Beautiful character study of two young people who lived during World War II. This brings to life war experience that I did not know about. Well worthBeautiful character study of two young people who lived during World War II. This brings to life war experience that I did not know about. Well worth the read....more
This is one of a number of books by Christopher Weber about the church and its history and traditions. He has a simple and graceful way of explainingThis is one of a number of books by Christopher Weber about the church and its history and traditions. He has a simple and graceful way of explaining liturgy and worship. Perfect for those who want to get more from worship....more
This autobiography is far better written and funnier than I expected it to be. I belong to a book group that sometimes reads serious fiction that is gThis autobiography is far better written and funnier than I expected it to be. I belong to a book group that sometimes reads serious fiction that is good for us. And sometimes we go Hollywood. I knew nothing about Tab Hunter when I downloaded this title. But I thank my gay guy friend who wanted to read this. It is a wonderful story of an actor caught between the old studio system and the emerging movie and indie markets of the 1970s and later. I'll be looking for the new documentary of the same name.
Arthur Gelien was renamed Tab Hunter by his first agent. He was sold as a classically handsome beefcake persona. In this book he reveals all that was under the surface — his homosexuality, his spiritual beliefs, his drive to be a serious actor, his money troubles, and his hard scrabble family life. He never knew his father and supported his mother through physical and psychiatric challenges.
He came of age at a time when it was unthinkable to imagine being "proud" to be gay. He captures the glamour and the stifling atmosphere of the 1950s.
"Back then, the average woman wouldn’t have considered men like Tony [Perkins] or me gay—only proper and well mannered."
He doesn't shy away from the brutal realities of Hollywood stardom.
"Although I got good reviews, it was hard to be taken seriously by producers and casting agents when the only feature write-ups I’d get were titled 'Whatever Happened to Tab Hunter?' or 'Remembering Tab Hunter.' Some enterprising guy even came out with a button: 'What’s a Tab Hunter?'
"I had become aware of the three stages of stardom. First is 'Get me Tab Hunter,' followed by, 'Get me a Tab Hunter type,' followed by, 'Who the hell is Tab Hunter?'"
Tab Hunter has emerged as a movie producer and writer. More importantly he has love and acceptance in his life. Could there be a better measure of success?
"During an era that no one still living actually remembers, but everyone seems to yearn for, Yonkers was a great city.” So writes Lisa Belkin in Show"During an era that no one still living actually remembers, but everyone seems to yearn for, Yonkers was a great city.” So writes Lisa Belkin in Show Me a Hero.
I came to this book by way of the HBO mini series of the same name. The Show Me a Hero mini series was co-written by David Simon — the man who created The Wire and Tremé. Both were gripping and compelling. I found this latest mini series to be the same. I now live in Mount Vernon, which, borders Yonkers. Before watching the mini series, and then reading the book upon which it was based, I knew very little detail about this housing fight.
Yonkers was one of many large, northern cities that remained segregated well into the 1970s and 1980s. In 1980, the Justice Department and the NAACP brought a lawsuit against the city, charging Yonkers with having a segregated school system that was based on a segregated housing plan that had been laid out more than 40 years before. For four decades, all public housing was kept within one square mile in the southwest corner of the city. Other big cities in the north and south were accused of doing the same thing, including Rochester, N.Y., but Yonkers fought the Justice Department, while other cities made concessions. Yonkers was eventually court ordered to built low income housing in the eastern parts of the city — east of the Saw Mill River. The court reminded the city that it had already accepted federal funds to build low-income housing on the east side, but had delayed construction for years. When the mandate finally came, east-side homeowners rebelled. It is rare that city council meetings make national news — but the screaming protestors, and subsequent death threats, were covered by major newspapers and the major networks. Most certainly some of the Yonkers residents in the east side were racists, but some were not. Some who lived in the west side's low income housing were drug dealers and gang members, most were not.
As the author notes about the east side home owners, “Many of them had also lived a ball’s throw from Yankee Stadium [in the Bronx], more recently than [Judge] Sand, and then fled to Yonkers as their neighborhoods became emblems of urban decay.” They didn’t want the poor planning of the Bronx to be repeated in Yonkers.
At the center of the controversy was Nick Wasicsko, who, at 28, was the youngest mayor of a major American city. He was naive, to say the least. He came into office in 1987 promising to fight the housing mandate. He promised to appeal the decision already handed down. He pandered to the voters’ fear of integration and basically did what he needed to do to unseat his opponent — Angelo Martinelli. Martinelli had been mayor for six terms at that point, had told the voters that the housing was inevitable. He was right. After only five days in office, Wasicsko was told that Yonkers had no chance of appeal. The court order would stand. The federal judge later added crippling fines to the city for each day it did not offer a plan to build the housing. Adding to the complexity was the judge’s own naiveté — a belief that somehow just building housing with no real work on social fabric would somehow cure the wrongs of racism. Wasicsko had to face his constituents to tell them that America was a “nation of laws,” and that the city would have to abide by the law. He changed his stand and became a supporter of the housing. For that he received death threats, was spit on, and was eventually voted out of office.
The author lays out the story through the eyes of the politicians, but also several women and children who lived in the various low-income projects, and who aspired to a better life. For some, moving into the new housing —which was eventually built on five sites throughout east Yonkers — was life changing. For Mayor Wasicsko, it ended a promising career.
City planning is an art. The author focuses on the work and theories of Oscar Newman, a planner who believed that low-income housing should be devoid of common areas that allow for onsite crime. He believed that there was more dignity and safety in giving each family their own space — front steps, a back yard. His Defensible Space theory has since been embraced by planners, but it was a new and more costly experiment in Yonkers several decades ago. I certainly recommend this book and the series. This is an important part of the urban American story....more
I wanted to love this book, because I love the history of LGBTQ people. The people and actions chronicled in The Gay Revolution are covered with a resI wanted to love this book, because I love the history of LGBTQ people. The people and actions chronicled in The Gay Revolution are covered with a respect and reverence that can’t be found in other history books. Our story is too new and, in some cases, too fringe, to really capture the scholarship dedicated to other histories. We rely on writers and historians like Lillian Faderman.
So, I am resigned to write that I liked this book. That is as good as it gets. Faderman has written other important histories that read like page-turners. I loved Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers. I think she took on too much by covering the entire LGBTQ movement from 1948 on. Or perhaps, she is just not as passionate on the subject as she is about women’s history.
Still, this is a must-read. LGBTQ activists need to know how marriage equality was won and about all the players behind the scenes. We need to know just how dangerous it was to serve in silence in the armed forces post-WWII and before the order to strike Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. And we need to remember just how cruel the police and FBI were in witch hunting for gays and lesbians.
At Stonewall in 1969, the community — especially the trans community — finally fought back. Ours is a glorious, hard scrabble history whose advocates and politicians are aging. That is all the move reason to read The Gay Revolution. We have to tell the stories while there is time to interview the principals. This is the I am delighted Faderman wrote this book. I just wish it had been better organized and the prose more riveting.
As always, I have my favorite passages. Here are just a few:
“NOW Is The Time To Fight,” the leaflets proclaimed. “The issue is CIVIL RIGHTS,” they declared. Almost nobody ever before had dared to suggest that homosexuality might have anything to do with “civil rights.”
“Gays needed to riot, to tear things up a bit, like black people were doing. Then the media would have to take notice.“ In newspaper terms, no news is bad news; good news is no news; and bad news is good news.
In 1979, twenty years after she’d discovered The Ladder, Robin Tyler, a well-known lesbian activist by then, called for the first March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights.
Yet despite the virulent prejudice that remains; despite Congress’s failure to pass an Equality Act, such as Bella Abzug and Ed Koch had proposed more than forty years earlier, that would in one fell swoop give LGBT people complete, first-class citizenship; despite occasional setbacks, it’s undeniable: the arc of the moral universe has been bending toward justice. Frank Kameny’s observation bears repeating: “We started with nothing, and look what we have wrought!”...more
Someone once told me there are five American cities that have such unique culture and flavor that they must be visited. New Orleans was in that top fiSomeone once told me there are five American cities that have such unique culture and flavor that they must be visited. New Orleans was in that top five. The other four? According to this friend, they are New York, Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco. To think that after Hurricane Katrina there were officials who questioned whether New Orleans was worth rebuilding. I am very glad they were overruled.
As the author says, "The French Quarter with its mix of French and Spanish influences (mostly Spanish because a massive fire in 1794 destroyed much that the French had built), the wrought-iron balconies and ornate cornices, the densely filled shotgun and double-galleried neighborhoods with their endless variety of Greek Revival, Italianate, and Creole cottages—all of this architectural diversity gives credence to the common observation that New Orleans is the only European or Caribbean city in the United States."
I was recently in New Orleans and spent a lot of time in the Broadmoor neighborhood. All over there are signs, "Broadmoor better than before." Given that this neighborhood was slated to be a draining pool after the storm, and was rebuilt on the energy and sweat equity of residents and volunteers, it is satisfying to see the Broadmoor story featured in this book. It took 10 years, but the neighborhood now has a school, a rebuilt library, and a community center. With a nod to whimsy, they renamed the coffeeshop the Green Dot Cafe. The Lower Ninth Ward, and other neighborhoods, have not been so fortunate. They have other stories that are well told here.
My friend, Rev. Hal Roark is quoted in this book. He, and his wife Lori, are two of the many activists that brought New Orleans back.
The author is a journalist with much experience covering city planning and urban issues. I appreciated her thorough coverage of the storm, the levees, and the long road back for New Orleans. She carefully and compassionatley tells the stories of the people who survived the storm and the sad economic inequities that remain.
"Algiers did not flood during Katrina but nevertheless gained a beautiful new library and a new school through the efforts of former city councilwoman Jackie Clarkson. The Lower Nine didn’t get a high school until 2014."
One quote says it all: “FEMA—Fix Everything My Ass.”
We are at the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. This book is well worth reading. Parts are gripping and fascinating. The author also provides much history of this beautiful city....more
This is the second novel I have read by Marilynne Robinson. I plan to read more because I am in awe of her command of language and literary craft. ThiThis is the second novel I have read by Marilynne Robinson. I plan to read more because I am in awe of her command of language and literary craft. This is one story that takes determination to read. There is sadness and loss on just about every page. There are no specifics about where and when Ruth and her sister Lucille come to live with their grandmother. Little clues along the way tell us this must be Idaho and the year is maybe 1954.
These girls suffer the death of those close to them and end up in the care of an aunt who simply does not have the skill or willingness to help them re-form their family ties and make a home. The title of this novel speaks to what many of the characters, including the family's patriarch, could not do. While the survivors live under the structure that has been handed down as the family house, they cannot care for their home. They are frozen in place. They can never improve or move forward. Eventually one sister pulls herself away from the clutter and the chaos and makes a new life.
We have three generations of women who are not aways nurturing or kind to each other. We have a father who would rather travel the railroad lines and, when at home, paint pictures of mountains. For his daughter and granddaughter the theme of wanderlust becomes transience. This may not be the novel for everyone. But I just love the way Robinson writes. Who can resist a sentence like this, "We had spent our lives watching and listening with the constant sharp attention of children lost in the dark."...more