Browsing: Subcultures of Gaydom

September – October, 2010

Nights Beneath the Nation by Denis Kehoe
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THIS WELL-RESEARCHED historical novel alternates between Dublin in the early 1950’s and late 1990’s, following a gay man as he recalls his youthful adventures and the tragic series of events that forced him to flee for America. Daniel Ryan enters Dublin from his country home, captivated by the excitement and opportunities available in Ireland’s capital.

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REV. FRED PHELPS gives good curse. Famous for his anti-gay picketing of funerals and other sensational venues, he admits that his vibrant colored signs with provocative epithets (notably “God Hates Fags”) are intended to “get inside people’s heads.” In October, he will receive what he most seeks—national publicity—during an oral argument before the U.S. Supreme Court. The case is critical, and so is an understanding of this man, however tempting it is to dismiss him as a self-parody of bigoted ignorance.

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Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man: A Memoir by Bill Clegg
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Reading Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man can be a toe-curling experience, and you may find yourself rushing from page to page, not because it isn’t a good story (it is), but because the life that Clegg is describing is often painfully hard to endure.

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LAST YEAR marked the thirtieth anniversary of the founding of the Radical Faeries. Since 1979, the Radical Faeries have developed into a vital international gay spirituality and consciousness movement. Along with the AIDS Quilt, the Radical Faeries is arguably the most important ongoing grassroots subculture in the GLBT world at large.

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A Martian Muse: Further Essays on Identity, Politics, and the Freedom of Poetry (Poets on Poetry) by Reginald Shepherd
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A Martian Muse contains 25 of Shepherd’s final essays, ranging across several categories, with titles that include “Poetics and Poetry,” “Art and Society,” “Artistic Production,” “Intention, Aspiration, Inspiration,” and “Illness, Identity, and Poetry.”

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WHY ARE WE still interested in the lesbian hipster? In part it’s because we can’t stop lurking around her pictures on Facebook, which are beyond cute. But it’s mostly because the “lesbian” and “hipster” worlds seem to have converged so naturally that there’s clearly something going on past Generation X/Y’s universal adoption of any eastward-blowing trend-wind.

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Insignificant Others: A Novel by Stephen McCauley
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Review of Insignificant Others by Stephen McCauley, and Missouri by Christine Wunnicke.

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COMPOSED PRIMARILY of African-American and Latino people, many or most of them transgendered, the House and Ball community is a system of “houses” that participate in competitive drag balls. Centered in New York City, the houses have names like Xtravaganza, Ninja, LaBeija, the Garavani, and so on, and are organized as “drag families” headed by a “house mother.” It’s a community that’s as amorphous, inclusive, and diverse as any other GLBT (or lgbtq, etc.) universe.

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Newcomer Adam Lambert, meanwhile, needn’t worry that the vacuum of doubt will sap his career of any strength. At 27, he raked in nearly 100 million votes as the runner-up on the eighth season of American Idol, and this was after photos of Lambert kissing an ex-boyfriend came to light. He acknowledged the pictures as authentic at the time, but waited until after the show’s finale to confirm the rumors.

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