Browsing: Winter Reading

November – December, 2008

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THIS IS a timely book, with three reasons for existing. Images of Ancient Pederasty offers: first, the series of intelligent and resourceful essays by Lear and Cantarella on various aspects of the representation of pederasty in Athenian vase-painting; second, more than 110 illustrations of the most significant examples of the different typologies; and third, an appendix based on research undertaken by the late Keith DeVries …

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LESS THAN FIVE PERCENT of Allen Ginsberg’s extant correspondence makes

it into a recently published volume of his letters, yet it is more than

enough. The Letters will doubtless serve a purpose for the many

scholars and students of the Beat generation. As a “read,” though, it’s

depressingly base. Whether or not you think Ginsberg’s poetry took

flight, there’s no doubt that his prose stayed definitively earthbound.

Whining, wheedling, on the make; defensive, accusatory, and

sly—Ginsberg the letter-writer will exhaust and enervate you.

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ON A HOT NIGHT in April 2005, I walked with Kasim Mehedi, a worker for an AIDS outreach organization, through a rusty iron gate into the darkness of Hazrat Begum Park in the center of the city of Lucknow, India. During the day, the park is a popular tourist destination where visitors view two ornate mausoleums built in honor of Nawab Sa’adat Ali Khan … At night, however, the park becomes a shadowy demimonde where drug addicts, prostitutes, homosexuals, and others rejected by polite Lucknow society congregate.

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AS A BIOLOGIST, I have found the arguments against same-sex marriage

misguided—not because the evidence hints at homosexuality being based,

at least in part, on biological roots, but because the same arguments

that are used to keep same-sex marriage illegal could also be applied

to some ostensibly opposite-sex marriages. It may be shocking for some

people to hear that the sex and gender of every individual in our

population does not fit into a conventionally defined box that can be

labeled “male” or “female.”

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THE COVER of Terence Kissack’s book depicts a rainbow flag overlaid with the portraits of Benjamin Tucker, Alexander Berkman, Emma Goldman, John William Lloyd, and Leonard Abbott-five important figures within the American anarchist movement during the early years of the 20th century.

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Michael may have lost a small part of his audience after the arrest, but gay and straight fans alike turned out to see him perform on his recent tour celebrating the 25th year of his recording career.

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THE HEART of this little book is a 72-page essay, Poulenc’s Priest, by the British novelist Paul Bailey. The title stems from an anecdote about the gay composer Francis Poulenc that appeals to Bailey’s “sense of what is right and wrong”: “[Poulenc] confessed to his priest that he’d had a sexual encounter in a park with a stranger, and the priest-exasperated-stopped him short with the admonition: …

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THE PASSING of Larry Townsend on July 29th at the age of 77 has robbed the gay, lesbian, and leather communities of one of their pioneering writers, editors, and publishers. Larry Townsend-which was a pseudonym, as it turns out-is perhaps best known as the author of the erotic novel Run Little Leather Boy and of The Leatherman’s Handbook.

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