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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YOU CAN GET TO Hide/Seek, the groundbreaking exhibit of gay art at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C., which runs through February 13, 2011, in one of two ways. The first is down a corridor lined with photographs of Elvis Presley. The second is through an exhibit called The Search for Justice displaying black civil rights figures, Earl Warren, and two white feminists.

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According to the back cover of this oversize, illustrated book, author Jonathan Katz is tackling nothing less than “how questions of gender and sexual identity dramatically shaped the artistic practices of influential American artists, including Thomas Eakins, Romaine Brooks, Marsden Hartley … and many more.”

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Where stories in Time Well Bent layer GLBT themes onto colonialism, the effect is a dreamlike array of possibilities.

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Takes on news of the day.

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ANYONE whose life was impacted in even a small way by the punk-feminist subculture known as Riot Grrrl will find it hard to read Sara Marcus’s thoroughly researched history of the movement and remain seated throughout. From its inception, traced here to 1989 and the creation of the band Bikini Kill, through the dissolution of most of its organizational hubs by 1996, Riot Grrrl existed in an emotionally amplified space. The fierce unity of the first small tribes that sprung up in Olympia, Washington, and Washington D.C. contrasts with the fire and fury at male privilege that inspired some of the movement’s finest work

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THE FALL OF 2010 saw a number of widely publicized teen suicides linked to anti-gay bullying across the country. The national GLBT community responded with candlelight vigils, “die-in’s,” and heartfelt homemade videos promising at-risk young people that “It Gets Better.” Kudos to Dan Savage for launching this project; still, it is difficult to lay healing hands on an isolated population through YouTube.

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STANLEY BARBER STARTS OFF by declaring that this work is “written as a libretto for a sung-through musical,” repeating this in the Epilogue.

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