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Kindergarten Governor

Gary Indiana: It’s Schwarzenegger!, 6 November 2003

... that he lacked the winning charisma of billboard bimbo Angelyne, vertically-challenged child star Gary Coleman, self-proclaimed smut peddler Larry Flynt, and 151 other amusing candidates ($3500 was enough to get your name on the ballot). These included the ultra-right, anti-abortion state senator Tom McClintock, the inestimable Arianna Huffington and the ...

It’s him, Eddie

Gary Indiana: Carrère’s Limonov, 23 October 2014

Limonov: A Novel 
by Emmanuel Carrère, translated by John Lambert.
Allen Lane, 340 pp., £20, October 2014, 978 1 84614 820 0
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... with exquisite insincerity, with the anti-Putin, democratic opposition and Drugaya Rossiya, Gary Kasparov’s coalition. Carrère relates all this in brilliantly cogent detail, capturing complicated nuances of post-Soviet political and social history. It would be plausible to see Limonov as exemplifying a personality type uniquely produced by ...


Gary Indiana: Nymphomania, antic incest and metaphysical torment, 14 December 2006

Lust for Life: On the Writings of Kathy Acker 
edited by Amy Scholder, Carla Harryman and Avital Ronell.
Verso, 120 pp., £10.99, May 2006, 9781844670666
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... Kathy Acker wrote 13 novels and published one collection of essays before her death from cancer, aged 53, in 1997. Born in New York, she began writing when she returned there in the early 1970s after studying at Brandeis and the University of California, San Diego, a brief marriage, and spells working as a stripper, a bakery clerk and in several other eccentric jobs ...

Predatory Sex Aliens

Gary Indiana: Burroughs, 8 May 2014

Call Me Burroughs: A Life 
by Barry Miles.
Twelve, 718 pp., £17, January 2014, 978 1 4555 1195 2
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... Depending​ where you look, the William Burroughs centenary has either occasioned an outpouring of variously celebratory and carping prose, or a trickle of grudging acknowledgment in outlets thought to speak for the literary establishment. Writing on anything of passing public interest triggers an online avalanche of ad hominem posturing which quickly renders the original topic, whatever it was, numbingly opaque ...


Gary Indiana: In Havana, 23 May 2013

... Events of a distant nature have an abstract, even occult quality in Cuba, as of things glimpsed through a scrim of fog. Last June, Granma, the country’s only newspaper, reported the death of Whitney Houston four months after the fact, like a suddenly declassified state secret, in an edition otherwise devoid of anything resembling news. (Granma features plenty of statistics, state and municipal documents, decrees, ‘human interest’ stories and recipes for pork ...


Gary Indiana: The Brothers Tsarnaev, 10 September 2015

The Brothers: The Road to an American Tragedy 
by Masha Gessen.
Riverhead, 273 pp., £18.45, April 2015, 978 1 59463 264 8
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... capital punishment. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has since been moved to federal death row in Terre Haute, Indiana, since – although a non-death penalty state can deliver a death verdict – the executions themselves must be carried out in a state that has death penalty statutes. This risible scruple has a practical aspect: such states also have the requisite ...


Peter Robins: Gary Indiana, 25 July 2002

Depraved Indifference 
by Gary Indiana.
HarperCollins, 336 pp., $24.95, January 2002, 0 06 019726 9
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... Some years ago, Gary Indiana visited Eurodisney, and returned with a suggestion for how it could be improved. ‘If I ran an amusement park,’ he wrote, ‘there would be real pirates and gypsies and an authentic criminal element on hand to supply a sense of risk.’ He constructs fiction on the same principle ...

A Marketplace and a Temple

Michael Kulikowski: Ancient Urbanism, 18 February 2021

The Life and Death of Ancient Cities: A Natural History 
by Greg Woolf.
Oxford, 499 pp., £25, July 2020, 978 0 19 966473 3
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... by its classicising architecture. Visitors to Chicago should make the 25-mile pilgrimage to Gary, Indiana. Once a steeltown to rival Pittsburgh or Sheffield, its Fifth Avenue and Broadway sheathed in neoclassical grandeur, it is now a giant mausoleum, mile after mile of derelict banks and department stores, spookier ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Michael Jackson’s frailties, 31 March 2005

... Though maybe that’s more productively read in relation to Wolfowitz. Michael Jackson was born in Gary, Indiana on 29 August 1958. Managed by their father, Michael and his older brothers, Jackie, Tito, Marlon and Jermaine, the Jackson Five, had their first hit in 1969 with ‘I Want You Back’. Three more number ones ...

At the Jeu de Paume

Brian Dillon: Peter Hujar, 19 December 2019

... Giorno – or soon to be: Hujar recorded successive generations of downtown scenesters, including Gary Indiana, Fran Lebowitz and Cookie Mueller. Even if he had been only a portraitist, Hujar’s work would be an essential document of queer life and aesthetics in New York between the early 1960s and the mid-1980s. It’s that and more besides.Hujar was ...


Ian Sansom: Dave Eggers, 16 November 2000

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius 
by Dave Eggers.
Picador, 415 pp., £14.99, July 2000, 0 330 48454 0
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... knows what it takes – like Ali and Miller and every wannabe from Pottawattamie County, Iowa to Gary, Indiana. He knows how to talk things up. There is a danger in this kind of boundless self-confidence. Eggers appears to be constantly challenging his own narcissism – Toph, for example, occasionally mutates into a ...

The Inequality Problem

Ed Miliband, 4 February 2016

... were a ‘golden age’. ‘I hadn’t realised,’ Stiglitz writes, ‘when I was growing up in Gary, Indiana, an industrial town on the southern shore of Lake Michigan plagued by discrimination, poverty and bouts of high unemployment, that I was living in the golden era of capitalism.’ It’s true there was greater ...

Antinomian Chic

Danny Karlin, 2 June 1988

Blasted Allegories: An Anthology of Writings by Contemporary Artists 
edited by Brian Wallis.
New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York/MIT Press, 431 pp., £13.50, January 1988, 9780262231282
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Empire of the Senseless 
by Kathy Acker.
Picador, 227 pp., £10.95, May 1988, 0 330 30192 6
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The Western Lands 
by William Burroughs.
Picador, 258 pp., £10.95, March 1988, 0 330 29805 4
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... with feeling and respect. Spalding Gray tells good, kooky stories about himself and others. Gary Indiana writes about Aids, troubled and troubling. On the other hand, there’s nothing special about these pieces, they are unassumingly well-made and give pleasure within familiar boundaries; their virtue is precisely in not conforming to the drill of ...


James Wood, 24 August 1995

The Burning Library: Writings on Art, Politics, Sexuality 1969-93 
by Edmund White.
Picador, 385 pp., £20, May 1995, 0 330 33883 8
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Skinned Alive 
by Edmund White.
Chatto, 262 pp., £12.99, March 1995, 0 7011 6175 2
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... pool. This is noticeable elsewhere in writing about gay life – for instance, in the work of Gary Indiana – and tends to emerge as a kind of loose gossip. It may have something to do with the rapidity of certain encounters in gay life (White writes that ‘the appeal of gay life for me was that it provided so many glancing contacts with other ...

Loafing with the Sissies

Colm Tóibín: The Trials of Andy Warhol, 10 September 2020

Warhol: A Life as Art 
by Blake Gopnik.
Allen Lane, 931 pp., £35, March, 978 0 241 00338 1
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... of Warhol’s death, and collected in Vile Days: The Village Voice Art Columns, 1985-88 (2018), Gary Indiana describes the way the movers and shakers may have thought of him at the time:Homophobia was one of the first reactions to Warhol, especially from the Cedar Tavern set, the Abstract Expressionists. You could be a fag back then, like Frank ...

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