Just Giblets

Little Seen Film of the Day – Hollow Reed

9th May 2014
by Michael

Little Seen Film of the Day – Hollow Reed

Hollow ReedHOLLOW REED is a tough, British, family drama from 1996 about child abuse.  Oliver lives with his mother Hannah, and her boyfriend Frank.  He still spends time with his father, Martyn, a general practitioner, who becomes suspicious of Frank after Oliver suffers a series of mysterious injuries which he cannot adequately explain.  Eventually, Martyn is convinced of Frank’s abuse, despite Oliver’s silence, and Hannah’s refusal to believe such a thing, and he begins legal proceedings to obtain sole custody.  At this point, Hannah’s lawyer brings up Martyn’s gay relationship with Tom to prove that he is an unsuitable father figure.

Director Angela Pope brings up a lot of tough and frustrating issues in this well-constructed film written by Neville Bolt and Paula Milne.  Hal Hartley alum, Martin Donovan, is remarkable, British accent and all, as Martyn, a role quite unlike what he’d played to that point.  The rest of the cast, including Joley Richardson, Ian Hart and Jason Flemyng are all outstanding, especially young Sam Bould as Oliver, whose stoic, silence is powerfully offset by the hurt, fear, and confusion in his eyes.  It’s unfortunate that Pope’s filmmaking career didn’t go much further than this powerful film.

posted in Homo, Memes, Movies, Nostalgia | at 8:11 am | 0 Comments
6th May 2014
by Michael

Little Seen Film of the Day: Colma: The Musical

Colma: The MusicalA charming if somewhat amateurish indie musical that tells the coming-of-age stories of three teenagers recently graduated from high school living in Colma, CA.  Billy, Rodel and Maribel are facing the challenges of young adulthood, and chasing their dreams.  Billy aspires to be a performer, and auditions for the regional musical where he meets a college student named Tara, who is also an aspiring actor.  Rodel is being raised by a single parent and is struggling with how to tell his father that he is gay.  Maribel just can’t figure out what to do with her life.  When Billy’s ambitions threaten to tear the three friends apart, all three must re-assess and find away to move on.

With its micro-budget and low production values, COLMA: THE MUSICAL is a tiny movie, but it has a really big heart.  The musical numbers are strong.  COLMA is the debut film by  Filipino-American H.P. Mendoza, who stars, co-wrote the screenplay, and wrote all the music and lyrics.  Director Richard Wong also co-wrote the film.  There aren’t a lot of films out there telling the Asian-American experience, and it’s nice to see one that is so fresh and accessible.  The film is far from perfect, but it’s a lot of fun and worth a screening.

 

posted in Homo, Memes, Movies, Musicals | at 7:52 am | 0 Comments
2nd May 2014
by Michael

Little Seen Film of the Day – All Over Me

All Over MeAlex Sichel’s coming-of-age film, ALL OVER ME, is one of the plethora of earlyish LGBT films that focuses on the coming out experience, but it’s also one of the better ones.  Allison Folland (so compelling in TO DIE FOR) plays Claude, a teenage girl living in Hell’s Kitchen, struggling with her awakening sexuality.  She is in love with Ellen, a friend with whom she wants to start a punk band.  Problem is, Ellen has a boyfriend, and they may of may not have been involve with the death of a gay musician and neighbor of Claude’s.  The storyline focuses on Claude, in the throes of first love, doing everything she can to make Ellen understand how much she loves her without really saying it explicitly, while slowly realizing that Ellen is not the only person out there, and that there might be more suitable people to share her life with.

The tone is somber, and filled with the appropriate angst that any teen coming-of-age drama, especially one that involves homosexuality, should have.  In addition to Folland, the film stars Tara Subkoff and Cole Hauser, who both went on to successful film careers.  There aren’t a lot of U.S. gay films that I enjoy, and this is definitely one of them.  I was disappointed to see that director Alex Sichel didn’t really have much more of a career in film after this.  She clearly had talent, and I chalk it up o the challenge of making indie films focused on women.

posted in Homo, Memes, Movies, Nostalgia | at 6:32 am | 0 Comments
29th April 2014
by Michael

Little Seen Film of the Day – Apartment Zero

Apartment ZeroAPARTMENT ZERO is a most unusual film that made a big impression on me when I saw it in the late 80′s.  Written and directed by Martin Donovan (who later went on to write DEATH BECOMES HER), this combo black comedy/thriller stars Colin Firth as Adrian, a repressed and socially awkward Brit living in Argentina who is struggling to make ends meet operating a repertory theatre with a dwindling audience while paying for the care of his mother in a home.  Despite his social anxiety, he is forced to look for a roommate, and after a series of unsuitable possibilities, settles on the ruggedly handsome Jack, played by Hart Bochner, with whom he is instantly attracted to physically.  The two start up an bizarre relationship, with Adrian intrigued by the charismatic Jack, but more unexpectedly, Jack seeming to share a similar affection for Adrian.

Adrian’s neighbors in the apartment building are an eccentric bunch who immediately take a liking to Jack after being repeatedly rebuffed socially by Adrian, several of which both male and female, become physically involved with Jack.  Adrian resents the connections Jack is making with the neighbors, and begins to put demands on his accommodating roommate.  Adrian’s friend Claudia is involved with a political committee that’s investigating a series of murders that bear a striking resemblance to those committed by members of death squads that operated in Argentina in the 70s.  When she discovers a possible tie between Jack and these death squads, a confrontation between the two leads the film into a violent spiral of revelations and twisted actions.

When I saw APARTMENT ZERO I still wan’t out to many people as a gay man, and the homoerotic undertones of the film fascinated me.  The black humor is exceptionally handled, and the performances by the two leads are terrific, especially Firth as the repressed Adrian.  Sadly, the theatrical cut contained more homoerotic content that was edited from the home video version.  I’m not sure if that version is available to screen.

posted in Homo, Memes, Movies, Nostalgia | at 7:04 am | 0 Comments
8th January 2013
by Michael

Favorite Books Read in 2012 – #’s 7 & 8

It’s nerve-wracking being friends with published authors.  I always worry I’m not going to like their books!  Fortunately, that rarely happens, and I have found being completely honest usually serves very well.  This pair of books both took me by surprise.  One I didn’t expect to like, and the other I grew to like more and more after I completed it and time passed.

The Night Circus

#8 - The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I was a slow convert despite the hype. Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus is an exquisitely crafted fantasy/romance/historical mash-up that, like the circus it describes, contains ever-increasing wonders as each page turns. Celia and Marco are bound by their father/mentor respectively to spend much of their lives preparing for, then competing in a mystical challenge. This particular challenge has been repeated for centuries with very little variance in

the outcome: one participant wins, the other is no more. The problem is, Celia and Marco meet and fall in love, despite the challenge, which they are bound to and upon which they are unable to turn their backs.

This bizarre challenge/romance takes place against the backdrop of Le Cirque des Rêves a glorious circus that appears in different cities during the cover of darkness and is only open at night. Morgenstern’s debut is intricately layered and filled with a rich and fascinating cast of characters. But best of all, she manages to continuously convey the wonder of the magical circus tents throughout at 400-page book, without repeating herself, or resorting to cliche. It’s a magnificent effort, and a joy to read.

The Paternity Test#7 – The Paternity Test by Michael Lowenthal

For a novel, that on the one hand, appears as a slightly sudsy melodrama about a gay couple desiring a child, Michael Lowenthal’s The Paternity Test challenged me the way few books do.  Here is my best attempt to convey the complexity of emotions I felt throughout my reading it. At first The Paternity Test seemed like it was going to be a fairly straight-forward story; gay couple, together for a while and facing a turning point, decide to leave the big city, move to Cape Cod and have a child by using a surrogate. There would be the typical dramatic moments exploring issues such as having a child to save a relationship; difficulty with the surrogate, that kind of thing. In fact, I wasn’t all that interested in the subject matter, and wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy it. But when you get an advanced copy from the author himself, you make a point of reading it. 

The first thing I noticed was how compelling it was. I couldn’t put the book down and read it in record time. That said, it was a very tough read for me, stirring up all sorts of conflicting emotions. For much of the book I wasn’t sure I was enjoying it, and had particular trouble with the lead character, Pat. Often I was worried about the direction the book was headed in. Sometimes I had the distinct feeling that I was reading a novelization of “Days of our Lives.” But by the end of the book, I was excited by the journey it took me on, the very fact that I was all over the place emotionally with the characters, yet ultimately having it be a really satisfying reading experience for me. Like parenthood, like relationships, like family, there is nothing simple about The Paternity Test; there are ups and downs, moments of melodrama, laughter, tears, anger… all the things that make a wonderful novel.

 

 

4th January 2013
by Michael

Favorite Books Read in 2012 – #’s 16 & 15

As I mentioned previously, it was a good year for books.  I read a lot of really good books last year, and I couldn’t quite stop at a top 15… I had to squeeze one more on there.  So here we go, #’s 16 & 15 of my favorite books read in 2012!  And what do they have in common?  They’re both geared toward teen readers.  #16 is a newcomer to this list, and #15 made the list last year at #10.

#16 – Will Grayson Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

I read two teen novels with gay characters/themes in them, and while I enjoyed them both, both had flaws as well.  Will Grayson Will Grayson‘s conceit about two characters named Will Grayson, one straight, and one gay, written by two authors handling alternating chapters is both a strength and a weakness.  The two writers have noticeably different writing styles, which I found distracting.  There is also an element of over-simplification that can often mars feel-good novels.  However the book is hilarious, unabashedly moving, and a nice look at the variety of personalities embodying high school life today.

 

 

#15 – Pirate Cinema by Cory Doctorow

Cory’s latest book tackles a subject he is passionate about: copyright and the internet. In Pirate Cinema, a boy runs away to London after his cinema mash-ups cause his family to lose internet access for a month. While living on the streets, he hooks up with a Dickensian band of pals who show him how to live on his own and educate him about the draconian nature of the laws created by big entertainment industry that struggle to hang on to the establishment, but stifle the artistic creativity of a new generation. (He also finds a pretty amazing girlfriend.)  While the novelty of this book for me was seeing my husband’s name appear throughout in a very pivotal role (Scot won naming rights at an auction) about halfway through  Cory had hooked me with a compelling read, strong characters, and a message that is so relevant to the world we live in today.  Cory’s last novel, the epic For the Win was my #10 favorite book read in 2011.

15th January 2010
by Scot

Believe You Me

Just stop it. You can say that you believe any opinion:

  • “I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free.” -Abraham Lincoln
  • “I believe that sex is one of the most beautiful, natural, wholesome things that money can buy.” -Steve Martin
  • “I’ll ne’er believe a madman till I see his brains.” -William Shakespeare
  • “Despite everything, I believe that all men are really good at heart.” -Anne Frank
  • “I support gay marriage. I believe they have a right to be as miserable as the rest of us.” -Kinky Friedman

You can even say you believe (or disbelieve) dubious or unproven facts:

  • “Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • “I believe that I was a dog in a past life. That’s the only thing that would explain why I like to snack on Purina Dog Chow.” -Dean Koontz
  • “I am not a lesbian and I am not a slut, and somehow I am going to make people believe me.” -Vanessa Williams
  • “Everytime a child says ‘I don’t believe in fairies,’ there’s a a little fairy somewhere that falls down dead.” -J.M. Barrie

But you can’t say you believe or disbelieve a documented fact. Consider this statement by Scott Brown, republican nominee for the vacant Massachusetts US Senate seat.

Marriage
I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. States should be free to make their own laws in this area, so long as they reflect the people’s will as expressed through them directly, or as expressed through their elected representatives.

Guess what, Scott? If you are implicitly saying that you disbelieve that marriage is between two people of the same sex, you believe a lie. Because I’m married to a wonderful guy. There are people all over the globe whose spouses are the same sex they are. I really don’t give a flying fart what you believe.

Isn’t it funny how he avoids using the word “gay” or even “same-sex?” His implicit criticism of the judicial rule that denying same-sex partners marriage licenses is unconstitutional (as opposed to putting minority rights to a majority legislative vote) is really hateful too. Scott, you don’t get to reinterpret what our laws say — an accusation leveled at gay marriage supports frequently.

Now, prepare to lose on Tuesday.

posted in Homo, Massachusetts, Mean People, Politics, Quotes | at 11:51 am | 3 Comments
13th November 2009
by Scot

A Disgrace to His Profession

3 Dollar BillMaybe you’ve seen this, but a Purdue library science professor and government documents librarian has blogged An Economic Case Against Homosexuality. Yes, it’s as ludicrous as it sounds. I’m leaving this off my professional blog, as it has little to do with librarianship, other than the fact that Professor Bert Chapman displays no traits of a librarian, despite his blog title “Conservative Librarian.”

You’ll see a comment by me… two, if they approve my last one. Not that I doubt it’s rationality, but it’s close to the 2,000 character limit they put on comments, so it may be held in moderation. Or then again, it may have been flushed down the toilet. It’s in response to a commenter named Adriana who takes me to task for bringing up the taboo of the “facts” Prof. Chapman’s economic publication lacks.

Here is my follow up, in case they don’t publish it:

Adriana,

The facts Prof. Chapman presents, but does not cite are:

1. Not only does he not cite his source of data, but Prof. Chapman attributes US Government expenditures on AIDS to a support of what he deems “a homosexual lifestyle.” Though he recognizes that the disease is spread by many means, he still presents it as a moral issue. But regardless, a librarian must state where his numbers come from and what “expenditures on this disease” encompass.

2. He cites as fact that behavior he deems immoral taints our blood supply without support of fact.

3. Chapman also claims that rape of male inmates by fellow males is a drain on taxpayer dollars. Does he cite how many of the offenders are homosexual? It may seem unthinkable to you, but heterosexual males rape men. I see no citations to established facts to support his claims that homosexual men are draining US tax dollars in this way.

4. At long last, the educated librarian cites an external work, “Do Domestic Partner Benefits Make Good Economic Sense?” by The Corporate Resource Center. He claims that it is available on a web site, but does not provide a URL. He does not even qualify where this center is or what affiliation it has, if any, to a larger organization. I challenge anyone to find this work available on the web. For this fraud alone, Prof. Chapman should be censured, at the very least.

5. Finally, the learned professor closes with a long list of ways that heterosexual entitlements may be diminished by the acknowledgment of same-sex relationships. There are no numbers given. There are no longitudinal studies cited. There is only the fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) tactics of a frightened man with no other defense. The last paragraph reminds me of the FUD tactics of white families in the 1960′s who would incite neighborhood hatred against black families moving in, in the name of “decreased property values.”

I am not arguing against Prof. Chapman’s points. He has none.

The student furor over his blog post has led to calls for his dismissal from the university. Not surprisingly, this isn’t the first antigay blog post he’s written.


Update: I totally forgot to thank the dude who alerted me to this fiasco! Rob at wakingupnow.com is a really great blogger who has a fierce, but reasoned approach to civil action. Thank you, Rob. You set a good example.

7th May 2009
by Scot

Visit from the Golden Pony

Last night, the golden pony came to Springfield, MA and pooped out a lovely evening for Michael and  I  me. (Thanks, Max.) We’re here for the Massachusetts Library Association annual conference and Michael, being Michael, lined up a truly stupendous array of guests to speak. So, last night we spent the late night hours closing down the hotel bar with:

I am so lucky that my husband is so fearless and is such a big dreamer. He gave me the wonderful gift of the opportunity to chat with Lynda and Thrity about menopause and to smoke with Talia and Michael Cunningham in the rain. Does that rock or what?

10th August 2008
by Michael

Should I feel a certain way about this?

So, Neil Patrick Harris is gay.  We all know this.  We all know that he’s also one of our current “it boys” — seemingly able to do no wrong whether he’s playing straight on TV (How I Met Your Mother) or at the movies (Harold & Kumar) or doing the song and dance thing with Joss Whedon (Dr. Horrible’s Sing-along Blog) or whatever he wants to do.  So why is there now this little backlash over at Gawker stating that’s he’s “too straight?”  More, why am I hearing about it for the first time on one of my comics blogs where the Occasional Superheroine takes issues with Gawker’s post?  Both sides actually have merit to their argument, and I am at a loss as to where I fall.  Guess it depends on the time of day.  Bravo for Mr. Harris’ success, and it’s always nice to see more successful gay people in the entertainment business.    And come on, he looks pretty hot on that Out Magazine cover.

posted in Celebrity, Homo, Nonsense | at 9:24 am | 2 Comments
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