Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Saturday: Join Me In A Tribute To E. Lynn Harris!

This Saturday, there will be a gala Red Carpet Tribute to an American literary icon. Everette Lynn Harris, whose untimely death this past summer at age 54 sent shock waves through the literary community, was a trailblazing author. His books, including eight New York Times bestsellers, brought black gay and bisexual characters into contemporary American literature, and made it possible for LGBT authors of color, including myself, to enter the publishing world, which had been closed to us before him. Lynn was a truly gifted man who always found time to assist and encourage other writers of the gay genre, even as his own works went on to greater and greater success. My own interactions with Lynn showed him to be a gentleman, genuinely interested in the efforts of other authors to bring our stories to the world.

Delvon Johnson, author of Love Yourself First, is hosting a tribute to Lynn, whom he credits as his inspiration. "I wouldn't have come this far if it weren't for E. Lynn Harris," Johnson notes. I think that's a sentiment shared by many of today's LGBT authors. It's fitting and proper that we pay our respects to Lynn, and honor his life and works in a symbolic and ceremonial manner.

The tribute, entitled Fulfilling His Legacy will take place this Saturday, October 24, at The Spot Lounge, 45 Commerce Street, Newark, NJ. Sponsors for this event include theNewark Arts Council, Open Doors, American Heart Association, New York City Sports Club, the National Aids & Education for Minorities, Urban Knowledge Book Store, Hoodywear Fashions, The Spot Lounge, and several other prominent groups and businesses. In addition to honoring Lynn for his literary works, the event also seeks to raise awareness of heart disease, which killed Lynn, and is a leading cause of death among people of color. After Lynn's death, seven unpublished manuscripts were discovered on his laptop. If Lynn had not suffered an early death from heart disease, who knows what other literary gems he might have graced us with?

The evening will begin at 6 PM with a Cocktail Hour and book signing for Delvon Johnson's book, Love Yourself First. Following this will be the Fulfilling His Legacy ceremony. Comedian Jonathan Martin is the Master Of Ceremonies, and live entertainment will be provided by musical guests Sushi Fresh and Orikl. Joining me in speaking tribute to Lynn will be noted publisher Karen Hunter, who edited and published Lynn's final novel, Mama Dearest, actor and screenwriter Maurice Jamal, and legendary songstress Madonna, as well as many other prominent literary, artistic, and musical figures.

Among the noteworthy invited guests attending this Gala are DJ Baker, creator and host of the award-winning radio talk show, Da Doo Dirty Show, Taylor Siluwe, author of the intriguing gay-genre novel Dancing with The Devil, and legendary author James Earl Hardy who gave us the incomparable B-Boy Blues series of books. Saturday promises to be a night to remember as we honor the man who changed the American literary landscape. If you're interested in attending, you must RSVP Delvon Johnson at Delvon.Johnson@hotmail.com. Directions to the event are as follows:

PATH trains leave Manhattan from stations located at 23rd St. & 6th Ave. -or- 33rd St. & 6th Ave.
Take PATH train to Jersey City/Journal Square stop, get out there and transfer to the Newark train which takes you to Newark Penn Station.
Once you get out at Newark Penn Station
If walking out of Newark Penn Station:
Make a right and walk up Market St. until you hit Mulberry St.
Make a right onto Mulberry and walk to Commerce St.
The Spot is on your right, 45 Commerce St.

Via NY Penn Station:
Take an NJTransit train.
All trains that say EWR and/or SEC go to Newark Penn Station.
2nd stop on NJTransit.
If walking out of Newark Penn Station:
Make a right and walk up Market St. until you hit Mulberry St.
Make a right onto Mulberry and walk to Commerce St.
The Spot is on your right, 45 Commerce St.

From All Points West: Take I-80 EAST. Stay left near the exit 45 to get into I-80 EAST express lane. At exit 47A (left exit), merge onto I-280 East towards the ORANGES/NEWARK. Take the First St. exit (exit 13 - left exit also) towards the Branch BROOK PK/UMDNJ/NJIT. Make a right onto FIRST ST. Turn left onto W MARKET ST. Turn left onto MULBERRY ST. Turn right onto COMMERCE St. Address is 45 COMMERCT ST.
From All Points East: Take the HOLLAND TUNNEL into NJ. HOLLAND TUNNEL becomes 14TH ST. 14TH ST becomes NJ-139 WEST. Merge onto US-19/1 & 9/1/9 SOUTH. Take the RAYMOND BOULEVARD exit towards NEWARK. Stay straight to go onto FOUNDRY ST. Turn right onto RAYMOND BLVD. Turn left onto MULBERRY ST. Turn right onto COMMERCE ST.. Address is at 45 COMMERCE ST.

From All Points North: Take RT 15 SOUTH towards I-80 EAST. Follow directions from points west.

From All Points South: Take I-95 NORTH/NJ TURNPIKE NORTH (toll). Merge onto NJ-81 NORTH via exit 13A towards NEWARK AIRPORT/ELIZABETH SEAPORT (toll). Stay on NJ-81 NORTH. Take slight right onto US-19/1 & 9/1/9 NORTH. Merge onto NJ-21 NORTH/MCCARTER HIGHWAY towards NEWARK. Merge onto BROAD ST. Turn right onto RAYMOND BLVD. Turn right onto MULBERRY ST. Turn right onto COMMERCE ST. Address is 45 COMMERCE ST.

See you there!

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