Monthly Archives: July 2017

I’ve Seen It All: Conversations with Wakefield Poole” by Marco Siedelmamm, Jack Fritscher and Udo Rosenberg— The Man Behind the Name

Siedelmann, Marco, Jack Fritscher and Udo Rosenberg. “I’ve Seen It All: Conversations with  Wakefield Poole”, Editions Moustache, 2016,

The Man Behind the Name

Amos Lassen

There was a time in this country when Wakefield Poole seemed to be everywhere and involved in everything including “Broadway, Porno Chic, Rock Music, Gay Liberation, and the Sexual Revolution itself”. He made history with some his early gay porno films and now thanks to a new documentary, “I Always Said Yes” by Jim Tushinski, he has been “rediscovered”. After being almost forgotten, the films by adult movie pioneer Wakefield Poole are being re-discovered by a younger generation of cinematics. In this book we get a very personal and career-spanning interview in which Poole shares never-heard stories and talks about every single film he made. We learn that he once cooked for Jackie Kennedy and was once a dancer on Broadway. He talks about his early porn films “Boys in the Sand” and “Bijou” as well as other films that he made but have been overlooked and we now see what he has been doing with his life since he retired.

While this is a short book, it still contains a lot of information including the interview “Dirty Poole: that Jin Fritscher conducted with Poole for “Drummer” magazine and that was published in 1977. Also in the book is a conversation with German film critic Udo Rotenberg and the book includes many photographs and snapshots from private archives, and artworks. On a personal note, I was very pleased to receive a thank you note from Wakefield Poole after I published my review of Tushinski’s film.

“RED TREES”— Displacement, Hope and Acceptance

“RED TREES”

Displacement, Hope and Acceptance

Amos Lassen

“Red Trees” is a documentary about director Marina Willer’s family, one of only twelve Jewish families to survive the Nazi occupation of Prague. Willer uses her father Alfred’s memories as the basis from which to begin this personal look at the Holocaust. Alfred was a child back then and somehow, he and his family survived the darkest period of human history.

Later, as a master chemist, Alfred went on to co-create the formula for citric acid (from a recipe that he hid from the Gestapo in his wife’s recipe book) and we see that it was his scientific achievements that afforded them the opportunity to survive. Later they moved to Brazil under the guise of a research project into improving the taste of soya for use to produce food.

Willer and Oscar nominated cinematographer César Charlone, retrace her father’s journey Prague to Rio, traveling from industrial and drab Eastern Europe to colorful and very much alive Rio. Alfred is an architect and the film reflects his love for his profession that began back in Prague by using spaces and buildings to create a sense of both awe and hope. Here architecture becomes a way to save memories. If you really think about how we live today, you understand the importance of buildings in our lives and see how the nature of place influences memories of events we have lived through. There is a very memorable scene in Prague in a building known as the Old New Synagogue, where the names of all the Jewish people who died in concentration camps are written. I found myself comparing the historic grandeur and importance of that place with another scene that was shot in the Thereisenstadt Concentration camp where more than 150,000 people were held during the Nazi occupation.

Alfred was color-blind and from this the title “Red Trees” comes. As a child in Czechoslovakia, he drew trees that were covered with red leaves. Willer tells us that the title of the film also refers to the celebration of color in the film and how color often makes a difference.

Through watching what we have about Alfred, we understand that the basic theme of the film is about displacement and we understand that the concept of displacement has taken on a new relevance due to the present refugee crisis.

I have always though of documentaries as cinematic essays and that is exactly what “Red Trees” is. Unlike other films that have messages to deliver to audiences, documentaries can be bold and show us exactly what we are to learn. Here Willer wants us to learn about the refugee experience and to see that two somewhat opposing factors, opportunity and tolerance are very important to finding a home and a sense of belonging. If you have ever moved to a place where you know no one before arriving there, you understand this. I distinctly remember that when I moved to Israel, I really only know one person well. It took a bit of time but I was able to build a new “family” and this repeated itself when I moved to Boston. What we must not forget that tolerance and acceptance are important for both the refugee and the host.

If you have doubted the importance of color in our lives, try imagining living without it. Here we see color as a metaphor for accepting culture and people and we really see that as we watch Alfred’s journey. Tim Pigott-Smith is the voice of Alfred and he takes us through the hard years in war-torn Czechoslovakia to Brazil telling his story through architecture and this is as if we are looking through Alfred’s eyes; seeing what he sees as he sees it. Alfred had so much to deal with including the horrors of war, bureaucratic nightmares, transportations and suicides yet he managed to survive and to build a post-war life as an architect in Brazil.

I have seen many films about the Holocaust but I must say that I have never seen one quite like this. Most Holocaust films are quite dark and tend to concentrate on pain and loss of life. “Red Trees” is a film that is filled with color and light and in its celebration of survival, we get a film that reflects hope throughout.

What many do not realize that today almost one of every hundred people has experience violence and persecution in some form. These are those who are either displaces completely or are seeking asylum. We are too well aware that governments continue to turn away from people who have nowhere to go. I am constantly reminded of the St. Louis and what happened to those on board who thought they were sailing for freedom but were sent back to the countries they left and to face death. In “Red Trees” we get a look at the fear and hope that refugees experience and this allows us to see a bit of the human stories behind the statistics. 

“THE LAST DALAI LAMA?”— What Matters

“THE LAST DALAI LAMA?”

What Matters

Amos Lassen

Mickey Lemle’s documentary, “THE LAST DALAI LAMA?”  looks at what is truly important for the 14th Dalai Lama who is now eighty-years-old. We hear what he has to say about the ongoing confrontation between Tibet and China; his influence in political and spiritual spheres; his work with educators and neuropsychologists; and his personal feelings on aging, dying. Of course there is the question as to whether there will be a fifteenth Dalai Lama, or if he will be the last Dalai Lama?

We meet the Dalai Lama as he is full of compassion, humor, and even anger and we meet those who have been touched by his influence including George and composer, Philip Glass who wrote the music for this film. Director Lemle also directed “Compassion in Exile: The Story of the 14th Dalai Lama” and uses some of the footage from that film which he adds to the newer more contemporary film we have here. Included are intimate interviews with the Dalai Lama and then questions that have arisen from those earlier interviews. We also hear from family and close friends and from those he has inspired since his exile from Tibet in 1959.  We are certainly aware that the Dalai Lama’s impact on the West has grown over the 25 years since Lemle’s earlier film. In the new film, we see teachers in British Columbia incorporating “Emotional Intelligence” and non-violent conflict resolution in grade school classes, and “neuropsychologists and behavioral therapists who have begun using cutting edge technology to research how to overcome negative afflictive emotions like anger and hatred”. 

The Dalai Lama has lived most of his life in exile and we can suppose that the reason he has such longevity and such good friends is the result of good karma. But then we must consider that due to the worsening human rights situation in his Tibetan homeland, he might be the final Dalai Lama to reincarnate. He has been on the world stage since he was a teen and when he was only nineteen, he led a delegation to meet with Tibet’s Chinese occupiers. Initially, he thought he had persuaded Mao and Zhou to allow his people greater freedom of conscience, but that was not the case. Eventually, he was forced into exile. In doing so, he became one of the world’s great statesmen and spiritual leaders. Ironically, in exile he would spread Tibetan Buddhism farther than it had ever reached before. His commitment to emotional health and awareness always transcends faiths and religions.

The first half of the film is largely devoted to various educational endeavors that promote healthy mindfulness rather than Buddhist doctrine. However, the title of the film asks a larger question and we have heard directly from him that he does not expect to reincarnate again—and if he does, it will absolutely not be in Tibet. China insists that the Communist Party must play an active role in “selecting” the reincarnate Dalai Lama, just as they did with the contested Panchen Lama, whom virtually all Tibetans consider an illegitimate puppet. The Panchen Lama officially recognized by the 14th Dalai Lama has been held incommunicado since 1995. He was six years old at the time.

The film does not give us a great deal about China’s systematic violation of human rights in the captive nation or their ruin of the once pristine environment. However, the film does directly address the surge in Tibetan self-immolation to protest the occupation and this deeply pains The Dalai Lama . It also starkly contrasts the militarism of the invading Communists with the humanistic, nonviolent principles of Tibetan Buddhism.

The 14th Dalai Lama is a warm, charismatic, and witty person and has stated that if China’s communist party now believes in reincarnation so strongly, they should go find the reincarnated Mao. Lemle, was able to secure first-class access and continued to share a real rapport with his subject that began with his earlier film.

The film will open in Los Angeles at the Laemmle Monica Film Center on August 11, and at IFC Center in New York on July 28. A national release will follow.

“FEAR OF WATER”— Two Girls, One Summer

“Fear of Water”

Two Girls, One Summer

Amos Lassen

Director Kate Lane’s “Fear of Water” is the story of two girls with parallel lives and different socio-economic backgrounds that meet one summer and discover friendship. Sure, the theme sounds familiar and it is. We have had it hundreds of times so naturally you want to know what makes this film different. Let me just say early on that the difference comes in the execution. Alexia (Lily Loveless) and Eleanor (Chloe Partridge) become friends and lovers over one life-changing summer.

Eleanor and her family live in a “strict proper home with a planned future” but her family lives in silence. Alexia has quite a different home life because her family is poor. The summer the two met was very special— it was a for sharing both long summer days and “rushed first kisses”. transcend the search for her family’s next meal. As they were away from home life, the girls could test the precarious boundaries between class and love before realizing that such boundaries actually exist. When family tensions escalate, they stand up for one another without knowing what their brave acts of defiance really mean. Little by little, the girls conquer their fears, break out of their shells, and find happiness from unexpected sources. This summer becomes the summer when everything changes.

 

Following a tragic event, their paths collide together and they discover a deep friendship and a sexual awakening that changes them forever. The story is inspired by events from director Lane ‘s own life so she used her own life to give us a thought provoking Adolescence can be a very confusing and frightening time for many young women.

Eleanor’s father is a busy lawyer who has little time for her when she’s not away at boarding school. Alexia spends most of her time selling drugs and delivering newspapers thus helping her injured father and alcoholic mother make ends meet. Eleanor and Alexia begin to build a relationship that is romantic but is never consummated. Both young women briefly acknowledge they are queer without having any conversations or passionate moments with one another.

We see the similarities between the haves and the have nots and it is all a bit too predictable. Eleanor and Alexia help one another through familial circumstances and Eleanor’s fear of water. The problem I have here is that we never find out what either of the women are truly thinking or feeling. Many questions remain unanswered at the end, including those about both of their sexual identities and how they truly feel about themselves and each other. Their friendship does not have the kind of intensity that generally comes from coming-of-age romances, and it’s confusing when Alexia brushes away Eleanor’s kiss.

In a film was truly about a friendship blossoming and coming of age, we would expect seeing Alexia and Eleanor taking their relationship to the next step relationship take the next step. Instead we see two girls become friends and nothing more. Instead what we see is a very nice depiction of adolescence, awakening and responsibilities. Something was very definitely missing. This does not mean you cannot enjoy the film and I am quite sure that many will. The cast performs with excellence and the cinematography is gorgeous. Both girls are capable of caring even with her own personal problems to be capable and caring. Each girl has her own problems. We learn that–Alexia’s mother is gone, and her grandmother dies on the day after she returns from school for summer vacation. Eleanor’s father is disabled and not working and her mother sells marijuana as well as harder drugs. We see that their friendship appears is genuine and we want their relationship to succeed.

“We Still Leave a Legacy” by Philip Robinson— Hope, Determination and Rememberance

Robinson, Philip. “We Still Leave a Legacy”, We Still Leave a Legacy Press, 2017.

Hope, Determination and Remembrance

Amos Lassen

It was not that long ago when members of the LGBT community came face-to-face with death over and over again. HIV/AIDS claimed the lives and the loves of our friends and leaders and we had to learn how to deal with this. I had already left this country when AIDS struck so brutally and on a trip back home in 1989, I learned that mostly everyone in the community I had once known was gone. I have yet to be to reconcile that. Philip Robinson in “his

chapbook of verses written and dedicated in part to the many friends and family members that have transitioned either by way of HIV/AIDS, cancer and other life-troubling issues” has reopened the wounds of that time but as he does, he also captures his sense of hope, determination and memory of those who are no longer here. He tells of the legacy they left and that legacy can be as simple as having once lived among us. In this way, they live on in our hearts and minds. I, for one, have never forgotten that we live today because others came before us and we now live on their shoulders. Not everyone can be a hero or an earth-shaker but everyone has the ability to influence who we are and how we live.

There is a great deal of emotion in the poems that we have here and there are many stories. I was immediately struck by “Standing Among My Heroes”. Set at the funeral of Thomas, we become one with those who have come to say their final goodbyes and see just how difficult that is. But we see something else and that is that “Yet, I know I stand on the shoulders and beside others. My heroes never leave me”.

What we see in most of the poems is that Robinson felt the need to be involved in the lives of his family and of those that he knew. While this is certainly a positive trait, it can also be heartbreaking and that tragedy and happiness can come at the same time.

I am not a poet and can never pretend to be one but one of my favorite hobbies is translating poetry from Hebrew to English. There is something about emotions that makes them very difficult to catch in another language. Just last year I finished the translation of a poem by one of my favorite Hebrew poets, Alexander Penn. I worked on that poem, off and on during twelve years and the reason I knew I had finished with it was that I was able to both laugh and cry as I read my translation. I felt the same as I read Robinson’s poem and these were about people I did not know anything about.

“We Still Leave a Legacy”, the title poem, tells us that with each we lose something of ourselves and we become more aware of our own mortality. If we bury our dreams, we let go of life but we also realize that with every death we gain more purpose in life and what we do is not just for us but for those who came before us. From death of others, we gain a purpose and it becomes our job to be the voices of those whose voices have been quieted. While death is permanent, life is not and we only have a short time to do what we want to do. I could go on and give the main idea of every poem here but that could make the read less effective for others. It is enough to say that I was affected by every poem in this collection and if there is one thing I have learned here and also by living my own life is that love does not die, people do. I urge you to read this book and think about what is here. I just want to add that it is every difficult to review this because it touches me so directly and I firmly believe that is why Robinson has brought us this collection.

 

“ALWAYS LOVE”— Stories That Blend Personal and Political

“Always Love”

Stories that Blend Personal and Political

Amos Lassen

Filmmaker Zachary Fuhrer has made 3 short documentaries that chronicle the lives of people converging at the New York City Pride March.

We meet Hal Moskowitz who came out of the closet in 1975. It was a time when the gay rights movement was still finding its footing. Moskowitz felt accepted for who he was for the first time.

“It was young and it was fledgling, but it was new and it was open and it was exciting,” says Moskowitz. “And it was home.” His story is beautiful, heart wrenching and often funny and it is part of a series of short documentaries called “Always Love.”

Moskowitz is a community organizer spurred to action when he started seeing friends succumb to AIDS. Joanna Fang is a transwoman who finally finds herself comfortable in her own skin and Brigid McGinn comes out later in life after being married and having four kids. Taken together, these short documentaries tell the story of the diverse community at the New York City Pride March. All three stories blend the personal and the political.

“All three of them are incredible individuals, with unique stories to tell that speak to the kinds of experiences millions of people have around the world and it’s important for us to hear their stories.”

In 1983, Moskowitz was among the first wave of volunteers for the advocacy group Gay Men’s Health Crisis. The camera follows Moskowitz to this year’s Pride March, where he helps lead the contingent for an organization called Gays Against Guns. After 40 years, he’s still taking to the streets.

But the part of the documentary that director Fuhrer loves most is when Moskowitz walks around Greenwich Village, pointing out spots where he used to go out dancing or congregate with friends.

Moskowitz talks about everything, the good times and the bad times and “through his eyes, we’re able to see the evolution of the gay rights movement.” The other story that has been released is that of

Joanna Fang, a transwoman and the third film about Brigid McGinn will be released soon.

“All three of them are incredible individuals, with unique stories to tell that speak to the kinds of experiences millions of people have around the world. I think it’s important for us to hear their stories.” Look for the films online.

“IS THIS NOW”— The Lasting Effect of Abuse

“Is This Now”

The Lasting Effect of Abuse

Amos Lassen

One who is abused as a child never really loses memories of that and this can be emotionally damaging as we can well imagine. Ingrid (Sabrina Dickens) is a young woman who was abused and she faces struggles all the time and finds it extremely difficult to even admit to having been abused. She sees the world as a hard and difficult place that reminds her of the pain she suffered at the hands of her abuser. She has a social worker, a Ms, Murray (Anu Hasan) and she finds it hard to even speak with her.

But then something happens to change her tremendously. Ingrid meets Jade (Brigid Shine) and things seem to begin to get better. Jade is involved with a local and popular band whose lead songwriter Johnny (John Altman) takes a special interest in her and we see Ingrid’s creativity come to the fore. We also realize that the past is still with her and still very real. Ingrid later gets to France with the band where she meets Angeline (Ruth Miller). Angeline helps Ingrid face her demons and it did not take long until a new guy enters Ingrid’s life giving her a bit of a taste of love. As she spends time with Dion (Fabien Ara), we understand that she finds a way to deal with her past but putting it where it belongs; behind her.

This is the first film by director Joe Scott that I have seen and I am very impressed with this quite emotional film in which he is able to bring music and drama together. It is certainly not easy to deal with child abuse and make a film about it as an underlying theme. Ingrid is our main character and we watch as she, at first, avoids dealing with her past before taking it head on and trying to overcome it as she seeks love and meaning in her life. We see her revisiting some of those very painful moments and then faces them and it is that if she does not do so, she will never be able to move forward. These super intense moments are balanced by music and light dialogue. I understood that we were moving toward that time when self-realization would both heal her and release her from the past.

Sabrina Dickens gives a wonderful performance as Ingrid. We share her anguish and we see that one of the reasons she has not been able to forget her past is because others will not let her do so. Yet even while facing what is inside, we get a sense of hope from her and understand that the way she presents herself to others helps her to hide the bitterness within. The supporting cast also is excellent and it is through the actors that see a dark side of humanity and those who make it thus yet we also see those who are willing to help wounds heal and who actually care for each other.

“Porn Diaries” by Bruce LaBruce and edited by Marco Siedelmann— Ahead of his Time

LaBruce, Bruce. “Porn Diaries: How to Succeed in Hardcore Without Really Trying”, (edited by Marco Siedelmann), Editions Moustache, 2016.

Ahead of His Time

Amos Lassen

I am a total Bruce LaBruce fan and I doubt I will ever forget my reaction to the first of his movies that I saw way back when. I was completely engrossed in the honest way he showed gay life and while his films might be considered outlandish and over the top by some, I will always argue for the merit I see in them. LaBruce has dared to go where others will not consider and while there are those who see pornography here, there are also those of us who see beauty. Known as The Advocate for Fagdom, there seem to be no boundaries and LaBruce constantly pushes our buttons allowing us to see a side of gay life that we do not often see on screen. LaBruce is one of the main people in the New Queer Cinema, a group of filmmakers that do not shy away from the reality of life.

LaBruce began his career in Toronto in the 1980s with queer punk fanzines and Super 8 short films, eventually moving into the international independent movie scene, LaBruce was already writing and taking photographs. He wrote for established gay magazines such as “Honcho” and “Inches” and also often supplied them with photographs. This book is the first time that we have his collected thoughts that includes his very “thought-provoking, political, opinionated and cleverly-pointed articles about pornography”.  The book is loaded with photographs and includes a conversation between LaBruce and gay porn legend Peter Berlin as well as numerous essays, articles, stories, and three shooting diaries, for “Skin Flick”, “The Raspberry Reich” and “L.A. Zombie”.

LaBruce tells us that he never had the intention of being a pornographer, “I considered my early Super 8 short films and my first three feature films as art films with sexually explicit content; but as I gained a reputation as a pornographer, as did my producer Jurgen Brüning, we decided to start making ‘real’ porn…. I started making narrative, art films with porn actors and making two versions; softcore and hardcore,” and there are two versions each of “Skin Flick”, “L.A. Zombie”, and “The Raspberry Reich”.

LaBruce describes how porn actors struggle with scripts and we learn that LaBruce is like the Wizard of Oz behind the curtain… he pulls it back to reveal the reality of porn filmmaking. He shares that he likes to push the boundary and try to make porn as much like a narrative feature as possible.

LaBruce also shares some of the challenges of indie filmmaking and these include patience, hard work and endless tweaking. “I have a strange drive that compels me to make films, even though I find it enormously challenging; if I don’t make a feature after a certain period of time, I start to get depressed and anxious.” He loves the feedback he gets from people especially those who tell me him how his films have influenced or inspired them. LaBruce sees porn as an unconscious acting out that goes against the regulations of society. The free love that we see in his films ties into LaBruce’s own personal philosophy of love. He is “militantly anti-monogamy” and is in an open marriage because he says that falls in love with other people all the time.

This book provides context to his work in a conversational manner, making the reader feel as though he is actually having a conversation with LaBruce. I can vouch for that having had a phone chat with him after he released “Gerontophilia”. In that chat, I realized how much I missed in the film and who could be better to tell me than the director and screenwriter (with Daniel Allen Cox) himself. I then re-watched the film and it was almost completely different.

“The Bettencourt Affair: The World’s Richest Woman and the Scandal That Rocked Paris” by Tom Sancton— “The French Watergate”

Sancton, Tom. “The Bettencourt Affair: The World’s Richest Woman and the Scandal That Rocked Paris”, Dutton, 2017.

“The French Watergate”

Amos Lassen

Have I got a book for you!! Tom Sancton’s “The Bettencourt Affair” is a perfect summer read (and a great book for any season). It has something for everyone— political intrigue, family drama, upstairs-downstairs rivalries, and scandals of the rich and famous. I suppose I was living out of the country when what was become known as “The French Watergate” took place since I do not remember ever hearing that term before.

Liliane Bettencourt, the heiress to the L’Oreal fortune, met François-Marie Banier, a gay artist and photographer who was once, when he was younger considered to be a protégé of Salvador Dalí and the toast of Parisian society. Liliane’s estimated weatlt was some $40 billion dollars. During the following twenty years Liliane gave him millions of dollars in gifts, cash, and insurance policies. No one understood the terms of their relationship including Liliane’s daughter who actually suspected something was not right and actually filed a lawsuit against him.

But of course there are two sides to every story and Banier’s is quite different than the one you just read. The whole affair began as something within the family but soon became an international affair and a major scandal which allowed the world to see the corporate and shadowy history of L’Oréal and at the same time learn some secrets about the Second World War that were supposedly buried. No one was free of what this affair did to France including the president of the country and the servants who labored downstairs. I could say much more but that would include spoilers and this is too exciting of a read for me to mess it up for other readers.

The author’s research is amazing and the scandal keeps us turning pages as quickly as possible. Tom Sancton lived in Paris for nearly a decade closely following this case and interviewed sixty people closely involved, including Banier, the man at the center of it all. Today Liliane is 94 and dealing with Alzheimer’s. She is cut off from the world she once knew. She is totally under the control of her daughter Francoise and a legal guardian.

Banier reaped financial benefits from his friendship with Liliane for about 25 years. His friends back then went from those in politics to those in the arts and while his critics say that he was nothing more than a gigolo, his personality is far too complicated for just one word to describe him. Banier received no prison time and has had no contact with Liliane since 2010. He was convicted of abusing Liliane and the case took ten years of his life, cost him millions and damaged his reputation. However, at 70 years old, he continues to work and live comfortably even though he is a wounded and broken man.

Francoise is under investigation for allegedly bribing her star witness and if she is convicted she could go to jail for three years and have a large monetary fine. The affair, so we see, continues.

“Nate’s Last Tango” by Kevin Klehr— When Love Wanes

Klehr, Kevin. “Nate’s Last Tango” (“Nate and Cameron: Book 2”), Ninestar Press, 2017.

When Love Wanes

Amos Lassen

I am a bit embarrassed about posting this review since I have had the book for already three months. Let me explain. As a reviewer I receive sometimes as many as 40 books and movies a week and I have a life aside from reviewing including teaching full time. I have always felt that each author I read deserves the same attention and that everyone should be considered equally. It has been my practice to not give negative reviews because I know much work goes into writing a book. Last month I did give a negative review but with some positive statements and the owner of the press wrote to me and was quite upset. I do know this publisher and I have reviewed her press’ books for about eight years. However, because of that review I have been dropped from the press’ reviewers’ list. In other words, you can be my friend as long as you play by my rules. I am upset about the principal of the issue and not being dropped and this made me wonder if I should go back and reread all those books and then post the negative thoughts I dared not post before.

Now regarding this book the story is a bit different. When Kevin Klehr published his first book I reached out to him and I loved the book and gave it a very positive review. I saw something in the writer that let me know that more good books were going to come from him and I was correct. I wanted to let what is in this book set in and then became busy and realized that I had not reviewed it. I offer my apologies. Now to the book. We first met Nate in the prequel, “Nate and the New Yorker” but it is not necessary to read that to enjoy this book. When the story opens we see that Nate is happy with his wealthy boyfriend, Cameron and enjoying the pleasures of the Big Apple. Yet, Nate who is Australian wants to go to Sydney to visit his friends. Cameron suggests that if that is the situation then maybe they should break things off while he is gone. Now there are differences between New Yorkers and Australians and we all know that relationships have to be worked at. The difference between the two cultures does not help what the guys share. Nate is at a loss as to what went wrong and he begins to realize that maybe this romance was not meant to be. Of course, the fact that Nate still thinks about his first boyfriend helps nothing. Truthfully I was surprised that the two men were together for as long as they were. Both are immature and neither communicates well with the others. They do not really look at their relationship but instead seem to worry about which is the greatest lover. (I should have such a problem). They tend to use vacations as extensions of their honeymoon instead of sitting down and talking things out. Being a romantic, I wanted them to stay together while deep in my heart I felt differently. Here is where author Kevin Klehr is excellent. He built two fascinating characters and we, the readers, bounce back and forth between them.

I believe what really made this book speak to me is the way the relationship is portrayed. However, since Nathan narrated the story from his perspective, we can really only guess about how Cameron sees things.

The supporting characters including Roger/Rowena, the butler, Aunt Beverley and Ben and Fox are also wonderfully drawn. Of course, Nate is shocked when Cameron suggested that they put their relationship on ice and he worries that they will not get back together. I do not want to spoil the ending so I won’t say what happens. I will say that this is a fun read that is well written with fun characters and I totally recommend it.