Visit to Allentown

Allentown, PA is the home of the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBTQ Center where I read with a half-dozen other writers from the anthology, Our Happy Hours: LGBT Voices From the Gay Bars. Happy Hours book cover The book-which calls attention to the tragedy at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando-includes four dozen short-stories, essays, and poems about the role gay bars have played in building safe spaces for the LGBTQ community.  Proceeds of the book’s sales support LGBTQ youth-service programs.  Shout out to writers: Renee Bess (also the story collector for the anthology), Rae Theodore, Karen DiPrima who also read their pieces from the anthology.

Located on Maple street in Allentown, the center recently participated in a street name change and now resides on Bayard Rustin Way. Rustin is a hero of mine. See my bad photo of the street sign, below.

Bayaard Rustin SignMet one of the owners of indie bookstore, Let’s Play Books, in nearby Emmaus

The visit inspired me to listen to Billy Joel’s song. https://youtu.be/BHnJp0oyOxs

 

The Big Apple, Good Books, and the Holidays!

It’s always a pleasure to visit New York City in December. I do it almost every year. NYC feels like the backdrop of so many of my childhood Christmas memories, starting with my wide-eyed viewing of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, and movies like Miracle on 34th Street.

I’m heading to NYC again this year, and I’ll take in the sights of the decorated department store windows, the ice skating at Rockefeller Plaza, the light displays on Fifth Avenue, and the hustle and bustle of Holiday shoppers.

But the main reason for this December visit to the Big Apple is to support a handful of fine writers who will be reading from their works in the anthology: our-happy-hours-graphic-small Our Happy Hours. 

This book, published by Flashpoint Publications, and with cover art by Ann McMan offers the reminiscences, essays, poetry, and short fiction of 40+ gay and lesbian authors (I’m one of them) about the impact of the bar scene on our lives.  The book’s curators: Lee Lynch and S. Renée Bess were inspired to launch this project after the horrific hate crime at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida in 2016.

Happy Hours book cover

Proceeds from the sale of the anthology will benefit the LGBTQ youth programs at the Ali Forney Center in New York City, and the Attic Youth Center in Philadelphia.

I hope you have safe, joyful, fun-filled Holidays. And don’t forget, books make wonderful Holiday gifts for family and friends!