BootLeg Betty

Book: My Diva – 65 Gay Men on the Women Who Inspire Them

My Diva
65 Gay Men on the Women Who Inspire Them
Edited by Michael Montlack

“There is something about these larger-than-life stars that represents our yearnings for vindication, in which we see ourselves transcending the difficulties a gay man faces in this world.” —Edward Field, on Gloria Swanson

From Elizabeth Taylor, Bette Midler, and Diana Ross to Queen Elizabeth I, Julia Child, and Princess Leia, divas have been sister, alter ego, fairy godmother, or model for survival to gay men and the closeted boys they once were. And anyone —straight or gay, young or old, male or female —who ever needed a muse, or found one, will see their own longing mirrored here as well.

These witty and poignant short essays explore reasons for diva worship as diverse as the writers themselves. My Diva offers both depth and glamour as it pays tribute with joy, intelligence, and fierce, fierce love.

Michael Montlack is professor of English at Berkeley College in New York City. He has published two chapbooks of poetry, Girls, Girls, Girls and Cover Charge. This book was inspired by his love for Stevie Nicks.

Table of Contents

Sappho (630 BC): Love, I Implore You in Polyester Lapels—Michael Broder
Queen Elizabeth I (1533): Heart of a King—Patrick Letellier
Virginia Woolf (1882): This Perpetual Revision of Thought—Brian Teare
Margaret Dumont (1882): Duchess of Dignity—Christopher Murray
Bessie Smith (1892): Empty Bed Blues—Sam J. Miller
Claude Cahun (1894): Masks, Makeup, Meaning—Peter Dubé
Gracie Allen (1895): Comic Muse—Lloyd Schwartz
Lotte Lenya (1898): Divine Weltschmerz—David Bergman
Gloria Swanson (1899): Sunset Boulevard—Edward Field
Agnes Moorehead (1900): Afternoons as Endora—Richard Blanco
Marlene Dietrich (1901): Falling in Love Again—Walter Holland
Joan Crawford (1905) and Bette Davis (1908): “But ya AHHH, Blanche!”—David Trinidad
Lucille Ball (1911): Flaming Redhead—Lawrence Applebaum
Mahalia Jackson (1911): Divine One—Forrest Hamer
Julia Child (1912): Life’s Ingredients—Bill Fogle
Billie Holiday (1915): Lady Day—Alfred Corn
Edith Piaf (1915): A Share of Pain—Gregory Woods
Evita Perón (1919): Santa with a Soundtrack—Guillermo Castro
Grace Paley (1922): O Stone! O Steel!—Mark Doty
Ava Gardner (1922): Small Town Girl—Chris Cleo Creech
Aurora de Albornoz (1926): Tia Divina—Scott Hightower
Joan Sutherland (1926): Dame Joan and I—Gary Ljungquist
Eartha Kitt (1927): Purrrfectly Detached—D. A. Powell
Betty Berzon (1928): Dinners with the Diminutive Diva—Jim Van Buskirk
Jeanne Moreau (1928): Living Dangerously with Jeanne—Collin Kelley
Two Fat Ladies (Jennifer Paterson) (1928): Cocktails with Jennifer—Jack Lynch
Audrey Hepburn (1929): Adoration and the Icon—Joseph Campana
Elizabeth Taylor (1932): The Über-Diva—Scott F. Stoddart
Anna Moffo (1932): Her Funeral—Wayne Koestenbaum
Ms. Kiki Durane (Depression Era): Her Sound and Fury—Christopher Schmidt
Nina Simone (1933): I Got It Bad for Bangles & Diamonds—Regie Cabico
Julie Andrews (1935): My First Maria—Mark Wunderlich
Tina Turner (1939): Tina & I—Jim Elledge
Karen Black (1939): Diva of the Deranged—Michael Schiavi
Raquel Welch (1940): As My Mother—Ron Palmer
Julie Christie (1941): The Cocteau Girl—Cyrus Cassells
Helen Reddy (1941): Before Anarchy—Richard Tayson
Wonder Woman (Lynda Carter) (1942): Exploring the Amazon—Jeff Oaks
Diana Ross (1944): How to Reign Supreme—Jericho Brown
Rocío Dúrcal (1944): The Day She Died—Rigoberto González
Bette Midler (1945): First Loves—Steven Cordova
Jessye Norman (1945): Als Ob Ich Säuseln Hörte—Dante Micheaux
Liza Minnelli (1946): Everybody Loves a Winner: Five Lessons from Liza—Jason Schneiderman
Cher (1946): History (1987–2)—Aaron Smith
Laura Nyro (1947): All She Asked of Living—Michael Klein
Stevie Nicks (1948): “And Wouldn’t You Love to Love Her?”—Michael Montlack
Jessica Lange (1949): Isn’t It a Laugh?—Allen Smith
Patti Lupone (1949): Patti’s Turn, In the Key of Diva—Jonathan Howle
Wendy Waldman (1950): Seeds and Orphans—Paul Lisicky
Cyndi Lauper (1953): The Sadness in Her Rasp—Steven Riel
Rickie Lee Jones (1954): The Duchess of Coolsville—Timothy Liu
Annie Lenox (1954): Desire, Despair, Desire: Some Notes on Annie Lennox & Tension—RJ Gibson
Siouxsie Sioux (1957): Black Eyeliner and Dark Dreams—Benjamin Harper
Auntie Mame (Rosalind Russell) (1958): “I’m Going to Open Doors for You, Doors You Never Even Dreamed Existed”—Lewis DeSimone
Kate Bush (1958): The Invisible Diva—Reginald Shepherd
Jamie Lee Curtis (1958): When the Artist Met His Muse—Vince A. Liaguno
Sade (1959): The Other Material Girl—Christopher Lee Nutter
Taylor Dayne (1962): “Tell It to My Heart”—Peter Covino
Björk (1965): With Regards to Ms. Gudmundsdottir—John Dimes
Kristin Hersh (1966): “Is Sticky Ever Blue?”—Mark Bibbins
Céline Dion (1968): Cirque du Céline—Jim Nason
Parker Posey (1968): A Pocket Full of Posey—Michael J. Andrews
Margaret Cho (1968): How to Break Every Oriental Stereotype in the Book—Kenji Oshima
Mary J. Blige (1971): I Take Shallowness Seriously—Jeffery Conway
Princess Leia (1977): Leia’s Kiss—Christopher Hennessy

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One thought on “Book: My Diva – 65 Gay Men on the Women Who Inspire Them

  1. I would love to hear Ms. Midler do a remake of “Mr. Rockefeller” – “Mr. Barack Obama”.

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