“Rydell: Teen Idol On The Rocks: A Tale of Second Chances” by Bobby Rydell and Allan Slutsky

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Rydell, Bobby and Allan Slutsky. “Rydell: Teen Idol On The Rocks: A Tale of Second Chances”, Doctor Licks Publishing, 2016.

An Up-close and Personal Look at the Former Teen Idol

Amos Lassen

 At seventeen, Bobby Rydell was the face of American Bandstand. He was the kid from Italian South Philly with a smooth voice, the full and high pompadour, and a sweet smile. He had big hits with “Wild One,” “Volare,” and “Forget Him,” among others. He was far more than just a teen idol. His voice and his charm opened doors for him and he had the chance tossing, act and dance with acting, and dancing with Ann-Margret in film of the musical comedy “ Bye Bye Birdie”. His sense of comedy got him guest gigs on nighttime television and he had headlining shows in the casino showrooms of Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Frank Sinatra anointed him as his favorite pop singer of the early ‘60s. But early success took a toll on his life and he did not become one of the people that we thought about often or even wonder whatever happened to him.

Collaborating with award winning writer Allan Slutsky, Rydell shares where he has been and what he’s been doing.

Rydell is totally honest about his life . He was a star long before the Internet made people stars overnight. His stardom came with hard work and it was not always fun. He and Slutsky have wonderfully shared what life was like for Rydell during the 60 years that for many of us he has not been around. In 1960 some five million kids would rush home to watch American Bandstand out of Philadelphia. Much of the footage of that show has disappeared but we know that Rydell was a regular and appeared many times, and that he was Dick Clark’s favorite young talent, as well as that of legendary crooner Frank Sinatra.

Already at 7 years old, Rydell was an impressionist, a drummer and a singer. H went on to study with some of the great comedians including George Burns, Jack Benny, Danny Thomas, Red Skelton, and Milton Berle, during the heyday of TV variety shows. Rydell was the youngest act ever to headline the Copacabana nightclub.

Rydell openly writes about the women in his life and losing them and about his child-hood sweetheart and wife, and her death from Cancer. He writes about depression, anxiety, isolation, and addiction. In 2012, he was told that he had two weeks to live and at about the same time, he saw his career as ruined yet he bounced back from double transplant surgery and a double bypass heart surgery.

In 1965, his masters were bought and taken out of print so for 45 years his music wasn’t available in stores. Now, his albums have been re-released, and at 74 years of age, he’s still performing to sold-out crowds at home and abroad.

Some of us remember so well that there was once a time before the paparazzi and the Internet, when the press and police allowed young stars to have a measure of privacy and when some indiscretions were ignored or overlooked.

I found this new autobiography to be a quick read about someone I had forgotten about and how his story is somewhat representative of a time that was and will never be again.

Introducing Dekkoo.com— Our own Subscription Service

Dekkoo.com. is a new subscription streaming service dedicated to gay entertainment.

Dekkoo.com offers a sleek, user-friendly, fully-responsive design that, similar to Netflix, allows subscribers seamless viewing on their PC, Mac, mobile device, tablet or Roku. However, because our focus is entirely on gay entertainment, our library is much more diverse than Netflix or Amazon Prime. In fact, we already offer more content than either of those platforms.

Next month Dekoo. com will be llaunching on AppleTV and our iOS and Android apps will also be available. We’ve recently unveiled a new commercial spot that we will be running in select markets and featuring at a variety of gay film festivals in the coming months.

“ACCIDENTAL INCEST”— Finding Love

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“Accidental Incest”

Finding Love

Amos Lassen

Milton and Kendra are two people who can’t find someone who understands and loves them. After each has a near death experience, they find each other. Neither had any idea that they are brother and sister by the same father. This doesn’t stop them from wanting to be together but the reaction from the outside world is pure unadulterated horror. This is the story of how they try to navigate society and the result is funny, sleazy, raunchy, and surprisingly heart warming in the end.

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The film is basically about two people who love each other and continue to do so despite the reaction of those around them and the acting is quite good especially of the two leads, Johnny Sederquest as Milton and Elyssa Baldassarri as Kendra. They deal with conquering loneliness and finding their match. Each left their marriage and looked for a more sex-filled life.  They both meet their guardian angels who inform them that they will meet someone and the child between the two will be special.  From their first meeting, they fall in love with each other and they plan to be become life partners.

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The two finally meet and fall head over heals for each other plan on becoming life-long partners.  When they discover they are actually brother and sister, it does not stop the love they share  but this gets back to their families back to her family and they kidnap Kendra while he is asleep.  Time passes and Milton becomes the forced lover of a bigger man until he decides to look for Kendra.

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While this is about a taboo subject, it is also a lot of fun. There are several very funny moments as well as those that make the viewer scratch his head as he tries to figure out what is really going on.

Lenny Schwartz gives us a consistently funny, beautifully constructed and intelligent screenplay adaptation, one that is alternately meditative and unabashed. There is audacity in the unconventional manner the story is told and  this is a movie that is a treat.

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Not only do we get incest figure into the plot, but also crime and violence, cheating and leather love. It was shot in black and white and this helps to convey the film’s bleaker moments. One critic sums it up like this— “an extremely satisfying film that will make you smile as much as want to take a shower”!

“BLOOD BATH”— Now a 2-Disc Limited Special Edition on Blu-ray

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“Blood Bath”

Now a 2-Disc Limited Special Edition on Blu-ray

Amos Lassen

“Blood Bath” has quite a perplexing plot to say the least. It is about an insane artist (William Campbell) who believes that he’s the reincarnation of his ancestor, a madman burned at the stake centuries ago. Campbell lures women to his studio above a bell tower, paints their portraits, kills them, and then dips them in wax. There are four different versions of the film and all four are included in this release from Arrow Films. “Track of the Vampire” is the television title of “Blood Bath” and it is ten minutes longer that the movie house version. The film’s history is quite interesting. It began as a Yugoslavian production called “Operation: Titian” that was helped set up by Corman himself who found the film to be unreleasable, but it later showed up on TV as “Portrait of Terror” (the second version). Then producer/director Roger Corman hired Jack Hill to shoot new scenes in California with Campbell, Sid Haig, Jonathan Haze, former playmate Marrisa Mathes, and others. Later, Stephanie Rothman was brought in to film even more scenes, mostly involving a subplot with Sandra Knight and the search for her missing sister.

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“Sordi” (Campbell) is a painter who firmly believes that he is the reincarnation of his ancestor and that the beautiful Dorean (Lori Saunders) is also a reincarnation. He e kills Dorean’s friend Daisyand Daisy’s sister Donna (Sandra Knight). A group of comical artists come to the rescue and in the end, we see several wax-covered victims come to life and turn on their creator.

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In some cases the acting is terrible but horror fans will find it to be a treat.For this release Arrow Video has searched through the vaults to bring you all four versions of Blood Bath, newly restored from the best materials available to provide a definitive release of one of Corman s craziest ventures.

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LIMITED EDITION CONTENTS

Limited Edition collection of the complete “Blood Bath”

High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation of four versions of the film: “Operation Titian”, “Portrait in Terror”, “Blood Bath” and “Track of the Vampire

Brand new 2K restorations of Portrait in Terror” with “Blood Bath” and “Track of the Vampire” from original film materials.

Brand new reconstruction of “Operation Titian” using original film materials and standard definition inserts

Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing on all four versions

“The Trouble with Titian Revisited” – a brand new visual essay in which Tim Lucas returns to (and updates) his three-part Video Watchdog feature to examine the convoluted production history of “Blood Bath” and its multiple versions

“Bathing in Blood” with Sid Haig – a new interview with the actor, recorded exclusively for this release

Outtakes from “Track of the Vampire”, scanned from original film materials

Double-sided fold-out poster featuring original and newly commissioned artworks

Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Dan Mumford

Limited edition booklet containing new writing on the film and its cast by Peter Stanfield, Anthony Nield, Vic Pratt and Cullen Gallagher.

“OUTINGS”— A British Comedy Drama

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“OUTINGS”

A British Comedy Drama

Amos Lassen

“Outings” the new British comedy has been described as “Queer as Folk” meets “Skins”. It is a in three-episode British dramedy focusing on a group of gay twenty-somethings who are trying to work it all out. “Outings” was written by Rob Ward and Lloyd Eyre-Morgan (winner of the Iris Prize for his 2015 short Closets).

Episode 1: “Entrances and Exits”

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Kane is dumped by Tom (again) during an intimate moment and moves back in with his mum (again). Will he ever find his place in the world or in the bedroom? Elsewhere, Kiegan is asked a question and Tim tells it as it is.

Episode 2: “Best Man”

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Kiegan continues to escape the pressure of his breakup and family the only way he knows how, but will he further alienate himself at his niece’s christening? Kane starts dating and a blast from Tim’s past makes Lucy doubt their future.

Episode 3: “Happy Returns”

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Tim throws a surprise 80’s pop star fancy dress birthday party for Lucy, convincing her that recent difficulties are behind them. But is Tim really ready to get serious with her? Old friends and foes collide in the explosive season finale.

This is a “brand-new, completely homegrown and original, independently produced gay comedy-drama-romance series from across the ocean and it looks like great fun”

“EAST JERUSALEM/WEST JERUSALEM”— Looking for Peace through Music

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“East Jerusalem/West Jerusalem”

Looking for Peace through Music

Amos Lassen

In East Jerusalem, Singer-Songwriter David Broza records a new album with American, Palestinian and Israeli musicians in defiance of the Middle East’s dark realities. I remember when Broza first began his singing career and I also remember how much he loved peace. We both lived in Haifa, Israel at the same time and while I was a teacher, he was climbing the popular music charts of the country. We see here that he has filled his dream of bringing together musicians from Israel and Palestine. Over eight days and nights they recorded an album in East Jerusalem, which has a heavily Arab population. The album was made so that Broza could try to promote a message of peace and harmony through music. However, we are still not sure if it is music that helps bridge people in an area that is so highly contested.

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“East Jerusalem/West Jerusalem” is also the name of Broza’s album that is made up of Israeli and Palestinian artists. (American musician Steve Earle is also in the studio, as a producer.) However, those looking for songs that will solve what is happening will not find them here although that may have been one of the intentions. The camaraderie in the studio, resulting from Israeli-Palestinian collaboration, is important to see and Boza tells them that “Music is the first element… that we can use to bring ourselves together.” The film’s message of creating understanding through musical expression is simplistic to the point where Broza and company looks entirely naïve.

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The effect of the art on the lack of lives of Jerusalem’s citizens is up for question. Even with a collective of local artists, the songs are quite bland. The lyrics are not political nor do they foster a deeper understanding of the conflicts lingering outside the studio walls. The film barely leaves the recording space for the city streets. When it does, and the camera captures demonstrations on Jerusalem Day and we realize that the film is beginning to fall short.

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There are some intriguing behind-the-scenes activities like when we hear Broza saying that he wants to record much of the album in English, since that language attracts those who speak either Hebrew or Arabic. We also hear of some career difficulties among several of the musicians. Israeli-Palestinian singer Mira Awad speaks of the trouble finding an audience that will not accept a certain part of their regional identity. Broza’s relaxed energy does not rouse an audience eager for spiritual and political insight. Many Israelis are upset that after achieving wonderful success in Israel in the 80s, Broza left the country for what he thought would be greener pastures. This has happened before and very few artists are lucky enough to be able to rebuild a fan base when they have been gone. Broza has had a couple of wonderful returning contests but leaving the country for financial purposes is rarely forgiven by the citizens of the country.

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Broza has been affiliated with various peace movements in Israel Most of his youth was spent in Spain because his father moved there for business reasons. Being Jewish in late 1960s Spain was a rarity, and being of the Ashkenazi (Eastern European) tradition was even more rare. Western popular music wasn’t easy to hear under Franco, but Broza became enamored of American jazz and began playing guitar. When he returned to Israel to serve in the Defense Forces, he ended up performing, setting him on a path to become, as he is so frequently called, “the Israeli Bruce Springsteen.” He’s recorded albums in Hebrew, in Spanish, and in English. Townes Van Zandt willed him a stash of unpublished poems, which he set to music in 2009. He performs an annual concert atop Masada (one of Israel’s more striking tourist attractions) and has hosted special guests as varied as Shawn Colvin and Jackson Browne. His optimistic anthem “Yihye Tov” (which translates to “Things Will Get Better”), written to commemorate Egyptian president Anwar Sadat’s first visit to Israel, has been ubiquitous in the Jewish state since 1977. This  Jerusalem project is the first time he has brought his most ardent Israeli fans along to hear the minority community in their own country.

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With American singer-songwriter (and actor) Steve Earle as co-producer, East Jerusalem/West Jerusalem represents the results of a burst of creativity in January of 2013, between Israeli and Palestinian musicians (like Mira Awad) in a small studio on the Arab (east) side of town. While collaborations like this aren’t unprecedented, the timing and scope of this project has far-reaching effects. The album is good; the making-of documentary is interesting but it could have been so much more. The photography of the city of Jerusalem is gorgeous.

“THEEB”— War and Children

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“THEEB”

War and Children

Amos Lassen

War is hell and we have heard this over and over again. One of the really tragic aspects of war is that innocent children are turned into warriors at young ages. Theeb (Jacir Eid Al-Hwietat) is one of those children. Living as a Bedouin in the Ottoman Empire-controlled Hijaz province with his protective big brother Hussein (Hussein Salameh Al-Sweilhiyeen) during the First World War. Theeb is a little boy who is infinitely curious about the world that surrounds him even if it is a desolate desert.

When a British officer, Edwin (Jack Fox) and his Bedouin companion ask Hussein to take them to the railroad, presumably to try to blow up an Ottoman train, Theeb tags along even though no wanted him to do thinking that it will be an exciting adventure. We see that when the film begins, Theeb idolizes the British soldier and looks at him as a stoic hero who kills bad guys. “How many men have you killed?” is the first thing he says to the officer.

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Theeb follows a mysterious military box that the officer drags with him and his eyes become wide with excitement. He becomes obsessed with the box and touches, even though the officer is adamant about anyone, especially the boy, staying away from his precious cargo. That box represents an exciting piece of military equipment to Thee, but when a horrible tragedy strikes and Theeb is left in the middle of the desert to fend for himself, his experience significantly changes how he feels about war. By the end of the film the box has become a destructive force instead of just a mysterious whatever. Theeb also understands that in order to survive the desert, he has to depend on an enemy soldier (Hassan Mutlag Al-Maraiyeh) who seems to go out of his way to protect him. This could be because of the terrible guilt that the soldier felt about something he did to Theeb’s family. Nonetheless a bond grows between the boy and the soldier.

Director Naji Abu Nowar’s film opens with a vivid portrait of Bedouin society, particularly the highly formalized rituals of praise and hospitality that mark the arrival of guests and strangers into their midst. Nowar, who was born in England has crafted a nuanced look at the collision of East and West that actually occurred on the Arabian Peninsula during World War I. It was the outcome of that war that brought triumph and trauma into the Arab world.

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Theeb is prematurely burdened with the responsibilities of manhood by the war when his tribe is pulled into the Arab revolt against the Ottoman Empire by his soldier when he passed through town. Theeb’s older brother is chosen as the visitors’ guide to their mysterious final destination and, as I said, Theeb sets out to follow them, eventually joins the group over Edward’s vehement protests.

Despite its measured pacing and simple plot, the story takes several surprising turns, confusing us about what we think will happen but doesn’t. and thus changing viewer expectations. Since nothing is hurried here, it would seem that the plot twists would come as surprises but they do not. All is seen from Theeb’s point of view. When we hear bits of a conversation, we hope that they will be made clear.

As the men and Theeb journey they have to deal with bugs and other dangers of nature and the story seems to go one way while we go the other. It is actually a look at a boy’s initiation into the violent and social world of tribal manhood.

For Theeb, this means that killing of some kind is his rite of passage. However, when that moment finally arrives, his world is no longer what it what was when he first set out on his journey, even though it has only been a few days.

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Having participated in an event that, Theeb is transformed as is his world—- the same world that will lead to the decay of the traditional Bedouin way of life. of his world that will lead to the slow decay of the traditional way of life of his isolated Bedouin tribe. The coming of modernity and its disruption of traditional local economic and social structures will soon turn the unemployed into outlaws and the marginalized into the dispossessed.

The desert setting shows the concern with survival and revenge as seen in the men who are as unforgiving as the terrain. Now if you are still wondering about what is in that box, all I can say is to find out, you must see the film.

“THE STATE OF MARRIAGE”— The Roots of Marriage Equality

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‘The State Of Marriage’

The Roots of Marriage Equality

Amos Lassen

Jeff Kaufman’s “The State of Marriage” traces the roots of marriage equality through the efforts of Vermont lawyers Susan Murray and Beth Robinson as they joined LGBT legal pioneer Mary Bonauto to push legislative change. The documentary is a comprehensive account of the twenty-year struggle that led to Vermont and opening the door for other states to follow. We see both sides of the argument in this record of the groundbreaking legal, political and social campaign led by two small-town lawyers. The film serves as an invaluable record of how the movement got started.

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The three women we meet here forged a path forward for marriage equality It all began in the early 1990s, when a Vermont lesbian couple was involved in a car accident in which one of them was killed. Murray represented the surviving partner in a battle to retain custody of their 3-year-old son. That case heightened her awareness of the legal vulnerability of same-sex couples and prompted Murray and Robinson to travel around the state to drum up s support beyond the gay community. By teaming with Bonauto, they gained credibility on a national level.

What Kaufman gives us here a recap of how that legal team succeeded in winning the landmark 1999 ruling that made Vermont the first state to legalize gay civil unions. They found three rock-solid same-sex couples to serve as plaintiffs, grounding the case in their real-life stories rather than in just factoids. Using the parallel of the California Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the ban on interracial marriage as unconstitutional, they argued that marriage equality was not a question of approval but a constitutional right.

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It was this that became the foundation for the entire marriage equality movement and even though it was only a partial victory of legalizing civil unions without granting full marriage rights. When the decision of the legal team to continue the fight, it became divisive; Murray thought the compromise was as much as they could hope for while Robinson wanted to go back to the courts to see it through.

The result was a long hard with angry conservative opposition and the complacency of much of the gay community, that felt that its realistic goals had been achieved. We see the backlash not only in its most bigoted manifestations but also through the words of moderate conservatives, many of them struggled with the issues on a human level.

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We hear commentary comes from Freedom to Marry founder Evan Wolfson, Human Rights Campaign’s Marty Rouse, from politicians including Rep. John Lewis and Howard Dean, and from gay playwright Terrence McNally, among many others. There are several moving and sensitive moments that involve conservative interviewees describing how they came around, reversing their initial stance on gay marriage.

Bonauto made history by representing the seven gay and lesbian couples in the 2003 Massachusetts Supreme Court case that made that state the first to allow same-sex couples to wed. That breakthrough brought new strength and vigor to the campaign in Vermont and it became the first to pass gay marriage through the vote of the people, not the courts.

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Today, 37 states recognize gay marriage and a Supreme Court decision makes it legal in all 50 states. We see many insights about the U.S. political and judicial systems and this is a wonderful American story of fighting the good the film ultimately is a very American story of people fighting the good fight.

“STRIKE A POSE”— Revisitng Vogue

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“Strike A Pose”

Revisiting Vogue

Amos Lassen

“Strike a Pose” invites the dancers in Madonna’s “Truth or Dare” film to recall their experiences coming of age and, in some cases, coming out of the closet. The film is shot in black and white to mirror the original ”Truth or Dare” and we meet Luis Camacho, Oliver Crumes III, Salim Gauwloos, Jose Gutierez, Kevin Stea, and Carlton Wilborn. The dancers revisit their days snapping and swaying with Madonna when the world was torn apart by the AIDS epidemic as part of the global zeitgeist. We learn that their selection for Madonna’s crew encouraged self-acceptance and self-confidence as they took pride in standing out from the crowd. The legacy of the original film is honored here in the way it impacts today’s generation of gay men.

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“Strike a Pose” fearlessly deconstructs “Truth or Dare” and Madonna and gives us a cutting, yet fair, portrait of pop icon. Her dancers tell us how she treats friends and colleagues like disposable conveniences. We see that her sense of entitlement is palpable in the footage from the original film and how the dancers explain that the documentary forced them to expose aspects of themselves they weren’t ready to reveal quite so openly and on film. The men coming together again has its own catharsis reunion brings its own catharsis as the men ultimately accept their own failings as well as expose their vulnerabilities to the group in an intimate act of truth-telling. In this way, this film is much more personal than was “Truth or Dare” and the revelations here allow the subjects be honest about what their experiences were. Since now the fight for equality and social acceptance in the LGBT community in North America, has basically been won, stories reflecting on the past and key moments in the struggle have started to emerge.  Madonna’s 1990 Blond Ambition tour was a defining moment in music history that sent her popularity into the stratosphere and spawned two films— one of the concert itself and the other the documentary “Truth or Dare” and both films pushed the boundaries of acceptance on a variety of social issues including religion, sexual politics, and homosexuality.  This was a crucial moment in the upheaval that was happening within the America gay community and with the spread of HIV.

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“Strike a Pose” was directed by Ester Gould and Reijer Zwaan, and set against the backdrop of that iconic tour. It tells the story of a group of dancers who were unexpectedly thrust into the spotlight and reluctantly became beacons for pushing the gay rights movement forward at a time when it was still controversial.  The film gives us a cathartic look at the lasting impact these experiences had on these men.

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Six of the seven dancers are gay and while on tour, they felt that they were at the height of their popularity.  The tour and the documentary made them famous and they were lived glamorously partying, drinking, and using drugs. However, the as their popularity began to their addictions became worse and trouble was brewing for them.  They believed their own hype and struggled with finding themselves and with living a normal life.  Their careers began to fall apart and they lost almost everything.  For over 20 years, they were fighting with falling out of touch with Madonna, addiction, illness (three in the group were HIV-positive), and regrets.  Moving forward twenty-five years, we hear the behind the scenes stories of what went on behind the scenes and what they later had to go through to survive. They are well aware of the impact that they had on society and understand and appreciate that they served as role models for young gay kids everywhere who where often experiencing their first exposure to gay people in “Truth or Dare” and it gave them hope.  Their behavior and actions at times was destructive and society was still very unkind to LGBT people but they now have learned how to use those experiences to strengthen their resolve.  They were finally able to let go of their secrets and shame and to be completely honest with each other, thus finally able to find themselves and be at peace. The film is one of redemption. With the men coming together after such a long time, they ca now pick up what was once family and we are given a fascinating glimpse into the world behind an important moment in history. We see how these men helped humanize the gay community in a way they never could have expected.  The documentary gives is a hopeful sense of positivity and a message of allowing experiences to become woven into who someone really is.  We are reminded that even though our lives may not turn out the way we thought they would or had planned for them to be, we still have strength and purpose. 

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For many Madonna  fans the peak of the musical career for the diva and superstar was in the 1990’s with her Blonde Ambition World Tour  that thrilled audiences. The dancers that were with Madonna had been chosen from Harlem ballrooms where they were masters of the new dance called the Vogue. The dancers formed a tight-knit clique with Madonna recognizing that for them this was the biggest career break of their young lives, but they added a whole new layer of sexiness and street credibility that helped take Madonna’s performance up to a whole new level. Now 25 years later the remaining boys who are now in their mid 40’s look back with both affection and nostalgia at this one exciting year in their lives even though, they were once considered Madonna’s ‘family’ at the time, it still ended badly. We learn they were initially stunned when they were picked for the ‘Vogue’ music video and then for the Tour.   All bar one were classically trained :  Luis Camacho and Jose Gutierez were members of the House of Xtravaganza ; Salim had just migrated from Belgium and was looking for a job that would keep him in the US; Kevin Stea was so relieved as he had been going through a dry spell work-wise and was broke.  The hip-hopper Oliver Crumes who came from the New Orleans projects was not only the one untrained dancer but he was also the only straight member of the group, so he was very quickly persuaded to get rid of any trace of homophobia he had for the others.

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The movie deftly blends archival footage of the Tour with Madonna telling them to “express themselves”. Now we learn where their lives led them the height of the AIDS pandemic and that Gabriel Turpin was the first to be an AIDS casualty. His place in the movie is taken by his mother Sue which makes for some of the most poignant scenes as she tells us about her son’s excitement of being part of the group and she also relates his bitterness at being betrayed when he was prematurely ‘outed’. He was not alone in feeling that he had been betrayed by Madonna and he and others actually sued Madonna.

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The court case never resolved anything and although none of the dancers ever reconciled with Madonna, refreshingly none of them had a single bad word to say about her then or now. Salim is now coming to terms with his own HIV diagnosis, two of the others admit to having had major addiction problems as a result of their short stardom. All of said that being known as an ex ‘Madonna Dancer’ was a mixed blessing as it had both opened and shut doors for them professionally over the last quarter of a century.

“Pride & Joy: Taking the Streets of New York City” by Jurek Wajdowicz— Looking at Pride

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Wajdowicz, Jurek. “Pride & Joy: Taking the Streets of New York City”, New Press, 2016.

Looking at Pride

Amos Lassen

It has been more than forty years have passed since the LGBTQ community took to the streets of New York City on the first anniversary of the Stonewall Riots for the world’s first march for gay rights. I doubt many today realize how ambitious this was at the time. From its modest beginnings, the annual event has grown into more than a million people celebrating gay pride in New York City Pride means many different things. For some, Pride has become too commercial or irrelevant as LGBT culture has become mainstream. To others, it is felt that the festivities should be less about the politics of the gay rights movement and more about a joyful celebration of what it means to be queer. Jurek Wajdowicz looks at New York City Pride from all angles and we see here just how far we have come.