Monthly Archives: April 2014

“DO I SOUND GAY?”— Documentary Needs to Hear From You

“Do I Sound Gay?” Documentary Needs to Hear From You

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david-tim Filmmaker David Thorpe (l) with Tim Gunn (photos source)

Hard to believe, but no one’s ever made a documentary film to examine the stereotype of the “gay voice” and the stigma surrounding it. Director David Thorpe has set out to rectify that with Do I Sound Gay, a groundbreaking documentary that features Tim Gunn, Dan Savage, David Sedaris, George Takei and Margaret Cho sharing their thoughts on the stigma of “sounding gay.” Determined to overcome his anxiety about his own voice, gay director Thorpe embarked on a hilarious, poignant, taboo-shattering journey of self-acceptance. After three years in production, Do I Sound Gay? has just launched its 30-day campaign to raise finishing funds on the crowd-sourcing platform Kickstarter. cho-1The film interweaves Thorpe’s personal story with a smart, funny and provocative cultural analysis of the “gay voice.” Looking for answers, he turns to friends, family, historians, linguists, voice coaches, total strangers and a handful of LGBT icons, who speak frankly about their own experiences. Project Runway host Tim Gunn confesses to the “rude awakening” that he sounded gay when he began hosting the show. In his first documentary film appearance, David Sedaris delivers plenty of his incomparable zingers (“I don’t think I sound like a woman. I think I sound like a very small man”) but also lets his guard down, admitting, “Sometimes somebody will say, I didn’t know you were gay. Why does that make me feel good? I thought I was beyond that. What’s the problem if somebody assumes that I’m gay when I open my mouth?” Do I Sound Gay? also examines the role the “gay voice” plays in homophobic bullying, harassment and violence. As founder Dan Savage says in the film,“Many adolescents are right to worry about how they sound because it draws violence.” This project caught our eye because it has some impressive talent associated with it, both on screen and behind the camera. Producer Howard Gertler was previously nominated for his work on How to Survive a Plague. The Kickstarter campaign to finance post-production on this project offers rewards like customized outgoing voicemail messages from a master impressionist in the voice ofPaul Lynde, Liberace or Truman Capote and a script or treatment consultation with producer Gertler. One backer will get a 15-minute sex and love advice Skype session with columnist Dan Savage. The campaign runs through Thursday, May 29. To find out more visit the Kickstarter page and like Do I Sound Gay? on Facebook.

“Capital Games” by G.A. Hauser— Under the Radar But Not Out of Sight

capital games

Hauser, G.A. “Capital Games”, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2010.

 Under the Radar But Not Out of Sight

Amos Lassen

“I try to stay under his radar, and luckily have not been skewered by him”. This is a quote made by G.A. Hauser recently about me and I need it to challenge because she has never been under the radar and in fact has been reviewed by me several times. Actually she has received good reviews from me. Having seen the new film, “Capital Games” which is based on Hauser’s book of the same name prompted me to go back and look a the review I wrote back in 2010. The film was quite good and I wanted to see how close it stayed to the original. So many times we find ourselves saying that the movie was not as good as the book but that can go the other way as well as it did here.

In the book we meet two men, Mark Antonious Richfield and Steve Miller who are after the same job at a top Los Angeles advertising firm. They hate each from the moment they meet but of course that they are competing for the same job has a lot to do with that.

Steve quit his job with the police department to work in an office but had no idea how competition in advertising works. All is okay until the firm hired Steve, a British import who does not hide that he is driven to succeed. Mark Richfield is smooth and good-looking and soon is everyone’s pet causing Steve to become jealous. But then after a night of work in the desert outside of Santa Fe, the two men enjoy each other sexually. Steve naturally assumed that Mark is gay and is broken when he finds out that he is getting married. Mark’s life then takes a turn for the worst as the date for the wedding grows close and he realizes that his fiancée is demanding and he no longer loves her. Both men have to find a way to face themselves and each other.

It seems that we are to understand that Steve is ex-cop loaded with machismo. Mark, on the other hand, is to come across as sensitive. Unfortunately Steve comes across almost as nondescript and that could be because he is really not described. Mark is sensitive—is that because he is British? (I have known many Brits who can “give a damn”). His speech is not upper class British and is from a wealthy family but from the way he speaks it is impossible to know that.

 There is something missing in the narrative and I am not sure what but whatever it is, a good editor would have caught it.

This book just did not do it for me and that is surprising because Hauser is such a popular writer but then we all mistakes once in a while. I was not aware of character development and everything happened as expected. I am not saying that this is a bad book but I am saying that it is not a very good one.

“My Life in Masturbation” by Michael Wynne— “Wynning” at Masturbation

mast better

Wynne, Michael. “My Life in Masturbation”, Kiss and Tell Press, 2011.

“Wynning” at Masturbation

Amos Lassen

As a reviewer, I have never been at a loss for words or for a way to start a review. Actually that sentence should be in the past tense because today I met my Waterloo. I opened the envelope today to find inside a pamphlet like book with pictures of nude men on the cover. Hmm, I thought, so much for an afternoon of academic pleasures when I have an entire book filled with erotic photos and test alongside. After reading the text and just “glancing” at the photos, I sat down to write and it happened…or, it didn’t happen—how do I do this?

Michael Wynne shares with us his relationship to masturbation with nothing held back. This is definitely not a book for everyone (but I had a great time reading it). Wynne got his inspiration from a pack of playing cards with nude men on them in various states of arousal or erections if you prefer. (A note: the hairstyle are definitely what we see this days—the hair on the head, of course but now that I think of it elsewhere, as well. The pictures are certainly B.M. [Before Manscaping]).

This is a personal look at playing with the monkey and it comes with 20 full color images alongside the text and these images are details from that pack of naked playing cards.

 Wynne dedicates the book to his cousins and that is probably because he remembers “silent fumblings with a cousin under the duvet”. He went on to more sophisticated masturbatory techniques like “grinding against a mattress, and doing it in front of a mirror at a time of grief”. He asks how we learned to jerk off and who was our first jerk-off partner (Can you remember and don’t say you don’t because it as significant an occasion as a first kiss or first BJ.  Who taught us pleasurable self-abuse— a brother, a cousin, a friend from school?

Wynne not only explores the ways of masturbating, he shows us how our relationship to jerking-off changes with time. We hear from his friends, about fantasies and obsessions. (“Being seduced by a Moscow taxi driver, or the fantasy of playing dead while being fucked, or the obsession with a particular part of the body (the pubic bush, for example”). I must say that he covers a lot here (as you are uncovering yourselves) He is even kind enough to number the paragraphs in case we want to go back for some pleasure. I bet there is more information about masturbation here than anyone thought possible. “Ranging in scope from Onan in the Bible to sex with ugly men to phone sex with strangers, “My Life in Masturbation” is part meditation, part confession, and part smut”.  But it is more than that (I am not saying this is literary smut because it is not—it is SMUT); it is also “a comment on how our fantasies and masturbation habits evolve with technology and the ways we live our lives.  I can say this, Mike Wynne is my kind of guy and I love that he says what he thinks. My only question is where do I hide the book. I live in a building with 300 Jewish mothers who like to drop in unannounced.

To get a copy:

“Unlearning with Hannah Arendt” by Marie Luise Knott— Achieving Intellectual Freedom

unlearning with Hannah Arendt

Knott, Marie Luise. “Unlearning with Hannah Arendt”, Translated by David Dollenmayer, Other Press, 2014.

Achieving Intellectual Freedom

Amos Lassen

Because of her posing one of the most chilling and divisive moral questions ever, Hannah Arendt, an acclaimed intellectual became the object of severe scorn and criticism. She presented her theory of the banality of evil and asked, “How can genocidal acts be carried out by non-psychopathic people”? She further revealed the full complexity of the trial with her own reasoning that “defied prevailing attitudes”. She lost friends and colleagues and Arendt became the object of severe and often slanderous criticism, losing some of her closest friends as well as being labeled a “self-hating Jew.”  Her theories continue to be contested but as a philosopher and thinker, she is well respected and her work remains “an invaluable resource for those seeking greater insight into the more problematic aspects of human nature”.

This book looks at how Arendt “unlearned” trends and patterns, both cultural and philosophical in order to establish a pattern, a “theoretical praxis” that was all her own. She had been culturally inspired by

Karl Jaspers, Walter Benjamin, and Martin Heidegger and there were what helped shape Arendt’s process. Author Knott brings us “a historically engaged and incisive contribution to Arendt’s legacy”.  We see how to benefit from Arendt’s writings that we see as “a process to dissolve certainties and to systematically forget them.”  This is a small book with a lot in it and provides us with food for thought.

“Square Peg in a Round Hole” by Bruce Joffe— Out of the Closet and Into Life

square pegJoffe, Bruce. “Square Peg in a Round Hole”, XLibris, 2008.

Out of the Closet and Into Life

Amos Lassen

Bruce Joffe takes us with him as he recounts his journey to discovering and accepting his sexual identity. He is a college professor, advisor and public relations consultant who was born Jewish, was married and divorced twice and then became a Christian. He shares his story of redemption and acceptance. The story is personal and it is important to realize that when Joffe came out, it was  difficult, dangerous and demeaning to do so.

I think that one of the questions that we often forget to ask ourselves is why do so many men choose anonymous sex is never tell anyone about it? Why, then, do so many us look at ourselves as sexual outlaws. It is probably because many men grew up during a time when repressed homosexuality was a way of life and condemned by society. Gay men and women were thought of as sick.

Joffe not only deluded his friends and family but he also deluded himself and his family. When he did finally accept himself for who he was, he had rejected his own sexuality. It hurts to read about gay men who had to lie about who they are. It also hurts that we have to find to reconcile faith with sexuality. Those of you who are over 40 know what I am talking about here. Most people do not know how high the dues are to be a member of our club. Being gay is not the same for everyone and it is certainly more than just sexual behavior (if you are not aware of this you might check out David Halperin”s “How to Be Gay” [Harvard, 2013]). Joffe shows us that being gay comes with rejection, confrontation and embrace and acceptance but none of these are easy. Joffe also speaks of the reconciliation between sexuality and faith/religion. He considers himself to be a Gay Jewish-Christian something I have a hard time understanding since I am so totally Jewish that I would joke about me having my scarlet letter but it was “J”. I have been lucky enough to find my place in Judaism and did not have to look elsewhere but I am certainly cognizant of those who are not quite that lucky. He had a rough time reconciling his religious beliefs with his sexuality and we all know how difficult that can be. This is perhaps the reason why we see gay people leave religion and then there are those that seek spirituality elsewhere.

As he taught gender studies academically (he has done so during over ten years), he came into contact with other men who were struggling with their sexuality and he understood the pressures that those of us from the generation of baby boomers were having. Some hoped to be able to unload the “onus of homosexuality”, others turned to drugs and whatever else they could find to help them live what they considered to be “normal” lives. Normal is one of those words beyond definition since it means different things to different people and I speak as a normal gay male. There was a time when gay men married hoping to find the way to live through that but it did not always add legitimacy to their lives and because of this, not only was the man himself hurt but others were hurt as well.

It is different today and people are coming out and leaving guilt and shame behind. Joffe asks the question as to how we can lead fruitful lives when we are plagued by guilt and shame that is forced on us by others. Is it possible to lead a hypocritical life when we are in the closet? For so long we have been denied respect, equal rights, and religion and yet we are expected to be legitimate. These are things straight society has not had to face and it happens all to often that gay men cannot deal with what they is wrong (having been born gay). Joffe tells us that we cannot control our sexual orientation and that is a natural expression of who we are. We do not deserve second-class status—we have always been here and when others did not know who we were we did fine. When we began to exercise our right to be, things changed and they are still changing for the best.

Joffe is a good writer but more than anything is the sincerity with which he tells us his story. I also hope that his telling his story will lead to others doing the same. There does not need to be conflict between sexuality and identity—we are who we are.

“The Lost Women of Lost Lake” by Ellen Hart— A Stranger

lost women

Hart, Ellen. “The Lost Women of Lost Lake” (Jane Lawless Mysteries), Bywater Books, 2014.

A Stranger by the Lake

Amos Lassen

1968 was a very important year for two women who cannot seem to leave it behind. We see the repercussions of that in this novel by Ellen Hart that is about dealing with life and relationships.

Our friend, Jane Lawless is back and is on vacation at her family’s lodge. Her friend, Cordelia, came to see her to tell her about another friend, Tessa, who has had a nasty fall, sprained her ankle and needs some help. Tessa is using crutches as she helps to run the Thunderhook Lodge that she and her partner, Jill own and it is a fine resort on Lost Lake. She needs help but she does not seem grateful to get it. Then there is the man who says he is a journalist who has come to Lost Lake with an old picture of Tess and he begins to question her, making her uneasy and on edge especially when she sees him peeking in her window.

Ellen Hart is a wonderful writer who not only brings us a tense mystery but she also gives us a novel that opens our minds and causes us to think as it looks at issues of “responsibility, retribution and reconciliation, and of the weight of a single past action over a lifetime of accomplishments”.

In case you do not remember Jane Lawless, she is a restaurateur in Minneapolis and this time she and her friend, Cordelia have taken a vacation to Jane’s family lodge in the northern wilderness of Minnesota. Jane has a decision to make and this vacation should give her time to think.

However, things do not work out as planned and Jane finds herself in the midst of revenge and murder, drugs and what have you. One of the things that Hart does so well is plan her plots and while her plan is not visible to the naked eye, we do see that as things come together, the reader is also made to think.

Jill Ivorson and Tessa Cornell are also at Lost Lake at Thunderhook, the lodge they own and where some strange happenings are occurring. A mysterious guy has come there asking questions about two people who were involves in a murder in the 1960s. Tessa seems to know something about what happened but the entire atmosphere at Lost Lake changes as suspicions grow. As if that is not enough Jonah, the girls’ nephew comes for a visit. He figures it will be much more peaceful with aunts than listening to his parents argue.

I am not much of a mystery reader but when I do read them, I prefer snug and comfortable little stories so I can concentrate on playing detective which is much easier in a small-scale story. While this is indeed a mystery, it is also a novel that deals with important social issues such as radical protestors, secrets in the past and domestic trouble. With Tessa’s injury, Jill takes care of her while running the resort. Jane and Cordelia are also ready to help.

The mysterious stranger, Steve Feigenbaumer, is also at Lost Lake and he is looking for information on a woman named Judy Clark who is seen in a photograph from 1968 and she is there with the now dead Jeff Briere.  He first ask questions at a local ice creamery and the owner, Lyndie LaVasse, says she cannot help and that she’s does not know anyone in the picture. However, we learn that she sees Judy Clark whenever she stands in front of a mirror. She blames Tessa for getting her involved in the first place and so many years ago. When Jane gets there, we see that all she suspects something more than a hurt foot. Tessa refuses to talk about anything dealing with this visit by the stranger. Jill begs Jane to help them and investigate what’s going on.

Hart shows how a mistake made when one was young sometimes emerges later as is the case with Tessa as she tried to protect Jill (and herself). We add to that Jonah’s coming of age and his attempts to fit into a family that is falling all around itself.

I don’t want to write anymore about the plot because this is, after all, a mystery and, in fact, I may have said too much already.  Hart is able to mix humor with sadness and, without question, her writing appeals to the reader on several different levels including the emotional which was what pulled me into the story more than anything else. Hart is a wonderful, wonderful writer and this book highlights so many of her skills from character and plot development to her beautiful prose.

Michael Thomas Ford and Radclyffe named Dr. James Duggins Outstanding Mid-Career Novelist Prize Winners

lambda logo


Michael Thomas Ford and Radclyffe named  

Dr. James Duggins Outstanding Mid-Career Novelist Prize Winners  


Imogen Binnie and Charles Rice-Gonzalez named

Dr. Betty Berzon Emerging Writer Award Winners 


Los Angeles, CA – The Lambda Literary Foundation, the nation’s leading national nonprofit organization promoting LGBT literature and writers, is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2014 Dr. James Duggins Outstanding Mid-Career Novelist Prize and the Dr. Betty Berzon Emerging Writer Award.  This year the Mid-Career Novelist Prize recognizes Michael Thomas Ford and Radclyffe; the Emerging Writer Award recognizes Imogen Binnie and Charles Rice-Gonzalez. 


The judges for the Mid-Career Prize were Lammy Award winning author and USC professor, Chris Freeman, and best-selling author and preeminent feminist writer on sexual politics, Susie Bright.  Commenting on Michael Thomas Ford, Bright stated, “What distinguishes Ford beyond his prodigy, is his remarkable empathy for the most tender and outrageous expressions of humanity, his ability to channel and articulate, with eloquence and un-erring authenticity. He is a writer’s writer and reader’s dearest friend. If he did nothing but sit in a garret with pen in hand, we would be lucky- but Michael has also been a colleague, mentor, and ally to other writers like few others. Our respect for his devotion and imagination, from his earliest efforts to today, is without compare.”   


Commenting on Radclyffe, Freeman stated, “Prolific and multi-faceted, Radclyffe has published more than forty novels. She has also edited more than a dozen anthologies, through which she nurtures and promotes the work of other writers. At Bold Strokes Books [which she founded in 2004], there are more than sixty authors who have published upwards of 300 titles in romance, mystery, sci-fi/fantasy/erotica, and young adult … For a decade, Radclyffe has conducted writing workshops and participated in countless panels, where she is a generous supporter of the work of her students and peers alike.”


The judges for the Emerging Writer Award were Los Angeles-based authors, poets and educators Steven Reigns and Griselda Suarez. “This year’s pool had many highly eligible applicants and in the spirit of Dr. Berzon, both winners are committed to making their communities more engaged in LGBT issues,” said Reigns and Suarez in a joint statement.  “Binnie and Rice-Gonzalez create literary space, both on the page and through activism, for underrepresented stories, characters and communities … These two writers have already established their voice in their respective communities and through their hard work have emerged onto the literary world with bold, provocative writing.”  Suarez continued, “Imogene Binnie’s breaking of the standard narrative structure of trans literature makes her an exciting writer to read.”  Reigns added, “Charles Rice-Gonzalez’s compellingly dynamic writings focus not only on the experience of queer Latino males but also how community impacts their identities.”  
The Outstanding Mid-Career Novelist Prize, made possible by James Duggins, PhD, consists of two cash prizes of $5000. To qualify, recipients must have published at least three novels or two novels and substantial additional literary worksuch as poetry, short stories, or essays.   

The Emerging Writer Award, made possible by Teresa DeCrescenzo, and named after her late partner, the renowned author and psychotherapist, Dr. Betty Berzon, consists of two cash prizes of $1000.  To qualify, recipients must have published up to 2 books or 1 book and additional literary work such as short stories, essays or journalistic articles. 


The awards will be handed out on June 2, 2014 at the 26th Annual Lambda Literary Awards ceremony in New York City.   


“This year’s judges for the Duggins and Berzon prizes had to consider a wide field of outstanding nominations,” said LLF Executive Director, Tony Valenzuela.  “We congratulate the winners for their literary gifts to our community and for their exciting work that is yet to come.”


To learn more about the Outstanding Mid-Career Novelist Prize visit website.  

To learn more about the Emerging Writers Award visit website.  



2014 Dr. James Duggins Outstanding Mid-Career Novelist Prize Winners 


Michael Thomas Ford

Michael Thomas Ford is the author of more than sixty books for both young readers and adults. He is best known for his novels Suicide NotesLast SummerLooking for It,Full Circle, Changing TidesWhat We Remember, and The Road Home, his trio of comic novels about Jane Austen living as a modern-day vampire (Jane Bites Back, Jane Goes Batty, and Jane Vows Vengeance), and for his five essay collections in the Trials of My Queer Life series. His work has been nominated for 12 Lambda Literary Awards–twice winning for Best Humor Book, twice for Best Gay Romance Novel, and once for Best Gay Mystery–and he has also been a finalist for the Horror Writers Association’s Bram Stoker Award (for his novel The Dollhouse That Time Forgot) and a Gaylactic Spectrum Award (for his short story “Night of the Werepuss”). He currently lives in Texas with four badly-behaved dogs.




Radclyffe has written over forty-five romance and romantic intrigue novels, dozens of short stories, and, writing as L.L. Raand, has authored a paranormal romance series, The Midnight Hunters. She has also edited Best Lesbian Romance 2009 through 2015 as well as multiple other anthologies.


She is an eight-time Lambda Literary Award finalist in romance, mystery, and erotica-winning in both romance and erotica. A member of the Saints and Sinners Literary Hall of Fame, she is also an RWA Prism, Lories, Beanpot, Aspen Gold, and Laurel Wreath winner in multiple mainstream romance categories. In 2004 she founded Bold Strokes Books, an independent LGBTQ publisher with 170 authors and an active title list of over 700. In 2013 she founded the Flax Mill Creek Writers Retreat offering writing workshops to authors in all stages of their careers. 


2014 Dr. Betty Berzon Emerging Writer Award Winners    


Imogen Binnie


Imogen Binnie writes the zinesThe Fact That It’s Funny Doesn’t Make It A Joke andStereotype Threat.  She also writes a monthly column forMaximum Rocknroll magazine, and her work has been featured in The Collection: Short Fiction from the Transgender Vanguard, as well as on, and elsewhere.  She writes about books at and her first novel, Nevada, was published in 2013 by Topside Press.  It is the recipient of a MOTHA Award and a finalist for the 26th Annual Lambda Literary Awards. 


Charles Rice-Gonzalez
Charles Rice Gonzalez
photo by Jose Ramon


Charles Rice-González, born in Puerto Rico and reared in the Bronx, is a writer, long-time community and LGBT activist, co-founder of BAAD! The Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance and a Distinguished Lecturer at Hostos Community College – CUNY.  He received a B.A. in Communications from Adelphi University and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Goddard College.  His debut novel, Chulito (Magnus 2011), has received awards and recognitions from American Library Association (ALA) and the National Book Critics Circle. He co-edited From Macho to Mariposa: New Gay Latino Fiction (Tincture 2011) with Charlie Vázquez.  He is also an award-winning playwright and his play I Just Love Andy Gibb will be published in Blacktino Queer Performance: A Critical Anthology co-edited by E. Patrick Johnson and Ramón H. Rivera-Servera in 2015. Charles serves on the boards of the Bronx Council on the Arts and the National Association of Latino Art and Cultures.



“I Pity The Poor Immigrant” by Zachary Lazar— A Novel about Meyer Lansky and So Much More

I pity the poor

Lazar, Zachary. “I Pity The Poor Immigrant”, Little, Brown & Company, 2014.

A Novel about Meyer Lansky and So Much More

Amos Lassen

 “In 1972, the American gangster Meyer Lansky petitions the Israeli government for citizenship. His request is denied, and he is returned to the U.S. to stand trial. He leaves behind a mistress in Tel Aviv, a Holocaust survivor named Gila Konig”. These are the basics of Zachary Lazar’s new novel that I could not wait to read. This is a novel that moves across different time periods and continents.

The story starts when Hannah Groff, an American journalist goes to Israel to report on the murder of an author and as she investigates, she learns about her own family and its history that is somehow enmeshed in the writer’s story. Groff soon finds herself inside a violent web that includes the American and Israeli Mafias, the Biblical figure of King David, and the modern state of Israel. As she puts the pieces together between the murdered writer, Lansky, Gila, and her own father, she finds an obsession with the darker side of who she is and where she came from.  

The use of power brings guilt and Israel as a nation is a paradox— a nation that is meant to harbor and normalize the Jews has, in the process, become part of the brutality of sovereignty. This is the story of characters some of whom are real and some are fictional and their stories come together across generations. Each is affected by some aspect of Jewish history.

Meyer Lansky is a Jewish gangster from Manhattan’s Lower East Side. He invented the mob with Lucky Luciano and Bugsy Siegel. Here we meet him when he is young with money and we see him when he has nothing and begs for Israel to give him asylum. His character represents the Jewish experience. Lansky is perfectly chosen, as his experience reflects the Jewish experience. As a young man he lived through a pogrom in Poland and his own personal past is one of violence. As he ages he becomes a bully and with his cronies Siegel and Luciano he becomes something of a pioneer in Vegas. When Israel rejects his request for asylum denied, he becomes an exiled Jew searching for a safe place and as an old man he gets to Miami where he claims to have found the promised land.

Gila, the waitress at the Dan Hotel, where Lansky lived in Israel is a Holocaust survivor. She came of age in camps for the displaced and she represents the Jew who cannot find normalcy or comfort in Israel. She wanders and has an affair with Lansky but continues wandering, ending not in Jerusalem but in Sag Harbor. Gila has an affair with Lansky. Hannah Groff grew up to be a journalist but her father’s infidelity has stayed with her. She goes to Tel Aviv to investigate the murder of a poet named David Bellen and through it she learns of Lansky and that Bellen’s death could be connected to a book in which he wrote about King David as a modern gangster. He makes David to be Meyer Lansky, on the Mount of Olives, begging sanctuary. After killing Goliath David goes into exile to Gath but returns to power and then begins to fade and become sinful.

I actually found the book to be complex and it seems to me that it is taking longer to review the book than it did to read it. Do not misunderstand me—complex is not a negative quality and any book that makes me think the way this one does could never get a pan from me. It is just that this plot is told through juxtaposition and it is through juxtaposition that it is powerful. That’s where it gets its power. It is beautifully written and filled with beautiful scenes and wonderful dialogue. As I read it I was reminded of the many years I lived in Israel and the hustle and bustle of a new nation coming into its own. But we also visit the displaced persons camps, New York’s Lower East Side, Brooklyn, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. We read of war and we read of peace and for every low point there is a high point.

Bob Dylan’s song, “I Pity the Poor Immigrant”, is the title here because it seems that Dylan wrote it from God’s point of view as a god who considers fate of those who are evil or who do not believe in a Supreme Being. Each character in the book is either an immigrant or an emigrant who is either coming to judgment or running from it. 


peter simon

“Peter Simon’s Through The Lens”

A Chronicle of Work

Amos Lassen

“Through the Lens” is a new DVD set which contains the exceptional work of photographer Peter Simon and in it he shares images from throughout his career broken down into different eras and topics including the new age movement, celebrities, urban decay, and reggae culture, as well as many others. If the name sounds familiar, Simon is Carly Simon’s brother who lives in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. He is also the same Simon as Simon and Schuster Publishing.

He works as a photojournalist and has captured legends and top historic events of an era and compiled them into a box set. “His work dates back from Woodstock through the present day” and he has said, I knew the world was unfolding in front of my eyes and I just had to go out their and shoot it like a crazed individual,” said Simon. He has documented Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Jerry Garcia, Walter Cronkite, Steven Tyler, Larry David, Jackie Robinson and Bob Marley. 
Diane Sawyer says that Simon is “The ultimate photo documentarian of the boomer generation”.

Peter Simon has documented some of the world’s most historic events for over 40 years—“from the protest-filled 1960’s, hippie communes, nude beaches and the New Age Movement to the greatest names in Rock n’ Roll, Reggae, Pop music; the action of Major League Baseball and the majesty of Martha’s Vineyard”.

Simon speaks openly and honestly about his photographic art, privileged background, alternative lifestyle explorations, and an addictive personality that finally got the better of him and affected his relationships with family and friends. “He discusses his humiliating run-ins with the law; harrowing stays at various jails and rehabilitation centers; and most importantly, his present day to day commitment to recovery from alcohol”. This is quite a look at his days of pot and roses; and on to recovery road, “a road he now walks upon with grace”.

This is a two DVD set and it contains over 300 images and many interesting stories from behind the scenes. We follow history as Peter documents through his photographs. 

The Publishing Triangle Award Winners Announced

The Publishing Triangle Award Winners Announced

The Publishing Triangle, the association of lesbian and gay men in publishing, have announced the winners for their annual literary awards.

This year’s Triangle Awards ceremony were held on April 24, 2014, at the Auditorium of the New School (66 West 12th Street in New York City). The Bill Whitehead Award for lifetime achievement was bestowed upon playwright María Irene Fornés during the ceremony. In addition, the Publishing Triangle presented its special Leadership Award to Sinister Wisdom magazine. Created in 2002, this award recognizes contributions to LGBT literature by those who are not primarily writers—editors, librarians, institutions, agents, and others. For more award details click here.

Winners and finalists are below.

The Randy Shilts Award for Gay Nonfiction

  • White Girls, by Hilton Als (McSweeney’s) [Winner]
  • Henry Darger: Throwaway Boy, by Jim Elledge (Overlook)
  • Oye Loca: From the Mariel Boat Lift to Gay Cuban Miami, by Susana Peña (University of Minnesota Press)
  • Raising My Rainbow: Adventures in Raising a Fabulous Gender Creative Son, by Lori Duron (Broadway Books/Crown)

The Judy Grahn Award for Lesbian Nonfiction

  • Passionate Commitments: The Lives of Anna Rochester and Grace Hutchins, by Julia M. Allen (SUNY Press) [Winner]
  • Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive, by Julia Serano (Seal Press)
  • Growing Up Golem, by Donna Minkowitz (Magnus Books/Riverdale Avenue Books)
  • Passionate Commitments: The Lives of Anna Rochester and Grace Hutchins, by Julia M. Allen (SUNY Press)
  • Stuck in the Middle with You: A Memoir of Parenting in Three Genders, by Jennifer Finney Boylan (Crown)

The Audre Lorde Award for Lesbian Poetry

  • Enchantée, by Angie Estes (Oberlin College Press) [Winner]
  • Butch Geography, by Stacey Waite (Tupelo Press)
  • Enchantée, by Angie Estes (Oberlin College Press)
  • She Has a Name, by Kamilah Aisha Moon (Four Way Books)
  • Swoop, by Hailey Leithauser (Graywolf Press)

 The Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry

  • All the Heat We Could Carry, by Charlie Bondhus (Main Street Rag) [Winner] 
  • Sacrilegion, by L. Lamar Wilson (Carolina Wren Press)
  • The Talking Day, by Michael Klein (Sibling Rivalry Press)
  • Unpeopled Eden, by Rigoberto González (Four Way Books)

The Ferro-Grumley Award for LGBT Fiction

  • If You Could Be Mine, by Sara Farizan (Algonquin Young Readers) [Winner]
  • All This Talk of Love, by Christopher Castellani (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill)
  • If You Could Be Mine, by Sara Farizan (Algonquin Young Readers) [Winner]
  • Local Souls, by Allan Gurganus (Liveright/W.W. Norton)
  • The Two Hotel Francforts, by David Leavitt (Bloomsbury USA)
  • Where You Can Find Me, by Sheri Joseph (Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press)

The Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction

  • If You Could Be Mine, by Sara Farizan (Algonquin Young Readers) [Winner]
  • An Honest Ghost, by Rick Whitaker (Jaded Ibis Press)
  • How to Shake the Other Man, by Derek Palacio (Nouvella)
  • If You Could Be Mine, by Sara Farizan (Algonquin Young Readers)
  • Letters Never Sent, by Sandra Moran (Bedazzled Ink)

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