By Will Fellows
From huge towns to rural groups, homosexual males have lengthy been impassioned pioneers as keepers of tradition: rescuing and restoring decrepit constructions, revitalizing blighted neighborhoods. Will Fellows explores this actual and complicated measurement of homosexual men's lives via profiling early and modern preservationists from during the usa, highlighting contributions to the bigger tradition.
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Additional resources for A Passion to Preserve: Gay Men as Keepers of Culture
In restoring a degraded structure to its rightful form, the restorer’s design-mindedness exalts historical correctness, valuing tradition and continuity over innovation and change. “It’s quite a thrill to get a place that’s really been altered and get it back to what it was, . . the way it was meant to be,” says domophile Robert Barker. ”17 Houses and entire neighborhoods transformed by the artist’s taste: Considering the abundance of artists who are gay, it’s not surprising that places where artists have congregated have also been notable gathering places for gays.
And they would be great neighbors,” he said. Moving into a new place, he and his friends were known to say, “This apartment’s going to be great. ”14 Other than a few savvy landlords, most did not see gay men as a positive part of the urban mix. ” “Some things have changed in the past forty years,” observes gay writer Herbert Muschamp. “A pervert park! How quaint! Today, it almost goes without saying that the survival of cities like Philadelphia had already come to depend on the denizens of that pervert park, and many other pervert parks, on the contributions of people who, forty years ago, were meant to see themselves as socially undesirable.
Indeed, the ranks of domophiles and drama queens overlap substantially, as evidenced by the many gays who are active in the preservation of historic theaters. 13 Though at first it may seem to be at odds with the impulse to preserve, a romantic fascination with decay, even destruction, is closely related to an enchantment with restoration. Indeed, without a period of neglect, decline, and perhaps the threat of destruction, the thrilling work of redemption is not possible. 14 Tyler Cassity was captivated—spoken to, even—by the romantic ruins of a sixty-two-acre cemetery in Hollywood, California, the resting place of Rudolph Valentino.