I was a 14-year-old high school freshman when I began collecting guns. It was Chicago in 1958, a time before a metal detector had ever darkened a school doorway. Disciplinary problems in most American classrooms meant kids sneaking out without a hall pass or sticking old Juicy Fruit under their desks.
Pat Boone was among the many white artists of the 1950s and '60s who built their careers recording songs originally performed by black Rhythm & Blues artists. Tonight, he responds to criticisms that he and other white singers profited much more than the African American musicians whose songs they covered.
I was scared of Mad Men for a long time. Even as it racked up Emmys and accolades, I wouldn't watch. I'd lived through Happy Days and other treacly tributes to the '50s and '60s that didn't ring anything like true. They'd glossed over or just plain avoided the ugly stuff I'd lived through as a black girl growing up in that very white world.
For my graduate research I interviewed "Bernie" and other lesbians about their lives in the 1940s, '50s, and '60s. Their stories have haunted me since. These stories, and the experiences of gay men, bisexuals, and transgender people told to me by friends and friends of friends, are woven throughout my first novel, Blackmail, My Love.