Wild Things: A Trans-Glam-Punk-Rock Love Story

Wild Things: A Trans-Glam-Punk-Rock Love Story

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A cisgender woman and her trans spouse learn, change, and grow together, navigating the transition, the communities they found, and the hostility they faced.


"The person I married, who I am still married to and remain very much in love with, is now legally named Venus de Mars, and she uses she and her pronouns. But to get to that point was a journey of decades. At the time we didn't know where it would lead—we had no real role models and made it up as we went. Most of this story took place at a time when the kind of knowledge and terminology we now have about being trans didn't exist." —from the Author’s Note

In the 1970s, Lynette Reini fell in love with a fascinating, talented man named Steve Grandell. They married in 1983; five years later, Steve came out to her as transgender. Through the following decades, as her spouse developed a public persona as Venus de Mars and fronted the band All the Pretty Horses, the couple struggled to stay together. They navigated an often hostile, anti-trans environment; fractures grew between them as Venus pushed the band toward success. Against the backdrop of the art, literary, and indie rock worlds of Minneapolis and New York in the 1990s and early 2000s, through hard work and love, they invented a way of being who they truly are.


"Reini-Grandell’s riveting tale of her spouse’s gender transition—grounded in their shared world of glam-punk rock, poetry, and multi-form artmaking—is a tender exploration of time, place, and affection. This beautifully written memoir chronicles the dynamic Minneapolis arts scene, the evolution of queer identities, and a long marriage abiding through tremendous change. Wild Things is a deeply arresting page-turner."
—Barrie Jean Borich, author of 
Apocalypse DarlingBody Geographic, and My Lesbian Husband.

"In her bittersweet love story, 
Wild Things, Lynette Reini-Grandell speaks with an honest vulnerability. We see the cuts as they form, the scabs as they heal, and we’re reminded that when we find our kindred soul, true love isn’t about overcoming challenges—including those of sexuality and gender—as much as it is about learning to live through them together."
—John Medeiros, author of 
Self, Divided

"Venus and Lynette’s story is all about family values: they made and maintained a family of two right in the heart of Middle America. Their story is thrilling, not because they are unusual, but because they insist that their lives are as normal, imperfect, and joyful as anyone else’s. Readers are in for an eye-opening treat 
Wild Things is as universally relatable as it is specific to the Twin Cities and everything of which citizens are proud."—Emily Carter, Twin Cities columnist and author of Glory Goes and Gets Some: Stories

About the Author

Lynette Reini-Grandell is the author of two books of poetry, Wild Verge and Approaching the Gate, both published by Holy Cow! Press. She teaches English and creative writing at Normandale Community College and the Loft and has received support for her work from the Finlandia Foundation and the Minnesota State Arts Board. A multidisciplinary collaborator, she performs at spoken-word venues with the Bosso Poetry Company and the jazz collective Sonoglyph. Her poetry is part of a permanent installation at the Carlton Arms Art Hotel in Manhattan. The story of her marriage to Venus DeMars is highlighted in Venus of Mars, a feature-length documentary (2004) by Emily Goldberg that has toured film festivals around the world. Lynette and Venus live in Minneapolis.

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Minnesota Historical Society Press (March 14, 2023)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 336 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 168134243X
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1681342436
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.4 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6.5 x 1 x 9.25 inches

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