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EVENINGS OUT

 

EVENINGS OUT
November 9, 2007

One hell of a trip, like
dodging cars on a fast bike

Cleveland--Although he probably won’t be riding his bicycle to the signing, queer author, playwright, sports writer and dancer Jim Provenzano will hit Cleveland’s Suspect Thoughts Books on November 10 in support of his latest release, Cyclizen, as well as his first two novels, Pins and Monkey Suits.

Cyclizen (Lulu, $14.95 trade paperback) is the tale of a bicycle courier, living in San Francisco, recounting his life in New York City during the heyday of ACT UP and other protest groups.

Provenzano accomplishes the seemingly miraculous task of spinning a yarn that is simultaneously meandering and as on-point as an arrow loosed from an over-taut bow.

Readers can never be sure where this book is heading, but it’s one hell of a trip from point A to point B, filled with rich vocabulary and occasional forays into clever wordplay.

An especially gratifying passage comes when Kent, the narrator, goes on a verbal jaunt through the outer reaches of comprehensibility. He explains that his bicycle is named Mel, as in Mel Gibson, and in so naming the bike, he is metaphorically oppressing the oppressor. Seriously, by the time one gets to the end of the paragraph, it’s difficult to remember the beginning, but Provenzano’s alter ego explains it all away.

“My bike is straight. I’m not. And blabbing on like that is about the only good I got out of my fancy college degree,” he writes.

Provenzano’s first novel, Pins, was a coming-of-age tale revolving around a gay high school wrestler. He followed that up with Monkey Suits, a tale of Manhattan cater-waiters in the 1980s, the same world from which Paul Rudnick drew Jeffrey.

In addition to the novels, myriad short stories and a couple of plays, Provenzano is also known for journalism, especially revolving around the arts and LGBT sports. He was the writer of the syndicated column “Sports Complex” for a decade, and guest curated “Sporting Life: GLBT Athletics and Cultural Change from the 1960s to Today” at the GLBT Historical Society in San Francisco.

New York, San Francisco. He seems a pretty coastal guy, having been born in Queens, New York. But he grew up in Ashland, Ohio, and went to college at Kent State University and Ohio State University, so his reading and book signing will be a homecoming as well.

The event will be at 7 pm November 10 at Suspect Thoughts Books, 4903 Clark Ave. in Cleveland. For more information call 216-6312665.

Sherman Alexie at Cleveland library

Eight days later on the 18th, author and director Sherman Alexie will be at Cleveland Public Library, in the Louis Stokes Wing Auditorium at East Sixth and Superior at 2 pm.

Alexie wrote and directed the movie The Business of Fancydancin. With a whole stack of books under his belt, Alexie is one of the most prominent Native American authors extant and just about the only one who is openly gay, giving a unique perspective to his books.

For more information about Alexie’s appearance, go to www.cpl.org or call 216-6232800.

 

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