Check out this wonderful review by Amos Lassen for Mykola Dementiuk's brand new special edition book Times Square Queer: Tales of Bad Boys in the Big Apple!
Thanks, Amos ... and thank you, Mykola, for such a fantastic book!
Everyone has heard of Times Square and any of us have heard the stories of what used to go on there before it was cleaned up and “de-sexed”. Dementiuk provides stories about Times Square for all of us but I like to think that they really are for those who never knew the “old Times Square”. In the 1960’s it was all about sex, drugs, hustlers and prostitution with its seedy alleys and theatres. There are many that came of age there and probably even more that had their first sexual experience there and/or came out there as gay.
Seventeen stories comprise the volume and this is the first time that they appear in print. “Sixteen were published individually on the web as short ebooks; “Missy the Sissy” has never appeared anywhere before. Included are: “On the Prowl,” “Times Square Cutie,” “Eighteen Today.” “Trio At the Movies,” “Love for Sale” and a dozen others”. For me, however, as well written and moving the stories are, the most important thing this book does is give us Dementiuk’s introduction. Dementiuk is a powerful writer and he has come to be known as the “poet of Times Square”. He is also one of the most creative voices in LGBT literature and a former Lambda Literary Award winner. The introduction is personal and even if you do not know the author personally, you will feel that you do after reading what he has to say. That honest voice is a rarity in literature these days and is so very welcome. When Times Square was at its sexual height, it became a Mecca for gay men searching for quick sex. The times were hard but to feel better all one had to do was to make sure he had cash before venturing to the “financial district”, a term that has become synonymous with the places we go to pay for sex. This sex was impersonal and far from being perfect but it was instant and with no strings. Dementiuk has the ability to write some real gritty stories while maintaining his distance from the arena of activity. The personal becomes impersonal as we realize that we are not in Times Square as we read but rather we are looking at it.
I became a fan of the writer just a few years ago and I always look to see if something new is coming out. That “new” is Dementiuk’s gift to us so that we can never forget how it once was.