A funny thing is happening to Andy Samberg's spoof trio The Lonely Island. They earned a Grammy nomination for their highly self-evident single I'm on a Boat, and they really and truly won an Emmy for their seminal work with Justin Timberlake, Dick in a Box. (Their more semenal Jizz in My Pants has shot up to 103 million views on YouTube.) Their brand-new sophomore and sophomoric effort Turtleneck & Chain burst onto the Billboard album chart at #3, the highest debut of the week. Predictably, the border between farce and legitimacy is ever harder to delineate. Their fresh collaborations with Akon, Beck, Rihanna, Snoop Dogg, Justin Timberlake, Nicki Minaj, and Michael Bolton are sort of indistinguishable from those artists' real songs. You'll be glad to know John Waters makes an appearance, too. And, if possible, the always phallic-friendly trio has gotten gayer. The final track is No Homo which, of couse, reveals the total gayness of the guy using the phrase in every line. The lyrics:
Dude you're looking pretty swoll, you been working out?
Uh yeah, why are you looking?
Oh no, not like that man, I mean, no homo.
Ohhh no homo.
When you want to compliment a friend (no homo)
But you don't want that friendship to end (no homo)
To tell a dude just how you feel (no homo)
Say 'no homo' so he knows the deal (no homo)
Hey yo man you got a fresh style (no homo)
And you know you got the best smile (no homo)
Your girlfriend is a lucky lady (no homo)
With your looks you'll make a handsome baby (no homo)
I like the way your shoulders fill out that shirt (no homo)
It's hard to pull off but you make it work (no homo)
Hey yo I kinda like your natural scent (no homo)
Hey yo I kinda like the musical RENT (no homo)
Man I can't decide who wore it best (no homo)
But I'm feeling Diane Keaton's vest (no homo)
I admit it I'm a fashionista (no homo)
And I know every line of Mystic Pizza (no homo)
Damn this rose is something special (no homo)
Yeah, we should goof around and wrestle (no homo)
Let's hit the hot tub and take a dunk (no homo)
We're all friends ain't no need for trunks (no homo)
Man I'm really feeling buzzed right now (no homo)
Are you really feeling buzzed right now? (no homo)
Yo we should watch this gay porno tape (no homo)
But as a joke cause we're all straight (no homo)
Man you could wash laundry on those abs (no homo)
Yo I think girls look good in drag (no homo)
Hey I've been thinking about posing nude (no homo)
Yo I've been thinking about fucking a dude (no homo)
We could 3-way 69 (no homo)
Or human centipede in a line (no homo)
Or some docking could be hella fun ( no homo)
Oh yeah man or I could do this one (no homo)
Hey yo no homo but I wanna dress up like Dorothy
and butt fuck a dude while he 69s Morrissey(?)
No homo but I wish I lived in Ancient Greece
To gave young Socrates the illful release
Hey yo no homo but today I'm coming out the closet
Wanna scream it from the mountains like a gay prophet
These two words have set me free (no homo)
Damn it feels good to be (no homo)
I wasn't kidding when I said the new, degayed Alexander McQueen exhibit at the Met is mandatory -- I went back to see it again during my six minutes in the city between Sicily and Alaska -- and Judith Thurman agrees. In her New Yorker review she says:
Even if you never bother with fashion shows, go to this one. It has more in common with “Sleep No More,” the “immersive” performance of “Macbeth” currently playing in Chelsea, than it does with a conventional display of couture in a gallery, tent, or shop window. Andrew Bolton, the curator of the Met’s Costume Institute, has assembled a hundred ensembles and seventy accessories, mostly from the runway, with a few pieces of couture that McQueen designed at Givenchy, and he gives their history and psychology an astute reading. McQueen was an omnivore (literally so; he always struggled with his weight), and the richness of his work reflects a voracious consumption of high and low culture. He felt an affinity with the Flemish masters, Gospel singing, Elizabethan theatre and its cross-dressing heroines (a line from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” was tattooed on his right biceps), contemporary performance art, punk, Surrealism, Japan, the ancient Yoruba, and fin-de-siècle aestheticism. In most particulars, however—including his death—he was an archetypal Romantic.
You will really regret missing it. (The show is such an event it has a wait line of about 15 minutes, and has been extended through August 7.) If you're too far away buy a plane ticket watch this two minute slideshow narrated by Thurman and read the exquisite catalog. To get to the McQueen exhibit you'll pass this newly displayed engraving which reproduces Reverdin's drawing of a 1795 painting (now lost) by Gerard depicting the sixth century Roman general Belisarius, blinded and carrying his young male guide suffering a snake bite.
Before 2001, the largest city to elect a gay mayor was Winnipeg. Then, in the spring of that year, came Paris, Berlin, and Hamburg. Tunisian-born French Socialist Bertrand Delanoë (left) had come out in 1998, in a televised interview when a journalist asked if he was gay. As a member of the Paris city council and a member of the senate, he had always supported glbt rights, and had often marched in Paris’s pride parade. As mayor, he has been a great innovator in ways to improve the quality of free, public, communal life in the city, which he does not want to become a museum. In 2002 he began the hugely popular Paris Plage, turning two miles along the Seine into a beach. That same year he also initiated La Nuit Blanche, slang for sleeplees night, a sundown-to-sunrise festival of the arts in museums and public spaces throughout the city. About 2:30 AM, as he was greeting people in the crowded Hotel de Ville, he was stabbed by Azedine Berkane. Delanoë insisted the events should continue, though his wound was more serious than initially reported and he was hospitalized for two weeks. Berkane’s act was not premeditated—Delanoë had not been scheduled to be at Hotel de Ville—but when he found himself with his five-inch knife close to the mayor, Berkane felt it his duty as “the weapon-bearing arm of the Koran” to stab Delanoë because “the Koran advocates the execution of homosexuals.” Berkane was sentenced to a psychiatric hospital. In April 2007, doctors suggested he be allowed a three-month trial release. He fled and, despite an all-points bulletin manhunt, is still at large. In 2009 Delanoë was re-elected with 58% of the vote. His term goes to 2014.
Predicting Nobel Prize honorees is a thankless, largely pointless pastime, yet it's worth noting today that everything the Nobel winners in literature have, Colm Tóibín has too: an impressive body of novels illuminating an overlooked group of people, many books of nonfiction, journalism, history, and travel, a staggering and seemingly effortless range of important critical essays, vision, verve, and gravitas. After being rejected by twenty publishers over two and half years, Tóibín’s debut novel The South was shortlisted for the Whitbread First Novel Award and won the Irish Times/Aer Lingus prize for first novel. Two years later his second novel, The Heather Blazing, won the Encore Prize. His third novel, the widely-prized The Story of the Night, set in Argentina, is included on Publishing Triangle’s list of the 100 best lesbian & gay novels. The Blackwater Lightship, his fourth, exploring the fractious family relations as a young man with aids comes back to die in County Wexford, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and was adapted for a tv movie starring Angela Lansbury and Dianne Wiest. The Master, his revelatory novel about Henry James, was an international bestseller. It was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, named one of the New York Times’ ten best books of the year, won the LA Times Novel of the Year award, and won the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, worth 100,000 Euros. His Brooklyn was a highlight of 2009, when it was a bestseller and a Booker finalist. His new book, The Empty Family, is flat-out magnificent, giving everything you want from fiction.
Three books Tóibín considers major influences on his work are The Sun Also Rises, Giovanni’s Room, and Go Tell It On the Mountain, and he told B&N his ten favorite novels, not in order, are: Company, Beckett; A Book of Common Prayer, Didion; Doctor Faustus, Mann; Daniel Deronda, Eliot; Age of Iron, Coetzee; Amongst Women, McGahern; The Portrait of a Lady, James; The Trial, Kafka; Things Fall Apart, Achebe; Island, McLeod; and The Enigma of Arrival, Naipaul.
This year's obligatory story of a high school gay couple winning prom queen and king comes from Sanford, Maine, population 20,798. Just like Lisa Murkowski, the boys won through a write-in ballot campaign. Christian Nelsen was named prom queen. His boyfriend, the king, has the most adult-film-industry-ready name you've heard so far this week, Caleb Jett.
Lesbian Fiction: Inferno (a poet's novel), by Eileen Myles
Gay Fiction: Union Atlantic, by Adam Haslett
Lesbian Debut Fiction: Sub Rosa, by Amber Dawn
Gay Debut Fiction: Bob the Book, by David Pratt
Gay Memoir/Biography: Secret Historian, by Justin Spring
LGBT Nonfiction: King Kong Theory, by Virginia Despentes
LGBT Studies (TIE): Another Country: Queer Anti-Urbanism, by Scott Herring, and Assuming a Body: Transgender and Rhetorics of Materiality, by Gayle Salaman
LGBT Anthology: Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation, edited by Kate Bornstein & S. Bear Bergman
LGBT Drama: Oedipus at Palm Springs, by The Five Lesbian Brothers
Neal Pollack writes a NYT essay about why he's going to digitally self-publish his new novel. I've been advocating this approach, especially for writers telling stories beyond the hetero mainstream. In a nutshell: Your money is much better, your timing is much, much better, your control is total, and the lack of big media review coverage isn't really any worse than what your overworked publicist may, ultimately, have failed to get for your conventionally published book. Pollack says,
"for a writer like me, which is to say, most working writers — midcareer, midlist, middle-aged, more or less middlebrow, and somewhat Internet savvy — self-publishing seems to make a lot of sense at this point. Early in my career, because of some lucky breaks and a kinder economy, I was able to get advances that helped me support my family over the months it took to write a book. I haven’t been a huge best seller, and I’ve never seen a residual check except for an independently published book of crime stories that I edited, and that was only because I got nothing up front. But I’ve built a modest audience and a name. Now that the advances are smaller and the technology is available, why not start appealing directly to those readers?"
Digital publishers like Kindle also offer the option of customers buying a physical copy of your book through their print on demand program. Increasingly, mainstream publishers are producing their backlist the same way.
Although his straight thrillers are the opposite of the lesbian or gay literary fiction I had in mind, John Locke makes good points in this Wall Street Journal interview. He refuses to budge from his 99 cent pricing. "When I saw that highly successful authors were charging $9.99 for an e-book, I thought that if I can make a profit at 99 cents, I no longer have to prove I'm as good as them. Rather, they have to prove they are ten times better than me." In March alone, his nine novels earned him $126,000. Now that he has New York publishers' attention, he has zero interest in them. "It wouldn't be fun for me," he says. "I don't want to be told when to publish, I don't want to soften my character, and I don't want to be told what stories to write."
BBC broadcaster and royal family biographer Gyles Brandreth has published his fourth mystery in the series Alexander McCall Smith calls "intelligent, amusing, entertaining" and the Scotsman proclaims is "one of the most enjoyable crime series around." This time it's Oscar Wilde and the Vampire Murders [[Kindle]. The semi-breathless jacket copy says the story "opens in the spring of 1890 at a glamorous reception hosted by the Duke and Duchess of Albemarle. All London's haut monde is there, including the Prince of Wales, who counts the Albemarles as close friends. Although it is the first time Oscar and Bertie have met, Oscar seems far more interested in Rex LaSalle, a young actor, who disarmingly claims to be a vampire. However, what begins as a diverting evening ends in tragedy. As the guests are leaving, the Duchess is found murdered, two tiny puncture marks in her throat. No one has entered the house; no one has left. Desperate to avoid another scandal, the Prince of Wales asks Oscar to investigate the crime. What he discovers threatens to destroy the very heart of the royal family."
Lázaro Lima and Felice Picano have edited a new anthology, Ambientes: New Queer Latino Writing, to be released this week. According to the publisher, the "stories range from sensual pieces to comical romances and from inner-city dramas fueled by street language to portraits of gay domesticity."
Kimberle, Achy Obejas
Pandora's Box, Arturo Arias
Shorty, Daisy Hernández
Puti and the Gay Bandits of Hunts Point, Charles Rice-González
Porcupine Love, tatiana de la tierra
The Unequivocal Moon, Elías Miguel Muñoz
Dear Rodney, Emanuel Xavier
This Desire for Queer Survival, Horacio N. Roque Ramírez
La Fiesta de Los Linares, Janet Arelis Quezada
Malverde, Myriam Gurba
Aquí viene Johnny, Raquel Gutiérrez
Haunting José, Rigoberto González
Imitation of Selena, Ramón García
Currawong Crónica, Susana Chávez-Silverman
I Leave Tomorrow, I Come Back Yesterday, Uriel Quesada
Six Days in St. Paul, Steven Cordova
Arturo, Who Likes to Shave His Legs in the Snow, Lucy Marrero
Catching up on two European prizes at opposite ends of the arts spectrum: the Cannes jury awarded its Palme d'Or to the Brad Pitt-Sean Penn family epic The Tree of Life by Terrence Malick and best actress award once again to a suffering woman in a Lars von Trier film, this time Kirsten Dunst in Melancholia. Full Cannes winners here. Best actor was France's Jean Dujardin, 38, and best director Denmark's Nicolas Winding Refn for "Drive" set in Los Angeles and starring Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan. Meanwhile, Azerbaijan won the all-important Eurovision Song contest thanks to Ell & Nikki's duet "Running Scared." Second place was Italy's Raphael Gualazzi, 29, with "Follia D'Amore" and third place Sweden's Eric Saade, 20, with "Popular" below. Another of Eric's songs is "Manboy."
Remember Dick's Bar in the East Village? Don't know why I thought of that when we ate lunch in Bar Turrisi up in the otherwise innocent and charming village of Castelmola high above Taormina. Read the bar's history here or study their fertility-obsessed fotogallerie. So far 857 people like them on Facebook.
If I weren't in Italy, yesterday I would have been at Cinema Village for opening night of the documentary about marvelous Florent: Queen of the Meat Market.
NYT: "It is a touching, elegiac tale of the rise (and some would say fall) of a colorful New York neighborhood under the relentless march of gentrification."
New York: "The film is packed with amusing talking heads (Michael Musto, Murray Hill, Penny Arcade, Frank DeCaro, Diane von Furstenberg, Isaac Mizrahi, Julianne Moore, and many more) who showed up to pay tribute to Florent Morellet, the mischievous restaurateur who helped pioneer the now-oversaturated cool of the meatpacking district through the grubby glamour of his glorified luncheonette — a place that made all sorts of activism appetizing...There’s no denying that since Florent closed in 2008, the west side of Manhattan has been a far less fabulous place."
IFC: "Director David Sigal lets his affection for Florent shine through, and he's assembled a truly impressive list of celebrity testimonials."
The New York Press interviews Sigal.
Whether or not today is the rapture, here's hoping you spend it getting high ascending with a circle of ripped figures half-clad in rainbow colors, just like those in the dome at Noto we saw on Thursday.
It wouldn't take Perry Mason to figure out Raymond Burr was "acting" when he invented heterosexual details about his life in order to hide his gay relationships. His alleged first wife, "Annette Sutherland," was supposedly a British actress who died in the plane crash that killed Leslie Howard, but, as you've already guessed, British Equity has no record of an actress with that name and the fatal plane had only three women on it, all of them otherwise accounted for. Later Burr claimed to have had a son who died at ten of an incurable disease, possibly leukemia, and he even said he took a year off to travel the country with him as his dying wish. Yet his publicist at the time said Burr was working steadily that entire year, 1953, and that Burr "never mentioned any wife or son." However, one short-lived marriage can be documented.
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.
Etna erupted on May 12, spewing lava at the summit and shooting so much ash into the air that officials of the 102 year-old Giro d'Italia considered changing the cyclists' course. Today we hiked around a slightly lower crater, approx. 9,448'. Patches of the layer of new brown rock on top of the snowpack were very warm. All morning the volcano vented steam from many spots which in photos wrongly look like stray clouds.
Dartmouth professor Michael Bronski has just released A Queer History of the United States reclaiming 500 years of our past. The Boston Globe ran a positive review, detailing Bronski's approach, which is to skip "the 'family album approach' that many such histories take — 'here is Oscar Wilde, here are the Stonewall Riots, here are queer couples being married in Boston.' The author finds this approach misleading; seeking to avoid the limitations of compartmentalized timelines and strict dichotomies, he illuminates the interconnected strands of cultural, social, economic, and religious history that have played a role in the development of the gay consciousness and community."
Reviewer Eric Liebetrau says, "the significance of the work of artists is a principal motif in Bronski’s history. Writers, musicians, and other cultural icons often led the charge for the gay community, most visibly on the vaudeville stage and, later, in the pulp novels of the mid-20th century, which became major avenues for discovery of homosexual subculture, for both the gay and straight communities." In his opinion, "Bronski is at his best in his discussions of the revolutions of the 1950s and 1960s, which appropriated the expressive power of the burgeoning gay arts scene and moved it into the political arena."
In a starred review, PW said, "A savvy political, legal, literary (and even fashion) history, Bronski’s narrative is as intellectually rigorous as it is entertaining."
After the jump, read great blurbs from Dorothy Allison, Alison Bechdel, Samuel Delany, John D'Emilio, Martin Duberman, and Jewelle Gomez.
Perennial bestseller John Irving, 69, wants to turn things around: He is leaving longtime publisher Random House because of his declining US book sales while his foreign sales increase. According to Simon & Schuster publisher Jonathan Karp, In One Person, Irving's new novel about a bisexual man, will come out during gay pride month 2012. PW notes it is "the author's first work done in first person since 1989's A Prayer for Owen Meany. S&S said the book marks a return to the sexual themes Irving famously explored in The World According to Garp and that the work is also the author's 'most political' since his 1985 novel, which dealt with abortion,The Cider House Rules. Karp added that In One Person is 'both timeless and deeply relevant to our times.'"
Born in 1904, the upper class Parisian Daniel Guérin became an ardent leftist and socialist in part by having sex with tough guys. He said, "It was there, in bed with them, that I discovered the working class, far more than through Marxist tracts." In the 1930s he became a political and union organizer after hating the colonialism he saw during his travels in Southeast Asia and the Mid-East. In the late 1940s he lived in the United States and was appalled by the treatment of black Americans and, back in France, he fully supported the Algerian drive for independence. Of his many books best known is Anarchism: From Theory to Practice, published in 1965, with later editions carrying an introduction by Noam Chomsky. He did not begin his activism on behalf of gay rights until the 1970s, especially as part of the Front Homosexuel d'Action Révolutionnaire [FHAR], a group from which he later broke. People discouraged by today's apolitical comsumerist gays may do well to remember that a quarter-century ago Guérin was disgusted by the apolitical hedonist gays whose "superficial pursuit of pleasure" was "a million miles from any conception of class struggle." Which is not to say he became anti-sex in his later years. His last significant relationship was with a man sixty years his junior. He died at eighty-three in 1988.
Tuesday was the 21st International Day Against Homophobia [IDAHO] and again this year my partner and I misunderstood how to participate, still thinking it must be done internationally. We hitched a flight to Sicily. This is Siracusa. HuffPost has a round-up of how others marked the day, including a statement from Hilary Clinton.
Once and for all, Don Bachardy isn't just Christopher Isherwood's much younger partner. His sketches of famous friends are nuanced and revealing. Among his oil paintings, his official gubernatorial portrait of Jerry Brown hangs in the California State Capitol. In the documentary Chris & Don. A Love Story he thoughtfully discusses his life as an artist and the power imbalances of a 30+ year relationship that began when he was southern California teenager and his new English bf in his late forties was already an international literary star. Today Bachardy turns 77.