In the News: Patti Smith, Lesbian Pulp Fiction and E. Patrick Johnson

Godmother of Punk Patti Smith released her memoir Just Kids to critical acclaim in 2009, winning her a National Book Award and a Lambda Award nomination. Now, the book is set to hit theaters, with screenwriter John Logan at the helm.  The memoir follows the relationship of Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe, who came out as gay after the couple had been together for seven years.Mapplethorpe was best known for his controversial photography, which heavily depicted graphic sexual imagery. Mapplethorpe died of AIDs in 1989; Smith’s 1996 novel The Coral Sea was dedicated to him.

Imagine growing up gay in the 50s, if you didn’t already live through it. How many books can you think of that would’ve been fun gay reads? One where the lesbian protagonist didn’t end up with a man? Or dead? If you can name one, I applaud you. For the most part, though, such a book didn’t exist in wide circulation. Because of literary standards at the time, publishers wouldn’t accept novels that included happy, well-adjusted gay persons. AutoStraddle compiled a list of just such comically tragic novels for your reading enjoyment, including a recent novel that plays off of the pulp.

Last year, Apple rejected the bids of independent LGBT vendors to sell their comic books through the iPad and iPhone. The vendors had to remove anything that could be deemed offensive to viewers, such as explicit or nude pictures, despite similar images existing for heterosexual content.  Now, LGBT Apple consumers can enjoy a full stock of queer comic book content, which is available via the iBooks app. According to Charles Christensen, publisher of the Lambda-Award winning Northwest Press, ““Steve Jobs has said that he wants the iPad and iPhone to be ‘free from porn’, but it’s a pretty good defense to point to a literary honor to remind people that an explicit book still has artistic merit.”

Award-winning author and Northwest University professor E. Patrick Johnson is taking his personal journey and performing it for the world, starting this September. Based on his award-winning book, Johnson’s new play Sweet Tea explores the black southern gay community and examines “the perceptions, angst, triumphs and vulnerabilities of this minority within a minority.” The play begins in Washington on Sept. 13 and ends Oct. 9, 2011. For more information, visit the website here.