December 28th, 2013

andrew potter

Jeremy Wolfenden (June 26, 1934 – December 28, 1965)

Jeremy Wolfenden (26 June 1934, England – 28 December 1965) was a foreign correspondent and British spy at the height of the Cold War.

The son of John Wolfenden, chair of the Wolfenden Report which recommended the legalisation of male homosexual acts in Britain, Jeremy Wolfenden was himself homosexual. He was regarded by others of his generation as a leader and a man of distinct individualism. He won a scholarship to Eton where he was known as 'cleverest boy in England', then to his father's alma mater Magdalen College, Oxford, where he obtained a first class degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics. He subsequently became a Prize Fellow of All Souls. His Finals examiner at Oxford, after giving him eight alphas, wrote: "He wrote as though it were all beneath him; he wrote as though it were all such a waste of his time"

Wolfenden was recruited by the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) before becoming the Daily Telegraph foreign correspondent in Moscow where he indulged in his twin passions for sex and alcohol and was eventually compromised by the KGB. He struck up friendships with Guy Burgess, the British defector, and Martina Browne, the nanny employed by Ruari and Janet Chisholm, who were working for SIS and were instrumental in the defection of Oleg Penkovsky — a colonel in Soviet military intelligence — who was responsible for disabusing the Kennedy administration of the myth that the 'missile gap' was in the Soviet's favour. Wolfenden subsequently came under pressure from both SIS and the KGB while in Moscow and swapped roles with the Telegraph's Washington correspondent, where he married Martina Browne.

He died aged 31 in what appeared to be suspicious circumstances in Washington. It was claimed he had fainted in the bathroom, cracked his head against the washbasin and died of a cerebral haemorrhage. It is now thought likely that he died of liver failure brought on by his excessive drinking.

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More LGBT History at my website:, My Ramblings/Gay Classics

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Léon Bakst (May 10, 1866 – December 28, 1924)

Léon Samoilovitch Bakst (10 May 1866 – 28 December 1924) was a Russian painter and scene- and costume designer. He was a member of the Sergei Diaghilev circle and the Ballets Russes, for which he designed exotic, richly coloured sets and costumes. (Picture: Bakst's Self-portrait, 1893, oil on cardboard, 34 x 21 cm., The State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia)

Born as Lev (Leib) Samoilovich Rosenberg, he was also known as Leon (Lev) Nikolayevich Bakst.

Leon was born in Grodno (currently Belarus) in a middle-class Jewish family. After graduating from gymnasium, he studied at the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts as a noncredit student, working part-time as a book illustrator.

At the time of his first exhibition (1889) he took the surname of "Bakst," based on his mother's maiden name. The surname "Rosenberg" was thought to be too Jewish and not good for business. At the beginning of the 1890s he exhibited his works with the Society of Watercolourists. From 1893 to 1897 he lived in Paris, where he studied at the Académie Julian while still visiting Saint Petersburg often. After the mid-1890s he became a member of the circle of writers and artists formed by Sergei Diaghilev and Alexandre Benois, which later became the Mir Iskusstva art movement.

In 1899, he co-founded with Sergei Diaghilev the influential periodical Mir Iskusstva, meaning "World of Art." His graphics for this publication brought him fame.

He continued easel painting as well producing portraits of Filipp Malyavin (1899), Vasily Rozanov (1901), Andrei Bely (1905), Zinaida Gippius (1906). He also worked as an art teacher for the children of Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich of Russia. In 1902, he took a commission from Tsar Nicholas II to paint Meeting of Russian sailors in Paris.

In 1898, he showed his works in the Diaghilev-organized First exhibition of Russian and Finnish Artists; in World of Art exhibitions, as well as the Munich Secession, exhibitions of the Union of Russian Artists, etc.

Nijinsky in the ballet L'après-midi d'un faune 1912

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Peter Berlin (born December 28, 1942)

Armin Hagen Freiherr von Hoyningen-Huene (born in 1942) is a photographer, artist, filmmaker, clothing designer/sewer, model and gay sex symbol best known by his stage name Peter Berlin. In the early to mid-1970s, Berlin created some of the most recognizable gay male erotic imagery of his time. Serving as his own photographer, model, and fashion designer, Berlin redefined self-portraiture and became an international sensation.

His two films, Nights in Black Leather (1973) and That Boy (1974) (credited in the latter as Peter Burian), played to packed houses for years and, along with other pioneering erotic filmmakers such as Wakefield Poole and Jack Deveau, helped bring gay male erotic films artistic legitimacy.

He was the second of the three children (a sister Mirna and a brother Reinhold who died in 1970 in a car crash) of Eduard Baron von Hoyningen-Huene and his wife Marion, 20 years old at the time of his birth. He was born in Łódź, Poland, and grew up in Berlin, Germany. The extended family included the American fashion photographer George Hoyningen-Huene.

He received post-secondary education in Germany as a photo-technician. In his early 20s, he worked as a photographer for an interview program on German television, photographing some of Europe's biggest celebrities and film stars.

Berlin designed and sewed all of his clothing without a pattern. He also was a painter and illustrator. He began photographing himself in erotic poses and making skin-tight clothes to wear as he cruised the parks and train stations of Berlin, the streets of Rome, Paris, New York and San Francisco.

by Robert Mapplethorpe

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Susan Sontag (January 16, 1933 – December 28, 2004)

Although she treated her own lesbianism as a strictly private matter, Susan Sontag wrote perceptively on gay male figures and issues.

Best known as a cultural critic, Sontag was long preoccupied with European modernist aesthetics and thought--a set of influences strongly marking her fiction and filmmaking as well as her essays.

Her landmark study "Notes on 'Camp'" (1964) was the first detailed account of this variety of gay sensibility. In a number of other essays--on Jack Smith's film Flaming Creatures, William Burroughs, Paul Goodman, Roland Barthes, Robert Mapplethorpe, and George Balanchine--she focused on gay figures, though without much attention to their sexual identity as such.

Sontag rarely wrote in an autobiographical mode; she treated her own lesbian sexuality as a strictly private matter. But a complex engagement with gay male culture runs throughout Sontag's work, often intersecting with her concern for twentieth-century literary and artistic avant gardes.

Trained academically in philosophy and comparative literature, Sontag began her literary career with two novels, The Benefactor (1963) and Death Kit (1967); critics have noticed in them echoes of André Gide and Nathalie Saurraute, respectively.

In essays published throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Sontag introduced Anglophone readers to the work of such figures as Antonin Artaud, Roland Barthes, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Jean-Luc Godard, Walter Benjamin, and E. M. Cioran.

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Citation Information
Author: McLemee, Scott
Entry Title: Sontag, Susan
General Editor: Claude J. Summers
Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Culture
Publication Date: 2002
Date Last Updated December 28, 2004
Web Address
Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL 60607
Today's Date December 28, 2012
Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.
Entry Copyright © 1995, 2002 New England Publishing Associates

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New Release Blog Tour: Iron & Velvet by Alexis Hall

Hello, and welcome to my second ever blog tour, celebrating Riptide Publishing’s release of my second ever novel, IRON & VELVET. Yay! Thank you so much to Elisa's- My Reviews and Ramblings for hosting me. And, to you, dear reader, for stopping by. If you’d like to come with me and keep me company on my virtual wanderings, you can find a full listing of when and where I am here.

There’s also some kind of contest type thing happening. I had a bit of trouble choosing a prize for this one because most of the things Kate likes (booze, cigarettes, knives, women) are illegal to ship internationally. I thought about a fedora, but then I remembered people had differently shaped heads and there was no point sending somebody an item of clothing they wouldn’t be able to wear. So, basically, that leaves coffee and Bovril and nobody likes Bovril except people from the North East of England. I’m therefore going offer 250g of Jamaican Blue Mountain, the nicest coffee in the known universe, purchased from a wonderful speciality shop, ground or beaned to your specification. If you don’t like coffee, I’ll replace it with an equivalently lovely tea. And if you really want to try the Bovril, I could probably be persuaded to throw that in as well.

If you’d like win this distressingly perishable souvenir please answer the three questions below (clues in the book) and drop me an email. I’ll announce the winner a handful of days after the end of the tour.

  1. Whodunnit?
  2. What is hanging in the study of Aeglica Thrice-Risen?
  3. What’s Rule Twelve?


About AJH

Alexis Hall was born in the early 1980s and still thinks the 21st century is the future. To this day, he feels cheated that he lived through a fin de siècle but inexplicably failed to drink a single glass of absinthe, dance with a single courtesan, or stay in a single garret. He can neither cook nor sing, but he can handle a seventeenth century smallsword, punts from the proper end, and knows how to hotwire a car. He lives in southeast England, with no cats and no children, and fully intends to keep it that way.

You can also find him all over the internet, on his website, Facebook, Twitter, BookLikes, and Goodreads.

About Iron & Velvet


First rule in this line of business: don’t sleep with the client.

My name’s Kate Kane, and when an eight-hundred-year-old vampire prince came to me with a case, I should have told her no. But I’ve always been a sucker for a femme fatale.

It always goes the same way. You move too fast, you get in too deep, and before you know it, someone winds up dead. Last time it was my partner. This time it could be me. Yesterday a werewolf was murdered outside the Velvet, the night-time playground of one of the most powerful vampires in England. Now half the monsters in London are at each other’s throats, and the other half are trying to get in my pants. The Witch Queen will protect her own, the wolves are out for vengeance, and the vampires are out for, y’know, blood.

I’ve got a killer on the loose, a war on the horizon, and a scotch on the rocks. It’s going to be an interesting day.


You can read an excerpt and, y’know, cough, buy the book, if you want, at Riptide Publishing.

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Abdellah Taïa (born 1973)

Abdellah Taïa (Salé, 1973) is a Moroccan writer who writes in French and based in Paris since 1998. His works have been translated into Basque, Dutch, English, Romanian, Spanish and Swedish. (P: Abdellah Taïa reading from one of his own novels at the Internationell Författarscen (International Writers’ Stage) in Kulturhuset in Stockholm. Photographer: Håkan Lindquist)

Taïa grew up in a family with 9 siblings in Salé, Morocco. He first came into contact with literature through his father, who was a janitor at the local library in Rabat. As a gay teenager, he was confronted with the homophobia and machismo in Moroccan society.

He studied French literature while living in Rabat. During the mid-1990s he left Morocco for Switzerland in order to study for a semester in Geneva. He later studied at the Sorbonne in Paris.

In 2007 he publicly came out of the closet in an interview with the literary magazine TelQuel, which created controversy in Morocco.

Taïa's books deal with his life living in a homophobic society and have autobiographical background on the social experiences of the generation of Moroccans who came of age in the 1980s and 1990s.


Further Readings:

Salvation Army (Semiotext(e) / Native Agents) by Abdellah Taïa
Series: Semiotext(e) / Native Agents
Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: Semiotext(e); 1 edition (March 27, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1584350709
ISBN-13: 978-1584350705
Amazon: Salvation Army

An autobiographical novel by turn naïve and cunning, funny and moving, this most recent work by Moroccan expatriate Abdellah Taïa is a major addition to the new French literature emerging from the North African Arabic diaspora. Salvation Army is a coming-of-age novel that tells the story of Taïa's life with complete disclosure--from a childhood bound by family order and latent (homo)sexual tensions in the poor city of Salé, through an adolescence in Tangier charged by the young writer's attraction to his eldest brother, to a disappointing arrival in the Western world to study in Geneva in adulthood. In so doing, Salvation Army manages to burn through the author's first-person singularity to embody the complex mélange of fear and desire projected by Arabs on Western culture. Recently hailed by his native country's press as "the first Moroccan to have the courage to publicly assert his difference," Taïa, through his calmly transgressive work, has "outed" himself as "the only gay man" in a country whose theocratic law still declares homosexuality a crime. The persistence of prejudices on all sides of the Mediterranean and Atlantic makes the translation of Taïa's work both a literary and political event. The arrival of Salvation Army (published in French in 2006) in English will be welcomed by an American audience already familiar with a growing cadre of talented Arab writers working in French (including Muhammad Dib, Assia Djebar, Tahar Ben Jelloun, Abdelkebir Khatibi, and Katib Yasin).

More Spotlights at my website:, My Lists/Gay Novels

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Shock & Awe (Sidewinder) by Abigail Roux

Friends with benefits is a theme I like a lot, I have always found sexy when two “new” lovers know each other so well they have a mutual understanding that usually couples found in years of relationship. It’s quite common when the friends with benefits theme is paired with a gay for you, but here the author played an originality card: it’s not the gay friend who falls in love with the straight one and manages to conquer his best friends, it’s actually the opposite.

Kelly has always been the caretaker of the Sidewinder team, and so when he is injured and the bullet who took him down was directed to Nick, it’s only right that Nick will be the one to take care of him during his convalescence. Nick came out to his teammate one year before, and from that moment on Kelly, the straight one, looked at Nick with different eyes, maybe realizing that the yearning he was feeling sometime wasn’t jealousy for the women Nick was able to have, but cause he wasn’t the one to have Nick. But Nick isn’t interested in Kelly, he is actually in an on and off relationship with another man, and if he ever will consider a relationship, it will probably be with that one. Kelly takes a chance when they are alone in his cabin and asks Nick to kiss him… and that is the starting of everything.

I have only read one previous novel in this series, so I wasn’t familiar with Kelly’s character, but he was cute, not in the meaning of pretty, but more like he wasn’t aware of how much irresistible he was for a man like Nick, who, from what I gather, isn’t used to have to work to fill his bed, but Kelly is different, he is a good friend, a teammate, and he cannot be consider just another notch on the bedpost.

The novel wasn’t long, but I read the author is writing more on these two men, and that is good, cause I really liked them.

Series: A Sidewinder Story
Paperback: 106 pages
Publisher: Riptide Publishing; first edition (September 30, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1626490562
ISBN-13: 978-1626490567
Amazon: Shock & Awe (A Sidewinder Story)
Amazon Kindle: Shock & Awe (A Sidewinder Story)

More Reviews by Author at my website:, My Reviews

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Philomena (2013) directed by Stephen Frears

Philomena (2013)
A world-weary political journalist picks up the story of a woman's search for her son, who was taken away from her decades ago after she became pregnant and was forced to live in a convent.
Director: Stephen Frears
Writers: Steve Coogan (screenplay), Jeff Pope (screenplay), Martin Sixsmith (book "The Lost Child of Philomena Lee")
Stars: Judi Dench, Steve Coogan, Sophie Kennedy Clark

If you are wondering why I'm featuring this movie when most of the movies I have featured in the past are Gay themed, well, you will have to see it, lets only say, that it's very moving, and that for a moment it had me in tears, moreover cause this is a life story, and so the events in it are real; as soon as I was back, I searched the internet, with the little hope the events in the movie were maybe emphasized to the benefits of the script, but unfortunately they are very much real. Unfortunately, cause I'm a little heartbroken right now, but very powerful and the director dealt with them in a way that was moving but not exploiting; on the contrary, sometime he was even able to snatch a smile to the public, and Judi Dench's performance is so good, not surprising at all considering the greatness of this actress.

I recommend to my friends to go and see it, and then go back home and do the same little search I did; meeting Michael and his story, and be a little heartbroken like me, but knowing also that Michael is a great man and his story is worthy to be known.

Further Readings:

Philomena: A Mother, Her Son, and a Fifty-Year Search (Movie Tie-in) by Martin Sixsmith
Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (November 6, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0143124722
ISBN-13: 978-0143124726
Amazon: Philomena: A Mother, Her Son, and a Fifty-Year Search

Now a major motion picture starring Judi Dench: the heartbreaking true story of an Irishwoman and the secret she kept for 50 years

When she became pregnant as a teenager in Ireland in 1952, Philomena Lee was sent to a convent to be looked after as a “fallen woman.” Then the nuns took her baby from her and sold him, like thousands of others, to America for adoption. Fifty years later, Philomena decided to find him.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, Philomena’s son was trying to find her. Renamed Michael Hess, he had become a leading lawyer in the first Bush administration, and he struggled to hide secrets that would jeopardize his career in the Republican Party and endanger his quest to find his mother.

A gripping exposé told with novelistic intrigue, Philomena pulls back the curtain on the role of the Catholic Church in forced adoptions and on the love between a mother and son who endured a lifelong separation.

More Gay Themed Movies at my website:, My Lists/Movies

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