Browsing: Photographic Memories

November – December, 2009

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THE DAY AFTER the first night of rioting at the Stonewall Inn in late June, 1969, the police barricades were taken away from the city streets. But the intensity of the previous night’s disturbance-where about 500 had gathered in protest outside the Inn, some shoving or throwing bottles, others lighting small fires-was still palpable. Ellen Shumsky walked through the streets of her neighborhood where trash cans that had been set ablaze emitted still-smoldering ashes. The aftershock of rebellion, rage, and frustration that burst forth onto Sheridan Square was recognizable to her.

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TOGETHER, Amy Ray and Emily Saliers form the Indigo Girls, the Grammy-winning folk-rock act whose new album, Poseidon and the Bitter Bug, marks the pair’s return to an independent label-their own, in fact, which they dubbed IG Records-after releasing eleven, major-label studio albums since their debut in 1987 (with Strange Fire). The homecoming must have been catalyzing, because they recorded Poseidon in just three weeks inside an Atlanta studio.

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City Boy
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THE MOST DEVOTED FANS of a given city are perhaps the people who’ve

come to it from the farthest away. Hailing from the Leave-It-to-Beaver

suburbs of Cincinnati, Ohio, Edmund White arrived in New York in the

1960’s and reveled in the intellectual ozone and garrulous

open-mindedness of its denizens. Meanwhile, his newly unleashed libido

made a beeline for the activities practiced on the near-deserted piers

and in parked trucks of Sodom on the Hudson.

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WHAT HAPPENS when a seventeen-year-old gay boy from Missouri, high on Proust, arrives at Harvard, in 1941, on a quest for love, sex, and greatness? One man’s answer is revealed in rich, exasperating, and touching detail in The Journal of Claude Fredericks.

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FOLLOWING THE PASSAGE of Proposition 8 in California last November, the battleground for marriage equality has now shifted to the nation’s capital as efforts are under way to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (or DOMA), which precludes the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriage even in states where it is legal. One group that strongly supported Proposition 8-with seventy percent voting yes, according to some exit polls-was African-American voters.

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WRITTEN IN A BURST of inspiration in 1913 and ’14 and set in the

England of the Edwardian Age, E. M. Forster’s Maurice was “dedicated to

a happier year,” though the author had no conception of when that might

be. Forster shared the manuscript with trusted friends, including D.H.

Lawrence, Virginia Woolf, T. E. Lawrence, Lytton Strachey, and Paul

Cadmus, but would not publish the novel during his lifetime. Only in

1971, a year after Forster’s death, would the novel appear in print.

 

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Bigger than Life reads like a work of journalism about the rise and development of a hugely successful industry that feeds the fantasies of gay men, whose growth spurts and mutations over time have aligned with social and technological forces.

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IN 1972, the Rho-Delta Press of Los Angeles published Tamotsu Yato’s book Otoko: Photo-Studies of the Young Japanese Male. The book has long been out of print, and it usually commands a hefty price from rare book dealers. But the story of its origins and eventual publication is notable-and ultimately poignant-because it intersects with the life of one of Japan’s most complex and fascinating literary figures.

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News of the queer and quirky

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… the ever adventurous Field put his fears aside and embarked on a trip that produced Kabuli Days: Travels in Old Afghanistan, one of the most interesting travel diaries I’ve read.

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