Denton Moulton -- a shy, effeminate male professor -- lives inside his head, and inside his head he is really a long-dead movie star -- the glamorous Gloria Grahame, from the golden age of Hollywood. Professor Moulton is desperate to reveal Gloria's shocking secret before he dies. Does he have the right to tell this woman's story? Who, in fact, has the right to tell any story at all? This scandalous, satirical novel of taboo desires and repression alternates between Gloria's imagined life with her film-director husband (Nicholas Ray, director of Rebel Without a Cause) and Denton's increasingly frustrated real-life attempts to produce his own work of art, an all-male drag production of Shakespeare's Venus and Adonis. It takes us from high-strung film sets to dark bars to the puritanical offices of government arts granting agencies, where Denton runs up against the sternest warnings that he may not, in fact, imagine himself as someone else, even in art.
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