Miss Teen USA Marissa Whitley Makes Diversity a Priority

By Travis Stanton

"Overwhelmingly amazing" is how Marissa Whitley describes her year so far as the reigning Miss Teen USA. "It was definitely a whirlwind," said the 18-year-old beauty queen when asked about having her life changed by winning the title. As the third black Miss Teen USA, Marissa is nothing short of colorful. However, her life has not always been rhinestones and smiles. The adversity she has faced in her life only serves to make her a more deserving recipient of the crown, and an optimal spokesperson for the official cause of the Miss Teen USA Pageant.

Christopher Rice offers more density with "The Snow Garden"

By Jeff Walsh

Christopher Rice has been through a lot since I last interviewed him for Oasis. When we talked to him last in November 2000, he had just recently published his first book, A Density of Souls, an ambitious book that seemed to go the opposite direction of most first-time novelists. The book had an epic sense to it, complex characters, and a mysterious mood that helped it end up on the New York Times' Bestseller List.

The Happiest Place on Earth

Techno-duo Matmos (Martin Schmidt and Drew Daniel) talk about their music, touring with Bjork, and sleeping under a piano

By Japiya Burns

Coming across a Georgia O’Keeffe painting recently, from “The Poetry of Things,” I am strangely reminded of Matmos’ music. The painting is of a stark green apple sitting plainly on a circular black plate, set against a white background. The black plate is so fluid, an oval of reflected light against its bottom lip, that it carries the qualities of not only the juicy apple, but of human lips, of something sensuous and bigger than itself. In this way Matmos sample the sounds of everyday objects, the human body even, and find beauty and music in them.

Michelle Tea's 'Valencia' provides a guided tour through the urban dyke scene

By Jeff Walsh

If Michelle Tea ever has any regrets in life, it certainly won't be that she didn't live life to its fullest. Tea recently won the Lambda Literary Award for best lesbian fiction for her novel, Valencia, which documents one year in her life in San Francisco's Mission District. Valencia is a roller coaster ride through the urban dyke scene with Tea giving a guided tour of relationships, rubber gloves, sex work, and dead-end jobs. Any of our readers who want to wonder what it would be like to move to San Francisco and jump into the scene, Valencia is a good entry point. It will excite and scare you, as anything good in life should.

Sacha Sacket finds his artistic voice on Alabaster Flesh

Interview by Greling Jackson

When it came to meeting him for the first time, I felt a sense of welcoming like never before. Sacha had an aura that seemed to possess every soul in the room. Never had I met a person who was so talented and bore such a sincere passion for his art. As I gazed into his eyes, I knew that interviewing him would prove to be a pleasurable experience. I had met one the few people in this world that could befriend anyone and bring out the positive light in any situation.

Amazing Drag Musical Movie, 'Hedwig,' Inching Toward A Wicked Little Town Near You

By Jeff Walsh

When I first came out, at the late age of 23, I made up for lost time by going from closeted to activist. I became obsessed with people pushing the boundaries, challenging the norm, advancing the cause. My two immediate role models became Larry Kramer and Michelangelo Signorile. As it turned out, Larry was just about to release his new play in New York City shortly after I came out called “The Destiny of Me,” which advanced the characters and story of his earlier play, “The Normal Heart,” about the AIDS Epidemic as how it divided and rallied the gay community in New York City. So, I told my straight friend we were going to New York City, and I bought us tickets to see “The Destiny of Me.”

Kirk Read teaches queer youth to "snap" with new book

By Jeff Walsh

In "How I Learned to Snap," Kirk Read paints a richly detailed picture of growing up as a gay teenager in Virginia in the 80s. With his military father and adorable, supportive mother, Read takes an unflinching look at his adolescence, and how it shaped him. Many of the stories jump off the page with an energy that immediately pulls you into the scene, seeing it vividly through Read's eyes. Personally, my favorite sections all involved Jesse Fowler, the older openly gay boy at school, the one who taught him to believe in himself, as well as to snap. Of course, that may just be projection, since I never had a Jesse to show me the way.

Rufus Wainwright strikes impressive Poses with new album

By Jeff Walsh

Rufus Wainwright walks into the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco the afternoon before his sold out show. He finishes up a cell phone call, sizes up the room, and immediately approaches me. “I don’t know you, so you must be here to interview me,” he says, and we immediately go find a place downstairs as his crew continues tuning his piano and setting up the stage.

Randy Harrison makes an impressive debut in Queer as Folk

By Jeff Walsh

In December, Showtime began airing Queer As Folk, a gay soap opera that sparked praise from critics and debate within the gay community. A group of gay men constantly on the prowl, doing drugs, turning tricks, and cracking wise was a horror, according to some people I've talked to. To me, it's just a delicious, decadent soap opera that I wait to see every week.

Jade Esteban Estrada, Latin pop's openly gay "Angel"

By Jeff Walsh

I'll admit right up front that I have totally become a total Latin pop queen. On my Rio MP3 Player that I take to the gym, there is always a Latin mix to keep me pushing through my cardio workouts. Ricky Martin, Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony, Chayanne, and Shakira keep my feet moving and spirits high. My workout is always more intense with Latin beats propelling it.

Out in Africa: Brandon brings positive gay portrayal to TV

By Jeff Walsh

I wasn't supposed to watch Survivor this year.

I've been purging a lot of my TV shows to concentrate on writing my novel more, and Survivor was on the hit list. Do I really need to watch starved, dehydrated people making puzzles on the ground in Africa?

But, I happened to catch the first show, where they just introduced the cast and showed highlights from the upcoming season, and then I saw Brandon Quinton. Damn that CBS! They put a hot femme twink on! Now, I have to watch the damned show all season!

Jon and Michael Galluccio Define 'Family' In Heartwarming New Book

By Jeff Walsh

Jon and Michael Galluccio met in college in 1982 as frat brothers. They were each other's first boyfriends in a love story that has lasted for more than 13 years, and is still going on to this day. But after 13 years of living happily together, they began to examine their lives and relationship, and found something was missing. They wanted children. For Michael, it was always just a given that it wasn't a possibility.

Soehnlein Delivers Gripping Debut Novel With "Normal Boys"

By Jeff Walsh

In "The World of Normal Boys," K.M. Soehnlein takes readers on a journey through the late 1970s in suburban New Jersey, a place where the seeds of 13-year-old Robin MacKenzie are beginning to grow in the shadows of New York City, an amazing place so close but yet so far from his life. Soehnlein's debut novel is a richly textured story that can go from heart-warming to heart wrenching in a page, due to his measured, rich storytelling.

A Reading From The Gospel, According To Shawn Thomas

By Troy N. Diggs

Many people wouldn’t think the words “gay gospel singer from Alabama” make any sense put together, let alone to describe someone. However, musician Shawn Thomas is, yes, gay… and a singer… originally from Texas, now in Alabama… who (among other things) sings religious music.

Mommie Dearest

Christopher Rice makes a name for himself with amazing first novel

By Jeff Walsh

With A Density of Souls, Christopher Rice has sculpted an ambitious first novel that's deftly crafted with rich characters, an intriguing plot, and beautiful, articulate language. Unfortunately, most of the attention given to Rice in the media is due not to his creation, but to his creator: best-selling author Anne Rice.

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