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El Greco, "The Vision of Saint John," ca. 1608-1614 (Metropolitan Museum of Art)

3 Important Documentaries ~ You Can’t Pray the Gay Away ~ Revisiting Yukio Mishima ~ 6 Recent Books ~ Gay Protest Music & Art ~ etc.

Pray Away debuts Tuesday on Netflix, after premiering last year at the severely curtailed Tribeca Film Festival. The film follows the lives of four victims of conversion therapy programs, including John Paulk, the former president of Exodus International, who “now lives in Portland, Oregon, with his male partner.” Reviewing the film for The Hollywood Reporter, David Rooney called it a “powerful doc” in which those interviewed “speak out about the damage inflicted on themselves and countless LGBTQ youth.”

The Most Beautiful Boy is now available to watch online, after premiering in January at Sundance. This film tells the sad story of Björn Andrésen, whom Luchino Visconti tapped to play Tadzio in his 1971 adaptation of Thomas Mann’s ...  >> Read more >>

Thomas Eakins, "Swimming Hole," 1895 (Amon Carter Museum)

14 Gay Books to Read at the Beach ~ Lil Nas X “Industry Baby” Drops ~ Joe Bell Heads Up Summer Movie List ~ Sex, Style, Art, and Fads

Summer is for going to the beach, for tea dances (pandemic permitting), for lazy evenings with good friends and good cocktails, for gardening. And summer is for reading. Whether your thing is contemporary gay fiction, memoirs, LGBTQ history, or poetry, we have you covered:

Fiction & Romance

  • , by Joon Oluchi Lee, won a Lammy for best gay fiction for its “kaleidoscopic” tale of a Korean ballet dancer and her “straight, though gay-cruising, Korean-American husband.” (2020)
  • , by Brontez Purnell, is a “hurricane of delirous, lonely, lewd tales…a taxonomy and grand unified theory of the boyfriend” (The New York Times).
..  >> Read more >>
Sundance Film Festival sign, Travis Wise/CC BY 2.0

Sundance Highlights Gay Films

The Sundance Film Festival took place this past weekend, and for the first time it happened mostly online rather than at its Utah home. In a preview, George Elkind wrote last week that “Sundance was always on the cutting edge of queer filmmaking; in 2021, it still is.” The Advocate cataloged 14 LGBTQ titles in this year’s lineup, out of a total of some 130 premiers. We look forward to the broader release of these gay highlights:

  • Ailey explores the life and art of legendary choreographer Alvin Ailey, who founded the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1958 and died of AIDS in 1989.
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Donkey Hotey, "Donald Trump Portrait" (2015)

Rights Groups Back Impeachment

Offering a “gay take” on the events of January 6th seems beside the point, given that President Trump’s actions and those of the mob that stormed the Capitol represent a threat to all Americans, to democracy itself, and to world peace. Suffice it to say that some 40 LGBTQ organizations signed on to a statement by GLAAD calling for the “immediate and unequivocal removal of Donald Trump as president of the United States”; the Human Rights Campaign issued its own message to the same effect. While Vice-President Pence has declined so far to invoke the 25th amendment, the House of Representatives will likely vote to impeach President Trump tomorrow; the timing and outcome of a Senate trial remains uncertain...  >> Read more >>

"Male couples," illustration by Gay·F·fect based on works in the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Friends or Lovers?

Photographers have been making pictures of male affection since Nicéphore Niépce and Louis Daguerre invented the first photographic processes in the 1820s and 1830s. At first, professionals made images of carefully posed subjects in front of contrived backdrops; after the introduction of the Kodak Brownie camera in 1900, snapshots taken by amateurs came to dominate. By the end of the twentieth century, these early images of men touching, holding hands, embracing, and occasionally kissing had become highly sought-after collectibles, especially by gay men.

What we cannot escape when looking at these photographs—such as the examples in the illustration above, from the Metropolitan Museum of Art—is the question of what is actually going on: What are the men doing in the photograph?..  >> Read more >>

American Library Association, World War I poster, 1918

Holiday Book List · 2020

Art

Tom of Finland: The Official Life and Work of a Gay Hero

Everyone knows Tom of Finland’s work even if they don’t know his name. With his iconic pencil drawings of leatherbound and uniformed muscle hunks with oversized phalli, Tom both embodied and helped shape the aesthetic of a generation. This new edition of Tom of Finland: The Official Life and Work of a Gay Hero makes a selection of his works from the 1940s to the 1980s available in beautiful coffee table format, including many explicit and color images that were not included in the original 1993 printing.

Photography

Loving: A Photographic History of Men in Love 1850s–1950s

This beautiful volume showcases hundreds of historical photographs of male couples from the collection of Hugh Nini and Neal Treadwell.

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