Thursday, April 26, 2012

Isn't It Romantic?

I'm swooning. It's only days after the illustrious Bay Area Lambda Literary Finalists reading at the San Francisco Public Library, with a freshly-opened Harry Hay exhibit (curated by Joey Cain) across the hall. Each reader had a brief few minutes to share their work, and it was a fascinating variety of categories and styles.

And today, Lambda Lit contributor Dick Smart included Every Time I Think of You in an April roundup review of books by Felice Picano, Elliot Mackle and Marshall Thornton.

Here's an excerpt: "Provenzano’s sweet humor throughout the book is what makes it such a moving and satisfying read. While he certainly brings the reader to a deeper understanding of being differently-abled, he never resorts to preaching his message. These boys are too real for that."

Plus, I've finally saved up enough to be able to go to the Lambda Literary Awards in New York City! Among the celebs will be Armistead Maupin, Kate Millet, Olympia Dukakis and Charles Busch. It'll also be fun to see iconic drag divas Lady Bunny and Lypsinka, who will be among the stellar entertainers at the awards and after-party.

It may sound insincere coming from red carpet celebrities, but just being a finalist is a great honor. This is all the fruit of more than a year of staying in most nights and weekend days to pound away at the computer as my fictional "boys" Reid and Everett unspooled their odd little romance from my mind and through my fingers.

So what the heck does Lady Bunny have to do with gay literature? You'd be surprised. One of my favorite stories is the day Bun stopped by the offices of OutWeek back in 1990 or so. The radical gay weekly (where I worked as an assistant, then a writer, then an editor) was a sponsor of Wigstock, and as a thank you, one day Bunny dropped off a big bag of wigs! Imagine Michelangelo Signorile, Sarah Pettit, Dale Peck, Andrew Miller, Gabriel Rotello and a bunch of other staffers like me -who all went on the other accomplishments- each of us trying on wigs!

The NYC visit will be nostalgic, but probably more shocking to see the changes. It's separate from my Kickstarter campaign to fund research for the sequel to Every Time I Think of You. I'm more than 60% towards getting that project funded. Since I'm working on some deals with the expenses, I can hopefully forward the funds to production and publicity efforts for the sequel, something I sort of scrimped on with the first book.

But even if the Kickstarter effort doesn't work out, I'm determined to go ahead with the project. I've also booked a reading June 1 at my favorite (still existing) bookstore, Giovanni's Room.

The historic store will also feature in the sequel, since it existed in the early 1980s. Back when I did an East Coast reading tour for PINS, my reading there was met with a nice group of fans, many from the local wrestling team, and it was my birthday, a sweet review in The Advocate had just been published (penned by author John Weir, no less), and it snowed!

This time around, I hope to meet with people who lived in Philly during the early 1980s, as well as visit archives, libraries, and points of interest. The prolific Felice Picano will be reading at Giovanni's Room the next night, so we'll get to hang out again.

Along with being one of the pioneers of modern gay publishing, Felice was the first author to blurb me! He wrote the first blurb for PINS more than a decade ago.

So, it's all coming around full circle, in a way. But at the same time, it's all new.

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