of my biography at my website, TomBianchi.com. for the last seven years. This short version of my life from birth to graduation from law school told what I saw as most relevant about who I am. Recently, the company that provides banking services to my site (they collect membership subscriptions) informed me that this was a picture of an underage person and had to be removed. A law known as 18 U.S.C. 2257 has made companies like my banking agent the censoring instruments of the State. I was told that any representation of any kind of a minor is banned if it is associated with an “adult” site. Period.

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EVER SINCE the early days of Hollywood, actors and writers who abandoned “the Theatre” for the movies were thought to have sold their artistic souls to the celluloid devil. Douglas Carter Beane’s The Little Dog Laughed is the latest iteration of this paradigm.

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AFTER SEVENTEEN YEARS as an activist for the American Civil Liberties Union in San Francisco, Marcia Gallo started graduate school at the City University of New York, working with Martin Duberman and other luminaries at the center for lesbian and gay studies. Ten years later, at the age of 55, Marcia has published the results of her research, Different Daughters: A History of the Daughters of Bilitis and the Rise of the Lesbian Rights Movement.

The DOB was the first lesbian organization in the U.S., founded by Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin in San Francisco in 1955. Taking its name from the lesbian-themed “Songs of Bilitis” by French poet Pierre Louÿs, the DOB would soon start publishing a monthly magazine, The Ladder, which helped organize a national lesbian readership and eventually a political movement. Gallo’s book, which is the first full-length history of the DOB, is based on the author’s intensive archival research and interviews with surviving members of the group.

I conducted this interview with Marcia in my apartment in Manhattan in November 2006. – Sarah Schulman

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