Browsing: Fall Reading

September – October, 2007

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JOAN ACOCELLA writes beautifully on every topic she covers, and this collection of her biographical essays over the last two decades shimmers with droll observations, vivid images, and wise insights about important artists.

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On May 1, 1991, three same-sex couples in Hawaii asked the court to strike down that state’s marriage licensing law on the grounds that it discriminated against them in violation of the state constitution. They prevailed in the courts but it became an empty victory when the people amended the Constitution to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

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… How does one explicate the tangle of anomalies, abnormalities, and antinomies of double sex? Changing one’s sex has to be one of the all-time most mysterious and daunting of transformations, even exceeding the province of art. …

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… Between Men opens with Andrew Holleran’s striking story “Hello, Young Lovers,” which relates the situations that evolve as a gay couple on their honeymoon in San Juan become fascinated by a younger, possibly gay, male couple staying at the same hotel. …

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… Mary Coble is a Washington, D.C.-based performance artist. This latest work, Aversion, was performed live, including a live webcast, at Conner Contemporary Art (a D.C. gallery) to a full house. Its purpose was to address the history-and, apparently, ongoing use-of electric shock therapy administered to gays and lesbians as a means of changing their sexual orientation. …

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THE SHORT FILM The Gendercator has been pulled from this year’s San Francisco Lesbian and Gay Film Festival by the festival producer Frameline at the behest of transgendered people and their supporters. Community organizers declare that the piece by lesbian filmmaker Catherine Crouch is “hateful” and that “there is no space for hatred and transphobia in our community institutions.” It leaves one to wonder how such an opinion can be formed by those who have yet to see the film.

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THIS ACCOMPLISHED FIRST NOVEL by a bibliographer of Canadian lesbian fiction is classified by the publisher as a “lesbian mystery.” However, it could as well be described as a black comedy of manners, a road-trip novel, a study of grief in various forms, a realistic lesbian love story, or a novel of development.

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The male nude has been an iconic subject for artists since Classical times, and it remains so today. Few people understand the power and beauty of the male figure better than Douglas Simonson, who has made male nudes the pillar of a successful, three-decades-long painting career. …

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… While images of women in erotically suggestive situations are less widespread than comparable depictions of men in American advertising, women who seem to prefer the company of other women have been goosed and gandered by Madison Avenue from the turn of the 20th century to the mid-1960’s and beyond. Since becoming fascinated by what I perceived as homoerotic imagery in vintage advertising, I’ve collected and studied over 300 such ads.

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