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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
It’s the story of a boy, growing up evangelically Christian, and fervently believing in his religion, and how he reconciles that religion to the growing realization he is gay. At the same time, he is dealing with being orphaned and left in the care of his older brother; being deserted by his childhood friend after learning that the feelings he had for him were reciprocated; becoming friends with a non-believer classmate Pearl; and finding dual father figures in Reverend Amos King, his godfather whose infectious religious rhetoric cloaks a secret of his own, and in Gregory Hart, a bachelor caring for his wheelchair-bound sister whose good heart cannot make up for the near-certain suspicion in this small Idaho town that Gregory is a homosexual.
Jason Peele is your typical high school student, with one exception. He’s gay. Maybe. It’s something he’s just beginning to accept, and on this path to acceptance, he encounters both hurdles and helpers. Hurdles include jilted girlfriend Meg, a conservative and concerned uncle and homophobic bullies Jimmy and Dane. They’re balanced out by a supportive friendship with Robert and a tall, dark, handsome student named Raj.