Good day and good news, my tender shoots and leaves, my hearty rhizomes and my fabulous fruits, and welcome to a languorous late summer edition of Queer Culture Catch-up. I feel loved and tender and held together this episode, so we’ll round up some cultural options for a cool, air-conditioned room alongside others to bask in the sun like a happy dog in the park grass, all on a theme of things that came into my life through my beloved friends.
“Here Comes the Sun”, Ned Wilkinson
Thirty years ago, when I was a queer teenager, I made a bunch of *Doja Cat Limp Wrist* friends on America Online, and one of them was Ned Wilkinson. He was the beloved darling of another AOL friend, Chris Leavy, who sat with me while my parents read my coming-out letter, and regularly picked me up from the safe side of buildings after that I gave impassioned pro-queer speeches that inflamed the religious right. . Ned was and remains a talented musician who can play a truly amazing number of instruments (all, perhaps) that earned him the name Ned the band. Ned gives a concert of nostalgia, Here Comes The Sun, consisting of ‘70s and ‘’80s summer songs, many of which no doubt have a weird twist, are streaming in Florida this weekend and streaming online September 2-5. Grab tickets and admire my extremely talented longtime friend while you sip a coconut drink (a brightly patterned resort shirt is optional, but recommended for the vibe).
“The Walrus Talks: Reconnecting Arts and Culture”
My sweet friend and collaborator Syrus Marcus Ware, with whom I have done several projects, in addition to having spent countless hours watching our children go wild together, not only drew my attention to this point, but is part of it! “The Walrus Talks: Reconnecting Arts and Cultureis at the Halifax Central Library, but will also be streamed live and will feature wisdom from several LGBTQ2S+ panelists. On Tuesday, September 13 at 7 p.m. ADT (or later on the library’s YouTube channel), hear from the likes of Syrus and his colleagues, including Reneltta Arluk, Peter Hinton Davis, Ian Kamau and Owen “O’Sound” Lee discuss the question at the heart of this column: how can arts and culture connect people, especially in the midst of a pandemic?
Virologyby Joe Osmundson
Long-time friend, creator of children’s books and tattoo artist kd diamond drew my attention to this book, the way your smart friends pop something on your radar and you grab it without hesitation (also see his amazing tattoo work from the ACT UP manifesto here). kd introduced me to the work of Joe Osmundson, who is sort of: 1. a brilliant writer, 2. completely lovable, and 3. a real genius public health expert and professor of biology. His book Virology is a collection of essays on homosexuality, sex, food, parties, HIV, COVID-19, life, death, hope, community and how we all impact, an intersection, an interaction, an infection and more. I have never read such a funny, tender and deeply sweet book on queer public health and I doubt I will ever do so again. Highly recommended.
Carina Adore series from Carina Press
This entire week of soapy, satisfying queer romance joy came from my friend, production manager and logistical mastermind Pip Bradford, who took a (so dreamy) month-long reading vacation and spoke so enthusiastically afterwards about this line of LGBTQ2S+ love books I had to see for myself. The Imprint Carina Adore has dozens of options in romance, with many themes and genres represented within them in case, like me, you find your reading tastes to be rather… omnivorous (very common among all my favorite dirty fags, to be honest). The editor is particularly strong in genre pieces, so if you need cowboys or otherwise, they’ve got you covered.
A place for me: figurative painting now
From my brother Jeff Bergman, my faithful link to the visual arts and my general guide to interpreting the art world, comes the recommendation of A place for me: figurative painting now at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, notably the only museum where I’ve ever had to lie about my age to get in (I went to see a Robert Mapplethorpe exhibit when I was 17 and it was 18+, but I calmly said I was 19 and a student at Emerson, which they believed). This exhibition features several queer artists, including Louis Fratino and Doron Langberg, who put queer love at the center of their work. You can see the whole show in person at the museum or get a great look online, with some of the paintings available online, as well as videos and podcasts showcasing the artists and their work.
There is more too. The next edition will be filled with new books written by other of my amazing favorite people, including Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha and Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg, and wait and see what else, but hopefully this keeps us all in waiting. Until then, I hope the last popsicle and the last park shot that stretch to dinner and the last wild and hand-harvested sun tea and even the last school shoe shopping will be so good for all of us. As always, if you do something new and weird, DM me – I love hearing from you.