Monday, July 22, 2013

OutWrite 2013

… is upon us (first weekend in August). Detailed information is at the DC Center or, for a quick look at the schedule, click on the image below.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

"a Morris Finestein"

Posted for John:

In our excellent discussion of "The Ballad of the Sad Café" last night, one point we didn't get to: on p. 9 in the edition most of us had, speaking of Cousin Lymon, "one of the twins" says: "I'll be damned if he ain't a regular Morris Finestein." The narrator goes on to explain:

Morris Finestein was a person who had lived in the town years before. He was only a quick, skipping little Jew who cried if you called him a Christ-killer, and ate light bread and canned salmon every day. A calamity had come over him and he had moved away to Society City. But since then if a man were prissy in any way, or if a man ever wept, he was known as a Morris Finestein.

"Well, he is afflicted," said Stumpy MacPhail. 'There is some cause.'"

I infer the "calamity" was something that directly revealed that Finestein was homosexual. What makes the townsmen think of him at this point is the fact that Cousin Lymon has started crying. I don't know if MacPhail's comment implies he thinks maybe Lymon isn't actually a Finestein. But interesting that nothing further is said about this possible aspect of Lymon.

Anyway, I hope Finestein had a better time in Society City—sounds more like his kind of place.

P.S. I remember years (decades) ago running across a parody entitled "The Salad of the Bad Café". I just googled this title, and find that it is listed in the table of contents of Twentieth Century Parody: American and British, ed. Burling Lowrey and Nathaniel Benchley. The author of the parody was Julian MacLaren Ross, a British novelist. I haven't recovered the text. The googling also turned up all kinds of more recent stuff with the Salad title—a performance art piece, an Australian short story ...

Amelia Redgrave

I was vaguely aware that there had been a movie version of "The Ballad of the Sad Café" but hadn't checked it out until after our discussion last night. The trailer corresponds to nothing in my reading, but Vanessa Redgrave is always worth watching. And then I noticed on IMDb that Simon Callow had directed and that Edward Albee had written the screenplay … from his own 1963 adaptation of the novella (and by now it was beginning to all come back to me). The playscript is in print and might prove a worthwhile follow-up to last night's discussion.

Thursday, July 4, 2013


For whatever reason (and for whatever it may be worth) this is the final paragraph, which didn't make it into the book (hardcopy):

Rules can feel restrictive and yet liberating. Sometimes, following the Grindr rules I feel mechanical, but I also understand they create a framework to interact within and knowing them makes each step feel more certain. Arrive at Grindr with a playful mindset, viewing it as a game—it'll make the rejections feel less stinging and the interaction more fun. Slow down the perusal of guys: check out one profile at a time to weaken the assessment mode. Message more people, because these apps are numbers games, using favourites to sort and blocks to clear, and, for better or worse, don't necessarily believe what people write. Remember that visuals count, and pick your profile image accordingly. Create profiles that are easy to understand, as to reduce ambiguity. Take a page from Twitter and Facebook and update profile pictures often (even if it is hard to let go of that super-cute picture from a few years ago) and attempt to go real-time because it introduces novelty and will draw more interest. It's okay to follow the Grindr script, because it helps reveal what each person is looking for. If it leads to an in-person meetup, do it immediately or within a short period to avoid shopping cart abandonment. Keep yourself sane by not setting crazy expectations upon the encounter (like love, for example). Use Grindr as an excuse to see the town, as you'll also draw new men on screen. And finally, don't depend on just Grindr, because it is the Cookie Crisp cereal part of the a [sic] complete breakfast.

All of which parts may seem obvious … but nicely put together, I think, as a whole.

vulnerabile and undesirable

Jaime Woo writes in Meet Grindr : "Simkhai is an attractive, smart man with a warm smile who has maintained a vulnerability … I can only imagine how competitive the New York dating scene must have been for him to feel undesirable."

Oofta — my imagination fails me! J.S. looks to me like one very hot little puppy. It is, however, perhaps indicative of what a difference there is between the Toronto scene and the New York one and how different Woo's book might have been had he lived and written in the latter.

Name & Logo

Grindr creator Joel Simkhai gave these answers in an interview with the Daily Extra:

Xtra: Can you explain what the name and logo are about?

Simkhai: The word Grindr comes from a coffee grinder. We’re mixing people up together, a bit of a social stew. It is a little bit rough – not to mix, but to grind. Our design, logo, colouring – we wanted something a little bit tougher, rough. It’s also very masculine. It’s a masculine word, sound. We wanted something that wasn’t necessarily about being gay. It could be anything.

We looked at this notion of meeting people and the idea is very much a basic human need to relax and to socialize. I went back to primitive tribal arts in Africa and Polynesia. One of the things I saw was these primal masks. It brings us back to basics, primal needs. Socialization is the basis of humanity.