Monthly Archives: January 2017

“YOGA HOSERS”— Colleen and Colleen


Colleen and Colleen

Amos Lassen

Kevin Smith’s latest feature, “Yoga Hosers” looks at Instagram, yoga, current slang and female empowerment angle. The film is also a horror movie about bratwurst Nazis as well as a kind of musical. We see Canada as a fantasy world that is completely alien to Americans.

The film follows two high school friends— Colleen (played by Harley Quinn Smith and Lily-Rose Depp, the daughters of the film’s director and co-star, respectively). The Colleens work at a convenience store named “Eh-to-Zed” and this film is a loose narrative about high school life, including the Colleens being forced to work in lieu of attending a senior class party. It is also a story about the killer sausage krauts, and there is another horror plotline involved as well.

The film’s setup is essentially one long diversion. Our characters and the important setting are introduced in the first ten minutes, and then we are taken away into a lengthy school sequence that serves no narrative function. Characters are introduced, given long dialogues with our heroes, and then disappear from the film.The plot begins about 40 minutes into the film, the plot begins. There really is not of a story (or comedy as far as that goes). Harley Quinn Smith and Lily-Rose have decent chemistry with one another. It is when they interact with others in the film that the film flounders.

Justin Beiber lookalike Austin Butler is the real star of the film and he delivers a funny performance. , I see “Yoga Hosers” as a kind of homage to B-movie exploitation horror films. Kevin Smith seems to be losing his touch and his films that were once so interesting are not as interesting as they were once.

It seems that the film tries to prevent its own inevitable criticism by having a character set out to destroy all critics. However, the character just so happens to be a Nazi and that commentary is lost.

The girls battle an army of foot-tall Nazis made of sausage. This is a vague movie about two girls who just want to go to a party with twelfth-graders but wind up battling an army of knee-high Nazis made of sausage. These Nazis love to kill strangers by crawling into men’s rectums (Now this is really strange).

The Colleens, reluctantly work behind the counter at the convenience store owned by one of the Colleen’s father. The girls are bored and are always on their phones inventing any excuse to put up a “temporarily closed” sign and go goof off in the back.

This is an extravagantly ridiculous tale that accommodates everything from a Manitoban Nazi to crudely animated sentient pieces of German-accented, Mountie-dressed talking bratwurst (called, naturally, “Brat-zis”). We also have Canadian caricatures, bathroom humor, and satire aimed at the millennial set, revolving around such things as the pretentiousness of yoga.

Smith remains obsessed with spraying contempt at a younger generation. It seems that the film is meant, to some degree, to chronicle the two girls’ increasing awareness of a world outside their narrow fame-obsessed purview.

Ultimately, though, any attempts at moralizing are lost with Smith reacting to his critics. are subsumed by Smith’s obsession with taking aim at his critics. Take for example the Canadian Nazi It turns out that the film’s villain—a Canadian Nazi (played by Haley Joel Osment in fake archival footage, and Ralph Garman in the present day) who has managed to stay alive by freezing himself for 75 years before the two Colleens accidentally wake him up. He wants to become a world famous and decides to kill all art critics and is not interested in Hitler-like world domination through racial genocide.

“OUT OF DARKNESS”— Alienated and Disconnected

“Out of  Darkness”

Alienated and Disconnected

Amos Lassen

After returning from war, a young man finds himself alienated from his family and disconnected from the faith he once knew. He must decide between following his destiny to be a leader of men, or turn his back on his faith forever.

Eli (Adam Davis) is a man in his twenties with a calling on his life from a young age, but he has avoided that calling. After his father fired him from his job running from that calling, an argument with his girlfriend in front of their daughter, and a visit to the local pub, Eli decides to get out of town. As he drives on a mountain highway, he misses a turn and careens over an embankment, landing deep in the forest. He finds himself in a mysterious place with nowhere to go. It is here that God begins to help since Satan is not far behind. God works to convince Eli to take a different path. In the end Eli is faced with a choice that will have repercussions on generations as we find out that years later he becomes an evangelist preacher.

I truly hate movies of this kind—I do not believe that films that try to force viewers to believe in God have any value rather than for the Christian right that tries to gain as many followers as possible through any means possible. Because of that it is difficult to give this a fair review because of my own personal biases. I was fine with the film until the religious aspects entered the screenplay and I really did not want to watch anymore but I forced myself to do so. The film is well made and the acting is fine but the story still bothers me. I think it is only fair that I let viewers know this before they begin and I am sure that the film will find its audience right next to the “Left Behind” series. Please understand that I am not panning the film— I am simply stating that it is not for me.


“Murder Rap: Inside the Biggie and Tupac Murders”

The Inside Story

Amos Lassen

Through the use of police case files, taped confessions never before shown on film, and interviews with lead detective Greg Kading and other witnesses, we can now understand what happened to bring about the murders of Biggie and Tupac. The film is based on taped confessions of key players involved in the murders of late rap icons Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls. In these confessions we learn exactly who were involved in both hits, who the respective shooters were, and who ordered the respective murders. The extremely compelling and convincing evidence points to two very prominent persons. The film is based upon the criminal investigation of detective, Greg Kading.

Even those who do not like rap music (myself included) will find a very compelling story here, yet because of unfortunate and vexing circumstances that are revealed in the film, these murders are still unprosecuted. It was some twenty years ago that fans lost two of the greatest hip-hop acts of all time to violence— to two drive by shootings in cold blood, just six months apart.

Greg Kading here reveals all of the important facts regarding the investigation into the murders. It had been determined that Biggie and Tupac were murdered as a result of the infamous feud between Tupac/Suge Knight of Death Row records, and Biggie/Puffy Combs of Bad Boy records. The two opposing camps had affiliated themselves with rival gangs in Los Angeles: The MOB Piru Bloods of Compton and their rivals, the South Side Compton Crips. This began with tit-for-tat retaliations that ultimately resulted in the murders of the two hip-hop stars. Almost immediately at the beginning of the film, we see and hear the original taped interviews of all of the witnesses involved in the cases. Michael Dorsey, the director, has brought us a documentary that is clinical in the way it approaches this story. We learn of how the feud between these two camps began and the events that took place on the nights of the murders. It then debunks one of the most popular conspiracy theories that fans are familiar with: that dirty cops from the Los Angeles police department were involved in a conspiracy to murder Biggie Smalls at the behest of Suge Knight.

Most of the documentary deals with what the police investigation yielded through their efforts. We learn what information and leads the police had at their fingertips for all these years. In both of these cases, the important witnesses would not come forward to talk or cooperate with police. What the documentary reveals publicly for the first time is a controversial and astounding account of the murder of Tupac.

With Suge Knight was their prime suspect in the conspiracy to have Biggie murdered in retaliation for Tupac, the documentary moves onto Biggie’s investigation. We see how the detectives were able to extract another confession by using the same approach to the Biggie investigation as they did on the Tupac one.

We see evidence and new material that it is invaluable and there is the great possibility that this movie will help solve the case. We have heard the conspiracy theories and made up stories from witnesses but here Greg Kading, put together a brilliant case against the real murderers of the two rap stars and the evidence was enough to put the major culprits, Puffy and Suge Knight, behind bars for a very long time. However, when the case got dropped and the evidence got shelved, it seems like Tupac and Biggie family will never get justice for there murders. It is a bit hard to believe that the evidence didn’t come out on a worldwide scale and people are still making up there own stories about what happened on both nights of the murders.


“Jim: The James Foley Story”

A Journey

Amos Lassen

Many know of Jim Foley as the first American citizen executed by the Islamic State. In his new documentary, Brian Oakes, reconstructs Foley’s soul searching that began in earnest when he quit teaching to become a journalist. Foley rid himself of worldly possessions and traveled to spots where the cost of living was low and freelance work easy to line up.

Foley’s family members, colleagues and prison cell mates vividly speak about his 2011 imprisonment in Libya, his difficulty returning to home life in New England after his release and then leaving again for Syria and enduring imprisonment by ISIS. He was abducted in Syria in 2012 and then publicly beheaded by ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) eighteen months later.  His compelling story told this HBO documentary by Brian Oakes  who had been Foley’s friend since first grade, and we see here how this man from a tight-knit large New England Catholic family ended up on the front line of a war zone.

Foley with his four siblings had a conventional upbringing, but he was a restless soul as a young adult and tried his hand at all sorts of enterprising ventures like teaching kids in a juvenile detention center. He never really found what he was looking for until in 2009 he decided that he wanted to go overseas as a war correspondent. He had not had any training to do so when he hooked up with a small itinerant band of other freelance journalists in Libya with who he bonded and from whom he quickly learned from. He used his charm and optimism to make up for his lack of experience. 

Two years into his stint in Libya, Foley was captured by Gaddafi loyalist forces and held prisoner for 44 days.  The moment the news of his abduction reached his family they began a high profile campaign to secure his release, and when they succeeded there was much relief all when he came home. Whilst his siblings and parents were happy to have him back, Foley however was not so happy. Even the offer of a desk job in Boston at the HQ of Global Post  who he reported for back in Libya, was not enough to keep him from wanting return to the front line.  When he soon decided this is what he would indeed do, he chose to go to Syria even with all of the danger involved.

Oakes shows us Foley an old-fashioned romantic who was an incredibly resourceful and unselfish man and who never showed any sense of personal danger. Foley was simply determined to play his part in making the world aware of the atrocities that were being carried about in the dangerous war-zones, hoping with dialogue from all this information, some change might occur. However, before he could even send much footage back in November 2012 Foley was abducted and held captive.

This time however there was so much misinformation that even the State Department could not establish who in fact was holding Foley and even which region was holding him. There was eventually email correspondence from people who claimed to be holding Foley and they issued demands for a tremendous ransom and they offered proof that they indeed had captured him. Foley’s family prepared to raise the demanded money needed. However communication with them ended as abruptly as it had started and since the State Department proved reluctant to help pursue the matter, it was dropped.

During most of the time, Foley was held by the Syrians and this was learned from some European photojournalists who were also imprisoned with him for the best part of 18 months, but who managed to be released. Their testimony shows the inhumane and violent horrors at the hands of their vicious and vindictive captors.

The documentary shows video of a shaved-head Foley wearing bright orange robes making an anti-American speech with a defiant look on his face.  It is never really clear why he was killed, especially since all the other journalists were freed.  One of his ex-colleagues says that Foley would have been really annoyed that the world’s attention on his death was a in fact distraction from his own work exposing the massive human rights crisis in the region is neglected.   Foley’s elder and somewhat conservative brother who deeply regretted that this job in the United States Air Force may have caused Foley’s problems, but more importantly he said that he had never ever really understood or appreciated him as much as he did now.

Director Oakes reclaims the existence of his childhood friend from the unspeakably brutal images that filled screens across the world on 19 August 2014. Likewise he restores humanity to a subject of truly sickening headline news, and he succeeds in giving us a look at a man whose bravery, dedication to his work and philanthropy is visible in every frame.

Though Oakes’ doc champions the plight of an unbreakable human spirit, it is impossible to avoid that watershed moment in the evolution of ISIS. We seen Foley with defiance delivering a pre-prepared speech of words that were not his own. We do not see what followed even though it looms large in the mind.. The participation of Foley’s parents and siblings is stirring, and commendable, given how soon interviews with them were conducted after the devastation of his horrible death. They hold back tears and seem stoic as they speak of Jim Foley.

The grief-fed indignation we all feel about this turns into respect for a man who remained true to himself and his values. The final third is almost a separate film unto itself. Through the testimony of other journalists held with Foley, we hear the debilitating truths of their captivity and these accentuate the level of suffering inflicted. Foley’s spirit is felt as his memory leaves the walls that restrained them. Oakes’ successfully separates the man from the martyr and presents him as an example of free speech and kindness.

“ADDICTED TO FRESNO”— Looking at Dependence

“Addicted to Fresno”

Looking at Dependence

Amos Lassen

Shannon (Judy Greer) is a self-destructive sex addict kicked out of rehab and back into the care of her long-suffering, lovelorn sister Martha (Natasha Lyonne). Joining her sibling in her work as a motel maid in a dead-end town, Shannon soon upsets the quiet through the “accidental” murder of a guest.

The chaos caused by Shannon’s affliction and its inherent selfishness has been underlined sufficiently well before the point at which she accuses an innocent (though sleazy) man, Boris (Jon Daly), of rape and then kills him for no better reason than to hide an from her sister that she is experiencing a relapse. The movie sets out to explore the complex issues surrounding addiction and recovery. As such, the central plot point is a heavy-handed step too far that omits any sign of sympathy that we might have had for Shannon.


The script includes poor decisions yet there is a degree of personal redemption among the members of the cast. There’s a believable sisterly chemistry between Greer and Lyonne, who prove themselves worthy of promotion of bigger roles.

The comedy tries to be a pertinent statement on matters of dependence. The sisters work to cure themselves and mend their tenuous relationship, with Martha giving Shannon a place to stay and getting her a job as a maid at the same nondescript hotel where she works.

For a while, director Jamie Babbit gives us a character study but then suddenly, it all changes when Shannon sleeps with a hotel guest and inadvertently kills him. And in the name of the sister code, Martha agrees to help cover up the crime, with a blackmail attempt then prompting poorly reasoned schemes to gain money.

The corpse, which becomes cumbersome only when the plot requires it, is intended as the way to the sisters’ salvation. Yet with each passing minute, the film’s larger points fall by the wayside in the name of black comedy that loses its edge. The narrative just stops as Shannon confesses to the crime and is hauled to jail. This staunch rejection of real resolution might have been the film’s biggest joke if it hadn’t been rendered with such earnestness.

 When Martha walks in on Shannon and Boris, her sister claims that she was being sexually assaulted and accidentally kills Boris in the confusion. They then have to get rid of the dead body. They try to distract Boris’s suffering sister (Molly Shannon) while they raise a small fortune to have pet cemetery caretakers (Fred Armisen and Allison Tolman) cremate the corpse. What could have been funny comes off as silly and I really wanted to like this movie.

The middle of the movie is when Shannon and Martha’s attempt to earn money quickly to pay for the cremation, with one scheme finding the ladies stealing a tub of sex toys to resell to female softball players at an awards ceremony back at the hotel. Another has Shannon and Martha crashing a boy’s bar mitzvah to swipe a box filled with cash. As we reach the final third of the film, things get better and we realize that Shannon’s sexual addiction is very real and that she is a broken woman even with her cynicism and carelessness.

Redeeming Shannon is a steady undertone of female solidarity that rises to the surface in scenes like the one where Shannon insists on releasing her sister’s hair from its scrunchie and brushing it out and in scenes like this, we see that sister can raise one another up.

“SILICON COWBOYS”— Three Friends and a Computer

 “Silicon Cowboys”

Three Friends and a Computer

Amos Lassen

Three friends dream up the Compaq portable computer at a Texas diner in 1981, and soon afterwards find themselves at war with IBM for PC supremacy. Their journey changed the future of computing and shaped the world we now know. When the film is over we are left with the feeling that we have just finished a university level course in computers.

This is a fast-moving look at the start-up and rise of Compaq Computer and what make it so interesting is that it is grounded in people as well as technology, and that makes the lessons especially engaging. In the early 1980s, Rod Canion, Jim Harris and Bill Murto, formed a company based on some brash ideas that included compatibility and portability and the timing was absolutely opportune.

Wearing nice suits, the three presented and thick glasses to present their products to customers and investors. Not long afterward, they were surpassing IBM and this continued for some ten years. Film director, Jason Cohen, illustrates how the company presaged current trends in technology. Through the use of old footage of cheesy advertisements, bulky machines and out-dated fashion, we realize that we are really glad that the 80s are over.

Through the use of broad generalizations to explain events, director Cohen has us become very sympathetic to the company and its three bosses. “Silicon Cowboys” prizes the human drama behind business events and we see that it is the people and not the technology that is the real star here.

At the time, of course, “portable” was a relative term in the PC world. The first Compaq was more precisely a “luggable” device roughly the size of a sewing machine, with two floppy-disc drives and a built-in monochrome monitor smaller than most modern-day iPads. The debut product of the Compaq Houston start-up actually could run the IBM software, thanks to some canny (and quite legally questionable) reverse-engineering and a great deal of trial and error on the part of Canion, Harris, Murto. There is an indication here that IBM was too short-sighted, or too arrogant, to immediately recognize Compaq as a competitor, even as the startup was posting record first-year sales. Cohen contrasts the corporate mindsets of the companies with clips of their TV advertising and we immediately see the differences in approach that obviously mattered to the consumer.

“Silicon Cowboys” strongly suggests that the Compaq founders achieved breakthrough success not only because they offered a good product, but also because IBM made so many mistakes when they launched their counteroffensive in the marketplace. (There is irony here in that when IBM finally did get around to launching a competitive product, their version was found to be inferior by early purchases because it could not run IBM desktop software.) Ultimately, it was left to IBM’s patent-savvy legal team that was able to slow down Compaq’s progress. And even then, Compaq — aligned with other manufacturers of PC clones — managed to undermine IBM’s other attempts to stifle competition.

“Silicon Cowboys” is a vivid and evocative portrait of an time when innovators could rough-sketch their grand plans for PCs of the back of restaurant placemats, then rely on bank loans, not venture capitalists, to turn dreams into reality. It tells a fascinating story that includes cautionary references to the ways that corporate success can cause family ties to fray and in which visionaries are replaced by simple mathematicians.

Despite uncertain beginnings (in one of the film’s most revealing moments, Canion recalls a brief impulse to open a Mexican restaurant rather than a tech firm), but then the three strikes pay dirt by producing a 28-pound portable “clone” of an IBM PC that stokes the ire of the massive mega corporation and eventually sets off a virtual war between the two companies.

Cohen relies on the well-worn tools of the documentarians’ trade—such as reenactments, stock footage, and voiceover—to grant a fairly straightforward telling of a fairly straightforward story but this time he does so with a degree of dramatic flair. The sheer volume of primary sources—worn photos, scan-lined video, and actual business forms—on display throughout the film is mind-boggling. When IBM releases a new computer with a chip that nobody has seen before, we see photo after photo of Compaq personnel ripping out the circuit boards of their competitor’s machine the same day, trying to figure out what makes the magic happen. When CEO Canion talks about IBM’s marketing team being behind the times, we’re convinced of their ineptitude by footage of a 60-second spot, which features a Charlie Chaplin lookalike in a pie factory. Indeed, the emphasis on television and magazine ads for computers of the era is an indelible part of the film’s charm; each clip is a time capsule in itself, and does much to establish the tenor of the era.

As the dollars rain from the sky and the three compatriots all leave the company for various reasons, the timeline jumps forward 10 years and quickly ends. In 2002, staggered by the dot-com bubble, Compaq merged with HP, only to be marketed as their B-level brand and unceremoniously jettisoned a decade later. Such an ending makes clear why this film is presented as the story of the people behind Compaq, and not the company itself.

“THE CHANCES”— A Deaf, Gay-themed Web Series

“The Chances”

A Deaf, Gay-themed Web Series

Amos Lassen

“The Chances” is a five-part web series that looks at intersectionality, deafness and sexuality. “Best friends Kate and Michael, who are deaf, try their best to see their friendship through new changes in their lives as Kate adjusts to being newly married, and Michael attempts to get over his ex-boyfriend.”

Director Feldman says, “Usually, deaf characters in film and television have been written by hearing people. So they often are written into episodes of shows strictly for that purpose: ‘Let’s make this patient of the week deaf’ or ‘Let’s have our lead fall in love with a deaf man [this week].’ These characters often have their deafness as their defining trait.”

He adds “I want deaf characters to be portrayed like anybody else on television, as long as it’s authentic. With an entire back-story and a life to lead outside of the trait of not being able to hear. I’d love to see deaf roles of all kinds—good guys, villains, boring people, messy people. The more deaf people we see on television or in movies, the more familiar we will become to hearing people, which will make inclusivity that much easier.”

“A Life Worth Living: Albert Camus and the Quest for Meaning” for Robert Zaretsky— Camus’s Sensibility

Zaretsky, Robert. “A Life Worth Living: Albert Camus and the Quest for Meaning”, Belknap, 2016.

Camus’s Sensibility

Amos Lassen

Albert Camus was preoccupied with the themes of absurdity, silence, revolt, fidelity, moderation and author Robert Zaretsky shows that he was also a moralist who refused to be fooled by the fancy names we assign to our actions. He pushed himself, and those about him, to challenge the status quo. His rebellion against injustice is the human condition. Here his story is told according to the five themes that preoccupied his life and work. We thus get a much more human portrait of a man whose life is “often reduced to a meditation on the bleakness of absurdism”. By chronicling the ideas rather than the events of Camus’s life, we see that Camus was all too human. The significant aspects of Camus’ life his Algerian background, life in France, the importance of the war; the Resistance and the TB that afflicted him for much of his life as well as his works are explored here giving us a look at “an intellectual who is very concerned with ethics, but also with a love of the sensual and life’s beauty”. Now some fifty years after his death, Camus still has the power to be political and a man who incorporated the history of the time in which he lived into what he wrote.

Even though Camus had no training as a philosopher, he was a man of principle and an advocate for justice. This is a paradoxical portrait of an everyman who was imperfect and bothered by doubt but he was also a sensitive man who was filled with hope.

He was a moralist who poses questions rather than answers. Likewise he was a man on his private search for truth. Combining history, criticism, Zaretsky demonstrates Camus’s commitment to justice and the joy of existence and his opposition to terrorism and capital punishment. We see Camus as a compassionate thinker who always questioned his own beliefs and assumptions. He struggled with determination, grief, and hope and the misery of suffering that others bring to this world. He fought against tyranny, competition, material and communal exploitation. Many of us still struggle with these today. He gave us the idea that it is the rebel that says no and will also say no to himself. He dared to consider what is true about the modern world.



“Walter Benjamin: A Critical Life” by Howard Eliand and Michael W. Jennings— An Elusive Intellectual

Eiland, Howard and Michael W. Jennings. “Walter Benjamin: A Critical Life”, Belknap, 2016.

An Elusive Intellectual

Amos Lassen

Howard Eiland and Michael W. Jennings bring us a comprehensive look at Walter Benjamin and an extensive commentary on what he wrote. He has always been regarded as an “elusive intellectual” in that his writings defy categorization. The man we see here is “a tragedy of incompleteness”. Benjamin was a philosopher, a literary critic, a dodger of both World Wars, flâneur, and eventual victim of Hitler. Benjamin (1892–1940) lived with a façade of courtesy and politeness and was a man who was severely depressed. He feared capture and deportation to Germany and committed suicide in a Spanish hotel. He was to an affluent Jewish Berlin family. He was a staunch advocate for the radical youth culture movement and education reform in Germany and he pursued a tenured professor of philosophy post in academia, which he never achieved. He loved to travel and his life was something of an itinerant existence during which he penned thousands of essays, reviews, and books. He as a shaper of avant-garde realism and an inventor of pop culture. He hoped to be ‘the foremost critic of German literature and left Germany for good in 1933 and then spent his last years in exile working on what he considered his masterpiece, “The Arcades Project”, his cultural history of the emergence of urban commodity capitalism in mid-nineteenth-century France. It was never finished.

Benjamin dealt with the constantly changing relations between self and work, life and writing. He lived in “the shadow of catastrophe”. This new book brings together the conceptual threads of Benjamin’s enigmatic work with his equally enigmatic existence. His life ended with an overdose of morphine taken in the Hotel de Francia in Port Bou, Spain. We see here the political and aesthetic conditions that gave the context of his becoming a thinker and a man who was an elusive yet “paradigmatic thinker”. Not only do we get the story of his life here but a guide to the themes and preoccupations that concerned him. Writers Eiland and Jennings take us through Benjamin’s major works and lucidly explain them.

The book brings together most of the previously published biographical material in one book along with translations of documents which were until now only available in German. We have letters, diaries, reminiscences of friends and all of his ―with all of his major writings here.

We learn here about not only modernity through the eyes of Walter Benjamin but also the history of the early and mid-twentieth century viewed through the eyes of intellectuals who had the courage to comment on society and its ills.

The writing is clear and concise which is remarkable when we consider just what a complex man Benjamin was.


One-Man Show named a 2017 Stonewall Honor book by the American Library Association

One-Man Show named a 2017 Stonewall Honor book by the American Library Association

One-Man Show. The Life and Art of Bernard Perlin by Michael Schreiber and published by Bruno Gmünder has been named a 2017 Stonewall Honor book by the American Library Association in the Israel Fishman Non-Fiction Award category.

In One-Man Show, Michael Schreiber chronicles the storied life, illustrious friends and lovers, and astounding escapades of Bernard Perlin through no holds barred interviews with the artist, candid excerpts from Perlin’s unpublished memoirs, never-before-seen photos, and an extensive selection of Bernard Perlin’s incredible public and private art.

Perlin was an extraordinary figure in 20th century American art and gay cultural history, an acclaimed artist and sexual renegade who reveled in pushing social, political, and artistic boundaries. His work regularly appeared in popular magazines of the 1940s, 50s, and 60s; was collected by Rockefellers, Whitneys, and Astors; and was acquired by major museums, including the Smithsonian, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Tate Modern.

The Stonewall Book Awards recognize works of exceptional merit relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender experience. It is an official award of the American Library Association (ALA) granted under the auspices of the GLBT Round Table and was first awarded in 1971.

The ALA is the oldest and largest library association in the world with ca. 57.000 members. Its mission is to uphold the principles of intellectual freedom and resist all efforts to censor library resources.

The awards will be presented on June 26, 2017 in Chicago.