Born in Brooklyn, New York, Tavel graduated from Brooklyn College and later attended the University of Wyoming, where he earned a Master's degree in creative writing in 1959. Tavel worked as a screenwriter during the 1960s for many of Andy Warhol's underground films including Chelsea Girls. Tavel worked with other members of Warhol's Factory crowd, including Freddie Herko, Ondine, Mary Woronov, Billy Name, and Brigid Berlin. He also received the Obie Award for Outstanding Contribution to Theater in 1969, for the musical drama Boy On the Straight-Back Chair.
Tavel later founded, named, and was heavily involved with the Playhouse of the Ridiculous, a New York City theatre presenting works produced and directed by John Vaccaro, Harvey Tavel, and Charles Ludlam. Tavel provided the one-sentence manifesto for The Theatre of the Ridiculous: "We have passed beyond the Absurd: our position is absolutely preposterous."
In 1975, Tavel was appointed Artist-in-Residence to The Yale University Divinity School or his contributions to formal theology and religious theatre (notably, the Obie-Award winning play Bigfoot). In 1977, he was re-appointed to that position for the three-act play Gazelle Boy.
In 1980, he was appointed the First Playwright-in-Residence at Cornell University where he was commissioned to write the melodrama, The Understudy, which starred a young Jimmy Smitts. In 1986, Tavel was appointed Distinguished Visiting Assistant Professor in Creative Writing at The University of Colorado at Boulder.
On March 23, 2009, Tavel died of a heart attack on a flight from Berlin to Bangkok at the age of 72. Tavel had lived in Bangkok for twelve years.
Ronald Ravel by Robert Giard
American photographer Robert Giard is renowned for his portraits of American poets and writers; his particular focus was on gay and lesbian writers. Some of his photographs of the American gay and lesbian literary community appear in his groundbreaking book Particular Voices: Portraits of Gay and Lesbian Writers, published by MIT Press in 1997. Giard’s stated mission was to define the literary history and cultural identity of gays and lesbians for the mainstream of American society, which perceived them as disparate, marginal individuals possessing neither. In all, he photographed more than 600 writers. (http://beinecke.library.yale.edu/digital
Chain by Ronald Tavel
Paperback: 318 pages
Publisher: Fast Books (May 1, 2012)
Bangkok 1982 - A young American English teacher falls in love with a male prostitute known as Chain and finds himself implicated in a dense web of international crime and politics and driven to desperate acts. An epic love story and a shocking exposé of the frenzied sex capital of Southeast Asia in the last moments before the AIDS plague, Ronald Tavel's brilliant novel is a new gay classic!
More Particular Voices at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Particular Voices
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