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kuma youth army& the first thing that I heard was a Toad. 99.5% of the time ya’ll don’t even have to ask, the answer is fuck no I don’t want to go to Chelsea. Once in a rare while, however, 99 1/2 won’t do & this is one of those times, as John Strausbaugh appears at Half King, 505 W. 23rd Street at 10th Avenue this evening at 7 pm. Why? “It’s a good bar,” says Strausbaugh, who knows. “And they serve good pub food, including a killer mac & cheese.” While literary purists may blanche, what options are there for the few non-Sissies who remain in the once roughhouse neighborhood? A Different Light, the gay bookstore on 19th St has been closed for years now, with nothing of similar vice or virtue to replace it. Such was not the case in 1999, when the Publishing Triangle offered their fascinating Top 100 Best Lesbian & Gay Novels. It was an arguable list to be sure (just ask Beadel Debevoise, aghast Ivy Compton-Burnett was jilted) but anyone repping Djunherbert huncke saida Barnes, Jane Bowles, Gertrude Stein and Irving Rosenthal’s brilliant Sheeper (one of the handful of the greatest Manhattan novels also) is at least aiight. For those who don’t know, by the way, Sissy Nation: How America Became a Culture of Wimps & Stoopits has nothing to do with anyone’s sexuality or (mere) fashion sense. Was William S. Burroughs a sissy, or Johnny Thunders? I think not & as Harry Crews might once have written, “Sissy is a thing of the spirit.” To find out precisely what that means, get at John tonight: he ain’t scared of questions.

BZA, from a cheap motel room in Nacogdoches: The Kuma Youth Army, with Inkhead & Phonoh, bringing joy to whoever sees it that way? Not sissy. That Utz girl creeping in lower right? It depends.

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