Descended from samurai, Gengoroh Tagame -- 50 today -- is the world's leading artist of gay bdsm manga. Buy his big book, The Passion of Gengoroh Tagame edited by Chip Kidd and introduced by Ed White, which Garth Greenwell reviewed for Towleroad saying, "Even in depicting violence, his drawings have an extraordinary delicacy, conveying extremes of emotion—humiliation, pain, despair, but also arousal, relief and, in one story, heartbreaking devotion—with incredible economy. The essays offered here discuss Tagame’s debt to Japanese woodblock prints, and I found myself marveling at the fine textures of his work, the gorgeous patterning of clothing, floor tiles, landscapes, the hairs on a man’s legs or the sweat on his face." Or get his new book Endless Game. His website is impressively, obviously nsfw. But in person? So sweet. Shown here last year he accepted a handshake then hug from Youth in Decline.
By the time she was four, Gertrude Stein had lived in Pennsylvania, Vienna, Paris, and Oakland. By the time she was seventeen, both her parents were dead and her eldest brother took over the successful family business. She graduated from Radcliffe in 1897 and spent the summer studying embryology at Woods Hole, then attended Johns Hopkins Medical School, which she left after two years. In 1903 she moved to Paris where she would stay until she died forty-three years later. Unlike writers who withdraw to contemplate, Stein engaged with the world head-on across the arts. She wrote novels, plays, essays, autobiography, and libretti, sometimes in collaboration with close friends. Mocked for her modernist use of repetition ("A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose"), Stein could be perfectly succinct, as when naming the Lost Generation, or saying, "Hemingway, remarks are not literature." A bold collector of new art, she and Alice Toklas, partners for almost forty years, hosted legendary weekly salons in which the best of Paris came to see the paintings and stayed for the conversation. Among their regular attendees were Matisse, Picasso, Braque, Derain, Rousseau, Hemingway, Wilder, Anderson, Appolinaire, Thomson, Bowles, Pound, and Bernard Fay, the gay Nazi informer who protected Toklas and Stein, a Jewish lesbian after all, throughout WWII. Although they were great travelers (it was they who tipped Bowles to Tangier), Stein and Toklas perversely stayed in France through the war. Although she wrote her coming out memoir, Q.E.D. before she was thirty, it was not published until 1950, four years after her death at 72. Despite thirty-nine years together, Stein left Toklas very little. Nieces and nephews grabbed the fortune in art. Stein and Toklas are buried side by side in Père Lachaise. Get the essential Seeing Gertrude Stein: Five Stories by Wanda Corn and Tirza True Latimer.
Marlon Riggs graduated with honors from Harvard in 1978, earned his MA in journalism from Berkeley, and before long got an NEA grant to make the landmark documentary of black gay culture, Tongues Untied, which caused all kinds of sensations at Berlin, at Cannes, on PBS, and on the Senate floor. A prime target for right-wing attacks, it also won prizes at San Francisco's Frameline, Atlanta's film fest, and New York's documentary festival. Riggs' next work, Color Adjustment, examined television's "unflattering" portrayal of black characters from 1948 to 1988. After that he made Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien, interviewing HIV+ black men. Working on Black Is...Black Ain't (viewable in parts starting here), he died of aids. He was 37.