“COME BACK TO THE 5 & DIME, JIMMY DEAN, JIMMY DEAN— Revealing the Truth

come back to the 5 & dime“Come Back to the 5 & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean”

Revealing the Truth

Amos Lassen

“Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean” is a movie about lasting friendships that never die no matter how much time passes by. It reminds us that the past can never be erased and the memories will never cease to exist even as people grow apart and change. Robert Altman directed this film which is based a play with the same name by Ed Graczyk’s. The wonderful cast includes Sandy Dennis, Cher, Karen Black and Kathy Bates, who star as women reunited in their high school hangout diner on the 20th anniversary of their James Dean’s death and he had been their idol. What starts out as a nostalgic reunion unfolds into a shocking revelation of the secrets and lies that each character holds within themselves.

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Here is a film that looks at many social issues such as femininity, homosexuality, false identities, and the fleeting illusion of fame. It is a film that limits the boundaries of cinema and takes place entirely in one location juxtaposing two very distinct time periods, the 1950s, “a time when Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson grabbed all the headlines, and muscle cars and Elvis Presley ruled youth culture, and the 1970s, when the U.S. was in a recession during one of America’s darkest periods, following the Vietnam war and the Watergate scandal”. That was a time when many realized that the dreams of the past were gone and what was left was a country sliding into decline.

Altman used events of the past to remind us that the past can be an ugly and haunt us and that change comes no matter what. The nostalgia and 50s doo-wop atmosphere add a special ambience to the story that is filled with emotions and unsolved issues between old friends.

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(Mona) Sandy Dennis is a forlorn woman in her 40s, still obsessed over her teenage idol and unable to let go of the past, Jo (Karen Black) is the character that is the most “normal” of the bunch but has the biggest secret. Mona has changed the least over the years and her remembrance of the past is forever distorted by the fantasies she has created. The past here is not idealized and it is through Mona’s life, loves and her recollections and present that we come to understand the dangers of not confronting reality. The innocent perception of the past is further darkened by Jo’ who poses quite a number of problems in regards to its rather simplistic understanding of gender politics; however, the point is that the conservative past is one that was alienating to those who did not fit the narrow conception of normal. We see that even those that lived lives of privilege in that society were easily crippled by the dream of America back then.

The claustrophobic nature of the set and the occasionally melodramatic performances provide an appropriate level of artificiality to the proceedings. It poetically evokes the concept of being lost in the idea of cinema, and how easy it is to fall in love with an image on the screen. Mona adored James Dean and is made fun of for this, but she is rarely discouraged from falling into the elaborate fantasies she has created. In some ways, it seems as though the people who surround her feel that there is no real harm in allowing her to believe; this is proven time and time again to not be true, but it is so easy and so comfortable to fall back into constructed realities rather than confronting any real truths.

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Because the set is so artificial, the actors are what make this movie as great as it is. Cher as Sissy is still working at the 5 & 10 after all these years, still dreaming of getting out of the town and still proud of and bragging about her “boobies”. However as good as the cat this, Sudie Bond as Juanita steals the film and puts it in her back pocket. Juanita owns the 5 & 10 with such realism that we really think she does. She is a righteous Christian widow whose values cannot be corrupted, even if it means the denial of what her husband really was. Also in the cast are Marta Heflin as the mousy and feeble Edna Louise, and Kathy Bates as the rambunctious and slightly clichéd Stella Mae.

Altman used his genius to get great performances yet the film was not his best and it is certainly not perfect. Suddenly we get a surprise with the arrival of Joanne, a mysterious stranger but her presence seems to prove that everyone is living in a state of denial in a place called Denial where little by little secrets are exposed, the same secrets that some of them didn’t even know about themselves.

“LOVE IS STRANGE”— 39 Years Together

love is strange poster

“Love Is Strange”

39 Years Together

Amos Lassen

Ben(John Lithgow) and George (Alfred Molina) have been together for 39 years and they share a strong bond, a comfortable routine, and a cozy Manhattan apartment and being finally able to marry allowed them a permanence they had not had before.

It is, as if, like some Americans would say that they are living normal lives. We do not see much of this because something changes it all. Their marriage and relationship, and thrown out of whack when the economy takes a turn for the worst. Their marriage puts them in danger when George loses his job as a choir teacher at a Catholic school—he was forced to resign because of a command from a bishop far away who passed on the order to George’s boss who is sympathetic but cannot buck the church. What we see is discrimination coming from on high but that is not what the film is about. It is rather about the the small things that happen after the achievement of equality. has allegedly been achieved. Director Ira Sachs uses the tragic aspects of this story and shows the ordeal the men face as a disaster.

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As a result, the couple sells their apartment and attempts to find a more modest living arrangement. As they struggle to secure a place in their price range, they divide themselves among relatives and friends while dealing with the bureaucracy and the complications of the laws of real estate.

This is a poignant situation and we see people come together to help the two men. With Ben already retired and George unable to find another job the men soon ran out of money and this is what caused the sale of the apartment. Sadly none of their friends in the city had a spare room to put the couple up in, and so for the very first time since they met, they had to split up while they hunt for a new affordable Manhattan apartment.

 George moved in with the couple of handsome young gay cops next door and crashed on their couch.  The trouble was that his new ‘landlords’ had a seemingly endless list of young friends who loved to hang out at the apartment and party all hours….. usually whilst sitting on George’s ‘bed’.  Ben on the other hand was given a bunk bed in his great nephew’s room, something the young rebellious teenage bitterly resented.

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 Time passed, and there was no sign of a new apartment for the newlyweds and tensions became very strained.  George could hardly bare living in party central and getting little sleep, and Ben seemed stuck in the middle of an escalating feud between his great nephew and his parents who agreed on nothing.  It was when the latter eventually erupted and the boy was grounded after being caught being led astray by a much older school chum, that there was a breakthrough between him and his old gay Uncle, the same one that he considered to be a nuisance.  In a very sensitive scene when the boy broke down and didn’t just share but actually listened for once, he learned from Ben about being true to himself and loving who he wanted too without shame. To explain how we reached this point would mean I would spoil some of the film but because this is such a tender and loving film, I will not do so. We do get a lesson on hating the church for its stance, of tolerance and acceptance within the family and love that we see as pure and simple.

Through the power of two great actors, Alfred Molina and John Lithgow we see that they are the perfect epitome of a devoted couple who are completely in love and who totally idolize each other. The obvious chemistry between the two on screen is completely convincing and they are a sheer pleasure to watch. There is absolutely nothing strange about George and Ben’s love especially as it is the focus and example to all the other couples in this film and without the labels of gay and straight or whatever.

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Ira Sachs gives us an excellent film about mature love and while the movie is about gay lovers, it is really just about love. Sachs is an out gay filmmaker who both writes and directs, has received good to great notices in the past (particularly for the recent film about addiction “Keep the Lights On” which was loved by many critics.

“TRUCK DRIVER”— Bullying in Cuba

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“Truck Driver” (“Camionero”)

Bullying in Cuba

Amos Lassen

Let’s face it—here in America the LGBT community has gained amazing freedoms in the last few years but we must remember that it is not like that in many other parts of the world. “Truck Driver” is based on a short story “A la vencida va la tercera by Yomar González and is one of the most graphically honest depictions of verbal and physical abuse suffered by a young man who, whether gay or not, becomes a punching bag for the amusement of others. This is very uncomfortable but necessary viewing. We see young teen Randy (Antonio Alonso) who is subject to repeated attacks and these are quite shocking to see.

Randy becomes a shaking wreck as a result of the beatings and is barely able to answer questions put to him. He is withdrawn and this reflects the mindset of a boy who dreads each and every minute of the day, knowing that the next assault is soon on its way. We just want to know how much it is possible for one person to take before he breaks and this dominates this short film.

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Randy’s one friend, Raidel (Hector Medina) is a young man who is without fear and is determined to do whatever it takes to put an end to his torment. Randy is too afraid to speak up for himself, too traumatized to fight his corner; he is the kind of kid who you just want to reach out a compassionate hand to.

This is a powerful angst-laden message that dramatically showcases the devastating effects that unrelenting bullying has on the mind and body, and the heavy price paid by one and all. While this is not a gay film per se, it is one that sadly many a gay teen is all too familiar with and that thereby makes it so disturbing and compelling.

“Prince Lestat: The Vampire Chronicles” by Anne Rice— Anne Rice and Lestat Return

prince lestat

Rice, Anne. “Prince Lestat: The Vampire Chronicles”, Knopf , 2014.

Anne Rice and Lestat Return

Amos Lassen

It has been over ten years since Anne Rice has written a new book of “The Vampire Chronicles” but those days are over now. Both Rice and Lestat, her quixotic bloodsucker are back and it is so good to be able to say, “Welcome home”. Using characters from her earlier novels and new ones, we get a look at what is going on with the undead. But we also get something more—questions of how far is science allowed to go, beliefs that are contradictory and the need to belong. I did not realize how much I missed Anne Rice until I read this book.

This novel picks up where “The Vampire Lestat” ended some twenty-five years ago and we enter a new world of spirits and forces as we meet the characters, the legends and the stories of the “Vampire Chronicles”.

When the book opens, the vampire world is in a state of crisis. Vampires have gotten out of control and there are burnings everywhere in the world as well tremendous massacres. There is a voice that orders that vampire-mavericks in various cities be burned. The same voice calls to older vampires who are sleeping to aid in this.
The setting moves from New York and the West Coast of today back to ancient Egypt, fourth century Carthage, 14th century Rome and Venice during the Renaissance. It was fourteen years ago that Anne Rice published what was to have been the final book in “The Vampire Chronicles”. In it Lestat was leaving and for many this was a hard blow to take bit even worse was that every character that Rice had written was to go with him. It was at this point that Anne Rice was abandoning the vampire stories and leaving them to others. However Rice fans took issue with this and wanted Lestat back and soon there were rumors until the official announcement came and Lestat and Rice made plans to return. Along with Lestat would come “the eternally young Armand, whose face is that of a Botticelli angel; Mekare and Maharet, Pandora and Flavius; David Talbot, vampire and ultimate fixer from the secret Talamasca; and Marius, the true Child of the Millennia; along with all the other new seductive, supernatural creatures-come together in this large, luxuriant, fiercely ambitious novel to ultimately rise up and seek out who-or what-the Voice is, and to discover the secret of what it desires and why…”

 And, at the book’s center, the seemingly absent, curiously missing hero-wanderer, the dazzling, dangerous rebel-outlaw–the great hope of the Undead, the dazzling Prince Lestat… Lestat writes how much he knows that we have missed him and that we needed him back. It begins with a “Blood Genesis” in which we revisit Maharet’s tale of Akasha, the spirit Atmel, the origin of the vampire, and how in the events of “Queen of the Damned,” Mekare killed Akasha and took into herself the “Sacred Core”–or life force–of the race of vampires. Moving forward we get a look back at the characters we have met before.

 “Prince Lestat” takes us is into a world that readers had almost forgotten because we had heard that it would be no more. We are in a vampire world in chaos as vampires all over the world cry for Lestat, but he does not seem to be. However as the loudness of the cries increase, movement begins. Benji airs a specific message to young vampires globally, and he talks of a “parentless tribe” in the midst of anarchy and a burning. Then there is another voice that whispers to the young and old alike and it orders the destruction and dominion to take place as the young and the useless vampires are done away with.

The voice tells them to destroy, to claim dominion, and weed out the young, the numerous, the riffraff of vampire kind. Everything that happens now is reported back to us via third person voices until Lestat speaks in the first person.

Many ancients such as Teshkamen, Seth, Nebamun, and others, come forth to assist their brothers and to “re-parent” the tribe., as it were. Younger vampires, such as Fareed push their ideals into what is going on and we see that the intention here is erase the old perspective that vampires are evil. There is a new message that evil can be found in anything, as can good, but only through better understanding of oneself, and one’s kind, can love be found; but only when evil and good are acknowledged. As the story moves forward, we realize that the voice is Amel who is fighting to be released from Mekare so that hr can find a vampire who is equal to him but is also more driven.

The book also gives us details about the most intrepid Order of psychic investigators, the Talamasca. Rice looks at vampirism differently here and we understand it differently.

 

 

“Alice + Freda Forever: A Murder in Memphis” by Alexis Coe— A Look Back in Time

alice and freda

Coe, Alexis. “Alice + Freda Forever: A Murder in Memphis”, Pulp/Zest Books, 2014.

A Look Back In Time

Amos Lassen

I never realized how much I do not know until I started reading seriously and I soon discovered that when I started to write book reviews that I had better have my facts together. When I started reading “Alice + Freda Forever: A Murder in Memphis”, I was really aware what I did not know. I had never heard of this story—that in 1892, America was obsessed with a teenage murderess. However it was not her crime that was so shocking, but what motivated her to commit the crime Nineteen-year-old Alice Mitchell had planned to pass as a man in order to marry her seventeen-year-old fiancée Freda Ward. However, when their love letters were discovered, they were forbidden from ever speaking again.


Freda adjusted easily to this but it stunned Alice who had a broken heart. She became more and more desperate as days passed. Soon her letters went unanswered and then her father’s razor disappeared. On January 25, Alice publicly slashed her ex-fiancée’s throat and her same-sex love was deemed insane by her father that very night. Medical experts agreed that this was a dangerous and incurable perversion and the crime was publicly talked about. Alice spent months in jail until a jury of Memphis’s finest men declared Alice insane, she was remanded to an asylum, where she died under mysterious circumstances just a few years later.

This book is the story of the Freda, Alice and so much more– a love story, a murder, a trial and it is illustrated with over 100 love letters, maps, artifacts, historical documents, newspaper articles, courtroom proceedings, and intimate, domestic scenes— and we get a picture of the world that was then.

Alexis Coe did tremendous research to write this book including historical settings, background information, family information, and hand-written letters so this is the real thing. We must remember that back in 1892 in Memphis, the term same-sex love did not exist and it was impossible to think about it unless one had a direct relation to what we now regard as same-sex love. The only rational way to deal with it in the minds of the men who were considered the bet of Memphis was to label it as insanity. This was what the defense used for Alice Mitchell who killed the woman she loved because she could not have her. After all Alice had made the proposal and said she would dress as a man so they could marry.

We get a detailed look at a fascinating and tragic real life murder case and we also get a look at the attitudes of the American south. Freda and Alice were two middle class teenage Memphis girls who met at a type of finishing school. Alice fell passionately in love with Freda and Freda seemed to return her affection though remained flirtatious with men. Alice proposed the scheme where she would pass as a man and marry Freda and following the wedding they would elope to a new life in St. Louis. When this plan was discovered and stopped by Freda’s family members in the summer of 1891, Alice became increasingly obsessed with the girl who she considered her one true love. Then in 1892 shortly before Freda was to leave Memphis, Alice slashed her throat with a razor she had stolen for that purpose. Freda died soon after and it was suspected that Alice had planned to kill herself but was stopped from doing so. Then came the trial and her commitment to an insane asylum where she died at the young age of 25.

In my opinion, the value of this book is in what it has to say about the way sexuality was regarded and in some places, still is. We also get a good luck at the role of women and even race relations during the 1890’s. Aside from the illustration, photos and letters, there is an extensive bibliography and seventeen pages of research notes.

 

“IN BLOOM”— Neorealism and Memoir

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In Bloom

Neorealism and Memoir

Amos Lassen

 “In Bloom” came to be from the memories of writer-director Nana Ekvtimishvili’s youth in 1990s post-Soviet Georgia. She worked with co-director she Simon Gross and together they have captured those memories in every way possible so that we not only see and hear them but we actually feel some of them. In fact, we feel that we can actually touch and sense some of the visual objects and everything is very, very real.

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 We meet Eka (Lika Babluani), and view her adolescent friendship and bond with Natia (Miriam Bokeria) as they grow up in a moment of great upheaval and change. Daily life remains almost the same but around the girls things are moving very fast. It was not a good time in Georgia. There were breadlines and schools were run strictly. Families suffered and intolerance was the rule of the day. Violence as everywhere. Natia gets a handgun from a male friend and she is to use it for self-defense. The streets of the city are filled with period and this is shown quite clearly here.

 Directors Ekvtimishvili and Gross give a film that is long on realism and we get the sense of what everyday life was then. The plot comes directly from the memory of Nana Ekvtimishvili and it follows inseparable friends Eka and Natia who are both fourteen years old and living in Tbilisi, the capital of the newly independent Georgia. Even with the violence, life just unfolds for Eka and Natia : in the street, at school, with friends or elder sisters who are already dealing with male dominance, early marriage and disillusioned love. Life just goes on.

 “In Bloom” is the Georgian entry for 2014’s Best Foreign Language Film. Even with the violence going on around them, the two girls and almost ready to become women and this is especially difficult in the patriarchs; society in which they live.

Eka grows up with her distant mother and aloof older sister while her father is in prison (for a crime that is quietly mentioned later). Her only bond seems to be with the outspoken Natia whose and where her father drinks and beats her mother. Many of the Georgian citizens are already dead in spirit and they state at the world with empty eyes.However, everything changes when Natia is abducted by one of her suitors and finds herself married off in an acceptable custom known as bride kidnapping.

We begin getting uncomfortable when Natia receives her gun and there seems to be a lot of tragedy heading towards us. When there is violence, it is not what we expected what would happen. Natia and Eka take different paths— confident Natia is a kidnapped bride (her family would be shamed if she were to refuse the aggressive suitor), while Eka begins standing up to her teacher and her mom and sister who show her no attention.

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The lead actresses turns in wonderful performances and we see a country dying as two young females come of age. They have created something of a sanctuary in their friendships as battle lines are drawn around them.

 The two friends are inseparable and they try to find peace outside their family. Their days are filled with anxiety about what the future can possibly hold for them when the present is so full of the hardships and troubles. When Natia is ‘willingly’ married to a simpleton local who is much older, Eka must wait patiently in the wings for the opportunity to rescue her companion from her fate. Quite basically this a feminine look at the Soviet Union as it falls apart.

“The Deception of the Thrush” by Bruce Spang— How It Was

the deception of the thrush

Spang, Bruce. “The Deception of the Thrush”, Piscataqua Press, 2014.

How It Was

Amos Lassen

As I opened this book that is set in 1964, I tried to remember where I was back then. I was a junior in college and majoring in that lucrative academic subject of history and trying to decide how my life would go. It was a terrible time racially in America—Freedom Summer was going on and the Voting Act Law was signed by LBJ, American troops were about to be sent to Vietnam, the Beatles came to America and gay people lived their lives secretly. I had an idea that I might be gay but had not acted on it and it was nothing like it is today in this country.

Jason Follett, I figure, was two or three years younger than I was back then and we both had a secret. I was finishing college soon and he was just starting. Jason, like myself was a fraternity guy but he went for sports and I went to the library. He was in the Midwest and I was in the South and had I not read Bruce Spang’s wonderful book, “The Deception of the Thrush”, I would have never heard of him. We both shared the fear of what we might be. Jason acted on his more than I did—he violated a moral code to protect his secret, I sat and fretted. We both protested racism and the war and both of our fathers wanted us to be like everybody else, whatever that meant. I was too afraid to defy parental authority but Jason broke with his past and was fueled by the assassinations of the time.

It was a time when gays did not come out. Both Jason and I knew we were gay but we denied it to ourselves and thereby to others. We all know that every writer puts something of himself into every book he writes. Part of this story is very familiar and given the time in which it is set, I can only imagine that there is a lot of author Bruce Spang in this book.

While this is the story of a gay boy finding himself, it is not what I would call a gay novel. It is so unfortunate that many people feel that gay men are defined by their sexuality. I do not see us defining non-gay men as straight when we talk about them but I do see that when speaking about a gay guy, the word “gay” is usually used as part of the description—“You remember, Wayne, that gay guy in our high school biology class.” Rarely would you see that sentence without the word “gay’ in it. So this is a novel about Jason, not “gay” Jason, just Jason who happens to be gay.

Going back to the 60’s, many stayed in the closet so as not to embarrass the family by being out but there were other problems like getting a job, finding a place to live, meeting others. We were afraid to be out because we did not know how others would perceive us or we knew and hid it from them. We weren’t living lies, we were just existing.

Some of you may feel that I am skirting the issue of this book and that may well be true. I do not want to take away one minute of enjoyment of your reading this sincere and tender novel. Not only is it a great story but it is a literary feast—a story about growing up and self-acceptance and finally self-realization. I could probably comment on every sentence, describe every character and summarize each chapter but that only shows that I read the book. What I want you to see by what I wrote here is that the book affected me as I am sure it will anyone from my generation who reads it. It is also important for others to read it to see how it was and know that there might have been asking but there was no telling. Thank you Bruce Spang for taking me home again but I really like it much better the way it is today.

*A note—I will indeed review this book eventually but it is going to take a little time because it has really hit me hard. So be patient–it is not often that I find a fellow traveler in a book I review.

“Does She Love You?” by Rachel Spangler—In Love with the Same Woman

does she love you?

Spangler, Rachel. “Does She Love You?”, Bold Strokes Books, 2013.

In Love with the Same Woman

Amos Lassen

Annabelle Taylor and Nic McCoy have been loving partners for thirteen years. Annabelle is a sweetheart and she is filled with love and possesses an inner strength. Nic, on the other hand, has not had it so easy. She came from nothing and has been able to move up and have a good life and she really wants to make sure that Annabelle also has a good life. The relationship seems great until……….we meet Davis Chandler, a woman who has not been lucky in love yet somehow she feels that her life has taken a turn for the better when she realizes that she is dating the girl that she has always dreamed about. That girl, however, happens to be Nic McCoy and we see that Davis and Annabelle love the same woman.

The three women all share one trait—each is working hard to rebuild her life. Each woman has had some kind of shocking revelation that causes her to question all she knows about herself and all that each knows about the others. They face struggles as they strive for some kind of redemption while questioning truth, trust and even love.

Nic has been the dishonest woman of the three—she really thinks that she is in love with both women and she either has to find a way to keep them separate or accept that she needs both in her life at the same time. Then there is the issue of whether a relationship based upon lies can exist. Lies play a major part in the novel and sometimes they are quite shocking, so much so that I found myself turning pages as quickly as possible. Rachel Spangler has the gift of not only being able to write emotions but to do so that the reader also feels them. She also has created fascinating characters that are identifiable and very real. I thought to myself that even though the three main characters are gay women, this is not just a lesbian novel—it is a novel about people and how they react to situations that are new and almost out of the range of one’s comprehension.

As a gay man reading a lesbian novel (and I do read and review lesbian novels), I was quite worried about how I would react to the lovemaking scenes but I did just fine. There have been books where I would just skip those pages but Spangler had me roped in and I did lift my eyes from the page until I finished the book.

Everything began so simply—Nic and Davis met at a bar and Nic is swept up by Davis, so much so that she forgot that she was in a wonderful relationship (The grass is always greener….). There was excitement for Nic as well as a challenge—-she sees the signs but ignores them.

We can only imagine how Annabelle felt about what was going on right under her nose. She loved Nic and wanted her to be happy but it did not take long for the whole business to blow up and both Davis and Annabelle are not sure of anything that each had with Nic. Ultimately Nic destroys that which she loved and herself in the process. It was so easy to really abhor her—she was cheater who did not know how to deal with others and she was so dumb that she destroyed everything she touched. But then the others allowed it to happen.

The prose is pristine and the plot totally interesting but painful probably because many of us have seen something like this really happen. I am still reeling a bit as I write this review and I must say that the main thing that this book did for me was to cause me to take a good look at myself and think about what my real values are. That does not happen from reading someone else’s words.

“Drama Queens and Adult Themes” by Kevin Klehr— Fabien and Friends

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Klehr, Kevin. “Drama Queens and Adult Themes”, Wilde City Press. 2014.

Fabien and Friends

Amos Lassen

 Adam is an art student who has fantasies about the nude model Mannix who models for his class even though he and his partner Wade have been together for almost twenty years. Watching Mannix and Adam is Fabien, a male witch (warlock) from the “afterlife” and he has cast a lustful spell on the two guys. What Fabien does not know is that Guy, Adam’s guardian angel is watching but has no idea what is causing what is happening. Guy wants to find a way to save Adam’s relationship and Fabien and his group wreak havoc on Adam, Mannix and Wade.

I have tried to classify this book but have been unable to as it crosses genre—it is paranormal, science fiction and romance all together. This is the second book in Kevin Klehr’s “Drama Queens” series and this book lets us know that more will be coming.

 Because Fabien was bored, the decided to stir up something buy interfering in the lives of the members of a long-term gay couple. Ipan, another character from the afterlife really tries to help Adam and the guys and he becomes very upset with Fabien’s selfishness and cannot understand why Fabien has to wreck two lives because has nothing better to do.

Guy, the angel who has been guarding Adam since he was a youngster let Adam know who he is and this was against the rules but he does not like what he sees going on and decided that he had to do something about it. I felt sure as I read that this was just not a story about the failure of monogamy or the lack of fidelity in gay relationships; after all, that has done, redone and done again. Now I am sure that there are those that will argue with me about this but I could not help but think that perhaps the idea of the “gay lifestyle” means that we are free to do what we want, i.e. sexual activities and we really need not answer to anyone except ourselves. However, we must ask that if a person is involved in a relationship with another, does he have the right to have sex with whomever he wants?

I do not know much about author Kevin Klehr but I did know that it was not my business to ask him how he felt and I figured that I might find the answer in his writing. So yes guys there is a message here but not hardly the one we would expect.

The book is essentially about Adam and even though Wade is his partner we do learn much about him. Now Mannix is the extra guy and we really only know that physically he is very fine and we are told that he is generous with his feelings. He is also the catalyst for the action. Now I realize that what have I just written does not answer anything about what this book is trying to say. That is for each reader to discover and he will probably see it as it fits into his life.

I have had this book for about a month now and I wanted to make sure that I gave it a fair review especially because I so liked the first book in the series, “Drama Queens with Love Themes”. When I really like a book I want to makes sure that the review fits my feelings so I have deliberately taken my time in writing this. Both Adam and Wade succumb to Mannix’s seductive appearance and shy manner. None of the three guys know that they are being manipulated by otherworldly gods from the afterlife. Klehr wants the gods to also have some fun and we indeed see this as life becomes a bit harder to deal with for the three men who become pawns. The gods seem to think that discord is good for a few laughs. Klehr certainly knows how to tell a story but I am still not sure if we were laughing at the characters or at ourselves.

News from R. Camina and “UPSTAIRS INFERNO”

upstairs poster
Camina Entertainment
October is GAY HISTORY MONTH and FIRE PREVENTION MONTH – poignant for Upstairs Inferno: The documentary. To finish the film, we are required to license the news footage and photos. I hope you can help!

DONATE HERE: http://igg.me/at/Upstairs-Inferno-Film/x/83651

UPSTAIRS INFERNO – Gay History Month and Fire Prevention Month

I am incredibly grateful for all the support we’ve received since we first announced this project. Only with the support from people like you, have we gotten as far as we have. Donations to previous campaigns helped us cover final production expenses (including camera, gear and light rentals, a production crew, car rental/gas, travel and lodging). Those donations will also help us cover our post production costs related to color correction and audio mixing.

The remaining balance will also help put a small dent in our expenses to license photos and news footage. (I was shocked to find out that the cost to license newspaper photos range from $250-$375/each and that news footage can cost up to $90/second!!!!!! That adds up very quickly!) This far exceeded my initial estimate.)

**IN THE TIME THAT IT TAKES YOU TO READ THIS SENTENCE,
VIDEO LICENSING FEES WOULD EQUAL $450!!**
DONATE HERE: http://igg.me/at/Upstairs-Inferno-Film/x/83651

WE CANNOT HAVE A HISTORICAL DOCUMENTARY WITHOUT HISTORICAL PHOTOS AND NEWS FOOTAGE!
This is why I am reaching out to you. Believe it or not, licensing for all the photos and news footage comes close to $20,000!!!! I have crunched the numbers every which way and there doesn’t appear to be a good way around it.

I know it’s close to the holidays and money is limited. So rather than launch a campaign for the full $20K, I hope to raise a fraction of the licensing fees. (The arbitrary goal of $7300 = licensing for 4 of the most critical news footage reels.) However, the further we go over our goal, the closer we will be to releasing the film.

If you’ve been waiting to donate, please visit our campaign now <CLICK HERE> (Campaign ends on Sunday, Nov 23rd)

By contributing to the production fund, you can get some amazing perks! We even added some BRAND NEW PERKS during this cycle. Make sure you check out to see what else we added!!!
upstairs2

I hope I can count on your support. Campaign ends on Sunday, Nov. 23rd.
No time to waste.
Your donations will be greatly appreciated.
DONATE HERE: www.UpstairsInferno.com

About Us:

Rainbow Poster Robert L. Camina’s previous documentary, RAID OF THE RAINBOW LOUNGE, recounted the widely publicized and controversial June 28, 2009 police raid of a Fort Worth,Texas gay bar that resulted in multiple arrests and serious injuries. The film, narrated by TV icon Meredith Baxter, screened over 40 times, including 32 mainstream and LGBT film festivals across the United States, Mexico and Canada. The film won several awards including 5 “Best” Film and 3 “Audience Choice” Awards. The film also received attention from the Office of the White House, Department of Justice and a division of the U.S. State Department.

(www.RaidoftheRainbowLounge.com)