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Most of you are familiar with the Tales of the City (and if you’re not, step away from whatever device you’re reading this on and come back when you’re familiar with them. No seriously. This is the ninth book in an incredible series and the review to follow won’t make a lick of sense without reading what are really one of the biggest contributions to queer literature ever).

Maupin’s beloved series of books that have spawned mini-series and sequels and become such a part of popular culture for the past forty years comes to a triumphant conclusion in the latest and final installment. The ninth book, The Days of Anna Madrigal, has all the magic of the first book, written serially in the 1970s. It features the same group of characters: Brian and Mary-Ann and Michael, and of course, the book’s namesake, Anna Madrigral, as well as the others we have come to know and love in the two books before this, Ben, Shawna, Jake… It features the same twists and turns that have characterized Maupin’s series right from Norman Neal William’s dark secret on…. It features the same laughter and love and grief that we have come to expect from one of the first writers to ever address AIDS.

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Book Review: Broken Pieces by Riley Hart

In: Reader Submissions, Totally GAY!

We’re all looking for that someone in life who makes us more complete. Sometimes, though, it takes two people to make us whole.

Josiah and Mateo are brought together in their teens, fostered by the same people. They couldn’t be more different – Josiah: shy, quiet, innocent; Teo – rough and tough and straight out of a Brooklyn gang. But there is an immediate connection, and as they take the first steps into admitting their feelings of attraction for each other, they get their first hint of what it’s like when what has been broken gets fixed. Together, they try to start a life, but Teo’s gang connections are all he has to fall back on, and he is soon pulled back into that world, a world that threatens them with violence. The only way to spare Josiah is to set him free, and Teo does just that.

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Into every new club, a new generation is born, one who will fill it with laughter and tears and drama and sex and pretension and life.

The Last Ones is the story of the last night of Club Legion, one of those gay clubs that has meant the world to so many, that has BEEN the world to so many. In these pages are the lives not only of the people whose stories we get to glimpse so briefly but also the stories of all the gays we’ve known in all the clubs we’ve loved and lost.

Legion is the kind of club where everybody knows your name, but only if you want them too. It is just as easy to remain anonymous, one of the many, a part apart.

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Because this writing style is all the rage.

Look, this informal lead sentence will prepare you for a meta-conversational article which is persuasive because we’re just two buddies kiki-ing, here. Nothing scary about that, right?

With that out of the way: I’m not a huge CrossFit zealot. I’m a skeptic by nature, who CrossFits because it works for me. I wanted to be fit and look good, now I am and I do. I don’t eat paleo, I compete casually, and I only talk about CrossFit when people ask me how I got it like that.

But it seems to have become ok for people who don’t do it to hate on it, and I’m not sure I understand why that is, except maybe people who haven’t got it like that tend to resent people who do, and maybe they know a few douchebags who give the whole community a bad name, and maybe they’re too intimidated to try it themselves.

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This was not the Robin Reardon I am used to reading. Most of Robin’s books are set in the here-and-now. This is set in 1972, and 1972 was a very different time for gay guys. Further, most of Robin’s books are from the point of view of a gay guy. Not this time though.

Paul Landon is sixteen, and his older brother Chris is fighting in Vietnam. During a Thanksgiving furlough, Chris comes home, and just before he leaves, comes out to Paul. Paul is stunned by the news, news he can’t share with his parents. Paul can’t bring himself to say a proper goodbye when Chris ships out again. And Chris doesn’t make it back. He is killed in action, and Paul crumbles under not only the secret his brother was gay but the guilt at how they parted.

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Book Review: Beautiful People by Simon Doonan

In: Reader Submissions, The Arts, Totally GAY!

You may have seen the BBC series, but still, read the book. Its subtitle: My Family and Other Glamorous Varmints, says it all. Simon Doonan looks back on his life and the people in it.

If you’ve seen the show, you know some of the characters; they’re here, though different, perhaps more real. His flamboyant mother, his sensitive father, his (here gay) sister, his best friend Biddie, blind aunt Phyllis and her seeing eye dog Lassie. They’re joined by his crazy Uncle Ken, by his crazier grandmother Narg, and by a supporting ensemble of the quirky, the over-the-top, the grotesque, and the beautiful.

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Ethan Poe is an outlier. He doesn’t feel he fits in with any groups at his school, partly because of his Goth appearance (inspired by his distant relative Edgar Allan), partly because he’s gay. The only person that knows the latter though is his friend Jorja, a fellow outlier, and one who is constantly praying that Ethan will stop being gay. As Jorja becomes even more intense about her religion, Ethan’s brother Kyle too seems caught up in a religious fever, and in his case, it is becoming disturbing indeed.

If that’s not complicated enough for a sixteen-year-old whose parents are recently separated, life takes an interesting turn in the person of Max Modine, beautiful and mysterious, and apparently as attracted to Ethan as Ethan is to him.

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The minute anybody started paying attention to Sharon “The Fucking Future of Drag” Needles, girlfriend was in some hot water. It turned out she occasionally liked to perform wearing blackface and swastikas, brag on Facebook/Twitter about how she’s sooooo edgy, she “[doesn't] say n-word..i say nigger…” and associate her employers and all their countrymen with mass murder.

After a near-perfect run on drag race (having only fallen into the bottom two when it didn’t matter, as Willam was disqualified that episode anyway), Needles was finally told to sashay away this May the instant her spiked heel hit the airport runway in Vienna, Austria. Needles was booked to perform at the Life Ball, a schmancy international AIDS fundraiser (we’re assuming there was no distasteful punning with her name intended). Upon arrival, Needles, apparently drunk but probably in total control of her image and artistry as she is at all times because she’s obviously a genius, proclaimed she was happy to be in Vienna, the birthplace of Hitler.

That carefully planned performance piece must have gone over my head, because I thought Hitler was born in Braunau am Inn.

According to other passengers on the flight, Needles also told this joke: “Did you hear the one about the baby with AIDS? It never gets old.”

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