In ‘Gay Bar,’ Jeremy Atherton Lin lovingly assesses the significance of queer spaces.
On this week’s episode, Jeremy Atherton Lin discusses Gay Bar: Why We Went Out (Little, Brown, Feb. 9), a bold essayistic debut exploring gay bars from Los Angeles to London, and the people who moved through them.
Kirkus: “In his first book, Atherton Lin examines queer history through the lens of what he sees as a vanishing institution: the gay bar, which, in recent years, has been ‘under threat not so much by police, but a juncture of economic factors like unchecked property speculation and an upsurge in stay-at-home gays.’ With raw, voyeuristically explicit detail, the author escorts readers through the crowded, smoky gay bars of London before turning to erotic adventures in California, where he came of age in the early 1990s. He also looks at the ever evolving nature of queer life in San Francisco and vividly recalls his memorable early experiences there…. A vibrant and wistful report on a bygone era in gay culture” (starred review).
Atherton Lin and host Megan Labrise discuss his brief tenure as an assistant to RuPaul; how to start an interview off on the right foot; muscular prose and polysyllabic adjectives; the Twin Peaks Tavern in San Francisco; the London Apprentice in the East End; the book as object; the differences between the U.S. and U.K. editions of Gay Bar, and much more.
Then editors Vicky Smith, Laura Simeon, Eric Liebetrau, and Laurie Muchnick join with their reading recommendations for the week.
Hello, Earth: Poems to Our Planet by Joyce Sidman, illus. by Miren Asiain Lora (Eerdmans)
We Are the Ashes, We Are the Fire by Joy McCullough (Dutton)
You’ll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey: Crazy Stories About Racism by Amber Ruffin and Lacey Lamar (Grand Central)
The Removed by Brandon Hobson (Ecco/HarperCollins)
Also mentioned in this episode:
Winter Bees and Other Poems of the Cold by Joyce Sidman, illus. by Rick Allen (HMH Books)
Know My Name by Chanel Miller (Viking)
Where the Dead Sit Talking by Brandon Hobson (Soho)
From the Moon I Watched Her by Emily English Medley (Advertisement)
Merlin of the Magnolias by Gardner Landry (Advertisement)
Echo of Silence by Rhonda Graff Jolley (Advertisement)
Fully Booked is produced by Cabel Adkins Audio and Megan Labrise.