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Pictures perfect; photo, art and children's books with a queer eye

by Jim Provenzano

Pictures perfect; photo, art and children's books with a queer eye

Three new and recent books, while in different genres, each bring florid color and stories to readers. Ron Williams', René Capone's and Paul Pycraft & Melissa VanDiver's books share a stunning array of visuals in photos, paintings and illustration.

Palm Springs Pride
While smaller than other cities' events, Palm Springs Pride's annual parades present a festive array of costumes, drag and hunks each years. Ron Williams captures the feathers, frocks and festivities in his newest Pride book, Images of Desert Diversity-Pride in the Desert. The desert city holds its Pride events during early November, when the entire community in a myriad of costumes, colorful personalities, non-profit and political groups, collaboratively join the nearly mile-long parade route as one of Palm Springs' largest annual events. Williams' photos capture recent Prides in full fabulous color.
($37.30 201 pages, ron-williams.com)

Evocative Art
Serious, sexy and mythical in its themes, the 2018 book of art reproductions by René Capone includes poetry by Dave Russo. Now in softcover, the lush works of the beloved local queer artist provoke with their nudity, while charming with a rich depth of mythos and magic.

With drawings, illustrations and paintings spanning Capone's career from 1997 to 2018, the collection explores themes of truth, beauty, love, romance and sexuality through diverse depictions of the young male body. Russo's poems accent the collection with their own inspirations. If you're an art collector, or have one on your gift list, A Boy Named Patience will surprise and inspire.
($69, 240 pages www.renecapone.org/

Under the Sea
For parents, or guncles (gay uncles; what are lesbian aunts; launts?), The Octopus's Holiday: A Different Kind of Christmas Story brings a sweet story about Shelly the Octopus, who visits her one-of-a-kind octopus friend Doris in the small town of Fishery. The fish in Fishery love Christmas and want everything to be exactly the same as every year before. They love Christmas so much, they try to make the octopuses fit in with their style of Christmas.

Written by Paul Pycraft and illustrated in vibrant colors by Melissa VanDiver, The Octopus's Holiday was named a finalist in the 2018 Fence Books Modern Prize in Prose for Literature Appropriate for Children. Written for ages 6-13, it's also a book for all ages, all genders, and all species. ($19.95, 31 pages paulpycraft.com)

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