INTERVIEW: Out Poet Kevin Killian on His Fascination With Kylie, Visiting Whitman, and the “Tsunami of Genitalia” He’s Bringing to Philly

Kevin Killian is a multi-talented writer who uses his novels, poetry, plays, and stories to talk about LGBT issues from the past and the present. I got a chance to interview him before his reading at Temple’s Tyler School of Art on Thursday, January 29th. I highly recommend going to this event if you enjoy a reading that is “queer and weird.”  You can buy copies of his publications here.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHow would you define your style of poetry for someone who isn’t familiar with your work?
I am from the East Coast and grew up listening to the poetry of folks like Frank O’Hara and Amiri Baraka, so I have a conversational, some might say musical rhythm to my poems, even down to the level of the line itself, and when later in life I moved to San Francisco I became bitten by the Jack Spicer bug, the theory of poetry as coming from some force outside the lyric self I had spent the first half of my life trying to get to. So I’m like a two-way street, and the two ways of the street don’t even see each other most of the time, they just drive on by.

LGBT themes play a role in the majority of your work. Why did you decide to stick so closely to that genre?
Maybe that was the priority of my generation, men and women born in the 1950s? Our sexualities were completely, or nearly completely, suppressed by the heteronormative majority. When, here and there, we could say something, we did, and resolved never to shut up about it, come hell or high water. I don’t even know that I’d call them “themes,” but they’re formal qualities perhaps.

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Morning Headlines: Suit Claims Society Hill Condo Used in Sex-for-Rent Affair

421 Pine Street, via Google Street View

421 Pine Street, via Google Street View

So here’s a bizarre story to start off your Friday morning. According to Morgan Zalot of the Daily News, a “high-powered Brooklyn real-estate mogul” named Stuart Venner drew up a 40-year lease for his mistress to live in a Society Hill condo near 5th and Pine Street, probably not an uncommon story.

However, it’s way more complicated than a simple woman-on-the-side type affair:

But this wasn’t just any lease, the suit claims: The agreement allegedly allowed defendant Panadda Pratomtang to rent the property for $1 a month until 2053 “in return for her providing prostitution services to Board Member, [Stuart] Venner.”

To top it off, Venner named his wife, Grace Chang Venner, as the manager of a real-estate business called “421 Pine LLC.” Yes, that’s the address of the house and yes, that’s pretty much how Venner got caught in the act.

Venner told the Daily News that the allegations were “ridiculous … I don’t know anything about this.” The suit seeks the lease agreement to be terminated, attorney’s fees and punitive damages for Grace Chang Venner.

Wife’s lawsuit: Mistress paid for Society Hill condo with sex [Daily News]

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The Architect Designing Temple’s New Library is Impressive

Architizer’s Matt Shaw has rounded up the three projects that have brought Norwegian architecture group Snøhetta significant acclaim this past year (click the links for images):

  • the Kasper Salin Prize-winning Väven project in Sweden (also nominated for the Mies van der Rohe Prize, “arguably the most prestigious in Europe”)
  • the proposed Obama Presidential Center in Honolulu (the plan includes an interactive visitor center)
  • their selection as one of six firms who will help design Oslo’s new government center (no competition here, all architects will have their plans included in the final design)

All this is worth noting since the group is collaborating with local firm Stantec to design Temple University’s latest development, which is expected to break ground at the end of this year.

(Hey, it’s better than that $100 million stadium Temple wants to build, right?)

• How Snøhetta Had the Best Month Ever [Architizer]

Three Reasons Temple’s $100 Million Stadium Is a Big, Bad Idea

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An on-campus football stadium at Temple University is a really bad idea.

It’s a bad idea for the university. It’s a bad idea for the North Philly neighborhood. And it’s a bad idea for you, the Pennsylvania taxpayer whose support is critical to the university.

But it’s also a bad idea whose time may have come. The Inquirer’s Frank Fitzpatrick on Sunday reported that “if some remaining financial details can be resolved, a go-ahead for a 30,000-seat, on-campus facility could come as early as this spring.”

Fitzpatrick did his reporting from Ohio, where the University of Akron built an on-campus stadium a few years ago and found, contrary to expectations, that it’s not necessarily true that if you build it, they will come. Student attendance has been anemic, at best, and the university has resorted to gimmicks like offering free tuition to try to attract a crowd to games.

“We have to find ways to keep our fan base growing,” Akron’s athletic director told Fitzpatrick.

But that’s not the only reason to be dubious of trying something similar in North Philadelphia. Three reasons a new stadium is a bad idea:

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Morning Headlines: Temple to Construct Massive Library and Common Green Space

Among the projects included in Temple University’s master plan for its main campus is a library, a massive 210,000-square-foot structure that will include a green roof and outdoor balcony. Temple Director of Communications Hillel Hoffmann says it will be the university’s “new centerpiece.”

Indeed, the building is being designed by Snøhetta, “an architectural firm renowned for its innovative library designs,” and Philly-based Stantec.

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Temple University Board of Trustees Fails Miserably in Gender Equality

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Patrick O’Connor has lately been a man under fire. The vice-chairman of the Philadelphia-based, 22-city law firm Cozen O’Connor, is also the chairman of the board of trustees at Temple University. And Temple’s board had, in recent weeks, come under extreme pressure to sever its ties with longtime trustee and face-of-Temple Bill Cosby, until Cosby resigned last week. So it’s understandable that O’Connor was a bit gruff when we got him on the phone the other day. Read more »

Why Does Neil Theobald Think Football Will Save Temple?

Photography by Clint Blowers

Photography by Clint Blowers

It was a date that would live in infamy.

The news hit the scholar-athletes gathered in Temple University’s Student Pavilion on December 6th of last year like a brick to the gut: The sports teams they’d been recruited for, trained for, worked for, played for, were being eliminated — “Chop, boom, you’re gone,” read the headline in the Temple News. Seven teams went poof: men’s crew, women’s rowing, softball, baseball, men’s gymnastics, and men’s indoor and outdoor track and field. Dozens of young hearts — along with those of their coaches — were broken as the university’s new athletic director, Kevin Clark, wielded the ax in a brief, succinct speech. And everybody knew where to lay the blame. “Make no mistake: Football drove cuts” was the headline on a student-newspaper editorial. The Inquirer’s Bob Ford chimed in: “No kidding they had to cut sports to save money. They just didn’t cut the one they should have.”
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