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380 posts categorized "BOOKS "

Jun 21 2017
Circus Of Books: The Final Chapter Comments (0)

The famous, infamous, charmingly smutty Circus of Books (formerly Book Circus) on the corner of Santa Cowboyblueboy2 Monica and La Jolla in WeHo is closing after 57 years in business.

The adult bookstore had something for everything, if by something we're talking about porn, and if by everyone we're talking about gay guys. (There's straight porn, too.)

I love this place, which will apparently stay open for one more Christmas before it vanishes.

One of the owners, Barry Mason — who owns the place with his wife, Karen — told WeHo Times:

“Book Circus and Universal News on Las Palmas and Hollywood Boulevard each took 600 copies of the gay Blueboy magazine when it first came out,” said Mr. Mason. “I would load my truck for these two stops. Guys would be waiting for us at the door. They’d come out and help me bring them in. They’d rip open the box and buy them fresh out of the box. I wouldn’t even do done unloading them and they were already sold. Blueboy was the first mainstream gay magazine. It was slick. The guys loved it.”

If you're under 30, he's talking about printed magazines of pornography for which people paid money.

RIP, Circus of Books!

 
Jun 17 2017
Pride Month: Richard Inman, Problematic Southern Trailblazer Comments (0)

  Screen Shot 2017-06-17 at 9.16.13 AMImagine being asked if you were gay — on TV — in 1966? (Video still via PBS)

Tampa, Florida, native Richard Inman (1926-1985) is a unique figure in the early gay-rights movement.

He was married and divorced twice, moving to Miami, where he lived as a gay Screen Shot 2017-06-17 at 8.41.55 AMman. He faced arrests for patronizing gay bars, which may have contributed to the decline of his business as an owner of various properties. He wound up driving a cab before deciding to become political about his sexual orientation.

Inman founded the first Southern gay-rights org, the Atheneum Society, in 1963, a ballsy move. It would later be changed into a chapter of the Mattachine Society in order to bring his efforts into line with those of Frank Kameny's (1925-2011).

Inman's aggressive stance on gay rights riled politicians, was a magnet for attention and also attracted the ire of many closeted gay people, who didn't appreciate his posturing, which threatened to blow their cover. It is thought that many gay people actively worked with officials against Inman behind the scenes via letter-writing and complaints.

Gay activist Jack Nichols (1938-2005(, in Vern L. Bullough's (1928-2006) exhaustively researched Before Stonewall (2002), said of Inman:

Inman was the first Southerner to challenge anti-gay laws in the courts, to write in mass circulation publications about gay men and lesbians and to appear on local television and radio programs.

He was quite a character, and had no problem playing dirty to achieve his goals, including enlisting the aid of anti-gay forces when it would work to his cause's benefit. If he were alive today, he might well like Milo — he was take-no-prisoners on the issue of activism vs. education, but hated Communists and was in favor of the Vietnam War. He also was not in favor of pushing for gay marriage, adoption or the legalization of gay pornography, deeming them all no-big-deal issues in the face of overall acceptance or tolerance of gay people.

Owing to his reputation as an out gay Floridian, Inman was one of the first people ever to appear on TV as a self-professed gay man on April 19, 1966, when he was invited to be a guest on news program FYI's “The Homosexual” on WTVJ Channel 4 in Miami. The show was focused on gay men as child molesters, which may explain why Inman chickened out and claimed, once on the air, that he was no longer gay, even while arguing that children were safe from gay men.

I was a homosexual ... But I gave it up about, oh, I forget, some years ago, over four years ago. It's not my cup of tea.

— Richard Inman (1967)

After his poor showing on TV, Inman's power as a gay voice waned. He opened a gay bookstore that was raided for porn, but wound up beating the charges.

Still, the charges may have beat him — into submission.

Inman later moved to California. There are some records of people having seen him here or there post-1970, but for the most part, he disappeared. Author James T. Sears (b. 1951) has since revealed that Inman lived out the rest of his life in Long Beach, and died February 3, 1985.

 
Jun 15 2017
Trans Author Janet Mock: WE'RE NOT OUT THERE DECEIVING PEOPLE Comments (0)

Janet-Mock(Image via Atria Books)

Trans advocate Janet Mock gives a lengthy, revealing interview to People Magazine to promote her new memoir Surpassing Certainty: What My Twenties Taught Me ().

Key quote:

The number one thing is to ensure that they feel safe enough to tell someone their story … It shouldn’t be the responsibility of trans women to disclose to every person that they meet, [that they’re transgender] whether it’s a romantic partner, friend, roommate or coworker… There’s a misconception that trans women are out there deceiving people. We’re not out there deceiving people. We’re not even trying to pass. We’re just trying to be ourselves in a society that has put us into boxes, and has told us that if we don’t fit in those boxes then we don’t belong and we’re not deserving of happiness, of fulfillment, of contentment. [We need to have] agency over who we tell our stories to and whether we want to tell our stories to someone at all.

More here! Book here!

 
Jun 12 2017
Pride Month: Cover To Cover — First & Last Sentences Of Gay Novels & Novellas Comments (0)

Today's Pride Month post honors gay writers (well, most of them are — some are/were just writers of gay stories) with a re-post of this piece I did in 2014, chronicling the first and last lines of many gay books.

The bonus is that you get to see the sometimes incredible covers, too.

Enjoy, and please feel free to share ...

Nocturnes-for-the-King-of-NaplesCover by Mel Odom.

What's a “gay book,” anyway?

Is it a book with a gay theme? One with no gay theme but whose author is gay? One specifically about being gay, written by a gay author? Must it be pro-gay, or can it be anti-? Does it count if it's exploitative and prurient?

Faggots-KramerRegardless of your definition, the heyday of the gay novel is behind us. Yes, there are still books by, for, and about gay people, but it's not like in the '70s and '80s, when gay novels took off, or the early '90s, when they'd become a bona fide boom business.

Not long after, they went bust, and the days when you might read a review calling a work of fiction, “The best gay novel of the year!” went with them. As did gay bookstores...when was the last time you were inside a gay bookstore? Were there any woolly mammoth footprints pressed into the clay?

City-and-the-pillar-gore-vidalGore, Gore, Gore...how do you like it, how do you like it?

Part of the reason a booming literary niche was decimated is good—we became less concerned with obsessing over our place in the world as the world became less convinced we were aliens and/or carriers of disease and/or agents of Satan. (Not that a huge chunk of the world doesn't still ponder those questions.) As we have been assimilated, we've become less excited by existentialist literary endeavors and more likely to spring for, say, books about the first time various anonymous narrators had gay sex, or coffee-table books of nude men or books with no discernible gay sensibility at all.

Interview-with-the-VampireBut I miss the days when the gay novel was a big deal. I miss being in my college bookstore and grabbing an Edmund White tome and flipping it to a passage where two farmboys “cornhole” each other, and realizing that it wasn't pornography, but rather was frank, familiar, terrifyingly emotional art.

For fun, I'm including a collection of the first and last sentences of as many gay novels as I could readily lay my hands on. I'm sticking with the books' proper first and last sentences, so am leaving out things like dates and places (“New York, 1983") in the case of books that begin or end with letters, and I'm also ignoring the “hmmm”-inspiring epigraphs that so often appear at the beginning of a novel.

Giovannis_room-frontThese are not meant to be my choices for "the best gay books." But most of my favorite gay novels are included and you will undoubtedly have read and loved many of them.

Actually...how many have you read?

If these tantalizingly brief samples don't make you curious to read some of these books, nothing will.

I would absolutely love to receive your contributions (title, year, author, first line, last line) so I can make this a living post...

 Read More

 
Gay Reading Shelf: 3 Books I Recommend Comments (0)

IMG_1151(Image by Matthew Rettenmund)

Three books with which I've recently shared a bed:

Seriously... What Am I Doing Here?: The Adventures of a Wondering and Wandering Gay Jew by Ken Schneck (1984Publishing.com, $21.95)

This non-fiction book is like the written version of attempting a geographic cure, filled with Schneck's oddball journeys into hitherto unimaginable territories for him (most shockingly, Uganda). Written with a warm humor, the book goes down a lot easier than that crazy 400-plus-mile bike ride he takes.

**********

The '49 Indian by Craig Moody (VividImageryPublishing.com, $12.99/$2.99 Kindle)

A great debut novel that begins with a painfully detailed description of an assault in a bathhouse, The '49 Indian establishes a unique bond between a 20-year-old gay kid and his opaque next-door neighbor, a dude obsessed with restoring a 1949 motorcycle. The bike will eventually take them far from their homes, and other circumstances will also take them from their humdrum lives. Set in 1983, this coming-of-age story will stick with you for the long run.

**********

Alan Sues: A Funny Man by Michael Gregg Michaud (BearManorMedia.com, $24.95)

Michaud wrote Sal Mineo: A Biography (Crown, 2010), one of the best movie-star bios I've ever read. In Alan Sues, he adds to his painstaking researching skills a genuine friendship with Sues, a glass-closeted gay pioneer who was a regular on Laugh-In in the '60s. The bio is not only the definitive record of one man's life, it also documents the ins and outs of not being out in the entertainment business in the '60s, '70s and '80s. Fantastic!

 
Jun 06 2017
Pride Month: Martin Greif Wrote The Book On Gay! Comments (0)

Gay Book of DaysTo my eternal shame, I could not dig up a photo of Mr. Greif. Got on? (Image via Main Street)

When I was a teenager, I used to furtively look through the books in a small gay section at B. Dalton Bookseller in Genesee Valley Mall in Flint, Michigan. I'm pretty sure it didn't have a big sign; it may just have been a part of a social sciences shelf.

One day, I spied The Gay Book of Days (Main Street Press, 1982) by Martin Greif. I bought it without making eye contact with the clerk and hustled it home.

It was described on the cover as:

An evocatively illustrated who's who of who is, was, may have been, probably was, and almost certainly seems to have been gay during the past 5,000 years.

Clearly, this approach had an impact on me. I'm not breathlessly against outing like so many because to me, it's not a negative thing to wonder about someone, and it's at worst no worse than the sort of gossip in which we all engage almost every day of our lives. This book took homosexuality as a good thing to be, and it shocked me by alluding to rumors and facts regarding the presumed sexual orientations of countless historical figures, from Commodus to Tab Hunter.

 Read More

 
Jun 03 2017
Natural Wonder: THE WONDER WOMAN LYNDA CARTER PHOTO BOOK Comments (0)

Wonder-Woman(Image via Donald Sanders)

As you rush out to see the critically acclaimed Gal Gadot-fronted version Lynda-Carter of Wonder Woman this weekend, don't forget the original — the lovely Lynda Carter.

In tribute to the now 65-year-old (somehow!) beauty, photographer Donald Sanders has published The Wonder Woman Lynda Carter Photo Book, packed with never-before-seen images of Carter he shot in the '70s.

Via press release:

The book pages showcase over 100 color and B/W photos by Sanders in which he captures Carter’s youth, newness, innocence and immense beauty. Between the images Sanders candidly shares anecdotes, from their first meeting, first photo session and first impressions. Not only does Sanders reveal fantastic unpublished photos he took so long ago, he includes a backstage and behind the scenes narrative as well.  

Check it out here. It's paradise! And you're not cheating on Gal if you like the book, or cheating on Lynda if you like the new movie:

 
6-PACK — You Bader Work Out! + Trump's Twitter Trail + Jock & Tennis Balls + Mumps?! + The House Of Maher + Kenworthy's Advice! Comments (0)

GinsbergCan we have her frozen? Does that count? (Image via Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

WIDGETNBC News: Yes, Justice Ginsburg, please stay healthy forever. Or at least outlast Trump. P.S. The book is real, and authorized!

WIDGETPolitico: How Trump's insatiable need to tweet may be what takes his orange ass down.

Giphy-2Service! (GIF via Giphy)

WIDGETKenneth in the (212): Wait until you get a load of tennis pro Lucas Pouille's butt.

WIDGETSDGLN: CDC reports mumps outbreak linked to gay men in L.A.

WIDGETExtraTV: Bill Maher casually drops N-bomb in joke on Real Time with Bill Maher. Republican senator & audience chuckle.

WIDGETNewNowNext: Tearful Gus Kenworthy says, “I just always thought that, like, my life as a skier and my life as a gay man couldn't co-exist.”

Gus-challenge-1496332713.pngGus opened up on MTV's The Challenge: Champs vs. Props (Image via MTV)

 


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