Brontez Purnell Book Launch!
Tuesday, June 20, 7:30pm
PEGASUS BOOKS DOWNTOWN
Join Brontez Purnell at Pegasus Books Downtown for the launch of his debut novel, Since I Laid My Burden Down.
DeShawn lives a high, creative, and promiscuous life in San Francisco. But when he’s called back to his cramped Alabama hometown for his uncle’s funeral, he’s hit by flashbacks of handsome, doomed neighbors and sweltering Sunday services. Amidst prickly reminders of his childhood, DeShawn ponders family, church, and the men in his life, prompting the question: Who deserves love?
A raw, funny, and uninhibited stumble down memory lane, Brontez Purnell’s debut novel explores how one man’s early sexual and artistic escapades grow into a life.
Brontez Purnell has been publishing, performing, and curating in the Bay Area for over ten years. He is author of the cult zine Fag School, frontman for his band The Younger Lovers, and founder and choreographer of the Brontez Purnell Dance Company. Formerly a dancer with Gravy Train!!!, a queer electro indie band that gained national prominence in the mid-2000s, Purnell's other prominent artistic collaborations include his supporting role in the queer independent feature film, "I Want Your Love" (dir. Travis Mathews, 2012).
He was a guest curator for the Berkeley Art Museum's L@TE program in 2012, awarded an invitation to the 2012 Radar Lab queer arts summer residency, honored by Out Magazine's 2012 Hot 100 List and 2013 Most Eligible Bachelors List, and most recently won the 2014 SF Bay Guardian's Goldie for Performance/Music.
"A complex. . .look at one man’s experience of being black, queer, smart, soft, tough, artistic, and constantly in motion between rural and urban cultures." —Kirkus Reviews
"Performance artist Purnell beautifully captures a personality through introspection and memory in this slim novel. . . . a compelling portrait of a particular disaffected kind of gay youth caught between religion, culture, and desire." —Publishers Weekly
“This is the book you fall asleep reading and wake up excited to get back to. A Cult Masterpiece with so many memorable characters and phrases you’ll want to grab strangers and read paragraphs to them.” —Kathleen Hanna
“I have always admired Brontez Purnell’s writing, and this novel is his greatest achievement yet. Purnell is never careful, never evasive. He hits you with honesty, passion, painful humor and never stops.” —Mike Albo, author of Hornitio
“Brontez Purnell is foul-mouthed and evil. Be warned: this book will make you cackle out loud like you've got the Devil inside you then it will break your heart. Be careful where you read it. BUT DO READ IT.” —Justin Vivian Bond
“Since I Laid My Burden Down is a dance between grit and eloquence. With epic detail and crude truth, Brontez Purnell reminds us that the lessons of survival and love are learned through life's most fucked-up circumstances. Building bridges between tradition, ancestry, Southern punk, blackness and queerness, Brontez has written a story that helps us laugh, grieve, and breathe." —Cristy C. Road, author of Spit and Passion
“Since I Laid My Burden Down has a fearless (sometimes reckless) humor as Brontez Purnell interrogates what it means to be black, male, queer; a son, an uncle, a lover; Southern, punk, and human. An emotional tightrope walk of a book and an important American story rarely, if ever, told.” —Michelle Tea, author of Black Wave