Category Archives: Recommended Reads
Robert @ Q Trading Co. – Photo Richard Lui/Desert Sun
It all started as an idea for a simple little book about Palm Springs. Robert Julian had been coming to Palm Springs for nearly 30 years, from San Francisco. Robert moved to PS in 2006 with the hopes of writing what he envisioned as a “gay version” of “A Year in Provence,”- Peter Mayle’s warm account of moving into a 200-year-old stone farmhouse in the country.
But when the book came out this past fall, “Postcards From Palm Springs” had somehow morphed into something closer to “Running With Scissors” – Augusten Burroughs’ virulent memoir of growing up gay, which sparked defamation of character and invasion of privacy law suits.
Julian, whose real name is Robert Julian Stone, hasn’t been sued, but he’s raised some ire. He told the Desert Sun, “I could have gone way farther,” said Julian. “I only told 10 percent of what I know. The other 90 percent would have had me run out of town on a rail.”
As of last week, “Postcards From Palm Springs” has sold only 500 copies and it wasn’t available in major book stores. Then the media picked up on the story released by his publicist and now it’s HOT! Everyone is talking about it, including local television stations and even The Los Angeles Times.
Julian realized after making Palm Springs his primary residence, and becoming involved in the community as a Public Arts Commissioner, that there was a real story to tell in the evolution of Palm Springs as a community.
“This has become a gay city,” said Julian. “So, I thought somebody needs to write about the 21st century gay Palm Springs. It’s a distinctively different place from the Palm Springs of the 1950s and, in some cases, I think it’s a great social experiment. This is the first time in history we have a clearly identifiable, openly gay, graying population. And, when those people come together, how do they behave?”
Julian is now being touted as a spokesman for “the new Palm Springs.” He’s expected to begin hosting a talk radio show in three to six months on KNews.
Julian is amazed at the reaction to his book, and just a little disappointed by those who are offended by it.To those friends who didn’t see it coming, he offers a favorite quote from writer Joan Didion:
“Beware of your friends who are writers,” he recited. “They will always betray you.”
The Best of Gay Palm Springs