Browsing: The Mother Country

November – December, 2011

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Change comes when we ask hard questions of our elected and appointed officials-school boards, superintendents, and others-about policies and programs to address bullying in schools, and when we push for better anti-bullying legislation and demand a commitment to GLBT youth empowerment among public servants. Above all, change comes when we take the time to listen to young people and empower them to create messages of survival for each other.

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He Kills Me
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A TWENTY-YEAR retrospective of Donald Moffett’s work titled The Extravagant Vein has been mounted by the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston, where it will remain on view until January 8, 2012. After that, the exhibit will travel to the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery of Skidmore College in Sara-toga Springs, New York, and then (next June) to the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. Accompanying the exhibit is a handsome, full-color catalog, published by the Houston museum and Skira/Rizzoli, which includes essays by Bill Arning and Russell Ferguson, an interview with Douglas Crimp, and an overview by exhibit curator Valerie Cassel Oliver.

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Stein and Toklas
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FEW AUTHORS have been more intent on making a reputation for themselves than Gertrude Stein. The fact that her name is known today by many people who have never read a word she wrote testifies to the success-but also somewhat to the failure-of her endeavor. As depicted most recently by Kathy Bates in Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, which examined the continuing American fascination with an image of Paris in the 1920’s that Stein did a great deal to create, Stein is better known for the artistic careers she fostered than for her own creative output.

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GENNADY TRIFONOV, a gay Russian poet and writer, died in March 2011 at age 65. I came to know him after he was released from a four-year term in a Siberian prison where he had been incarcerated for being openly gay, …

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THIS OCTOBER marked the fiftieth anniversary of artist Don Bachardy’s one-man debut at the prestigious Redfern Gallery in London in 1961. It was in the cramped, closely hung confines of a basement gallery that the 27-year-old Bachardy exhibited much of the work he had completed that year, notably a series of celebrity portraits.

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NEVER PUBLISHED during her lifetime, To Do is an abecedarian book with as much child appeal as an Edward Gorey ‘A is for …’ book. This was actually [Gertrude] Stein’s second book written for children.

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Takes on news of the day.

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POETS WRITING literary criticism do so to generate income, to communicate aesthetic values to the public, and to build an audience for their imaginative work. Would readers of the 1950’s and 60’s have paid much attention to Randall Jarrell the poet if he hadn’t been a sharp-witted and engaging critic? Probably not. As for W.H. Auden, I can offer some personal testimony from nearly four decades ago.

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Mitko by Garth Greenwell
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THE RESTROOMS at Bulgaria’s National Palace of Culture had just one use—and it wasn’t to relieve oneself. So when the American teacher descended the stairs and was captured by a hushed voice, he knew full well what was going to happen. The young man was tall and thin with a “close-cropped military cut of hair so popular among young men … a hyper-masculine style” and he seemed a little bad-boy dangerous. He couldn’t speak English well and the American could only grasp a few words of Bulgarian …

Mitko was the man’s name …

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