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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, January 6, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 01
Gay City: Volume 4: At Second Glance
Arts & Entertainment
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Gay City: Volume 4: At Second Glance

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

At Second Glance, the fourth in the series of Gay City anthologies, is now available. As fans of the popular series would tell you, this edition was worth the wait!

'There are always at least two viewpoints to every story, and yet we usually only hear one. A different perspective can provide an entirely different story than the commonly known tale - the other side of the looking glass, so to speak,' said Gay City officials. 'This year, our anthology series continues with At Second Glance, dedicated to exploring those alternate angles.'

And explore they do. The stories published in the 180-page book, edited by Eric Andrews-Katz and Vincent Kovar, were penned by established authors like Felice Picano and emerging writers from Seattle and beyond.

'Growing up Queer (or Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender & anything apart from 'normal' society) gives a person the chance to look at the world with a different set of eyes,' writes Eric Andrews-Katz in At Second Glance. 'A Queer child quickly learns to identify not necessarily with what is written down in front of them, but what is found between the lines of published literature. Or at least what is imagined to be there.'

'Often, we'll read and reread a particular tale, wondering what might have been meant by the author's specific word choice or phrase,' he continues. 'We'll wonder if this is another subtle clue on the literary scavenger hunt left to those of a counter-culture to find. Whether the author meant them to be there or if they were imagined by the reader is irrelevant; we Queers have already started to - subconsciously, at least - rewrite the stories we read so that we may identify with them. It is for this reason that At Second Glance has been put together.'

Andrews-Katz says the book is a collection of 'stories we have already known, or at least scenarios with which we are already familiar.'

'The difference here,' he writes, 'is that we Queers don't have to search for the hidden meanings. There is no wondering if these characters may or may not share our desires and longings. Clearly they do!'

'These authors have already re-envisioned them for us,' he concludes. 'The only thing left for us to do is sit back and enjoy them.'

Enjoying these re-told tales is easy. Andrews-Katz is right in saying that the scenarios and stories might seem familiar - but with a twist. The book contains the re-telling or re-envisioning of everything from fairytale and fantasy adventures to a back story to Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. At Second Glance is a fascinating read, one that you might complete in one sitting as it takes great effort to put it down. I believe that many happy readers will devour the book, cover to cover, within hours.

As Vincent Kovar, the creator of the series, explained, 'The stories in this book range across continents, time periods, and the topography of the imagination. They take a trip down the Mississippi, dash through ancient Greece, do a low flyby over Great Britain, stop off at the doctor's office, and more, more, more.'

Kovar says that the characters and authors within At Second Glance experience changes that are no less dramatic than the ones that we, the LGBT community and nation, have undergone since the first Gay City anthology was created.

'They're finding their voice, finding love, and finding themselves - often for the first time ever,' he wrote in the book's epilogue. 'What they get to keep is another question.'

'Not all of the characters in our tales find success easy to hold onto,' he continued. 'Sometimes life can feel like we're taking one step forward and two steps back. But perhaps that's not so bad. True success sometimes takes the long way around.'

'Maybe we've dropped magic keys or encoded clues along the way,' Kovar concluded. 'Maybe there are even shortcuts and secret passages hidden behind us. If so, looking backwards is worth a second glance.'

The Gay City anthologies are vibrant, multi-disciplinary collections comprised of fiction, comics, poetry, photography, and art. Works are crafted to support and raise awareness of the Gay City Health Project mission: to reduce HIV infection in King County through promoting communication, community, and self-esteem. Gay City Health Project is a multicultural Gay men's health organization and the premier provider of HIV and STD testing services in King County. Contributors do not need to be (and often aren't) Gay or male. While most of the work comes from contributors either in or closely connected to King County, they are bolstered by additional pieces from across the U.S. and abroad.

Gay City: Volume 4 is available at www.createspace.com/3710741 for $15.95.

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