"The moment one learns English, complications set in," wrote Spanish ex-pat Felipe Alfau, in English, beginning his 1948 novel Chromos (first published in 1990). Learning English, he wrote, "far from increasing [one's] understanding of life, if this were possible, only renders it hopelessly muddled and obscure." While this might be true of learning any new language one starts to see how words simply refer to other words we might say the same about literature. Read more »
My Miserable, Lonely, Lesbian Pregnancy is a bracingly frank and exhaustively detailed tour of lesbian single-motherhood, written as a more or less straightforward journal of the weeks leading up to conception and birth. Read more »
Oooh! Lookee up here, on the dirty gay porn rag shelf. Past the Out, featuring a very strange half-naked photospread "dedicated to the memory of Georgia O'Keefe" think nipply model and cow skulls and The Advocate, giving you full-on yawnsville with ho-hum marriage and "reality gays" stories. Past Genre's insectoid white boy snaked in the Stars-and-Stripes cover and Instinct's insightful "Exposed! Read more »
ISBN REAL Samuel R. Delany is best known as a science fiction writer. And it's a good bet that once people see the documentary The Polymath, or The Life and Opinions of Samuel R. Delany, Gentleman screening this week at the San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival Delany will be equally well known as a prolific tea-room queer (50,000 and counting), a lifestyle that has informed much of his fiction. By all rights, either of these enthusiasms should provide the best inroad to Delany's work. Read more »
LIT An interviewee in Grant Gee's excellent 2007 documentary Joy Division posits that the gloomy Manchester band inverted punk's initial "Fuck you!" to convey a more atmospheric and ultimately unsettling sentiment of "I'm fucked." If so, the contemporaneous No Wave bands from New York City melted down those two approaches to one primal howl. Read more »
This month's Magazinester saves the best for first: in conjunction with an art show, Needles and Pens has fantastic zines by Edie Fake on display. Rico McTaco stars a four-legged dyke not averse to carrot strap-ons and dizzying black and white lines Bridget Riley might admire. Read more »
REVIEW San Francisco is larger than the stories written about it. This is out of necessity: if we all tried to write down everything that happened here, our arms would get tired. And while the city itself is physically and culturally in thrall to many disparate groups, its history is surprisingly open, belonging most often to those who have nothing more than the inclination to take out a pen and start writing.
Exhibit A: Erick Lyle, a punk kid from Florida who makes zines about pulling off petty scams at chain stores. Read more »