The average rating for My Diva: 65 Gay Men on the Women Who Inspire Them based on 2 reviews is 3.5 stars.
|Review # 1 was written on 2009-06-13 00:00:00|
What woman doesn't want to be a gay icon? Answer: No one. Like most collections, My Diva is hit or miss. My Diva is at its best when the author is tying in the life of his chosen icon with his experiences as a gay man. My Diva is weakest when the author is providing a wikipedia definition of what a diva is, or is simply providing haphazardly organized biographical information. Jim Nason wrote with such passion about Celine Dion, I immediately downloaded a bunch of songs off her French language album. Of course, I deleted them after I remembered that I *hate* Celine. Nason made such a strong case for Celine, I was convinced I needed to give her another chance. If anything, My Diva convinced me to investigate some of the lesser known divas. I have so many exciting movie and music options to explore now. I was happiest reading this book when I realized the authors appreciated my divas just as much as I do: Eartha Kitt, Liza Minelli, Parker Posey, Margaret Cho, and Bjork. But no Big and Little Edie? Come on now, guys.
|Review # 2 was written on 2010-08-10 00:00:00|
(as reviewed at the-defibrillator.blogspot.com) For culture vultures like me, My Diva is a thrill to behold. Edited by poet and fiction writer Michael Montlack, the book includes clever, urbane, campy, and ernest essays about some of my favorite pop culture icons. Encomiums include Grace Paley by Mark Doty, Margaret Cho by Kenji Oshima, and Eartha Kitt by D. A. Powell. Honestly, there's an embarrassment of riches here, and some of the best essays are about lesser-known women or by emerging authors. One of my favorite essays, which jerked tears and titters during the reading last week and earned special notice from queer theory legend Camille Paglia, is "Auntie Mame," by Lewis DeSimone. The author (who's reading more of his own work next Tuesday at the Harvey Milk Branch of the SF Public Library at 7 p.m along with Paul Hufstedler and Donny Lobree) mixes insightful film commentary with poignant self-revelation and sissy-boy memoir to create an essay that stands out and stands on its own, even as it fits nicely with the book's theme. Another favorite essay of mine is "Wendy Waldman" by fiction author Paul Lisicky, mainly because Waldman is a wonderful songwriter, redolent of Laura Nyro and Joni Mitchell, whose fame hasn't risen to her '70s contemporaries' levels, despite having written or cowritten such gems as "Mad Mad Me" (Maria Muldaur), "Pirate Ships" (Judy Collins, The Cure), "Save The Best for Last" (Vanessa Williams), and several Linda Ronstadt numbers. If My Diva succeeds in shining light on hidden gems, my one complaint'the complaint at every reading, says Montlack'is that too many great divas have been left out. Among the refusniks I most miss are Joni Mitchell, Judy Garland, Blossom Dearie, and Judy Holliday. Luckily, the book has been such a success already that a sequel may be just a year or two away. For now, Montlack, who celebrates his birthday this weekend in San Francisco, is busy promoting the first edition, as well as entertaining the idea of publishing a book of companion poems about the 65 divas, all written by the essay authors (most of whom are distinguished poets).
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