HOUSTON VOICE • DECEMBER 10, 1999
A GUIDE FOR YOUR LEISURE TIME
With 'The Book of Lies'
Violet Quill author
fictionalizes history into
a mysterious intrigue
What is truth?
Felice Picano may
know, but in his latest
novel, literary truths
become an elusive mystery.
In "The Book of Lies," the
author of 19 books, including the
best-selling "Like People in History,"
takes on another aspect of gay history: his own.
Picano is considered one of a shining group of writers who began publishing as openly gay authors in
1970s and 1980s. As a member of the Violet Quill, he
joined the company of Edmund White, Andrew
Holleran, Christopher Cox, George Whitmore, Robert
Ferro and his partner Michael Crumley.
Picano's work as a publisher extended that contribution when he started Seahorse Press, which first
published playwrights Robert Chesley and Harvey
Fierstein, authors Dennis Cooper, Robert Gluck, Jane
Chambers, and a little-known photographer named
Robert Mapplethorpe who created the cover art for
Brad Gooch's first book, "Jailbait."
Picano's own work spans an astounding set of genres—memoirs, science fiction, sex manuals, mysteries,
literary novels, plays, screenplays, poetry and essays.
It is fitting that one of the outstanding survivors of that
era would create a literary* adventure out of history, complete with whimsical appendices of the collected works of
the fictional Purple Circle.
Ross Ohrenstedt, is led down a rabbit hole of intrigue in
search of the evasive Len Spurgeon: baseball player, muse
In search of the undiscovered writings of the mysterious Spurgeon, Ross discovers more than he expected,
including some viciously competitive scholars—just the
sort of intrigue Picano is known for.
With the first British hardback version released in
June 1998 by Little, Brown/Abacus, Alyson
Publications has just published the American version
of "The Book of Lies."
Houston Voice talked to Picano from his Los
Houston Voice: It's obvious that "The Book of Lies"
toould be entertaining even for folks who don't know about
the real people you re fictionalizing.
Felice Picano: I certainly hope so. One of the reasons I
wrote this was that people don't know about us at all, even
though in England they call us the gay Bloomsbury group.
>- Continued on page 24
Outside jheO/% ■/
Two recording artists, Kristen Hall
and LaTonya Peoples, share what
they've learned and what they
love as they release new CDs
by PAIGE PARVIN
Kristen Hall and LaTonya Peoples have a few things in
common: They like to write love songs. They like to date
women. They are musicians who offer something other than
a typical girl-with-guitar show. And they both recently
released new CDs.
Hall: a gift from L.A.
Like some kind of prodigal daughter of the local folk scene,
Kristen Hall returned to her home of Atlanta to show her
audience what she did during a whirlwind two-year stint in
And she did a lot. Longtime fans got a glimpse of her new
work and skills during a recent performance, where Hall
led with a show and CD release party. "California-Made
>- Continued on page 22