sappho's psalm
Volume 19/Issue 15/2001

Toni Pizanie by Toni Pizanie
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA

Staying Active

It's been a wonderfully busy couple of weeks since I last wrote. I've received some great feedback from my friends at MCC about the SoulForce articles and have enjoyed attending church with them once again. If you are a practicing Christian and do not have a church home, I would encourage you to attend services on Sun. at 12:15pm at their temporary home in St. Mark's at N. Rampart St. and Gov. Nicholls.

I also received an e-mail asking about the Bayou Women's Tennis Club Tournament. Thank you for asking. It is nice to know you are reading my column. The dates for the 2001 tournament are Oct. 20, 21 & 22. An evening of drills and getting acquainted will take place on Fri., June 29 from 5:30 - 7pm at City Park Tennis Center. All levels of play are welcomed. For additional information about play, members and the Club, call Sharon at 504.943.4807.

Perhaps one of the nicest things that has happened lately is that I have had the opportunity to renew my friendship with Irma Russell. You must remember her. She was the handsome Lesbian police woman that used to wow us all when she worked details at Ruby Fruit Jungle. Etched in my mind is the night some drunk woman was working on starting a fight and Irma brought her to her knees in one move, straddling her and popping the cuffs on her before she knew what was happening. The rest of us stood in silent awe at this unusual form of entertainment.

Irma said once, about my Great Dane, that he drooled a lot, and so did I when I saw Irma in uniform: Hot, Hot, Hot! It was a sad day when the Lesbian/Gay community learned that Irma had cancer. For most of us, she just disappeared. In talking to other women lately, I heard stories like she moved some place up north or she joined the State Police or even that she had died from the cancer.

I am here to tell you that Irma is well, still has a beautiful spirit and is a licensed massage therapist at Arthur's House of Glamour on 533 Wilkinson Row in the French Quarter. I know you all know Arthur, or Reba as I still insist on calling him, even though Reba Douglas hasn't performed in a very long time. Of course, Arthur is still an artist with scissors, dryer, curling iron and comb.

The artistry I was privy to was the magic in Miss Irma's hands. I just can't say enough about how relaxed and comfortable I felt during and after my massage. This ill cared for old body was treated with respect and care for all my aches and problems. Thanks to Irma's work, I had the best night's sleep that I've enjoyed in many, many months. I can't emphasize enough how much we all need to treat our stress-worn bodies to one of her sessions.

I am hoping to make this a weekly part of my busy schedule not only because I'm worth it but I sure as heck need it to work out all the tensions that build in my overly busy life. I am willing to share her with you, so just call 504.241.6832 for an appointment and enjoy the best hour and a half of your week.

I was so relaxed after my massage that I reviewed two films and two books for your edification. The film reviews will come later. The books are both Gay-themed novels that will be available at FM Books in late Sept. The more serious of the two is Any Kind of Luck by William Jack Sibley. This book has been marketed as hilarious and high-spirited; however, I cried through the last ten pages. This is a humorous debut novel which is also tender, painful and enriching.

So what's it about, you ask. The book jacket says it best: "Manhattan hand model Clu Latimore returns to his all too familiar home town of Grit, Texas with Chris, his laid back lover, in tow." Clu and Chris have moved to Grit to care for Clu's dying mother. "Clu can't help wondering how long a couple of Gay New Yorkers can possibly survive in a dry county crawling with Bible thumpers, fire ants, and - in the absolutely last place they ever expected to find it - temptation." As the character Clu says, "Grit, Texas is a helluva long way from Christopher St...." Sibley's dark sense of humor makes for some preachy attitudes towards activism, religion and being out and outed. It is a good read. I found it enjoyable overall yet a little slow in starting.

The really funny, laugh a second offering is Somebody Killed His Boyfriend by David Stukas. This is a camp from beginning to end. It is totally irreverent as sweet Dr. Ann would say and I agree completely. The handsome and rich Michael falls in love with an equally handsome and rich Max. M & M's - Yum! They decide to marry in front of every one of Michael's hundreds of ex-tricks. Then the mystery starts and it carries us from NYC to Provincetown from fashion runways to drag stages. Being this character is every Gay man's dream. Being this character's best friend Robert is every Gay man's nightmare. This openly hysterical depiction of Gay life is too over the edge not to be offensive and too over the edge not to be enjoyed. There is even a Lesbian detective of sorts, Monette. I loved it and recommend it to anyone with a rich sense of humor.

Both of these fun reads are products of Kensington Books, a division of Kensington Publishing Corp of NYC, and can be ordered through Alan Robinson at FM Books. Remember to support your local independent book sellers before you lose them.


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