Boyle.T.C. “Outside Looking In: A Novel”, Ecco, 2019.Looking Back at LSD Amos Lassen With “Outside Looking In”, writer T.C. Boyle takes us back to the 1960s and to the early days of a drug whose effects have reverberated widely throughout our culture: LSD. In 1943, LSD was synthesized in Basel. Twenty yeas later grad students at Harvard were gradually taken into the inner circle of renowned psychologist and psychedelic drug enthusiast Timothy Leary. Fitzhugh Loney, a psychology Ph.D. student and his wife, Joanie, were entranced by the drug’s possibilities and their “research” becomes less a matter of clinical trials and academic papers and instead became a free-wheeling exploration of mind expansion, group dynamics, and communal living. Boyle takes us through the Loneys’ initiation at one of Leary’s parties to his notorious summer seminars in Zihuatanejo until the Loneys’ eventual expulsion from Harvard and their introduction to a communal arrangement of thirty devotees (students, wives, and children) who lived together in a sixty-four room mansion and devoting themselves to all kinds of experimentation and questioning. So then what is LSD? Is LSD a belief system? Does it allow you to see God? Can the Loneys’ marriage survive the chaotic and sometimes orgiastic use of psychedelic drugs? We get a look at the nature of reality, identity, and consciousness, capacities for creativity, re-invention, and self-discovery. The book is almost like a trip in itself. This book is kind of like an acid trip. It’s very entertaining and colorful, and reading it, you have lots of thoughts, but then when it’s done, it’s all kind of forgettable. But it’s very entertaining.
We have two narrators— Fitz, who starts out as a grad student, husband and father but who whose new life takes a toll on all of that and his wife, Joannie is deeply into psilocybin and then LSD at first. They become involved in this tight-knit little group and the start of the counterculture.
Boyle’s has created fascinating characters and that we care about and through them we become part of a moral dilemma. As author T.C. Boyle explores the first scientific and recreational forays into LSD and its mind-altering possibilities, the reader is treated to a well written read.
Based on the award-winning novel by Joanne Proulx, Anthem of a Teenage Prophet is a coming-of-age story with a twist that nails the timeless feeling of adolescence. Hormonal and funny, exhilarating and wise, Anthem intimately examines and amplifies the powerful mixtape of angst, hope, music, and noise that plays inside every teenager’s head.
Set in 1997 in Stokum, Michigan on theshores of Lake Erie, we meet Luke Hunter who appears to be is a typicalsmall-town teenager. ˙He smokes weed, skateboards, listens to hip hop andsecretly lusting after his best friend’s girl. Luke is tornbetween his stoner friends, including his childhood best friend Fang, and hisnew best friend Stan, the popular guy who has everything Luke doesn’t includingthe hottest girl in town. Luke’s two worlds come together one night when Stan gets high with Luke and his other friends. Luke has a disturbing premonition that Stan will be hit by a car and killed. Everyone laughs at this until the next morning, when Stan dies just as Luke predicted. Luke then isolates himself, keeping everyone including his parents, Fang, and even Faith—at arm’s length, and tells no one that the premonitions keep coming. The media moves on to an exposé of gay men cruising in a local park and while this is unrelated, Luke and Faith grow closer, while Fang pulls further away and accuses Luke of moving in on his dead friend’s girl. Luke angrily denies this while not understanding what’s really going on with Fang. Luke and Faith are falling in love until Faith accidentally calls him “Stan” at the school dance and this confirms his worst fears that the only reason that Faith is with him is to keep Stan’s memory alive. As Luke if filled self-doubt, he foresees Fang’s death. Luke enlists Faith’s help and drags Fang out to a massive stone cliff on the outskirts of town that for a young Fang represented the ultimate conquest. Faith nervously watches as Fang and Luke scale the enormous rock face. As they drive home, Fang reveals the secret that caused him to retreat: he is gay. He is, in fact, one of the men caught cruising in the park and is about to be publicly outed. With his friendship with Luke restored, Fang is able to face his worst fear— that life will end when the story breaks. Luke realizes that his visions are not the curse he believed them to be, but a life-affirming gift, that allowed him to save Fang’s life. Director Robin Hays says that his film with death in a way that really celebrates life. It isnot easy being a teenager. It is quite a difficult journey and many have ahard time coping and figuring things out. There is drama throughout the film aswell as emotional crises but it is, in effect, a comedy, albeit one that dealswith a difficult subject in a way a lot of films don’t.
Deoul, Stefani. “Zero Sum Game” Bywater Books, 2018.
Sid Rubin, Smartass
Sid Rubin is a very smart young woman and she wants to see the gender gap with reference to mathematics, science, technology and engineering narrowed and that the number of women working in these areas will be significantly higher than it is at present. But before she can work on that, Sid are her pals come together with newcomer Ze in a frantic race against time to decipher the code of an online gaming heist and help save the life of a teenage gamer. Sid and the gang take us into the world of online gaming when she learns that her friend Vik’s gaming funds have been stolen.
We go on quite a trip that includes zombies and dungeons to get to what is going on with “Contagion” where an online brawl is taking place. Sid is the kind off friend that everyone wants and needs to have simply because when help is needed she is there. Writer Deoul describes her wonderfully as a “high-flying lesbionic Brainiac”. Unfortunately Sid and her friends are grounded and must find a way to break out of parental jail. Sid, Jimmy, Imani, Ari and Vikram enter a school robotics competition and just as things begin to get interesting, Vik learns that his super-star status and hard-won trophies from the online game “Contagion” have been stolen. If ever there has been an altruistic person, it is Sid Rubin who lets no one “mess with her friends.”
When she sees Vik falling apart, Sid is determined to find the trophy thief, no matter what it takes. Sid and the gang join newcomer Ze to save not just Vik’s bevy of stolen gaming goods, but also the life of a teenage gamer who is being held hostage. Everything is that much more difficult because the kids are grounded and are also part of a robotics competition.
Writer Deoul has chosen a unique way to look at the gender diversity gap in math and the scientists by setting her novel in the young adult world. She provides with a wonderful read for young people (and for everyone else) and she introduces us to a cast of characters that we feel we get to know. So it is not just gender diversity but also diversity of friends and these friends include our hero Sid as well as a biracial football player and a beauty queen to cite just three. All in all, this is a terrific read.
The Retro Afrika Collection ON DECEMBER 18, INDIEPIX FILMS DELIVERS THREE MORE APARTHEID-ERA SOUTH AFRICAN CLASSICS IN THE “RETRO AFRIKA COLLECTION”
Rarely Seen Outside South African Borders, These Three Digitally-Restored Genre Films Will Be Available on DVD ($24.95srp each), VOD and Digital, as Well the SVOD Service,IndiePix Unlimited The RETRO AFRIKA COLLECTION, featuresthe forgotten and discarded classics of African cinema. From light-hearted comedies, high-octane action films and provocative race dramas that were met with opposition from the apartheid government, these newly restored, small-budget films from Retro Afrika Bioscope, a label dedicated to restoring and re-releasing retro South African films from the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, have rarely been seen outside their borders. Paying homage to Hollywood action in groundbreaking B-movie style, the next trench of Apartheid-era films, which have all have undergone a highly-specialized digital restoration process for optimal viewing, includes CHARLIE STEEL, a thrilling lo-fi caper, the Zulu western, REVENGE, and the crime comedy THE COMEDIANS. They will all be available on December 18 on DVD ($24.95each), VOD and Digital, as well as IndiePix Films signature streaming service, IndiePix Unlimited on Amazon Channels or at IndiePixUnlimited.com.
CHARLIE STEEL (1984) — When Dlamini’s daughter, Dudu, is kidnapped for ransom, he calls on his old friend Charlie Steel, a renowned private investigator. Charlie attempts to infiltrate the gang responsible, but is soon exposed by Jimmy, one of his ex-army comrades and a vicious murderer. With help from gang member Tony, who has fallen in love with Dudu, Charlie manages to take the gang down, but at what cost? Sol Rachilo is Charlie Steel, in this thriller written and directed by Bevis Parsons. (Zulu with English subtitles, 87 mins.) REVENGE (1985) — In the old African Wild West, a peace-loving family man moves to a vacant farm in search of a new life, but his hopes are shattered when his son is badly beaten and his wife murdered by a gang of ruthless thugs. Left for dead in the dirt, he’s nursed back to health by a good Samaritan, who also happens to be a deadly ex-gunslinger, who agrees to train the man in the art of revenge in this intense Zulu Western. Direced by Coenie Dippenaar, REVENGE stars Alex Ngubane, Roy Dlamini, Vuzi Gudazi and Emmanual Shangasi. (Zulu with English subtitles, 56 mins.) THE COMEDIANS (Circa 1980) – When Ace Bhona uses his friend’s magic ring under false pretenses to make himself a wealthy man, his greed and desire for more soon becomes uncontrollable. He hires a group of thugs to steal from his friend, hoping to possess the ring for himself. But the friend has a trick of his own up his sleeve, and counters Bhona’s greed with a curse. And when Bhona awakes the following day to discover that his ill-gotten wealth and possessions have turned to dust, with the police knocking on his door, where can he possibly turn? From director Japie can der Merwe comes this raucous, caper comedy starring Moses Makhathini and Matthews Monica (Zulu with English subtitles. Looking for a deeper dive into Sollywood? Don’t miss the first three RETRO AFRIKA titles, all available now, including UMBANGO, one of the first Zulu Westerns and an Official Selection at the 2015 Berlin Film Festival, and FISHY STONES and GONE CRAZY, two outsized, humorous crime capers. About IndiePix Films® Since 2004, New York-based IndiePix Films® has delivered a highly-curated collection of the best independent films from around the world. Offering a singular catalog of nearly 2,000 films across genres, the IndiePix team selects singular titles from the international festival circuit. Avenues for distribution include their newly-launched streaming service, IndiePix Unlimited, their dedicated commerce site, IndiePixFilms.com, which offers download-to-own, streaming rental and physical media direct to consumers, and via national retail channels and select theatrical exhibition. IndiePix also owns Festival Genius, the premier platform for connecting film festivals to audiences through online ticketing, calendars, iphone apps, and more.
Byron’snow generally acknowledged bisexuality in all its aspects, from his fleeting liaisons to his love-affairs, female (his half-sister Augusta, Caroline Lamb and Teresa Guiccioli) and male (John Edleston, Nicolo Giraud and Loukas Chalandritsanos).
Patane gives us unusual and fascinating insights into Byron’s homosexuality, hitherto relatively unexplored, and reveals a more truthful picture of the poet. Byron was strongly attracted to boys, who are referred to in Don Juan as ‘sour fruit’. In his adolescence he had fallen for aristocratic contemporaries but would later be attracted to boys of a lower social station. He had several same-sex experiences in England that were encouraged by the circle he frequented at Cambridge, particularly his friend Matthews, as well as during his Grand Tour, during which he was able to freely live out behaviors frowned on at home.
In early 19th-century England, homosexuality was a criminal offence punished with the pillory or even hanging, and Byron preferred to keep his transgressive experiences to himself or share them only with a small and restricted group of like-minded friends. There are numerous veiled references to the range of his tastes in his works and his letters that we are today better able to decipher. Innuendos are plentiful and point to aspects of his submerged life, to adultery, incest and, above all, homosexuality – and we can now more fully appreciate the wit of his letters as well as his love-poems.
An appended chapter examines “Don Leon”, an anonymous work purporting to be by Byron himself and salaciously recounting his love-life, which was first published some forty years after his death and has been on more than one occasion banned for obscenity.