September 12, 2020
The Mayor of Folsom Street by Jordy Jones
A biography of San Francisco entrepreneur and activist Alan Selby, founder of the iconic Mr. S Leather Store on Folsom Street. In the Introduction, Dr. Jones, a close associate of the late Mr. Selby, offers a biography of the man, who immigrated from London to San Francisco, where he became world famous as the owner of the Mr. S Leather store and a key figure in the San Francisco gay community during the AIDS crisis. The second part of the book is an autobiography constructed from Selby’s own journals.This book gives a unique inside look into the character and personality of one of San Francisco’s most colorful figures
October 17, 2020
Times Square Red, Times Square Blue by Samuel R. Delany
If one street in America can claim to be the most infamous, it is surely 42nd Street. Between Seventh and Eighth Avenues, 42nd Street was once known for its peep shows, street corner hustlers and movie houses. Over the last two decades the notion of safety–from safe sex and safe neighborhoods, to safe cities and safe relationships–has overcome 42nd Street, giving rise to a Disney store, a children’s theater, and large, neon-lit cafes. 42nd Street has, in effect, become a family tourist attraction for visitors from Berlin, Tokyo, Westchester, and New Jersey’s suburbs. Samuel R. Delany sees a disappearance not only of the old Times Square, but of the complex social relationships that developed there: the points of contact between people of different classes and races in a public space. In Times Square Red, Times Square Blue, Delany tackles the question of why public restrooms, peepshows, and tree-filled parks are necessary to a city’s physical and psychological landscape. He argues that starting in 1985, New York City criminalized peep shows and sex movie houses to clear the way for the rebuilding of Times Square. Delany’s critique reveals how Times Square is being “renovated” behind the scrim of public safety while the stage is occupied by gentrification.
November 21, 2020
I’m Open to Anything by William E. Jones
A perverse and explicit new take on the coming of age novel, William E. Jones’s I’m Open to Anything explores bohemian Southern California of the late 1980s and early 90s, before gentrification ruined everything. The book’s narrator flees a crumbling industrial wasteland in the Midwest and finds himself in sunny Los Angeles without a car, working in a neighborhood video store and spending many hours watching films. He explores his adopted city and befriends a number of men, most of them immigrants, who teach him the finer points of sex. He acquires the skill of fisting, giving his partners intense pleasure, and at the same time hearing the stories of their lives. They too have fled their hometowns: one to escape torture at the hands of a Salvadoran death squad; another to study anthropology after years of wandering and religious questioning. Alternating between explicit scenes of kinky sex and intimate conversations about matters of life and death, I’m Open to Anything is a porno novel of rare ambition and humor. The book recalls Olympia Press’s heyday, when authors made quick money churning out dirty books, but couldn’t hide the intellectual obsessions that made them writers in the first place.
December 19, 2020
Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl by Andrea Lawlor
It’s 1993 and Paul Polydoris tends bar at the only gay club in a university town thrumming with politics and partying. He studies queer theory, has a dyke best friend, makes zines, and is a flaneur with a rich dating life. But Paul’s also got a secret: he’s a shapeshifter. Oscillating wildly from Riot Grrrl to leather cub, Paul transforms his body and his gender at will as he crosses the country––a journey and adventure through the deep queer archives of struggle and pleasure. Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl is a riotous, razor-sharp bildungsroman whose hero/ine wends his/her way through a world gutted by loss, pulsing with music, and opening into an array of intimacy and connections.
January 16, 2021
Box Hill by Adam Mars-Jones
In Box Hill, a vivid coming-of-age novel, a young man suddenly wakes up to his gay self―on his eighteenth birthday, when he receives the best gift ever: love and sex. In the woodsy cruising grounds of Box Hill, chubby Colin literally stumbles over glamorous Ray―ten years older, leather-clad, cool, handsome, a biker, and a top. (Colin, if largely unformed, is nevertheless decidedly a bottom.) Colin narrates his love―conveying how mind-blowing being with Ray is―in comically humble-pie terms. “If there are leaders then there must be followers, and I had followership skills in plenty just waiting to be tapped. To this day I can’t see a fat kid in shorts without wanting to rush over and give him what comfort I can. To tell him it won’t always be like this.” Mars-Jones uses Colin’s naivete to give a fresh view of the world and of love. Before long, however, homophobia, class, family strife, and loss rear their ugly heads. Yet in the end, it seems Colin’s modest view oddly takes in the widest horizon
February 13, 2021
My Leather Life by Peter S. Fiske
At the center of leather life for 50 years, Peter Fiske whips up leather history in his delightfully conversational new memoir of his “been-there/met-everyone” nights around the Stonewall Inn, the Mineshaft, the Catacombs, The 15 Association, drag shows, LSD, Inferno, biker clubs, transgender folk, and BDSM adventures from 1960s New York to Berlin to Paris to London to Folsom Street. A must for leatherfolk.
March 13, 2021
Cleanness by Garth Greenwell
Sofia, Bulgaria, a landlocked city in southern Europe, stirs with hope and impending upheaval. Soviet buildings crumble, wind scatters sand from the far south, and political protesters flood the streets with song. In this atmosphere of disquiet, an American teacher navigates a life transformed by the discovery and loss of love. As he prepares to leave the place he’s come to call home, he grapples with the intimate encounters that have marked his years abroad, each bearing uncanny reminders of his past. A queer student’s confession recalls his own first love, a stranger’s seduction devolves into paternal sadism, and a romance with another foreigner opens, and heals, old wounds. Each echo reveals startling insights about what it means to seek connection: with those we love, with the places we inhabit, and with our own fugitive selves.
April 17, 2021
Cruising by Alex Espinoza
Acclaimed author Alex Espinoza takes readers on an uncensored journey through the underground, to reveal the timeless art of cruising. Combining historical research and oral history with his own personal experience, Espinoza examines the political and cultural forces behind this radical pastime. From Greek antiquity to the notorious Molly houses of 18th century England, the raucous 1970s to the algorithms of Grindr, Oscar Wilde to George Michael, cruising remains at once a reclamation of public space and the creation of its own unique locale―one in which men of all races and classes interact, even in the shadow of repressive governments. In Uganda and Russia, we meet activists for whom cruising can be a matter of life and death; while in the West he shows how cruising circumvents the inequalities and abuses of power that plague heterosexual encounters. Ultimately, Espinoza illustrates how cruising functions as a powerful rebuke to patriarchy and capitalism―unless you are cruising the department store restroom, of course.
May 19, 2021
Gay Bar: Why We Went Out by Jeremy Atherton Lin
In the era of Grindr and same-sex marriage, gay bars are closing down at an alarming rate. What, then, was the gay bar? Set between Los Angeles, San Francisco, and London, Gay Bar takes us on a time-traveling, transatlantic bar hop through pulsing nightclubs, after-work dives, hardcore leather bars, gay cafes, and saunas, asking what these places meant to their original clientele, what they meant to the author as a younger man, and what they mean now.
June 16, 2021
Kink Edited by R.O. Kwon and Garth Greenwell
Kink is a dynamic anthology of literary fiction that opens an imaginative door into the world of desire. The stories within this collection portray love, desire, BDSM, and sexual kinks in all their glory with a bold new vision. The collection includes works by renowned fiction writers such as Callum Angus, Alexander Chee, Vanessa Clark, Melissa Febos, Kim Fu, Roxane Gay, Cara Hoffman, Zeyn Joukhadar, Chris Kraus, Carmen Maria Machado, Peter Mountford, Larissa Pham, and Brandon Taylor, with Garth Greenwell and R.O. Kwon as editors. The stories within explore bondage, power-play, and submissive-dominant relationships; we are taken to private estates, therapists’ offices, underground sex clubs, and even a sex theater in early-20th century Paris. While there are whips and chains, sure, the true power of these stories lies in their beautiful, moving dispatches from across the sexual spectrum of interest and desires, as portrayed by some of today’s most exciting writers.
September 25, 2021
Bound Together: Leather, Sex, Archives, and Contemporary Art
by Andy Campbell
What are the archives of gay and lesbian leather histories, and how have contemporary artists mined these archives to create a queer politics of the present? Bound Together sheds light on an area long ignored by traditional art history and LGBTQ studies, examining the legacies of the visual and material cultures of US leather communities. It discusses the work of contemporary artists such as Patrick Staff, Dean Sameshima, Monica Majoli, AK Burns and AL Steiner, and the artist collective Die Kränken, showing how archival histories and contemporary artistic projects might be applied in a broader analysis of LGBTQ culture and norms. Hanky codes, blurry photographs of Tom of Finland drawings, a pin sash weighted down with divergent histories – these become touchstones for writing leather histories.
October 30, 2021
I Should Have Known Better by William E. Jones
I Should Have Known Better’s first person narrator, while working at a dead-end job in Los Angeles during the mid-1990s, reconnects with his best friend Moira, recently returned from Central America, and makes a new friend, Bernie, who teaches the history of photography. The two of them convince him to pursue a master’s degree as a way of escaping the unrewarding life of a video store clerk. Once the narrator is exposed to an academic environment, he takes a dim view of the education that art school has to offer, but is happy to meet a group of talented fellow students who become close friends. He encounters a number of art world figures, ranging from the brilliant to the abject, who disabuse him of his illusions. The narrator has his most instructive experiences off campus, especially a love affair with the handsome and mercurial Temo, an insolent rich kid who leads a double life. Together they explore their sexual limits in scenes of bracing explicitness. I Should Have Known Better bears witness to the last gasp of Los Angeles bohemia at the end of the twentieth century. The novel paints precise portraits of inspired eccentrics devoted to pursuing their dreams, “shopping artists” who believe in nothing but hedonism, and latter-day leftists who find themselves directionless after the fall of communism. Above all, the book pays tribute to the impulsive experiments and intense friendships of youth. I Should Have Known Better is a sequel to the sleeper hit I’m Open to Anything (2019), expanding the original’s scope and ambition.
November 27, 2021
Secret Historian: The Life and Times of Samuel Steward, Professor, Tattoo Artist, and Sexual Renegade by Justin Spring
Drawn from the secret, never-before-seen diaries, journals, and sexual records of the novelist, poet, and university professor Samuel M. Steward, Secret Historian is a sensational reconstruction of one of the more extraordinary hidden lives of the 20th century. An intimate friend of Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas, and Thornton Wilder, Steward maintained a secret sex life from childhood on and documented these experiences in brilliantly vivid and often very funny detail. After leaving the world of academe to become Phil Sparrow, a tattoo artist on Chicago’s notorious South State Street, Steward worked closely with Alfred Kinsey on his landmark sex research. During the early 1960s, Steward changed his name and identity once again, this time to write exceptionally literate, upbeat, pro-homosexual pornography under the name of Phil Andros.
December 18, 2021
Leatherfolk: Radical Sex, People, Politics, and Practice
Edited by Mark Thompson
Since its publication, this Lambda Literary Award-nominated book has become a classic must-read on the shelf of books addressing human sexuality and identity. Widely cited as among the most useful books of its kind, Leatherfolk is both historical witness and provocative treatise regarding a distinct subculture that has withstood decades of political harassment and other challenges to its survival. Spanning the decades from the 1940s onward, this collection of vibrant writing documents the many eras and shifts of attitude that have affected the gay and lesbian leather underground, and its influence on the society beyond.
January 29, 2022
Screw Consent by Joseph J. Fischel
When we talk about sex—whether great, good, bad, or unlawful—we often turn to consent as both our erotic and moral savior. We ask questions like, What counts as sexual consent? How do we teach consent to impressionable youth, potential predators, and victims? How can we make consent sexy?What if these are all the wrong questions? What if our preoccupation with consent is hindering a safer and better sexual culture? By foregrounding sex on the social margins (bestial, necrophilic, cannibalistic, and other atypical practices), Screw Consent shows how a sexual politics focused on consent can often obscure, rather than clarify, what is wrong about wrongful sex. Joseph J. Fischel argues that the consent paradigm, while necessary for effective sexual assault law, diminishes and perverts our ideas about desire, pleasure, and injury. Fischel proposes instead that sexual justice turns more productively on concepts of sexual autonomy and access. Clever, witty, and adeptly researched, Screw Consent promises to change how we understand consent, sexuality, and law in the United States today.
February 19, 2022
Arcade by Drew Nellins Smith
A new world opens up to Sam when, fresh from a breakup, he discovers a XXX peepshow on the outskirts of town. More than a mere venue for closeted men to meet for anonymous sex, it’s an underground subculture populated by regular players, and marked by innumerable coded rules and customs.A welcome diversion from his dead-end job and the compulsive cyberstalking of the cop who broke his heart, Sam returns to the arcade again and again. When the bizarre setting triggers reflections on his own history and theories, he contemplates his anxious, religious upbringing in small-town Texas, the frightening overlap between horror movies and his love life, and the false expectations created by multiple childhood viewings of Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Then, of course, there is the subject of sex.As his connection to the place strengthens, and his actions both outside and within the peepshow escalate, Sam wavers between dismissing the arcade as a frivolous pastime and accepting it as the most meaningful place in his life. Arcade is a relentlessly candid and graphic account of one man’s attempt to square immutable desire with a carefully constructed self-image on the brink.
March 26, 2022
High-Risk Homosexual by Edgar Gomez
A debut memoir about coming of age as a gay, Latinx man, High-Risk Homosexual opens in the ultimate anti-gay space: Edgar Gomez’s uncle’s cockfighting ring in Nicaragua, where he was sent at 13-years-old to become a man. Listeners follow Gomez through the queer spaces where he learned to love being gay and Latinx, including Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, a drag queen convention in Los Angeles, and the doctor’s office where he was diagnosed a “high-risk homosexual”. With vulnerability, humor, and quick-witted insights into racial, sexual, familial, and professional power dynamics, Gomez shares a hard-won path to taking pride in the parts of himself he was taught to keep hidden. His story is a scintillating, beautiful reminder of the importance of leaving space for joy.
April 30, 2022
My Love Is a Beast: Confessions by Alexander Cheves
How does the devout son of evangelical Christians, growing up dedicated to mission work in Africa, become one of America’s leading sex columnists and a self-avowed slut committed to kink as his new religion? Across his debut book, MY LOVE IS A BEAST: CONFESSIONS, Alexander Cheves details his path from piousness to faithlessness, and his awakening to the saving power of hedonism. He tells intimate stories of what he sees as the sacred grace of pleasure as he embraces his life as a sex writer, worker, and activist. In stories richly lyrical, boldly erotic, and fearlessly honest, Cheves takes readers on a tour through Savannah, Atlanta, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York City. Along the way, he explores the darker corners of Queer culture and his own life, highlighting experiences most will have never considered. His rise to national popularity among LGBTQ+ writers gets balanced by his own struggles with and recovery from substance use–and his public embrace of kink and fetish as a belief system, way of life, and identity. In the end, Cheves writes with complete, even shocking, transparency and authenticity in the service of shattering sexual shame. Graphic and at times controversial, this book is sure to become a watershed moment among erotic memoirs.
May 21, 2022
Deviations by Gayle Rubin
Deviations is the definitive collection of writing by Gayle S. Rubin, a pioneering theorist and activist in feminist, lesbian and gay, queer, and sexuality studies since the 1970s. Rubin first rose to prominence in 1975 with the publication of “The Traffic in Women,” an essay that had a galvanizing effect on feminist thinking and theory. In another landmark piece, “Thinking Sex,” she examined how certain sexual behaviors are constructed as moral or natural, and others as unnatural. That essay became one of queer theory’s foundational texts. Along with such canonical work, Deviations features less well-known but equally insightful writing on subjects such as lesbian history, the feminist sex wars, the politics of sadomasochism, crusades against prostitution and pornography, and the historical development of sexual knowledge. In the introduction, Rubin traces her intellectual trajectory and discusses the development and reception of some of her most influential essays. Like the book it opens, the introduction highlights the major lines of inquiry pursued for nearly forty years by a singularly important theorist of sex, gender, and culture.
June 29, 2022
The Sluts by Dennis Cooper
Set largely on the pages of a website [in the early 2000s] where gay male escorts are reviewed by their clients, and told through the postings, emails, and conversations of several dozen unreliable narrators, The Sluts chronicles the evolution of one young escort’s date with a satisfied client into a metafiction of pornography, lies, half-truths, and myth. Explicit, shocking, comical, The Sluts displays Cooper’s signature flair for blending structural complexity with direct, stylish, accessible language.
July 30, 2022
Coffee, Shopping, Murder, Love by Carlos Allende
Last November, I found a dead body inside the freezer that my roommate keeps inside the garage. My first thought was to call the police, but Jignesh hadn’t paid his share of the rent just yet. It wasn’t due until the thirtieth, and you know how difficult it is to find people who pay on time. Jignesh always does. Also, he had season tickets for the LA Opera, and well . . . Madame Butterfly. Tosca. The Flying Dutchman . . . at the Dorothy Chandler . . . you cannot say no to that, can you? Well, it’s been a few good months now—Madame Butterfly was just superb, thank you. However, last Friday, I found a second body inside that stupid freezer in the garage. This time I’m evicting Jignesh. My house isn’t a mortuary . . . alas, I need to come up with some money first. You’ll understand, therefore, that I desperately need to sell this novel. Just enough copies to help me survive until I find a job . . . what could I do that doesn’t demand too much effort? We have a real treasure here, anyhow. Some chapters are almost but not quite pornographic. You could safely lend this to nana afterward!
August 24, 2022
Assuming the Ecosexual Position by Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens
What’s sexy about saving the planet? Funny you should ask. Because that is precisely – or, perhaps, broadly – what Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens have spent many years bringing to light in their live art, exhibitions, and films. In 2008, Sprinkle and Stephens married the Earth, which set them on the path to explore the realms of ecosexuality as they became lovers with the Earth and made their mutual pleasure an embodied expression of passion for the environment. Ever since, they have been not just pushing but obliterating the boundaries circumscribing biology and ecology, creating ecosexual art in their performance of an environmentalism that is feminist, queer, sensual, sexual, posthuman, materialist, exuberant, and steeped in humor.