Browsing: The Arc of History

March – April, 2009

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MORE THAN half of the world’s remaining sodomy laws-laws that criminalize consensual homosexual conduct-are relics of British colonial rule. This is the conclusion of a major study by Human Rights Watch released late last year in a 66-page report titled “This Alien Legacy: …

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In 1873, when French poet Arthur Rimbaud was staying in London with his

more famous lover Paul Verlaine, the spark-striking and strategically

untruthful nineteen-year-old added two years to his age so that he

could pass through a set of doors normally closed to minors. …

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… Skin Lane, set in 1967 London, centers on Mr F, as the book calls him, a 46-year-old man who is a cutter at a furrier’s. His solitary, regimented life is disturbed by a recurring dream of a dead, dark-haired, white-skinned boy hanging in his bathtub.

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PRIOR TO moving to Lebanon, I’d joke with my friends, saying that I was traveling back in time to a world that resembles that of the late 1960’s in North America: a country that lacks openly gay public spaces and where the vast majority of homosexual men are closeted due to a strict patriarchal system. Unlike the Americans in the 60’s, however, these men have on-line chat sites, the most popular of which are Manjam.com and Gaydar.co.uk.

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Harvey Milk was working for an insurance company in New York City

before he became the flamboyant politician portrayed in Gus Van Sant’s

recently released movie, Milk; he lived on the Upper West Side, voted for Goldwater, and loved to go to the opera. …

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IN HIS INTRODUCTION to Big Trips, Raphael Kadushin-a senior editor for the book’s publisher, the University of Wisconsin Press-affirms his hope that the sixteen entries in this anthology will address two unfortunate tendencies in today’s travel writing.

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… The first feature-length documentary on gay themes to win an Oscar, The Times of Harvey Milk depicts with startling frankness and immediacy Harvey Milk’s political ascendancy as the first openly gay politician elected to public office in a major U.S. city.

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… The Body in Question is a long overdue testament to the power of Peter Flinsch’s art, and one anticipates that this book will help to bring it to the attention of many more people. There’s also a pleasing arc to the book: …

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LARGER THAN LIFE, the statue of John Betjeman (1906-1984) in the newly renovated St. Pancras International Station in London serves as a reminder of the late Poet Laureate’s love of rail travel. But its proximity to the Victorian Midland Grand Hotel has an added poignancy, for the hotel’s dining room was the scene of one of Oscar Wilde’s public humiliations.

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