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Issues Archives: Thiry Years of HIV, Part I

March – April, 2011

The Sixties Diaries: 1960–1969 by Christopher Isherwood

Too Much Information!

Katherine Bucknell, certainly has a commanding knowledge of [Christopher Isherwood’s diaries] and the details; she provides helpful footnotes and a comprehensive glossary of who’s who.

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The International Homosexual Conspiracy by Larry-bob Roberts

Quick Takes on Life’s Quirks

The International Homosexual Conspiracy is a testament to Larry-bob’s consistent growth as a writer. Always curious and never complacent, this collection may just attract that larger audience of readers who will find themselves challenged, examining their assumptions, and frequently laughing out loud.

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A Paradise of Gorgeous Lads

EVEN those who consider themselves well informed about 20th-century art have probably never heard of Bruce Sargeant (1898-1938). A sculptor, draftsman, and painter (not to mention a sometime poet), Sar-geant’s beaux arts training comes through in works that are focused almost exclusively on beautiful young men. While Sargeant’s art has long been prized by elite collectors in Europe and the U.S., it has never been featured in any major exhibition or survey. Mark Beard, an artist and distant relative of Sargeant, has devoted twenty years to collecting and studying the neglected artist’s work. The result of this effort, Bruce Sargeant and His Circle goes a long way toward rectifying this state of neglect.

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The Grown-ups Are a Little Off

THE KIDS Are All Right deals in matters of sexual ambiguity and raises some bold questions about desire and identity-questions that the movie then ignores for the most part. Let me say that I enjoyed watching these fine actors in this artfully written script. It will succeed for many in presenting a normalized portrait of two women in love who are raising a family.

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Clyde Petersen: Riffing on the Unspeakable

A TRANSGENDER musician, animator, and filmmaker working in Seattle, Clyde Petersen has released ten albums with the band Your Heart Breaks. He regularly tours with Kimya Dawson, whose childlike voice sweetens the movie Juno’s soundtrack. Despite Petersen’s gentle guitar riffs and soft-spoken lyrics, his musical influences include jarring artists from the feminist punk movement known as Riot Grrrl, which emerged out of Olympia, Washington, in the early 1990’s. He has animated and directed videos for bands like Thao Nguyen & The Get Down Stay Down and the Shaky Hands. In 2010, Petersen released a documentary film, The Unspeakable, which explores the work of fifteen Northwest artists.

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Boys in the Slammer

WHEN the opening credits conclude in the biopic I Love You Phillip Morris with the bold announcement “This Really Happened,” one can’t help but speculate that the creators of this recently released movie knew that what was about to unfold onscreen would challenge credibility. What does happen in this based-on-a-true-story tale is …

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The Politics of Focus

The challenge for photographers faced with portraying the AIDS epidemic was to produce an iconography that extended beyond a health story and to overcome the public’s habituation to graphic and shocking images. The photographs selected for this essay had to evoke the mood of the late 1980’s and early 90’s and capture the epidemic in the imagery of contemporary culture. The images reflect that time frame and are not meant to discount other periods in the epidemic.. …

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Sarah: The Life of Sarah Bernhardt by Robert Gottlieb

Bigger Than Any Gender Could Hold

The noted New Yorker editor and writer Robert Gottlieb takes a daring plunge into the complexities of [Sarah] Bernhardt’s life.

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Takes on News of the Day

Takes on news of the day.

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The AIDS Show Broke the Silence

SAN FRANCISCO, APRIL, 1983. In one of the earliest spoken-word performances that theatrically represented AIDS in the United States, perhaps the first on the West Coast, an emerging playwright and stand-up comedian named Doug Holsclaw performed Eartha at the White House (later retitled Spice Queen) in a monologue competition sponsored by the One Act Theater Company at a county fair. Holsclaw wrote the piece after reading Larry Kramer’s impassioned call to action “1,112 and Counting,” which had been published in The New York Native on March 12. In an impeccably timed, angry, campy yet earnest soliloquy, Holsclaw’s saucy character narrated a story about his friend Jeffrey, a hustler who had died at a young age during the first year of the crisis. Describing their catty yet tender friendship, Holsclaw’s character joked about how Jeffrey, who “could be Cruella Deville sometimes,” would call him “paprika queen” or “Donna Reed like I’m bourgeois—because I garnish my salads” when they would picnic at Land’s End on Memorial Day. Pausing artfully for both comedic and dramatic effect…

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