scaped convict Humphrey Bogart, with the help of beautiful Lauren Bacall scour the streets of San Francisco in search of the person who murdered his wife in Delmar Daves' Noir masterpiece Dark Passage (1947).
This film is unique in the history of noir, as the first forty-five minutes are shot from the first person point of view and you are Bogart, accused of murder and on the lam. Rounding out the cast, are some of the most vivid character players on the Warner Brothers lot headed by a marvelously reptilian Agnes Moorehead in one of her rare roles as a femme fatale. The atmosphere is dark and dank, the black and white cinematography is gorgeous and the convoluted plot line will have you delightfully spinning in your seat. It's classic Bogie, Bacall and Warners all the way!
Taylor Siluwé, the author, and my friend, is dead. He was 45.
The news came, like the news usually does these days, on Facebook - some ambiguous words on someone's status update that gives a hint of something awry - but the words on fellow blogger The Gayte-Keeper's feed didn't leave room for misinterpretation: "Rest in peace Taylor Siluwé".
I knew Taylor was sick. He'd been diagnosed with lung cancer - fucking cigarettes - and was documenting his treatment on his blog, SGL Café. He did so with typical Taylor flare, and one of his last posts detailed his ill-advised escape from hospital, and gardening adventures with Trel, his boo. That was the Taylor I know and love, doing what he shouldn't be with a dude "half his age".
So I knew he was sick. And a friend told me lung cancer was the worst of the worst. But I just thought, hoped, told myself, he'd be alright. He had to be.
I read The Gayte-Keeper's status a couple of times, not quite taking it in, and then, with a mounting sense of panic, clicked on Taylor's Facebook page. The wall posts, real grief, virtual grief, were already mounting up. His boo Trel's page was groaning under the weight of condolences. Premier blogger Rod McCullom already had an obituary posted, as had Lambda Literary. And I broke down; I wept, and I've been crying for the last couple of hours. My friend is dead.
I've known Taylor for several years. He's supported me and my blog with a banner at the top of his. He liked what I was doing. He liked me, and I liked him. We chitchatted back and forth, and he came to be a trusted friend. More than that, a role model: more than ten years older (not that you'd know to look at him) he was the cool head and guiding hand more than a few times when I needed advice.
I once wrote a piece about David McAlmont's Diamonds Are Forever video. He was ridulously excited about this new (to him) black, openly gay artist. I promised I'd send him all his CDs, and set about acquiring McAlmont's back catalogue. That was a year or two ago. I had a couple of discs still left to find. That little pile of CDs is still gathering dust in a cupboard. I wish I'd sent them sooner.
To those of you who didn't know him, or hadn't read his blog or his books, or heard his dreams or ambitions, it's hard to desribe him. Razor sharp and one of the smartest people I've been lucky enough to meet, he was sexy (hell, have you seen those lips? They're a work of art!), and ambitious, a dreamer, and brilliant. He had a heart of gold. He was one of us. He was my friend.
>>> Muslim and gay: Allah made me this way. "He's a 27-year-old Dutch guy who believes he's basically a good person and, therefore, a good Muslim too. But he’s also openly and unashamedly homosexual. How does he fit the two together?" (Radio Netherlands Worldwide)
||| Gay Pride Now And Then: Stonewall - What 60s NYC gay life was, Part 1, Part 2. (The New Civil Rights Movement)
||| Same-sex couples find rough road to immigration. "When one partner is not a U.S. citizen, some couples find a friendlier legal reception in other countries. A favorable decision on the Defense of Marriage Act would let them return." (Los Angeles Times)
||| What a repeal of the gay marriage ban means. (New York Times)
...And hot on the heels of its Home Depot boycott fail (see last week), the American Family Association turns its malignant gaze on Old Navy, who plan to sell shirts to benefit the anti-suicide, anti-bullying It Gets Better Project.
<<< Ex-Gay proponent Dr. George Rekers confronted about suicide of "sissy boy" he "treated". (Towleroad)
||| The true story of George Rekers and "Kraig". (Box Turtle Bulletin)
>>> "Actor" and UFC fighter Rampage Jackson teaches the Japanese expressions like "I am a faggot" in new video.
||| The United States Army has launched a brand new website devoted entirely to the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. (Towleroad)
||| Food chain at risk of being poisoned by terrorist groups. (Telegraph)
<<< ITALY: Gay parade plans to challenge "backward" Italy. It's Lady Gaga vs. the Vatican and Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi - I'm not sure which one I dislike the most. The Vatican probably comes off best.
||| INDONESIA: Military plans to rid Central Jakarta park of transvestites. Maj. Gen. Waris, head of Jayakarta Regional Military Command, said: "Do we really want foreign tourists seeing those [transvestites] when they visit the country?"
||| Tel Aviv Gay Pride parade biggest in city's history, organisers say.
BODY & MIND
||| AIDS at 30: The Real Story. "[The] June 5, 1981 paper by Dr. Michael Gottlieb of UCLA, published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, made a mistake that has haunted the AIDS epidemic for three decades." (The Huffington Post)
||| AIDS at 30: The National Museum of American History has opened an exhibition on the disease. More on this at The Washington Post.
||| AIDS at 30: San Francisco General Hospital's famous Ward 86, a profile.
||| AIDS at 30: Meet 52-year-old Tom Menard, vice president of operations for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, who has been HIV-positive for at least 30 years.
||| AIDS at 30: The Death Sentence That Defined My Life. "Although there was not yet a test for the disease, I mark the beginning of my AIDS life in 1982. It’s hard to imagine now the intensity of sexual liberation that gripped gay men then. Oppression was out. Freedom was ours, and we declared it with sex." (New York Times)
||| AIDS at 30: More than 1 million Americans now live with HIV.
||| AIDS at 30: Britain heads for 100,000 cases. "AIDS experts say prevention campaigns are not altering sexual behaviour."
<<< The best GBLT books of all time. America's "leading queer writers" tell us about their five indispensable books. City of Night by John Rechy and Dancer From the Dance by Andrew Holleran are there, and a smattering of Hollinghurst greats. I'd add any of John R. Gordon's groundbreaking work, and specifically the utterly brilliant Skin Deep.
||| Bruno Gmunder, founder of the eponymous, Berlin-based publishing and distribution giant, is to step down from the company he founded 30 years ago. (The Adams Report)
>>> An interview with Nick Burd, who has written "one of those books that many of us wish we could've read when we were teenagers - one that probes that confused, lonely, struggling teen mindset that's often pegged as self-involved, when it's really just honest and hurting and not pretty."
||| Review: Another Country: Queer Anti-Urbanism, by Scott Herring. "Herring explores queer culture's overwhelming 'metronormativity' and makes a strong argument for examining the varied dimensions of queer life's rural iterations." (Lambda Literary)
<<< "Radiation therapy is a breeze... Once you get used to strapped down to a table with a custom mask over your face to you remain completely immobile while they strategically zap your tumors. Yeah. A breeze." Our friend and author Taylor Siluwé fights on...
>>> "Gardening for sanity. Trel hard at work. Me dictating from a chair guzzling BOOST and pulling some weeds." Taylor's back at home with his boo, where he belongs.
||| Scissors, sex and sideburns. "Tales of the City, Armistead Maupin's love letter to gay San Francisco, is now a musical – with songs by Scissor Sister Jake Shears. Hadley Freeman watches it come together at rehearsals." (The Guardian)
||| Review: The Temperamentals. "How many of you have heard of the Mattachine Society? Probably very few; many in the audience at the Greenwich Theatre last week almost certainly won’t have done until they saw this production of The Temperamentals. The Mattachine Society existed long before Stonewall, trying to fight for the rights of gay men and women in the United States. The play tells the stories of the five men involved in establishing the society." (So So Gay)
<<< Rightwing tabloid the Daily Mail tries to stir up controversy over rural soap Emmerdale's "paralysed gay man's assisted suicide" plot. What's the real beef: euthanasia or homosexuality before the watershed?
>>> Original Coronation Street prop sold on eBay. Ee, those were t'days.
||| TV archivists dig up the first ever gay kiss on TV or film. 007 was the man for the job.
||| Review: Angry Boys. "From the idiot hicks to the dog-molester, Angry Boys is excruciating – and very, very funny." (The Guardian)
<<< Review: Angry Boys. "Gran also showed off her unthinking racism. 'Two teams,' she announced in the exercise yard. 'Dark skins, light skins.' Is that racist humour? Or mocking same? It's a fine line, but Lilley steps over it as far as he can." (Telegraph)
||| I should be appalled, but I'm pleased: Lebanon bans Lady Gaga's Born This Way, not for being musical excrement, or cynically manipulative, but for being deemed "offensive to Christianity". Whatever their reasons, the outcome deserves a cheer!
"I would also like to take this opportunity to squash the persistent rumours about mysterious 'disappearances' and emphasize that rural and urban areas are now enjoying a life of harmony and peace. I'm sure you're glad to hear this. And I'm happy you're glad."