Friday, February 25, 2011

A Missed Opportunity

Some black gay history significa: I was one of three people who poet/publisher Assotto Saint (aka Yves Lubin) considered leaving Galiens Press to. The other two were writers Thom Bean (San Francisco) and Craig Reynolds (D.C. or Maryland), both now deceased.

At the time (the mid 1990s) , I couldn't see how I could be both a writer and a publisher. It wasn't until years later, after reading a biography of poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, one of the Beat Generation writers, and a memoir by novelist/publisher Felice Picano called Art and Sex in Greenwich Village, that I realized, much too late, that it was doable.

He told me that he was going to leave some money to whomever he left the press to with one proviso: the press could only be used to publish the work of other writers. When none of us showed any enthusiasm for such an undertaking, Assotto decided that Galiens Press would die with him. (Assotto had full-blown AIDS.)

I deeply regret not taking Assotto up on his offer. It would have been a marvelous opportunity for me to publish up -and -coming writers as well as keeping Galiens Press alive.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Million-Dollar Porn Flick

Most porn films are (by Hollywood standards) cheap and cheesy. That's why it's too bad that porn star-turned-magazine publisher Gloria Leonard and famed novelist Norman Mailer weren't able to collaborate on the first million-dollar Triple X-rated film. Their prior commitment to other projects nixed it. The backers, Midwestern magnates, Leonard tells Lili Anolik of The L Magazine ("Normy Makes a Porny," Feb. 2, 2011) wanted "the Gone With the Wind of fuck films." There's no doubt that with Mailer's involvement, the film would have been classy, historic, and very controversial. Would it have made money? Who knows? Maybe another literary genius will tackle such a project.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Bill Cosby Outfoxes The Supermarket Tabloids

The following is a letter-to-the-editor I sent to Entertainment Weekly magazine. I wrote it on January 26, 1997. I remember an editor calling me to say they were considering using it. Apparently they changed their minds.

Dear Editor: Bill Cosby is a brilliant tactician. Knowing that the supermarket tabloids would try to dig up some dirt on his son [Ennis], possibly putting a gay spin on his murder, Cosby forestalled such attempts (for awhile, anyway) by suggesting that they put up reward money for the capture of the murderer ("Power of the Son," Issue #364, Jan. 31). And the tabloids took the bait. Bravo, Bill Cosby!

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Near Invisibility of Black Gays On The Big Screen

The following is an unpublished letter I sent to Entertainment Weekly magazine. I wrote it on September 20, 1995.

Dear Editor:

Hollywood's portrayal of gays and lesbians is not as "positive and inclusive" as Robert Howland of GLAAD thinks (Issue #291, 9/8/95). Unfortunately, there has never been a spate of major motion pictures that depict the black gay experience. I can name numerous films about black drug dealers and gang members, but I'd be hard put to name one that deals with the intricacies of black gay life. Until that day arrives, Hollywood shouldn't be praised. The reason many in the black community see homosexuality as a white man's disease is because there hasn't been a serious discussion of the issue on TV or in feature films as it pertains to blacks.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Tireless Al Sharpton

The following is an unpublished letter I sent to The New York Times Magazine. I wrote the letter on March 8, 2000.

Dear Editor:

I wish there had been a "What Do You Do All Day?" profile of the ubiquitous and indefatigable Rev. Al Sharpton in your special issue concerning the new American worker ("The Way We Work Now," March 5). It would have revealed how, on a typical day, he is able to manage his time well enough to be in so many places, taking part in so many demonstrations without having to clone himself or risk burn out.