Friday, November 25, 2011

On The Road To Patra

The bus breaks down on the road to Patra and the signpost is not easy to decipher. We wonder why the bus should stop at this particular, nothing-like place, with only one directionless signpost and not even a Coca-Cola stand to let us know we are in the West. The driver, as one girl tourist tunes up her guitar, disembarks to fetch some extra petrol he's carried for just such emergencies. We are locked in space and time, feeling only the hum of mid-summer all around, caring little if the journey continues or if we remain there, together, with each other and the summertime.
--from Sonnets of Love by V.J. Robinson Reeb; edited and published by Michalis, (c) 2003, Velma Jean Reeb (published in Nicosia, Cyprus).

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Cruising On Central Park West

"[In the early 1960s] the unmistakable gay scene on adjacent Central Park West...from 59th to 86th streets 'was one long bench from corner to corner, solid with gay men. Hundreds and thousands of them walked back and forth singularly, in couples, and in groups' [recalls gay activist Dick Leitsch]."--Celluloid Activist: The Life and Times of Vito Russo by Michael Schiavi (University of Wisconsin Press, 2011).

Monday, November 7, 2011

Learning About Stonewall

I didn't learn about the Stonewall Riots until the mid or late '70s. In 1969, I was too busy dealing with my draft board and worrying about being inducted into the army and sent to Vietnam.

I first read about this milestone in the gay liberation movement via Dr. Howard Brown's memoir, Familiar Faces, Hidden Lives: The Story of Homosexual Men in America Today (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1976). (Dr. Brown, a gay man, was New York mayor John Lindsay's health commissioner. During that time Dr. Brown was in the closet.) I would love to re-read that book. It's probably out of print, so I would have to search for it online or in a second-hand book store.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Surgery Without Anesthesia

While browsing through a copy of Daniel J. Boorstein's Hidden History (Vintage Books), I came across this passage: "...the enterprising dentist William T. G. Morton introduced ether as an anesthetic. Surgeons had long performed amputations by wielding their saws on screaming patients." Reading that passage made me glad I live in the more medically and technologically advanced 21st century.