COOL GAY STUFF is a sampler of LGBT news highlights from around the globe, with thanks to Google, YouTube, & Blogger. They're quick-read snippets of gay-themed or gay-appeal Web selections you possibly missed, pointing you to their originating sites. Yet these engaging LGBT samplers are NOT only for gay gals & guys, so there's no eye-popping porn here nor racy NSFW items likely to startle our 'het' visitors (paraphrasing Oscar Wilde's 'don't frighten the horses').

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Your host, novelist George Gardiner, opens with current eye-candy videos plus blurbs for my widely-praised historical-romance/crime/erotica novel "THE HADRIAN ENIGMA: A Forbidden History". This is a fiction/faction re-imagining of history's real-life m/m romance between ancient Rome's 'good emperor' Hadrian Caesar & his famously-hunky 'Favorite', Antinous of Bithynia. The 498-page paperback or various ebook options are offered below. Then 30 recent gay-friendly media reports & videos follow, updated daily, preceding lists of interesting LGBTQ videos & stats.

Disclaimer: This site makes no claims about the sexual orientation of any person mentioned in text, image, or presumed by inference.


And now for something absolutely historic :-

Hilary Clinton enters the marriage equality debate (a few days prior to the US Supreme Court's decision) with her personal statement of profound impact. "All love is equal. It's time for marriage equality."

Stand with Hillary Clinton in the fight for all LGBT Americans to be able to live, learn, work, and marry free from discrimination:

Sign up here to get involved:

Enjoy! But if you view this 2min30sec video full screen, don't forget to return to Cool Gay Stuff afterwards ...


THE FIRST RECORDED REAL-LIFE SAME-SEX COUPLE OF HISTORY : Rome's Hadrian Caesar and his famously-hunky boyf, Antinous of Bithynia ...

.... The first few pages below are an invitation from your host George Gardiner to explore his recent historical romance/crime/mystery/erotica novel "THE HADRIAN ENIGMA: A Forbidden History". However, if you are a returning visitor then you should ...


HADRIAN & ANTINOUS - recorded history's first 'out' lovers ...

HADRIAN & ANTINOUS - recorded history's first 'out' lovers ...
... back & front cover of THE HADRIAN ENIGMA. .. CLICK ON THE PICS for direct link to its Amazon USA page to check reviews, prices, & purchase a paperback or Kindle ebook.

OPINIONS OF "THE HADRIAN ENIGMA" - eighteen excerpts from US & UK Amazon sites ...

"Five Stars ... I loved this book ... If you like mysteries, try this book. ... Lots of fun ... "
Eric Sootin, Asheville, NC (USA) at Amazon USA

"Five Stars ... Excellent ... couldn't put the book down ... one of the most enjoyable novels I've ever read ..."
Lloyd F Adams (USA), at Amazon USA

"Five Stars ... The best book I've read on Hadrian and Antinous."
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 :-

"Five stars ... a tour de force ..."
Elisa Rolle, Amazon Top 1000 Reviewer, USA & UK, & at :

" ... 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 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 :-

"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 ... "
Stephen Forte, Birmingham, Alabama at Amazon USA

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 :-


LUST, LOVE, INTRIGUE, & MURDEROUS REVENGE: challenging suspense fiction suggested by real events in history's most unusual true love story ...

THE HADRIAN ENIGMA: A Forbidden History
A novel
(C) George Gardiner
ISBN13: 978-0-9807469-1-4 (at Amazon USA, UK, Europe, Australia etc) in 498-page paperback or Kindle ebook.
Also iBookstore, iPad, Nook & ePub ebook formats available via online sources. (Not available in street stores.)

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 ONLINE ONLY (not in street stores). CLICK NOW ON A LINK BELOW to select or compare your preferred purchase & delivery options ...

For an Amazon-USA or overseas paperback :

for Amazon's Kindle ebook or Kindle-For-PC's download :

[If you buy a new print edition of THE HADRIAN ENIGMA, or have purchased one in the past, you can buy a Kindle ebook edition for only $1.99 - saving 80%. Print edition must have been sold by Amazon.]

for Amazon UK :

Plus ...

The paperback is also available via mail-order at Diesel Bookstores, Powell's Books, & Vroman's Books, California. Use each store's online search to locate the title.


Tuesday, June 30, 2015


Why this year's Pride was bigger and better than ever
----  selected excerpts from an extended post by JP Mangalindan at (USA), 29 June 2015 :-

      'SAN FRANCISCO — More than a million people on Sunday flocked to San Francisco's Market Street, the city's main thoroughfare, to celebrate the legalization of same-sex marriage with one of the biggest, brightest pride parades the city has ever seen.
      They came from all walks of life, from as far away as London and Istanbul and as close by as San Francisco's Castro district: gay couples in decades-long relationships cradling each other on the sidelines, grinning LGBT teens showered in glitter, cheered on by friends and family. Apple CEO Tim Cook himself led over 8,000 employees in what was arguably the largest parade showing this year by any organization, though thousands also marched from Facebook, Salesforce, Google and other tech companies. ....
....  When I read the [US Supreme Court] news in the office on Friday, I stared incredulously at my computer screen, walked to the restroom, and quietly cried at the sink, peering at myself in front of the mirror for a few quiet minutes in between tears of happiness and relief.
      I would never have to worry about hiding who I was or who I really loved because, in the eyes of the court, I — and millions of others — had the same rights and protections as everyone else everywhere else in the country.
      What better reason to celebrate LGBT Pride than that? '
----  see more of JP Mangalindan's extended appreciation of Pride at at :- 

Sunday, June 28, 2015

eREADERS & EROTICA | The advantages of electronic privacy ...

Gay vampires and bisexual cowboys: Why erotica has e-readers to thank
----  the opening pars from an extended report by Calum Marsh at The Guardian (UK/US), 28 June 2015 :-

        'Few benefits of the e-reader are as attractive as the privacy it affords, and so after the launch of the Kindle, that’s when erotic romance really took off.
        Jaime Christley was working at a Barnes & Noble in New York when people started buying the retailer’s glossy white e-reader. It wasn’t long before he found himself appealed to for routine tech support: batteries weren’t charging, operating systems needed updating, touchscreens were on the fritz.
        You can’t repair an e-reader without catching a glimpse of its digital library. And quite often what Christley saw took him by surprise: his customers were into porn.
        Few benefits of the e-reader are as attractive as the privacy it inherently affords. Christley and his colleagues may enjoy a peek at the troubleshooting stage, but in public the anonymity is ironclad: you could be reading hardcore BDSM erotica on your Kindle or Kobo, but to your fellow commuters you might as well be poring over PG Wodehouse.
        For those shy or easily embarrassed people, that sense of confidentiality is liberating. .... '
----  see the remainder of Calum Marsh's observant report at at :-


US Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Same-Sex Marriage
---- the opening pars from a news report by Ted Johnson, Senior Editor of Variety Magazine (USA), 26 June 2015 :-

      'The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 on Friday that state bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional, an historic decision that extends gay and lesbian nuptials nationwide.
        Justice Anthony Kennedy, authoring the majority opinion, wrote that “The Court now holds that same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry. No longer may this liberty be denied to them.”
        Kennedy also rejected opponents’ arguments that the issue should be left for voters or state legislatures to decide, writing that “the dynamic of our constitutional system is that individuals need not await legislative action before asserting a fundamental right.”  ....
----  see more of Ted Johnson's report at at :- 

Friday, June 26, 2015

THE VATICAN | Gay-themed tours for tourists ...

The secret gay-themed tours of the Vatican: Visitors can now hear the 'homosexual backstories' behind the famous art collections there
----  brief extracts from a detailed Rome tourist report by Katie Amey at the Daily Mail (UK), 26 June 2015 :-
      The headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church can now be explored in an entirely new way. Just last year, LGBT travel company Quiiky launched a gay-themed tour of the Vatican Museums art collection - and it has been steadily rising in popularity ever since.
      The 'Untold History' tour, as it's known, chronicles the gay backstories behind the world's most famous art.  ....
....  On the tour, guests will explore the beauty of the Sistine Chapel and the other Museums, with gay-friendly guides telling stories of Michelangelo's work and its links to the artist's sexuality.
Among the most surprising discoveries are the hidden details on the ceiling of the Chapel.  ....
....  And though a good deal of the Vatican's art has a decidedly male slant, the tour makes an effort to include lesbian and transgender perspectives, as well.  ....
.... Quiiky tours can be booked any time that the Vatican Museums are open and costs approximately £75 per person for a three-hour guided tour, including priority entrance to the Museums and Sistine Chapel and a drink afterward at a gay-friendly bar.  .... '
----  read more of Katie Amey's report for gays interested in Church history at , with thanks, at :- 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

LARRY KRAMER doco on HBO (USA) on Monday 29th ...

LARRY KRAMER: In a new HBO (USA) doc, a look at the writer-AIDS activist, warts & all
----  brief excerpts from an extended tv-program report by Curt Schlieier at JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency) USA, 23 June 2015 :-

      '(JTA) — It wasn’t so long ago that gay men were vilified by American society at large. Back in the 1980s, when the AIDS epidemic surfaced, priests railed against them, claiming the disease was God’s revenge for sinful lifestyle choices.  ....  Most Americans now support same-sex marriage and the practice is now legal in most states.
      If there is one person responsible for this shift in mindset, it’s the outspoken activist, author and playwright Larry Kramer. He is the subject of a powerful and sad new HBO documentary.
      “Larry Kramer In Love & Anger” is accurately described as a “warts and all” biography of a passionate man who because of his take-no-prisoners attitude managed to alienate almost everyone — gays and straights — on both sides of every issue on which he took a stand.  But as the film makes clear, were it not for his courage and confrontational style, many more lives would have been lost to the AIDS crisis of the ’80s.  ....
....  Filmmaker Jean Carlomusto has done a remarkable job seamlessly blending archival footage with current interviews to paint a portrait of this provocateur who would not let anyone or anything stand in his way. .... '
(“Larry Kramer In Love & Anger” premieres on HBO (USA) at 9 p.m. Monday 29th June, four days after his 80th birthday.)'
----  see more of Curt Schlieier's report at at :- 
----  see too a further review of "Larry Kramer In Love & Anger" at Jewish Journal (USA) at :-
---- and visit the program's 50-sec promo video in the sidebar, opposite.

Monday, June 22, 2015

DRAGON BLADE | Ancient Rome meets Imperial China in a movie blockbuster ...

"DRAGON BLADE": For lovers of realist ancient history, Jackie Chan leads China against a Roman enemy ...
----  No, there's no gay content in this post, but for readers who may have appreciated "The Hadrian Enigma", here is a video trailer of a forthcoming Roman Era historical blockbuster, as only China can do :-

      'At a time when mainstream (non-gay subject) movies seem to specialize in intergalactic conflict, dinosaur rampages, or surreal magical/realist fantasies delivering a high body-count, it is welcoming to discover an historical blockbuster spectacle loosely based (like George Gardiner's book The Hadrian Enigma) on a possible, even probable, real-life event.
      A massive success this year in its native China, “Dragon Blade” brings action spectacle on a grand scale to US & world audiences. Featuring an international cast led by Jackie Chan, John Cusack and Academy Award® winner Adrien Brody, the film features the fight for Central Asia's Silk Road when East and West collide.
      The promo blurb: When corrupt Roman leader Tiberius (Adrien Brody) arrives with a giant army to claim the Silk Road for Rome, Huo An (Jackie Chan) and his group of trained warriors teams up with an elite legion of defected Roman soldiers led by General Lucius (John Cusack) to maintain the delicate balance of power in the region. To protect his country and his new friends, Huo An fights Tiberius in an incredible epic battle.
       “Dragon Blade" will be released by Lionsgate Premiere in US theaters and On Demand on September 4th this year.
----  visit the spectacular 2-min trailer in the sidebar, opposite;
----  & see more about Dragon Blade at US movie-news site at :- 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

TAB HUNTER | A movie heartthrob talks ...

Tab Hunter Tells All
----  the opening pars from an extended review/interview with Hollywood actor Tab Hunter by Adam Sandel at (USA), 19 June 2015 :-

      'The great screen heartthrob of the 1950s sets the record straight by coming out as gay in Tab Hunter Confidential. The tall, strapping, blond-haired, blue-eyed Tab Hunter was Hollywood’s golden boy of the 1950s — and quite possibly the most beautiful all-American boy who ever lived.           Throughout a decade of major films (and a few decades of less than major films), Hunter was dogged by rumors of his homosexuality.
      In his 2005 autobiography Tab Hunter Confidential, the famously private star broke his public silence and revealed details of both his professional and personal life, including his love affair with actor Anthony Perkins.
      The book has been transformed into a highly entertaining, insightful documentary film directed by Jeffrey Schwarz, which will screen at San Francisco’s Frameline Film Festival this Saturday [19 June] and at L.A.’s Outfest on Hunter’s 84th birthday, July 11.
      The film paints a portrait of a sweet, kind, shy young man who grew up embarrassed by all the attention that his Adonis good looks brought him. In Hollywood he struggled to be taken seriously despite his good looks, but eventually proved himself to be a fine actor.  .... '
----  see more of Adam Sandel's extended interview with Tab Hunter at at :- 
---- and visit the trailer of Tab Hunter Confidential in the sidebar, opposite.

Friday, June 19, 2015

GAY CULTURE | Is it being absorbed & being destroyed?

Sorry, David Hockney, I'm not destroying gay culture 
----  the opening pars from a response post by Serafin Lariviere at the DailyXtra (Canada), 18 June 2015 :-

      'Artist says gay men are now boring, trying too hard to be ‘normal’.
      So David Hockney thinks I’m boring. Not only that, but the septuagenarian artist snarked that I and my LGBT parenting peers were single-handedly destroying gay culture.
     Wow. If I’d known I wielded that much power, I would have begun my campaign against men’s plaid shorty-shorts, back when they made their first unfortunate appearance at a Pride parade.
      Hockney made these hackneyed comments (see what I did there?) while bemoaning the demise of the glorious gay times: drugs, booze, sex and ciggies (he’s also a big pro-smoking advocate). He mocks me and my ilk for wanting to be normal, to be accepted, to fit in.
      Well, newsflash Hock: we gay parents don’t fit in. Not even a little.
      You know where I would fit in? On Church Street, or, really, anywhere else in the downtown Toronto area. It’s easy to be a gay man there.  ....
....  But try parking your ass at a daycare parenting meeting, where some parents (and occasionally the administration) equate male homosexuality with pedophilia, and treat you like a Weight Watchers alumni set loose at the church’s annual bake sale.  .... '
----  see more of Serafin Larivier's witty but trenchant essay at at :- 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

GAY WOMEN | Gay girls are the new black ...

GAY WOMEN | The Rise of Ruby Rose: Why Gay Girls Are The New Black
----  the opening phrases from an extended opinion-piece by Zara Barrie at Elite Daily (USA), 17 June 2015 :-

      'Holy hell, I can’t ever recall a time in the entirety of my gay existence when being a lesbian was so en vogue.
      It feels as if the very moment that the undeniably sexy creature that is Ruby Rose graced the television screens across the great expanse of our country, a generation of American women are finding themselves questioning their sexuality.
      The astounding instant stardom of Ms. Rose seems to have had a widespread ripple effect:
Lesbians are ever so suddenly splashed across the surface of the media. And I’m not talking about the gay media, but the heterosexual media.
      Seemingly overnight, American pop culture has discovered what gay women have known all along: Our community is teeming with hot sex and palpable lust.
      And not in the fake porn way, in an authentic way, the unique sex appeal that’s exclusive to sapphic ladies.  .... '
----  see more of Zara Barrie's celebratory post at http://elite at :- 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

SOUNDING GAY | Pain or pleasure?

Do I Sound Gay?
----  a new doco raises a difficult question for some; hilarity for others :-

      'After a break-up with his boyfriend, journalist David Thorpe embarks on a hilarious and touching journey of self-discovery, confronting his anxiety about "sounding gay." Enlisting acting coaches, linguists, friends, family, total strangers, and celebrities, he quickly learns that many people — both gay and straight — often wish for a different voice.
      In Thorpe's feature-length documentary debut DO I SOUND GAY?, what starts as a personal journey becomes a chance to unpack layers of cultural baggage concerning sexuality, identity, and self-esteem.
      Starring: Margaret Cho, Tim Gunn, George Takei, & Dan Savage
      Opening in select US theaters and VOD July 10th.
      See more about DO I SOUND GAY? at :-  IFC Films Official Site: 

Monday, June 15, 2015

HUMAN SEXUALITY | Some science truths for convinced ideologues ...

The Everything Guide To The Libido
---- selected opening pars from raunchy essays by Melissa Dahl & Kayleen Schaefer at the Science of Us pages at New York Magazine (USA), 10 June 2015 :-

      Oysters don't help, but monkey porn might ... and other findings from the forefront of desire research.
Nine Things We Now Know About What Turns Us On
      Human sexuality used to be perceived as a lot less fluid (and more intuitive) than we now know it to be. The more scientists learn about what turns us on — much of desire is sparked in our brains rather than our groins; aphrodisiacs can come from the most unlikely places — the less we can definitively say about it. Arousal is different for everybody, in other words, even among those who happen to be of the same gender identity or sexual orientation, and what’s true for an individual at one point in time is very likely to change as the years pass and relationships evolve (and innovations like so-called female Viagra — which this month got a big push for FDA approval — pop up).  ....
....  1. Porn isn’t going to screw up your sex drive.
You’ve likely heard that pornography can be destructive for real-life relationships. Too much porn, the thinking goes, desensitizes the viewer to erotic images and makes it more difficult to become aroused in real-life sexy situations. Some have even claimed that men who frequently watch online porn are more likely to struggle with erectile dysfunction. Earlier this year, however, a pair of studies were published that found no correlation between porn viewing and erectile dysfunction. Other research has even suggested that both men and women with a casual porn habit report having more frequent and higher-quality sex compared with people who don’t watch porn.
.... 2. Bisexual men tend to be more sexually adventurous over all than gay or straight men.
Previous research had suggested that bisexual men’s bodies respond more strongly to erotic images of men than to those of women, a finding that contributed to the (unfair and outdated) skepticism over whether bisexuality is a distinct sexual orientation. But a 2013 study highlighted a key characteristic that may explain why some bi men get turned on by women and some don’t: sexual adventurousness. Bisexual guys who are drawn equally to men and women tend to score higher in sexual curiosity — in other words, they show more interest in a wider range of sexual acts.  .... '
----  see more of these two fascinating views of the human libido by Melissa Dahl & Kayleen Schaefer at at :- 

Friday, June 12, 2015

GAY PRIDE | TEL AVIV (Israel) 7-14 June 2015 ...

Over 100,000 at Tel Aviv Gay Pride Parade, Regions Biggest
----  brief excerpts from an Associated Press (AP) news report by Ian Deitch published at ABC NEWS (USA), 12 June 2015 :-

      'Thousands of bare-chested muscular men, drag queens in heavy makeup and high heels, women in colorful balloon costumes and others partied at Tel Aviv's annual gay pride parade on Friday, the largest event of its kind in the region.
      Well over 100,000 people were participating in the parade, police said, while Israeli media put the number at 180,000. The event also drew thousands of people from around the world.  ....
....  Israel has emerged as one of the world's most gay-friendly travel destinations in recent years, in sharp contrast to the rest of the Middle East where gay culture is not tolerated and gays are persecuted and even killed.  .... '
----  see more of Ian Deitch's AP report at at :-

Thursday, June 11, 2015

WELLS FARGO attracts protest ...

A sweet Wells Fargo ad incites a Christian protest

      The descriptive blurb of the video at the YouTube site says : "A couple learns a new language to welcome a new addition to their family. See how Wells Fargo is always there to help you prepare financially for life’s biggest moments."
      However, according to a press report, the President of Christian charity Samaritan’s Purse plans to boycott Wells Fargo, over this advert featuring same-sex parents.
      Franklin Graham, the son of Christian evangelist Billy Graham, was upset about the tear-jerking ad released earlier this year by the bank, which features two women learning sign language.
      It’s not initially clear why the pair are putting effort into learning to sign – until they are later revealed to have been been preparing to adopt a young deaf girl.
      Go figure Graham's response. But see the ad for yourself in the sidebar at right.
----  see too a further comment about this Wells Fargo initiative at the San Francisco Business Times (USA) at :-

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

GAY PORN | The world's earliest?

World's oldest porn is 'bisexual' 
----  to celebrate Pride Week: brief pars from an extended essay (with numerous forward links) surveying the colorful history of gay sexuality, by Joe Morgan at Gay Star News (UK) :-

      'In rock carvings dating back at least 3,000 years [see side column here] , it shows straight men, women, and 'bisexuals' in the first recorded images of human sexuality.
      One of the world’s earliest carvings conveying human sexuality shows bisexuality was normal, even over 3,000 years ago. The Kangjiashimenji Petroglyphs, rock carvings found in a remote region in northwest China, show a fertility ritual.
      Archaeologist Wang Binghua discovered the symbols in the late 1980s, but little has been written about them. In a new report from Mary Mycio, the carvings show 100 figures which abstractly depicts different ways of expressing sexuality.
      While carvings have been found dating back over 20,000 years, these petroglyphs are probably the most explicit and intricate. ....
---- see more about these very ancient Petroglyphs (stone carvings) at :- 
----  and visit a richly-detailed further account of gay-sexuality facts since ancient times (with many supporting forward links) at :- 
You are likely to be surprised at the extent of the resources available to the history of gay relationships & activities across many cultures & historical eras.

TONY AWARDS | A US impact report ...

The 5 most talked about moments from last night's Tony Awards (USA)
----  brief excerpts from a substantial social media impact report with videos by Jethro Nededog at Business Insider (Aust), 8 June 2015 :-

      'The 2015 Tony Awards took place Sunday night at Radio City Music Hall in New York.  ....
....  At the young age of 11 years old, Sydney Lucas from “Fun Home” generated 3,213 tweets with her touching performance, despite losing in her category. And 82-year-old Chita Rivera also went home empty handed, but was mentioned in 1,773 around her performance from “The Visit.” There was also 1,692 Tweets around Bradley Cooper who lost for “The Elephant Man.” Although he didn’t perform, the movie star has name recognition and some wondered if he had been snubbed.  .... '
----  see more of Jethro Nededog's report on The Tony's at at :- 
----  & check the YouTube video in the sidebar of The Tony Award''s opening duet with key US stage & screen-artist hosts Kristin Chenoweth & Alan Comming.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

GAY PRIDE | A little clarifying theology from a US Episcopal priest ...

God, Jesus, and the Bible: FAQs for Gay Pride Month
----  a selected par & the first two topics of an extended post of ten clarifying FAQs by Rev. Susan Russell (Episcopal priest, Pasadena USA) at the Huffington Post (USA), 5 June 2015 :-

      '  ....  So here's the 2015 version of my Top Ten FAQs about God, Jesus, the Bible and LGBT People -- offered in hope that together we truly can be the change we want to see in the world and offered in rebuttal to the rabid rhetoric of the anti-gay religious right that infuses our public discourse and infects our political process. Those who use God, Jesus and the Bible as weapons of mass discrimination do not speak for me. And they do not speak for my church.
1. Is being gay a sin?
No. Sins are acts that separate us from God and keep us from loving our neighbors as ourselves. Being gay is not a sin. Bullying is a sin. Being hateful to other people is a sin. Putting yourself in the place of God to judge others is a sin. Being gay is not.
2. What did Jesus say about gay people?
Jesus said the same thing about gay people that he said about all people: God loves you beyond your wildest imagining and calls you to walk in love with God and with each other. He also said a whole lot about welcoming the stranger, embracing the outcast, ministering to the marginalized and loving - not judging - your neighbor.  .... '
----  see the remaining essay & its eight query topics of Rev. Susan Russell's challenging perspective on key questions at at (with many thanks) :- 

Saturday, June 6, 2015

AMERICA CHANGES | A cultural revolution ...

How a massive, silent cultural revolution has changed America
----  brief excerpts from a perceptive opinion-piece by Kyle Smith at the New York Post (USA), 6 June 2015 :-

      'It happened without a Summer of Love, without Timothy Leary, without a groovy anthem or a shaggy new national look. In the past decade or so, there’s been a silent revolution in American culture, one at least as profound as the ’60s upheavals.  ....
....  Compared to just a few years ago, we have a completely different set of ideas about what constitutes acceptable behavior.  ....
.... Consider America circa 2002: Not that different from today, seemingly. A time traveler who spent a few hours walking around your town then and now might have a difficult time filling a small notebook with observations about what’s changed. Maybe there are more Starbuckses. And what happened to Blockbuster Video?
      Yet support for gay marriages to be treated the same as straight ones went from 39% just nine years ago to 60% today, according to Gallup. As recently as 2010, a clear majority opposed gay marriage. Today, a large majority support it.
      As for the broader issue of whether gay and lesbian relationships are even morally acceptable, only 40% said yes in 2001. Today that number stands at 63%.  .... '
----  see more of Kyle Smith's revealing view at at :- 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

GAY COMICS | 13 transformative works ...

13 Great LGBTQ Comics
----  excerpts from a wide selection of mixed-style gay comics reviewed by Matt White at Publishers Weekly (USA), 3rd June 2015 :-

      'There's a long history of LGBTQ themes in comics, dating back to the underground comix movement in the late 1960s and early '70s. Those initial works, created outside of the mainstream public eye, were subversive and liberal in their portrayal about homosexual life in an era when it was largely misunderstood and demonized. Recently, works that tackle such issues have been increasingly common and lauded for treatment and showcasing of gay and transgender lifestyles. Here are 13 such comics that render the modern LGBTQ experience.
No Straight Lines : Four Decades of  Queer Comics (Edited by Justin Hall)
Hall plumbs the queer comics scene, which existed alongside mainstream comics since the '70s, for an anthology that offers a wide array of stories about LGBT lifestyles in a variety of formats and tones. The comics are arranged mostly by chronological order to let the reader witness society’s shifting view of the LGBT community through the assembled works.  .... '

----  see Matt White's review of this and twelve other current LGBTQ comics across a wide range of genres at at :- 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015


PEW: LGB Americans much less religious than heterosexuals
----  brief excerpts from an extended essay by political scientist Jon Green at America blog (USA), 29 May 2015 :-

      'On Tuesday, Pew released data showing that lesbian, gay and bisexual Americans are nearly twice as likely as heterosexual citizens to identify as religiously unaffiliated, and more than twice as likely to identify as atheist or agnostic.
      While a majority of the LGB community remained affiliated with a religious faith, the majority was a narrow 59-41 split unaffiliated. For heterosexual Americans, the breakdown was 78-22 affiliated/unaffiliated. 72% of heterosexuals identified as Christian, compared to just 48% of LGB Americans.  ....
....  Despite the fact that the Bible as it was originally written was likely far less fire-and-brimstone about homosexuality than religious conservatives interpret it to be today, the history of religion in the modern era has been marked by persecution and hatred towards those who did not conform to heterosexual norms. LGB Americans are consistently told by religious conservatives of all major faiths — with the Jewish community being only a partial exception — that they are living in sin, condemned both for who they love and for who they are.  .... '
----  see more of Jon Green's challenging & informative article at at :- 


Could This Be The Year Of The Lesbian At The Oscars?
---- a speculative report by Bent at Bent/Indiewire (USA), 25 May 2015 :-

      'Indiewire just updated their (very early) Oscar predictions for this year, and they reflect the very real possibility that a whopping half of this year's female acting nominations could go to portrayals of gay women. Lesbians have represented at the Oscars before. Charlize Theron won for playing one. Nicole Kidman sort of did. Annette Bening almost did. But 5 of 10 nominees? That would be wild, as would the possibility that openly gay Lily Tomlin could get a nomination for playing someone openly gay.
      A lesbian actress has never been nominated for playing a lesbian character, and only 6 women in total -- Kidman ("The Hours"), Bening ("The Kids Are All Right"), Theron ("Monster"), Julianne Moore ("The Hours"), Judi Dench ("Notes on a Scandal") and the pioneer, Cher ("Silkwood") -- have ever been nominated for playing a lesbian.
      Tomlin would become only the second gay person to be nominated for playing a gay person (Ian McKellen is currently the only other example).
      Tomlin would get that nomination for Paul Weitz's "Grandma," where she plays a lesbian poet who goes on a roadtrip with her granddaughter after she breaks up with her longterm partner. Its Tomlin's first lead role in a film in over 27 years, and she's incredible in it. Sony Pictures Classics is surely going to rev up a campaign for her come fall, in hopes of giving 75 year old Tomlin her first Oscar nomination since 1975, when she was nominated for "Nashville."  .... '
----  see more of this extended assessment of the place of lesbian themes in the Oscars in 2016 at at :- 

Monday, June 1, 2015

HIV STUDY STOPPED | Good news ...

New HIV Study Was So Dramatic It Had To Be Stopped Early
----  and now for something encouraging for many people : excerpts from a medical report by Tara Culp-Ressler at Think Progress (USA), 28 May 2015 :-

      ' A major international clinical trial funded by the National Institutes for Health (NIH) has been cut short a year early, now that researchers have documented such compelling results about the right way to deliver HIV treatment.
      The Strategic Timing of AntiRetroviral Treatment (START) study, which has been tracking more than 4,600 HIV-positive people in dozens of countries since 2011, aimed to figure out when patients should begin taking a combination of drugs that can effectively suppress the virus. ....
....  The clinical trial, which was initially scheduled to conclude at the end of 2016, randomly assigned participants to early and later treatment groups. But it became clear that the first group was delivering dramatically better results. Among the HIV-positive people who received early treatment, the risk of dying or developing a serious illness was reduced by 53 percent. .... '
----  see more of this substantial report from Tara Culp-Ressler at at :-

RANNALS ON CAULFIELD | Yes, It Gets Better ...

Maxwell Caulfield Helped Andrew Rannals Realize He's Gay
----  excerpts from a revealing post & YouTube video by Andrew Rannals at Queerty online magazine (USA), 29 May 2015 :-

      'Actor Maxwell Caulfield’s legacy just keeps getting richer. When the ridiculously handsome British actor starred in the 1982 cult musical Grease 2 as the love interest of Michelle Pfeiffer, he did more that just win her character’s heart by the end of the film. He also ignited a fire in the loins of a multitude of gay males of all ages, including a very young Andrew Rannells.
      In a video for the It Gets Better series, Rannells, who stars in HBO’s zeitgeist-y comedy Girls and won a Tony Award nod for his work in Broadway’s clever The Book of Mormon, chats about his how his childhood passion for Caulfield helped him realize he’s gay.
      “It was just a very basic childlike attraction to certain people,” Rannells recalls now.  .... '
----  see more of Andrew's personal revelation in the YouTube video (right column), or check out the Caulfield reminiscence in text & video in the body of the Queerty story, here :- 

Saturday, May 30, 2015

GAY HISTORY | A landmark event becomes New York's first gay Landmark ...

Stonewall Inn (New York City) to be named historical landmark
----  excerpts from a news post by James Withers at Gay Star News (USA), 30 May 2015 :-

      'Next week, the Stonewall Inn begins the process of being New York City's first overtly LGBTI historical landmark. According to the New York Times, on Tuesday (2 June) the city Landmark Preservation Commission will vote to add the building to its calendar.   ....
....  The establishment is located on Christopher Street, in the Greenwich Village neighborhood. ....
....  The Stonewall Inn is seen as the epicenter of the modern LGBT rights movement. In 1969 June, the Mafia run bar was raided by city police.
      Tired of constant harassment, such raids were common, patrons fought against the officers causing riots and marches that lasted days.
      A year later the first pride parade, sponsored by the Christopher Street Liberation Day Committee,  was held.
----  see the entire post by James Withers at at :- 

Friday, May 29, 2015

LGBT BOOKS | On entering the mainstream now ...

The Category of LGBT Books In An Age Of Political Progress: Time To Shelve?
----  the opening pars from an essay by Jill Kaufman at New England Public Radio (USA), 28 May 2015 :-

      'Winners of The 27th LAMBDA Literary Awards will be announced Monday in New York City. The night is a celebration of the best lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender books of the year. It is a gala that some authors say rivals the Oscars. John Waters and Gloria Steinem will be there.
      And they’re in good company with two western Mass., authors whose books are nominated: M.B. Caschetta’s book Miracle Girls is nominated for Lesbian Fiction, and Judith Frank’s  All I Love And Know, landed in the category of Gay Male books. 
      They’re up against notable writers, straight and gay. And their books feature straight and gay characters. So why identify them as LGBT fiction?
      “We keep the category to celebrate ourselves and to pay tribute to our long and rich history,” Caschetta says. But she adds authors also hope “that the category goes away in the minds of a wider readership.”
      “It’s all in the marketing.”  .... '
----  see the remainder of Jill Kaufman's report at at :- 

Monday, May 25, 2015

MARY RENAULT & the 'hardcore sensuality of the ancient world" ...

Mary Renault's hardcore classicism
----  brief excerpts from a literary appreciation by British historian Bettany Hughes at The Telegraph (UK), 25 May 2015. The classical fiction of Mary Renault opened Bettany Hughes’s eyes to the hardcore, drug-saturated sensuality of the ancient world :-

      'Renault’s novels are 'a kind of dance with antiquity’. As a teenager, on bone-chilling English beaches, I had a guilty pleasure. Wrapped in towels and sheltering behind wind-worn breakwaters, I smuggled on to the shingle something that would transport me elsewhere, where I would be warmed by a breeze, rushed upon by monsters and demons, protected by flawed boy-kings and kohl-eyed high priestesses.
      The potent object was a book by one Eileen Mary Challans, nom de plume Mary Renault. ....  With the hubris of youth I thought all this hot joy was my own, unaware that, in fact, across the world, others were similarly enchanted. A global bestseller by 1970, with eight Greek-themed historical novels and six contemporary ones, Renault has been praised by Hilary Mantel as “a shining light”. Simon Russell Beale recalls being “bewitched” by his first Renault experience. Sarah Waters judges her 1972 novel The Persian Boy to be “one of the greatest historical novels ever written”.
      Eileen Mary Challans was born in 1905, the first, big-boned child of unhappy parents in a privet-proud east London suburb. ....  her nursing profession also offered Renault a lifelong love: Julie Mullard, the woman with whom she would move to South Africa in 1949 and live in a “partyish” beach house called Delos until she died.
      That love – or rather, the possibility of homo-eroticism and of simply being different – is a pulsing bass note for Renault’s novels. It’s arguably best expressed in the historical series: two Theseus novels, four inspired by Alexander the Great, two based in fifth-century Greece and one in the fourth, which she started to write when just shy of 50. Her quiet bravery in making same-sex love a charismatic theme is bold and dignified. For millions, including my juvenile self, Renault enlivened other ways of being.  .... '
----  see more of Bettany Hughes' biographical article about 'Mary Renault' at :- 
----  Similar to others mentioned in Bettany's essay, your host George Gardiner recalls on his first visit to Athens at the age of 23 visiting all the major historical sites & museums accompanied by a paperback copy of Renault's "The Last of the Wine" stuffed under one arm to give added flavor to the excursion. I cannot claim to have read all of Renault's many works, but I have certainly consumed the major homo-erotic themed works. In fact my own humble 'The Hadrian Enigma' has a dedication-page devoting the work to "M. R." due to Ms. Renault's powerful literary influence.

ZAC EFRON fronts a forthcoming film about ambition ...

"WE ARE YOUR FRIENDS" explores a challenging view of a wannabe's life ambitions
---- tho' not overtly gay, this new Zac Efron movie set among today's competitive young-adult lifestyles is likely to interest people familiar with its lead character's milieu ...

      'From Warner Bros. Pictures and Studiocanal comes the romantic drama “We Are Your Friends.”
       The film marks Max Joseph’s (MTV’s “Catfish: The TV Show”) feature film directorial debut, and stars Zac Efron (“Neighbors”), Emily Ratajkowski (upcoming “Entourage,” “Gone Girl”) and Wes Bentley (“Interstellar,” “The Hunger Games”).
      Unlike other recent Zac Efron movies showing a whimsical style, “We Are Your Friends” is about what it takes to 'find your voice'. Set in the world of electronic music and Hollywood nightlife, an aspiring 23-year-old DJ named Cole (Zac Efron) spends his days scheming with his childhood friends and his nights working on the one track that will set the world on fire. All of this changes when he meets a charismatic but damaged older DJ named James (Wes Bentley), who takes him under his wing.   .... '
----  Check the film's 3-min trailer in the sidebar, set for US & global release on August 28, 2015,'

Saturday, May 23, 2015


Ireland overwhelmingly says YES
----  the opening pars from a news report at The Independent (Eire), 23 May 2015 :-

      'Following a historic referendum, Ireland has become the first country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage by popular vote. The official result for the marriage equality referendum was declared at Dublin Castle shortly before 7pm this evening, with the final tally ending up 62.1 pc Yes against 37.9 pc No.
      In total, almost two million people voted.
      The number of Yes votes cast was 1,201,607, with 734,300 No.
      Some 13,818 votes were marked as invalid and so were not counted towards the final result.
      Over all, the Yes vote secured a 467,307 majority.
      Large crowds have gathered at Dublin Castle to celebrate the resounding Yes.  .... '
----  see more of The Independent's report at at :-

Thursday, May 21, 2015

GAY CULTURE | Its less-lovable features ...

Why I Reject Popular Gay Culture (or: What To Know Before Setting Me Up With Your Other Gay Friend)
----  & now folks, for something completely different :-  the opening pars from an extended but hilariously whimsical post by Stephen Milioti at CJAS (The Columbia Journal of American Studies) USA - (date unknown, but it doesn't matter anyway does it?) Mr. Milioti reflects :-

      'There is a problem with being-gay-and-dating when most of my friends are straight. More than a few of those friends—thinking that I am a “catch” so why am I single?—have attempted to set me up with what I have termed their OGF, their "Other Gay Friend."
      The supposed point of connection would be laughable, if it weren't so often assumed: Their OGF is gay; I am gay. Proving what, exactly, I don't know. Because we both pleasured ourselves under a woolly blanket while lounging in our respective family rooms as pre-teens watching Tom Selleck on Magnum P.I. doesn't mean we're a match.
      It's easy for me to tell when people are setting me up with an OGF, rather than with their CGF (coolest gay friend), HGF (hottest), or SGF (smartest). The latter three groups are described specifically: “He has strong cheekbones and jet-black hair;” “He has won awards for inventing ecologically-sound water bottles made from plastic alternatives;” “He wears vintage Rolexes and can also discuss comparative religions”—and so forth. But the description of one's OGF is always vague:       “He's very nice”—“He's sweet”—“He's a good guy”—anything that can be used to describe a soggy puppy or a scented candle.  .... '
----  see more of Stephen Milioti's acerbic but hilarious reflection on the mores of our times at at :- 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


First Clips from Cate Blanchett/Rooney Mara Lesbian/Bi-Themed "CAROL"
----  a brief post by Tracy E. Gilchrist at (USA), 14 May 2015 :-

      'Saying so much with so little. We've been going on and on about the big-screen adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's 1952 lesbian potboiler The Price of Salt for the better part of two years now, and this week it premieres at Cannes!
      Along with that debut come the first clips of the film starring Cate Blanchett as a socialite Carol (also the name of the film) who falls for a younger shop girl (Rooney Mara). The clips don't give much a way in terms of plot, but as with his nuanced Far From Heaven, Haynes with his camera work and the two stars with a coy glance or the twitch of a lip, say so much in a time when the subject of two women together was an ultimate taboo.
      What we do gather from the clips that much of the sexual tension derives from the act of looking. It's just all too good!'
----  see more of Tracy E. Gilchrist's post with its video clips from 'CAROL' at at :-
----  and/or check the "CAROL" trailer itself in the parallel sidebar, opposite.

Friday, May 1, 2015


Way Older Than Cell Phones: Expert Witness Revealed Same-Sex Unions Have Existed For Millenia
----  brief excerpts from a press release issued by the Human Rights Campaign (USA), 30 April 2015 :-

      'WASHINGTON – Two days after the Supreme Court of the United States heard oral arguments in the marriage equality case Obergefell v. Hodges, the Human Rights Campaign joined with the legal team from Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher that challenged California’s ban on marriage equality to highlight key testimony from Hollingsworth v. Perry which shows that marriage between same-sex couples has a lengthy history, stretching back thousands of years.
      “The fact that gays and lesbians form loving, committed, and stable relationships is not new,” said Ted Boutrous, partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher who played a critical role in the Prop 8 case.         “During the Prop. 8 trial we introduced into evidence testimony from the proponents’ own experts recognizing that same-sex marriages have existed for centuries.  A decision affirming for all the freedom to marry both dignifies gay and lesbian couples and honors the history of marriage.” ....
.... In her testimony, however [Katherine Young, a professor of religious studies at McGill University, an expert witness] Professor Young detailed the history of marriage equality, saying that India, China, parts of North America and Ancient Rome all had forms of same-sex marriage. “There are many other examples of same-sex relationships,” she testified.  .... '
----  see more of this report at at :- 

Now COOL GAY STUFF shifts to mixed miscellany in both columns ...

... the pages below in this column offer trailers of recent gay-interest movies likely to be available on dvd etc, plus independent reviews of THE HADRIAN ENIGMA ...

... then follows copyright details & a bibliography of academic literature consulted as research for writing THE HADRIAN ENIGMA.

The pages in the side-column offer miscellaneous gay or m/m related links, videos, & sources. Have fun, folks ...



.... twenty-five new movie trailers from international sources (below), updated regularly ...


"THOSE PEOPLE" | Innercity gay life shows its face ...

BISEXUAL WOMEN | How to be oneself? ...


BEST GAY MOVIES FOR 2014 | The winner is ...

How bad hair days can signify something important ...


GAY LIFE in Switzerland in the '50's ...

NEW GAY CINEMA | Indie eroticism ...

GAY-THEMED MOVIE with two major artists ...

"FUTURO BEACH" trailer (Portugese language) ...




COOL GAY MOVIE | "BOYS" (Netherlands 2014) ...


COOL GAY MOVIE | "IN BLOOM" now on dvd ...

NEW GAY MOVIE | "Burning Blue" (USA)...

Don't Ask, Don't Tell is recalled ...

BURNING BLUE is a romantic drama which tells the story of two Navy fighter pilots who fall in love while living under the US Military Services' former "Don’t Ask Don’t Tell" policy.


Gay comedy "LOVE OR WHATEVER" arrives on video in May ...

COOL GAY MOVIE for 2014 ...

GAY MOVIE about high school love ...





Published on YouTube 16 July, 2013 :
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:


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.

(See more at :-

THE HADRIAN ENIGMA - an unedited review by historical novelist NAN HAWTHORNE ...

Gaius Suetonius, a bit of a muckraking biographer, tells this story about an investigation into the sudden and unexplainable death of the youth, Antinous, by apparent drowning in the Nile during an annual festival of the death and resurrection of the god Osiris. The small group of investigators commissioned by Caesar Hadrian has two days to learn how he came to be found in the river dead. The path to this knowledge is difficult, involved, often contradictory and definitely dangerous as the investigators follow leads full of red herrings and mislaid people and things. At the heart of what they learn is how the boy came to be the eromenus to Hadrian’s erastes, a relationship between a mature man and a young one entering his career that was at least mentor-mentee and likely erotic. It seems that Hadrian was looking for such a companion and found it in Antinous, but from there the enigma stretches. A Roman man was not supposed to engage in an equal love relationship but only dominate the eromenus, but from the start the two men’s relationship was much more, and this fact if revealed could damage the Empire.

If you are expecting a nice neat Hercule Poirot detective story, let that go. This murder investigation, if that is the crime that took place, is far more challenging for both the investigators and the book’s readers. The solution does not even come to light until almost too late, during the investigation report. Rather than being a spoiler, I offer you the foreknowledge of a much more skillful mental workout. Perhaps the greater mystery is why the emperor asked Suetonius to lead the inquiries, as the latter is known for leaving no salacious stone unturned in his research and writing. Does Hadrian really want to know what happened to his lover? Does he really want everyone to see the seamy side of his court?

The structure of the novel is a series of interviews with witnesses and suspects about the days before and immediately after the young man’s death. In seeking background about Antinous, Suetonius and his fellows explore his life and relationships before becoming Hadrian’s companion. The individuals who supply this intelligence come at it from a number of quite different perspectives, with enough gaps between them to offer ambiguity. You will find yourself guessing “whodunit” and changing your mind several times as you follow the investigation and meet other players in the story.

I found that starting at the point of the lovers’ first night together I began to feel a sense of the tragic nature of their erastes-eromenus compact. It is understood that it cannot last more than a few years, but since in this case love enters the equation, the tragic nature of Antinous’s life starts to permeate all succeeding events. I found this quite moving and that it added a layer of anxiety as I read. As mentioned above, this is a novel about the nature of love. One aspect of gay male romance is constant threat to happiness and fulfillment, but this is far from just being a gay romance. The central characters are both men, but loves of other kinds make their mark throughout. There is family, marital friendship and sexual love, and the tension comes when the masculinist nature of Roman culture interferes and invalidates it. The subtext, as the author told me, is the same as we face now, when romantic relationships are more broadly defined but still not part of the heart of our societies.

One aspect of this novel I found pleasing was the mix of archaic and modern terms. Readers sometimes balk at modern slang, but when the very essence of a novel is that everything in it is an implicit translation, it is absurd to say that there would not have been a slang counterpart in the ancient language. Further, Gardiner confines his slang to the appropriate witnesses, those who would have used slang. That the words eromenus and boy-toy are in the same paragraph made perfect sense to me.
This novel will stick with readers for some time, its many subtle undertones drifting up and down in contemplation. It is also simply a good mystery novel. You will feel engaged and challenged and you will find you had encountered every little detail at some point in the book. No surprises, that is, if you were paying attention.

---- see more of Nan Hawthorne's work at her blog at :-

Nan Hawthorne, Historical Novelist

THE HADRIAN ENIGMA | A review by historical fiction author J.R. Tomlin ...

An excerpt from a review of August 15, 2011

" .... 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 :


Hooray for Hadrian (and for George Gardiner) !, August 31, 2010

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 :-


Aleksandr Voinov of Speak Its Name reviews my novel ...

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 ...

Thanks you for visiting my site, even though it's about far more than m/m romance or gay entertainment, isn't it?

Thanks too to those whose texts or visuals have been studied, reviewed, & promoted in the posts. Their item & its link to the originating source remains in the line-up for about four weeks. Comments should be posted at the originating sites. They deserve your feedback.

New entries are posted almost daily. Please come back soon. Immediately below this bye-bye lies the bibliography consulted to research THE HADRIAN ENIGMA, its times, & historical personalities.