John Amaechi: Interview

By Jeff Walsh

John Amaechi is the first NBA player to ever come out of the closet. His new book, "Man in the Middle," has started a dialogue about homophobia in the NBA, which was confirmed when another former player went on an anti-gay tirade when asked about hypothetically playing with an openly gay player on their team.

Not being a huge sports fan (which is a nice way to say I really don't like any sports), the book was a surprisingly easy, entertaining read. There were some amusing gaffes as a result, though. At one point, Amaechi talks about something putting him on the DL, and I kept thinking, "Umm, you've pretty much been on the down low for the duration of this book?!" Of course, he meant disabled list. There are a few sports terms that cross that line throughout, although contextually, it's more humorous than confusing.

Amaechi is currently working with the Human Rights Campaign as part of their coming out program, and recently spoke with Oasis about his life since the book's release.

Looking out...

A regular feature that wraps up news items found elsewhere on the web about LGBTQ youth (and some additional randomness):

Dan Gillespie Sells of The Feeling: Interview

By Jeff Walsh

The Feeling are a great pop band out of the UK, who have already delivered consecutive hit singles from their brilliant debut album "Twelve Stops And Home." The album was recently released in America, and the band is currently touring the country as part of VH-1's "You Oughta Know" tour with Rocco DeLuca and The Burden, and Mat Kearney.

The album has so many amazing songs on it, and really wins you over with its amazing lyrics. The first single "Sewn" (in Entertainment Weekly's Hot List this week) is a slow ballad that builds beautifully with a great melody, although my favorite track on the CD is "Never Be Lonely," which has a lot of emotional messages going on under the hood of a fun, upbeat pop tune.

The Feeling were recently in San Francisco, and I had the chance to interview lead singer and guitarist Dan Gillespie Sells on the band's tour bus, our interview ending 20 minutes before the band would take the stage. Despite the laidback vibe of the band on their bus, they all came alive onstage, working the crowd and bringing a great energy and enthusiasm to the stage.

Boy Culture: Movie Review

By Jeff Walsh

With "Boy Culture," co-writer and director Q. Allan Brocka quickly gives a hustler-weary audience some indication that he's aware of the abundance of gay movies about hustlers. With the credits barely finished, he has lead character "X" say in voice-over narration:

"If you're smart, you guessed I'm a hustler. If you haven't, here are two clues: I'm gay and they made a movie about me."

Upon hearing that, I immediately sat up taller, thinking if you're going to be ballsy enough to address the premise of your movie as a huge cliché, you must be equally confident that you haven't made a cliché movie. That thinking, sadly, wouldn't entirely prove to be accurate.

"Boy Culture" (opening in New York, San Francisco, and West Hollywood this Friday, and soon in other urban areas, see schedule below) isn't a bad movie, it just doesn't have much new to say.

OK, theater fags, here they are: Spring Awakening auditions!

I love this show, and now you can join the cast!

Reposted from the Spring Awakening MySpace blog:

This is it! AUDITIONS

I promised y'all I'd post this as soon as I got the info. We will be having open call auditions in NY, Boston, Chicago, and LA for future replacements.

For all cities: We are seeking males ages 17-21 and females ages 16-21. Bring a recent picture/resume and prepare a short folk/alternative rock song. Accompanist will be provided.

Follow-Up: Larry Kramer writes "A Letter to America's Heterosexuals"

In addition to a recent interview with Rex Wockner (hat tip: Towleroad), the following appeared today in an opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times (reprinted with author's permission):


Why do you hate gay people so much?

Gays are hated. Prove me wrong. Your top general just called us immoral. Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, is in charge of an estimated 65,000 gay and lesbian troops, some fighting for our country in Iraq. A right-wing political commentator, Ann Coulter, gets away with calling a straight presidential candidate a faggot. Even Garrison Keillor, of all people, is making really tacky jokes about gay parents in his column. This, I guess, does not qualify as hate except that it is so distasteful and dumb, often a first step on the way to hate. Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama tried to duck the questions that Pace's bigotry raised, confirming what gay people know: that there is not one candidate running for public office anywhere who dares to come right out, unequivocally, and say decent, supportive things about us.

Looking out...

A regular feature that wraps up news items found elsewhere on the web about LGBTQ youth (and some additional randomness):

May the Soulforce Be With You

Soulforce is a group that is trying to end religious and political oppression through the practice of relentless nonviolent resistance. The group was founded by the Rev. Mel White.

Right now, Soulforce has fifty young adults going around the country, on two separate buses as part of its Equality Ride, which will visit 32 different Christian colleges and universities, all of which have no policy affirming LGBT students or faculty, and engaging the schools in a constructive dialogue. Many schools do not want this attention and have banned the group, and will arrest them as soon as they step onto school property. Many of the riders have already been arrested.

Many of the participants are blogging the event with text and video, and it is definitely worth checking out their journey as it unfurls.

Shortbus: DVD Review

By Jeff Walsh

"Shortbus" is a movie that I have a hard time getting my head around. On one hand, it is best known as the movie where the actors all have actual sex and orgasms, which is why it is clearly and defiantly unrated. On the other, it is about what lengths people go through to find intimacy and connection in a world that seems orchestrated against it.

So, I love the themes it explores and what it is trying to achieve, but I just didn't think the combination worked for me. The movie starts with nearly every character in the movie engaged in some form of sexual activity, so there is no crescendo where it builds up to the nudity, it all starts immediately. So, if you're not ready for a lot of gay activity and frontal male nudity, they get you out of the theater or pressing STOP on your DVD player pretty quickly.

For the people that stick around, there are a few intertwined narratives where the characters search for connectedness.

Gauging Interest: Month-Long discussion for National Poetry Month?

OK, I was going to do this project for me and my own personal growth, but then I decided: why not make it something a bunch of us can do on the site?

In short, April is National Poetry Month, and I was going to use that occassion to read through Break, Blow, Burn: Camille Paglia Reads Forty-Three Of the World's Best Poems.

Since there's still nearly 2 weeks, it seems like everyone would still have time to buy or check out the book from the library before April 1. We could either make up a schedule in advance to get all 43 in, or just pick 30 of the 43 and do one a day.

We Are Not Crumbs; We Must Not Accept Crumbs

By Larry Kramer

Remarks on the occasion of the 20th Anniversary of ACT UP
NY Lesbian and Gay Community Center,
March 13, 2007

Rodger McFarlane, Eric Sawyer, Jim Eigo, Peter Staley, Troy Masters, Mark Harrington, David Webster, Jeremy Waldron, and Hannah Arendt contributed to the following remarks

One day AIDS came along. It happened fast. Almost every man I was friendly with died. Eric still talks about his first boyfriend, 180 pounds, 28 years old, former college athlete, who became a 119 pound bag of bones covered in purple splotches in months. Many of us will always have memories like this that we can never escape.

Out of this came ACT UP. We grew to have chapters and affinity groups and spin-offs and affiliations all over the world. Hundreds of men and women once met weekly in New York City alone. Every single treatment against HIV is out there because of activists who forced these drugs out of the system, out of the labs, out of the pharmaceutical companies, out of the government, into the world. It is an achievement unlike any other in the history of the world. All gay men and women must let ourselves feel colossally proud of such an achievement. Hundreds of millions of people will be healthier because of us. Would that they could be grateful to us for saving their lives.

So many people have forgotten, or never knew what it was like. We must never let anyone forget that no one, and I mean no one, wanted to help dying faggots. Sen. Edward Kennedy described it in 2006 as “the appalling indifference to the suffering of so many.” Ronald Reagan had made it very clear that he was “irrevocably opposed” to anything to do with homosexuality. It would be seven years into his reign before he even said the word “AIDS” out loud, by which time almost every gay man in the entire world who’d had sex with another man had been exposed to the virus. During this entire time his government issued not one single health warning, not one single word of caution. Who cares if a faggot dies. I believe that Ronald Reagan is responsible for more deaths than Adolf Hitler. This is not hyperbole. This is fact.

CA GSA wins right to exist after two year struggle

By Jeff Walsh

In Madera, California, high school students fought the administration for two years to start a Gay Straight Alliance. Today, after working with the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California and GSA Network, the school board agreed to allow the club to exist. Oasis spoke this afternoon with Thalia Arenas, the senior who serves as president of the GSA:

Just saw the news today so wanted to say congratulations. How long has the GSA been together?

We started in second semester of sophomore year (2005), trying to get it started. We were unsuccessful at the high school, because they told us it would take up to six months to approve it. We were discouraged, so we decided to take it to the Pan-America community center and they said, 'if you want to meet here with your friends for this club, it's fine.' They were OK with it. So, that's where we basically started.

Now, it has about six members, because it's hard to be out and open here in little Madera. I think that's where our activism started. Later on, we found out about the GSA Network, and they gave us information and resources on how to get started. And we felt empowered, because they told us 'We know you can do it,' they were just really helpful. They said, 'We have all the resources, if you guys need anything, just contact us. They're supposed to let you have it.'

Pat Nelson Childs: Interview

By Jeff Walsh

Pat Nelson Childs isn't a stranger to Oasis members.

He found the site when looking for avenues to promote his book, Orphan's Quest, but realized there was more he could do here in addition to book promotion. He's taken the helm of the Gay Like Me anthology project, and is an active member of the community here.

It did present a slight problem, though, as Pat happens to write in the small sliver of stuff that I just can't get into as a reader. I don't really do fantasy, sci-fi, comics, or anything like that. (I do have a small window available for sci-fi if it is about some dystopic future, but otherwise I can't read that sort of stuff.)

So, the workaround: we're going to get someone else to do the review at some point (there's already an excerpt available here). Pat and I had a chat about his planned trilogy of Orphan's Quest books, his coming out, his background, his being HIV-positive, and the ability to have sex with guys as a teenager without questioning your sexuality.

Looking out...

A regular feature that wraps up news items found elsewhere on the web about LGBTQ youth (and some additional randomness):

Win a signed copy of Transparent!

You can win a signed copy of Cris Beam's "Transparent: Love, Family, and Living the T with Transgender Teenagers."

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

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

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