You can see them in concert if you're lucky enough to be in Portland June 8, Northampton June 12, or San Francisco June 22.
(I was a judge and member of the host committee, so obviously I'm biased. But as such I can say everyone is especially indebted to the superhuman heroics of Richard Labonte and Don Weise.)
As usual, more than half of the winners were not present to accept their awards, though many offered heartfelt written statements. In person, particularly moving were trans winner Lynn Breedlove, poet Benjamin Grossberg, and romancers Colette Moody and Frank Anthony Polito. Forty-two years after The Boys in the Band, playwright Mart Crowley, 75 this summer, surprised the audience by admitting this was the first award he's ever won. Oh, and Rakesh Satyal went gaga, singing his acceptance speech a cappella to Bad Romance.
Unofficially, the Best Dressed award passed from Christopher Rice's suit last year to Peter Cameron's red graph paper pants (bought in Italy) and Catherynne Valente's vibrant ruffle dress. (Actual best suits were worn by Kate Clinton and Bob Smith, both particularly dashing.) Best accessory: either Sacchi Green's or Rakelle Valencia's cowboy hat.
Friendly reminder: It's not enough to wish them well. You must buy lgbt books.
Lesbian Fiction: A Field Guide to Deception by Jill Malone
Lesbian Debut Fiction: The Creamsickle by Rhiannon Argo
Gay Fiction: Lake Overturn by Vestal McIntyre
Gay Debut Fiction: Blue Boy by Rakesh Satyal
LGBT Nonfiction: The Greeks and Greek Love by James Davidson
Lesbian Biography: The Talented Miss Highsmith by Joan Schenkar
Gay Memoir: Ardent Spirits by Reynolds Price
Transgender: Lynnee Breedlove's One Freak Show by Lynn Breedlove
Bisexual Fiction: (tie)
+ Holy Communion by Mykola Dementiuk
+ Love You Two by Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli
Bisexual Nonfiction: Leaving India by Minal Hajratwala
LGBT Anthology: Portland Queer edited by Ariel Gore
LGBT Drama: The Collected Plays of Mart Crowley by Mart Crowley
LGBT SF/Fantasy/Horror: Palimpsest by Catherynne M. Valente
LGBT Studies: The Straight State: Sexuality and Citizenship in Twentieth-Century America by Margot Canaday
LGBT YA: Sprout by Dale Peck
Lesbian Mystery: Death of a Dying Man by J.M. Redmann
Gay Mystery: What We Remember by Michael Thomas Ford
Lesbian Romance: The Sublime and Spirited Voyage of Original Sin by Colette Moody
Gay Romance: Drama Queers! by Frank Anthony Polito
Lesbian Poetry: Zero at the Bone by Stacie Cassarino
Gay Poetry: Sweet Core Orchard by Benjamin S Grossberg
Lesbian Erotica: Lesbian Cowboys edited by Sacchi Green & Rakelle Valencia
Gay Erotica: Impossible Princess by Kevin Killian
Critics seem to think less of Maugham with each passing decade (he resented his lower literary status but called himself "the very front row of the second rate"), yet critics do think a great deal of Hastings' examination of his life and work. The Wall St. Journal writes, "Ms. Hastings's uncommonly absorbing and judicious biography allows us to see the writer in full. It is the first truly rounded portrait of a fine writer and a complicated man," and Michael Dirda calls it "excellent." The current New Yorker devotes seven pages to the book.
Halfway through his beguiling new Role Models, John Waters opens a chapter by saying he's had Thanksgiving with Lana Turner, has gone drinking with Clint Eastwood, been a guest at Valentino's Swiss chalet several times on New Year's Eve, etc., etc., but that he's happiest when staying home and reading. Even better, that chapter is an appreciation of Denton Welch, particularly In Youth Is Pleasure, which Waters calls "the most perfect novel ever written." He also reveres Christina Stead's The Man Who Loved Children, and everything by Ivy Compton-Burnett.
Like many people with a camp persona, Waters is utterly sincere in his likes (lots) and dislikes (deserved). I especially loved his chapter on Baltimore, which focuses on the tough lady owner and hapless denizens of his favorite dive bar. As a child, the owner, Esther Martin, was paid by her father to cuss; as a mother, she pushes 8x10 glossies of her stripper daughters on Waters to give to Johnny Depp. Esther shows up at his Christmas party with her husband who confronts every male guest with "Are you a faggot?" Waters laments the bygone male strip clubs but not their failed reincarnation at which the boys "were too nelly and had those awful accents."
Other chapters examine Johnny Mathis; Tennessee Williams; Leslie van Houten, the reformed still imprisoned member of the Manson gang; and Bobby Garcia, a DIY gay pornographer who films himself helping Marines. Waters considers him the greatest porn director of all time and recounts some memorable moments like Bobby filling his mouth with baby oil straight from the bottle before, um, honoring a servicemember.
Role Models was released yesterday and -- obviously -- it's a must to own. Just look at the cover, where the only use of color is the green stripes on his socks. Genius.
Waters is doing an eight-city tour and most of his appearances are conversations with other writers. See him or suffer the regret.
May 26: Sacramento
June 1: Philadelphia with Gary Kramer
June 2: Washington with Ned Martel
June 5: Baltimore, book signing
June 7: New York with Paul Holdengraber
June 8: Los Angeles with Bruce Wagner
June 10: Boston with Scott Heim
When researchers pinpointed the gay gene was it attached to the last-minute gene?
You have until 6:00 pm tonight to purchase advance tickets to the 22nd Annual Lambda Literary Awards. Otherwise, you can pay more ($125) and buy them at the door tomorrow before the ceremony at SVA. Cocktails at six, awards at seven o'clock. Eddie Sarfaty is hosting and the pioneer award recipients are Kate Clinton and Larry Kramer. The ceremony is directed by Tony Award winner Joe Hardy.
You only have until next Tuesday, May 31 to register for Gay Games. Drop everything and go. Nothing says summer like an impromptu trip to Germany with thousands of lgbt athletes from around the world. Alas, right now it's too few thousands. Although the website still says, "Some 12,000 participants from more than 70 countries will converge for Gay Games VIII in Cologne..." until very recently the number of actual registrants was around 6,500. People! Procrastination is not a sport. Get moving. Right now inline speed skating is at less than thirty percent capacity, which for the calculating medal seeker means a much, much greater chance of winning some gold or silver. The many sports below fifty percent capacity are: volleyball, body building, bowling, bridge, ice hockey, field hockey, diving, softball, sport climbing, and wrestling. Here's hoping for a huge late surge.
Sure, the diving's nice, but it's Matthew Mitcham's double handed wave that should convince you.
Even the pummeling Mediterranean sun couldn't make me confuse my Capra aegagrus creticus with my Antilope cervicapra, but an overheard comment about the Kri-kri did bring to mind the Blackbuck. In all the world, the Kri-kri exist only in Crete's high White Mountains above and down in the Samaria Gorge, so I felt lucky to spot and photograph this mother and kid. Miles later I heard a Homo sapien explain that the Kri-kri adult males live in "bachelor" herds, which is often how people discuss the homosexual flock of male Blackbucks. According to research published in the peer journal Behavior, scientists know that all Blackbuck males over three years leave the male group only "once or twice in each male's lifetime" to attempt mating with females. In other words, they try it, hate it, and say in their traumatized gazelle voices, 'Hell if I'm ever doing THAT again.' Instead, "adult males often perform courtship displays toward adolescent males prior to mounting them." The researchers conclude: "Because of the organization of Blackbuck society into sex-segregated herds and the small number of active breeding males, only a fraction of the male population is ever involved in heterosexual activity.... life in the bachelor herd is preferable for many males." You owe it to yourself to buy Bruce Bagemihl's mindblowing book, Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity.
Samaria gorge offers eleven miles of hiking wonders, not least of which is the remarkable signage. Whereas our national park posters advise, "Watch for falling rock" theirs warn, "GREAT DANGER!! WALK QUICKLY" We ended the day taking a water taxi with a woman from Colorado in a little boat piloted by Captain George, who explained to me he was in a new movie called The Kings of Mykonos. Also, he has a pet Kri-kri named Romeo whom he bottle-fed for six months and now follows him everywhere, even in the boat, even in the helicopter to Mykonos to make the movie. And you need a scientist to tell you that animal is gay?
(Note the two hikers for scale. And, yes, the water is that turquoise.)
Los Angeles-based director Gregg Araki, 50, has won the Cannes Film Festival's first ever Queer Palm award for Kaboom. Araki, best known for his adaptation of Scott Heim's Mysterious Skin and his Sundance hit The Living End, told Hub Culture in this video interview that the midnight screening of Kaboom at the Grand Palais "was seriously probably the highlight of my entire life." The movie's relaxed plot revolves around film student Smith (Thomas Dekker) who has aimless sexual encounters with both women and men but refuses to use the label "bisexual."
The IndieWire critic Eric Kohn said the movie "offers a welcome return to Araki’s self-made universe" and
"Despite a rocky first act, the story drifts along with a persistent dedication to fun. The freely lackadaisical plot structure eventually reaches a crescendo of pure campy delight: Everything apparently builds toward something…and ends up, in a final outrageous punchline, building toward nothing at all."
IFC acquired distribution rights to Kaboom prior to its win. IFC is also releasing gay Canadian director Xavier Dolan's Heartbeats, which was awarded this year's Prix Regards Jeune, repeating his victory from last year for his debut, I Killed My Mother. Dolan is 21.
Apichatpong Weerasethakul won the Palm d'Or for Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives.
Actor Mathieu Amalric won best director for his Tournee.
Best actress was Juliette Binoche and the best actor award was shared by Spain's Javier Bardem and Italy's Elio Germano.
Happily, Burr did have a very long relationship with fellow actor Robert Benevides. They met on the set of Perry Mason, together bought an island in Fiji where their passion for orchids eventually became a business back in California, sold their Fiji land in 1983, and spent their time on their farm in Sonoma, where they later started a vineyard. Among his many movie roles, his menacing turn as the killer in Rear Window came three years before his beloved television series Perry Mason, which ran for 271 episodes from 1957 to 1966, and remained so popular it was later revived in 26 tv movies. Burr's next series, Ironside, ran for 195 episodes from 1967 to 1975 and it too spawned a tv movie comeback in 1993, the year Burr died of cancer. One of his nieces fought with Benevides over Burr's vast estate, questioning his right to it. They were together thirty-one years.
Oh, Moz, how can you be fifty-one when your lyrics are so timeless? You were twenty-four when you, Johnny Marr, and the lads released The Smiths' first single, Hand in Glove. And look where that went: The bible of British indie music, NME, eventually rated the band "the most influential artist ever." Can't argue with facts. The Smiths released four studio albums and three compilations between 1984 and 1987 and pretty much changed the world with the songs This Charming Man, William It Was Really Nothing, Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now, The Boy with the Thorn in His Side, Sheila Take a Bow, Shoplifters of the World Unite, Ask, Panic, Unlovable, Girlfriend in a Coma, Stop Me If You've Heard This One Before, There Is a Light that Never Goes Out and How Soon Is Now? Morrissey has released nine solo albums since then, not all of them as good as the life-altering Viva Hate, Bona Drag, or Vauxhall & I. The most recent, Years of Refusal, rocked the superlatives last spring. In October he released Swords, a widely ignored compilation of eighteen B-sides whose deluxe edition adds eight bonus tracks recorded live in Warsaw.
Naturally native Zeus (born in a cave in the eastern half) brought Europa to Crete and snatched Ganymede away from here: The island has a long tradition of abduction as a prelude to romance. Thanks to the dazzling, meticulous research by James Davidson, we now know that in ancient Crete, slightly older males showed their interest in younger men by abducting them. The abductor would check with the younger man's friends first and they would have a minimum of three days to decide whether or not it was a good match. If they approved, they would steer their bud to the agreed meeting point without telling him. The abductor would take him to a communal man house and kiss him in public -- but probably not do anything more -- then woo the abducted with three months of hunting and carousing with the abducted's friends, who had to help pay for the lavish presents he received. At the end of the three months, the abducted slaughtered a bull in honor of Zeus for a great banquet during which he announced his acceptance. It was a great honor to have been chosen, and for the rest of his life, the abducted got to wear special clothes announcing his higher status, and got exulted positioning at the start of games and battle. This is just one of the many stories that will hold you captive in Davidson's indispensable The Greeks and Greek Love.
My partner and I have been hiking bits of the E4, which as you know runs from Spain to Crete. I took the shot above near Sougia and below near Zaros.
"As a longtime family friend, who respects Laura greatly," Charles Francis told me, "I can only say, 'Where were you when we needed you?'"
"For me and other gay friends and original gay and lesbian supporters who put it out there for President Bush, this comment comes painfully late," Francis said. "The actual legacy, and legacy is what we are talking about, is eight years of unremitting policy hostility for any gay issue mixed with personal warmth, which made this so difficult. This culminated in a willingness to write [our inequality] into the Constitution itself. Laura Bush never helped us, and we tried many times."
Since this posted on the paper's "Post Partisan" page, the response has been overwhelming against Charles' point of view, even among lgbt commenters.
Thursday, May 27, Lambda Literary Awards master of ceremonies comedian Eddie Sarfaty will grudgingly, briefly, hilariously share the SVA stage in NYC with pioneer award winners Kate Clinton and Larry Kramer, as well as the inspiring slew of presenters just announced: Cheryl B., Rachel Kramer Bussel, Peter Cameron, Dudley Clendinen, Teresa Decrescenzo, Katherine V. Forrest, Joseph Hardy, William Johnson, Saeed Jones, Arthur Levine, Pauline Park, Radclyffe, Diane Salvatore, Sarah Schulman, Will Schwalbe, Jenny Shimizu (pictured), Michelangelo Signorile, Bob Smith, Cecilia Tan, Linda Villarosa, and the newly out new memoirist Chely Wright (who will be on Oprah May 19).
It's by far the biggest night in gay books and it can't happen without your support. Please consider buying a ticket to the awards. The afterparty is hosted by a literary gay couple who always throw a terrific good time. Full details here.
After serving two years in the army, Jasper Johns returned to New York in 1953 and worked in a bookstore while trying to decide whether he wanted to be a poet or a painter. Within two years he had created iconic images such as Flag and White Flag, and three years after that four of his paintings were in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art. From 1955 to 1961, widely considered to be the period of his greatest work, Johns and Robert Rauschenberg were lovers. Although they never spoke about their relationship, they were invited everywhere as a couple. According to Jonathan Katz, Johns’ and Rauschenberg’s relationship was the deepest of their entire lives and “the after-effects were so powerful that both artists left New York for their native South, changed their pictorial styles radically, and neither saw nor spoke to one another for a decade or more.” Indeed, Johns has never talked about it, though Rauschenberg finally discussed it with Interview magazine in 1990. Today, Johns is 81. (photo: Hans Namuth)
Denial wears many faces, and six gaudy rings. Liberace’s titanic flamboyance and volcanic success as a popular pianist—with his tv show outranking I Love Lucy, selling more than two million albums in 1953 alone, his entry in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's highest paid musician and pianist, and his two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame—was punctuated by his repeated protestations, in court, that he was not a homosexual and had never engaged in a homosexual act. In 1957, he sued a British tabloid for libel for implying he was gay and won $22,000. In 1982, when his live-in boyfriend/chauffeur Scott Thorson sued him for palimony, Liberace continued to claim he had never had sex with a man. Even as he was dying of aids in 1987, he stridently denied he had aids (instead blaming his drastic weight loss on a watermelon diet) and he still maintained he had never had gay sex. In his final months, somehow still believing that his fans were ignorant of his homosexuality, he worried to his manager that if they knew, “that’s all they’ll remember about me.” Very unfortunately, the upcoming Liberace biopic from Steven Soderbergh stars Michael Douglas, but on the plus side, Matt Damon is Thorson.
At the other end of the queer spectrum from Liberace, Adrienne Rich will be remembered for the integrity of her ideas and the power of her poetry, currently 17 volumes, which include Diving Into The Wreck, The Dream of a Common Language, The Fact of a Doorframe, and The School Among the Ruins. Since the 1970s, her work has reflected her life as a lesbian and has been awarded many distinguished prizes: the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Bollingen Prize, the Lannan Lifetime Achievement Award, the Academy of American Poets Fellowship, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, a MacArthur Fellowship, and two Guggenheim Fellowships. In 1997, she refused to accept the National Medal of Arts because of “the cynical politics of [Bill Clinton’s] administration,” and in 2003 she refused to attend a Bush White House symposium on poetry to protest the impending Iraq War. (In fact, so many poets refused to attend, the event was canceled.) Since 1976, Rich has lived with her partner, writer Michelle Cliff. Last year Rich published a new collection,Tonight No Poetry Will Serve: Poems 2007-2010.
Jetlagged though I was, this suggestive illustration in the Greek National Museum of Archeology's new exhibit on Eretria caught my attention this afternoon. Happily, the text is gay inclusive when discussing aspects of the symposium, which were attended only by males. "The discussion between men flourished in parallel, along with songs, dexterity games and erotic play, in which occasionally prostitutes took part." Two of the show's several ancient images supporting that view appear after the jump.
In another gallery hall the headbanded lad called to mind Darren Ryleston, of Jonathan's Strong's wise and compassionate new novel Consolation discussed below.
Without over-analyzing why, good readers know with laser certainty when they've met a character that will stay with them forever. Add to your list Darren Ryleston, the blond, red bandanna headband wearing sophomore at Knighton College in Illinois in 1999, who is half of the emotional center of Jonathan Strong's expansive, gently humorous and melancholy new novel, Consolation. The other half is his poetry professor Rich Morelli, contentedly partnered with Erik Vieira (usually absorbed in a Virago paperback) from who he hides his deep yet restrained love for Darren. With all the immediacy of youth, Darren doesn't pine idly but spends his time blogging shirtless or nearly naked on camera that he thinks Rich is hot, inviting him to dinner at his parents' house, and ultimately demanding a kiss, saying, "I don't care if I'm being inappropriate." Darren has always had crushes on older men, notably the "bigger and super masculine" handsome neighbor dad, Mitch Ittwix, to whom at fifteen he sent letter saying, among other things, "it would be awesome to go off somewhere with you sometime. Like maybe I could come along on one of your trips to Chicago and stay over in your hotel?" signing it Love, Darren. Mitch notes:
"There was a tentativeness to the penmanship of 'Love' that Mitch now recognized as a fifteen-year-old boy's reluctance to use the word, as if he'd wanted to back away from it slightly but not so far as not to say it."
The tenderness of that observation is everywhere throughout this novel. Darren's own enlightened parents have always encouraged him in all aspects of his life. His father has invented an island near the Antipodes called Oo for which he has imagined a people, devised a language, and molded a topography in a giant replica. Darren convinces a classmate to pretend to be an exchange student from Oo and come to his parents' house for dinner. The book follows several memorable characters, including a town nuisance Avery Clegg who welds scrap junk together, a guest lecturer the black poet Jennifer Johnson-King, and Darren's classmates Consuelo Young, Lakshmi Satyanarayanan, Craig Rolvag, Keir Phinney, and Briana Berenson, half of whom are involved in launching a production of Shakespeare's weaker effort, Henry the Sixth, Part One. Darren's proteges, Mitch's son called Ubby (from Robert) and daughter Souzha (Susan) make avant garde remixed music and collages -- both, you'll note, are forms of re-imagining. Careful readers will at some point notice that everyone in the novel is involved in forms of creation and the title comes from Rich offering "the consolation of art." For Rich the professor it may end there, but Strong the author expands the point beautifully. It is specifically after the effort of imagining, the attempt at creating, that people in their real lives find the courage to move forward in action. Another arresting achievement from a vexingly under-appreciated artist.
Growing up in a prominent conservative Southern family in North Carolina, Armistead Maupin always knew he was gay yet his natural reserve kept him from acting on those feelings until after college, after serving in the Navy, when he was twenty-six. He came out the year he turned thirty. Good thing, because 1974 is also when he began publishing his panoramic observations about San Francisco and its pansexual inhabitants in the Marin paper, The Pacific Sun. In hindsight the next steps look obvious -- move the column to the Chronicle in 1976, morph them into a novel called Tales of the City in 1978, repeat, repeat, and achieve literary renown as the creator of one of the most cherished character driven book series of the century. The film adaptations in the early 90s starring Laura Linney and Olympia Dukakis were widely praised and greatly loved, and, inevitably, vociferously attacked by conservatives, especially because the first film was shown on PBS. Several state legislatures in the South officially condemned the series. No surprise, the frightened suits at PBS ignored the record breaking ratings and awards, instead opting to cancel the sequel. Enter Showtime, which produced the next two adaptations and earned a total of six additional Emmy nominations. Maupin's bravery in print was matched in action, fighting aids and for gay rights. Author of three other novels (Maybe the Moon, The Night Listener, Michael Tolliver Lives), he has written the screenplays for four adaptations of his work and wrote the narration for The Celluloid Closet. He also has recorded the audiotapes for each of his books. After a twelve-year relationship with Terry Anderson, Maupin met and is now married to Christopher Turner. Two men behind Avenue Q and two of the Scissor Sisters are transforming Tales of the City into a musical that will premiere in June 2011, in San Francisco of course. (photo by sfleo67)
A contemporary heir to Patrick Leigh Fermor's genius in travel writing, Bruce Chatwin's literary talent was matched by his personal panache. So brilliant, so handsome, so acclaimed, so willing to buck British convention, yet so tormented by his own prejudices. Unable to accept that he was gay, he married a woman, Elizabeth Chanler, in 1965, when he was twenty-five, and exclusively pursued men throughout their fifteen years of marriage. (She didn't mind, although she did ask for a separation in 1980.)
Chatwin's reflex for making up cover stories appears to have extended into his nonfiction. The local people of his marvelous travel books like In Patagoniaand The Songlines disputed the accuracy of some of his writing, claiming he embellished or created characters and conversations described as fact. Many episodes in those essays only make sense if you realize he is sleeping with the men he meets. Although there's nothing outright gay in his much loved first novel On the Black Hill, it concerns two long-time bachelor brothers who sleep in the same bed for decades. Even when he was dying at forty-eight in 1989, he remained so closeted he said he had a rare, fatal blood disease contracted in China from a bat bite, rather than say he had aids. One of his lovers was Jasper Conran; Chatwin died in the South of France in a house owned by Jasper's mother, Shirley Conran, and his ashes were scattered near Leigh Fermor's home in the Peleponnese.
Compare Sebastian Junger's platoon to these soldiers serving in Iraq and shaking it to Ke$ha's Blah Blah Blah to parody the panic implicit in DADT. The video's creator, Codey Wilson, says, "No one in the video is gay... that we know of, nor am I."