Leslie Feinberg, who identified as an anti-racist white, working-class, secular Jewish, transgender, lesbian, female, revolutionary communist, died on November 15. You can read her obituary, lovingly written by her partner, Minnie Bruce Pratt, here. Feinberg wrote extensively about the complexities of gender as well as the links between socialism and LGBT history. Many of her book titles, speeches, interviews, articles, and podcasts can be accessed via her website. Take a look!
At the time of her death Feinberg was preparing a 20th anniversary edition of Stone Butch Blues, a free access edition, which can be read and downloaded on-line. This edition is dedicated to CeCe McDonald, a young Minneapolis (trans)woman organizer and activist sent to prison for defending herself against a white neo-Nazi attacker, and will contain a slideshow, “This Is What Solidarity Looks Like,” documenting the breadth of the organizing campaign to free CeCe McDonald. A group of friends are continuing to work to post Feinberg’s final writing and art online at Lesliefeinberg.net (coming soon).
Today’s fabulously elaborate animated Google Doodle pays tribute to beloved children’s author Maurice Sendak, who died last year. Rotating stage-layers include some of the main characters of Sendaks’ illustrations from Where The Wild Things Are, In The Night Kitchen, and others. Sendak lived with his partner, Dr. Eugene Glynn, for 50 years. Not featured: scenes from one of my personal favorites, Chicken Soup With Rice; read to me often as a kid by my own Jewish grandmother.
In June I saw a charming group
Of roses all begin to droop
I pepped them up with chicken soup!
Sprinkle once, sprinkle twice
Sprinkle chicken soup with rice.
“Nothing is more impotent than an unread library” says Waters in the 6th chapter of his book Role Models (2010), one of my personal favorite reads of the summer. Here, Waters confesses his love and admiration for his friends and heroes Johnny Mathis, Leslie Van Houten, fashion designer Rei Kawakubo and others, including the authors of and characters featured in the following books:
- Denton Welch’s 1945 novel In Youth Is Pleasure (“so precious, so beyond gay, so deliciously subversive…”)
- Lionel Shriver’s We Need To Talk About Kevin (2003) (“a hit cult book for women without offspring who were finally able to admit they didn’t want to give birth.”)
- Christina Stead’s 1965 The Man Who Loved Children (a “devastating portrait of one of the most hateful, spiteful, unhappy marriages ever imagined…”)
- Jane Bowles’s 1943 Two Serious Ladies (“Tennessee Williams’s ‘favorite book’ might just perk up your mood.”)
- Darkness and Day by Ivy Compton-Burnett (1951) (“Little actual action, almost no description, and endless pages of hermetically sealed, stylized, sharp, cruel, venomous Edwardian dialogue.”)
- and (from a subsequent chapter) The Life and Times of Little Richard (1984) (“perhaps the best and most shocking celebrity tell-all book ever written…It’s a real lulu.”)
And guess what?! Brooklyn Public Library has them all! Well, all but one. I checked.
Waters advises his readers, “You should never just read for ‘enjoyment.’ Read to make yourself smarter! Less judgemental. More apt to understand your friends’ insane behavior, or better yet, your own. Pick ‘hard books.’ Ones you have to concentrate on while reading. And for God’s sake, don’t let me ever hear you say ‘I can’t read fiction. I only have time for the truth.’ Fiction is the truth, fool! Ever hear of ‘literature’? That means fiction, too, stupid.”
A party for queer librarians and those who love them!
You don’t have to be a queer librarian; you just have to dance with one!