Elevate Difference

Reviews tagged queer

Pole Dancing to Gospel Hymns

As a newer reader of and listener to poetry, I often find it overly dramatic or flowery for my tastes. When I started reading Andrea Gibson’s collection, Pole Dancing To Gospel Hymns, I was not drawn to her lyrical love poems, which I read too cynically, but as I read on, I was drawn in by her humor, self-reflection, and earnest political analysis.

My Brain Hurts: Volume One

Liz Baillie’s character Kate Callahan is everything that I wish I had been in school, as well as everything that I’m glad I wasn’t: a punk dyke; Mohawk-wearing, patches held on with safety pins-styling, multiple girlfriends-loving activist; and all-around New York City street-roamer. Think Diane DiMassa’s _Hothead Paisan _before she turned homicidal and got a cat.

The Lesbian and Gay Movements: Assimilation or Liberation?

The Lesbian and Gay Movements: Assimilation or Liberation? is a history of post-Stonewall GLBTQ activism as seen through three focused battles: the AIDS crisis, the ban on gays in the military, and the conflict over gay marriage. Craig Rimmerman presents a detailed breakdown of each, assembling them into a supposed study of the differences and relative importance of assimilationist and liberationist strategies.


Sonja is a tale of unrequited love and adolescent bumbling depicted with typical Finnish tendencies towards the grand, dramatic and baroque; that is to say, none. A joke: “How can you tell when you’ve met an outgoing Finn? He stares at your shoes.” I note this because the director, Kirsi Liimatainen, is a Finn, and this highly personal movie is typically devoid of the teary-eyed, blouse-rending that might infect another teen drama about relationships. My pal. Manicella.

Comfort Food for Breakups: The Memoir of a Hungry Girl

“Soup can sometimes take the place of language...” Marusya Bociurkiw writes in Comfort Food for Breakups, and as the aroma of my mother’s broth, sipped to ease sickness, floods my tongue, I too hunger for my mother’s absent touch, for my young daughter knees, for my queer body. Born in Canada to Ukrainian exiles, Bociurkiw weaves stories interspersed with recipes, travels, and tales of other refugees.

That Tender Touch

I once read that it was possible to become mesmerized by bad acting. I never realized how true that was until I sat through Russel Vincent’s 1969 “dykesploitation” classic, That Tender Touch. Actually “bad acting” is too strong a term. “Campy” and “overblown” are much more accurate. The story starts with fresh-faced Terry (Sue Bernard) getting date raped.

The Off Season

This book, the sequel to Murdock’s Dairy Queen, may be marketed for young adults, but it’s not the equivalent of Sweet Valley High or The Princess Diaries, as both the book and heroine D.J. Schwenk have their feet planted firmly in reality. D.J.

Lesbian Connection

Lesbian Connection is a ‘zine published out of East Lansing, Michigan. The reader base isn’t immediately apparent, though after one read through it might be assumed that the ‘zine is geared towards older, white lesbians. It opens with a brief introduction and some “housekeeping” items and updates. Readers can then dive right in to articles submitted by readers.

Un Amour à Taire (A Love to Hide)

Christian Faure’s A Love to Hide is a deeply powerful film. Set in Paris during the Nazi occupation of France, the film depicts the violent effects the Nazi criminalization of gayness. The story begins with Sara’s (Louise Monot) escape from her home, after Nazi’s have murdered her entire family. Out of desperation she contacts an old friend (and potential love interest), Jean, played with startling effect by Jérémie Renier.

She's Not the Man I Married: My Life with a Transgender Husband

She’s Not the Man I Married is a smart, in-depth look at being a woman whose husband is transgendered.

Handbook of the Evolution of Human Sexuality

The style and content in a sentence: Professional enough for an academic, but thought provoking for the general public. If you’re reading this with thoughts that the “Evolution” part of this title might limit the diversity of coverage of “Human Sexuality,” read on. Most of what we might have learned about evolution and sex on public television, in high school biology, health class and even in psychology 101 leaves everything other than heterosexual, reproductive, cave-man sex in the archeological dust.

Tazewell’s Favorite Eccentric Issue #5

Tazewell’s Favorite Eccentric Issue #5: The Breakup Issue is a perzine dedicated to the pain and loss of a breakup. It is mainly about one woman who, for all intents and purposes, appears to be the love of the author’s (also a woman) life. One thing rings particularly true while reading this deeply personal zine: relationships are often messy and complicated and wonderful and awful, and the pain of a breakup can feel unending no matter what gender you are. This zine explores all kinds of pain that derives from breaking up with someone you loved in an epic, devastating way.


If you love poetry—scratch that—if you love powerfully articulate, passionate prose meant to stir up your inner emotions and inspire you to stand up and create change, then you’ll love the brilliance that queer poet/activist Andrea Gibson serves up aplenty in Swarm. Primarily recorded in a bedroom, Swarm also contains a handful of live tracks that allow the listener to taste the raw energy of her live performance. The self-released album came out in 2004, yet the poignant words, occasionally accompanied by a backdrop of acoustic guitar, cut into you like knives and remain just as rel

The Fence: A New Place of Power for Bisexual Women (Various Issues)

Okay, I have a terrible confession to make: I have a very difficult time reading and enjoying zines. There are so many sub par zines on the market that I often get flustered and run to the nearest issue of Bitch instead. However, the second I read the mission statement of The Fence, I was smitten. Created by Canadian writer Cheryl Dobinson, The Fence attempts to fill an enormous gap in the GLBTQ community—the voices of bisexual women.

Greatest Hits: The Road Less Traveled

I’ve always been a sporadic fan of Melissa Etheridge’s work; perhaps it’s because, to me, her lyrics often feel oddly a little sophmoric and platitudinously P.C.—even when her sound is rocking tough, true and primal. Her guitar sounds dangerous, but her words don’t. The disconnect in poetic feeling between her amazing guitar work and lackluster words is one of the reasons she’s not, up to now, been included on my ipod.

The Underdogs

Texas native Jen Foster is a singer-songwriter that strives for the passion of a rocker and the melodic sensibilities of a folk artist. On The Underdogs, Foster--who has a diverse following in several major cities--succeeds on both fronts on at least three songs on her second release.

Andrea Gibson

Activist poet Andrea Gibson rations politics into five easy to swallow pills. Her self-titled five track DVD tackles the touchiest issues for queer activists today. From same sex union in “I do,” to rape in “Blue Blanket” and the hypocrisy of the yellow ribbon in her best performance of “For Eli,” Gibson is definitely on top of all the topics.

And Tango Makes Three

And Tango Makes Three is a simply but beautifully told illustrated children’s book about the real-life story of two male penguins at the New York Central Park Zoo, Roy and Silo, who form a partnership and are given a fertile egg to hatch. And Tango is born. The book doesn’t shy away from using the words “family,” “love,” “daddies” and “couple” to describe Roy and Silo’s pairing and their relationship with their baby chick.

The Butterfly Effect

While reading the first half of Susan Hawthorne’s newest collection of lesbian poems, The Butterfly Effect, I found myself lost in footnotes. Each poem reads on the right page, while footnotes to the poem fill up the left page. Most of the time, the footnotes are as long as, if not longer, than the actual poem. At first, I thought this was a brilliant idea. Then I started to get slightly annoyed by the footnotes and felt that they were a little pompous and unnecessary.

Broken World

Don’t be fooled by the title of Joseph Lease’s collection of poems, though the world may be “broken,” the collection spends its time rebuilding, rationalizing and living despite it. Repetition fuels the elegy, “Broken World (for James Assatly),” a poem built in sections, a poem that works to remember a friend and writer who died of AIDS.

Pretty Little Mistakes

Apparently back in the day, there was such a thing as a chose your own ending book. Until I picked up Heather McElhatton’s Pretty Little Mistakes, I had never read one. After reading the book, I am glad I hadn’t. I am fairly certain there was never the option to become a drug dealer in Europe or marry the abusive crystal meth addict doctor in Berkeley.

The Films of Su Friedrich, Vol. 4: Hide and Seek

Hide and Seek is a brilliant movie that explores the real life stories of lesbians' self actualization of who they are during their childhood interwoven with the story of one little girl who - though on the outside she is just like the rest of the girls in her class - she knows that there is something fundamentally different about her. There is also some very interesting footage of very old 1950s-style biology documentaries on homosexuality. Are we a product of our genetics or are we a product of our environment?

Sister Spit: The Next Generation (4/18/2007)

Some of you may have heard about the original Sister Spit tours in the mid- and late-1990’s. The tours were organized punk-rock band-style: a shoddy van with nights spent sleeping on floors of anarchist collectives and punk houses, but instead of music these tattoo-clad queer folks delivered words from their newly published books.

Shabnam Mousi

Yogesh Bhardwaj’s 2005 Bollywood film Shabnam Mousi presents some interesting issues regarding gender. It focuses on a group of eunuchs who raise a eunuch child within their clan. This child grows up to be Shabnam, the star and namesake of the film. Shabnam and other eunuchs struggle with the fact that they are not complete men or women, and that they will never be able to marry or have children. They question why god made them “incomplete,” and why other people in society treat them so unkindly. There are various altercations in the film between the eunuchs and other members of society.

Berg's Queer Foot Porn

If you’ve lost your sense of humor about sex lately, Berg's Queer Foot Porn will help you get it back. Women are indisputably objectified in mainstream pornography and are constantly told what’s sexually acceptable—leaving little room for reality or a holistic view of sexuality. In a subversive effort to retaliate, Berg and her co-authors created a site full of campy, voyeuristic galleries of foot pornography.

Hello, Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks and Other Outlaws

Kate Bornstein has for two decades inspired fans and readers by mixing feminist sensibility, queer theory, performance art and personal experience. That Hello, Cruel World is heart-felt and friendly reflects parentage by Lutheran minister and 1939’s Miss Betty Crocker.

Sticky Fingers: Queers Running the Stage Art Gamut (2/17/2007)

Sticky Fingers featured a medley of performances ranging from spoken word poetry to electro-rock by queer artists from across the eastern seaboard. Held at Galapagos Art Space in Brooklyn, NY, the show was stimulating in its polymorphous perversity, the performances audacious in their satirical elements and guttural verve. Manhattan-based artist Chavisa Woods opened the night with her spoken word piece “No One is Ever Going to Touch You Like This.” Woods’ piece was a powerful inquiry the reality of passion and fantasy.

The Flow Chronicles

Initially, The Flow Chronicles didn't seem like it could inspire me to do anything, but now I feel like wearing baggy pants and freestyling just for the hell of it. The author is really multi-dimensional, making me feel at ease and uncomfortable at the same time. It's about growing up and standing up, with Hermitt's first move to Seattle at only eighteen. "Interview with an actual, authentic lesbian" showed a different side of this brash, unapologetic woman. She made tactless a desirable trait, and self-discovery less painful.

Rose of No Man's Land

The author of four memoirs—one of which being a graphic novel that has been optioned for cable—a book of poetry, and collected essays, columns, you name it, Michelle Tea’s first work of fiction, Rose of No Man’s Land is an absolute treat. And this goes for those you who haven’t been following her work for the past decade, too. You might call it a contemporary bildungsroman for the young, queer, working class female consciousness, or you might not. Any way you slice it, Tea has written a hilarious, grotesque, sometimes sad, but overall captivating story about a fourteen-year-old girl name Trisha Driscoll and what happens when she meets a girl named Rose.

Baby Remember My Name: An Anthology of New Queer Girl Writing

Upon discovering Michelle Tea had edited a new anthology of queer girl fiction, I completely lost my butch identity as I jumped up and down and squealed in excitement. Before I even glanced at the first few pages of ­Baby Remember My Name, I assumed that each short story would revolve around some lesbian in San Francisco doing too many drugs, drinking too much alcohol and pining away over the wrong girl with endless packs of cigarettes. It’s the San Fran queer girl writing that I just can’t get enough of, and I was thrilled to see what new adventures I would read about this time.