Pride Month with Hugh Ryan, Frankie de la Cretaz, Nicole Pasulka, Alejandro Varela & Shane O'Neill
June 27, 2022, 7:00 PM
Happy Pride! We're excited to host Hugh Ryan — author of When Brooklyn Was Queer and the new The Women's House of Detention — along with Frankie de la Cretaz (Hail Mary), Nicole Pasulka (How You Get Famous), Alejandro Varela (The Town of Babylon), and moderated by New York Times reporter Shane O'Neill. This in-person event will take place at Community Bookstore in Brooklyn. Register here:
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**PLEASE NOTE** Registration is required for this in-person event. We will be asking for proof of COVID vaccination at the door, and masks will be required indoors. Light refreshments will be provided in our garden, weather permitting.
Copies of the books will be available for purchase during the event.
About The Women's House of Detention: A Queer History of a Forgotten Prison:
This singular history of a prison, and the queer women and trans people held there, is a window into the policing of queerness and radical politics in the twentieth century.
The Women’s House of Detention, a landmark that ushered in the modern era of women’s imprisonment, is now largely forgotten. But when it stood in New York City’s Greenwich Village, from 1929 to 1974, it was a nexus for the tens of thousands of women, transgender men, and gender-nonconforming people who inhabited its crowded cells. Some of these inmates—Angela Davis, Andrea Dworkin, Afeni Shakur—were famous, but the vast majority were incarcerated for the crimes of being poor and improperly feminine. Today, approximately 40 percent of the people in women’s prisons identify as queer; in earlier decades, that percentage was almost certainly higher.
Historian Hugh Ryan explores the roots of this crisis and reconstructs the little-known lives of incarcerated New Yorkers, making a uniquely queer case for prison abolition—and demonstrating that by queering the Village, the House of D helped defined queerness for the rest of America. From the lesbian communities forged through the Women’s House of Detention to the turbulent prison riots that presaged Stonewall, this is the story of one building and much more: the people it caged, the neighborhood it changed, and the resistance it inspired.
Hugh Ryan is a writer and curator. His first book, When Brooklyn Was Queer, won a 2020 New York City Book Award, was a New York Times Editors’ Choice in 2019, and was a finalist for the Randy Shilts and Lambda Literary Awards. He was honored with the 2020 Allan Bérubé Prize from the American Historical Association. In 2019–2021, he worked on the Hidden Voices: LGBTQ+ Stories in United States History curricular materials for the NYC Department of Education. His most recent book is The Women’s House of Detention. (Photo credit: M. Sharkey)
About Hail Mary: The Rise and Fall of the National Women's Football League:
The groundbreaking story of the National Women’s Football League, and the players whose spirit, rivalries, and tenacity changed the legacy of women’s sports forever
In 1967, a Cleveland promoter recruited a group of women to compete as a traveling football troupe. It was conceived as a gimmick—in the vein of the Harlem Globetrotters—but the women who signed up really wanted to play. And they were determined to win.
Hail Mary chronicles the highs and lows of the National Women’s Football League, which took root in nineteen cities across the US over the course of two decades. Drawing on new interviews with former players from the Detroit Demons, the Toledo Troopers, the LA Dandelions, and more, Hail Mary brings us into the stadiums where they broke records, the small-town lesbian bars where they were recruited, and the backrooms where the league was formed, championed, and eventually shuttered. In an era of vibrant second wave feminism and Title IX activism, the athletes of the National Women’s Football League were boisterous pioneers on and off the field: you’ll be rooting for them from start to finish.
Frankie de la Cretaz is the co-author of HAIL MARY: The Rise and Fall of the National Women’s Football League. Their work has been featured in the New York Times, The Atlantic, Sports Illustrated, and more, has been featured in several editions of Best American Sports Writing, and has been nominated for Top 10 honors from the Associated Press Sports Editors.
About How You Get Famous: Ten Years of Drag Madness in Brooklyn
A madcap adventure through a tight-knit world of drag performers making art and mayhem in the greatest city on earth.
Ten years ago, an aimless coat check girl better known today as Merrie Cherry sweet-talked her boss into giving her $100 to host a drag show at a Brooklyn dive bar. Soon, kids like Aja were kicking their way into the scene, sneaking into clubs, pocketing their tips to help mom pay the mortgage, and sharing the stage with electric performers like Thorgy Thor and Sasha Velour. Because suddenly, in the biggest, brightest city in America, drag was offering young, broke, creative queer people a chance at real money—and for thousands or even millions of people to learn their names.
In How You Get Famous, journalist Nicole Pasulka joyfully documents the rebirth of the New York drag scene, following a group of iconoclastic performers with undeniable charisma, talent, and a hell of a lot to prove. The result is a sweeping portrait of the 21st-century search for celebrity and community, as well as a chronicle of all the struggles, fights, and disappointments along the way. A rollicking account of the quest to make a living through an art form on the cusp of becoming a cultural phenomenon, How You Get Famous offers an unmissable romp through the gritty and glamorous world of Brooklyn drag.
Nicole Pasulka writes about gender, activism, and criminal justice for publications such as New York, Harper’s, Mother Jones, VICE, and The Believer. The recipient of numerous prestigious fellowships, her writing has been anthologized in the Best American series and featured on NPR’s All Things Considered. How You Get Famous, a nonfiction recent history of the Brooklyn drag scene, is her first book.
About The Town of Babylon:
In this contemporary debut novel—an intimate portrait of queer, racial, and class identity —Andrés, a gay Latinx professor, returns to his suburban hometown in the wake of his husband’s infidelity. There he finds himself with no excuse not to attend his twenty-year high school reunion, and hesitantly begins to reconnect with people he used to call friends.
Over the next few weeks, while caring for his aging parents and navigating the neighborhood where he grew up, Andrés falls into old habits with friends he thought he’d left behind. Before long, he unexpectedly becomes entangled with his first love and is forced to tend to past wounds.
Captivating and poignant; a modern coming-of-age story about the essential nature of community, The Town of Babylon is a page-turning novel about young love and a close examination of our social systems and the toll they take when they fail us.
Alejandro Varela (he/him) is a writer based in New York. His work has appeared in the Point Magazine, Boston Review, Harper's, the Rumpus, the Brooklyn Rail, the Offing, and the New Republic, among other publications. He is a 2019 Jerome Fellow in Literature. He was a resident in the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s 2017–2018 Workspace program and a 2017 NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellow in Nonfiction. Alejandro is an editor-at-large of Apogee Journal. His graduate studies were in public health. His first book, The Town of Babylon, is out now. His second book, The People Who Report More Stress, is forthcoming (Astra House, 2023).
About the moderator:
Shane O'Neill is a reporter for the Styles desk and Video team at the New York Times. During his tenure at the Times he has profiled “Jeopardy!” champion Amy Schneider, produced the short documentary "Who Threw The First Brick at Stonewall?", produced and edited the internet culture series "Internetting With Amanda Hess," covered the Black trans community's response to the Black Lives Matter movement, and edited the pop music video series "Diary of a Song." He starred in the animated short documentary “The Shawl” which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2020.