Browsing: July-August 2008

July-August 2008

Blog Posts

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Short reviews of It’s Late, I Can’t Breathe, Drifting Toward Love, and The Boy with Black Eyes.

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Feeling Backward is a scholarly treatment of queer theory that assumes some knowledge of conventional literary theory. In it, Heather Love makes the argument that we have feelings in common with those who came before us, but early practitioners of queer theory have ignored the effects of oppression on our literature.

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THIS SPRIGHTLY, informative book does a rare thing: it covers entirely new territory in gay literary studies. Queering the Underworld concentrates on the intersection of the fin de siècle phenomenon of “slumming”-that is, taking the bourgeois reader into the urban demimonde-and the emerging expression of gay and lesbian sexual identities.

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AMERICA’S leading playwright provocateur, now an octogenarian, Edward

Albee—whose plays include the scalding Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?,

A Delicate Balance, Three Tall Woman, and the taboo-smashing The Goat,

or Who Is Sylvia?—is hardly resting on his accumulated laurels (three

Pulitzer prizes and three Tony awards). In fact, the playwright is now

directing new stagings of two of his one-acts, “The American Dream” and

“The Sandbox,” with the assistance of a hearing aid, and is proving as

durable as his work. …

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IN AS MUCH AS the teenage boy at the heart of Gus Van Sant’s new film has nothing funny or articulate to say, Paranoid Park may become this year’s anti-Juno.

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EIGHTY YEARS AGO, The Well of Loneliness was condemned by the English

courts as an obscene libel and “burned in the King’s furnace.” The book

was indicted and censored solely because of its lesbian theme, for its

prose has no spice or sleaze at all. Nothing very sexy goes on in it.

“She kissed her full on the lips” and “That night they were not

divided” are as hot as its descriptions of lesbian lovemaking get.

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FOUR FROTHY VIGNETTES, perhaps more properly defined as character studies, are strung together in this new comedy by Paul Rudnick, which I saw in a preview performance in New York. While AIDS and 9/11 are sometimes hovering on the periphery, sometimes presented in startling parallels, the author of Jeffrey (1993) and The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told (1998) keeps the tone light and the jokes rapid-fire.

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… Alistair McCartney spent his youth obsessed with his favorite encyclopedia set, and he has returned to it, as if he’s been haunted by it all these years. It’s a strange, intriguing narrative, mixing fact and fiction, the banal with the apocalyptic, and the nostalgic with the bizarre.

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Commentary on the issues of the day.

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