Monday, January 12, 2015

"Choir Boy" on stage and page


Studio Theatre is currently offering a production of Tarell Alvin McCraney's play "Choir Boy." Here's the Post's review and Clinton Yates' thoughtful column. MetroWeekly has conducted a long interview. It's a play I'm sure we will discuss once it becomes easily available (i.e. is published). In the meantime, I encourage people to see this production, and then join BookMenDC at some future date when we discuss the play. In those discussions it's always nice to include people who have viewed a production even if (or especially when) they haven't read the play!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Dorian, Uncensored & Reshowtimed

Our group discussed Oscar Wilde's 1891 novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray (which had appeared the previous year in serial form), back in 2004. Since then, however, Nick Frankel has published The Uncensored Picture of Dorian Grayan edition that restores a good deal of material which Wilde was forced to expunge. Though we already have plenty of titles to discuss during 2015, I'd like to suggest we consider revisiting this classic down the road.

On a related note, those of you who have seen the Showtime series "Penny Dreadful," set in London during the Gay Nineties, know that it features Dorian Gray as a character. The show's second season will begin airing sometime this spring.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Hey, Jude!

Those of you who were unable to join us for our discussion of Jonathan Galassi's poetry collection, Left-Handed, may be interested in the following New York Times profile / interview, published on Jan. 27, 2012: "Contradictions of the Heart." In it, you'll learn who the real-life "Jude" was, and what happened between the two men in real life. (Hint: Not as much as the poems imply.)

Friday, January 9, 2015

Now that we've got your attention …


Just to help along John's query (below), there's an article in glbtq and a "User Wiki" List (not sure what that is—the "user" part, I mean).

John doesn't expect much along this line of inquiry, and neither do I, but it would be fun to have a list of compositions (or even just moments or passages) that strike readers as "gay" (with or without peignoir).

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Gay … Music?

At dinner after last night's book group, I was struck by how many members of the group are very knowledgeable about classical music. Not just Steve, but also Fred, Robert, Tim and probably others I am forgetting or don't know about. I would really like to find some way to benefit from this assembly of musical expertise. One thought, not sure if a good one: is it possible to detect anything specifically gay in the music of gay classical composers—Tchaikovsky, Britten, Copland for instance? I don't mean, in words or literary structures associated with their music—song lyrics, librettos of operas, written "programs" of symphonies—but in the music itself? Probably not—music doesn't make reference to external reality in the ways that either literature or the (representational) visual arts do. Certainly, there wouldn't be any one "gay trait"—there aren't many traits Copland shares with Tchaikovsky, are there? And while music obviously generates emotions, I don't think gay people's emotions are very different from straight people's. So, this is probably a dead end, but if anyone has any thoughts, I'd be glad to know. Another question: I can't off hand think of any known gay composers before Tchaikovsky—are there any?   [posted for John]

Friday, December 19, 2014

academia.edu

Even if you have no scholarly articles to upload, I think it is worth signing up for academia.edu for articles on subjects you might be interested in. Our own Philip Clark has already published several.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

To Grandfather's House We Go...

Those of you who used the Exact Change edition of Denton Welch's In Youth Is Pleasure for our Dec. 3 discussion know that the book also includes an early piece, I Left My Grandfather's House (actually a fragment of Welch's journal). While we are not planning to discuss that work at a regular Bookmen meeting, I have now read it and commend it to anyone who enjoyed the novel. 

In particular, because I Left My Grandfather's House is told entirely in the first person, I wasn't distracted by the concerns about the author's voice or reliability I expressed during our discussion of the novel. I also found the shorter work held together well, though for me (as with In Youth Is Pleasure), the ending is problematic. Still, on balance, anyone who enjoyed the larger work will appreciate this one.