Writing About Sexuality and Identity, with Brian Belovitch, Heidi Andrea Restrepo Rhodes, moderated by Coen Authen, UpStage Cabaret, Triad Stage, Saturday, 2 p.m.; The Music of What Happens, Nussbaum Room, Greensboro Central Library, Saturday, 3:15 p.m.

Combine food trucks, complicated family dynamics, and two gay high school boys, and you get Bill Konigsberg’s The Music of What Happens. The story follows Max and Jordan as they attempt to save Jordan’s home from foreclosure using the Coq Au Vinny, a run-down food truck. Over the course of the young adult novel, both Max and Jordan deal with complexities of how their gay identity intersects with masculinity.

“What I was thinking about was all of the messages that especially gay boys take in about masculinity, and what it means to be male,” Konigsberg says, “and how much of that is garbage.”

The story handles issues like grief and poverty against a backdrop of young friendships and summer jobs. The combination generates a wit that hooks the reader and creates a dynamic main cast. Konigsberg pulls off a dual narration seamlessly, allowing each chapter to unfold with each boy telling the reader his story, on his terms.

Konisberg’s ‘The Music of What Happens’ came out February 26.

Konigsberg has authored four other novels, earning multiple awards, including a Lamda Literary Award in 2008. Konigsberg, along with Heidi Andrea Restrepo Rhodes and Brian Belovich, make up the panel “Writing about Sexuality and Identity” which takes place at the UpStage Cabaret at Triad Stage on Saturday.

Rhodes works in multimedia art, poetry and activism, while studying Political Science as a doctoral fellow at CUNY’s Graduate Center. Belovich’s career has seen him as a performer, playwright, editor and author. His memoir, Trans Figured: My Journey from Boy to Girl to Woman to Man, explores his personal life and journey regarding gender.

The panel provides a ground to discuss LGBT+ topics in literature, diving into topics about current LGBT+ literary trends, including a recent upsurge in material, along with the issues that remain on and off the page.

“The importance of the books is that it’s crucial for people who come from marginalized backgrounds to be able to see themselves in books,” Konigsberg says. “That was something that never was available to me when I was growing up.”

Find the full 2019 GSO Bound schedule here.

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