Browsing: Stage Hands

March – April, 2007

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SEXUALITY HAS BECOME perhaps the single most volatile issue in the highly emotional and long-running set of skirmishes known as the “culture wars” that have shaped American culture since the 1970’s. In this sophisticated and subtle collection of essays, sociologist Arlene Stein provides a roadmap to this conflict. “American culture is a curious mix of the shameless and the shamers,” Stein argues, “a seemingly endless parade of Pamela Andersons and Jerry Falwells strutting their stuff and wagging their fingers.”

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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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WHAT BRINGS AUDIENCES to the theater is “the expectation that the miracle of communication will take place,” explains a protester to the board of a city arts complex in “Hidden Agendas,” a one-act play that Terrence McNally wrote in 1994 in response to government-inspired attempts to censor an exhibition of the late Robert Mapplethorpe’s photographs. “Words, sounds, gestures, feelings, thoughts! The things that connect us and make us human. The hope for that connection!” The purpose of theater, McNally says in a subsequent interview, is to “find out” and explore “what connects us” as human beings.

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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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The following paper was first delivered at the New England Women’s Studies Conference in March 2005.

THERE ARE many challenges in writing lesbian-feminist plays, and today I want to talk about two of them. The first is working without antecedents in the popular consciousness, without a canon of lesbian dramatic work from which to draw. The second is the particular kind of audience response to the work which generally results from this lack of a cultural context.

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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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