Spring Awakening: Broadway Review

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.

Avenue Q: Broadway Review

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.

Little Miss Sunshine: DVD Review

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.

Welcome, back!

OK, after a way-too-long trip down memory lane for me, I am happy to report that every interview and profile done on Oasis over the past 11 years is now online!

So, if you want to read interviews from Camille Paglia, Rufus Wainwright, Randy Harrison, Anthony Rapp, Wilson Cruz, Christopher Rice, a fictional author (JT Leroy), and many, many others, just keep scrolling down the main page here, and there are now 9 full pages of content.

Brad Virata of 'Survivor: Cook Islands' Interview

By Jeff Walsh

Brad Virata went on Survivor to break stereotypes and win a million dollars, but only accomplished one of his goals. He was voted off the show on the show's eighth episode, but became the first member of the jury that decides who wins the million dollars. On Sunday, December 17, he will be on the jury that selects the million-dollar winner and appear live on the reunion show that follows. Throughout the show, Virata seemed to be having fun with the whole notion that he was playing a game, rather than follow the stressful (albeit possibly more successful) path of other people on the show. Whenever the game had a twist, he was there smiling and taking it all in, while everyone else winced, plotted and schemed. Chatting with him on the phone, it becomes very clear that is just the way he handles life. Talking to Oasis exactly a week after his being voted off the show, he was still upbeat and engaged after days of a rigorous publicity schedule. In fact, he laughed so freely and often during our interview, I just removed the (laughs) marks from the transcript, because without the audio or knowing his take on life, they actually came across as excessive. But on the phone, they were playful and addictive, and really did help paint a picture of his great outlook on life. Virata, the fashion director for Lucky Brand Jeans, recently spoke with Jeff about his life on and off the show:

Kinsey Sicks "Oy Vey In a Manger" review

By Jeff Walsh

In the grand tradition of Christmas music being sung by Jewish people (See: Barbra Streisand, Neil Diamond, and almost every CD in the holiday section of your store), The Kinsey Sicks deliver their entry with "Oy Vey In A Manger: Christmas Carols and Other Jewish Music."

Kinsey Sicks 'I Wanna Be A Republican' review

By Jeff Walsh

"I Wanna Be A Republican" finds The Kinsey Sicks at the top of their game. This filmed concert (now on DVD) brings their talent to an even wider audience.

The premise of the show is that the Kinseys are hosting a Republican fundraiser, stalling for time until President Bush arrives. Like every Kinsey show, it doesn't settle for the easy targets and skewers everyone by the end of the show.

Anyone who initially dismisses a show by "singing drag queens" is in for a surprise. The entire set-up of the show as a GOP fundraiser gives the material a great platform. In their opening number, "I Wanna Be A Republican," they sing:

Contest: Win a Kinsey Sicks CD!

Yes, one of the new features on Oasis is contests!

Our first contest is for your very own copy of The Kinsey Sicks' Oy Vey In A Manger: Christmas Carols and Other Jewish Music.

Accordng to the Kinseys' web site: "This all-live soundtrack recording of the Kinseys' eponymous holiday show contains 24 tracks for both Jews and Gentiles to abhor, including seasonal favorites such as "God Bless Ye Femmy Lesbians," "'Tis the Season to Drink Stoli," "A Lay in a Manger" and the soon-to-be-classic of cannibalism, "Soylent Night." This CD captures better than any other the fun and the fear of a live Kinsey Sicks performance. You can practically see the stubble sprouting under sweaty pancake make-up and feel the stampede of audience members begging for refunds!"

Jeff Manabat of the Kinsey Sicks Interview

By Jeff Walsh

The Kinsey Sicks have been part of my life in San Francisco for as long as I can remember. But, these days, this dragapella beauty shop quartet is spreading its music and message (and STDs, in the case of Rachel) throughout North America as a constantly touring group. The group was first profiled in Oasis back in November of 1999, and have never stopped coming up with hilarious shows, outlandish improv, and "Oh no, they didn't!" moments.

2007 will see the DVD release of their first-ever concert film "I Wanna Be A Republican" (currently playing festivals and seeking a distributor) as well as an episodic reality show, "Almost Infamous," documenting their journey to debuting a show in Las Vegas. The group consists of four members: Ben Schatz as the slutty Rachel, Irwin Keller as the lesbolicious neatfreak Winnie, Chris Dilley as the vapid vampy Trampolina, and Jeff Manabat as the glamorous (and easy) Trixie.

Welcome to the new Oasis Magazine!

To celebrate our 11th Anniversary online, we are expanding in a big way.

In the next few days, there will now be two major changes:

Oasis Magazine (www.oasismag.com) which will change to feature interviews with openly queer novelists, musicians, actors, comics and role models, as well as reviews of DVDs, movies, books, and music of interest to our audience.

Jim Fall Interview

By Jeff Walsh

When I decided to relaunch Oasis as a magazine again, one of the things I did was to look back and review the list of people we had featured in the past. Just doing that became a sort of fun exercise in seeing what some of those same people were up to these days.

When I saw the interview with Jim Fall, director of Trick (one of my favorite gay movies of all time), I quickly jumped over to IMDB to see what he's been doing lately. I knew about the Lizzie McGuire Movie, but above that was an entry called "Wedding Wars." A bit of poking around, and it seemed that his newest movie was happening just in time for our relaunch. Wedding Wars (see my review) features John Stamos as a wedding planner who causes a national movement of gay people refusing to go to work, when confronted with the injustice surrounding gay marriage. But instead of a hectoring, political treatise that would preach to the converted, fail to sway the undecided, and not interest the red states, Fall humanizes the issue with a fun, genuine story that humanizes both sides of the issue. The movie plays for laughs and emotional resonance, while advancing the gay marriage debate in a positive way.

'Wedding Wars' Review

By Jeff Walsh

"Wedding Wars" (airing Monday, December 11, 9 p.m. ET/PT, on A&E) is the story of two brothers. Shel is a gay party planner hired to plan his brother Ben's wedding. Ben is marrying the daughter of the Governor of Maine. It's an election year, and the governor ends up going on the record that he opposed gay marriage, which offends Shel. Shel goes on strike and causes a nationwide movement of gays who refuse to go to work.

OK, I'll go on the record right up front that it isn't the most realistic movie, if you're looking for politics. But, that said, if someone like me, living in the Castro in San Francisco, watched this and thought it really hit the mark... then people that really need to see it would hate it completely.

Wade Richards, 22, Huntsville, Alabama

By Jeff Walsh

Despite his 22 years, Wade Richards has already gone through more highs and lows than most people will encounter in a lifetime. A religious boy at 15, he fasted, prayed, and had his entire church pray for him to remove his homosexuality. It didn't work.

One day, he checked himself out of school, and ran away to New York City, where he began hanging out in gay bars, and using drugs and alcohol. Finally, he became fed up with the downward spiral his life was taking, and he turned to the church again. This time, they offered more than prayers, instead offering him a solution to change his homosexuality once and for all. So, he entered the program, and before too long was being heralded by the religious right as a successful "ex-gay." But despite their positioning, things weren't that clear cut for Richards.

Margaret Cho: Notorious and on her own terms

By Jeff Walsh

Margaret Cho is a force to be reckoned with. Her new movie and double-CD, "Notorious C.H.O." show the queer Korean-American comic at the top of her game, with the CD taped at Carnegie Hall, and the film recorded at a sold out theater in Seattle.

Chris Beckman brings some reality to The Real World

By Jeff Walsh, Oasis editor

Chris Beckman may only be 23, but he's already gone through a lot in his life. As an artist, he is represented by a gallery in Boston and has his own Web site to showcase his work. He's been sober for an entire year, after a co-dependent relationship got him involved with alcohol, ecstasy, and other party favors. And, after an entire season with no gay cast members, MTV corrected the error by giving us two this year, both Chris and openly lesbian Aneesa (who recently appeared together on the cover of Out Magazine). Sorry boys, but it is Aneesa that you'll be seeing naked all season. Chris doesn't think they caught him, but tune in to find out.

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