Monthly Archives: June 2012

“Straight Jock Pussy” by Christopher Trevor— AHEM!!!

Trevor, Christopher. “Straight Jock Pussy”, Seventh Window Publications, 2012.

Ahem!!!

Amos Lassen

Ok, so you are wondering what that ahem is all about. Quite simply it means that with a title like “Straight Jock Pussy”, there is not much more I can say… or is there? I must admit that the title did put me off and this is not exactly the kind of book you would leave out on the coffee table when you are expecting company. However, beneath that sordid title is a really good and well written story (that deserves a better title). I figure if you see this on the shelf in Barnes and Noble, you will peruse it because the title catches your attention but then again you are too embarrassed to take it to the cashier to check out of the store. And that is where you miss out on a really fine reading experience.

Travis O’Toole is an all American jock with all American good looks and a really fine body. There is a ruggedness about him that many swoon over and cause men to be green with envy. He is young– in his early-twenties and he is matriculating in a fine prestigious university. He is on the threshold of life and seems to have everything.

Spike is a skinhead with no direction in life. He spends all of his time figuring out how to do nothing. He has no respect for the lives of others and as far as he is concerned, the world can just fall apart and he wouldn’t care. People shy away from him and he is the antithesis of Travis. The two men meet and believe it or not, they fall “in lust”. Spike brings to Travis all that he suppresses and Travis reciprocates by showing his love and giving up his body. Spike likewise falls for Travis and the two men begin an affair of great passion. The two do not understand what is happening to them but they cannot fight it and know that they cannot live without it.

This is a story with a BDSM theme but it has something extra—romance. It does more than tell a story—it explores the human psyche in a way that is deep and fascinating and in wonderfully written prose. It is, perhaps, one of the rawest books I have ever read and I read a great deal. The novel approach of two characters that do not see themselves as gay falling in love with each other is new and fresh. What we get is not just a BDSM romance but a story of two men whose sexuality is confusing to each. The sex is graphic and very erotic and there are sections that are pure deviance. However, to balance that, we are introduced to the emotions of Travis and Spike and are taken into their heads as each not only tries to deal with the other but also with himself. I understand that there are too be more “straight jock pussy” books and I can’t wait. I have begun saving paper bags to make covers so I can read while traveling on public transportation.

 

“INSTITUTE BENJAMENTA OR THIS DREAM THAT ONE CALLS HUMAN LIFE”— A Beautiful Cinematic Experience

“Institute Benjamenta, or This Dream That One Calls Human Life”

A Beautiful Cinematic Experience

Amos Lassen

“Institute Benjamenta” is the first live-action feature of the Quay Brothers and is a haunting twist on a fairytale. It is based on a novella by Swiss writer Robert Waser, “Jakob von Gunten” which is set in Institute Benjamenta where seven students are learning to become servants. Jakob (Mark Rylance) arrives and becomes student number eight. The classes are conducted by the deranged Herr Benjamenta (Gottfried John) and his sister, Lisa Benjamenta, a sexually electric woman. Jakob narrates the story and as he takes up his life there, he begins to discover just how bizarre the place is. Lisa seems to get wilder by the moment and she is drawn to Jakob.

Visually this is cinematic art. It is filmed in black and white with a great of dark imagery and we are aware of the Quay’s history in animation and here the human actors replace the puppets of their earlier films. This is a very difficult film to describe and to really understand it, one must actually see it and more than once.

After the students finish their course, none leave to take a job and in fact no new students arrive. Some of the students suspect an incestuous relationship between Lisa and her brother and even though there is a spark of interest in Jakob for Lisa and vice versa, Lisa becomes almost catatonic and things continually get worse. Jakob is blamed for this although there is no hint that he had anything to do with it.

Between the main and end credits here is a world that is visually ravishing and technically abstruse that you are only in the film while you are watching. Nothing else matters and the rules of the outside do not apply. We see  dreamy, foggy black-and-white and what we can’t identify for certain your imagination fills out. These are the most special effects because we wonder what all of this means. “The Institute of the title is a school for servants, the lessons they are taught bizarre and repetitive to the point of making ‘déjà-vu’ a permanent state of being. Is the repetition the point of it all or has the teacher lost the plot? If she has, how come we care? None of this is vaguely like real life. None of it, that is, bar the characters emotions. Or is the whole thing like real life, like Life with a capital ‘L?’ In the end does this sort of pondering make for a good movie?”. There are images, and scenes that are very eerie and that make us think “What is really going on here”?

Every single frame in the bizarre odyssey is tightly composed and beautifully printed in black and white. The use of shifts in focus and depth, and the wild juxtapositions of the most mundane actions, allowing them to take on any number of connotations only heightens the floating dream like atmosphere, as we are dumped into this world with no idea of what is going on, or what is going to happen”.
“This is a story about love, death, pride and loneliness and the mask of a pride on everyone wears in  society, and loneliness and love under this mask. The best of human emotions never seem to come out from under this mask and this is the strangest contradiction. Emotions are hidden beneath pride and what is shown to the word is not what really is.

Humor in this film does not exist and what might have been funny is replaced by a dreamy gloom and “poetic obscurity”. But you must see this film to even begin to understand my review and I must say that this is my kind of film. I saw it twice last week and am still thinking about it all of the time. A film that makes me react like this is what I look for and they raise the entire movie industry’s artistic standards. Some may find it tedious and unrewarding and I imagine those that do so are also tedious and unrewarding people.

 

 

“Stripped Down: Lesbian Sex Stories” edited by Tristan Taormino— Lesbian Erotica

Taormino, Tristan, (Editor). “Stripped Down: Lesbian Sex Stories”, Cleis Press, 2012.

Lesbian Erotica

Amos Lassen

So I am not a lesbian and I really am not much of an erotica reader but I must say that I really enjoy reading Tristan Taormino because I never know what to expect. I always think of her like a magician who sticks her hand in a hat and pulls out something different every time. In this new collection of lesbian erotica she does not have a story yet we can certainly feel her presence as the editor. Twenty-six stories are here and they are all totally different. Some of the writers include Catherine Lundoff, Sinclair Sexsmith, Tara Alton, Radclyffe, ViolyntFemme and Peggy Munson. Because of the abundance of sex here I really cannot go into summaries of the stories but I can tell you that there are farm girls, a vigilante and undercover police just to mention three themes. Like the titles, the stories strip down to the erotic and believe it or not, we learn about our own erotic selves by reading these stories.

 

“She Shifters: Lesbian Paranormal Erotica” edited by Delilah Devlin— “You’re a What?”

 

Devlin, Delilah, (editor).“She Shifters: Lesbian Paranormal Erotica”. Cleis Press, 2012.

“You’re a What?”

Amos Lassen

I must admit that the HBO series “True Blood” introduced me to new aspects of paranormal life. I do not think that I ever thought about shifters before watching that show and now I find them much more endearing than say vampires and panthers. After all what could be more exciting than being in bed with someone who shits into a tiger,

Shifters are both animal and human and they really make our imaginations explode and the primal nature of the animal takes over when we think about them. Unfortunately, they have been presented as dark characters rather than something romantic. With his collection of stories edited by Delilah Devlin, we see the “humanity” in them and the concepts of power and romance come together. The stories here give us a totally different look at the phenomena of shifting and it is an excellent read. And even more interesting is that we have “she-shifters” giving us a new feminine/lesbian creature who has physical power along with lustful desires for other women. This is a brand new look at the paranormal from a group of sixteen storytellers (Paisley Smith, Anna Meadows, J.L. Merrow, Angela Caperton, Christine D’Abo, Michael M. Jones, Adele Dubois, Karis Walsh, Giselle Renarde, Myla Jackson, Sacchi Green, Victoria Oldham, Tahira Iqbal, Chris Kouju and Delilah Devlin. Be prepared for a wild and exciting read and one you will not soon forget.

 

“Three Way: Erotic Adventures” edited by Alison Tyler— When Three is Not a Crowd

Tyler, Alison (Editor). “Three Way: Erotic Adventures”, Cleis Press, 2012.

When Three is Not a Crowd

Amos Lassen

There is a mystical allure of having sex with more than one person at a time as we see in Alison Tyler’s new anthology of twenty-one erotic stories. The ménage a trois always been an exciting aspect in literature and it invalidates the idea that three is a crowd. Tyler brings us examples of this in some very sensual tales. Just think of the possibilities and you become swept away. M. Christian, Marilyn Jaye Lewis, Julia Moore, Dawn M. Pares. N.T. Mobley, Michelle Houston, Thomas S. Roche, Rebecca Henderson, Dante Davidson, ach Addams, A.J. Stone, Rachel Kramer Bussel, Emilie Paris, Eric Williams, Helena Settimana, Saskia Walker, Tom Piccirilli, Marcelle Perks, the editor, Alison Tyler, Sommer Marsden and Sophia Valenti have all contributed to this collection and each and every story is a treat.

Reading this book is like apple pie ala mode but with an extra scoop of ice cream—yes, it is that much fun. Three means just a little bit more and while to some it may seem to be naughty, in this book it is special. Twenty to thirty fingers instead of just ten provides new heights of excitement just as this anthology does. Aside from being sensuous, the stories are provoking and eye-opening and you really do not want to miss this new collection from Cleis Press that always brings us the best in erotica.

 

 

“Middle Men: Gay Erotic Threesomes” edited by Shane Allison— Three Makes a Group

 

Allison, Shane. Editor. “Middle Men: Gay Erotic Threesomes”, Cleis Press, 2012.

Three Makes a Group

Amos Lassen

When I see the name Shane Allison, I know that I will be reading smut but do not misunderstand; that is not a bad thing. Allison really knows how to write erotica and one of his own stories are in this collection here. He also chose the eighteen stories that make up this collection of men having sex with each other in groups.

The authors included here are Shane Allison, the editor, Mark Wilson, Andrew Cheney-Feid, Barry owe, Jay Starr, Gregory L. Norris, Bob Vickery, H.L. Champa, Sleepy Lopez, Landon Dixon, Dominic Santi, Christopher Pierce, Morgan Honeyman, Derrick Della Giorgia, Jamie Freeman, Eric Del Carlo, Bobby Starr and T. Hitman.

If you take a good look around you, you will understand quickly that the only taboo we have left in society is the word “taboo” itself. In fact most fantasies happen these days so the word fantasy also does not hold much meaning anymore. Group sex has always been a fantasy of many gay men and through this book; we see how popular it really is. Three are all kinds of groups and they number from three upward. For me, at least, the fantasy still exists and since it is not likely to happen, I rely on the book to feed my libido. An added interest is the editor/anthologizer’s introduction which is as hot as anything I have read.

 

Kinsey Sicks in New York City and Baltimore

 

 

Kinsey Sicks in New York City and Baltimore

“ELECTILE DYSFUNCTION: THE KINSEY SICKS FOR PRESIDENT” COMING TO BALTIMORE AND NEW YORK CITY

PLUS: HIRE THE KINSEY SICKS FOR LESS!
CHECK OUT NEW “BARGAIN DATES” AVAILABLE FOR 2012-13
Photo by C. Stanley, courtesy of Theater J
 In light of yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling on health care reform, America’s Favorite Dragapella Beautshop Quartet will take time off from gratefully orally pleasuring Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts to instead aurally pleasure entire audiences in Maryland and New York. You can provide seed money by purchasing tickets to their golden-throated “Electile Dysfunction” Presidential campaign rallies. Choose from the following events:

 

IMEN Gathering – July 13 
The Kinseys appear at the “International Men Enjoying Naturism” gathering in rural Maryland. So if you’d like to get outdoors, get naked, and have no barrier between you and the Kinsey Sicks but air, register for the event at IMEN. Note: this show is open only to gathering attendees, and not the general pubic.
 
Baltimore – July 14 

The Kinseys return to Baltimore with “Electile Dysfunction.” Shows are at 7pm and 9:30pm. Tickets are available at Creative Alliance.
 
New York City – July 15 

The Kinseys bring “Electile Dysfunction” to Manhattan. Curtain is 8:00pm. Tickets are available at Highline.
 
A FUN NEW CHALLENGE FOR KINSEY SICKS FANS, BELOW!

How many differences can you spot between the original Kinsey Sicks photo on top and the even-more-nongorgeous one on the bottom? Post your answers on our wall at www.facebook.com/kinseysicks

“The Man Who Wrote Frankenstein” by John Lauristen— An Original and Valid Argument

Lauritsen, John.”The Man Who Wrote Frankenstein”, Pagan Press, 2007.

An Original and Argument

Amos Lassen

We have always been taught that Mary Shelley wrote the great gothic novel “Frankenstein”, John Lauritsen maintains otherwise. His thesis is that Mary Shelley was not the author but her husband, Percy Bysshe Shelley is the actual author of the novel and that its basic theme is that of male love. In other words, Shelley, the male wrote the profound and complex work about the very masculine monster. It’s an interesting theory and quite convincing. Using methods of literary criticism, Lauritsen has created a page turner that is full of suspense and reads like a first class detective novel. The author is slick in letting his detractors undermine themselves and the amount of research done to produce this book is phenomenal. Lauristen used letters, comments and the manuscript itself and in doing so recreates the world in which “Frankenstein” was created.

As a gay historian, the author reads the test from a homoerotic view and presents the sexual imagery and secretly coded social commentary in the book. It blows apart the past views of the novel as one-dimensional and his new approach gives him ways in which to interpret the text. Lauristen has challenged the literary canon and tears into the novel that he considers to have been part of a mythical undertaking.

What drew the author to his conclusion? He says it is based upon the various themes of the novel and the ideas of revolution, forgiveness, science, psychology, revenge and nature—all themes found in Percy Shelley. The evidence presented is very persuasive as Mary Shelley was not interested in these issues, Additionally, The author feels that Percy Shelley had strong feelings for other men and this is why the book can be so understood in homoerotic terms. But the most convincing argument of all lies in the poetry, the ideas and the imagination of the text. It is not a gothic thriller but rather a novel of profound and radical ideas which is written in prose that is poetically powerful. Lauristen also maintains that male love, as romantic male friendship, is a central theme of the novel and the references are sometimes quite direct and at other times quite hidden.

The book is actually quite funny and quite dangerous at the same time. It challenges some of the greats in the field of literary criticism but then some of the academics refuse to admit anything that is a bit offbeat. Here is true independent scholarship at its very best. Written in non academic language, it deals with a very academic subject. Here we have a great piece of literature with challenged authorship—a book that has been studies by both graduate students and undergrads. It is quite an engrossing read and I can’t help but look at “Frankenstein” now with a new approach.

Frameline36 AT&T Audience Awards

Frameline36 AT&T Audience Awards

Since 1984 our audience has been responsible for selecting the Best Feature Film, Best Documentary Film and Best Short Film of the Festival.

 

Best Feature Film

 

Cloudburst

Directed by Thom Fitzgerald

 

 

Best Documentary Film

 

Call Me Kuchu

Directed by Katherine Fairfax Wright and Malika Zouhali-Worrall

 

Best Short Film

 

Tsuyako

Directed by Mitsuyo Miyazaki

 

 
Frameline36 Juried Awards
Frameline has a long history of supporting outstanding films and filmmakers, and we continue that tradition with our juried awards for Outstanding First Feature and Outstanding Documentary of Frameline36.

Outstanding First Feature

 

Facing Mirrors

Directed by Negar Azarbeyjani

 

 

Honorable Mention, Outstanding First Feature

 

My Brother the Devil

Directed by Sally Al Hosaini

 

 

Outstanding Documentary

 

The Invisible Men

Directed by Yariv Mozer

 

 

Honorable Mention, Outstanding Documentary

 

I Am a Woman Now

Directed by Michiel van Erp

 

Volunteer of the Year Award

Frameline’s Volunteer of the Year, Barbara Gersh, enjoyed the challenge of watching as many films as possible and selected one to receive a grant from the Small Change Foundation. Barbara has been volunteering with Frameline for twenty years — thanks for your contributions, Barbara!

 

Volunteer of the Year Award

 

Mississippi: I Am

Directed by Harriet Hirshorn and Katherine Linton

Wayne Hoffman awarded with Stonewall Book Award

Wayne Hoffman awarded with Stonewall Book Award

Thursday, June 28, 2012 1:51 PM

43 years ago today the riots at the Stonewall Inn in New York City became one of the defining moments in the modern gay rights movement…

 Kensington Publishing is proud to announce that Wayne Hoffman was recently given with the book award named in honor of this historic event. On Monday, June 25 the American Library Association presented Wayne Hoffman with The 2012 Stonewall Book Award — Barbara Gittings Literature Award for his novel SWEET LIKE SUGAR.

 

Congratulations to Mr. Hoffman for writing a beautiful story and for being honored with this prestigious award!