January 9th, 2012

andrew potter

Queer History: Countee Cullen (May 30, 1903 – January 9, 1946)

Countee Cullen (May 30, 1903 – January 9, 1946) was an American poet who was popular during the Harlem Renaissance.

Cullen was an American poet and a leading figure with Langston Hughes in the Harlem Renaissance. This 1920s artistic movement produced the first large body of work in the United States written by African Americans. However, Cullen considered poetry raceless, although his 'The Black Christ' took a racial theme, lynching of a black youth for a crime he did not commit.

Countee Cullen was very secretive about his life. According to different sources, he was born in Louisville, Kentucky or Baltimore, Maryland. Cullen was possibly abandoned by his mother, and reared by a woman named Mrs. Porter, who was probably his paternal grandmother. Cullen once said that he was born in New York City, but may not have meant it literally. Porter brought young Countee to Harlem when he was nine. She died in 1918. At the age of 15, Cullen was adopted by the Reverend F.A. Cullen, minister of Salem Methodist Episcopal Church, one of the largest congregations of Harlem. Later Reverend Cullen became the head of the Harlem chapter of National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). His real mother did not contact him until he became famous in the 1920s.

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Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Countee_Cullen
Although gay social networks played an important role in the construction of the Harlem Renaissance, they were carefully hidden. Most of its writers, like most other middle-class African-Americans, endeavored to keep their homosexuality a secret from the straight world. Even Bruce Nugent, the most audacious of the circle, published his story under the name Richard Bruce to avoid embarassing his parents. Countee Cullen, who had begun to identify himself as gay before he turned twenty and was involved in several long-term relationships with men, twice married women in search of respectability. His first wedding, to Yolande Du Bois, daughter of W.E.B. Du Bois, was one of the major social events of 1928, but their marriage quickly foundered. Yolande appears to have cooperated in making sure that the Harlem press reported Cullen was infatuated with another woman, but she confided to her father that Cullen's homosexuality was the problem. Cullen married again twelve years later, even though he was romantically involved with another man. As Reimonenq has shown, Cullen became increasingly concerned in the 1930s and 1940s to hide his homosexual liaisons, using codes to refer to them in his letters to friends and signing letters to his beloved with a pseudonym. Cullen had quickly become one of the most celebrated poets of the Harlem Renaissance and had no illusions about what the revelation of his homosexuality could do to his career. --Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940 by George Chauncey
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andrew potter

Eminent Outlaws: Joan Baez (born January 9, 1941)

Joan Chandos Baez (born January 9, 1941) is an American folk singer, songwriter, musician and a prominent activist in the fields of human rights, peace and environmental justice.

Baez has a distinctive vocal style, with a strong vibrato. Her recordings include many topical songs and material dealing with social issues.

Baez began her career performing in coffeehouses in Boston and Cambridge, and rose to fame as an unbilled performer at the 1959 Newport Folk Festival. She began her recording career in 1960, and achieved immediate success. Her first three albums, Joan Baez, Joan Baez, Vol. 2, and Joan Baez in Concert all achieved gold record status, and stayed on the charts for two years.

Baez has had a popular hit song with "Diamonds & Rust" and hit covers of Phil Ochs's "There but for Fortune" and The Band's "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down". Other songs associated with Baez include "Farewell, Angelina", "Love Is Just a Four-Letter Word", "Joe Hill", "Sweet Sir Galahad" and "We Shall Overcome". She performed three of the songs at the 1969 Woodstock Festival, helped to bring the songs of Bob Dylan to national prominence, and has displayed a lifelong commitment to political and social activism in the fields of nonviolence, civil rights, human rights and the environment.

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Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joan_Baez

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andrew potter

Eminent Outlaws: Richard Barr (September 6, 1917 – January 9, 1989)

Richard Barr (6 September 1917 – 9 January 1989) was an award-winning American theater director and producer. He served as the president of the League of American Theatres and Producers from 1967 until his death.

Richard Barr was born on 6 September 1917 in Washington, D.C. under the name Richard Baer to parents David Alphonse Baer and Ruth Nanette Israel. In 1938, he graduated from Princeton University, where he had acted in various plays. From 1941 through 1945, Barr served as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force in World War II. He died of AIDS-related liver failure at Mount Sinai Hospital on 9 January 1989.

Richard Barr began his theatrical career as an actor in the company of Orson Welles at the Mercury Theatre. His first professional appearance came there in a production of Danton's Death in 1938. Later that year, he took part in the infamous radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds. Other than a brief stint of variety theatre at the Provincetown Playhouse in 1940, Barr remained with the company until he left for the war in 1941. After the war, Barr became an accomplished director and producer. In 1961, he won his first drama desk award. His 1962 original Broadway production of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? earned him two Tony Awards: Best Play and Best Producer (dramatic). His 1979 original Broadway production of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street earned him the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Musical and the Tony Award for Best Musical. In 1967 Barr was elected president of what was then known as the League of American Theatres and Producers, an office he would hold until his death in 1989. As president he shifted Broadway's curtain times from 8:30 PM to 7:30 PM in an effort to bring in more businessmen during the weeknights. The experiment was considered a success, though curtain times were later shifted to 8:00 PM, where they have remained to this day.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Barr
In 1938, Otis Bigelow, later a playwright and theatrical agent, while performing summer stock in Rye Beach, New Hampshire, met Gordon Merrick, an actor who had just graduated from Princeton. Bigelow and Merrick used to kiss, but nothing more. Although they shared an apartment when they reached New York, Bigelow was still planning to marry a woman. And quite quickly Gordon decided that he was "very into not being gay," Bigelow recalled.
Three decades later, Merrick wrote The Lord Won't Mind, one of the first gay novels to become a best-seller in the seventies, and he modeled one of its beautiful young men after Bigelow. The other man sharing their apartment was Richard Barr, another Princeton graduate who went to work for the Mercury Theatre that fall and partecipated in Orson Welles's menacing broadcast of The War of the Worlds. Later, Barr became one of the Broadway's most illustrious impresarios. He was Edward Albee's confidant and produced many of Albee's most important plays, including The Zoo Story, Tiny Alice and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? He coproduced Mart Crowley's The Boys in the Band in 1968, and, eleven years later, Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd. For twenty-one years, he was president of the League of American Theatres and Producers. --The Gay Metropolis: The Landmark History of Gay Life in America by Charles Kaiser
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andrew potter

In the Spotlight: Armistead Maupin

The Book: "I'm a fabulist by trade," warns Gabriel Noone, a late-night radio storyteller, as he begins to untangle the skeins of his tumultuous life: his crumbling ten-year love affair, his disaffection from his Southern father, his longtime weakness for ignoring reality. Gabriel's most sympathetic listener is Pete Lomax, a thirteen-year-old fan in Wisconsin whose own horrific past has left him wise and generous beyond his years. But when this virtual father-son relationship is rocked by doubt, a desperate search for the truth ensues. Welcome to the complex, vertiginous world of The Night Listener.

Amazon: The Night Listener
Amazon Kindle: The Night Listener
Paperback: 342 pages
Publisher: Harper Perennial (July 25, 2006)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0061120200
ISBN-13: 978-0061120206

Other Books in the List:

Michael Tolliver Lives. New York: HarperCollins. 2007.
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Harper Perennial (May 20, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0060761369
Amazon: Michael Tolliver Lives

Mary Ann in Autumn. New York: HarperCollins. 2010.
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (October 4, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0061470899
Amazon: Mary Ann in Autumn

The first Tales of the City

Tales of the City. New York: Harper & Row. 1978.
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Harper Perennial (May 29, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0061358304
Amazon: Tales of the City

More Tales of the City. New York: Harper & Row. 1980.
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Harper Perennial (May 5, 1998)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0060929383
Amazon: More Tales of the City

Further Tales of the City. New York: Harper & Row. 1982.
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Harper Perennial (January 7, 1994)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0060924926
Amazon: Further Tales of the City

Babycakes. New York: Harper & Row. 1984.
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Harper Perennial; 8th Printing edition (January 7, 1994)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0060924837
Amazon: Babycakes

Significant Others. New York: Harper & Row. 1987.
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Harper Perennial (September 6, 1989)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0060964081
Amazon: Significant Others

Sure of You. New York: Harper & Row. 1989.
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Harper Perennial (January 7, 1994)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0060924845
Amazon: Sure of You

The Author: Armistead Maupin was born in Washington, D.C., in 1944 but grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. A graduate of the University of North Carolina, he served as a naval officer in the Mediterranean and with the River Patrol Force in Vietnam.

Maupin worked as a reporter for a newspaper in Charleston, South Carolina, before being assigned to the San Francisco bureau of the Associated Press in 1971. In 1976 he launched his groundbreaking Tales of the City serial in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Maupin is the author of ten novels, including the seven-volume Tales of the City series, Maybe the Moon, The Night Listener and, most recently, Mary Ann in Autumn. Three miniseries starring Olympia Dukakis and Laura Linney were made from the first three Tales novels. The Night Listener became a feature film starring Robin Williams and Toni Collette.

Maupin lives in San Francisco with his husband, Christopher Turner.


Top Gay Novels List (*)

First Decade (2000-2009): http://www.elisarolle.com/ramblings/top_100_gay_novels_2.htm

Second Decade (2010-2019): http://www.elisarolle.com/ramblings/top_100_gay_novels_2.2.htm

*only one title per author, only print books released after January 1, 2000.

Note: I remember to my friends that guest reviews of the above listed books (the top 100 Gay Novels) are welcome, just send them to me and I will post with full credits to the reviewer.

Other titles not in the top 100 list:

andrew potter

Awakenings by Tara Larson

The story of 28 years old Sean awakening to his gay self was nice and well-plotted. Sean didn’t jump out of bed one day saying, I’m gay, be right with that, but he went through a self-questioning process, whose output could have been also his falling into depression. Sean knew there was something not right in his relationship with his girlfriend, he knew he didn’t want to end law school and enter the family firm, but he needed a push towards the right direction, or better, to be pushed out of the common track.

A weekend at Miami Beach and the meeting with Adam is more than a push. Adam is a dream man, model-beauty, nice and friendly, good upbringing and with a nice income. Aside from being a man, he would be the perfect fiancé for Sean’s conservative family, but being gay Sean thinks is not an option for him. And so when he realizes that all his discontent could be solved by acknowledging his desire for Adam AND his artistic side (and so a more creative chosen career), he also thinks that he has to break his connections with his previous life. He will have a surprise from his family, maybe not all of them, but it will be a good surprise.

My feeling for this story is mostly good, maybe I feel like the author was a little rushed with the real ending, i.e. when she dealt with Sean’s relationship with his family and their reaction to Sean’s news and then with Sean and Adam’s relationship start-up, wherelse she decided to give a further look into their future life. The last 3 chapters of the novels (50 pages out of 276 total) are almost a story of their own, like one of those novellas authors write about some of their favourite characters, to give the fans something more about them. It’s an original choice, and for sure it gives a sure stamp to the love story, but as I said, I would have not minded for Sean to deal a little more with his family after they found out about him, and instead he let the bomb drop and took away… probably a wise choice, considering it was not an easy situation to deal with, and maybe give it “space” will serve also to dilute the tension, but I feel like there are open questions there.


Amazon: Awakenings
Amazon Kindle: Awakenings
Paperback: 280 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (January 6, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1613723253
ISBN-13: 978-1613723258

Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle
andrew potter

Preditors & Editors™ Readers' Poll

The Preditors & Editors is very easy, everyone with an email address can vote, and you have many polls to chose within:


and here is the link to the Review Site poll:


Last 2 years my Livejournal ended among the first 10 positions:


The polls end in less than 16 hours. Wish to all people I know good luck on the various polls.