Friday, December 24, 2010

Cope & Wojnarowicz

I picked up Bertram Cope's Year and couldn't put it down. What a delight! Kudos to Steve for such an excellent pairing with "Hide/Seek".

And speaking of which, a friend J.C. (not Christ) has supplied me with a link to Wojnarowicz' banned-in-Smithsonian "A Fire in My Belly". Click "Vimeo" for a larger image. (This belongs as a comment to Terry's posting but I'm publishing it separately since it might get lost there.)

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Club members will greatly enjoy the exhibition Hide/Seek at the National Portrait Gallery (until February 13, 2011). It includes portraits of several of the authors we’ve read over the years as well as paintings and painters well known to gay men. The theme of the exhibition is how people occupying the “position of influential marginality in modern society” (apparently this includes such painters as John Singer Sargent) “crafted innovative and revolutionary ways of painting portraits,” forming a “powerful artistic and cultural legacy that has been hidden in plain sight for more than a century.” This is from the Gallery’s brochure. Can’t say I got all that, or even any of it, from my first viewing, but I’m definitely going back for more and hope to learn. There was a review in the New York Times on Saturday, and Frank Rich took on the controversy the exhibition has spawned in today’s paper.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

"Pandemic and Celeste"

Among other questions, Terry had asked at the previous meeting, during the discussion of Jaime Gil de Biedma's poems in Persistent Voices, what the title of "Pandemic and Celeste" referred to. Here's translator James Nolan's note about "Pandemic and Celeste" from Longing, the book of Gil de Biedma's selected poems that he translated and edited for City Lights Books in 1993:

Pandemic and Celeste: (a) The title refers to the two Aphrodites mentioned in the Symposium, symbolizing promiscuous and monogamous love. (b) Catullus, in poem VII, considers Lesbia's question: "You ask how many of your kisses, Lesbia, would be enough for me?" The answer is quoted here in the epigraph: "As numerous as the sands of Libya...or a the stars, when night is quiet, which contemplate the furtive loves of men." (c) The first stanza quotes from Baudelaire's "To the Reader": "my likeness--my brother." (d) "The poet" of the third stanza is John Donne, paraphrased from "The Ecstasy." (e) The fourth stanza quotes from Mallarme's "The Afternoon of a Fawn": "of the languor poorly savored between two people." (f) In English, it is impossible to keep the ambiguous gender of the su referring to the lover in the final stanzas. The choice should clearly be "his," although in Gil de Biedma's love poetry the homoeroticism is never explicit.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


got a wiki (in case anyone is interested)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Bookmen DC Group on Facebook

After consulting with some other members, I have made the Bookmen DC Facebook group an Open Group.  Anyone can join and invite others to join. Group info and content can be viewed by anyone and may be indexed by search engines.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Walking in London

The dissertation I mentioned this evening is Walking in London: The Fiction of Neil Bartlett, Sarah Waters, and Alan Hollinghurst: Writing missing voices of sexuality, class, and gender back into history through reimagining the city by Julie Cleminson, Brunel University thesis, 2009.

The chapter on "Ready to Catch Him Should He Fall" has some very pertinent comments on some of the themes we discussed, including references to the Colony Club, London, featuring someone somewhat resembling Mother.

Sarah Waters sounds interesting. An article of hers—"A Girton Girl on a Throne: Queen Christina and Versions of Lesbianism, 1906-1933"—appeared in the Spring, 1994 issue of Feminist Review. The abstract reads

The extraordinary life of Christina Vasa, the seventeenth-century cross-dressing Queen of Sweden who resigned her crown, her country and her faith, has intrigued and inspired biographers and historians for three hundred years. In the nineteenth century, and in the early part of this one, biographies of Christina, offering a vast range of interpretations of her puzzling career, proliferated.

Monday, November 1, 2010

"All of Me"

I wonder what Mother (Madame/Madam) sounded like when she sang this song. Ruth Etting was the first to record it and has a recording of her singing it (probably the original). When it comes to the song itself, I find I prefer the original. In general, as well. No matter how marvelous, otherwise, it's like seeing a pearl instead of a grain of sand.

And here, for what it's worth, are the lyrics:

You took my kisses and you took my love
You taught me how to care
Am I to be just a remnant of a one-sided love affair

All you took I gladly gave
There's nothing left for me to save

All of me
Why not take all of me
Can't you see
I'm no good without you
Take my lips
I want to lose them
Take my arms
I'll never use them
Your goodbye left me with eyes that cry
How can I go on dear without you
You took the part that once was my heart
So why not take all of me

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Canonical and Forgotten

Two books have recently been published with lists of books we all should have read or we all shouldn't have forgotten about. I haven't looked closely at either and both appear to have been rather informally collected—but particularly as we get ready for another list, people may find a perusal of these lists worthwhile.

The first list is Richard Canning's 50 Gay and Lesbian Books Everybody Must Read:

Yahweh  Samuel 1 & 2
Tablets  Gilgamesh
Sappho  Poems
Plato  The Symposium
Horace Walpole  Letters
Herman Melville  Moby Dick
Walt Whitman  Leaves of Grass
Arthur Rimbaud  A Season in Hell
Henry James  The Bostonians
A.E. Housman  A Shropshire Lad
Oscar Wilde  De Profundis
Colette  Claudine at School
Thomas Mann  Death in Venice
Ronald Firbank  The Flower Beneath the Foot
Virginia Woolf  Mrs. Dalloway
Marcel Proust  Time Regained
Ivy Compton-Burnett  More Women than Men
Constantine Cavafy  Poems
Djuna Barnes  Nightwood
Vita Sackville-West  Letters to Virginia Woolf
Evelyn Waugh  Brideshead Revisited
Marguerite Yourcenar  Memoirs of Hadrian
Patricia Highsmith  The Price of Salt
G.F. Green  In the Making
Yukio Mishima  Forbidden Colors
Allen Ginsberg  Howl and Other Poems
James Baldwin  Giovanni's Room
Harold Brodkey  First Love and Other Sorrows
Shelagh Delaney  A Taste of Honey
Christopher Isherwood  A Single Man
José Lezama Lima  Paradiso
James Purdy  Eustace Chisholm and the Works
J.R. Ackerley  My Father and Myself
Mañuel Puig  Betrayed by Rita Hayworth
William Burroughs  The Wild Boys
Mary Renault  The Persian Boy
Coleman Dowell  Too Much Flesh and Jabez
Andrew Holleran  Dancer from the Dance
Audre Lorde  The Cancer Journals
Alice Walker  The Color Purple
Edmund White  A Boy's Own Story
Jeanette Winterson  Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit
Hervé Guibert  To the Friend Who Did Not Save My Life
Rebecca Brown  The Terrible Girls
Tom Spanbauer  The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon
John Foster  Take Me to Paris, Johnny
Gore Vidal  Palimpset
Matthew Stadler  Allan Stein
Douglas Wright  Ghost Dance
Susan Smith  Burning Dreams

The second, covering recent gay fiction now out of print, is The Lost Library: Gay Fiction Rediscovered:

Glenway Wescott  The Apple of the Eye
Roger Peyrefitte  The Exile of Capri
Donald Windham  Two Peple
George Baxt  A Queer Kind of Death
Kyle Onstott & Lance Horner  Child of the Sun
John Donovan  I'll Get There. It Better Be Worth the Trip
Daniel Curzon  Something You Do in the Dark
Lynn Hall  Stick and Stones
Richard Hall  Couplings
Charles Nelson  The Boy Who Picked the Bullets Up
Paul Rogers  Saul's Book
Agustin Gomez-Arcoz  The Carnivorous Lamb
Robert Ferro  The Blue Star
George Whitmore  Nebraska
Paul Reed  Longing
John Gilgun  Music I Never Dreamed Of
Allen Barnett  The Body and Its Dangers
Neil Bartlett  Ready to Catch him Should He Fall
Patrick Roscoe  Birthmarks
Melvin Dixon  Vanishing Rooms
Michael Grumley  Life Drawing
James McCourt  Time Remaining
Bruce Benderson  User
Mark Merlis  American Studies
Douglas Sandowick  Sacred Lips of the Bronx
J.S. Marcus  The Captain's Fire
Rabih Almaddine  The Perv: Stories

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


One of the things I like about our group is that we waste no time (no meeting time) debating/arguing/deciding about what to read. I've belonged to groups—I'm sure we all have—where a good quarter of every hour was engaged in that activity, and although the liveliest, it could also be the most vituperative and aggrieved as well. It was early recognized that an open and public book group such as ours could not function along the lines of private and closed ones. In those, typically, the members—limited and known—vote at some meeting what book(s) they will read in the future. We have had as many as a hundred "members" on our mailing list: some regular, some irregular, some never seen. How, where, and when would we get together and vote?

What we have done instead is publish a list of proposals and ask people, all and sundry, to designate the books they'd like to read. But it should be understood that those "votes" are entirely advisory. The Facilitator, otherwise known as the "benevolent despot," takes the information from those "votes" and tries to come up with a balanced list that will please most of people who attend or might attend. If he fails, he facilitates an empty room.

(An example of this balancing might be instructive. When I was facilitator, I offered people the option of voting "NO". This was something of a veto, particularly coming from members who attended regularly. Of course if many members, especially frequently attending members, voted "Yes", they could override a veto. Once, I got a "vote" from someone on the mailing list who had never attended a meeting. It was sprinkled with NO's. I of course ignored it.)

All of this is a somewhat long-winded way of saying that the voting list is for the benefit of the facilitator. If he can use a Ouija board to divine what people might like to read, well and good. The voting list has tended to be long and cumbersome—one reason for votes to be seldom and for lists to be long. But a consensus is forming I think for shorter lists and along with that should be other means for the facilitator to be informed of what members—present, past, and future—might like to read. I'm unsure what those other means might be (informal consultation?). Whatever they are should obviously be useful and agreeable to the presiding facilitator. This is something for us think about.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The rest is NOT silence

(Yet to be published is a birthday mesostic in which Cage pays tribute to Cunningham's cock and ass!)

—from Alex Ross' "Searching for Silence" in the 10/4/10 issue of The New Yorker … John Cage and Merce Cunningham, being one of history's most notable homo pairings.

[a "mesostic," I mention, having been ignorant of it myself until now, being an acrostic in the middle, as (quoting from the article):

Much of our
of borEdom
Toward talks in
it misled Him
diplOmatic skill to
place to place but Does it look
at present Most
fivE Iranian fishermen
cuTbacks would not

… hmm, and then again, maybe I can wait]

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Bookmen DC reading list and other thoughts


I have been giving some thought recently to Bookmen DC. I want to share my suggestions and ideas with you, in order to stimulate an open exchange of ideas about the future direction of our group.  I am concerned that some may take my ideas, suggestions, or thoughts personally.  This is not my intention.  Bookmen DC has evolved over time incorporating the suggestions of members. My ideas are made in the spirit of continually improving and evolving the group.  The goal is to attract new members. As a potential AARP member, I really believe that we also can learn from the perspectives of new, younger members who might want to join our groupThe challenge is how to attract different age groups to join our group.  Younger readers are more comfortable materials that are available online, including periodicals, journals and blogs. The advantage of these online reading materials is that they are often available at no cost.  

Steve have been doing a wonderful job facilitating.  I, myself, remember the early growing pains of our group: the difficulty  of trying to please everyone and yet still make sure the list included a variety of books.  Over the past few years, your dedication and persistence is extraordinary.  I am constantly amazed that a group with no formal structure or by-laws has managed to last do so long.  I am concerned, though, about the declining attendance at our meetings.  At many meetings the same 4 or 5 people show up on a regular basis.

We have been considering ways to attract new members.  We started using Facebook as an additional venue to attract new members.  The recent technical difficulties with facebook interrupted this process, but the Bookmen DC Facebook Group is up and running again.  In an attempt to attract new members, I have made the upcoming  Bookmen DC Facebook events “public” so that non Bookmen DC members will be able to see them and might attend meetings.  I hope this will catch the attention some potential members who might bring the perspective of a younger generation.  It is possible to make the Facebook Bookmen DC Group an “open” group, but I am not totally comfortable with this yet and welcome the views of others on this topic.

I have also set up a test Group in order to experiment with the features of the “New Facebook Groups”(I posted a blog on our website discussion the pros and cons).  I welcome any members who may want to join the test group to see how it works.  The new Facebook groups have many features that enhance  the group experience.  I have seen some flaws and I have sent suggested to facebook to try to modify or improve them.  I hope is that the new members will bring the perspective of a younger generation.  There is a possibly for making the Facebook Bookmen DC Group an “open” group, but I am not totally comfortable with this yet.

I like Steve’s idea of having guest facilitators, i.e., the one who actually recommended a book – of course guest facilitator must commit to actually show up.  This might help to vary the format of the discussion.   Our group has never been static.  Bookmen DC has evolved over time, and we have all learned from the opinions of old and new members

I think at our last meeting we briefly discussed the next reading list and how long it should run.  My preference is that 6 months should be the maximum. My reasons are as follows:

1.      The length of the list  may discourage people considering joining the group.  They may feel that they have no opportunity to contribute to a reading list that runs for many months.

2.      Having a more frequent selection process may give old and new members a greater sense of inclusion in the selection process, even though their choices may not be selected.

3.      We would be able to select more topical books if our list ran for a shorter period.

4.      It would be interesting to add reading suggestions from younger prospective members for us to hear the perspective of younger readers, which views are rather lacking in our current meetings.

5.      I propose adding topical, gay-themed articles from quality journals, articles, and blogs by prominent GLTB authors, perhaps as a “wild-card” selection on some kind of periodic basis.


I hope this will stimulate a civil discussion on the future direction of out group.  As for myself, I always seen the group as an opportunity to read books I would never have read on my own, and to meet people with similar interests to mine.  Some readings I like and sometimes not.  I look forward to seeing you at future meetings.



Saturday, October 9, 2010

Facebook: "New" Groups vs. "Old" Groups, etc

Facebook Groups and Facebook Pages:


Facebook has rolled out a new Groups design. “Bookmen DC” is currently an "old" group on Facebook. Right now "old" groups can't be converted into a "new" group. More info is available at the link  .  The new groups feature seems to be tailored to those people with hundreds of facebook friends, who want more control over their interaction with sub-groups of their friends (e.g., “real” friends and family members).  I think Facebook is trying to become the new Google.  Facebook seems to be in constant flux with regard to features and functionality, so I suspect that they will be adjusting the groups features as they get feedback about the feature of “new groups”.  I have already submitted a few suggestions.  Over the past few months, the privacy settings for Facebook have become more robust and easier to use.


I have created a test “new group” (“BookmenDC” [no space between “Bookmen” and “DC”]) and have been tinkering with the features of the new Facebook Groups:


·         New groups only allows invites to people who have been “friended”.  Old groups allows invites to all other facebook members using email accounts.

·         New groups does not allow more than one “admin” per group.

·         New groups allows documents posting and sharing using a shared notepad.

·         New groups does not have discussion topics boards.

·         New groups allows online group chats with other group members.

·         New groups allows a group email address ( for my test group)



Facebook Pages is only an option for more formal organizations than ours .


Bookmen DC Events on Facebook:


We have been experimenting with Facebook as an online venue for Bookmen DC.  I have posted our group’s upcoming meetings as “public” events.  This will allow non-group members to see the details of the meetings on Facebook and perhaps attract some new members to our meetings.



Friday, October 8, 2010

Petronius' "filthy pleasure"

Ben Jonson's translation

Doing, a filthy pleasure is, and short;
And done, we straight repent us of the sport:
Let us not then rush blindly on unto it,
Like lustfull beasts, that onely know to doe it:
For lust will languish, and that heat decay,
But thus, thus, keeping endlesse Holy-day,
Let us together closely lie, and kisse,
There is no labour, nor no shame in this;
This hath pleas'd, doth please, and long will please; never
Can this decay, but is beginning ever.

of Petronius'

Foeda est in coitu et brevis voluptas,
et taedet Veneris statim peractae.
Non ergo ut pecudes libidinosae
caeci protinus irruamus illuc;
(nam languescit amor peritque flamma);
sed sic sic sine fine feriati
et tecum jaceamus osculantes.
Hic nullus labor est ruborque nullus:
hoc juvit, juvat, et diu juvabit;
hoc non deficit, incipitque semper.

Anyone with any Latin will see how literal Jonson's translation is. But onto Petronius' fastidious Epicureanism there is an overlay of Judeo-Christian shame and guilt (rubor needn't mean more than blushing nor taedet more than being wearied). Both of course have the same strategy, that of never finishing something to be free from distasteful consequence. And neither could have anticipated our lucky escape from the Heat-Death of the Universe (law of entropy) to a continuing Big Bang or Inflationary Epoch. We who together closely lie and kiss come as close as mortals can to the happy figures on the Grecian Urn.

Petronius' hendecasyllables are quite artful but to a startlingly regular iambic line Jonson has added rhyme—rhyme which in the last couplet highlights the binary of finishing and beginning ("never"/"ever"). He also has a "kisse" that explodes into the aural experience of the poem and continues to live and last in the next (and last) three lines of the poem with its resounding echo "this".

As I said at our last meeting, to call anything the greatest out of such a large field is to be rhetorically provocative. What I wish to provoke with this evaluation is the deep musical satisfaction of a poem without "deep" image, indeed virtually without image of any sort whatsoever ("like lustfull beasts"). This is high heresy to all poetics since 1798 ("Lyrical Ballads"). This is all Goatfoot and Milktongue—Twinbird has flown the coop! And what would be a numbing metrical regularity (only disturbed at the outset by the trochee "Doing") is transcended by a flexibility of phrasing that spills over these feet as a high wave over rocks.

a filthy pleasure is
and short
and done
we straight repent us of the sport

Rather than re-lineate the whole poem this way I offer a challenge … or an exercise, a challenging exercise. Set your metronome at 40 bpm and read the poem. I take 30 beats. (Note: not every line has three beats, and key words often occur off beat.)

Nietzsche on Petronius

Terry has brought this section (28) from Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil to my attention:

What is most difficult to render from one language into another is the tempo of its style.... There are honestly meant translations that … are almost falsifications of the original, merely because its bold and merry tempo (which leaps over and obviates all dangers in things and words) could not be translated. A German is almost incapable of presto in his language … Petronius [is] untranslatable for him. … Who, finally, could venture on a German translation of Petronius, who … was a master of presto in invention, ideas, and words? What do the swamps of the sick, wicked world, even the "ancient world," matter in the end, when one has the feet of a wind as he did, the rush, the breath, the liberating scorn of a wind that makes everything healthy by making everything run!

—(Kaufman's translation). I'm still taking in that wonderful conception, whether it applies to Petronius or not, of "the liberating scorn of a wind that makes everything healthy by making everything run!" Nietzsche interestingly (and even more interestingly modest here in his silence) himself brought presto into the German language.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Latin Sexual Vocabulary

The book that I mentioned during tonight’s meeting is “The Latin Sexual Vocabulary” by J.N. Adams, Johns Hopkins University Press.  This is a wonderful book to browse through.


Quoting the back cover: “…collects for the first time evidence of Latin obscenities and sexual euphemisms drawn from both literary and nonliterary sources from the early Republic to about the 4th century A.D.”

transmission of the text of Petronius' Satyricon and textual criticism

The history of the transmission of the text of Petronius’ Satyricon is very complicated. All the details of this history are available in Konrad Muller’s 3rd edition “Petronius Satyrica, Schlemengeschichte”. In English a more concise history is given by M.D. Reeve in “Texts and Transmission: A Survey of the Latin Classics”. I have neither of these, but was able to put together a brief history of the transmission using “Scribes and Scholars: A Guide to the Transmission of Greek and Latin Literature”. This book also has a chapter on Textual Criticism, parts of which I summarize further down. For those interested in the historical development of textual criticism, I would recommend “Defenders of the Text: The Traditions of Scholarship in an Age of Science, 1450 – 1800”.


Much manuscript copying occurred in the Abbeys of the Loire Valley during the 9th century. We know that copies of Petronius were circulating there during the 9th century. These manuscripts were probably used by those who compiled collections of quotations called florilegia. The Florileguim Gallicum is a source for parts of Petronius. The Abby of Fleury is particularly important for the history of the transmission of Petronius. It was sacked by the Huguenots in 1562. Fluery’s manuscripts were purchased by Pierre Daniel. One of the best Petronius manuscripts comes from his collection. Other important collections that included Petronius were acquired during the same time period by Pierre Pithou, Jacques Bongars, Joseph Scaliger, and Jacques Cujas. Quoting Scribes and Scholars: “the complicated history of the text of Petronius in the latter half of the sixteenth century epitomizes a group of French Scholars of this period… Its complexity is also an indication of the difficulty of piecing together the elaborate web formed by the interrelationship of men and manuscript in this period, even in the case of central texts...”

Poggio was a Papal Secretary during the early 15th century. He is very important in the history of the transmission of manuscript copies of ancient texts. He found the “exerpta vulgaria” in England, which he described as, “particula petronii”. All of the existing 15th century manuscripts of the exerpta descend from Poggio’s copy. In 1423 at Cologne he found the “Cena Trimalchonis”. The copy that he commissioned of the Cologne manuscript is our only source for it. This manuscript was lost for a while. It resurfaced in 1650. The Cena was first printed in Padua in 1664.

Textual Criticism:

1. Recension: attempted reconstruction of earliest recoverable form of text from surviving manuscripts.

a. Establish the relationship of existing manuscripts to each other.

b. Eliminate from consideration those that are derived exclusively from other existing manuscripts.

c. Use the established relationships of those that remain to reconstruct the lost manuscript[s] from which the surviving manuscripts descend.

2. Limits of Recension.

a. Assumes all reading and errors are transmitted “vertically” from one book to copies that are made of it.

b. Assumes all surviving manuscripts can be traced to a single archetype.

c. Does not always account for the possibility that ancient authors made corrections or additions to their works (for example Cicero).

3. Corruptions.

a. Mistakes induced by ancient or medieval handwriting.

b. Corruptions from changes in spelling or pronunciation.

c. Omissions by mistake.

d. Errors of addition: letters, glosses (interlinear notes), and marginalia.

e. Errors of transposition: letters, verses, and text word order.

f. Errors induced by context.

g. Errors induced by influence of Christian thoughts.

h. Deliberate action of scribe.

4. The relationship of age and merit in individual manuscripts.

5. Indirect transmission of texts through quotation in another ancient author or through collections of quotations.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Re-starting Bookmen DC on Facebook.

I created a new Facebook group for Bookmen DC, becuase of the technical difficulties with the old one. I will try to send invites through Facebook to those of you who were already members. You should be able to find it by searching for "Bookmen DC". thanks

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Following up on our discussion last night: John Musto's setting of Melvin Dixon's poem, "Heartbeats" (p. 86 in Persistent Voices) is the title track of a beautiful CD titled "Heartbeats: New Songs from the Minnesota AIDS Quilt Songbook" (INNOVA No. 500, 1994). William Parker is the baritone and William Huckaby is the pianist. I no longer recall where I acquired the CD, but would hope it's available for sale online (I haven't checked, though). Cheers, Steve

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

ogling at

1840 THACKERAY Barber Cox in Comic Almanack 33 ‘How sweetly the dear Baron rides,’ said my wife, who was always ogling at him.

But I take Steve's point, the transitive uses are for more common. On the other hand (of the one-armed man), in a poem as long as "Sexual Liberation in a Desperate Age" (and with as much "ogling"), one "ogle at," like the Homeric nod, must be allowable.

(Kudos, again, to Philip, for having rescued this Everhard from the pile of the unpublished!)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Facebook Groups is having technical difficulties

For those of you who have joined the Bookmen DC Group on Facebook, recently, you may had trouble accessing our group's page. Facebook acknowledges this problem with the following post
in their help page:

"Some people are reporting they can no longer view or access certain groups to which they belong. Please note that this is a technical issue affecting the visibility of the group, and no contet has been removed. We are working to resolve this issue as soon as possible."

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Persistent Voices Video

Steve asked if I would post this in preparation for the September 15th meeting about Persistent Voices. It's the video footage from the recent San Francisco reading from the book, broken down by reader, and it can be found at

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Blàdé article

The Washington Blade has an article about local gay book groups and mirabile lectu we made the cut. Any readers clever enough, however, to have found their way to this site should pay careful attention to the details (particularly scheduling) on this main page sidebar.

Friday, September 3, 2010

the arc of description

(or maybe that should be "ark") is long but it bends toward the beauty of men? This is a footnote, which however given the format of blogspot will appear as a headnote, to my entry on the Holleran collection below. All his fiction, I dare say, is inspired by, if not explicitly about, the Beauty of Men. As I mentioned below, descriptions of said beauty are fewer and shorter than sunsets, sermons, seawalls, and urchins (only the first two of course, I'll replace the latter if something more appropriate occurs to me). "Joshua and Clark" is a really fun story. Holleran is Proustian not only in his reminiscence but, when he chooses to be, in his social comedy. Here follows—I will again dare say—his longest description of any man (the semi-eponymous Clark) in his entire œuvre:

… with a face that resembled that of a creature on a canvas by Hieronymus Bosch. He had no chin, for one thing, or at least a very recessive one. He had bad skin, for another: pitted, scarred, pockmarked. He had what appeared to be a broken nose, and small, gray eyes, and lead-gray, thinning hair that was lank and greasy-looking at the same time, combed forward over the top of his high, shiny, forehead in little Napoleonic wisps. The head itself was, furthermore, too small for his body [I'm saying nothing!], and oddly shaped. He looked prematurely aged; he looked like something in a medieval painting—the stable hand in breeches and leather jerkin slopping swill for the hogs while the prince rides past on a white horse; he looked colorless, light-starved, malnourished. He was the blade of grass that turns yellow lying under a pot. He was a creature starved for oxygen in the womb. He was a shock. When he was amused, his lips drew back to expose the gum above his uneven yellow teeth, and he laughed so hard he sprayed the air with saliva that caught the light of the jukebox at his side as he was bending over at the waist.

What to make of this … perhaps only the obvious, that it's easier to ridicule the bad than to praise the good. Anyhow, don't feel too sorry for Clark. He has a big dick. Everyone wants to sleep with him … once!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

FaceBook Presence

Thanks to Tom we now are a presence on FaceBook. If you're already a member of this social-networking site, you need only search on "BookMen DC" and ask to join. If you're not already a member, you'll have to become one. I certainly understand the reluctance of our older (50+) members to dip into this internet swamp, but come on in, the water's swell!

Nights with "Andrew" Holleran

During a recent vacation in Truro, I happened to pick up the copy of Nights in Aruba that I had read when it first came out in paperback twenty-six years ago. Anything after Dancer from the Dance, the great American gay novel, would have been somewhat disappointing. Aruba was more so. But as I began re-reading it, I was reminded what a very good writer Holleran is and was caught up in his Proustian reminiscence. Maybe some intolerance, some moralizing, some political correctness had—as it has—prevented me from doing this novel justice. After a few chapters, however, when "Andrew" (as we might say "Marcel") has arrived in Manhattan and begun the infamous Holleran mope, the remembrance of books read, like a tisane-sopped madeleine, became overpowering. You want to shake him and scream GET A LIFE! Neither "Andrew" nor Holleran is unperceptive of his condition. That oddly makes it worse. There's no distancing the character from the author, nor the author from the person. And we know now, which we blessedly didn't twenty-six years ago, that this saga will continue, through the interminable Beauty of Men to the gratefully brief Grief.

"Andrew" it turns out isn't the narrator's name. We learn very late in the book that it is "Paul." There's a host of characters whose names we learn only very late in the book. Poor editing and multiple revisions? Or is this adult baptism (a thing Lady Bracknell called "grotesque and irreligious") a deeper symptom of Paul's inability to come out to his hyperduliated mother.

More pertinently peculiar is that despite Paul's devotion to the beauty of men—that's what his life in Manhattan, indeed on Earth, has been all about—we get no descriptions of beauty in men, or beautiful men, or beautiful parts of men, or parts of beautiful men. Not that Holleran isn't long on descriptions: numerous sunsets and church services are endlessly described. Similarly (?), in spite of all the sex Paul has, no sex act nor aspect of any sex act is described. To speak it is to confess it? That's what Paul's life seems to say. So long as his homosexuality remains unspoken, he need never worry about his mother hearing of it.

I'm looking forward to my next re-reading of Dancer from the Dance because it's not obvious to me where "Andrew" (to use a generic for all the narrators in the last three autobiographical novels) comes from. Though there are first-person pentimenti in Dancer, they seem as puzzling and inconsequential as those in Madame Bovary. I wonder what happened to Holleran that he gave up the discipline (?) of the third-person to wallow as he has since in the mope of the first.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Eye candy/food for thought...

A tip of the hat to Eric for sharing word of the site Hot Guys Reading Books.

Enjoy! Cheers, Steve

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Tim Dean

I just found that Tim Dean, the author of our present selection "Unlimited Intimacy: Reflections on the Subculture of Barebacking," when at Johns Hopkins University wrote his doctoral dissertation on Hart Crane. If I had know this I would have tried to read it before our last meeting.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Dear All,
In relation to what we were saying about the psychological connection in Virginia Woolf's Oralando, someone had mentioned a connection with Lydden Starchey. Lydden Starchey was one of the founding members of the Bloomsbury group and, therefore, friends with Virginia as well as a lover of John Maynard Keynes (the economist and also Bloomsberry, as they called themselves).
Starchey was a biographer who won fame and fortune for his biography of Queen Victoria published, I believe, in the early 1920s. What was important--and it became an issue when Virginia Woolf published Orlando, calling it a "biography."--was that Starchey was then on the forefront of creating a new concept of writing biography, incorporating psychoanalytic concepts into the portrait that the biographer was trying to paint.
This was a direct result of work done by Sigmund Freud who, with his publication in 1910 of a paper called, "Leonardo da Vinci and a Memory of His Childhood," then wrote a letter to Carl Jung saying, "The domain of biography must, too, become ours,..." Freud continued working on this kind of psychoanalytic-biography/case history on both historical and living subjects (analysand) The implication, of course, was that henceforth biography would examine the psychological elements in the development of a personality--something that Starchey was doing and that Virginia would incorporate into the writing of Orlando. It should also be said, as was noted in our discussion, that the bisexual nature of the human being was considered--in the psychoanalytic circles in both Vienna and Zurich--to be normal.
Not only were these new ideas coming to the fore in the biographies of Lydden Starchey and, therefore, most certainly discussed among the Bloomsberries, Lydden's younger brother James--who was also a Bloomsberry. He moved to Vienna in 1920 to undergo analysis by Dr. Freud. James lived until 1967 and he was--invited by Freud, himself--to become the translator into English of the standard edition of the complete psychological works of Sigmund Freud.
Robert Mitchell

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Way of All Flesh

I met Edmund White in New York a few years back and we keep in contact often. He's been a generous guide to my own personal reading. I told him a little about our group and that we were reading "The Way of All Flesh." He was impressed w/ our group and the books we pick (I think his exact words were, "Your group is so serious."). He asked me if we've ever read "The Leopard" and then suggested I read this blurb he wrote.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


—something completely new to me, and so I needn't be the last, herewith this post. All the way at the end, past the glossary, is this wee bit

As feely ommes...we would zhoosh our riah, powder our eeks, climb into our bona new drag, don our batts and troll off to some bona bijou bar. In the bar we would stand around with our sisters, vada the bona cartes on the butch omme ajax who, if we fluttered our ogle riahs at him sweetly, might just troll over to offer a light for the unlit vogue clenched between our teeth.

from our Casualty anthologist Peter Burton. Makes me wonder what I may have missed in Hollinghurst!

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Unbareable Lightness of Stripping

Greetings, Colleagues--

Though we were a small (dare I say intimate :-) group this past Wednesday evening, we had an enjoyable discussion of Craig Seymour's memoir, All I Could Bare: My Life in the Strip Clubs of Washington, D.C.. Tim wasn't able to join us, alas, but we concurred with his e-mailed comment: "Enjoyed the book, mostly ... or rather up to the last 60 pages, which seemed much less interesting to me and unneeded. Anyone interested in pop culture would have liked it better, I suppose, but might still have found it unnecessary (an epilogue could have covered the great demise of D.C. strip clubs). All that notwithstanding, I learned something about the "industry" and about the mind-set of someone who might wander/end up in it. Entertainingly written. Good book to start off the summer."

Hope that encourages those of you who have not yet read the book to do so. If not, perhaps the following sample will do the trick (so to speak...):

"You know what I've always wanted to know? When you're out there and the customers are jerking you off, how do you keep from cumming?"

"Usually," he deadpanned, "you just look at one of them." (p. 29)

Cheers, Steve

Sunday, May 16, 2010

"Not Calling Attention to Ourselves"

Previously unpublished Yoav Ben Yosef has won the Fouth Round of NPR's Three-Minute Fiction contest, coming in just six words short of the 600 word upper limit. You can click on the link to read it, but better yet, click on the "Listen to the Story" link and hear it.

Accurate & Complete

Owing to the truly Augean labor of Tom Wischer—charter member, second facilitator, and archivist extraordinaire—our "Books We Have Read" (v.i.) is now complete and accurate. Many thanks, Tom!

P.S. For those of you who like big numbers but are too lazy to count, the list consists of 162 entries.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Casualty of Voice?

This eponymous story would most surely be a casualty of voice if we were to take its narrator as authentic Texan (if for no other reason than, as previously stated, its vocabulary: "arse" "whilst" "expiry" etc). So, better to view this "Casualty" as a Hellenistic exercise in rhetoric: what the American soldier in Iraq would say if, say, he spoke in Alexandrines. And author Scott Brown does have an assured rhetorical voice, so, content aside, the story is a pleasure to read. But on examining the content, one finds too much that is psychologically programmatic (the trope of murderous repression is jejune), and, worse, tendentiously editorializing (My Lai, as our chief objector noted, universal- and eternalized). Not the worst story I've ever read—the worst story would be the one I was never able to finish—but unworthy for its title to have become that of this anthology.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Fellini Satyricon at AFI Silver Spring

Bookmen will be discussing Petronius’ The Satyricon on October 6. Fellini’s film version will be showing at the AFI in Silver Spring Friday, April 30 at 7:00 and Saturday, May 1 at 9:45. Showtimes are subject to change. Check for details.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Author's Notes: "Pop Trickster Fool"

Kelly Cresap has kindly provided some advance reading notes for his book Pop Trickster Fool:

Heads-up—this was originally my PhD dissertation at UVA's English program. Brainiac alert! Revising afterward for U. Illinois, I worked hard to make it as accessible as possible. But I remember one person glancing through it and saying, "Hey, where are the photos?"

The gay material comes out mostly in chapters 2 and 4. I'm especially interested in hearing responses to my two-part position on camp taste in chapter 4.

In chapter 1, pages 1-16 provide a layperson's introduction to my project. Some members of the Book Men group may want to skip the more heady theoretical material in the rest of this chapter.

The "Free Andy Open Forum" section (pp. 142-176) gives an easy-access overview of Warhol's sprawling and multifaceted career. Chapter 3 is also easy-access.

We'll be discussing Pop Trickster Fool on May 5 and Kelly will join us for the second half of our discussion.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Persisting Readings

Quite a good turn out at the "Special Event" readings from Persistent Voices, about forty people, six of them Book Men, few seats unoccupied. For those who missed and those who want to remember, here is the program (thanks to Philip):

Philip Clark performed:
"Invisible History" by Walta Borawski
"Things Are Still Sudden & Wonderful" by Walta Borawski
"The Woman Who Kept the Boy Who Kept Cats" by Richard Ronan

Richard McCann performed:
"The Mystical Life" by Jim Everhard
"Future Text Panel" by Tory Dent (poem not in Persistent Voices)
"Between Us" by David Matias

Kim Roberts performed:
"As Goes Diana Ross, So Goes the Nation" by Chasen Gaver
"1970" by Joe Brainard
"Selections from I Remember" by Joe Brainard

Bernard Welt performed:
"Sonnet" by Donald Britton
"Notes on the Articulation of Time" by Donald Britton
"If I Were Bertolt Brecht" by Tim Dlugos
"Pretty Convincing" by Tim Dlugos

Wayson Jones and Michelle Parkerson performed together:
"Postscript (Dear Motherfuckin Dreams)" by Essex Hemphill

Wayson Jones performed:
"American Wedding" by Essex Hemphill
Unpublished poems by Essex Hemphill

Michelle Parkerson performed:
"Black Beans" by Essex Hemphill
"Sister Lesbos" by Donald Woods

NB: all but one of these poems are still up for discussion at future meetings!

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Habit of Art

Richard has asked me to point out that Alan Bennett's new play The Habit of Art, currently playing at the National Theatre in London, will have a "live" performance on the big screen in DC's Shakespeare Theater's Sidney Harmon Hall on May 3. Admission is general but reservations are required and may soon be unobtainable! I've just read the play and think it very well may be a text we will choose to discuss. The playscript is a more challenging read than we've done so far (actors rehearsing for a play, sometimes being themselves, sometimes the characters in the play which they're rehearsing), in particular than Bennett's The History Boys, so viewing a production first might be helpful (though I expect there'll be a local production before we get around to reading it). The log line for The Habit of Art might be "W.H. Auden and Benjamin Britten end a twenty-five year estrangement to talk about the boys (and yes, Viriginia, we do mean boys) in their lives." Britten is at the moment composing his great opera of Thomas Mann's Death in Venice (which we read some years ago) and ostensibly turning to Auden for both encouragement and the courage to "come out" in an opera so revealing of himself.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

O, Mademoisselle O! :-)

Thanks again to Ross for organizing and graciously hosting our "fifth Wednesday" discussion last night of Vladimir Nabokov's short story/memoir (or the other way around, if you prefer), "Mademoisselle O." The seven Bookmen in attendance ranged from a few (like me) who had never read any of Nabokov's fiction, to others who were already highly knowledgeable about the author's life and works, but that made for a lively discussion as we compared translations and nuances.

Whatever our disagreements about specific facets of the story (such as whether Nabokov sympathizes or empathizes with the title character), we all agreed that it is a masterpiece. Of course, like every gem, the story has some flaws, but not nearly enough to obscure its beauty. (If I'm overstating the degree of consensus, I trust that someone in attendance will correct the record.)

The story is available in several different collections, so I commend it to you all. Cheers, Steve

Saturday, March 20, 2010

April 7, Special Event

Readings from Persistent Voices: Poetry by Writers Lost to AIDS by co-editor Philip Clark, poets Richard McCann, Kim Roberts, Bernard Welt, and special guests Michelle Parkerson and Wayson Jones — in Sumner School, for one hour, starting at 7 o'clock (note "early" starting time). We had such a good discussion of our first selection from this book that we're going to have to read fewer poets per meeting and have more meetings. Everyone will want to attend.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Persistent Voices

I very much enjoyed Wednesday's discussion. It's good to be back. FYI: Joe Brainard is one of the poets for our next meeting. There is an interesting 8 pg. essay on him in Edmund White's "Arts and Letters," pg. 234.

Friday, March 5, 2010

All That I Will Ever Be missing translation

On p. 26 of Alan Ball's play, which we just read, the hustler Omar mutters a sentence after Cynthia sends him packing. It's in Armenian, as Tim thought, and I asked a friend of mine to translate it. The translation is: "I'll fuck your mother, you stupid bitch." Omar's not at loss for words in Armenian or English.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

More info on "All That I Will Ever Be"

Greetings, Fellow Bookmen--

As Tim rightly said in his posting, the half-dozen of us who gathered last night took part in a lively, wide-ranging discussion of Alan Ball's play, "All That I Will Ever Be." Ken was kind enough to share the following info:

Andrew Holleran sees great significance in the play despite ambivalence about it in theatrical terms. Here's his review.

And for those who would like to check out the actor who understudied the part of Omar when the play ran at Studio Theater two years ago, Aaron Tone, here's a photo of him with his husband Andrew Sullivan.

Cheers, Steve


once again to Terry, for having found a translation of Omar's scene-ending "Mayrot koonem eshoo chap akhtcheek!" (p. 26), which I remember as "I'll fuck your mother you stupid she-ass!" Any Armenians in the audience would have been tipped off to "Omar's" identity early on. Why does he break out in Armenian? He's hardly been reluctant to curse in English. Perhaps he's been so intimated by Cynthia (who has the biggest balls of anyone in the play!) that he wants to be sure she picks up nothing he says, no matter how far away she is, nor how much under his breath he mutters it.

(Along these lines, and parenthetically, I'm puzzled that Ball misses the opportunity in Scene 2 (p.8) to specify the "something in flawless French" that Omar says, "much to Cynthia's delight." It's an opportunity for commentary which maybe he'll take up in a future revision.)

Separate and Superior and Sly

I enjoyed last night's discussion of Alan Ball's All That I Will Ever Be immensely, came away with a much greater insight into the play, and convinced that ambitious, failed plays, as I think we all agreed this was, can be so much more worth discussing than successes like Douglas Carter Beane's The Little Dog Laughed (though entirely enjoyable on its own). Character and plot occupied us so thoroughly throughout the hour that we didn't get to the themes of the play, such as difference (which may answer the question why Omar is so socially inept and at thirty-five still a floor salesman at Circuit Guys). Nor did we have a chance to read out favorite lines, an activity that certainly would have occupied a good five or ten minutes. I'm going to do both of those with this post, quoting from Act 1, Scene 6, Dwight and Omar's second time together, when Omar extols sucking cock while denying he's gay:

DWIGHT. (Baffled.) So what makes one gay, then, if it's not enjoying sex with members of the same sex?
OMAR. (A distasteful face.) It's not sex. It's an energy, an uptightness, a closed-offness. A feeling of being separate and superior and sly. Of always being on the lookout, searching for bodies, for youth, for cocks, that can be taken and consumed and then cast aside like refugees [like Omar!] that nobody cares if they live or die.

Whether this applies only to a tiny segment of our community or even speaks merely to Omar's view of that tiny segment, I find this very provocative. I've never been so alive to the possibility of someone's being authentically homo/bisexual but not gay.

Aristophanes Revisited

I've posted poems by Henri Cole before. This one is from the January 10 issue of The New York Review of Books.


Do not show how jealous you are. Do not
show how much you care. Do not think the bunch
of flowers in his hand connects the hand to you.
Do not close your eyes and kiss the funny
lips. Do not twist your torso, touching yourself
like a monkey. Do not put your mouth
on the filthy place that changes everything.
Do not utter the monosyllable twice that is
the signature of dogdom. Do not, afterward,
appear mangy with old breath, scrutinizing
every hole. And do not think—touching his hair,
licking, sucking and being sucked in the same
instant, no longer lonely—that you
are two animals perfect as one.

One of these days I'm sure we're going to read one of his books. I like how "One Animal" becomes increasingly gender-specific (male/male!) and physical, and twisted—literally—from Aristophanes' original uncut human.

Friday, February 26, 2010

A couple of New York Times articles on gay theater

As we prepare to discuss Alan Ball's play, "All That I Will Ever Be," here are a couple of links to New York Times articles that are worth checking out:

Feb. 23, 2010 NYT: "New Gay Theater Has More Love Than Politics" by Patrick Healy. It posits that "A new breed of theater is replacing the political messages of 1990s shows with more personal appeals for social progress." (Thanks, Ken.)

Feb. 7, 2007 NYT review of the Alan Ball play: "When Boy Meets Gay Hustler, Some Personal Truths Are Sure to Emerge" by Charles Isherwood. (Thanks, Glenn.)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Pearls from New Directions

Beginning February 2010, New Directions will release its new Pearl series of small books, including the following titles, each priced under $10:

Patriotism by Yukio Mishima, translated by Geoffrey W. Sargen.

In Search of Duende by Federico García Lorca, translated by Christopher Mauer (poems translated by Norman di Giovanni, Edwin Honig, Langston Hughes, Lysander Kemp, W. S. Merwin, Stephen Spender, J. L. Gili and Christopher Mauer).

Tales of Desire by Tennessee Williams.

Andy Warhol at Theater J

Theater J in association with Jonathan Reinis Productions will present Josh Kornbluth’s performance of Andy Warhol: Good for the Jews? March 6 to 21 in collaboration with director David Dower. The play considers the pop trickster, who was commissioned to paint ten Jewish notables. In wrestling with Warhol’s motives and style, Kornbluth explores his religious identity and the spiritual dimensions of Warhol’s art.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Some Dance to Remember--or Forget?

Greetings, Fellow Bookmen--

Apologies for the delay in posting this message, but I did want to report that we had a good turnout and a lively, wide-ranging discussion of Jack Fritscher's Some Dance to Remember: A Memoir-Novel of San Francisco, 1970-1982, at last week's meeting.

One of the recurring themes of the evening was whether the "real" gay community is any more cohesive than the author's rather pessimistic viewpoint would suggest. We didn't reach any real consensus on that point, partly because the novel's approach is so polemical--though that failing is perhaps inevitable given the fact that Ryan O'Hara, the exceedingly rigid, and troubled, advocate for "homomasculinism," is the central figure. He is definitely hard to root for, as are most of the characters, with the exceptions of Solly and Kweenie (Ryan's sister).

We all agreed, more or less, that Fritscher demonstrated commendable ambition, both in the sheer scope of the story and the philosophical, political and aesthetic issues he tackles; "sprawling" was a word several used. Alas, the quality of his writing was not quite up to the task. Even those like myself who enjoyed the book and would recommend it grew impatient at the author's tendency to repeat himself. For instance, was it REALLY necessary for Magnus to spell out over and over, in almost identical language, again Ryan's awareness that words often have two layers of meaning?! And as one member commented, there were so many journal entries that it appeared Fritscher had just dumped them into the story.

On a more positive note, even some of those who did not think the novel truly "worked" enjoyed Fritscher's descriptions of the place and time. And while we were all, to varying degrees, left disappointed, I would still call it a noble effort well worth reading. But I speak only for myself in that regard.

Note that the author himself has posted a comment on Walter's item about the origin of the title (scroll down).

Cheers, Steve

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Toibin on Gunn

The New York Review of Books has an article in the January 14 issue, available in print or to subscribers of the electronic edition, by Colm Toibin on a new selection of Thom Gunn's poetry and includes a review of essays on Gunn's poetry as well as a volume of selected poems of Fulke Grenville edited with an introduction by Gunn. The heart of the review of Toibin's discussion of Gunn as a man and a poet, and well worth reading.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The 99-Minute Cologne Ad

"Commentary" on A Single Man aside, I'd like to hear from the appreciators' of Tom Ford's movie. I was suspicious when I saw the trailers and most of the reviews since have only made me more so. All the way from Anthony Lane's New Yorker review

We know, for instance, how English professors dress: some trim-suited and clerical, others avuncular in tweed, many too deep in Dryden to be bothered with their outward crust, and one or two no better than compost heaps. Not this lot. They look as spry and as spotless as an advertising spread in L'Uomo Vogue. Who's in charge here, for heaven's sake—a fashion designer?

to my very local Gazette's partly favorable review: "Unfortunately, Ford falls victim to the trappings of a young film student." And it's just laughable the idea that Colin Firth at 48 (or even 58!), and no matter how dressed, would have trouble or doubts about picking up just about anybody he wants (unless he were truly psychotic)!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Title source for "Some Dance to Remember "

(Posted on behalf of Walter)

Some of you may have already figured out where the title of our Jan. 6 selection, Jack Fritscher's Some Dance to Remember,
comes from. I knew I'd heard/read the phrase "Some dance to remember, some dance to forget." The words are in the lyrics of The Eagles' "Hotel California." "Hotel California" appears a few times in the book. The reference seems appropriate because of some similar hedonistic nightmarishness in the story--plus its location.

"Hotel California"

On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair
Warm smell of colitas, rising up through the air
Up ahead in the distance, I saw shimmering light
My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim
I had to stop for the night.

There she stood in the doorway;
I heard the mission bell
And I was thinking to myself,
'This could be Heaven or this could be Hell'
Then she lit up a candle and she showed me the way.

There were voices down the corridor,
I thought I heard them say...

Welcome to the Hotel California
Such a lovely place (Such a lovely place)
Such a lovely face
Plenty of room at the Hotel California
Any time of year (Any time of year)
You can find it here

Her mind is Tiffany-twisted, she got the Mercedes bends
She got a lot of pretty, pretty boys she calls friends
How they dance in the courtyard, sweet summer sweat.
Some dance to remember, some dance to forget

So I called up the Captain,
'Please bring me my wine'.
He said, 'We haven't had that spirit here since nineteen sixty nine'
And still those voices are calling from far away,
Wake you up in the middle of the night
Just to hear them say...

Welcome to the Hotel California
Such a lovely place (Such a lovely place)
Such a lovely face.
They livin' it up at the Hotel California
What a nice surprise (what a nice surprise)
Bring your alibis.

Mirrors on the ceiling,
The pink champagne on ice
And she said, 'We are all just prisoners here, of our own device'.

And in the master's chambers,
They gathered for the feast
They stab it with their steely knives,
But they just can't kill the beast

Last thing I remember, I was
Running for the door
I had to find the passage back
To the place I was before.

'Relax,' said the night man,
'We are programmed to receive.
You can check-out any time you like,
But you can never leave!'