Browsing: July-August 2010

July-August 2010

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Redeeming Features: A Memoir by Nicholas Haslam
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WHOEVER put together the index of the English decorator Nicholas Haslam’s memoir evidently had a low opinion of the reasons people read a book like his. When I had to look up George Dyer (the lover of the painter Francis Bacon), I discovered that the index consists entirely of names.

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Brief Lives: E. M. Forster by Richard Canning
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Reviews of The Scandal of Susan Sontag, and Brief Lives: E. M. Forster.

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Vanessa and Virginia by Susan Sellers
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SUSAN SELLERS’ novel is an imaginative glimpse into the Bloomsbury circle of artists and intellectuals, and the two sisters—painter Vanessa Bell and writer Virginia Woolf—who were at the heart of it. In a series of vignettes, many of them lovely prose poems, Vanessa, the narrator of the novel, addresses Virginia, who is already dead, having killed herself in 1941.

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The Pride
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PART OF a spate of gay-themed plays on the boards in New York this season, two from Off-Broadway present contrasting approaches to the recent history of same-sex male love. The Temperamentals by Jon Marans dramatizes early activism: the creation in Los Angeles of the Mattachine Society by Communist organizer Harry Hay and his then lover, costume designer Rudi Gernreich, and a small circle of friends. The story unfolds in the early 1950’s with America moving from the war years into the McCarthy Era. The Pride, on the other hand, a first play by Alexi Kaye Campbell, is a British import that views the gay present through the lens of the past. It features two different male couples in London in 1958 and 2008; each pair must come to terms with the personal price of gay relations. In 1958, the context is one of social repression; in 2008, one of sexual and social liberation.

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The Silver Hearted by David McConnell
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THIS IS a strange and marvelous bird of a novel. On its surface, The Silver Hearted is an adventure story that convincingly channels the classics of that genre. A layer below the surface ripples a sharp critique of colonial and post-colonial themes that go further than Conrad or Forster could have done.

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LADY GAGA could be a cannibal. If you don’t believe me, have a listen to the most dental song to date, “Teeth” (from her EP The Fame Monster), in which the 23-year-old New Yorker growls: “Take a bite of my bad girl meat.” The fantasy of being eaten alive recurs in “Monster” with the lyric, “He ate my heart/ He licked his lips, said to me/ Girl, you look good enough to eat.”

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IN JUNE 2010, the GLBT community is observing its 40th year of Pride. The first annual celebration of Gay Pride took place in New York a year after the Stonewall Riots of June 1969. Movement pioneer Craig Rodwell, who founded the Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookshop, took the lead in organizing the Christopher Street Liberation Day Committee (csldc) to commemorate the first anniversary of Stonewall. The celebration centered on the Christopher Street Liberation Day Parade, held in New York on June 28, 1970. Although they could not have known it at the time, the 1970 march would give rise to “GLBT Pride” worldwide, which millions celebrate each year.

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BOGOTÁ COULD BE the next big destination for GLBT travelers and transplants, along with some other cities in Colombia. In this capital city of some eight million souls, there are an estimated 500,000 that belong to the GLBT community. With these kinds of numbers, the gay population of Bogotá has not been ignored by local politicians and business people.

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IN HER RADIO SHOW, Dr. Laura Schlessinger said that homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22 and cannot be condoned under any circumstances. The following open letter to Dr. Laura was posted anonymously on the Internet.

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