Browsing: American Originals

May – June, 2008

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THERE’S A SCENE in Alan Ball’s All That I Will Ever Be, as staged by director Serge Seiden last March at Washington’s Studio Theatre, that’s rather startling. When the lights come up, we see a hustler pounding his client’s ass so hard that the chair on which the young man lies spread-eagled keeps sliding across the stage in fits and starts till it stops, with his orgasm, just at the edge of the platform.

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THIS NEW BOOK of readings assembles eight autobiographical narratives written by late 19th- and early 20th-century Frenchmen (and one Italian) who were attracted to men, providing readable translations and just enough footnotes to answer obvious questions without slowing down the reading.

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FULL DISCLOSURE: I came of age in the 90’s and always thought of Bette

Midler as that middle-of-the-road star of Beaches who sang the movie’s

treacly theme song, “Wind Beneath My Wings.” Sure, she had her brassy

broad routi, but this pseudo-outrageous, semi-tough-talkin’ persona

seemed tailor-made for Middle America. So imagine my surprise when, a

couple of years ago while writing a master’s thesis on Glitter Rock, I

found nestled in the discussions of Lou Reed and Alice Cooper a

reference to Bette Midler.

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AT FIRST GLANCE, this scholarly analysis of the impact of cinema and television on “common sense” (commonly accepted but not necessarily sensible) images of “blacks” and “women” within a racist, sexist, homophobic, postcolonial, capitalist culture looks like a summary of earlier theories.

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BRUCE BENDERSON’S iconoclastic new novel minces no words when it comes to the present state of contemporary culture: he believes a lot of things have changed for the worse.

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RICHARD BRUCE NUGENT, one of the youngest members of the Harlem Renaissance, and the only openly gay one, seems poised for his own literary renaissance. More than twenty years after his death, Gentleman Jigger, which Nugent wrote in the waning days of the Roaring Twenties and the early years of the Great Depression, has finally been published …

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IN APRIL 1962, Rudolf Nureyev was convicted under Soviet article N43 of treason against the state. Traitor number 50,888 was not present to defend himself against the charges, which had resulted from his dramatic defection to the West at Le Bourget airport, Paris, the year before.

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… In The Humble Little Condom, author Aine Collier writes about the history of something that millions of people use but don’t discuss in polite company. …

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