Lambda Awards: Spotlight on White Shirt

The good folks at the Lambda Literary Awards have posted one of my white-shirted poems, when lust and prayer collide, in the run-up to next week’s gala ceremony.

I’m still pretty much pinching myself at the thought of being in the same room as Edward Albee and Stephanie Powers. Kate Clinton and Katherine Forrest might not be household names to a straight audience, but Forrest’s Curious Wine is a coming-out classic to those of us of a certain generation; and many of us cut our lesbian literary teeth on her Kate Delafield detective mysteries. Clinton, meanwhile, describes herself on her website as a “faith-based, tax-paying, America-loving political humorist and family entertainer” … who has “worked through economic booms and busts, Disneyfication and Walmartization, gay movements and gay markets, lesbian chic and queer eyes, and eight presidential inaugurals.” She believes humour “gets us through peacetime, wartime, scoundrel time and economic down times.”

SPY LUST: In 1967 I had a crush on every person in this photo. Just sayin'.

As for Powers … what can I say? She’s mostly known as half of the TV show Hart To Hart, but long before that, right around the time I was becoming acquainted with Louise Fitzhugh’s fictional tomboy extraordinaire, Harriet the Spy, Powers starred in The Girl From U.N.C.L.E. as a girl spy (GIRL SPY!) named April Dancer. Swoon.

Here’s the full scoop on the 2011 Lammys:

Three-time Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Edward Albee and Gold Dagger Award-winning crime fiction writer Val McDermid will be special honorees at the 23rd Annual Lambda Literary Awards ceremony to be hosted by comedienne Lea DeLaria on Thursday, May

26 in New York City at the School of Visual Arts Theater. Tony Award-winning playwright Terrence McNally will introduce Albee, and pioneering lesbian mystery writer Katherine V. Forrest will introduce McDermid.

Historically one of the most glamorous LGBT literary events in the country, this cer

emony brings together over 400 attendees, sponsors, and celebrities to celebrate excellence in LGBT literature.

“At this year’s ceremony, the Foundation has the incredible honor of bestowing its Pioneer Awards on the greatest living playwright of our time, Edward Albee, and on one of our great crime writers, Val McDermid, who will be coming to New York all the way from her home in the U.K.,” says LLF Executive Director, Tony Valenzuela.  “Lambda’s Pioneer Awards are important because they pay tribute to those who, through their considerable achievements and passionate commitment, have contributed to our literary community in significant and tangible ways.”

The Lambda Awards glamour quotient will reach a new high with this year’s stellar roster of presenters who represent a diverse cross section from the worlds of film, television, theatre, politics, religion, sex, and of course literature. Gracing the stage will be film and television actress Stefanie Powers, former New Jersey Governor and Episcopal priest in training Jim McGreevey, comedienne Kate Clinton, transgender photographer Amos Mac and feminist porn actress and director Tristan Taormino, to name just a few.

Immediately following the awards ceremony will be a VIP after-party at Chelsea’s Cheim & Read, the legendary art gallery that has exhibited Robert Mapplethorpe, Don Barchardy, and Diane Arbus. Louise Burgeois: The Fabric Works will currently be on exhibit. The performance troop Unitard (Mike Alboof the Underminer, Nora Burns, of the Nellie Olesons, and David Ilku, of the Dueling Bankheads) will provide their twisted and sardonic brand of entertainment.

“Everyone’s talking about Terrence McNally presenting a Pioneer Award to Edward Albee, but wait until they see Stefanie Powers present Best Gay Fiction wearing Alexander McQueen,” says Chris Shirley, New York City Host Committee Co-Chair.  “Our host, Lea DeLaria is a riot, and where else can you see Miss New York and Mr. Gay USA walk the red carpet then appear on the same stage? For the safety of our audience members, we may install seatbelts.”

Indeed.

I can’t wait.

I will also try to remember the words of a legendary football coach, who advised his players: “If you get to the end zone, act like you’ve been there before.”

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A Goldie Opportunity

White Shirt has been shortlisted for another literary award.

Last month my debut poetry book was named a finalist for the Lambda Literary Awards. Today I received an email from the Golden Crown Literary Society (GCLS), informing me that the book is also a finalist for the “Goldies” in the lesbian poetry category.

The GCLS is a literary and educational organization “for the enjoyment, discussion, and enhancement of lesbian literature. Our goals are to support and strengthen quality lesbian literature by providing places for readers and writers to interact, to encourage and assist new writers and established authors, and to recognize and promote lesbian work.”

The winners of the Goldie Awards will be announced at a conference in Orlando, Florida, on June 11. I am unable to attend, sadly, because my presence is needed right here in E-Town that weekend at GOD LOVES WHITE SHIRTS — a reading featuring the two Lammy-nominated authors from Edmonton — Vivek Shraya (God Loves Hair) and myself. That’s on Sunday, June 12 (the front end of Pride Week) at Cafe Leva, starting at 2 p.m.

I WILL, however, be attending the gala Lammy Awards ceremony in New York City on May 26 with my lovely and talented partner. Thanks to the overwhelmingly generous support of our awesome friends, neighbours and loved ones, we earned enough at Saturday’s ‘Big Apple or Bust’ art sale to feed and shelter ourselves during our stay in Chelsea, and to even get ourselves back home again.
Heartfelt thanks again to everyone who helped make the fundraiser a huge success.

black, er, pink tie occasion for white shirt

Great news today – just learned that White Shirt made the shortlist for the Lambda Literary Awards in the Lesbian Poetry category:

White Shirt - Lammy finalist

“Finalists for the Lambda Literary Award were announced today by the Lambda Literary Foundation in Los Angeles.  Books from major mainstream publishers and from academic presses, from both long-established and brand new LGBT publishers, and even from emerging publish-on-demand technologies, make up the 114 finalists for the ‘Lammys.’  The finalists were selected from a record number of nominations.

“The awards, now in their 23rd year, celebrate achievement in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) writing for books published in 2010. Winners will be announced at a May 26 ceremony in New York at the School of Visual Arts Theater (333 West 23rd Street).

“Lambda set a record in 2009 for both the number of LGBT books nominated (462) and the number of publishers participating (about 200), reports Lambda Awards Administrator Richard Labonté. But that record has been surpassed this year, with more than 520 titles represented from about 230 publishers.”

The other four lesbian poetry finalists, from 17 titles submitted, are Jen Currin’s The Inquisition Yours; Money For Sunsets, by Elizabeth J. Colen; The Nights Also, by Anna Swanson; and The Sensual World Re-Emerges, by Eleanor Lerman.

Other Canadians who made the Lammys shortlist include Edmonton’s Vivek Shraya for God Loves Hair (LGBT Children’s/YA category); and Zoe Whittall, whose Holding Still For As Long As Possible is a finalist in two categories: Transgendered Fiction and Lesbian Fiction.

Read the full story here. And you can order White Shirt by clicking here.