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“Stonewall Strong” Celebrates Gay Men’s Resilience



On October 8, Rowman & Littlefield is publishing Stonewall Strong: Gay Men’s Heroic Fight for Resilience, Good Health, and a Strong Community by longtime health journalist John-Manuel Andriote. Andriote has reported on HIV-AIDS and other health and medical subjects for more than 30 years, and has been open about his own 2005 HIV diagnosis since ‘coming out’ about it in a 2006 Washington Post article and NPR interview.

Harvard medical professor Kenneth Mayer, M.D. calls Stonewall Strong “a tour de force.” The book draws from Andriote’s personal story, nearly 100 interviews he conducted with men and women across the United States, and leading-edge research. The book flips the typical victimization narrative on its head and celebrates the powerful resilience that most gay men develop from a young age as they deal with the social impacts of being “different.”

Dr. Mayer, who also is director of medical research at Boston’s Fenway Institute, says that in Stonewall Strong, Andriote “skillfully educates the reader how the lessons learned from addressing the [HIV-AIDS] epidemic have laid the foundations for a stronger, more resilient community.” He adds, “The book is well-written, compelling, and highly informative.”

Rev. Elder Troy Perry, founder of the Metropolitan Community Churches, calls Stonewall Strong “Truth-telling at its best.”

John-Manuel Andriote has been best known for his reporting on HIV-AIDS, which he began while working on a master’s degree in journalism at Northwestern University in 1986. His articles have appeared in The Atlantic, the Advocate, Huffington Post, Washington Post, and in other print and online publications.

Kirkus Reviews called Andriote’s 1999 book Victory Deferred: How AIDS Changed Gay Life in America (University of Chicago Press) “the most important AIDS chronicle since Randy Shilts’ And the Band Played On.” The hundreds of interviews and other research materials used to develop the book are part of a special “John-Manuel Andriote Victory Deferred Collection” curated by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.

“I call Stonewall Strong the ‘bookend’ for Victory Deferred,” says Andriote. “Where Victory Deferred documented the impact of HIV-AIDS on individuals, government institutions, and the LGBT political movement for equality, Stonewall Strong celebrates what our history has taught us about our own courage, resilience, and strength.”

Andriote, who has developed and taught communication and journalism classes as an adjunct faculty member at Eastern Connecticut State University and Three Rivers Community College, is a news source and regular guest speaker at universities, conferences, book clubs, and fundraising events across the country.

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85th TX Lege

Citing “Bathroom Bill,” Percy Jackson Author Declines Legislature Invitation



[gdlr_notification icon=”fa-flag” type=”color-background” background=”#ffcc20″ color=”#000000″]This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune[/gdlr_notification]

The author of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series is declining to attend the Texas Legislature’s celebration of authors event, saying the reason is because of proposed legislation that would prevent transgender people from using bathrooms that match their gender identity. 

Rick Riordan, who was born in San Antonio and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, wrote on Twitter on Friday afternoon that he turned down the Legislature’s invitation on Friday due to Senate Bill 6, which Texas Republicans announced on Thursday. The celebration of authors event is slated for March 8. 

“If they want to honor me, they could stop this nonsense,” Riordan said in his tweet. 

Riordan’s tweet is one of the first whiffs of potential fallout as the Legislature considers Senate Bill 6. The measure would require transgender people to use bathrooms in public schools, government buildings and public universities based on “biological sex” and would pre-empt local nondiscrimination ordinances that allow transgender Texans to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity. 

Rep. Jason Villalba, R-Dallas, the organizer for the author event, said he knew Riordan declined the invitation but did not know the reason until he looked on Twitter on Saturday morning.  

“I saw his tweet and was like ‘Darn, this is a bummer’,” Villalba said. 

Villalba said that the Legislature often recognizes Texans’ contributions to arts and culture. However, even with the controversy over SB 6, Villalba said the two issues shouldn’t be conflated. He said he recognized that bills like SB 6 have people worried about the impact it could have on other industries in Texas. But he added that the Legislature was simply trying to honor the authors. After all, he said, if he chose creative works based on the creator’s politics, he wouldn’t see many movies or read many books.  

“I don’t want to challenge [Riordan’s] belief system,” Villalba said. “I appreciate that this is his way of making his statement about what has occurred. My only disappointment is we can’t show him how much we appreciate his great work.”   

The office of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who is leading the charge on the proposed legislation with Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, did not immediately respond to a request to comment for this article. Patrick has said his support for the legislation is based on privacy and safety concerns. 

The Texas Association of Business — a top business lobby group that regularly sides with conservatives — has warned that anti-LGBT legislation, including SB 6, could lead cost the state between $964 million and $8.5 billion. 

North Carolina lawmakers passed their own legislation last year in response to a Charlotte nondiscrimination ordinance that extended protections to transgender residents who use public facilities based on their gender identity. 

The North Carolina legislation not only eliminated Charlotte’s ordinance but also nullified local ordinances that extended protections for LGBT residents. That legislation also kept transgender people who haven’t had surgery or legally changed their gender markers on birth certificates from having the legal right to use a public restroom that matches their gender identity.

Disclosure:  The Texas Association of Business has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.

The Texas Tribune is a nonpartisan, nonprofit media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them – about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

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[gdlr_notification icon=”fa-camera” type=”color-background” background=”#999999″ color=”#ffffff”]Top image: Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and state Sen. Lois Kolkhorst unveil the text of Senate Bill 6, which would require transgender people to use bathrooms in public schools, government buildings and universities based on “biological sex,” on Jan. 5, 2017. / photo illustration: Bob Daemmrich / Texas Tribune[/gdlr_notification]

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Hot & Tasty: Weslo’s Home-O-Erotic Cookbook



Let’s be perfectly clear. This isn’t your Grandma’s cookbook. Weslo’s Home-O-Erotic Cookbook isn’t going to collect dust, forgotten and fading away on a bookshelf. In fact, it will probably end up on display prominently on your coffee table. Luckily, you won’t have to wait long to add it to your collection. Weslo’s Home-O-Erotic Cookbook will be available November 14, 2015 through online booksellers and in select bookstores.

[gdlr_notification icon=”icon-flag” type=”color-background” background=”#e2872e” color=”#ffffff”]UPDATE: The publisher has announced that the release date has changed from October 17, 2015 to November 14, 2015.[/gdlr_notification]

In addition to enough tasty recipes to whet any appetite, the 200-plus page cookbook features, as its name implies, plenty of beautiful photos of men to keep you entertained while you wait for that dessert to bake. “I wanted to do a cookbook that featured guys cooking in little to nothing,” says publisher Wes Smoot. “You would get some great recipes but also get some yummy eye candy to stare at.”

The idea for the cookbook came to Smoot a few years ago, but he ended up putting it off until another project inspired him. “I worked with photographer Adrian Lopez ​on a few shoots for ATOM Willis Jackets​,” he explained. “We shot actress Tina Rodriguez​ and singer/songwriter Adam Carmichael ​on a motorcycle. She was wearing the men’s jacket driving the bike and he was sitting bitch looking almost scared. I loved the results. Later, I asked Adrian if he was interested in shooting a gay-themed cookbook with me.”

A few models from Weslo’s Home-O-Erotic Cookbook at the Austin Pride Festival / photo credit: Chase Martin/therepubliq

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Smoot was somewhat concerned that Lopez, who focuses on commercial, portrait and women’s high fashion photography, also happened to be straight. “When he agreed to take on the project I thought he would feel somewhat uncomfortable getting on set and seeing these gorgeous men walking around in nothing but an apron or a jock strap. It didn’t faze him. He’s a modern man and a pro. We did a test shoot with some friends in their apartment and I loved the way they turned out. Been shooting like crazy ever since.”

Variety is the spice of life and the diversity of models in Weslo’s Home-O-Erotic Cookbook ensures that there really is something for everyone’s taste. “One thing I really love is the variety of guys we been shooting,” Smoot explained. “Different body types, ages, and professions. From porn stars to industry professionals, the book is filled with all kinds.” The initial models were people he knew, “I messaged them on Facebook to see if they were interested in shooting. What can I say, I have some hot friends. I even got my graphic artist Christoph Michaud, ​who designed our logo and Nate Cordoba​, our design and layout guy to get down to their underwear for the camera.”

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Make no mistake, while this cookbook is very easy on the eyes, it’s also very functional. The recipes come from Smoot’s family and friends, including his mom and Jehn Ngo, chef and culinary instructor at Main Course Cooking School in Houston. “I know a lot of cookbooks feature a specific chef and their recipes but having a network of family and friends that loved the kitchen as much as I do, I really wanted to get those dishes I already knew I loved. It was great having so many people contribute.”

The book is very tongue-in-cheek, with witty writing, silly references and a stylish layout and presentation. The models are paired up with appropriate recipes. The ginger bear making Ginger Bears, they’re like gingerbread men, but bigger and they’re bears. There’s the beefcakes marinating the beef steaks. Then there’s drag superstar Farrah Moan making sugar-free cupcakes. Even the chapter titles get in on it: Rise & Shine (breakfast). Afternoon Delight (lunch), Foreplay (appetizers and starters), A Sweet Finish (desserts), What had Happened Was..​(cocktails), Recovery ​(shakes, juices & smoothies) … you get the point.

Weslo’s Home-O-Erotic Cookbook is currently available for pre-order online at and will be available for purchase through online booksellers and select bookstores starting Saturday, November 14, 2015.

Weslo Publishing will host a release party in Austin, Texas on Saturday, November 14, 2015 at Rain on 4th starting at 6 PM. Attendees will enjoy nibbles and drinks from the cookbook while meeting some of the models and get their books signed. There will be a raffle benefiting AIDS Services of Austin. Prizes include copies of Weslo’s Home-O-Erotic Cookbook, Tyler Curry’s Peacock amongst Pigeons and Fleshjacks. The event is free to attend. Please note that Rain on 4th is 21+ only on Saturdays.

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[gdlr_heading tag=”h3″ size=”32px” color=”#ffffff” background=”#961D20″ font_weight=”bold”]SATURDAY 11/14[/gdlr_heading]

Weslo’s Home-O-Erotic Cookbook Release Party

Enjoy nibbles and drinks from the cookbook while meeting some of the models and get your cookbook signed. There will be a raffle benefiting AIDS Services of Austin. Prizes include copies of Weslo’s Home-O-Erotic Cookbook, Tyler Curry’s Peacock amongst Pigeons and Fleshjacks. Rain on 4th, 217 W 4th St, Austin TX 78701. Saturday, November 14, 2015. 6-9 PM. FREE. 21+.

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Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland



The Harry Ransom Center, a humanities research library and museum at The University of Texas at Austin, presents the exhibition Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to mark the 150th anniversary of the publication of Lewis Carroll’s classic work. The exhibition runs through July 6, 2015.

Featuring more than 200 items, the exhibition is drawn almost entirely from the Ransom Center’s collections of art, photography, rare books, performing arts, film and manuscripts. The exhibition features two significant “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” collections at the Ransom Center: the Warren Weaver collection and the Byron W. and Susan R. Sewell collection. The exhibition will also highlight other holdings related to Lewis Carroll and his Alice stories, including letters, hand-drawn illustrations and photographs. The exhibition brings to life the history of the book and reveals how “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” has captured our collective imagination for 150 years and how Carroll’s creation has been transformed by artists, translators and filmmakers.

The Englishman who became famous as Lewis Carroll was born Charles Lutwidge Dodgson in 1832. Dodgson, a mathematician at the University of Oxford, first met Alice Liddell (1852–1934), the daughter of Dodgson’s Oxford dean Henry Liddell, in 1856. An avid amateur photographer, Dodgson photographed Alice and her siblings, as well as other children, his own family, colleagues, artists, intellectuals and celebrities of his time.

Dodgson, who had no children of his own, spent time with the Liddell children, telling stories, making puzzles and going on outings. On one of these outings, in July 1862, Dodgson began the story that became “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.” In addition to Alice, the story contains references to her sisters Edith (the Eaglet) and Lorina, called Ina (the Lory).

Encouraged by friends, Dodgson developed the story into a book and funded its publication. He used the pseudonym Lewis Carroll in the interest of maintaining his privacy and distance from his professional work.

“‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ has never been out of print during its 150 years of existence,” said Danielle Brune Sigler, the Ransom Center’s associate director for research and programs and exhibition curator. “Though ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ is very much a product of Victorian England, the book continues to appeal to modern readers around the world. ‘Alice’ is one of those books that you enjoy reading as a child but is even more wonderful when you return to it as an adult and discover all of its secrets — the puns, riddles and satire that you missed the first time around. This exhibition will delight fans of ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ and introduce others to a work that is widely known but not always closely read.”

The exhibition is organized thematically, with sections that cover topics such as the history and context of Carroll’s creation of “Alice”; a timeline highlighting changes in illustration of the book over time; translations of the novel from around the world; and Alice as interpreted by artists and filmmakers.

Highlights in the exhibition include original photographs made by Carroll, including one of Liddell and her sisters; a rare copy of the first printed edition of the book; original manuscripts by illustrator John Tenniel and Carroll; a photograph of Liddell as a young woman by Julia Margaret Cameron; illustrations by Salvador Dalí and five photographs reimagining “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” by contemporary artist Abelardo Morell.

The exhibition will also feature interactive sections designed for young visitors, including a reading nook, an area for a pretend tea party and an activity center with math and word puzzles. A White Rabbit stamp card encourages visitors to seek out items in each section of the exhibition. Completed stamp cards can be exchanged for a Wonderland activity guide.

“Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” will be on view in the Ransom Center Galleries on Mondays through Fridays from 10 AM to 5 PM, with extended Thursday hours until 7 PM. On Saturdays and Sundays the galleries are open from 12 NOON to 5 PM. The exhibition is free and open to the public.

Photo: View of the “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” exhibition. Photo by Pete Smith.

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