Thursday, June 30, 2011

Selections from My Library: YARGO

Yes, Jacqueline Susann of VALLEY OF THE DOLLS, THE LOVE MACHINE and ONCE IS NOT ENOUGH fame wrote a science fiction novel!  It was published posthumously in 1979. I've searched used books stores for at least 20 years and finally came across a copy last year in Palm Springs. It now holds a special place in my library of pop culture oddities.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Liberating The Gay People

With the legalization of gay marriage in New York and Pride celebrations continuing this month all over the place - I thought it was time to share this odd little pamphlet that an old friend gave to me a few years ago.
What might a first seem to be pro-gay propaganda, this many-fonted curiosity is actually a anti-gay diatribe from the Word of Life Fellowship in Schroon Lake, NY. Published in 1973, this bible quote filled booklet states "Not only do you find the Gays being worked into the scripts of popular radio and television shows, they even have their own programs!" In 1973? What was this guy Jack Wyrtzen watching? THE ODD COUPLE? SESAME STREET? THE MERV GRIFFIN SHOW? Oh, thats right THE PAUL LYNDE SHOW aired on ABC back then.

He says that its not his intent to condemn homosexuality, though then he goes on for 13 pages about God creating Adam and Eve, not "another man" and that "in God's eye's this was sin" and "when man ignores God and flaunts what God calls evil, God sometimes takes violent action". He then states that tolerance should not be allowed. So Christ-like. Wyrtzen died in, 1996, after leading the giant freak Tiny Tim to Born Again Christianity. Jack left behind eight children and 55 grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I hope at least 10% of the Wyrtzens are big flaming homos like Paul Lynde. Thanks for liberating us, Jack.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Tony Awards

I'm not really a "theater queen," but I usually watch the Tony Awards to see what shows I'm missing by living in LA. This year's telecast was pretty amazing. From great musical performances by host Neil Patrick Harris, Hugh Jackman, Sutton Foster and Daniel Radcliffe to wonderful acceptance speeches, including Ellen Barkin's tear-inducing win for Larry Kramer's THE NORMAL HEART. There were a few low points too, Brooke Shield's embarrassing flub and clumsy apology, the awful number from the worst titled musical SPIDER-MAN: TURN OFF THE DARK and of course the great, but crazy Frances McDormand's outfit.
I'm not Mr. Blackwell, but come on Frances - we all know you're dedicated to your art, but must you really show up for Broadway's most elegant evening looking like a meth whore? Ah, theater people...

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Selections from My Library: CHERRY GROVE

In honor of Gay Pride, I've been reposting a bunch of queer stuff from over the years, But here's one paperback novel I don't think I've shared before...
Love how there's just one, lonely, but safe woman in a bikini tucked away in the corner. Looks like Bravo has found it's next reality show.

I may just have to read CHERRY GROVE - or at least find the logo font.

Selections from My Library: BACK PACK BOYS

Where's he hiding his backpack?

Selections from My Library: LESBIANISM AROUND THE WORLD

I think this one is a travel guide - but I'm not sure.

Selections from My Library: STRANGER TO HIMSELF and COLD HANDS

He was black...he was homosexual...he was wanted for murder! Joseph Hansen, author of Troublemaker brings us Stranger to Himself! Originally published in 1968 as Known Homosexual. (I am not making this up).
The back reads: "Steve Archer was black and always seemed to be in one kind of trouble or another. When he married a white girl, his family and friends abandoned him. And then his wife betrayed him. Confused and friendless, Steve turned to pretty boy Coy Randol for love and comfort. But when Coy was found brutally murdered, the only person the police went after was Steve!" Actually, this doesn't sound so bad.  The author, Joseph Hansen,went on write 15 crime novels including the Dave Brandstetter mystery series.
Cold Hands by Joseph Pintauro is the story of a "man in a maze of sexual hide-and-seek". The cover reads "She loved him. He loved him–A novel that probes a man's sexuality all the way to the explosive truth..." followed by a quote from The New York Times calling the book "Hauntingly beautiful, moving, splendid".  Wow - not what I might have expected. Maybe it's not so sleazy after all. In fact, the author, Joe Pintauro is an acclaimed writer who used to have a website (link doesn't work anymore).

Sex! Hypnosis! Chaplin! Commies! Gays! Mansfield! Tits! Fluoride! Hitler! - My Favorite Magazine Cover Ever

Selections from My Library: GAY BOY

I can't get enough of these books. Here's a real classic–Edward R. Jacob's Gay Boy aka Nite Time Original #123. Ninety-five American cents worth of perverse, strange and anguished desires.
Wow. It always amazes me how homophobic these books were. It was like they were written by guys who were gay, but hated every moment of it- and they wanted their readers to get off and hate themselves for it. Also, I love how they try to pass the book off as a "probing study". I guess in case the guy's wife or girlfriend found the book, he could always shrug it off as a college text book for a human sexuality course. And it's not ALL gay cause there's a busty woman pictured on the cover. Right.

Selections from My Library: NO TIME TO CARE and THE PRICE OF PRIDE

Today I look at two fine editions from the prestigious Blueboy Library. First up is Paul Gronowski's medical potboiler from 1977, No Time to Care.
Looking like a TV Guide ad for a daytime soap - No Time to Care is the tale of Dr. Ian Anderson, who "cleaned up Cleveland Metropolitan Hospital, but the backlash came from unusual and powerful places to test his mettle and competency." Reading the foreward, I've learned that this is a sequel to a book called Against All Odds - which claims to be a true life tale!  Wow, who knew?
Martin Moore's The Price of Pride is actually third in a series! The first two novels, Under Cover and To Dare To Be Different introduced readers to "Gary Brannon and his gay activist companion" who "have helped (to) clean up City Hall, but now there is a new menace facing Gary, inept police leadership and increasing corruption in the ranks..." Such drama! These books certainly look and sound ambitious - but one quick flip through either book reveals that these Homoquin Romances are not for the faint of heart.

Selections from My Library: BRAWNY and MUSIC CAMP

Reorganizing my book shelf as part of "spring cleaning" brought a few treasures in my gay pulp paperback collection to the forefront. These two just happen to have a decidedly musical bent. First up, Brawny by Chris Milano.Not to be confused with the paper towel of the same name, Brawny is the rare well-designed cover featuring a stunning photo of a young blonde guitarist and great typography. This 1975 page turner begins with this introduction: "A young man sat in the second row of the deserted theater staring up at Story (a character's name!) from the shadows...There was a glow in his lean good looks, tawny as if he had come in from the west. Yet he seemed too lean for the strength of his looks. He had large biceps without the knottiness of a weightlifter, and they filled his red pullover which was frayed around the edges of the short sleeves. A couple of threads hung from the waistband and gave emphasis to the bulge of his tight cords. Every worn furrow of the corduroy seemed to call attetion to the crotch..." Brawny indeed. Readers might want to keep a roll of Brawny handy... just in case. Wonder if Amazon carries it?
Music Camp by Andrew Martin was obviously the inspiration for the recent Disney Channel film, CAMP ROCK. From 1990, this novel features chapters called "Sharing a Meal," "Strategy Conference," "Plucked and Blown" and the obvious "Standing Ovation". I love that the cover features a mortice exclaiming "ALL-NEW!" so readers won't get it mixed up with other novels they may have about music camp. How thoughtful!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Unintentionally Revealing TV GUIDE ad placement

The Gay 80s

Here's a curious TV Guide ad from the 80s. Progressive in some ways and offensive in others. We've come so far, but have yet so far to go.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Selections from My Library: SHAMPOO

A straight hairdresser? Even when the film SHAMPOO came out (when I was a kid) I thought to myself, "really?"
After finally seeing SHAMPOO a few years ago, I came to the conclusion that the best thing about this movie is the funky hand-drawn logo and the unexpected guest appearance by filmmaker William Castle.
This paperback sits comfortably on my shelf between THE SERIAL and UP THE DOWN STAIRCASE

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Selections from My Library: MAHOGANY

Do you know where you're going to?
A story so tempestuous and spectacular it took THREE writers to tell it.

One of my all-time favorite bad movies...broken down in the most the most questionable way possible. Keep on truckin'? Swivel-hipped? An aging god Pan? A young black activist fighting for black rights? Hanging tough?
Ah, the 70s.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Selections from My Library: THE SERIAL

THE SERIAL: A YEAR IN THE LIFE OF MARIN COUNTY was a novel written by Cyra McFadden, first published as a book in 1977, after first being serialized as a newspaper column a year earlier, much like Armisted Maupin's TALES OF THE CITY. A film adaptation, titled SERIAL was released in 1980. The cast included Martin Mull, Tuesday Weld, Sally Kellerman, Christopher Lee, Bill Macy, Peter Bonerz, Nita Talbot, Pamela Bellwood and Tom Smothers. I remember seeing the film in a theater back in the day and liking it tremendously. I forgot that it even existed until I came across this paperback. I think I need to revisit SERIAL very soon.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Selections from My Library: RITUALS

RITUALS was an attempt to create a successful syndicated daily soap opera. It premiered on September 10, 1984 and ran for exactly one year. Charlene Keel's novel was loosely adapted into the series, which boasted a cast that included a James Bond, Ginger from GILLIGAN'S ISLAND, Mary Hartman's husband, Ronald Reagan's daughter and Freddie "Boom Boom" Washington! Top that, CELEBRITY APPRENTICE!
That's right, George Lazenby, Tina Louise, Greg Mullavey, Patti Davis and Lawrence-Hilton Jacobs joined daytimers Christine Jones, Kin Shriner, Mary Beth Evans and Philece Sampler in an ambitious attempt to bridge the gay between daytime and prime-time soaps. Well, it didn't last - though it did become popular in France when it resurfaced in 1989 under the title LA LIGNE DE CHANCE ("CHANCE LINE").

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Selections from My Library: THE LITTLE GREEN MEN

I love books. I love TV and movies. I especially love books about TV and movies. I'll be sharing a few from my collection over the next few days. Beginning with #4 in the fine THE FLYING NUN novel collection, THE LITTLE GREEN MEN.
 Sci-fi, religion and politics collide in this powerful paperback from Ace Books.
The outlandish plot defies commentary, so I'll just make note of prolific author William Johnston, whose name is relegated to the bottom of the back cover. I guess no one went to the bookstore in search of the latest William Johnston tome - they went looking for a book about Sister Bertrille. For more on Mr. Johnston, the "go-to guy for sitcom-based tie-ins, go here.