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H. F. Corbin "Foster Corbin" (ATLANTA, GA USA)
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Male Nudes
Male Nudes
by David Leddick
Edition: Paperback
19 used & new from CDN$ 0.72

5.0 out of 5 stars Another Fine Leddick Volume, March 23 2004
This review is from: Male Nudes (Paperback)
Nobody does a better job of collecting and publishing nude photographs of men than David Leddick. He adds here another fine volume to his several books on the subject. Leddick begins with photographers in the Nineteenth Century and continues to the present in chronological order. All the photographers you expect are here as well as some of the photographs we have seen many times before. (I'm thinking now of Mapplethorpe's infamous "Man in Polyester Suit.") In addition to Mapplethorpe, there's Thomas Eakins, Wilhelm von Gloeden, Cecil Beaton, George Platt Lynes-- for my money nobody surpasses him-- Bob Mizer, Horst and Herb Ritts. But Leddick also includes David Hockney, Duane Michaels, the incomparable Imogene Cunningham and one of my favorite photographs by one of my favorite photographers, a shot of Helmut Berger by Helmut Newton. I was also glad to see Leddick include the work of Nan Goldin and Pierre et Gilles, two unique photographers whom I admire tremendously. There's a good chance you'll find your favorite photographer included here and become acquainted as well with artists you didn't previously know.
This little volume is beautifully printed and extremely well-priced.

Underwear
Underwear
by Birgit Engel
Edition: Hardcover
22 used & new from CDN$ 1.18

4.0 out of 5 stars Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Men's Underwear, March 23 2004
This review is from: Underwear (Hardcover)
This little well-packaged (forgive the pun) book will provide practically all the information you'll ever need or want to know on the subject of men's underwear. The writer gives the history of underwear, beginning with the ancient Egyptians and Greeks and bringing us up to the 21st Century. She gives the gay liberation movement credit for changing the attitudes about men's underwear. There are chapters on the brief, long underwear, boxers, the thong and jock strap-- all well illustrated mostly with color photographs of closeups of crotches--and a chapter on the different brands of men's underwear. Of course, Ms. Engel discusses Jockey and Calvin Klein here. The Jockey Company is famous for inventing the Y-front brief in 1935, and Calvin Klein with help from photographers like Bruce Weber gave us the anatomically correct hunks in skintight white briefs with his name on the waistband in the 1980's.
There are photographs throughout the book of the same three men in different styles of underwear. I would have preferred to see more of them-- well, we do get to see all of them on the inside back page. (After all, the crotch does have a body. Even in the catalogue International Male, we see more of the men's bodies than just their crotches in the underwear ads.) Ditto for the 90 or so tiny photographs of these three men near the end of the book. If some of these shots had been blown up to a larger size, the book would have been much more interesting. Ditto the Keith Haring photo (p. 124), the soccor players (pp.8-9), and "Jockey's Cellophane Wedding" on pages 20 and 21. More photographs like these would have made for a better book. Finally, there are all kinds of tips on washing underwear and getting those "stubbor stains" out. I'm not kidding.
UNDERWEAR is certainly a clever little book, too small for your coffee table, but maybe a nice addition for your nightstand.

The Big Box
The Big Box
by Toni Morrison
Edition: Paperback
15 used & new from CDN$ 27.86

5.0 out of 5 stars Thinking Outside The Box?, March 23 2004
This review is from: The Big Box (Paperback)
Patty, Mickey and Liza Sue all must live in a big brown box with doors that open only one way because they "can't handle their freedom." Patty's infraction is that she went four times to the toilet and talked in class; Mickey hollered in the hallway of his apartment; and Liza Sue, who lives in the country, let the chickens keep their eggs. These three kids do good things, however. They fold their socks, hang up their clothes, do fractions and give up peanut brittle, for example. Written by Toni Morrison and her brother Slade and lushly illustrated by Giselle Potter, this little book sends the message that parents should let their children be given a chance to handle their freedom.
What a wonderful lesson for parents to learn!

My Tender Matador
My Tender Matador
by Pedro Lemebel
Edition: Hardcover
10 used & new from CDN$ 2.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Small Novel With Big Themes!, March 13 2004
This review is from: My Tender Matador (Hardcover)
Although consisting of only 170 pages, MY TENDER MATADOR is a fine, powerful novel. Based on a historical event in 1986 in Chile, the plot is simple and straight forward. A youth group attempts to kill the Dictator Augusto Pinochet. Carlos, a macho, handsome member of the group stores what turns out to be guns and ammunition in the home of the Queen of the Corner, a transvestite who falls hopelessly, shamelessly in love with "her" young sweaty hero. The story of these two oddly coupled people is told against the historical characters of Pinochet and his wife. At one point their paths actually cross when the Pinochets drive by and see from a distance this attractive couple, Carlos and the Queen, on a picnic. The dictator's wife is envious of the Queen's yellow polka-dot wide-brimmed hat. "Gonzalo [The First Lady's hairdresser] says that yellow is all the rage in Europe, it was the color of the spring-summer season. I'm going to tell him to get me one exactly like that." Though a despised aging effeminate homosexual-- the Queen is in his forties with wisps of hair and dentures-- through the brilliant writing of Pedro Lemebel, he becomes the most sympathetic of characters. He who in abject poverty learns to create beautiful embroidery is contrasted with Pinochet's wife, a petty, scheming cellulite laden nonstop talker.
Consisting of contrasting and repeating scenes, this very visual novel could be made into either a fine stage production or movie or both. Carlos and the Queen have two tableau-like scenes, for example, early in the novel and near the end, when they go on a picnic. There is also the highly suspenseful sequence, broken down by time, "1600 hours", "1605 hours", "1800 hours", etc., when the happenings of the Dictator's motorcade is contrasted by the Queen's visit to an adult theatre. Mr. Lemebel is masterful with language. When the Queen has just cleaned out her apartment before fleeing to avoid being captured by the Dictator's henchmen--"Sitting and facing this view, she blew out puffs of smoke and asked herself, How do you look at something you will never see again?" When she sees Vina del Mar for the first time, a resort of "tourists and beautiful people," she remembers what Lemebel calls "the miracle of the first time she saw the working-class sea."
Trite as it sounds, this sometimes highly erotic novel is ultimately about love and how love, regardless of how difficult or unlikely to happen, redeems us. It is also about the triumph of the human spirit and good over evil, the making of something beautiful out of practically nothing (the beautiful tablecloth that the Queen makes) and finally the importance of courage and hope. MY TENDER MATADOR-- I won't give away the meaning of the title by discussing it-- is a moving and wonderful story.

Best Of
Best Of
Price: CDN$ 9.01
15 used & new from CDN$ 1.70

5.0 out of 5 stars Joan Baez--Forever Young, March 10 2004
This review is from: Best Of (Audio CD)
The Bob Dylan lullaby for his child, "Forever Young", which Ms. Baez sings on this collection, is an appropriate description of her. Though now in her 60's, she is more beautiful than she was at twenty. And that instantly recognizable voice is still transparent and otherworldly.
In addition to the beautiful "Forever Young", Baez sings five more of my favorites: Jackson's Browne's "Fountain of Sorrow", "Jesse" by Janis Ian, "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down", John Prine's "Hello In There." (I can never decide whether I'd rather hear Ms. Baez or Bette Midler do that sad, mournful song about the isolation of old people.) Finally, there is her love song to Bob Dylan, "Diamonds and Rust." I wish the record company had included "Joe Hill" on this release.
When I play this CD, I find myself humming these songs for days, a sure sign that they indeed are favorites of mine. My complaint about this CD has nothing to do with the singer but rather with A & M Records. There are already a half dozen or more "Best Of" and "Greatest Hits" and "Classics" of Baez out there. Enough already.

Luscious Lemon Desserts
Luscious Lemon Desserts
by Lori Longbotham
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 15.64
42 used & new from CDN$ 3.01

4.0 out of 5 stars I Wanted More Instructions, March 4 2004
Let's do the pluses first. The book is beautiful, the layout-- lots of yellow-- is inviting, the photographs of these desserts make your want to cook them, and there are a lot of unusual recipes here.
The minus: Last night I baked the lemon tart photographed on the front cover. The recipe is easy enough to qualify for my "quick and easy dessert recipes for the lazy cook." The problem is that Ms. Longbotham doesn't give enough instructions. Please tell me what the following statement means: " . . . and continue stirring until the dough begins to come together when a small bit is pressed between your fingers." I don't have the foggiest notion what she means here. I do know the consistency dough must have before you attempt to bake it so I figured out what to do on my own. And I suppose any fool could look at the photograph and tell that at some point you've got to get the tart out of the pan, but Ms. Longbotham doesn't tell you that. I went to another dessert cookbook and found pages of instructions on tart baking so I found out-- among other things-- that I could use the baking sheet like a huge spatula for sliding the completed and cooled tart onto a serving plate. But shouldn't that information have been here? I think so.
In the author's defense, I did read through other recipes later and they seemed to have all the directions necessary. Maybe I just chose a lemon! Seriously the tart was delicious. I took it to work today and am taking an empty plate home.

Life's Evening Hour
Life's Evening Hour
by Peter Devine
Edition: Hardcover
15 used & new from CDN$ 65.17

5.0 out of 5 stars "Hope Is The Thing With Feathers", March 3 2004
This review is from: Life's Evening Hour (Hardcover)
When I look at these haunting photographs, words that come to mind are "serene," "fragile," "gentle," "tranquil," "elegiac." These 52 photogaphs are cyanotypes printed in a beautiful shade of blue, an appropriate color for the mood and subject matter of these images. John Dugdale lost all sight in one eye and has only 20% vision in the other, the results of CMV caused by HIV. Most of these photographs are of still lifes, Mr. Dugdale's friends and family and himself. The models are invariably posed nude. "This is why I continually photograph people nude, to show that in and under the skin we are all much the same." Only one or two photographs were done before Mr. Dugdale's blindness. He now shoots with an 8 x 10 camera and gets help from friends in focusing. Most of the photographs, all of which, cover a full page of the book, are accompanied with text by the photographer. He also includes scripture from the Book or Common Prayer as well as poetry by Emily Dickinson. Lines such as "We grow accustomed to the Dark-- When Light is put away" and "And then the Windows failed--and then/I could not see to see" from two of the poems are appropriate to describe the photos.
Mr. Dugdale obviously has lived through what Ms. Dickinson would call "the hour of lead" and quietly triumphs. He I think would agree with the poet that "hope is the thing with feathers." Even though he misses most not being able to read and to see other people's eyes, he still buys books "for the day I may be able to read them again."
Viewing these beautiful photographs will strengthen your faith in the gentle courage of this artist and in his ability to prevail under great adversity.

The Anatomy of Hope: How People Prevail in the Face of Illness
The Anatomy of Hope: How People Prevail in the Face of Illness
by Jerome Groopman
Edition: Hardcover
44 used & new from CDN$ 0.04

5.0 out of 5 stars This Amazing Book Will Make Your Sing!, March 1 2004
If I had to sum up THE ANATOMY OF HOPE in one sentence, this would be it: this amazing book will make you sing. I would have finished it the day it arrived in the mail had I not had a house guest I had to tend to. After finishing the book the next night, I was so hyped up that I couldn't go to sleep for hours. I wanted to give it to everyone I care about, including my doctor.
Dr. Groopman discusses hope and its impact on the ability of patients to fight serious, sometimes life-threatening illnesses. He gives the examples of several patients of his over the years and the effect that hope had on their recovery from illness. He also traces his own growth in helping patients. Dr. Groopman learns how to relate to patients through trial and error. "I was still feeling my way on how to communicate a poor prognosis to patients and their families. Not once during my schooling, internship, or residency had I been instructed in the skill." The first patient he discusses, Esther, he saw while he was still a medical student. She believed she deserved to have breast cancer because she had had an extra-marital affair. He later learned that she sought treatment too late and died at the age of thirty-four. Dr. Groopman assists another doctor with the treatment of the second patient. She interprets "remission" as a cure for a serious malignancy. The other physician had given her part of the truth but not the whole truth. When she ultimately learns she is dying, she and her family are angry at the doctor. "I guess he [the doctor] doesn't think people like us are smart enough, or strong enough, to handle the truth."
Along Dr. Groopman's journey, he encounters a physician patient who insists on a difficult and painful treatment that Dr. Groopman didn't recommend. This patient was alive many years after his cure. "It took George Griffin [the doctor patient] to teach me that omniscience about life and death is not within a physician's purview. A doctor should never write off a person a priori." There is a Vietnam veteran seriously ill with a cancer that calls for immediate treatment or he will surely die. The patient is obstinate about not having therapy, that it will not work. Dr. Groopman is able to bargain with him. The patient has the right to stop treatment at any time and must understand that he is in the "driver's seat" all the way.
The most poignant patient for me was Barbara, a 67 year-old woman whose breast cancer has metastasized. We meet her in the chapter called "Undying Hope." The good doctor probably would say that he learns far more from her than she gets from him although he of course gives the patient his best. After many months of harrowing treatment, she does not want to stop, however. "'There are many moments during the day that still give me pleasure,'she said. 'Let's keep going.'" The moment comes when the doctor must tell Barbara that there is nothing else he can offer to help her. After "heavy silence," she responds that he can still give her the "medicine of friendship." The patient ultimately dies. "Although I had expected this outcome for quite some time, I felt a gnawing pain of loss. I accepted that medicine had its limits. It was just that I cared for her so much; it was impossible not to. But I also felt deep gratitude. Barbara had opened herself to me in a way no patient had before. A patient's revelation of her deepest feelings and thoughts is one of the most previous gifts a doctor can receive. It has happened with me when I have reached the level of relationship I did with Barbara, of friendship beyond the professional." And finally, "there are some patients whom a doctor grows to love. . . Barbara had sparked that love in me."
The author is not talking here about false hope, denial or the information that the Louise Hays of the world dispense when they blame the victim, that patients who don't get better have a need not to and are weak individuals. I still remember someone saying about a friend with AIDS in the 80's who had come down with pneumonia: "I refuse to go to see him because he had a need to get pneumonia." (This kind of thinking is maddening.) The author gives us hard data and looks at the changes in the brain when we have hope: "It turns out that we have our own natural forms of morphine--within our brains are chemicals akin to opiates. These chemicals are called 'endorphins' and 'enkephalins.' Belief and expectation, cardinal components of hope, can block pain by releasing the brain's endorphins and enkephalins, thereby mimicking the effects of morphine."
Dr. Groopman is obviously a brilliant and competent practitioner, but he is also wise beyond measure. "I try hard to let patients read in my eyes that there is true hope for them. . . Doctors are fallible, not only in how they wield a scalpel or prescribe a drug but in the language they use." So much wisdom here, much about faith and how it differs from hope. At one point the doctor says that hope has wings. I wonder if he knew that the poet Emily Dickinson said that "hope is the thing with feathers."
I repeat: this amazing book will make you sing.

Midnight Cowboy
Midnight Cowboy
VHS
2 used & new from CDN$ 24.99

5.0 out of 5 stars This Film Still Moves Me, Feb. 26 2004
This review is from: Midnight Cowboy (VHS Tape)
Based on the novel by James Leo Herlihy, MIDNIGHT COWBOY, directed by John Schlesinger, seemed so on the cutting edge in 1969. Both Dustin Hoffman (Ratzo Rizzo) and John Voight (Joe Buck) were nominated for an Oscar for best actor-- as I recall, conventional wisdom was that they cancelled each other out-- but the movie received the Best Picture Award and Schlesinger walked away with the Award for Best Director.
I remember being blown away by the movie in '69. A great admirer of Schlesinger, I watched the movie again recently for the first time since its initial release. I wanted to see if it still was as powerful as I remembered. This time around parts of it seem stuck in the 60's-- the New York party that Ratzo and Joe attend, for example, and the pathetic homosexual-- nope, we can't call him gay-- who picks up Joe and feels he deserves the beating Joe gives him, after he calls his mother on the telephone. Of course, 1969 was the year that a group of despised dragqueens held police officers at bay for a couple of days in another part of New York at a bar called Stonewall. Although those of us in the provences weren't aware of it yet, the times, they were a-changing.
On the other hand, the characters of both Ratzo and Joe endure. Who will ever forgot Joe's hopelessly inept attempt at hustling Sylvia Miles or Ratzo, the real con artist, with his ever present limp. They would make any film critic's list of most memorable characters of the last half of the Twentieth Century. The movie obviously is about finding friendship in unlikely places. Everyone, from the most wealthy to the most down and out, needs love.
Finally, Ratzo and Joe's bus ride into the warm and balmy Miami to get away from the cold New York winter moved me as much today as it did when I first saw the movie. The ending made my eyes burn again almost 35 years later. This film will endure.

MEN OF KRISTEN BJORN, 2ND ED.- C
MEN OF KRISTEN BJORN, 2ND ED.- C
by Kristen Bjorn
Edition: Hardcover
12 used & new from CDN$ 50.38

5.0 out of 5 stars Dark Is The Color. . ., Feb. 26 2004
In the depths of a dark, dank winter evening, these photographs of beautiful, swarthy men will bring you summer sunshine. When I see Kristen Bjorn models, I always wonder where he found them. Neither I nor anyone I have ever known has ever had a sighting of one of these gods in the flesh. If they were paintings instead of photographs, I'd swear they came from the artist's imagination.
For those familiar with Bjorn's books and erotic videos, this is just much more of a very good thing. Even if you prefer blonds-- and gentlemen do-- you'll change your mind after a run-through of these models ready for action. There's only one man here who could be classified as a blond. But there are lots of Latinos and black men-- and a few with that unique combination of black hair and blue eyes.
The models are posed at the beach, on mountains, on leather sofas, in the jungle, and the hooty cover shot with purple irises. My favorite photo is of two nude men with a view of Rio I believe in the background. All the photos are flawlessly composed and in glowing color. Several of the shots have 3 or 4 or 5 buffed men in them, all the same height, in keeping with Bjorn's vision of perfection.
A Falcon model, himself, before he went to the other side of the camera, Bjorn reminds of that and includes a color photo of himself, along with a short bio at the end of the book. He's every bit as handsome as the men he photographs.

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