San Francisco Giants Jeremy Affeldt says SF transformed his negative feelings toward gays: ''There's a chapter in there of me coming to San Francisco and being hesitant because I had homophobia, and now I don't,'' he said. ''I see more San Francisco as a city of love and a city of passion and compassion. It's unbelievable this city. To see that and to have my heart change as a city I didn't ever want to come to, to a city that I'm so thankful I'm going to be part of for a long time, it talks about that. For me, it was an awesome deal.''
An interview with Harvey Milk's nephew Stuart. "There are many wonderful leaders who have stood on my uncle's shoulders and through their leadership moved equality forward, but my uncle is still my highest inspiration. I remember one of my last conversations with him, in which he said the upsurge in death threats he was getting every day was evidence to him that he was making a difference in the world. The courage he had, knowing he would be killed, to carry on and to record a message that would be used to hurdle LGBT rights forward after that violent result happened is still a benchmark of courage rarely matched."
Portugal allows gay co-adoption: "The move allows gay men and women the right to co-adopt their partner’s children if the other parent dies. In fact, the approval of gay co-adoption – with 99 votes in favour, 94 against and nine abstentions – was considered by many as a surprise, making Portugal the fifth country in the world to allow same-sex co-adoption, alongside Finland, Austria, Germany and Israel."
Scott Thorson on Liberace: "There have been rumors that Lee had an affair with Rock Hudson early in their careers. But Rock wasn't any more Lee's type than Lee was Rock's. The supposed affair never happened. In the years we were together, Lee never mentioned knowing Rock. Although hundreds of celebrities came to Lee's shows, Rock never made an appearance. The two men moved in completely different circles, socially and professionally."
Brown bears released after 10 years in captivity. "Ari and Arina, both 10 years old, were taken to their new, much larger home, by the international animal charity group Four Paws, which helped sedate and transport them."
ENDA won't see action until July. “It would have been the preference of many LGBT advocates to hold the markup in May or June, but the committee has a very busy schedule, and I do think that some policy makers in Washington, D.C., have a philosophy that nothing should be done on any gay rights issue until after the Supreme Court rules in the marriage equality cases,” he said. Almeida said he disagrees with that philosophy, but, “[M]any people in this town have decided to put all LGBT issues on hold until the Supreme Court rules.”
The characters in Benjamin Alire
Sáenz’s masterful collection are all travelers between borders. Most obviously,
they cross between El Paso and Ciudad Juarez, where each of them at some point
finds himself in the bar of the book’s title. But these seven stories are
really concerned with more difficult boundaries—of class, language,
sexuality—that both set these men apart and divide them from
Juarez is famous from American
headlines as one of the most violent cities in the world. Sáenz, who teaches at
the University of Texas at El Paso, doesn’t look away from its troubles, and
his characters live with the knowledge that “all the laughter in the world could
be swept away by a capricious wind at any moment.” But their lives aren’t
reducible to headlines, and what remains of these stories isn’t the shock of
tragedy and crime, but the human response to it.
and crime are at the heart of the book’s first story, “He Has Gone to Be with
the Women.” Two men—one a well-known Mexican-American writer, the other a
Mexican visiting to care for a dying relative—speak after months of silent
glances in an El Paso café. As they begin to know each other, tentatively and
uncertainly, each explores the grief the other carries—two brothers lost to a
car accident, a mother to the plague of violence against women in Juarez—and
grief becomes an occasion for love. “His tears were soaking my shirt,” the
writer says. “I wanted to taste them, bathe in them, drown in them.” “I wasn’t
the falling-in-love kind of man,” he says later. “But watching Javier at that
moment, I wanted to need him. I wanted him to be the air I breathed.” When
Javier disappears, gone to “all the nameless women who have been buried in the
desert,” the narrator doesn’t know what to do with the feeling that has been awakened:
“I was angry at my own heart that refused to give up hope despite the fact that
I begged it to give up.”
Earlier this month, Sáenz was awarded
the PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction—he is the first Latino writer to receive the
prize—and the book is a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award. It has been met
with a great deal of praise, but some critics have raised concerns about the
emotionality of these stories, hinting at something excessive or
melodramatic about them—as though one final border they cross is that of
propriety, the closely policed lines of what we sometimes call “good taste,”
lines seldom free from often unstated assumptions about race, class, gender,
It may be true that the emotion in
these stories strikes a higher pitch than most current American literary
fiction. When passion breaks out in these pages, often after being long repressed,
it can take on operatic force: “I wasn’t just sobbing, I was howling,” says the
narrator of one story before making a confession of love. “I kept hitting my
own chest as if I was trying to tell my heart not to do what it was doing, to
stop hurting me, my heart, and I found myself kneeling on the floor and howling
and I didn’t even know why.”
But such notes are in the heart’s
range, and as I read I found Sáenz’s willingness to sound them brave and
bracing. One of the glories of this collection—one of the best new books I’ve
read in years—is its full-throatedness, its unapologetic willingness to give
voice to extremes of experience, even when those extremes challenge the tidy
canons of propriety. Good art, especially good queer art, has always posed such
challenges. Love, grief, hopelessness and rage wear their brightest clothes in
Sáenz’s work, sharing the page with a clear-eyed acknowledgment that the world
is seldom accommodating of individual desires. Love may not often win in these gorgeous stories, but it is always fierce.
Garth Greenwell is the
author of Mitko, which won the 2010 Miami University Press Novella Prize and
was a finalist for the Edmund White Debut Fiction Award and a Lambda Award.
Beginning this fall, he will be an Arts Fellow at the University of Iowa
The OXD Mirror is a weekly music column brought to you by the boys of OCCUPY THE DISCO (OXD), a New York City based movement created by three music lovers, Ru Bhatt, Josh Appelbaum, and Tadeu Magalhães, who want to share their love for disco, house and dance music with the world.
Today we celebrate the one year anniversary of The OXD Mirror on Towleroad. We want to thank Andy for giving us the opportunity to share our love for music with Towleroad readers. Music is the centerpiece of social functions for many gay men and we are lucky to have the chance to expose readers to great new music they perhaps would not hear otherwise. Our goal is to elevate the gay musical palates beyond the pop world and re-ignite interest in disco and house music for our community as it has played such a strong role in our cultural, sexual, and political revolution. Thanks to everyone for reading and for all the support!
Nick Monaco: 'Freaks Edit'
While Nick Monaco has had only one official release so far (which we featured in March), his refined production skills hardly pass unnoticed. Monaco's most recent track, an edit of Digital Underground's 'Freaks of the Industry' is a great example of how hip-hop and house music can be seamlessly combined. The jazzy elements of the original track are still present on top of the more uptempo beat in 'Freaks Edit'. And, although the vocals have been stripped down to mere moans and background whispers, Monaco manages to keep the song's soul intact. This track (and the entire bootleg EP Nick Monaco has put out with fellow Californian Navid Izadi) is available for free download.
Ripperton feat. Hemlock Smith: 'Tape Hiss'
Raphaël Ripperton is a Swiss producer whose career has been on the rise since the release of his debut album 'Niwa' back in 2010. For his sophomore effort, A Little Part of Shade, which is scheduled for release later next month, Ripperton has invited a series of artists to collaborate on most tracks, including Swiss folk/rock singer Hemlock Smith, who has provided vocals for four tracks. The first single and one of the songs to feature Smith's vocals is 'Tape Hiss,' a mellow, yet powerful piece of work that leaves it up to us to decide whether we should dance or solely appreciate its beautiful melodies with closed eyes on our own.
Say Lou Lou: 'Julian (Lancelot Remix)'
Lancelot has been on my radar for a bit over a year now as he slowly releases some great original tracks and a few remixes every once in a while. The Sydney-based producer's latest venture is a re-work of Swedish girl duo/sensation Say Lou Lou's 'Julian.' It is interesting to see an artist like Lancelot seeking a darker path, especially when his most notable productions are clearly geared towards a bright and happy mood. This track is available for free download on Say Lou Lou's website.
"Today is a sad day for the Boy Scouts of America. They have succumbed to political pressure and abandoned their historic roots in what will prove to be a failed attempt to appease gay activists and corporate donors. Unfortunately, what they have done is said to the world that their oath no longer means much. Their decision to admit openly gay scouts will end up sexualizing the organization. I am certain that having changed their policy on homosexuality, it's only a matter of time before courts order them to admit homosexual scout leaders. Meanwhile, countless thousands of churches will very likely pull their sponsorship rather than endorse homosexuality, and the entire organization will begin to collapse. All of this is happening not because of a true grassroots demand of gay youth to be part of the organization but by an orchestrated political effort by gay activists who want to punish any group or organization that does not embrace homosexuality. It's the beginning of the end for what once was one of America's noblest organizations."