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Issue Categories Archives: Cultural History

Postcards from the Fringe

CULTURAL TRANSFORMATIONS swept across this country in the mid-20th century, affecting every aspect of American life, including the arts. A new wave of outsider artists underscored the mood of restlessness through powerful photography and filmmaking.

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The Shock of the New

It would be wrong to think that Homintern is a book exclusively devoted to theorizing about the status of homosexuals in Europe. In fact, it sometimes reads as a high-class gossipy travelogue …

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More Than a Sanskrit Sex Manual

  Redeeming the Kamasutra by Wendy Doniger Oxford. 182 pages, $24.95     I   HAVE TO CONFESS that I am exactly the naïve (perhaps prurient is more accurate) reader that Wendy Doniger has in mind for her concise yet scholarly study of the Kamasutra. In a dim corner of a bookstore, I have probably leafed […]

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Of Country Matters

  Queering the Countryside: New Frontiers in Rural Queer Studies Edited by Mary L. Gray, Colin R. Johnson, and Brian J. Gilley NYU Press. 416 pages, $30.   IN THE 1700s, the first century in which narratives about ordinary people were deemed important enough to write and to read, the Bildungsroman—the “novel of education”—was born. Back in […]

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The Beatniks Smoldered in 1960

    A CHEAPLY MADE black-and-white film, The Beatniks (1960) was voice actor Paul Frees’ only directing venture. It succeeded with neither critics nor the public, and it boasts a pitiful 2.1 rating on IMDB. However, I would contend that this B-minus movie is significant for its homosexual subtext. The Beatniks was badly mistitled. Beatnik […]

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Working Out

  The Temple of Perfection: A History of the Gym by Eric Chaline Reaktion Books. 272 pages, $30.   IN HIS NEW HISTORY of the gymnasium, Eric Chaline writes that one reason people go to gyms as adults is that they enjoyed physical activity when they were young, though I’ve always suspected that for gay […]

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BTW

  Out Came Iceman A retronym is a word like “landline” that renames a familiar item when something new comes along. With the advent of the cellphone, we learned we’d been using landlines all along—who knew? Something similar happened in the realm of superhero comics, and the upshot is that Marvel’s Iceman is, and always […]

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The Writer’s Journey to Harry Hay

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Stonewall Communities Breaking Ground in Boston

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At the Hidden Core of the Big Apple

THE INTERWAR YEARS, from the Armistice of 1918 until Pearl Harbor, were fertile for cultural productivity in New York City. Gay men and lesbians were at the heart of accomplishments in the literature, music, and dance of the period. And their creativity only increased after World War II in the new arena of mass entertainment. […]

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