Saturday, May 31, 2014

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Literature On A Cup

I read in Entertainment Weekly that the restaurant chain Chipotle is publishing literary excerpts on their paper cups and paper bags. I think that's an excellent way to help promote literature. Hopefully other chains will follow their example.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Tribute To A Fallen Hero

My condolences to the family of activist/Pan-Africanist Elombe Brath, who died Monday, May 19, in New York at age 77. It's fitting that he died on what would have been Malcolm X's 89th birthday.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

An Etiquette Book For Young Gay Men

One Saturday evening in February of this year, my friend Robert and I stopped by the Suite, a gay bar on Amsterdam Avenue at 109th Street in the Morningside Heights area of Manhattan to relax and chat while sipping sodas.  On a small table near the entrance were several paperback copies (free) of a self-published book called The Essential Sex Venue Etiquette and Resource Guide: For America's Gay and Bisexual Young Men by Robert Brandon Sandor. Browsing through the book (or pamphlet as the author described it), I was particularly fascinated by the glossary which contained many unfamiliar terms such as "bat boy" ("A boy that loves large penises") and "teabagging" ("Placing one's testicles down onto someone's mouth or forehead").

A guidebook such as this one would have been useful to and probably appreciated by previous generations of gay men who had to learn the ropes through trial and error.

I plan to write a much more thorough review of the guidebook for this blog later on.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Friday, May 16, 2014

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Black Gay Hollywood

Kevin Thomas, Film Critic
c/o Editorial Dept.
Los Angeles Times
202 West 1st Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

June 1, 2005

Dear Mr. Thomas:

In 1966, when I was living in California, I spoke to you on the phone about Montgomery Clift's final film The Defector, which you had reviewed. You sent me a black and white glossy of Clift*, which I still have.

It wasn't until years later that I learned that you are a gay man. I read some quotes from you in William J. Mann's Behind the Screen: How Gays and Lesbians Shaped Hollywood, 1910-1969. I also learned that you are very knowledgeable about the gay Hollywood luminaries of the past.

I recently reviewed Donald Bogle's Bright Boulevards, Bold Dreams: The Story of Hollywood for the Boston-based Gay & Lesbian Review. The book has some gay content. His book has inspired me to do research on Black Gay Hollywood. I would appreciate receiving whatever information you have concerning this segment of the Hollywood community.

One person I am particularly interested in learning more about is Joel Fluellen, a black gay actor, who appeared in such films as A Raisin in the Sun and The Learning Tree. According to Bogle, Fluellen was "a leader in the fight for better roles for African Americans." Did you ever meet him? If so, what was your impression of him?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely yours,
Charles Michael Smith

Note: I never received a response. Kevin Thomas may have been knowledgeable about Gay Hollywood, but as a white gay man, he may not have been as knowledgeable about Black Gay Hollywood.

*Montgomery Clift (1920-1966) was a gay man.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

A Book About Two Unsung AIDS Heroes

A book I am looking forward to reading is historian Martin Duberman's Hold Tight Gently: Michael Callen, Essex Hemphill, and the Battlefield of AIDS, published by The New Press. I had the opportunity of meeting both men in the 1980s.

I learned about this book when I saw the last two copies of the March 2014 issue of A & U magazine on a recent visit to the Gay Community Center on 13th Street in Greenwich Village. Martin Duberman's photo was on the cover, with his name in red letters and a brief description of the book.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

AIDS Elegy Book Considered For Publication

Art Mugs the Reaper, an anthology of AIDS elegies, edited by Jeffrey Lilly, a San Francisco-based poet and writer, is currently being considered for publication by the University of Wisconsin Press. I have two elegies that are included in the book: one about poet Essex Hemphill, the other about poet/novelist Melvin Dixon.

Friday, May 2, 2014

A Food Blog That Combines History And Recipes

A blog worth checking out is Frederick Douglass Opie's, which combines culinary history and recipes from an African-American perspective.