Friday, December 19, 2014

Even if you have no scholarly articles to upload, I think it is worth signing up for for articles on subjects you might be interested in. Our own Philip Clark has already published several.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

To Grandfather's House We Go...

Those of you who used the Exact Change edition of Denton Welch's In Youth Is Pleasure for our Dec. 3 discussion know that the book also includes an early piece, I Left My Grandfather's House (actually a fragment of Welch's journal). While we are not planning to discuss that work at a regular Bookmen meeting, I have now read it and commend it to anyone who enjoyed the novel. 

In particular, because I Left My Grandfather's House is told entirely in the first person, I wasn't distracted by the concerns about the author's voice or reliability I expressed during our discussion of the novel. I also found the shorter work held together well, though for me (as with In Youth Is Pleasure), the ending is problematic. Still, on balance, anyone who enjoyed the larger work will appreciate this one.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Calling All "Intelligent Homosexuals…"

Tony Kushner's "The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism and Socialism With a Key to the Scriptures" is currently playing in town at Theater J (16th and Q St NW) and you won't want to miss it. The story line concerns an aging widowed Italian-American family patriarch who is threatening suicide on a pretext as he can not face some realities of not meeting life goals, and the reactions and interactions of three adult sons and a daughter and numerous partners/spouses/tricks/ex-hubby (currently with benefits) and sister, who all comprise a large cast of well-developed and all superbly acted characters. Kushner's writing is tighter and stronger (in my opinion) than his other noteworthy hits including both installments of "Angels in America" and "Caroline or Change" all of which I enjoyed. There is a special treat of eye-candy in the form of actor Jim Whalen in the first act, scene two, which is a post-coital nude scene hilariously acted.

The themes are numerous: Among them are: dealing with one's own aging and unrealized goals, a son or daughter attempting to distinguish one's own goals in life from those of a narcissistic parent, gay marriage and infidelity, straight marriage and sperm donation, key moments in mid to late 20th century labor history, recapturing a lost youth and good looks by employing an escort, dedication of one's life to a cause, or religion, or relationship that you loose faith in, and many more. There is no shortage of post-show contemplation of what you just witnessed.

The production is strong: sets costumes, directing, all tops. Several upcoming performances have post-show discussions with the cast, led by different types of experts, from the theater, labor movements, or gay politics, all open to the public. Friday December 5th is "The Washington Blade Night", which I imagine is to encourage more gay attendance. My performance last weekend already had an audience at about 50% gay. I look forward to discussing this show with anyone who has seen it following one of our upcoming Book Men meetings. This Theater J production has seen areas of re-writing by Kushner from its previous performances. I wonder what others think of the character "Eli" and the last scene?
—posted by: Ernie

Addition by Tim: I believe regular $45 tickets for the Friday December 5th "Blade Night" production are being discounted to $30 if you enter BLADENIGHT in the Coupon Code box. I also understand that there will be NO tickets sold at the door.