Category Archives: GLBT Non-Fiction

Ground Zero by Andrew Holleran

Rating: 8/10 ★★★★★★★★☆☆ 
Title: Ground Zero
Author: Andrew Holleran
Genre: Non-Fiction
Price: Out of Print
Summary [from the publisher]:
Angry, frightened, sorrowful, yet filled with caring and compassion, this collection of deeply personal and powerful essays ponders how the AIDS epidemic has changed life for gay men, especially those in New York City.

My review: Continue reading Ground Zero by Andrew Holleran


Keith Haring: The Authorized Biography by John Gruen

Rating: 10/10 ★★★★★★★★★★ 
Title: Keith Haring: The Authorized Biography
Author: John Gruen
Genre: Non-fiction, Biography
URL: Out of Print
Summary [from the publisher]:
Keith Haring’s talent was first recognized on subway platforms, where his trademark chalk-drawn figures could be seen for the price of a token. By the time of his death in 1990 at the age of thirty-one, Haring’s career had moved from underground New York to the most prestigious galleries and museums in the world.

Here Keith Haring’s story is told by those who knew him—and by the artist himself. He candidly reflects on all aspects of his life, including his approach to art, being gay, and how he came to terms with AIDS. John Gruen masterfully combines Haring’s own words with the observations of those who knew him best, including art dealer Leo Castelli; Madonna; artists Roy Lichtenstein, Francesco Clemente, and Kenny Scharf; Claude Picasso; Timothy Leary; and William Burroughs, among others. Haring emerges as both a courageous and enigmatic personality—a champion of art for all people.

My review: Continue reading Keith Haring: The Authorized Biography by John Gruen


Evening Crowd at Kirmser’s: A Gay Life in the 1940s by Ricardo J. Brown

Rating: 9/10 ★★★★★★★★★☆ 
Title: Evening Crowd at Kirmser’s: A Gay Life in the 1940s
Author: Ricardo J. Brown
Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir
URL: University of Minnesota Press
Price: US $16.95
Summary [from the publisher]:
A surprising and vivid remembrance of gay life in the wake of World War II
The Evening Crowd at Kirmser’s is a compelling memoir of the author’s experiences as a young gay man during the 1940s. In an engaging and open writing style, and through stories both humorous and tragic, Brown introduces us to the companions and friends he met at Kirmser’s, a working-class bar in downtown St. Paul that became an unofficial home to gay men and lesbians at night.

My review: Continue reading Evening Crowd at Kirmser’s: A Gay Life in the 1940s by Ricardo J. Brown


Richard Estes’ Realism by Patterson Sims et al.

Rating: 10/10 ★★★★★★★★★★ 
Title: Richard Estes’ Realism
Author: Patterson Sims et al.
Genre: Non-Fiction, Art
URL: Portland Museum of Art
Price: US $40.00
Summary [from the publisher]:
Accompanying Estes’ first solo exhibition of paintings in the United States in over two decades, Richard Estes’ Realism surveys fifty years of his work and places him within the historical narrative of realist painting. The authors explore the ongoing modernist dialogue between camera and canvas, and discuss the situation of Estes’ work at the crossroads of painting and photography. Fifty full-page plates showcase the amazing precision of Estes’ paintings, and a thorough chronology and bibliography provide an enlightening account of his life. This handsome book offers a lavish presentation of Estes’ spellbinding body of work that attests to his enduring artistic impact.

My review: Continue reading Richard Estes’ Realism by Patterson Sims et al.


Jeb and Dash: A Diary of Gay Life, 1918-1945 by Ina Russell

Rating: 7/10 ★★★★★★★☆☆☆ 
Title: Jeb and Dash: A Diary of Gay Life, 1918-1945
Author: Ina Russell, editor
Genre: Biography, Memoir, History
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Price: Out of Print
Here is the journal of Jeb Alexander, a gay man who lived in Washington, D.C. during the first half of the 20th century. Documents his life and details the joy and anguish of his on-and-off love affair with college chum C.C. Dasham.

My review: Continue reading Jeb and Dash: A Diary of Gay Life, 1918-1945 by Ina Russell


Without You by Anthony Rapp

Rating: 10/10 ★★★★★★★★★★ 
Title: Without You
Author: Anthony Rapp
Genre: Biography/Memoir
URL: Simon & Schuster
Price: US $16.00
Summary [from the publisher]:
Anthony Rapp had a special feeling about Jonathan Larson’s rock musical Rent as early as his first audition, which won him a starring role as the video artist Mark Cohen. The Pulitzer Prize-winning Rent opened to thunderous acclaim off-Broadway — but even as friends and family were celebrating the show’s first success, they were also mourning Jonathan Larson’s sudden death from an aortic aneurysm. And when Anthony’s mom began to lose her battle with cancer, Anthony found himself struggling to balance his life in the theater with his responsibility to his family.

In Without You, Anthony tells of his exhilarating journey with the cast and crew of Rent as well as the intimacies of his personal life behind the curtain. Marked by fledgling love and devastating loss, Without You is an exceptional memoir of the world of theater, the love of a son for his mother, and maturity won far too early.

My review: Continue reading Without You by Anthony Rapp


Fairyland: A Memoir of My Father by Alysia Abbott

Rating: 10/10 ★★★★★★★★★★ 
Title: Fairyland: A Memoir of My Father
Author: Alysia Abbott
Genre: Biography/Memoir
URL: W.W. Norton & Co.
Price: US $15.95
Summary [from the publisher]:
After his wife dies in a car accident, bisexual writer and activist Steve Abbott moves with his two-year-old daughter to San Francisco. There they discover a city in the midst of revolution, bustling with gay men in search of liberation—few of whom are raising a child.

Steve throws himself into San Francisco’s vibrant cultural scene. He takes Alysia to raucous parties, pushes her in front of the microphone at poetry readings, and introduces her to a world of artists, thinkers, and writers. But the pair live like nomads, moving from apartment to apartment, with a revolving cast of roommates and little structure. As a child Alysia views her father as a loving playmate who can transform the ordinary into magic, but as she gets older Alysia wants more than anything to fit in. The world, she learns, is hostile to difference.

In Alysia’s teens, Steve’s friends—several of whom she has befriended—fall ill as AIDS starts its rampage through their community. While Alysia is studying in New York and then in France, her father tells her it’s time to come home; he’s sick with AIDS. Alysia must choose whether to take on the responsibility of caring for her father or continue the independent life she has worked so hard to create.

Reconstructing their life together from a remarkable cache of her father’s journals, letters, and writings, Alysia Abbott gives us an unforgettable portrait of a tumultuous, historic time in San Francisco as well as an exquisitely moving account of a father’s legacy and a daughter’s love.

My review: Continue reading Fairyland: A Memoir of My Father by Alysia Abbott