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The Heat of Us: Notes Toward an Oral History

Craig Perry, university administration employee. Judy Garland, dead. That’s where it started. Dead five days before, in London, “an incautious overdosage” of barbiturates, according to the coroner, and her body had just come back to New York for burial. Twenty–thousand people lined up to pay their respects. Every gay man in Manhattan must have gone, […]

Every Song Must End

Currently listening: “Everything” by Ben Howard When Florence and her husband Asher had first moved into their house, Asher hung a hummingbird feeder from the roof overhang. Now Florence listened to the buzz of hummingbird wings as they sucked red from plastic white petals as false as the picture of calm in Florence’s backyard: Florence […]

Childhood Memory from the Old Victorian House on Warner

I was five years old when I began to awaken before dawn to watch the first beam of sunlight coax the green wallpaper awake the paisley pattern writhing the way a cat quivers in a leonine stretch within mere minutes the wallpaper would still again and remain so for the next 24 hours during that […]

Ellen Kushner

Ellen Kushner’s “Riverside” series begins with the novel Swordspoint, followed by The Privilege of the Sword, The Fall of the Kings (written with Delia Sherman) and, most recently, the collaborative prequel Tremontaine for SerialBox.com. She herself narrated all three novels for Neil Gaiman Presents/Audible.com. Her book Thomas the Rhymer won the World Fantasy and Mythopoeic Awards, and is a Gollancz “Fantasy Masterwork.” With […]

The House on the Moon

Castle Jordan stands in a place that makes sense according to the logic of castles. It has a good view of a remote area, the better to spot siege-minded armies on the march. But castles do not fit the logic of the moon. Exposure and isolation aren’t very useful survival traits here. A new line […]

Joy and Applause

It’s 1984, I am eight years old, and I am up past my bedtime. I’m doing the thing that would define a good chunk of the rest of my life: sitting in front of pop culture, reacting to it, and working out why that was happening. This particular instance is important, because this is the […]

If We Die Unjustified

Angelcorpse, Angelcorpse, bones hollowed and so slight; Angelcorpse, Angelcorpse, you ate the marrow bright. Boiled down your wings and sawed away your teeth; plucked your feathers softly and made yourself a wreath. Why do this, darling Angelcorpse? Why mutilate you so? Is it for another’s sight or is it for your woe? Angelcorpse, Angelcorpse, you […]

I Frequently Hear Music in the Very Heart of Noise

“This green-gold city will embrace you/ Take you out of time and erase you/ And for one brief moment you will let her/ For one night only you’ll be hers” —Bess Morris, “For One Night Only,” 1924 The Ambassador Billiard Parlor, the Aeolian Hall, Our Metropolitan Madness Just before midnight on January 3, 1924, Ira […]

Your Slaughterhouse, Your Killing Floor

This is where the evening splits in half, Henry, love or death. Grab an end, pull hard, and make a wish. —Richard Siken, “Wishbone” A girl walks into a bar. She grabs her forehead and yells “motherFUCK” and the bar and everything around it except for the girl explodes in a blast that vaporizes half […]