The Queer Encyclopedia of
Music, Dance & Musical Theater

Claude J. Summers (Editor)

Cleis Press / ISBN 1573441988 (2004)

There were several good reviews on the Amazon website for this book, and I
bought it although I'll admit to being more than a little put off by the title.

First, full disclosure: I left the Church when California passed Proposition 8, forbidding gay marriage.

That night found me on a cold, windy stand outside a cathedral, holding out a sign to our local bishop
informing him he'd just lost one (straight, senior-citizen) Eucharistic Minister. I haven't been back to Mass since.
Yes, I miss my Church, but I'd been burying my head in the sand for a long time. How could I justify,
even in theory, not being able to give Communion to anyone who was gay when so many of my friends were glbt?

But the thought of singling out artists for their sexual preferences... even when you can't be sure what
they are? And that's the case here, where you read, "... had several significant relationships with men...
but it is not certain whether these relationships were sexual." What? Excuse me??

One book reviewer stated, "...featuring Harold Lang, who had affairs with Leonard Bernstein and Gore Vidal."

Well, no - the book mentioned Harold Lang exactly once, and exactly in that context.
Yes, of course that's the first thing I looked for, having written a biography of Harold Lang,
and I'm afraid I took it as a personal insult that he was not "featured," since he did have such a lively history.

If you actually want a book dealing with this subject, may I recommend:
Homosexuals Through History: Ambivalence in Society, Literature and the Arts
by A.L. Rowse?
Number one, this is one of the best writers in 20th-century English (a top authority on Shakespeare,
Elizabethan England, the Churchill family, Cornwall, the War of the Roses, Oxford, the Puritan Revolution,
Jonathan Swift, and how I wish I could have taken this man to dinner...), his book is infinately
more engaging to read without being -- so -- danged ---- pretenious!


dimensions: 10.9 x 8.5 x 0.8 in / weight: 1.6 lbs / volume: 400 pages


Return to Book Page