Keith Stern

If you’ve never heard that televangelist Jim Bakker worshipped steam room romps with male staffers or that Peter Pan author James M. Barrie displayed “an inordinate interest in ‘lost boys’,” Keith Stern has news for you. His Queers in History (Benbella, $19.95) began life back in 1993 as a CD-ROM; and the kicky encyclopedia recognizes that much of what gets tossed off as gossip is not only documented fact, but important proof of an LGBT past. Tonight’s signing and Q&A will follows a 30-minute show in which Stern reads a gay poem by Abraham Lincoln; impersonates Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben, a Prussian who in 1779 wrote the U.S. Army’s standard training manual with his teen lover; and tweaks the marriage debate (“A lot of married people have been gay,” Stern notes. “Oscar Wilde was married and had kids.”) And Stern has Middle Earth as moral support: Andy Serkis, Gollum in The Lord of the Rings films, directed Stern’s original, full-length show. And Gandalf—we mean Sir Ian McKellen—provides an eloquent forward to his book, reminding us that such compendiums strengthen a community too long “abandoned by history and plagued with injustice.” STEVE WIECKING

Tue., Jan. 26, 7 p.m., 2010

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