Table of Contents
THIS DAY IN GAY HISTORY
based on: The White Crane Institute's 'Gay Wisdom', Gay Birthdays, Gay For Today, Famous GLBT, glbt-Gay Encylopedia, Today in Gay History, Wikipedia, and more …
Collected by Ted
1877 – American companion and celebrated cookbook author Alice B. Toklas was born on this date (d.1967). There are any number of stories that can be told about Toklas, ranging from nasty cracks about her spidery mustache to vicious bon mots about the disfiguring hump on her forehead. One could write about her famous recipe for brownies that dissembles as your read it till it's impossible to execute, a recipe dadaesque in its instructiveness. But there is really only one Alice B., that one very beautiful indeed, who need concern us here.
Throughout most of her life, this selfless woman's major occupation was the care and maintenance of Gertrude Stein. Indeed, as is often the case with highly productive and prolific figures, there is always someone helping them, allowing them the ability to be so productive and prolific. She was cook, secretary, manager, nurse and lover, and in return received a love as faithful and intense as any recorded in history. She was also a highly intelligent woman, whose correspondence reveals her to be a writer and commentator no less brilliant than her more famous partner.
After the death of Gertrude Stein, Toklas published her own literary memoir, a 1954 book that mixed reminiscences and recipes under the title The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook. The most famous recipe therein (actually contributed by her friend Brion Gysin) was called "Hashisch Fudge", a mixture of fruit, nuts, spices, and "canibus sativa" [sic], or marijuana. Her name was later lent to the range of cannibis concoctions called "Alice B. Toklas brownies." The cookbook has not been out of print since it was published.
A second cookbook followed in 1958 called "Aromas and Flavors of Past and Present," however Toklas did not approve of it as it had been heavily annotated by Poppy Cannon, an editor from House Beautiful magazine.
Toklas also wrote articles for several magazines and newspapers including The New Republic and the New York Times. In 1963 she published her autobiography, What Is Remembered, which abruptly ends with Stein's death, leaving little doubt that Stein was the love of her lifetime.
She called Gertrude "Lovey." Lovey called her "Pussy." And they lie together, head to head, in Pre Lachaise Cemetery.
1921 – In France, Marcel Proust published the first part of Sodome et Gomorrhe. It included an extended essay on same-sex passion.
1951 – A leading contemporary American playwright, Craig Lucas creates provocative explorations of the meaning of family and love in all its varieties. With the almost-simultaneous successes of the Broadway romantic comedy Prelude to a Kiss and the landmark AIDS film Longtime Companion in 1990, he gained access to a platform for speaking out; he has continued to use that forum for discussing the role and responsibilities of gay artists in society.
Born in Atlanta, Georgia on April 30, 1951, Lucas was abandoned that very day in the back seat of a car parked at a gas station. Before he was ten months old, however, he was adopted into a Pennsylvania family; his adoptive father was an FBI agent, and he was raised in a very conservative home and community.
During the political, sexual, and creative ferment of the late 1960s and 1970s, Lucas was drawn to the political left and came to terms with his attraction to other men. To this day he contends that only after he came out could he embark on a course of emotional healing that was essential to his growth as a writer.
While he worked at various day jobs, his acting, singing, and dancing talents helped him land small parts in Broadway musicals, including Shenandoah, On the Twentieth Century, and Sweeney Todd.
When Lucas was rewriting a play about a family's Thanksgiving dinner that eventually emerged as Missing Persons (1991), a friend showed a draft to director Norman René. René, who promised to produce the completed play, became his closest collaborator over the next fifteen years; he directed all of the early plays, as well as the films from Lucas's screenplays for some of those works.
When Hollywood producers asked for film projects from Lucas, he proposed one about the impact of AIDS on a group of friends in the early 1980s. In revisiting the making of Longtime Companion in a 2002 article in The Advocate, Lucas spoke of the chilling silence that filled one conference room after another at his suggestion. He also gives full credit to Lindsay Law, producer of PBS's American Playhouse at the time, for determining to bring that landmark film to the screen in 1990.
This film about a circle of friends in New York City in the 1980s is a naturalistic chronicle of the impact of the AIDS pandemic. From July 3, 1981, the day The New York Times first ran an article on a mysterious syndrome appearing in homosexual men, through July 19, 1989, when only three members of the work's original circle of eight characters survive, the movie portrays the way the world abruptly changed for gay men and their families and friends.
With its attention to everyday details within the circle, Longtime Companion reflects Lucas's own experience (he was a volunteer for Gay Men's Health Crisis in New York and lost many lovers and friends to AIDS). The film, as a result, carries the emotional power of witness testimony: it depicts the stages of the pandemic from early fear and denial, through the years of care-giving and loss, to the shell-shock and exhaustion of those who survive.
A new, angrier playwright emerged in his next play, The Dying Gaul (1998) which follows the journey of Robert, a screenwriter grieving after his lover's death from AIDS. The play is savage in its portrait of the film industry and the compromises demanded from artists who wander into it unprepared.
As Lucas has written,
"My lover, my best friend, my closest colleague over decades … and … several dozen friends, ex-lovers and colleagues all died rather horrible deaths in rapid succession, and I did not find myself ascending into a compassionate, giving place, but instead a significantly meaner and less generous one."
Not surprisingly, his later dramatic work is informed by searing anger and grief and is set in eerier territories than his early romantic comedies occupied.
1959 – Mark Morrisroe, photographer, was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1959 (d.1989). His mother was a drug-addicted prostitute. He left home at the age of 13 and began hustling under the name Mark Dirt at the age of 15. One of his disgruntled contacts shot him and he carried a bullet in his chest for the rest of his life. The experience was a profound influence on Morrisroe's art, which often incorporated images of young male prostitutes and X-rays of his injured chest.
He won a place at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, but he was disruptive as his lifestyle involved drugs, cross-dressing, and exhibitionism.
Many of his photographs were self-portraits and formed a visual diary of his life. He photographed himself, friends and lovers in dark, grainy, distressed colour, integrating Super 8 stills and black and white Polaroids. His work is 'decadent' and his subject matter inseparable from his life. His work is technically experimental and takes on a sketchbook quality which includes titles and comments scrawled on the edges of his images.
His career as a photographer began when he was given a Polaroid Model 195 Land camera. He experimented with unusual development techniques, receiving generous support of supplies, film, and chemicals from the Polaroid Corporation.
He assumed various identities including Mark Dirt, fanzine editor, and Sweet Raspberry, a maudlin drag queen down on her luck.
Towards the end of his life he spent so much time in hospital he set up a dark room in the ward shower.
Morrisroe died on July 24, 1989 from complications of HIV. His ashes are scattered in McMinnville, Oregon on the farm of his last boyfriend, Ramsey McPhillips. When he died 2000 Polaroids were found along with Super-8 films.
In 1997 an exhibition of Morrisoe's work My Life. Mark Morrisroe: Polaroids 1977-1989 was held at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles. The exhibition included 188 portraits. Captured over a twelve-year period, Morrisroe's naked body in these photographs depicts the changes to his body cased by HIV infection as he transforms from youthful beauty to near-skeletal wasting. The photographs carry great self-awareness and poignancy.
1964 – Kent James is an American singer, songwriter, actor, and activist. He is also known as Nick Name.
In the 90's, James performed his original song "Out of Control" on the TV show Star Search and won the first round of competition. He acted in the TV series Emmanuelle in Space, Erotic Confessions, and Women: Stories of Passion.
In 2000, James began performing as his gay punk rock alter ego "Nick Name". In 2001, Name performed his original songs "Head Rush" and "I Fucked Your Boyfriend" on the "Tolerance" episode of MTV's Flipped.
Kent James: I Fucked Your Boyfriend
In 2002, Name toured the U.S. West Coast. He was featured in an interview in Unzipped Magazine. In 2003, Portland's Willamette Week proclaimed "If Kurt Cobain had stayed around long enough to come out of the closet, he would have sounded just like Nick Name".
These days he is appearing under his own name. Asked what the difference is between Nick Name and Kent James, he replied: "Nick Name is queer; I am gay."
1973 – In Toronto, Newsweb Enterprises, a printing company controlled by newspaper The Toronto Star, refuses to print an Issue 8 of gay paper The Body Politic following a battle over classified ads which the printer said were "obscene."
1980 – Two Winnipeg chain bookstores, Coles and Classics, remove copies of Joy of Gay Sex and Joy of Lesbian Sex from shelves following threats from police of obscenity charges.
1981 – Tom Goss is an American singer-songwriter and actor. Goss has self-released five studio albums, one live album, two EPs, and multiple non-album singles. He has seen commercial success with his music featured on MTV's Logo TV. He won Best Gay Musician in DC from The Washington Blade, both in 2011 and 2012. Many of Goss' songs and music videos ("Lover", "Bears" and "Make Believe") speak to LGBT issues such as Marriage Equality, DADT, and gay subcultures such as Bears. Goss tours internationally, often playing at LGBT establishments. In 2014, Goss landed his first starring role in a feature film - the gay-themed Out to Kill.
Goss was born in Quincy, Illinois, and raised in Kenosha, Wisconsin. He graduated from the University of Central Missouri before coming to Washington, DC to attend seminary school. Shortly after entry, he decided to take a different path and pursued work in the nonprofit industry, working at Charlie's Place as a Program Manager in Washington DC. He also pursued his music, performing in local coffeehouses. During this time, he came out of the closet and soon after met his husband, Mike, whom he married in October 2010. In 2012, Goss produced a music video for his song "You Know That I Love You" off his 2011 album, which documented his marriage ceremony.
In 2014, Goss starred in his first feature film Out to Kill. The movie has a "whodunit" murder plot, where Goss' character "Justin Jaymes" is killed and a private investigator is hired to dig up who did it and why. Out to Kill was directed and written by independent filmmaker Rob Williams (Long Term Relationship, The Men from Next Door), who has made a name for himself in the gay genre.
1983 – Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus held a benefit performance at Madison Square Garden to raise money for the Gay Men's Health Crisis, drawing 18,000 people.
1988 – Some 30,000 demonstrators, including rock stars and other celebrities, march in London, England, to protest the passage of Clause 28 which affected England, Wales and Scotland. This is the largest lesbian and gay rally in the history of the UK. Clause 28 stated that a local authority "shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality" or "promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship".It was repealed on June 21, 2000 in Scotland by the Ethical Standards in Public Life etc. (Scotland) Act 2000, one of the first pieces of legislation enacted by the new Scottish Parliament, and on November 18, 2003 in the rest of the United Kingdom.
1989 – In Austin, Texas, more than 20,000 people march on the state capital in the largest gay and lesbian rights demonstration in the state's history.
1990 – Arca, the stage name for Alejandro Ghersi, is a Venezuelan electronic producer, songwriter, mixing engineer and DJ based in Dalston, London. He has released three studio albums to critical praise and has produced for artists such as Björk, Kanye West, and FKA twigs.
Arca was born in Caracas, Venezuela into a wealthy family. His father was an investment banker and his mother studied International Studies. His family moved to Connecticut for a time, before returning to Venezuela to live in a gated community, where he was privately educated and had the luxury of piano lessons. He describes his childhood as "kind of in a bubble", and had difficulty accepting the fact that he was gay. He later attended the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at NYU.
On February 1, 2012, Arca released his debut extended play, Barón Libre, through UNO NYC. Later that year, he released the Stretch 1 and Stretch 2 extended plays on April 19 and August 6 respectively.
His debut studio album, Xen, was released on November 4, 2014 via Mute Records. Arca made significant contributions to Björk's ninth studio album Vulnicura which was released on January 20, 2015. He was credited as the co-producer of seven of the tracks, and the co-writer of two. His second studio album Mutant was released on November 20, 2015. He released the Entrañas mixtape on July 4, 2016 which was supported by the single "Sin Rumbo". On April 7, 2017, his third studio album, titled Arca, was released through XL Recordings.
1997 – On this date Ellen DeGeneres came out on her television sit-com.
TODAY'S GAY WISDOM:
Alice B. Toklas
The writer Alice B. Toklas's inclusion of her friend Brion Gysin's recipe for "Haschich (sic) Fudge" in her 1954 literary memoir The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook caused a sensation at the time, and led to her name becoming associated with cannabis food with the use of the phrase "Alice B. Toklas brownies" for many years afterwards.
From The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook:"Take 1 teaspoon black peppercorns, 1 whole nutmeg, 4 average sticks of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon coriander. These should all be pulverized in a mortar. About a handful each of stone dates, dried figs, shelled almonds and peanuts: chop these and mix them together. A bunch of canibus sativa can be pulverized. This along with the spices should be dusted over the mixed fruit and nuts, kneaded together. About a cup of sugar dissolved in a big pat of butter. Rolled into a cake and cut into pieces or made into balls about the size of a walnut, it should be eaten with care. Two pieces are quite sufficient. Obtaining the canibus may present certain difficulties.... It should be picked and dried as soon as it has gone to seed and while the plant is still green."