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Customer Review

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like a Rainbow, May 14, 2006
This review is from: Best Sex Writing 2006 (Paperback)
This is the first volume in this series I've read, and at first I'm looking at it, like, mweh, but then once I gave it a fair shot i realized I should have trusted in the expertise and experience of editors Frederique Delacoste and Felice Newman, for nearly all of the stories here, some of which I had read before, and two of which I remembered hearing from their authors' own mouths, proved interesting and thought provoking. This isn't a book of erotica or a stroke book, it's more like a whole issue of The New Yorker if The New Yorker gave any attention to sex. The style ranges from an intimate memoir to strong reportage.

Stephen Elliott's piece on being bound and beaten by a girlfriend is really extraordinary, and I think must sum up Elliott's project for anyone interested in this provovative author, for he has taken aspects of his own private masochistic experience and extrapolated them into a general theory of happiness. I've heard the envious describe him as sort of a Johnny One Note, but this ia a splendid apologia worthy of Cardinal Newman; it's called "Just Always Be Good."

Jeff Weinstein writes an op ed sort of piece about his very mixed feelings about BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN (the Lee movie), interspersed with memories of a lifetime in queer activism. Like Elliott's piece, you get the feeling not of sexuality as a marketable commodity but as a facet of life here truly integrated with the rest of one's romantic, political, and geo-social personalities. He is a winning writer whose words I will ponder for the rest of the day.

Two Natalies, Natalie Y. Moore and Natalie Hopkinson (did they meet in the reverse Yellow Pages?) collaborate in what is probably the hardest hitting essay in the volume, "The Pole Test," which is sort of like George Cukor's THE CHAPMAN REPORT with its gaze turned onto the inner lives of black strippers. A remarkable delicacy and candor forms the underpinning to this journalism: it is both pure and multifaceted, like veins running through quartz. I had never really thought about the topic before and now, like all great writing, it seems to hold the vortices together of a whopping number of the universe's secrets.

Paul Festa's memoir about auditioning for a forthcoming film by John Cameron Mitchell, in which all the actors will apparently be having sex on and off screen (SHORTBUS) is doubly daring: he has to go through all the Chorus Line fit of nerves, but he has to get off on doing so. I think we feel early on that Paul isn't going to get "the part," but having lived and sighed and smiled through his adventures in failure, I predict it won't be long before we see a whole movie based just on this piece. It's worth it. But I could go on and on praising individual contributions, well no I couldn't, for a few of them are pretty rank, but in general the editing of the book is terrific, and one is constantly moving like a pinball through a masque of different sexualities, different political realities, and dream and vision as well. Good for Cleis.
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Review Details

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3.5 out of 5 stars (2 customer reviews)

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Kevin Killian
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Location: San Francisco, CA United States

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