October 15th, 2010

andrew potter

The Inside Reader: Aaron Fricke

Show me the books he loves and I shall know the man far better than through mortal friends - Silas Weir Mitchell
I "met" Aaron through another Inside Reader and I was immediately fascinated by his story: two books so far, but basically a story that made "history", the first guy to bring another guy to a prom date, or at least to pretend to be able to. A memoir that was probably inspiration for many other young guys with the same hope for the future. Aaron is also an extremely pleasent guy to talk with online, and he is still willing to share his experience with other people, something that it's very important today. So, please, welcome Aaron Fricke and list.

Aaron Fricke's Inside Reader List

Little Me: Patrick Dennis. Grab an LGBT friend or friends, make some room on your schedule, read this book aloud together, and be prepared to laugh your gd heads off at the social climbing/grace falling exploits of one Belle Poitrine and her arch nemesis Maria Montezuma. That's what I did years ago w/ my friend Jon. (By the same author who wrote Auntie Mame.)

Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Broadway (October 15, 2002)
Publisher Link: http://www.randomhouse.com/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9780767913478
ISBN-10: 0767913477
ISBN-13: 978-0767913478
Amazon: Little Me: The Intimate Memoirs of that Great Star of Stage, Screen and Television, Belle Poitrine (as told to Patrick Dennis)

Back in print at last! From the author of Auntie Mame: the bawdy, bestselling, bountifully illustrated autobiography of an imaginary diva whose life is one hilarious mishap after another. For Belle Poitrine, née Mayble Schlumpfert, all the world's a stage and she's the most important player on it. At once coy and coercive, with a name that means "beautiful bosom" in French, she claws her way from Striver's Row to the silver screen. Recalling Belle's career, which ranged from portraying Anne Boleyn in Oh, Henry to roles in both Sodom and its sequel Gomorrah (not to mention the classic Papaya Paradise), Little Me serves up copious quanitites of husbands, couture, and Pink Lady cocktails, with international adventures and a murder trial to boot. A runaway bestseller that made its way to Broadway, starring Sid Caesar in 1962 and Martin Short in 1998, Little Me is now reprinted--with all of the 150 historic, hysterical photographs depicting the funniest scenes from Belle's sordid life, including cameo appearances by the author and Rosalind Russell. Considered a collector's item, the first edition of Little Me was like a performance in book form. Now this glittering spoof of celebrity is gloriously reincarnated for connoisseurs of all things chick and cheeky.
Christopher and His Kind: Christopher Isherwood. Back in the early 80s, I had the great privilege to be introduced to Mr. Isherwood by the legendary LA gay activist, Morris Kight. At the time, I had not read anything Mr. Isherwood had written, and out of nerves, I blurted this out to him. What a relief when he laughed and made me feel as though I'd just said the most charming thing he'd ever heard. Afterward, I picked up and read this book; and by our next meeting I was able to tell him I had read something he had written.

Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: University of Minnesota Press (October 2001)
Publisher Link: http://www.upress.umn.edu/Books/I/isherwood_christopher.html
ISBN-10: 0816638632
ISBN-13: 978-0816638635
Amazon: Christopher and His Kind

Originally published in 1976, Christopher and His Kind covers the most memorable ten years in the writer's life-from 1929, when Isherwood left England to spend a week in Berlin and decided to stay there indefinitely, to 1939, when he arrived in America. His friends and colleagues during this time included W. H. Auden, Stephen Spender, and E. M. Forster, as well as colorful figures he met in Germany and later fictionalized in his two Berlin novels-who appeared again, fictionalized to an even greater degree, in I Am a Camera and Cabaret. What most impressed the first readers of this memoir, however, was the candor with which he describes his life in gay Berlin of the 1930s and his struggles to save his companion, a German man named Heinz, from the Nazis. An engrossing and dramatic story and a fascinating glimpse into a little-known world, Christopher and His Kind remains one of Isherwood's greatest achievements. A major figure in twentieth-century fiction and the gay rights movement, Christopher Isherwood (1904-1986) is the author of Down There on a Visit, Lions and Shadows, A Meeting by the River, The Memorial, Prater Violet, A Single Man, and The World in the Evening, all available from the University of Minnesota Press.

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About Aaron Fricke: Aaron Fricke is a gay rights activist. He was born January 25, 1962 in Providence, Rhode Island. He is best known for the pivotal case in which he successfully sued his high school for not allowing him to bring his boyfriend, Paul Guilbert, to the senior prom at Cumberland High School in Cumberland, Rhode Island.

Shortly after he came out in 1980, Fricke began seeing another male student. Fricke decided to bring him as his date to the prom. When the high school informed Fricke he could not bring him to the prom, he filed suit in U.S. District court. The presiding judge, Raymond J. Pettine, ruled in Fricke's favor, ordering the school to not only allow him and his partner to attend as a couple but also to provide enough security to ensure their safety. The case received considerable media attention, and news camera crews filmed and interviewed the couple at the dance.

The case set a precedent that has been used across the United States to establish a legal right for students to bring same sex partners to school proms and other school social events.

Fricke later wrote of his experience in a book, Reflections of a Rock Lobster: A Story about Growing Up Gay. He later collaborated with his father, Walter, on Sudden Strangers: the Story of a Gay Son and his Father, a book about their relationship and of the elder Fricke's coming to terms with his son's homosexuality. That book was published shortly after Walter Fricke's death from cancer in 1989.

Fricke's archive material, covering the period of writing the two books, is held in the San Francisco Public Library.


Reflections of a Rock Lobster: A Story about Growing Up Gay by Aaron Fricke
Paperback: 124 pages
Publisher: Alyson Books (March 1, 2000)
ISBN-10: 1555836070
ISBN-13: 978-1555836078
Amazon: Reflections of a Rock Lobster: A Story about Growing Up Gay

Reflections of a Rock Lobster has been widely praised as the best book ever written about growing up gay. It will be valuable for young people who are just beginning to understand their own and other people's sexuality, and for adults who work with teenagers and who need to know more about the 10% of the population that is gay.