Monthly Archives: June 2011

What Does The Bible Actually Say About Gay Marriage?— Lee Jefferson, “The Huffington Post”


Lee Jefferson1

What Does The Bible Actually Say About Gay Marriage?

Lee Jefferson, “The Huffington Post”


Several days ago, a historic vote in the state of New York, pushed aggressively by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, legalized the practice of same-sex marriage. Such an action was certainly a momentous decision for marriage equality rights in the LGBT community. The vote was not exactly sui generis, but the fact that it occurred in a large and populous state in the country drew more media attention than, say, Vermont. The media focus is a double-edged sword for the issue of same-sex marriage: it exhibits an enlightening progress in our culture concerning the LGBT community, and it also gives voice to the cacophonous opposition, not only directed towards same-sex unions but towards same-sex orientation itself.

Such opposition quite often utilizes religion as a bruising hammer to drive home their message, and often the Bible is invoked to justify any anti-gay argument. Groups opposed to same-sex marriage cite Biblical passages to endorse their rejection of any marriage amendment while condemning same-sex practice in general on the basis that the Bible “says” it is wrong. Now that the celebration of the New York vote has receded past the front page of most papers and news sites, we have an opportunity to examine the Biblical argument against same-sex marriage (and against same-sex orientation) in context. If anything, this exercise questions whether we should develop stances based upon what the Bible “says.” Simply put, the Bible is a complicated collection of documents that was never meant to “speak” to our contemporary situation, but groups often speak through the lens of the Bible and lob textual grenades on issues like same-sex marriage.

First, the institution of marriage is a secular and social institution. In different ancient cultures, marriage was more of a business arrangement, joining families together for mutual benefit. Under Roman law in the first centuries of the Common Era, there were proper opportunities for divorce and the dissolution of a marital union for both parties. However, as the Christian church grew, marriage became more ecclesiastically governed; the church dictated the rules of marriage (as well as the rules of dissolution, as many remember Henry VIII’s desire for a papal annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon). The Christian governance of marriage fractured during the Protestant Reformation. Figures like Martin Luther and John Calvin recognized marriage as a civil matter, a worldly affair, and not under the aegis of the church. Still there are many Catholics and non-Catholics alike who recognize marriage as a Christian affair, and further, believe it is divinely endorsed as a heterosexual institution. In my local paper in Kentucky, a letter was sent in to the editor lambasting the New York vote, claiming that marriage was created by God since the story of Adam and Eve is the proof-text. Advocates of this position should note, that Adam and Eve would still need to purchase a civil marriage license if they sought to get married today.

Second, the Bible does not clearly endorse one form of marriage over another. Adam and Eve as the divine groom and bride is one Biblical arrow in the quiver of same-sex union opponents. The Yahwist creation story in Genesis (the second creation story) has God forming Eve out of Adam’s rib, and Adam exclaiming their unity (“this is at last bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh”). This is a gender creation story, not a creation of marriage story. Adam and Eve do not exchange rings, say “I do” and have a jazz band reception in Paradise.

Third, the Biblical arguments against same-sex marriage are not proffered from texts that deal with marriage, but from texts that purportedly deal with same-sex orientation. Same-sex marriage is rejected as un-Christian and immoral on the basis of a myopic reading of a very few Biblical texts. And the texts in question are scant indeed. The most referenced texts are Genesis 19; the holiness codes of Leviticus 17-26, and in the New Testament, Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians 6:9 and his Letter to the Romans 1:26-27. Not only does one have to “hunt” for references to same-sex practices, but there are no gospel texts that treat the matter. There is nothing attributed to Jesus of Nazareth that has anything to do with same-sex orientation. According to the gospels, Jesus never commented on same-sex practices; that fact certainly bears repeating to anyone criticizing the gay community on Christian grounds. Largely, same-sex practice is a topic of little interest to the Biblical authors.

The Biblical texts that are most often cited in the same-sex debate deserve some explanation in order to reduce their citation for hurtful purposes. For example, the text of Genesis 19 centers upon the story of Lot’s visitation in the city of Sodom by two angels. The men of Sodom tell Lot to hand over the male visitors so that they may “know” them, i.e. sexually know them (giving rise to the term “sodomy”). Lot bargains with the visitors, quite horribly to a contemporary reader’s eyes, by offering the men his virgin daughters instead. However, any reader of ancient literature (of which the Hebrew Bible is a component) would realize the familiar motif concerning hospitality. For example, the Greek gods Zeus and Hermes would frequently disguise themselves as humans in order to ferret who among their supplicants were truly hospitable. The story is not one denigrating same-sex practice; instead it upholds the incredible (and ludicrous) hospitality of Lot as a virtue.

Similarly, the holiness codes of Leviticus thread down from an all-encompassing mandate to behave distinctly from their foreign (and depraved) neighbors. Leviticus 20:13 that proscribes the death penalty for same-sex relations is quite related to codes that condemn bestiality, invoke dietary restrictions, and order the wearing of certain fibers. The codes make the Israelites unique from their neighbors, and they reflect a particular time and place in Israelite history. Any contemporary critique must note this reality before invoking the codes as ammunition against same-sex practice.

Fourth, any reference to same-sex practice by a Biblical writer or a Greco-Roman writer has no knowledge or understanding of the concept of “same-sex orientation.” There is no Hebrew or Greek cognate word in the Biblical text to reflect the modern term “same-sex orientation” or “homosexuality.” Moreover, there were no discussions or arguments concerning sexual orientation in the ancient and late ancient world, conversations that would only arrive in the modern era of psychology. Instead, ancient writers believed any wanton sexual behavior of any variety is a mismanagement of one’s appetites. The apostle Paul, in the New Testament, follows this pattern.

The Pauline letters that are raised in the same-sex debate are part of Paul’s understanding of sexual immorality in the first century CE. In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul includes in a laundry list of vices “male prostitutes” and “sodomites” (as malakoi and arsenokoitai are translated by the NRSV; 1 Cor 6:9). These terms are injected along with many other vices: “fornicators, idolaters, adulterers,” and Paul is addressing the issue of a church member sleeping with his stepmother. In other words, Paul is addressing ALL deviant sexual and immoral behavior, not just that of a same-sex variety. In his address to the Romans, Paul describes the root sin of the Gentiles as idolatry, and the consequences of idolatry are vices beginning with women and men “exchanging” natural intercourse for unnatural. While Paul is describing this behavior as the result of wayward passions, the chief sin is idolatry and separation from the one true God. While the Romans text offers the longest discussion of same-sex behavior in the New Testament, it is unclear whether it truly is a condemnation of a specific practice.

The above discussions will likely never satisfy any opponent of gay rights or of same-sex marriage to any degree. When teaching Biblical material to undergraduates I am always anxious when approaching the issue of same-sex orientation and the Bible, especially teaching in the Bible Belt. But many of them question the validity of basing every aspect of their lives entirely on what the Bible “says.” They realize that the Biblical material is very diverse, and also very condemnatory. For example, Jesus reflects on the Adam and Eve passage cited above to insist to his listeners that those that divorce and re-marry commit adultery (Mark 10:1-12; Matt 19:4; also Luke 16:18). The Bible “says” a lot of things but perhaps we should treat the Bible less like an authoritative contract with God and understand it more as a human-authored, divinely-inspired, document that arouses a life of faith.

So does the Bible have anything to “say” about gay marriage? The Bible is not specific, literate, or even concerned with what we call same-sex orientation or gay marriage. But the state of New York recently had quite a lot to say about gay marriage. Those that would insert the Bible into this debate would do well to reflect upon the text itself. If only we quit focusing on what the Bible didactically “says” and converse with the text in its broader cultural context. Then one can realize the multivalent value of such a book that a narrow reading cannot service.

For further reading:

There are voluminous secondary sources to consider, but one of the concise and best treatments (although dated) can be found in Victor Paul Furnish’s The Moral Teachings of Paul: Selected Issues (Nashville, TN: Abingdon, 1979)

“Closer”, Poems by Christopher Stephen Soden— Confessions

Soden, Christopher. “Closer”, Rebel Satori: Queer Mojo, 2011.


Amos Lassen

Before I read “Closer”, I really knew nothing about Christopher Soden except that he was a Facebook friend and a poet. Imagine my surprise as I found myself engulfed in his book and in his life as I read. I rarely let emotions get the best of me but it was impossible not to with these gorgeous poems. I felt as if Soden pulled me into his life as he told me about it. There is something existentially honest about his verse. At times witty and playful, at times somber and introspective, Soden has written something for every taste. He deals with important themes—sexuality, gender, masculinity, identity and the nature of the human condition.

What really drew me in is that Soden says what he thinks and he does not hold back. He struggled at times as a gay male and he tells us so and as open as he is, he is humane as well. While at times he was not always comfortable with his sexuality, he now celebrates it as all of us should and he does so as a member of the world. It is as if Soden is rediscovering himself through his poems and as he does, he rips the pain away to find love (we all have felt that pain but I doubt that many of us can write about it like this poet does). We feel his vulnerability and we watch him push it aside as he tells us of his life. He comes to terms with who he is and we are right there with him as he tells us.

If there is an overall theme here it is the intimacy that men share with each other and that intimacy need not always be sexual. Sometimes one misunderstands that asexual intimacy and what could have been beautiful is lost forever. I suspect that what Soden says to us is to hold onto the intimate relationships we have and make sure that we deal with them correctly so as not to lose them. I remember too well that my closest friend is straight and we accept each other totally. We also love each other intimately yet not sexually—we know where we stand and to violate that is to lose each other. Our poet looks at relationships like that.

I love that Christopher Soden and I share a sense of spirituality. I am an observant Jew and I am active in my religion. Soden was once very religious and is spiritual today but there was a time in his life that he believed that gays were God’s failures and because of that he had trouble accepting himself as gay and spiritual. He tells us how he felt and he tells us how we felt. He has found a way to God now because he has been able to push those who preach that we are not worthy out of his mind. He lets us know that they know no more about God than we do and their ideas are extensions of the brainwashing they have had. We can rise above that and Soden does.

I do not believe that many of us were able to deal easily with our sexual orientation and in his poem “Original Sin”, the poet tells us how he felt and he does so in a way that we cannot ignore one syllable of one word. All of us have issues and all of those issues need resolution and sometimes reaching the resolve can be painful. If you are like me, you will feel that as you read these poems. You will remember your mistakes and your misjudgments and you will celebrate your successes. More than that, you will see that what Christopher Soden has to say is not at all different from what we believe. He just has the ability to say it beautifully and stylishly and that is the difference.

I understand that some of the poems in this collection were written as long ago as thirty years ago. Well, Christopher Soden, I am letting you know that I do not feel like waiting 30 plus years for another book. You have jumped into the water and I want you to, I need you to, keep swimming.

“Sparkle: The Queerest Book You’ll Ever Love” by Rob Rosen— Having Fun Being Gay

Rosen, Rob. “Sparkle: The Queerest Book You’ll Ever Love”, The Fierce Publishing 10th Anniversary Reissue, 2011.

Having Fun Being Gay

Amos Lassen


It’s hard to believe that Rob Rosen’s “Sparkle” is already ten years old and the good news is that it has just been reissued in a tenth anniversary edition. Those of you who have never read it for whatever reason now can have the special treat of doing so.

“Sparkle” is a very funny coming out story that is a look at a time that was—the 80’s and the 90’s, a time that was filled with sex, drugs and rock and roll. We meet two gay men, Bruce and William, in San Francsisco and we are with them as they come to terms with who they are and the world. To say that there life is madcap is an understatement. This is a rollicking look at the fun one can have as a gay person. Sure, the adventures are excessive but even in excess there is a bit of truth and here is where the book catches you. As unbelievable as some of it may be, it is still quite believable. We are with Bruce and William from their first sexual encounters through their evolution to drag queens and adopting a full grown son.

Bruce and William are symbolic of those gay guys who do not want to miss a “trick” or anything or anyone else. They do it all but with that is a sense of love and family that we, as gay men, form as friends. Rob Rosen writes of how we live and shows us “the good, the bad and the ugly” and the beautiful.

There are some books that become regarded as iconic representations of gay life and I predict that with time this will be one of them. Bruce becomes Sparkle and William becomes Secret and as Secret sits beside his comatose friend (the result of having been shot by an unknown gunslinger), he remembers the crazy lives they have shared. The two characters are unforgettable and Rosen gives us two wonderful additions to the characters that define us in literature. He also gives us a fine supporting group of characters and as I said, even in its wildness, the story is totally believable (especially if you have ever lived in a major American city).

It is very easy to discover that you are totally involved in the novel and especially in the characters. The flashback technique is very effective and the story is filled with twists and turns. The one thing that kept going through my mind was that Rob Rosen is a very, very talented writer. His book is one that will make you smile and even shed a tear but it is important to remember that as much as we love the characters, it is Rosen who created them and it is Rosen who drives the plot. I have read everything he has written and I must say that he always surprises with his wit and his clever plots. However, Rosen also has that very special quality of style and you feel it throughout. Watch for it–it will be out in the next few weeks.




On Corn and Marriage: A Rabbi’s Reflections from the New York Senate Gallery—Rabbi Andrea Myers from The Huffington Post


Rabbi Andrea Myers

Author, ‘The Choosing: A Rabbi’s Journey from Silent Nights to High Holy Days’

On Corn and Marriage: A Rabbi’s Reflections from the New York Senate Gallery

After the vote on Marriage Equality on Friday, I sat dumbfounded in the gallery of the New York State Senate in Albany. Earlier that week, when the Senate passed a resolution declaring sweet corn the official state vegetable instead of taking up legislation on marriage equality, I knew we had entered the realm of the absurd. I had been in Albany last Monday, and had come home disheartened by the vitriol of the debate on same-sex marriage. Somehow, though, the news about the corn was comforting. I hadn’t thought the situation could get any more ridiculous. The fact that corn had made it to the table, so to speak, made me feel like anything was possible. The Senate really was willing to entertain anything, from the designation of the state vegetable to making rules about Bingo, and this gave me hope.

Monday had been sobering. My partner, Rabbi Lisa Grushcow, and I had travelled to Albany to be part of a liberal religious contingent, organized by Pride in the Pulpit under the auspices of The Empire State Pride Agenda. It was heartening to see friends and distinguished colleagues from around the city, and to know that so many more were involved with calling and writing campaigns.

When we walked into the Capitol, we immediately found ourselves in the midst of a protest, with scores of marriage equality opponents shouting: “One man, one woman.” My first thought was that they really couldn’t be very familiar with the Bible. After all, just one of the three patriarchs in Genesis, Isaac, had only one wife. And when the going got tough, he was willing to pretend she was his sister, for the sake of saving his own skin (Gen 26:6-10).

We soon realized that very few of the conversations that day were of biblical or theological substance. The opponents of the bill were convinced that they alone knew the true (and to them, obvious) meaning of the Bible, and that they alone had a direct line to God. When the “One man, one woman” chant ended, another one began: “God says no!” At first, our group started chanting, “God says yes!” in response, but soon we shifted to: “How do you know?” That, it seemed to me, was the root of the debate. Our opponents were sure they had all the answers, and that the rest of us were going to burn in hell (the nicer ones informed us of this apologetically). I wanted to tell them that I had converted from Christianity to Judaism precisely because I was drawn to a religion that valued questions over answers, a religion that was based on interpretation, and the implicit belief that the Bible begins our conversation, but is not the end of the story. Judaism as it exists today contains a myriad of different interpretation and opinions, and this leads to a profound humility with regard to knowing what God wants. In contrast, the perverted marriage of political hubris and theology that I saw last week oversimplifies religious conversation. The result is a divisive discourse that is at once dangerous, hurtful and politically enticing. There is no sound bite like a hateful sound bite.

That is why the success of the sweet corn bill gave me hope. It suggested that not everything needed to be taken quite so seriously. Also, it made me think about domesticity — specifically, the two ears of corn that Lisa and I had just made the kids as part of their dinner. For the rest of the week, we went back to our routine: a two-rabbi, two-mom family, busy with young children and work.

By Friday, things weren’t looking good. The Senate still had not decided to vote on the marriage equality bill, much less to pass it. I went back to Albany that afternoon without any sense of anticipation of success. Instead, it was a heady combination of frustration, stubbornness, and three Red Bulls which got me on the road. Anyone I spoke to who was in the loop said that it wasn’t worth coming, because it seemed unlikely that the bill would even make it to the floor. I went because I knew that the people who had been there all week could use some support; it felt like the right thing to do, as part of a long relay race with the finish line constantly around the next bend.

I went to Albany on Friday not expecting anything to change. But I got to witness what was a sacred moment: the moment when marriage equality became law in New York State. Even more, I got to see thoughtfulness and deliberation — the political process at its best — lead people to change their minds and their votes. I was so proud to hear Senator Stephen Saland talk honestly about his struggle to come to a decision, and how his parents’ values of treating everyone equally ultimately determined his game-changing support. His speech was the complete opposite of the rhetoric I had heard on Monday in the halls of the Capitol.

In last week’s Torah portion, Korach, we read about an internal rebellion among the Israelites. Korach and his supporters challenge Moses’ leadership. Moses, before responding, falls on his face. Chasidic commentaries suggest that he did so in a moment of self-examination. He needed to make sure his motivation was right, and that he himself was not at fault in some way. That moment of humility, which so easily could be seen as a moment of political weakness, was essential. Then as now, the lesson can be found: uncertainty is more valuable than certainty. The ability to change one’s mind can be more powerful than righteous indignation.

The same day the sweet corn bill was passed, legislation also passed to allow someone to cross Niagara Falls on a tightrope. Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav taught: “The entire world is a very narrow bridge, and the main thing is not to be afraid.” New York senators crossed that narrow bridge with courage and dignity this week. In so doing, they opened marriage to countless loving couples. May this day be an inspiration for all loving couples to celebrate their love, and for each of us to be proud of who we are.

As I sat in the Senate Gallery, I saw a very happy and relieved governor; I saw senators cross the aisle to congratulate each other; and I saw the people of this state embrace one another in joy. This thoughtful legislation which had taken so painfully long to craft, brought people together in the end. I smiled to myself in the midst of the happy fray, because I knew that the best part of this change was yet to come. Marriage itself is not a declaration of having all the answers, but a daily commitment to being open to the questions together. Now, the door is open for so many more people to join in the conversation. To quote the concluding line of Tony Kushner’s sublime play, Angels in America, “The Great Work Begins.”

This Blogger’s Books from

“FAMILY MATTERS”—new from Israel–Two Men, One Women and a Baby

Family Matters
Larger image





A Film by David Noy
(Israel, 2004, 61 Minutes, Color, Hebrew/ English/ German, English subtitles)

Two men, one woman and a baby constitute the formula for the alternative family documented in Family Matters.

Dafna, a single straight musician, is fed up with waiting for her prince charming… her solution: teaming up with Itamar, a homosexual lawyer and actor, in order to have a baby. The third side of the dramatic triangle is Kai, a German flight purser and Itamar’s partner for the past ten years.

After a few attempts, Dafna becomes pregnant. The relationship between the three rollercoasters throughout the pregnancy. Towards the end, Itamar and Kai get married in Germany, and shortly afterwards Dafna gives birth to a baby boy in Israel. The tensions that have been festering beneath the surface eventually erupt and cause confrontation and separation.

The film follows this fascinating, moving story, as the characters deal with issues of relationships, identity, family and parenthood


DocAviv International Documentary Film Festival 2004 – Best Editing Award & Best Soundtrack Award
Festival Dei Popolei – Documentary Film Festival 2005 Firenze
Copenhagen Jewish Film Festival
Turin International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival
Documentary Film Festival, Estonia
Toronto Jewish Film Festival
Israfest – Israeli Film Festival Los-Angeles/ New York/ Miami

Barcelona Gay & Lesbian Film Festival
Hamburg Gay & Lesbian Film Festival
Melbourne Queer Film Festival, Australia
Brisbane Queer Film Festival
Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival
NewFest Film Festival, New-York


“a remarkable, moving, and deeply penatrating documentary”.
(TimeOut, Israel)

“an emotionally stirring, moving and exciting new film”.
(Yediot Achronot, Israel)

“the most amazing birth scene… admirable work”.
(Walla, Israel)

“L’AMOUR FOU”— Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Berge

“L’Amour Fou”

Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Berge

Amos Lassen

In 2002 Yves Saint-Laurent announced his retirement from fashion after forty years as the head of his very important fashion house. At 21 he took over The House of Dior and then he and lover, Berge, built his own house and label. In 2009 their art collection was auctioned and Berge tells about his lover’s life. We learn that YSL was chronically depressed who loved beautiful things and the two man had quite a collection of beauty. YSL was a giant in the fashion industry but he was also a person whose life was filled with drugs and depression. Berge is at times candid and at times he avoids the issues but he is speaking from memory and that happens.

The art collection included Degas and Mondrian and jewels from Morocco and France.  The documentary is a memorial to YSL and is an oral biography related by Berge. It is certainly not the definitive view but it is what we have. We appreciate the man for the collector that he was. What we do not get here is a look at celebrities and fashion icons and those would have made this that much more interesting.

“Outside the Lines: Talking with Contemporary Gay Poets” by Christopher Hennessy— Speaking with Poets

Hennessy, Christopher. “Outside the Lines: Talking with Contemporary Gay Poets”, University of Michigan Press, 2005.

Speaking with Poets

Amos Lassen

In the last year, gay poets have published a lot of new writing and I have I have become very interested in reading the fruits of their labors. However, I have only gotten to know them by what they have written. I came across this book by Christopher Hennessy I which he speaks with poets themselves. He asks the kind of questions that probe the mind and the results are fascinating. The poets tell us how they are excited by poetry and they build their own worlds through their own words. This is about creating art and it pulls you in immediately. We quickly see the impact the poets have made—not just on gay poetry but on the contemporary literary scene.

Included are Frank Bidart, Thom Gunn, J.D.McClatchey, Mark Doty, Carl Phillips, Henri Carl, Doug Powell, Tim Liu Reginald Shepherd, Raphael Campo, Alfred Corn, Donald Tunidad and Hennessey looks at each poet’s work up to the publication of this book and we get a look at the man and the poetry. There is also a bibliography and a list of those poets that are emerging onto the scene. This is a totally interesting book that explains a great deal and lets us into the lives o the poets. Of course, today there is a whole new group—Ahron Taub, Chip Livingstone, Robert Walker, Christopher Soden, Michael Montlack, Jeff Mann, Jeremy Halinen and others. Maybe it is time for a second volume.

“HEMPSTERS: PLANT THE SEED”— Legalizing the Hemp Plant

“Hempsters: Plant the Seed”

Legalizing the Hemp Plant

Amos Lassen

“Hempsters” is a documentary about the movement for the legalization of marijuana in the United States and features Merle Haggard, Willy Nelson, Woody Harrelson and people like you and me as well as politicians, farmers and businessmen. Seven activists form the core of the film and they show us the durability of hemp and how it can be used for textiles, paper, plastics (biodegradable), health food, construction and fuel. We see that anything that can be manufactured from petroleum oils can also be made from hemp.

Michael Henning directs the film that looks at why the United States is the only developed country that outlaws the growth of hemp and is a controlled substance. We start with the arrest of Harrelson for having planted four uncultivated hemp seeds in Kentucky and move onto his travels with Craig Lee, traveling hemp activist and meet some Kentucky farmers who want to grow hemp to save their tobacco farms. Alex White Plume is a leader of the Lakota and his family is the first to plant Industrial Hemp in America since the 50’s and he shows that this is right. Julia Butterfly Hill has been protesting the pulping of forests and she believes that hemp is the answer to destroying trees for paper and Gatewood Galbraith who is running for governor of Kentucky as an independent tries to educate the public about hemp.

There is a lot of information here and a lot to think about. The movie presents a very strong message and undoubtedly will drive some to take action. I really learned a lot and I think you will as well.

“FRAT HO– — USE MASSACRE”— Slashing the Greeks

“Frat House Massacre”

Slashing the Greeks

Amos Lassen


A gritty and twisted slasher film can b just the right thing especially when it is filled with good looking young guys in underwear. “Frat House Massacre” will take you back to the good old days when you watched slasher films with half closed eyes, afraid to see what would happen next. Here is a film with lots of gore and plenty of death scenes that even full blooded slasher fans will love. You can probably guess what this is about just from the title but there are lots of surprises. Set in 1979, it is filled with special effects and for a low budget film, there are high production values.

Sean and Bobby open with the film by arguing—Bobby wants to go to a party with friends and Sean wants him to have dinner with their guardian. Bobby does want he wants and is an accident that puts him in a coma and Seam wants to stay with but their guardian, Olivia males him go back to college and to his girlfriend. He listens and soon finds himself in a strange position with his fraternity brothers at Delta Iota Epsilon (DIE). Mark is the leader of the fraternity brotherhood and he is into cocaine and hazing and we learn that those who pledge the fraternity and do not make the next cut or just that cut—cut or gassed or shot or something else as terrible. This is before the internet and cell phones so people who disappear are not quickly missed.

Because of the setting in a fraternity house, the film is somewhat homoerotic with fit shirtless young men making appearances (but there are also some good looking females in the film).

Alex Pucci directs with great detail and there is even original music. The gore is sexy and savage and really a lot of fun.

“A Fast Life: The Collected Poems of Tim Dlugos” edited by David Trinidad—Dlugos, The Poet of the AIDS Epidemic

Dlugos, Tim, (edited by David Trinidad). “A Fast Life: The Collected Poems of Tim Dlugos”, Nightboat Books, 2011.


The Poet of the Aids Epidemic


Amos Lassen


Some of you remember Tom Dlugos while others are way too young, He was a very important poet in New York during the 70’s and 80’s and was considered to be by many to be the representative poets of the AIDS epidemic. We finally have all of his poems together in one volume together with notes, an introduction and a conclusion written by David Trinidad, another poet.


Right away it is easy to see the distinctiveness and energy of Dlugos and we are reminded of a very dark period in the history of our community. He was once involved in the poetry scene in Washington, D.C. and then in New York City and he published several books of his writings. Unfortunately he died at the age of 40 from complications from AIDS. Trinidad was his good friend and he and Dlugos once read poetry about being gay together.


According to Trinidad, Dlugos was a poetic virtuoso who wrote about life and his poetry still lives on. He brought a certain spirit to his poetry that was amazing and he had the ability to have people fall in love with the way he wrote. And we owe it to him and to ourselves to make sure that the beauty that he created will not be forgotten.