Southpaw Grammar Radio Show

queer reading, queer writing and all things wordy

What’s on our last show ever – 23 February 2010

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On this last show we drain the colour and look at some dusty history. We discuss the lost queer literature of emperor Julius Caesar. We talk Jeanette Winterson and an interesting article she has written about art and economic crisis with reference to pioneering queer artist/writer/philosopher/activist  Edward Carpenter.

Alex does a review of Sherry Wolf’s book ‘Sexuality and Socialism’ (but holds back from the negative criticism, so you’ll have to ask him in person what his gripes were). We chat about Black lesbian comedian Wanda Sykes and we spotlight REM and it’s singer Michael Stipe as our feature musical act.

We also play lots of other queer classics that we would have liked to have talked much more about. We play a recording of ‘Sissy Man Blues’ by blues slide guitarist Kokomo Arnold from the 1930s. And we also play tracks from UK punk icons the Tom Robinson Band, disco pioneer Sylvester, Bloc Party, the Communards and Ladyhawke.

We preview lots of festivals and event launches coming up like Next Wave, Emerging Writers Festival, Kill Your Darlings, the S.L.A.M. rally (Save Live Australia’s Music), New International Bookshop’s Underground Talks etc.

Thanks for taking an interest in our show. Thanks to Nick Wurlod our technical producer for all his hard work. Thanks to all our many guests.

If you want to keep listening to Alex and Sam on the radio, we will be joining up with Nick to do a current affairs/arts show called ‘All That False Instruction’ that will air on Tuesdays, 9am-noon on Joy94.9. I’m fairly sure it will be awesome.

But for Southpaw Grammar…it’s time to make like Visage and fade to grey.

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Written by Alex Ettling

February 23, 2010 at 1:58 am

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What’s Up – Tuesday, 16 February 2010

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Coming up on today’s show, we talk about online forum rage, the Williamstown Literary Festival, Emerging Writers Festival, Next Wave arts festival and the writers and music series at The Wheeler Centre.

We also talk about Ethan of Athos by Lois McMaster Bujold, a gay sci-fi story. We speak to Benjamin Solah, a Melbourne-based Marxist Horror writer. We speak about the Outer Alliance, Crossed Genres and NaNoWriMo.

Our feature musical act is Klaus Nomi, the operatic alien singer who danced behind David Bowie in The Man Who Sold The World.

Written by Alex Ettling

February 16, 2010 at 8:47 am

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What You Might Hear on the ‘Paw – 9th February 2010

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On this show we’ll also be discussing queer children’s books aimed at the early childhood audience. Some of the books we’ll be talking about are Jenny Lives With Eric and Martin, Heather Has Two Mommies, Daddy’s Roommate as well as And Tango Makes Three. The latter is based on real life male penguins in an American zoo who raised a baby. Recent news might clear the way for a sequel based on lesbian albatrosses.

Alex will also reflect on Maurice Sendak’s recent comments about his homosexuality and being a children’s author. Alex heaps praise on Sendak’s classic Where The Wild Things Are, and bemoans why he was never given it to read as a child.

We’ll catch up on some writing news, including the Booker Prize that Australian queer author Patrick White is in the running for, despite being dead for twenty years (Patrick White was apparently not that into prizes, and was probably more into milking cows).

Sam and Alex talk about some of the best (and worst) queer books that have been turned into movies. Expect us to talk about stuff like Before Night Falls, Brokeback Mountain, Maurice, Orlando, Head On/Loaded and Myra Breckinridge.

Well, while we’re talking about Myra Breckinridge the movie, we may as well talk a bit more about Gore Vidal who wrote the book. We said we’d do it last week, but ran out of time. Above is a young and pretty Vidal, and below, a no less handsome Vidal, sitting by the pool with his walking stick looking looking very regal and not at all pervy. 

Our feature musical act will be Hüsker Dü who were a American hardcore/punk band in the 1980s. Their two songwriters, Bob Mould and Grant Hart, are both queer (and not the guy pictured below with the moustache), and their music was a touchstone in bridging hardcore to indie,  influencing bands like Nirvana and The Pixies. Grant Hart is touring Australia this week so check him out.

Sam reviews the launch of BanQuet Press’s new publication Banquet2010, ‘a feast of new writing and art by Australian queer women’. Sam also reviews a zine that was part of another recent Midsumma event Secret Files From The Working Men’s College.

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Written by Alex Ettling

February 8, 2010 at 12:45 pm

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Coming Up on our show 2nd February 2010

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Alex commiserates the end of the Australian tennis season by looking at the art of sports commentary. And celebrates his icon Jim Courier who is perhaps the best commentator out there. And caused a fantastic controversy as a pro player when he was caught reading an Armistead Maupin book during a change of ends.

We also discuss Andre Agassi’s autobiography Open, which created a lot of controversy when it was released late in 2009. In the book, Agassi reveals that he took meth, wore a hair piece and he also fires some barbs and plenty of his old tennis opponents. Agassi clearly doesn’t need the money, so we discuss his reasons for being so brutally honest in this memoir.

We also go back in history and talk about the life of Bill Tilden and the unsurpassed sports biography written on him in the 1970s by Frank Deford. Big Bill Tilden as he was known was one of the most acclaimed sports stars of the 1920s and 30s, but has rarely been lionised due to his later arrests for pederasty.

Bill Tilden also plays a large part in an intriguing  book released last year about a Davis Cup tennis match between the US and Germany in the lead up to World War Two. The cast features two homosexual tennis players and Adolf Hitler – and details how a mere tennis match could become a matter of life and death.

Sam and Alex also talk about Gore Vidal’s classic novel Myra Breckinridge. We can’t say more about it, because it will give away the ending. But Alex can say that this is one of his favourite novels of all-time.

We celebrate the lives of two great authors who recently passed away, Howard Zinn and J.D. Salinger.

Our feature music act of the week is jazz singer Billie Holiday. We talk about her struggles existing in Jim Crow-era America and her enduring influence on music.

Sam and Alex talk about the Guardian newspapers list of books that defined the last decade. We talk about The Corrections, No Logo, The Da Vinci Code, Harry Potter and White Teeth.

And we talk some more about Midsumma events coming up and also The Sticky Institute’s Festival of the Photocopier. We also talk to the folks behind Papa Don’t Preach, a literary event about queer and fathers.

Listen in, it will be great!

Written by Alex Ettling

February 1, 2010 at 5:00 pm

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Coming up on Tuesday, 26 January 2010

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This show happens to fall on Invasion Day (otherwise known as Australia Day), and is a dark day for Indigenous Australians and those that condemn the ongoing genocide of Aboriginal people.

On our show we discuss a memoir released in 2004 by Noel Tovey. Little Black Bastard is the autobiography of a dancer/actor/choriographer and deals with Tovey’s queer and Aboriginal identity; and his traumatic experiences growing up in Melbourne as a member of the Stolen Generation.

Little Black Bastard also details Tovey’s incarceration in Pentridge Prison when he was 17 years old. He was charged with the offence of  ‘buggery’, after police raided a drag party he was attending in Albert Park. Tovey went on to live in London and dance with Judy Garland and act in the premier of nude theatre classic Oh! CalcuttaLittle Black Bastard is one of the most affecting memoirs you will read, and a great insight into the oppression of queer Indigenous people.

On this show we also put the spotlight on Judas Priest in our regular segment on queer musical acts. We play their classic song ‘Breaking The Law‘ and also discuss the S&M/leather imagery that Rob Halford appropriated in the late 70s, which became the dominant aesthetic of heavy metal.

Sam and Alex chat about what they’ve been reading over the Summer, including some top finds in second-hand bookshops in the West Australian wheatbelt.

Alex does a review of Sherry Wolf’s Sexuality and Socialism, a very readable book on the history of LGBTI struggle in the United States. Check out this video interview of Wolf talking about the book.

Alex talks about a classic queer book that he’s started twice and just can’t seem to finish. Edmund White’s A Boys Own Story. Sam has read it and likes it. We find out why Alex just can’t seem to finish it. And we chat about Edmund White in greater detail. His latest book is called City Boy. Check out this great interview with White from Butt Magazine.

We also hear a short poem from one of the most significant English-language Modernist poets of the 20th century, W.H. Auden (1907-73). You might know Auden from his poem ‘Funeral Blues‘ which was a feature of the 90s rom-com Four Weddings and a Funeral. But we’ll listen to Auden read another one of his poems about loss, ‘In Memory of W. B. Yeats‘.

Written by Alex Ettling

January 20, 2010 at 3:33 pm

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What’s on: Tuesday, 19 January 2010

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On this week’s show we invite Josh Mason from New International Bookshop in the Trades Hall building (cnr Lygon &Victoria St) to discuss one of his favourite book series, Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin. 

Sam brings the music of Xiu Xiu out of a cold, dark corner in our regular segment on the music and lyrics of queer musicians. Their new album released this year is called Dear God, I Hate Myself and offers more of their weird and experimental rock.

Xiu Xiu also do some fairly unpredictable things in terms of distribution. Last year, Jamie Stewart, Xiu Xiu’s main member, offered a new 12 month/12 disc music service limited to 50 subscriptions. Each package would include a hand-wrapped, hand-made disc containing ambient and other experimental music works. It sold out in less than a day of course! Check out Xiu Xiu’s blog here, with it’s cool pictures and some fairly entertaining Q&As including a dark response to where to best listen to the music of Xiu Xiu.

We bring Deanne Carson from banQuetPress on to the show to talk about the upcoming launch of their publication that showcases artwork and writing of Australian queer women. It’s being launched at Midsumma festival in February.

Sam talks to John Frame about archiving his Queer Radio show that aired on 4ZZZ in Brisbane from 1993-2009. You can check out audio interviews covering years of queer news and culture by clicking at this great website.

Alex does a review of the blog Sexuality & Love in the Arts, a cross-medium project which artistically spotlights work by people such as Robert Mapplethorpe, Mary Shelley and Keith Haring. Local Joy94.9 listeners might recognise this Keith Haring mural in Collingwood which the artists did with local kids in 1984:

Written by Alex Ettling

January 20, 2010 at 1:19 pm

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Coming up on Tuesday, 12 January 2010

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Alex spotlights the music of Canadian indie band The Hidden Cameras. Including their iconic debut album with its picture frame of bums.

Sam discusses the work of Pat Parker (1944-89), a radical poet who did her first reading in the 1960s and was involved in the Black Panther movement. Parker’s poetry gives particular attention to the experiences of lesbians, women and Black people. We play a spoken word version of ‘Where will you be when they come?

Sam does a review of Transgender History by Susan Stryker. Covering American transgender history from the mid-twentieth century to today,Transgender History takes a chronological approach to the subject of transgender history, with each chapter covering major movements, writings, and events. Chapters cover the transsexual and transvestite communities in the years following World War II; trans radicalism and social change, which spanned from 1966 with the publication of The Transsexual Phenomenon, and lasted through the early 1970s; the mid-’70s to 1990—the era of identity politics and the changes witnessed in trans circles through these years; and the gender issues witnessed through the ’90s and ’00s.

We also play an extended spoken word from the Beyond Masculinity website. Edited by Trevor Hoppe, this project features essays by queer men on gender and politics and it’s all free.  Part audiobook, part-blog, and part-anthology, Beyond Masculinity brings together a diverse group of queer male writers all critically examining maleness and the construction of masculinity and gender norms for men. Contributions focus on five key areas: Desire, Sex and Sexuality; Negotiating Identities; Queer Feminist Politics; Beyond Binary Gender; and Transforming Masculinity.

Written by Alex Ettling

January 20, 2010 at 12:38 pm

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