I'm a big fan of podcasts. I listen to them as I walk around San Francisco, during gym workouts, you name it...
With the emphasis on relaunching Oasis, I started looking around for gay youth podcasts and didn't find all that much. To be honest, I don't like many gay podcasts in general, because they all tend to be a bunch of friends sitting around gossiping and being mean and, honestly, I don't have time for that negative energy.
So, I was really happy to find Jian's "That's So Gay" podcast the other day (it *just* launched, he's only done two episodes so far). He's just a soft-spoken, obviously intelligent guy and I just like the whole vibe he puts out on his podcast. It's sort of like an audio version of some of our writers on Oasis.
By Jeff Walsh
Before I say another word, I need to point out that this movie is not for the younger viewers of the site. In the commentary track, the director mentions wanting to make the "gayest movie ever," and succeeds, but it is way, way over the top. Not that that is necessarily a bad thing.
The movie is about four friends, all high school graduates about to enter college after summer vacation. The foursome are also, to use their term, "booty virgins." So, they all make a pact to have anal sex before the end of summer. The movie is patterned off of both the American Pie and Scary Movie series, so there is nudity, gross-out humor, and parodies of other gay movies throughout.
By Jeff Walsh
With "Totally Joe," James Howe plays with structure and the absence of conflict in a gay teen story. The book is written as a year-long class assignment called an alphabiography, where students have to write 26 entries about their life, starting with the letter A, each with a life lesson that related to what they wrote about. So, by the time we finish the book, we know 13-year-old Joe Bunch from A to Z.
Reading this book, I kept thinking of the Justin character from Ugly Betty. You do watch Ugly Betty, don't you? It is so much fun. Anyway, on Ugly Betty, Justin is Betty's nephew who is just accepted by the family, even though, it seems pretty clear he is completely gay. He is played perfectly by Mark Indelicato.
By Jeff Walsh
Going into "Company," I had a lot of questions running around my head. Chief among them was: How can I be a theater queen and only now be seeing my first Sondheim show? When I looked in the Playbill, I was surprised how many of the show's musical numbers sounded familiar. Even though I hadn't been to a proper Sondheim production before, I've been to enough piano bars, cabarets, and Elaine Stritch one-woman shows to ensure more than half of the songs were known quantities.
The other pre-curtain pondering was about director John Doyle's staging, whereby there would be no orchestra (repeating the formula he recently used for his restaging of Sweeney Todd). The actors all play instruments onstage to accompany themselves and others during the songs. When I mentioned how this would be a strange hurdle to absorb, to a friend who isn't that fond of musicals, he said, "Oh yeah, unlike them all breaking into song randomly..." Point taken.
As we're finally about to get the launch up and running properly (should be switching to a new server very soon, breaking out oasisjournals.com, etc.), one piece of the puzzle is also going to be book reviews.
Yikes, can't take a mini-holiday from the site anymore... entire projects spring up in my absence (as well they should).
Pat Nelson Childs has taken a post by our very own haNa and turned it into a full-on book proposal where anyone can contribute artwork, writing, editing, etc., to create a book about what it is like to be a gay teen today.
You can win a copy of Reichen's book "Here's What We'll Say!" by sending an e-mail to:
The photo is of the author page inside the book. it is the official hardcover release, not an advance reader copy or anything. Just be sure and include the word Reichen in the subject line, and tell me your oasis username in the body of the e-mail.
All contest entries must be received by noon Pacific Time, Wednesday, January 17. This has been extended until noon, January 24, due to the site downtime.
By Jeff Walsh
In his book "Here's What We'll Say: Growing Up, Coming Out, and the U.S. Air Force Academy," Reichen Lehmkuhl provides an eyewitness account of the Air Force Academy under the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. The book chronicles his growing acceptance of his sexuality and the eventual formation of an underground group at the Academy, started by Reichen, which enabled gay cadets to provide alibis for one another to protect their sexuality from being known. The book's title is taken from the phrase the group used to preface their alibis. Reichen recently spoke with Jeff prior to his book tour appearance in San Francisco. Here's What We Said...
So, what prompted you to write the book?
I wanted to write the book since I was a cadet at the Academy. I always tell people 'Someone should write a book about this place,' or 'Someone should make a movie about this place.' So, I wrote the book. About two years ago, I started, and it was right around the time that I was separating completely from the Air Force and the Air Force Reserves.
The following is an excerpt from the book "Transparent: Love, Family, and Living the T with Transgender Teenagers" by Cris Beam, Published by Harcourt, Inc. Reprinted with permission.
Here’s what you see when you drive down Los Angeles’s Santa Monica Boulevard just east of La Brea: a 7-Eleven, a Shakey’s Pizza, a low concrete building with fish painted on the side, and a taco stand. There’s a Chinese takeout place and a triple-X video rental shop, a filling station, and four lanes of traffic, two in each direction. Old people waiting for the bus. Young mothers dragging children in flip-flops. A discount dollar store, a Laundromat, and a bunch of teenagers standing around and smoking. If you stare for more than a minute, you may note that most of these teenagers are girls, and that they’re more ethnically varied than other cliques in this segregated town. But that’s it. Santa Monica Boulevard’s got the sun-bleached, chain-store feeling of most of L.A.
If you’re a transgender girl (meaning you were born male but live as a female), you might notice something extra along this stretch of Santa Monica. It’s here that you’ll find girls trading secrets about how to shoot up the black-market hormones purchased from the swap meets in East L.A. If the hormones don’t work fast enough to manifest your inner vision of wider hips and C cups, you can find out about “pumping parties” out in the Valley, where a former veterinarian or a “surgeon’s wife” from Florida will shoot free-floating industrial-grade silicone into hips, butts, breasts, knees -- even cheeks and foreheads. Of course, this is dangerous when the oils shift and form hard lumps in the armpits and thighs, but you’ll look good for a while.
2007 is going to be a great year on Oasis and Adrian and I have a lot of stuff in the works.
Since we've been alluding to "changes" coming up, it seems like the start of the new year might be a good time to tip our hat a little bit as to what we're planning.
In the very near future, Oasis will become two sites.
By Jeff Walsh
"Fixing Frank" is an engrossing movie that tackles the subject of conversion therapy. When the movie starts, Frank is in a session with Dr. Apsey, saying things that clearly show him to be a self-hating homosexual. We quickly learn that Frank doesn't really hate himself, but is working with his therapist boyfriend Jonathan on an article to discredit Apsey's practice of helping homosexuals become happy heterosexuals.
The movie is a claustrophobic puzzle that gives each character a positive portrayal. It would have been so easy to make Apsey into a villain, make him a former homosexual himself, or stack the deck against him in many other ways, but Ken Hanes (adapting his stage play to the screen) never takes the easy path. Apsey is compelling and caring, and seems well intentioned.
By Jeff Walsh
In Doubt, Cherry Jones delivers an amazingly nuanced role as a nun that is convinced a priest behaved improperly with a young boy, despite not actually seeing anything incriminating. She just feels in her bones that what happened was inappropriate and has no ability to think otherwise. The play uses this exchange to question how we know what we know. In an age of polarization, how do we see with such certainty and, if that is the case, what chance is there to move forward if neither side questions their beliefs.
Doubt is a small show asking big questions. With a cast of four, it has an agility and focus to it that a larger show wouldn't allow. While the potentially pedophilic priest is an easy target, the show is just using that example to raise other questions.
By Jeff Walsh
Spring Awakening is the newest show on Broadway (at the time of this writing), fusing together the text of a controversial-for-its-time play with a rock score by singer/songwriter Duncan Sheik. Fusing the two elements together made for some great musical moments and some interesting dramatic moments, although they rarely overlapped. First, we are in a Latin class in a German school in 1891, then one of the kids reaches into his jacket, pulls out a microphone, and all of the angst from the previous scene fuels the song as the electric guitar and drums kick into high gear.
I liked both sides of the show, the classic play and the rock concert, although it rarely seemed to fuse into one experience. When it did, such as the close of act one, when the young couple make love on a miniature floating stage, as the singing cast sit around them, rocking them slowly, and singing "I Believe," it was inspired magic, the reason people go to the theater, a moment of pure exhilaration when every element of the production combined flawlessly to create something greater than each of its parts. The cast, the music, and the audience all went somewhere else together in that chorus, and came out the other side better for the journey.
By Jeff Walsh
I'll admit up front that I was hesitant seeing "Avenue Q," primarily because the people who talked it up got really excited when The Muppet Show was released on DVD. They reeked of bias. Not that I'm anti-puppet, necessarily. It was always an issue of "but there are all these other shows to see with, like, people in them." My fears ended up being misguided.
"Avenue Q" admittedly doesn't take itself seriously, but it's not self-referential or a send-up of a Broadway musical done with puppets, either. The show stands on its own. The songs are all fun, well-written, and memorable. The strangest thing to process was the puppeteers performing onstage with their puppets on one hand and wands to move the puppet's arms in the other. The natural inclination was to look at the puppeteers, despite them being clad in neutral tones and delivering their performances through their puppets. They often had the same expressions as their puppets, and were fully invested in the role so they were singing fully and passionately (it wasn't ventriloquism). But after a while, you'd realize that the scene, songs, and sightlines were all happening between the puppets and the human actors playing other roles onstage, so you eventually shifted your focus.
By Jeff Walsh
Little Miss Sunshine walks a fine line for the duration of the movie. It always seems in danger of being too self-conscious, too precious, or too cutesy, but never crosses the line where you stop being pulled into its world.