Tag Archives: San Francisco

Art & Autobiography

Long Ago Tomorrow by

Dennis Cooper, Eileen Myles, and kari edwards at Niagra Falls, photo by Kevin Killian

I met kari edwards in Colorado, in Naropa, in the summer of 1999, a warm, summer afternoon, late enough so that the sun slanted into my eyes when I heard her call my name from afar, almost like putting your ear up to a conch shell, seemingly miles away. I had strayed rather far from the buildings of the school compound towards the river, and I saw kari make her way out of the sun towards me, parting the tall uncut brown grasses with her hands, perhaps not too gracefully but with enormous force and determination. It was nearly a Stanley meets Livingstone thing, we seemed so far from conventional civilization, or the urban in which I spend most of my time. I always come back to that first meeting, me standing in that field and she approaching me like Mrs. Moore in A Passage to India, or Cathy rushing headlong towards Heathcliff in the moor, or really in my head it’s more like the Kate Bush video of Wuthering Heights. Frances Blau was there too, trailing kari by six or seven yards, picking her way through the overgrown fields that are now, I think, practice fields for the University’s football team, rah rah rah. I’m not describing the actual plant life well but think of Christina writhing around on that grass in the Wyeth painting “Christina’s World.” More…

Art & Autobiography

The Diaries of Kevin Bentley by

Kevin Bentley circa 1978

In mid-July, 1977, after a violent confrontation with his father, young Kevin Bentley lit out for San Francisco, that famous territory that beckoned thousands of gay men seeking a place where they could be accepted and meet each other. Unlike many of his fellow travelers, he kept a detailed diary of his day-to-day experiences, which usually consisted of plenty of good, hot, dirty sex. In 2002, Green Candy Press released Wild Animals I Have Known, which contains Bentley’s journals from 1977 to 1996. The book is a sharp, incisive, fascinating, and very sexy chronicle of real life in San Francisco. Though his sexual experiences are at the forefront of the narrative, the book takes a dramatic turn in the early 1980′s when Bentley contracts HIV, along with many of his friends. Since he was an asymptomatic case, Bentley survived the decade, but eventually witnessed the deaths of many friends and two of his longtime partners. Today, Bentley lives in San Francisco with Paul, his partner of 15 years. He still enjoys his sex life, and is still writing about it. I called Bentley at home to talk about the construction of his diaries, his influences, and the unique pleasure of reading real stories of our gay lives.

Adam Baran: You started writing the diaries that became Wild Animals I Have Known in 1977, right?
Kevin Bentley: The book starts in ’77. I was keeping diaries full-time beginning in college. They’re good for going back and reminding myself of what I’d forgotten. There was a lot of sex in those. But I wasn’t a good enough writer then. More…