This column first appeared in BTL in April 2014, when Charles was 77. He’s now 83 years young. At my advanced age I've come to realize I really don't exist. With the exception of the [...]
There is little conscious planning as I create my art. I work intuitively and rather quickly. I start with a geometric shape, a humorous or serious doodle, a fluid symbol fished from my subconscious, a newly minted hieroglyph or alphabet, sometimes a line expressive of energy and movement, and I proceed from there.
Somewhere pressed in my book of tattered memories is a green carnation, still remarkably fresh with the passage of so much time.
Fifty years ago when closets were leased for a lifetime, it was SOP – standard operating procedure – to go by a catchy nickname.
As a teenager I learned the lay of the land from word-of-mouth sharing from those who had navigated Detroit's watering holes years before me. I did however once venture - daringly - on my own into the Greyhound Bus Depot to check out noonday comings and goings. I was cautious. I had been forewarned.
“Gay is good. You are not alone.” This was the slogan when the Affirmations LGBT Center opened its doors in Ferndale more than 20 years ago. It was a bold statement to make at the time: reassurance for many cautious, confused, isolated young people in need of understanding, trained organizational support and a place to hang out.
About a dozen days ago tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow — at my age how can I be sure? — I was gifted with a pair of John Lennon enchantment glasses.
GATORADE, Ariz.: I’m a skeptic concerning things supernatural; but the wonder-working weekend I spend reporting for BTL on the Drag Queens for Jesus confab is, well, miraculous – awe-inspiring. It’s also ecumenical, as the three-day [...]
1. In the year of the Trumpeted Mongrel 666 Beast of War endlessly chasing his flea-bitten tail, a prophet of restless dudes scaled Mt. Rush-No-More, seeking counsel with the electrifying powers that sometimes to Be (or, not to
During the Nazi reign of terror that ended only in Germany’s defeat by the American, English and French Allies in 1945, about 15,000 gay men were incarcerated in concentration camps from 1935 to 1944, where an estimated 60 percent of homosexual "schweinhund" were brutally worked to death.
Fifty years ago when gay ID closets were leased for a lifetime, it was SOP – standard operating procedure – to go by a catchy nickname.
The “Coffee Table Book of Astrology” tattles that “taurus is the astrological sign of sexual deviancy.”Or, as a friend of mine used to tell me year after year of our 40-year friendship, “Brandy” — his nickname for me, as in the alcoholic beverage, brandy Alexander — "May babies are gay babies.” There may be some truth to this observation.
An open house I attended a blossoming spring or two ago was winding down at the home of BTL co-publishers Jan Stevenson and Susan Horowitz. Two boys of some of the invited party guests were fussing over who’d get to release balloons at the festive closing of the couple's full bloom garden showcase.
As a gay teenager, I hung out at the Hub Grill in downtown Detroit, a greasy spoon of a place, located at the corners of Farmer and Bates in convenient walking distance of four quite popular gay bars, City Hall and the 1st Precinct Police Station!
According to a tad too many fundygelical church know-it-alls, we LGBTQs are doomed to spend an eternity in hell. (Purgatory be damned!) So agree President Trump and VP Mike Pence, America’s hand-me-down present political and past-tense, self-styled saints.
For over 50 years Life magazine informed Americans about what was happening here and abroad. Photos and content were dramatic. Mostly conservative. Occasionally controversial. Once in awhile downright shocking.
Perhaps it’s ironic — if not a touch appropriate given his name — but a prominent Villanova University professor is quoted at the beginning of 2019 as saying the Roman Catholic Church is facing its greatest crisis in 500 years.
For decades, a seeming legitimate requirement asked for admission to Detroit gay bars was three pieces of ID, including one with photo selfie (in or out of drag optional). The request was intended to keep [...]
The year I graduated as a commercial art major from Detroit’s prestigious Cass Technical High School I did not attend my senior prom.
As a teenager in the mid-1950s, I listened faithfully to country and western music radio — especially Patsy Cline — and later ‘Senator’ Bristo Bryant’s rhythm and blues after high school class broadcasts. (A favorite [...]
Back in the “good old days” of Great Depression No. 1, following Stock Market Crash ’29 years and years – well, at least a galloping few – before my time, the arts with a capital "A" took a real financial broadsiding.
About a dozen days ago tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow — at my age how can I be sure? — I was gifted with a pair of John Lennon enchantment glasses. Gold-rimmed. Sunset orange. Autumn-tinted. Pre-Donald Trump, to be sure.
For five dynamic years — 1940 to 1945 — Detroit was America’s Arsenal of Democracy, a vital source of war materials and weapons. First for England’s defense. Later, for our own. Automotive factories focused on [...]
As an artist, I’m fascinated with the mental phenomenon known as channeling. In the mid-'90s channeling was a cultural fad with many fans. Channelers brought forth purported messages form ages-old entities and other twilight-zone dimensions [...]
My grandmother Lottie Lee Alexander lived with my parents and me from the time I was five until she died in 1954 when I was 18, and had just finished Cass Technical High School where I was a commercial art major.
How quickly the miles rolled and reeled by. And before they could finish their 12th joyful rendition of “Meet Me in St. Louis, Louis,” they unexpectedly found themselves among a small crowd gathered in front of a tiny, makeshift manger. It’s bubble lights twinkled merrily.
Truth is, it was Rudolph, with his shiny nose so bright, that put Claus into the closet; but, to be fair to the antlered, addled-headed kid, it was all Santa’s doing.
Yes, Christmas may never be its gay old self again. And Mr. Gailey will forever be a delete from “Miracle on 34th Street.” (How gay, by the way, is Kris Kringle? He even looks a bit, well, you know, suspect. And what’s all this fascination with kids, anyhow? Has he ever had an authentic FBI security check?)
Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 1965 historic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, for African-American voter rights changed the South forever. (Or, did it?) Few know that another King – William Rufus DeVane King – gave Selma its name 145 years earlier. (It means “high seat” or “throne,” and comes from an epic Ossianic poem, “The Songs of Selma.”)
DRUMSTICK #1: If you’re looking for a ploy to come out to your family this Thanksgiving, you might casually remark that according to “Biological Exuberance” by animal behavior specialist Dr. Bruce Bagemihl, the female domestic [...]
Long, long before The Village People made "YMCA" — the song that would become the unofficial, persistent national anthem of Winter Olympian Brian Boitano – "Ys" played an important role. They were second only to gay bars, as places to meet available others of like-minded, body-mind-and-spirit, triune — me, you and the shower — persuasions. In the '60s and '70s there were four YMCAs in the Metro Detroit area. (The long-gone Grand Circus Park YMCA dating to 1904.) There's only one YMCA now, located on Broadway, in a totally revitalized, energetic, amazingly-changed, thriving new Downtown area.
Back in the mid-'80s a group of gay friends gathered monthly for dinner and sharing at Detroit's historic venue, the Scarab Club. We called ourselves "The Friends of Dorothy Kilgallen". Our campy title was a play on the old closet question, "Are you a friend of Dorothy?" Meaning, Are you gay? A friend of Oz's Dorothy. The title also referenced once-famous Miss Kilgallen, syndicated journalist, panelist for TV's 1960s popular "What's My Line?" guessing game show.
There are shared similarities between high-visibility personalities Pastor Joel Osteen and Republican Vice President Mike Pence. First off, each shepherds a flock of religious followers. Mike’s, however, is basically evangelical and/or fundamentalist. Osteen’s tends to be New Age, Power of Positive Thinking, Prosperity Gospel and devotees of his seven bestseller books, read by a goodly number of his weekly 7 million American TV followers.
Oh, yes. The reading of this redemptive Parting Glances comes with 30 days indulgence, courtesy of Between The Lines and Monsignor Alexander, Blessed Society of Gee Whiz. What you indulge in is your own redemptive business. Amen. Ah-men! Whoever.
“Rottweilers, when dyke trained, tend to be a fanatic, one-owner breed. They also sit well on Harley’s. Lipstick lesbians prefer well-groomed lap pets and in more intimate surroundings a well-trimmed, short-haired, frisky bichon frise.”
Yes. It's been a long journey for me. It wasn't always easy. But, then again, it wasn't that hard either (The journey, not the sex.). I’ve survived, and I like to think I've made something of myself as an artist, a writer and human being who just happens to be quite gay. Contentedly so. Reasonably happy. Most of the time. That's life (I'd gladly do it all over again.).
A few journalists, sexologists, social workers and gay priests, to be sure, saw the handwriting on the wall, almost two decades ago, when an innovative and shocking blog first appeared: bishopaccountability.org.
A 50th anniversary production of Mort Crowley’s groundbreaking play “The Boys in the Band” closed on Broadway Aug. 12 of this year, with big-name stars Jim Parsons (who has said goodbye to TV's "Big Bang Theory"), Andrew Rannells, Matt Bomer and Zachary Quinto.
Harper Hospital (at the time, I hadn’t the slightest idea that my OR training would lead to what might well be the first coincidence of its kind).
"Whoa! Hold on there!" I urge the little guy who works the switch, bargaining for a few more seconds 'til I get my key in the lock and make an unscheduled dash to the loo, there to discharge another distillation of my allotted 40,515 lifetime quarts.
For those with an obsession for counting things there are 10,000 alphabet letters in this review of pointillist artist Jon Strand’s exhibition: Oracles, Temples and Waves ... and a dragon named Raoul. But 10,000 is a piddling word count to be sure, compared to Strand’s creative dot, dot, dot detailing over nearly 50 years of painting and fascinated viewer acclaim in some 29 exhibitions of his art — including an onset exhibition at the Detroit Institute of Arts in 1971 (the DIA currently owns two of his pieces). Now, his work is scheduled to be shown from Aug. 3 through 24, at the Wayne State University Arts Gallery.
To diddle an old saying: You can't judge a gay author or his book by its — or by his — cover. Case in point: the groundbreaking 1951 sociological expose, "The Homosexual in America." Gay nom de plume: Donald Webster Cory — a pen name name gleaned from Andre Gide's 1924 gay novel "Corydon," later published in America in 1950. Real name: Edward Sagarin. Outed dramatically 24 closeted years later.
Detroit's imposing, massive, block-wide Masonic Temple was built in 1922 — cornerstone-dated 5022 — following the Hebraic custom of noting esoteric history. At one time in the 1960s every major dance company in the world, classical musician, orchestra and performer appeared there; many brought to the city by famed impresario Sol Hurok.
June 28, 2025 [Editor’s Note: Translated Cursive English] Dear Diary: Another same-sex couple has been “relocated” – my neighbors two doors down, the boys who did a wonderful job of gentrifying that old house on Wells Street.