COOL GAY MOVIES | GAY RIGHTS | GAY LIFE | GAY HISTORY | GAY BOOKS | & M/M ROMANCE |
Opening with new eye-candy videos, your host George Gardiner then briefs you on his widely-praised historical romance/mystery/erotica novel "THE HADRIAN ENIGMA: A Forbidden History". It's a fiction/faction re-imagining of history's real-life m/m romance between ancient Rome's 'good emperor' Hadrian & his hunky 'Favorite', Antinous. Paperback or ebook options below.
MEET HISTORY'S FIRST 'OUT' SAME-SEX COUPLE : Hadrian Caesar & Antinous ...
HADRIAN AND ANTINOUS ... GLOBAL OPINIONS OF "THE HADRIAN ENIGMA" ...
"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 :- http://jeannetomlin.blogspot.com/
"Five stars ... a tour de force ..."
Elisa Rolle, Amazon Top 1000 Reviewer, USA & UK
" ... 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 (scroll further below to unedited review)
"... 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 http://www.desicritics.org/ India
"... 5 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 5-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 :- http://kitmossreviews.blogspot.com.au/2013/02/the-hadrian-enigma-forbidden-history-by.html
"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 ... "
(***Amazon USA's 15 independent purchaser's reviews can be seen in full by clicking on the book's-cover graphic, above.)
THE HADRIAN ENIGMA: A Forbidden History
(C) George Gardiner
ISBN13: 978-0-9807469-0-7 (at Lulu)
ISBN13: 978-0-9807469-1-4 (at Amazon US, UK, etc)
in 498-page paperback or Kindle, iPad, Nook & ePub ebook formats
The scene: ancient Rome, 130 years after Christ yet two centuries prior to Christianity being made 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.
Only purchased online (not in street stores), CLICK NOW ON A LINK BELOW to select best price & delivery options ...
For an Amazon USA paperback :
for Amazon's Kindle ebook or Kindle-For-PC's download :
for Amazon UK :
for The Book Depository UK paperback with free global shipping:
for Barnes & Noble USA :
for Barnes & Noble NOOKbook download:
Asia & Pacific residents can access a paperback more speedily, or download an instant Kindle ebook copy (or for reading using the free Amazon Kindle-for-PC's or Macs app) at Amazon's new Australian store at :-
COOL GAY STUFF'S IMPORTANT NAVIGATION HINT !! ...
Thursday, December 5, 2013
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
---- grabs from a report on another forthcoming Roman gladiator spectacle by Adam Chitwood at Collider (USA), 4 December 2013 :-
'TriStar Pictures has released a new trailer for director Paul W.S. Anderson’s disaster epic Pompeii.
The film stars Kit Harington (Game of Thrones) as an enslaved Celtic gladiator named Milo who falls in love with a noblewoman (Emily Browning) on the eve of a massive volcanic eruption that destroyed Pompeii in Italy in 79AD, an event that also brings him face-to-face with the man (Kiefer Sutherland) who slaughtered his years earlier. ....
.... The pic also stars Carrie-Anne Moss, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Jessica Lucas, and Jared Harris.
Pompeii opens in 3D in many global markets on February 21, 2014. .... '
---- see more of Adam Chitwood's report at collider.com at :-
---- and check the movie's trailer in the sidebar, opposite.
Monday, December 2, 2013
---- the opening pars from a widely-reported news story by Josh Halliday at The Guardian (UK), 3 December 2013 :-
'The British Olympic diving star Tom Daley has said he is in a relationship with a man, making the announcement via a video on YouTube to "put an end to all the rumours and speculation".
Daley, 19, said he "couldn't be happier" in the five-minute video in which he speaks about his new partner for the first time.
He added: "I've been dating girls and I've never really had a serious relationship to talk about and now I feel ready to talk about my relationships. Come spring this year my life changed massively when I met someone and it made me feel so happy, so safe, and everything just feels great. And, well, that someone is a guy."
Daley, who won a bronze medal at the London 2012 Olympics, said he wanted to reveal the news in a video because he didn't want his words to be "twisted". .... '
---- see more of Josh Halliday's report at the guardian.com at :-
---- then scan the Net for clues to who the lucky new partner may be, ending perhaps at this speculating site :-
---- but my guess it is likely to be someone (perhaps?) like Liam Payne of One Direction ... perhaps? maybe?
---- Now visit Tom's brave announcement at his YouTube video in the sidebar, opposite.
Saturday, November 30, 2013
---- the opening pars from a nostalgic celebration of a one-time weekly gay institution by Will Kohler at Back2Stonewall (USA), November 2013 :-
'Many gay men under the age of 30 are totally clueless of almost lost tradition of the Sunday Tea Dance. (A tradition that really must be brought back.) So here’s a little history primer on the tradition of the “Sunday T-dance” and how and why we embraced it in the LGBT culture.
Historically, tea was served in the afternoon, either with snacks (“low tea”) or with a full meal (“high tea” or “meat tea”). High Tea eventually moved earlier in the day, sometimes replacing the midday “luncheon” and settled around 11 o’clock, becoming the forerunner of what we know as “brunch”.
From the late 1800s to well into the pre-WWI era in both America and England, late afternoon (low) tea service became the highlight of society life. As dance crazes swept both countries, tea dances became increasingly popular as places where single women and their gentlemen friends could meet — the singles scene of the age.
While tea dances enjoyed a revival in America after the Great War, The Great Depression of the 30s wiped them out. Tea consumption was in steady decline in America anyways and by the 50s, tea was largely thought of as something “your grandmother drinks”. Also, nightlife was moving later and younger. Working men and women were too busy building the American Dream to socialize so it was left to their teenaged children in the age of sockhops and the jukebox diner. Rock and roll was dark and dangerous — something you sneaked out for after dinner, not took part in before dinner.
Gay people, of course, were still largely underground in the 50s, but it was in these discreet speakeasies that social (nonpartnered) dancing was evolving. It was illegal for men to dance with men, or for women to dance with women. In the event of a raid, gay men and lesbian women would quickly change partners to mixed-couples. Eventually, this led to everyone sort of dancing on their own. .... '
---- see more of Will Kohler's charmed reflections on this defunct gay American ritual at his back2stonewall.com site at :-
---- selected excerpts from a USA tv review by Victoria Brownworth at SheWired (USA), November 2013 :-
'Dracula, NBC's new hit series, boasts lesbian intrigue and a seductive Victorian setting. Here are five reasons to watch this sexually charged retelling of Bram Stoker's classic novel :- ....
.... Haddon’s version, set in 19th century London, has Dracula posing as an American entrepreneur, Alexander Grayson (Jonathan Rhys Meyers). He wants to bring modern science to Victorian society -- notably electricity.
He’s obsessed with the idea of getting into the light and hires Abraham Van Helsing (Thomas Kretschmann) to work on a solar vaccine. Dracula/Grayson also wants revenge (he is a vampire, after all) against those who cursed him with immortality centuries earlier. He has a plan and has help from his amanuensis, Renfield (Nonso Anozie). But then he meets Mina Murray (Jessica De Gouw) who appears to be a reincarnation of his dead wife, Ilona. Lucy Westenra (Kate McGrath) is Mina’s best friend–she’s also in love with Mina. ....
.... How many re-tellings of Stoker’s novel have there been since it was first published in 1897? The story never gets old and this fresh, sexy, bloody, action-packed version comes very close to the original story yet feels utterly new. The love that spans centuries, as well as the newer loves envisioned in the NBC series (for USA readers), make for drama you can sink your teeth into. .... '
---- see the five reasons you will enjoy Dracula at Victoria Brownworth's gal-oriented review at shewired.com at :-
---- This series is likely to receive a global tv release across other networks in coming months.
Thursday, November 28, 2013
---- brief excerpts from a report posted by Stephanie Theobold at The Guardian (UK), 27 November 2013 :-
My technique when interviewing celebrities about their lives used to involve questions beginning with: "As a lesbian, I ..." That would always get women – from Sharon Stone ("butches are my favourite") to Missy Elliott ("never say never") to Holly Hunter ("I think gay women have it best") – jumping up and down in their seats, declaring how they wished, wished, wished they were lesbians. Now that I identify as a Kinsey 4, my approach is slightly more tortuous (the question is more likely to begin: "As a lesbian who's now shagging a gay guy …") but it's increasingly rare that you'll meet a cool straight girl who'll admit to being completely straight. ....
.... The findings of the latest National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal) seem to suggest this too. The number of women reporting same-sex partners has increased from 1.8% to 7.9% over the past 20 years. .... '
---- see more of this provocative report by Stephanie Theobold at theguardian.com at :-
---- & maybe try the confidential Kinsey test at the "Kinsey 4" link.
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
---- selected excerpts from an opinion piece by Ian Martin in The Japan Times (Tokyo), 25 November 2013 :-
'.... All art and pop culture is political because it all serves someone’s politics. By challenging, reinforcing or even outright ignoring dominant ideologies and social norms, art and pop culture form an important part of the framework within which society is constructed. ....
.... So when [female singer] Ayaka “A-Chan” Nishiwaki of cheerfully apolitical electropopsters Perfume told the web site Blouin ArtInfo, “Overseas, there were more men than women, and also people who were neither!” before launching into an anecdote about a gay fan and his “girlfriend,” her comments and the reaction were just a more direct expression of a discourse that is constantly occurring in pop. ....
.... Nishiwaki herself clearly didn’t mean anything bad by her comment .... What the piece shows is someone with no real frame of reference for dealing with openly expressed homosexuality struggling clumsily to find appropriate words. The cause of the problem is a culture that fails to provide people with that very frame of reference. ....
.... Pop culture and a lot of mainstream art in Japan is complicit in reinforcing norms that exclude discussion of anything that doesn’t fit a certain narrow set of mainstream values. Most contemporary J-pop has the same basic message of “friendship is good, peace is good, follow your dreams, I want a boy,” etc. which while inoffensive in its own right, limits the the range of experiences discussed in the broader cultural sphere.
.... Language that appears to deny gay people their right to a gender is a horrible thing for many to hear, however well-intentioned. Artists should have the freedom to say whatever they want, but they should at least know why they are saying it. Opening pop culture up to more voices would give people the tools to make those judgments and lead to a greater cultural consciousness that would enrich rather than stifle Japanese culture.'
Sunday, November 24, 2013
---- brief excerpts from a news report by Nirmala George, Associated Press, at the Edmonton Journal (USA), 24 November 2013 :-
'NEW DELHI - Gay rights activists sang songs and carried rainbow-colored flags while marching to the beat of traditional Indian drums Sunday, as they paraded through India's capital to demand an end to the stigmatization of gays in the deeply conservative country.
The demonstrators urged an end to all forms of discrimination against gays, lesbians and transgenders in India, four years after a colonial-era law that criminalized gay sex was overturned.
One group of activists carried a 15-meter (50-foot) rainbow-colored banner, while others waved placards demanding the freedom to lead dignified lives. ....
.... In 2009, the Delhi High Court decriminalized gay sex, which until then had been punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
In some big Indian cities, homosexuality is slowly gaining acceptance, and a few high-profile Bollywood films have dealt with gay issues. .... '
---- see more of this report at edmontonjournal.com at :-
Friday, November 22, 2013
---- brief excerpts from a post by Samantha Wilson at Film School Rejects (USA), 22 November 2013 :-
'.... Fox Searchlight and Cherin Entertainment are currently working on a J.R.R. Tolkien biopic that will span the author’s life and target the moments that led him to write “The Hobbit” in 1937 and begin “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy in 1954.
The tentatively titled Tolkien, written by David Gleeson (Cowboys and Angels) focuses on the parts of his life that proved formative to creating Middle Earth, like his days at Pembroke College and as a soldier during World War I.
The author, who was born in South Africa in 1892 and raised in England, was deeply affected by his experiences in the Great War and channeled much of what happened to him and his friends into his writing.
Tolkien’s adventuresome life also included serving as a code breaker during World War II and being a member of a very Skull and Bones-sounding writing society with C.S. Lewis — though it’s not clear at this point how much the biopic will dive into these aspects of his life. .... '
---- see more of Samantha Wilson's post about Tolkien at filmschoolrejects.com at :-
Thursday, November 21, 2013
---- excerpts from a whimsical post by Stacy Lambe at OUT online magazine (USA), 21 November 2013 :-
'Comic books?! So lame...
.... The film, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in April, is finally getting released. First, it will air exclusively on DIRECTV [USA] starting Friday, Nov. 22 to Nov.29 before hitting theaters and video-on-demand in January.
---- see more of Stacy's post about "G.B.F." at out.com at :-
---- and see the video clip in the sidebar opposite.
[Non-USA readers are likely to find G.B.F. will be available via US network download or dvd purchase sometime after January. - G.G. Ed.]
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
---- brief excerpts from an extended report at Pink News (UK), 2013 :-
'Queer As Folk and Doctor Who writer Russell T Davies is to return to Channel 4 [UK] to launch two new drama series on the contemporary sex lives of gay men.
The Guardian reports that Davies’ new series, ‘Cucumber’ and ‘Banana,’ will be twinned together as supplementary projects.
Launching next year, they will accompanied with an online series called ‘Tofu,’ which will also offer viewers the chance to share their own sexual experiences.
Davies said he was not planning on “reviving Queer as Folk, much as I loved it.” ....
.... Channel 4′s [UK] head of drama, Piers Wenger, said: “No-one can look into the heart and soul of modern relationships quite like Russell and, across Channel 4, E4 and online, he paints an unflinching and forensic portrait of how our sex lives affect us all. .... '
---- see more of this pinknews.co.uk tv-biz report at :-
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
---- opening pars from a news report by at the Telegraph newspaper (UK), 19 November 2013 :-
'The surviving members of Monty Python, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, Eric Idle and Michael Palin have agreed to reunite for a new stage show.
The original members of Monty Python will reunite more than 30 years after the comedy troupe last worked together.
---- see more of this news report for Python aficionados at telegraph.co.uk at :-
Saturday, November 16, 2013
'Justin Bieber, Canadian teen phenomenon extraordinaire with a huge following of pubescent girls, their mothers, and the odd male aficionado too, has been in the headlines lately for all the wrong reasons. That's showbiz.
Now the 19-year-old singer will be hoping he can retrieve his naughty reputation with his upcoming big screen movie Believe.
It’s the second documentary Bieber has released, with 2011′s Never Say Never grossing over $97 million worldwide they say. Nice pocket money for a teenager.
In the recently released Believe trailer (in the side column here & available widely over the Net), Bieber addresses his run-ins with the paparazzi, his less than impressive attempt at growing a moustache and why he wears his pants so very low. But very little about South American ladies. Fascinatin' stuff.
Justin Bieber's Believe arrives in US cinemas & other global markets on Christmas Day. Give yourself or your teenage niece a Chrissy prezzie ticket. See more at :- http://www.justinbieberbelieve.com/
Friday, November 15, 2013
---- excerpts from a forthcoming tv-series report at The Backlot (USA), 15 November 2013 :-
' .... At the center of Looking are three friends in San Francisco trying to navigate the social and dating world of a new generation of out gay men. The series stars Jonathan Groff, Frankie J. Alvarez, Murray Bartlett, Russell Tovey and Scott Bakula. The pilot was written by Michael Lannan and directed by Andrew Haigh who wrote and directed 2011′s fantastic Weekend. (Weekend ranks #6 on TheBacklot’s 100 Greatest Gay Movies list - see via The Backlot site.)
How excited are you about this new series? Will it be a gay Sex in the City? A more highbrow Queer as Folk? Looking premieres in the USA on Sunday, January 19th on HBO. [It is likely to follow in other adventurous global markets soon after. - Ed.]
---- see more of thebacklot.com's announcement at the very-informed US site at :-
Thursday, November 14, 2013
---- the opening pars of a substantial opinion-piece by Nicholas F Benton at Gay Voices at the Huffington Post (USA), 14 November 2013 :-
'Last week's historic passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) in the U.S. Senate underscores the strength of the current groundswell that has been years in the making but, in just the past couple of years, has suddenly overtaken a growing majority of Americans with the conviction that full LGBT equality is a self-evident matter of fairness and core civil rights.
As this trend continues to gain momentum, it challenges the gay community itself to reassess and redefine the prevailing cultural paradigm that has shaped its collective identity since the radical hedonist days following the Stonewall era in the 1970s. I was a pioneer activist in those early gay liberation days and witnessed firsthand, from my vantage point in the San Francisco Bay Area, how the cultural tidal wave of "sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll" quickly overwhelmed our movement and has maintained a dominant role in our culture to this day.
As award-winning gay playwright Tony Kushner wrote in an introduction to a 2000 reprint of Larry Kramer's epochal play The Normal Heart, there "is a crying need for principled, intelligent, vigorous explorations of how a genuine morality can be introduced into our newly minted freedom." .... '
---- see more of Nicholas F Benton's challenging query at huffingtonpost.com at :-
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
---- the opening pars to a substantial critical assessment by Nathan Adams at Film School Rejects (USA), 11 November, 2013 :-
'Ever since it won the Palme d’Or at Cannes earlier this year, director Abdellatif Kechiche’s Blue is the Warmest Color has been creating a ton of buzz in the film world, which should be pretty understandable—it did win the biggest award that Cannes gives out, after all.
But the reason the film’s buzz has been a little bit annoying is that it’s not generally stemming from the quality of its performances or the raw emotion put on display by the young love it takes on as its focus, it’s stemming from the lengthy and explicit lesbian sex scenes that get peppered throughout its run time.
It turns out lesbian sex is still the sort of thing that gets people’s attention.
Not only has there been debate as to whether or not Kechiche exploited his two lead actresses and forced them into performing acts that they weren’t comfortable with, but there also seems to be a debate raging as to whether or not the love scenes shared by the two girls should be viewed as pornographic and labeled appropriately so more uptight consumers know for sure what to boycott. .... '
---- see more of this substantial opinion-piece by Nathan Adams at filmschoolrejects.com at :-
Monday, November 11, 2013
---- brief excerpts from a showbiz post by New Now Next staff (USA), 11 November 2013 :-
'In the new gay short “Squared,” Wally (Yamil Jaiman) and Wally (Ethan Le Phong) meet up for a one-night stand—but things get complicated when it turns out they’re both tops.
Filmmaker Hieu Tran says he wanted to address the stereotype of Asian men as passive:
From my dating experiences, I was bothered when guys called me their “Geisha” and other derogatory terms. I also often hear people ask gay couples, “Who’s the woman in the relationship?” and point to the Asian guy. Society often objectifies Asians, especially gay Asians, and view them as submissive, feminine and passive.
With “Squared,” I want to show that not all Asians fit into the stereotypes that society has constructed.
---- see more of the newnownext.com post & videos about two new daring gay-themed movies at :-
Thursday, November 7, 2013
---- a provocative enquiry by Paul Sobczak at SameSame (Australia), Oct/November 2013 :-
'We used to be cool. But all this talk of weddings and raising children has turned us gays into, well, boring people.
I was born in 1980, so I can’t recall the heyday of gay hedonism and sexual expression that was heralded in the 1960s and continued well into the ‘70s. Based on what I’ve seen, read and heard about from friends, it seems like it was a pretty wild time indeed. Pre-AIDS and post-WW2, the times were a changin’, and it seemed that gay folks were making the most of it.
In step with the burgeoning feminist and civil rights movements, gay visibility was being taken to new heights. We were here, queer and we weren’t giving you a choice, you had to get used to it. Our attitude was bold, beautiful and brazen. We were coming out en masse, and we were going to make up for the lost years and decades we’d spent hiding in the closet and living in fear.
We took sexual experimentation to new heights. We were sexually fluid and open in ways that humanity had never seen before. Our attitudes to everything, from sex to drugs, to food production and nuclear war, were by and large progressive and forward thinking. Gays were undeniably cool. We were thought leaders and trend setters. .... But .... ?'
---- see more of Paul Sobczak's challenging questioning at samesame.com at :-
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
---- the opening pars from a news report by Samuel Crews at the Calvert Journal (UK), 5 November 2013 :-
'A controversial Russian film featuring a gay love story will have its international premiere at the London Russian Film Festival next week.
Winter Journey by directors Sergei Taramaev and Liubov Lvova was released this summer to much praise from Russian film critics who described the decision as brave given that it came shortly after the passage of a "gay propaganda" law.
Although film pundits expected the Ministry of Culture to refuse the film a distribution licence it was eventually granted an 18 certificate. Despite winning two prizes at the Window to Europe Film Festival in Vyborg in August, Lvova said she was disappointed the film had not been accepted into other, more prominent festivals. She said: "At many festivals — Russian ones — this scared the organisers a lot. They were afraid of this law, that it would stop them getting financing for their festivals."
Winter Journey tells the story of a gay classical singer who falls in love with a petty criminal. Music student Erik's performance of Franz Schubert's Winterreise (Winter Journey in English) is transformed once he meets Lyokha, a homophobic youth from a provincial town. .... '
---- see more of Samuel Crews' report on Winter Jourmey at calvertjournal.com at :-
---- or check the program of the London Russian Film Festival at :- http://filmfestival.russkylondon.com/post/248
---- & view the brief trailer for Winter Journey in the sidebar, opposite.
Sunday, November 3, 2013
---- selected pars from a substantial review by Rachel Cooke at The Guardian (UK), 3 November 2013 :-
'A compelling atmosphere of 'amazed discovery' characterises Mary Renault's 1953 landmark of gay literature, now republished by Virago. Nineteen fifty-three was a good year for fiction, bringing us Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, The Go-Between by LP Hartley, The Echoing Grove by Rosamond Lehmann and Hurry On Down by John Wain, a novel that would retrospectively be hailed as the Angry Young Men's first blast.
The most controversial book of 1953, however, is somewhat less well known. Its author, Mary Renault, had a strange and sometimes stuttering career that divided sharply in two, and while the historical novels with which she built her reputation after 1953 – her beautifully realised, bestselling books about Theseus, Alexander and the Peloponnesian war – are still widely loved and admired, the five contemporary novels that preceded them have all but faded from view. Twenty-first-century readers see her name and conjure a rippling fighter in shining breastplate and leather sandals, not some pale fellow in a worsted suit and brogues, his fringe falling softly into his eyes.
But perhaps perceptions are about to shift. This week, the novel in question, The Charioteer, will be republished by Virago Modern Classics with a tender new introduction by the actor Simon Russell Beale .... But as more than one critic has pointed out in the years since, it has come to stand alongside Gore Vidal's The City and the Pillar (1948) and James Baldwin's Giovanni's Room (1956) as a landmark of gay literature. .... '
---- see more of Rachel Cooke's re-introductory review to Mary Renault's works at theguardian.com at :- http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/nov/03/the-charioteer-mary-renault-review
Friday, November 1, 2013
---- opening pars from a post by Josh Middleton at the interesting Philly Mag (USA) site, 31 October 2013 :-
'A must-RSS new blog, Homo History, seeks to preserve our, well, homo history, by archiving vintage photos of gay and lesbian couples taken between the late-1800s and mid-20th century. On Instinct, the author of the site, Jerry Gent, explains his intent behind the project:
“These photos represent just a small fragment of our gay and lesbian history. Unfortunately, so many of these photos were purposely destroyed by horrified family members. … Since most of the men and women in these photos are unknown, it’s hard to know for sure if they were a gay couple or just ‘good friends.’
For every photo that I may have mistakenly identified as gay, thousands more were burned or torn into pieces to keep a family secret… I hope that by sharing these photos of vintage gay and lesbian couples, we can correct the social injustice that they endured by seeing them in a brand new light.” .... '
---- see more of Josh Middleton's post at phillymag.com at :-
---- and see too its link to Homo History with its colorful range of antique pics of US gay life.
Thursday, October 31, 2013
For USA readers :- The Museum of Contemporary Art launches one of the first major museum exhibitions dedicated to the cultural contributions from these two prolific gay artists
---- excerpts from an arts news post by Jean Paul Zapata at Gay Star News (USA), 31 October 2013 :-
'Two of the largest influences on modern gay culture and erotica are honored with an art exhibit next month. The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles will exhibit seminal works by Touko Laaksonen aka Tom of Finland (1920-1991) and Bob Mizer (1922-1992) from 2 November 2013 – 26 January 2014.
Credited as beacons of creativity and revolution in post-war gay culture, both Tom of Finland and Bob Mizer had a tremendous influence on gay and straight erotic art. Their hyper-sexualized depictions of men and same-sex activity were groundbreaking during their time when homosexuality was forbidden and concealed throughout most of the world. .... '
---- see more of Jean Paul Zapata's report at gaystarnews.com at :-
---- & check the 5-min YouTube video in the sidebar (with thanks to Gay Star News & Towleroad).
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
---- brief pars from an extended report from Pakistan by Ron Moreau & Sami Yousafrai at The Daily Beast (USA), 30 October 2013 :-
'Assad Khan knew he was different from a very young age. .... As he grew up in Islamabad, reached puberty and realized he was gay, he suffered even more. “Being a gay in a society like Pakistan is not easy,” Khan says. ....
.... Even so, he was constantly teased and harassed for his appearance and mannerisms, even ostracized. His parents and cousins made fun of him. His parents were ashamed to introduce him as part of the family. “At the mosque during Friday prayers I was teased and stared at,” he recalls. “At school and in college other students shunned me and my small circle of friends.” ....
.... Now a successful actor and fashion designer, Khan has lived and worked in the conservative and bomb-terrorized northwestern city of Peshawar for the past three years. .... So as a young man I came to accept who I was and to be proud of myself.”
.... In 2010, Khan moved to heavily Taliban-influenced Peshawar to further his acting and fashion careers, but chiefly to be closer to his partner who is stationed there as an officer in the strait-laced Pakistani army. At first he was terrified, afraid of the Taliban and the frequent terror bombings. .... But he was soon pleasantly surprised by what he found: gays were not as unwelcome and under the gun as he had imagined. On the contrary, he quickly received a vibe that many young men in the ostensibly macho, largely Islamist city were gay or gay-friendly. “In Peshawar I feel like almost every second guy is gay by the way they look and talk,” he says. “On the streets and in the markets I think most people look at cute boys more than at girls.” But, he adds: “Unfortunately gays feel they have to hide their feelings and their true selves,” .... '
---- see more of Ron & Sami's revealing report on Assad Khan & gay life in Pakistant at thedailybeast.com at :-
---- introductory pars from a news report at Pink News (UK), 29 October 2013 :-
'The Yesh Atid Party in Israel on Tuesday introduced legislation to allow same-sex couples equal rights to straight couples.
The legislation aims to avoid the religious constrictions placed on marriage for straight couples, as well as to provide benefits to same-sex couples.
Israel does not currently allow any civil unions, and according a New York Times report, experts have estimated that over recent years, a quarter of Jewish couples have left Israel to marry, or cohabit without marrying.
The 15-page legislation, introduced in the Knesset on Tuesday, avoids using the word “marriage”, but would allow equal benefits for those entering the civil unions. The legislation specifies the unions as between “two human beings”, therefore making same-sex couples eligible. .... '
---- see more of this unexpected news report at pinknews.co.uk at :-
Saturday, October 26, 2013
'9. FILM: Bridegroom .. Losing a partner is horrific, but being excluded from the funeral and denied legal connection is heartbreaking, as shown in Linda Bloodworth-Thomason's Bridegroom. Written and directed by Bloodworth-Thomason (Designing Women) and co-produced with Shane Bitney Crone, the film shows Crone's life following the accidental death of his partner of six years, Tom Bridegroom, as Crone struggles with his lack of legal rights to say goodbye to the man he loved.
The documentary will be released in theaters by Virgil Films on October 4 in New York, and October 18 in Los Angeles. OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network will air Bridegroom on October 27 at 10:00 p.m. EST/PST. The film will also be available for instant streaming on Netflix beginning October 27. — Nicholas Cimarusti
---- see Nicholas Cimarusti's review of Bridegroom at www.advocate.com at :-
---- see too The Backlot (USA) article on Shane Bitney Crone & "Bridegroom"at :-
... COOL GAY STUFF (at url M/M Romance Novels) now reverts to mixed miscellany in both columns ...
WEST HOLLYWOOD MOTEL (US 2013) - NSFW
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:http://www.tlavideo.com/gay-west-hollywood-motel/p-356790-2
This newest version of the William Shakespeare classic is directed by Carlo Calei and stars attractive youngsters Hailee Steinfield (Juliet) with Douglas Booth (Romeo). Release date: '"Coming shortly" in 2013.
VICTIM (1961 UK)
The Cannes Queer Palm is awarded to the film with excellent artistic qualities and that deals best with gay, lesbian, bisexual and transexual issues.
HISTORICAL NOVEL SOCIETY review of "THE HADRIAN ENIGMA" ...
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.
"WINGS" ... movie history's first same-sex kiss ...
THE HADRIAN ENIGMA - an unedited review by historical novelist NAN HAWTHORNE ...
A summer idyll for two French boys. Gaël Morel and Stéphane Rideau play the two boys. The music is the first act trio 'Soave sia il vento' from Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutte. Actor Gael Morel later went on to direct gay-themed movies of his own, including "About Him" (France 2008).
THE HADRIAN ENIGMA | A review by historical fiction author J.R. Tomlin ...
" .... 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 : http://jeannetomlin.blogspot.com/
"VICTIM" (UK 1961) - A Contribution to Shifting Attitudes on Homosexuality ...
"Fifty years ago a British film challenged widespread views on homosexuality and helped to change the law. In late 1960, what appeared to be a run-of-the-mill British crime film, complete with trilby-hatted detectives in their bell-clanging Wolseley police cars roaming a bomb-scarred London, went into production. The casting seemed notably deluxe for such a seemingly mainstream enterprise, but on its release in 1961 Victim became one of the few pictures to genuinely shift social attitudes. ....
.... In 1861 Parliament had passed The Offences Against the Person Act, section 61 of which removed the death penalty as the punishment for ’buggery’ and replaced it with a minimum period of penal servitude. Almost a century later, after the Second World War, Sir Theobald Matthew, the Director for Public Prosecutions, embarked on his long campaign against homosexuals .... [so] the Home Secretary agreed to the appointment of a departmental committee to examine and report on the laws relating to homosexuality, chaired by Sir John Wolfenden .... The committee deliberated over a period of three years and in the Report of the Departmental Committee on Homosexual Offences and Prostitution [the Wolfenden Report], published on September 3rd, 1957, concluded that ‘homosexuality cannot legitimately be regarded as a disease .... It is not, in our view, the function of the law to intervene in the private life of citizens, or to seek to enforce any particular pattern of behaviour’.
In short the committee considered that homosexuality should be treated on a par with other forms of sexual behaviour that, although viewed as repugnant by some, were not proscribed by law. ....
.... These developments inspired the film producer Michael Relph’s plans for a picture with ‘... the same point of view as the Wolfenden Report, that the law should be changed ... The film [Victim] shows that homosexuality may be found in otherwise completely responsible citizens in every strata of society’. ....
.... Victim was released in the UK in autumn 1961 to critical plaudits. As with most of Dearden’s films it is a polished production with some of Britain’s finest character actors – Nigel Stock and Norman Bird in particular – conveying a real sense of pervading fear .... "
---- see more of Andrew Robert's informed article about this pivotal moment in cinema history at History Today (UK) at :-
and check the movie's 1961 trailer (above), starring Dirk Bogarde, Sylvia Sims, Peter McEnery, & Dennis Price.
AN UNEDITED REVIEW OF 'THE HADRIAN ENIGMA"....
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 :-
"SPEAK ITS NAME" reviews THE HADRIAN ENIGMA :
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 :-
MAURICE (UK 1987) - A reconstructed bedroom scene - M/M MOVIE MOMENTS
The 1987 film starred James Wilby as the pivotal character Maurice Hall, a young London stockbroker, with Hugh Grant as his initial lover Clive Durham, a university companion. As the story progresses & political considerations preclude Maurice & Clive from continuing their relationship, Maurice finds solace in the arms of Alec Scudder, Clive's estate gamekeeper, played by Rupert Graves. One night Scudder climbs into Maurice's bedroom at Clive's country seat to express his passion.
The movie's bedroom sequence is reconstructed here to its original edited format. The colored shots represent the sequence as depicted in the 1987 movie, while the discolored shots show the scenes included in the first edit but deleted from Ivory's final movie.
With many thanks to YouTube & the clip's original postees - G.G.
Nicholas Hoult in "A Single Man" ... a M/M MOVIE MOMENT
An unedited review from READER VIEWS USA. 5.0 out of 5 stars : Gripping Mystery and Fascinating Love Story, May 2010 :
(c) George Gardiner
Reviewed by Olivera Baumgartner-Jackson, May 2010, for Reader Views at :-
THE HADRIAN ENIGMA could be definitely classified as an age-old love story with a twist. “He” is the Roman Emperor Hadrian, a strong and powerful figure. “She” is not really a she, but rather another male, the young and winsome Antinous of Bithynia. The two develop an intense and powerful attachment, based on the erastes-eromenos relationship.
This premise alone would make for an interesting story, but things get really interesting when Antinous is found dead one morning, having obviously drowned in the river Nile. A renowned lawyer, Gaius Suetonious Tranquillus, is hired by Hadrian himself to investigate the death of the unfortunate youth. Was it an accident, suicide, murder, or possibly religious sacrifice?
Gaius Suetonious Tranquillus proceeds to interrogate anybody with possible knowledge of the deceased as well as of the intricate relationships within the imperial court; finally reaching a conclusion and unraveling the tangled web of deceit surrounding Antinous’ death. How will Hadrian react to this revelation?
THE HADRIAN ENIGMA by George Gardiner is an unexpected delight in many ways. While I definitely enjoyed it greatly as a mystery, based on the historical facts, it also opened my eyes to the erastes-eromenos relationships, which were common and accepted in Classical Greece and the Roman Empire. It prompted me to do quite a bit more reading and research on that topic, which was so far unknown and definitely very exotic to me. As somebody who appreciates having her mind stimulated and who loves to learn about new things, this was a welcome challenge to me.
I’ve also greatly enjoyed Gardiner’s attention to detail, vivid descriptions of people, customs and rituals as well as intricate political games depicted in his book. His characters were well defined and believable. His storyline hooked me quickly, and even the many excursions into the tangled past did not confuse me. He truly brought the ancient world to life for me, and I am thankful that I dared to venture outside of my usual comfort zone.
This book would definitely appeal to open-minded people who are curious about “alternative” lifestyles as well as those who simply enjoy well written historical fiction, based on real events. Regardless of the reasons prompting a reader to pick up this book, I am certain that everybody will appreciate Gardiner’s lessons on love and human relationships.
Reader Views, Austin TX, USA, May 2010
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Bye bye, for now from George Gardiner's COOL GAY STUFF ...