Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore

SF Stories: Mattilda Sycamore Bernstein

Learning how to dream

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San Francisco was where I first learned to gasp and grasp at the possibilities of radical queer self-invention and communal care. This was 1992. I was 19: childhood meant suffocation, college was pointless shit. All around me, people were dying of AIDS and drug addiction and suicide, but finally I was finding other queer incest survivors, whores, vegans, runaways, anarchists, dropouts, drug addicts, sluts, activists and freaks trying not to disappear. Read more »

Bright on

Dyke porn pioneer Susie Bright opens up with Big Sex Little Death

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Bending toward oblivion

THE QUEER ISSUE: Author Martin Duberman challenges the current gay hypocrisy
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culture@sfbg.com

Gay liberation changed Martin Duberman's life. In the 1960s, Duberman taught history at Princeton, hardly a bastion of radical thought. Yet he found himself invigorated by nascent counterculture movements and became a champion of the left, penning essays in The New York Times and serving as faculty advisor to the Princeton chapter of Students for a Democratic Society. At the same time, Duberman spent years in intensive psychotherapy in desperate attempts to "cure" his homosexuality. Read more »

Down with legitimacy

Want to define love, commitment, family, and sexual merrymaking on your own terms? Honey, that's so last century
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OPINION We all remember Gavin Newsom's stunt four years ago, when he emerged from a tight election race against Matt Gonzalez and promptly "legalized" gay marriage, sending his approval ratings soaring and guaranteeing him a second term. Read more »

Milked

Some gay people are so anxious to participate in their own cultural erasure
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OPINION It seems that everyone, from current politicians to former friends and lovers of Harvey Milk, is scrambling to serve as a spokesperson for the new Hollywood movie about the life of Milk, the first openly gay elected official in a major United States city.

Milk joined the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977, only to be assassinated (along with then-mayor George Moscone) one year later by Dan White, another member of the board.

Cleve Jones, who worked as a student intern in Milk's City Hall office (and later started the AIDS Memorial Quilt), is now serving as a con Read more »

Lust and loss

Cruising the landscape of gay world-making
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lit@sfbg.com

Many dedicated faggots have made the comparison between cocksucking and prayer, especially when knees are planted in the ground, eyes closed because of something too powerful to look at. But Christopher Russell's Landscape, a book of black-and-white photos of men cruising San Francisco's Buena Vista Park, at first appears to take this assertion one step further — with the trees towering above and light cascading onto shirts, hands, exposed asses, it's almost as if these men have stumbled into heaven. Read more »

Joining the party

In his memoir Black Radical, Nelson Peery surveys his tenure in the CP
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lit@sfbg.com
In 1946, after three and a half years spent fighting in the segregated US Army on the Pacific front of World War II, Nelson Peery returned to a home front marked by joblessness, mob violence, lynchings, police tyranny, and red-baiting hysteria. Read more »

Randomness and revelation

Zookeepers, eunuch Marines, flying explorers, and the lady formerly known as Huck Finn populate the pages of A Fictional History
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lit@sfbg.com REVIEW If fiction is truth masquerading as lies and the ever-popular memoir is tall tales packaged as transcendent fact, history is the place where dominant culture markets itself and covers the tracks. In recent times, historians like Howard Zinn and Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz have shifted the focus to tell the stories of marginalized, oppressed, dissident, and defiant peoples often erased from the record, but there’s still a lot of catching up to do. Read more »