_, BOOK REVIEW By Scott Stebelman
"P.S. Your Cat Is Dead."
James Kirkwood is a very funny novelist, but behind all the humor of P.S. Your
Cat Is Dead lies a serious theme: self-
growth implies self-acceptance.
Kirkwood's characterization of the
hero, Jimmy, is somewhat deceptive. We
learn from the first couple of pages that
Jimmy has been having an intense love
affair with Kate, a girl who dominates
him everywhere except in the bedroom.
We also learn that his best friend, Pete,
the only guy he can relate to, is bisexual.
Pete propositions Jimmy, who respectfully declines, but when Pete has a heart
attack and suddenly dies, Jimmy is so
emotionally shaken that he never really
recovers, no, not even when he goes off
to Mexico with his new friend, the burglar Vito. Coincidence piles upon coincidence, and we soon discover that Vito is
How does Jimmy respond to Vito's gayness? Not quite like the heterosexual he
thinks himself to be. When he first catches Vito ransacking his apartment, he beats
him unconscious and then ties him up.
At this point a strange, uncomfortable
emotion overwhelms him: he feels funny
"holding someone in my arms a phrase
of closeness, affection, even. None of
this, of course, but there was a certain
intimacy that was, well, eerie." Or when
Vito, helplessly bound, asks Jimmy to
take his (Vito's) penis out so he can urinate, Jimmy becomes furious and Vito
aptly retorts, "You afraid you might like
it?" Even giving Vito a drink of water
becomes filled with sexual overtones for
Jimmy, who cannot meet Vito's eyes
when he does it.
It is not mere coincidence that Jimmy's
best friends are gay, nor is it accidental
that Kirkwood makes him an actor. Jimmy has been "acting" all of his life he is
38 years old and still believes that he will
become a star; he thinks he can accept
his aunt's money without being obligated
to her; he thinks he can rationally talk
two dangerous sadists out of raping Vito;
but most important of all, he "acts" as if
he were exclusively straight.
Vito is crucial in Jimmy's development,
for he offers him not only money, which
means independence to write that long-
dreamed novel, but also the opportunity
to discover his gayness. Unlike Aunt
Claire, Vito does not use money as a
bribe; he does not expect Jimmy to have
sex with him in return for the gift. He
leaves that decision freely up to his friend
("if I get into your knickers,you'll do the
unzipping"). Jimmy may not realize it as
the novel ends, but his decision to accept
Vito, renounce "acting," and run away to
Mexico may be the first step towards self-
acceptance. The climate in Mexico is
very hot, and you can't write all the time.
P.S. Your Cat Is Dead is in paperback
and published by Warner Paperback Library.
The Dance Goes On
At The Encore!
Dallas - Contrary to a recent rumor, The
Encore at 4516 McKinney has not lost its
dancing license. For several weeks now,
different versions of the rumor have been
circulating in Dallas. One version claims
the vice squad is on the rag and is out to
get the gay community by hasseling the
bars with the first victim being the popular Encore. Another says that a competing and vindictive bar owner reported to
the authorities that the Encore's dancing
license had expired.
As it is with all rumors, these have some
basis in truth ... but truth was severely
distorted by the embellishments of imagination. The truth, and reason for the
rumor, is that the Encore's owner, Joe,
forgot to renew the dancing license when
it expired August 24. Until November 9,
when he was formally notified by the
police, Joe remained unaware of the lapse.
It was that Saturday when the rumors began. By the following Thursday, the Encore has a renewed dancing license and
$ 165 in fines and a plethora of rumors.
Allen Reid Managing Editor
Scott Stebleman Dallas Editor
Mark Elgin Fort Worth Editor
Richard van Cleve Business Manager
John Chapman Art Director
Wayne Ribble Special Consultant
Staff: Arlo, Jay Alexander, Ken Cyr, Sue
Harris, Kay Wilson, Ron Stone, Randy
Beitel, Beatty, and others.
Community News is published by the
Northern Region of the Texas Gay Task
Force (Communications Committee) and
by AURA (Awareness, Unity and Research Association), not for profit but as
2 / COMMUNITY NEWS / DECEMBER 74
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