Baby Remember My Name: Book Review

by -Ruby-

I know they say “don’t judge a book by its cover”… but when you pick up this book, dark and glossy, with a front cover of two chicks making out and back cover of anthology editor Michelle Tea in a tank top revealing her sexy tattoos… you just sense that you’re in for something good. Oh baby, you’re SO right. Baby Remember My Name is a collection of 22 short stories by young women from across America. They’re provocative, poetic, cute, funny, bittersweet, heartbreaking, raw, and real.

“Juan the Brave” is about a young girl named Erica, who wants to be a boy and struggles to fit into her tight Latino family and community. “T-Ten” is narrated by ten-year-old Chelsea, who’s trying to stay out of trouble with her mom and teacher, while attempting to scrape up enough cash to buy birthday presents for herself and her twin sister. “Snow Fight” takes you through the wild day-to-day adventures in a tough “ghetto” inner-city high school. “Sunshine in the Fat End” is told by Jessie, an adolescent girl living in a trailer park with an autistic brother, crackhead mom and her abusive boyfriend. In “Part 1: Tumbleweed” Scarlet shares her journey from New York to California with her best friend and sometimes lover, working as a stripper and sometimes prostitute.

Contest winners...

And the winners are:

Books

  • Man In The Middle: by John Amaechi -- Dykehalo
  • Boy Culture by Matthew Rettenmund. -- Kylec1
    • DVD

      • 3 Needles: underdarkness

      Music

      • The Feeling: Two winners, imstillhere, hebrew freak

      Looks like I made a good decision by not sending out the review stuff until the contest ended, so I can add those things to some of the same packages.

Day of Silence: Tell Your Story!

"Please understand my reasons for not speaking today. I am participating in the Day of Silence, a national youth movement protesting the silence faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their allies. My deliberate silence echoes that silence, which is caused by harassment, prejudice, and discriminaton. I believe that ending the silence is the first step toward fighting these injustices. Think about the voices you are not hearing today."

Share your Day of Silence stories here!

Apichatpong Weerasethakul: Interview

By Jeff Walsh

Apichatpong Weerasethakul is leading a new independent cinema in Thailand. His film "Tropical Malady" explores the relationship between two Thai men in a very natural, realistic way. The film is shown in two parts, though. The couple meets and develops their relationship in the first half, and then, in the second half, one of the men becomes a tiger and the other, a soldier, hunts through the jungle trying to find his lost love. It's definitely an experimental movie and, I assumed, telling some cultural myth or somesuch.

Recently, I attended a two-night program on Tropical Malady presented by the Pacifc Film Archive on the UC Berkeley campus. On the first night, an audience watched Tropical Malady on film. On the second night, we watched it on DVD and Apichatpong controlled the remote, stopping to tell stories about the filming, what he was trying to achieve, and any audience member could yell "Stop!" and ask a question.

So, when the movie hit the midway point, I was hoping to get some story of how there is some traditional Thai story of a boy who takes the shape of a tiger, and that would give me some cultural background that would help illuminate the second half. Instead, he only said, "And now, his boyfriend is tiger." So, apparently, I already knew everything I needed to.

Keeping You A Secret: Book Review

By Jeff Walsh

In Keeping You A Secret, Julie Anne Peters doesn't waste much time in setting up the two main characters. On the very first page, Holland sees the T-Shirt of a new girl, Cece, across the hall from her high school locker. Holland's stomach "flutter"s when she first sees the new girl and ponders the meaning of the letters on her shirt, IMRU? Am I what? Holland wonders to herself. The rest of the book explores that question.

Holland is a driven student, taking extra courses, staying up at all hours to do homework, serving as student body president, waking up early to swim laps, and working in a day care after school for extra money. But none of it seems to be her choice, let alone her desire. She just slogs through every day on autopilot doing everything that is expected of her. Her mother even turns a blind eye to Holland having sex with her boyfriend, as long as they're being careful. In just a few short months, high school will be over and the rest of her life can begin, although she doesn't seem to have much interest in finishing applications for college either.

Between Mom and Jo: Book Review

By Jeff Walsh

Once again, Julie Anne Peters has written an engaging book with a young narrator. But in "Between Mom and Jo," Nick isn't struggling with his sexuality, but with the eventual breakup of his lesbian parents. He calls his biological mother "Mom," and her partner "Jo," but they both raised him.

The book starts before the breakup, but we see it coming. Mom is the provider in the house, who keeps everything going, whereas Jo can't hold down a job and sometimes drinks. There are issues between Jo and her in-laws, who haven't interacted much since the commitment ceremony. The whole situation is a powder keg, but when it comes to Nick, everyone is united in their love for him, and wanting to do what's best.

He gets teased at school about being a freak raised by freaks. At 14, he is also at the age where he's difficult to handle because of his own sexuality and emotions. When Mom and Jo finally break up, the situation meant to be better for everyone doesn't really work out that way.

Luna: Book Review

By Jeff Walsh

Every night, Regan wakes up to find her sibling Luna in her bedroom, standing in front of her mirror. Every night, Luna wears a different dress and talks about her future as she applies different makeup and wigs.

Every morning, Regan has breakfast with the family, and her brother Liam sits there quiet and withdrawn. Only Regan knows that Liam is transgender, that her brother is really her sister.

Luna's name, Spanish for moon, is appropriate given it is the only time of day that she feels whole, not having to pretend to be a boy, which is getting more difficult. She has to use her sister's bedroom at night, because she longer has mirrors in her room, or else she will constantly keep catching glances of the boy she has to pretend to be.

Brent Hartinger featured on fun podcast

If anyone wants to check it out, Brent is featured on a recent Feast of Fools podcast. Click here to listen.

It's contest time!

Alright, there probably won't be as many contests in the future, since having Oasis users review stuff means they get to keep it when they're done, whereas I would consider those to be content prizes.

So, let's see what we have:

Books

  • Man In The Middle: by John Amaechi. Read all about his story about being in the closet while being an NBA player (keyword: basketball)
  • Boy Culture by Matthew Rettenmund. The novel on which the recent movie was based (keyword: culture)
    • DVD

      • 3 Needles: A global look into the HIV pandemic (keyword: needles)

      Music

      • The Feeling: Two lucky winners will take home this amazing CD, Twelve Stops And Home. I can't stop playing it. If you like poppy UK rock, this is great stuff. (keyword: feeling)

      All you have to do is enter by sending an e-mail to:



      Just include the relevant keyword and your Oasis username to that address.

Wild Tigers I Have Known: Movie Review

By Jeff Walsh

"Wild Tigers I Have Known" is a visual collage of pubescent sexuality at its most yearning. I've heard it described in several places as a gay youth film, but it could just as easily be about a biological boy questioning whether he is a trans girl. And if you want answers to such basic questions, you aren't going to find them in this movie.

Right up front, I will declare that I like linear narratives. I like stories that begin, something happens, and then they end. Doesn't have to be a happy Hollywood ending, but I like to think I was on a journey of some sort. So, a movie where not much of anything occurs, with lots of jump cuts to nature shots and strange video, is not really my idea of a good time.

The main character, Logan, is 13 and develops an unlikely friendship with an older boy named Rodeo. There's a running story about mountain lions being seen in the area, and Rodeo says he knows where they live in the woods, so he offers to show Logan. Their friendship continues, and eventually Logan's crush on Rodeo manifests itself in a persona he creates names Leah. Logan (as Leah) starts having a sexual phone dialogue with Rodeo, which eventually leads to Rodeo going to meet Leah in person for sex, expecting it to be someone female.

The Boys and The Bees: Book Review

By underdarkness

The Boys and the Bees is the first person retelling of a young man's journey through love, lust, confusion and growing up gay in a Catholic grade school. As the word “faggot” is newly introduced to the sixth grader’s seemingly shared vocabulary, Andy, the narrator, learns that he must separate himself from anything that may appear to be gay, including his lispy and fragile best friend James.

What happens under the covers at their sleepovers must remain a secret, so Andy sees fit to call out James on his girlishness whenever possible to reaffirm his own vague sexuality. James wants to be with Andy. Andy wants to be with Mark, the basketball team captain and most popular boy in the sixth grade. Mark, however, appears to be untouchable. He's dating the most popular girl in school. He's popular and athletic. He couldn't possibly be gay!

Jesse Brune: Interview

By Jeff Walsh

Fans of "Work Out," the reality series on Bravo that tracks the high-end Beverly Hills gym run by hot lesbian Jackie Warner, know that drama builds quicker than muscle. Jackie is a strong-willed, powerful woman, who keeps her staff operating at her high standards. Outside of her work environment, though, Jackie has a strange, interdependent relationship (or did, until recent episodes) with a younger, immature woman. So, you see two opposing sides to her personality. But when you combine all the different personalities of all the trainers on the show, there's a lot of drama swirling high above Beverly Hills.

I recently chatted with Jesse Brune, one of the trainers on the show. He's always had a really sweet spirit on the show, but one of the reasons I wanted to get him in Oasis was because he and Doug, one of the other trainers on the show (who, sadly, died in the middle of filming the second season), had a conflict as a result of the first season of the show, which has been a big topic at the beginning of the second season. Doug asserted that he was happy to be on the show to show someone who was gay and "normal. Not over the top gay," and referring Jesse as more like Jack from Will & Grace. While not interested in the argument, it led to an interesting discussion about topics that come up a lot on Oasis, such as stereotypes and how butch and masculine are perceived as better. All things I totally and completely think are internalized homophobia, so I really wanted to get Jesse in here so we can chat about it more, since it is such an important discussion within the community.

Oasis: The Next Big Step

Time to change the site up again, and this is a pretty major development.

Within a week or so, oasismag.com will no longer exist as the main home for this site (keep reading!). In its place, we will be switching over to oasisjournals.com, as that better represents why people are on this site, as well as the best feature of this forum, which is all of you, writing about your lives and helping one another.

One fun thing will be that you can more easily bookmark people's sites, so http://www.oasisjournals.com/journal/jeff (or somesuch) will be my site.

The front of the site will be a constant scroll of all of the latest writings from people on the site.

My role will be dramatically changing.

Break, Blow, Burn: Day Eight

Percy Bysshe Shelley - Ozymandias

One of the poems I clearly recalled by title alone, before even reading a word of it. It was intresting to hear Paglia note that the poet himself only has one line that is obstensibly in his own voice, the rest is information being relayed by the traveller, and then, ultimately, by Ozymandias's words.

I had never picked up on the slight nod to the early sculptor, who was able to ensure the megalomania of his pharoah was properly conveyed in the sculpture and, in fact, is the only thing that remains. I always focused on the bigger more obvious message of the ruler whose empty words have absolutely no weight and have become a warning sign to every ruler who believes in their own importance.

Break, Blow, Burn: Day Seven

William Wordsworth - The World Is Too Much With Us

Hmm, neither of today's Wordsworth entries really did all that much for me. In this entry, Wordsworth's isolation while looking out at the sea makes him question the society in which he lives, which is common enough. But I don't know ... nothing here really moved or intrigued me. His desire to live in a pre-Christian Britian, as Paglia deciphers, is something that should interest me, since I tend to be excited by something that questions organized religion in any way, but, it just didn't happen.

Some of the wordplay revealed by Paglia, such as "spending" being a term for ejaculation is informative, but I guess having not had much of a reaction to the poem already, it's too little too late.

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