GAY MOVIES | GAY RIGHTS | GAY LIFE | GAY HISTORY | GAY BOOKS | & M/M ROMANCE |
DISCOVER HISTORY'S REAL LIFE 'GAME OF THRONES' ROMANCE ...
OPINIONS OF "THE HADRIAN ENIGMA" - brief excerpts from 19 US & UK Amazon reviews ...
JANE (Canada), at Amazon USA
"...I recommend it to any historical fiction fan, especially any fan of the redoubtable Mary Renault. ..."
J.R. Tomlin, author of historical fiction, at :- http://jeannetomlin.blogspot.com/
"Five stars ... a tour de force ..."
Elisa Rolle, Amazon Top 1000 Reviewer, USA & UK, & at : http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1092070.html
" ... an absorbing new book ... compelling writing ... action sequences that are brilliantly staged & paced ... on a higher plane than mere homoerotic titillation ... courageous & convincing ..."
Reader Down Under (Australia), at Amazon USA
"... extensively researched picture of life in the Roman Empire ... a mix of mystery, comedy, gay & straight romance - is an entertaining read ..."
Laura Staley, Historical Novels Review, USA, at :-
"... an age-old love story with a twist ... an unexpected delight ... his storyline hooked me immediately ..."
Olivera Baumgartner-Jackson of READER VIEWS, Austin TX, USA
"... You will feel engaged and challenged ..."
Nan Hawthorne, author Beloved Pilgrim, at Amazon USA
"... extremely readable ... it's a page turner ... Gardiner has written an interesting & gripping story ..."
Kim at http://www.desicritics.org/ India
"... Five Stars ... a compelling crime mystery ... a hard book to put down ..."
Terence Charters, Hobart, Australia, at Amazon USA
"... An adventure through Hadrian's world. The story is easy to read and full of the homoeroticism that we love about this era. ..."
P. Novotny, London, at Amazon UK
"... a definitive Five Star read for me ..."
Aleksandr Voinov, UK, reviewer at Speak Its Name
"Five Stars ... A masterful recreation of Ancient Rome ... the historical details are a delight ... characters are outlined in a vivid way which is like meeting old friends ... "
Ernest Gill, Hamburg, at Amazon USA & UK
"Five Stars ... as a reimagining of the Hadrian-Antinous relationship in the context of the age it is fascinating."
Muriel Perkins, Texas, at Amazon USA
" ... this is a novel about the nature of love ... but this is far from just being a gay romance. ..." Kit Moss, historical author, at :- http://kitmossreviews.blogspot.com.au/2013/02/the-hadrian-enigma-forbidden-history-by.html
"A truly exceptional book on 'What Greek Love" is all about ..."
John R. Shelton at Amazon USA
"Five Stars. I so enjoyed this book. Highly recommend it ... "
NOTE: ***Amazon USA's book or ebook purchase website with its 19 reader's reviews (ten awarding Five Stars for excellence!) can be read in full by clicking on :- http://www.amazon.com/Hadrian-Enigma-Forbidden-History/product-reviews/0980746906/ref=sr_1_1_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1
THE HADRIAN ENIGMA: A Forbidden History
(C) George Gardiner
ISBN13: 978-0-9807469-1-4 (at Amazon USA, UK, Europe, Australia etc) in 498-page paperback or Kindle ebook.
The scene: ancient Rome, 130 years after Christ yet two centuries prior to Christianity being legal. Caesar Hadrian is the popular ruler of a vast pagan empire at the height of its power & wealth.
Hadrian, one of Rome's "five good emperors" searches for & eventually locates the love of his life .. Antinous, an elite Greek athlete, huntsman, & cavalry cadet. They become 'companions' under the ancient Greco-Roman mentoring tradition of an erastes (mentor) & his eromenos (student).
During an imperial pleasure tour of Egypt Antinous is discovered dead in the River Nile. Hadrian is distraught. Is the death a drunken prank gone wrong, suicide, murder, or something far more sinister? Hadrian assigns historian playboy Suetonius Tranquillus to investigate.
THE HADRIAN ENIGMA is the outlawed record of Caesar's investigation into one of history's most suspicious fatalities. It reveals more than Hadrian may want to know, or wants others to know. Set in a society increasingly reflecting facets of our own times, it portrays an era of torrid relationships, raging ambition, wealth inequalities, & uninhibited morals within a severely macho culture of honor, shame, pride & prejudice.
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Friday, July 31, 2015
---- the opening pars from a substantial, well-researched history of the origins of the epithet 'gay', blogged by Larry Paros, writer & educator, at The Blog at the Huffington Post (USA/UK), 31 July 2015 :-
'Time to clear up all the confusion surrounding the word "gay."
"Gay" is a multi-faceted word. Apart from its primary definition of "bright" or "lively," its meaning as "sexually loose" and "dissipated" has been its most popular and enduring definition.
Being "in the gay life" once put you in the fast lane. "Feeling gay" left you amorous. The "gaying instrument" (19thC) was the male member, without which it wouldn't be possible to "gay it."
The "gay woman" was a major literary figure from Chaucer to Shakespeare, right on through the nineteenth century. She was "gay in the arse," "groins," or "legs" and spent much of her time in a "gay house." Even today, in England, we have the "gay girl," a hardworking flat-backer trying to turn an honest shilling (or is it a euro?). .... '
---- see more of Larry Paros's revealing history of the word "gay" at the HuffPost at :-
Thursday, July 30, 2015
---- opening pars from an extended report by Stephanie Pappas at LiveScience (USA), 30 July 2015 :-
'In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide, many gays and lesbians celebrated. A new study suggests another reason for the community to cheer: Subconscious attitudes toward lesbian and gay people are improving.
A quick glance at most public opinion polls reveals that explicit attitudes toward gays and lesbians have been on the upswing for some time.
For example, more than half of Americans — 53 percent — told the Gallup organization that they supported same-sex marriage in 2011, up from 27 percent in 1996. Another Gallup poll found that moral approval of homosexuality rose from 44 percent in 2006 to 59 percent in 2013. .... '
---- see more of Stephanie Pappas' well-informed, substantial statistical report at :-
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
---- brief excerpts from an upbeat report by Christopher J Hale [Executive director at Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and the co-founder of Millennial] at TIME.com (USA), 28 July 2015 :-
'Over the last two years, the Catholic Church has become more open to welcoming the LGBT community.
“If someone is gay and searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” Two years ago Tuesday, Pope Francis uttered these words, sending shockwaves throughout the Catholic Church and the world. His position stood in contrast to that of his predecessors: Months earlier, Pope Benedict XVI suggested that gay marriage was a threat to global peace.
Under the leadership of Pope Francis, the Catholic Church is evolving on LGBT issues. ....
.... 1. Pope Francis said that God doesn’t condemn LGBT individuals — Sept. 30, 2013
In an interview with America Magazine, Pope Francis revealed his pastoral approach toward the LGBT community:
A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: ‘Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?’ We must always consider the person. Here we enter into the mystery of the human being.---- see more of this controversial, extended appraisal of Pope Francis' theological intentions for Catholic gays, written by Christopher J Hale, at http:// time.com at :-
Tuesday, July 28, 2015
---- excerpts from the YouTube's publicity blurb for a movie many readers of this site will find has irresistible appeal ...
'From Warner Bros. Pictures and Studiocanal comes the romantic drama “We Are Your Friends.” The film marks Max Joseph’s (MTV’s “Catfish: The TV Show”) feature film directorial debut, and stars Zac Efron (“Neighbors”), Emily Ratajkowski (upcoming “Entourage,” “Gone Girl”) and Wes Bentley (“Interstellar,” “The Hunger Games”).
“We Are Your Friends” is about what it takes to find your voice. Set in the world of electronic music and Hollywood nightlife, an aspiring 23-year-old DJ named Cole (Efron) spends his days scheming with his childhood friends and his nights working on the one track that will set the world on fire. All of this changes when he meets a charismatic but damaged older DJ named James (Bentley), who takes him under his wing. Things get complicated, however, when Cole starts falling for James’ much younger girlfriend, Sophie (Ratajkowski). .... Set for release in late August, 2015,
Sunday, July 26, 2015
---- the final par of a timely, well-argued opinion-piece by Trevor Evan David Norkey at Movie Pilot (USA), 26 July 2015 :-
'.... In Conclusion: Not only will the addition of gay characters to popular movies expand the horizons of these films, but it will help thousands of people in the closet across the world begin to accept themselves once they see they are not alone and that being gay can be a very normal thing.
It will stop people from seeing being straight as the only option in order to be accepted by society. And maybe, just maybe, it will show the less accepting people out there that being gay is finally acceptable in our society.'
---- see more of Trevor Evan David Norkey's essay at http://moviepilot.com/post at :-
The European Court of Human Rights has condemned Italy’s Vatican-inspired rejection of civil unions and gay marriage.
---- the opening pars from an extended news report by Barbie Latza Nadeau at The Daily Beast (USA), 23 July 2015 :-
'ROME — The Via San Giovanni in Laterano in Rome is a picturesque cobbled street anchored on one end by the ancient Roman Coliseum and on the other by the Catholic Church of San Clemente, which boasts 2,000 years of history and a pagan temple in its basement. It is also designated as the Italian capital’s official “gay street” and every single establishment is draped with rainbow flags and promises to be gay friendly. This is certainly not the only area of Rome that caters to the LGBT community, but it is the only one that does so openly.
At a bar called Coming Out, a group of young men having lunch tell The Daily Beast that being gay in Italy is complicated. “This street represents our position,” one says. “We are stuck here between the Catholic Church and a long history with traditions that are impossible to modernize. To be gay in Italy is about knowing when to admit it and when to keep quiet.”
Indeed, gays in Italy have long had to march a fine line. .... '
---- see more of Barbie Latza Nadeau's challenging report at http://www.thedailybeast.com at :-
Friday, July 24, 2015
---- brief excerpts from a science report by Qazi Rahman at The Guardian (UK/USA), 24 July 2015 :-
'In a recent Guardian article , Simon Copland argued that it is very unlikely people are born gay (or presumably any other sexual orientation). Scientific evidence says otherwise. It points strongly to a biological origin for our sexualities. ....
.... Remember, sexual orientation is a pattern of desire, not of behaviour or sexual acts per se. It is not a simple act of will or a performance. We fall in love with men or women because we have gay, straight, or bisexual orientations and not because of choice. So let’s stop pretending there is choice in sexual orientation. Who truly “chooses” anything of substance anyway? Surely our choices are the result of things we didn’t choose (our genes, personalities, upbringing, and culture). ....
.... But the science shows us that sexuality has a biological basis: that is simply how the science turned out. It’s no use denying it. So let’s use it to supplement, but not replace, a discussion about LGB rights and social policy. The biology of sexuality diversity tells the world to deal with it. We are who we are, and our sexualities are part of human nature. .... '
[ Dr Qazi Rahman is an academic at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London. He studies the biology of sexual orientation and the implications for mental health and is the co-author of Born Gay? The Psychobiology of Sex Orientation ]
---- see more of Qazi Rahman's informed article at http://www.theguardian.com/science at :-
Thursday, July 23, 2015
---- the opening pars from authors' interviews by Rebecca Hawkes at The Telegraph (UK), 23 July 2015 :-
'James Dawson and Cassandra Clare, who both appeared at London's Young Adult Literature Convention last weekend, speak out about LGBT representation in books for teens.
"I didn’t want to write a dreary melodrama about coming out, and about how awful it is to find out you like guys," says author James Dawson, in reference to his forthcoming Young Adult (YA) novel All of the Above.
---- see more of Rebecca Hawkes' report on the Convention & YA genre writers James Dawson and Cassandra Clare at www.telegraph.co.uk at :-
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
---- very brief excerpts from the opening pars of an extended & well-informed travel report just in time for the (northern hemisphere) holiday summertime by a contributor at GayStarTravel (UK), 21 July 2015 :-
'It’s difficult to explain the magnetic draw of Ibiza to someone who hasn’t visited before.
One of the main reasons is that feeling of being with thousands of other revelers – regardless of sexual orientation – who want to share a communal experience that is unrivaled by any other destination I’ve visited. ....
.... We were fortunate enough to be in Ibiza for Pride earlier this month (the first in 13 years), as part of the #MyGayPride digital campaign. It was such an epic experience that it got us wondering: could Ibiza be a contender for Europe’s ultimate gay summer destination? Here are seven reasons why it just might be. ....
1. The beaches
Where do I start? Ibiza boasts over 50 stunning beaches, ranging from secret bays and coves such as those on the walk along the headland between the gay beach Es Cavellet and Las Salinas, to tourist traps like Playa den Bossa.
Rest assured, wherever you unfurl your beach towel and kick off your flip-flops, the sea will be of the clearest azure blue. ....
2 The clubs
Obviously, Ibiza attracts the biggest names in dance music. .... The most famous venues is Pacha – my favourite club in Ibiza, where you can kick back on the outdoor terrace before venturing downstairs to enjoy throwback tunes from Guetta, Basement Jaxx and Sebastian Gamboa. .... For more comprehensive club listings, click here. .... ' [But don't forget to come back here to Cool Gay Stuff - Ed.]
---- and see more of the 'seven reasons' at Gay Star News at :-
Tuesday, July 21, 2015
---- 2014 Eurovision Song Contest winner Conchita Wurst's new book 'Being Conchita: We Are Unstoppable', is reviewed by Randon Burns at SoSoGay (UK), July 2015. Here are some brief excerpts :-
'For many of us Conchita Wurst burst onto the stage, and into our lives, by winning the Eurovision Song Contest in 2014. She appeared, like the phoenix in her winning song, to have emerged fully formed from the flames ....
.... Now, Conchita, with the assistance of Daniel Oliver Bachmann, has penned her autobiography. There are no huge revelations and no salacious behind-the-scenes Eurovision gossip, she’s not that kind of lady, but if you were wondering where her name came from or what her background is you will find out. .... '
---- see more of Randon Burns' review at http://sosogay.co.uk at :-
---- and re-visit Conchita's Eurovision-winning "Rise Like A Phoenix" performance via YouTube in the side column here (but don't forget to return to Cool Gay Stuff afterwards.)
Monday, July 20, 2015
---- selected excerpts from a substantial report on gay lit in India by Urmi Chanda-Vaz at QUARTZ online magazine (India), 20 July 2015 :-
'Even as same-sex couples in India struggle to gain legal recognition, in literature they are the heroes and heroines. Over the years, a number of Indian writers have steadily produced remarkable gay literature, keeping alive the issue of inequality in love through their compelling stories. Here is an overview of some of the books and plays that have blazed a trail for gay rights in the country. ....
.... The year 2001 also saw the publication of Same-Sex Love in India: Readings in Indian Literature, an impressive anthology charting the entire literary history of queer writing in India. It chronicled everything from the ancient Sanskrit epics and the Kamasutra to contemporary fiction. It was jointly edited by Saleem Kidvai and Ruth Vanita. ....
.... The gay literature scene has exploded in the last five years. Big and small publishers, stalwarts and rookies, all seem to have come together in recognising and boosting this genre. Novels, short stories, poems, and autobiographical accounts are being produced at a furious pace. The voices are many and the list is long, each telling a different story of love, sensitivity, sexuality, and everything in between. ....
.... The point of being different yet normal is being driven home in different ways. Queer writing is now being seen in the space of young adult fiction .... Through uncommon tales from Indian mythology, [such as by Devdutt Pattanaik, India' s best selling mythologist,] underlines the fact that homosexuality was no crime in ancient Indian culture. Now, will life imitate art?'
---- see Urmi Chanda-Vaz' s entire well-informed article for QUARTZ at :-
Sunday, July 19, 2015
---- brief excerpts from a substantial & well-informed social history report by journalist Patrick Ayumu at StarrFM Online (Ghana, Africa), 18 July 2015 :-
'“Gays are worse than pigs and dogs,” Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe is on record to have said. He is in good company with fellow African leaders such as Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni, who has described gays as “disgusting” people; and Yahyah Jammeh of The Gambia, who says gays are “mosquitoes” and “vermin”. .... They hold the view that homosexuality is un-African. ....
.... Most African countries have a strong anti-gay cultural environment reinforced by stern anti-gay laws. Uganda and Nigeria passed separate anti-gay laws about a year ago, which prescribe harsh custodial sentences for gays and their collaborators. .... But Africa’s sexual minorities are fighting back. “Who defines what is un-African?” They are falling on ancient traditional practices documented by anthropologists, to counter what in their view, is a misinformed perception about homosexuality being alien to Africa. ....
.... A report titled: Expanded Criminalisation of Homosexuality in Uganda: A Flawed Narrative / Empirical Evidence and Strategic Alternatives From an African Perspective, prepared by Uganda’s sexual minorities, says anthropologists Stephen Murray and Will Roscoe, have clearly shown that homosexuality has been a “consistent and logical feature of African societies and belief systems,” throughout the Continent’s history. .... '
---- see more of this revealing, detailed essay & its historical proofs by Patrick Ayumu at StarrFM Online at :- http://www.starrfmonline.com/
---- & see too an additional article at StarrFM Online titled "What's the biological basis for sexual orientation" at :- http://www.starrfmonline.com/1.2883408
---- but don't forget to return here to Cool Gay Stuff afterwards!
Saturday, July 18, 2015
---- Young 'out' Brit Olympic competition diver Tom shares his experience of being converted from an athletic young spunk into a make-believe shark, all for charity; YouTube 16 July 2015 :-
'Personable and, to many eyes, extremely cute, Tom Daley shares an ep of his regular video diary with YouTube trolls like us.
Tom tells us: "Ahead of the start of UK Shark Week (2-8 August), the experts at SeaWorld challenged me to transform myself into one of the ocean’s top predators and most misunderstood creatures. I wanted to raise awareness of the threats sharks are facing in the wild. Watch this video for an exclusive peek behind the scenes on the shoot!"
David Attenborough he might not be, but he is seriously OK eye-candy for celebrating UK Shark Week (for those of us domiciled in the UK).
---- see Tom's video in the sidebar, opposite, or catch it at YouTube at :-
---- but don't forget to return here to Cool Gay Stuff afterwards.
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
---- two short excerpts from an extended open-public letter by Reza Aslan and Hasan Minhaj at Religion Dispatches (USA), 7 July 2015 :-
'To Our Fellow American Muslims,
Hey there. It’s two of your brothers. We’re writing to you about the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize gay marriage in all fifty states. The good news is that a whopping 42% of you support marriage equality, as do both of our Muslim elected officials in the United States Congress. One even serves as vice chair of the LGBT Equality Caucus! There are many faithful gay and lesbian Muslims in the US and we love and support all of them.
At the same time, many of you are scandalized by the ruling (we know because you keep tweeting about it), and many more of you are equally perturbed but have chosen to keep it to yourself. With all the rainbow-flag waving and self-congratulatory pats on the back this country is giving itself right now, you don’t need another reason for Americans to dislike you. ....
.... We don’t know about you, but our faith teaches us to care for the weak and the marginalized, the poor and dispossessed, those who are trampled underfoot, those who are persecuted—no matter who they are, no matter what they believe, no matter who they choose to love. ....
Believers, stand firm for God, be witnesses for justice. Never allow the hatred of people to prevent you from being just. Be just, for this is closest to righteousness (Quran 5:8)..... It doesn’t get any clearer than that.
You may think LGBT rights is a new conversation, something that’s only recently come into contact with modern Islamic thought, but trust us, it’s not. Challenging the status quo for the betterment of society is one of the very foundations on which Islam was built.
No one is asking you to change your beliefs. If you feel your faith tells you that homosexuality is haram, fine. We disagree with your interpretation, but you’re entitled to it.
Ain’t America grand? .... '
---- see more of Reza Aslan and Hasan Minhaj's courageous Open Letter To American Muslims at http://religiondispatches.org at :-
[Reza Aslan is a writer and scholar of religions, and Hasan Minhaj is a comedian and correspondent on The Daily Show (USA).]
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
---- two excerpts from a science report by Tom Boggioni at Alternet (USA), 12 July 2015 :-
'In a video recorded for Big Think, popular science explainer Bill Nye has a few thoughts on homosexuality as it relates to evolution, stating that it seems to be part of the natural order of life and is not “genetically lethal.”
Asked how homosexuality fits into the grand scheme of evolution — based upon a belief that the “purpose of a species is to reproduce to survive” — Nye notes that same sex attraction exists throughout nature and life continues to move forward. ....
.... “Apparently — I’m not an authority on this, I’m an observer of the human condition — apparently, there’s a spectrum. Some people are more inclined to have sex with people of their same sex than others.” .... '
[Bill Nye (The Science Guy) is the author of Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation.]
---- see Bill's comments reported by Tom Boggioni at www.alternet.org at :-
---- visit Bill's YouTube 3'30" video in the sidebar, opposite (but don't forget to return to Cool Gay Stuff afterwards.
---- the opening pars from a substantial online report by Kerry Allen of BBC Monitoring, BBC Trending (UK), 14 July 2015 :-
'How millions in China are now talking about gay marriage.
The effects of the US Supreme Court decision to legalise same-sex marriage across the country continue to ripple across the world, and a popular television programme kicked off a huge online discussion in China. More than 8,000 comments were posted on a thread on China's Twitter-like Weibo platform after current affairs discussion programme "Let's Talk" tackled the subject of coming out as gay to your parents. On the thread, many young Chinese were talking about how they revealed their sexuality.
"I remember when I first told my dad that I kissed a girl, he was silent for about three minutes," said user Su Ruo Coco. "He then asked what kind of person she was, and when I'd started liking her... I feel eternally lucky."
"If my son or my daughter was gay, as long as their partner treated them well, I would accept it, after all, life is very difficult. Who are we to let rules and regulations limit how we live?" said user Yong_Hiru.
But others told stories of experience with less tolerant families. "This has been an extremely difficult problem for me, because my family absolutely cannot accept it," says Yi Yi Ge. "I never wanted to break my parents' hearts." ... '
---- see more of Kerry Allen's revealing article at www.bbc.com/news at :-
Saturday, July 11, 2015
---- the opening pars from a substantial interview with filmmaker David Thorpe by Chloe Schildhaus at UPROXX Movies (USA), 7 July 2015 :- ,
'“Do I sound gay?” asks journalist and filmmaker David Thorpe in his aptly named documentary, Do I Sound Gay? The film begins when Thorpe poses this seemingly simple question to various strangers. Many squirm when confronted with having to admit that the gay twang is something they’re indeed familiar with. This so-called “gay voice” has permeated pop culture and become an identifier of who is and is not gay.
In his film, Thorpe confronts his insecurities with his own “gay-voice,” where the idea of this voice was birthed, and whether such a thing even exists.
Thorpe sets out to change the way he sounds with the help of a vocal coach, who will aid him in taming his gay voice and give him the ability switch to a more masculine tone, or “code switching.” Along with his vocal training, Thorpe interviews close friends about when they noticed his gay voice, and how it developed the moment he came out. He speaks with a young gay high schooler about the way he’s treated for his more feminine and fancy tone. He chats with people like David Sedaris, Dan Savage, Tim Gunn, George Takei, Margaret Cho — to name a few — about their own relationship with their voice and how it relates to who they are. ... '
---- see more of Chloe Schildhaus's interview with David Thorpe about his doco at http://uproxx.com at :- http://uproxx.com/movies/2015/07/gay-voice-documentary-interview/
---- Starring: Margaret Cho, Tim Gunn, George Takei, & Dan Savage. Opening in select US theaters and VOD July 10th.
Friday, July 10, 2015
---- excerpts from the opening pars of a substantial opinion-piece by Robert Loss at PopMatters (USA), 9 July 2015 :-
'Complicated, fabulous, and deeply progressive, Angels in America may be more pressing and relevant in the time of SCOTUS' decision on marriage equality than it was during the height of the AIDS crises. ....
.... I. “The Specialness of Being Gay”
No more than a day after the Supreme Court’s historic, paradigm-shifting, and yes, long overdue legalization of same-sex marriage in its ruling on Obergefell v. Hodges, Jodi Kantor wrote in a New York Times article, “Historic Day for Gays, but Twinge of Loss for an Outsider Culture” that “…just as the gay marriage movement peaks, so does a debate about whether gay identity is dimming, overtaken by its own success.”
Among her examples was the anecdote that “(i)n theater, playwrights say there will never be another The Normal Heart, Larry Kramer’s 1985 cri de coeur about AIDS, or Angels in America, Tony Kushner’s 1991 saga about the same topic.”
The implication, somewhat vaguely, is that both were “outsider” works, bracing and startling for what they had to say to a mainstream audience from a position on the margins. Each production was the crossing of a boundary, which will never happen again because the boundary has been erased. .... '
[Robert Loss teaches writing and literature at Columbus College of Art and Design, USA.]
---- see more of Robert Loss's extended essay reflecting on Angels in America at www.popmatters.com at :-
Tuesday, July 7, 2015
---- two excerpts from a gay history post by James McDonald at Advocate.com, 6 July 2015 :-
'A traveling exhibition produced by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, “Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals 1933–1945,” is now on view at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City.
The show tells the story of Nazi persecution of homosexuals during World War II: Hitler’s genocide resulted in the death of 6 million Jews and millions of other people, with an estimated 5,000 to 15,000 sent to concentration camps because of their sexual orientations — the vast majority of them being gay men.
The story of these victims, commonly known as the Pink Triangles, has begun attracting attention relatively recently. ....
Sunday, July 5, 2015
---- brief excerpts from a social query posted by John Gallagher at Queerty (USA), 5 July 2015 :-
' .... In the wake of the Supreme Court ruling granting us the right to marry, a number of long-time activists are fretting that we are at risk of losing the things that make us unique. .... “People are missing a sense of community, a sense of sharing,” Eric Marcus, the author of “Making Gay History,” told the paper. “There is something wonderful about being part of an oppressed community.” ....
.... The question that’s bothering some veterans is, after building a movement and culture on being different, what will it mean to be just like everyone else? Outside of the bedroom, will being gay become more like an ethnic identity? .... What we’re also witnessing is that the culture is much more diverse than we’ve been ready to admit. It’s easy to put aside your differences when you’re united around a single cause, like fighting the AIDS crisis.
But now that we don’t have that focus, we’re discovering that there are a lot of people in our community who are quite content to live quiet lives that look like everyone else’s–raising kids, caring for elderly parents, living in the (gasp) ‘burbs, working in office cubicles. And that’s not a bad thing.
---- and see too the huge range of opinions shared in the Comments list, stirred by Queerty's article, which suggest the future may well retain a distinctive gay character, regardless.
Saturday, July 4, 2015
---- an excerpt from a substantial news report by Derek Scally at The Irish Times (Dublin), 4 July 2015 :-
'The marriage-equality vote in Ireland has reignited the same-sex marriage debate in Germany – where, as the capital held its Gay Pride parade, a remarkable new exhibition, documenting 150 years of homosexual life, had just opened. ....
.... Last Saturday morning the buzz on Berlin’s Kurfürstendamm boulevard was all about the US supreme court’s marriage-equality ruling, just hours earlier. But for many marchers – the usual Berlin pride mix of drag queens, leather lesbians and heterogeneous heterosexuals – the delight was clear at the way Ireland’s May vote had revived the marriage-equality debate in Germany.
And, as the Irish Embassy was invited to speak at the opening ceremony, German marchers began to march, wondering: if even the Irish can do marriage equality, why can’t we? .... '
---- see more of Derek Scally's report at www.irishtimes.com at :-
---- extracts from a review of Elisa Rolle's new book at The Gay UK (Britain) 2015 :-
'There are sweeping changes being made across the world in respect of equality and with the increasing recognition of same sex marriage. Prolific LGBT writer and editor, Elisa Rolle, has brought together the personal stories of over 700 LGBT couples and celebrates these couples’ life-long relationships by telling their stories.
Many of the contemporary couples, who share their stories talk about how they met, fell in love and share photographs from their wedding or of the families that they have started together.
Spanning 2,000 years of history, the book includes a number of interesting pieces of trivia, such as the fact that Sir Isaac Newton, who laid the foundation for modern physics, may have had a relationship with a Swiss mathematician, Nicolas Fatio de Duillier and that the author of 2001: A Space Odyssey; Arthur C. Clarke; had a 23-year partnership with a Sri Lankan man, and that they are buried together? .... '
"Day of Love" by Elisa Rolle is available to buy now from bookstores including www.amazon.co.uk
---- see this brief review of Elisa's book at The Gay UK at :-
Friday, July 3, 2015
Check out the 2minute video in the sidebar column (opposite) for some hardcore facts about LGBT people, their natural proclivities, and comparisons with straight people and habits. It's an eye-opener, timed to spell out LGBT realities in this week of PRIDE activities globally.
It's from Buzzfeed, which for those who know it, has online editions in the US, UK, and all ports elsewhere. The Buzzfeed sites have an inexhaustible array of popular, snappy segs on everything-under-the-sun. In its own words :-
"Tasty short, fun, inspiring, funny, interesting videos from BuzzFeed. From hilarious social segments to amazing how-to's and DIYs, BuzzFeed Yellow will entertain, educate, spark conversation about all the little things that matter in life.
---- visit the LGBT pages of Buzzfeed at :-
---- but don't forget to come back here afterwards.
Wednesday, July 1, 2015
---- an early par from a whimsical extended essay by Zach Schonfeld at Newsweek Magazine (USA), 1st July 2015 :-
'.... For decades, the right-wing fight to keep gay couples from getting married—which culminated in defeat with last Friday's Supreme Court decision—has returned again and again to that single catchphrase: "God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve." Or: "It's Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve."
If you were an alien wading into LGBT debates for the first time, you'd think it were a paragon of logic and stone-solid proof. (It's not.) But there's a lot packed into such a succinct homophobic mantra: God. Religion. Mocking same-sex relationships. Idealizing heterosexual partnership as the bedrock of, literally, the human race.
The line dates back further than you might expect, appearing long before same-sex marriage became a viable political goal. And tracing its more recent history reveals a curious trend: LGBT people reclaiming "Adam and Steve" as a positive expression of their own. .... '
---- see more of Zach Schonfeld's full delightful article at www.newsweek.com at :-
Tuesday, June 30, 2015
---- selected excerpts from an extended post by JP Mangalindan at Mashable.com (USA), 29 June 2015 :-
'SAN FRANCISCO — More than a million people on Sunday flocked to San Francisco's Market Street, the city's main thoroughfare, to celebrate the legalization of same-sex marriage with one of the biggest, brightest pride parades the city has ever seen.
They came from all walks of life, from as far away as London and Istanbul and as close by as San Francisco's Castro district: gay couples in decades-long relationships cradling each other on the sidelines, grinning LGBT teens showered in glitter, cheered on by friends and family. Apple CEO Tim Cook himself led over 8,000 employees in what was arguably the largest parade showing this year by any organization, though thousands also marched from Facebook, Salesforce, Google and other tech companies. ....
.... When I read the [US Supreme Court] news in the office on Friday, I stared incredulously at my computer screen, walked to the restroom, and quietly cried at the sink, peering at myself in front of the mirror for a few quiet minutes in between tears of happiness and relief.
I would never have to worry about hiding who I was or who I really loved because, in the eyes of the court, I — and millions of others — had the same rights and protections as everyone else everywhere else in the country.
What better reason to celebrate LGBT Pride than that? '
---- see more of JP Mangalindan's extended appreciation of Pride at http://mashable.com at :-
Sunday, June 28, 2015
---- the opening pars from an extended report by Calum Marsh at The Guardian (UK/US), 28 June 2015 :-
'Few benefits of the e-reader are as attractive as the privacy it affords, and so after the launch of the Kindle, that’s when erotic romance really took off.
Jaime Christley was working at a Barnes & Noble in New York when people started buying the retailer’s glossy white e-reader. It wasn’t long before he found himself appealed to for routine tech support: batteries weren’t charging, operating systems needed updating, touchscreens were on the fritz.
You can’t repair an e-reader without catching a glimpse of its digital library. And quite often what Christley saw took him by surprise: his customers were into porn.
Few benefits of the e-reader are as attractive as the privacy it inherently affords. Christley and his colleagues may enjoy a peek at the troubleshooting stage, but in public the anonymity is ironclad: you could be reading hardcore BDSM erotica on your Kindle or Kobo, but to your fellow commuters you might as well be poring over PG Wodehouse.
For those shy or easily embarrassed people, that sense of confidentiality is liberating. .... '
---- see the remainder of Calum Marsh's observant report at http://www.theguardian.com at :-
---- the opening pars from a news report by Ted Johnson, Senior Editor of Variety Magazine (USA), 26 June 2015 :-
'The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 on Friday that state bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional, an historic decision that extends gay and lesbian nuptials nationwide.
Justice Anthony Kennedy, authoring the majority opinion, wrote that “The Court now holds that same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry. No longer may this liberty be denied to them.”
Kennedy also rejected opponents’ arguments that the issue should be left for voters or state legislatures to decide, writing that “the dynamic of our constitutional system is that individuals need not await legislative action before asserting a fundamental right.” ....
---- see more of Ted Johnson's report at http://variety.com at :-
Friday, June 26, 2015
---- brief extracts from a detailed Rome tourist report by Katie Amey at the Daily Mail (UK), 26 June 2015 :-
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
---- brief excerpts from an extended tv-program report by Curt Schlieier at JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency) USA, 23 June 2015 :-
'(JTA) — It wasn’t so long ago that gay men were vilified by American society at large. Back in the 1980s, when the AIDS epidemic surfaced, priests railed against them, claiming the disease was God’s revenge for sinful lifestyle choices. .... Most Americans now support same-sex marriage and the practice is now legal in most states.
If there is one person responsible for this shift in mindset, it’s the outspoken activist, author and playwright Larry Kramer. He is the subject of a powerful and sad new HBO documentary.
“Larry Kramer In Love & Anger” is accurately described as a “warts and all” biography of a passionate man who because of his take-no-prisoners attitude managed to alienate almost everyone — gays and straights — on both sides of every issue on which he took a stand. But as the film makes clear, were it not for his courage and confrontational style, many more lives would have been lost to the AIDS crisis of the ’80s. ....
.... Filmmaker Jean Carlomusto has done a remarkable job seamlessly blending archival footage with current interviews to paint a portrait of this provocateur who would not let anyone or anything stand in his way. .... '
(“Larry Kramer In Love & Anger” premieres on HBO (USA) at 9 p.m. Monday 29th June, four days after his 80th birthday.)'
---- see more of Curt Schlieier's report at www.jta.org at :-
---- see too a further review of "Larry Kramer In Love & Anger" at Jewish Journal (USA) at :-
---- and visit the program's 50-sec promo video in the sidebar, opposite.
Sunday, June 21, 2015
---- the opening pars from an extended review/interview with Hollywood actor Tab Hunter by Adam Sandel at Advocate.com (USA), 19 June 2015 :-
'The great screen heartthrob of the 1950s sets the record straight by coming out as gay in Tab Hunter Confidential. The tall, strapping, blond-haired, blue-eyed Tab Hunter was Hollywood’s golden boy of the 1950s — and quite possibly the most beautiful all-American boy who ever lived. Throughout a decade of major films (and a few decades of less than major films), Hunter was dogged by rumors of his homosexuality.
In his 2005 autobiography Tab Hunter Confidential, the famously private star broke his public silence and revealed details of both his professional and personal life, including his love affair with actor Anthony Perkins.
The book has been transformed into a highly entertaining, insightful documentary film directed by Jeffrey Schwarz, which will screen at San Francisco’s Frameline Film Festival this Saturday [19 June] and at L.A.’s Outfest on Hunter’s 84th birthday, July 11.
The film paints a portrait of a sweet, kind, shy young man who grew up embarrassed by all the attention that his Adonis good looks brought him. In Hollywood he struggled to be taken seriously despite his good looks, but eventually proved himself to be a fine actor. .... '
---- see more of Adam Sandel's extended interview with Tab Hunter at www.advocate.com at :-
---- and visit the trailer of Tab Hunter Confidential in the sidebar, opposite.
Now COOL GAY STUFF shifts to mixed miscellany in both columns ...
TRAILERS OF RECENT GAY-THEMED MOVIES OF INTEREST ....
Don't Ask, Don't Tell is recalled ...
WEST HOLLYWOOD MOTEL (US 2013) - NSFW
Various lives intersect in and around a West Hollywood motel in this kaleidoscopic comedy about sex, love, and the meaning of life.
The characters include a medical student (Matt Riddlehoover), his extrovert boyfriend (Andrew Callahan), an adulterous actress (Starina Johnson), her lover (Heather Horton), and a dutiful husband (Phil Leirness) whose wife (Amy Kelly) wakes to find she has a penis.
Available November 12 on DVD/VOD from TLAgay:http://www.tlavideo.com/gay-west-hollywood-motel/p-356790-2
HISTORICAL NOVEL SOCIETY review of "THE HADRIAN ENIGMA" ...
A fair-haired young man, dressed in rich ceremonial armor, is found dead in the Nile River. When he is identified, everyone realizes the dangerous political implications of this death, because Antinous was the eromenos—the lover and protégé—of the Roman Emperor Hadrian.
A grief-stricken Hadrian appoints two members of the court, Suetonius and his patron Clarus, to find out how and why Antinous died. They have two days to find the answer, permission to interrogate anyone except the Emperor and Empress, and the promise that they may forfeit their lives if they fail to satisfy Hadrian.
Failure is a distinct possibility. While Antinous was well-liked and respected, the circle of suspects is wide, as it often will be when the victim is the confidant of an absolute ruler. The two sleuths quickly draft unlikely but able assistants to help them, including a scribe and an observant, multilingual prostitute.
The book offers an extensively researched picture of life in the Roman Empire of 130 AD. Gardiner is equally convincing when writing about imperial politics and succession laws, marriage and sexual customs, philosophy and the theater.
But The Hadrian Enigma—a mix of mystery, comedy, gay and straight romance—is an entertaining read.
THE HADRIAN ENIGMA - an unedited review by historical novelist NAN HAWTHORNE ...
THE HADRIAN ENIGMA | A review by historical fiction author J.R. Tomlin ...
" .... In 130 AD, while accompanying the Emperor Hadrian on a tour up the Nile, the beautiful youth Antinous plunges into the Nile and drowns. Hadrian, near maddened with grief, declares Antinous a god. However, Suetonius just happens to be along on this imperial tour. Already the author of juicy books on contemporary Roman life, he is perfectly placed to investigate this mysterious death, so Emperor Hadrian commands him to investigate and find the murderer within 48 hours or suffer the consequences.
In the imperial compound on the Nile, Suetonius searches for clues. Here, semi-isolated, the bubbling cauldron of the Roman court has been transplanted to a fabulous tent city. Yet, the mystery of Egypt is an ever present backdrop to this baffling death. .... Why was Antinous clad in heavy ceremonial parade armor and weapons when he died? How did he come by a slit on his left wrist and strange marks on his throat? And how can Suetonius unravel all this when the Emperor refuses to let Suetonius even touch the body to examine it? The characterization is vivid and the historicity meticulous in this novel. I enjoyed savoring the characters and setting as Suetonius unraveled the imperial goings on. .... "
See more of J.R. Tomlin's review at her author's blogsite "Writing & More" at : http://jeannetomlin.blogspot.com/
AN UNEDITED REVIEW OF 'THE HADRIAN ENIGMA"....
By a reader down under (New South Wales, Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is for: THE HADRIAN ENIGMA: A Forbidden History (Paperback)
George Gardiner's absorbing new book, which focuses on the relationship between the Roman emperor Hadrian and his young paramour, Antinous of Bithynia, quite possibly heralds the thrilling emergence of a new Mary Renault. (As uneven as it is in some places, to my mind it is a big improvement on Margeurite Yourcenar's book on Hadrian from the 1950s).
Gardiner begins his narrative with the discovery of the dead body of the beautiful youth, who has apparently drowned in the Nile. He coopts as his central figure cum narrator the actual historical figure of Suetonius Tranquillus, who is charged by the supreme colonial ruler Hadrian Caesar with the urgent responsibility of uncovering the reasons for, as well as the manner of, the death. Suetonius works night and day as a kind of investigator/ prosecutor and his dogged inquiry drives the plot. The narrative unfolds as a kind of antique murder mystery, then, and one of the book's great strengths is in the well-paced twists and turns of the plot, throwing up a number of suspects and scenarios along the way that keep the reader intrigued until the very end. Gardiner's humour shines through this character, who is forced to carry out his investigation under the double pressure of a pressing deadline (why is Hadrian so intent of winding it all up in such a short time, we wonder) and the threat of execution if he doesn't come up with the answers.
This is compelling writing. Suetonius is a good choice, as he is known for his history of a dozen Caesars, and the author brings him vividly and humorously to life. Indeed, Gardiner skilfully and imaginitively re-works established historical figures and creates a cast of composite characters where necessary to serve his narrative ends. The fact that he can do this convincingly, with such an extraordinary mixture of ethnicities and beliefs, is writing of a high order. The mastery of research is remarkable, not only for Gardiner's command of the details of ethnic artefacts, weaponry, costume, architecture and so on, but also for the complex politics of Roman colonial expansionism in its abrasive encounter with other cultures. The era was marked by a complex intermingling of belief systems, and Gardiner's fictional world is woven from a rich and amazingly detailed fabric. Very occasionally the research seems almost oversupplied but for the most part it serves to underpin his imaginative reconstructions with persuasive authenticity.
Also among the book's strengths are the finely imagined conversations between characters, both historical and concocted, that move the investigation so beautifully along. There are certain set action sequences pieces, too, that are brilliantly staged and paced--the boar hunt, for example, when Hadrian rescues Antinous, and the marvellous climactic scene where Suetonius brings his prosecutorial charges home (albeit uncertainly, with some lines of inquiry that don't pan out).
The only thing that broke the spell for me was Gardiner's occasional jarring choices in language idioms. There's no doubt that the language(s) of the time and place would have been salted with colourful vulgarities, and the dialogue should reflect that, but some of the terms chosen have such strong contemporary associations for us, here at the beginning of the 21st Century, that they they jar and jolt in the reading. `Toyboy' is one example, `getting your rocks off,' `muscular stud' and `gaga' are others that don't ring well to my ear. It's a pity, because sometimes they drop the reader right out of the spell he weaves so skilfully, otherwise.
In contrast, many of the scenes and dialogue move with stately Latinate constructions within a convincing and well-sustained narrative voice. Gardiner has set himself the difficult task of creating a hybrid language that can include both convincing formal language, and everyday vulgarisms, that ring true within his own reconstruction, yet sound right to our contemporary hearing. It's a delicate juggling act and sometimes he drops his balls. (If he had perhaps reserved their use strictly in dialogue, say, to help with characterisation? Perhaps some of his choices might be better realised in a second edition.)
Another of the book's great strengths is hinted at by the book's sub-title. It's a `forbidden history' not simply because Hadrian issues an edict that only the official `party line' should be recorded (and by implication, Suetonius' project of recording events for us to read goes dangerously gainst the edict of his Emperor). It's forbidden history too because Gardiner has constructed a counter-narrative to the centuries of heavily judgemental readings of this iconic same-sex relationship. Positive affirmations of same-sex bonding were exiled in silence as soon as the early Christian commentators started to impose their dominant narratives over all acceptable behaviours and ideals.
In Yourcenar's 50s version, Antinous's moody adolescent pouting makes Hadrian looks like a bit of a fool for dallying with the youth, but Gardiner proposes a heroic reading here that highlights the finer elements of the erastes/eromenos partnering, which was not only tolerated but celebrated in ancient times. For me, this moves the book onto a higher plane than a mere homoerotic titillation and places the relationship where it belongs, in the heroic company of Patroclus/Achilles and the legendary band of Theban warrior-lovers.
Gardiner successfully and daringly recuperates the much-despised and consistently misrepresented ideal of man-to-man love, here based on respect, admiration and the inspiration of noble ideals, as much as the undeniable and enjoyable erotic attraction, which we see only fitful glimpses of among sporting figures and others today. During the continuing culture wars of our own times it's a relief to read this inspiring alternative with its healing potential as an affirmative voice emerging from the diminishing, culturally imposed silence.
In a strange way `The Hadrian Enigma' is reminiscent of E.M. Forster's gay-affirmative novel `Maurice', which Forster was unable to publish during his lifetime. Forster's wistful happy ending for a same sex coupling was unthinkable in the mid-twentieth Century, and even today, it's hard to read such partnering as anything other than morally sinful - such is our pervasive indoctrination by churchmen - or psychologically misdirected (`homosexuality' is still construed as a kind of `failed development' in conventional psychological readings). Certainly such a relationship will still be regarded as second best to the pressing imperative of reproduction. Gardiner has struck a blow with this courageous and convincing re-telling.
So, for me this is a 5 star book for the outstanding and detailed research and the creative work that underpins the imaginative reconstructions; at least 4 stars for its plotting, but only 3 stars for the strange inconsistencies in his prose style. This averages out to a solidly earned 4 stars.
I do hope Gardiner is deep at work on his next book of historical fiction. He certainly has all the skills required.
See this review in situ at Amazon at :-
"SPEAK ITS NAME" reviews THE HADRIAN ENIGMA :
A specialist review site for gay historical fiction, Speak Its Name has reviewed The Hadrian Enigma. I am told Speak Its Name receives 700 hits a day from readers of this genre, making it a prominent source of opinion for readers of gay historical fiction. Speak Its Name pursues a tough line in its reviewing standards. It says it takes gay history, history in general, & the quality of the writing into critical consideration.
Aleks Voinov, an author in his own stead & one of the site's key reviewers, has given the book a satisfaction rating of 4.5 out of 5, by which it defines the book as VERY good in Speak Its Name's eyes.
As a reviewer Mr. Voinov finds a great deal to admire and many things to critique. But that's the way it goes in literary criticism, folks. Check Speak Its Name's fascinating website & review lists, plus read Mr. Voinov's full 2-page critique at :-
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Bye-bye for now from George Gardiner's COOL GAY STUFF ...