Browsing: Thiry Years of HIV, Part I

March – April, 2011

Binding the God Ursine Essays from the Mountain South by Jeff Mann
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“A WRITER’S OBSESSIONS are more obvious than most,” explains Jeff Mann in the opening sentence of Binding the God: Ursine Essays from the Mountain South. In this collection of seventeen first- person essays, the Lambda Literary Award-winner delineates his many passions, including a voracious leather-bear appetite for BDSM, an ardent fantasy affair with “Major Country-Music Boyfriend Tim McGraw,” and …

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LAST YEAR was an unusually tumultuous one for GLBT rights, at times a trying one, but ultimately a triumphant time for the gay community. By year’s end, it seemed we had reached a tipping point in the struggle for equality such that momentum for eventual success had finally gained the upper hand over the forces of resistance that have stymied full equality. Here are my choices for the top ten events that made 2010 such a memorable year:

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IN OCTOBER 2010, the Smithsonian Institution corrected a decades-long oversight by staging the first major museum exhibition focused on GLBT American figurative art. Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture, at the National Portrait Gallery, met with critical acclaim and enthusiastic attendance—as well as an explosive controversy worthy of the “culture wars” of the late 1980’s. When reactionary forces demanded the removal of David Wojnarowicz’s video “A Fire in My Belly”—and when the demand was met—many people were reminded of the controversy around a Robert Mapplethorpe retrospective in 1989 and the Corcoran Gallery of Art’s decision to cancel the exhibit …

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Wandering Soul: The Dybbuk’s Creator, S. Ansky by Gabriella Safran
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IN WANDERING SOUL, Gabriella Safran has written an erudite biography of the Yiddish radical, Russian revolutionary, writer, ethnographer, and playwright S. Ansky (or An-sky), who’s best remembered for his haunting play, The Dybbuk: Between Two Worlds. Drawing from Ansky’s own writings, Safran, who teaches Slavic literature at Stanford, depicts Ansky as a person of multiple identities …

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All the King’s Men are Katie Allen, Julee Antonellis, Leighsa Burgin, Jill Gibson, Maria Kogan, and Karin Webb. I interviewed them in person late last year.

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The following text is drawn from the catalog for an art exhibit called Graphic Intervention: 25 Years of International AIDS Awareness Posters: 1985–2010, which ran at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston last fall. The international poster collection of James Lapides formed the basis for the exhibit; several of the 153 posters that were on display are shown here.

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Annabel by Kathleen Winter
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ON THE MORNING that Wayne Blake entered the world, the midwife, Thomasina Baikie, did what came naturally: she checked to see if the baby was male or female, and was shocked to discover that the baby appeared to be both.

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WHEN Carolyn Forché released her groundbreaking anthology Against Forgetting: Twentieth Century Poetry of Witness, she did not include poems from the struggle for gay rights. The anthology was published in 1993, a bleak point in the history of the gay community due to the impact of AIDS on gay men and on the arts community. But, as readers today, we can easily situate AIDS poets in the panoply of poets of witness—those who write poetry that transcends the purely personal or the purely political and operates at their intersection. This is a type of poetry that exists in a space of resistance and re-orients points of view toward new ways of seeing and speaking. As a critical lens for understanding the cultural impact of poetry, Forché establishes an especially fruitful way of seeing poetry responding to AIDS.

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