The Lavender Scare (2013) is a new documentary based on the book The Lavender Scare: The Cold War Persecution of Gays and Lesbians in the Federal Government by David K. Johnson. Directed by Josh Howard, the film investigates how gay men and lesbians were persecuted in the 1950s in a witch hunt that ran parallel to the Communist ‘Red Scare’ of the McCarthy era. From the film’s Kickstarter page: “Sixty years ago, on April 27, 1953, the President of the United States signed an Executive Order directing all agencies of the federal government to fire any employee found to be gay or lesbian. The mass firings that began in the 1950s and continued for four decades were as aggressive and vicious a witch hunt as any in American history.” The Lavender Scare attempts to tell the human story behind this piece of legislation and the effect it had on their lives, both at the time and today. It is an important part of the social, cultural, and historical life of gay men and lesbians and if you would like to support the filmmakers to help them finish it, you can make a donation.
Official Kickstarter page for The Lavender Scare
Official Website for The Lavender Scare
Official Facebook page for The Lavender Scare
“It is transience and chance which interest you. It is the present, its futility, its essential mortality, which interests you. That is what it means to be sixteen”.
“But why then do I write, when I could do nothing? Why this need to bear mute witness? Because this is the greatest of all adventures. Because life begins at sixteen and I am sixteen”.
“Writing requires complete commitment. One may do but one thing: write. One must not allow oneself to be distracted… It is a vocation, it is a religion into which one is initiated.”
One of the perks of my new job is that I get to travel abroad and so during the recent bank holiday weekend I visited Johannesburg for a short trip. I have never been to the African continent before so I was very excited, plus I was going to be there with a colleague who is South African. Believe me, having someone with you who knows the country well is a sure way of staying out of trouble in what is a sometimes dangerous city. We stayed in the rather lovely Sandton Sun Hotel in Sandton City, a hotel in a style that once signalled the future but has since been left behind in a kind of retro sci-fi. Having said that, we had lovely rooms and there was also a rather stunning restaurant where we had a number of wonderful meals on the terrace in hazy mid-autumn sunshine (which never fell below twenty degrees). The hotel has a huge luxury shopping mall attached to it and a food court so that guests do not have to leave the hotel and believe me, many of the guests are happy not to go outside. Read more
Each week I will post a poem from one of my previous poetry collections to give readers a taste of the kind of poetry I write. This week I give you ‘On His Leaving’, a poem taken from my first collection of poetry, A Marriage of Sorts (2012), which you can purchase by clicking here. Read more
“She was starting to understand the difficulties faced by any writer, and how hard it is to maintain a ‘balanced’ life, especially for women. The push and pull of needing solitude and experience – the endless conflict of it.”
“I am worn out now with the strenuous days at the office and the heat and the evenings out. I want to come home and sleep and… get tan again”. Sylvia Plath
In January 2013, Sylvia Plath’s only novel The Bell Jar (1963) turned fifty, an anniversary which suddenly ignited people’s interest once more in both the book and the real events that inspired it. Elizabeth Winder’s new book, ‘Pain, Parties, Work’ – a quote from Plath – is a timely look into the summer of 1953 when the poet worked in the coveted position of guest editor with nineteen other girls on Mademoiselle’s ‘College Issue’. In Plath’s novel, she describes in harsh, cynical prose the realities of being a young twenty-year-old woman working in New York during a cultural crisis in which women received mixed messages about their place in the world. Women were being told for the first time that they could have careers and many single girls flocked to New York City, but they were also still expected to be wives and mothers. As Winder describes it, “the difficulties Sylvia endured were not unique, but part of a larger crisis – being an ambitious, curious girl in the 1950s”. Read more
Each week I will post a poem from one of my previous poetry collections to give readers a taste of the kind of poetry I write. This week I give you The Boys of the Castro, a poem featured in my most recent poetry collection, Suburbanite (2012), which you can purchase by clicking here.
I can’t wait for Pedro Almodóvar’s new film I’m So Excited (Los Amantes Pasajeros) (2013) which the director says is his “gayest film ever” in an interview with The Guardian. The film is a screwball comedy taking place on a transatlantic jet and follows a trio of gay flight attendants who get up to all sorts of comic shenanigans on a flight to Mexico. I love Almodóvar’s films ever since I discovered them aged 12 (when the director appeared in Madonna’s documentary film, Truth or Dare). I absolutely love their fresh and stylish take on life, often finding hilarity in the most mundane of circumstances. If you haven’t seen any of the director’s work, this new film promises to be a very good place to start. Read more