“Repossession is 9/10 of the Law” by Hank Edwards— Meet Alan Baxter

repossession

Edwards, Hank. “Repossession is 9/10 of the Law”, Wilde City Press, 2014.

Meet Alan Baxter

Amos Lassen

As a deejay in a gay club in Detroit, 37 seven-year-old Alan Baxter barely makes it through the month so he takes a part-time job repossessing automobiles. On his very first day out he has to repossess a car owned by Jason, his ex-boyfriend and drug dealer and if that is not enough, a cop finds a body in the truck. It seems to me that these are signs that it was not going to be such a good day. Before he even could realize, Alan is involved into a mystery with more bodies, a new dangerous street drug. Then we can add to that “a mysterious man with a top hat and cane, raging dwarves, a house fire, a cranky police detective, and his even crankier cat!”

Let me just say that I have been reviewing Hank Edwards since I started formally reviewing about 7 years ago and I have met the guy and talked with him but I never ever suspected that he would have such a sense of humor. It just goes to show that he has tricks up his sleeve and we are very lucky that he shares this one with us.

Alan has just had an easy time of it. AIDS took his boyfriend from him and the money that he inherited was lost for him by a money manager whose honesty is indeed questionable. There was not really that much anyway because Alan and his partner used a lot on drugs and rehab. Now that Alan is trying to stay clean, he is just not having a good time of it.

The owner of the club where he works doesn’t pay attention to the drug action in his bar—he really only cares about profits. Alan also has an elderly father who is 72 and still spry yet Alan takes care of him to a degree and his friends, Gus, a drag queen, and Sabrina, a female (who rents half of Alan’s house) do not do much to help him stay straight. As bad as things get for Alan, the more we, the readers, have to laugh about.

On that first repo job, Alan realizes that he still feels something for his ex who owned the car that he was sent to pick up. Then will dealing with a flat tire, a cop comes along and finds the body in the trunk (I know I have already said this but I am having so much fun writing this review, that I decided to say it again). Now the story begins to spiral into craziness and I do not remember having had so much fun with a read. It is not enough that the characters are somewhat off but the plot is silly—I would not say ridiculous because too often that is taken the wrong way. Something that is ridiculous can be very funny and here that is the case.

It did not take long for Alan to have a gun at the end of his nose and being told to “spread ‘em”. Alan got the job as a repo agent because his friend Gus’s cousin owns the company. Alan certainly did not expect to find Jason when he took this job—he had kicked him to the curb some two years ago and it was Jason who was responsible for getting Alan into cocaine. Never thinking he would see Jason again, he certainly never expected to be hunted down by the man who once had his heart. But there is even more.

Alan’s house is set on fire while he is at home and then Jason is found dead in his garage. Alan has to move in with his father and share a room with Sabrina and then two more of his repo jobs were rough. So much is going on that I could not possibly relate it all here. This is just so unlike anything by Hank Edwards that I have ever read and yet I enjoyed it in all of its lunacy. I believe you will too.

ANTEBELLUM presents Xerox and Figurines

PRESENTS
 
XEROX & FIGURINES
TOGETHER AT LAST!
( xeroxed photograph by~ josef jasso)
 
XEROX PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOSEF JASSO
HOODED FIGURINES BY RICHARD ANKROM
 
(figurines encased in rubber hoods by richard ankrom)
 
OPENING NIGHT~ AUGUST 16TH
7PM TILL 9PM
 
$5 COVER
NO~ HOST BAR
(on display  till september 6th)
 
The word “xerox” is used as a synonym for “photocopy” (both as a noun and a verb) for example, “I xeroxed the document and placed it on your desk.“ 
Though common, the company does not condone such uses of its trademark, and is particularly concerned about the ongoing use of Xerox as a verb.
 Antebellum artist~ JOSEF JASSO treats xerox like a verb creating these beautiful “xeroxed” images.
 
Los Angeles artist~ RICHARD ANKROM uses found ceramic figurines encasing their heads in rubber fetish hoods.
Antebellum & curator RICK CASTRO  presents these two unique talents
together at last!
(josef jasso)
(richard ankrom)
 
 

“FOUR MOONS” (“CUATRO LUNAS”)— Four Gay-Themed Shorts from Mexico

Cuatro-Lunas-four-moons-poster

“Cuatro Lunas” (“Four Moons”)

Four Gay-Themed Shorts from Mexico

“Cuatro Lunas” has an interesting idea, bringing together four gay-themed stories that run from the first discovery of adolescent same-sex feeling through to desire as you get older.

Cuatro-Lunas-four-moons-slide

 ‘Four stories about love and self-acceptance: An eleven year-old boy struggles to keep secret the attraction he feels towards his male cousin. Two former childhood friends reunite and start a relationship that gets complicated due to one of them’s fear of getting caught. A gay long lasting relationship is in jeopardy when a third man comes along. An old family man is obsessed with a young male prostitute and tries to raise the money to afford the experience.’

The Mexican movie is currently playing at film festivals.

 

“I’M A PORN STAR”— Famous on the Net

i'm a pornstat

“I’m a Porn Star”

Famous on the Net

Amos Lassen

There are people in my neighborhood and in yours who are famous but if we do not visit Internet porn sites we would not know it. Today there are about 370 million pornographic websites on the Internet. Porn is a thirteen billion dollar business. There is a good chance that people you know are involved in it to some degree. (It would be interesting to heart what the original Puritans would have to say about this.

porn11

This film is about guys who are porn stars and the term “porn stars” is an interesting one. By this I mean that there are people who work all their lives to be stars and it doesn’t happen. Yet someone who has sex on camera just one time is called a porn star. The four stars we meet here are Brent Everett, Colby Jansen, Rocco Reed and Johnny Rapid. They speak openly and honestly about their experiences in porn and how it feels to objects of lust for so many men. That must be the ultimate ego trip.
First we get a brief history of porn from actor-director-producer-author Charlie David. We get to see fascinating silent footage of some of the earliest homoerotic action staged on film, as well as the “men’s physique” magazines and reels of the 1940s and ’50s that provided “spank-bank material under the guise of appreciating “male athleticism”.” We see “the arthouse-appreciated flicks of the ’70s, the home video boom of the 1980s, the AIDS crisis and it’s effect on porn, the higher budgets of the ’90s and the keywords, special interests and star-focused sites of the internet age” All of this comes before the opening credits.

Colby Jansen is what is known as “semi-straight” (whatever that means). A former Marine and defense contractor, Jensen is working on his Masters of Business Administration and what he makes from porn pays his college tuition. He is marred to Gia Darling, a transsexual porn star.

Johnny Rapid is known as a “twink” and a power bottom. He has in the last year become an important stat and it is said that he is as cute as a “button”. (Now this is a term that I have never understood—I have seen thousands of buttons in my life and not once considered them to be cute).

Rocco Reed is a porn fence straddler acting in both gay and straight porn. He can tell a lot about these two worlds. When he is not on screen, he is a personal trainer who hopes to open his own gym when he retires from porn.

Lastly there is Brent Everett who has a great deal written about him and lately has made the transition from porn to gay-themed film (in which he keeps his clothes on).

porn2

The four guys share so much with us—their thoughts, their experiences, their hopes and what they like sexually. We learn about the cost of fame, how they get involved in porn and they tells us about the politics of the industry and what they like to do the best. They have worked with famous stars and have stories; how they stay fir, muscular and handsome, how they maintain erections for long periods. We learn what they get paid and how they have to behave to remain in good stead with government and they tell us how being a porn star has affected their lives and off-screen relationships.

This is a fun film that is fascinatingly interesting. We go behind the scenes (or behind the behinds) and see so much more than the average porn viewer.

WARNING: This documentary is meant for adults and contains scenes of graphic sexuality. Viewer discretion is advised.

“Catastrophe: Oy Vey, My Child Is Gay (and an Addict)” by Anne Lapedus Brest— The Discovery

catastrophe

Brest, Anne Lapedus. “Catastrophe: Oy Vey, My Child Is Gay (and an Addict)”, Jacana Media, 2014.

The Discovery

Amos Lassen

Here is the story of a Jewish mother who learns that her daughter, Angela, who she thought was well-grounded, talented and well-educated is not only gay but also a down-and-out drug addict, hopelessly hooked on highly addictive Cat, a synthetic amphetamine containing the substance methcathinone.  The family was close enjoying Shabbat meals together, shopping together, etc. but this news threw them into a dark world that they were to learn was full of lies and deceit and desperation. They discovered forged checks and visits to pawn shops and felt terror and shame. There were also the finances to be considered as well as the degradation that was to come and there was also the challenge of unconditional love.

While this book deal with South Africa where one in every people is addicted to something, it could have been set anywhere—geography really has to do with it. This is a call out to parents to learn about the signs of addiction and it gives practical help and insights to the loved ones of addicts to help navigate their way through it.

Overriding everything else in this book is a mother’s love for her child. This is an eye-opening account of how a South African Jewish mother faces the ordeal of helping her much-loved daughter, Angela, through years of drug addiction. It is written candidly and honestly. We read of the heartache and pain that a mother feels as she watches her daughter fall to drug addiction. The topic is sensitive yet there are no graphic details or explicit descriptions. We see how drugs have an effect on both the user and the family of the user.

But all is not dark here. There is humor when we read about the Irish-Jewish family background and also family life in Johannesburg. I believe that the most compelling thing we read here is the overwhelming will, support, belief and love that the mother has for her beautiful daughter—they share an unshakeable solidarity.

I have read so many books and heard so many stories about gay men and drug addition that I thought I was numb to it and then I read this and I wept with the family. That probably is because it is written as if I were part of the family and the conversation. Even though I already knew how important a family is to its members, we sometimes forget that we should be an integral part of each other’s lives and as we get older we realize that even more.

50% OFF SALE ON ALL KINSEY MERCHANDISE ENDS TOMORROW! KINSEYS IN CHICAGO AND GUERNEVILLE, CA THIS WEEKEND!

 

 
50% OFF SALE ON ALL KINSEY MERCHANDISE ENDS TOMORROW!
 
KINSEYS IN CHICAGO AND GUERNEVILLE, CA THIS WEEKEND!
 
You’ll never be able to buy Kinsey Sicks CDs, DVDs, Tshirts, posters, or magnets this cheap again – never!** You’ve read our previous emails and been tempted. You’ve almost gone to The Kinsey Store and bought loads of crap-for-less – but you’ve put it off. The world is crumbling around you, people! Do you really want to face the end of civilization as we know it without a buttload of Dragapella® knicknacks to barter for food and/or sexual favors? The sale ends tomorrow (Thursday). Your failure to purchase vast quantities of Kinsey stuff before then may very well haunt you for the rest of your life. Or you might not regret it at all. But do you really want to take that chance?
 
Come see The Kinsey Sicks Live – Experience the Thrill, the Joy, the Sense of Imminent Danger!
 
You’ve got two chances to see the gals live this Friday in Chicago, and one to see them Saturday in Guernevllle, CA. Details are on the right. Plus, keep on the lookout for upcoming shows in Ontario, Canada, New York, South Carolina, Florida, Nevada, Pennsylvania, California, Washington State, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico! [Feel free to add your state/province/kingdom to the list by sending a ridiculously lucrative offer toinfo@kinseysicks.com. Check out our list of bargain dates for somewhat less lucrative offers.]
 
Historic Exhibit of The Kinsey Sicks Extended!
 
“Chicks with Schticks: The Kinsey Sicks and 20 years of Dragapella Activism”, the historic exhibit of America’s longest running full-time queer ensemble, has been extended at The James Hormel Gay & Lesbian Center at the San Francisco Public Library through August 21. Don’t miss out on this in-depth overview of their unique place in history.
 
 
You make us feel like unnatural women,
 
 
The Kinsey Sicks
 
 
**unless we change our minds

“God’s Nobodies: Misguided Faith and Murder in the Life of One American Family” by Mark Obbie— Tragedy to Tragedy

God's Nobodies

Obbie, Mark. “God’s Nobodies: Misguided Faith and Murder in the Life of One American Family” ADS, 2013.

Tragedy to Tragedy

Amos Lassen

Tim Ginocchetti’s father died a hero’s death fighting a fire and four years later Tim was in prison for having killed his mother, Pam. This is the story of a gay teen who was bullied….by his mother. He killed her in a momentary but irreversible explosion of rage. The author, Mark Obbie, shows us how a meek young man became a murderer, a young man whose only refuge was a childlike fantasy world of his own imagination. His family blindly was obedient to their minister who turned Pam Ginocchetti against her son, and then by turning the rest of Tim’s family against his loving grandmother, the one person brave enough to take a stand for forgiveness and truth after Pam’s death. This is a story that teaches “profound lessons about tolerance and the human spirit’s yearning for independence.”

Brother Frank Giuliano was the minister and his style was uncompromising and intimidating. Because of him families broke apart and romantic relationships  were destroyed. He claimed to have “visions” and “direct knowledge of God’s will”.

It is true that Brother Frank was considered the congregation’s “direct connect to God” and all of the members of his congregation who had life decisions went through Brother Frank. Many were so brainwashed that they believed whatever he said and houses, careers, schooling and even the fate of genuine relationships went through him for approval.

 Tim Ginocchetti was shunned because he was gay and for having a voice that was too high. It might seem hard to believe this in this day and age but their mothers who disown their children because of sexuality.  We have heard many stories about abuse in the Catholic Church but here we have a small, independent Pentecostal Church, led by the cult-like Brother Frank, who rules his congregation with an iron fist. Though there’s no sexual abuse in Mark Obbie’s account, there is plenty of psychological abuse, dogmatism, and authoritarianism. It’s the story of how Tim Ginocchetti, a meek teenage boy who frequently struggled just to literally have his voice heard, murdered his mother Pam after a lifetime of controlling parenting. The fact that Tim came out as gay certainly did not endear him anymore to the congregation after the crime. Brother Frank has denied that he or his cultish behavior were implicated in Pam’s mental problems, but author Obbie presents evidence that they clearly were. He also knows how to write a good story and he does so here with detail and character development.

 This is a very sad, well-researched story about a young man who murdered his mother and the influence of the church on the family’s relationships. The author creates a lot of empathy for the son and his grandmother, while not excusing or diminishing the son’s horrific actions. We can only hope that the son receives the mental health help he needs while incarcerated.

“NOAH” (on Blu-ray)— Another View

“Noah”  (on Blu-ray )

Another View

For years Darren Aronofsky tried to get his epic version of Noah off the ground, but it never seemed likely to really happen. His only previous foray into big budget filmmaking, The Fountain, turned into a bit of a disaster, with only part of the movie actually made (due to studio intervention) and what was left being confusing and making little money at the box office.

However after the success of Black Swan and with biblical epics looking like they might be coming back into fashion, Paramount decided to take a punt on the movie. However this is Darren Aronofsky, the man behind the likes of Requiem For A Dream and Pi, so it was always clear this wasn’t going to be your typical $125 million studio movie. That said, it appears even Paramount was surprised by how strange and intense it turned out. After viewing Darren’s preferred version they made their own, more traditional cut, but it turned out audiences liked Aronofsky’s take better and so that’s what we have.

The movie takes the biblical story of Noah and expands upon it – although interestingly a lot of the things people have complained about, saying that they’re not from The Bible, are actually based on things that are part of the Old Testament that few people know (such as the fact it appears Noah did get drunk soon after the Ark found land), while much of what is completely made up there’s been less fuss about.

Noah (Russell Crowe) is the last of his line, with the rest of the world taken over by the wicked sons of Cain, who murder, rape, pillage and destroy everything they come into contact with. After having a vision of drowning men and visiting his ancient grandfather, Methuselah (Anthony Hopkins), he’s convinced he’s been given a mission to the save the innocent – the animals. He therefore sets about building an enormous ark.

However with the threat of a deluge destroying humanity, the rest of mankind – led by the brutal Tubal Cain (Ray Winstone) – isn’t prepared to allow Noah to rescue animals and allow him and his people to die.  Noah is determined to continue his mission, which he believes isn’t just to save the animals, but that he and his family, along with adoptive daughter Ila (Emma Watson), will be the last ever humans on Earth. His single-minded determination about his mission soon begins to rip his family apart, but nothing anyone says will sway him from what he thinks he has to do.

All the basics of the story are there, but many will be surprised about the tone and ‘additions’. For example many may wonder where the stone giants, the Watchers, came from. While some have railed against them as a stupid, made-up addition, these former angels are from biblical lore. While not specifically mentioned in the Noah story, they’re logical to include even though few have heard of them.

The real difference is that when the Noah story is normally told, the focus is on saving the fluffy animals, however Aronofsky takes the other tack – that this is the story of a man who follows his orders from God, knowing that he is condemning millions to death while doing so. He’s goes about it without questioning it, and the film suggests that necessarily makes him a rather hard, sometime callous and often unlikable man. It’s a movie that’s often dark and intense, and once Noah and his family are on the ark, it goes to some pretty disturbing places.

Instead of the jolly bearded boat builder from Sunday School, we get a Noah who’s dead set on infanticide. Indeed there are moments that wouldn’t be out of place in a Greek tragedy. While all this could have come across as overly melodramatic, it’s surprisingly engrossing and thought provoking.

There are some very blockbuster type moments but it’s clear Aronofsky is actually more interesting in the familial drama and, as is his tendency, he doesn’t want to tell a happy, jolly tale. In fact while the ending has hope and an interest in the idea of mercy, it leaves open the distinct possibility that it really thinks the world would have been better off if humanity had been wiped off it. That’s certainly not a typical theme for a mega-budget movie.

Parts of the film are strange and somewhat ethereal and in many respects it comes across as an incredibly expensive art movie – but a very good one. Even after reading this review I suspect few people will find Noah to be what they expected – that’s not to say they won’t like it, but this is a very different type of biblical epic and not quite like anything else out there. Indeed reading some other reviews, most of the negative ones seem to come from people who decided what the film was going to be before they saw it, and purely judged it against that, rather than looking at the actual movie they got.

It’s also worth watching on Blu-ray if possible, as it looks absolutely gorgeous. Along with some cool special effects, it’s full of incredible landscapes (much of it was shot in Iceland), memorable images and it’s generally a bit of a visual feast. The disc also features a good ‘making of…’ documentary, which is split into three parts and gives an excellent overview of the creation of the film, both in practical terms of what was a massive undertaking, and also talking about exactly what the filmmakers were trying to explore with their idiosyncratic take on the famed story.

I did wonder how on Earth someone like Russell Crowe was supposed to have managed to have kids as gorgeous as Logan Lerman and Douglas Booth, but that’s a relatively minor complaint.

Overall Verdict: Sometimes odd and often surprisingly dark, Noah certainly isn’t your typical biblical epic, but it’s an impressive and engrossing singular vision with some big ideas that may linger in your head long after the credits roll.

Special Features: ‘Iceland: Extreme Beauty’ Featurette,  ‘The Ark Exterior: A Battle For 300 Cubits’ Featurette,  ‘The Ark Interior: Animal Two By Two’ Featurette

 

“Sex and Desperate Hearts: Tales of Muslim Gays Looking for Love” by S. Aksah— Gay Muslims

sex and desperate hearts

Aksah, S. “Sex and Desperate Hearts: Tales of Muslim Gays Looking for Love”, ADS, 2014.

Gay Muslims

Amos Lassen

This is a book of stories that are probably very fascinating to those who can relate to the turmoil of love and desire that is very human. But then they are not really stories but short interviews that are engaging. This is more of a journal because these interviews or whatever have no beginning, middle or ending. There are good descriptions and the prose is fine but I am not sure we can call this literature. In reading a couple of reviews of this book I could not help but notice that I am not sure the reviewers actually read it. One says it is about Muslim men and another says it is about a girl named Delores. I see it as a look at how a gay Muslim views herself and the world around her. She desires to find a life and love that makes her feel complete and yet she seems to be hiding herself from the world. 

“Gay Is Good: The Life and Letters of Gay Rights Pioneer Franklin Kameny” edited by Michael G. Long— One of the Most Significant Figures in Gay Rights

gay is good

Michael G. Long (author and editor). “Gay Is Good: The Life and Letters of Gay Rights Pioneer Franklin Kameny”, Syracuse University Press, 2014.

One of the Most Significant Figures in Gay Rights

Amos Lassen

Those of us who have worked within the Gay Rights Movement are well aware of Frank Kameny (1925-2011) and that he was one of the most significant figures in the it. Already in 1958, he encouraged gay people to embrace their homosexuality as moral and healthy. “He publicly denounced the federal government for excluding homosexuals from federal employment and he openly fought the military’s ban against gay men and women, debated psychiatrists who depicted homosexuality as a mental disorder, identified test cases to advance civil liberties through the federal courts, acted as counsel to countless homosexuals suffering state-sanctioned discrimination, and organized marches for gay rights at the White House and other public institutions”. He was THE MAN.

In his book “ Gay Is Good”, Michael Long shares Kameny’s historically rich letters, and they reveal some of the early stirrings of today’s politically powerful LGBT movement. If you had ever met or heard Frank, you can expect these letters to be full of life and wit. He was loud but he was fair; he said what he felt and to whom he felt like saying it to whether it be the White House, the Pentagon or British Parliament. He spoke to federal agency heads, military generals, and media personalities and he wrote them countless letters. This book is a collection of approximately 150 letters that date from 1958 to 1975—this was a critical period in Kameny’s life. During it, he moved from being a victim to a vocal opponent of the law and actually he became the voice of the law.

Long arranges the letters in context and gives the historical and biographical information about to whom the letters were written and why. This book is a tribute to the man who advocated for our rights at a time when others would not speak up. Kameny was tireless and he is responsible for advocating the shift in social attitudes and practices and he opened the doors to our closets that will never be shut again.

 “Frank Kameny is an ideal subject for a published letters volume not just because of his important achievements as a Washington D.C. gay activist, but also because of his skill as a writer, in particular his ability to use language that conveyed rational analysis, rhetorical hyperbole, urgency, sarcasm, wit, and prescience all at the same time. The letters are a joy to read”. –Craig Loftin, California State University, Fullerton

 “The LGBT movement has been blessed with an amazing array of passionate, provocative, colorful, dedicated, and sometimes infuriating women and men. Frank Kameny is certainly one of the most important. Michael Long’s magnificent book captures the breadth of the movement and the specificity of Kameny s life and importance”. –Michael Bronski, Harvard University

 “Michael Long has provided a window into a time that’s already largely forgotten as seen through the eyes of perhaps the most transformative, persistent, and original thinker, mover, and finger-shaker in the history of the gay civil rights movement”. –Eric Marcus, Author of Making Gay History: The Half-Century Fight for Lesbian and Gay Equal Rights