Browsing: American Originals

May – June, 2008

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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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Allan Berube
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THE OBITUARY OF ALLAN BÉRUBÉ that appeared in The New York Times began with a reference to his MacArthur Fellowship and then moved on to Coming Out Under Fire (1990), his groundbreaking history of gay men and lesbians during World War II. Such obvious attention to these two markers as the signal achievements of his life is understandable. The MacArthur award labeled Allan a “genius,” and a book about World War II planted him squarely in the mainstream of American history. As a topic, it is readily legible to almost everyone as “important.”

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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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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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… The action of Sundowner Ubuntu, the fifth in the Russell Quant series, is set in motion when Russell is hired by a middle-aged woman named Clara Ridge to locate her, son whose juvenile delinquency caused her husband to disown the boy when he was only sixteen. The recent death of her flint-hearted husband has freed her to search for Matthew, whom she hasn’t seen or heard from in twenty years. Russell’s search eventually takes him to a slum in South Africa and a game preserve in Botswana, where …

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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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“MORE AND MORE I dread futility,” confesses one of Adrienne Rich’s speakers in Telephone Ringing in the Labyrinth. “Maybe I couldn’t write fast enough. Maybe it was too soon,” Rich muses in another poem, as if her message might be better understood by future generations.

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… While there were noticeably fewer GLBT films at this year’s Sundance than in recent years, the festival never fails to recognize filmmakers whose work projects the lives of gay people into the cultural landscape. …

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