Bureau for General Services, Queer Division

Image via Next Magazine

Via the New York Times: At A Gay-Specific Bookstore - Just Books on a Shelf Won't Do

An independent bookstore opened last month with a performance by Gio Black Peter, a downtown artist. Wearing only black boxers, he stood on a translucent plastic tarp and read a poem entitled, “The Morning Star,” flanked by two beer-drinking men.

The crowd, a mix of young bearded men in button-down shirts and their equally hirsute but graying elders, applauded heartily at the end of the reading, their introduction to the Bureau for General Services – Queer Division, a gay bookstore that relocated last month to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center in Greenwich Village.

The opening act was almost as unusal as the store’s mission: operating a bookstore in an era when print is supposedly dying and when there are only a handful of gay-specific bookstores left in North America.

“That was a nice christening, wasn’t it?” said Greg Newton, who owns the store with his partner, Donnie Jochum. To succeed, they plan to do things differently. “The Bureau needs to be a very lively, active space where people come to hang out, kind of like a salon. We can’t just put books on a shelf and wait for people to buy them.”

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