Every week William Way Executive Director Chris Bartlett and I meet for a rummage through the LGBT community center’s John J. Wilcox Jr. Archives, a veritable treasure trove of relics from gay Philadelphia’s past. This week, I got sidetracked by the the Archives’ fantastic collection of gay pulp fiction novels. These gems, with erotic, albeit kind of hilarious covers, and even better cover lines, were donated from community members over the years. Check out some of my favorites—or at least the ones that I could show—below:
I had the unusual experience this week of feeling sorry for a very chic, very thin Frenchwoman. That would be Fleur Pellerin, France’s minister of culture, who was asked in a television interview to name her favorite book by Patrick Modiano, the Frenchman who just won the Nobel Prize for literature. This put the French minister of culture in a highly awkward position, as she was unable to name any of the works of the highly celebrated M. Modiano, seeing as she’s never read anything he’s written. (She had, however, she noted, much enjoyed a recent luncheon with him.)
Mme. Minister then compounded her sin by admitting that she hadn’t read a book of fiction in years: “I read a lot of notes, a lot of legal texts, the news, A.F.P. stories, but I read very little,” she said in the interview, according to the New York Times.
Whereupon French social media exploded, and writer Claude Askolovitch promptly called Mme. Minister “barbaric” on the French site of the Huffington Post, demanding that she resign.
Poor Fleur. Read more »
Nalla, an author currently based in Philadelphia, is revealing her experience being queer in the Middle East in a new book. “Faces,” a collection of poems, describes Nalla’s struggles from his perspective, walking the reader through his difficult journey. The poems also meditate on love and life but mainly focus on the daily confusion and inner conflict Nalla faced while living in different countries in the Middle East.
Sure to be an emotional journey for any reader, Nalla’s poems are expressive of the rejection he has suffered and the love he found along the way. Available through indie publisher Lulu, Faces features a beautiful sketch on its cover that Nalla fell in love with online, then tracked down and obtained the rights to use it for this book. While you wait for your copy of this powerful poetry to ship (just $14, by the way) check out some of Nalla’s work online.
A year from now the world will be graced by the first in-depth biography of Beyoncé by famed celebrity biographer J. Randy Taraborrelli. Taraborrelli has delved into the lives of pop culture’s most fascinating names, including Michael Jackson, Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor and the Kennedys. Now he’ll pull back the curtain on the world’s most flawless celebrity.
The as-yet-untitled biography will follow Bey from childhood to superstardom, including aspects of both her personal and professional lives. Flavorwire reports that the book will feature “exclusive interviews with the people in the superstar’s life” but there is no word yet on whether that includes Queen Bey herself.
Will we get to know Knowles as a precocious young star in the making? Will the bio detail the early struggles Destiny’s Child faced? What about her fortress-like PR machine? Her relationship with Jay? Her early days with Blue? What really happened in that elevator? We have so many questions.
No matter what the bio includes, it’s sure to sell off the shelves in minutes. Beyoncé could give a much needed boost to the book biz next fall when Hachette’s Grand Central Publishing releases the tome. Add this news to her just-announced collab with Topshop and you’ve got one bootylicious Monday.
Right around this time two years ago, Hurricane Sandy changed the way we look at weather phenomena. A new book by journalist Kathryn Miles, Superstorm: Nine Days Inside Hurricane Sandy, takes an unprecedented look inside the storm that ravaged the Atlantic coast in 2012.
Released just last week, Miles’s narrative dives into the human aspect of the second-costliest storm in U.S. history, following the hurricane/cyclone hybrid from its birth in the Caribbean to when it hit land in New Jersey.
Rather than just laying out the meteorological effects of the storm, Miles explores how the nine days of freak weather affected emergency responders, weather forecasters, victims, and survivors. Local residents who experienced the storm firsthand are sure to be entertained—and just may pick up a few tips about what to expect from our next disaster.
Right on the heels of news that David Lynch’s Twin Peaks will return to television in 2016, Flatiron Books has released information that the eery serial drama is being turned into a novel.
According to AP, the book, titled The Secret Lives of Twin Peaks, will delve into what has happened to the show’s characters since it went off the air in 1991.
The work is being written by the show’s co-creator and executive producer, Mark Frost, and will be published just before the sequel returns to TV.
Mazzoni Center‘s Ally Safe Schools program has distilled its wealth of knowledge into a book, so educators and students alike can learn how to create or strengthen a Gay/Queer-Straight Alliance at their schools. These student-run clubs help raise awareness of LGBTQ issues, organize activities, provide support for each other, and/or create a safe space for LGBTQ students.
How to Build a FIERCE GSA is 22-pages in length, and filled with all kinds of tips that the Center hopes will help inspire healthy, vibrant GSAs across the region and nation. The small 4-by-6 guide is portable, so readers can keep it on hand for meetings and events. It’s so tiny—and adorable—it will fit in your pocket.
You may have seen Mazzoni handing out some of these at OutFest yesterday, but you can still get a free copy by downloading it here as a PDF or requesting a hard copy.
Read more »
Every hump day a Philly person shares their local picks for Woman Crush Wednesday. Today, photographer Rachelle Lee Smith, who, on October 1st, released her latest book Speaking OUT: Queer Youth in Focus, a photographic compilation featuring queer youth and their stories about being LGBT in a modern world. She’s officially launching the book at a reception at William Way on October 10th. More info on that here.
Our Last Five Woman Crush Wednesdays:
Back in July Amazon opened up its Kindle Unlimited subscription service to the U.S., throwing their hat in the ring to be the “Netflix of books.” For just $9.99 a month, users can access over 700,000 e-books on their Kindle e-readers, through the Kindle app for iOS, Android, Windows Phone or Blackberry, or on their desktop.
Having access to this library is a boon for bookworms—that is, if they can figure out what to read. With so many titles to choose from and, frankly, quite a few duds, the choices can be a bit overwhelming. We’ve dug through their fiction selection to find the best books on Kindle Unlimited for you to download.
The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers (1940)
Often named one of the best novels of the 20th century, McCullers’ modern classic debuted when she was just 23. The story follows a deaf man named John Singer and the friends he makes in a small Georgia town in the 1930s. Singer’s life changes when he is separated from his mute companion and meets heroine Mick Kelly, a tomboy who loves music.
Up the Down Staircase by Bel Kaufman (1965)
This novel is the original “young idealistic teacher fights bureaucracy and small budgets in an inner-city school” tale, but it’s told through inter-office memos, students’ notes, suggestion box ideas, and lesson plans. After spending 64 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list when it debuted, it was adapted into a film in 1967, becoming an instant classic.
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A book launch and reception was held Friday night at University of the Arts for photographer and Associate Professor Barbara Proud’s new page-turner First Comes Love: Portraits of Enduring LGBTQ Relationships (Soleil Press).
Barbara Proud (right) and Jan Felshin, who's been with her partner, Edrie Ferdum, for 55 years.
Home Nguyen, Dan Martin, Leng Lim and Michael Biello. Nguyen and Lim, Manhattan residents, are subjects in the book and have been together 19 years.
CJ Harker and Sean Dyroff
George Beschen, director of donor relations at Fox Chase Cancer Center, and Jordan Rockford, senior lecturer/academic advisor at UArts.
Richard Moore, Jeannette Moore, Maggie Bays, and Stuart Hovell are related to Proud. They tell me that she and her partner, Allison, have the longest relationship in the family, and many of the family members go to them when they need advice.
Marc Silver and James Rose, both artists, tell me the secret to their longevity is allowing each other the space to exercise their creativity in isolation, and not get personal about it.
The forward to the book was written by Edie Windsor, whose challenge and eventual beating of DOMA seemed to set in motion the equality marriage act that is sweeping the nation.
Laura and Jennifer Zaylea have been together for six years, having met in grad school. They recently became parents to twin girls and reside in Delaware. They tell me they're not getting a lot of sleep, but are loving the experience.
Edrie and Jan together 55 years. Edrie was the head of the dance program at Temple University for 30 years.
Harvey Hurdle and Kevin Yoder are the proud dads of 2-year-old Evan Hurdle-Yoder. The dads have limited contact with the mother but share photos of Evan with her via Facebook. The couple was wed on their 25th anniversary in Washington DC in 2013, as Pennsylvania hadn’t allowed same-sex marriages at the time.
Santiago Ortiz and Pablo Garcia have been together 23 years. Pablo (right) is a native of Venezuela, and has been living undocumented for over 20 years. Despite being legally married in Connecticut in 2011, the couple had lived in fear that Garcia would be deported, but now that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled DOMA unconstitutional, Garcia is allowed to apply for a green card as Santiago’s spouse. Their story was documented in a Time magazine article and on Buzzfeed last year.
Rasheda Hampton, Marisa Marchegiano and Michele Marchesiano were glad to be on hand to support several of their friends who are featured in the project.
Students from University of the Arts entertain guests.
Juan and Imelda Sanchez with their son Juan ‘Toby’ Sanchez and his partner Michael Marriott. Mr. and Mrs. Sanchez flew in from Houston, Texas to be there Friday night. Juan and Michael met in D.C. and still reside there. They are on the cover of the book. Mom and dad are very proud and supportive of their son.
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