Issue 362

I’ll Take Manhattans

I could almost hear good ol’ blue eyes himself belting out “I’ve got the world on a string…” when I entered Manhattans Restaurant & Bar. Manhattans is a modern version of a New York City-style bar from another era, with bartenders sporting the traditional sleeve garters, servers in white dress shirts and black ties, and dim lighting. Read the rest of this entry »

Trolín

Out in the Stars

Horoscope for Apr. 10-23 They say every action has a reaction, and it is especially true this period, when feisty Mars conjuncts shocking Uranus. Want to get a few things done? Right now? Oh, stand back, world! Read the rest of this entry »

A Couple of Guys®

Bitter Girl

Q Solution: “Co-moms”

Q Puzzle: “Co-moms”

Across
1 Merit badge locale for the “morally straight”
5 Sunday service
9 Strap-on for a diver
14 Industry showcase
15 Crude cartel
16 Quotes gay historian George Chauncey, e.g.
17 Neeson of Kinsey
18 Tomato variety
19 Muse for Millay
20 Rita of West Side Story
22 With 24-Across, TV show of 53-Across
24 See 22-Across
26 Haus wife
27 Paul Lynde, on Bewitched
29 Kenneth Turan, for one
33 Stroke it
36 Points at the target
38 “C’est Moi,” in English
39 Dancer Reagan
40 Method used by the co-moms
42 Concern at gfn.com
43 On the ball
45 Switch ending
46 The bottom line
47 Street market
49 Pantywaist
51 ___ Three Lives
53 Food Network co-mom
57 Co-mom partner of 53-Across
61 Put to sleep
62 Addis ___
63 Taylor of I Shot Andy Warhol
65 Had too many M&M’s, e.g.
66 Bernstein’s tool
67 Kind of idol
68 Novelist Patricia ___ Warren
69 Makes a wet blanket
70 “And giving ___, up the chimney …”
71 Ancient European language

Down
1 Blair, who kissed Sarah Michelle Gellar in Cruel Intentions
2 Assumed truth
3 You might pick one up in an alley
4 Billy Bean’s fourbagger
5 Leather type
6 Mil. drop site
7 Sweet opening?
8 Eat up, with “down”
9 Outline for Alan Ball
10 Party type
11 State where two women could be in a marriage, formerly
12 Belle’s companion
13 Starting on
21 Anais who went both ways
23 Tolkien beast
25 Kicking partner
28 Islamic leaders
30 Poet ___ Wu
31 Little fairies
32 CD part (abbr.)
33 Sourpuss
34 “Hi” to Lorca
35 Don Juan’s mother
37 Impassive
40 Pasolini and Zeffirelli
41 Cross-dresser in As You Like It
44 Pride flag design
46 The Wizard of Oz event
48 Striped shirt wearer
50 Apt name for a cook
52 Where Old Man River makes his deposits
54 Like a chickenhawk to a chicken
55 Rods’ attachments
56 Discombobulate
57 Sparring pokes
58 Israeli statesman
59 Allies alliance (abbr.)
60 Nice zip
64 Bloom of The Producers

Obama Watch: Pressure Builds for the Administration to Tackle DOMA

We may soon know whether Barack Obama will stand up for queer America or fold like so many politicians have before. The pressure of two recent court rulings, a lawsuit and new legislation—all challenging aspects of the Defense of Marriage Act—should push the Obama Administration to stop dithering around and do something. Read the rest of this entry »

Deep Inside Hollywood

Hathaway goes over the rainbow to play Garland

Anne Hathaway has enraptured queer audiences in movies as varied as Brokeback Mountain, The Princess Diaries, The Devil Wears Prada and Rachel Getting Married. Now she’s taking on the mother of all roles as she prepares to play the 20th century’s most legendary gay icon, Judy Garland. Hathaway will star in both Broadway and movie adaptations of Gerald Clarke’s biography Get Happy: The Life of Judy Garland. (Clarke wrote the book that was the basis of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Oscar-winning turn in Capote, so his imprimatur on biopics is a valuable one.) The actress proved at this year’s Oscars that she can sing, so get ready to hear her belt “Over the Rainbow” and “The Trolley Song” and any number of Garland standards in a way that will probably make Rufus Wainwright very jealous. No director has been attached to either project, and no dates have yet been set. But listen for that “clang clang clang.” Read the rest of this entry »

Book Marks

Ruins
by Achy Obejas
Akashic Books
212 pages
$15.95 paper

The hero of this magical, mystical novel is middle-aged Usnavy, so named because his mother could see the ships of the U.S. Navy from their home near Guantanamo Bay. Born in pre-revolutionary Cuba, and a true believer in Castro, his life nonetheless remains intertwined with the crushing reality of America. He is devastated when his closest friend boards a ramshackle raft for Florida in 1994, and he scrabbles ashamedly for black market dollars to support his wife and daughter by driving American tourists around a crumbling Havana. Cuban-born Obejas’ previous novels, particularly Memory Mambo, focused primarily on the lives of people—young lesbians among them—who escaped to America. The story here, exquisitely noble and fiercely illuminating, is of daily life in a Cuba where old blankets are marinated in weak beef stock and spices to be sold as sandwich meat. Queer content is slight—one muscular male character’s sexual identity is shadowy—but lesbian author Obejas has crafted a haunting novel about physical deprivation, emotional exhaustion and spiritual strength that resonates with queerly familiar defiance.

Straight Lies
by Rob Byrnes
Kensington Books
336 pages
$15 paper

Is this over-the-top caper novel fun? Somewhat. Is it in any way plausible? Not a chance. Suspend all belief in narrative coherence, ye easy-going readers who chance to crack the cover. Chase LaMarca and Grant Lambert are queerly incompetent petty thieves who think they’ve scored the ultimate blackmail target: Aging, heroically gay actor Romeo Romero, acclaimed for championing gay causes onscreen and off, is in truth a flaming heterosexual. The criminally inept duo of LaMarca and Lambert has proof of Romero’s devotion to dalliances with heavy-breasted damsels on unwieldy videotape (whatever happened to the simple camera phone?). Alas: an equally inept associate loses the tape, and it falls into the hands of an unscrupulous tabloid gossipmonger, now also intent on exposing Romero unless he forks over big bucks. Outrageous coincidences and unlikely plot twists ensue, as the comically charming crooks and the venally crooked journalist joust with each other. Fans of a good-humored comedy of errors with scant literary value will enjoy this featherweight trifle; anyone with a yen for substance best pass on it.

Deflowered: My Life in Pansy Division
by Jon Ginoli
Cleis Books
298 pages
$16.95 paper

Since the early 1990s, Pansy Division has rocked the queer musical world with a ribald sense of humor and a rowdy enthusiasm for sex. Band founder Ginoli brings both qualities to this chipper, chatty mix of memoir and journal, along with a savvy insider’s perspective on the indie music scene and the world of queercore rock that the band helped create. The book is at its most introspective as memoir, where Ginoli writes about his pre-San Francisco days and his life off the road. Journal sections, written with rollicking immediacy as Pansy Division toured, bring to life both the band’s heady days opening for Green Day, and less exhilarating nights playing in front of homophobic (and often small) crowds in dive bars with crappy sound systems. He and longtime musical compatriot Chris Freeman are still making music—That’s So Gay was released this year, 16 years after the first album, Undressed—but Ginoli is genially sanguine about the band’s current low-key career. And, judging from this laconic but absorbing account, he’s the furthest thing from a tormented rock star.

Metropolitan Lovers: The Homosexuality of Cities
by Julie Abraham
University of Minnesota Press
380 pages
$29.95 hardcover

It would seem to be an intuitive given that gays are having sex in the cities of the world, to say nothing of congregating in discrete neighborhoods, gentrifying inner cities, fomenting political change and artistic ferment and weaving “social webs.” This analysis does nothing to challenge that belief. Rather, with a deft synthesis of literary, cultural and urban history, Abraham tracks how homosexuals changed cities, and how cities changed homosexuals. Her research ranges from 19th century Paris, London and, surprisingly, Los Angeles, to social scientist Richard Florida’s 21st century assertion that the economic potential of cities depends in its cultural qualities—best provided by queer “social bohemianism.” While the author’s exploration of shifting urban forces and evolving cultural perceptions buttresses her theories, this academic study is most accessible when Abraham focuses on queer writing about the city. Armistead Maupin’s journalistic Tales of the City, James Baldwin’s use of New York neighborhoods, and Samuel Delany’s musing on the one-time sex trade of Times Square are among a long list of queer authors cited for their use of urban environments.

Richard Labonte has been reading, editing, selling, and writing about queer literature since the mid-’70s. He can be reached in care of this publication or at [email protected]

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