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Description - Gay L.A. by Stuart Timmons

The exhortation to "Go West!" has always had a strong hold on the American imagination. But for the gays, lesbians, and transgendered people who have moved to L.A. over the past two centuries, the City of Angels has offered a special home--which, in turn, gave rise to one of the most influential gay cultures in the world. Drawing upon untouched archives of documents and photographs and over 200 new interviews, Lillian Faderman and Stuart Timmons chart L.A.'s unique gay history, from the first missionary encounters with Native American cross-gendered "two spirits" to cross-dressing frontier women in search of their fortunes; from the bohemian freedom of early Hollywood to the explosion of gay life during World War II to the underground radicalism sparked by the 1950s blacklist; from the 1960s gay liberation movement to the creation of gay marketing in the 1990s. Faderman and Timmons show how geography, economic opportunity, and a constant influx of new people created a city that was more compatible to gay life than any other in America. Combining broad historical scope with deftly wrought stories of real people, from the Hollywood sound stage to the barrio, Gay L.A. is American social history at its best.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780465022885
ISBN-10: 046502288X
Format: Hardback
(236mm x 156mm x 33mm)
Pages: 464
Imprint: Basic Books
Publisher: The Perseus Books Group
Publish Date: 12-Sep-2006
Country of Publication: United States

Book Reviews - Gay L.A. by Stuart Timmons

US Kirkus Review » An exceptionally literate, overstuffed chronicle of gay Tinseltown.In alternating sections on Los Angeles lesbians and gay men, historian Faderman (Naked in the Promised Land, 2003, etc.) and freelance journalist Timmons, respectively, deliver an exhaustive account. Beginning in the 1880s, both groups migrated in droves from less liberal locales to freewheeling, anonymous Southern California, and a supportive, unified community emerged even as laws against sodomy and "masquerading" (i.e., cross-dressing) kept guard over the city's bedrooms. These enterprising pioneers were soon followed by vaudeville exiles who flocked to Hollywood and built its entertainment foundation. Post-Prohibition nightclubs catered to such "sexually flexible" entertainers as Marlene Dietrich, James Cagney and Mae West. The years after WWII saw a boom in gay meeting places-beaches, bars, clubs, public parks for men, city streets and restaurant lounges for women-even though all of them were subjected to aggressive, relentless Vice Squad raids. Small neighborhood enclaves of gays and lesbians began to materialize, creating refuges that sparked the mid-'60s gay organization PRIDE (Personal Rights in Defense and Education), whose "Pride Night" meetings were all-encompassing gay-empowerment events. The interracial homophile group ONE, the social-justice-oriented Mattachine and the lesbian political equality organization Daughters of Bilitis proved worthy precursors and paved the way toward the 1969 Stonewall Rebellion. The openly gay and lesbian population continued to skyrocket during the '70s, and that lively era gives the book's prose a shot in the arm as the authors describe the revitalized L.A. demographic, the pink neon discos of West Hollywood and a community center disseminating vital information about the AIDS epidemic. Among the timely issues affecting gay youth today that get spirited discussion are the questions of gender and identity. Both authors are Californians, and their love of Hollywood history and lore shines bright.Vital intellectual fare brimming with fascinating history. (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Stuart Timmons

Lillian Faderman is the award-winning author of numerous books on lesbian/gay history, including Surpassing the Love of Men and Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers, which were both named among the New York Times Notable Books of the Year. Her most recent book, Naked in the Promised Land, received the Judy Grahn Award for nonfiction, and a Lambda Literary Award for memoir. She also has been given several "lifetime achievement awards" for gay/lesbian scholarship, including the Paul Monette/Rogler Horwitz Award, Yale University's James Brudner Award, and the Publishing Triangle's Bill Whitehead Award. She lives in California. Stuart Timmons' The Trouble with Harry Hay, chronicled a century of gay life in Los Angeles, and became a Book of the Month Club selection. He has covered gay politics and culture from theater to AIDS, as well as reported on education, environmental, and other topics. His work has appeared in papers such as LA Weekly, The Advocate, Frontiers, Vibe, and Spin and his short stories have appeared in various anthologies.

Books By Stuart Timmons

Gay L.A. by Stuart Timmons
Paperback, August 2009
$57.60