Friday, October 10, 2008

Giovanni's Room Turns 35


Gay bookstores, once one of the backbones of urban gay culture, have been closing rapidly due to the popularity of the internet and huge book chains. But Philadelphia's gay bookstore - Giovanni's Room - recently celebrated their 35th anniversary. Read the story from Towleroad HERE.

When I came out of the closet in Central Pennsylvania, I would take periodic trips to visit my friend who lived in the gay neighborhood of Philadelphia. After spending Saturday nights at Stallions in Harrisburg (the local gay disco - which is still there), spending a weekend in an actual city was heavenly. Dennis lived right down the street from Giovanni's Room, and I always paid it a visit (and usually made a purchase). Those early "gay books" I bought really taught me a lot about being gay and gay culture - long before images like "Will and Grace" were available. I will always be grateful that Giovanni's Room was (and is) there.

3 comments:

Marker said...

What a great name for a gay bookstore. And what a wonderful book. I think Giovanni's Room by James Baldwin contains one of the most beautiful passages I've ever read:

"To remember it so clearly, so painfully tonight tells me that I have never for an instant truly forgotten it. I feel in myself now a faint, a dreadful stirring of what so overwhelmingly stirred in me then, great thirsty heat, and trembling, and tenderness so painful I thought my heart would burst. But out of this astounding, intolerable pain came joy; we gave each other joy that night. It seemed, then, that a lifetime would not be long enough for me to act with Joey the act of love."

Replace "Joey" with the name of your first boyfriend/crush/whatever . . .

mistress maddie said...

Giovanni's Room is where I go to get all my gay literture. I love to support them first not the chains. And Marker-that is one very beautiful passage,I agree.

Mark in DE said...

Whereas the internet has brought accessibility to those in rural areas, which is good, it has also been the demise of some GLBT bookstores. Congrats to Giovanni's Room!

Mark :-)

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