Young Man From the Provinces: Gay Life Before Stonewall
Young Man From the Provinces by Alan Helms
Gay life in New York City in the 1950s and '60s was an entirely different world from today. Intensely secretive and desperately determined to stay that way, its action took place behind the unmarked doors of bars and in apartments where the shades were always drawn. Underlying the frenetic living and high hilarity was a sense of shame that was inevitable during a time when shock treatment and lobotomies were considered acceptable "cures" for homosexuality. In Young Man from the Provinces, Alan Helms tells his story of those times. Escaping from a painful midwestern adolescence to the scholarly refuge of Columbia University, Alan threw himself headlong into New York's gay world. Denied a Rhodes scholarship because of his sexual orientation, he turned his back on academia and became a successful model and stage actor, moving in glamorous circles whose members included Anthony Perkins, Stephen Sondheim, Marlene Dietrich, Noel Coward, Leonard Bernstein, and Edward Albee.