The Next Best Book Blog has just reviewed Under the Poppy and had a delightful time visiting the brothel:
“Under the Poppy has this incredible old world feel to it – lush, rich writing that wraps you up inside of it and makes you woozy with its words. And author Kathe Koja doesn’t skimp on anything. The book is bursting with sex and violence, love and lust, blackmail and revenge, naughty puppets and naive prostitutes.”
The Poppy does not skimp, ever. And it was a delightful review to read: thank you, TNBBC!
Story #2 is Frederick Wiseman’s new documentary “Crazy Horse,” just watched (for research reasons, of course). Though – and this may just be a personal preference – the show within the show could have benefited from a puppet or two.
There is, in fact, a dream guest list for the slightly worn, faintly odorous (but in a good way!) seats at the Poppy, and this gentleman is totally on it. And so is Felix Nadar.
Nadar was a pioneer in many ways – that balloon, for instance; if it’s good enough to inspire Jules Verne, it’s good enough for the rest of us – and generous with his studio space as well as his vision. In his honor, let’s go create, make, do something today that lifts someone else high in the air, metaphoric or actual, and ourselves while we’re at it. And then drift gently back to earth for a nice drink of one’s choice at a welcoming, shabby, somewhat shady establishment. Maybe these two will already be there.
Technically it’s “Vintage Gay Men,” and NSFW, no minors allowed, all the disclaimers in place. So without further ado … [Image from Vintage Gay Men.]
And, just because it’s such a marvelous read and resource, do check out Graham Robb’s Strangers: Homosexual Love in the 19th Century. And think about Walt Whitman and Peter Doyle, and be glad.
The excellent Band of Thebes gives us Hadrian on his birthday, and though it’s a bit belated, the Poppy salutes him with a toast: To knowing who you love, and why.
Interesting, too, to note my near-total ignorance about Hadrian himself, yet my use of his name in the writing of The Mercury Waltz, and how it all made perfect sense, dovetail sense, in the end. In such happy coincidences does time speak to time, maybe, and love call out to love.
Second in a series of guest posts is today’s from Tom Cardamone, to remind (or instruct) us that the language of gay love has been a fictive lingua franca for a long time now, and that the past is present and immediate in its pages today.
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I received an astounding education, editing The Lost Library: Gay Fiction Rediscovered. Every week I was a ghostly librarian, haunting moonlit shelves, reassembling attic histories, tracing overgrown paths of desire. I’d assembled this anthology with the theory that gay literature was doubly impacted by AIDS, that not only were voices lost, but memories expunged. Reaching out to every writer I knew
Spending the day considering amazements like this – and this – and on the way to discuss puppets-in-the-making (with the maker!) . . . We do have our fun here, Under the Poppy, though the peacock feather fan is getting a little damp from the heat.
Also during the weekend, a concerned citizen of our acquaintance asked if the performance/environment/evening was going to be “surprising” (having read novels of mine, I think, in the past). Well, depends on what surprises you, and how much you like that. I would say yes, lots, and gorgeously, if everything goes right.