BY Brandon Voss
August 11 2011 11:30 PM ET
7. MUSIC: Chanteur, Lee Lessack
On his seventh recording and first since 2005’s In Good Company, the gay MAC and Bistro Award–winning cabaret singer imbues a mellow collection of French and French-flavored tunes — Edith Piaf’s “Hymne à l’amour,” “If We Only Have Love” from Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, “I Will Wait For You” from The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, and more — with his signature joie de vivre and je ne sais quoi.
6. BOOK: Literary Party: Growing Up Gay and Amish in America, James Schwartz
Ever wonder what it’s like to pull up to a gay nightclub in a horse-drawn buggy? Young poet and slam performer James Schwartz combines smart, passionate, refreshingly unpretentious poetry and short stories in this staggering illustration of his family problems, love, heartbreak, gay nightlife, gay politics, and the lasting effects of his famously intolerant religion and culture. For more info visit LiteraryParty.blogspot.com.
5. MUSIC: Diesel, B. Slade
Formerly known as Grammy-nominated gospel artist Tonex, gay R&B artist B. Slade bares his soul on his new album, which blends funky Motown beats with Sylvester’s sass and the frank sexuality of Janet Jackson’s Velvet Rope. Highlights include “Papi Figure,” a self-empowerment anthem for those coming out or in transition, and “Accept Me,” a serious slow jam about living your truth. For more info visit BSlade.bandcamp.com.