Saturday, May 31, 2008

What I'm Watching #147

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
There are actually four films in this collection of shorts, but the one called "Katydid" really isn't worth writing about.

So the final review from this collection goes to "The Best Men". The story of a gay-straight friendship in which the straight half is getting married. It takes place on the day of the wedding. It's a bittersweet little story. One that I could relate to personally.

What I'm Watching #146

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
"Float" is the short film in the collection "Not | Gay" from the Bahamas. It's a tale of two worlds. One white. One black. One decidedly gay. One at war with itself over the issue.

It's a beautifully shot film, but with the backdrop of the Bahamas as your just seems to be everywhere.

Friday, May 30, 2008

What I'm Watching #145

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Is a short film from Brazil (avec France's Canal + financing) called "Cowboy Forever". It's part of a collection of films called "Not | Gay".

It's told in a documentary style. We meet the young gay gaucho, Govinda...though he knows he is different from his companions, he's never acted out on his feelings. Enter the new guy into the crew, Jones, who takes a shine to Govinda; and then takes him to the city to meet his gay and utterly inclusive circle of friends--even though Jones is decidedly straight.

It is the awakening Govinda has been waiting for, and Jones is the friend whose love and understanding brings him there.

It's a beautiful short film. Neatly conceived. Beautifully filmed.

An excellent 27 minutes of cinematography.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Olly Olly Ox In Free! -- Gay Is Just Another Stripe On The Rainbow Of Celebrity Status

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
It's a milennial-thang! Back at the end of the second milennium; gay remained by-and-large the kiss of celebrity death. It wasn't that celebrities weren't gay: There were gay actors (Rock Hudson, Errol Flynn, Marlena Deitrich, Barbara Stanwick), gay musicians (Leiberaci, Billy Stayhorn), gay writers (James Baldwin, Langston Hughes). But they lived in closets, because that was the only way they could practice their art viably.

And here we are in the third millennium, and how times have changed! Here are 30 successful totally out GLBT Celebrities. How many names do you recognize?

LANCE BASS, singer
ELLEN DeGENERES, actor, comedian
HARVEY FIERSTEIN, playwrite, actor, producer
Sir ELTON JOHN, singer, composer
T. R. KNIGHT, actor
NATHAN LANE, actor, voice artists
K. D. LANGE, singer, actor
ROSIE O'DONNELL, comedian, actor
RuPAUL, drag queen, actor, comedian, singer
MICHAEL SYPES, singer, composer
B. D. WONG, actor

And where are the others?

Come out, come out, where ever you are! Come out Richard. Come out Ann. Come out Tom. Come out Sean. Olly-olly-ox-in-free.....

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Original "Post-a-Notes"

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Before the Internet and even television--Back when the radio was the new kid on the block--Information was conveyed by the word. Newspapers reign supreme and when things got really bad, or ideas demanded repeated attention there were POSTERS.

This one comes from the "WPA Art Project of Chicago" back in the early 1930's. It was sent to me by a dear friend on the cusp of my recent (now annual) STD blood work-up--All the negatives and positives where correctly arrayed.

And as a Gay Man who is "not dead yet", this ritual is for me an important part of being responsible. It's honestly nothing that I ever imagined I would have to do, but what can I say? Life isn't ours to script nearly as much as it demands of us constant improvisation.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

What I'm Watching #144

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Is a quirky Sino-Anglo Homo comedy called "Cut Sleeve Boys" The film's title is a slang expression used to identify gay men in China. The film is set in London.

It's a poignant/comedic tale of three friends (all Chinese) which begins in their post graduate school years upon the sudden and tragic death of one of them. The remaining two are forced to examine their lives as they pursue happiness and two often find in their pursuits the very thing that the other one most desires. The process introduces us to an array of friends and acquaintances. In the end, some win, some don't, no one looses, most are left still waiting for an answer.

It's also another excellent example of hyper-independent film making along the lines of "Slutty Summer" and "Regarding Billy".

Late May Gardens #1

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
I've really enjoyed working in my yard this year. The cool and record-setting wet month of May has really helped to create flourishing gardens.

When I bought this house in 1994 the deck in the backyard had 6 flower boxes attached to its railings. After 14 years, two remain and they are dressed out this year with a generous blue flower (who's name I do not remember) a begonia with blazing red flute shaped blossoms and a varigated lemon thyme.

And they look amazing.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

What I'm Watching #143

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
"Fat Girls" is the creative child of it's lead actor (writer and director) Ash Christian. It plays out a little like My So Called Life set in Buttf&*#, Texas. It follows the life of Rodney Miller and his band of outcaste friends from his asking out to the prom of another boy through the actually prom night. In between he goes to his first gay bay, experiences the death of his father, and becomes a Christian...all set to a comedic tone.

Is this a great movie? No. It is sweet movie. And with the right group of friends, perhaps a bottle of Rosé, potentially even a very funny movie, too.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Random Quote #89

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
"Nothing is worth more than this day." 

- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1749 - 1832

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Our Latest American Hero #118

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Army Sgt. John K. Daggett, 21, of Phoenix; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; died May 15 in Halifax, Canada, of wounds sustained May 1 in Baghdad when a rocket-propelled grenade struck his vehicle.

“Phoenix Soldier Dead After Grenade Attack In Iraq”

An Army soldier from Phoenix has died of wounds he suffered in a rocket-propelled grenade attack in Baghdad earlier this month, the Department of Defense announced Friday.

Sgt. John K. Daggett died in Halifax, Canada, on Thursday. While en route from Iraq to Walter Reed Army Medical Center on May 1st, four days after he was wounded, the plane had to land in Halifax in order to tend to his injuries.

Daggett, known as Kyle, attended Pinnacle High School in Phoenix where he played football for four years.

“He worked hard to put himself in the position of starter and a linebacker on our defense,” said his former coach, Dana Zupke. “Every day, he came to practice with a positive attitude and can-do attitude ... he was just that kind of kid.”

He also cared about academics as much as sports.

“You get that sometimes with athletes — they have an incredible work ethic on the field but don’t apply that in the classroom,” Zupke said. “Kyle definitely was not in that category. He was on top of his grades all the time. Beyond decent grades, I think he genuinely enjoyed learning and being in high school and being involved in different classes.”

Daggett was assigned to a Stryker combat team in the 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. He was a fire team leader.

Daggett joined the Army in June 2005. He was serving his first tour in Iraq.

Zupke said Daggett often talked about the Army and the strong sense of duty he felt.

“He came to see me and said he planned to enlist in the Army Rangers,” Zupke said. “I believe he referenced Pat Tillman at one point.”

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Difference....The Slim Difference

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
With an ability to communicate across cities, nations, continents in seconds via cell phone, TV, radio, computer screens -- we live in a time when information challenges our capacity to comprehend the world around us. Ideas, experiences, events enter our minds and we scarcely have time to integrate them before the next onslaught of data.

So how do we make sense of life in 2008. What matters? What do we care about?

More than ever we must seek and trust in an anchor in truth. In all directions we see truth maligned and co-opted to mean a blind following of lies. We see this in Politics. We see this in Religion.

Truth is used as an excuse to foment evils like death, torture, hatred. None of which is truth. Truth is the purest form of self-actualization. Truth unleashed allows each of us to live life in the open with honesty and integrity. Truth (like LOVE) defeats fear and all it's minions, while those who twist truth into doctrinal imperatives designed to control others with fear neither understand truth or love.

No where is this paradigm more evident than in the story of Mehdi Kazemi.

From a recent article posted on the BBC:

"Iranian Refugee Is Granted Asylum"

Mehdi Kazemi is granted asylum in the UK. Mehdi, now 20, was studying in the UK when Parham (his boyfriend) was arrested for the crime of homosexuality by the Iranian government. Mehdi was named by his boyfriend and warned he was liable to arrest on his planned return. The UK Home Office denied him asylum [despite a thoughtful campaign by human rights campaigners] - because it was said he had overstayed his student visa and was therefore not seen as genuinely seeking asylum. So he escaped to the Netherlands. That's where it gets complicated.

Under EU asylum rules, generally someone seeking asylum is required to apply in the member state first entered. That meant, Dutch judges ruled, that he had to return to the UK - and the risk of being deported to the place where he was at risk of losing his life. Mehdi's case has attracted international attention.

Mehdi was informed that Parham, his boyfriend, was executed in Iran in 2006.

[I can only hope that somehow and in some way, Parham's martyrdom is memorialized as a testamony to TRUTH......]

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The End Of The Democratic Primary Is Finally In Sight

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
A rally for Barack Obama in Portland Oregon blew Obama off his optimistic ass! 75,000 Americans showed up to rally him on to victory. His previous crowd record was back in Pennsylvania with 35,000 in Philadelphia. And he's never had a problem drawing crowds at rallies.

America is ready to move into the future. And Obama can lead us there like no one else.

What I'm Watching #142

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
"Eleven Men Out" is my first Icelandic film. And as such, I may not be very fair in my review, as I have nothing else Icelandic to compare it to. When compared to the bulk of the other films I've seen, it is wanting.

The box blurb reads [my sidebar comments in the brackets]:

"When the team's most popular and sexiest [Björn Hlynur Haraldsson is a fine piece of eye candy--the films most redeaming aspect] soccer star admits he is gay, the sports world is turned upside down [I saw no evidence of this in the film. The one dimensional team owner was nasty about it, the homophobic general manager was blunt about it, and the coach who was also the man's father, behaved like a snivelling, lying, neanderthal about it--remember this is a comedy.....but no one in the greater sports world seemed to give a rat's ass about it]. Immediately suspended by the team, he forms a gang of other players who have come out, [This is a bold-faced LIE! His friend from childhood invites him to play on his ultra-minor league team. He accepts and his presence on the team starts rumors and eventually the straight players quit one by one, they are replaced by gay men who stumble onto the team for various reason, not one of which is because our former star, Ottir, invites them. Makes me wonder if the guy who wrote this even saw the film.] and what happens next is a hilarious comedy [Okay, that seals it, he clearly didn't see this film] as eleven men out win game after game on their way to the championship. [They "win" a grand total of one game, because all of the other games are forfeited by opponents too homophobic to play them, even in the play-off rounds.]" End of blurb.

Other hilarious characters include a mysogynistic, filthy mouthed older brother, Orri, (played by Jón Atli Jónasson) who runs a video store where he spends most of the time in the back room chocking his chicken to porn or forcing his hapless self-hating girlfriend to give him blow-jobs; Ottir's ex-wife, Gugga, (played by Lilja Nótt Pórärinsdóttir) who plods through most of the film so flat out drunk all she can do is screech at him and stumble around with a bottle of some alcohol in one hand and a cigarette in the other; and a son, Maggi, (played by Arnmundur Ernst) who is so filled with adolescent angst--and given his parents, who can blame him?--that he barely speaks, and even when he bothers to, says nothing worth listening to.

I did learn somethings about Iceland. 1) Apparently, it's not nearly as progressive a society as I had always thought, 2) It RAINS every fucking day there, and the locals carry on their lives without umbrellas as if it were a pleasant sunny day, and 3) the Icelandic sense of humor is very close to what we in the state's would call ennui, and so I shudder to imagine what a depressed Icelander would be like!

My Quilting Ways #05

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
This is a quilt that I designed and made for my dear friend, J., the Librarian who lives in southern Maryland. It's based on a geometric pattern of diamonds called "Broken Star". And so I called this one, "J---'s Stained-Glass Broken-Star" and it was one of my more prolific creations with a start date of August 1998 and a completion of January 1999. Machine pieced, it was hand-quilted.

Sunday Funnies #20

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Ten Questions Linguists and Logicians Like to Ponder:

1) Do infants enjoy infancy as much as adults enjoy adultery?

2) Why is it called "tourist season" if we can't shoot at them?

3) If one synchronized swimmer drowns, do the rest drown, too?

4) If you ate both pasta AND antipasto, would you still be hungry?

5) When the police arrest a mime, do they tell him he has the right to talk?

6) Why do they lock gas station bathrooms? Are they afraid someone might attempt to clean them?

7) If a parsley farmer is sued, can they garnish his wages?

8) If humans evolved from monkeys and apes, why do we still have monkeys and apes?

9) When a deaf child swears, does his or her mother wash his or her hands with soap?

10) When someone with multiple personalities threatens to kill him- or herself, is it considered a hostage situation?

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Breeding and Dying in the United States

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
The NYTimes has an interresting article on the relative relationship between death rates and birth rates in urban areas. The focus is Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where one marker of the ascendency of dying over birthing is a dramatic drop in school children--in the past 20 years the number of children being served by the public schools has gone from 70,000 to 30,000!

Other loosers include Buffalo, and Utica, New York; Scranton, Pennsylvania; Duluth, Minnesota; and St. Petersburg, Florida.

But all is not lost. Municipalities where birth rates continue in the positive range of 2 to 3 births per 1 death include; Metro Washington D. C.; Columbus, Ohio; Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota; San José, California; Salt Lake City, Utah; and the Texas towns of Dallas-Fort Worth, San Antonio, Houston, El Paso, and Brownsville.

Not factored into the shifts are the influx of immigrants....

Mid-May Gardens #4

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
It was a great day to spend weeding and planting and enjoying my yards and gardens.

When working in the front, I was blessed by the azaleas and Korean dogwood, both glowing in the light of the mid-afternoon sun.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Mid-Week Poetry Break

Originally uploaded by Randuwa

When I heard the learn'd astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in
columns before me,
When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to
add, divide, and measure them,
When I sitting heard the astronomer where he
lectured with much applause in the lecture-
How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
Till rising and gliding out I wander'd off by
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to
Look'd up in perfect silence at the stars.

~ Walt Whitman
1819 - 1892

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


What a great performance.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

What I'm Reading, Periodically Speaking #2

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
The May-June issue of Harvard's "Gay & Lesbian Review" has a wonderful article by Richard Canning on the legacy of ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev. Based both on Mr. Canning's opinions and a host of recent post-mortem biographies of the Russian Dancer, Canning posits that chief among Nureyev's accomplishments was the return of the male ballet dancer to a status at least as important as the female prima dona's of the art.

The article plays around and speculates about the particulars of Nureyev's homosexual preferences without offering any absolutes. Yet included is the dancer's famous comment: "I know what it is to make love as a man and a woman."

And then the article explores in greater depth the conflict between Rudolf's felt-self and his own idealized persona: the slightly club-footed Tartar peasant versus the most iconoclastic male physique since Michelangelo's David; the adored bitchy diva versus the illiterate nymphomaniac with a penchant for anonymous, denegrating, "rough trade" encounters.

It's a very thought-provoking read.

Sunday Funnies #19

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Eat your heart out, Coppertone Cocker Spaniel!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Tattoo Dreaming #4

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
Most excellent tattoos!


Sunday, May 04, 2008

Early-May Gardens #4 with Random Quote #89

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
This was a near perfect day for spring in Washington, D. C. I worked in the yard through the heart of it. transferring plants, planting others recently purchased, watering new beds before they become dry, and chatting with my neighbor, J.

Here, St. Francis stands on the edge of a sea of a purple leafed perennials who's name escapes me. Flanking him is the ornate foliage of several celandine poppies; while dancing in the breeze are the yellow blossoms of the ubiquitous European variagated Hawkweed--A plant that both blesses and curses: it's graceful flowers fill my gardens with flecks of yellow joy, even as, its seeds spread it's prolific progeny to the utmost edges of my yard and beyond....

And to think that only 6 weeks ago Francis stared down upon a barren landscape of dirt and stones....

So, says he:

"While you are proclaiming peace with your lips, be careful to have it even more fully in your heart. "

~ St. Francis of Assisi, 1182 - 1226

Le Cafe

I don't think you need to speak French to get the message of this video. Oldelaf & Monsieur D have once and for all helped us to see coffee for what it really is: "the Devil's brew!" Merci, Oldelaf & Monsieur D.

J'espère que vous appréciez ceci, aussi.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Me And My Shadow?

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
We should all be so fit, so fun, so free! And on a beach, too!


Okay, I love it when two things I love come together. It's like chocolate and peanut butter, Simon and Garfunkel, Oprah and Stedwick.... and this time its "This American Life" and The New Yorker! Talk about your video magic!?

Early-May Gardens #3

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
I never realized until today just how much like butter covered exploded kernels of popcorn yellow irises are. Which is a completely fitting metaphor for these plants.

They were given to me by my dear friend J. who lives in southern Maryland. Each year, their "popping" reminds me of how much I love J. And J. loves popcorn!

Plants are gifts.

Early-May Gardens #2

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
The abstract expressionist quality of looking up through the waning blossoms of my red dogwood. Plants are art.

Early-May Gardens #1

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
In my front gardens, within and without the circle pathway that surrounds the fountain, ferns play a significant role. I have no less that 6 different varieties, and none are more magnificent than this duo. They could no doubt hold their own among the plethora of Pteridophyta lavishly covering the planet in the mid-Devonian era -- they have that "Walking With Dinosaurs" air about them.

And today I couldn't help but notice this pair of almost flower-like stalks shooting straight up from within their midst. Upon closer inspection they appear to be the latest two fronds laden with spores that will eventually fall into place on each of the leaf's undersides as they open and expand. Plants are fascinating

Friday, May 02, 2008

A Beautiful Day

I love this video. It was sent to me by a parent at my school.

It speaks to us who ARE power (YES, that's you and I, that every American who owns a home and has a job, like it or not) with truth. We are not in control of this world or even our own destiny. And as long as we continue to choose leaders who are as pathetic as those we have before us now, where is our hope?

Bush is an imbecile, Cheney pure evil, McCain dances with senility (watch him read a speech that one of his handlers has written). Hilary isn't stupid, but blinded by ego, and Obama... His polite idealism represents our only hope.... a mon avis. But when was the last time polite idealism triumphed in the arena of politics?

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Our Latest American Hero #117

Originally uploaded by Randuwa
I post this memorial in light of the fact that April was the deadliest month for our brave soldiers since September of '07.

I post this memorial because Merlin represents the countless many who where so severely wounded in Iraq, that in spite of our best medical efforts and their efforvescent zeal for life, succombed to the limits of mortality.

I post this to express my appreciation to the Department of Defense which has doggedly told the truth about U.S. casualties in the shadow of an administration hell bent on creating for themselves a reputation of greatness based on lies fueled by avarice, arrogance, and narcasism.

And I do this, even if at a time like this, the truth is belatedly revealed (Merlin died 20 days ago....)

.....without further ado.

Marine Sgt. Merlin German, 22, of Manhattan, N.Y.; assigned to the 5th Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.; died April 11 at Brooke Army Medical Center, San Antonio, Texas from wounds sustained while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar, Iraq, on Feb. 22, 2005. He had been medically retired on Sept. 28, 2007, as a result of his injuries.