An irreverent, sensitive, and inimitable look at gay dysfunction through the eyes of a cult hero
It’s like that saying, ‘Where god closes a door, he opens a window, ‘ but in this particular case the window was on the fifth floor and the house was on fire.
Transgressive, foulmouthed, and devastatingly funny, Brontez Purnell’s 100 Boyfriends is a revelatory spiral into the imperfect lives of queer men desperately fighting–and often losing–the urge to self-sabotage. His characters solicit sex on their lunch breaks, expose themselves to racist neighbors, sleep with their coworker’s husbands, rub Preparation H on their hungover eyes, and, in an uproarious epilogue, take a punk band on a disastrous tour of Europe. They also travel to claim inheritances, push past personal trauma, and cultivate community while living on the margins of a white supremacist, heteronormative society.
Armed with a deadpan wit that finds humor in even the lowest of nadirs, Brontez Purnell–a widely acclaimed underground writer, filmmaker, musician, and performance artist–writes with the peerless zeal, insight, and horniness of a gay punk messiah. From dirty warehouses and gentrified bars in Oakland to desolate farm towns in Alabama, Purnell indexes desire, desperation, race, and loneliness with a startling blend of levity and vulnerability. Together, the slice-of-life tales that writhe within 100 Boyfriends are a singular and uncompromising vision of an unexposed queer underbelly. Holding them together is the vision of an iconoclastic storyteller, as fearless as he is human.
Gossipy and scandalous, the tone here gets old quickly. The stories are so short – sometimes only a page or two – but they’re all the same. The characters abuse drugs, drink too much, sleep with too many people, think about how they should change and be better, then regress and repeat. There’s only so many times you can read the same story before you have to give up.