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Monday, August 31, 2020

Acquired Tastes LXIII: Gay Pulp Fiction, Part 16 - Pleasure Reader / Phase Three Cont.

Acquired Tastes LXIII: Gay Pulp Fiction, Part 16
Pleasure Reader, Phase Three Cont.

In today's post, we continue taking a look at Greenleaf Classic's Pleasure Books imprint. These books are all a part of the 108 titles that featured black ink or black and white illustrations. This is part of Pleasure Books third generation of re-branding - no doubt, in an effort to keep costs down, while increasing profitability. Most of the art you see was created by an unknown/unaccredited artist, although there are several done by pulp fiction die hard illustrator Robert Bonfils, some done by illustrator Harry Bremmer, and those done by an artist known only as Savage. 

In an effort to get through these as quickly as possible, so that we can move on to other imprints... I am sharing a larger number of covers for the next few posts in this series. This is also due to the fact that many of the authors are familiar to those of you who have been following this series and... that I have run out of new things to share about them!

Dive in. And don't hold your breath. Although, at the very end? You may want to hold your nose. 

You'll see.


Lance Lester. Learn about him, hereLove that full-looking jock. Grr.

Marcus Miller. He was featured in the very first post in this series, here. Quite prolific. 

Larry Townsend. Classic and iconic. Larry sort of shook up the whole bent of gay pulp fiction. He has several titles listed in this post and has been featured in other posts in this series, for example: here.

Douglas Dean (Dean Goodman). I wrote a detailed bio about his rather extraordinary life, here. And, again... the full pouch on display. Love it. Sigh.

Another from Larry Townsend. A lot of people did not appreciate his personal style, but even they can't deny his influence on the gay community. And such a prolific writer!

John McHenry. This is the only title I could find credited to this name.

Barry Lamarr has two books in the genre, one, a personal favorite. You can see it, here. I think it would make a wonderful T.V. movie of the week!

Felix Lance Falkon is credited with the first book to document explicit expressions of gay male sexuality in the graphic arts, from antiquity to pop culture. A Silver Winner for Book of the Year  (Gay/Lesbian Non-Fiction) at ForeWord Magazine and a  Bronze Winner at The Independent Publisher Book Awards (Best Erotica) A Historic Collection of Gay Art, was first published in 1972. Covering everything from antiquity to pop culture; its frank and unapologetic survey of the pleasures of the flesh was, for gay men, unprecedented. It remains the starting-point for modern-day discussions of erotic gay male artwork and comics. 

The book features erotic line drawings and other artwork from ancient Greece to 1970's America, by artists both anonymous and infamous (including Tom of Finland, Graewolf, Blade, and Aubrey Beardsley), as well as an insightful narrative that provides a fascinating historical context for these images, including their production and dissemination.

There is also a preface by Earl Kemp, one of the book's original editors, on the story of its publication during a time when the celebration of gay men's sexuality was still a dangerous thing. Gay Art also provides a modern-day discussion about pleasure and permission: questions about how we define erotic imagery, and what we should and should not be allowed to see. 

In addition to his work as an art historian, Felix is credited with six novels in this genre, including the eye-brow Castration Castle, shown here.

Felix Lance Falkon passed away on April 19, 2010.

Kym Allyson (psuedonym of John H. Kimbro) is credited with seven titles in this genre (and a single zodiac-based gothic romance novel), most published by the Brandon House imprint. I love this illustration and can only imagine the wonders to behold between its covers.

Jere Hardesty. This is the only title credited to that author. 

Marcus Miller (Len Harrington, Alan Fair), again. He's provided so much pleasure (so to speak): here, here, here, and here.

Jason Forbes is credited with 11 novels in the genre, including  the titillatingly titled My First Million Inches (Autobiographical, perhaps? We can hope!). He was featured, here

Kym Allyson was none other than John H. Kimbro, a prolific author who used various pseudonyms to write more than 80 books. He finally hit his stride in a series of 40 gothic romance novels starting with Augusta the First and ending with Belinda the Impatient (did he also write Gertrude the Incontinent?) 

John H. Kimbro
He wrote under at least eight different names: Ann Ashton, Jean Kimbro, Milt Jaxon, Charlotte Bramwell and Zoltan Lambec, among others. But, his most enduring pen name was Katheryn Kimbrough, author of the gothic series published under the umbrella title, Saga of the Phenwick Women.

John passed away on December 26th, 2005, in San Francisco at the age of 75.

A synopsis for Boy-Watcher: Boys will be boys, and sometimes... boys will even love boys! This was the lesson that Tom had to learn when he took over a boy's barracks at the State Camp. And once he learned to accept his own erotic nature, it was inevitable that he became queen of the camp!

Lance Lester, again. 

Synopsis from GoodReads:  Dan learned that the arena is a very dangerous place, especially when sex and politics are mixed. Like a gladiator, Andy Conrad stalked the hostile sands of political acquisition with Dan as his 'boy'. Together they would rule over the 'slobs' and wield tremendous power, making their own rules of love and life. And when Dan found out that he, too, was just another one of Andy's slobs, he was torn and twisted; pulled apart by ambivalent feelings of love and hate toward his cold, yet warm and sensual master.

A Gay meets C- Gay? Will love overcome all?

Burton Dickson is credited with three novels, one being The Captive Debutante published by Olympia Press, which specialized in lesbian erotica.

Chet Roman is credited with four titles in the genre. 

Billy Peale wrote three novels for the genre.

Sonny Barker wrote three for the genre. His novel, Vampire's Kiss is considered something of a gay pulp fiction classic and has been reprinted many times.

This is the second in the series, a prequel. Larry Townsend would follow it up shortly with a sequel to the original novel.

Synopsis: When military service takes men to the nether reaches of the universe, homosexuality takes on the distinction of being a virtue. Thanks to the man-man predisposition, anxiety-producing libidinous desires may be periodically released with no-guilt feelings, in a natural way. Pity the stubborn hetero on a starship; what a lonely, frustrated existence his would be!

The prolific William J. Lambert III (William Maltese), in his own words:
"I've been in the business of writing books for a very long time, and I derive particular enjoyment from visiting different places and then trying to relay the 'essence' of those places to my readers. Likewise, I'm very adventuresome as regards to trying new things, whether it be exotic and strange foods and/or other more personal 'things'."

Synopsis for Adonis at ActumOver the hills and through the primeval passes, four brave souls fought their gory way to Actum, the site of the grave of Kutamehan II. Their goal? To find the magic beetle which, when crushed and eaten, will provide thirty-six nonstop hours of sodomistic bliss!

I wonder if they stop for lunch?

Larry Townsend sequel to 2069, third in the series. It should be noted that during this time period, Larry, along with Douglas Dean (Dean Goodman) tried to create a writer's group, populated by the other popular gay pulp fiction writers of the day, such as Lance Lester and Marcus Miller. The creme la de creme, if you will; sort of a gay Algonquin Round Table. 

Dean spoke of it briefly in an interview he gave The San Francisco Gay Crusader in 1977. The group never really materialized or managed to define it's purpose. And one can surmise the reason why - try to imagine such strong personalities as Larry and Dean fighting to control the direction of such a group; Larry, with his rather forward perspectives and Dean, with his rather antiquated notions of what it meant to be gay. Oh, to have been a fly on the wall for those meetings!

The aforementioned Vampire's Kiss, by Sonny Barker. 

A synopsis: During a restless night of solo barhopping, Damon accidentally wanders into The Cave, a gay nightclub, and drunkenly goes home with hypnotic, handsome and red-lipped seducer Alan Drake. Alan makes short work of Damon's conviction that he's straight as an arrow, and Alan isn't just gay; he's also a vampire. Or is he? Damon can't decide whether his trysts with Alan have simply opened his eyes to his true desires, or whether he's under the influence of a supernatural fiend whose wildly exciting influence has inducted him into the ranks of the homosexual undead; doomed to roam the earth and convert other men.

I wonder what kind of a retainer Damon demands these days...?

Bernard Scharde is responsible for three titles for this imprint. This, Happy Go Lightly is the first in a series of two about the adventures of a young wanna-be singer named Happy.

H.C. Hawkes is credited with three books in the genre. This title features an illustration by Harry Bremmer. 

Another by Jason Forbes.

Another by Sonny Barker. 

Here's a brief synopsis: Rod's dependence on his mother, fostered by her, turned him into a sad creature indeed. He ended up dressed in black silk panties, carrying on a conversation with himself in the mirror.

Hmm... at my house, we call that Tuesday.

Yes, this is a one-off for this series. For some reason they decided to go with a rather artful unaccredited photograph, instead of a black ink drawing. Could it have something to do with the subject material? Well...

Something tells me C.J. Bradbury Robinson is a big old perv. He has four books to his credit and every one is about very young men: Young Thomas, Arabian Boys, A Crocodile of Choirboys and Bare Knees, Boy Knees

He also published an anthology, of sorts called More Please No More. Here's a description: A substantial volume that contains the revised, full, and final text of Williams Mix, with its celebrated introduction by William S Burroughs. Also included are substantial extracts from Minor Incidents (aka A Crocodile of Choirboys, Phenix Books, San Diego, 1970) and Young Thomas (Greenleaf Classics, San Diego, 1971). These extracts, while offering the reader a tempting introduction to underground classics of the counter-culture, are designed to stand unaided and can be read as complete novels. 


And, while we're at it and since I've raised the issue... let's have our worst suspicions verified with this little description of A Crocodile of Choirboys (begin to cringe... now): 

A Crocodile of Choirboys is not a book of facts, although it contains undeniable truths. A Crocodile of Choirboys is not merely a novel; it is the most powerful, deeply moving essay ever written concerning the sexual fascination of men for boys. Utterly authentic (the author is a schoolmaster in an English boys' school), this book will shock you; it may even disgust you. But the piercing insight and devastating wit of C.J. Bradbury Robinson will surely open your eyes to a deepened awareness of man's diverse sexual proclivities.

Oh. Dear.

And on that note...

--- ---

That's all for today, folks. We bit off quite a bit, wouldn't you say? And, umm... certainly more than we expected. 

Ah, the 1970's; going where no man... should ever go? 

Until next time...

Boys Do Fall In Love - Robin Gibb

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Sunday Diva / Three From The Hip: Cyndi Lauper

Sunday Diva
Three From The Hip 
Cyndi Lauper

In my own personal big gay church, there is a wing solely devoted to those of a unique nature. Many one-of-a-kind treasures reside there. Among them?

Cyndi Lauper.

In the button-down, sit down, pipe down 1980's, Cyndi was a burst of energy; a punky, colorful, spike-haired sneer bent on lending voice to those who chafed against conformity. 

Hers was a voice unlike any other. Defying time, it's as powerful and controlled today as it was 40 years ago. 

A longtime proponent of the underdog, and a feminist, Cyndi gave voice to 'girl power' back when the Spice Girls were still toddlers. With the anthemic Girls Just Want to Have Fun, she gave us all permission to rock out with our true selves.

And as an ally of the gay community, Cyndi gifted us a song that spoke to many of us. One of her signature tunes, True Colors would provide comfort and courage to a generation terrified in the face of a plague those in power refused to acknowledge.

To this day, she continues to defy expectations or classification. The blues? Country? Dance? Broadway? No matter where she unpacks her pipes, the lady is right at home.

The gospel according to her?

Well, here are three from the hip, dropping from her lips.

The topic? Speech

I've always felt, even as a songwriter, that the rhythm of speech is in itself a language for me.

You know, I do speak the Queens English. It's just the wrong Queens that's all. It's over the 59th Street Bridge. It's not over the Atlantic Ocean.

You can laugh when I talk, but not when I sing.

True Colors - Cyndi Lauper

I Drove All Night - Cyndi Lauper

Into The Night Life - Cyndi Lauper

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Weekend Onesie - Vogue / #OWLKITTY

Weekend Onesie - Vogue / #OWLKITTY

This? This speaks for itself.

Vogue - Madonna feat. OwlKitty

Vogue - Madonna

Friday, August 28, 2020

Friday Fun: Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day

Friday Fun: Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day

So, this is a very different kind of Friday Fun... kind of a Friday not-so Fun?

Losing a loved one is never fun... at all, but I thought this would be a wonderful opportunity for all of us to share a bit about those animals who have graced our lives over the years, as we celebrate Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day.

What is the rainbow bridge?

Found this answer at Humane Goods.

The 'Rainbow Bridge' refers to an other-worldly place consisting of a sunny, green meadow and multi-colored, prismatic bridge the pet eventually crosses that leads it to heaven. The term is believed to have originated in several works of poetry from the 1980's and 1990's that were meant to help relieve deceased pet owners of the pain of their loss. According to poems, upon death, the pet finds itself in a lush, green meadow filled with sunshine. The pet’s health is fully restored and it can run and play as it did in its prime with unlimited food and water. There, the pet waits until its human companion dies and is reunited with them in the meadow. Together, they cross the Rainbow Bridge to heaven.

Now, I don't believe in an afterlife... but I would sure love to see all my little dear ones again. Sentimental fool that I am, I rather like the idea behind this celebration.

Yes, I get terribly sentimental...

Something happened (well, a lot, actually) during the time when I stopped blogging. I have been trying to figure out an appropriate time to share this... and, while there is nothing fun about losing a loved one, I thought that today would be appropriate.

You've seen Millie before, here.
And I've shared about her trials and her backstory in the past, here.  

Eleven months ago, I got a call from my ex at 5:00 am on a Sunday. He told me Millie was dying, something he had claimed many times. My reaction was to yell, "No, she's not!" and hang up. I dressed, got to my car, and in a blur made my way to my house. My ex had Millie wrapped in a blanket and was about to drive her to the emergency vet. She was in the midst of a grand mal seizure. I told him to get in my car and we drove to the vet. On the way there, I kept glancing over to see how she was doing and, in my heart of hearts, knew that this time it wasn't going to end well. Once there, the ex, exhausted, handed Millie to the vet tech and said, "I'm done." 

And he walked out. 

And I stayed. 

Until the very end. 

Saying good-bye is always hard. But, under these circumstances it felt rushed and wrong. Yet, I know letting her go was the smart thing to do. She had been having issues for some time and I always wrote it off as the ex being overly dramatic. But, in fact, she had been having seizures during the night for some time. The ex always commented on how much trouble she had in the morning and that there was something wrong. But I would get home from work and she would perk right up and eat for me, like always. After mealtime, she would sit on my lap, curled up in a blanket until I went to bed. Sure, there were things I would have liked to do - play piano, clean, visit, happy hours... but sitting on my lap was one of the joys of her life, and since I wasn't around during the day, due to work, and I wasn't there much on the weekends, it was important that she get quality time. Still, I feel a tremendous amount of guilt that I was not 'there' more. 

All my dogs have a song that belongs to them. I will share the videos below. But for Millie... there was no song. So, I wrote my own. It's a little waltz, very Billy Joel/Randy Newman. Someday I hope to figure out how to record it and share it on this blog.

Millie, I am sorry
I wasn't there for you
I failed you as a father
We both know it's true
There was always something more
Important to do
Millie, I am sorry
I wasn't there for you

Millie, entered my life
She needed to be rescued
And it was up to me
When they laid her in my arms
She slept so peacefully
Tiny, little Millie
Home at last, happy

When someone
Comes into your life
Take them in
And hold them close
Or one day 
You just might find
They're the one
You miss the most...

Millie died in autumn 
Before the winter came
She left one early morning
When I was far away
There's no point 
In discussing
Who's at fault 
And who's to blame
Millie's gone forever
And nothing is the same

When someone
Comes into your life
Take them in
And hold them close
For one day 
You'll wake to find
They're the one
You miss the most...

Millie, I am sorry
For all I failed to do
Millie, I am sorry
I wasn't there for you
      - MHKMusic2020

This was taken the day Millie arrived. 
She was exhausted and slept on my lap for hours.

Where is blanket? Where is lap?

Taken a few days before her death.

And while we're at it... today is a good day to remember all our dear ones. Please use the comments section to share memories of the pets who have graced your lives. I would love to hear about them.

We have a small memorial garden.

Atula, Millie, and then, in a joint stone (on the table), Paco, Beau and Mona. Atula's says 'Atula... my big fat baby.'  And Millie's says 'Princess Millie of the Milkyway... run free.'

Atula spent most of his life in a small, indoor kennel for up to 20 hours per day. This led to a myriad of health problems that we did all we could to overcome. When we first gave him the run of the yard, he had no idea what to do. During his final two and a half years, he was pretty happy. Atula's story serves as an example of when people should choose not to be pet owners.

Atula's song:
My Funny Valentine - Sarah Vaughan

My beau. Love of my life.
He hurt his back and was too old to withstand all the surgeries that were needed.

Beau's song:
Lullabye - Billy Joel

Mona's story is just too sad to share. She wasn't with us long, but she was the most beautiful dog I have ever seen.

Mona's song:
Lost - Annie Lennox

My brave little man. He had a heart murmur which gradually robbed him of his quality of life.

Paco's song:
Let's Go Out Tonight - The Blue Nile