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Gore Vidal Hub



04/19/2007


News: Dark Knight, Gay Youth, Ravello, Ian McKellen, Uganda

road.jpg Here's a list of the groups that are lobbying the Senate to remove the HIV travel ban.

Darkknightroad.jpg The Dark Knight has its premiere and it's a big night for Christian Bale. But it was an even bigger night for the late Heath Ledger. His family paid him tribute as did his co-stars.

road.jpg Reese Witherspoon cuts Jake Gyllenhaal off from his normal habit of swearing like a sailor: "Some of (the things she insists on) are run-of-the-mill. He has to take off his shoes when he’s in the house; trash must be taken out when the can is three-quarters full; and no feet on the coffee table."

road.jpg PBS debates airing full-frontal Ian McKellen in broadcast of Royal Shakespeare Company's King Lear next year.

road.jpg Some San Franciscans are objecting to a plan by the Presidential Memorial Commission of San Francisco that would rename the Oceanside Water Pollution Control Plant as the George W. Bush Sewage Plant: "What we didn’t expect was that most of the opposition was coming from people who didn’t want to name anything. They just wanted to forget about the past eight years and move on or they felt that this is a facility that does something really quite useful and it would be inappropriate to put his name on it. […] If you get to the point where people are defending the sewage plant, that’s a sign that things have not gone so well."

road.jpg Brad Blog: Alabama Attorney General Troy King, who last week was the subject of rumors that he was to resign in the wake of a gay sex scandal, was the client of gay GOP consultant Ralph Gonzalez, who was killed in a double-murder suicide last year.

Saroroad.jpg The Washington Post on the coming out process and its emergence at earlier and earlier ages: "He has grown so used to the stares and laughter of strangers that their insults slip off his 118-pound frame like an oversize shirt. 'I think I've dealt with it so much my whole life that it really doesn't bother me anymore, not as much as it used to,' Saro says. 'If you have a birthmark on your leg for so long, you don't even notice it.' Saro, who first said he liked boys to a classmate in sixth grade, is like many of today's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youths who openly discuss their sexual orientation and identity with friends, and sometimes family, before entering high school."

road.jpg Whoopi Goldberg to join cast of Xanadu on Broadway.

Britneyroad.jpg Britney shoots video for Madonna tour.

road.jpg Uganda's State Minister for Ethics and Integrity Dr James Nsaba Buturo says that opponents of gays should not be afraid of retribution because God will protect them: "It's true gays are rough people but men of God should not fear their intimidation. Ugandans should strengthen their mobilisation against the gay movement because the government is also committed to support them."

Gorevidalroad.jpg Gore Vidal home in Ravello, Italy to open as luxury hotel next spring.

road.jpg FIRST LOOK: Project Runway designers enter the workroom.

road.jpg Miss USA Crystle Stewart discusses her fall at the Miss Universe pageant: "I think I'm going to have to take some walking classes. I would never have thought in a million years that I would fall down at the Miss Universe pageant _ right after Miss USA fell last year. I always wondered: My God, if that happened to me, what would I do? Things happen. I'm perfectly fine. I'm going to move back to New York and get on with my life." Watch it.

road.jpg Ruminations on a gay and straight brother...

road.jpg The schedule for this year's Comic-Con in San Diego has been released.

road.jpg Politics of Fear: Cartoonists respond to the Barack and Michelle Obama New Yorker cover, and Salon asks if the Bush era has killed a lot of liberals' sense of humor.

road.jpg Philosopher Mark Vernon: I was a gay priest.


Gore Vidal Says He'll Sue Edmund White Over Timothy McVeigh Play

Vidal_white

Edmund White's new play Terre Haute, which I posted about in May, is said to be based on an imagined series of conversations between Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh and writer Gore Vidal.

Vidal is apparently not happy about it. He told The Observer: "Edmund White will yet be feeling the wrath of my lawyers. It's unethical and vicious to make it very clear that this old faggot writer is based on me, and that I'm madly in love with Timothy McVeigh, who I never met. [I don't want to be] lumped together with Mailer and Capote. They both went for murderers, and I don't go for murderers."

McveighIn May, White told The Telegraph about the play's origins: "'I thought, 'How can I do that? I can't imagine writing lines from McVeigh's point of view.' Then I remembered Gore Vidal had been in correspondence with him. I thought: 'Well, they never met, but wouldn't it be interesting if you changed the names and let them meet?' I've known Gore. We're roughly the same age group, we're both Europeanised Americans, we're both gay. I was presumptuous enough to write things from his point of view but as I went on writing the play, it became much more about me. Gore later told me: 'I would never have been attracted to someone like that.' But I would have been."

White told the New York Post's Page Six that Vidal signed off on the portrayal: "I still have the fax saying it was OK by him. Maybe he forgot it, since he went into surgery the very next day. I changed the names of the characters . . . I invented all the dialogue and actions, [and] the character of James ended up being closer to my experience and politics than to Mr. Vidal's...[White also insists that nobody who has reviewed the show] made the mistake of confounding the character James with Gore Vidal. I hope upon reflection Mr. Vidal will withdraw his intention to sue me for libel."

The paper notes: "In one sexually charged scene, James comes on to Harrison during a prison visit, gushing: 'If I thought you'd never know, I'd unzip that orange jumpsuit just a bit so I could see your chest. Touch it.' The McVeigh character opens his shirt to show off his torso as a 'gift' to the Vidal character.

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Edmund White's New Play Terre Haute Gazes on Timothy McVeigh [tr]


Edmund White's New Play Terre Haute Gazes on Timothy McVeigh

Edmund White has written a new play, Terre Haute, based on an imagined series of conversations between Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh and author Gore Vidal. Both subjects have had their names changed in the play. The provocative approach White takes is raising eyebrows.

McveighFrom a new interview in The Telegraph: "Given its UK première last year by theatre company Nabokov in Edinburgh, it imagines a series of conversations between McVeigh (restyled Harrison) and a distinguished seventysomething American writer called James (modelled on Gore Vidal) in the run-up to the mass-killer's execution at Terre Haute Penitentiary, Indiana, in June 2001. Inevitably the piece grapples anew with the familiar theme of whether acts of terrorism can be justified - but what makes it contentious, possibly incendiary, is that it flags up the possibility of sexual attraction between the two men: 'If I thought you'd never know, I'd unzip that orange jumpsuit just a bit so I could see your chest. Touch it,' says James. In the context of what his interlocutor has done, even notional physical contact carries a huge transgressive charge."

White tells The Telegraph that he wrote the play for an actor with whom he was in a relationship:

"The desire to write a play was not, in the first instance, prompted by shared outrage but by the urge to provide a starring role for a young actor with whom he had embarked on a torrid affair, the details of which are relayed in an entertainingly un-self-censored chapter of [White's autobiography] My Lives entitled 'My Master'. 'I said: 'All you have to do is tell me to do something and I'll do it.' He said: 'I look like Timothy McVeigh, why don't you write a play about him, then I can be in it?''"

Vidal_white_2The play has angered some who have seen it for White's humanizing of McVeigh, whose truck bomb detonated outside the Alfred P Murrah Federal Building in April '95, tragically ending the lives of 168 people, including 19 children, and injuring 850 others. It's no surprise that White's drama has touched a nerve.

White tells the Telegraph that he feels McVeigh was "vulnerable sexually" without saying flat out whether or not he believes the terrorist might have been gay.

He also reveals that it wasn't difficult for him to write from the point of view of his friend Gore Vidal, but that the perspective evolved into White's. White finally drops an explosive confession of his own:

Terre_haute"White continues: 'I thought, 'How can I do that? I can't imagine writing lines from McVeigh's point of view.' Then I remembered Gore Vidal had been in correspondence with him. I thought: 'Well, they never met, but wouldn't it be interesting if you changed the names and let them meet?' I've known Gore. We're roughly the same age group, we're both Europeanised Americans, we're both gay. I was presumptuous enough to write things from his point of view but as I went on writing the play, it became much more about me. Gore later told me: 'I would never have been attracted to someone like that.' But I would have been."

"The admission is so frank, so unapologetic, that for a moment I'm stunned into silence," admits White's interviewer.

Truman Capote did it in In Cold Blood and now White. What is it with gay literary authors sexually fetishizing their murderous subjects?

Has anybody out there seen the play? What's your review?

Terre Haute is at the Trafalgar Studios, London SW1 (0870 060 6632), from May 8 until June 2.

Strange tale of sex and terrorism [telegraph]


Must See: Trailer for a Remake of Gore Vidal's Caligula

This is a short "art film" in the form of a movie trailer that was presented at the Venice Bienniale as a parody of the original film. There was no remake ever planned and this was just done as a special project, shown in Venice and at this year's Whitney Biennial.

Maybe the best trailer you'll ever see for a train-wreck of a film that was neither made, nor planned.

Possibly NSFW.


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