Monthly Archives: May 2014

“On the Run” edited by Jerry Wheeler—-Stories by Jeff Mann, Dale Chase, Hank Edwards and ‘Nathan Burgoine

on the run

Wheeler, Jerry (editor). “On the Run: Tales of Gay Pursuit and Passion”, Wilde City Press, 2014.

Stories by Jeff Mann, Dale Chase, Hank Edwards and ‘Nathan Burgoine

Amos Lassen

“On the Run” is an anthology with four authors contributing—Jeff Mann, Dale Chase, Hank Edwards and ‘Nathan Burgoine. As the title says, these are stories  of passion and the pursuit of passion.

 “Triple Cross” by Hank Edwards opens the collection and I must be careful not to say too much about the plot but I must compliment the writing. It seems that Morgan Zastrobowski has stolen Lady Winchester’s jewels at her gala. Derron Crossan went home with Morgan right afterwards and… and so begins quote a cast of characters. Detective Wade Bilicki is a suspect as is a lounge  singer and we hear the story form different perspectives. The characters are fascinating as are their back stories. This is one that will keep you guessing and a great to open the anthology.

 Next up is Jeff Mann with “The Saga of Einar and Gisli”,  a story about a Viking who must find a former lover and bring him to justice. Einar and Gisli have been friends for years but they were intimate for the first time when they were on Freysholm Island when they were just 16. Physically they are opposites—Einar is dark and is half Irish and half Icelander while Gisli is blonde. Since the time they were on the island, Gisli has looked away from Einar  and then married.

Einar, the dark haired half Irish Icelander, and Gisli, his blonde compliment. Since Freysholm, Gisli has turned from Einar, and married soon after. During the same time Einar has fought in wars and been to many places but now we learn that Gisli stands accused of killing and then mutilating the body of Einar’s cousin and his uncle wants him dead in order to avenge his son’s death. Nine years have passed and Einar has been to war and has served in many places since that time. But now, now Gisli has been accused of killing and mutilating Einar’s cousin and his Uncle Svein wants Gisli killed or brought back so he can revenge his son’s death. Nine years on, and Einar  still remembers the time he and Gisli spent together and he still lusts for him even with the way he has been treated. However family duty and the reward offered him to take care of things for his brother force him to regard the man differently and hunt him down. But he has never forgotten those three days at Freysholm, he still desires Gisli, in spite of his poor behavior after, but family duty and the gold offered to extinguish his brother’s debts requires him to hunt Gisli down. This is a sexy story with hints of masochism and sadism. It is highly erotic and has the reader turning pages as quickly as possible.

Dale Chase takes us back in history as well in “Sundance” and here we see Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid through the eyes of a youngster, 23 year-old Roy who was part of their gang during a bank robbery and then afterwards during the run from the posse that chases them. Quite naturally the story is set before Bitch and Sundance escape to Bolivia. Roy narrates and sets the tone of the story. We meet bank robbers but Butch really wants to rob a train but he agrees with Sundance to rob a bank ass Roy nurses his lust for Sundance who agrees to allow him to service him and Roy continues to hope that more will come. However, we cannot forget Etta who is always on the sidelines. This is quite a raw story and there is some wild sex. Dale Chase never disappoints.

Finally there is “In Memoriam” by Nathan Burgoine, a story about finding first love. James, an editor, lives with his cat and has just been diagnosed with something that could take his life in a matter of weeks. It s a brain tumor that causes aphasia and seizures. He finds himself experiencing what he felt when  his father died some eighteen years ago and he has to consider surgery instead of the alternative of a shortened life. He uses humor to deal with what is going on with him but it does not do much good. A friend, Yumi, is helping James go through his journals and the name Andy begins to appear over and over. Andy was a high school friend from whom he got his first kiss and Andy was his true love and he wants to find him now. However Andy has been gone for years and might not want to be found or could possibly not be gay. We are left with the question if a dying man can find love in his memories of someone or is the past indeed the past. This is a touching story that will not soon be forgotten.

This is an excellent anthology with something for everyone.

“Pillar of Salt: An Autobiography, with 19 Erotic Sonnets” by Salvador Novo (translated by Marguerite Feitlowitz— A Memoir

pillar of salt

Novo, Salvador. “Pillar of Salt: An Autobiography, with 19 Erotic Sonnets”,  (Texas Pan American Literature in Translation Series), translated by Marguerite Feitlowitz, University of Texas Press, 2014.

 

A Memoir

Amos Lassen

 Salvador Novo (1904–1974) was “a provocative and prolific cultural presence in Mexico City through much of the twentieth century”. He and his friend and fellow poet Xavier Villaurrutia cofounded “Ulises and Contemporáneos” that were landmark avant-garde journals of the late 1920s and 1930s. He was both an outsider and an insider and  held high posts at the Ministries of Culture and Public Education. He also wrote volumes about Mexican history, politics, literature, and culture. The author of numerous collections of poems, including “XX poemas”, “Nuevo amor”, “Espejo”, “Dueño mío”, and “Poesía 1915–1955”.  Novo is a considered one of the finest and most original prose stylists of his generation.

This book is his memoir and tells of his growing up during and after the Mexican Revolution; running to the north to escape the Zapatistas and seeing his uncle murdered at home by the troops of Pancho Villa. We read of his “initiations into literature and love with colorful, poignant, complicated men of usually mutually exclusive social classes”. “Pillar of Salt” portrays the codes, intrigues, and dynamics of what, decades later, would be called “a gay ghetto.”  However in the Mexico City that Novo lived in there was no way to distinguish his gay universe—-gay people were  as fearful as they were vibrant. But in Novo’s Mexico City, there was no name for this parallel universe, as full of fear as it was canny and vibrant. Novo shows us the subtleties of this world  honestly and with sensitivity as well as with humor. We also get a special bonus of nineteen of his erotic sonnets that were believed lost.

‘s memoir plumbs the intricate subtleties of this world with startling frankness, sensitivity, and potential for hilarity. Also included in this volume are nineteen erotic sonnets, one of which was long thought to have been lost.

Novo was a regular player in the city’s underground gay world and here he shares his passions, literarily and otherwise. We read of the codes and intrigues that gay men were forced to use back then. Novo is both candid and conversational and he shares a piece of history as related from the mind of an intellectual who would become a famous poet and writer. He never hid his sexuality and this was at a time that being gay brought danger.

This book is finally being published in English some 60 years after it was written and in it we see just how far society has come yet it also reminds us that we are away from home. We also see the bravery of a man as he faced a brutal world.

There adventures here too—Novo’s coming-of-age, his inventiveness and his sheer nerve to be who he was. He was a made who demanded honor and hated hypocrisy. Here is your chance to meet him.

“WHAT’S THE T?”— Exploring the Lives of Five Transgender Women

“What’s The T?”

 Exploring the Lives of Five Transgender Women

 

It’s been a good week for the transgender community, helped enormously by Laverne Cox making the cover of Time magazine. It’s a good opportunity then to watch the official trailer for the documentary What’s The T?, which you can see right here.

The doc, “explores the challenges, successes and lives of five transgender women”. The trailer suggests it’s going to be a fascinating look at these women and the challenges they face in the modern world. The film has had a very successful run at film festivals around the world.

If you’re in the US, you can watch the full documentary on Hulu, but unfortunately it’s not clear when those in the rest of the world might get to see it. Hopefully it won’t be too long. We’ll keep out fingers crossed.

whats-the-t-slide

http://vimeo.com/89689414 

“THE NANCE”— Screening At US Cinemas Nationwide

nance

“The Nance”

 Screening At US Cinemas Nationwide

 

nance-nathan-lane

Last year Nathan Lane starred in the Lincoln Center Theater’s production of out playwright Douglas Carter Beane’s play The Nance. Now many of those who couldn’t make it to New York will get a chance to see it as a filmed version is set to play at US cinemas beginning June 23rd.

It should screen in more than 300 movie theatres in an exclusive limited engagement courtesy of Lincoln Center and cinema advertising company Screenvision.

The Advocate says on the play, ‘Lane, a two-time Tony Award winner, stars as Chauncey Miles, a famous “nance,” which is an outrageously effeminate stock burlesque character. The play is set in 1930s New York, where the mayor has started cracking down on homosexual “deviants.” The cast, which features Jonny Orsini as Chauncey’s younger lover, also includes Jenni Barber, Andréa Burns, Cady Huffman, Mylinda Hull, Geoffrey Allen Murphy, and Lewis J. Stadlen.’

“Through this partnership with Lincoln Center, we are thrilled to offer moviegoers nationwide the chance to see one of the most original plays with a stellar cast of complex and enthralling characters,” says Screenvision’s Darryl Schaffer “We are pleased that we can offer it to our exhibitor partners and take part in extending the reach of such a great work of art.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQykRwhfGog

 

  • KENDALL SQUARE CINEMA, 1 KENDALL SQ BLDG 1900, CAMBRIDGE, MA, 02139 Buy Tickets— THE NANCE: Jul 13 Jul 17 —
  • Showcase SuperLux, 55 Boylston Street, Chestnut Hill, MA, 02467 Buy Tickets— THE NANCE: Jun 25 Jun 29 —
  • Cinema DE Lux Legacy Place, 670 LEGACY PLACE, DEDHAM, MA, 02026 Buy Tickets— THE NANCE: Jun 25 Jun 29 —
  • Patriot Place 14, 24 PATRIOT PLACE, FOXBOROUGH, MA, 02035 Buy Tickets— THE NANCE: Jun 25 Jun 29 —
  • Revere Showcase Cinemas, 565 SQUIRE ROAD, REVERE, MA, 02151 Buy Tickets— THE NANCE: Jun 25 Jun 29 —
  • Cinemagic 9, 6 Merrill St., Salisbury, MA, 01952 Buy Tickets— THE NANCE: Jul 16 Jun 24 Jun 30 —
  • Cinemagic 8, 100 Charlton Road, Sturbridge, MA, 01566 Buy Tickets— THE NANCE: Jul 14 Jul 17 Jun 26 —
  • Woburn Showcase Cinemas, 25 MIDDLESEX CANAL PARKWAY, WOBURN, MA, 01801 Buy Tickets— THE NANCE: Jun 25 Jun 29 —
  • Worcester North Showcase Cine, 135 BROOKS STREET, WORCESTER, MA, 01606 Buy Tickets— THE NANCE: Jun 25 Jun 29 —

     

 

 

“CAUGHT INSIDE”–– Looking at the Taboo of Being a Gay Surfer

 

caught-inside

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    “Caught Inside”

  • Short Documentary – Looking at the taboo of being a gay surfer

  • What’s it like to be in the ‘manly’ world of surfing, but to be gay? Despite the stereotype of it surfing being filled with chilled out dude, the short documentary Caught Inside suggests it’s still a place where homosexuality is rarely spoken about.

     

    The seven-minute doc follows ‘ three gay surfers who have all recently come out in a sub-culture where they say homosexuality is still a taboo.’It’s an interesting subject and one that should be more fully explored in the upcoming Out In The Lineup, which completed a successful Kickstarter campaign at the end of last year. That doc follows two gay surfers as they travel the world finding the best waves.

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“In My Skin: My Life on and Off the Basketball Court” by Brittney Griner with Su Hovey— Overcoming and Embracing

  1. in my skinGriner, Brittney with Sue Hovey. “In My Skin: My Life on and Off the Basketball Court”, It Books 2014.

Overcoming and Embracing

Amos Lassen

Brittney Griner has been named the most famous female basketball player by EPSN and is a once-in-a-generation player. She combines size and athleticism and has shattered stereotypes and broken boundaries. Now she shares with us her coming-of-age story and tells how she found her strength to overcome bullies and to embrace her authentic self.

Just as she makes headlines on the court so she also makes them in her private life. She speaks out on gender, self-esteem, sexuality and body image. Griner stands 6’8’, has an 88-inch wingspan and wears a size 17 men’s shoe. She has led her team, the Phoenix Mercury’s and she has heard it all—from insult to praise and she was teased and taunted in school and she still endures some of that today. She rises above the haters by staying true to herself.

In this memoir, she shares with us some painful times in her life and how tells us how she was able to embrace herself and celebrate what is unique about her. As she does this, she calls on us to be true to ourselves and to love who we are both inside and out.

In her heartfelt memoir, she reflects on painful episodes in her life and describes how she came to celebrate what makes her unique—inspiring lessons she now shares. Filled with all the humor and personality Griner has become known for, In My Skin is more than a glimpse into one of the most original personalities in sports; it’s also a powerful call to readers to be true to themselves, to love who they are on the inside and out.

Griner has done something really special in that she has opened an avenue of communication with other gay children with their families, friends, educators and other members of society. She teaches us

to be comfortable with exactly who we are regardless of how we look, act and love.

She came out to her father when she was a senior in high school and his response that was filled with curses was exactly what she dreaded. He told her to leave the house and she did. She led Baylor to a national championship in 2012 but the school had an official policy about homosexuality and premarital sex and it was the kind of school where words travel fast and when it got back to the team coach that Griner was gay (she was seen kissing a girl at a movie) she was told that she had to maintain a low profile  and this made her feel conflicted causing her to pretend to be what she wasn’t. What we see here is that the world of sports can be exceedingly narrow minded when it has to deal with tolerance (and that is not acceptance).

For many years, so-called negative recruiting has been used corrosively in women’s college basketball to suggest to high school stars that one school is a “gay program” while another embraces “family values.” Homophobia is a subject few want to address in public, Griner tells us that many “pretend it [homosexuality] doesn’t ­exist.” When she came to Baylor in 2009, she knew nothing about its gay policy—she picked the school because she wanted to play for Kim Mulkey, the coach at Baylor. Both she and Mulkey were daughters of former Marines and both women had strained relationships with their fathers. Griner respected her coach and Mulkey defended her against taunts and the way she was described by social media. However it bothered her that Mulkey asked her to cover her tattoos and to delete Twitter messages about her girlfriend and LGBT issues. She was told to keep her private life to herself.

When Griner was selected last spring by Phoenix as the No. 1 pick in the W.N.B.A. draft, Griner told “Sports Illustrated” she is gay. She was determined not to keep herself hidden any longer. Griner was embraced and for the first time, Nike signed an openly gay athlete to an endorsement deal. She had no desire to be like anyone else and she loves the fact that she stands tall and out in today’s world.

“Olive Oil and White Bread” by Georgia Beers— Answering Questions

olive oil and white bread

Beers, Georgia. “Olive Oil and White Bread”, Bywater Books, 2014.

Answering Questions

Amos Lassen

Angie Righetti and Jillian Clark come from different backgrounds. Angie’s Italian-American family is large and the members are close to each other. She’s out, proud and has her family’s blessing. Jillian, on the other hand, do even want t consider Her sexuality. They set up house together in 1988 just as both women are starting out in their careers and they believe that their partnership will be forever and, indeed, it seems that way for 23 years.

 We are with them as they come together and like all couples they experience periods of great joy and days of sadness; they deal with the mundane issues of married life; they buy a house and get a dog; the fight and make up and continually try to keep their love alive and their romance strong. But like everything else, things become routine.

All of us knows that routine can happen in any relationship and partners really have to work hard to keep things going in many cases. On the other hand, routine can lead to distraction and distraction can cause a relationship to fail. In fiction, we usually only get to read about the good aspects of relationships but it is also part of life to go through bad times. Georgia Beers captures that beautifully here as she answers the questions of “what happens to lovers after the happy-ever-after moment and what goes on behind the closed doors of a relationship once the commitment is made? What happens to a relationship with the passage of time?  Often it is the changes we go through helps us to keep a relationship fresh and it is love that sees us through them.

We really get to know Angie and Jillian—we meet them when they meet each other and we are there through all of the vicissitudes of their being together. Beers gives us two very real characters that we can identify with and as we read that are many, “I’ve been there” moments. In fact this is not just Angie and Jillian’s story—it is the story of so many people and sexuality is just one of the aspects of it. Relationships do not come all wrapped up and tied with a bow and many times we forget that they are based on compromise. It is to Beers credit that she is able to pull us in and keep us reading. The prose is fresh and crisp, the characters are real and the plot is life.

“Junior Willis” by Richard Natale— Confronting Self

BSB-JuniorWillis

Natale, Richard. “Junior Willis”, Bold Strokes Books, 2014.

Confronting Self

Amos Lassen

Leaving the Midwest in the early 50s, Tom Larson knows that he is going to have to face up to his sexual and romantic desires. He begins his awakening in Korea where he has a love affair with his commanding officer. Then on a trip to Cuba (before Castro) with his fiancée, he begins a romance with a young Cuban. But by 1969 that was all in his past and he is now a successful film/TV writer. However, he finds himself in love once again but this time with Junior Willis. Willis teases Tom with his wild tales of heterosexual liaisons and Tom believes that this love will never come to fruition. Yet his love for Willis consumes him and ahs he comes to accept himself as a gay man, American gay consciousness is beginning to take hold. He is living in that period between the end of the second World War and Stonewall. It just so happens when he finally stops questioning his nature and his desire for affection, love finds him.

We first meet a young Tom on a military base in Korea when he  begins to discover and play with his sexuality. Keeping in mind when the story is set, we see that at that time, people did not come out publicly. Natale introduces us to characters in the 50s, 60s and 70s who deal with their sexuality.

While this is a story about a gay man, it could be about anyone living in that period. Sex was not discussed openly as it is today. In many hears, happiness came with fear and doubt.

Here it is the characters that propel the plot and we learn about them by reading their wants and desires, by how they see themselves and by what they want out of life. This is how it was once and Natale does a wonderful job of describing it. 

“The Cove” by D.T. Peterson— Forbidden Love

the covePeterson, D.T. “The Cove”, Beau to Beau Books, 2014.

Forbidden Love

Amos Lassen

Jon and Dave met by chance and their friendship evolved into something much more. Many considered there love to be forbidden so they went to San Francisco where they could be themselves and love openly. However, their lives took a turn and they were torn apart by a secret which if disclosed could bring great shame to one of their family’s.

Here we see how different it once was for gay people and how hard it was to be able to love someone. Here we have the story of two men becoming one because of the love they felt for each other. There is a lot of emotion in the pages of this book and it emotion stems from mutual love. However, the book is not without its flaws and there are some problems with the narration but for a first novel, I must say that it totally held my interest and I really did not want to see it end.

 

“The Major’s Daughter” by J.P. Francis— Love in Wartime

the major's daughter

Francis, J.P. “The Major’s Daughter”, Plume, 2014,

Love in Wartime

Amos Lassen

In 1944, the rural town of Stark, New Hampshire received 150 German prisoners of war and this changes the place totally. But even more it that one family must choose between love and country.

Major John Brennan is the commander at Fort Stark and so he is, in effect, in charge of the Germans and his daughter Collie is to be their translator. Not only is Collie beautiful but she is an educated having studied at Smith College. She is immediately charmed by Private August Wahrlich, a poet whose life has been altered by the war and both Collie and August are aware that the war has now come home but they are so much in love that they do not the dangers that they face.

During the final days of the war there were also another hundred Austrian soldiers at Camp Stark and the prisoners of war were made to work as loggers and cut wood that was needed for the war. Collie faces a difficult time because she both is in love with a POW yet she respects her father’s authority.

Among the Germans was a loud group who were angry at the terms of their imprisonment. Collie who made them at their arrival was immediately taken by August Wahrlich and she considers him to be her “German soldier”. She knows that no matter what she feels for this man, the relationship was doomed from the very beginning.

Collie was not alone in her feelings. Her friend from Smith, Estelle, comes to visit and she is just getting a similar affair and she is now preparing to marry a man that she does not care for. As if that is not enough, local businessman, Henry Heights, is determined to have Collie as his wife.

Even though she knows that what she is doing is wrong (at least in hr father’s eyes) and she must decide whether following her heart is worth as much as betraying her family.

While this is fiction, I understand that it is based on fact and since it deals with forbidden love, it is a theme that we are familiar with. Author J.P. Francis gives us some very real characters and she writes about them in crisp honesty. This is a highly recommended novel about love that is  forbidden and Francis handles it well.