Pink Pulp

Investigating lesbian novels of the 1950s

WED 8/17

Gone are the golden days of lesbian pulp novels, with their overheated prose, pruriently postured cover girls, and an old-fashioned heaping of smut packed somewhere in between lines like "They walked together into a world of exotic evil." Luckily, Katherine V. Forrest has resurrected the seedy remains of such novels, complete with glamorous hellions and willowy coeds gone astray, in "Lesbian Pulp Fiction: The Sexually Intrepid World of Lesbian Paperback Novels 1950-1965." Her book by the same name is a survey of postwar lesbian subculture that includes excerpts from writers like Ann Bannon. Bannon is the reigning countess of lesbian pulp, whose 1957 novel Odd Girl Out launched a career of racy potboilers. Some of Bannon's impassioned front-cover aperçus are little more than hokey euphemisms ("Lost, lonely, boyishly appealing ... Beebo Brinker never really knew what she wanted, until she came to Greenwich Village and found the love that smoulders in the shadows of the twilight world"). Others are almost confrontational in their candor: "I am a woman ... in love with a woman -- must society reject me?" As Forrest's tome will tell you, Bannon and her ilk didn't merely create harum-scarum sagas for those in search of a steamy read -- they often proffered significant insight into the emergence of a lesbian subculture struggling to "emerge from the shadows." Reminisce with Forrest, Bannon, and other novelists from the gilded age of lesbian pulp tonight at 6:30 in the San Francisco Public Library's Koret Auditorium, 100 Larkin (at Grove), S.F. Admission is free; call 557-4400 or visit www.sfpl.org.
-- Nirmala Nataraj

A Little Tenderness

FRI-SAT 8/19-20

Mneme Theatre Experiment's unpronounceability hasn't affected its creative output: This weekend Joshua Truett and Donal Brophy perform T-Town, a multimedia play inspired by everyone's favorite seedy 'hood. So many other parts of San Francisco have been immortalized through the arts, and we applaud writer/director Truett for writing about the never-boring Tenderloin. As part of SPF, the venue's Summer Performance Festival, T-Town shares the stage with the Liminal theater company and Joe Landini's Poptopia, starting at 8 p.m. at CounterPULSE, 1310 Mission (at Ninth Street), S.F. Admission is $20; call 289-2000 or visit www.counterpulse.org.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser

Rock 'n' Roulette

FRI 8/19

He's not the headliner, but among the talents slated to perform at the "Rock 'n' Roll Burlesque Benefit for the San Francisco Tenants Union," Roky Roulette bounces high above the rest. Not that the other bands, comedians, and shimmy-shakers (some 15 in all) are average: Soul-shouter group Lord Loves a Working Man is especially amazing. But Roulette is the world's only pogo-stick-riding male stripper, and his thematic acts have in the past found him in Evel Knievel-wear, jumping over a television set on the pogo stick and taking his pants off at the same time. The show starts at 8 p.m. at 330 Ritch, 330 Ritch (at Townsend), S.F. Admission is $10; call 522-9558 or visit www.sftu.org.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser

Transported

THURS 8/18

Normally I would never venture where Star Trek fans gather, unless as an arch observer, draped in a cloak of cynicism, determined to stop enjoying myself whenever I started enjoying myself, which would doubtlessly happen the moment I walked through the door. The irony will be thick as mud, however, at the "Tribute to Scotty"; held in the city's premier Scottish club (get it?), the night is perfect for latent Trekkies who fear the convention hall. Enjoy theme music by Savage Curtain, Romulan ale, a memorial video, and a dress-like-Scotty contest starting at 8 p.m. at the Edinburgh Castle, 950 Geary (at Larkin), S.F. Admission is free; call 885-4074 or visit www.castlenews.com.
-- Michael Leaverton

 
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