By Diane Anderson-Minshall
Originally published on Advocate.com April 24 2013 4:00 AM ET
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.
The Reverend Canon Malcolm Boyd is a memoirist, essayist, and editor who has charted his life in over 30 works, which deal with topics such as coming out as a gay man in light of his religious beliefs and his work as a priest after a career in Hollywood. His works have shed light on the search for religious meaning by gay men, both his contemporaries and those who have come after. He also was an activist in the civil rights and antiwar movements of the 1960s. Boyd will observe his 90th birthday in June.
Lillian Faderman is a scholar whose works on lesbian history have won numerous awards. She is best known for Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers: A History of Lesbian Life in Twentieth-Century America (1991) and Surpassing the Love of Men: Romantic Friendship and Love Between Women from the Renaissance to the Present (1981). Faderman has held professorships at California State University, Fresno, and the University of California, Los Angeles, following her education at UC Berkley and UCLA.
Katherine V. Forrest is a novelist and editor, best known for her popular Kate Delafield mysteries and her Daughters of a Coral Dawn series of novels as well as her work at Naiad Press as an editor of lesbian fiction anthologies. Forrest is currently acquisitions editor at Spinsters Ink and supervising editor at Bella Books. She is also president emeritus of the Lambda Literary Foundation.
John Rechy is a groundbreaking gay fiction author and award-winning memoirist and playwright. Best known for his novel City of Night and the nonfiction book The Sexual Outlaw, Rechy has received much acclaim for his writings and has lectured widely in addition to teaching in the graduate writing program at USC.
Patricia Nell Warren is an author, activist, and journalist, known best for her novels The Front Runner, The Fancy Dancer, and The Beauty Queen, the first of which inspired the FrontRunners gay and lesbian running clubs across the nation.
The following Lambda Literary Award finalists will be featured in the reading Saturday.
Ryka Aoki is the author of Seasonal Velocities, a Lambda Award finalist in the Transgender Nonfiction category. A performer, writer, and educator, Aoki has been honored by the California state Senate and the Academy of American Poets. She earned her MFA from Cornell University and is professor of English at Santa Monica College.
Audrey Bilger is the coeditor, with Michele Kort, of Here Come the Brides: Reflections on Lesbian Love and Marriage, a Lambda Literary Award finalist in LGBT Anthology. Bilger is the faculty director of the Center for Writing and Public Discourse and professor of Literature at Claremont McKenna College. She is also the author of Laughing Feminism, a regular contributor to Ms. magazine, and the Gender & Sexuality section editor for the Los Angeles Review of Books.
Julia Bloch is the author of Letters to Kelly Clarkson, a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in Lesbian Poetry. From 2007 to 2011 she curated the Emergency Reading Series in Philadelphia. She now lives in Los Angeles, where she teaches literature.
Cheryl Burke is the author of My Awesome Place: The Autobiography of Cheryl B. A finalist for a Lambda Literary Award in Bisexual Literature, the book was published posthumously after being assembled by Sarah Schulman and other members of Burke’s writing group. Burke, who died in June 2011 of Hodgkin’s lymphoma, was an award-winning author whose work appeared in dozens of publications and anthologies, including Word Warriors: 35 Women Leaders in the Spoken Word Revolution, and Pills, Thrills, Chills and Heartache: Adventures in the First Person. Reading on behalf of Burke is A.J. Pierce, who met her at New York University, where they became close friends. Pierce is an Emmy award-wining producer at the NFL Network and has also written for daytime dramas, including General Hospital, All My Children, and Guiding Light. A short film she cowrote, Bleach, was honored at the Sundance and Telluride film festivals.
T Cooper is the author of Real Man Adventures, which is a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award in the LGBT Nonfiction category. Cooper has also written three novels, including the best-selling The Beaufort Diaries and Lipshitz Six, or Two Angry Blondes. He edited the anthology A Fictional History of the United States With Huge Chunks Missing and is coauthor of the forthcoming young adult book series Changers.
Susan Goldberg contributed a piece to Here Come the Brides: Reflections on Lesbian Love and Marriage, a Lambda Award finalist in LGBT Anthology. A writer, editor, essayist, and blogger, Goldberg coedited of the award-winning anthology And Baby Makes More: Known Donors, Queer Parents, and Our Unexpected Families. Her work has been featured in magazines including Ms., Lilith, and Stealing Time; on the Canadian news outlets CBC and The Globe and Mail; and in several anthologies, including the forthcoming Chasing Rainbows: Exploring Gender-Fluid Parenting Practices.
Stephanie Hallett is a contributor to Here Come the Brides: Reflections on Lesbian Love and Marriage, a Lambda Award finalist in the LGBT Anthology category. Hallett is editor of Huffington Post Weddings and previously wrote for Ms. magazine.
Steve Neil Johnson is the author of The Yellow Canary, which is a Lambda finalist in the Gay Mystery category. Johnson is a novelist and screenwriter who has published six books. The Yellow Canary is the first installment in his four-decade spanning mystery series, the L.A. After Midnight quartet, about gay life from the 1950s to the 1980s.
Richard Kramer is the author of These Things Happen, his first novel, which is a finalist in Gay General Fiction. Kramer is also an award-winning writer-producer-director of hit TV shows such as Thirtysomething, My So-called-Life, and Tales of the City. These Things Happen is currently in development as a series, which Kramer will write and produce.
Ernesto Javier Martínez is the author of On Making Sense: Queer Race Narratives of Intelligibility, a finalist in the LGBT Studies category. Martínez won the Lambda Literary Award for LGBT Anthology in 2012 for Gay Latino Studies: A Critical Reader, which he edited with Michael Hames-García. Martínez is an associate professor of women's and gender studies and ethnic studies at the University of Oregon.
Scotty-Miguel Sandoe is the author of Axel Hooley’s Death Watch List, a Lambda finalist in the Bisexual Fiction category. Sandoe is a screenwriter and novelist who began his career as an actor-choreographer in Chicago and New York, where he participated in the development of over 200 plays and musicals. He is currently working on the second part of the Axel Hooley trilogy, Axel Hooley and the Unicorn in the Forest.
Jeffrey Schwarz is the author of Out Spoken: A Vito Russo Reader, a Lambda Awards finalist in LGBT Nonfiction. Schwarz is also a filmmaker and producer, whose latest film, I Am Divine, is a portrait of John Waters's cinematic muse, the drag queen Divine. His previous work includes HBO's Vito, about the beloved gay activist; Wrangler: Anatomy of an Icon, on 1970s adult film star Jack Wrangler; and Spine Tingler! The William Castle Story, about the legendary Hollywood showman. He is currently in production on Tab Hunter Confidential, about the 1950s big-screen heartthrob.