Category: News

Book Review: “Queerly Beloved,” by Susie Dumond

If you watched a lot of YouTube, like I do, you might have noticed a trend among those who like to turn on their cameras and talk about pop culture: they miss romcoms. Where did the romcom go? they ask, the previous staple of the Friday night movie date is all but lost to nostalgic reboots and superhero sequels. And more and more people are interested, not just in the return of romcoms, but gay romcoms. After all, what better way to update familiar material?

Enter Queerly Beloved

In 2013, Amy is living in the deep red of Oklahoma, closeted while working her day job at a bakery (The Daily Bread) during the day and bartending at the local gay watering hold on select nights. Life is looking pretty bright when she makes a date with the newest soft butch stranger in town, but then she’s outed and fired from the bakery. 

But Amy is resilient, and a chance encounter-slash-conversation leads to a whole new career path: professional bridesmaid. For a reasonable fee, Amy will be the bridesmaid of your dreams. She will stitch up any tear, be careful of mascara while wiping away tears, and wrangle your drunk cousin at the reception before he ruins the toasts.

As her new business picks up, however, Amy is faced with the conflict between her genuine love for weddings and the raw fact that many of the people she’s assisting would fight against her right to ever have one. She’s just a closeted in this role as she was when working for ultra-conservative employers, and not all of her queer friends are wild about the connotations of her new job… including that new beau. Ultimately Amy will have to figure out how to marry her love of weddings — the fantasy, the fanfare, even the fondant — with her growing need for a more raw and unapologetic authenticity when it comes to her own queer identity. 

Queerly Beloved is the debut offering from Susie Dumond, a Senior Contributor from the mammoth online presence that is Book Riot. As a queer writer from Arkansas, she brings a wonderful specificity to Amy’s conflict: the conflict of any queer person living in a polically inhospitable state who still treasures their local community and culture. Queerly Beloved is at its best when it shucks the narrative that queer people should just “move somewhere else,” showcasing them as an integral part of those communities — and pointing out the hypocrisy, especially, in asking this of Native queer people. There’s a lovingly detailed portrait of Red State queer life in its pages that adds something unique to the expected meet-cute-leads-to-misunderstanding of the romantic subplot. 

The book is less sure when it deals with the issue of gay marriage as a concept. There’s a lot of meaty potential to be had in a story about a woman who isn’t legally allowed to marry the person she wants, making a career within the very industry that denies her. But that isn’t what Queerly Beloved wants to focus on — it’s having a lot more fun with stories of Amy’s last-minute saves and improvisational skills, true to its romcom inspiration. The disconnect between the potential seriousness of the subject matter and the book’s insistence on more lighthearted scenes can sometimes create an unevenness in tone, and Amy never really questions the depth of her commitment to weddings as a concept. Other people in the book ask questions like Why is marriage the chosen battleground for equal rights? or Are we chasing a heteronormative ideal when we pursue marriage equality?, but not Amy. When her friends bring up the political and social side of things, she dodges those issues with a straightforward affirmation: she loves weddings, and that’s all that is really important. Amy focuses on the things she can control, and in doing so creates a sphere of influence which can also give comfort and support to others.

Ultimately, Queerly Beloved is a celebration: of hot women in suits, of queer joy, of the diverse experiences and perspectives we have to offer as a community. Dumond urges you to fall in love with the fairytale, and to have hope for the future. Like all the classic romantic comedies, it makes the promise that, even with all the crazy ups and downs, everything will all work out in the end.

Welcome 2021 Philadelphia Trans Wellness Conference!

video created by @analogerelim

Although we can’t meet in person this year, the staff and volunteers at Philly AIDS Thrift @ Giovanni’s Room have been busy preparing these inclusive and thought provoking recommendations for all of your needs. Please take a moment to browse these lists:

21 Reads for Pride 2021

Get ready for pride with this mix of new releases, and some things from this year you might have missed!

FOR KIDS AND TEENS

ADULT NONFICTION

ADULT FICTION

New Releases Spring 2021

LGBTQ Books for Black History Month 2021

Order Your 2021 LGBT Calendars from PAT @ Giovanni’s Room

Look even more forward to 2021 with these LGBT and feminist calendars! Click on any of the links below to order directly through Philly Aids Thrift @ Giovanni’s Room.

It’s Showtime!

Help us celebrate Philly AIDS Thrift’s 15 Year Anniversary with a Drive-In screening of BEETLEJUICE at PSF Drive-In at the Navy Yard!
We couldn’t think of a better way to honor this milestone (AND our favorite holiday…Halloween) than to partner with the folks at the Philadelphia Film Society, to present a fun, safe way to celebrate the years we’ve loved and served the community.

Date:
Wednesday, October 14th, 2020

Start time: 
7pm (lot opens at 6pm)

$30 Per Car Purchase Tickets Here: http://filmadelphia.org/events/philly-aids-thrift-beetlejuice/

In addition to the film there will be Treats, Food Trucks & Prizes. And you never can tell…maybe even Beetlejuice himself?

We look forward to seeing you there! Xoxo

FAQ’s

Can I purchase a ticket on site?
No. ONLINE SALES ONLY. Operations will be check-in only, no box office sales at all will be conducted on site.

When will the lot open?
Drive-In will open 1 hour before listed showtimes.

What should I bring with me?
Please make sure to have a your confirmation email and/or printed ticket – and that of all the passengers in your car – with you for check in.

What about the weather?
All screenings are rain or shine unless weather is determined to be too dangerous by management.

What if the show is cancelled due to weather?
We have a rain-date of Tues, November 10th

Will there be restrooms?The site does have restrooms. Attendees must obey postings at the restroom entrances. Capacity limits must be adhered to.

Can I bring my pet?
No pets or animals of any kind are permitted on site, except certified service animals.

Will there be concessions?
At this time, we are preparing to have Food Trucks on site.

Can I bring my own food?
Yes. But please make sure to keep your food inside your vehicle and respect the grounds of the Navy Yard.

Do I have to wear a mask?
When outside the vehicle, attendees must wear a mask at all times.

How will I hear the movie audio?
Tune to 89.9 FM on your radio for the movie audio.

Audio is also available through the ListenEverywhere app. Guests can log onto the PFS DI wifi to download the app.

Can I sit outside my car?
No. Following the City-approved safety guideline – all attendees are required to remain in their vehicles at all times unless using the restroom.

Is it drive-in only or can I walk in and sit social distance?
This is a cars only drive-in.

How do I get to the Drive-In at the Navy Yard?
For GPS: Input “League Island Blvd & Admiral Peary Way” as the destination, or use the following directions from South Broad Street:
Enter the Navy Yard via Broad Street entrance.
Travel 0.7 mi to the end of Broad Street, then make left onto Admiral Peary Way.
In approx. 0.5 mi, you will see the Drive-In movie theater, just past the intersection of Admiral Peary Way & League Island Blvd.

If you have any other questions, please feel free to email phillyaidsthrift@aol.com !

queerbook is out now!

We are so excited to announce our debut anthology! queerbook is the culmination of Philly AIDS Thrift @ Giovanni’s Room’s first-ever writing contest. We are proud to present queerbook as a collection of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry from members of our store’s community from all over the world.

Featuring over 30 writers, as well as an introduction from one of the founders of Giovanni’s Room, this book reflects our pasts, presents, and futures. It is a snapshot of our current moment — our hopes, dreams and fears in a quickly changing world. Copies are available in store and online at https://www.queerbooks.com/product/queerbook. $14.99 + tax

Black Lives Matter – 40 Must Read Books