More books for LGBTQ Pride Month

  • by Roberto Friedman
  • Wednesday June 13, 2018
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Last week we previewed two books that are being released in time for LGBTQ Pride Month. This week we follow up with a passel more, books with publication dates this June. The beauty of this list is that you can tell by their very titles what these books are all about.

"Harvey Milk - His Lives and Death" by Lillian Faderman, part of the "Jewish Lives" series of biographies from Yale University Press.

"Has the Gay Movement Failed?" by Martin Duberman, University of California Press.

"The Annotated Prison Writings of Oscar Wilde," edited by Nicholas Frankel, Harvard University Press.

"Jewish, Gay & Avant-Garde in Nazi Germany - Uncle Alfred Flechtheim's Unexpected Legacies in Art, AIDS & Law" by Michael Hulton, Kieran Publishing.

"The Path to Gay Rights - How Activism and Coming Out Changed Public Opinion" by Jeremiah J. Garretson, NYU Press.

"Trans Like Me - Conversations for All of Us" by CN Lester, Seal Press.

"Unbound - Transgender Men and the Remaking of Identity" by Arlene Stein, Pantheon.

Theatre world

Lists: you gotta love em! Last week The New York Times published a special section listing what their theatre critics consider the best 25 American plays of the last quarter-century - that is, since the original production of Tony Kushner's "Angels in America," the "gay fantasia" that stands out as the last great masterpiece of 20th-century American theatre. Amazingly, Out There found that we had seen productions of 10 of them, not bad considering how far out in the provinces (SF) we are from the bright lights of the Rialto (Broadway, NYC). They are:

"Topdog/Underdog" by Suzan-Lori Parks (NY production: 2001), which we saw at the Curran Theatre;

"An Octaroon" by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (2014), which we saw at Berkeley Repertory Theatre;

"Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play" by Anne Washburn (2013), at ACT;

"Clybourne Park" by Bruce Norris (2010), at ACT;

"Ruined" by Lynn Nottage (2009), at Berkeley Rep;

"The Designated Mourner" by Wallace Shawn (2000), which we saw in the film version;

"The Humans" by Stephen Karam (2015), now playing at SHN's Orpheum Theatre, and reviewed in this issue;

"The Laramie Project" by Moises Kaufman and the members of Tectonic Theater Project (2000), which has had multiple runs at various Bay Area theatre companies;

"August: Osage County" by Tracy Letts (2007), in an SHN production;

and "The Realistic Joneses" by Will Eno (2012), at ACT.

In addition, although we never saw Annie Baker's "The Flick" (2013), we did see Baker's "John" at ACT's Strand, and loved it. And though we haven't seen Stephen Adly Guirgis' "Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train," we loved the same playwright's "The Motherfucker with the Hat" at SF Playhouse. Similarly, we'd replace the NYT-listed "Three Tall Women" from Edward Albee with that playwright's "The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?" (ACT). And though we never saw David Henry Hwang's "Yellow Face," the playwright's collaboration with composer Jeanine Tesori "Soft Power" is in our datebook for its upcoming production at the Curran.

The Times also published an email correspondence between two actors currently performing in dueling performances of "Angels in America," at Berkeley Rep and on Broadway. Andrew Garfield, now wowing them as Prior Walter in the B'way revival, exchanged messages with Stephen Spinella, who originated the role a quarter-century ago. Spinella plays evil attorney Roy Cohn in the Berkeley production.

Discussing the character they both have played, Spinella writes, "The Prior of the early 90s will never happen again. That gay man with AIDS who wrestled a misguided reactionary Angel of America and won more life - the impact of that Prior was as a secular prophet at that moment in history after 10 gruesome years of heartbreaking loss, with still three years to come before the three-drug cocktail changed everything."

Spinella also wrote, "Being out at the 93 Tonys, I thanked my lover, Peter Elliot, and caught some crap for that. Peter's mom, whom I was close to, was upset I called Peter my 'lover,' an epithet for her generation that smelled of a sordid secret affair. We didn't even have acceptable words for each other then."

Garfield writes to Spinella, "Two-show Wednesday done! Ethel Rosenberg's son and granddaughter were in today. Remarkable to meet them afterward. Warm and soulful people. I feel they got some good healing from our show, too."

Also recommended in the Rosenberg literature: E.L. Doctorow's masterful novel "The Book of Daniel," told from the point of view of the Rosenberg progeny. Including the electrocution.