Interview

David Mixner's "Brave Journeys"

By Tim Miller

Just in time for the 2000 election season, David Mixner, once called by Newsweek "the most powerful gay man in America", has offered us an astonishing new book "BRAVE JOURNEYS: Profiles in Lesbian and Gay Courage". These inspiring life narratives written by Mixner (with collaborator Dennis Bailey) provide a bracing challenge to lesbian and gay citizens as we face our political reality in the new millennium.

JT Leroy delivers stunning debut with "Sarah"

By Jeff Walsh

In his first book, "Sarah," JT Leroy paints a wild vision of life using lyrical prose, fascinating folklore, and unusual characters. The book details the life of a lot lizard, which is the local term for truck stop prostitutes in this West Virginia-based story. From the moment you start reading the book, you are immediately swept away into this other world of prostitution, miracles, drugs, raccoon penis bones, and longing.

Mike James – Doing Things His Way

By Troy N. Diggs
Oasis Staff Writer

Out blues/funk/alternative artist Mike James may not have the star power of, say, the Backstreet Boys, N*Sync, or Britney Spears… but unlike many of the commercially made pop artists flooding the airwaves today, James' music comes from the soul.

"I’m hoping that people can appreciate a youngster that actually has some substance, as opposed to a youngster who’s just a hooker," he jokes. "There’s a lot of stuff out there that’s just there to sell records to 11-year old girls." James' background is, ironically enough, based in what he describes as the "Manhattan modeling scene"; the well-groomed, pre-fab, ready-made pop icons. "They wanted really different things for me. They wanted for me to be very rustic and outdoorsy, and very boy next door… and that’s not me. I’m just going to do my thing, and I don’t want to do pop commercials or go on TV pushing Jell-O. I went home, gained a lot of weight, took some time for myself, and started writing music, and playing out of coffeeshops and colleges. I was doing a whole different thing."

David Drake offers up hope through a 'Kiss' with his new movie

By Jeff Walsh

When I was first trying to come out, the images of ACT-UP scared the hell out of me. Angry gay men in New York City were not the warm embrace I needed to bring me out of the closet. Once I was out, though, I wanted to learn everything about what had happened, so I turned to other journalists. My heroes as I exited the closet were Larry Kramer and Michelangelo Signorile, who both wrote for The Advocate at the time. I spoke with Signorile several times on the phone when I first came out, usually dreaming up some dumb journalistic reason to justify the call (since I was a newspaper reporter at the time). And the first specifically gay play I saw was when Larry Kramer's "The Destiny of Me" opened in the Village, and I dragged my straight friend, John, to see it. It was the sequel to Kramer's "The Normal Heart," which was about the early days of the AIDS Epidemic in the gay community.

FAME, FORTUNE AND FLO

William Mann's New Novel Looks at Hollywood, Then and Now, With the Woman Who Started the Whole Crazy Ride

by Tim Miller

For many months in 1997, William J. Mann's debut novel, The Men From the Boys, topped the gay best-seller lists. Inspiring legions of readers who had felt "left out" of gay lit-gay men of that sandwich generation between the Boom and the X, struggling with the promise gay liberation was supposed to bring-the novel painted an engaging, sexy slice of gay life at the end of the last millennium. It was a world familiar to many but one that had not often been chronicled: the world of open relationships, longterm commitments, circuit parties, tricking, safe-sex negotiations and the evolution of relationships-in an era both beautiful and fleeting, before the Rise of Protease. That was the key to the book's success: documenting a world of a particular time and place.

Edgy queer comic brings his unique voice to his debut novel

By Jeff Walsh

The first time I saw Scott Capurro perform was at a comedy club in San Francisco. The comedy club is located near the touristy Fisherman's Wharf area of town, and Capurro was pushing the queer edge with the visiting tourists. His material was not toned down for the predominately straight crowd in attendance, which most gay comics do. He was going full-tilt, bringing out an equal amount of uncomfortable laughter and belly laughs.

Bruce LaBruce: Reluctant Pornographer or Cinematic Idiot Savant ?

By Simon Thibault

Read the author's personal introduction to the interview

Many of you probably don't know who Bruce LaBruce is. I think it's about time that changed. He is an author, a gonzo journalist (probably the best one since the term was coined and tossed away by Hunter S. Thompson), photographer for porno mags (namely Honcho and Inches) but he is know mostly for his independent and controversial films. Strike that. Most of all, Bruce LaBruce is known for who he is and what all of that entails.

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My introduction to Bruce LaBruce

By Simon Thibault

I first heard of Bruce LaBruce when I was still in High School. I was leafing through some gay rag and out of the blue was a picture of my then object-of-idolatry: Sandra Bernhard. Drooling, I scanned the page for information about her. Her film "Without you I'm nothing" was on the film festival circuit. Meriting a larger part of the page was a film still of a young man in glasses gazing adoringly at another. The caption read "blah blah blah Bruce LaBruce's Super 8 1Ú2." I read the article, and my interest was piqued. Mildly. Like cheap salsa.

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Gay youth concept album comes from a forbidden planet

By Jeff Walsh

Songs about gay youth are nothing new. Many bands have analyzed the confusions, joys and sorrows of growing up gay. "Deep Water" by Pansy Division has always been a personal favorite of mine in this sub-genre.

But with its new album Queen City, Invaders From Another Planet have taken this category to a whole new level by releasing an entire concept album about gay youth.

Queer History from the Days When Romeo was a Woman

Tim Miller Interviews Lisa Merrill, author of When Romeo Was a Woman

She was as famous as Madonna, as talented as Sir Laurence Olivier and as much a Sapphic heartthrob as Jodie Foster! I am talking about none other than Charlotte Cushman, the renowned 19th Century lesbian actress who wowed the world with her brilliant performances of male roles in Shakespeare. Lisa Merrill recounts this extraordinary story in When Romeo Was a Woman (University of Michigan Press, 1999), her engaging and consistently enjoyable biography of Cushman and the pivotal role she played in the development of lesbian cultural identity..

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Garrin Benfield's debut album, "a dream" worth remembering

By Jeff Walsh

On a random night out in San Francisco a few months back, the bill featured an unannounced addition. Garrin Benfield, a cute, waifish guitar player, took to the stage to play some of his original folk-tinged music. Benfield's music immediately resonated with me and I was glad to be able to buy one of the ten demo CDs he had brought with him that night.

Bob Smith's latest book delivers poignancy peppered with punchlines

By Jeff Walsh

When we last left Bob Smith, he had just published his first book, Openly Bob. During that interview in 1997 and in the book, Smith detailed his ten-year relationship with Tom. Reading Smith's new book, "Way To Go, Smith!" immediately lets us know we're in for a different ride, as the first essay details his breakup. As usual, Smith's comic Godsend of a mother helps him through the experience.

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They're chicks with schticks, The Kinsey Sicks!

If you buy only one CD this year of a capella singing drag queens, "Boyz 2 Girlz" should be the one

By Jeff Walsh

Singing drag queens.

I understand the feelings and emotions those three words evoke, because I've been there, too. I've seen the drag queen who tried too hard, the diva who needed too much attention from the audience and the most God-awful things lip-synching men in dresses can do.

Savage Dad

If you think becoming a father will soften sex advice columnist Dan Savage's views on the world, or his willingness to say whatever's on his mind, think again

By Jeff Walsh

You may know Dan Savage from his syndicate sex advice column "Savage Love," where readers up until recently addressed him as "HEY FAGGOT." He is also a columnist for Out magazine, providing one of the few bright spots in their awful redesign. But in his new book, "The Kid: What Happened After My Boyfriend And I Decided To Go Get Pregnant," Savage details the path he and his boyfriend took to adopt a child. But the book lives up to his catty reputation, and Savage's biting satire and wry observations pepper the entire process. For example, Savage said he is "surprised that it's not in parenting sections of bookstores, but in the cocksucking section."

A very unique puppet show emerges with a queer Twist

By Jeff Walsh

When you think of puppets, images of Kermit the Frog and Howdy Doody spring to mind, but Basil Twist is leading a new wave of puppeteers changing the way people think of the art form.

Twist, 30, is the creator of Symphonie Fantastique, an abstract underwater puppet show which just closed its run in San Francisco, although its original production is still running off-Broadway. Twist's creation takes place in a 1,000 gallon custom-built aquarium and lasts shortly over an hour. He and four other puppeteers visually interpret Hector Berlioz's symphony of the same name, which was inspired by his love for a woman named Harriet.

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Gooch delivers path to "Finding The Boyfriend Within"

By Jeff Walsh

Let's face it. We all know people who define themselves by their relationships. One moment they are joyful, love-struck and married, and the next moment worthless, single and bitter. They represent the extremes, but to some degree we all do this.

Brad Gooch, the successful (not to mention attractive) writer of books such as The Golden Age of Promiscuity and the biography of poet Frank O'Hara, was at a party at a friend's house in New York, and ran into an agent from Los Angeles and the agent's boyfriend.

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Larry Kramer 'just says no' to being angry anymore

By Jeff Walsh

Larry Kramer has been a lightning rod for controversy since his fist novel Faggots blazed into bookstores and parodied the way gay men were living their lives. The novel ended up being far too prescient, and a few years after its release the AIDS crisis would begin.

The crisis changed Larry Kramer's main role from writer to activist. He founded the Gay Men's Health Crisis, the first agency to help gay men deal with the AIDS crisis in its infancy, and also founded The AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (better known as ACT UP), which would become the height of gay activism in the 1980s, with its theatrical demonstrations underscoring the plight of a dying community.

Harris' books and life focus on one thing: good character

By Jeff Walsh

Great writers spoil readers, because they raise your expectations for all other books. When I read "The Front Runner" by Patricia Nell Warren and "A Man in Full" by Tom Wolfe over the past year, I was immediately pulled in by how well these writers knew their characters -- the spare details brilliantly illuminating and exposing each character without running down their descriptions like a personal ad. Once you start getting hooked on writers who wear their characters like a second skin, it's hard to go back to the majority of books in the bookstore.

Sullivan urges youth to find the courage to be themselves

By Jeff Walsh

For many gay liberals, the mere words "Andrew Sullivan" make them tense up. He is roundly criticized for his conservative, Christian views, and seems to be a lightning rod for controversy. Sullivan can be seen everywhere when a national gay story breaks, from Politically Incorrect to Nightline, and whether you agree with him or not, his views are always well thought-out and thought-provoking.

Ellen's mother writes the book on acceptance

By Jeff Walsh

Betty DeGeneres was retired and golfing before her life changed. After her daughter, Ellen, came out on national television on her ABC sitcom, Betty's life moved in a new, unexpected direction.

Betty is now the first non-gay spokesperson for National Coming Out Day, which is celebrated every year in October. And next month, Betty DeGeneres will add another title to her resume: author.

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