Saturday will play host to two Los Angeles LGBT literary events as Lambda Literary Foundation celebrates the group's 25th anniversary by hosting the only Southern California reading of Lambda Lit award finalists and then a gala event that evening will honor pioneering authors for their lifetime contributions.
Outwrite! is being billed as a special celebration of Los Angeles LGBT literary pioneers Malcolm Boyd, Lillian Faderman, Katherine V. Forrest, John Rechy, and Patricia Nell Warren, to be held Saturday at the West Hollywood Public Library.
The event features a rare West Coast performance by Tony Award nominated cabaret performer Mx. Justin Vivian Bond, who is also the author of the Lambda Literary award-winning memoir Tango: My Childhood, Backwards and in High Heels.
Joining Bond onstage will be several luminaries and performers, including Torie Osborn, deputy mayor of Los Angeles; L.A.'s poet laureate, Eloise Klein Healy; filmmaker Gregory Hinton; Joseph R. Hawkins, president of the ONE Archives board of directors; actor and author Michael Kearns; West Hollywood mayor pro tem Abbe Land; the Right Reverend Jon Bruno, bishop of the Episcopal diocese of Los Angeles; Pixie Revolution; Red Car Trolley; and University of Southern California professor Chris Freeman.
"Outwrite! is a very special event because it marks the 25th anniversary of the Lambda Literary Foundation, an incredible milestone for a nonprofit organization that has been promoting LGBT literature and authors for a quarter century," says Lambda executive director Tony Valenzuela. "Outwrite! is also important because we're honoring five remarkable literary pioneers. For an author to achieve success with one book requires talent and hard work. For authors, such as these pioneers, to publish prolifically, to be wildly influential, to become part of our LGBT literary canon, well, that's extraordinary, and that level of achievement is what we're honoring at Outwrite."
Boyd, who has been writing since he was in middle school, is being honored for the 30 books he's written, just in time for his 90th birthday. "I love being a literary pioneer," he says of the weekend's honor. Still writing a column for The Huffington Post, Boyd adds, "Here’s to the genius of ever new creativity, the fresh challenge of wisdom."
Faderman certainly recognizes the brilliance of her fellow honorees. "I am thrilled to be ranked among these writers whose work I admire so much," she says. "As an example, I was introduced to Rechy’s work in the early 1960s — I thought he was so brave to write a book like that so early — and admire his work so much and have gotten to know him over the years."
Outwrite! begins with a catered reception in the forecourt of the library at 6 p.m. and the ceremony begins at 7.p.m. Tickets to the reception and celebration are $85 or two for $120. The proceeds benefit the foundation's annual summer Emerging Writers Retreat for aspiring young LGBT writers, along with its other work.
Lambda Literary's work, says Boyd, "is absolutely essential in our Web 2.0 world, which so often lacks depth, analysis, and the wonderful power of storytelling."
Faderman agrees."With the closing of so many gay and lesbian bookstores, Lambda is crucial to keeping gay and lesbian literature in the spotlight. What used to happen was an author would make a book tour through the gay and lesbian bookstores across America to promote a new book, and now they are all gone and Lambda just keeps plugging along promoting our work."
Preceding the evening's celebration will be a free public reading at the library from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. by 12 regional 2013 nominees for the Lambda Literary Awards. The authors reading at that event include T Cooper, Richard Kramer, Jeffery Schwarz, Ryka Aoki, Audrey Bilger, Julia Bloch, Susan Goldberg, Stephanie Hallett, Steve Neil Johnson, Ernesto Javier Martínez, Scotty-Miguel Sandoe, and A.J. Pierce (who will be reading the work of the late author Cheryl Burke, whose autobiography was pulled together and edited by several women, including author Sarah Schulman, from her New York City writers group and then published posthumously).
Both events are "being made possible through the generous support of the city of West Hollywood," says Valenzuela. [Note: The Advocate is a media sponsor, along with WeHoVille.com and Frontiers magazine.]
The events will take place in the West Hollywood Library's City Council Chambers are located at street level in the AutoCourt of the library, 625 N. San Vicente Blvd. Free validated parking for the event will be provided at the five-story West Hollywood Public Parking Structure, accessible from El Tovar Place.
Read more about the honorees and the authors who are doing the readings on the next page.