Browsing: Virtual Communities

May – June, 2009

Blog Posts

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IF YOU’RE OF A MIND to write a book about and for gay men and the Internet—or, say, fly fishing and the Internet, or careers in advertising and the Internet—know that your work will be hopelessly outdated about two hours before your publisher agrees to put forth the thing in ink.

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PIONEERING PHOTOGRAPHER, book publisher, and friend to a generation of artists and writers beginning in the 1890’s, F. Holland Day has not until recently received the respect he deserves. Scholarly essays and theses and a retrospective at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts in 2000 showed rising interest, but a new book finally does justice to Day’s achievement.

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WHEN the incomparable James Purdy passed away in March on Friday the 13, 2009, at the prodigious age of 94, he had been pretty much out of the publishing mainstream for nearly two decades. One of his last short stories, “Reaching Rose,” published in the 2004 collection Moe’s Villa and Other Stories, was a remarkable piece of semi-confessional fiction about a lonely bar fly coming to terms with his own mortality:

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Reborn is a study of a complex women whose private life and secret self, including her sexual ambiguity, are at least as mesmerizing as her published works.

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EDWARD CARPENTER (1844-1929) was the most important early pioneer of gay liberation. Before him, writing in German, Heinrich Hössli had defended the “male love of the Greeks” (1836-38) and Karl Heinrich Ulrichs had decried the persecution of “male-male love” (1864-1880).

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Andy Warhol is signing his latest book of Polaroids at a large bookstore in Manhattan, hundreds of fans pressing around the table. A young man at the edge of the crowd walks slowly behind the table, arm-length from Warhol, adroitly snatches his wig, tosses it to an accomplice waiting near the door. Both run out into the anonymous streets of New York.

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Wartime Diary is a snapshot of a woman at a defining moment in world history, as well as a defining moment in her own career and philosophical development.

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LYDIA LOPOKOVA is not a name that comes to mind when one thinks of Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, which is celebrating the 100th anniversary of its founding this year. Bloomsbury Ballerina, a superb new biography by British dance critic Judith Mackrell, should help remedy this situation.

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MY COPY of Susan Sontag’s Against Interpretation is forty years old and was published by Dell for 95¢. It was a time when literary criticism could be sold as a mass market paperback. A photo of Sontag takes up most of the cover. She is young and pretty, the skunk-like swatch of white not yet streaking her helmet of hair. She is wearing a jacket that covers her to her chin, and yet there is nothing doughty about her.

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