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Roche served as a volunteer and occasional writer for the Toronto-based gay newspaper The Body Politic (TBP) from 1976 to 1981. He was described as “a sparkling young fag about town” by renowned Canadian playwright Sky Gilbert, about whom Roche wrote a profile for TBP. In fact, Roche’s sparkling performances were his claim to fame. An early 1980s extended monologue, Dirt is My Profession, found Roche presenting himself in an old-school gown and focusing on his career cleaning people’s houses.

Books, Columns, Culture, Fifteen from 1984, History »

From the sexually profligate Don Juan in the Village to the disturbing S&M fantasies of Leash, Jane DeLynn has been a leading—but not often discussed—lesbian novelist. Beginning with Some Do (1978), DeLynn built a cult audience for her often dark worldview. By the time of her appearance at A Different Light in 1984, DeLynn had released what is still her best known novel, In Thrall (1982).

Co będzie Twoją przygodą?, History, Photography »

Avery would cut through the bottom left corner of the park, to get to a Q-train at 57th Street and eventually home to Brooklyn. Though his iPod had died on the way uptown, he kept the earphones in, only listening to his own muffled footsteps. Each passing lamp post kept him from being swallowed by the black that such a moonless night provided.

Books, Columns, Culture, Fifteen from 1984, History »

It was not Jane Chambers, but women listed as the “Friends of Jane Chambers,” who appeared at A Different Light late in November of 1984. Suddenly, tragically, Jane Chambers had died of cancer the previous year, aged only 45. Before her death, though, Chambers had become the leading light of lesbian theater, one of the first dramatists to feature naturalistic portrayals of open lesbians and their friendship groups in her work. Plays like A Late Snow, Last Summer at Bluefish Cove, and My Blue Heaven were gaining notice on the New York stage, and Chambers seemed poised to become much more widely known at the point of her untimely death.

Books, Columns, Culture, Fifteen from 1984, History »

Darrell Yates Rist courted notoriety throughout his career as an open and militant gay journalist. By 1984, he had been published in numerous magazines and newspapers, including Christopher Street, where he would serve for years as a contributing writer, Harper’s, and The New York Native. Shortly after his appearance at A Different Light, he would be one of a group of New York activists (including writer and professor Arnie Kantrowitz and film historian Vito Russo, among others) to found the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), still prominent today in the fight against stereotypical and harmful representations of GLBT people in the media. He was named a writer in residence at Columbia University’s Center for American Cultural Studies.

Books, Columns, Culture, Fifteen from 1984, History »

Ethan Mordden has fashioned a dual career over the course of three decades: one as a musical theater, classic film, and opera historian and commentator and the other as a gay novelist. His appearance at A Different Light in 1984 marked the point where Mordden’s reputation began to tip from one side of the scale to the other, as his cycle of episodic Buddies novels would begin in 1985.

Culture, History »

Alexander the Great, the coolest and the sexiest and the man with the biggest… (There is a lost fragment at this point, but based in some other documents, scholars think that the author is probably talking about Alexander’s heart, of course!)

Columns, Culture, Fifteen from 1984, History »

Although more associated with the West Coast, activist and lesbian-feminist poet Judy Grahn appeared at A Different Light in New York to share material from her recently published Another Mother Tongue: Gay Words, Gay Worlds (1984). Another Mother Tongue is still Grahn’s best-known work of nonfiction, and in its combination of gay and lesbian lived experience, culture, and myth, it dovetails with the topics and themes of Grahn’s poetry and fiction.

Columns, Culture, Fifteen from 1984, History »

One of the most prolific writers and editors of the gay liberation era, John Preston was something of a publishing phenomenon by the time he appeared at A Different Light in 1984. Just as with Armistead Maupin (Week 4), Preston had achieved his greatest fame to date with a serialized story. The similarities ended there. Unlike Tales of the City, Preston’s Mr. Benson, the tale of the world’s most perfect leather master and the training of his slave Jamie, was unlikely to be made into a TV minseries.

Columns, Culture, Fifteen from 1984, History »

By the time of his death at the age of 90 in 1999, Britain’s Quentin Crisp was definitely in the running for the best-known gay man of the 20th century, but he hadn’t come to public attention at all prior to the release, in 1968, of his memoir The Naked Civil Servant. Justifiably widely read and still in print (from Penguin Classics, no less), the memoir detailed Crisp’s youth flaunting English gender and sexual mores. Highly effeminate—and perhaps with a death wish—Crisp hennaed his hair, put on makeup, and walked the streets of London in the 1930s, meeting with amazement and sometimes violence from passersby. The Naked Civil Servant goes on to discuss Crisp’s life during World War II and his later work as an artists’ model.