September 2, 2014

Giovanni’s Room, the Cape Henlopen Censorship Controversy, and More LGBT News

Posted on August 24, 2014 by in Features, News

This week in the LGBT-themed arts:

The rumor reported in an earlier roundup has been confirmed: Philly AIDS Thrift has signed a two-year lease that will keep Giovanni’s Room–the oldest LGBT bookstore in the U.S.–open in the same location, saving it from permanently closing its doors. (more…)

James Franco Plays Ex-Gay Journalist, Queering Franz Kafka, and More LGBT News

Posted on August 16, 2014 by in Features, News

This week in the LGBT-themed arts:

James Franco is portraying Michael Glatze,  a former gay journalist and founder of two LGBT publications who inexplicably became a right-wing Christian and renounced his sexuality, in the upcoming biopic Michael, which is currently in production. The film is an adaptation of a 2011 New York Times Magazine article by writer Benoit Denizet-Lewis. (more…)

View Pictures from this Year’s Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBT Voices

Posted on August 15, 2014 by in News

Lambda Literary’s Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBT Voices took place this month from the 3rd of August to the 10th in Los Angles, California. The retreat–the first program of its kind ever offered to LGBTQ writers–is a one-week intensive workshop immersion in fiction, nonfiction, genre fiction and poetry. The retreat is an unparalleled opportunity for emerging writers to learn from the very best writers in the LGBT community. (more…)

The Walt Whitman Award, Essex Hemphill, ‘Fun Home’ on Broadway, and More LGBT News

Posted on August 8, 2014 by in Features, News

This week in the LGBT-themed arts:

A $5,000 award, a first-publication deal with Graywolf Press and a residency in Umbria, Italy now make the Academy of American Poets‘ Walt Whitman Award for poetry debuts the most valuable such award in U.S. literature. (more…)

New in August: Richard House, Walter Frank, Penny Mickelbury, and Pier Paolo Pasolini

Posted on August 5, 2014 by in News

New month, new books! August  is upon us, and so are a slew of new and noteworthy LGBT books.

This month, writer Richard House delves into the “ashes of war-torn Iraq, Italy and areas in between in the Man Booker Prize longlisted novel The Kills (Picador). (more…)

PEN Literary Awards, OutWrite in DC, Anna Paquin on Larry King, and More LGBT News

Posted on August 1, 2014 by in Features, News

This week in the LGBT-themed arts:

This year’s PEN Literary Awards have been announced, and gay poet Frank Bidart has won the $5000 PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry. His citation, which singles out his most recent collection Metaphysical Dog, reads, “No poet of our time has so embodied conflict, creating living expressions of a consciousness moving through guilts and unmastered desires without resorting to easy resolutions.” (more…)

Giovanni’s Room Reopening, a Lack of Gay Characters in Mainstream Films, and Other LGBT News

Posted on July 24, 2014 by in Features, News

This week in the LGBT-themed arts:

Hope is not lost: Giovanni’s Room in Philadelphia–the oldest LGBT bookstore in the U.S., which closed its doors earlier this year amidst a trend of online book retailers outpacing independent local businesses–may reopen(more…)

Fonseca’s Literary Sass: Censorship, Censorship, and More Censorship, and New Highsmith-Inspired Music

Posted on July 11, 2014 by in News

Lately, in literary censorship:

A theater company in Flowertown, South Carolina is in jeopardy of losing $3,000 in funding after a city councilman voiced disdain over the Flowertown Players’ recent (and wildly successful) production of Jonathan Larson’s Rent:

It was one of the raunchiest things I’d ever seen in my life – and I’m far from being a prude,” Jenkins said at a finance committee meeting earlier this week. “I just thought it was totally inappropriate for a neighborhood community.”

The fight for queer artistic freedom is no stranger to South Carolina. You may remember that College of Charleston came under scrutiny for featuring Allison Bechdel’s Fun Home in curriculum. Despite a collective outcry from CoC students, the newly-minted state educational budget mandates that these institutions use a respective $52,000 and $17,000 in funding “for instruction in the provisions and principles of the United States Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Federalist Papers, including the study of and devotion to American institutions and ideals.”

Because if nothing says, “I don’t want to spend tax dollars on immorality,” it’s spending three times that amount of tax dollars on state-imposed morality.

If you were under the impression that these issues were indigenous to the red states, think again:

A school board in Delaware recently voted 6-1 to remove Emily M. Danforth’s The Miseducation of Cameron Post from Cape Henlopen High School’s optional summer reading list. Like in the instance of Rent, the dissenting board members spoke in general terms about the work of literature’s offensiveness, begging the question of whether or they had actually read the work:

The school board president, Spencer Brittingham , did “some research” and concluded that the book was “not appropriate” for high school freshmen. It’s for more mature students–you know, like “sophomores or juniors.” He perused the book a little and found “four or five” F-bombs.

AfterEllen has an excellent write-up of this case that highlights its double standards and lists the email addresses of the dissenting school board members.

As if this weren’t enough:

The Singapore government has ordered the country’s National Library Board to remove and destroy three LGBT YA books from library shelves, including The White Swan Express: A Story About AdoptionWho’s In My Family: All About Our Families, and–perhaps most amusingly–And Tango Makes Three (the true account of two male penguins raising a chick together at New York’s Central Park Zoo). The decision has been met with much criticism in Singapore and virtually. One opponent has drafted a petition which currently has more than 2,000 signatures.

If you need a pick-me-up after that:

The same week that Delaware’s Cape Henlopen voted on the fate of Cameron Post, gay YA author David Levithan gave an insightful interview to Delaware Online:

It’s never too early to foster kindness and equal treatment, for whatever group. So much of the pain that LGBT kids go through is because they feel distanced from all of the narratives they’ve been given. They’ve been told that everyone grows up a certain way, and now their own way is diverging from that.

The best thing parents can do, whether their kids end up queer or straight, is to acknowledge all of the different options that are out there, and letting their kids know that they support them no matter which options end up being theirs.

The folks at Out Magazine have crafted a thorough timeline of queer sex throughout the ages, beginning with Sappho and ending in present times.

Electronica artist Goldfrapp’s new single sounds reminiscent of Ingénue-era k.d. lang. The music video for “Stranger” is also drenched in Sapphic melancholy. Filmed in black and white, the narrative traces the love and loss shared between two women in a beachside town.

Given that Goldfrapp has called Tales of Us an exploration of “memory, identity, and gender” and has cited Patricia Highsmith as a key influence for the album, this is hopefully just a taste of what’s to come.

Until next week!

Frank M. Robinson Remembered, the Outfest Film Festival, and Other LGBT News

Posted on July 8, 2014 by in Features, News

This week in the LGBT-themed arts:

Beloved writer Frank M. Robinson died on Monday, June 30th; the science fiction author, who served as speechwriter to San Francisco politician Harvey Milk, wrote Milk’s famed “You’ve Got to Have Hope” speech. (more…)

New in July: Judith Frank, Benoit Denizet-Lewis, Mary Meriam, Genny Beemyn, and Jason Whitesel

Posted on July 3, 2014 by in News

New month, new books! July is upon us, and so are a slew of new and noteworthy LGBT books.

This month, writer Judith Frank explores the shifting paradigms of parenthood and family in her new novel All I Know and I Love (William Morrow). (more…)