Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Off the Shelf: Drama Queers!

If you, like me, spent your teen years obsessing over getting into the next high school musical, you'll find a lot to identify with — and enjoy — in Drama Queers!

Author Frank Anthony Polito's fab follow up to his debut novel Band Fags!, Drama Queers! recounts in loving detail the trials and tribulations of, you guessed it, being a "drama queer".  Stuck in the "sorry little suburb" of Hazel Park, Michigan circa 1987, Polito's semi-autobiographical protagonist, Bradley James Dayton, yearns to be a star of stage and screen ... but first he has to graduate from "Hillbilly High".  Complicating matters is his reluctance to be an "openly gay actor", a situation not made any easier when the senior falls for a cute sophomore who also happens to be his chief rival for the lead in the next school play.  And that's just a hint of all the "drama" in this drama department.

Enriching Polito's first-person narrative is a steady stream of pop culture references familiar to anyone who grew up in the 80's, from Jane Seymour's Somewhere in Time monologue to the love theme from Ice Castles. Take it from a fellow member of the Class of '87, Drama Queers! is one "totally awesome" flashback you'll want to take.

UPDATE: Congratulations to Frank and Drama Queers!, winner of the Lambda Literary Foundation Award for "Best Gay Romance" of 2009!

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