Friday, August 29, 2014

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

When Love's Flame Burns Out

Going through some old newspapers, I came across an article by Steven  G. Fullwood, a black gay man, called "Love, Interrupted," (New York Blade News, March 1, 2002).

Fullwood details the night, two days after Christmas, when his then 23-year-old boyfriend decided to break off their relationship in the most public of places, Times Square. Fullwood, an archivist at the Schomburg Library in Harlem, was age 35 at the time.

After reading the piece, it made me wonder if Fullwood's ex-boyfriend, now in his 30s, met a similar fate doled out by a much younger lover.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

On Reparations For African Americans

I photocopied Ta-Nehisi Coates's super-long article (approximately 25,000 words), "The Case for Reparations," from a  public library copy of The Atlantic magazine's June 2014 issue. I'm looking forward to sitting in a comfortable chair and reading it with a highlighter pen in hand.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Dolly Schiff's New York Post

I recently began reading The Lady Upstairs: Dorothy Schiff and the New York Post by Marilyn Nissenson (St. Martin's Press, 2007). So far it is a hard-to-put-down biography of the former owner of the once liberal afternoon tabloid.

At one time, it was my favorite New York paper until 1976 when Schiff (1903-1989) sold it to the media mogul Rupert Murdoch. He then turned the Post into a right-wing rag.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Entering A Gay Bar Alone

Remember when you first went to a gay bar--alone? Do you remember feeling uneasy, uncertain, and just plain scared? The late poet/novelist Melvin Dixon's short story "Boy With Beer," will help you relive that first experience.

The story, first published in a magazine called Pique, relates the experience of a young black gay student as he prepares to enter the gay bar scene, answering the call that inevitably beckons, most, if not all, gay men sooner or later.

In a cinematic style, Dixon presents the young man's life and all those who are or have been a part of it in flashbacks that interfere with his decision to come out of the closet and accept his sexual orientation.

The story is a sympathetic and realistic depiction and should be must-reading for all gay men, especially gay youth, so that they can look at themselves in a positive light and communicate that positivity to others, both gay and straight.

In a telephone conversation, Dixon indicated to me that the bar in "Boy With Beer" was inspired by Andre's, a now-defunct black gay working-class bar in Harlem. (Today, a shopping mall complex that includes the Magic Johnson movie theatre sits on that site.)

Melvin Dixon, who was a professor of English at Queens College, City University of New York and the author of numerous poems and two novels, would have been very pleased to learn that "Boy With Beer" had been read by actor Courtney Vance on the stage of New York's Symphony Space theatre for broadcast on public radio's short story series, Selected Shorts.

NOTE: Parts of this edited version was taken from the 1984 first draft of a proposed introduction to "Boy With Beer," possibly for the black gay and lesbian supplement I guest edited for the New York Native. A sentence in the first paragraph of the draft states that Dixon's short story was being "reprinted for the first time with the permission of its author." The story never appeared in the supplement, instead a poem by Dixon was included in the supplement's poetry centerfold. The poetry centerfold was a first for the Native. They never did another one. This draft (a typescript) was dated April 22, 1984.