17 December 2009

Tidbits and some WHISPERS OF A SAVAGE SORT ...

Hello:

When I first learned that the LGBT bookstore Lambda Rising, my "home away from home" when I lived in DC during the 1980s and always merited a visit each time I visited DC ever since, was closing, I actually cried. That place had truly meant so much to me, providing "voices" I wouldn't have "heard" otherwise in all their books I'd consumed so hungrily as a young deaf gay man, so I was glad to have given a reading there last month. I suppose it's a sign of progress when LGBT titles such as my novel MEN WITH THEIR HANDS can be easily had at bn.com and Amazon. Of course, I'd prefer that you support independent bookstores whenever possible!

It might interest you to read this thoughtful--and very first--review of my play collection WHISPERS OF A SAVAGE SORT AND OTHER PLAYS at Wordgathering, a disability-oriented web site that features poetry and book reviews.

Later this month, when I have time, I will collate *all* the reviews of my book ASSEMBLY REQUIRED: NOTES FROM A DEAF GAY LIFE (currently available only from RID.org) and update my web site. They are among truly the best raves of my career; that the book is now nominated for a Lambda Literary Award is a nice bonus. (Winners will be announced in late May.)

These days I'm in the middle of going through the poems in my next book MUTE (which A Midsummer Night's Press will bring out in April 2010) and writing the first draft of a new novel. My life may be a bit quiet at the moment, but that's totally fine by me. 2009 was a head-spinning year: three new books, three world premiere productions, and lots of readings and reviews. And of course, I have many more irons in the fire for 2010, so we'll see what transpires in the new year!

May everyone have a most Happy Holiday season!

*jingles bells*

Raymond

03 December 2009

On ordering MEN WITH THEIR HANDS on Amazon ...

Hey ...

A few of you have asked me about why it seems so hard to find my new deaf gay novel on Amazon.

Simply put, Suspect Thoughts Press had planned to publish it, and that listing hasn't been removed from Amazon's database. (No hard feelings between Suspect Thoughts Press and me; they just didn't have the money to publish it, which was why I went with a new publisher.) Now that Rebel Satori Press (under their Queer Mojo imprint) is publishing the book, you'll need to search Amazon using the ISBN number for my new novel (978-1-60864-024-9). The correct edition will pop up. Or you can click on this link and order a copy! The Amazon situation should be resolved in a few days, so I thank you for your patience.

Better yet, save a few bucks by ordering it directly from Rebel Satori! (The sale price is in effect until 12/31/09.)

For more information about the book, scroll down to the post below. :-)

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Hugs,

Raymond

24 November 2009

My first novel MEN WITH THEIR HANDS ... is coming out.



The book is coming out ... NEXT week! Okay, okay--what's it about? I'll quote my publisher on this one:

Sometimes your own family isn't enough.

"Growing up different is never easy, but Michael, a deaf young man from a small town, knows that he must find his true family beyond his biological one. He struggles and fails to find others of his kind until he attends college in New York City.

There, we meet a variety of people from a deaf gay family of sorts: Eddie, an older accountant aching for love; Lee, an effeminate dishwasher with a pronounced weakness for red-haired men; Vince, a charismatic dancer who lives intensely no matter the state of his health; Neil, a brooding woodcarver who becomes a deaf woman’s obsession; Stan, a lanky stock boy at the A&P on Christopher Street; Ted, a hard-of-hearing college student with ambivalent feelings about the deaf community; and Rex, an ASL interpreter who avoids his own emotions during the early days of the AIDS epidemic.

It is through these people that Michael, no longer a smalltown boy, begins to create a new family of his own. Taking place from 1978 to 2003, his story will open your eyes and heart to what it means to be different in an indifferent world."

Over 20 years in the making, the novel was also a first-place grant recipient from the Arch and Bruce Brown Foundation for Full-Length Fiction 2003. Since 1991, fourteen of its chapters have appeared in various journals and anthologies such as BLOOM and Men on Men 4: Best New Gay Fiction. One of its chapters, "Interpretations," was chosen as one of the Best Gay Stories 2008 (Lethe Press). Two of its chapters were also adapted and performed as stage monologues.

The novel will be available from Rebel Satori Press via their QueerMojo imprint. A video clip in which I talk about the book will be posted sometime in December 2009, and of course, I will give a bunch of readings around the country in April 2010. Stay tuned!

While you could order the book from Amazon, chances are very good that you'll get it much quicker via my publisher's web site HERE.

I will add a PDF sampler and a video clip soon, but if you can't wait to read this book, please order a copy for yourself and let me know what you think!

Thanks, and have a most wonderful Thanksgiving!

29 October 2009

Quick newsflash: I NEVER SLEPT WITH HELEN KELLER postponed!

Hello:

Deaf Blender Theatre has decided to postpone its production of my play I NEVER SLEPT WITH HELEN KELLER to the spring of 2010. We want to make our show even better! Go to deafblender.org for information about your tickets (if you'd ordered them already).

Once the spring dates are confirmed, I'll let everyone know! We're still excited about the show. Thanks for your understanding.

Now I must focus on the rewrites for my novel MEN WITH THEIR HANDS and the preparations for my big book tour next week. Hope to see some of you at my readings!

Hugs,

Raymond

27 October 2009

My magical (BOOKS!) mystery tour!

Just a quick note to repeat what I've been sending out to friends everywhere. (I have more exciting news up my sleeve, which I will share later on.)

I will be giving readings from my books ASSEMBLY REQUIRED: NOTES FROM A DEAF GAY LIFE (RID Press) and EYES OF DESIRE 2: A DEAF GLBT READER (Handtype Press). All events will be sign- and voice-interpreted for everyone!

Wednesday November 4th, 2009
6:30 p.m.
Lambda Rising Bookstore
1625 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 462-6969
www.lambdarising.com

Sunday, November 8th, 2009
7:00 p.m.
Bluestockings
172 Allen Street
New York, NY 10002
(212) 777-6028
www.bluestockings.com

Monday, November 9th, 2009
7:00 p.m.
The College of New Jersey
Mildred & Ernest E. Mayo Concert Hall
2000 Pennington Road
Ewing, NJ 08628-0718

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009
7:00 p.m.
Queer Voices: A GLBT Reading Series
Writers: James Cihlar and Raymond Luczak
Hamline University
Klas Center, Kay Fredericks Ballroom
1535 Taylor Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55104
www.intermediaarts.org

Hope to see you there. Thank you so much!

21 September 2009

And another clip about my new book WHISPERS OF A SAVAGE SORT ...

This is the other clip I'd completed earlier today. In it, I talk about the four full-length plays in my collection WHISPERS OF A SAVAGE SORT AND OTHER PLAYS ABOUT THE DEAF AMERICAN EXPERIENCE, which Gallaudet University Press brought out recently. The clip is silent but subtitled in English for those who don't know American Sign Language (ASL). Enjoy!

video

A new clip about being a Deaf playwright ...

Today I finally completed two short clips to celebrate the publication of my new collection WHISPERS OF A SAVAGE SORT AND OTHER PLAYS ABOUT THE DEAF AMERICAN EXPERIENCE (Gallaudet University Press). The first one below is about how I got into Deaf theater. (It's silent but subtitled in English in case you don't know American Sign Language.)

video

04 September 2009

What do you mean, I NEVER SLEPT WITH HELEN KELLER?


WHAT IF A STATUE KNEW YOUR SECRETS?

Ah yes, rumors are indeed true! Rehearsals for my next play I Never Slept with Helen Keller have already begun. Albert Walla directs Galinda K. Goss-Kuehn and Pamela Wright Meinhardt, so I'm very excited about the show finally happening. (About time!) Of course, Andrew J. Oehrlein is the producer. Deanna Fischer and Tarra Grammenos will voice Galinda and Pamela in this show.

Performances run from November 12 through November 22. And yes, Virginia, there's such a thing called ordering your tickets online. Check out the Deaf Blender Theatre's web site and reserve your tickets! I'll talk a bit more about the show in the weeks ahead, but I did want to start a very *true* rumor about my play right here, right now!

What?!? Summer's over already?

Oh, gee.

The summer of 2009 has proven to be a strange one in recent memory; I've never had this much theater injected into my veins.

My Fringe Festival play That Chair was My Wife came and went. My next play I Never Slept with Helen Keller has already started rehearsals, and audition notices for my 18th play, The Darkest Room in the House, have been posted, which opens on March 12, 2010. (Yep, that one is a hearing-only play directed by a hearing director and produced by a hearing producer; the show has nothing to do with deafness or disability. I'm very excited about this production because it means that I've proven that I don't have to write all the time about Deaf and/or GLBT issues in order to get produced. And the director Brian Columbus did a truly fine job with his show The William Williams Effect at this year's Minnesota Fringe Festival, so I'm very pleased that he's running the show. And just as delightful is the producer Michelle Storm, who's frighteningly organized. I feel in such good hands with these two people and look forward to working with them. Of course, I will babble about the show later on.)

Gallaudet University Press just informed me that copies of my ninth book, Whispers of a Savage Sort and Other Plays about the Deaf American Experience, have arrived at their offices. I'm supposed to get my copies real soon. Can't wait! (Of course, I will create a book trailer for it and post it online soon. I know I've promised to do this before, but having the actual book in hand is a great impetus!)

A friend alerted me to this link in which a bookstore owner helped a Deaf lesbian customer who wanted to buy a book of mine. I'm very flattered that *any* bookstore owner would know my name, simply because in America, approximately 50,000 titles are published every year. That I'm able to stand out a bit in any bookstore is good news indeed. This is yet another reason why it's so important to support independent bookstores because that's where little folks like me have a chance to shine a bit (and sell a few copies)!

I've said this before, but please do check out my new Thursday column "Which Reminds Me" over at CLERC SCAR. What am I writing about every Thursday? As my editor John Lee Clark says, "Readers are invited to suggest a thing, person, place, event, or concept for Raymond Luczak to write about. You can suggest anything up to three words and send it to editor@clercscar.com and Raymond will pick one to respond to each week." (Yes, the web site has archived my columns, so please sign up and check out the latest creative efforts by the Deaf and signing communities all over the country!) I think you will enjoy the diversity of opinion and creative work from "out there."

So what am I working on next? A new ten-minute play, and then I need to resume working on that little magnum opus of mine. Have a great Labor Day weekend, all!

01 August 2009

Oh, gee! A *lovely* rave for my new play THAT CHAIR WAS MY WIFE!

Now that my new show's opened, I was starting to feel in a bit of a slump ... until I read this amazing review. (Suddenly: WOW!) Please check out what he has to say RIGHT HERE, so if you're close to the Twin Cities (as in Minneapolis or St. Paul), please come see the show! There are only FOUR performances left.

Wanna order your tickets? Go to the Fringe Festival's order page for the show.

Thanks, and I hope to see more of you there!

Lateh, dahlinks!

21 July 2009

Hey! I got a new column!

Before I forget again, please check out my new Thursday column "Which Reminds Me" over at CLERC SCAR. What am I writing about every Thursday? As my editor says, "Readers are invited to suggest a thing, person, place, event, or concept for Raymond Luczak to write about. You can suggest anything up to three words and send it to editor@clercscar.com and Raymond will pick one to respond to each week." So far, I've covered Paris, blueberries, Sean Penn, and peak experiences (that's coming up on Thursday). (Yes, the web site has my columns archived, so please sign up and check out the latest creative efforts by the Deaf and signing communities all over the country!) I think you will enjoy the diversity of opinion and creative work from "out there."

15 July 2009

Did I just "hear" a rumor? WHISPERS OF A SAVAGE SORT AND OTHER PLAYS ABOUT THE DEAF AMERICAN EXPERIENCE ...

FINALLY. I am now able to post the cover of my next book Whispers of a Savage Sort and Other Plays about the Deaf American Experience, which Gallaudet University Press (GUP) will bring out by early September. I'm very grateful to Orkid Sassouni for her wonderful photographic contributions to the cover (and the back). Check out her web site orkidsfotography.com!


Instead of trying to explain what this book is about, I'll quote what the kind GUP folks have written about it (I'm feeling a tad tired at this late hour):

“Oh, why can’t the deaf community be more like a family?” is the plaint of a character in Raymond Luczak’s title play, Whispers of a Savage Sort. It also aptly characterizes the main thread that runs through the remarkable collection of work offered here. Luczak presents a progression of plays that depict Deaf people in situations well known by the community’s members. Written to be signing-driven, each play features Deaf characters from various strata of Deaf society and centers on different yet equally familiar issues.

Snooty brings to life the difficulties of surviving the social pecking order in a deaf program at a hearing school. The main character’s only escape is a rich fantasy life in which he is in control. Doogle confronts its characters with the intrusion of technological communication devices parallel to the virtually forced intimacy in a Deaf residential high school. Brought into stark focus by the specter of AIDS, Love in My Veins explores how trust, betrayal, and, ultimately, forgiveness can transform a Deaf couple’s love for each other. The collection’s eponymous Whispers of a Savage Sort reveals the relentless damage that rumor and innuendo can do to a diverse group of Deaf individuals. The emotions, identities, and consequences created by Luczak in these dramas illuminate the Deaf American community in fascinating detail rarely seen in any medium today."

The book's ISBN-13 number is 978-1563684203. Will I have an online trailer for this collection? Of course! I hope to post it sometime next week or early next month. (I'll post it on YouTube, Facebook, and here, so look out for it! And no, I don't tweet on Twitter. I have more than enough distractions in my life.) And one last thing ...


The actor Christopher Smith is a renowned performer from Chicago, so I'm very happy to have him come here and do the show for us. He previously appeared in my play This some years ago; before that, he was always--and still is--one of my favorite people ever since we met in 1984. And of course, I'm delighted to have the lovely Michael La Rocca on board to voice Christopher's character who is a furniture salesman who develops a very unhealthy obsession with chairs ... need I say more? Tickets are now on sale at the Minnesota Fringe Festival's web site! YAYYYY. And please do check out Deaf Blender Theatre as well!

07 July 2009

Happy Birthday, Rocky!

Hello all:

While Rocky tries his best to act like an old man at the tender age of three today, I was told that he's made his first appearance on YouTube! At this link, look for him at the 5:47 mark and after. The clip is a long montage of different things and people who made this year's Chicago Pride Fest such a blast! (Yes, I was wearing a T-shirt that said: INTELLIGENT HOMO SEXUAL, a visual takeoff on Tony Kushner's latest title THE INTELLIGENT HOMOSEXUAL'S GUIDE TO CAPITALISM AND SOCIALISM WITH A KEY TO THE SCRIPTURES. Quite a few people smiled when they saw the shirt. I felt I had to wear it that day because it was my own quiet way of saying, "Hey, we're not deaf and dumb!" And of course, it's a most appropriate thing to wear if you're autographing Deaf GLBT books on a hot summer day.)

A number of friends at the Rainbow Alliance of the Deaf conference also snapped quite a few pics of Rocky so I'm waiting for them to email me those. :) I want to thank everybody for making my stay in Chicago so incredibly enjoyable (and exhausting in a good way). I'm definitely interested in going to RAD 2011 in Denver!

I have lots more exciting news coming up soon. Just need to confirm a few details first; be prepared for an avalanche soon. Having an enjoyable summer so far. Ta-da!

Hugs,

Raymond

05 June 2009

A new show, a new novel ....

I've been overwhelmed with a lot of projects over the last few months, but a few of them have come to fruition.

One involved the rewrites for my new show That Chair was My Wife. I thought you'd be interested in checking out the new logo for the show, which Deaf Blender Theater will get sometime next week. (Yayyy!)


What's the show about? A furniture salesman struggles in his extremely unhealthy obsession with chairs. This play explores a few themes: sexual addiction, power, and the all-consuming need to connect. I was inspired when an actor friend who, one day at breakfast, slid into a chair opposite me and jokingly cooed, "Oooh, this chair makes me feel so sexy!" News reports of people arrested for having sex with objects (a patio table, a bicycle, etc.) published over the years indicate that the show's premise hadn't been too far removed from reality. And yes, it's got its share of funny moments. Of course, if you want to check out the full postcard, please check out my home page here. Tickets will go on sale on July 1st.

On June 3rd, I celebrated the 25th anniversary of my high school graduation by talking with a few of my former classmates on Facebook. That was really nice.

When I found myself unable to get started on the third--and final--section of my huge novel (the one I'd started last November), I decided to try my hand at writing a brand-new short story as a warmup exercise. Well, five weeks later, that short story became quite a detour into a novel all its own. I'm very happy that I finished its first draft (about 70K words) two days ago. It's based entirely in the city of Minneapolis, so I will need to do a bit of historical research for its subsequent drafts. While I won't give away its title, I'll share its opening gambit: "One can feel lonely just long enough to feel the fatal punch of a single glance. On January 18, 1967, this is exactly what happened."

Over the next few weeks I will focus on this novel's research and rewrites. Hopefully by then I'll feel more able to finish that other novel.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

27 April 2009

Rocky on those infamous steps ...




When one of my friends heard that I was going to take my dog Rocky to Philadelphia, he immediately suggested that I take him to those "Rocky steps" at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. I groaned at the idea. (For the record, I wasn't the one who named my dog "Rocky." He was already Rocky when I got him.) In any case, a dear friend (you know who you are, T!) came down from New York to catch my reading in Philadelphia so before we headed over to the library, he snapped a few lovely shots of Rocky and moi. Here's two from him, and one of the statue that I took. Please enjoy!

26 April 2009

Wow! EYES OF DESIRE 2: A DEAF GLBT READER scores a rave!



It's always gratifying when book critics take a note of your work even if it's 18 months after its publication. Please check out the writeup about the book over at Rainbow Reviews.

25 April 2009

Rocky Poses for His First Professional Photographer ...

Phillip Ward, one of my favorite photographers, has taken a nice one of Rocky and me at his apartment in New York. (Of course, I've tweaked it in Photoshop for a more distinctive look. Phillip, I hope you didn't mind!)


Even though he'd been around the country with me before, it was quite a different experience for him to walk all over the cities of Washington, Philadelphia, and New York, all within the space of one week! I had a blast introducing him to some of my friends in all three cities, and he got along with everyone just fine. :-)

And yes, I will post more pictures of Rocky later on. Have a great weekend, all!

16 April 2009

There's a big piece on moi in PHILADELPHIA GAY NEWS!

Hello gang:

*gulps*

Please click on this link PHILADELPHIA GAY NEWS, and scroll down a little bit to the right column where there's a "print edition" that's viewable online. Go to page 19 and go from there! OMG. This is the biggest write-up on yours truly in years!

I talk about Deaf LGBT issues, cochlear implants, and the nature of ASL among other things. ;-)

Toodles!

Raymond

P.S. Some people have said that they can't seem to find the issue I'm talking about. Look in the archives for the week of April 17-23, 2009. (Thanks!)

14 April 2009

OMG! My hearing service dog's lost a lot of weight!

Today I took Rocky to his groomer's for the first time in many months, simply because I had wanted him to keep his coat thick and warm for winter. Well, spring's indeed arrived, so it was time for him to shed his woolly mammoth look. The transformation was so shocking that when I emailed this picture of him to one of my friends, he said: "I don't recognize that dog. What have you done to Rocky? Where is he?"


I'm sure that some of you have paid close attention to the brouhaha over how Amazon.com had "de-ranked" books by GLBT writers this past weekend, so I decided to check whether my books were ranked at all. I was very pleased to see that EYES OF DESIRE 2: A DEAF GLBT READER was still ranked, along with ... what? My novel MEN WITH THEIR HANDS now has its own ISBN number and its publication date of October 2009 listed there. Yayyy! Some folks have asked me when ASSEMBLY REQUIRED: NOTES FROM A DEAF GAY LIFE would be available on Amazon. I'm not even sure when, but for the time being, please support RID Press directly at this link here and get your copy sooner than later! (Thanks.)

In the meantime, I'm getting psyched and ready for my week-long trip back to the East Coast. It'll be so great to catch up with friends in Philadelphia, DC, and New York. I know that I may be a little sad knowing that I won't be seeing Elsa again, but at the same time, I know I'll get to introduce Rocky to all my friends! (And yes, Tom and Jonathan have their own dear miniature daschund named Wendy. I can't wait to meet her!)

13 April 2009

Are you subtitled? I sure am.

Hello:

In my previous blog entry, I apologized for the lack of subtitles for the clip that Signcasts.com had done with me. I decided to rectify that situation. Enjoy!

Thanks for your patience.

Raymond

video

12 April 2009

Who said that Deaf people aren't newsy? I sure am!

Hello gang!

I've been far too busy lately, but I wanted to give y'all a quick summary of what mischief I've been up to lately.

DEAF BLENDER THEATRE
My show UN: 2 SHORT PLAYS ABOUT LOVE was a huge success. Signcasts has uploaded two videos of the director Evonne Bilotta-Burke and me talking about Deaf Blender Theatre. Both videos are unfortunately not subtitled, but if you do happen to know ASL (or just wanna see what we look like), please check out both videos at Signcasts.com!

Andrew J. Oehrlein is producing and directing Deaf Blender Theater's next show, D. L. Coburn's THE GIN GAME, featuring Douglas Bahl and Leslie Yount. The show runs from April 23 to April 25. Please go to Deaf Blender's web site for ticket information (and yes, you can actually order tickets online!). How 21st Century.

Deaf Blender Theatre won a slot to present my new play THAT CHAIR WAS MY WIFE as part of the Minnesota Fringe Festival, which opens on Thursday July 30th. Tickets will go on sale on July 1st at www.fringefestival.org, so please come see us! In the meantime, more information about the show will be posted in a month or so. It should make for an exciting summer!


WHISPERS OF A SAVAGE SORT: AND OTHER PLAYS ABOUT THE DEAF AMERICAN EXPERIENCE
You may recall reading about my next book PLAYING IT BY EYE: STAGE PLAYS ABOUT THE DEAF AMERICAN EXPERIENCE earlier on this blog. Well, the book is still on track to be published in September 2009; however, Gallaudet University Press has decided to change its title to WHISPERS OF A SAVAGE SORT: AND OTHER PLAYS ABOUT THE DEAF AMERICAN EXPERIENCE. Its cover is being finalized for the Fall 2009 catalog, so once it's confirmed, I will post it on here with more juicy details. I'm really looking forward to its publication!


Reviews for ASSEMBLY REQUIRED: NOTES FROM A DEAF GAY LIFE
I scored one of the best reviews of my career recently. Please read Robb C. Sewell's review of my newest book here. One other review can be found here (by Amos Lassen); I've been told that Richard Labonte and Kathi Wolfe will have their reviews of the book posted soon. I'll link them from here when they're available. And of course, you're more than welcome to purchase your own copy of the book at this link.


That infamous episode of LAW & ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENT ...
You know how urban legends and rumors propagate all over the Internet? I had to laugh when I saw an email forwarded from friends of friends of . . . oh, gee. The email said that there was going to be a brand-new episode of LAW & ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENT. The problem? The email said it would air on Tuesday, April 3rd, which it did in 2007. This year it fell on a Friday, but I've been told by a few people that it's supposed to air on Tuesday, April 14th on the USA Network. If so, please doublecheck your local listings and see the show if you haven't done so already! I still find it hard to believe that more than two years have passed since I shot my big scene with Deanne Bray. And yes, as much as I'd enjoyed being on the show, I'm happily retired from acting! (Below is a snap of my most shamelessly notorious moment on national television.)



DEAF AMERICAN POETRY
I want to congratulate my friend John Lee Clark on the publication of his brand-new book DEAF AMERICAN POETRY. Ever since I met him in August 2001, he'd always talked about the need for an anthology featuring the work of Deaf poets, and by golly, he's finally pulled it off after so many years of researching and assembling what I'm sure will be a fine collection. I haven't seen the actual book itself, but I know that I have six poems in it ("The Crucifixion," "Spelling Bee 1978," "Learning to Speak I," etc.). I can't wait to read the work of other Deaf poets because that's what we need more of these days. Yes, Deaf poetry still matters. So get your own copy!


LAMBDA BOOK REPORT
Before I forget again, I believe that LAMBDA BOOK REPORT, a national quarterly that focuses on LGBT books and authors (or as they say, "the country’s most established review of contemporary LGBT literature"), will run an interview with yours truly later this month. I don't remember what I told the reporter last November, so guess I'll have to refresh my memory by picking up a copy when it comes out. ;-) At least I scored a mention in John Morgan Wilson's "Book Buzz" column for the month of April and Jameson Currier's "Queertype" blog. (Use the Web browser's find function to search for my last name "Luczak" if you check either link!)


Philadelphia Freedom? You bet!
On Saturday April 18th, I will give a rare reading from my book ST. MICHAEL'S FALL and my first public talk about ASSEMBLY REQUIRED as part of the Free Library Festival in Philadelphia. Please come on up and say hello if you're nearby. I promise not to bite, especially if you have a book for me to autograph. (Hint, hint.)


Ah, spring's definitely here! Yayyy.
I was most pleased when SOUTHWEST JOURNAL, a local neighborhood newspaper here in Minneapolis, chose my poem "Winter's Ex-Girlfriend" as part of their Spring Poetry section. To help celebrate spring's arrival, please read the first poem at this link. Enjoy welcoming spring! We've all earned it.


Okay. Anything else?
So yeah, what other mischief am I up to these days? WRITING, since I don't have any book contract after my first novel MEN WITH THEIR HANDS, which is to appear in October 2009. You'll "hear" more about the fruits of my labors when I nab book contracts for 'em. Which I hope will be soon.

Sorry if this blog entry feels like an April downpour, but this is what happens when you're busy and forget to inform the world what mischief you've been up to lately. *glances down at my dog resting his head on his front paws* Right, Rocky? Let's go for a walk around the neighborhood! It is spring.

Toodles, everyone!

Raymond

24 February 2009

OMG! I've got a new video clip about my new book!

As promised, here's my new clip about my new book Assembly Required: Notes from a Deaf Gay Life! Please enjoy.

video

Thanks!

No one gives you a manual on how to be a Deaf gay man.



Yes, my dear friends, my eighth book Assembly Required: Notes from a Deaf Gay Life is coming out in a few days! I've waited almost twenty years for this book to see the light of day, so I'm very, very happy that it'll be in my hands by early next week.

RID Press will start promoting this book next week and on, so you can say you "heard" it here first! ;-) Heck, if you're as excited as I am, please do yourself a small favor. Order it now! RID Press won't be using Amazon for a while yet, which is why I encourage all to order directly from the publisher for prompt service.

Here's the publisher's description of the book:

"Raymond Luczak shares stories from his days growing up as a deaf gay man in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and learning signs in secret, trying to follow the music on the radio in order to be cool like his hearing classmates, and feeling clueless whenever gay cultural icons like the Village People, Queen, and Bette Midler were promoted in his small hometown. After he graduated from high school and enrolled at Gallaudet University, the world’s only university for Deaf people, he discovered gay literature and came out soon after. He eventually got involved with Deaf theater collaborators, educators, and sign language interpreters, from which his worldview is substantially reshaped on issues of identity, literacy, technology, and family.

Assembly Required: Notes from a Deaf Gay Life offers a rare in-depth glimpse into what it means to be a Deaf gay man who lives between the Deaf and hearing worlds."

Chapter titles include "Little Winks Everywhere," "The Night the Bee Gees Changed My Life," "Daggers in Our Hands," "My Technological Evolution as a Deaf Person," and "Lousy Show with Great Production Values." Most of the chapters in the book were published as essays in various periodicals over the last two decades. The book was actually inspired by my essay "Notes of a Deaf Gay Writer," which first appeared in the Christopher Street magazine in December 1990. That piece was my first national appearance as a Deaf gay writer, and eventually led to my editing Eyes of Desire: A Deaf Gay & Lesbian Reader a few years later.

Anyway, I will upload a clip about the book to YouTube later this week. (I'll announce the direct link to the video in this blog when I do.) But for now, you can download a PDF excerpt from the book right here and think of it as a tasty appetizer!

God, it's great to be back with a brand-new book! :-) Woo-hoo!

*hands shaking up in the air*

UN-notes on UN: 2 SHORT PLAYS ABOUT LOVE

As is the case with my life at times, a lot can happen all at once. Happily, it's all good. (More on that soon in my next blog entry.)

For now, you should be aware that tickets are going fast in the last week's run of UN: 2 SHORT PLAYS ABOUT LOVE, and so far everyone have told me how much they love the plays and how excited they are to see Deaf theater return to the Twin Cities. I couldn't be more pleased! (Wanna go see the show? Order tickets here! Better yet, join us for the UNvalentine Cast Party on Saturday the 28th!) I have been so lucky to have worked with the wonderful Evonne Bilotta-Burke as director (I'd work with her again in a heartbeat!) and the fabulous Erin McGovern, and of course, the delightful Andrew Oehrlein. The voice actors James Gardner and Shelly Lehner were great as were JoAnn Schinderle and Jon Bigelow.

Now, I'd like to share the longer version of my "UN-notes" that appeared on the back of the show's program. We couldn't fit everything that we needed to fit in, so my playwright's notes were trimmed in half to fit:

Un-Notes on UN: 2 SHORT PLAYS ABOUT LOVE
by Raymond Luczak

Love is a hurricane that changes everyone’s lives once they experience it. How they deal with it says so much about them as human beings.

When the producer Andrew Oehrlein asked me for a script for his new theater company last spring, I’d undergone a devastating breakup some months before, so love⎯or, rather, the loss of it⎯was foremost in my mind. I knew I didn’t want to write an autobiographical play, but what? There’s an old trick that some dramatists use to make their plays more exciting⎯have two people very different from each other who struggle over the same thing in question⎯so I thought it’d be interesting to pit a Deaf murder suspect not care whether he was found guilty against a hearing lawyer with a perfect winning track record who did not want to lose. Murder and DNA test results, okay. But unconditional love? Hmm. Did it have truly a place in our world?

Sometimes I write in order to discover how I feel about something. Talking with a friend about something is one thing, but writing in order to find out how I truly feel about that same something becomes an act of self-confrontation. I didn’t realize how I’d felt about the expectations that one might have about a long-term relationship until I finished the first draft of UNCONDITIONAL MURDER in June 2008. Even though what the characters in that play had nothing to do with my breakup, I zeroed in on what had gone wrong.

Love will always endure, but only if we let it grow on its own terms. We cannot shoehorn love into a shoe that doesn’t fit. Love can be large as an elephant or tiny as a hummingbird. It’s not the law or blood that matters, but whether we are capable of loving anyone does.

Deaf friends have often told me that when the Deaf community gets together, it often feels like a family reunion even if they are not related by marriage or biology.

Fairy tales have always fascinated me not because of what they say but because of what they never say. I don’t mean to say that I don’t believe in those “happily ever after” endings, but I thought it would be fun to offer a twist on the Cinderella story. Did Cinderella and Prince Charming ever have children? None of the fairy tales say. But I just didn’t know where to go with the idea until I saw the intense debate on Proposition 8 in California rage on last summer.

Is UNHAPPILY EVER AFTER about a Deaf royal couple? No, not at all. They just happen to sign. What they go through has nothing to do with their ears.

In this world, which seems so filled with hatred and misunderstanding, I find that one mustn’t ever diminish one’s own capacity to love even if it may not always be traditional. There isn’t enough compassion to go around, so please be tender with each other regardless of how different we seem. The world’s mean enough already.

Thanks again to everyone who's seen the show, and to those who plan to see the show. Remember: We have only THREE more performances left! Please do come see it.

12 January 2009

UN: 2 SHORT PLAYS ABOUT LOVE

My, my! A new year's already here. (I'm just so glad that 2008 is over!)

Right now I don't have much exciting news lately (other than the fact that I'm still slaving away on the first draft of my new little magnum opus, which has entered six figures in terms of its word count) and that I have quite a few irons in the fire, but I did want to announce that UN: 2 SHORT PLAYS ABOUT LOVE (as in the one-acts UNCONDITIONAL MURDER and UNHAPPILY EVER AFTER) will open on February 18th, 2009 in St. Paul, Minnesota. Evonne Bilotta-Burke directs Erin McGovern and Andrew Oehrlein in both plays, with Albert Walla as our ASL signmaster. I'm so grateful to them (and Deaf Blender Theatre) for their understanding of my desire to focus on writing my new novel. (Of course, I'll continue to rewrite both plays as needed!)

In UNCONDITIONAL MURDER, Fiona, a hearing trial lawyer, has never lost a case in court. But this time she’s stuck with Griff, a deaf man who’s been accused of murdering his girlfriend. The problem? He doesn’t care whether or not he’s found guilty, and Fiona doesn’t want to blemish her perfect trial record. And in UNHAPPILY EVER AFTER, Cinderella realizes how truly unhappy she is in her nine-year marriage to Prince Charming, so she challenges both her husband and royal protocol when she finally sets out to find happiness.

Check out the nifty postcard below! We'll be distributing it all over the Twin Cities.



Hope you can join us in the fun onstage! Happy New Year to all!

Hugs,

Raymond