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When I Knewby Robert Trachtenberg
Synopses & Reviews
When I Knew is a collection of smart, hilarious, and often poignant stories about that revelation for all gay men and women: when they first knew. In this gorgeously illustrated, cleverly designed, and colorful book, acclaimed fashion and celebrity photographer Robert Trachtenberg brings humor and style to the EUREKA! moments of more than eighty contributors, including B. D. Wong, Arthur Laurents, Simon Doonan, Stephen Fry, Marc Shaiman, Michael Musto, and more. Also mixed in are tales about when parents knew and when everyone else knew, as well as laugh-out-loud coming-out stories.
Readers will fall in love with these anecdotes, from the seven-year-old who looked under the television set to sneak a peek under Tarzan's loincloth, to the inquisitive grandmother who asked her grandson, "You don't like a girl to get married? You prefer a boy?", to the courageous field trip participant who passed up the universal favorite burger-and-fry combo in favor of the fruit plate with cottage cheese.
Filled with original art by New Yorker illustrator Tom Bachtell, historical images, and personal photographs from the contributors, When I Knew is a vibrant and witty celebration of that sometimes glorious, sometimes painful, but always captivating moment when everything suddenly makes sense.
"When I was six,' writes Tammy Lynn Michaels, 'I loved my first grade teacher so much I knew I would have to grow up to be a boy so I could come back and ask her to marry me.' Documentarian Trachtenberg (American Masters: On Cukor) brings together the comical, sometimes bitter and always poignant moments when gay men and women first realize (or admit) the truth about their own sexual preference. Trachtenberg has gathered some famous names for his collection (Gavin Lambert, Arthur Laurents, B.D. Wong, Simon Doonan), but perhaps the freshest stories come from voices unknown. What surprises is how often these moments stem from confrontations with an ostensibly heterosexual mass culture: TV, Broadway, the movies, organized sport — all of which are represented in the lavish set of collaged color illustrations that fill most every page, along with comics and candids of the contributors. Eugenio Zanetti recalls watching Miyoshi Umeki being kissed by Brando in Sayonara, in a theater in Buenos Aires in the 1950s, and leaning back in his seat 'at the exact same angle as Miyoshi.' For Eugenia Kurt, it was a mesmerizing encounter with Rosalind Russell in the nun comedy The Trouble with Angels. This book is composed of equal parts insight, shame and soul. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
When I Knew is a collection of smart, uproarious, often poignant stories about that revelatory moment for all gay men and women: when they first knew. In this gorgeously illustrated, cleverly designed full-color book, acclaimed fashion and celebrity photographer Robert Trachtenberg brings humor and style to the retelling of the unique stories of over 100 contributors, including B.D. Wong, Arthur Laurents, Simon Doonan, Stephen Fry, Marc Shaiman, Michael Musto, and more. Readers will fall in love with these endearing anecdotes, from the seven-year-old who sat at the bottom of the television trying to peek up Tarzan's tunic, to the nine-year-old who fainted when he learned that Judy Garland had died, to Will and Grace co-creator Max Mutchnick, who knew he was gay when he outgrew his mother's high heels. The contributors also share stories about when their families knew, and when everyone else knew.
More than 100 contributors, including B.D. Wong, Arthur Laurents, Simon Doonan, Stephen Fry, Marc Shaiman, and Michael Musto share endearing anecdotes and stories about when they, their families, and everyone else knew they were gay.
About the Author
Robert Trachtenberg's fashion and celebrity photographs have been published in the New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair, Entertainment Weekly, and InStyle, among many other publications. He has also directed documentaries on George Cukor, Gene Kelly, Irving Thalberg, and Cary Grant. He lives in Los Angeles. He always knew.
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