July 22, 2012
We continue our summer reading list with the singer-songwriter, Justin Vivian Bond whom The New Yorker calls, “the best cabaret artist of his generation.” Justin took part in Symphony Space’s Thalia Book Club a year ago when his memoir, Tango: My Childhood Backwards and in High Heels was published and was so funny, engaging and smart we just had to know what V (as Justin prefers to be called) is reading. Enjoy!
My reading list is as follows:
I’m spending the summer of 2012 at home in New York discovering the richness of her not so distant past through the experiences of some of the most brilliant women writers the city has produced over the last thirty years:
Currently, I’m savoring Eileen Myles’ Inferno, which is a wondrous memoir in which you not only get to follow her path as a developing young poet but you gain entree into the artistic firmament of NYC in the 70s, 80s and 90s. It’s a great read.
The Gentrification of the Mind by Sarah Schulman is the most importaant book I’ve read so far this year. Every New Yorker should read this book to understand why the city is the way it is today as far as why neighborhoods that used to be working class, multi-ethnic and/or queer are now the bastions of a bland, middle class aesthetic and why so many artists are finding it difficult to survive in NYC. It’s a brilliant book that is also an incredibly emotional personal journey.
A Queer and Pleasant Danger, Kate’s Bornstein’s latest memoir, tells the story of how a nice Jewish boy from New Jersey became L. Ron Hubbard’s first Lieutenant on The Church of Scientology’s flagship vessel and then went on to become a transexual lesbian performance artist and groundbreaking gender outlaw.
I’m re-reading Walking through Clear Water in a Pool Painted Black. Simultaneously harrowing and hilarious this collection of short stories details the life of Cookie Mueller, a girl from my home state of Maryland, who started her career as a John Water’s superstar performer and became entrenched in the New York art scene before dying of AIDS in the early nineties.
Zipper Mouth, the Lambda Award winning first novel by Laurie weeks, is a hysterically funny and disturbing book by one of the most uniquely talented geniuses we have on the East Village scene today. I LOVE this book!