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Acqua Calda: A Novel

TLA Gay Editor's Picks - Mon, 09/08/2014 - 07:06
"Gerald has been preparing to die. During the last of his three hospital stays, he has drawn up a last will and testament, a living will, assigned a health care proxy, and arranged his own cremation. He has thrown out hundreds of photos accrued over his twenty-five years as an actor, boxes of gay porn, all his journals, and acquired a hefty collection of barbiturates for when things got too 'icky.' Then, from out of nowhere, Gerald's health is revived by the new miracle drugs. His AIDS-related death is put on hold, while, at the same moment, William Weiss reenters his life. A brilliant director and his old boss, Weiss invites Gerald to perform in a play at the Palazzo d'Arte in Sicily. From the first rehearsal, Weiss nurtures the chaos in which he is most at home. Only a few close associates on the play are even aware that Gerald had been so close to dying, a secret he keeps guarded from his fellow actors. Sicily, the Italians, an unexpected romance, and his love of the theater reconnect Gerald with lost joy. Even as his health fails, he finds himself transformed by the ecstasy of everyday life.

Excerpt:
(Prologue)
Gerald was as well prepared for death as anyone could be. Over the winter, after the last of his three hospital stays and in an interval of relative health, he'd made a last will & testament, a living will, assigned a health care proxy and arranged his own cremation. He'd thrown out hundreds of eight by ten photos accrued over his twenty-five years as an actor, a tattered porno collection and all his journals. He'd acquired a hefty collection of barbiturates in case things got too 'icky.' His parents were dead, so they weren't a concern, and he'd stopped returning calls from well-meaning friends. Everyone really, except Barbara, who faithfully checked in on him or called every few days; if something happened, he didn't want to get left until the neighbors noticed a bad smell. Gerald was as ready to go as the dinner guest in coat and gloves standing at the open door.

'Unbreak my heart....' The electronic purr of a white noise machine failed to annul the noisy jukebox in the Irish bar downstairs. But it had been worse earlier, when the drunken bar patrons were having their three a.m. sing-along. That's when Gerald turned the machine on. At this hour, only the bartender remained, tallying up the evening's take.

Gerald lay on his bed without hope of falling back to sleep. What was today? He'd had a doctor's appointment on Wednesday, was that yesterday? Oh. Today he had to go to one of those government places where poor people with jobs decide if poor people without jobs are eligible for assistance - food stamps, disability. He'd been putting it off. He had enough money to live - and nothing else - for a few months, but he'd be penniless by December if he didn't arrange some kind of cash flow. Another winter, with or without penury, was an ominous thought. In icy weather, he was more vulnerable to colds and flu which might, like last winter, turn into pneumonia and send him to the hospital.

Was today Friday? He could look on his beside table at his pill arranger, the one area of his life in which he was diligent. He didn't even believe the pills - part of a trial study by a pharmaceutical company - did anything. In fact, the study had a placebo arm, so his religious adherence to a three-times-a-day schedule might just be adding a daily tablespoon of sugar to his diet. And if he were getting the actual drugs? Friends who'd taken AZT or the massive doses of penicillin some quack in Brooklyn had prescribed, had just shifted from slow decline to downhill plummet. If it's a placebo I'll die, Gerald reasoned, and if it's the real stuff, I'll die quicker.

'So why do you take them if you don't think they're doing any good, Mr. Negative?' Barbara asked.
'Because I want to be part of the effort to find a cure, even if it kills me,' Gerald said.
'That's so noble, Sweetie.'

Gerald wanted to kill her. Barbara was a petite ingenue with a bright soprano range and a show biz dream when they'd met in college. Now she was an obese legal secretary, who still worked out weekly with a vocal coach, didn't audition and insisted that under Gerald's grim expectations, he clung to a fairytale hope that the pills just might work.

Thursday's compartments in the weekly pill arranger were empty, so today must be Friday. The bartender had gone home and the jukebox was quiet. Gerald turned the white noise machine off with his foot and sat at the folding card table he used as a - dining room table was too euphemistic - flat elevated surface to eat off. Among the unopened mail and dirty dishes was a recently excavated note left by the previous tenant that read, If the garbage downstairs starts to smell too bad, sprinkle perfume on the lamp bulb. Gerald must have kept the note because, at the time, he thought it grimly funny.

Gerald only intended to sublet the place for a few months. Now, eight years later, he knew he'd never leave the charmless mid-town studio, unless it was to go into one of those renovated S.R.O.'s turned AIDS homes - hospices really, considering the turnover. Friends told him he was crazy to live on Eighth Avenue, a block from Times Square. 'It's dangerous. You should be in the Village - or Chelsea! That's the new hot spot. Where you live is so seedy.' And sexy. Those same friends who disparaged his neighborhood, gorged themselves on his tales of tourist trysts: the Ohio husband who spent a steamy half hour in Gerald's apartment while his wife and children waited at the Marriott, the Harvard undergrad in town for a Dukakis convention, the pimply eighteen-year-old sailor, here for fleet week, who'd seen four Broadway musicals in three days. Sightseers, foreigners, conventioneers. In those days, Times Square meant sex, and the out-of-towner lingering outside Show World, or the businessman glancing nervously at his watch on Forty Second Street, were looking to get laid."

Categories: TLA Gay

Best Gay Erotica 2006

TLA Gay Editor's Picks - Mon, 09/08/2014 - 07:06
"Best Gay Erotica 2006 is a cornucopia of searing man-sex. From the languid, Bolero-paced striptease of a magnificently buff lover in James Williams's 'The End' to the fevered gropings of a skater boy and a pink-haired goth in 'DogBoy and the BetaGoth' by Nadyalec Hijazi and Ben Blackthorne, Best Gay Erotica holds something for every wicked taste. In Jeff Mann's 'Daddy Dave,' a lover awakens his gentle new partner's dominant side by letting him witness a master's skillful savagery. Steven Zeeland's 'Trouble Loves Me' maps a porn director's odyssey through a vivid underworld of bad boy marines, sailors, and submariners. Edited by Richard Labonte and selected and introduced by the inimitable Matt Bernstein Sycamore, Best Gay Erotica 2006 furthers the series' reputation for gorgeous storytelling and hot, no-holds-barred sex between men. The book also features an excerpt from Dennis Cooper's new novel The Sluts."
Categories: TLA Gay

Beyond the Down Low

TLA Gay Editor's Picks - Mon, 09/08/2014 - 07:06
"Bolstered by national television exposure on Oprah and a cover story in the New York Times Magazine, the 'down low'-a term used to refer to 'straight' men who have sex with men-was thrust into the open in 2004. Keith Boykin, a former Clinton White House aide, goes beyond the hype with the first responsible, eye-opening look at the down low sensation. Unlike all previous accounts on the topic, Beyond the Down Low presents the DL not merely as a problem of gay and bisexual men living in the shadows, but more as an example of America's unwillingness to engage in critical but uncomfortable conversations about black sexuality. Boykin details how society has helped to create an environment where black gay and bisexual men feel compelled to lead double lives. Meanwhile, the dialogue that has taken place in the black community encourages an unhealthy battle of the sexes, ignores the complexity of the closet, demonizes bisexuality, disempowers women, and misdirects public resources and attention. This book is a timely and well researched answer to the question, 'Why are so many black men on the DL?' More importantly, it is an essential tool to pry open the closet door in black America.

Excerpt:
It seems to me the biggest problem with the down low in the black community is our unwillingness to talk candidly about sex. When it comes to sex, we've created a culture of lies. Women often lie to themselves about their men being gay. Men on the down low lie about having sex with men. Men who are infected lie about their HIV status. Gay men lie about their sexual interests. What makes us think people are going to suddenly start telling the truth when we start calling them dirty names?

The truth is we can't deal with the down low until we learn to deal with our hang-ups about sex. Unfortunately, that's not going to happen anytime soon. That's why we have to accept personal responsibility for our behavior. This is 2004 and we all know the deal. If you have unprotected sexual intercourse, you're putting yourself at risk. Period. For some reason, we in the black community just can't seem to stay focused about AIDS. First we denied it affected us. Then we ignored it because we thought it only affected a few of us. Next we preached morality because we thought it only affected the ones we didn't like. Then we dramatized it as we tried to figure out which secret laboratory developed it. At what point do we just deal with it?

AIDS is a huge problem in our community. It doesn't matter how we got here, we're here. It doesn't matter how anyone got it, they have it. It doesn't matter who's to blame. It matters how we respond to it. The big lie of the down low is not just the lie men tell their women. No, the big lie is the lie we tell ourselves-that it's somebody else's responsibility."

Categories: TLA Gay

Bilal's Bread

TLA Gay Editor's Picks - Mon, 09/08/2014 - 07:06
"After their father's exectuion, the surviving members of the Kurdish Abu family have fled the brutality of Saddam Hussein's Iraq and settled in the US where they supply restaurants wtith bread in Kansas City. Eldest brother Salim has been deeply damaged by the Iraqi torturers and he rage against his 16-year-old brother Bilal. Bilal holds all his rage in and has started to mutilate his body. His conflict deepens as he becomes aware of his attraction to his best friend, Muhammad. This all changes on September 11, 2001 when his country turns on him."
Categories: TLA Gay

Bullets & Butterflies: Queer Spoken-Word Poetry

TLA Gay Editor's Picks - Mon, 09/08/2014 - 07:06
"A luscious, vibrant and wicked anthology featuring poetry by Cheryl Boyce-Taylor, regie Cabico, Staceyann Chunm Celena Glenn, Daphne Gottlieb, Maurice Jamal, Shane Luitjens, Marty McConnell, Travis Montez, Alix Olson, Shailja Patel and Horehound Stillpoint"
Categories: TLA Gay

Cajun Snuff

TLA Gay Editor's Picks - Mon, 09/08/2014 - 07:06
"Loner. Free spirit. Rebel. Not words normally associated with an agent of the ultra-conservative FBI Counterterrorism Division. When the mutilated body of a black U.S. Congressman and Christian minister was found in the steamy bayous of southwestern Louisiana, Special Agent Adam Stephen had the perfect qualities needed to be the lead investigator. Adam discovers that the Congressman may have appeared respectable, but finds muddy surprises and vicious enemies instead. From a New Orleans Garden District widow to a bizarre Neo-Nazi group, the suspect list reads like a recipe for a spicy bowl of swamp snake gumbo, and Adam appears to be the next ingredient."
Categories: TLA Gay

Close Contact: Tales of Erotica

TLA Gay Editor's Picks - Mon, 09/08/2014 - 07:06
"Where is the line between truth and fiction, especially when the fiction is as deliciously hot and raw as Sean Wolfe's dazzling collection of erotica? Like stealing peeks into a lover's xxx-rated diary, these confessional stories feel forbidden, voyeuristic, and irresistibly tempting. A sweet naïf from Texas gets a two-on-one carnal education in a notorious Castro Street bar in 'Badlands Bad Boy.' Hitting the showers was never so much soapy, sexy fun as in 'Lessons in Lifeguarding: Lesson I.' A cross-country driver gets more than he bargained for when he checks into a fantasy bed-and-breakfast in 'Of Boyfriends and Brothers.' In 'Fashionably Laid,' three frat boys discover the joys of brotherly bonding. An anonymous bathhouse encounter takes a young man over the edge and into pure bliss in 'Bathhouse Billy.' And in 'Best Man,' the brother of the bride gets a delicious surprise when shown some extreme hospitality from her gorgeous neighbor...and that's just for starters.

Sexy, sensual, and highly erotic, these twenty-eight stories prove that when it comes to truth versus fiction, the question isn't where to draw the line, but how much pleasure one can derive from boldly stepping over it..."

Categories: TLA Gay

Everything I Have is Blue

TLA Gay Editor's Picks - Mon, 09/08/2014 - 07:06
"

In this age of Will & Grace and gentrification, the dream market and gay investment advisors, you don't hear much about working–class queers. In fact, some would even consider the idea a contradiction in terms. But the contributors to Everything I Have Is Blue: Short Fiction by Working–Class Men About More–or–Less Gay Life would beg to differ. The first collection of short stories by working–class queer, gay, and bisexual men, Everything I Have Is Blue is a rich and long–overdue contribution both to the burgeoning field of working–class studies and to LGBTIQ fiction.

The international writers include a professional trucker, a Texas prisoner, a librarian, a poet, an activist, a retired English professor, and a street mime, to name a few, but what makes their voices powerful and unique isn't their professions, it's their ability to straddle ideological and cultural divides that would give Paul Bunyan pause.

In Everything I Have Is Blue are love stories and stories of lives gone wrong; narratives of hope and songs of despair; tales of revenge and chronicles of redemption. In short, Everything I Have Is Blue showcases a literature of depth and complexity that brings much–needed color to the palate of queer cultural and literary identity.

"
Categories: TLA Gay

Freedom in this Village: Black Gay Men's Writing, 1969 to the Present

TLA Gay Editor's Picks - Mon, 09/08/2014 - 07:06
"Freedom in this Village is the first book to chart the course of black gay male literature over the past thirty-five years. Beginning at the birth of Gay Liberation with the Stonewall Rebellion of 1969, editor and New York Times best-selling author E. Lynn Harris collects sixty entries, many never previously published. Fiction and poetry is matched in eloquence by nonfiction pieces, including essays and excerpts from memoirs, novels, biography, and autobiography. A new short story by E. Lynn Harris is featured, along with original work by twenty-five other authors. Among the roster of established writers are James Baldwin, Samuel R. Delany, Melvin Dixon, Peter J. Gomes, George C. Wolfe, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Hilton Als, Keith Boykin, Randall Kenan, Thomas Glave, James Earl Hardy, Brian Keith Jackson, Essex Hemphill (from whose poetry the title Freedom in this Village was borrowed), and the latest generation of writers who contribute fresh perspectives that choose to affirm rather than negate the interconnections between sex, race, and masculinity"
Categories: TLA Gay

Juicy Mother 2: How They Met

TLA Gay Editor's Picks - Mon, 09/08/2014 - 07:06
"A fiercely funny cartoon anthology by and about queers, women, and people of color, Juicy Mother, Number Two offers a true alternative to alternative comics, a genre dominated by straight white men. As a follow-up to the first critically acclaimed Juicy Mother anthology, this vibrant collection continues to give voice to those least represented in the comic world: uppity women, outspoken people of color, and the loud and proud GLBT community. Contributors include Diane DiMassa, Ariel Schrag, Alison Bechdel, Joan Hilty, Howard Cruse, and Ivan Velez Jr. The stories are not just exuberant, provocative, and wildly funny, they are a celebration of diversity."
Categories: TLA Gay

One of These Things Is Not Like the Other

TLA Gay Editor's Picks - Mon, 09/08/2014 - 07:06
"'You're your own man,' Jake Barnes tells himself as he arrives at his father's isolated cabin in the woods of Oregon. 'You're yourself.' But in the world of One of These Things, self and manhood are not to be trusted.

One of These Things deals with similar themes as Execution -- family, masculinity, identity, faith -- but in a more fantastical narrative. An alternate timeline whose technological advancements are just out of step with our own. A set of quadruplet brothers are raised in rural isolation by their older, but also identical, father. All share the same name.

Now in their 20s, the sons are shocked by their father's unexpected suicide -- and his claim that one of the brothers is not their brother. He is not family. He is an unrelated outsider. From different corners of the U.S. they converge on Gravesend, NJ, to meet the woman who may have answers. Maybe more answers than the men want.

Suicide, homicide, fratricide, incest -- it's a love story. And a page turner. With very dark humor. Hell, it's better than Cirque de Soleil. David Lynch meets Neil Bartlett? A Tennessee Williams-penned Twilight Zone episode with a Magnetic Fields soundtrack? Clive Barker meets Brazil meets Fight Club? David Cronenberg directs a queer Ordinary People? Actually, Scott calls it his 'twisted take on Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises: a satire on American Manifest Destiny and the cult of masculine individualism, disguised as a thriller.'"

Categories: TLA Gay

Qu(e)erying Evangelism: Growing a Community from the Outside In

TLA Gay Editor's Picks - Mon, 09/08/2014 - 07:06
"Qu(e)erying Evangelism answers the following questions: How do we understand evangelism biblically and in a completely new way? How does one be a queer theologian in a traditional pastorate and not only be faithful to a queer Christ but grow a congregation with all sorts of differences of opinion? How does the presence of the transgendered/transsexual - or indeed everyone perceived as different - challenge both theology and praxis of a mainline denomination."
Categories: TLA Gay

Rainbow Road

TLA Gay Editor's Picks - Mon, 09/08/2014 - 07:06
"Jason Carrillo came out to his basketball team senior year and lost his university scholarship. Now, with graduation behind him and summer ending, he's asked to speak at the opening of a gay and lesbian high school across the country. But after spending years in the closet and losing his scholarship dream, what message can he offer? Kyle Meeks is getting ready to go to Princeton in the fall and trying to see as much as possible of his boyfriend Jason before they have to separate. When Jason tells him about his speaking invitation, Kyle jumps at the chance to drive across country with him. Yet he can't help worrying: Will their romance survive two weeks crammed together in a car?

Nelson Glassman is happy his best friend Kyle has found love with Jason. Now he's looking for his own true love -- and hopes he might find his soul mate during the road trip. But will being the 'third wheel' in a trio ruin his friendships with Kyle and Jason?

During an eye-opening postgraduation summer road trip, each of the three very different boys also embarks on a personal journey across a landscape of love, sexuality, homophobia, and above all, friendship."

Categories: TLA Gay

Red Light: Superheroes, Saints, and Sluts

TLA Gay Editor's Picks - Mon, 09/08/2014 - 07:06
"Essays and stories on female icons - the mythology of 'girl power' to inspire both revulsion and desire."
Categories: TLA Gay

Setting the Lawn on Fire

TLA Gay Editor's Picks - Mon, 09/08/2014 - 07:06
"Setting the Lawn on Fire, the first novel by critically acclaimed writer Mack Friedman, trails its narrator through his obsessions with sex, drugs, art, and poison. Ivan, a young Jewish boy from Milwaukee, embarks on a journey of sexual discovery that leads him from Wisconsin to Alaska, Philadelphia, and Mexico through stints as a fishery worker, artist, and finally a hustler who learns to provide the blank canvas for other people's dreams. The result is a new kind of coming-of-age story that sees passion from every angle because its protagonist is every kind of lover: the seducer and the seduced, the pornographer and the model, the hunter and the prey, the trick and the john. In the end, Setting the Lawn on Fire is also something rare-a fully realized, contemporary romance that illuminates the power of desire and the rituals of the body, the brain, and the heart that attempt to contain our passions."
Categories: TLA Gay

Sugar

TLA Gay Editor's Picks - Mon, 09/08/2014 - 07:06
"Gay Cajun poetry with the hard-earned wisdom of the American outsider three times over. This cycle of short, but far from sweet poems begins with a fey boy's odyssey thruogh the labyrinths of masculinity, race, desire and family tragedy in his childhood home of Louisana. It follows as he escapes to find himself confined anew in the gay ghettos of NYC, LA and SF. It ends with a man reborn a fierce writer who embraces No Place as home and other enlightened misfits as his family."
Categories: TLA Gay

Swimming in the Monsoon Sea

TLA Gay Editor's Picks - Mon, 09/08/2014 - 07:06
"The setting is Sri Lanka, 1980, and it is the season of monsoons. Fourteen-year-old Amrith is caught up in the life of the cheerful, well-to-do household in which he is being raised by his vibrant Auntie Bundle and kindly Uncle Lucky. He tries not to think of his life 'before,' when his doting mother was still alive. Amrith's holiday plans seem unpromising: he wants to appear in his school's production of Othello and he is learning to type at Uncle Lucky's tropical fish business. Then, like an unexpected monsoon, his cousin arrives from Canada and Amrith's ordered life is storm-tossed. He finds himself falling in love with the Canadian boy. Othello, with its powerful theme of disastrous jealousy, is the backdrop to the drama in which Amrith finds himself immersed.

Shyam Selvadurai's brilliant novels, Funny Boy and Cinnamon Gardens, have garnered him international acclaim. In this, his first young adult novel, he explores first love with clarity, humor,"

Categories: TLA Gay

Tab Hunter Confidential

TLA Gay Editor's Picks - Mon, 09/08/2014 - 07:06
"He became an instant star and a #1 box office attraction, recorded a #1 hit song, and survived a major sex scandal-all by the time he was twenty-five. Five years later, new stars had been developed to meet the demands of fickle fans, and Tab Hunter found himself scrambling to find work, struggling just to survive. Yet survive he did, re-creating himself as a cult star and film producer in a career that spans five decades and more than fifty films, from Island of Desire to Lust in the Dust.

But first, he was Art Gelien, an introverted and extremely attractive young boy who was discovered by a Hollywood agent and transformed-with the help of studio publicity hacks-into Tab Hunter, Movie Star. This book tells how it all happened, and what it felt like to be created, packaged, and sold to the American public. How it felt to appear on-screen, off-screen, and on every newsstand in America with the biggest leading ladies of the day-Linda Darnell, Natalie Wood, Debbie Reynolds, Lana Turner, and Rita Hayworth-while dealing with the reality of being gay in a time when the word didn't exist. It's his story of how he kept his bearings when he was suddenly no longer the boy-next-door heartthrob, no longer under the protective wing of the Warner Bros. publicity department, no longer in demand as a 'star.' It is his story of how he soldiered on-with perseverance, determination, and faith. And, like the best-loved Hollywood movies, it has a happy ending."

Categories: TLA Gay

The Actor's Guide to Greed

TLA Gay Editor's Picks - Mon, 09/08/2014 - 07:06
"

Murder is anything but civilized in *person57522's London–based third whodunit (after 2004's *product206158), a riff on *person75850 as if channeled by a young Dame Edna. Jarrod Jarvis, has–been actor and gay amateur sleuth, has snagged a pivotal role in Murder Can Be Civilized, a West End play by Wallace Goodwin, the writer who catapulted the boy Jarrod—now a well–preserved 34—to TV stardom. Since Jarrod's latest slasher film flopped, he longs for a hit to please his lover, LAPD cop Charlie Peters. Though thrilled to be working with Claire Richards, a formidable Oscar–winning actress, Jarrod smells trouble when Richards drops dead after the first performance. With his usual nose for clues, Jarrod embarks "on yet another journey to uncover the truth," complicated by Charlie's vanishing with a South Asian hunk. Splice in a missing Oscar, another murder, a cast of irresistible suspects—among them, Claire's Irish boyfriend Liam; Goodwin and wife Katrina; Brit theater icon Dame Sylvia Horner; Bollywood sexpot Akshay Kapoor; and obnoxious director Kenneth Shields—and open the envelope please: The Actor's Guide to Greed is another Copp winner. From Publisher's Weekly.

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Categories: TLA Gay

The Fabulous Sylvester

TLA Gay Editor's Picks - Mon, 09/08/2014 - 07:06
"

'He was born poor, sang large, lived larger, and died young: pop culture enthusiast Gamson tracks queer SF in the '70s through born-to-be fabulous Sylvester, 'a pied piper singing in a dazzling falsetto.' Sylvester is one of many characters, and occasionally a controversial one, in Pam Tent's Midnight at the Palace: My Life as a Fabulous Cockette (Alyson, $17.95); here, he has a book all his own.'

Richard Labonte, Books to Watch Out For

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Categories: TLA Gay

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