Since we are on the topic of Hazel Park, there is a fun book that came out this year by a locally-grown writer named Frank Anthony Polito called Band Fags. It's a coming-of-age story of a young ... band fag ... set in 1980's Hazel Park.
Frank was kind enough to send me an advance copy this spring and I read it and was going to write about it then, but the summer crap-fest started and I was distracted by my own ennui. But now Frank is coming to do a reading at the Barnes & Noble in Royal Oak so it's the perfect time to revisit the book!
As much as Band Fags is a gay coming-of-age story, it's also a true 80s slice-of-life story. Frank spares no detail - not one - in creating the 80s feel. He name-drops products and cultural artifacts like Andy Warhol name-drops celebrities in the Warhol Diaries.
For anyone familiar with the Detroit are there is the added bonus of a familiar setting - or familiar-ish, if you didn't spend a lot of time in "Hazeltucky." When he describes the intersection where the protagonist (I guess technically it's fiction) got dropped off by his friends or the gay bar they snuck off to on Woodward in Palmer Park ... you know exactly what he means.
Band Fags isn't coming-of-age in the Best Little Boy in the World vein, but it's sweet and cute and a fun read. And the author is very attractive so you may enjoy going to the reading just to scope him out. And you can listen to him tomorrow morning on Detroit Today to hear what he has to say about the book.
It's a Band Fag start to the weekend! How perfect!
Band Fags reading and book signing
Saturday, September 27 at Barnes & Noble in Royal Oak, 500 S. Main Street
Band Fags author Frank Anthony Polito on Detroit Today
Friday, September 26 on WDET, 101.9 FM
[PS - If you have not read The Best Little Boy in the World, I highly recommend checking it out. It was the seminal figuring-out-your-sexuality book for a generation, written pseudononymously by famous money man Andrew Tobias (who eventually "came out" as the author). Check out Edmund White's A Boy's Own Story too, another gay modern classic. And since I'm telling you what to read, check out Kevin Sessums excellent Mississippi Sissy too, a more serious contemporary growing-up-gay story.]