Announcing! Query Books’ first titles will be James Broughton, Coming Unubuttoned

Query Books is proud to announce that one of its first two titles will be Coming Unbuttoned by James Broughton.


James Broughton grew up in San Francisco and Modesto, became a darling of the New York City art world, but came back to San Francisco in the sixties to follow his own “weird.” He produced some of the most innovative independent movies of his era; his short film the Bed is still taught in film schools to this day. Broughton was also a poet with a singular vision, writing several books of poetry and prose.

the bed

Scene from The Bed


Three years ago, a biopic called Big Joy was made about Broughton’s life, featuring Armistead Maupin, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and others. The film garnered several prizes and is now widely available, and interest in Broughton is high!

Coming Unbuttoned is Broughton’s charming, oddly innocent account of his life, told the way only he can tell it. Spanning from his early SF childhood years, military school, life in the New York art scene, and returning to California. He recounts his time spent among the Beat Poets, and talks about his affairs with women and men, including Suzanna Hart (whom he married) and Harry Hay (founder of the Mattachine Society and the Radical Faeries). And of course, there’s the young love of his life found in his latter years, Joel Singer, who has given his blessing to this project. It’s all here, as seen through Broughton’s own quirky lens. Big Joy‘s narrator, Keith Hennessy, talks to Query Books about Broughton and the idea of finding these lost treasures and making them available again:

Keith Hennessy for Query Books