December 15th, 2013

andrew potter

Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven (July 12, 1874 – December 15, 1927)

Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven (sometimes also called Else von Freytag-von Loringhoven) (12 July 1874 – 15 December 1927) was a German-born avant-garde, Dadaist artist and poet who worked for several years in Greenwich Village, New York City, United States. Her provocative poetry was published posthumously in 2011 in Body Sweats: The Uncensored Writings of Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven. The New York Times praised the book as one of the notable art books of 2011.

Freytag-Loringhoven was born Else Hildegard Plötz in Swinemünde (Świnoujście), in Pomerania, Germany to Adolf Plötz and Ida Marie Kleist. Her father, a mason, physically and verbally abused her in her childhood. She trained and worked as an actress and vaudeville performer and had numerous affairs with artists in Berlin, Munich and Italy.

She studied art in Dachau, near Munich, before marrying in 1901, Berlin-based architect, August Endell, at which time she became Else Endell. She had an open relationship with her husband, and in 1902 she became involved romantically with a friend of Endell's, the minor poet and translator Felix Paul Greve (later the Canadian author Frederick Philip Grove), and all three went to Palermo in late January 1903. They then moved to various places, including Wollerau, Switzerland and Paris-Plage, France. In July 1910, she followed Greve to North America, where they operated a small farm in Sparta, Kentucky, not far from Cincinnati, Ohio. Grove eventually left, in 1911, and went west to a bonanza farm near Fargo, North Dakota, and came to Manitoba in 1912. She started modeling for artists in Cincinnati, and made her way east via West Virginia and Philadelphia, before she married in November 1913 the German Baron Leopold von Freytag-Loringhoven in New York. There, she became known as "the dadaist Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven."

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Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elsa_von_Freytag-Loringhoven

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andrew potter

Judith Halberstam (born December 15, 1961)

Judith Halberstam, also Jack Halberstam (born December 15, 1961), is Professor of English and Director of The Center for Feminist Research at University of Southern California (USC). Halberstam was an Associate Professor in the Department of Literature at the University of California at San Diego before working at USC. He is a gender and queer theorist and author.

Halberstam's writing focuses on the topic of tomboys and female masculinity and has published a book titled after the concept of female masculinity. This work famously discuss a common by-product of gender binarism, termed "the bathroom problem," outlining the dangerous and awkward dilemma of a perceived gender deviant's justification of presence in a gender-policed zone, such as a public bathroom, and the identity implications of "passing" therein.

Halberstam earned a B.A. in English at the University of California, Berkeley in 1985, an M.A. from the University of Minnesota in 1989, and a Ph.D. from the same school in 1991.

In Female Masculinity (1998), Halberstam seeks to identify what constitutes masculinity in society and within the individual. The text first suggests that masculinity is a construction that promotes particular brands of male-ness while at the same time subordinating “alternative masculinities.” The project specifically focuses on the ways female masculinity has been traditionally ignored in academia and society at large. To illustrate a cultural mechanism of subordinating alternative masculinities, Halberstam brings up James Bond and Goldeneye as an example, noting that gender performance in this film is far from what is traditional: M is the character who “most convincingly performs masculinity,” Bond can only perform masculinity through his suave clothing and gadgets, and Q can be read “as a perfect model of the interpenetration of queer and dominant regimes.” This interpretation of these characters challenges long-held ideas about what qualities create masculinity. Halberstam also brings up the example of the tomboy, a clear case of a youthful girl exerting masculine qualities -- and raises the complication that within a youthful figure, the idea of masculinity expressed within a female body is less threatening, and only becomes threatening when those masculine tendencies are still apparent as the child progresses in age.

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Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judith_Halberstam

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andrew potter

Mutsuo Takahashi (born December 15, 1937)

In his explicitly gay work, internationally recognized poet and playwright Mutsuo Takahashi celebrates homosexual desire.

Takahashi was born in Japan on December 15, 1937, and educated at Fukuoka University of Education. He has published several volumes of poetry, including You Dirty Ones, Do Dirtier Things (1966), Poems of A Penisist (1975), The Structure of The Kingdom (1982), A Bunch of Keys (1984), Practice/Drinking Eating (1988), The Garden of Rabbits (1988), and Sleeping Sinning Falling (1992).

Few poets bring as much skill and passion to their poems, especially those that consider homosexual desire, as does Takahashi. He has received many prestigious awards for his work, including the Reketei Prize, the Yomiuri Prize, and the Takami Jun Prize.

His work in drama has also earned acclaim. He won the Yamamoto Kenkichi Prize in 1987 for his stage script called Princess Medea. Other works in drama include an adaptation of W. B. Yeats's play At The Hawk's Well and a noh play inspired by Georges Bataille's Le Procès de Gil de Rais.

Even in his earliest work, Takahashi writes with vitality and precision about homosexual desire. Although Japan does not outlaw homosexual relations, the homosexual there remains an outcast because often he does not engage in the rituals and practices of Japanese family life.

The "okama" ("queen") is laughed at and ostracized. The more he is ostracized, the easier it is to keep the laughter going--at the okama's expense. Takahashi's poems give dignity to the okama, celebrating both his sexual desires and his outcast status.

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Citation Information
Author: Pobo, Kenneth
Entry Title: Takahashi, Mutsuo
General Editor: Claude J. Summers
Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Culture
Publication Date: 2002
Date Last Updated March 24, 2011
Web Address www.glbtq.com/literature/takahashi_m.html
Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL 60607
Today's Date December 15, 2012
Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.
Entry Copyright © 1995, 2002 New England Publishing Associates

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Sitting Bull (c. 1831 – December 15, 1890)

Sitting Bull, or Ta-Tanka I-Yotank, was the great Sioux leader and warrior who helped defeat General George Custer at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876.

One of Sitting Bull’s five wives was a "two-spirit“ man. Virtually all American Indian tribes had a tradition of "two-spirits,“ homosexual males assuming the roles of women, and women assuming the roles of men, in work, sex, and social functions. Indians revered the two-spirit, typically an effeminate man or masculine woman who did not fit into standard gender roles. Two-spirits were treated as sacred and held ceremonial roles as psychic healers, medicine men, prophets, and shamans.

European settlers repressed the tradition and it went underground, reemerging after the rebirth of Indian culture and the rise of gay liberation in the 1970s.

Stern, Keith. Queers in History: The Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Historical Gays, Lesbians and Bisexuals. Perseus Books Group. Kindle Edition.

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Collide (Blackcreek Series) by Riley Hart

While reading this book I was often remembered of the Kinsey scale; “The Kinsey scale ranges from 0, for those who would identify themselves as exclusively heterosexual with no experience with or desire for sexual activity with their same sex, to 6, for those who would identify themselves as exclusively homosexual with no experience with or desire for sexual activity with those of the opposite sex, and 1-5 for those who would identify themselves with varying levels of desire for sexual activity with either sex, including "incidental" or "occasional" desire for sexual activity with the same sex.” That is, if someone wondered about the credibility of a character like Cooper, who was heterosexual for all his life until the moment he finds himself in love with his best friend Noah, I suppose it’s not impossible, it simply means that Cooper is somewhere between 2 and 4 of the Kinsey scale. Another conclusion I reached is that, more than likely, if Noah wasn’t taken away from Cooper when they were just teenagers, and they had the chance to grow up together into adults, this development towards love of their relationship would have happened before. Like this, they met again at the brink of thirties, with their sexual experiences as adults done, but there is a but for Cooper, he hasn’t had really the chance to see the world, and there aren’t many gay people around in Blackcreek, or better no many openly gay people. And considering that Cooper likes women too, it was easier for him to develop his heterosexual side.

I did like the slow development of their sexual relationship, and even the bump in it; it’s not like a switch you can click on and off, for Cooper to accept he is attracted by his best friend, a man, is not easy and he needs time to adjust. I also liked that they had some interferences from the outside world, and some obstacles to overcome, but nothing really huge, cause, in the end, the major obstacle was the private one, admitting their feeling, arriving to pact with their own desires, and they really didn’t need anything else. A certain level of angst was good, too much drama would have been futile. This was more a small town sort of novel, it didn’t need a big drama to make it good.

Maybe Cooper isn’t the stereotypical firefighter hero, big, strong and always stony sure in what he does or decides, but he is realistic, a good man, a good civil worker, with safe and strong values, and a positive attitude towards life, despite the drama in his past.

Series: Blackcreek
Paperback: 332 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (November 8, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1493755544
ISBN-13: 978-1493755547
Amazon: Collide (Blackcreek) (Volume 1)
Amazon Kindle: Collide (Blackcreek) (Volume 1)

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A Picture Perfect Holiday by Z.A. Maxfield

A nice Christmas novella, cute and good for a Young Adult target as well as for older readers. This is basically the story of Caleb’s first love, since he was 11 years old he was in love with Christian, but as in all unrequited love story, most of the teen love stories are, Christian is unattainable: he is their high school football team hero, the golden boy, the one who will have a bright future… or maybe not? When they are at their last year of high school, Caleb, an openly gay student, activist in many LGBT organization, with his plans for the future clear in mind, realizes that Christian is just another boy, who will attend community college to stay near his family and help manage his father’s restaurant; after high school their paths will divide, but not since Christian will shoot for the stars, but cause Caleb will be the one going for great things. But even if everyone around him is trying to convince Caleb he can have way better guys than Christian, Caleb is able to see things in Christian that no one understand, Christian is a good guy, maybe not so bookish clever, but with a big heart and with genuine feelings.

Good, nice and comfy story, like most Christmas novellas, it warms your heart and gives hope for the future.

Publisher: MLR Press,LLC (November 21, 2011)
Amazon Kindle: A Picture Perfect Holiday (MLR Press Story A Day For the Holidays 2011)

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Wishes by J.C. Owens

I have often said sci-fi or fantasy is not my strength, but now I’m also wondering if I haven’t missed some basic knowledge: is there some sci-fi tradition about feline-like aliens abducting men/women? That is cause Wishes is at least the fourth series I read with the same theme from different authors, and while two could have been a coincidence, 4 is really becoming a tradition.

Auri is the lieutenant of a terrain spaceshift who is basically sold into slavery without him being aware of that. Kanar, the king of Felinians, recognizes in Auri one of his mates (he has already three and was told by an oracle he will have a fourth) and agrees to a commercial agreement with Earth only if their ambassadors give him Auri. Yes, you have it right, not only Auri is not willing, he is also basically abducted, and the first mating with Kanar is not consensual. It was quite difficult for me to accept this development of the story, even if, indeed, it was more coherent with the mood of the story of, let’s say, a fake courtship with Auri arriving to understand how lucky he was.

The author was very true to her story and development, the Felinians have a polyamory society, Kanar has, with Auri, four mates and he basically divides his time among them, with nights where they have one-to-one meetings, and other where they have ménages a trois; when I arrive to this point of the story, I understood the comment of one of the mates that 4 was a good number, it basically meant no one feels excluded when it’s his night “off”.

I felt like the same issues I had in accepting this society were reflected in Auri: he had to adapt to it, overcoming his beliefs of what a “normal” relationship should be. At the end of the story, I cannot really say if Auri’s, and mine’s, ideas are right or wrong, it’s all a matter of perspective, in Kanar’s society, what they are doing is the common behavior, and the merit of the author is to make it plausible.

Paperback: 190 pages
Publisher: Etopia Press (November 19, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1939194237
ISBN-13: 978-1939194237
Amazon: Wishes
Amazon Kindle: Wishes

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