7 Days of readings

NEW:

SCRUB Homozine newcomer, Scrub, hit shelves this summer and picks up where the fashion-bound, porn-slavish zines stop. Who says interviews have to be short and fluffy? Scrub’s inaugural issue delves into a Detroit high schooler’s harrowing misadventures in 1964 New York; meets a deaf, Jamaican-born, MTF neighbor; shares polyester style tips from an Ecuadorian club kid cum designer in the days before club kids existed; ponders the connection between homophobia and our miserable global warming policy (denial, baby!); and titillates with a prank or two—anybody wanna play sperm bank? Conceived and edited by writer and artist, Justin Yockel, Scrub can be tasted at scrubmagazine.com. Available at local bookstores including St. Mark’s Bookshop, Printed Matter, New Museum of Contemporary Art Bookstore, and Casa Magazines. $10.

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UPCOMING:

RIFFRAG Come celebrate the launch of the second issue of riffRAG, a queer, feminist art magazine that is dedicated to challenging racism, promoting accessibility to art, and building alliances across boundaries. The evening will include films, music, and plenty of riffRAG artists available for scintillating discussions on visual and material culture. Bluestockings, 172 Allen St. btwn. Stanton & Rivington Sts. 212-777-6028. Oct. 21 at 7 p.m. $5-7 suggested.

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“Fighting Words: A Toolkit for Combating the Religious Right” is a guide to verbal karate for arguing: a lively, eye-opening collection of facts, quotes and resources that reveal what the Founders, and other leading Americans, really believed—in their own words—as revolutionaries. Robin Morgan is political activist, award-winning poet, and author of more than 20 books, including the classic feminist anthologies “Sisterhood Is Powerful” and “Sisterhood is Global.” Bluestockings, 172 Allen St. btwn. Stanton & Rivington Sts. 212-777-6028. Oct. 25 at 7 p.m. Free.

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DA CAPO BEST MUSIC WRITING 2006 Join the editors and contributors of “Da Capo Best Music Writing 2006,” the year’s best writing on Rock, Hip-Hop, Jazz, Pop, Country, & more! Jam-packed with some of today’s hottest music writers reading from their work, the event will be kicked off with an introduction by Mary Gaitskill and moderated by Daphne Carr. Andrew Hultkrans, Nick Weidenfeld, Robert Christgau, Dave Tompkins, Elizabeth Mendez Berry,Anne Midgette, Jon Caramanica, Alex Ross, Will Hermes, and J. Edward Keyes will be reading in two rounds, followed by question and answer sessions and a book signing at the end. Housing Works Used Book Café, 126 Crosby St. 212-334-3324. Oct. 25 at 7 p.m. Free.

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RECENTLY NOTED:

BIRDS IN FALL “Birds in Fall,” the amazing new novel from Brad Kessler, is a beautiful, profoundly moving story that explores a group of human beings who gather at the inn of a gay couple after a terrible crash of a passenger jet into the sea nearby. The book takes on the deepest mysteries of death and love and offers such a wise and rooted way of being with these ancient mysteries in all their splendor and sorrow. (Tim Miller)

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COVERING: THE HIDDEN ASSAULT ON OUR CIVIL RIGHTS Except for tenacious Middle American pockets that are expected to crumble as soon as the upcoming generation, raised on “Will and Grace,” MTV, and “Brokeback Mountain” takes over, gays and lesbians are enjoying an unprecedented openness, safety, and acceptance. Kenji Yoshino, a gay, Asian-American law professor at Yale, in his book “Covering,” calls this a dangerous and naive belief. He demonstrates quite ably that there is an assumption among mainstream society, that gays and lesbians—and all other minorities—should cover, meaning mute or hide behavior and characteristics intrinsic to their status as minorities. (Stefen Styrsky)

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FUN HOME: A FAMILY TRAGICOMIC Since the mid-‘80s, Vermont-based lesbian cartoonist Alison Bechdel has brought the adventures of Mo and her friends to life with “Dykes to Watch Out For,” which is syndicated in more than 50 newspapers.” “It’s about growing up with my closeted gay dad who died right after I came out to my family when I was in college,” Bechdel said of the graphic novel. “His death was very likely suicide, but no one knows for sure. The book is an attempt to sort out that very confusing period of my life. It’s also a portrait of my father, who was a pretty interesting character. One of his many jobs was running the family funeral home—that’s where the title ‘Fun Home’ comes from.” (Winnie McCroy)

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MANLINESS In a period in which the first lady, Laura Bush, is accused of stealing the presidential swagger and “Brokeback Mountain” tests the limits of liberal-sensitive manliness, the recent and highly excitatory attention given Harvey C. Mansfield’s book “Manliness,” comes as no surprise. The anxiety of Mansfield, a Harvard government professor, over what he calls our “gender-neutral” culture recalls those other anxiety-ridden pages scripted by the likes of Henry Adams and Henry McBride during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. (David Gerstner)

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MY LIVES For over three decades, Edmund White has proven a master at turning the messy, tragic, and exalted experiences of his life into confidently observed, witty, and transcendent fiction. With “My Lives” we get an intimate glimpse behind the screen of his fiction, and at the dark Eros that is his muse. All this is told with the seductive zeal of a gay male Scheherazade. This sort of uncompromising, confessional non-fiction is more appreciated in Europe—where it is a literary and intellectual tradition—particularly in France, where White, an avowed “Voltairian atheist,” spent a good part of his professional life. In fact, the iconoclastic spirit of Andre Gide and Jean Genet—of whom White has written the definitive biography—runs all through it. (Michael Ehrhardt)

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OUR LIVES ARE THE RIVERS Like most great novelists, Jaime Manrique has two goals—to tell the story of real people whose experience and struggles are timeless and universal, and at the same time to reveal the history and configuration of the world about them in time and place. By both measures, “Our Lives Are the Rivers”—a line from the epic poem by Jorge Manrique (who Jaime speculates may be related) about the death of his father—is a success. (Lawrence D. Mass)

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TWEAKED The cover of Patrick Moore’s cinematic new memoir, “Tweaked,” shows a heartland kid in overalls who, having donned a makeshift cape and miner’s goggles, stands transformed in his own estimation into a superhero, ready to take on all comers. The book, subtitled “A Crystal Memoir,” is an attempt to show how the author, and sadly all too many gay men, have tried to use crystal methamphetamine as a magic compound to enact a similar transformation from insecure, socially and sexually inept hayseeds, into libidinal dynamos bursting with confidence and swagger. (Christopher Murray)

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WORDS TO OUR NOW: IMAGINATION AND DISSENT Thomas Glave describes himself as “a Jamerican,” a term reflecting his Jamaican and American backgrounds. As a result, Glave often has difficulty reconciling this dual identity. Traveling back and forth between the two countries, he often“[wonders] which passport to use on this trip or that one, Jamaican or U.S.—which citizen will I be this time (re-) entering ‘my’ country?” The 17 essays in “Words to Our Now” deal with this vexing identity problem from the standpoints of race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. Glave offers many disturbing examples of challenges to and attacks on a person’s or a group’s sense of identity—including torture, rape, lynching, and homophobic murder. (Charles Smith)

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