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Alex Espinoza / Cruising: An Intimate History of a Radical Pastime
June 19 @ 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
The Bindery hosts Alex Espinoza for his new bookCruising: An Intimate History of a Radical Pastime. With him in conversation is the one and only Carla Trujillo! Please join us!
Acclaimed author Alex Espinoza takes readers on an uncensored journey through the underground, to reveal the timeless art of cruising. Combining historical research and oral history with his own personal experience, Espinoza examines the political and cultural forces behind this radical pastime. From Greek antiquity to the notorious Molly houses of 18th century England, the raucous 1970s to the algorithms of Grindr, Oscar Wilde to George Michael, cruising remains at once a reclamation of public space and the creation of its own unique locale — one in which men of all races and classes interact, even in the shadow of repressive governments.
In Uganda and Russia, we meet activists for whom cruising can be a matter of life and death; while in the West he shows how cruising circumvents the inequalities and abuses of power that plague heterosexual encounters. Ultimately, Espinoza illustrates how cruising functions as a powerful rebuke to patriarchy and capitalism — unless you are cruising the department store restroom, of course.
“Alex Espinoza’s much-anticipated book takes readers on a unique ‘cruise’ through places of public gay-sex connections, from early times to today’s apps and sites; and the result is as lively and entertaining as a boldly intimate, and wonderfully written, memoir.” – John Rechy
“Espinoza’s painstakingly documented love letter to cruising is a rare achievement. Not only does he excavate an oft-hidden and -policed queer history, but he also topples the myth that LGBTQ progress conforms to a single, ‘straight’ narrative. In a culture that often flattens queer stories to fit assimilationist standards, Espinoza’s book stands out as a beacon for future queer writers, thinkers, and activists. Reading these accounts, I felt myself drawn into a past both wonderful and strange, a world I hope we will continue to celebrate and preserve.” – Garrard Conley
“Against all they have tried to do to bury our revolutionary past, Alex Espinoza brings it to life in a work that is equal parts secrets shared in confidence, sweeping historical account, and learned analysis. Against all the neutering of our social movements and the treacly lure of assimilation, Espinoza’s fast-paced, compelling narrative shows readers the radical community of struggle, contact and solace from which we came, and to which we belong still.” – Jordy Rosenberg
Alex Espinoza is the author of the novels The Five Acts of Diego Leónand Still Water Saints, a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection. His writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times Magazine, NPR, Salon, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Virginia Quarterly Review, and elsewhere. His awards include a 2014 Fellowship in Prose from the National Endowment for the Arts and a 2014 American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation for The Five Acts of Diego León. He lives in Los Angeles.
Carla Trujillo was born in New Mexico and received a PhD in educational psychology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Her first novel, What Night Brings (Curbstone Press, 2003), received the Miguel Mármol Prize for best first work of fiction by a Latino/a writer, the Latino Book Award for fiction, and the Paterson Fiction Prize. It was a finalist for the LAMBDA Literary Award, ForeWord Magazine’s Book of the Year, and was an honorable mention for the Gustavas Myers Book Award. What Night Brings was one of three finalists for the University of Washington’s “common book” for 2009 . Carla is the editor of Living Chicana Theory (1998) and Chicana Lesbians: The Girls Our Mothers Warned Us About (1991), which won the Lambda Literary Award and the Out/Write Vanguard Award. The anthologies and the novel are widely used in college and high school classrooms. Carla has also written various articles on identity and higher education. She is a founding member Macondo Writers Workshop. In addition to Macondo, she has taught at Lambda Literary Foundation’s Emerging Writers Retreat, U.C. Berkeley, Mills College, and San Francisco State University. Carla lives in Berkeley, California.
Please note: this event will be held at The Bindery, 1727 Haight.
This is an all ages event with mature themes. The bar opens at 7pm; event starts at 7:30pm.
As with all of our events, seating may be limited; you can guarantee a seat by pre-purchasing the book below — when checking out, just be sure to include a note that you’d like to attend the event. If you cannot attend the event but would like to request a signed copy of any of Alex’s books, order here and include your request in the comments field; to request a signed copy of any of Carla’s books, order here and be sure to include your request in the comments field.