“Finding Tulsa” by Jim Provenzano— Past Obsessions

Provenzano, Jim. “Finding Tulsa”, Palm Drive Publishing, 2020.

Past Obsessions

Amos Lassen

Stan Grozniak was the once-rising star of 1990s gay cinema In Jim Provenzano’s “Finding Tulsa”, he shares how he almost self-sabotaged an important and prestigious directing gig after casting his teenage summer stock crush. Stan has been haunted by the death of Rick Dacker, the sexy star of his cult favorite action trilogy and tries to start a romance with actor Lance Holtzer who played Tulsa from a small town Ohio production of the musical Gypsy.

In the process, he learns more about himself than he has ever known or realized. It takes place in a recent visit to his boyhood home during which he shares his rise to cinematic success what he had to do to get there. Reading more like an autobiography than a novel,  we meet Stan who seems to really care about no one else than himself and we see that his life and career revolve around his affairs with other men. His story is filled with nostalgia and sex set against the backdrop of the ravages of the AIDS epidemic and his feelings of having loved and lost.

It is as if we read his family stories and his quest to survive in a world that he does not feel apart of. We have quite a large cast of characters and a look into the gay world that once was and we see Stan as a gay “everyman” who is confused by his own past. For many of us who came-of-age at an earlier time, this might seem like our own stories. Stan, now a middle-aged man, looks back and reflects on his life. He was in love with a boyhood crush and a porn star and through his memories, he tries to determine who he really his.

Filled with humor and beautiful prose, we see life through Stan’s eyes and along the way we see our own lives. We managed to survive adolescence and find out who we are and even though it might not have been in the same ways that he did, we are reminded of incidences in our lives that have stayed with us. This is a complex novel and sometimes hard to follow because there is so much in it but it is an important look at from where we have and to where we are going.