June 2nd, 2013

andrew potter

Demian Acquavella (January 25, 1958 - June 2, 1990)

Demian Acquavella (25 January 1958, Brooklyn, New York 2 June 1990, Brooklyn, New York, age 32) danced in the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company from 1985 until 1988. (Picture: Arthur Aviles in “D-Man in the waters”, choreographed by Bill T. Jones in honor of Demian Acquavella. To quote the New York Times, “An exuberant dancer and a popular figure in post-modernist dance in New York, Mr. Acquavella was the inspiration for Mr. Jones’s 1989 work ”D-Man in the Waters,” a celebration of Mr. Acquavella’s determination to fight his illness.”)

He danced in Killing Angels, which was conceived and directed by the artist Robert Longo. In addition to designing costumes for two of Arnie Zane’s last dances, The Gift/No God Logic and Like in Egypt, Acquavella is widely regarded as the inspiration for Bill T. Jones’s D-Man in the Waters, "D-Man" as short for "Demian." (See Marcia Siegel’s review of Acquavella’s cameo appearance in the work as part of the Jones/Zane company’s 1989 season at New York’s Joyce Theater.) In his oral history Acquavella also claims to have contributed choreographically to that work. "[Jones] uses a little bit of choreography that I made up," Acquavella told the interviewer Maya Wallach. In addition, Seán Curran, a friend and fellow member of the Jones/Zane company, created a solo titled Am I Dead Yet? (1992), which quotes from Acquavella’s movements in his hospital bed shortly before his death.

A Brooklyn native, Acquavella began dancing at the age of twenty at Santa Monica Community College in Santa Monica, California. Upon moving to New York, he studied dance at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, the Nat Horne Musical Theater, and with Marjorie Mussman, Cindi Green, Ernie Pagnano, and Phil Black. Prior to joining the Jones/Zane company, he danced with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Elisa Monte Dance Company, Rush Dance Company, and for Mussman and Lillo Way. Acquavella died of AIDS-related causes.

Acquavella's companion was Robert Altman (not the director).

Artur Aviles, Demian Acquavella, and Seán Curran in Arnie Zane's Like in Egypt (1988) at City Center, New York City. Costumes by Demian Acquavella. ©Ken Cooper, courtesy Seán Curran.

AIDS Quilt

Source: http://www.artistswithaids.org/artforms/dance/catalogue/acquavella.html

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andrew potter

Family Man by Heidi Cullinan & Marie Sexton

This book surprised me because, well, I was expecting a sexy, and yes, ordinary story, and instead what I got was the more satisfying sweet romance. 38 years old Vince, an Italo-American, trice divorced, is finally ready to admit that something is wrong in his life; like an epiphany, witnessing the love between a same-sex couple, he realizes that maybe those feelings he tried to suppress, are the reason why he is not able to build a permanent relationship with a woman. And when he is ready to see the dating pool with different eyes, he also sees family friend Trey, 25 years old and so cute. Trey is also perfect for Vince to experiment his feelings, because Trey is openly gay but also a virgin, he doesn’t want to “waste” his body with insignificant relationships; Vince is not ready for the physical side of a gay relationship, and Trey wants to date a man without his date expecting him to put out just for a dinner or a movie night.

The authors do play a lot with the stereotypes of the Italo-American community, but they do it with a playful streak. Trey is a “good boy”, with strong family values, and he is a virgin, the most valuable asset for a prospective wife in the old fashioned Italian rules for a perfect marriage. Vince is from a big Italian family, and that means he is never alone, family comes first, especially when considering a future partner: there is no way Vince can renounce to his family to pursue his love; what Vince hasn’t considered is that, family strings are stronger than prejudices.

There is a simile I think the authors are using as input for this story that I kind of agree with: that between the Italian family and the gay community. In both you help each other, without questioning, just for the reason you are part of a whole. You help in good and bad health, when you have money and when you haven’t.

As a side note, I also liked the Chicago’s setting: it’s a city I visited only once in my life, but I remember it quite well, and with few expert touches, the authors managed to make it alive in their novel.


Amazon Kindle: Family Man
Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd. (March 12, 2013)

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

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andrew potter

Spotted: Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg, Barnes and Noble, Gilbert, Arizona

Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg
Barnes and Noble
Gilbert, Arizona
(spotter: Lisa McMann)

Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books (May 28, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0545509890
ISBN-13: 978-0545509893
Amazon: Openly Straight
Amazon Kindle: Openly Straight

A funny, honest novel about being out, being proud . . . and being ready for something else.

Rafe is a normal teenager from Boulder, Colorado. He plays soccer. He's won skiing prizes. He likes to write.
And, oh yeah, he's gay. He's been out since 8th grade, and he isn't teased, and he goes to other high schools and talks about tolerance and stuff. And while that's important, all Rafe really wants is to just be a regular guy. Not that GAY guy. To have it be a part of who he is, but not the headline, every single time.
So when he transfers to an all-boys' boarding school in New England, he decides to keep his sexuality a secret -- not so much going back in the closet as starting over with a clean slate. But then he sees a classmate breaking down. He meets a teacher who challenges him to write his story. And most of all, he falls in love with Ben . . . who doesn't even know that love is possible.
This witty, smart, coming-out-again story will appeal to gay and straight kids alike as they watch Rafe navigate being different, fitting in, and what it means to be himself.

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andrew potter

2013 Rainbow Awards Submission: Val Kovalin - Reach For the Moon

Reach for the Moon (Alejo and Bobby #2) by Val Kovalin
Publisher: VK-Now Books (June 9, 2013)
Amazon Kindle: Reach for the Moon (Alejo and Bobby #2)

Christmas vacation 1984 is far from festive at the house of eighteen year-old Alejo Sandoval. His parents teeter on the verge of divorce. His final semester of high school looms ahead. He has just found out that his trickster cousin Martin has vanished, leaving no traces behind. And he keeps a secret that could destroy his place within his religious Hispanic world—he and his best friend Bobby Gallegos are lovers.

Independent and exasperating, Bobby is the love of his life. There is no one Alejo would rather have at his side when his mother and aunt send him on a road trip to unravel his cousin’s mysterious disappearance. But what starts as an excuse to get out of Albuquerque and enjoy a romantic road trip soon takes on serious overtones. Martin might have endangered his life by coming out as gay.

Their short fact-finding mission turns into a quest for Martin’s whereabouts through the secretive small towns of New Mexico. Stress and speculation have set Alejo’s eccentric relatives against each other, and Alejo and Bobby are about to walk into the crossfire.

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