Books: 496

By E.B. Boatner May 29, 2014

Categories: Books, Our Affairs

Legendary Locals of Pine City
Nathan Johnson
Arcadia Publishing
$21.99

For a town dating back to only 1881, Pine City has produced a wealth of notable people. Johnson offers stories of connection of local denizens of this interesting and complex locale, just north of the Cities, population 3,127. Legendary GLBT locals include Ashley Ackley, former transgender soldier attempting to reenlist as another gender; Richard Carlbom, leader of the successful Minnesota marriage equality drive; Bob Mould, gay musician formerly lead singer of Hüsker Dü; Denise Nelsen, Pine City’s first female and lesbian firefighter and a former Ms. Natural Minnesota; Wally Lundin, whose 1996 murder in Minneapolis resulted in the founding of the Center for Homicide Research–the first place in the nation to study gay homicide. Pine City, town that “welcomes everyone,” invites you to connect.

Hibernation: And Other Poems by Bear Bards
Ed. Ron J. Suresha
Bear Bones Books
$18

A total of forty bear bards contributed to this collection of more than one hundred predominantly free-verse poems encompassing the myriad aspects of ursine existence. Local writer Raymond Luczac, also a playwright and filmmaker, is the author of some fifteen books, including How to Kill Poetry. His poem, “Rapunzel’s Brother” offers a cold shadow of a dream made flesh, while Ron Mohring’s “Beardom” takes a wry look at getting older: “What a relief/to settle into fifty!” Daniel M. Jaffe’ short “Solo Act” is self-explanatory, and Rocco Russo’s “If I had the time” neatly juxtaposes lofty ideals with the inevitable constraints of daily chores and duties. The book offers the joy and sadness, wonder, humor and grace that permeates all life, even that of bears.

End of the Rainbow: Volume One
Matt Cresswell and Thom Vollans
Lethe Press
$20

On Canal Street, one finds the End of the Rainbow, where gather the assorted GLBTQ, and paraphernalia thereof sprung from the minds of creators Matt Cresswell and Thom Vollans. This omnibus represents the very first seventy-four issues of this eclectic web comic. The setting: End of the Rainbow, a GLBT bookshop on Canal Street, Manchester, England. This little cosmos is presided over by David, Rainbow’s owner, his partner, Max, a teacher, and populated by a rainbow of ten quirky friends, students and a miscellany of others, trans, polyamorous, simply amorous, on down to the shop cat, Puffin. The strip, in its second year, will be moving from weekly to twice-weekly, and will continue to feature guest artists and writers. Check it all out on www.endoftherainbowcomic.co.uk

The Man Who Invented Rock Hudson: The Pretty Boys and Dirty Deals of Henry
Willson
Robert Hoffler
University of Minnesota Press
$19.95

Through some 200 interviews, in prose spiced with tinsel-talk and his own eclectic wording (“bubble gum thaumaturgy,” “press funambulism”), Hoffle reconstructs the life of Hollywood agent Henry Willson (1911-1978). Eastern-educated, homosexual, and barely out of his teens when he reached Hollywood, Willson had an unerring eye for star quality in the rough diamonds pouring into town in the 1930s. He developed a stable of males, Rock Hudson, Tab Hunter, Troy Donahue (some women Lana Turner, Natalie Wood), the boys sharing his bed on their way to celluloid immortality. Of Turner he corrected, “I didn’t say she could act. I said she could be a movie star.” A portrait of the times, the difficulties of sexual variance, Willson’s and Hudson’s careers illustrate some very hard truths.

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