Category Archives: Literature


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Different Light Bookstore and ADLBooks.Com
Different Light Bookstore opened it's doors in November 1979.  As
with all of the independent gay bookstores during that time, our stores
became meeting places to promote GLBT writers, as well as gathering
places for GLBT activists.  And our independent gay bookstores served us
well in working towards the equality we have achieved today and are
working for in the future.
As you
are aware, from surfing the net to reading the few newspapers
and magazines that are still in print, our gay community bookstores,
publishers and many other gay community small businesses are closing
their doors.  It is a fact that businesses are only as good as their
customer and vendor bases.  And as history as shown us, change is
It is
my belief that the GLBT community is the best read and highest achieving
groups of people anywhere in the world.  I also believe that in the
future when the digital revolution has settled down that community based
businesses will again serve as a place of social interaction that the
human condition needs so badly.
saying this, A Different Light Bookstore and "need your help and support" to
continue to be a presence in San Francisco and online for our
communities that we ship to all over the world.
every customer in our store and online who receive our new product
updates would commit to investing $10, $20 or more each month in
purchasing our products, that would be an enormous step in continuing to
preserve  this very important part of our community.
effect of this action is more then just keeping our
business operational, but it also trickles down to our vendors.  Equally
important, your support will help keep and create local jobs that are
so important to our community.
are two actions that I would like you to consider.  The most immediate
action is of course stopping by our store or signing onto our website
and buying a great book, gift, movie, magazine or DVD's.
more serious request, and one that I think would set a stage for
preserving GLBT literature for the future is that you might consider
buying 1-10 copies of each Queer Classic and "donating" it to a school, university, GLBT
Center Library, local libraries or any of your favorite organizations. 
In addition to our GLBT archives around the world, this would put our
literature in the hands of readers who might otherwise not have access
or are being censored.
are asking for your support.  We sincerely appreciate and are thankful
for our customers who visit and buy from us on a regular basis.
you for your consideration and taking the time to read this note.
Different Light Bookstore and ADLBooks.Com

Mr. Isherwood Changes Trains

Victor Marsh's new book, Mr Isherwood Changes
Christopher Isherwood and the search
Marsh Isherwood Cover for the ‘home-self"
been published by Clouds of Magellan in Australia and is now available at

In the fascinating book, Marsh interrogates the
assumptions and prejudices that have combined to disparage the sincerity of
Isherwood’s spiritual life. He delves into those features of Vedanta philosophy
that enabled Isherwood to integrate the various aspects of his
his vocation as a writer, and a spirituality not based on a repudiation of his
sexuality as a gay man.

Marsh interviewed Isherwood’s life partner, Don
(who produced the portrait of Isherwood used on the cover at the right) in the
Winter 2006-2007 issue of White Crane.

What Would the Theater Be Without Gay Folk?

ArthurLaurentstomhatcher Tony-winning playwright-director Arthur Laurents' (left in picture) and late partner Tom
Hatcher’s (right in picture) foundation has established an annual $150,000 prize. The
Laurents/Hatcher Foundation Award will be given for an unproduced, full-length
play of social relevance by an emerging American playwright.

The prize includes a $50,000 cash award for the selected playwright and a
$100,000 grant for production costs of the play's premiere at a nonprofit

The foundation said Thursday it's the first major award for playwrighting to
be named in honor of a gay couple. The 92-year-old Laurents wrote the books for
"Gypsy" and "West Side Story." Hatcher was Laurents'
partner of 52 years. He was an actor and real estate developer and died in
2006. Submissions from invited applicants will be accepted June 15 to September
15th 2010. The first award recipient will be notified March 15, 2011.

A Skeptic Comes Out

RandiPeople may or may not be aware of the magician and professional skeptic, The Amazing Randi, but he has recently decided to come out and we think it's a fascinating conversation…listen here. He comes out as a gay man and has a rather nice conversation about it with the interviewer. He has always been a personal favorite of mine, a debunker of scams shams and magical thinking, including the $1,000,000 Paranormal Challenge...which has yet to be awarded.

I can't help but wonder if the caricature portrait of Arthur C. Clarke (another gay man and long-time White Crane subscriber) in the background on the right might be an old boyfriend?

The conversation in the interview takes some interesting turns when they posit that rationalism (i.e. non-deism) might be as powerful a tool in the gay rights struggle as assimilationist gay religiosity and gay "spirituality"; Both have an interest in debunking pseudo-science (i.e. Right Wing creationism). Here's the quote:

"I think there is something that skepticism can do with homosexuality. A
lot of cultural conservatives use a kind of pseudo
science to argue against gay wrights. And people who rail against pseudo science
should want to argue against it even if it has to do with culture war
questions like gay rights. Cultural conservatives use junk science to
argue that gay parenting leads to mentally ill children.

They use fake
science to argue that being gay is not natural; t
hat homosexuality
is an aberration when in fact you find it widely among many different
species. So, in a real way I think gay issues are skeptic's issues."

D.J. Grothe, President of the James Randi Educational Foundation, the
international educational non-profit founded by celebrated social critic
and activist James Randi.

His Dark Materials

His Dark Materials Philip Pullman, the irrepressible agnostic author who scandalized Christians for portraying the church as evil in his His Dark Materials series and for bragging that his books are about "killing God," is, thankfully, at it again. 

He tells the Guardian this week that the title of his next release is The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ and it will explore "the dual nature of Jesus." Scoundrel Christ will "provide a new account of the life of Jesus, challenging the gospels" by charging that the apostle Paul's large influence on the New Testament was mostly a bad thing: "Paul was a literary and imaginative genius of the first order who has probably had more influence on the history of the world than any other human being, Jesus certainly included," says Pullman. "I believe this is a pity." 

And best of all, he intends to right this grievous error by releasing his promising-sounding book next Easter. Pullman, who last year pronounced himself delighted that the His Dark Materials trilogy was one of the most "challenged" series in America's libraries, boasts that thee most requests for removal from the shelves are because of its "religious viewpoint".

We imagine you'll be hearing more about this.

Looking for a Map

Our friend, White Crane contributor, and author of Stonewall: The Riot That Sparked The Gay Revolution, David Carter sends this…

Dear Friends, The first rough cut of the full-length PBS film on the Stonewall Riots — now one and a half hours longStonewallHRDCVR — is close to being assembled and we are looking for era maps of Greenwich Village to use in the film. 

I will make inquiries at the usual and obvious archives and collections, but we all know that one can't assume that one will find the best such map in any one collection … and that any friend who either lived in New York at the time or has moved here since and who loves the Village might have a much better map than even New York's most famous archives might own: so if any of you happen to own a map that was made in the late 1960s or early 1970s of Greenwich Village, especially one that is detailed or features the area around the Stonewall Inn, and you would be happy to share it with the world in an American Experience documentary … please let me know.  The filmmakers are on deadline for submission of the rough cut to a film festival and need a PDF of such a map ASAP … they'd like to receive the PDF this coming week if possible.

If you have a map that they can use and can help, please contact David at or the editors at White Crane at

Gay: A recent history…from Arthur Evans

Whatever happened to the word “Gay”? If you go down to the Community Center on Market Street in San Francisco, you’ll have to look long and hard until you find it. Likewise if you visit the Historical Center on Castro Street. Not to mention that it fell out of the term “Pride Week” a long time ago.

The situation reminds me of the pre-Stonewall era. Many in our community in those days were embarrassed by the word. They balked when new groups appeared calling themselves the Gay Liberation Front and the Gay Activists Alliance. But these were the groups that triggered the Gay revolution.

Rainbow Flag After Stonewall, politicians eventually deigned to talk to us, but some still choked on the word “Gay.” I remember how this reticence infuriated Chris Perry, a founder of the San Francisco Gay Democratic Club.

In the late 1970s, Chris got the club to go after Quentin Kopp, a local politician, because he couldn’t bring himself to utter the word in public. Ironically, that group today calls itself the San Francisco LGBT Democratic Club. The word has shrunk to a letter, and in second place.

The taboo on the word “Gay” developed because lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender people saw the word as referring only to homosexual males. However, such a limitation was never intended. In effect, we let the popular media take a word away from us and redefine it for their own purposes, diminishing us all in the process.

Ganymede - Rubens Some academicians have added to the problem. They claim that the word with its present double meaning of both cheerful and homosexual doesn’t go back before the 19th century. Apparently, they never heard of the myth of Ganymede, the beloved of Zeus. In ancient Greek, the word “Ganymede” (Ganumedes) means both cheerful and homosexual, just like our word “Gay.” Both words come from a common Indo-European root (ga-).

The word “queer,” which has supplanted “Gay” in some quarters, is an insult. It means odd or unnatural. But there is nothing odd or unnatural about being Gay. Homophobia is the thing that’s odd and unnatural.

I acknowledge the right of other people to call themselves GLBT, or G, or queer, if they want to. But please don’t dump any those terms on me. I’m still Gay and proud.

Yours for gay liberation, Arthur Evans

Harold Norse

Harold Norse by Allen Ginsberg We received word that Harold Norse passed away on Monday. He was 92. 

The Beat Museum will be hosting a Memorial for Harold Norse on Sunday, July 12th, time TBA.

From the Beat Museum: "In 1951, Norse's talent was recognized by William Carlos Williams, who invited him to read at the Museum of Modern Art in early 1952. Williams remarked on Norse's ability to "use the direct image on its own," and became an important mentor to Harold. Williams would later call Norse "the best poet of his generation," a profound accolade considering Williams was mentor to such figures as Charles Olson, Denise Levertov, and Allen Ginsberg. Following the 1953 publication of his first book of poetry, The Undersea Mountain, which was reviewed in The New York Times and Poetry magazine, Norse left America for Italy.

"In 1957, Norse was nearly deported from Italy when the Italian government deemed his poem "Victor Emmanuel Monument (Rome)," political fodder for the Communists.

"Norse moved to Paris in 1960, on a tip from Williams and, at the Beat Hotel, met Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, William S. Burroughs, Brion Gysin, and others, drawn by their interest in Buddhist meditation, which Norse had recently taken up. Using the cut-up technique devised by Gysin and Burroughs, Norse wrote his experimental novel, Beat Hotel. Originally titled Sniffing Keyholes, the first chapter—which he describes as "a sex/dope scene between a muscular black youth called Melo and a blond Russian princess called Z.Z."— made even the often stoic Burroughs laugh. During his time at the Beat Hotel, Norse began creating his 'random paintings' or Cosmographs (using the hotel's bidet).

"Norse returned to America in 1969 and, with Carnivorous Saint: Gay Poems 1941-1976, became a leading gay liberation poet. For the last 35 years he lived in San Francisco’s Mission District."

Friends have created a memorial website But apparently the bandwidth has been exceeded and you may have difficulty reaching the site.

Jesse’s Journal: Stonewall at 40

As an event and as a symbol, the Stonewall Riots of June 27-29 1969 continues to shape our lives.  Forty years later, a gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender generation that was not even born in 1969 looks back fondly at “the Stonewall girls” as role models for GLBT activism and resistance. Even so, there are many young people today who do not know what “Stonewall” was, or what is represents, or why so many of our institutions and organizations are named after it.
Stonewall_pioneers When “Stonewall” took place, I lived in Miami. I was sixteen years old, in high school and uncertain about my future. It wasn’t until I graduated from high school in 1972 that I learned about the events that shook Greenwich Village three years before.  By then the event that Martin Duberman (in his 1993 study Stonewall) called “the emblematic event in modern lesbian and gay history,” had already become a symbol of pride and resistance. The late Donn Teal, whose Gay Militants (1971) included the best account of the Riots prior to the one in David Carter’s Stonewall (2004), wrote that Stonewall “jolted awake . . . an only half-remembered outrage against straight society’s bigotries in those older, generally conservative ‘Boys in the Band’ who had been out of town on the weekend of the 27th-28th-29th, tanning their thighs at Cherry Grove and the Hamptons. And, as a slur, it posed a challenge to and goal for those younger . . . gays who’d had to make do with Greenwich Village and who’d seen [the] action.  It may have created the gay liberation movement.”
Though Stonewall inspired a generation of young New Yorkers (and others), its effect on the rest of us was more symbolic than real. After all, Stonewall was not the beginning of queer liberation. The Riots came after almost two decades of Mattachine Society and ONE and Daughters of Bilitis and Tangents and Janus Society and Society for Individual Rights and West Side Discussion Group; of demonstrations in Philadelphia and  Washington, D.C.; and of riots in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and elsewhere. It was the much-maligned Mattachine Society that got New York City to repeal its law against serving liquor to homosexuals in 1966, three years before Stonewall. (The NYPD continued to raid gay bars after the Riots, as it continues to do so today, though not because of the bar patrons’ sexual orientation.) Historian John Loughery was right when, in The Other Side of Silence, he pointed out that Stonewall was only the climax of a “maelstrom” year of gay resistance and activism.
New York City is the capital of America’s communications industry, and anything that happens there gets blown out of proportion. Though the New York media — especially the Village Voice, which had an office down the street from the Stonewall Inn – covered the Riots in their own unique ways, out of town papers largely ignored the event. And I was not the only gay person who lived through 1969 in blissful ignorance of Stonewall.  In fact, most gays at the time were not aware of the Riots till they became a symbol. For most lesbians, Stonewall made less of an impact on their lives than the feminist movement, then in its heyday. To this day there is still doubt as to what role lesbians played in the Stonewall Riots, or even if there were lesbians at the Stonewall Inn.
StoneWallInnLike any symbolic event, the truth about Stonewall lies hidden in myth and legend. To this day, the Uprising has been attributed to a variety of causes, from the full moon to Judy Garland’s death (her funeral was on the morning before the Riots). Even the names and number of Rioters are in dispute: for example, the transgender activist Sylvia Rivera, who played a mayor role in Duberman’s Stonewall, is absent from Carter’s Stonewall. None of the Rioters – Rivera, Marsha P. Johnson, Jackie Hormona, Zazu Nova or Jim Fouratt, just to name a few – achieved the mythic status given Diego Viñales, the Argentine student who was impaled on a fence while trying to escape the cops in the aftermath of a police raid on the Snake Pit, another Village bar (March 8, 1970). The Stonewall Riots were largely a group effort; and history has kept it that way.
Having said all that, one must give Stonewall credit where credit is due. Taking place in 1969, Stonewall was the culmination of a decade of political activism and resistance. Some Rioters were veterans of the 60s counterculture and/or the civil rights, antiwar, feminist or youth movements, and used their experiences to help create a new, more radical gay liberation movement. New York activists, living at the hub of American business and culture, used their privileged positions to launch a national movement.  For much of the seventies — until the rise of Harvey Milk, himself a New Yorker who moved to San Francisco — New York activists led most of the groups that we joined (or its local chapters) and published most of the books that we read.
All in all, the Stonewall Riot’s greatest achievement was their impact on the hearts and minds of several generations of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. Though many heterosexuals remained firmly antigay, most of us who are G, L, B or T learned to accept and celebrate who we are. Thus it is significant that the anniversary of Stonewall has become the date of most annual GLBT Pride celebrations, not only in New York City but around the world. The late poet Allen Ginsberg, one of the fathers of our movement, saw the significance of Stonewall when he visited the site of the Riots soon after the first night: “Gay power!  Isn’t that great! . . . We’re one of the largest minorities in the country – 10 per cent, you know.  It’s about time we did something to assert ourselves.”
Jesse Monteagudo is a freelance writer and gay activist who lives in South Florida with his life partner.  Write him at