Tuesday, September 30, 2008

October Publishing Notes

The buzz: The Associated Press reported that Federico Garcia Lorca's family won't oppose a petition to open a mass grave where his body is believed to have been dumped after Franco supporters allegedly executed the poet and playwright at the outbreak of Spain's Civil War. Garcia Lorca was 38 when he was killed. Investigations indicate the poet, who was open about his homosexuality, was shot along with a school teacher named Dioscoro Galindo Gonzalez and two labor union activists -- Francisco Galadi and Juan Arcolla -- on Aug. 18, 1936, near the Viznar mountain gorge in southern Spain. The bodies are believed to lie in a site near a designated a memorial park. Several thousand others are believed to have been shot and dumped at the gorge. The Telegraph reported that British author Alexander McCall Smith will include more gay characters in his popular The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency novels. The Advocate reported that Sir Paul McCartney and Yoko Ono are both reported to be unhappy with the book John Lennon: The Life by Philip Norman that claims John Lennon longed to be in a relationship with McCartney. Author and illustrator Maurice Sendak came out at the age of 80 in the pages of The New York Times. Rachel Maddow's book on how the United States has departed from its constitutional ideals and historical traditions to become a militarist nation will be published by Crown. In Spring 2010 Little Brown will publish Cris Beam's J, about a female-to-male transgender teen as he begins to live as a boy and comes to terms with what it means to be trans and Puerto Rican in New York City. Lethe Press is launching a new imprint of “bear” titles -- Bear Bones Books. The reissue of Jeff Mann’s memoir Edge will be the first book in the series. Ron Suresha will helm the imprint. Blind Eye books will publish Josh Lanyon's novel The White Mountains in September 2009. Circle of Seven productions has produced a video trailer for Dark Scribe Press’s upcoming book of queer horror: Unspeakable Horror. The trailer can be viewed on the press’s blog site: http://darkscribepress.blogspot.com/2008/09/unspeakable-book-trailer.html. Velvet Mafia is now posting new content weekly. Among the recent items are poems by Andy Quan and Brian Brown, and fiction from Jeff Leavell, John Stewart, Drew Gummerson and Sean Meriwether. The Tectonic Theater Project has added an epilogue to The Laramie Project, their play about the murder of college student Matthew Shepard. The troupe revisited Laramie to interview residents about changes since the murder ten years ago. The epilogue will be added to the published piece and included in future performances. Plans for a new gay-and-lesbian theater festival in Orlando ran aground after accusations that the chief organizer took money from an AIDS fundraiser. The GLBT theater festival was originally planned to include three plays, a series of new-play readings, and the presentation of awards honoring two deceased gay and lesbian theater artists. Q-Notes reported that a casting call ad for auditions of a South Carolina production of the off-Broadway hit Naked Boys Singing was canceled by The State, a daily newspaper in Columbia, “because of the nature of the content.” Also in the Carolinas, Q-Notes reported that C3 Entertainment in North Carolina produced a play asserting people could not only pray being gay away, but also pray away AIDS. Arch Brown’s Thorny Theater in Palm Springs, California has launched its new season with Brown’s play Sex Symbols. DVD distributor Wolfe Video has acquired Were the World Mine, directed by Tom Gustafson, an original musical about a gay high school student who is cast in his school's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. The film has won several awards at film festivals. Variety reported that director Steven Soderbergh is working on a biopic of Liberace, with Michael Douglas playing the flamboyant pianist. Matt Damon is in talks to play Scott Thorson, Liberace's alleged companion of five years. Designer Tom Ford has acquired the rights to Christopher Isherwood’s 1964 novel A Single Man, about a middle-aged gay professor. Actor Colin Firth is said to be in discussions for the role, with Julianne Moore play a friend and a former student. Jamie Bell is also said to be part of the cast, with the movie beginning shooting in November. New York magazine reported that Barack Obama supporter and openly gay actor and author Alan Cumming is hoping to become a U.S. citizen in time to register to vote in the upcoming presidential election. OutWeek, the former GLBTQ New York City-based magazine published from June 1989 to July 1991, is now available in an online archive, thanks to sponsorship by The Gill Foundation, Larry Kramer, and Gabriel Rotello, with help from the One Foundation and Tectonic Theater Project. The magazine was noted for its “outings” of national figures and its coverage of AIDS activism. Boston Edge reported that an archive of historical gay video footage belonging to Gay Cable Network pioneer and sex club entrepreneur Lou Maletta -- much of it in VHS format -- sits uncatalogued and deteriorating in a Manhattan storage room. The video and DAT tapes includes footage from the Continental Baths in the ‘70s of Bette Midler and Barry Manilow, a comment made by Dick Cheney about gay marriage back in 1984, and some of the earliest coverage of AIDS within the gay community of New York. Gay Cable News was the first news show of any kind to broadcast a picture of a Karposi's sarcoma lesion, and that clip is now preserved by the Museum of Broadcasting. A library in Helena, Montana, wants to ban the book The Joy of Gay Sex. The library board of directors is expected to make a decision on the matter at its Oct. 21 meeting. According to several press reports, sources in Wasilla, Alaska, noted that Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin tried to use her sway as mayor to censor the local library, and now New York literary agent Holly Bemiss and her partner Erin Bried are throwing a “Sarah Palin Book Club” fundraiser for the Lambda Literary Foundation October 2 at 7 pm at Cattyshack in Brooklyn. A special prize will be given to the best Sarah Palin lookalike. Christopher and Anne Rice are opening up their home in Rancho Mirage, California for “Written in the Sand 2008,” another fundraiser for Lambda Literary Foundation on Saturday, November 8. Admission is $65 and $40 for students.

Kudos: Un Altro Pianeta, a drama from Stefano Tummolini, won the second Queer Lion Award from the Venice Film Festival for the best feature with a gay theme. James Lear was named Writer of the Year for his novel The Palace of Varieties at the Erotic Awards in London. Alex Ross of The New Yorker and author of The Rest Is Noise, was one of the 25 recipients of the 2008 MacArthur Foundation Genius Fellowships. Tony Kushner received the first Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award. Greg Wrenn’s book of poems Off the Fire Road received The Laurel Review/GreenTower Press Midwest Chapbook Series Award and will be published in the spring of 2009.

Open Calls: The online magazine Limp Wrist is offering a $150 scholarship to a LGBT high school senior via a poetry contest. The recipient also receives a spot at the 2009 Juniper Summer Writers Institute. There is no entry fee, but students must identify as a member of the LGBT community. Deadline is December 15, 2008. Further details may be found at editor Dustin Brookshire’s blog: http://dbrookshire.blogspot.com/. ** Starbooks Press is seeking submissions of historically-based erotic novels or anthologies until March 2009. The publisher also has open calls for several erotica anthologies, including Pretty Boys and Roughnecks (deadline February 15,2009) and Unmasked II: More Erotic Tales of Gay Superheroes (deadline March 15, 2009). ** A reminder that the deadline for The White Crane/James White Poetry Prize for a book-length poetry collection is October 30. More details can be found at: http://www.jameswhitepoetryprize.org/.

Passages: Poet Reginald Shepherd died September 11, 2008 from cancer. He was 45. Shepherd was the editor of The Iowa Anthology of New American Poetries (University of Iowa Press, 2004) and of Lyric Postmodernisms (Counterpath Press, 2008). He is the author of: Fata Morgana (2007), winner of the Silver Medal of the 2007 Florida Book Awards, Otherhood (2003), a finalist for the 2004 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, Wrong (1999), Angel, Interrupted (1996), and Some Are Drowning (1994), winner of the 1993 Associated Writing Programs’ Award in Poetry (all University of Pittsburgh Press). Shepherd's work has appeared in four editions of The Best American Poetry and two Pushcart Prize anthologies, as well as in such journals as American Poetry Review, Conjunctions, The Kenyon Review, The Nation, The New York Times Book Review, Ploughshares, Poetry, and The Yale Review. He is also the author of Orpheus in the Bronx: Essays on Identity, Politics, and the Freedom of Poetry (Poets on Poetry Series, University of Michigan Press). Shepherd received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Illinois Arts Council, the Florida Arts Council, and the Guggenheim Foundation, among other awards and honors. ** John Burnside, the inventor of a kaleidoscope-like device called the teleidoscope and an early gay movement activist who was the longtime partner of the late gay rights pioneer Harry Hay, died on September 15, 2008 at his home in San Francisco. He was 91. In 1979, Burnside and Hay joined Don Kilhefner in organizing the first Spiritual Gathering for Radical Faeries. Burnside and Hay were featured in the 1977 documentary Word Is Out and the 2002 documentary Hope Along the Wind. Donations in Burnside's memory to continue his and Hay's activist work may be made to the Harry Hay Fund, c/o Chas Nol, 174 1/2 Hartford St., San Francisco, CA 94114.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Market News

New Presses, New Books, New Stories: While mainstream publishers are leaning more and more to focusing their few gay books on memoirs, light romances, and young adult novels, a new crop of independent boutique publishers are starting to fill in the gaps with a variety of gay offerings, with many offering an outlet for gay short fiction. Modernist Press (http://www.modernistpress.com/), started by Steve Soucy, launches this month with an anthology of gay stories titled Nine Hundred & Sixty-Nine: West Hollywood Stories, edited by Soucy, with fiction by Felice Picano, John Morgan Wilson, Shaun Levin, Timothy State, and others. Modernist is also interested in publishing full-length works of fiction (novels/novellas) and short story collections. For more information, contact Steve Soucy at mailto:shsoucy@yahoo.com. Ignavia, an online literary journal which features gay and lesbian authors and short fiction that is “dark, edgy and queer,” has a new issue up online at http://www.ignaviapress.com/. An editor’s note reveals that Ignavia plans to begin publishing books in 2009. Dark Scribe Press (http://www.darkscribepress.com/) is another independent publisher of dark genre literature – horror, suspense, and thrillers. The Press places a strong emphasis on the integration of gay, lesbian, and bisexual characters in their offerings. First up for the Press is Unspeakable Horror: Shadows from the Closet, an anthology of queer horror stories edited by Vince A. Liaguno and Chad Helder, with fiction by Lee Thomas, Rick R. Reed, Kevin W. Reardon, and others, due in bookstores in December. Rebel Satori Press (http://www.rebelsatori.com/) is an independent publisher of books on spirituality and revolutionary personal transformation. (Satori is a Zen term for enlightenment.) The Press publishes Ashé Journal, along with new/experimental fiction and creative/inspirational non-fiction. Recently the Press published the anthology Madder Love: Queer Men In the Precincts of Surrealism, edited by Peter Dubé, with work by Stephen Beachy, Tom Cardamone, Trebor Healey, Kevin Killian, Rob Stephenson, and others. Forthcoming for the press are novels by J. Warren (Stealing Ganymede) and Sven Davisson (The Devil’s Island). Lethe Press (http://www.lethepressbooks.com/) is another independent publisher that continues to grow. Recently, Lethe has published Haunted Hearths & Sapphic Shades, a collection of lesbian ghost stories edited by Catherine Lundoff, and a solo collection of speculative fiction by Steve Berman titled Second Thoughts. Berman has also implemented two new annual anthologies for the press, the successful Wilde Stories, an anthology of the year’s best gay speculative fiction which was released this summer, and Best Gay Stories, the 2008 edition which features stories by Raymond Luczak, Rick Bowes, Greg Herren, Jeff Mann, and others.