Browsing: Dramatic Moments

May – June, 2007

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Short reviews of Queer Youth in the Province of the “Severely Normal”, Talking to the Moon, and Mr. Ding’s Chicken Feet.

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BORN IN VIENNA, Austria, on July 31, 1932, to an official of the U.S. diplomatic corps and his wife, Barbara Gittings was a daughter dedicated to freedom. With passion, creativity, and relentless determination, she helped shape and lead one of the 20th century’s most significant struggles for social change, the gay and lesbian rights movement. Remarkably …

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Turn the Beat Around: The Secret History of Disco by Peter Shapiro Faber and Faber.  369 pages, $17. AN AUTHOR who promises the “secret” history of anything sets…More

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HE WAS NO ORDINARY JOE: during his short but meteoric career as the baddest queer of the postwar British stage, Joe Orton (1933–1967) was getting it both ways. A…More

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Erzulie’s Skirt by Ana-Maurine Lara RedBone Press.  242 pages, $15. SET IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, beginning some time after the dictator Trujillo came to power in1930, this book…More

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I first discovered the 1928 lesbian novel The Well of Loneliness when I was growing up in my academic parents’ house full of books. I became aware that this book had been banned in England, and I believed this was because the English legal system of the time still enforced Victorian morality, unlike the legal system in the U.S., where I was growing up “free.” I didn’t read the novel again until I was a fifty-year-old English instructor in Canada, looking for something new to say about it. I was amazed at how much the book seemed to have changed.

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DURING THE TWO DECADES between 1967 and 1987, dramatist, actor, and agent provocateur Charles Ludlam would rebelliously change theatre in America for the next generation. As the founder of the Ridiculous Theatrical Company and the author of 29 raucous and highly entertaining plays, Ludlam quite literally became the “belle of the ball” of the West Village countercultural theatre scene during this period.

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In his latest book, Michael Lucey, who has already written about same-sex issues in Balzac and Gide, examines very carefully how three French citizens involved with same-sex desire-Colette, Gide, and Proust-took advantage of the newness and fluidity of the concept of homosexuality to advance his or her own unique viewpoint over competing ones.

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CHICAGO’s TRAP DOOR THEATRE opened its 2006-07 season with a production of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s play The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant. The play, written in 1971, and made into a film the next year with Fassbinder as director, tells a story of a famous fashion designer from the title who falls for the first time in her life for a woman, young, pretty Karin, and experiences unknown feelings that, at the end of the play, turn her into a changed woman. The play is about a lesbian love affair’s dynamics and the lessons learned by the characters and the audience alike.

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