Welcome to Something Sensational!

A new place to share and recommend LGBTQ+ books, art, movies, etc. And to share your life stories!

Brian Fehler
Nov 1, 2019 · 3 min read

*****[NB: We here at Something Sensational are on an indefinite break and are not accepting or reading submissions! Thank you for your interest — and happy writing! We’ll see you when we return.]*****

Welcome to Something Sensational!

A new home for reviews of queer books, film, art, poetry, history, and for narratives of life experiences.

In this space, we will be working together to 1) showcase the works of queer writers and artists (broadly construed), 2) share our stories of experiencing visual, verbal, and written art, 3) bring attention to the LGBTQIA themes in art not specifically made for queer audiences, and 4) build community!

On Spaces, Shared Ones:

Spaces are important to any community, but especially to ours, to LGBTQIA people, because our spaces have so often been refuges, safe spaces for us, places of contemplation and healing in a world of active and passive assault. Such spaces have, quite literally, saved many of us.

One such story is told in the book The Evening Crowd at Kirmser’s, the story of a WWII veteran who was discharged from military service for being gay. That veteran, Ricardo Brown, returned to his hometown of St. Paul, Minnesota where he became a part of the life of Kirmser’s. If you get a chance, pick up the book, edited and recovered by William Reichard (and published by University of Minnesota Press). It’s a great story! (If you’re interested in writing a review or “experience” of the book — or other ones — see how to join us, below.)

Another such story is told in the wonderful (also recovered!) book Gay Bar by Helen P. Branson (and edited by Will Fellows). The book describes the beginnings of Branson’s bar: “Vivacious, unconventional, candid, and straight, [a true Ally!], Helen Branson operated a gay bar in Los Angeles in the 1950s. Though at the time California statutes prohibited homosexuals from gathering in bars[or even dancing], Helen’s place was relaxed, suave, and remarkably safe from police raids.” Like Kirmser’s, Gay Bar is a great story!

Both are stories of physical spaces that sustained communities; Something Sensational will be a digital space that nourishes us, sustains us!

On What We’re Looking For:

Join us! Send your reviews of all things queer (books, art, movies, theatre, speeches, visual arts, music, history) AND your reflections on experiencing queer art and communities, including personal narratives! Let’s allow those arts and stories to refresh us and our community as we support one another!

By the way, our title was suggested to me by Fred Shirley, when he mentioned a quotation of Oscar Wilde’s “ “I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.”

Contributions from our lovely Allies always welcome!

Two ways to join our community here:

  • Comment below! Tell us you want to be added as a writer! Or,
  • Submit your work to bmfehler@gmail.com.

We look forward to creating with you!

In the words of the bold and brilliant Audre Lorde: “it is better to speak remembering we were never meant to survive.”

Will Fellows and Helen P. Branson, Gay Bar

Ricardo Brown, The Evening Crowd at Kirmser’s

Something Sensational

A queer archive and review of LGBTQIA books, art, film, and life.

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