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Esther Newton & Jean Carlomusto: Book Launch & Film Sneak Peek

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Esther Newton & Jean Carlomusto: Book Launch & Film Sneak Peek
March 15, 2019 7:00 PM
March 15, 2019 8:30 PM
Bureau of General Services—Queer Division
February 25, 2019
Bureau of General Services—Queer Division
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208 West 13th Street, Room 210, New York, NY, 10011, United States
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Join author Esther Newton and filmmaker Jean Carlomusto for a celebration of MY BUTCH CAREER, Newton’s new memoir which tells the compelling, disarming, and at times sexy story of her struggle to write, teach, and find love, all while coming to terms with her identity during a particularly intense time of homophobic persecution in the twentieth century.
This unprecedented public conversation will combine selected readings from Newton’s memoir with a sneak peek of scenes from Carlomusto’s upcoming feature-length documentary. AGILITY: A PORTRAIT OF ESTHER NEWTON, which uses the lens of Newton’s love for a sport — competitive dog agility — to explore the flexibility, resilience and passionate inquiry that have driven her survival as a butch woman and trailblazing scholar in a world of obstacles. A reception and book-signing will follow the presentation.
This event is free, but attendees are encouraged to support the Bureau and the author by purchasing books and/or making a donation.


Copies of My Butch Career are available for purchase at the Bureau. To reserve a copy please write to us at Please support the Bureau by buying books from us. Thank you!

Director/Producer Jean Carlomusto, Producer Shanti Avirgan, and AGILITY film subjects Esther Newton, Sammy and Viva

Director/Producer Jean Carlomusto, Producer Shanti Avirgan, and AGILITY film subjects Esther Newton, Sammy and Viva


















ESTHER NEWTON is a founder of and leading scholar in LGBTQ studies. She is the author of several books, including Margaret Mead Made Me Gay: Personal Essays, Public Ideas and Cherry Grove, Fire Island: Sixty Years in America’s First Gay and Lesbian Town, both also published by Duke University Press, as well as the groundbreaking Mother Camp: Female Impersonators in America. She has taught at Purchase College of the State University of New York, the University of Paris VII, Paris, France and the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor). She was active in Second Wave Feminism, Gay Liberation and the Lesbian/Feminist movements. Her work has been translated into French, Spanish, Hebrew, Polish and Slovak.

JEAN CARLOMUSTO’s films have been featured internationally in film festivals, museum exhibitions and on television. Her acclaimed feature documentary for HBO, LARRY KRAMER IN LOVE & ANGER, premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival in the U.S. Documentary Competition and was nominated for two Emmy Awards. Carlomusto co-produced, directed and edited SEX IN AN EPIDEMIC, which premiered on Showtime on World AIDS Day, 2011. Her personal films are often unorthodox investigative reports on subjects that have been all but erased from history. TO CATCH A GLIMPSE, (Museum of Modern Art, NYC, permanent collections) delved into her family history by trying to find out if the rumors about her grandmother’s death — from an illicit abortion back in 1939 –were true. In L IS FOR THE WAY YOU LOOK, she pieced together lesbian history using whatever scraps of gossip and memory she could find into a humorous portrait of a population’s creative tussle for visibility and inclusion.
John D’Emilio: “In My Butch Career Esther Newton takes her readers through her chaotic family history, the uncharted territory of coming to terms with an identity that is far outside the norms for her generation, and the transforming effects that new social movements had on her. Bringing personalities, scenes, conversations, and relationships to life, Newton has written a book that is powerful, gripping, and immensely readable.”
Elizabeth Lapovsky Kennedy: “Esther Newton’s sharp insights into her developing consciousness are sometimes so precise and revealing that they take my breath away. Her wit gives her personal traumas in a hostile society universal meaning, making her pain and pleasure available to all, while her reflections on the interconnections of gender, sex, and feminism in love-making remain fresh. Capturing the multiple layers of identity and examining how social forces shape our lives, My Butch Career is absolutely unique in the way it explores women’s desire as both personal and social. I know of no other memoir like it.”
Tim Retzloff: “[Esther] is a formidable scholar of striking and stern beauty. I am fortunate and grateful to know her. Get a copy of My Butch Career and delve into a past that belongs to Esther personally and, thanks to her generous sharing, to all of us queer folk collectively. Read it. Relish it.”