Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Tom of Finland Stamp; Barbra Streisand on The Normal Heart; Debbie Boone Pro-Gay Beliefs; Publishing Links

Tom of Finland Stamp



Last July Queer Town Abbey had a blog hop and I was part of it and I contributed a prize. Instead of putting one of my books up that time, for a change I decided to give the winner a fairly valuable collection of five print books from Tom of Finland. I've been haphazardly collecting things like this for a while, and we even had a Tom of Finland shop in New Hope for tourists for a short time. So when I saw there will now be a stamp in The Netherlands for Tom of Finland I found it interesting that something from gay culture like this would become so mainstream.

Finnish gay erotic artist Touko Laaksonen, AKA Tom of Finland, is to be recognized in his homeland with a series of commemorative stamps by Finland’s postal service.

The stamps will be released in September this year as the first of a series of commemorative stamps recognizing prominent Finnish artists.

Tom of Finland produced more than 3,500 erotic drawings before his death in 1991, mostly published in early gay muscle magazines beginning in 1956.

This isn't just gay culture, it's also part of pop culture...and part of an era. And like Harvey Milk, I highly doubt Laaksonen ever would have guessed he'd reach stamp status.

You can read more here.

Streisand on The Normal Heart

Barbra Streisand owned the rights to The Normal Heart for many years. It's an LGBTI play written by Larry Kramer. For various reasons Streisand never found the right way to adapt The Normal Heart to film and when the rights reverted back to Larry Kramer he started slamming Streisand for not working hard enough to do a film adaptation. This has all been talked about many times, and now Streisand is speaking up in her own defense.

'It's a fabulous, fabulous play and I thought it could make a great movie,' she says. 'It was so ahead of its time in terms of understanding gay marriage. I wanted it out in 1987. Everyone who goes into that play comes out understanding why you want to get married to someone.'

But there were battles over the script with Kramer and by the time Streisand felt the script was finally ready, she could not get the go-ahead from her studio, Columbia, and went on to make The Mirror Has Two Faces instead.

It would be 18 years before Streisand would make another movie - a supporting role in 2004's Meet the Fockers.

Aside from the fact that all this is excellent free publicity for The Normal Heart, I don't think it's going to harm Streisand. If anything, I think when The Normal Heart airs on May 25 on Showtime we'll all be watching very closely. And that's because Ryan Murphy of Glee and American Horror directed it. I haven't always been a huge fan of Murphy in the sense that his portrayal of gay men...especially gay men...tends to be one dimensional, stereotypical, and often self-indulgent. His TV show The New Normal was not received well, and I can't even sit through one episode of Glee at this point. That's not because I'm anti-gay. I AM gay. I'm just anti-bullshit. The most recent season of American Horror was more like fanfic of the old TV show Bewitched, from the covens right down to the evil mother witch. Only Murphy pulled out all the stops by adding incest, bestiality, rape, and all those other "artisical" elements those of the Hollywood fake-it-real-good crowd love to use when they want us to think they are on "that cutting edge" and they are making millions of dollars to be deep and heartfelt.

I'll be watching on May 25th. And frankly, even though I'm not going to slam Streisand for not making the film herself, I am VERY sorry she didn't make it. I wouldn't have had any worries then.


Debbie Boone Pro-Gay Beliefs

This is exactly the kind of article that you probably wouldn't hear someone like Ryan Murphy talk about openly. He would just ignore it. But I think it's important because it gets to the heart of a very deep issue we're all dealing with in the US right now. And that issue is being Christian and coming to terms with supporting gays. You see, Ryan Murphy would only tell you about the Christians who hate gays and want to discriminate against them. He wouldn't tell you about Christians like Debbie Boone who searched and questioned everything she'd ever known to support gays.

Boone, whose father is anti-gay singer and actor Pat Boone, attended the GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles on Saturday with lesbian friends and talked about her journey to becoming a Christian who embraces the LGBT community.

'I'm really happy to be here in support of GLAAD, because I am one of the people that has made the transition from an old way of thinking to a new one,' she said in a red carpet interview with Traipsing Thru Films.

This is something I'm seeing all over, and hearing it from readers all the time. In fact, a study was done recently claiming that most Catholics support gays and gay marriage. The times are changing and we all have to change right along with them...even gay activists.

You can read more here. This really IS the new normal.

Publishing Links

There isn't a thing that happens on publishing blogs that I miss, however, I don't post much about them here on the blog anymore because they are either boring, frustrating, or just plain ridiculous. I'm tired of the e-book debate: people are reading e-books and print books now and e-books aren't going anywhere. But there are some things out there that might be important (interesting) to other writers and when I see them I try to post about them.

Here's a link to literary agent Janet Reid's blog. She posted about why she doesn't like to see people add links to query letters. She claims the links don't look good and she's just not fond of them. But I think it's important to mention that no one can really trust any links anymore in e-mails unless you know someone personally. I followed a link through an e-mail last year from what I thought was Amazon, and I wound up having to cancel a credit card as a result...as per Amazon's recommendation. Links can contain viruses, and all kinds of malware that could ruin your life. So I never add links to anything in e-mail unless I personally know someone, and I never click them either. This is also why it's important to make a clear subject line. I find myself deleting e-mails without clear subject lines now more than ever because I don't feel comfortable about them.

Here's an interesting link to an article about e-books, with facts and a few figures.

Here's one on digital journalism that's interesting. They seem to be worried about catching up with all things digital.

This link helps celebrate National Poetry month with a video of "Arthur" performing the poem "Today is a Very Boring Day."

Finally, there's an interesting post over at Nathan Bransford's blog. In the post Bransford links to a commentary (I think it's commentary, with this one I'm never too sure because she talks in circles...think Hannah on the TV show Girls) by a blogger who gained pinky finger fame on the fringes of publishing for a short time when she worked for an unnamed literary agent and dubbed herself (and her blog) The Rejectionist. I never followed her much because I found it too disconcerting to try to figure out what she was talking about half the time. I don't think she's working as a literary agent "rejectionist" any longer, and I think she even managed to snag a book deal. In any event, her commentary discusses what I think is a new publishing venture for her (don't quote me on that; I only skimmed) and how we have a lack of African American authors and books thanks to what seems to be a suggestion that publishing as an industry doesn't support them as much as they should.

But it's the comment thread on Bransford's post I found interesting about the topic of African American authors. I don't really have any comments of my own on the topic because I'm still too busy working to break some of the LGBTI stereotypes in publishing I've had to face as an author all my life. I'm not complaining, trust me I'm not. I also fully understand that publishers can only publish a certain amount of LGBTI content because they are going for broad markets and thinking like businesspeople. I love writing LGBTI fiction and all content, however, I often wish there were ways to penetrate the mainstream market a little more.





No comments: