Browsing: Ransacking History

January – February, 2011

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“PHOTOGRAPHY is a kind of primitive theater, a kind of tableau vivant,” Roland Barthes remarked, shifting attention away from the medium’s significance as an evolutionary event in the history…More

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GEORGE GORDON, LORD BYRON (1788–1824) was the reigning male sex symbol of the early 19th century. His sporadic personal beauty (alternating between plumpness and emaciation), his flamboyant lifestyle, and his real and imagined affairs with women all fed the image. But Byron’s love life also included males. His bisexuality was known, not only within his own close circle, but “on the street.”

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Dreamer’s Journey is a tremendous work of research, offering sympathetic insight into a gifted, complicated author who created in his work a world to match his odd temperament.

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“MY PARTNER’S IDEA was we should move somewhere abroad and live there together,” said Dato Gabunia, a 28-year-old Georgian gay male who resides in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia. “The thing is, I do not want to move anywhere. I want to live here.” Gabunia is a playwright who has been in a serious relationship with his partner for five years, but social pressure forces them to live separately and to hide their homosexuality from family members.

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THE “REVULSION LETTER” is on its way to the Supreme Court. Triggered by gay and lesbian Americans picketing the White House in 1965, and hidden away in the attic of pioneer gay civil rights activist Frank Kameny until he donated it to the Library of Congress in 2006, this single-spaced, three-page letter established a viciously discriminatory federal policy toward homosexuals that lasted for decades.

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BY NIGHTFALL, Michael Cunningham’s latest novel, begins with a quote from Rilke’s Duino Elegies concerning the terrifying, unfathomable power of beauty—its ability to rattle our foundations and take us unawares. True to form, Cunningham explores here a region that’s outside the sexual mainstream, whether gay or straight, in this case the story of a straight man who’s an art dealer in a stable but staid marriage, whose world is rocked by the arrival of his wife’s much younger brother, the gorgeous, charming, and deceitful “Mizzy” (for “Mistake,” as his birth was unplanned).

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Joan Schenkar is an award-winning wrier and dramatist (see her website at “http://www.joanschenkar.com/). In the following interview, conducted in person last October, she comments on the strange life and even stranger psychology of a novelist whose stories have enthralled millions of readers.

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IN AUGUST, 2010, I traveled from my home in Bangkok to Mandalay, finally to visit the Taungbyon Nat Pwe. Stories have circulated about this “gay” event, but nothing very coherent was available.

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WHEN FUTURE GENERATIONS look back on gay liberation’s role in the greater creation of human consciousness, and what ideas helped shepherd civilization from its most primitive tendencies to more noble evolutionary possibilities, they will, in my opinion, have to spend substantial time studying the Radical Faerie movement, which was launched in 1979.

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WHEN DID Camille Paglia become so old-fashioned? Last summer, the famed feminist and Sexual Personae author decried the death of rock music in a painfully unhip piece published in The New York Times (6/25/10): “Rock music, once sexually pioneering, is in the dumps,” she lamented, since “step by step, rock lost its visceral rawness and seductive sensuality.”

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