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Lesbian Decadence is a kind of decadent tour of lesbian Paris according to mostly male writers and illustrators obsessed with what women do with each other in bed.
There’s a really good story inside The Gay Preacher’s Wife, and Meredith can be outraged and outrageous, all in the same paragraph.
IN THE DISAPPEARING L, Bonnie J. Morris writes about a current cultural reality: the potential extinction of lesbian spaces that threatens to take 20th-century radical feminist history down with it.
DENTON WELCH (1915–1948) was a writer’s writer and, in particular, a gay writer’s writer. He isn’t as well known as other queer authors of the early 20th century, but ...
Can This Marriage Be Saved?
THE STORYLINE of The Intervention relies upon a simple set-up. A group of four couples who are friends convene at an idyllic mansion for a weekend away. The purpose of the weekend is to confront the group’s long-married couple, Peter and Ruby, about their abusive marriage. It might at first appear to be a run-of-the-mill [...]
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A New York Century on Display
Gay Gotham admirably documents the contributions queer pioneers made to the visual arts, literature, dance, theater, music, and design during the 20th century, and how they helped shape the cultural landscape of New York and beyond. It’s something to be proud of, even if the exhibition is not a very “gay” affair.
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Short Reviews
Reviews of the movies: The Pearl of Africa and , and the book: A Garden Fed By Lightning.
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Can Falsettos Still Be Relevant?
WILLIAM FINN’S Falsettos, the AIDS-era musical now revived on Broadway, may be viewed by some as an odd period piece, by others as an operatic pastiche, a manipulative emotion-fest, or a stirring work of historical reconstruction. What may determine your response to the play—which shifts from 1979 to 1981 between two acts—is your willingness to [...]
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The Sappho Craze
NEWLY TRANSLATED from the French, this intriguing inquiry is divided into three parts and twelve information-packed chapters. From the outset, author Nicole G. Albert sets out to show how male writers and artists propagated falsehoods about lesbianism in fin-de-siècle France. She argues that the renewal of interest in Sappho is inseparable from the vogue for [...]
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Something about Him
THE FLOWERS were a nice touch, greeting the author of this memoir one day when she got home from work, followed by a romantic dinner, candlelight conversation, and a quiet evening at home. They were all a gift from her husband, who often had surprises for her—not all of them such welcome ones.
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The Satanic Voices
The Angel of History is divided into four sections. “At the Clinic” recounts Jacob’s adventure at a mental health clinic one night, as he seeks assistance for traumatic memories and issues that have begun to reassert themselves after years of normalcy. The most interesting of his symptoms is his conversations with Satan.
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An Art Era to Remember
Before Pictures primarily focuses on art and life in the formative decade prior to 1977. Back then, he was convinced that art critics were the arbiters of what was “historically significant.” Reflecting back upon these early years, he reconsiders: “Coming to the understanding that my knowledge of art can never be anything but partial has [...]
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Whither Women’s Spaces?
  The Disappearing L: Erasure of Lesbian Spaces and Culture by Bonnie J. Morris SUNY. 256 pages, $22.95   IN THE DISAPPEARING L, Bonnie J. Morris writes about a current cultural reality: the potential extinction of lesbian spaces that threatens to take 20th-century radical feminist history down with it. She asks the question: “How do [...]
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Antinous in Minnesota
The Troubleseeker combines history and mythology from several cultures to tell the story of Antinio, a gay Cuban man, as he searches for freedom and love in the face of oppression and disease. It is narrated by Hadrian, the brilliant emperor of ancient Roman whose male lover Antinous died by drowning at age nineteen, whereupon [...]
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A Steamy Novel from ‘the Amazon’
In Women Lovers, Barney writes explicitly and unflinchingly about sex (really hot sex) and gender role-play between women, which was extremely courageous for the period. As her biographer Suzanne Rodriguez observes, this kind of unabashed honesty about lesbian sexuality was shocking back then. When writing of her own vulnerability in love, however, Barney exposes an [...]
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Who Were Called ‘Macaroni’?
Dominic Janes beautifully demonstrates, long before the Wilde brouhaha, homoerotic expression in the form of dandyism and æstheticism—“camping,” we might call it today—was conspicuous, and often accurately understood, in British society.
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In a Lonely Place, Watching
Enigma Variations is a novel about a man who remains unknowable. Paul is an outsider in many ways. He’s an Italian living in America; he forms emotional attachments to women yet lusts after men; he longs for understanding but keeps people at a distance.
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You’ve Never Heard of Denton Welch?
DENTON WELCH (1915–1948) was a writer’s writer and, in particular, a gay writer’s writer. He isn’t as well known as other queer authors of the early 20th century, but the list of writers who have admired and championed his work includes Edith Sitwell, Vita Sackville-West, E. M. Forster, W. H. Auden, John Updike, William Burroughs, [...]
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A Novelist Gets Personal
  Black Wave by Michelle Tea The Feminist Press at CUNY 320 pages, $18.95   MICHELLE TEA’S new novel—for lack of a more precise label—is a work of meta-fiction, a narrative about a writer trying to write while also trying to survive the 1990s, when the world was expected to end with the millennium. Michelle, [...]
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Babylon on the Thames
Sins of the Cities presents the first history of a male prostitute as told from his own viewpoint—and without apology. Its main character is Jack Saul, whose life is written up from “his rough notes” commissioned by a certain “Mr Cambon.” The two men first meet in November 1880, when Cambon cruises Saul in Leicester [...]
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Tim Murphy Tells of Tough Times in the Big City
In Christodora, Tim Murphy describes an interconnected group of East Village residents who struggle with the AIDS epidemic over the course of a generation.
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Catching David Leddick at 100 MPH
DAVID LEDDICK may be known best for his homoerotic art books, though it could be for his many novels and memoirs—but then again, it could be for his musicals or film appearances. And yet he started his career as a dancer with the Metropolitan Opera and spent years in the advertising biz, in Paris, as [...]
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B.T.W.
  Cher Was There Police were stumped when house after house was getting robbed in a Portland, Oregon, neighborhood, and the burglar kept eluding capture. He would take the usual items of value—cash, electronics, jewelry—and managed to rob fifteen homes without slipping up. But then he was done in by… Cher. It seems the burglar, [...]
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Readers’ Thoughts
  Gay Life Thrived Long Before Stonewall   To the Editor: You state that one of your missions is “to preserve our history, especially the early history [of gays and lesbians],” yet you ignore a segment of early gays who do not fit, it would seem, into the convenient ideas of what life was like [...]
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Wide Use of PrEP Raises Hopes—and Questions
IN 2012, San Francisco-based biopharmaceutical giant Gilead Sciences launched Truvada as the first antiviral drug approved by the FDA as a means of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention.
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George Michael Made It Big
To millions of fans, George Michael will remain the “father figure” of which he sang with a blend of lust and longing, and for that, we can collectively say: Wham, bam, thank you, Georgios Panayiotou—or, as you will be forever loved and remembered—George Michael.
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Playwrights Who Rewrote the Rules
By writing plays that call attention to the unreality of theater, Albee and Shaffer called attention to the inauthenticity of modern life: both how people are influenced by movies and commercials and how they fashion their sexuality to conform to socially celebrated norms. Relying heavily upon the conventions of Greek tragedy, plays like Albee’s The [...]
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Where HIV Has Not Been Tamed
OVER THE PAST DECADE, we’ve seen a great deal of progress on HIV/Aids in the U.S. Data released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in late 2015 indicate that diagnoses of HIV in the U.S. declined significantly over the last decade. … However, black and Latino gay and bisexual men actually saw [...]
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The Man Who Took On The Times
A 2015 book by Samuel G. Freedman, Dying Words: The AIDS Reporting of Jeff Schmalz and How It Transformed The New York Times, documents Schmalz’ profound effect on American print media. In a personal interview, Freedman, a professor at Columbia University and the “On Religion” columnist for The Times, discussed the atmosphere at the paper before Schmalz’ arrival.
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Gay Resilience and HIV Prevention
WE HEAR a lot about advances in HIV treatment, the use of Truvada or PrEP to prevent HIV infection for the sexually active, and the latest programs designed to promote safer sex. Largely unreported, however, has been a huge shift toward addressing “upstream” mental health issues—such as depression, substance abuse, or partner violence—because it has [...]
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Seasons in Hell
DAVID FRANCE’S HISTORY of AIDS opens with a memorial service for Spencer Cox, an ACT UP activist, to whom we come back in the epilogue. In between are approximately thirteen years of Hell. Although How to Survive a Plague pretty much follows the plot of the documentary film he released four years ago with the [...]
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Women on the Verge
THIS NOVEL by Patricia A. Smith explores fictional events in Bradley, Massachusetts, following the abduction and murder of a ten-year-old boy. Leo Rivera has been lured into a car by a “much older” friend, Mickey, who knows the boy wants a new bike, calls to him from a car window, and invites him to go [...]
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