Event Category: Reading / Signings

In Conversation: talking about What I Do in the Dark and Computer Baby

Join Lindsay Hargrave & Noah David Roberts in conversation with Alejandro Santana as they discuss their new books, Computer Baby and What I Do in the Dark, what it means to be a poet, their writing processes, & how to go about releasing a book in today’s poetic landscape.


Lindsay Hargrave is a poet, editor at Graphic Violence, and a copywriter for Temple University. Proceeds from their debut chapbook ROT (2022) benefit ARC Southeast. The follow-up, Computer Baby, is available now from Bottlecap Press. Read more at linktr.ee/Hargrave or follow @notporkroll on Twitter.

Noah David Roberts (they/them) is a non-binary poet and artist attending University of the Arts. Roberts is the author of four poetry collections: Us v. Them, Strips, Slime Thing [and other poems], Final Girl Mythos, and What I Do in the Dark. Roberts has poems published in Anti-Heroin Chic, Tribes Magazine, Horror Sleaze Trash, and more. Their instagram handle is @the.apocalypse.poet.

Alejandro Santana. A nobody looking for something who has done it all just to feel alive, because it is better to feel something than nothing at all. Alejandro was born in the Dominican Republic but has been living in Philadelphia for the past eight years, always following the American dream while looking for a taste of real life.

About the Books:

“What I do in the Dark along with its author, Noah David Roberts, are “incomplete poem[s] of humanity” channeling Keats and Baudelaire through streets soiled with raw emotions, patrolling nights that reject the dawn to chronicle the trauma of fellow dreamers. Open eyed and defiant, as honest as our nightmares are honest, the message here is love, love in an uncategorizable incarnation, love as a blunt object, love as flesh, love in the darkness.” – James Minnis, NDR’s mentor

Book description on the publisher’s website: “Computer Baby is not a book but a print screen of the author’s psyche. Like machine code, the software input looks completely different from the images projected on the screen. More literally, it’s a short chapbook consisting of a series of poetic experiments with word and thought.

Taking inspiration from the culture and tech environment of the 2000s, the author presents us with a brain rendered in grayscale. To create these poems, a network of memory entered the poet’s brain for processing, and what you are reading are the literary outputs of such experiments. In Computer Baby, what you see is never what you get.”

Kathy Anderson’s THE NEW TOWN LIBRARIAN, feat Larry Benjamin

Join us tonight for a celebration of Kathy Anderson’s latest, The New Town Librarian! In conversation with Larry Benjamin of Excellent Sons.

Kathy Anderson is the author of the debut novel, The New Town Librarian (NineStar Press, 2023) and the short story collection, Bull and Other Stories (Autumn House Press, 2016), which won the Autumn House Press Fiction Prize and was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Awards and Publishing Triangle’s Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction. She lives in Philadelphia with her wife. Once upon a time, she was a new Town Librarian in real life.

Bronx-born wordsmith Larry Benjamin is the author of the gay novels Excellent Sons: A Love Story in Three Acts, which is a 2022 Lambda Literary Award winner in the Gay Romance category, and a 2022 Next Generation Indie Book Award Finalist; Unbroken, which was a 2014 Lambda Literary Award finalist, and a 2014 Independent Publishers Book Award Gold medalist; The Sun, the Earth & the Moon; In His Eyes; Vampire Rising, an allegorical novella.


On June 26, 2015, when the Supreme Court ruled that state bans on gay marriage were unconstitutional, it marked the end point of a 25-year civil rights battle that began in Hawaii in 1990 and played out across the country—from churches to hedge funds to courtrooms.

Journalist and author Sasha Issenberg chronicles this journey in his new book, The Engagement, which U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg calls “an engrossing account of social change, political will and human rights.” Issenberg will talk with Citizen Executive Editor Roxanne Patel Shepelavy about the path to success for gay marriage, what it says about our American project, and the lessons to be learned for our ongoing civil rights movements.

This event will happen both in-person and virtually. Please RSVP “virtual” if you plan to stream the conversation. Virtual attendees will receive an email prior to the event with a streaming link.

In-person attendees interested in booking a dinner reservation at the Fitler Club before or after the event can email programming@fitlerclub.com to arrange reservations as available.

Philly AIDS Thrift @ Giovanni’s Room is the bookstore sponsor for this event. You can buy Issenberg’s book from us here to be picked up or delivered before the event. We will be selling books at the event at the Fitler Club that evening.

VIRTUAL EVENT: Eric Cervini in Conversation with Rep. Brian Sims

Eric Cervini is an award-winning historian of LGBTQ+ culture and politics. He graduated summa cum laude from Harvard College and received his Ph.D. in history from the University of Cambridge, where he was a Gates Scholar. The Deviant’s War is his first book. 

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Want your book signed? 

1) Order from Philly AIDS Thrift @ Giovanni’s Room here.

2) Submit your receipt here.

3) Receive a limited edition custom bookplate, signed by Eric, to place in your book!

THE DEVIANT’S WAR: The Homosexual vs. the United States of America.

From a young Harvard and Cambridge-trained historian, the secret history of the fight for gay rights that began a generation before Stonewall.

In 1957, at the height of the Space Race, a government astronomer named Frank Kameny received a summons to report immediately to Washington, D.C. The Pentagon had reason to believe he was a homosexual. And for the first time, a homosexual fought back.

Based on firsthand accounts, recently declassified FBI records, and forty thousand personal documents, The Deviant’s War unfolds over the course of the 1960s, as Kameny built a movement against the government’s gay purges. It traces the forgotten ties that bound gay rights to the Black Freedom Movement, the New Left, lesbian activism, and trans resistance. Above all, it is a story of America (and Washington) at a cultural and sexual crossroads; of shocking, byzantine public battles with Congress; of FBI informants; murder; betrayal; sex; love; and ultimately victory.

“Required reading for queer people and straight allies”
-Garrard Conley, author of Boy Erased

Dr. Eric Cervini is an award-winning historian of LGBTQ+ politics and culture. He graduated summa cum laude from Harvard College and received his Ph.D. in history from the University of Cambridge, where he was a Gates Scholar.

State Representative Brian Sims represents Center City Philadelphia in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives’ 182nd legislative district. Elected in 2012 after unseating a 28-year incumbent, Sims became the first openly gay member of the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

A staunch advocate for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) civil rights, Sims has been credited with successfully lobbying U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) to publicly support marriage equality and the LGBT-inclusive Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA), respectively. Sims continues to be a leading advocate for LGBT and women’s rights in the General Assembly while garnering wide attention for his commitment to bipartisanship and collaboration between the Commonwealth’s Democratic and Republican parties.

Celebrate the Release of Edie Windsor’s Memoir!

A Wild and Precious Life: A Memoir
by Edie Windsor, with Joshua Lyon
Published by St. Martin’s Press

Please join us for a special event to celebrate the release of civil rights icon and Philadelphia native Edie Windsor’s “A Wild and Precious Life: A Memoir” published by St. Martin’s Press. State Representative Brian Sims will join Edie Windsor’s spouse Judith Kasen-Windsor and co-author Joshua Lyon for a lively discussion of Edie’s life and legacy.

Edie Windsor was catapulted to international fame in 2013, when the Supreme Court ruled in the landmark case seeking recognition from the U.S. government for her marriage to partner Thea Spyer, setting the stage for marriage equality in the U.S.

Books will be available for purchase at the event courtesy of Philly AIDS Thrift at Giovanni’s Room. Order online at QueerBooks.com.

Meet Nikki Harmon at OutFest!

Make sure to visit our OutFest table between 2pm – 3pm to meet our featured author Nikki Harmon! Nikki will be signing copies of her latest book Neither Here Nor There and joining in on the festivities.

About the Book
Kim is a typical rebellious black gay nerd biding her time in college until she can get to her dream job at NASA.
Returning home from work-study in the biology lab one day, Kim experiences a strange kind of double vision. She can somehow see her “choices” before she makes them. Just as she begins to investigate her new skill, Kim is kidnapped. Held in a remote farmhouse, she discovers that her abilities are no accident but that she has been an unwitting subject of an experiment by the professor she is working for at the lab. Confused and overwhelmed, Kim is able to escape using her ability and jumps into a few different of versions of her life and her relationships until she encounters a group of students with the same ability. They have been looking for her.
Duped and manipulated, the students have been used to re-shape the world for the financial and political gain of the mysterious benefactors who fund them. They convince Kim that she must help them put an end to these devious plans. She joins the group and sets off on a mission to save the world from those who seek to control it for themselves.

About the Author
Nikki Harmon, an alumna of The Philadelphia High School for Girls, Wesleyan University and Temple University, started her professional life as a filmmaker, television producer and an educator.
Writing began as a personal challenge, specifically, the NaNoWriMo write 50,000 words in a month challenge. She managed to complete the challenge … twice! She does not write full-time, and has not pursued an agent or a publisher but decided to publish the books herself under the name Mt. Airy Girl Press. With the help and encouragement of friends, she has been able to finish the novels and get them out in to the world. Neither Here Nor There is her second novel.


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Reading & Signing with Serena J. Bishop

Join us as we host author Serena J. Bishop for a reading and signing of her new novel Dreams.

About the Book:
Aurora’s life is perfectly mundane. She has a job she hates, an ex that ran her out of her hometown, and the highlight of her week is Monday breakfast with her best friend. That changes when Aurora starts dreaming of a woman who can’t remember her own name. A woman who Aurora falls head over heels for. She knows the romance that develops between them isn’t real, but the dreams make life so much better that she hurries to bed every night…until she discovers that her dream woman isn’t imaginary. Her name is Leela and she is in a coma.

Aurora must risk everything—her job, apartment, friends, and her sanity—to save Leela, a woman she’s only ever met in her mind. But in order to help, Aurora must convince Leela’s neurologist and parents that she and Leela have a bond that transcends the physical plane.

Can Aurora fight through a progressively nightmarish landscape to wake Leela? And if Leela wakes, will she recognize Aurora as the one who saved her? As the one Leela said she loved? Their dream-relationship might not be real, but if there is any possibility of making her dreams come true, Aurora has to try.

About the Author:
Serena J. Bishop is a daydreamer who comes from a long line of storytellers. She had been writing technically for over a decade when she decided to give life to the fantasies she played out in her head when she was stuck in traffic or couldn’t sleep at night. When she’s not writing fiction or technical pieces she enjoys being a nerd (is a self-proclaimed expert with Buffy trivia), surprising others with her pop culture knowledge, dining out, or finding a new craft beer or wine she enjoys.

She has spent most of her life in Pennsylvania, but now resides in Maryland with her lovely wife and chihuahua.

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Abolish the Family! ‘Full Surrogacy Now’ as Queer Liberation | A Reading and Discussion with Sophie Lewis and Zachary Howe

Join us as we host Sophie Lewis for a reading & signing of her new book Full Surrogacy Now: Feminism Against Family.

Sophie Lewis is a writer, translator and feminist geographer living in Philadelphia. Her book Full Surrogacy Now: Feminism Against Family is published by Verso on May 7. It considers the political struggles of surrogates, arguing that an increase in their rights could result in challenging assumptions that children necessarily belong to those whose genetics they share. This, in turn, opens up space for taking collective responsibility for children and the radical transformation of notions of kinship. Donna Haraway has labelled it “the seriously radical cry for full gestational justice that I long for”, whilst McKenzie Wark says that it “brings us a vision of another life”. In addition to this, Lewis has translated works including Communism for Kids by Bini Adamczak (MIT, 2016) and A Brief History of Feminism by Antje Schupp (MIT, 2017). She is a member of the Out of the Woods collective, whose first book is to be published by Common Notions in 2019, an editor at Blind Field: A Journal of Cultural Inquiry, and a queer feminist committed to cyborg ecology and anti-fascism. Further writings, on subjects ranging from Donna Haraway to dating, have been published in The New York Times, Boston Review, Viewpoint Magazine, Signs, Dialogues in Human Geography, The Inquiry, Jacobin, The New Socialist, Logic, The London Review of Books and Salvage Quarterly.

Zach Howe is an editor, decorator, and archivist living in Philadelphia. He’s interested in all-faggot communism and everything else that increases people’s desire and capacity for mutual care. He has a background in labor organizing and writes poetry like Jenny Holzer flirting in a bathhouse.

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Book Release with Joe Ovelman & Elizabeth Coffey Williams

Join Joe and friend, Elizabeth, as they discuss Joe’s new book, On Grief, 2019. On Grief recounts events from the artist’s life in illustrated text and drawings, serving a soothing balm for loss. Also by Joe Ovelman: Pictures and Words, 2018, and Destination Wedding, 2018.

Elizabeth Coffey Williams is a Philadelphia-based textile artist, screen legend, horticulturist and LGBTQ Senior Advocate.
Joe Ovelman is a visual artist and author that lives and works in Philadelphia and NYC.

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