Through the eyes of publishing icon Michael Denneny, this cultural autobiography traces the evolution of the US’s queer community in the three decades post-Stonewall.
The Stonewall Riots of 1969 and the AIDS crisis of the 1980s have been captured in minute detail, and rightly memorialized in books, on tv, and in film as pivotal and powerful moments in queer history. Yet what about the moments in between–the tumultuous decade post-Stonewall when the queer community’s vitality and creativity exploded across the country, even as the AIDS crisis emerged?
Michael Denneny was there for it all. As a founder and editor of the wildly influential magazine Christopher Street and later as the first openly gay editor at a major publishing house, Denneny critically shaped publishing around gay subjects in the 1970s and beyond. At St. Martin’s Press, he acquired a slew of landmark titles by gay authors–many for his groundbreaking Stonewall Inn Editions–propelling queer voices into the mainstream cultural conversation. On Christopher Street is Denneny’s time machine, going back to that heady period to lay out the unfolding geographies and storylines of gay lives and capturing the raw immediacy of his and his contemporaries’ daily lives as gay people in America. Through forty-one micro-chapters, he uses his journal writings, articles, interviews, and more from the 1970s and ’80s to illuminate the twists and turns of a period of incomparable cultural ferment.
One of the few surviving voices of his generation, Denneny transports us back in time to share those vibrant in-between moments in gay lives–the joy, sorrow, ecstasy, and energy–across three decades of queer history.