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Brontez Purnell in conversation with Melissa Broder
February 17, 2021 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm PST
celebrating the launch of Brontez Purnell’s new book
published by MCD x FSG Originals
This is a virtual event that will be hosted by City Lights on the Zoom platform. You will need access to a computer or other device that is capable of accessing the internet. If you have not used Zoom before, you may consider referencing Getting Started with Zoom.
Event is free, but registration is required.
(Click Here) to register. (link to be posted soon)
(Click Here) to purchase book. (link to be posted soon)
An irrerverent, sensitive, and inimitable look at gay dysfunction through the eyes of a cult hero
“It’s like that saying, ‘Where god closes a door, he opens a window,’ but in this particular case the window was on the fifth floor and the house was on fire.”
Transgressive, foulmouthed, and devastatingly funny, Brontez Purnell’s 100 Boyfriends is a revelatory spiral into the imperfect lives of queer men desperately fighting—and often losing—the urge to self-sabotage. His characters solicit sex on their lunch breaks, expose themselves to racist neighbors, sleep with their coworker’s husbands, rub Preparation H on their hungover eyes, and, in an uproarious epilogue, take a punk band on a disastrous tour of Europe. They also travel to claim inheritances, push past personal trauma, and cultivate community while living on the margins of a white supremacist, heteronormative society.
Armed with a deadpan wit that finds humor in even the lowest of nadirs, Brontez Purnell—a widely acclaimed underground writer, filmmaker, musician, and performance artist—writes with the peerless zeal, insight, and horniness of a gay punk messiah. From dirty warehouses and gentrified bars in Oakland to desolate farm towns in Alabama, Purnell indexes desire, desperation, race, and loneliness with a startling blend of levity and vulnerability. Together, the slice-of-life tales that writhe within 100 Boyfriends are a singular and uncompromising vision of an unexposed queer underbelly. Holding them together is the vision of an iconoclastic storyteller, as fearless as he is human.
Brontez Purnell is a writer, musician, dancer, filmmaker, and performance artist. He is the author of a graphic novel, a novella, a children’s book, and the novel Since I Laid My Burden Down. The recipient of a 2018 Whiting Writers’ Award for Fiction, he was named one of the thirty-two Black Male Writers of Our Time by T: The New York Times Style Magazine in 2018. Purnell is also the frontman for the band the Younger Lovers, a cofounder of the experimental dance group the Brontez Purnell Dance Company, the creator of the renowned cult zine Fag School, and the director of several short films, music videos, and the documentary Unstoppable Feat: The Dances of Ed Mock. Born in Triana, Alabama, he’s lived in Oakland, California, for more than a decade.
Melissa Broder is the author of the novels MILK FED (Feb 2, 2021) and THE PISCES, the essay collection SO SAD TODAY, and five poetry collections, including SUPERDOOM: Selected Poems (Summer 2021) and LAST SEXT. Broder has written for The New York Times, Elle.com, VICE, Vogue Italia, and New York Magazine‘s The Cut. Her poems appear in POETRY, The Iowa Review, Guernica, Fence, et al. She is the winner of a Pushcart Prize for poetry.
Praise for 100 Boyfriends:
“This stunning collection of vignettes from artist, punk rocker, and Whiting Award winner Purnell forms a delightfully crass, kaleidoscopic worldview. Each story introduces new heartbreaks and reminders that moments of intimacy often end in loneliness . . . Purnell brilliantly immerses the reader in Black, queer desire with humor, self-awareness, and just the right amount of vulgarity.” —Publishers Weekly
“Each story in 100 Boyfriends is a minor eclipse: stunning in scope, technically blinding, and entirely miraculous. I laughed and I cried and I laughed until I cried—Brontez Purnell is a marvel.“ –Bryan Washington, author of Memorial and Lot
“In the vast history of the universe there is only one Brontez Purnell, and thank god we get him. From cruising to crushes, cumming to closure, 100 Boyfriends is a mandatory read for the funny-sexy lit freaks among us—a candy box of Euro boys and Daddies, blue pills and satanic exes—all told in an addictively-delicious voice by a writer who is somehow both wildly cool and deprecatingly humble at the same time.” —Melissa Broder, author of The Pisces and So Sad Today
“Brontez Purnell has such seemingly casual genius that at times you forget you’re reading a book and are transported to some couch/bus/basement where the drugs are really good and your friend is really funny, maybe your weird closeted cousin is on HarlemHookups in the corner, and all of a sudden your friend says some fucking Sappho ass, weird ass, brilliant ass bullshit. I love this slut of a book, it’s a slut ass maker. 100 Boyfriends or no new boyfriends at all, Purnell’s autofiction/memoir/whatever the hell this marvelously sad and intoxicating book is shook me up good with its honesty and blunt-to-face endings, the jokes and stories I didn’t know we were allowed to tell outside of circles of faggots and misfits. But this book is in those circles, makes you tea and steals for you, it invites us in, but would we mind shutting the hell up cause it’s a little hungover? The light is coming through the windows so clear.” —Danez Smith, author of Homie
“No one writes like Brontez Purnell. It’s not just that he is hilariously irreverent, which he is, but that he reserves reverence for that which is deserving. 100 Boyfriends is like a good lover, at turns vulgar and vulnerable, dirty and desperate, and always grinding toward magic.” —Justin Torres, author of We the Animals
“Scathingly lucid, filthily pure, this is the most astute, witty, acid-tongued and emotionally generous book about relationships—from one night stands to internet no-no’s to ill-conceived crushes to long-term loves, requited and otherwise—I’ve read. Painfully knowing yet never jaded, 100 Boyfriends dissects, explodes, lambasts, and revels in the ugly beauty of imperfect intimacies with prose that consistently puts its finger on the bleeding pulse of contemporary desire. An unforgettable ode to the heart that beats inside every longing body.”–Maryse Meijer, author of The Seventh Mansion
“The stories in 100 Boyfriends took me on a journey: They made me laugh. They made me gasp. They made me feel. Brontez Purnell is a vibrant literary voice you won’t soon forget. I love this book.” —De’Shawn Charles Winslow, author of In West Mills