May 28th, 2009

andrew potter

Harlequin Art Exhibition: The Heart of a Woman - Harlequin Cover Art 1949--2009

Proud to have a place in the hearts of women for 60 years

NEW YORK and TORONTO, April 6 /PRNewswire/ -- In celebration of Harlequin's 60th anniversary, the internationally recognized publisher is sponsoring an exhibition of original cover art that will focus not only on the changing shape of desire and fantasy but also on the social meaning and context of these images. THE HEART OF A WOMAN: Harlequin Cover Art 1949--2009 debuts at the Openhouse Gallery in New York City on May 29, 2009, and will be on view until June 12, 2009.

By presenting 60 years of cover artwork, the exhibition offers a unique insight into the profound transformations that have occurred in women's lives over the past six decades. These changes have been captured and reflected on the front of Harlequin novels--from shifts in private desires to shifts in the politics of gender. Although it is the stories of romance that charm the hearts of so many women, it is the artwork on the book covers that offers the first tantalizing hint of the pleasures that await between the covers.

The show also spotlights some of the notable names who created these stirring pieces and how the artistic process itself has changed over the decades. Over a hundred original works of art will be displayed, from Harlequin's beginnings in 1949 to the present day.

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Elizabeth Semmelhack is the head curator at a major museum in Toronto. As an independent curator, she has curated exhibitions at the Museum of Sex in New York and the St. Louis Art Museum. She has also been a consultant to the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She is the author of Heights of Fashion.

Harlequin Enterprises Limited is the global leader in series romance and one of the world's leading publishers of women's fiction, with titles issued worldwide in 28 languages and sold in 114 international markets. The company produces over 120 titles monthly and publishes more than 1,100 authors from around the world. Harlequin's Web site is located at Harlequin has offices in 19 countries, including offices in Toronto, New York and London. For more information please visit or

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Harlequin Cover Art 1949-2009
Openhouse Gallery
201 Mulberry Street
New York (Soho), NY
Private Event: May 29
Open to Public: May 30-June 12

SOURCE Harlequin Enterprises Limited

Marleah Stout, Senior Manager, Public Relations, Harlequin Enterprises Limited, +1-416-391-7009,; or for press inquiries:

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andrew potter

Dumb Jock by Jeff Erno

Dumb Jock is a coming of age book aimed to an adult target... or maybe I'm too old fashioned, and I really don't know how teenagers are these days. I would really like to be able to go back of 20 years and have the chance to read thise book with a 14 years old mind. Would I be really shocked to read about sex between a 14 years old boy and a 16 years old one? Truth be told there is sex, but it's a mid core level of detailed sex, there is no doubt what is happening between the two, but actually the author doesn't give us very much details. It's not a "behind closed door" type of sex, we are there in the room with the characters, but we have to cover with our imagination where the author doesn't describe something. For example there are blow-jobs, and even an anal sex scene, but actually I believe to have never found the word penis or some equivalent word. I have a clear physical impression of Jeff, small and lithe, a bit on the skinny side, and Brett, tall and muscular, and how Jeff feels protected when he is in Brett's arms, but actually that physical impression never deepens to intimate details (no description under the belt). Soooooo... I'm telling all these since I believe that the novel lacks in something? Not at all. For me it's a merit, since the book, without lacking of the sexy part, it's still innocent enough to be read by a young adult target.

Jeff is the classical nerd, a linguistic nerd: he loves to read, he likes books and musics, he is a good student, but all in all he is a pretty ordinary boy. Then all of sudden his life changes: he is asked to tutor in English another student, Brett, the football star of his high school. Jeff is almost blackmailed in doing so from the Physical Education teacher, who clearly tells him that, if he doesn't help Brett, he will not pass his class, and Jeff can't have it, since he needs all good grades to obtain a future full scholarship at College. What the PE teacher doesn't know, is that probably Jeff would have helped Brett anyway, since he has a crush on the other boy. Actually Jeff is not aware of the real nature of his feelings for Brett since in the small town where he lives, there is not hint of such a thing like gay or lesbian.

And now we arrived to the other interesting side of the book, the setting: the novel is set at the beginning of the '80 in a small town USA, this means before AIDS and probably before the rekindling of a string of bashing crimes in the USA. The author clearly stated that he chose to set the story in a ante-AIDS era to not focus on this aspect, Jeff and Brett's trouble are just enough without adding to them also the AIDS plague. But in a way, AIDS also unblocked the conscience of a lot of people, and also thier awareness that being different was not a condition so far from them. AIDS killed a lot of people and changed forever the life of the rest of them, but AIDS also revealed the biggest secret, that gay people are everywhere, even in the small town USA. Without this conscience, we can read of Jeff who, at 14 years old, is still not aware that the wet dreams he is having of Brett are due to his unrequited love for him. And when they fall in love, and it's real love, still Jeff tolerates that Brett treats him like a submissive, like if Brett was the man and Jeff the "fag"; I'm not saying that Brett doesn't love Jeff, but I'm saying that Brett has still big preconceptions on what is straight and what is gay, and those preconceptions can ruin their life.

Where Jeff is an easy character to like, also since he has to go through a lot of sad things so soon in his life, Brett is a bit harder to love. But truth be told, I think he is coherent with himself; he is not a bad guy, but he is for sure a spoiled brat. He has always had an easy life, an only child of a wealthy family, and thanks to his body and his average mind, he would probably have had not any problem in excel in his life, if he chose to live forever in that small town USA. But Brett happens to be gay and being gay in the '80 and living in a small town was not a choice. On the other hand, Brett being gay doesn't immediately makes him a perfect poster boy for gay guys: he still remains a spoiled brat. He still remains the classical jock who likes to be worshiped by his fans and pointed out at school. It's not an easy choice to renounce to all of this in the name of love... and don't forget that we are talking of a 16 years old guy, someone who is still living with his parents and still dependent from them.

Brett's immaturity balanced the even too much maturity of Jeff, that sometime made me wonder if he was really a 14 years old boy. But it's not uncommon that a boy has to grew before his time facing such events, and Jeff went through all the range, from being bullied at school, to having trouble at home, and so on. There are very sad events in the book, but there is also hope in the end... this is not like those gay novels that, to be truth, has to be hard and without romance. Dumb Jock is a nice romance, in the style of Bobby Michaels, but maybe with a little less smelly sex.

Amazon: Dumb Jock

Reading List: list&view=elisa.rolle