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12/04/2009

Stores that kindled a generation's passions can't keep up with Generation Kindle

by Jeremy Hooper

L-RThe gay bookstore page-bath continues:

Lambda Rising, an LGBT bookstore chain that opened in 1974, is preparing to close its stores in Washington, D.C., and Rehoboth Beach, Del.
Lambda Rising bookstores to close [DC Agenda]

It's an insanely tough world for independent bookstores in general. Hell, it's a tough go for anything that's printed on dead trees. But for the LGBT community, these sorts of closings take on a whole other wallop. For these stores are not just retailers. They are support centers. They are performance spaces. They are safe havens. And they are disappearing.

Sad.

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Your thoughts

Kind of sad but not wholly unexpected. The store in DC was the first "gay place" I ever went to many years ago. Amusing to think back on how petrified I was too give that I was deep in the closet at the time. :-)

Posted by: John | Dec 4, 2009 8:43:29 PM

We in LA lost Different Light not long ago. It is, indeed, the end of an era.

Posted by: Em | Dec 4, 2009 9:11:56 PM

Here in NY, we lost Oscar Wilde earlier this year.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Dec 4, 2009 9:41:51 PM

I know. It breaks my heart. A Different Light in West Hollywood, CA closed in April this year. I've had so many great times and memories from patronizing that store.

I met and visited with the late great E. Lynn Harris there. I had my own fledgling writing showcased at a reading and that's where I could find fair trade for my used books I wanted to pass on.
Us straight folks get a lot from such bookstores too. And I agree that these places that specialize in gay/lesbian literature are more. They are bookstores that are special havens and performance spaces that are still very much needed.

Posted by: Regan DuCasse | Dec 5, 2009 2:23:50 AM

Thanks, Deacon. You served the DC community more than you know.

Posted by: Dale S | Dec 5, 2009 9:17:51 AM

Consider opening gay coffee shops instead. Even people with Kindles need somewhere to sit.

Posted by: Julian Morrison | Dec 6, 2009 3:47:52 AM

Aren't all of the more upscale (five dollar a cup) coffee shops mostly gay already! It is truly sad that we are losing so many culture centric gathering places in this economic down turn. Back in the late nineties, so many of the original gay establishments in the Castro closed their doors. The biggest reason then was that their 20 and 30 year leases (entered into in the Seventies) were up for renegotiation. And to sign new leases required (in many cases) agreeing to fork over as much as 10 times their old rent on the space.

There was the Elephant Walk (bar) at the corner of 18th and Castro that closed because their new lease would have skyrocketed to well over $40k a month. Back in the 90's in San Francisco for a space that was no more than 1200 square feet, that was quite exorbitant. Pretty soon, we may only have bars left as meeting / socializing venues.

The religious, while they have lost some of their gathering places recently as well, do have a model for building a community that is relatively robust. Granted, they have the hellfire and damnation angle working for them to keep the minions in line as well. But they do have a place for the sheepish hordes to huddle several times a month; to get their supremacist egos stroked, and their "would be" stingy asses kicked sufficiently to ensure that they keep filling the coffers. That does tend to unify them as a pretty effective, caustic, destroy-everything-they-choose-to-target-their-path-toward blob.

Maybe we need churches? After all, they are mostly just infomercials for their "products" (books, tapes, lectures, idolatrous figurines, and the like). And, taking a lesson from the religiots, we should purchase the land upon which the edifice sits so that we aren't driven out by rent increases.

Posted by: Dick Mills | Dec 6, 2009 5:35:44 PM

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