James C. Hormel LGBTQIA Center

Monday, October 26, 2009

Eureka Valley/Harvey Milk Branch Opening Celebration!

Opening Day at the Eureka Valley/Harvey Milk Memorial Branch Library
by photographer J. Doiy

Monday, October 19, 2009

Unspeakable and Illegal

In many of the countries of the Middle East to be openly gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered is to risk life and limb, and in some countries even the death penalty. But learning to navigate turbulent waters has always been a survival skill of LGBT folks, and Brian Whitaker, a scholar and a journalist, chronicles some of these strategies in his book, Unspeakable Love: Gay and Lesbian Life in the Middle East. Although he tends to underestimate the role that sexism plays in these cultures, his insight into religious and secular bias is well worth the journey.

For more of an anecdotal and personal approach, check out Illegal Citizens: Queer Lives in the Muslim World by Somali writer and film-maker, Afdhere Jama. The style here is more informal consisting of individual interviews laced with commentary that includes more voices of women and transgendered folks forging an every day path of resistance in spite of many obstacles.

Alone or in combination these books provide an opening glance into the lives of LGBT Muslims and other Middle Eastern members of our community.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

B/GLAM: A "Family" Reunion Read/A Re-gathering of Tribe

Celebrate the coming-back-together of the Bay Area's best Black Gay literary voices. This "Family" reunion reading is an opportunity for this collective of community based writers to report back in on their comings and goings, their ups and downs and their short falls and ultimately their triumphs. This reading brings to the table and ultimately to the mic all of the stories that these writers have gone out and gathered. Join founders Cedric Brown and Marvin K. White as they read with Ramekon O'Arwisters, Byron Mason, Antoine Crowder, Louie Butler, Dazie Grego, Stewart Shaw, Derek Lassiter, Jair Trice, Juba Kalamka, Thandiwe Thomas De Shazor, Robert Quintana Hopkins, James Knox and Alan Miller. Historical and hysterical are the main ingredients for this reading! Tuesday, October 20th at 6:00 PM. San Francisco Public Library Koret Auditorium (Lower Level). 100 Larkin Street. Free.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Homegrown Poetry

Yesterday we had a day off for Columbus Day, which commemorates the anniversary of an event that some consider the beginning and others the end of "civilization" as we know it. Columbus and his crew called the people they "discovered" Indians because of their mistaken belief that they had landed in India. In Berkeley California the holiday is known as Indigenous People's Day and is celebrated as such.

Joy Harjo is a descendent of these first inhabitants and an enrolled member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. She is also a musician, a lesbian and a poet extraordinaire. This collection, How We Became Human, represents her best work from 1975-2001. Her words weave a picture of the amazing, magnificence of the natural world, reminiscent of Mary Oliver, interspersed with a lens on the edgy, urban struggle for survival a la June Jordan. These poems serve as mantras that help us to "become human" and appreciate our world in all its fierce and fickle beauty.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Infighting and Insurrection

Coming Out Day is October 11th and this year it is also the day of "Equality Across America" the LGBT March on Washington. In honor of these events, this week's book is The Dividends of Dissent: How Conflict and Culture Work in Lesbian and Gay Marches on Washington. In this book, Amin Ghaziani analyzes four past Lesbian and Gay Rights Marches on Washington D.C. which have taken their historical place among a panoply of marches on the capital city. He examines the role that conflict plays with regard to the political organizing of an oppressed community. Yes, his tone is a bit academic, but both scholarly and lay organizers will resonate with his well-documented research and incisive observations.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A Compassionate Eye: The Work of Victor Arimondi

Fearless, passionate, brave and timeless - the work of Victor Arimondi stands the test of time and informs us today, as much as when it was made, of the many complexities and challenges of the human condition with an uncanny grace, compassion and elegance. This exhibition, the first by an institution since his passing in 2001 - encompasses the many threads of his photographic work that touch portraiture, still life, social commentary and documentary, fashion, experimental work, and the abstract.

Exhibition: From September 12 through December 10, 2009

Main Library, Third Floor, James C. Hormel Gay and Lesbian Center