December 11th, 2012

andrew potter

Eminent Outlaws: Allan Bérubé (December 3, 1946 – December 11, 2007)

Allan Ronald Bérubé (December 3, 1946 – December 11, 2007) was an American historian, activist, independent scholar, self-described "community-based" researcher and college drop-out, and award-winning author, best known for his research and writing about homosexual members of the American Armed Forces during World War II. He also wrote essays about the intersection of class and race in gay culture, and about growing up in a poor, working class family, his French-Canadian roots, and about his experience of anti-AIDS activism.

Among Bérubé's published works was the 1990 book Coming Out Under Fire, which examined the stories of gay men and women in the U.S. military between 1941 and 1945. The book used interviews with gay veterans, government documents, and other sources to discuss the social and political issues that faced over 9,000 servicemen and women during World War II. The book earned Bérubé the Lambda Literary Award for outstanding Gay Men's Nonfiction book of 1990 and was later adapted as a film in 1994, narrated by Salome Jens and Max Cole, with a screenplay by Bérubé and the film's director, Arthur Dong. The film received a Peabody Award for excellence in documentary media in 1995. Bérubé received a MacArthur Fellowship (often called the "genius grant") from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in 1996. He received a Rockefeller grant from the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in 1994 to research a book on the Marine Cooks and Stewards Union, and he was working on this book at the time of his death.


Allan Bérubé with John D'Emilio

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"I do my work now in the borderlands between social classes, between the university and the community, between heterosexual and homosexual, between educated speech and down-to-earth talk, between Franco-American and Québécois, between my family and the gay community."
"None of us can do our best work until we believe that the life of the mind really does belong to us."
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allan_B%C3%A9rub%C3%A9
Coming Out Under Fire, by Allan Berube is a non-fiction book, history, really, but so much of it reads like a good detective novel. For gays and lesbians this is just such a good, enlightening and yes, empowering story. It’s also very instructive, as Berube tells us about the coastal origins of what we know today as the American gay community. Today I watched a YouTube video of American soldiers in Afghanistan dancing together to a Lady Gaga song – it’s somehow comforting to know that queer soldiers were doing the equivalent all throughout WWII, and probably long before that! This book was also invaluable research for a WWII period movie script I wrote called “Me and Mamie O’Rourke.” --Jim Arnold
In Coming Out Under Fire, a super study of homosexuals who served in the American military during the Second World War, Allan Bérubé reports that the psychiatric establishment used an economic argument to convince the War Department of the need for psychiatric screenings. The government had spent more than $1 million caring for psychiatric casualties of World War I; in 1940, these victims still occupied more than half the beds in veteran's hospitals.
[...]
Unfortunately, as Bérubé explains, Sullivan and his colleagues "had carved out the territory on which others would build an antihomosexual barrier and the rationale for using it". Sullivan's belief in the relative insignificance of "sexual aberrations" in establishing mental illness was undermined as his plan was digested by the Washington bureaucracy. By the middle of 1941, the army and the Selective Service both included "homosexual proclivities" in their lists of disqualifying "deviations". --The Gay Metropolis: The Landmark History of Gay Life in America by Charles Kaiser
A final reason we have failed to see the gay subculture that existed before World War II is that it has been obscured by the dramatic growth of the gay subculture after the war. As the groundbreaking work of Allan Bérubé and John D'Emilio has shown, the war "created something of a nationwide coming out experience". By freeing men from the supervision of their families and small-town neighborhoods and placing them in a single-sex environment, military mobilization increased the chances that they would meet gay men and explore their homosexual interests. Many recruits saw the sort of gay life they could lead in large cities and chose to stay in those cities after the war. Some women who joined the military, as well as those on the homefront who shared housing and worked in defense industries with other women, had similar experiences. As a result, the war made it possible for gay bars and restaurants to proliferate and for many new gay social networks to form. --Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940 by George Chauncey
Millions of young women and men, many of whom may never have heard the words "fairy", "invert", "homosexual", or "lesbian" and may not yet have discovered all aspects of their sexual desires, had enlisted. Being thrown together with so many different people of the same sex gave them an opportunity to understand their lives in new, radical ways. Bérubé weaves a broad, textured tapestry of the lives of same-sex desiring service members during the war. Many speak of erotic, affectional, and sexual relationships with their fellow enlistees. Some of these relationships began before the war and lasted for decades. Others occured during the war, ending when the partners reentered civilian life. Many were brief sexual encounters, similar to heterosexual liaisons on the home front. Many women and men enjoyed same-sex romantic and physical relationship during the war, but for the reminder of their lives engaged in different-sex relationships. --A Queer History of the United States by Michael Bronski
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andrew potter

Robert de Montesquiou (March 7, 1855 – December 11, 1921)

Marie Joseph Robert Anatole, comte de Montesquiou-Fézensac (March 7, 1855, Paris – December 11, 1921, Menton), was a French aesthete, Symbolist poet, art collector and dandy.

He is reputed to have been the inspiration both for des Esseintes in Joris-Karl Huysmans' (1848-1907) À rebours (1884) and, most famously, for Baron de Charlus in Proust's (1871-1922) À la recherche du temps perdu (1913-1927).

Robert de Montesquiou was a scion of the famous French Montesquiou-Fézensac Family. He was a distant nephew of Charles de Batz-Castelmore d'Artagnan, the model for Dumas' Musketeer. His paternal grandfather was Count Anatole de Montesquiou-Fezensac (1788-1878), Aide-de-camp to Napoleon and grand officer of the Légion d'honneur; his father was Anatole's third son, Thierry, who married Pauline Duroux, an orphan, in 1841. With his wife's dowry, Thierry bought a Charnizay manor, built a mansion in Paris, and was elected Vice-President of the Jockey Club. He was a successful stockbroker who left a substantial fortune. Robert was the last of Count Thierry's children, brothers Gontran and Aymery, and sister Élise. His cousin, Élisabeth, comtesse Greffulhe (1860-1952), was one of Marcel Proust's (1871-1922) models for the duchesse de Guermantes.

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

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andrew potter

The Nothingness of Ben by Brad Boney

Not for the first time I found myself liking a novel without really liking one of the main characters. Actually I was so not loving him that I was almost hoping for his current boyfriend to dump him and go for the future boyfriend… that would have taught him a lesson!

Ben Walsh is not a bad man, but he is basically selfish and callous; from what we can gather he didn’t have a bad experience growing up gay in small town Texas, a college neighborhood just outside Austin (the gayest city in Texas) and his college professor father and at home mother supported him step by step. But I had the feeling that Ben didn’t like to admit he was from the country to his uptight Manhattanite friends, and when he had the chance to move to New York City, he went into the closet… not denying he was gay, but that he was a country boy.

Now Ben is really good in what he does, he is a successful lawyer, with a bright future in front of him; he has a nice boyfriend, really nice, David. David is older than Ben, 38 against 28, and a commercial pilot; despite being older, and also bigger, than Ben, he is the submissive in their relationship, Ben has a Dom attitude that he brings from his job to his bedroom. I really like David, and he is the boyfriend I said above I would have not minded to see giving a low blow to Ben, to teach him a lesson. But David is too good a man to be mean, and I think Ben got it easy with him.

When Ben’s parents unexpectedly die, leaving Ben the guardian of 3 teenage boys, he has to reconsider his life and options. Again, I don’t think life was hard enough with him, sure losing his parents was a bad knock, but Ben is not in an insurmountable mountain, just a small hill. And to make it easier to him, Ben finds the help of Travis, same age guy who volunteer to be Ben’s second hand in raising the kids. From friends to lovers is a small step, but Travis got in line to the list of people who, according to me, make everything to easy for Ben.

Now, you are thinking I don’t like Ben: sure, as a person, I don’t like him, as a character? I love him. I love when a character in a novel is original, and I think that Ben has plenty of originality in him. I love his callousness, I love his uptight attitude, I even love when he is so clueless of other people feelings that he can hurt them with just a word. Not an easy character to write, and I think this author did a good job with him.

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3368

Amazon: The Nothingness of Ben
Amazon Kindle: The Nothingness of Ben
Paperback: 248 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (November 23, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1623801389
ISBN-13: 978-1623801380

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

Gay Romance Challenge: 2012 Result

December is the right month for doing lists ;-) and so I though to post the 2012 Gay Romance Challenge result a little earlier, so that if you want to use it for your Christmas shopping, you are in time in doing so! BIG CONGRATS to Damon Suede and Jay Bell sharing for the second year in a row first and second position with Hot Head and Something Like Summer!!!

This is the second year I'm doing the Challenge, and I can proudly said that I have read ALL books in 2011 List (the first 100 Best Selling Gay Romances of 2011, you can find the list here: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1483615.html). This list and the previous one is an yearly average of the monthly bestsellers list in Gay Romance as per this Amazon link: Bestsellers in Gay Romance. At today but I read 45 out of 100 books, not bad, but less than last year :-( Real life took his toll this year.

These are the 2012 results, and to determine the 100 books I simply considered all books that appeared at least once in the monthly Bestsellers list and gave them a rate equal to their position; of course if a book appeared more than once they received a bonus point for each time they made the list and their position is the average position plus the bonus. So this is the final list (in bold the books I read with link to the review):

1) Hot Head by Damon Suede
Link:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00564ACK8/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Review: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1327655.html
2) Something Like Summer by Jay Bell
Link:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004I6DKPY/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Review: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1233202.html
3) Shattered Glass by Dani Alexander
Link:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00741MBZU/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Review: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1539387.html
4) A Marked Man (Assassin/Shifter) by Sandrine Gasq-Dion
Link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006WBJDLI/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Review:



5) Alaska, with Love (Assassin/Shifter) by Sandrine Gasq-Dion
Link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00739XOCM/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Review:
6) Latakia by JF Smith
Link:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006I2RN9U/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Review: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1560467.html
7) Ty Hard (Willow Springs Ranch) by Laura Harner
Link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005GRDWC0/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Review:
8) Shane and Trey (Enemies to Lovers) by Anyta Sunday
Link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0070FDJPG/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Review:
9) Trinity Bound (Redwood Pack) by Carrie Ann Ryan
Link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007PH8GU2/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Review:
10) Redemption by Olivia Duncan Craig
Link:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007QERCAO/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Review: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1615184.html



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andrew potter

Desmond by Ulysses Grant Dietz

Originally released in 2000, Desmond is the prototype of many vampire Gay Romances of today; probably written in the wake of successful Anne Rice’s vampire novels, Desmond tried for a less gothic and more romantic approach. Plus it did introduced some original elements, if considering it was written more than 10 years ago.

For example, Desmond, a 250 years old vampire, is not bonded to live only by night, and he actually doesn’t eat anything, but he can drink wine and other beverages. Plus he lives in cycle of 44 years, born again at 21 years old and aging until he is 65 years old. That is quite convenient to explain how he has lived so long without anyone suspecting.

When I started this novel, I was quite impressed by the level of details the author used in describing the townhouse where Desmond has lived since 1820, in the Bowery district of New York City. I did a quick search and discovered that aside from this novel, and its sequel, A Vampire in Suburbia, Ulysses Grant Dietz has written non fictional books in the antique design field. The same background he decided to give to Tony, Desmond’s lover.

That of Desmond and Tony is a classic cinderfella love story: Desmond, 45 years old and wealthy, meets 24 years old Tony, a graduate student who is having a bad time; Tony is hustling, or at least he is trying to, but when he meets Desmond, all his courage left him. Desmond will help Tony, settling him in a nice apartment, finding him a job, and loving him. Exactly like he did for the stray cat he picked up the previous time he was alone wandering the street. That is, Desmond cared for Tony, but I had the feeling he didn’t really love him with all his own, and that is the only point that makes this a good vampire novel, but not a full 100% romance one.

I’m quite curious to see how the author picked up again his characters today for the sequel, and if Desmond will finally have a true and complete romance this time, lasting a life… or maybe more lives.

Amazon: Desmond: A Novel About Love and the Modern Vampire
Amazon Kindle: Desmond: A Novel About Love and the Modern Vampire
Paperback: 344 pages
Publisher: Alyson Books; 1st edition (July 1, 2000)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1555834701
ISBN-13: 978-1555834708

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

This journal is friends only. This entry was originally posted at http://reviews-and-ramblings.dreamwidth.org/3386578.html. If you are not friends on this journal, Please comment there using OpenID.