Browsing: Stage Hands

March – April, 2007

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SUSAN GUBAR is a professor of English at Indiana University, the recipient of several awards for writing and scholarship, and the co-author (with Sandra Gilbert) of The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination. Her latest book, Rooms of Our Own, a novel that’s an homage to Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own, examines contemporary women’s issues as they relate to feminism, gender roles, literature, and education in the 21st century.

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FEW QUEER WRITERS plant their flag as firmly at the intersection of poetry and politics as does black lesbian poet Cheryl Clarke. This is clearly evidenced by Clarke’s latest book, a collection of her best known and most powerful essays (including “Lesbianism: An Act of Resistance”) interspersed with equally powerful and resonant poems.

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Haggard Scandal Redux  The twin scandals of ex-Congressman Mark

Foley and (ex-?) Reverend Ted Haggard escaped notice in the last BTW

(too obvious?); but here are two footnotes on the more entertaining of

the two, Haggard, who didn’t merely fall from grace but plunged into

the abyss. Former head of the National Association of Evangelicals,

Haggard got busted for hiring a male hustler for sex and for scoring crystal meth from the same gentleman (who’s said to be writing his memoirs as we speak).

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DESPITE ITS TITLE, which might suggest another dreary self-help book soaked in Dr. Phil-speak, Gay and Single … Forever? is actually a thoughtful and intriguing meditation on the current state of being a gay man who’s not in a steady relationship.

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A painter and photographer who’s acclaimed by some critics as the best portrait artist in American history, Thomas Eakins is today a very hot property. His 1875 painting The Gross Clinic, which depicts Dr. Samuel Gross performing surgery, is still in the news. Purchased by Thomas Jefferson University in 1878 for $200, the Philadelphia Museum of Art has recently fended off a bid for the painting rumored to be $68 million. Once considered too gory for general display, illustrating as it does Eakins’ thorough understanding of anatomy, it is now considered by some to be the greatest 19th-century American painting.

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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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TENNESSEE WILLIAMS DIED just when AIDS was starting to explode (1983)—eight years after his Memoirs were published (1975), to more than one hostile review from a critic offended by the frank sexuality of the text. ( “If he has not exactly opened his heart,” went one notice, “he has opened his fly.”) Now New Directions is republishing them with an introduction by John Waters and an afterword by Allean Heale.

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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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WHEN REVIEWING a recent book for The New York Review of Books, writer Larry McMurtry opened by indulging in the old thought experiment of deciding what one author’s works he would take with him to the proverbial desert island. His choice was none other than Gore Vidal. Noting that Vidal’s oeuvre encompasses 46 books that cover the gamut from historical novels to satirical plays and screenplays, literary essays, and political memoirs, McMurtry explained that Vidal has “a prose style that should be the envy of the dwindling few who realize that prose style matters.”

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