Thursday, November 30, 2006

December Publishing Notes

The buzz: Actors Delta Burke and Leslie Jordan were uninvited from “Talk of the Town,” a daily Nashville CBS TV talk show when the producer thought the plays they were promoting might offend the shows “very conservative viewership.” Burke and Jordan were in town with two plays by gay playwright Del Shores: Southern Baptist Sissies and the cult Sordid Lives. Eva Longoria denied rumors that she and Beyoncé Knowles would play a lesbian couple in a film version of Sara Waters novel Tipping the Velvet. Meg Ryan is in talks to star in a remake of George Cukor’s The Women to be directed by Diane English. Lindsey Lohan is set to star as the despised daughter of a plantation owner in The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond, a previously unproduced screenplay by Tennessee Williams. Ann-Margret and David Strathairn are also in the cast. Garbus Kroupa Entertainment is producing a film version of Jim Grimsley’s novel, Dream Boy. National Hockey League officials will allow makers of the gay comedy film, Breakfast With Scott, to use the logo of the Toronto Maple Leafs. The film is based on a novel by Michael Downing. Logo will begin production on a new lesbian comedy series titled Exes and Ohs, based on the short film, The Ten Rules: A Lesbian Survival Guide. Caushun apparently has a tell-all book in the works detailing the ins and outs of the hip-hop community. Margaret Cho has joined the board of directors of Good Vibrations, the Bay Area retailer. Judith A. Markowtiz of Chicago and Christopher Rice of Los Angeles were elected to the Board of Trustees of the Lambda Literary Foundation.

Kudos: Ryan Thoreson of Fargo, ND, a gay Harvard University student, was chosen to be one of 32 Rhodes Scholars. Perri Klass, a pediatrician and author of several books, including the gay friendly I Am Having an Adventure, is the recipient of the 2006 Women’s National Book Association Award. Clifford Chase is a fiction finalist for Winkie in the Borders Original Voices program. The Tony Kushner-Jeanine Tesori musical, Caroline, or Change, was named best musical by the London Evening Standard. The Vineyard Theatre is celebrating its 25th anniversary with the creation of a new playwrighting award named in honor of Pulitzer Prize-winner Paula Vogel. The first recipient will be announced in January 2007 at a gala at the Rainbow Room in New York City.

New and now: The Lavendar Inkwell Bookshoppe has opened in Syracuse, N.Y., in the space that was home to the feminist bookstore My Sisters' Words. Lavender Inkwell sells books and gifts and will mainly serve the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered community. The store is located at 304 N. McBride St., Syracuse, N.Y. 13203; 315-424-7191.

Open calls: Gertrude Press is accepting submissions for their annual poetry and fiction chapbook contest. Winners will be selected in both categories and will receive a $50 cash prize plus fifty copies of the chapbook. All entries will also be considered for publication in the biannual literary and arts journal, Gertrude. Submissions should be postmarked by January 15, 2007. Submission fee of $12 includes a one-year subscription to the literary journal. More details can be found at ** Subterraneans, a new monthly online literary journal featuring the work of lesbian, gay, and bisexual writers and artists, is seeking fiction, nonfiction, essays, rants, poetry, artwork, photography, and whatever else bubbles up from the depths of your mind. Maximum length is 6,000 words. For more details and submissions, e-mail or visit the Web site, ** Richard Labonté and Lawrence Schimel are looking for short, first-person essays on a variety of subjects for an anthology titled First Person Queer to be published in Fall 2007 by Arsenal Pulp Press. The editing duo is seeking intensely personal experiences from writers of diverse genders, ages, races, and orientations, informing them about unusual aspects of queer lives -- i.e. comprehending queer codes, exulting in nonconformity, expressing gender deviance, confronting assimilation, having to "pass": write about the theory of your life. Discuss sissyhood, parenting skills, sexual experiences (play or work), urban pleasures, personal choices: in other words, write about the practice of your life. Deadline is February 28, 2007. E-mail submissions to ** Richard Labonté is also editing two other anthologies and looking for submissions. City Boys will include stories about coming to (or coming out in) safe-space gayborhoods, a sexual and emotional passage many queers make. Deadline: April 30, 2007, for a Fall 2007 publication from Cleis Press. Submissions should be sent to ** Labonté is also looking for stories for the 2008 edition of Best Gay Erotica which will be judged this season by Emanuel Xavier. Deadline is April 30, 2007. Original stories or work published between July 2006 and June 2007 are eligible. Submissions should be sent to ** Iris Press is seeking short stories for a "fairy tale and fantasy" anthology to be published in Summer 2007. Stories should be between 3,000 and 12,000 words, and should have a clear element of myth and mysticism and include an element of male/male romance or eroticism. Deadline for submissions is January 15, 2007. For submission guidelines, please visit ** Blind Eye Books is currently seeking short fiction 1,000 to 40,000 words for their new anthology, Tangle. Stories should be character-driven science fiction, fantasy or paranormal romance featuring gay or lesbian protagonists. Submissions should be sent to Blind Eye Books, 1141 Grant Street, Bellingham, WA 98225.

UnHappy Feet: Based on the true story of two male penguins in New York City’s Central Park Zoo that in 1998 adopted a fertilized egg and raised the chick as their own, And Tango Makes Three, the picture book written by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, and illustrated by Henry Cole, has been dancing its way through some hot waters. Parents in Shiloh, Illinois, recently complained to the school district that the book promotes "the homosexual lifestyle" and is easily accessible to children in the elementary school library. These parents asked that the book either be shelved in a restricted area or that children wanting to check out the book obtain parental permission. So far, the school district is continuing to shelve Tango with the other books for young readers, contending that to move the book would be an act of censorship. Earlier this year, parents in a northwestern Missouri town succeeded in forcing their local library system to move Tango from the young readers section to the nonfiction shelves in two libraries. The Simon & Schuster book has received a string of awards and honors, including an ASPCA Henry Bergh Book Award, and was a Notable book of the American Library Association.

Passages: The Bay Area Reporter reported that Assunta Femia, a gay male San Francisco poet, actor, and political activist who admired nuns, died at a friend's home in Oregon on Saturday, November 4, from liver cancer, secondary to hepatitis B. He was 58. Assunta was born Francis Thomas Femia in December 1947. In 1968, he was arrested, along with two other peace activists, for pouring black paint on draft files in Boston, to protest the war in Vietnam. As a consequence, he spent two years in federal prison in Kentucky, where he came out as gay. He moved to San Francisco in 1975, where he began walking about the city dressed as a nun and using the female pronoun for self-reference. Eventually, she changed her name to Assunta, which means "Taken Up," a title referring to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. She created her own special spirituality based on a sense of service to the divine feminine, traditional Catholic veneration of the Blessed Virgin, and fierce independence of spirit. Assunta helped inspire the founding of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. In the 1980s, Assunta spent much time in southern Oregon, where she rented a small house in a wooded area outside of Wolf Creek and was often visited by gay men seeking alternatives to urban life. Eventually, a collective of Radical Faeries from San Francisco, including followers of the late Harry Hay, came into possession of the property and turned it into a faerie sanctuary. A bitter conflict developed when Hay rebuked Assunta for including Catholic elements in her spirituality and stone phalluses were erected on the property. Assunta regarded the phalluses as glorifications of male power in a place sacred to the divine feminine. She destroyed them all with a hammer, celebrating the feat with an triumphant poem, "i smashed the phalloi." Assunta performed in plays and musicals in both Oregon in San Francisco. She was also active in Bay Area Gay Liberation and the Butterfly Brigade, a civilian foot patrol organized to combat anti-gay violence in the Castro.