Monthly Archives: October 2012

Let’s Keep Good LGBT Films on our Radar: A Call for Help–if you can,please do so.

I do not usually do this but this is such an exceptional film that I thought perhaps some of you may want to help. I just recieved this:

Dear friends, beloved bloggereenos,
our film, A Second Chance, has received rave reviews in Germany, France and the
United States, and the screenings in Spain and France have been quite successful.
We’re still dizzy from the success our little baby has achieved.
Ladies Room from Paris called us “particulièrement brillant”, and Amos Lassen from
the US described A Second Chance as “powerful” and “effective”. Of course, we have
submitted A Second Chance to several other festivals, hoping that a lot of people will
watch it.
Unfortunately, its length of 51 minutes makes a wider distribution (cinematic and
DVD) difficult. After its projection at the Chéries-Chéris film festival in Paris, we’ve
met a distributor who’s interested in supporting A Second Chance – if we manage to
lengthen it.
So we came up with the idea of shooting an epilogue, or rather a short sequel about
Laurent and André living in Paris, one year after their reconciliation. We’re planning to
film this new facet of their story early in 2013 with the same cast and crew – plus rather
surprising guest appearances by two very interesting personalities of the film world.
To manage our filming and post-production, we need your support!
We’re looking for co-producers, financiers and sponsors, who would like to invest in
our project. To make it happen, we would need at least 3.500 Euros (5.000 would be
better). Remember, we’re all working for free, we don’t earn anything (financially)
from it; we just want to make a beautiful film that is very near and dear to our hearts.
If you are a business company / a firm, we will gladly publish your logo on our web
site and in the film’s credits to acknowledge you for your help. Every donor will receive
a signed DVD plus some little extras from us.
If you’d like to support us, this is our bank account:
Vivasvan Filmproduktion GmbH
Deutsche Bank
Kto.-Nr. 36 94 197
BLZ 100 700 24
BIC (SWIFT) DEUT DE DBBER
IBAN DE26 100 700 240 3694197 00
If you need any further information, please do not hesitate to write us.
Thank you ever so much in advance, we are truly grateful!
Our sincere regards,
André Schneider & Team

“Combustion” by Daniel W.Kelly— Burning Desire

Kelly, Daniel W. “Combustion”, Bold Strokes Books, 2012.

Burning Desire

Amos Lassen

Deck Waxer is a private detective and he really takes to cases involving the supernatural. He has just come to Weeping Manor in Kremfort Cove to visit his friends, Hayes Lamond and Ben DuPont that he met last summer while on vacation. The cove was in the process of gentrification and becoming a gay hot spot and quite naturally there were power struggles between groups in the community. As can be expected, there is violence of which the most horrible is that gay men suddenly burst into flames. This was not exactly the kind of relaxation Deck had wanted and he suspects that spontaneous combustion is taking place. He also realizes that in order to understand what is going on that he must become physically involved with the locals and their scene. But Deck is the kind of man who is willing to take the risks to save the day. He has one fear a bit bigger than burning up and that is being burned by a go-go boy with issues. However lust gets the best of him and the flames begin to rise.

Sure, the idea of man bursting into flame sounds ridiculous so it takes a really good story teller to make us believe something like this (and on the plus side, if you do not believe it, you still get a good story). I suppose you can classify this as a gay gothic horror novel that is totally fantastic but wildly readable. In fact, I do not remember ever reading anything quite like it before. I am sure that this is not an easy novel to write and Kelly gives us a larger than life character in Deck and some really raw erotica:

“Zims didn’t argue. He dropped to his knees on the mat, facing away from Deck. His tight butt muscles tensed, then relaxed and swelled as he dropped forward unto his elbows, arching his back. His foreskin once again draped over his swollen erection”…

“’Yes! I am your whore!’ Zims’s voice rose…..”

 

Chatty Catty Kathy—The Kathy Griffin Collection: Red, White & Raw Releases today

Chatty Catty Kathy

 

 

 

 


After all, it’s been nearly two weeks since Kathy Griffin released a DVD, starred in a TV special or publicly humiliated Anderson Cooper.

 Thankfully, we’re about to get the ultimate fix.

 It’s The Kathy Griffin Collection: Red, White & Raw. Think of it as her most recent greatest hits.

 Included are comedy specials “Pants Off” and “Tired Hooker,” which were both recently released on DVD, but the really cool part is the five shows that have never been available. “Gurrl Down,” “50 & Not Pregnant,” “Whores on Crutches,” “Kathy Griffin Does the Bible Belt” and “Balls of Steel” are each presented in their full, uncensored glory.

 There’s even unaired bonus footage for a total of more than five hours of America’s raunchiest redhead. (At least since Lucy fingered Ethel.)

 For Kathy Griffin’s legions of gay fans, this is a comedy mother lode.

 A boxed-wine-drinking mother lode, but still.

 

The Kathy Griffin Collection: Red, White & Raw
Releases today

“The Jesus Injection” by Eric Andrews-Katz— A Mystery Thriller

Andrews-Katz, Eric. “The Jesus Injection”, Bold Strokes Books, 2012.

A Mystery Thriller

Amos Lassen

Agent Buck 98 survived an assassination attempt while on vacation and just as he realizes that something strange is going on, he receives a note from a dying drag queen. It simply says “3-1-4” which are the dates of the death of a Dr. Timothy Shoulwater, the man who is believed to have found a cure for AIDS. However his notes have disappeared mysteriously. Buck’s former best friend. Agent 49, Noxia von Tussell who is now his rival is teamed up with him and together they are to investigate the dead doctor’s ex-wife, Dr. Raven Evangelista, a religious fanatic and political advocate. Evangelista now has some very personal and devious ambitions that make this case that much more difficult.

Buck is also lusting after Richard, a good looking man he has just met and this adds a little more to stir in this cauldron of intrigue. It might seem difficult to keep all of this balanced yet Andrews-Katz does so with style. I am usually not a reader of thrillers and/or mysteries because I need to usually think too much as I read, but in this case everything falls into place. That does not mean that this is an easy case to figure out—it rather means that the prose is clear and easy to read even with the twists and turns that the plot takes. It is always difficult to review this kind of book because it is so easy to spoil the read of others by giving away too much so I am not going to say any more about the plot. I am, however, going to tell you that this is a fun reading experience with characters that are well drawn. I met the author a couple of years ago at the Saints and Sinners Literary Festival and we even had a couple of meals together. I never would have thought that this would b the genre in which he would write but he does so and very well at that. Perhaps if I had reviewed more mysteries in the past, I would have more to say about the way the book is constructed but unfortunately, as I said, this genre is not one that I read a great deal of. That, of course, does not mean that you should not. By all means read this and enjoy.

 

“UNFORGIVEABLE”— Dark Obsession

“Unforgivable” (“Impardonables”)

Dark Obsession

Amos Lassen

Francis (Andre Dussolier), a mystery writer goes to Venice to write a new novel. When he begins looking for a place to live, he meets Judith (Carole Bouquet), a real estate agent who is a French expatriate who had once been a model and is much younger than he is, The movie moves forward a year and a half and the two are married and living on the island of Sant ‘Erasmo off of the coast of Venice. Judith remains childless and she meets her ex-lover, Anna Maria (Adrianna Asti) who is now a private detective and visibly uncomfortable that she has run into Judith again because Judith is so easy to fall in love with and this is a hint of what is to happen later in the film.

We learn that Anna Maria’s son, Jeremie, who is in his twenties, is troubled and about to be released from prison and we hear that he cannot stand human contact and hates being touched. Then there is Francis’s daughter, Alice who comes for a visit and is pleased that her father is so happy. She then goes to visit a young man but never returns and we are left wondering whether something happened to her or whether she left because her father was so happy.

Andre Techine directed and co-wrote this film which is driven by the characters—parents and children, husband and wife, new and old lovers, detective and client. When Alice disappears and leaves her child behind with her father, Francis hires Anna Maria to find her.

We are led down alleyways and through canals as the screen changes from white to black and back again depending upon the emotional state. We soon realize that it is the messes in the lives of the characters that are the forces behind what we see on the screen.

Francis learns more than he wants to know about his married daughter. She has run away with a drug dealing lover. He also learns about his wife and must deal with how he has behaved in his marriage. Techine is known for exploring society in his films and here he looks at complex relationships. His direction of “subtly elliptical editing that compresses long periods of time, camerawork that evocatively fades to white during moments of emotional intensity, and the effectively sparing use of Max Richter’s chamber music—makes the script’s symbolism and  coincidence feel organic and natural. These people’s lives become convincingly messy, not merely contrived movements by an auteur’s puppets”. The performances of the actors are excellent throughout and the ending is quite powerful as the relationships that appeared to have been torn apart begin to be rebuilt.

 

ANTEBELLUM~ PRESENTS~ END OF DAYS: ARMAGEDDON ART EXHIBIT

~ PRESENTS~

END OF DAYS: ARMAGEDDON ART EXHIBIT 
(artwork by paul maler)

DECEMBER 21ST, 2012

7PM TILL ?
$5 cover

ANTEBELLUM 
1643 N LAS PALMAS AVE
HOLLYWOOD, CA 90028
323 856-0667

The 2012 phenomenon comprises a range of eschatological beliefs according to which cataclysmic or transformative events will occur on 21 December 2012. This date is regarded as the end-date of a 5,125-year-long cycle in the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar. Various astronomical alignments and numerological formulae have been proposed as pertaining to this date, though none have been accepted by mainstream scholarship.
There is a strong tradition of “world ages” in Mayan literature, but the record has been distorted, leaving several possibilities open to interpretation.
Some people have interpreted the galactic alignment on this date apocalyptically, claiming that when it occurs, it will somehow create a combined gravitational effect between the Sun and the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy thus creating havoc on Earth.
A far more apocalyptic view of the year 2012 that has spread in various media describes the end of the world or of human civilization on that date. This view has been promulgated by many hoax pages on the Internet, particularly on YouTube, as well as on several cable TV channels.
Antebellum is presenting artworks depicting these theories and inviting all to opening night. Make sure to attend… it may be your last chance.

“I Voted for Biddy Schumacher: Mismatched Tales from the Mind of Brian Centrone” by Brian Centrone (of course)— Three Short Stories

Centrone, Brian. “I Voted for Biddy Schumacher: Mismatched Tales from the Mind of Brian Centrone” with photographs by Luke Kurtis, New Lit Salon Press, 2012.

Three Short Stories

Amos Lassen 

I am always flattered when someone I do not know or have not reviewed before asks me to review his book. All I knew about Brian Centrone was that we were friends on Facebook so when I got his message, I was more than happy to review his work as in doing so I usually get to know more about a writer. This book is a collection of three short stories. The first, “The Life and Times of Biddy Schumacher: A Fantastic Story” is about Biddy, a religious zealot who decides to run for political office. Centrone goes into Biddy’s mind and psyche of the woman who decides that what her community needs is her puritanical opinions on just about everything. Of course, we watch Biddy’s decision to run change her life but I am not about to tell you how. For that you will have to fork over the exorbitant amount of $2.99 to find out but then you get two more stories. Think about that for minute — 3 stories for less than 3 dollars.

“A Shade of Gray” introduces us to Emma, an independent and spirited woman who just cannot find a way to tell her boyfriend that their romance is over. All of us have been in a situation that we do not know how to get out of and I am sure that this story will resonate with many readers.

“Exit” is aptly named as it is about something all of us do and that is to examine and evaluate our lives. As he drives his friends to a party, the driver thinks about his life and decides that he needs a change. How often do we stop to think about a change is necessary?

The beauty of these stories is the writer’s ability to get into his characters and combine wit, satire and wonderful prose. Like the title says, the stories are mismatched or I suppose we are to believe that they have nothing in common. I might have to disagree with that to a point. Granted the stories are unrelated but they do share an author who can tell a story. The characters also share that they are representative of people we know, even with their quirks. The fact that the author has been able to create such characters is one thing but the fact that we can relate to them after only reading about them for a short time is something else.

Each story takes us into the world of the main character and we look at the themes of disappointment, disillusion, habit, the need to move on, relationships and the importance of life yet each of these is looked at differently in the three stories. Centrone has a wonderful command of both the English language and how to use it and while the prose is somewhat simple, it leads us to think about ideas on a more complicated level and to me that is a sign that an author knows what he is doing. I understand that there is a novel coming soon from Centrone and I cannot wait to read it and see how he develops his characters and plot on a larger scale.

 

“A Question Mark Above the Sun: Documents on the Mystery Surrounding a Famous Poem “By” Frank O’Hara” by Kent Johnson— Detective Criticism

Johnson, Kent. “A Question Mark Above the Sun: Documents on the Mystery Surrounding a Famous Poem “By” Frank O’Hara”, Starcherone Books, 2012.

Detective Criticism

Amos Lassen

In this new book, Kent Johnson that Kenneth Koch forged one of Frank O’Hara’s greatest poems. He claims that the poem is a posthumous tribute of poetic mourning and love. The book is interesting in that it is part fiction, part detective novel, part truth and always exciting—a literary mystery that pulls the reader in from the very first sentence. The book was held back with its initial publication but now we can read an exciting look at a modern author whose writing was almost always provocative.

I suppose this book can be classified as experimental criticism. He starts with the idea that O’Hara’s last poem, “A True Account of Talking to the Sun at Fire Island” was actually not written by him but by Koch and the fact that O’Hara died as the result of a dune buggy on Fire Island adds to that. It was, as Johnson suggests, attributed to O’Hara as a gift. The problem with this thesis is that Johnson was not allowed to quote directly from the original poem. Johnson decided that to make up for this, he would include essays by friends of O’Hara.

There is no question that Johnson has done his research well. We can easily understand why the book when first published was controversial yet it continues to bother literary scholars to this day. Johnson freely admits that his book is an experiment in thought and that it will annoy many. In it he takes a hard look at the traditional ideas of authorship and receives support from such scholars as Eric Lorberer, David Koepsell, Joshua Kotin and Ron Paste.

There is a value if Koch indeed wrote the poem and that  is that it serves as a love song and homage to a great poet and allows him to express his grief at his death openly. Just the way that this book appears is something special and I suspect that the book will be quite popular with those who love the poetry of Frank O’Hara.

 

“QUESTION ONE”— The Battle for Same-Sex Marriage

“Question One”

The Battle for Same-Sex Marriage

Amos Lassen

 

“Question One “is a new documentary film about the struggle for same-sex marriage in America. Looking back to May 6, 2009 when Maine was the first state to legislatively grant the right to marry, we are taken forward to November 3, 2009 when Maine reversed this and became the thirty-first state to say no to same-sex marriage, This film follows both campaigns and shows us the battle that took place there and this battle became a watershed for the ideological war in American politics. Film directors Joe Fox and James Nubile gained access to both camps in this fight and the result is this film.

The film goes behind the scenes to show the campaigns both promoting and opposing the 2009 referendum in Maine that succeeded in overturning the state’s law allowing same-sex couples to marry. While it is easy to see that the filmmakers are in favor of the right to marry, we get a very fair picture of the opposition (with no commentary) as we watch them at meetings in churches and at political rallies. We do not often get to see this side of the issue. Marc Mutty leads the opposition and he tells us that he did not chose the job but that it was thrust on him and he really hates the idea that he has become the bigot. Nevertheless he takes great pride in his side’s victory and we sense his resentment for the public relations firm that spearheaded Proposition 8 and k takes the credit for the work done. Opposite Mutty is Darlene Huntress who took the position because she never thought she would ever see the day in her state where LGBT people were allowed to marry and so she became field manager for “No on One”.

Here if a person voted “yes” it meant no on the issue and this is one of the themes of the film. The goal of “No on One” was to get the citizens of Maine to allow the members of the LGBT community to love without marginalization. The PR firm that ran the opposition, ”Yes on 1” that backed California’s Proposition 8 insisted that they are not homophobes but instead believe that God wants marriage to be hetero and that homosexuality is a choice and that “gays shouldn’t be allowed to “redefine marriage” and/or “destroy straight marriage” to support that choice, and, hey, gays can get married all they want . . . so long as it’s to the opposite sex”. I always have wondered who God spoke to when he said that—as far as I can remember God has not had a personal conversation with anyone over the last 3000 years. Here again we see Mutty, the co-chair of the opposition admitting that “he’s on the wrong side of history and is miserable about being ordered by his diocese to fight this horrible fight, but he lacks the courage to say no to them. Some closets are ideological”.

Mutty realizes he had “no hope of promoting a less radical position, knowing that a fair campaign would almost inevitably end in defeat. Unsuccessfully trying to convince himself that the end justifies the means, he declaims, “This has been a fucking son of a bitch! I hate it!” Adding insult to injury, Schubert hides behind Mutty when the decision remains in doubt, maintaining the illusion of a grassroots campaign when in fact all marching orders flow from his California firm”.

What we also see here is some subtle bias that is against gay marriage especially within the Catholic church. However we are not told about the amount of money at the church’s disposal. Even with that this is an objective look at what went on and it is certainly a welcome addition to the canon of LGBT documentary film.