Category Archives: Culture

You gotta love this…

Churchsign_2 God Hates

Shrimp, crab, lobster, clams, mussels, all these are an abomination before the Lord, just as gays are an abomination. Why stop at protesting gay marriage? Bring all of God’s law unto the heathens and the sodomites. We call upon all Christians to join the crusade against Long John Silver’s and Red Lobster. Yea, even Popeye’s shall be cleansed. The name of Bubba shall be anathema. We must stop the unbelievers from destroying the sanctity of our restaurants.

Leviticus 11:9-12 says:
9 These shall ye eat of all that are in the waters: whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall ye eat.
10 And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you:
11 They shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcases in abomination.
12 Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you.

Deuteronomy 14:9-10 says:
9 These ye shall eat of all that are in the waters: all that have fins and scales shall ye eat:
10 And whatsoever hath not fins and scales ye may not eat; it is unclean unto you.

A Poet of Our Own…

Delaware_poetry_review_2 I’m doing this because Dan, who is, I believe, immoderately modest, won’t.

Dan, who so ably and beautifully conspires with me to realize this idea he and I share called White Crane, is also a poet of the D.C. variety, and has two poems recently published in the Delaware Poetry Review.

One of them is a particular favorite of mine…Emily Dickinson At the Poetry Slam because I love Emily Dickenson…and because I love Dan.

And please, visit his website to see more…

Congratulations to Toby Johnson and Steve Berman


We get letters because we have….Charmed Lives.

Greetings on behalf of the American Library Association’s
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Roundtable’s Stonewall Book Awards. As a member of the Stonewall Book Award Committee Jury, I am seeking review copies of books being considered for the 2008 award.

We are very pleased to inform you that CHARMED LIVES: GAY SPIRIT IN STORYTELLING, edited by Toby Johnson and Steve Berman, has been recommended for nomination for the 2008 Stonewall Book Award.

Formerly called the GLBTRT Book Award, the Stonewall Award is the oldest book award given for outstanding achievement in Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Literature nationally. It is an official award of the American Library Association and is given each year at the Association’s annual conference. Additional information about the award can be found on our website.

Each year two awards are given in Literature and Nonfiction for outstanding works about GLBT issues or by GLBT authors. Each award comes with a $1,000.00 honorarium. Winners will be notified in January, 2008. The committee would greatly appreciate if the entire committee of 10 jurors could receive review copies within 10 working days. Juror contact information is below. Thank you for your assistance in this matter. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely, Beth L. Stonewall2sm_2

White Crane Books is proud to have Charmed Lives: Gay Spirit in Storytelling in the White Crane Wisdom Series, and warmly congratulates Toby Johnson and Steve Berman — and all the participating authors — for the continued success and recognition for this fine book.

Rise Up & Shout! ~~~ AGAIN!

Rise_up_2 Last November, the Gay Men’s Medicine Circle of Los Angeles, under the guidance of a committee headed by Don Kilhefner, Malcolm Boyd and Mark Thompson produced a talent showcase entitled Rise Up & Shout!: Voices of the Next Gay Generation. The evening showcased a new generation of Gay and Lesbian artists, but more importantly it created an opportunity for an older Gay generation to interact in a supportive manner with a younger Gay generation, which, in addition to actually being able to learn from their elders, were probably introduced to the idea of “community elders.” A win-win situation for one and all.

The evening, at the Barnsdall Gallery Theater in Hollywood, was presented as a benefit for White Crane Institute and was filmed by Brian Gleason. The documentary film he made premieres this week. We had an opportunity to speak with Gleason about his involvement in Rise Up & Shout!:

WC: Can you describe the Rise Up & Shout! project and tell us what attracted you to it?

Brian Gleason: Rise Up and Shout! is a two part project for me. The first part was my involvement with the intergenerational committee that created the idea, planned and successfully executed the event, Rise Up and Shout!, which was an evening performance by and for Gay youth that took place on September 9, 2006. Not long after my involvement with the committee, I came up with the idea of a documentary film project centered around the event, and began directing that effort, which continues, and has its most recent culmination in the film world premiere at Outfest, on Saturday July 21, 2007.Rise_up

My interest in directing the documentary goes back to my move from San Francisco to Los Angeles in early 2004. I moved down to Los Angeles to work more closely with people like Don Kilhefner and Mark Thompson and Malcolm Boyd; three people who, to me, have really earned the title of elders in the Gay community. I started having phone conversations with Don and Mark a few years back, when I was still living in San Francisco, because I became so interested in their writings, where they spoke about the deeper roots of Gay history and culture and what it really meant to be Gay: that it was not just a sexual orientation but something much more, something that went back thousands of years in culture and art and history, surfacing in epics such as Gilgamesh, the writings of Plato, the work of Walt Whitman and others throughout the years.

Well, eventually I made the move to Los Angeles, and I have been working very closely with all three of these great men, and have formed very deep friendships with all of them. The idea initially came to me to interview them for some sort of book or video project, but then when we all started working on Rise Up And Shout!, it struck me that the most interesting aspect of this whole project was the intergenerational dialog that was occurring – that’s the theme, or the emotional "punch" that really hit me: finally I was experiencing Gay community: elders, adults and youth working together to help each other find their voice, to discover something valuable and lasting about themselves as Gay men. That became the focus and theme of the documentary, and I hope I’ve been able to adequately portray that in the film.

WC: Beautiful. It’s certainly a motivation White Crane understands. We’ve done a couple of issues addressing similar ideas, and worked closely with all the people you mention, too. I guess, in the interest of full disclosure for the readers, we ought to let readers know that White Crane Institute was a beneficiary of the event and I attended it. It was wonderful.

I suppose we all have ideas of what "intergenerational" dialog means. How difficult was it for you to assemble the cast you had? And what was the biggest surprise for you personally?

Rise_up_3 Brian: Assembling the cast literally took a year. We held something like three or four auditions, and most of the kids were quite talented, but it really became a matter of representing diversity of voice ‒ in other words, we didn’t want 15 opera singers, or 15 poets, etc. ‒ we needed a real mix to represent all the various voices in the Gay community.  And we got it ‒ by the time we finished we had everything from glam opera to lesbian hip hop to classical poetry, film and everything in between – but this took everyone on the committee digging into all their email lists and their friends email lists and phoning and canvassing with audition posters. It was a hell of an effort, to put it mildly, but a fun and engaging one, and also one that harnessed every generation represented on the committee: some of the elders were able to find and audition the more classical acts: vocalists, etc., while some of the youth on the committee were able to find rappers, hip hop dancers and the like. 

And there were a lot of surprises, most all of them working out really well. Jim Pentecost, a Broadway veteran, directed the show, and he knew all along that this was going to be a right-up-to-the-minute effort, and was able to keep us more or less calm throughout this whole process. I mean right up to a few weeks before the show, I think we had only sold like 8 tickets, and we wanted to fill a 300 seat house for the kids! But we did it. The biggest surprise for me personally was spending the afternoon interviewing Justin Miles, a 21 year old HIV positive poet, former drug addict and prostitute, who now lives with his Mormon parents in Simi Valley, has kicked the drug habit, and is pursuing a college degree. Justin opened right up to me, and was totally honest without being grandiose, and showed a wisdom way beyond his years. He talked straight up about the struggle with drugs, sex and love, coming out, trying to turn his life around and start anew ‒ all by the age of 21! He didn’t give me some sermon about the horrors of his past and how others should avoid this or that or do this or that, he simply talked openly about his situation, owned up to the choices he had made, talked honestly about his fears at the same time as his hopes for his future. It was really endearing and provocative, and if I’ve been able to capture just a little of that in the film then I’m happy.

WC: That’s a great story and pretty unusual for someone to be able to overcome the whole "poor me victimhood." What are some of the other stories that are in the film?

Brian: Well, another story, or I guess it’s more of a theme around which a few stories are wrapped, was the meetings, conversations and time spent together between some of the youth and elders. It’s funny, making a documentary, sometimes you capture moments that just happen and sometimes you "prime the pump" a little and see what happens.

Kilhefner Well, sometimes the youth performers and the "elder" committee Poster members from Rise Up just happened to run into each other, strike up a conversation, work together at rehearsals, etc. and sometimes I arbitrarily paired up the two groups. I did this with a couple of the performers but one in particular really struck me: I paired Steven Liang, an 18-year-old Chinese American Gay man who performed poetry readings with Mark Thompson, the producer of the Rise Up event and the former editor of the Advocate magazine. I had Mark give Steven a tour of his photojournalist career — Mark’s photos of people like Paul Monette and Robert Mapplethorpe and Ram Dass, Fellow Travelers, were hanging in a gallery in Silverlake, so I brought in Steven Liang and had Mark give him his own tour, when the gallery was closed. It was pretty incredible to watch Steven as he learned about these people — many of them he was not even aware of – and really got his first lesson in Gay culture and history. I realized how unavailable so much of our culture and history is to younger Gay people, and it became a real motivation for continuing to plow through all the difficulties and make the film.   

WC: Yes… we’re very familiar with Mark’s photos…White Crane is touring the exhibit around the country right now. It’s here in NY as we speak and it goes to Philadelphia and Washington D.C. next.Essex_hemphill

Brian: By the way, I use the terms youth and elders because I think, first of all, it evokes a good description of the intergenerational theme, but also because it’s the old tribal term, from back in the time when community was much more vital and youth and elders were always together, learning from each other and contributing back to the community. This is something that I think is really lost today, particularly for Gay people, since we come in this kind of Diaspora from towns all over the country into these cities where we don’t know each other, are separated in many ways from our families and original cultures, and have to quickly learn to adapt, get along and build a life, often very much alone.

WC: Who were your elders?

Brian: Well, as much as it sounds like a cliché, I’d have to say my Dad was my first elder. Of course it wasn’t always that way, growing up Gay and liberal in an Irish Catholic Republican family, but I’ll never forget one day when I was very young and tried to run away from home — Dad got very angry at first, but then I noticed him starting to cry, which he of course tried to cover up, and he ended up by saying "you’ll always have a place in my home, no matter what" and it turned out to be true over the years, and helped my coming out more than you can imagine. It’s ironic, as conservative as he was he taught me what acceptance really means.

WC: That’s actually very sweet, and I’m glad it was the first response you had. And who were your first Gay elders?

Brian: My first gay elders were Don Kilhefner, Mark Thompson and Malcolm Boyd. They were one of the big reasons I moved down to Los Angeles from San Francisco several years ago. When I was living up in SF, I called Don out of the blue one day, because I was having very strange dreams and I read an essay of his on dreams, so I Googled his name and found his number and to my surprise he picked up the phone and we talked for almost an hour. It was the first conversation I ever had where I really began to feel part of the larger Gay community — the cultural community that has fought for our rights over the years — and paved the way for an understanding that we are much much more than just a sexual orientation.

WC: Such as…?

Brian: We are, as Harry Hay put it, a separate people whose time has come, a people with a unique outlook on life and a significant contribution to make to world culture. Mark and Malcolm really welcomed me down here in Los Angeles, and without their support as friends and elders, this film would never have been made. The event, Rise Up and Shout, was essentially a year-long nose-to-the-grindstone effort that came out of a simple lunch between Mark and Don where it was decided to put on an event for gay youth. That’s grassroots community work, and people like Mark, Malcolm and Don have done it for decades now, and taught me that it’s our generation’s turn to take over and continue this vital work, to help gay people come together, build community and understanding, get over the homophobia and let the world know that we’ve come with a real gift to give the world — look at how many gay people are artists, healers, visionaries!

WC: In the Gay community, the problem seems to be one of opportunity with respect to that "Generation Conversation"…other than Rise Up & Shout! which was obviously a wonderful opportunity for everyone involved, I know Don Kilhefner has been making a lot of these situations happen. Have you worked with him on other projects?

Brian: Don and I have worked on several projects together, most notably the workshops for the group that he co-founded a few years back, the Gay Men’s Medicine Circle, a grass roots community organization here in Los Angeles that works with many gay men on issues such as HIV, crystal meth, and other psychological or spiritual aspects of their lives.  The Circle has co-sponsored several major events, including Rise Up and Shout last year, and, a couple years back, the Standing On The Bones of our Ancestors conference, a weekend long seminar on the need for greater intergenerational dialog in the gay community.  Don has been a professional mentor for me in my psychotherapy career, and has, more than anyone, taught me the importance of community, and what that word really means: that we gay men need to start assuming responsibility for each other.

WC: You’ve talked about Justin and Liang. Is there another favorite story in the movie you can talk about?

Brian: Sure ‒ it seemed like a little story at the time, and it kind of operated like a motif running just below the surface of the film, but when I started watching the footage I really noticed how Malcolm Boyd, 84-year-old priest and author and a member of the Rise Up committee, connected in a profound way with the performers and the other members of the committee. This event was really important for him, and it reminded me of something my Dad used to talk about: as he got older he really missed the opportunity to connect with the younger generations (outside his own children). I think everyone wants to give back in some way or another, but it reaches a kind of critical mass when you get older, and you really start to understand, and feel in a deep way, the connection between the generations and your role in that connection ‒ when that’s missing, as it really is in the modern world, I think it really affects the oldest generation (and also, in a profound way, the youngest generation) the most.

WC: Knowing Malcolm, that’s not hard to believe. His connection with this magazine has been a profound experience for us, too. Mark [Thompson], too. They’re both very passionate about the community of Gay men and their well-being.

So…the film premieres next week in Los Angeles [Rise Up And Shout!, will have its world premiere this summer at Outfest! Saturday, July 21, 2:30 at the Barnsdall Gallery Theatre 4800 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027 near Vermont] Is there anything that you wished you could have gotten that you missed? And, any final thoughts?

Brian: Well, I always feel like I missed something, I just think that’s part of the process. I love that Martha Graham quote, "No artist is satisfied. Ever." And I really feel it with this, my biggest artistic endeavor to date. It’s a strange, somewhat painful, somewhat wonderful feeling that keeps you going after that elusive "thing" in art, love, anything worthwhile. 

As far as having missed anything specific, I’d say a couple things: I would have loved to have spent more time with the GLASS kids, but it was just impossible due to all the restrictions in the county youth foster system; and I would have loved to have followed all the kids more, found out what they are up to now, how they are doing after Rise Up and Shout, what impact it had on their lives – but I’m thinking maybe that will be the subject of my next documentary (he says, paying off credit card bills and trying to catch up on sleep)!

Final thoughts: let’s see, well, it’s been a real journey, and it is very true what people say who undertake projects like this: it almost kills you, and at the same time, it’s incredibly rewarding and makes you who you really are, and to me, that’s the whole point.

The Rise Up and Shout! event and film were put together by many hands in addition to Brian Gleason, including: Broadway director and producer Jim Pentecost, who directed the event Rise Up and Shout!, Don Kilhefner, Mark Thompson, Malcolm Boyd, Frank Rodriguez, Joey Shanley, Ethan Schvartzman, Virsil Mitchell, Elijah Cohen, Karen Minns, Kevin Yoshida, and all the members of the Gay Men’s Medicine Circle

Andrew Harvey at the NYC LGBT Center

Out at the Center’s Chris Dawes was involved with both shooting and editing this segment and had this to say about his experience: "I initially chose to produce the Sacred Activism segment because of the spiritual element inferred by the intriguing title. I am very interested in religion and spirituality, so I tend to gravitate towards such stories. After hearing Andrew Harvey speak however, it was his empowering message to the LGBT community that struck me the most; we are unique and gifted and special and we have the power to change the world for the better and better ourselves in the process if we so choose. During my coming out process, I read somewhere that you eventually come to feel glad that you were born Gay instead of straight, because you are different and special. I could never fathom myself feeling that way, but after hearing Andrew Harvey speak, I can now see it. It was difficult to edit his powerful message and his wonderful wit and sense of humor down to just five minutes. White Crane thanks Richard Davis for providing this clip. We will also shortly be posting an interview done by Out At the Center with Mark Thompson on the occasion of the opening of the White Crane sponsored Fellow Travelers exhibit.

Why Do Products and Services Suck?

OK. This is going to be a rant. In the last few weeks I’ve had the opportunity to interact with any number of large corporations. I’ve flown places, bought new computers, new software etc.

And in each case nothing…that would be nothing…has worked. It’s almost laughable…if it wasn’t so expensive and annoying. I’m going to tell you my story. None of the names of the guilty have been changed. I highly recommend not using any of their goods or services (if you can call any of this "service.") It’s a sad and pathetic story. Maybe Expedia isn’t so bad. But the rest of them….suck.


My story starts as I am flying to Wisconsin for a family event. I fly United because that’s where my frequent flyer miles are. It starts with trying to buy a ticket. I go to United (since that’s where my frequent flyer miles are, right?) and try to find a reasonable fare. The cheapest I can find is around $500 and I haven’t even rented a car yet. So I go to Expedia…and find a United flight! For much less…in fact, I end up getting a round trip ticket AND a rental car for under $300. OK…a real head-scratcher…but wait.Expedia_logo

I get to the airport for the flight and we’re loaded on the plane with little Homeland Security drama, and we get seated in that particularly insulting and degrading way airlines have found. Why is it that they don’t load from the rear of the plane forward so we’re not tripping over everyone who got on first, or one person who can’t quite get their coat off holds up 125 other people while they struggle with their coat or their over-sized carry-on? No..instead we have to board "First Class" i.e. those people who have more money or an expense account and are willing to pay full freight, while the rest of us wait to get in and sit next to a person on one side of our seat who paid $300 more for the seat immediately next to you, while the person on the other side paid $100 less.

Pretzels1_2 At any rate…we get on. We’re all buckled in and we push off from the gate…and sit there. Twenty minutes goes by and they announce that we have to pull back to the gate. The snacks haven’t been loaded. Snacks? You can’t fly an airplane without snacks? They better be pretty good snacks. Except we never see them. We’re about 45 minutes late taking off. But I never see any snacks.

On the way home, in Milwaukee, that hotbed of terrorist activity, my sister’s homemade jams are confiscated at the security check. Something about liquids and gels. I didn’t realize jams were gels. Or dangerous. But apparently they are. Note to terrorists: If you really want to blow up a plane, try making plastic explosives to look like cheese curds. They let the woman in front of me keep hers. Jams

We got to Chicago. Got on the plane, pulled out from the gate and…you guessed it. There we sat for 20 minutes. Turns out, it seems, the bathrooms haven’t been properly cleaned, so we have to go back to the gate. Or we don’t. Ten minutes later the captain announces "Oops…my bad. No problem. bathrooms are clean." And then we pull out to the tarmac…and proceed to sit for the next four hours. Apparently, we’re told, there is a system shutdown or some such thing, on the east coast, due to weather. I call home to Brooklyn where I ask my partner what the weather is like. He says it’s sunny and calm. No rain. Not even any wind. When we finally arrive in New York, four hours late, my luggage appears to not have made the flight. They’re on the flight behind me. Apparently four hours isn’t long enough to get from one plane to the next.

Good thing I didn’t have any explosive jams on me when I was at the luggage pick-up. I might have used them. The clerk gives me a $25 voucher for my trouble. Great.

Qb_logo I use QuickBooks to keep track of White Crane finances. I had the old 2004 Nonprofit Premier Edition of it and I thought it might be wise to upgrade it to the 2007 version. Alas, 2007 wouldn’t work on Windows XP, so if I was going to replace QuickBooks, I was going to need to replace my four year old computer. Probably not a bad idea. I’ve (knock on wood) never had a computer crash on me…and I don’t want to. So I thought it would be time to replace the old one with a zippy new one. $1200 later, I get it.

The Dell printer won’t work. They replace the printer. Dell_logo43

Yesterday, I get this notice that my Norton security system needs to be renewed. So I renew. In fact, I upgrade. Bad idea. I download the nifty Norton 360 and I reboot, and everything. And then I go to check the email on AIL…sorry, I mean AOL… and I get an error message. The security sytem won’t let me log on to AOL. So I call Norton/Symantec. In India. and this thickly accently techie in south India does some kind of whiz-bang thing and suddenly he’s taken over control of my computer. From India. And since I have a meeting scheduled, he tells me I don’t need to stick around. He’ll fix it all and if he has any problems or questions, he’ll call me back. Terrific. I come back a couple of hours later and there are these open windows, with Symantec on the label bar, but no Norton 360 anywhere. Odd. And no phone call. So I close it all down. And I call them back this morning.

I get India again. A lovely young woman, I surmise, does the same thing. Takes over control of my computer. Tried to download Norton 360…and while we’re sitting there, the two of us, me in Brooklyn, she in southern India, she gives me this lovely recipe for vegetarian biryani. Biryani

I’ll share it with you all another time. But first…

So, after I get the biryani recipe correct, she notices, as do I, that the download seems to be hung up at "Windows relocatables" or some such thing. We shut down. Reboot. Try again. She does the same thing the other guy did…tells me I can go away if I need to and she’ll fix it all. Except after I come back from making myself some lunch, there in the Notebook window she was "talking" to me on, she’s all of a sudden telling me that my QuickBooks isn’t working.

And I’m wondering why she’s trying to open my QuickBooks? Turns out, it seems, that my QuickBooks "registry key" is incomplete…whatever that means…and so, it seems, is my Windows registry. And I’ll have to call them and get them to "replace the licensing files." Except when I get them on the phone (and explain it all to two different people, twice) neither they nor I can locate this QuickBooks registration file. And I am told that one of their technicians will call me back within the next two hours.

A forty-five minutes have gone by now. I’m still sitting here. I still can’t open QuickBooks. And, unfortunately, I have to fly to Nashville in a week or so to see a dying friend. On United.

UPDATE: QuickBooks didn’t call back (almost forgot…they’re in the Phillipines). I had to call them. They tried to tell me it was "an operating system" problem…i.e. not us, it’s Dell. I get Dell on the phone and a very nice man (in Oklahoma…a little closer to home!) and he responded with no, this isn’t an operating system problem, it’s a problem with QuickBooks.

Really? To his credit he not only dialed QuickBooks into a three-way phone call (things are starting to get kinky!) but stayed on the line and instructed this other techie on what to do! Not only that, but he told me he was "taking ownership of this problem" [!!!!!!!] and gave me a direct phone number to call to follow up.

Honestly, the problems are still not resolved. QuickBooks had me uninstall my QuickBooks! Mind you, that software contains the entire financial records of White Crane Institute. I still don’t actually have the Norton Security we paid for. And, frankly, I’m pretty annoyed with Symantec/Norton for not warning users that by downloading their software…however good it might be…means you are going to have serious problems with any number of other software on your machine. Symanteclogo_2 

It conflicts with QuickBooks. It conflicts with AOL. Who knows what else it conflicts with…but had I been warned, I might have still purchased their product, but I would have been prepared, i.e. I would have known what to do so I wouldn’t screw up everything on the new machine I bought specifically to avoid headaches like this.

Michael Moore does more than just healthcare…

I’m excited about Michael Moore’s new SICKO movie, and in the spirit of Gay Pride, I think it’s important to acknowledge our allies. Mr. Moore seems to me to be the balance to the homophobic Garrison Keillor. Check out how he deals with Kansas christo-fascist maniac, Fred Phelps. It is a little surprising to me how many attacks there are on Moore for "making a buck" on this. Just as with the Clinton sex scandal (as far as I’m concerned any President that doesn’t take us to war and eliminates the national debt while creating a surplus at the very least deserves a blow job every day!…I mean, hell, put Edwards in there and I’ll do it myself) I think people making the right arguments ought to be rewarded. And since when was it a crime to make a buck? If Michael Moore’s films aren’t "right livelihood" I don’t know what is.

Great Night at the Lammies

Lammylogo Thursday night, May 31st, a nice contingent of White Crane folks descended on the Lambda Literary Awards held at the Fashion Institute in New York City.  These events are always a lot of fun as they afford an opportunity to see a lot of writers and artists whose work has meant so much.  Dan drove up from with partner Pete and went with Bo and his partner Bill Foote.

CharmedlivesWhen we got to F.I.T. we were delighted to meet up with Toby Johnson and Kip Dollar, in from San Antonio. Toby was a finalist in the Anthology category for the White Crane Books project he and Steve Berman edited, Charmed Lives. Berman appeared a few minutes later and we had a great time talking with each other, catching up (such is the nature of internet publishing 68jeff_mannand editing, that one relishes the opportunity to just look at each other in the face and be in one’s presence!) The winner, alas, was not our book, but Love, Bourbon Street, edited by Greg Herren and his partner, Paul J. Willis. Next year…All: A James Broughton Reader!

Other friends at the reception included Jeff Mann, author of the amazing collection of poetry, On The Tongue (reviewed in the Summer ’07 of White Crane) and the scorching A History of Barbed Wire, winner in the category of Gay Erotica. 

We had a great interview with Jeff last year when his last book Loving Mountains, Loving Men came out. You can read an excerpt of that interview online.

Perry Brass, author of Angel Lust, and Substance of God and regular contributor to White Crane was there as well and it’s always good to see Perry.

Tom Spanbauer, who was nominated for his latest novel Now Is The Hour was there from Portland with mural painter, theatre technician/designer, tattoo artist, and permaculture specialist, Sage Ricci.  It was wonderful to meet them in person after the interview (online excerpt) Bo had with Tom in White Crane a few years ago.

Timmons_gayla Frequent contributor and friend Stuart Timmons was a double winner last night with the Lambda Literary Awards for GLBT Non Fiction and GLBT Arts going to the book he co-wrote with Lillian Faderman Gay L.A.  Since Stuart wasn’t able to attend the ceremonies Bo and I had the good fortune of stepping out of the hall and calling him to give him the good news after each win. The book is really a wonder and it’s a well-deserved double win.

It was also great to see Gregg Shapiro, a wonderful writer and poet we’ve featured in White Crane at the ceremony. Gregg has a book of poetry coming out next year and we had a chance to catch up with him as he’s on a whirlwind tour of the East Coast doing some music reporting and generally being a charm in every circle he enters.

It was great to see many legends at the event too, like Martin Duberman, author of the brilliant biography of Lincoln Kirstein, The Worlds of Lincoln Kirstein, was honored with the Pioneer Award at the gala event, and the brilliant Alison Bechdel, of Dykes To Watch Out For and author of Lesbian Memoir/Biography Lammy winner, Fun Home, to name just a few. Bechdel got to present a Lincoln_kirstein Pioneer Award to Marijane Meaker, author lesbian pulp novels in the fifties, to groundbreaking young adult books like Dinky Hocker Shoots Smack! to her amazing memoir Highsmith, A Romance of the 1950’s, which is about her relationship with Patricia Highsmith. She just turned 80.

Afterdeath_2 The winner in the Spirituality category was Michael McColly’s The After Death Room (Soft Skull Press) which is reviewed in the Summer 2007 issue of White Crane. We will have an interview with the author in an upcoming issue.

The After-Death Room is McColly’s chronicle of the events that took him from the day in a Chicago clinic when he heard the news that so affected his life, to the many steps he took to reconcile himself to the diagnosis, to becoming a world traveled AIDS activist and journalist.

Jim Elledge’s A History of My Tattoo won in the Gay Poetry category.

Gay Activism in Iran

A really amazing Canadian Broadcasting report on Iran’s Gay Community.  Or perhaps more accurately Gay Life in Iran. Hidden and subversive and overcoming.  Really gripping and amazing for its depiction of the repression and the revolutionary activist community in Iran.  This is a must see report.  These are people who know and experience repression and yet are demanding the right to live their lives.

"The only important thing is that some day I could walk and breathe freely in this country.  And get to choose the one I love and live with him freely.  To have the same rights as the other citizens.  To have the right of legal marriage.  To have the right to adopt a child.  These are very basic things.  It’s not extraordinary at all.  I just hope it’ll actually happen one day.  Hope, hope is all I’ve got.  But it’s a long, hard road ahead of us.  Right now, it’s just a hope.  That’s it."

We only wish the report had made clear that this isn’t unique to Iran.  That many other countries are repressive.  That a lot of these restrictions exist in many states in the United States — where the grand majority of states have taken the time to make their animus toward Gay citizens crystal clearThe life-threatening repression exists in Saudi Arabia and in Iraq and in every Sharia-controlled country in the middle east.  We’d love to hear about exceptions…but don’t know of any.