Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addressed the State of Michigan after a plan to kidnap her and other Michigan government officials was thwarted by state and federal law enforcement agencies. She started by saying thank you to law enforcement and FBI agents who participated in stopping this [...]
ANN ARBOR – Felice Picano once had sex with a real ice princess after school while her wheelchair-bound father watched them from another room. The escapade became the subject of a work he entered in a citywide junior high writing contest in New York City.
“Even though I softened the sex down to kissing, I got thrown out of the contest and accused of plagiarizing the story,” Picano says. These days, Picano wouldn’t seduce any ice princesses. “I’m gay, queer, homo,” he says. When he discovered his sexuality at 22, he wasn’t muddled. He realized it was a new way to be rebellious and “stick it to the man.”
Now, he pities the younger gay men who feel the need to act like their straight friends. “It’s like they never grew up and are still high school students, so anxious to fit in,” he says. “Light bulbs fit in. People are supposed to stand out. Screw fitting in.”
Picano relishes writing gay-themed prose and dips his hands in multiple forms – novels, screenplays, reviews, personal essays, lyric poems and sonnets – but still he’s not fond of publishers, even if he is one himself.
“Most of them are arrogant S.O.B.’s who think they know everything and seldom know as much as I do, especially since I’ve been in the business so long,” he says.
Picano founded one of the first gay publishing firms, SeaHorse Press, which has fostered a growth in gay literature.
After Picano’s first book was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award, which honors an American author who hasn’t previously published a book of fiction, he went on to write over 20 books. As a regular writer for the San Francisco Examiner and The Gay & Lesbian Review, Picano has also published novels such as “Like People in History,” 2001’s “Onyx” and his recent memoir and cat story “Fred In Love.”
He’s also worked with Charles Silverstein of Harper Collins Publishing, who co-wrote the first edition in 1975, to publish “The New Joy Of Gay Sex” in 1992, which became the second most stolen book in America according to Picano.
“I couldn’t count how many people tried to censor it from libraries, schools, bookstores,” Picano says. “I used to get a list, but I’ve stopped reading it.” Released in 2003, the third edition covers sex in a broader sense, including over the Internet. “Given how generally bad American men under 50 are at … sex, I’d guess most gays need to read the book,” he says.
Picano first wrote his most treasured piece “Ingoldsby,” the novella in his collection “Tales: from a Distant Planet,” as a screenplay. It didn’t work. Scratching that adaptation, he re-wrote it as a play. Although it worked better, it still didn’t fit Picano’s standards. Once he modified it into a novella, he found the story’s niche.
Actor/director Dan Morrison will join Picano in Ann Arbor to blend the play and the novella for an exclusive stage reading of “Ingoldsby.”
“It’s really now the fourth generation of this work and I like it the best,” he says, “so Michiganians are getting a treat.”