Film / TV



Kensington Books to publish 1st novel from award winning playwright and actor Frank Anthony Polito

June 23, 2008

Band Fags!, by Frank Anthony Polito. Kensington Books.

'Band Fags!' is like the gay teen flick John Hughes never got around to making. Let's face it, there's a Band Fag in all of us and Frank Anthony Polito has his on speed dial. This book is a sweet, funny, deeply felt valentine to the wonder/horror of coming of age in the 1980s. You might just pee your parachute pants. – Dennis Hensley, author of Misadventures in the (213)

Frank Anthony Polito officially began writing in 2001 with his first play, John R. Produced in New York City that same year starring Tony Award-nominee, John Tartaglia (Avenue Q), this coming of age/coming out story now serves as the basis for Polito�s first novel, Band Fags!

The story of straight-A student, Jack Paterno, and his Best Friend since 7th grade, Brad Dayton, Band Fags! is set in the Detroit suburb of Hazel Park, aka �Hazeltucky,� during the mid-to-late 1980s. The only thing the boys have in common when they first meet is both plays in Varsity Band. But as Jack and Brad make their way through junior high and then through Hazel Park High School, aka �Hillbilly High,� it becomes clear that maybe this isn�t the only thing.

Polito grew up in Hazel Park with a path similar to that of his protagonist. �When I met my own Best Friend in 7th grade, neither of us had any idea the other was gay,� he says twenty-some-odd years later. It wasn�t until high school that Polito and his pal finally confided their questioning sexuality to each other, setting off a chain of events that led him to becoming the person he is today. But Polito admits that not everything in Band Fags! is auto-biographical. �Especially not the good parts!�

After moving to New York in the mid-�90s, Polito formed a small theatre company with some other actors he had met while studying at the Michael Howard Studios. Soon, members began writing original plays for the group to produce. �I told some friends about the crazy things my Best Friend and I did back when we were kids.� Out of this, came the impetus for Band Fags!

The two-character piece came to the attention of Kensington Publishing Editor-in-Chief, John Scognamiglio, who encouraged Polito to flesh out the world of Jack Paterno and Brad Dayton. �There�s a lot of talk in the play about other friends, teachers, and off-stage events,� Polito explains. In writing a novel, he found it liberating not being bound by the constraints of an off-off-Broadway producing budget. �Finally, we get to meet Jack�s other friends,� including his first girlfriend, and the first boy he falls in love with, �and see what really goes on between them!�

Drawing from his own personal experiences, Polito has jam-packed Band Fags! with �80s references and nostalgia – from the first appearances of soap star Kristian Alfonso, aka �Hope Williams Brady,� on Days of our Lives, to the death of TV mega-hunk, Jon-Erik Hexum, and the debut of the �Giver-Goddess,� Judy Tenuta on HBO. With each chapter appropriately titled after a popular song of the period, Band Fags! is sure to be a walk down Memory Lane for anyone whoever saw a John Hughes film firsthand at the box office.

�The story is a tribute to a friendship that has truly changed my life,� Polito says. To this day, he keeps in contact with his Best Friend since 7th grade, Grat Dalton, who still lives in the Detroit-area, and to whom he dedicates the book. �Growing up gay in the �80s sure wasn�t easy. But having a Best Friend who was going through the exact same experience made it pretty special.�

About the author

Frank Anthony Polito is a Brooklyn-based actor and playwright. His full-length play, Another Day on Willow St, was named �Outstanding New Play� by Talkin� Broadway after it appeared in the New York International Fringe Festival in 2007.

Other plays have been seen in Chicago, Roanoke, VA and both Dayton and Columbus, OH. His teleplay, Blind Faith, was a finalist for the Alfred P. Sloan teleplay competition at Carnegie Mellon University where he received his M.F.A. in Dramatic Writing in 2006.

He is a member of the Screen Actors Guild, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, and Actors� Equity Association. Readers can visit him on the web at www.frankanthonypolito.com. – Review by Craig Bentley – Issued by Gay Link Content

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