Browsing: November-December 2010

November-December 2010

Blog Posts

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FOR MOST OF US who have ever traveled to East Asia, the trip involves a several-hour flight across the Pacific. For Lucy Horne, her first excursion to Japan took her a full two weeks. She traveled by train. “Denmark to Warsaw, Moscow, Vladivostok,” she tells me the afternoon we meet. “And then over to Japan. I don’t like plane travel. You miss what’s in between. I wanted to know what was in between.”

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Party Animals: A Hollywood Tale of Sex, Drugs, and Rock 'n' Roll Starring the Fabulous Allan Carrby Robert Hofler
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Filled with big names and little scandals—Allan Carr was openly gay when gay was taboo to talk about in Hollywood—Party Animals is exhaustively researched, over-the-top snarky, gossipy, and sarcastically funny!

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“WHAT IS an Itkin anyway?” The rhetorical question was put to me as I was sitting in a Manhattan leather bar one summer night in the mid-1970’s. My companion that evening was apparently a pretty boy in full leather, actually an attractive young woman by the name of Dusty Verity, a former circus performer who had written me a fan letter the previous week and had now turned up at the Eagle’s Nest in very becoming drag. We were discussing mutual acquaintances and soon discovered that we both knew the notorious anarchist bishop, Mikhail Itkin.

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A Human Eye: Essays on Art in Society, 1997-2008 by Adrienne Rich
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THE ESSAYS in this collection cover a variety of subjects, from the difficulties of translating Iraqi poetry to a reflection on James Baldwin. Each topic, however, demonstrates Adrienne Rich’s remarkable intellect and critical faculty.

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OVER THE LAST 25 years or so, there has been an amazing proliferation of thinking, writing, and publishing in the area of same-sex relations and religion. This work runs the gamut from highly specialized academic texts to run-of-the-mill scholarly articles, confessional memoirs, edgy pieces in magazines such as White Crane, and everything in between. One prevailing theme characterizes this massive output: it adopts a defiantly positive attitude with respect to the interface of same-sex desire and religion. Queer scholars and writers now rarely insist on defining religion as a uniformly oppressive force; instead, they prefer to examine the unexpected richness found in the encounter.

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U.S. CITIZENS or permanent residents currently have the right to petition for their heterosexual spouse to immigrate legally into the country. Same-sex unions confer no such rights. As of January 2010, there were over 36,000 binational couples in the U.S. living in the fear that a partner might be deported. Provisions in our current immigration reform are especially important for glbt families as this is the only chance they have of being treated fairly and having the same rights and protections as heterosexual families.

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Perhaps what’s most striking about Flinsch’s work is its very existence. At a time when most gay artists were masking their sexuality and trying to fly under the radar, Flinsch was defiantly and brazenly homoerotic in his work.

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IN SECRET HISTORIAN, Justin Spring offers a compelling, well-written account of Samuel Steward’s many lives as an accomplished professor and teacher, a respected novelist writing as Phil Andros, and a skilled tattoo artist and pornographer. Steward knew many of the noted artists and personalities of his era—André Gide, Gertrude Stein and Alice Toklas, Thornton Wilder, Thomas Mann, George Platt Lynes, and Alfred Kinsey, among others—but Steward himself has remained a footnote in the cultural and sexual history of the mid-20th century.

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AT A SMALL but select Walt Whitman exhibition mounted by the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in 2006, a tender photograph of Whitman with his partner Peter Doyle was matter-of-factly labeled as such; and my jaw dropped. It was the first time I’d ever seen an American museum correctly name this relationship, announcing in effect that Whitman, arguably our greatest poet, was emotionally involved with another man.

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