Issue 363

Editorial Cartoon

Bitter Girl

Q Solution: “Superman’s Ex”

Q Puzzle: “Superman’s Ex”

Across
1 “You’re the Top” songwriter Porter
5 Like Fellini’s vita
10 “Beat it!”
14 Race track shape
15 Long, hard one of construction workers
16 Game played astride the well-hung
17 Gay romance drama of 1996
20 Walks like Sue Wicks?
21 Tickled-pink feeling
22 Tournament exemption
23 Neighbor of Leb.
24 With 28- and 42-Across, gay-themed mystery film of 2008
28 See 24-Across
33 Writing that evokes feeling?
36 Song of Bloody Mary
38 Performed like Rufus Wainwright
39 Like the gas krypton
41 Blackball
42 See 24-Across
45 Orgasm, e.g.
48 One, for James M. Barrie
49 British noblemen
53 Land of writer E. Donoghue
54 Opponent of a horny male?
57 The Common Mkt.
58 With 60-Across, actress who played gay in the movies of this puzzle
60 See 58-Across
62 ___ instant
63 “So long!”
67 The Music Man setting
68 Court records
69 A Room of One’s Own, e.g.
70 Move the ball between your legs
71 Depilatory brand
72 Water threesome
73 Tab and Shift

Down
1 Afr. or Eur.
2 Out partner
3 Composition of some beds
4 Mt. sign
5 With little light
6 Like chubby chasers’ targets
7 Sanction
8 Ambiguously Gay Duo attire
9 Poet Dickinson
10 Chose not to swallow
11 ___ fan tutte
12 In addition
13 Roger Rabbit, for one
18 Causeless Dean character
19 Song about donning gay apparel, e.g.
24 Delivery people, briefly
25 Piece-loving org.
26 South Beach souvenir
27 “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” experiences
29 Campbell of Martin
30 LBJ’s veep
31 Bonheur bathed in it
32 ___ Tin Tin
34 Memorial designer Maya
35 Stop with
36 Go straight?
37 ___ loss for words
40 Barry Humphries’ Dame
43 What guns shoot off
44 Hatcher of Desperate Housewives
45 Roddy McDowall in Planet of the Apes
46 Strut like a stallion
47 Put bubbles in
50 Made over
51 Street named for writer Harper?
52 Leftovers
55 Cruising, maybe
56 Rubber-stamps
59 Responder to “Bite me!”?
61 Common UFO shape
64 Hrs. in P-town
65 That, south of the border
66 Orange veggie

Taos, New Mexico

Remote and resplendent Taos, a diminutive town of about 6,500 nestled beneath New Mexico’s highest peaks, has long been a haven for artists, bohemians and free spirits. The percentage of gays and lesbians in the population is likely far less than Santa Fe or Albuquerque, but Taos nevertheless pulls in a considerable number of GLBT visitors. It’s a perfect long-weekend destination, just 90 minutes from Santa Fe and a little over four hours from Denver. The town abounds with exceptional art galleries, notable restaurants, gay-friendly B&Bs and an almost endless supply of cultural and outdoor diversion. Read the rest of this entry »

Building a Better Bloody Mary

You can tell a lot about a person from his or her choice in a Bloody Mary. Some people try a little too hard to butch up the drink with seven kinds of hot sauce. Others are all about flair, bedazzling the drink with enough garnish to decorate Carmen Miranda’s hat. And a certain segment of the population just likes drinking at breakfast. Read the rest of this entry »

Book Marks

Cheever: A Life
by Blake Bailey
Alfred A. Knopf
784 pages
$35 hardcover

Let this incisive biography stand as an object lesson in the perils of denial: Without casting judgment, it makes clear that Cheever—dead more than a quarter century, his literary legacy dimmed—was a resolute alcoholic in part because of insecurity around sexual identity. Dalliances with gay composer and diarist Ned Rorem and gay novelist Allan Gurganus are two of many same-sex moments detailed in Bailey’s exhaustive but riveting bio. Cheever’s lust for a young Mormon writer and for a Sing Sing convict are also part of the sympathetic biographical tapestry, which balances not-so-private drinking and sexual demons with nicely nuanced praise for his many novels and short stories. Cheever’s queer bent is no secret: In the 1980s, daughter Susan wrote about it in her own memoir, and son Benjamin edited a few-holds-barred selection of Cheever’s letters—and there are certainly autobiographical elements in Falconer, the prison novel that redefined the perception of Cheever as merely a master of the leafy, suburban moment. This is an exquisite, judicious portrait of a flawed man’s rich life.

Centuries Ago and Very Fast
by Rebecca Ore
Aqueduct Press
160 pages
$16 paper

In his 15,000 years, gay immortal Vel has seen it all, from mastodons roaming the Earth in the Pleistocene era to the Stonewall riots in 1969. He’s had innumerable lovers, remaining young as they aged. He can trip through time, offering one boyfriend in the 20th century a handful of wooly mammoth fur snatched in a flash from thousands of years past. He witnesses those heroic homo riots after rambunctious sex with a Puerto Rican drag queen, he trysts with cavemen by flickering firelight and—the thread that ties together this hugely imaginative fable’s 13 interconnected stories—he falls in love with mortal Thomas, who is cautiously permitted to learn the secrets of a man who has kept his family land intact for centuries. Ore, a mainstream science fiction novelist and short story writer with James Tiptree, Jr. and Philip K. Dick nominations to her credit, has crafted a time-travel tale incorporating ancient religious rites, a tender gay love story, snapshots of historical attitudes about homosexuality—and earthy queer erotica.

Stealing Ganymede
by J. Warren
Rebel Satori Press
192 pages
$16.95 paper

Bloody shootouts, decadent sexual behavior, an underground sex cabal, fiercely dysfunctional family life, teenage boys molested: this is not a novel for the faint of heart—or the weak of stomach. Warren fuses a gritty crime caper—first-person narrator Zeus enters the transgressive tale as a hit man and hired muscle without a shred of remorse—with emotionally complex literary fiction in which a compelling, redemptive narrative elevates the repellent content. The result is mesmerizing, particularly as Zeus evolves from cold-blooded killer without a shred of soul to compassionate caretaker for Ganymede, a boy he is hired to deliver to a pederast with brutal desires—and in whom he perceives elements of his younger, abused self. The compact novel’s chronology flits across time, so the intricate story is hard at first to follow, but Warren soon enough knits past and present together to dazzling effect. Unsettling, yes, but this intelligent depiction of aberrant carnal lust and chilling sexual abuse is haunting, ultimately more humane than profane.

Assembly Required: Notes from a Deaf Gay Life
by Raymond Luczak
RID Press
160 pages
$14.95 paper

A longing to connect runs through the 11 essays in this slim but evocative collection by Luczak, deaf since age 7 months. Ostracized because of bulky hearing aids, he was a pre-teen outsider at his regular school, before switching to special classes. Sensing he was gay as a young teenager, he yearned to learn more about his feelings but was inhibited by his disability. Deaf and gay liberation both blossomed at Gallaudet University, where American Sign Language connected him to other deaf people, and he proudly introduced himself thus: “Hello, my name is Ray, and that rhymes with gay.” Luczak discusses anti-Deaf discrimination and Deaf self-oppression with unabashed candor, writes about friends lost to AIDS with tender poignancy and exults about new technology—most recently crystal-clear video chat—that in his lifetime has connected him to a universe of other Deaf queers. This deeply personal writing offers the hearing gay world a confident look at life as a member of an outsider community inside a larger outsider community.

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 BookMarks@qsyndicate.com.

Deep Inside Hollywood

Mitchell takes Eckhart and Kidman down the Rabbit Hole
Why is that so many hack directors crank out movie after movie while the really talented filmmakers make us wait? John Cameron Mitchell took five long years after Hedwig and the Angry Inch to get 2006’s Shortbus into theaters, and he’s only now getting rolling on his third feature, which sounds both fascinating and mass-audience friendly. Mitchell has been tapped to bring the Pulitzer Prize–winning Broadway hit Rabbit Hole to the big screen, and he’s got Aaron Eckhart and Nicole Kidman in the lead roles. David Lindsay-Abaire will adapt his own play, which tells the story of a married couple taking an emotional journey after sudden tragedy strikes. Kidman is producing and will play the role that won lesbian actress Cynthia Nixon a Tony. Shooting starts in late May, so Rabbit Hole might be finished in time for Oscar contention at the end of the year. Or next. Or maybe the one after that. Read the rest of this entry »

Creep of the Week: Pope Benedict XVI

You know what Africans love? AIDS. Getting it, spreading it—doesn’t matter. It’s their favorite thing. I mean, it must be, right? Because why else would the HIV/AIDS rate be so high over there? It can’t possibly have anything to do with things like economic conditions and access to prevention education and condoms. Read the rest of this entry »

Hear Me Out

Pet Shop Boys, Yes
The electropop sound the Pet Shop Boys helped revolutionize in the ‘80s has more than come back—it’s turned Lady Gaga into a hyped record-breaking brand. The English duo couldn’t have timed this better. Re-claiming Gaga’s glory is nearly impossible, but lightening-up after 2004’s politics-heavy Fundamental and re-embracing mindless heyday pep should help the “West End Girls” hit-makers on their 10th LP. The gay-culture mainstays, Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe, wax on the candy-coated flamboyancy for “Love etc.” and “Pandemonium”—the former love-over-looks mantra featuring their eye for sly lyricism, and the be-bopping latter so on-ecstasy you’ll want whatever they’re on. And it doesn’t get deliciously weirder—or gayer—than “All Over the World,” where a Tchaikovsky sample spills over fuzzed-out synths. Their lazy failings aren’t totally indigestible, either—the “Vulnerable” refrain recycles more than a tree hugger, and “Beautiful People” works ‘70s TV-show theme nostalgia to a cheeseball effect. But the disc’s embarrassing coda, “Legacy,” contradicts its title, becoming insufferably unmemorable with a meandering six-plus minutes of nothingness. So when Tennant asks on “Pandemonium,” “Is this a riot or are you just pleased to see me?” the answer is mostly.
Grade: B-

Yeah Yeah Yeahs, It’s Blitz!
R.I.P. Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Karen O and Co.’s alt-rock sound has died—but the bohemian Big Apple-based band’s survived by disco-strobed synths in a techy 2.0 sound that’ll leave naysayers’ eyes rolling, and the rest of us? Feet shuffling and heart murmuring. YYY’s third-album metamorphosis is a whiplash jerk, but it puts a caterpillar to shame with a transformation so beautifully memorizing it’s whore-easy to get enveloped in the electroclash swooshes and O’s expressive, best-to-date singing. “Zero,” the first single, is aurally orgasmic, an electro-charged sonic mish-mash kicked up with a pulsating synths-on-steroids chorus and O’s high-flying yowl. Glitter sheen slides into “Heads Will Roll,” pleasuring with an irresistible pop hook, but it’s the futuristic free-verse balladry that shows the grunge-rock group’s finesse and maturation: melancholy Celtic-lined “Skeleton,” which builds to a heart-stopping chorus, and euphoric lullaby “Little Shadow” (both of which are performed acoustically at the disc’s end). Call this switcheroo a conformist move, but the YYYs sell it like they own it.
Grade: A-

Also Out

Keith Urban, Defying Gravity
Wicked didn’t influence the making of Mr. Nicole Kidman’s fifth album, but he sure knows how to melt us with his lovey-dovey lyrics. Being hot helps, but it doesn’t cushion a relatively neutered LP that could’ve used more Oz sparkle. His post-rehab set—practically strapped with a big ol’ smile (which will win over the hardest of hearts on “Thank You”)—nabs some pop-country radio-bait, but also struggles getting off the ground. Come in, flying broom.

Cassandra Wilson, Closer to You: The Pop Side
The passion behind Cassandra Wilson’s distinctively mellow alto is enough to squeeze the emotion out of the array of pop artists she covers on this collection. Van Morrison’s “Tupelo Honey” is a silky, magical re-do, but Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time” is a tender bluesy number that lacks its quirky master’s charm. The similar tempos don’t help much either—unless it’s naptime.

Original cast, Shrek: The Musical
There’s no harm in a little ogre sing-along fun. And, heck, even if you’re years past puberty, you’ll dig the wit, pep and “tranny-mess” talk on the soundtrack to the filmed-turned-musical, which opened to critics’ thumbs-up in December. With silliness like “Donkey Pot Pie,” a fair amount of ear-sticky songs and plenty of PG-13 innuendo, Avenue Q diehards should eat this up quicker than Shrek can finish off a plate of grubs.

Empire of the Sun, Walking on a Dream
Like a bad dream, you’ll wish you could wake up from parts of this flamboyant Aussie duo’s debut album. But, alas, even though half of their disc is a nightmare—like “Delta Bay,” electro-crap guaranteed to give a migraine, and every other cut in the last half—there’s a solid EP somewhere in there. And, marked with a crazy-good falsetto hook, first single “Walking on a Dream” is a different kind of dream: A wet one.

Chris Azzopardi wants you to know that no sheets were harmed while reviewing Empire of the Sun. Reach him at chris@pridesource.com.

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