Browsing: The Persistence of Malice

May – June, 2010

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THE ECONOMY wavered back and forth and the nation’s most important film festival marched into the new decade with a bang. Set against the unexpected largest snowfall in years, the Sundance Film Festival opened on January 21, breaking an opening night tradition by screening not one but three cinematic events. There was a shorts program and there was a screening of the documentary Resperto, a pro-soldier vehicle in the vein of The Hurt Locker. And then there was Howl.

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My Queer War by James Lord
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IN PARIS, while serving with the U.S. military during WWII, James Lord found his way to an address on the rue des Grands Augustins and informed the secretary who opened the door that he had come to see Pablo Picasso. He had no appointment, but Lord’s uniform provided bona fides; Americans had just expelled the Nazis (Lord amusingly points out that it didn’t take long for some Parisians to resent that favor).

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IMAGINE a magazine arriving in the mail every month, over 300 pages filled with news, photos, and information that you never talked about with anyone. In the days before the Internet, that’s how gay life was organized in Japan.

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Eyes Wide Open Directed by Haim Tabakman Original screenplay by Merav Doster
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EYES WIDE OPEN is a compressed drama of forbidden same-sex love within an insular community, namely the highly regulated society of Orthodox Jewry in a tight-knit neighborhood in Jerusalem. Presented in New York at this year’s Jewish Film Festival, the film is a stark reminder that the irregular contours of gay experience are perhaps best depicted by those outside the commercial cinema who are not bound by its cosmetic imperatives.

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In Gertrude Stein, the latest story of her life, author Lucy Daniel considers the ways in which Stein consciously constructed her public self, and in turn how the public came to construct an Idea of Gertrude Stein.

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Andy Warhol: The Last Decade thom th Joseph D. Ketner II
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ANDY WARHOL is best known for the Pop phase of his work, for fusing high art with low, starting in the 1950’s. “By the end of the 1970’s he felt trapped by the public’s expectations of him to present images of popular culture and to embody fame and social celebrity through mass media,” writes Joseph D. Ketner II, in Andy Warhol: The Last Decade, a collaborative venture between the Milwaukee Art Museum and the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. “He had grown weary of the continuous parade of society portrait commissions and physically exhausted by the nightly clubbing on the New York social circuit.”

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CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN POLITICS features a phenomenon that would have baffled Anita Bryant in 1977: the stealthy homophobe. Bryant looked voters in the eye and said that gay people were a threat to society. Right-wing political figures in the 21st century often act on the same belief but lack Bryant’s candor.

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Quirky news of the day

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Historical and sociological work on GLBT people has also focused on cities, not just because of the demographic concentration but also because queer scholars prefer to live in urban centers with their intellectual, political, and archival wealth. Even anthropologist Mary Gray chose to live in Louisville, Kentucky, while doing research for Out in the Country and to have an academic home in the Women’s Studies Department.

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WHEN A BRIDE and groom exchange vows in a cathedral, chapel, or temple, they receive a marriage license blessed simultaneously by their clergy and their state. But why? Other religious ceremonies aren’t wedded to civil ones. The county clerk doesn’t issue a baptism license. A priest doesn’t deliver a funeral eulogy and then sign the death certificate. Could separating religious and civil marriages solve the gay-marriage standoff?

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