“Tom Bowers San Francisco 1984” by Your’s Truly, Jim James Aka Photojimsf
This was edition number four of ten, so there’s only six more available. It went to my esteemed Brooklyn collector Ricardo Walton (Instagram: @ricardowalton2).
Tom Bowers was that gorgeous carpenter who paraded around The Castro wearing cowboy, indian, and leather outfits like the Village People. He threw house parties in the grand SF tradition; costumed, with tambourines, stimulants, pot brownies. Entire and often multiple relationships were initiated, consummated, and then broken at these affairs.
Here he is in the attic with his old Ducati motorcycle. Tom loved this picture so much. After he saw it, he always referred to me as “my photographer”.
It’s first public appearance was at Fred’s Cafe, the legendary but now defunct cafe with the killer view at the San Francisco Art Institute. 1985.
I can’t wait to get my hands on James Magruder’s forthcoming novelVamp Until Ready.
“A precise, affectionate collection of linked stories follows the lives of several “townies” in Ithaca, New York, from 1980 through 1992. It’s a tour de force performance, charming and unstrained…”
—Kirkus, starred review
I have admired James Magruder‘s enviable body of work for nearly 30 years now. He has had the career that I dreamed I might have, once upon a time. He is a masterful writer in many forms (stage plays and musicals, translations, novels, memoir, essays, and more), intellectual, multilingual, teacher and mentor, and proud gay man (with a handsome, intelligent, and charming husband, no less).
Since I moved back to Baltimore in the mid-00s, I’ve been privileged to get to know James personally and join his circle of friends. (We both have been a little surprised by how frequently our circles overlapped.) I’ve also had the chance to learn about his many other good qualities: he is warm, kind, and generous; he has a great sense of humor and a sharp wit; he is the consummate dinner party host and guest; and he can cook a mean pot roast.
“James Magruder’s warm-hearted, hair-raising, and hilarious new novel, Vamp Until Ready, is a cross between Winesburg, Ohio and a backstage musical—a panorama of small-town American life over a dozen years, but a dozen particular years during the era of Reagan-Bush, the global AIDS crisis, and Andrew Lloyd Webber. ” —John Weir, author of Your Nostalgia is Killing Me
But what I admire most about Jim is that he is an intrepid and deeply committed writer. In the relatively few years that we have been acquainted, he published his first novel (Sugarless), his second novel (Love Slaves of Helen Hadley Hall), and now his third novel (Vamp Until Ready) is forthcoming.
In his off hours(!) during the last decade or so, James has also published a series of stories in a fictionalized memoir (Let Me See It), which describes life events so much like my own that it gave me chills. Oh! And he also co-wrote the blank verse book for Head Over Heels, a Broadway musical based on a 16th century play and incorporating the song catalog of the 1980s girl-band, The Go-Gos. When he wasn’t busy picking up awards and nominations for his work, he also squeezed in some teaching at Swarthmore College.
A few days ago, I was delighted to learn that Rattling Good Yarns Press will publish Vamp Until Ready on September 28. Most importantly, it is available for pre-sale RIGHT NOW! Of course I placed my order immediately, as should you. I have no doubt that this new work will be as brilliant as the others. And goodness knows, in the face of COVID-19 and other world crises today, I could use a good laugh or two. I bet you could, too. Now we just have to place our orders and be patient until the book arrives. Vamp, vamp, vamp.
HAPPY PRIDE TO ME! As promised, I made my way back to Gallery Blue Door last week to choose a nice Pride gift for myself. So of course I got myself a new man. Pictured with me above, my “Prince of Paper Birds” is the man of my dreams: handsome and creative, no complaints, no arguments, and very low-maintenance. I can’t wait to bring him home!
Did you get a Pride gift for you (and/or a loved one) yet? If you hope to add one of these beautiful works to your collection you’d better move quickly, or you chance will be gone!
PLEASE NOTE: This show is not strictly paintings and drawings of beautiful men. There are also some exquisite images of lovely women frolicking in the foliage and sweet pictures of fauna mingling with flora. Below are some of my favorites.
Paintings and Drawings at Gallery Blue Door, May 29-June 26, 2021
While gallery hopping in Mt. Vernon on Saturday, I dropped in to see the LGBTQ+ Pride month exhibition of Ted Randler‘s gorgeous paintings and drawings at my friend Scott Philip Goergens’ Gallery Blue Door. In “Of Flowers & Flesh” Randler’s use exotic, erotic, and often charming imagery of human bodies framed by and immersed in thick tangles of lush floral prints. The show also includes a number of spectacular landscapes, some with gentle wild animals lounging or frolicking in dense flora or nibbling on sweet vegetation
Randler’s style of applying paint is reminiscent of pointillists like Georges Seurat; Randler’s bright sensual colors make one think of Paul Gauguin; and Randler’s floral patterns are inspired by wall papers, much like Henri Matisse’s work. The combination of works, including drawings with powerful black markings on white media and painted canvases rich with saturated colors, could inspire a full re-thinking of our beautiful rainbow flag. The work is truly breath-taking.
I just couldn’t decide which one(s?) I should take home during my brief visit, so I’m going back there again this week. Located at 833 Park Avenue in Baltimore, Gallery Blue Door is open on Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and by appointment. The show will be up until June 26. For information and details, visit GalleryBlueDoor.com
Americans for the Arts is committed to a vision of the arts being recognized as integral to the lives of all people and essential to healthy, vibrant, and equitable communities across the nation. The work of the organization is guided by a board-approved strategic plan with the advice of our leadership councils, strategic partners, local…