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NOW MEET HISTORY'S FIRST 'OUT' SAME-SEX COUPLE : Hadrian Caesar & boyf Antinous ...
READER'S OPINIONS OF "THE HADRIAN ENIGMA" logged at global Amazon stores, especially the USA ...
JANE (Canada), at Amazon USA
"...I recommend it to any historical fiction fan, especially any fan of the redoubtable Mary Renault. ..."
J.R. Tomlin, author of historical fiction, at :- http://jeannetomlin.blogspot.com/
"Five stars ... a tour de force ..."
Elisa Rolle, Amazon Top 1000 Reviewer, USA & UK, & at : http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1092070.html
" ... an absorbing new book ... compelling writing ... action sequences that are brilliantly staged & paced ... on a higher plane than mere homoerotic titillation ... courageous & convincing ..."
Reader Down Under (Australia), at Amazon USA
"... extensively researched picture of life in the Roman Empire ... a mix of mystery, comedy, gay & straight romance - is an entertaining read ..."
Laura Staley, Historical Novels Review, USA, at :-
"... an age-old love story with a twist ... an unexpected delight ... his storyline hooked me immediately ..."
Olivera Baumgartner-Jackson of READER VIEWS, Austin TX, USA
"... You will feel engaged and challenged ..."
Nan Hawthorne, author Beloved Pilgrim, at Amazon USA
"... extremely readable ... it's a page turner ... Gardiner has written an interesting & gripping story ..."
Kim at http://www.desicritics.org/ India
"... Five Stars ... a compelling crime mystery ... a hard book to put down ..."
Terence Charters, Hobart, Australia, at Amazon USA
"... An adventure through Hadrian's world. The story is easy to read and full of the homoeroticism that we love about this era. ..."
P. Novotny, London, at Amazon UK
"... a definitive Five Star read for me ..."
Aleksandr Voinov, UK, reviewer at Speak Its Name
"Five Stars ... A masterful recreation of Ancient Rome ... the historical details are a delight ... characters are outlined in a vivid way which is like meeting old friends ... "
Ernest Gill, Hamburg, at Amazon USA & UK
"Five Stars ... as a reimagining of the Hadrian-Antinous relationship in the context of the age it is fascinating."
Muriel Perkins, Texas, at Amazon USA
" ... this is a novel about the nature of love ... but this is far from just being a gay romance. ..." Kit Moss, historical author, at :- http://kitmossreviews.blogspot.com.au/2013/02/the-hadrian-enigma-forbidden-history-by.html
"A truly exceptional book on 'What Greek Love" is all about ..."
John R. Shelton at Amazon USA
"Five Stars. I so enjoyed this book. Highly recommend it ... "
NOTE: ***Amazon USA's book or ebook purchase website with its 18 reader's reviews (nine awarding Five Stars for excellence!) can be read in full by clicking on :- http://www.amazon.com/Hadrian-Enigma-Forbidden-History/product-reviews/0980746906/ref=sr_1_1_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1
THE HADRIAN ENIGMA: A Forbidden History
(C) George Gardiner
ISBN13: 978-0-9807469-1-4 (at Amazon USA, UK, Europe, Australia etc) in 498-page paperback or Kindle ebook.
The scene: ancient Rome, 130 years after Christ yet two centuries prior to Christianity being legal. Caesar Hadrian is the popular ruler of a vast pagan empire at the height of its power & wealth.
Hadrian, one of Rome's "five good emperors" searches for & eventually locates the love of his life .. Antinous, an elite Greek athlete, huntsman, & cavalry cadet. They become 'companions' under the ancient Greco-Roman mentoring tradition of an erastes (mentor) & his eromenos (student).
During an imperial pleasure tour of Egypt Antinous is discovered dead in the River Nile. Hadrian is distraught. Is the death a drunken prank gone wrong, suicide, murder, or something far more sinister? Hadrian assigns historian playboy Suetonius Tranquillus to investigate.
THE HADRIAN ENIGMA is the outlawed record of Caesar's investigation into one of history's most suspicious fatalities. It reveals more than Hadrian may want to know, or wants others to know. Set in a society increasingly reflecting facets of our own times, it portrays an era of torrid relationships, raging ambition, wealth inequalities, & uninhibited morals within a severely macho culture of honor, shame, pride & prejudice.
Buy only online (not in street stores), CLICK NOW ON A LINK BELOW to select best delivery options ...
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Tuesday, September 30, 2014
---- excerpts from a report about the status of gay events in a time of gay social transitioning, contributed by Steve Persall at the Tampa Bay Times (USA), 29 September 2014 :-
'Twenty-five years ago, Tampa's shunned gay and lesbian community drew a line in the sand using a film festival. A cultural tide shifting toward the mainstream has smoothed the line since then, raising a silver anniversary question:-
How can the Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival stay relevant? Or even necessary?
"If the gay struggle continues successfully there won't be gay bars or gay film festivals," said filmmaker, actor and author John Waters, who will appear Saturday at Tampa Theatre. "You simply won't need them anymore."
Organizers of Tampa's festival don't believe their mission is accomplished. But the event's future greatly depends on reaching out to future generations of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender lives, people too young to remember why these festivals ever began. ....
.... The Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival was founded as a rainbow-hued rallying call: "We're here, we're queer, we want movies about us. Get used to it."
In some ways the world has, with marriage equality rights gaining momentum, and occasional reversals of anti-gay measures. .... '
---- see more of Steve Persall's interesting report at tampabay.com at :-
---- and note: The 25th annual Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival includes movies, parties and events Friday through Oct. 11 at Tampa Theatre, St. Petersburg's Freefall Theatre and Museum of Fine Arts. Visit tiglff.com.
Sunday, September 28, 2014
---- brief excerpts from an opinion-piece by Samantha Allen at The Frisky (USA), 28 September 2014 :-
'Ursula from “The Little Mermaid” is almost certainly a lesbian, according to stand-up comic James Adomian, who lovingly refers to the iconic Disney diva in a recent viral bit as a “big dyke with a butch haircut.” Adomian, who is openly gay, doesn’t believe that Ursula deserves the negative treatment she receives in the movie. “Every time I’ve ever met a woman like that in my life,” he says, “she’s been awesome.”
To an extent, Adomian is right: Ursula definitely has deep roots in queer culture. According to bonus materials on “The Little Mermaid” DVD, Ursula was modeled after the famous drag performer Divine, star of the original “Hairspray. ....
.... Disney movies have been quietly reinforcing cultural notions about what kinds of queerness are “bad” and what kinds of queerness are “good.” As staples of American culture, Disney films reveal latent attitudes about which kinds of queerness are still intolerable according to mainstream standards. Disney movies, then, implicitly teach us how to be gay within the confines of acceptability and respectability. With that in mind, here’s the best way to be gay according to the Disney canon:
1. Don’t be fat. 2. Don’t be effeminate or campy. 3. Stay in the closet. ....
.... If Disney wants to start sending some different cultural messages about sexuality through their films, they need to shrug off negative stereotypes and start crafting some deliberate, authored queer characters. It’s time for a big dyke with a butch haircut to be the hero for once. .... '
---- see the full observant, unedited essay by Samantha Allen at thefrisky.com at :-
Saturday, September 27, 2014
---- the opening pars from a newS report by Adam Howard at MSNBC (USA), 26 September 2014 :-
'The United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a landmark resolution for LGBT rights during its 27th session on Friday, the second-ever motion of its kind. The resolution, which was heavily promoted by the U.S., was sponsored by Uruguay, Colombia, Brazil and Chile. Countries from every geographic region in the world joined as supporters.
The action, which passed by a 25-14 vote margin after more than an hour of debate, condemns violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity across the globe.
“We are pleased to see that today the international community is visibly and publicly upholding the rights of LGBT individuals, and thereby we demonstrate ourselves as a global community respecting the rights of all,” said Ambassador Keith Harper, who represents the U.S. on the U.N. Human Rights Council.
Still, since the resolution comes with no enforcement capability — it simply calls for a report from the U.N. high commissioner on LGBT rights abuses — it will likely largely be seen as a symbolic gesture, albeit it one that the U.N. has largely failed to make in the past. This resolution is only the second time the U.N. has referred to LGBT rights as “human rights.” ....
---- see more of Adam Howard's full report at msnbc.com at :-
---- see too Robert Evans' related report at Reuters news service (Geneva) at :-
---- the opening pars to Justin Jones' appreciation of a new gay-themed magazine, posted at The Daily Beast (USA), 26 September 2014 :-
'Gay magazines tend to be packed with celebrity, hunks, and (maybe) some politics. ‘Hello Mr.’ reinvents the wheel with personal essays, inventive fashion, and beautiful design.
"Hello Mr." ... It’s a flirty introduction to a handsome guy at a bar, or maybe just a handsome guy on Grindr with whom you’d like to establish a, ahem, rapport. But for 27-year-old Ryan Fitzgibbon, the cheeky introduction inspired him to establish an eponymous magazine, Hello Mr., which has dubbed itself “a coy introduction for a new generation of men who date men.”
Hello Mr.’s cover also features a single portrait—in its latest, Issue 4, Saeed Jones, Buzzfeed’s LGBT editor and author of a collection of poetry, Prelude to a Bruise, gazes out pensively. .... '
---- see more of Justin James' praises of this new specialized magazine, at thedailybeast.com at :-
Thursday, September 25, 2014
---- a post by Will Kohler at his always interesting site Back2Stonewall (USA), on 24 September 2014 :-
'Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, addressed a standing room only crowd at Grand Rapids Community College drew cheers from the crowd this past week when asked about LGBT rights and equality the 89 year old Carter replied “I never knew of any word or action of Jesus Christ that discriminated against anyone.”.
---- & check the short video in the sidebar here.
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
---- the opening pars from an extended report by Grace E Huckins, Crimson Staff Writer, with author Sarah Waters at The Harvard Crimson (USA), 23 September 2014 :-
'“I speak for I think many people in the audience when I say, ‘Yes, we’re back to the lesbians,’” began author Emily M. Danforth during her conversation with fellow queer author Sarah Waters at the Brattle Theatre on September 18.
Waters, who has to date written six highly lauded historical novels—five of which feature lesbians as protagonists—participated in the Harvard Book Store-sponsored event as part of her tour promoting her newest book, “The Paying Guests,” which was published on September 16. Unlike her previous novel, “The Little Stranger,” “The Paying Guests” centers on a lesbian romance—a development that pleased the overwhelmingly female audience at the event, judging by the whoops and cheers that followed Danforth’s quip.
Waters’s lesbian-centric fiction is arguably unique in the accolades it has garnered: she has been shortlisted for the Man Booker prize twice and the Orange Prize for Fiction once. To a casual reader, then, Waters can seem the sole writer in her genre. She sees the situation quite differently, however: at the time she began writing, she says, various small presses were publishing substantial volumes of lesbian and gay fiction.
“It seemed like a really exciting time for lesbian and gay writing,” she says. “And not all of it was fantastically ambitious. But it was exciting that it was there at all…. I felt part of a community of readers. And I think knowing that there was that community of readers enabled me as a writer.” .... '
---- see more of Grace E Huckins' extended report at thecrimson.com at :-
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
---- brief excerpts from a news report by Tim Isaac at Big Gay Picture Show (UK), 22 September 2014 :-
'Stephen Fry sits alongside the likes of Ian McKellen as one of the most beloved people in the pantheon of famous gay men and women. Now the polymath is letting us back into his life again as his latest memoir, More Fool Me, is due to be published in the UK on September 26th. ....
.... More Fool Me takes us into one of the most tumultuous times in his life. As the 80s drew to a close, he discovered a most enjoyable way to burn the candle at both ends, and took to excess like a duck to water. ....
.... Containing raw, electric extracts from his diaries of the time, More Fool Me looks at a man driven to create and to entertain – revealing a side to himself he has long kept hidden.
Alongside the release of the book, Picturehouse Entertainment and Penguin Books are broadcasting Stephen Fry’s one man show at the Royal Festival Hall via satellite in high definition to over 280 cinemas in the UK on the 1st October at 7.30pm.
The event will also be broadcast globally to over 130 cinemas across Australia, New Zealand, Canada, German, Denmark, Austria, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, and Norway (although not all these countries will get it on October 1st). It will be the biggest global book launch event ever staged. .... '
---- see more of Tim Isaac's report & its contact details at biggaypictureshow.com at :-
Monday, September 22, 2014
---- brief excerpts from a UK tv programming report by Antonia Molloy at The Independent (UK), 18 September 2014 :-
'UK actor Ben Wishaw has been cast in the lead role of forthcoming BBC thriller London Spy. The 33-year-old British actor, who played Q in Skyfall, is to take on the role of Danny in Tom Rob Smith’s first television drama series.
Danny is an outgoing and pleasure-seeking romantic who becomes embroiled in the world of British espionage, after falling for the enigmatic Alex.
But when Alex disappears, Danny must decide whether he is prepared to find out what has happened to him.
Tom Rob Smith said: “Ben Whishaw is quite simply one of the best actors in the country. It's an extraordinary privilege, as a writer, to have him play the lead.” ....
.... Whishaw’s past credits include Hamlet, Brideshead Revisited and Cloud Atlas. He is also set to take on the role of Freddie Mercury in an upcoming biopic about the Queen frontman’s life and is due to reprise his role as Q in Bond 24 in 2015. .... '
---- see more of Antonia Molloy's report at independent.co.uk at :-
Saturday, September 20, 2014
---- a very brief excerpt from Part One of a substantial essay by Jim Halterman at XFINITY (USA), 17 September 2014 :-
' .... But what is it like from the creative perspective of making television in the 21st Century? Are the studios and networks supportive of having LGBT characters in the development process of a series or episodes? Is it easier for bisexual or lesbian characters to get the green light? What about trans characters? Are there still battles being fought or can we hang it up and call it a day?
To find out, I reached out via an email questionnaire to a group of working TV showrunners gay and straight to find out what they’re experiencing in 2014 in terms of incorporating LGBT characters and stories into their work. And while some of the responses make you think we’re right where we need to be, others show that we’ve still got a way to go before having LGBT characters or stories no longer being a point of discussion or contention. They just are.
The showrunners featured here are David Goyer (“Da Vinci’s Demons,” “Constantine“), Marlene King (“Pretty Little Liars“), Hart Hanson (“Bones,” “Backstrom“), Caroline Dries (“The Vampire Diaries“), Jill Soloway (“Transparent,” “Six Feet Under“), Carter Covington (“Faking It“) and Bradley Bredeweg, speaking on behalf of himself and co-creator Peter Paige (“The Fosters“). .... '
---- see more of this extended article by Jim Halterman at xfinity.comcast.net at :-
Thursday, September 18, 2014
---- brief excerpts from a lively illustrated report by Andrew Wheeler at Comics Alliance (USA), 18 September 2014 :-
'The Finnish postal service launched its most successful limited edition stamps of all time last week — featuring a pair of pertly muscular buttocks and a naked man being straddled by a biker. Advance orders for the stamp came in from 178 countries worldwide, and people lined up on launch day like the stamps had an Apple logo on them.
The reason for the stamps’ appeal — beyond the objective appeal of buttocks — was the artist responsible, one of the nation’s most successful comic book creators: the legendary homoerotic artist Tom of Finland. In the first of a very important series of articles exploring comics’ treatment of hot dudes, which we’re calling ‘The New Hotness’, ComicsAlliance explores the work and legacy of Tom.
Tom’s real name was Touko Laaksonen. He was born in Finland in 1920 .... As Laaksonen later told an interviewer in a documentary about his work, Daddy And The Muscle Academy, his ideal of male eroticism was shaped by this world he grew up in. Almost all the young men he saw through his adolescence were healthy soldiers in finely-tailored uniforms, and many of them were infused with a glow of patriotic zeal that Laaksonen was drawn to. .... '
---- brief excerpts from a substantial book review by Adam Kirsch at The Christian Science Monitor (USA), 17 September 2014 :-
'Michelangelo Buonaroti (Italy, 1474-1564) was one of the first artists to demand to be treated not just as an artisan but as an aristocrat of the spirit.
Michelangelo is one of those figures who occupy so central a place in Western culture as to almost cease to seem real; like Shakespeare or Beethoven, he is less a human being than the incarnation of our values and aspirations. ....
.... His most famous works, from the "Pietà," completed when he was just 25, to the "Last Judgment," which he finished at age 67, revolve around the mystery of God in human form.
.... Yet as Miles J. Unger shows in Michelangelo: A Life in Six Masterpieces, his accessible and compelling new book about the artist, Michelangelo’s relationship to Christianity was anything but conventional.
Born in Florence in 1474, he died just before his 89th birthday, long enough to see the High Renaissance and then the Lutheran Reformation work deep transformations in the Christian imagination. Employed mainly by a series of popes – the wealthiest and most aesthetically advanced patrons of art in Renaissance Italy – Michelangelo participated in and helped to shape the strange fusion of the profane and the spiritual that defined the Catholic Church in his era.
It is no coincidence that the artist’s most important patron, Pope Julius II – who commissioned Michelangelo to create the Sistine ceiling, as well as his own magnificent tomb – took his name not from any Christian saint but from Julius Caesar. .... '
---- see more of Adam Kirsch's informed review of Miles J. Unger's "Michelangelo" at csmonitor.com/Books at :-
Monday, September 15, 2014
---- excerpts from a news report by Cheryl Wetzstein at The Washington Times (USA), 15 September 2014 :-
'The St. Patrick’s Day Parade, held in New York City since 1762, honors the patron saint of Ireland and the Archdiocese of New York. It draws as many as 250,000 marchers and 2 million observers, and is televised live by WNBC ....
.... The nation’s largest gay rights group said Monday that it is applying to have a contingent march in the 2015 St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York City.
A group of gay NBC employees, OUT@NBCUniversal, has been approved to join the March 17 parade, the Human Rights Campaign said to parade organizers in a letter. .... '
---- see more of Cheryl Wetzstein's report at washingtontimes.com at :-
---- excerpts from a Toronto Film Festival review by Jada Yuan at Vulture (Canada), 14 September 2014 :-
'The Queen ought to give out medals for movies like The Riot Club, which does humanity the great service of gathering virtually every hot, young British actor of the moment on screen at once.
.... The Riot Club, we're told in flashback, was founded to honor a legendarily libidinous Oxford student, Lord Riot, who died in the act of screwing his professor's wife. Ever since, the club has culled ten members from the best families and best schools to wreck mayhem daily, but especially in an annual debauched dinner where they engorge on a ten-bird roast; imbibe on as much alcohol as they can stomach, before vomiting and imbibing more; and tear to shreds the luckless establishment that has been foolish enough to host them.
At the start of this school year, though, the club finds itself short two members, and starts secretly scanning the incoming First Years for recruits.
---- see more of Jada Yuan's report on The Riot Club at vulture.com at :-
---- "The Riot Club" premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on 6th September & opens in the UK on 19th Sept.
Sunday, September 14, 2014
---- the opening pars from a news post by Trudy Ring at The Advocate (USA), 13 September 2014 :-
'While news stories often note churches' increasing openness to gays and lesbians, a Duke University study offers numbers to confirm that trend. The latest set of data in Duke’s ongoing National Congregations Study showed a notable increase from 2006 to 2012, the university announced Thursday — essentially confirming a trend observed in news reports.
In 2012, 48 percent of the congregational leaders surveyed said a gay or lesbian couple in a committed relationship would be welcomed as full-fledged members, up from 37.4 percent in 2006. The proportion of congregations that open all volunteer positions to out gays and lesbians increased from 17.7 percent to 26.4 percent.
“The increasing acceptance of gays and lesbians is a well-known trend in America,” said study director Mark Chaves, a professor of sociology at Duke, in a press release. “Churches are no exception.” .... '
---- see more of Trudy Ring's news report at advocate.com at :-
Thursday, September 11, 2014
---- excerpts from a news post by Cec Busby at Gay News Network (Australia), 11 September 2014 :-
'5,700 members of Hollywood’s leading actor’s union have been surveyed to discover if homophobia and discrimination still exist for LGBTI actors.
More than a third of those surveyed said they had witnessed disrespectful treatment of LGBTI people on set. While one in eight of non-LGBT performers reported witnessing discrimination against LGBT people, including anti-gay comments by crew, directors and producers.
The study’s authors suggested out LGBTI performers were often disadvantaged when it came to castings and searching for roles. ....
.... The study also found that LGBT performers are less likely than heterosexual performers to have agents, “which may put LGBT performers at a disadvantage when looking for work. .... '
---- see more of Cec Busby's post at gaynewsnetwork.com.au at :-
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
---- the opening pars from a film festival report by Brad Brevett at Rope of Silicon (Canada), 7 September 2014 :-
'Set to have its international premiere at the Toronto Film Festival, the first trailer for Abel Ferrara's Pasolini, starring Willem Dafoe as the Italian filmmaker, poet and novelist Pier Paolo Pasolini, has premiered ahead of its upcoming Venice Film Festival premiere.
The film takes a look at the final days of Pasolini's life and the confusion surrounding his death in 1975 as he struggles with the censors as he is about to finish Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom, pausing for an interview with a journalist that allows him to reflect on ideas of sex and politics, having lunch with his beloved mother with whom he shared a house, welcoming friends and former lovers and his obsessive predilection for cruising the nocturnal streets of Rome in search of furtive sex [via]. .... '
---- see more of Brad Brevett's report at ropeofsilicon.com at :-
---- and check the movie's international trailer in the sidebar opposite
Tuesday, September 9, 2014
---- brief opening pars from an opinion piece by Christopher J Hale at TIME.com (USA), 8 September 2014 :-
'Last week New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan gave his OK to the St Patrick's Day Parade Committee's decision to allow a gay group to march in the 2015 parade under its own banner. This was a remarkable shift from one of Dolan's predecessors Cardinal John O'Connor who in 1993 declared that to allow a gay group to march in the parade would be a slander to the Apostle's Creed.
This closes a remarkable summer in which a number of high ranking Catholic prelates have signaled that Pope Francis' more open posture on gay issues has permeated through the Catholic world. In May a top-ranking Italian bishop said that the Church should be more open to arguments in support of same-sex marriage ... one of Pope Francis' closest friends Brazilian Cardinal Claudio Hummes said in an interview that he "didn't know" whether Jesus would oppose gay marriage. ... '
---- see more of Christopher J Hale's views at time.com at :-
Sunday, September 7, 2014
---- excerpts from a press release by Harrington Park Press (Columbia University, USA), 7 September 2014 :-
'This new collection explores for the first time male sex work from a rich array of perspectives and disciplines. It aims to help enrich the ways in which we view both male sex work as a field of commerce and male sex worker themselves.
Leading contributors examine the field both historically and cross-culturally from fields including public health, sociology, psychology, social services, history, filmography, economics, mental health, criminal justice, geography, and migration studies, and more.
Victor Minichiello, PhD, is an Adjunct Professor in the School of Public Health & Human Biosciences at La Trobe University, Melbourne (Australia),
John Scott, PhD, is Professor, Faculty of Law, School of Justice, Queensland Institute of Technology (Australia). He is an internationally recognized sexual health and public health researcher. .... '
---- see more about this book at the publisher's web site at :-
Saturday, September 6, 2014
---- the opening pars from a challenging opinion piece by Conor Friedersdorf at The Atlantic (USA), 5 September 2014 :-
'Some writers think that even as society changes, orthodox believers will stick to traditional beliefs. Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, the French entrepreneur, Catholic, and feminist, argued at The Week that while the coalition that embraces same-sex unions may keep growing, the expectation that Christians will eventually accept them is mistaken.
"The false premise goes something like this: Christianity, as a historical social phenomenon, basically adjusts its moral doctrines depending on the prevailing social conditions," Gobry writes. "Christianity, after all, gets its doctrines from 'the Bible,' a self-contradictory grab bag of miscellany. When some readings ... fall into social disfavor, Christianity adjusts them accordingly. There are verses ... that condemn homosexuality, but also verses that condemn wearing clothes made of two threads, and verses that allow slavery. Christians today find ways to lawyer their way out of those. Therefore, the implicit argument seems to go, if you just bully Christianity enough, it will find a way to change its view of homosexuality ..."
---- see more of Conor Friedersdorf's view about Christian acceptance at theatlantic.com at :-
Friday, September 5, 2014
---- brief excerpts from a substantial report by Mike McCrann on a new book at Frontiers LA.Com (USA), 4 September 2014 :-
'The movie book of the year has arrived, and it is spectacular. The Making of Gone with the Wind by Steve Wilson is a fabulous new book released in conjunction with the opening of the Gone with the Wind exhibit at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas. All of producer David Selznick's voluminous files are housed at the UT film center. And from this treasure trove of materials, Wilson has fashioned an opulent book that chronicles the making of the most famous film in history.
There are some incredible photographs, copies of memos and story boards and a very intelligent retelling of the saga of Gone with the Wind from book to film. ....
.... If you love Vivien Leigh, Gone with the Wind or the Golden Age of Hollywood, rush out and buy Steve Wilson's The Making of Gone with the Wind. This gorgeous book is a movie lover's dream and the finest film book of the year. And yes, Olivia de Havilland at 98 is the film's sole surviving star!
---- see more about Steve Wilson's new book by Mike McCann at frontiersla.com at :-
---- or check the book's sales page at Amazon USA at :-
Tuesday, September 2, 2014
---- excerpts from the Wiki entry about a groundbreaking dramatic movie, 2 September 2014 :-
'Victim is a 1961 British suspense film directed by Basil Dearden, starring Dirk Bogarde and Sylvia Syms. It is notable in film history for being the first English language film to use the word "homosexual". The world premiere was on 31 August 1961. On its release in the United Kingdom it proved highly controversial and was initially banned in the United States. ....
.... Storyline: A successful barrister, Melville Farr (Dirk Bogarde) has a thriving London practice. He is on course to become a Queen's Counsel and people are already talking of his being appointed a judge. He is apparently happily married to his wife, Laura (Sylvia Syms).
Farr is approached by "Boy" Barrett (Peter McEnery), a younger working class man with whom Farr shared a romantic but asexual relationship. Farr rebuffs the approach, thinking Barrett wants to blackmail him about their relationship. What Farr does not know is that Barrett himself has fallen prey to blackmailers who know of their relationship. ....
.... Victim became a highly significant film. Many believe it played an influential role in liberalising attitudes (as well as the laws in Britain over the subsequent decade) regarding homosexuality. It was not a major hit but by 1971 had earned an estimated profit of £51,762.
Victim was released in the USA on 26th August in the BluRay format as a B&W transfer made from the original film elements in its theatrical 4:3 aspect ratio. - See more at: http://networkonair.com/shop/1899-vic...
---- Victim's Amazon sales page for US-region purchases is at :-
---- see too more about Victim at Wikipedia at :-
---- a report posted by On Top Magazine staff (USA), 30 August 2014 :-
'The Normal Heart arrived on DVD and on demand sites such as iTunes on Tuesday, a day after it won the Emmy for best television movie.
Saturday, August 30, 2014
---- brief excerpts from a new movie review by David Hudson at Gay Star News (UK), 29 August 2014 :-
' .... Based on a true story, Pride is set during the summer of 1984. Margaret Thatcher is Prime Minister and her government is at loggerheads with the National Union of Mineworkers over proposed coal pit closures. Unions, politicians, community groups and celebrities speak out in support of the miners, but backing also arrives from an unexpected quarter. A small band of committed LGBT activists in London decide to try and raise funds for the strikers and their families, and the group Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM) is born.
However, when the rag-tag collection of gays and lesbians approach the union to donate their money, they find that the organization is embarrassed to accept their support. Undeterred, they instead decide to target one specific mining town in South Wales and donate their money directly.
The story is told largely through the eyes of one of the group: teenager Joe (George Mackay), who becomes both politicized by the group’s aim and finds camaraderie amongst his new gay friends. .... '
---- see more of David Hudson's review of PRIDE at gaystarnews.com at :-
---- and check the trailer of PRIDE in the sidebar opposite. The movie is likely to be released in the USA and other global indie cinemas as time progresses.
Thursday, August 28, 2014
---- the opening pars from an extended, sober survey of Asian LGBT attitudes posted by Peter Montgomery at Religion Dispatches (USA), 28 August 2014 :-
'Early this month, Bard College professor Omar G. Encarnación published an op ed piece on the London School of Economics’ European Politics and Policy blog arguing that western nations should reconsider their strategy of promoting gay rights abroad. He argues that while there have been notable successes, a strategy of “shaming” states that discriminate against LGBT people could be self-defeating and generate greater resistance to equality. He argues that western nations should put a greater focus on strengthening democracy, the rule of law, and civil society. Encarnación is the author of “Latin America’s Gay Rights Revolution,” forthcoming from Oxford University Press.
The Human Rights Campaign has published an in-depth report on the World Congress of Families. .... '
---- see more of this provocative opinion piece by Peter Montgomery at religiondispatches.org at :-
Monday, August 25, 2014
---- brief excerpts from a revealing post by Kaite Welsh at The Telegraph (UK), 25 August 2014 :-
'It's been quietly gaining popularity for some time. Now, there can be little doubt: the internet has turned women on to the joys of gay porn. They're watching, writing and even directing it. ....
.... Because, while 'lesbian porn' has long done a roaring trade among straight men, it seems a growing number of women are turning to man-on-man action to get them going. Indeed, there's an entire subculture of women who believe that, in the words of one online viewer, “there's nothing better than watching two handsome guys f******.” ....
.... One of these ‘porn mums’ is 38-year-old Debbie, who runs fansite Foxygirls.
“I wasn't ever a great watcher of porn and felt shocked at how bad most of the heterosexual porn was," she tells me. "It all seemed so fake and the guys were generally unattractive."
Then she stumbled across a man-on-man scene. "It was just so different to any other porn I had seen, with real, intense chemistry and models that were obviously having a good time.” .... '
---- see more of this unexpected phenomenon by Kaite Welsh at telegraph.co.uk at :-
Sunday, August 24, 2014
---- brief excerpts from a substantial post by Luke Runyon at NPR (USA), 22 August 2014 :-
' Life as a gay man in the U.S. has changed in the past decade — the law and cultural attitudes toward homosexuality have shifted. And those greater social and legal freedoms have also changed how some gay men choose to express their masculinity — and their femininity.
That's true for several players with the Colorado Rush, a gay rugby team in Denver [Colorado]. On a warm, breezy Saturday, about two dozen men in vibrant jerseys and shorts squat and lunge their way across a rugby field. Today's practice has the players tackling each other and running drills. With its traditionally bulkier players and brutal man-on-man tackles, the sport can be almost hypermasculine. ....
.... After practice, a few players stop to talk about masculinity — and what that concept means to them.
"What makes or breaks a rugby player is their attitude," says Jeremy Ballard, 33. "It's a mental component. It's not, like, how buff they are or how big they are, or whatever. It's all in your head and what kind of attitude you bring to the pitch — and to me, that's masculinity."
But when the conversation broadens from definitions of masculinity on the rugby field, Ballard says, "I would say in a lot of ways, I definitely carry myself as a man, I feel like I'm a man, but I definitely have feminine qualities. Like my voice tends to be more feminine. I'm emotional."
And that's at the heart of modern gay masculinity — it's a spectrum. .... '
---- see more of Luke Runyon's fascinating inquiry into gay masculinities in the US today at npr.org at :-
Friday, August 22, 2014
--- a brief excerpt from a challenging opinion piece by J Nelson Aviance at the Huff Post Gay Voices, 21 August 2014 :-
' .... When was the last time I read something in the LGBTQ media about sex as communication between partners? Maybe I'm not reading the right magazines. Perhaps lesbian-centered media talk more about it. Certainly I can't remember the last time I read anything about sex and intimacy in media focused on gay men. But why not?
As I thought about it, I came to the conclusion that gay male culture in general doesn't talk about intimacy between partners, or at least either not in the same way or not as often as happens elsewhere. There's plenty of talk about sex; we are a very sexually permissive group. But there are ways in which sexuality for gay men is complicated beyond fighting broad systems of oppression. There are ways in which that oppression, especially isolation and rejection from families, has damaged many of us. .... '
---- see more of J Nelson Aviance's views on gay intimacy at huffingtonpost.com at :-
---- a long-running site which often raises issues of interpersonal intimacy can be found at GayTogether (USA) at :- http://gaytwogether.typepad.com/gaytwogether/
Thursday, August 21, 2014
---- view a video (in the right-hand column) where six young Los Angeles (USA) gay men, each wonderfully ditsy about the wilder shores of hetero sexual modes, deeply plumb the shallow depths of this global publishing phenomenon. Assembled by Neil McNeil (contact details below), their combined surprises about 'Fifty Shades' provides us instead with an hilariously icky insight into 'Six Shades of Gay'. Love 'em all. Bravo, guys! What fun. It helps us realize there are even weirder things going on in the universe beyond our wee, tiny vision.
Neil McNeil tells us :- 'I got some of my favorite homos together and had them read passages from the questionably popular 50 Shades of Grey. They had no idea what to expect and I think I scarred them for life.'
JOIN ME ON MY ADVENTURES!
Twitter - @Neil_McNeil
Instagram - NeilMcNeil
Facebook - http://facebook.com/neilmcneilmcneil
Tumblr - http://my-name-is-really-neil-mcneil....
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
---- two brief excerpts from an article by Jenny Kuttner in Salon.com (USA), 20 August 2010 :-
'Women have the least predictable, most varied orgasm experiences -- unless they're having sex with other women. Lesbians are having more orgasms than other women, according to science. New research published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine shows distinct differences in orgasm rates across sexual orientations, indicating that women who regularly have sex with women climax more frequently than women who have sex with men. ....
.... The study offers a few possible explanations for the difference, including the hypothesis that “self-identified lesbian women are more comfortable and familiar with the female body and thus, on average, are better able to induce orgasm in their female partners.” .... '
---- see more of this revealing report by Jenny Kuttner at salon.com at :-
Saturday, August 16, 2014
---- a trailer for a contemporary erotic gay movie
'Directed by Julian Hernandez, one of Mexico's most famous directors (Broken Sky, Raging Sun Raging Sky), I AM HAPPINESS ON EARTH is a tale of a man struggling with the line between his sexually charged reality and this equally arousing cinematic creations. His boldly poetic romance compares with such films as Fellini's 8 1/2, exploring the connections between sex, love and creativity.
---- On DVD & on demand from 11th August. Order now from Amazon: http://amzn.to/1k5pUKg
---- & or check at YouTube at :- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhf3NA-VqoI
... now COOL GAY STUFF shifts to mixed miscellany in both columns ...
TRAILERS OF RECENT GAY-THEMED MOVIES OF INTEREST ....
Don't Ask, Don't Tell is recalled ...
WEST HOLLYWOOD MOTEL (US 2013) - NSFW
Various lives intersect in and around a West Hollywood motel in this kaleidoscopic comedy about sex, love, and the meaning of life.
The characters include a medical student (Matt Riddlehoover), his extrovert boyfriend (Andrew Callahan), an adulterous actress (Starina Johnson), her lover (Heather Horton), and a dutiful husband (Phil Leirness) whose wife (Amy Kelly) wakes to find she has a penis.
Available November 12 on DVD/VOD from TLAgay:http://www.tlavideo.com/gay-west-hollywood-motel/p-356790-2
HISTORICAL NOVEL SOCIETY review of "THE HADRIAN ENIGMA" ...
A fair-haired young man, dressed in rich ceremonial armor, is found dead in the Nile River. When he is identified, everyone realizes the dangerous political implications of this death, because Antinous was the eromenos—the lover and protégé—of the Roman Emperor Hadrian.
A grief-stricken Hadrian appoints two members of the court, Suetonius and his patron Clarus, to find out how and why Antinous died. They have two days to find the answer, permission to interrogate anyone except the Emperor and Empress, and the promise that they may forfeit their lives if they fail to satisfy Hadrian.
Failure is a distinct possibility. While Antinous was well-liked and respected, the circle of suspects is wide, as it often will be when the victim is the confidant of an absolute ruler. The two sleuths quickly draft unlikely but able assistants to help them, including a scribe and an observant, multilingual prostitute.
The book offers an extensively researched picture of life in the Roman Empire of 130 AD. Gardiner is equally convincing when writing about imperial politics and succession laws, marriage and sexual customs, philosophy and the theater.
But The Hadrian Enigma—a mix of mystery, comedy, gay and straight romance—is an entertaining read.
THE HADRIAN ENIGMA - an unedited review by historical novelist NAN HAWTHORNE ...
THE HADRIAN ENIGMA | A review by historical fiction author J.R. Tomlin ...
" .... In 130 AD, while accompanying the Emperor Hadrian on a tour up the Nile, the beautiful youth Antinous plunges into the Nile and drowns. Hadrian, near maddened with grief, declares Antinous a god. However, Suetonius just happens to be along on this imperial tour. Already the author of juicy books on contemporary Roman life, he is perfectly placed to investigate this mysterious death, so Emperor Hadrian commands him to investigate and find the murderer within 48 hours or suffer the consequences.
In the imperial compound on the Nile, Suetonius searches for clues. Here, semi-isolated, the bubbling cauldron of the Roman court has been transplanted to a fabulous tent city. Yet, the mystery of Egypt is an ever present backdrop to this baffling death. .... Why was Antinous clad in heavy ceremonial parade armor and weapons when he died? How did he come by a slit on his left wrist and strange marks on his throat? And how can Suetonius unravel all this when the Emperor refuses to let Suetonius even touch the body to examine it? The characterization is vivid and the historicity meticulous in this novel. I enjoyed savoring the characters and setting as Suetonius unraveled the imperial goings on. .... "
See more of J.R. Tomlin's review at her author's blogsite "Writing & More" at : http://jeannetomlin.blogspot.com/
AN UNEDITED REVIEW OF 'THE HADRIAN ENIGMA"....
By a reader down under (New South Wales, Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is for: THE HADRIAN ENIGMA: A Forbidden History (Paperback)
George Gardiner's absorbing new book, which focuses on the relationship between the Roman emperor Hadrian and his young paramour, Antinous of Bithynia, quite possibly heralds the thrilling emergence of a new Mary Renault. (As uneven as it is in some places, to my mind it is a big improvement on Margeurite Yourcenar's book on Hadrian from the 1950s).
Gardiner begins his narrative with the discovery of the dead body of the beautiful youth, who has apparently drowned in the Nile. He coopts as his central figure cum narrator the actual historical figure of Suetonius Tranquillus, who is charged by the supreme colonial ruler Hadrian Caesar with the urgent responsibility of uncovering the reasons for, as well as the manner of, the death. Suetonius works night and day as a kind of investigator/ prosecutor and his dogged inquiry drives the plot. The narrative unfolds as a kind of antique murder mystery, then, and one of the book's great strengths is in the well-paced twists and turns of the plot, throwing up a number of suspects and scenarios along the way that keep the reader intrigued until the very end. Gardiner's humour shines through this character, who is forced to carry out his investigation under the double pressure of a pressing deadline (why is Hadrian so intent of winding it all up in such a short time, we wonder) and the threat of execution if he doesn't come up with the answers.
This is compelling writing. Suetonius is a good choice, as he is known for his history of a dozen Caesars, and the author brings him vividly and humorously to life. Indeed, Gardiner skilfully and imaginitively re-works established historical figures and creates a cast of composite characters where necessary to serve his narrative ends. The fact that he can do this convincingly, with such an extraordinary mixture of ethnicities and beliefs, is writing of a high order. The mastery of research is remarkable, not only for Gardiner's command of the details of ethnic artefacts, weaponry, costume, architecture and so on, but also for the complex politics of Roman colonial expansionism in its abrasive encounter with other cultures. The era was marked by a complex intermingling of belief systems, and Gardiner's fictional world is woven from a rich and amazingly detailed fabric. Very occasionally the research seems almost oversupplied but for the most part it serves to underpin his imaginative reconstructions with persuasive authenticity.
Also among the book's strengths are the finely imagined conversations between characters, both historical and concocted, that move the investigation so beautifully along. There are certain set action sequences pieces, too, that are brilliantly staged and paced--the boar hunt, for example, when Hadrian rescues Antinous, and the marvellous climactic scene where Suetonius brings his prosecutorial charges home (albeit uncertainly, with some lines of inquiry that don't pan out).
The only thing that broke the spell for me was Gardiner's occasional jarring choices in language idioms. There's no doubt that the language(s) of the time and place would have been salted with colourful vulgarities, and the dialogue should reflect that, but some of the terms chosen have such strong contemporary associations for us, here at the beginning of the 21st Century, that they they jar and jolt in the reading. `Toyboy' is one example, `getting your rocks off,' `muscular stud' and `gaga' are others that don't ring well to my ear. It's a pity, because sometimes they drop the reader right out of the spell he weaves so skilfully, otherwise.
In contrast, many of the scenes and dialogue move with stately Latinate constructions within a convincing and well-sustained narrative voice. Gardiner has set himself the difficult task of creating a hybrid language that can include both convincing formal language, and everyday vulgarisms, that ring true within his own reconstruction, yet sound right to our contemporary hearing. It's a delicate juggling act and sometimes he drops his balls. (If he had perhaps reserved their use strictly in dialogue, say, to help with characterisation? Perhaps some of his choices might be better realised in a second edition.)
Another of the book's great strengths is hinted at by the book's sub-title. It's a `forbidden history' not simply because Hadrian issues an edict that only the official `party line' should be recorded (and by implication, Suetonius' project of recording events for us to read goes dangerously gainst the edict of his Emperor). It's forbidden history too because Gardiner has constructed a counter-narrative to the centuries of heavily judgemental readings of this iconic same-sex relationship. Positive affirmations of same-sex bonding were exiled in silence as soon as the early Christian commentators started to impose their dominant narratives over all acceptable behaviours and ideals.
In Yourcenar's 50s version, Antinous's moody adolescent pouting makes Hadrian looks like a bit of a fool for dallying with the youth, but Gardiner proposes a heroic reading here that highlights the finer elements of the erastes/eromenos partnering, which was not only tolerated but celebrated in ancient times. For me, this moves the book onto a higher plane than a mere homoerotic titillation and places the relationship where it belongs, in the heroic company of Patroclus/Achilles and the legendary band of Theban warrior-lovers.
Gardiner successfully and daringly recuperates the much-despised and consistently misrepresented ideal of man-to-man love, here based on respect, admiration and the inspiration of noble ideals, as much as the undeniable and enjoyable erotic attraction, which we see only fitful glimpses of among sporting figures and others today. During the continuing culture wars of our own times it's a relief to read this inspiring alternative with its healing potential as an affirmative voice emerging from the diminishing, culturally imposed silence.
In a strange way `The Hadrian Enigma' is reminiscent of E.M. Forster's gay-affirmative novel `Maurice', which Forster was unable to publish during his lifetime. Forster's wistful happy ending for a same sex coupling was unthinkable in the mid-twentieth Century, and even today, it's hard to read such partnering as anything other than morally sinful - such is our pervasive indoctrination by churchmen - or psychologically misdirected (`homosexuality' is still construed as a kind of `failed development' in conventional psychological readings). Certainly such a relationship will still be regarded as second best to the pressing imperative of reproduction. Gardiner has struck a blow with this courageous and convincing re-telling.
So, for me this is a 5 star book for the outstanding and detailed research and the creative work that underpins the imaginative reconstructions; at least 4 stars for its plotting, but only 3 stars for the strange inconsistencies in his prose style. This averages out to a solidly earned 4 stars.
I do hope Gardiner is deep at work on his next book of historical fiction. He certainly has all the skills required.
See this review in situ at Amazon at :-
"SPEAK ITS NAME" reviews THE HADRIAN ENIGMA :
A specialist review site for gay historical fiction, Speak Its Name has reviewed The Hadrian Enigma. I am told Speak Its Name receives 700 hits a day from readers of this genre, making it a prominent source of opinion for readers of gay historical fiction. Speak Its Name pursues a tough line in its reviewing standards. It says it takes gay history, history in general, & the quality of the writing into critical consideration.
Aleks Voinov, an author in his own stead & one of the site's key reviewers, has given the book a satisfaction rating of 4.5 out of 5, by which it defines the book as VERY good in Speak Its Name's eyes.
As a reviewer Mr. Voinov finds a great deal to admire and many things to critique. But that's the way it goes in literary criticism, folks. Check Speak Its Name's fascinating website & review lists, plus read Mr. Voinov's full 2-page critique at :-
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Bye bye, for now from George Gardiner's COOL GAY STUFF ...