‘The Cruising Diaries’ Explores Queer Coming of Age in Underground Oakland

The Cruising Diaries is Whiting Award-winning author Brontez Purnell’s hilariously unhinged and decidedly unsexy erotic memoir. After leaving small town Alabama where romantic options were scant for a Black queer punk, Purnell was delighted to discover a wealth of romantic opportunity in his adopted home of Oakland and devoted his time to sampling each and every flavor. Recounted with reckless humor and Purnell’s singular knack for combining sordid details with cultural commentary, these outrageous diary entries will leave you chuckling with every re-read.

Each story is accompanied by a full-color illustration by Bay Area cartoonist Janelle Hessig. From shrooming at the bathhouse to a handjob on public transportation, Hessig’s loose and lively drawings are the perfect narrative complement, adding an extra layer of comedy, just when you thought you were tapped out.

 “The Cruising Diaries isn’t the first gay punk memoir, but it is the funniest,” says Silver Sprocket publisher Avi Ehrlich. “Although you may not have blown a homeless man behind a taco truck, there is still something universal in the quest for connection and Brontez remains a compassionate chronicler of human behavior throughout. I’m so happy to be able to get these original stories back in print, along with three new tales that are even more mind-blowing than the first edition.”

This full-color expanded edition of The Cruising Diaries hits stores in November 2020. Pre-orders are now available on the Silver Sprocket website. Author Brontez Purnell and illustrator Janelle Hessig are available for interviews.

About Brontez Purnell:

Brontez Purnell is a writer, musician, dancer, filmmaker, and performance artist. He is the author of a graphic novel, a novella, a children’s book, and the novel Since I Laid My Burden Down. Recipient of a 2018 Whiting Award for Fiction, he was named one of the 32 Black Male Writers for Our Time by T: New York Times Style Magazine in 2018. Purnell is also the frontman for the band the Younger Lovers, the co-founder of the experimental dance group the Brontez Purnell Dance Company, the creator of the renowned cult zine Fag School, and the director of several short films, music videos, and, most recently, the documentary Unstoppable Feat: Dances of Ed Mock. Born in Triana, Alabama, he’s lived in Oakland, California, for over 18 years.

Online: https://brontezpurnellartjock.com, Instagram @brontezpurnell

About Janelle Hessig:

Janelle Hessig is a Bay Area cartoonist, writer, and one-woman laff factory. She got her start in publishing with the influential east bay punk fanzine Tales of Blarg in 1990. She’s been a touring drummer, a freelance journalist, an animator, and the marketing director for Last Gasp. Her work has appeared in numerous comics anthologies, books, magazines, blogs, and record covers since the dawn of time. In 2014, she founded the publishing house Gimme Action.

Online: janelleblarg.com, Instagram @janelleblarg