By Jeff Walsh
"Tru Loved" is a new gay youth movie that suffers from existing in the world of obvious expectations. It's nothing new, though. When a young, idealistic teacher joins the staff of a rough school with hard-to-reach kids… or a romantic comedy has two leads who begin the movie hating each other… you sort of know what's going to happen. So, when a young high school athlete enlists other people to defend his closet… well, it would be unexpected for the same character to be closeted by the time the end credits roll.
This movie got a lot of unexpected publicity when Roger Ebert gave it a negative review, only to mention at the end of his piece that he stopped watching it after only 8 minutes. This revelation led to a heated discussion on his website. I do have to say that Ebert did make a lot of incorrect assumptions based on what happens in the first eight minutes, but he had no way of knowing that the film would do things in its beginnings that wouldn't continue throughout. There is a dream sequence of the gayest high school ever, followed by a black and white 50s sitcom version of family life, both of which might lead you to believe there was going to be a lot of similar scenes inserted throughout. But Ebert didn't stick around to realize that the rapid succession of these things in the beginning wouldn't be consistent or followed up for the rest of the movie.
We're having a contest! With 10 lucky winners!
THE L WORD returns to DVD with THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON on October 21ST in a collectible 4-disc set. DVD includes all 12 dramatic and deliciously provocative Fifth season episodes from Showtime's successful long-running series featuring all the beauty, chaos and complexities of a group of women who inhabit Los Angeles' lesbian community plus behind-the-scenes special features.
And the winners are (in the order they were chosen by the random number generator):
3. Under Darkness
5. Chizuna san
If your name's in bold, private message me your address.
The DVDs were sent to 8 winners on Friday. Due to postage differences, Canadians get theirs first and sooner? Unfair...
Visit The L Word online!
© 2008 Showtime Networks Inc. All Rights Reserved.
By Jeff Walsh
So, I attended a press screening of Milk tonight, the new Gus Van Sant movie about the first openly gay elected official who was assassinated in 1978 (sorry, can't say much more about that, my review is embargoed until the movie's release late next month).
But one thing in the movie completely yanked me out of the moment.
In the movie, Harvey Milk is meeting with some gay leaders about a mailer they want to send to every California resident. The mailer is about 1978's Proposition 6, also known as the Briggs Initiative, which would have made firing gay teachers (and any public school employees who supported gay rights) mandatory.
In the movie, Milk (played by Sean Penn) looks at the flier and is outraged that the mailer avoids using the word gay. It talks about rights and other high-minded things, but completely avoids the issue. The other people in the room say it is the right approach if they want to win.
California voters have a ballot initiative next month to overturn the court's decision that legalized gay marriage.
If you have a phone and a high-speed Internet connection, you can help turn the tides in favor of gay marriage. Every battle in this fight is important to make gay marriage legal in every state eventually.
If you have a phone and high-speed Internet, you can make calls from your home after signing up. You'll get information to read, etc., from the campaign before you make any calls.
You can find more information here:
By Jeff Walsh
In the press materials for the new movie "Breakfast with Scot," which opens in the San Francisco Bay Area and other major cities in limited release on October 10, they keep referring to the men in the film as being a "straight" gay couple.
Now, there are terms that seem more realistic to describe two men in a committed relationship who don't like the word gay, are closeted at work, refuse all public displays of affection, seem to have a lack of intimacy in the privacy of their own home, and are uncomfortable by other gay people or anyone thinking they're gay, but "straight" isn't it.
Of course, this construct needs to exist so that this couple's life can be disrupted when they have to become the guardians of Scot, a very flamboyant, seemingly gay 11-year-old who turns their "straight" lives upside down. He likes cooking meals, singing songs, wearing makeup and boas, and kissing his male friends. So, both sides of the equation are pretty overdone. Of course, I was rooting for the kid, since he was at least being himself, whereas the couple were basically two uptight closet cases.
But from the moment the movie begins, you know what's coming.
By Jeff Walsh
"Camp Out" is a documentary that follows a handful of gay Christian teens attend the first summer camp exclusively designed for them. Many of the teens feel pulled between the gay community and the God community, with each demonizing the other on a regular basis.
All of the kids are in their mid- to late-teens, and out to their parents. One of the girl's mother was very enthusiastic about the notion of a summer camp where her daughter could explore both spirituality and sexuality.
"You can have both those two together? That's awesome!" she says.
Like any reality show or documentary, narratives begin to form between the kids. There are crushes, friendship, bonds, and situations in which people aren't uncomfortable. This ranges from gay guys who aren't very comfortable doing sports activities to one of the boys feeling uncomfortable by a game of Truth or Dare.
By Jeff Walsh
Bangkok Love Story is a fun, highly stylized gay movie from Thailand that certainly swings for the fences. Everything about it plays for maximum effect. It's sort of a Brokeback Mountain set in the underbelly of Bangkok.
Cloud is an assassin hired to kill Stone, a police informant, but he doesn't pull the trigger. In a gunfight, the two escape handcuffed together and Stone nurses Cloud back together and falls in love with him. (The gay angle isn't really evident before that happens, but if there wasn't a gay angle I wouldn't be writing this, so you know it's coming anyway). Their relationship takes a turn when Stone gives Cloud a bath on a rooftop in downtown Bangkok, which turns into quite a charged, erotic scene on the rooftop.
But nothing about Bangkok Love Story is subtle. Cloud's mother has AIDS, and his younger brother Fog is HIV+, both from his stepfather. Cloud is married, but cannot deny his love for Cloud, who freaks out after their sexual encounter and cuts off contact.
By Jeff Walsh
The last time I reviewed Spring Awakening, it was a week into its Broadway run. Since that time, it went on to become a runaway hit, netting 8 Tony Awards (including Best Musical) and recently started its national tour in San Francisco.
Reading my old review again after seeing the touring production on opening night, my issues with the show remain. It hasn't lost any of its intensity and the songs are very familiar to me, but the dual nature of the show still never really gels to me, but I like both halves enough to still consider it a nice night out. Since I haven't really changed my mind on the show, you can read that original review for the show details and such.
The only other issue I had with the show are nothing new when seeing a touring show after first seeing the original cast on Broadway. When the people on the cast recording match the people you saw onstage and visualize when you're listening to the CD, it is always odd to see these "other" people saying the same lines, wearing the same clothes, and singing the same songs. That's nothing new with this show, and only happens when you strongly identify with the people you saw first perform the roles.
By Jeff Walsh
For their sixth album, the appropriately-named "Sicks! Sicks! Sicks!," The Kinsey Sicks are in great form. If you need a gift for someone slutty that also likes musicals, look no further.
It's no secret I love the Kinseys (just look around the site), but the new album really shows the amount of polish, work, and fun they continue to deliver on such a consistent basis.
"Sicks! Sicks! Sicks!" will be a treat to fans who like sex-positive ditties ("Be A Slut," "It Isn't Easy Being Easy"), cosmetic-surgery themed Britney Spears covers ("Botoxic," listen to that track below), and plentiful show tune parodies ("Send In The Clones," "Trixie," "Fisters," "Beaver Hair," and "Provincetown" (possibly the only recorded parody of "Urinetown"?)). The CD also features songs from the amazing "I Wanna Be A Republican" DVD, in their audio-only debuts ("All The White Places," "We Arm The World").
Many of the tracks were recorded live, and show how little is lost when the girls move from the studio to the stage. If you can see them live, you should. But if you can't, you should at least check out the CD.
There's a reason The Kinsey Sicks are America's Favorite Dragapella Beautyshop Quartet. If you don't know it, "Sicks! Sicks! Sicks!" is a great way to find out why.
For all your Kinsey concert dates and merchandise needs, visit their website.
Sample Track: Botoxic
By Jeff Walsh
Donna Summer opened her recent show at the Paramount Theater in Oakland with "The Queen Is Back," a song off her hooky, fun album "Crayons," the disco diva's first in 17 years. In the song, Summer namechecks some past hits and sings about herself in third person for some unknown reason: "So many years ago, on the radio, she crept into your soul and loved to love you."
Since this is a youth site, we should probably take a step back and mention that Donna Summer was one of the biggest stars of the late 70s and early 80s, at the height of the disco era. Her hits include "Love to Love You Baby," "I Feel Love," "Macarthur Park," "Hot Stuff," "Bad Girls," "No More Tears (Enough is Enough)," "On The Radio," and "She Works Hard for the Money." Her era happened before even *I* was a teenager and, had my then-divorced mother not start going out dancing and such in the disco era, I'd probably have even less clue about her.
If you don't know Summer, it might be worth your while to check out some of her old hits (my faves are "I Feel Love," "MacArthur Park" (crazy lyrics and all), "Hot Stuff," and her duet with Barbra Streisand, "No More Tears." Or you can check out her latest album, "Crayons."
By Jeff Walsh
"The Houseboy" opens with three guys curled up in bed. Two are a couple, and third, younger guy is the extra they keep around to have fun with. Nick is going to watch the house while the couple goes to visit their families over Christmas. As they are leaving, one of them mentions that after the holidays, it might be time to get a newer, younger model in the new year.
Nick is bored alone and starts hooking up with strangers, both online and people he meets while walking around. All of the experiences are empty, devoid of the intimacy and caring he desires, but are exactly what he agreed to before the encounters.
He starts telling his tricks that he's going to kill himself on Christmas and let the couple find him dead when they return home. Rather than empathy, his tricks just want to continue getting dressed and out of there. Who could blame them?
by Pat Nelson Childs
As we progress into a new millenium, I sometimes reflect sadly on how little has been done to "normalize" gayness in our society. Of course, I mean American society, because Europe and even our neighbors to the north are light years ahead of us in this respect. To be fair, our government doesn't execute gays (if you ever saw the video of the two gay Iranian teens being executed, you might think twice about how bad things are for us here), and we've reached a point where even most conservative pundits support legal rights for gays, though generally more in theory than in practice (and no, Ann Coulter doesn't count. The only "value" she represents is the size of her royalty checks). Even President Bush has come out (sorry poor choice of words) in favor of civil unions. I point this out simply to illustrate how far we've actually managed to come in the past 20 years in some respects. A sitting Republican president (and staunch Christian Conservative) publicly expressing support for civil unions? If that isn't progress, I don't know what is.
But these things are more in the nature of political progress. What I've always been more interested in (and think is far more important) is achieving the "normalization" of alternative sexualities, a state in which the sight of two men sharing a kiss on a bus or in a TV commercial doesn't immediately produce waves of indignant outrage and endless punditry about the decline of Western civilization. Does it strike anyone else as odd that gays can adopt children in most states with the blessing of the majority, but that same majority goes absolutely ape shit if two girls hold hands on the bus? Gays can adopt children as long as they don't show any love for one another? Isn't that going to produce a way more fucked-up kid than one who just happens to have two mommies?
By Jeff Walsh
Snehal Desai is 28 years old, and only finished his master's degree in directing from Yale University three months ago, but he's already made his way to San Francisco with his one-man show.
"Finding Ways to Prove You're NOT an Al Qaeda Terrorist When You're Brown (and other stories of the gIndian) is Desai's one-man show exploring his life as a gay Indian through monologues that explore his sexual, spiritual, pharmaceutical, and cultural dimensions. From ex-boyfriends who both invent and then eroticize his curry-scented skin to family members who keep pushing him toward arranged marriages, the show moves quickly through its various terrains.
Some of the show's best moments take place when Desai's character (we'll get into the whole non-autobiographical one-man show aspect in the interview) visits India and finds the country's openness about same-sex intimacy refreshing, even if it isn't completely indicative of its acceptance of homosexuality. He also explores the pain of queer children forced to confirm to that society's will, yet at the same time finds poetry and beauty in a kite-flying competition that encapsulates the best qualities of the human spirit, if we could all looking at one another the same way permanently.
I saw the show tonight, but spoke with Desai yesterday, catching up with him in middle of tech rehearsal for his West coast premiere. Here's what we said:
By Jeff Walsh
Chad Allen has a lot on his plate.
His latest entries to the Donald Strachey gay detective movies, "On The Other Hand, Death" and "Ice Blues," the third and fourth installments, are being released soon.
"Save Me," the movie he produced with Robert Gant and Judith Light, comes to theaters in September.
And, at present, he's finishing up a successful run of a play with Valerie Harper as Talullah Bankhead. But he's no stranger to theater, recently doing Douglas Carter Beane's "Little Dog Laughed," which required him to get naked onstage.
But what's most surprising is that for how long he's been out and doing good work as an actor, activist, and role model, this is his first interview in Oasis. This oversight is officially corrected.
I first remember Chad from his role on "Our House" in 1986 (yeah, yeah, you weren't born yet, I get it) when he was only 12 (and in the business for seven years at that point). He later went on to a regular role on "Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman."
In 1996, when he was 21, photos of him kissing a guy in a hot tub appeared in The Globe tabloid. They were sold to the rag by Allen's then-boyfriend (I'd never heard that tidbit before, but Wikipedia doesn't lie).
He waited until 2001 to officially come out, and has since been very open about his past partying and drug addiction, his spiritual journey, and his new role as: an openly gay activist, an actor doing great work, and and "old fogie" who’s more interested in hanging out at home with his boyfriend and dogs.
I bring up his past both to give context to some of what we talk about in the interview, but mainly because in "Save Me," his character starts as a drug-addicted party boy who cleans up to find love and a better life, which (aside from the ex-gay ministry setting), seems to touch on Allen's own journey, as well.
Chad and I spoke on the phone last week. Here's what we said:
By Jeff Walsh
"Save Me" is an independent movie opening in theaters in September, and it is the first production from Mythgarden, the production house started by openly gay actors Chad Allen and Robert Gant.
In the opening scene we see Mark (Allen) doing drugs, drinking, and having hot vacant sex with a hot vacant guy -- bottoming and bottoming out. The next morning at check out time, the motel owner finds Mark on the motel room floor, having overdosed.
He wakes up in a hospital room, screaming at his brother and yelling at his mother, who is in the hospital hallway, but unable to even come in the room and look at her son. They pay for him to spend two months at Genesis House, a Christian-run "ex-gay" ministry that can also handle his sobriety issues (they use the same 12 steps to cure people of their sexuality anyway).
At the center, Mark encounters Scott (Gant), another "ex-gay" at the live-in center run by Gayle (Judith Light). I won't spoil the details, but anyone whose ever seen a movie before can figure out where this is going, not that it makes the journey any less interesting to watch.