When the curtain rose at the London premiere of the play Peter Pan in 1904, it unveiled a drama of flying children, fairies, and pirates that would soon become a classic—and inspire countless spin-offs, adaptations, and reinterpretations. On the cinematic side, these began with the 1924 silent-film version of the play, starring Anna May Wong as Tiger Lily. Disney’s animated Peter Pan (1953) has been described as “ageless” (though one wonders if critics took note of the decidedly dated, stereotypical depiction of Native Americans), while Steven Spielberg’s Hook (1991) told the story of a grown-up Peter’s transformation into a mature father.
Four score and seven years ago, our forefathers—and most infamous tyrants—were getting down with other men. Or so some folks would like us to believe. Historians and posthumous biographers have of late been venturing into the relatively uncharted territory of sexual historiography, exhuming some celebrated corpses to uncover the steamy, secret queer lives they once lived.
A Journey Into the Wide, Wild World of Slash Fiction
The kiss was not at all like Kirk had expected... “Spock, wait... wait,” he whispered desperately.... “I can’t... We can’t... You... God, Spock... I want you. Don’t you understand? I want you so much!” Kirk still couldn’t believe that the Vulcan knew what he was getting himself into.
As every tabloid reader knows, it’s a short step from a celebrity marriage to a publicity-filled divorce. When Jonathan Franzen’s new novel, The Corrections, was published this fall, critics waxed hyperbolic over its wedding of character-driven family drama and up-to-the-nanosecond cultural commentary.
Michelle Tea loves words, and it shows. As one of the founders of San Francisco's brilliantly loopy poetry slam-cum-cabaret Sister Spit, the 28-year-old Tea's flair for whipping tales of life and love into hilarious dramalogues have made her a local favorite on the spoken-word scene, and her gleeful energy and tongue-twisty stylings come through just as loud on paper.
Reviewed in this issue: Defending Pornography, by Nadine Strossen; Gender Wars, by Brian Fawcett; Talk Dirty To Me, by Sallie Tisdale; Going All the Way: Teenage Girls' Tales of Sex, Romance, and Pregnancy, by Sharon Thompson; and Unnatural Dykes to Watch Out For, by Alison Bechdel
This is the magazine I’ve yearned for ever since I realized how shitty Mademoiselle and Seventeen made me feel. A strongly womanist/feminist magazine for women of color, it succeeds where all others have failed: combining fashion and lifestyle topics with serious sociopolitical analysis in an ethnically diverse setting with both integrity and ads. Two of the editors are former Sassy interns, and it shows in the little things like the record review rating system and more broadly in the ironic co-optation of old-school girl-mag themes.
Coffee Will Make You Black, by April Sinclair: A black girl in ‘60s Chicago grows up and into her sexuality. One of the funniest and best-written books I read last year. And the sequel just came out, so there’s no more waiting to hear what happens to Stevie.
Makes Me Wanna Holler, by Nathan McCall: Eloquent, unflinchingly honest, politically astute. This book has a lot to teach me, as a white girl, about the lived experience of a black man in racist America.
This collection of 23 mostly new essays is required reading for anyone who seeks, to use hooks’ words, to “decolonize her mind.” It’s invaluable to the necessary process of self-interrogation that is part of any involvement in a feminist or anti-racist movement; she dissects racist and sexist thought so that you can both criticize it in others and identify your own complicity. She reminds you that anti-racism needs to be a fundamental part of feminism and vice-versa.
This book will remind you that when the mainstream media talks about post-feminism and the apathy of twentysomethings, you’re not the only one who responds by shouting, “What the fuck are you talking about?” Ok, some of the writing is disappointing—but some of it’s fabulous, and all of it’s thought-provoking. The ethnicities and sexualities of the contributors are more widely varied than in any anthology I’ve seen, and racism in the feminist movement is confronted with a directness and fierceness rarely seen in an integrated setting.