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As the "official airline of Middle-earth," Air New Zealand would naturally want to capitalize on the final movie in "The Hobbit" trilogy, scheduled to be released in December. "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" is a few months away, but Hobbit lovers can get a fix by watching the blockbuster "The Most Epic Safety Video Ever Made," featuring cast members from all three films in the trilogy -- Elijah Wood (Frodo Baggins), Dean O'Gorman (Fili the Dwarf) and Sylvester McCoy (Radagast). Peter Jackson appears here and there too.
NOW MEET HISTORY'S FIRST 'OUT' SAME-SEX COUPLE : Hadrian Caesar & boyf Antinous ...
READER'S OPINIONS OF "THE HADRIAN ENIGMA" logged at global Amazon stores, especially the USA ...
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 18 reader's reviews (nine 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.
Buy only online (not in street stores), CLICK NOW ON A LINK BELOW to select best delivery options ...
For an Amazon USA paperback :
for Amazon's Kindle ebook or Kindle-For-PC's download :
for Amazon UK :
for The Book Depository UK paperback with free global shipping:
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COOL GAY STUFF'S important navigation hint !! ...
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
---- brief excerpts from a gentle uplifting piece by Gerry North at Same Same (Australia), 28 October 2014 :-
'.... We remember our youth, looking in the mirror and seeing a fresh face rejoicing with anticipated excitement of life ahead. But now that time has rolled on, how do we accept our present age?
How do we grow old gracefully, and above all happily?
As you get older you also get to reflect on what is really important about ‘a life well lived’. Money, status, career and material things, aimed for in our youth, seem less important than feeling connected to others and personally validated in the world with giving and receiving love and respect. ....
.... Getting older allows us to feel more comfortable in our own skin as the years go by, and that is a wonderful gift. And no matter your age, it is never too late to reconnect with family and old friends. It is never too late to become a worthy person and develop a sense of a gay life well lived. ....
---- see more of Gerry North's reflections on ageing at www.samesame.com.au at :-
---- and see too a YouTube video of The Sydney Gay & Lesbian Choir singing "When We Are Old & Gay" in the sidebar opposite.
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
---- brief pars from a travel news report by Curtis M Wong at The Huffington Post (USA), 24 October 2014 :-
' .... Copenhagen edged out New Zealand, Toronto and Palm Springs for the top spot, which was released as part of Lonely Planet's "Best in Travel 2015" series. The gay-friendly list, like the rest of the series, was compiled "based on topicality, unique experiences and that 'wow' factor," according to Lonely Planet's Chris Zeiher, who created it.
"I also considered if the destination demonstrated inclusiveness & tolerant behavior toward our community, has progressive equal rights laws and, finally, how safe the selection is for the LGBTIQ traveler," Zeiher told The Huffington Post ....'
---- see more of Curtis M Wong's report, plus the 12-frame slide-show of assessed destinations which may surprise you, at www.huffingtonpost.com at :-
Monday, October 27, 2014
---- brief excerpts from an historical recollection at The Gay UK (UK), 27 October 2014 :-
' ... French poet Arthur Rimbaud had his love immortalised by the way of postage stamps issued by the French postal service. ....
.... In 1951, many years after his death, the French Postal Service issued stamps featuring Rimbaud and his lover Paul Verlaine. ....
.... Rimbaud met Verlaine in the summer of 1870 when he was 16. A friend of Verlaine was less than impressed and described him as, "a tall, gawky young man, very thin, with the look of a rather fierce street Arab", however Verlaine was so taken with the younger wayward man, he deserted his wife and child and ran away to London.
It didn't go well for the two. Their relationship ended in Brussels, and during an argument Verlaine shot Rimbaud in the arm. Rimbaud however did not press charges.
France decriminalised sodomy in 1791, becoming the first West European country to do so. .... '
---- see more of thegayuk.com's historical reflection on Rimbaud/Verlaine at :-
Sunday, October 26, 2014
---- brief excerpts from a news report from Reuters published in The Japan Times (Japan), 25 October 2014 :-
'TAIPEI – Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Taipei on Saturday for Asia’s largest gay rights parade, with many urging parliament to push through a controversial bill recognizing same-sex marriage. .... Gay and lesbian groups in Taiwan, one of Asia’s more liberal societies, have been urging the government for years to legalize same-sex marriage. Parliament started reviewing a bill on the issue last year. ....
.... Last year, around 65,000 gays and lesbians and their supporters marched in Taiwan in a record crowd to push for legalizing same-sex marriage and other rights, according to the organizers, who estimated a similar turnout this year. .... '
---- see more of this extended news report from www.japantimes.co.jp at :-
Saturday, October 25, 2014
---- brief excerpts from an opinion-piece by Zeeshan Aleen at Mic.com (USA), 24 October 2014 :-
'.... Surfacing slowly in different states, it began to seep across the country, shedding its stigma and compelling politicians to edit their long-established talking points. Eventually, it gained the support of a national majority.
Thinking of gay marriage? Guess again. The once-controversial issue that has reached a tipping point on a national scale this time? Marijuana legalization. And pot smokers throughout the country have plenty of reasons to celebrate. ....
.... Pop culture relentlessly reshapes the national imagination and the contours of our political consciousness, and it has slowly worn down the idea that gay marriage threatens society in a way that party politics could have never accomplished. Similarly, pop culture has altered the reputation of marijuana by rendering it generally harmless, and in the process paved the path for its legal normalization. .... '
---- see more of this perceptive article at mic.com at :-
Thursday, October 23, 2014
---- the opening pars from a substantial film review by Richard Brody at New Yorker Magazine (USA), 21 October 2014 :-
'Justin Simien’s “Dear White People,” set at the fictitious Ivy-like Winchester University, is a movie with something—something important—to say: it’s hard for black students on a predominantly white campus.
As a black student, if you’re politically involved, you become a target for racists; if you’re looking to fit in, you invite condescension; if you’re pursuing success, you risk sacrificing your values; if you’re merely searching for your own path, you seem to belong nowhere and are even more vulnerable.
If you’re black and gay, it’s all the more difficult. And if you’re white—first of all, try to listen.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
---- excerpts from a sports report by abc7 (USA), 21 October 2014 :-
'Michael Sam, defensive end for the Dallas Cowboys, was waived from the practice squad on Tuesday.
Sam, a Hitchcock, TX native, made national headlines earlier this year as he became the first openly gay player in NFL history. Sam was drafted by the St. Louis Rams in the seventh-round of the NFL draft, playing with the squad in the offseason before he was released. Sam was then signed by the Dallas Cowboys practice squad, but after seven weeks into the NFL season never made it onto the team's roster.
Sam tweeted the following on Tuesday afternoon:
"I want to thank the Jones family and the entire Cowboys organization for this opportunity, as well as my friends, family, teammates, and fans for their support. While this is disappointing, I will take the lessons I learned here in Dallas and continue to fight for an opportunity to prove that I can play every Sunday." .... '
Monday, October 20, 2014
---- an excerpt from a news report by Dan Tracer at Queerty (USA), 20 October 2014 :-
'President Obama didn’t publicly support marriage equality until May of 2012, but his views today sound more like those of a lifelong champion of gay rights.
In an interview with The New Yorker about his judicial legacy, Obama said:
“Ultimately, I think the Equal Protection Clause does guarantee same-sex marriage in all fifty states. But, as you know, courts have always been strategic. There have been times where the stars were aligned and the Court, like a thunderbolt, issues a ruling like Brown v. Board of Education, but that’s pretty rare. And, given the direction of society, for the Court to have allowed the process to play out the way it has may make the shift less controversial and more lasting.”
Given the president’s background as a constitutional law professor, and the fact that he’s the president and all, it’s pretty amazing to hear such strong language on an issue that’s taken so much work to advance. .... '
---- see more of Dan Tracer's report at www.queerty.com at :-
---- see a further report from the Associated Press (USA), 20 October 2014 at :-
---- excerpts from an extended opinion-piece on the relevance of The Bible in contemporary discourse by Crystal Silva-McCormack, Guest Columnist at The El Paso Times (USA), 19 October 2014 :-
"Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh." [1 Peter, 2:18]
This devastating passage comes from the Christian New Testament. This passage, like others from the Bible, has been used to justify slavery and other egregious actions.
But, these passages stand contra to an ethic of love that most Christians feel Jesus taught and embodied. The fact is that the Bible is a product of its time and culture and some of its content does not always convey an ethic of love.
Time, culture and context are crucial when interpreting biblical texts and not all Christians will agree on how to interpret these texts.
So, for example, some might assume that Jesus never mentioned being gay or lesbian because he was simpatico with all that the Hebrew Bible said, while others might interpret his silence on the issue as evidence that it was not important to him.
Also, some Christians might focus on Matthew 25 or Mark 12:29 in understanding what lies at the core of the Christian life. These two passages tell their readers that caring for the "least of these" and that love of God and neighbor are the most important things to God and to Jesus, not who someone falls in love with and/or who they long to marry.
So, for Christians who use passages like these as a lens for understanding the rest of the Bible, supporting LGTQI persons is a given – a necessity, even. .... '
---- see more of Crystal Silva-McCormack's persuasive opinion-piece at www.elpasotimes.com at :-
Sunday, October 19, 2014
---- brief excerpts from a news report from the BBC by James Reynolds at BBC News Europe, 18 October 2014 :-
'This synod shows he faces serious internal opposition.
But those paragraphs were not approved, and were stripped from the final text.
The report will inform further debate before the synod reconvenes in larger numbers in a year's time. ....
.... The two-week synod has revealed a fracture line in church opinion over how to adapt traditional church teaching on human sexuality towards 21st-Century attitudes, says the BBC's David Willey in Rome.
Pope Francis had made a powerful appeal to traditionalists not to lock themselves within the letter of the law, but conservative cardinals and bishops carried the day at the end of the synod, our correspondent adds .... '
---- see more of this controversial outcome for gay Catholics reported by James Reynolds at www.bbc.com at :- http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-29677779
Friday, October 17, 2014
---- brief opening pars from a perceptive & substantial opinion-piece by movie reviewer Paul Byrnes at The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia), 19 October 2014 :-
'Attitudes towards gays and lesbians and their representation have shifted enormously since the dawn of television and cinema. Did you know that the Wicked Witch of the West is a gay and lesbian icon? Well, surely you knew that Ben Hur is a gay romance? The same goes for Lord of the Rings, of course. Frodo and Sam Gamgee are the first gay couple of Middle-earth, according to this reading.
One of the beautiful things about movies is that no two people see the same one. I may look at Lawrence of Arabia and see a story of magnificent folly, the rise and fall of an unusual Englishman, but the film is more notorious in gay circles. "Florence of the Desert" is one of its nicknames, based on the idea that Peter O'Toole wore so much make-up he turned it into a drag show. ....
.... Before the 1960s, homosexuality was largely invisible in movies, except to those who were looking for it. As the 1995 documentary based on Vito Russo's book The Celluloid Closet made clear, gay audiences always saw things that straight audiences didn't. That was part of the allure of movies for gay men and women: the secret looks, the knowing glances. .... '
---- see more of Paul Byrnes' interesting insights at www.smh.com.au at :-
Thursday, October 16, 2014
---- selected pars from a substantial (if provocative) opinion-piece by Cody Freeman at TIME (USA), 16 October 2014 :-
'Many dating apps help perpetuate what people scorn about LGBT:- promiscuity, impersonal behavior, and compromised interpersonal connection.
Notification: You have 12 new matches! ....
.... Compared to traditional dating methods, these apps provide many advantages: you save time on bad blind dates and boring conversations, you can connect to someone anytime you feel lonely, and if you are rejected you simply move on to the next person.
But because there are thousands of people at your fingertips, it also creates a society of oversharing, superficiality, and instant gratification. You are on the grid 24/7 and you must advertise yourself. And there’s a paradox of choice: be careful who you choose, because there might be someone better out there—always. ....
.... 'Gay men want those perfect relationships that we see in romantic-comedies, instead of the ultimate fear of our generation: being alone. But there is nowhere that is not sex-based to connect. LGBT are still considered outcasts of society.
Homosexuality, while popularized by the media, is still considered dangerous to teach to our kids. The way to solve this is through education.
The history of talking about sexual orientation to children has been one of fear, regret, and ignorance. We need informed parents who understand how to support gay youth. We need college-aged LGBT to actively work their state’s capitals for gay marriage, harassment laws, and transgender equality. Most importantly, K-12 children should be taught about sexual orientation in an open, direct, and engaging way encouraging normalcy and assimilation. If we can openly discuss it, LGBT can defeat the sex-centered stereotype. ... '
---- see this provocative essay by Cody Freeman at time.com at :-
---- the opening pars from a new report by Gregg Kilday at the Hollywood Reporter (USA), 15 October 2014 :-
'.... While this will be the versatile performer's first stint as the Academy Awards show emcee, he's an established fixture when it comes to hosting awards shows. He's hosted the Emmy Awards twice and the Tony Awards four times, winning four Emmys for his Tony shows. He also has performed on the Oscar show. Harris will also have a rooting interest in one of this year's awards hopefuls, since he's currently appearing in David Fincher's Gone Girl. ....
.... In announcing their choice of Harris, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who will be producing the show for the third year in a row, said in a statement, "We are thrilled to have Neil host the Oscars. We have known him his entire adult life, and we have watched him explode as a great performer in feature films, television and stage. To work with him on the Oscars is the perfect storm, all of his resources and talent coming together on a global stage." .... '
---- see more of Gregg Kilday's report at www.hollywoodreporter.com at :-
---- & get a happy taste in the sidebar (opposite) of Neil's performance style while hosting the Emmy's last year.
Monday, October 13, 2014
---- opening pars from an Associated Press news report by Nicole Winfield at Edge On The Net (USA), 13 October 2014 :-
'VATICAN CITY -- Catholic bishops are showing unprecedented openness to accepting the real lives of many Catholics today, saying gays have gifts to offer the church and should be accepted and that there are "positive" aspects to a couple living together without being married.
A two-week meeting of bishops on family issues arrived at its halfway point Monday with a document summarizing the closed-door debate so far. No decisions were announced, but the tone of the preliminary document was one of almost-revolutionary acceptance, rather than condemnation, with the aim of guiding Catholics toward the ideal of a lasting marriage.
The bishops said gays had `'gifts and qualities" to offer and asked rhetorically if the church was ready to provide them a welcoming place, "accepting and valuing their sexual orientation without compromising Catholic doctrine on the family and matrimony."
For a 2,000-year-old institution that believes gay sex is "intrinsically disordered," even posing the question is significant. .... '
---- see more of this AP report by Nicole Winfield at www.edgeonthenet.com at :-
---- see too Tom Roberts' striking opinion-piece at New Republic (USA), 13 October 2014, at :-
Saturday, October 11, 2014
---- your host, novelist George Gardiner, author of The Hadrian Enigma, introduces brief excerpts from a perceptive essay by Margaret Tomlinson published at the (very-non-gay) Statesman Journal (USA), 10 October 2014 :-
'Do you relish a good historical novel? Why? .... Readers want to live for a time right inside the world of the novel, and not just its physical world—we want to feel what the characters are feeling. .... Historical fiction, especially, can land us in the skins of people who conceived of the world in radically different ways than we do. .... Historical fiction also helps us understand how our world came to be the way it is, portraying the minds and hearts of people who, for better or worse, shaped it—people for whom we may feel a strange and unexpected sympathy. ....
.... Historical novels roam widely through time and place, but their greatest art may be turning the past inside-out to illuminate our own world, not so greatly changed as we might think from that of our ancestors. .... '
[Margaret Tomlinson’s website www.HistoricalNovels.info lists over 5,000 historical novels by time and place, and includes reviews of over 600.]
---- see more of Margaret's essay at www.statesmanjournal at :-
Friday, October 10, 2014
---- the opening pars from a news report by Will Coldwell at The Guardian (UK/USA/Aust), 10 October 2014 :-
'A new documentary shines a light on gay surfers around the world, and finds secret lives, struggles for sponsorship – and even suicides. When Thomas Castets sat down at his computer in Sydney four years ago and began writing a blog, he had one modest aim. “I thought it would be nice if I could find at least one other gay surfer out there,” he says. “And find out if they had some time to surf with me.”
Within two weeks, 300 people had got in touch. Now his website, gaysurfers.net, is a thriving social network with almost 6,000 members, ranging from former world champions to people living in villages in West Africa. And as the membership grew – to include many who thought they were only gay surfer in the world – so did the stories. Surfers, including many professional ones, were writing to Castets to explain how they had felt compelled to keep their sexuality secret, faced homophobia in the sport or struggled in the surf industry as a result of coming out.
Last year Thomas, along with Australian former state champion surfer David Wakefield – who chose not to pursue a surfing career out of a fear of being “found out” as gay – decided to go on a trip around the world to meet some of them. Their journey – captured in award-winning documentary Out in the Line-up, which premieres in the UK this week – sheds a light on the experiences of gay surfers around the world .... '
---- see more of Will Coldwell's revealing article at www.theguardian.com at :-
---- & check the prize-winning movie 'Out In The Line-Up' at its site of :- http://outinthelineup.com/
Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Christian Rudder of OkCupid knows who’s been bad or good, and he really knows who’s lying about who they are and what they want. And he has the numbers to prove it.
---- excerpts from the opening of a revealing article about love's statistical realities, written by Will Doig at The Daily Beast (USA), 6 October 2014 :-
' .... here's a seedy little fact: Men of pretty much any age are mainly attracted to 20-year-olds. It doesn't matter if the man is 20 himself, or 28 or 36 or 49. If we're to believe the [online] search habits of dating-website users, then men, no matter what age, want a woman two years out of high school.
This isn't what men say they want, of course. Read the profile of a 36-year-old man, and he'll say he's looking for a mate between, oh, 26 and 42. And that may be. But when he rates OkCupid's female users in purely visual, ruthless "hot or not" style, as the website asks him to do, the 20 year olds win in a landslide. ....
.... So begins the fascinating and depressing Dataclysm: Who We Are When We Think No One's Looking, in which OkCupid cofounder and president Christian Rudder exposes us for the frauds we are. Armed with a container ship's worth of internal data from his own website—as well as Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.—Rudder proves that we're a highly deceptive people, not to mention pervy, racist, and probably gay.
Like a Kinsey Report for the big-data era, there's a gold mine of findings here to titter about. .... '
---- see more of Will Doig's fascinating revelations at www.thedailybeast.com at :-
Tuesday, October 7, 2014
---- the opening pars from a news-report opinion-piece by Ron Elving at NPR (National Public Radio) USA, 6 October 2014 :-
'Technically, the Supreme Court on Monday did not establish a constitutional right for same-sex couples to marry. It merely declined an opportunity to rule definitely one way or the other on the question.
But in the not-too-long run, the consequences may well be the same. Because the situation the court created — or acknowledged — will almost surely continue trending in favor of same-sex couples who want to marry.
Conversely, the legal ground is eroding for states that want to stop such marriages or deny them legal recognition.
As thousands more same-sex couples marry all over the country, this legal climate change becomes a kind of fait accompli. .... '
---- see more of Ron Elving's report at www.npr.org at :-
Sunday, October 5, 2014
---- the opening pars to an historical survey of key gay poets collated by Joe Morgan at Gay Star News (UK), 2 October 2014 :-
'It's National Poetry Day in the UK, so for the second year in a row we pay tribute to the best LGBTI poets from history and today. Using only the written word, a poet can make you laugh, cry, think, or wonder with just a turn of phrase. There are many gay, lesbian and bisexual poets who have this ability, and rank as some of the best literary voices in history. So to celebrate National Poetry Day in the UK, Gay Star News decided to take a look at some of the most inspiring gay and bisexual poets from history and today.
Wilfred Owen (1893-1918) In the year that marks the centenary of World War 1, you have to begin with Wilfred Owen. Arguably the most significant poet of the war, he is believed to have been gay. Many of his poems were inspired by the homoeroticism of the Romantic period, such as Maundy Thursday - a powerful description of male-male desire. Love letters were also discovered from between him and his mentor , the soldier and poet Siegfried Sassoon. .... '
'Anthem For Doomed Youth:
What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries for them; no prayers nor bells,
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs,—
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.'
---- see more of Joe Morgan's report on 12 gay poets of note, male & female complete with brief sample texts, at www.gaystarnews.com at :-
---- selected pars from an extended opinion-piece by Frank Bruni at The New York Times (USA), 4 October 2014 :-
'REPEATEDLY over the last year and a half, I’ve written about teachers in Catholic schools and leaders in Catholic parishes who were dismissed from their posts because they were in same-sex relationships and — in many cases — had decided to marry.
Friday, October 3, 2014
---- brief excerpts from an extended book review by Delia Falconer at The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia), 3 October 2014 :-
'Anyone who thinks that studying literature dulls a novelist's instincts hasn't read British author Sarah Waters. She wrote Tipping the Velvet — her 1998 lesbian romp through the music halls, streets and bedrooms of Victorian London – off the back of a PhD in post-1870s gay fiction.
Since then she has established a brand of clever, beautifully researched and plotty historical novels that put the relationships between women at centre stage. Her stories often revive literary genres from the past, but from the popular rather than high literary canon, which has made Waters one of those rare novelists who attracts huge audiences and critical respect. ....
.... This time the narrative form Waters borrows is the '50s domestic thriller, given a new, credible sense of urgency – both erotic and narrative – by the difficulties facing two women who want to love openly.
We so often see this between-wars era through the eyes of wealthy men, but The Paying Guests, set intensely and grippingly in the thick of middle-class suburbia, leaves us with a fresh sense of women's lives beneath its oppressive surface as surprisingly volatile, wartime freedoms unforgotten and ready to burst through again. .... '
---- see more of Australian author Delia Falconer's review of the latest Sarah Waters novel at www.smh.com.au at :-
Thursday, October 2, 2014
He wowed us with Blade Runner in the 70's, Alien in the 80's, Gladiator in the 90's, Kingdom of Heaven in the Noughties, and now is giving us a new take on an old Biblical motif :- Exodus: Gods and Kings. From the look of this new 3-minute trailer released today, UK film director Ridley Scott shows us again what master craftsmen he and his team can be.
Using a wealth of artists, designers, and CGI experts, Scott recreates the era of Moses and ancient Egypt with a vizual believability which takes the breath away. In an era when blockbusters galore storm across our cineplexes, Scott's command as a film-maker stirs us to rare excitement with the utter mastery of a grand vision.
Showing no evident gender issue inherent in the storyline, Scott's movie nevertheless appeals to a highly sensualized perception of being "a movie displaying classic vizual tropes" which are likely to appeal to those of tender sensibilities.That's nice-talk which means, folks, it looks pretty awesome! And Charlton Heston is nowhere to be found.
EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS stars Christian Bale (Moses), Joel Edgerton (Ramses), Aaron Paul, John Turturro, Ben Kingsley, and Sigourney Weaver. It reaches global theaters on 12 December.
---- visit the powerful 3-min trailer in the sidebar.
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
---- excerpts from a report about the status of gay events in a time of gay social transitioning, contributed by Steve Persall at the Tampa Bay Times (USA), 29 September 2014 :-
'Twenty-five years ago, Tampa's shunned gay and lesbian community drew a line in the sand using a film festival. A cultural tide shifting toward the mainstream has smoothed the line since then, raising a silver anniversary question:-
How can the Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival stay relevant? Or even necessary?
"If the gay struggle continues successfully there won't be gay bars or gay film festivals," said filmmaker, actor and author John Waters, who will appear Saturday at Tampa Theatre. "You simply won't need them anymore."
Organizers of Tampa's festival don't believe their mission is accomplished. But the event's future greatly depends on reaching out to future generations of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender lives, people too young to remember why these festivals ever began. ....
.... The Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival was founded as a rainbow-hued rallying call: "We're here, we're queer, we want movies about us. Get used to it."
In some ways the world has, with marriage equality rights gaining momentum, and occasional reversals of anti-gay measures. .... '
---- see more of Steve Persall's interesting report at tampabay.com at :-
---- and note: The 25th annual Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival includes movies, parties and events Friday through Oct. 11 at Tampa Theatre, St. Petersburg's Freefall Theatre and Museum of Fine Arts. Visit tiglff.com.
Sunday, September 28, 2014
---- brief excerpts from an opinion-piece by Samantha Allen at The Frisky (USA), 28 September 2014 :-
'Ursula from “The Little Mermaid” is almost certainly a lesbian, according to stand-up comic James Adomian, who lovingly refers to the iconic Disney diva in a recent viral bit as a “big dyke with a butch haircut.” Adomian, who is openly gay, doesn’t believe that Ursula deserves the negative treatment she receives in the movie. “Every time I’ve ever met a woman like that in my life,” he says, “she’s been awesome.”
To an extent, Adomian is right: Ursula definitely has deep roots in queer culture. According to bonus materials on “The Little Mermaid” DVD, Ursula was modeled after the famous drag performer Divine, star of the original “Hairspray. ....
.... Disney movies have been quietly reinforcing cultural notions about what kinds of queerness are “bad” and what kinds of queerness are “good.” As staples of American culture, Disney films reveal latent attitudes about which kinds of queerness are still intolerable according to mainstream standards. Disney movies, then, implicitly teach us how to be gay within the confines of acceptability and respectability. With that in mind, here’s the best way to be gay according to the Disney canon:
1. Don’t be fat. 2. Don’t be effeminate or campy. 3. Stay in the closet. ....
.... If Disney wants to start sending some different cultural messages about sexuality through their films, they need to shrug off negative stereotypes and start crafting some deliberate, authored queer characters. It’s time for a big dyke with a butch haircut to be the hero for once. .... '
---- see the full observant, unedited essay by Samantha Allen at thefrisky.com at :-
Saturday, September 27, 2014
---- the opening pars from a newS report by Adam Howard at MSNBC (USA), 26 September 2014 :-
'The United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a landmark resolution for LGBT rights during its 27th session on Friday, the second-ever motion of its kind. The resolution, which was heavily promoted by the U.S., was sponsored by Uruguay, Colombia, Brazil and Chile. Countries from every geographic region in the world joined as supporters.
The action, which passed by a 25-14 vote margin after more than an hour of debate, condemns violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity across the globe.
“We are pleased to see that today the international community is visibly and publicly upholding the rights of LGBT individuals, and thereby we demonstrate ourselves as a global community respecting the rights of all,” said Ambassador Keith Harper, who represents the U.S. on the U.N. Human Rights Council.
Still, since the resolution comes with no enforcement capability — it simply calls for a report from the U.N. high commissioner on LGBT rights abuses — it will likely largely be seen as a symbolic gesture, albeit it one that the U.N. has largely failed to make in the past. This resolution is only the second time the U.N. has referred to LGBT rights as “human rights.” ....
---- see more of Adam Howard's full report at msnbc.com at :-
---- see too Robert Evans' related report at Reuters news service (Geneva) at :-
Thursday, September 25, 2014
---- a post by Will Kohler at his always interesting site Back2Stonewall (USA), on 24 September 2014 :-
'Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, addressed a standing room only crowd at Grand Rapids Community College drew cheers from the crowd this past week when asked about LGBT rights and equality the 89 year old Carter replied “I never knew of any word or action of Jesus Christ that discriminated against anyone.”.
---- & check the short video in the sidebar here.
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
---- brief excerpts from a news report by Tim Isaac at Big Gay Picture Show (UK), 22 September 2014 :-
'Stephen Fry sits alongside the likes of Ian McKellen as one of the most beloved people in the pantheon of famous gay men and women. Now the polymath is letting us back into his life again as his latest memoir, More Fool Me, is due to be published in the UK on September 26th. ....
.... More Fool Me takes us into one of the most tumultuous times in his life. As the 80s drew to a close, he discovered a most enjoyable way to burn the candle at both ends, and took to excess like a duck to water. ....
.... Containing raw, electric extracts from his diaries of the time, More Fool Me looks at a man driven to create and to entertain – revealing a side to himself he has long kept hidden.
Alongside the release of the book, Picturehouse Entertainment and Penguin Books are broadcasting Stephen Fry’s one man show at the Royal Festival Hall via satellite in high definition to over 280 cinemas in the UK on the 1st October at 7.30pm.
The event will also be broadcast globally to over 130 cinemas across Australia, New Zealand, Canada, German, Denmark, Austria, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, and Norway (although not all these countries will get it on October 1st). It will be the biggest global book launch event ever staged. .... '
---- see more of Tim Isaac's report & its contact details at biggaypictureshow.com at :-
---- see too a news report dated 16 October by www.i24news (Israel) at :-
Monday, September 22, 2014
---- brief excerpts from a UK tv programming report by Antonia Molloy at The Independent (UK), 18 September 2014 :-
'UK actor Ben Wishaw has been cast in the lead role of forthcoming BBC thriller London Spy. The 33-year-old British actor, who played Q in Skyfall, is to take on the role of Danny in Tom Rob Smith’s first television drama series.
Danny is an outgoing and pleasure-seeking romantic who becomes embroiled in the world of British espionage, after falling for the enigmatic Alex.
But when Alex disappears, Danny must decide whether he is prepared to find out what has happened to him.
Tom Rob Smith said: “Ben Whishaw is quite simply one of the best actors in the country. It's an extraordinary privilege, as a writer, to have him play the lead.” ....
.... Whishaw’s past credits include Hamlet, Brideshead Revisited and Cloud Atlas. He is also set to take on the role of Freddie Mercury in an upcoming biopic about the Queen frontman’s life and is due to reprise his role as Q in Bond 24 in 2015. .... '
---- see more of Antonia Molloy's report at independent.co.uk at :-
Saturday, September 20, 2014
---- a very brief excerpt from Part One of a substantial essay by Jim Halterman at XFINITY (USA), 17 September 2014 :-
' .... But what is it like from the creative perspective of making television in the 21st Century? Are the studios and networks supportive of having LGBT characters in the development process of a series or episodes? Is it easier for bisexual or lesbian characters to get the green light? What about trans characters? Are there still battles being fought or can we hang it up and call it a day?
To find out, I reached out via an email questionnaire to a group of working TV showrunners gay and straight to find out what they’re experiencing in 2014 in terms of incorporating LGBT characters and stories into their work. And while some of the responses make you think we’re right where we need to be, others show that we’ve still got a way to go before having LGBT characters or stories no longer being a point of discussion or contention. They just are.
The showrunners featured here are David Goyer (“Da Vinci’s Demons,” “Constantine“), Marlene King (“Pretty Little Liars“), Hart Hanson (“Bones,” “Backstrom“), Caroline Dries (“The Vampire Diaries“), Jill Soloway (“Transparent,” “Six Feet Under“), Carter Covington (“Faking It“) and Bradley Bredeweg, speaking on behalf of himself and co-creator Peter Paige (“The Fosters“). .... '
---- see more of this extended article by Jim Halterman at xfinity.comcast.net at :-
Thursday, September 18, 2014
---- brief excerpts from a lively illustrated report by Andrew Wheeler at Comics Alliance (USA), 18 September 2014 :-
'The Finnish postal service launched its most successful limited edition stamps of all time last week — featuring a pair of pertly muscular buttocks and a naked man being straddled by a biker. Advance orders for the stamp came in from 178 countries worldwide, and people lined up on launch day like the stamps had an Apple logo on them.
The reason for the stamps’ appeal — beyond the objective appeal of buttocks — was the artist responsible, one of the nation’s most successful comic book creators: the legendary homoerotic artist Tom of Finland. In the first of a very important series of articles exploring comics’ treatment of hot dudes, which we’re calling ‘The New Hotness’, ComicsAlliance explores the work and legacy of Tom.
Tom’s real name was Touko Laaksonen. He was born in Finland in 1920 .... As Laaksonen later told an interviewer in a documentary about his work, Daddy And The Muscle Academy, his ideal of male eroticism was shaped by this world he grew up in. Almost all the young men he saw through his adolescence were healthy soldiers in finely-tailored uniforms, and many of them were infused with a glow of patriotic zeal that Laaksonen was drawn to. .... '
... 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 ...