Friday, December 24, 2010
And speaking of which, a friend J.C. (not né 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
Saturday, November 27, 2010
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
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
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
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
The first list is Richard Canning's 50 Gay and Lesbian Books Everybody Must Read:
Yahweh Samuel 1 & 2
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
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
(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
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
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 group. The 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 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 http://www.facebook.com/help/?page=1193 . 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 (BookmenDC@groups.facebook.com for my test group)
Facebook Pages is only an option for more formal organizations than ours http://www.facebook.com/help/?page=904 .
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
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.
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
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.)
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 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.”
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.
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).
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
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
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
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
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Friday, September 3, 2010
… 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
"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
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Monday, July 12, 2010
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Saturday, June 19, 2010
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
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)
Sunday, May 16, 2010
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
Friday, April 16, 2010
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
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
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
Thursday, April 1, 2010
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
Saturday, March 6, 2010
Friday, March 5, 2010
Thursday, March 4, 2010
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.
(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.)
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.
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
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
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.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
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).
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
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
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.
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!'