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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Another Gay Sequel: Gays Gone Wild!

You have to hand it to Todd Stephens: just two summers ago he makes an instant gay cult classic with Another Gay Movie. Then, as he begins production on the highly anticipated follow-up, three of the four actors from the original Sex and the Cityesk foursome bail out (their replacements are immediately introduced and all is well in the world, err film). Not to mention all the generic issues with independent movies (financing) and sequels (topping the first movie).

Mr. Stephens must be a very resourceful man, because as crass and over the top the original was, Another Gay Sequel: Gays Gone Wild! provides just as many laugh out loud/”cringe and look away” moments as its predecessor. Having its world premiere yesterday at the San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival, the packed crowd at the Castro Theatre was in for an offensive treat for Pink Saturday.

Set (and shot) in Fort Lauderdale, the story follows the horny boys as they embark on spring break and a contest to see who can get the most booty by the end of the trip. Nico, Griff, Andy and Jarod prove to be up for the challenge (no pun intended) and debauchery ensues.

Nico, played to perfection by Jonah Blechman: the only actor to return from the foursome, steals the show. The script was clearly skewed to exploit the fabulousness of Nico, which may have been underutilized in the first film. Scott Thompson and Stephanie McVay also return as the wacky parental figures that kept us in tears in the original.

The rest of the recipe seems like typical sequel fare: the supporting cast is bigger (including Rupaul and Lady Bunny) the cameos are sillier (Amanda Lepore starts us off as a stewardess for Transamerica airlines) and the porn star ante has been tripled. And considering Matthew Rush was my favorite cameo in the original, that’s not a bad thing.

Don’t let the out of place storyline (the boys, originally looking to hook up, end up preoccupied with true love) or abundance of reality tv stars throw you off (Will Wikle of Big Brother and Jim Verraros of American Idol lend a hand): this is raunchy comedy taken to the next level. And if Perez Hilton, who plays a very misguided version of himself, can’t get you falling out of your seat laughing, this may not be your genre.

They say sequels tend to be bigger, longer, and uncut (although usually not talking about penises). Another Gay Sequel: Gays Gone Wild! delivers with sex, shirtless boys galore and much more. The film opens in theatres this summer.

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Saturday, June 28, 2008

sex and culture wars....defense or offense?

today sociologist janice irvine presented "sex education and the politics of sexual shame" to a room full of hundreds at the 40th annual aasect conference in new orleans....

i almost wonder if she read my blog entry last night....here are a few of the highlights that helped kick home for me what i said in my entry yesterday about the need to put sex back into the sexuality education movement....

1. no matter how mainstream we try to be as sexuality educators....in order to be perceived as acceptable.....we continue to be demonized simply for talking about sex. "sex itself is guilty until proven innocent."--gayle rubin.....

2. we need to ask ourselves how we can ongoingly speak out in defense of sexuality AND sex.

i could not agree more with this--however, i wonder if perhaps one reason we keep losing this culture war is that we are being defensive rather than offensive about sex and sexuality? relying on science and data alone and not using emotion to connect with people? 

what would a sex and sexuality movement look like if we we stopped responding with defensiveness and started coming up with emotional, religious and scientific reasons why people should not fear sex but embrace it as the positive, beautiful gift that it is?


Friday, June 27, 2008

putting the sex back into sexuality

thought for the day....from the 40th annual aasect conference in new orleans:

earlier this year, nsrc presented a workshop on putting sexual literacy back into the center of the lgbt movement for equality... where it has been conspicuously downplayed for decades....our workshop filled and we had to turn dozens of people away.....we're still working closely on this with our national partners.....

then today, at the largest national professional sexuality educator and therapy conference the most well attended (by a lot) session was about sex toys. 

i think i have always assumed that sex is a big part of the sexuality education movement. after today i realize that in our quest to legitimize our profession by connecting "the sex act" to the larger social and political issues surrounding it....we have dangerously downplayed sex ourselves.


as SEXuality educators....i think we had better bring sexy back into sexuality education itself if we are planning to also bring it back to the center of other social justice movements....



One thing that always fascinates me about working in the field of sexuality is how not sexy our work and the presentation of our work can be. As I have sat and listened to several presentations about various sexual issues, I am amazed at how dry and bland the presentations can be. Not to say that there isn't some great work being presented and some really wonderful ideas being explored - it's just how it's being delivered.

I mention this for a couple of reasons. One is that there is a constant concern about the so-called greying of the field. I often find this confusing as a (relatively) young, recent PhD who has many friends and colleagues who are also young - and I'm considering young to be under 40 or so. What is not confusing is how these conferences are not appealing to young, hip, cool, and otherwise interesting folks. I mean more exciting and cool people go to comicon than come to AASECT or SSSS. We're talking about SEX people. It's supposed to be something that is hot, fun, pleasurable, good, right? Which brings me to my second point. Part of being at conference in a different city than where you live is that you go out and explore the bars and nightlife and culture. So while sitting in a bar last night where there was a strip competition, lots of hooking up taking place, and some sexual activity even taking place right at the bar, I started noticing how many of the songs and videos that were playing were about sex. I am a sex conference that isn't very sexy (informative and important, yes) and out watching all of this hot sexy stuff taking place just down the street. It starts to dawn on me that if we want to attract all of those smart, interesting, cool, fun, and creative young people then we need to start making studying sex a little more sexy.

In the future, I want to hear people getting excited about going to sexcon because it's not only interesting and informative but it's fun and sexy and a good time. To close, I leave you with one of my favorite songs about sexuality by billy bragg. enjoy.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

My "Why I Love AASECT: Top 10 List"

Last week I turned 37....and unlike a lot of women my age, I actually can't wait to be 40. 40, contrary to public opinion, is not "the new 30"....turning 40 is about settling into, knowing and celebrating oneself better than ever. If there's any doubt about this, just look at the fabulous ladies of Sex and the City..... and the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists of course.

It seems bizarre to imagine that AASECT was formed only 3 years before I came into the world. Then again, it wasn't even 100 years ago that we would all have been arrested for doing this work publicly. We've come a long way in many ways thanks to AASECT.

This year AASECT celebrates 40 years of leadership in expanding knowledge, practice and professional networking in the fields of sexuality education, counseling, therapy and health care provision.

And so...as I sit here in New Orleans at the 40th Annual AASECT Conference, "The Rhythm of Our Roots: 40 Years of Sexuality Education and Health Celebrated Through Song, Story, and Science" thinking of the numbers of people who have had their lives change for the better because of this organization, I ask myself... just what does one give back as a present to a 40 year old organization that has helped increase pleasure and decrease suffering for untold numbers of people?

Well, being the historian of sexuality that I am....I can't help but think that it would be pretty remarkable, inspiring and fun to get people (AASECT members, soon to be members, etc...) to list their top 10 reasons for loving AASECT. So let's just do it....and put it all together in a giant e-scrapbook wrapped in a big red bow so that when they are celebrating the 100 year anniversary they can look back at fabulous 40 and know what we all know.....

I love AASECT because....

10. it enforces the highest professional standards/ethics in educating and certifying members
9. it is one of the only organizations that prioritizes certifying sexuality professionals
8. it was founded by an amazing, inspirational and powerful woman, Patricia Schiller, MA, JD
7. it is turning green this year! (if I'm not mistaken, it's the first sexuality organization to do so)
6. of the fantastic mentorship opportunities and web resources it provides
5. it is committed to lifelong sexual health, pleasure, happiness and well being
4. it values science
3. it embraces interfaith dialogue in the quest to provide sexual understanding and healing
2. the conferences are impeccably planned and executed. Not to mention FUN!
1. AASECT members are courageous, committed, supportive and yes, sexy (I had to say it!~)

Why do YOU love AASECT?

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A Red Eye for Sex

I arrived in New Orleans for the American Association of Sexuality Educators Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) 40th national conference extremely early this morning having taken the red eye out of San Francisco at midnight last night. This was the first continental red eye flight I've taken since moving to the west coast, and much like night flights to Europe, I'm feeling discombobulated, lost, confused, and even a little scared, although not quite as frightened as I was feeling a few hours ago during my 6 am layover in Houston. Remember this was 4 am Pacific Time and I had only "slept" a few hours in that last row of seats that don't recline. You know what I'm talking about...

As I am sitting (slouching, hunching, falling over) at gate E3 at the George H.W. Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Texas, at 6 am, a news story on the giant flat screen TV that all hundred of us are watching catches my attention. The report was about a male couple in Virginia who showed up at the county courthouse and "tricked" the deputy into giving them a marriage license because one was dressed as a bride. My hackles stood on end. They followed this by showing a clip of Oprah with the pregnant trans man from Oregon (we're all familiar by now). Some guys laugh behind me. I'm ready to go into fighting mode. I turn to look. Two teens looking at a book. Back to the story. A trans activist is talking about how ridiculous it is to hunt these two young people down. Tension. Then I realize that not a single person is reacting to this story. Only me.

So many of us GLBTQI folks are constantly preparing for a confrontation or an attack that it has become habit to be on constant guard and to react at the slightest mention of something queer. As I prepare to be part of one of my favorite sexuality conferences in the amazing and wonderful city of New Orleans, I'm going to try and focus on the successes we have had. I want to live in a world where we can still have a debate around certain issues (although, I'm not sure this is one of them) without feeling like the mob with torches and ropes is coming around the corner. Maybe I should give my fellow Americans the benefit of the doubt...

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Japan Japan

Japan Japan opens with the protagonist Imri stating "cinema is dead," and at times during this movie I found myself agreeing with him. Imri is a gay ex-Israeli soldier who is concurrently trying to figure out what to do with the rest of his life as well as yearning to visit Japan. At times the film's intentionally irreverent editing and choppy dialogue was thoughtful and touching while at other times it was simply annoying. Some of the montages, like the gripping footage of Israeli streets while Japanese pop music played in the background, were incredibly impressive. Similarly, the scenes between the serious Imri and his seemingly crazy/goofy roommate who holds parties by herself with imaginary guests were incredibly endearing and hilarious, shedding light on how Imri should just let go and stop taking life so seriously. However, it was blatantly obvious when some scenes were scripted and others were improvised. Switching from drama to comedy to musical, Japan Japan left a lot to be desired.

I believe the film could have scratched much more below the surface to explore Imri's desire for Japan, or his struggles with his current crisis of being in transition towards adulthood. Don't get me wrong, I am a huge fan of films that are slow-paced or irreverent, however when it is obviously forced, the film becomes taxing to watch. The director, Lior Shamriz, has great talent and a lot to offer and I look forward to giving his future films a second chance.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Be Like Others

What would you do in order to be with the one you love? To be able to walk down the street without facing constant discrimination? That was the question that many of the young gay Iranian men faced in the documentary Be Like Others. While homosexuality is deemed as a sin in Iran, feeling as though your gender and biological sex do not match is viewed as a mistake made by God. Therefore, Ayatollah Khomeini offered a "path" towards correcting this mistake 20 years ago by not only permitting sexual reassignment surgery but allowing it to be financially covered by the government. As an Iranian-American and sexuality researcher I became incredibly fascinated when I first heard about this, I knew homosexuality was very much unacceptable but was completely unaware of this ruling. This is especially poignant during a time where there is a war between western states and the Middle East, where war against Iran and its ideologies seems depressingly imminent.

The film follows a group of young pre-op Male-to-Female transgender women who are going through the preliminary stages and bureaucracy of obtaining the right to have this surgery. We meet Vida, a 26 year-old queen of all "diagnosed transsexuals." At times I became teary-eyed watching Vida console and support the young women and convince the parents to accept their child, and other times I wanted to strangle Vida for her blatant homophobia stating that gay men are committing sins and are completely unacceptable. However Vida brought up an interesting point when asked why she transitioned, she stated that when she dressed as a man she was harassed and abused for being effeminate, but now that she is a woman she has the right to
defend herself from discrimination. Anoosh, who later goes by Anihita, is a young 20 year old pre-op MTF who has a very attractive, young hair stylist boyfriend with whom she wants to marry. We also meet Ali Asghar who traveled to Tehran from a small village in order to have the surgery and become accepted and find love. In an exceptionally heart breaking scene while Ali is moments away from the surgery he is asked if he would go through the procedure if he did not live in Iran, he simply replied, "no." Seeking acceptance from his family and peers, Ali, now Neskar is disowned by his family and friends. In another fascinating portrayal in the documentary there was the backwards acceptance of these individuals from the very doctors who advocate for their right to undergo this procedure. One doctor stated, "These people are abnormal, something is wrong, but thats the way they are and we have to accept them and give them the surgery." Another doctor told a parent, "This is torture for you, no parent should have to go through this, but there is still time to rescue him."

While the movie was incredibly moving and sad at times there were also very amusing moments. For example when the doctor was being interviewed by a conservative female journalist for a state-run newspaper he tells her "these women will be more of a woman than you ever will be, because they know how to attract males and keep them happy more than you ever can." During the only moment when a Female-to-Male transgender individual was touched upon, the young woman who sought surgery told the doctor, "I already attract so many women, can you imagine how many I will attract when I have a beard."

Watching this movie I was incredibly touched by the footage of daily life on the streets of Tehran, making me yearn to visit, to see my family, but upon hearing the stories and listening to some of the parents talk in such a harsh and sometimes violent tone towards their children I simply did not want to believe that this mentality still occurs. While there is a move towards acceptance, whether silent or explicit, there is a lot of work to be done. Despite the fact that I have just written this review, I can still say that I am speechless, and so will you. Whether
you are interested in Iran or the Middle East, sexuality or cross-cultural studies, or simply interested in human rights, you must view Be Like Others.

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Monday, June 23, 2008

George Carlin's 7 Dirty Words

As most already know, comedian George Carlin passed away today.

Carlin is perhaps best known for his routine "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television." In the early '70s, the monologue aired on the radio. A complaint was made to the Federal Communications Commission, and the issue wound up in the courts. Eventually the Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of the FCC. Voilà! Indecency regulation was born.

While most news outlets have mentioned "Seven Words" in their stories about Carlin's life, no surprise, they haven't said what those words are. Thank god for blogs. Shocker: all of them have sexual connotations!

1) shit
2) piss
3) fuck
4) cunt
5) cocksucker
6) motherfucker
7) tits

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Out in India

Out in India is a moving documentary about David Gere and Peter Carley, a long-term gay couple from Los Angeles and their two young children, Christopher and Isadora, and their experiences living for a year in India. David Gere is Associate Professor of World Arts and Cultures as UCLA, where he teaches on how art can be used in HIV/AIDS activism. David receives a Fulbright grant to travel to India for a year and work to organize artists working on HIV/AIDS education through their artwork into a national movement, culminating with a conference in Kolkata at the end of the year.

His partner, Peter Carley, a therapist, and his two young children set out with David to India, totally uprooting their lives in LA and immersing themselves in a culture that is in many ways alien and hostile to their family. The documentary follows them through their daily lives as well as David’s work organizing artists and activists and trying to forge a project that could potentially have a profound impact. The shots are generally informal using hand-held cameras, interviewing Peter and David in their homes, the people that they interact with in their daily lives and their reactions to a gay family, as well as David’s interaction with artists and the culminating conference. I thought that it captured very well the feel of being in India, and importantly it brought together the two related issues of HIV/AIDS and diversity and acceptance of diversity.


All My Life

This Sunday night, Frameline Film Festival featured the world premiere of
All My Life, the first honest and multi-dimensional feature film about gay men in Egypt. In a sold out house, many members of the local Middle Eastern LGBTQ community gathered together to create a lively and loving ambiance to support their dear friend and director Maher Sabry. As the lights dimmed the entire crowd cheered and clapped out of excitement. What only added to the joyous mood was that many members of South West Asian North African Bay Area Queers (SWANABAQ) lent their talent as actors for this film, as well as a beautiful composition by SWANABAQ member Ilyas Iliya.

The film portrays Rami, a young gay accountant who holds both traditional and modern views of the world. Rami is just getting comfortable with his sexuality when his boyfriend decides that he cannot take the pressure from his family anymore and marrys a woman. Shortly after, Rami is faced with a governmental crackdown of gay men in Cairo after 52 men were arrested in the infamous Queen Boat Case. In an attempt towards self-comfort Rami continually tells himself and others that the men who were arrested must had been doing something wrong, therefore he is not at risk since he leads a "respectable" life.

As the film follows Rami through his transformation and experiences with casual sexual encounters, challenging stereotypes, and trying to protect his friends, the viewer only becomes more connected with his struggles and enjoyment in life. Sabry adds to this intense feature by brilliantly including the stories of other individuals who are also growing and learning from life, including a woman who moves to San Francisco but is faced with the urge to move back to Cairo to help with feminist activism and a devout Muslim man who is battling with his desire for premarital sex.

In all honesty, half of my enjoyment from the premiere was seeing this gorgeous and amazingly honest film, and the other half came from seeing the SWANABAQ community together, elated and proud.

If you would like to join SWANABAQ during pride please check out Bibi, a Middle Eastern Queer club night this friday, June 27th.



Sunday, June 22, 2008


What happens when you leave your home to not only escape your family’s oppression of your queer sexual identity but also because your father is the head of a “Great Old Ones”- idolizing cult in a small Pacific Northwestern town?

Director Dan Gildark and screenwriter Grant Cogswell depict one of the possible answers to this question in the film Cthulhu.

For the uninitiated, the title is pronounced “kuh-THOO-loo.”

Who are the “Great Old Ones”, you may ask? Early 20th century horror writer H.P. Lovecraft created the fictional deities called the Great Old Ones who, when awoken from their deep sleep at the bottom of ocean, would come back to the surface to reclaim the planet as their own. No one is exempt from the sheer horror of their return and you had better be on their good side because these ancient deities are merciless and will destroy your perceptions of reality with a mere flailing of their tentacles. Cthulhu is just one of these terrifying Great Old Ones who will resurface.

Yeah…I don’t want to get on Cthulhu’s bad side. Ever.

Gildark’s film, shown this past Saturday night as a part of Frameline’s San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival, deals with issues of family, sexuality, religious cults and the ultimate understanding that one can never go home again. A reinterpretation of Lovecraft’s short story, The Shadow Over Innsmouth, Cthulhu involves a mystery surrounding the hometown of Russell Marsh (Jason Cottle)and his family’s involvement in a shadowy cult that may be responsible for the disappearance of numerous townspeople. As Russell searches for answers, he reunites with his old friend/flame, Mike (played with a sexy steadiness by Scott Patrick Green).
Oh, yes, and Tori Spelling is in it as well. She is actually quite good.

When introducing his film to the audience, Gildark announced that the film will be undergoing another edit and then distributed by Regent Releasing in August or September of 2008. Along with those big plans, he also commented that his film is about “just plain folks.” I agree with that assessment. What makes Cthulhu so riveting is not only the mounting suspense as the mystery surrounding Russell and his family begins to spiral out of control, but also the exploration of sexual orientation and gender that take place within the bond between Russell and Mike, as well as the depictions of heterosexuality as expressed by the religious cult.

This film has chills, thrills and the sheer dread of knowing that no one, not even queer folks, are beyond the unspeakable horror that is Cthulhu.



Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Young and Evil

Although the San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival is great place to see stars and preview upcoming full-length features, frameline 32 is also showcasing some of the best LGBT short films around right now.

The Young and Evil collection was a presentation of eight shorts dealing with youth and confronting your vices. The packed crowd in the legendary Castro Theatre liked the variety, and the narratives kept everyone on the edge of their seats.

The program was named after a short of the same name. It centers on a troubled Black gay teen trying to intentionally infect himself with the HIV virus.

Yes, you heard me right.

Writer-director Julian Breece explained his inspiration for the film was to show how destructive behavior can sometimes be beautiful defiance. “Often times [when talking about HIV/AIDS and the African American community] we just hear statistics and such, but I really wanted to show the heart of the matter…the tortured desire,” he said.

Starring Vaughn Lowery (who you may remember from those Joe Boxer ads) The Young and Evil had its world premiere at the festival, but expect buzz/controversy as it plays more around the country in the coming months.

El Primo (The Cousin) was another crowd favorite. Set it Loredo, Texas, it tells the story of a Latino teenager who visits his older cousin and learns (the hard way) when you want to be like someone else so bad, you often lose yourself in the process. The chemistry between the actors was endearing and engaging (the frontal nudity didn’t hurt either).

For a full list of shorts in the program, visit the frameline 32 website.



Gay Bed & Breakfast of Terror! A Frameline Film

Alright people, it's time for the largest gay event of the year, the "Blue Party" in the desert, do you have your leather pants, tanning oil and elicit substances? Good! Did you reserve lodging? Well how about the Sahara Salvation Bed & Breakfast? At Sahara Salvation, Helen and her daughter Luella are your typical God loving mother-daughter team running the quaint "gay friendly" B&B in the hilariously campy horror flick "Gay Bed & Breakfast of Terror". At this "slice of paradise" in the desert there seems to be a more horrifying experience awaiting the five couples staying this year. There's the reigning Mr. Leather and Alex, his drag queen boyfriend (played by gay porn star Michael Soldier who came to the premiere as his drag alter-ego "Precious Moments"), a yuppie gay couple with their older "fag hag" straight friend, a body paint creating lipstick lesbian couple, a singer/song writer and her tomboy girlfriend, and a sugar daddy with his boytoy in tow.

Normally I would mention the cinemagraphic quality of the film, but that queen Precious Moments decided to sit right in front of me with her flawless but overwhelming bloom of a hairdo. This campy, over-the-top horror production featured more hilarious one-liners than an episode of Last Comic Standing, with gems such as "boys will do boys," "We'll find you a nice boy to marry and convert to save from Satan," and the loving homage to Mommie Dearest, "NO MORE GIRLFRIENDS!" While the production value was low quality, this only added to the b-movie horror aspect of this raunchy, gorey and sexually exhilirating feature. The tongue-in-cheek portrayals of stereotypical gay couples only added hilarious moments but also offered a poignant review of misgivings towards and within the LGBT community.

Writer, director and actor, Jaymes Thompson, creates a thrilling but intentionally "so bad it's good" creature feature with a steady momentum, gripping death scenes, and brilliant frightening moments that leave you standing in your seat screaming, "run girl, run!" Keep a look out for "Gay Bed & Breakfast of Terror" as it was just picked up for theatrical release in September. In other exciting news, director Jaymes Thompson will be releasing a gay grindhouse double feature with another gay horror director!



Friday, June 20, 2008

Boys Have a "Merck-y" Future

Last year, Gardisal, the vaccine against the
Human Papillomavirus (HPV) was released to the public after receiving full FDA approval. While there has been much controversy surrounding the vaccine, Gardisal has gone off without a hitch. The most widely argued controversy has been of the suggested age range for the vaccine, that of ages 9 - 26. This left many conservatives stuck with their arms firmly in the air while yelling "what do we say to our children?!" Recently, researchers announced that this vaccine is also effictive on women over the age of 26, leaving us with one question, "what about us boys?"

While the vaccine was clinically tested amongst 30,000 women over several trials, no such testing has been conducted with those of the XY chromosomal nature. However, men are seen as the leading carriers for incidences of oral, anal and vaginal HPV cases. So why not just nip this in the bud (butt)? Thankfully it looks as though pharmo companies like Merck & GlaxoSmithKline are investigating such a matter as I type.

Currently Merck, the maker of Gardasil, is gathering data on the effectiveness of this vaccine on boys. However, there really is not much of chance that female and male immune systems will react differently to this vaccine. In the meantime, we must wait a few years before enough data is gathered to prove this case.



Thursday, June 19, 2008

Affinity, opening film LGBT festival

Lead paragraph(s) here.
Class is often invisible to those in the upper echelons. So it is that the movie, Affinity, as revealed to us through the eyes of one of the principal characters, Margaret, fools us as she is fooled in this beautiful adaptation of the novel by Sarah Waters. Margaret is a wealthy woman who has lost her father to whom she was devoted. To relieve her grief she becomes a regular visitor to Millbank, a notoriously bleak prison for women in London in the latter half of the 19th century. There she meets and falls in love with a beautiful medium. The story has all the elements of a picturesque lesbian love story but I found it affected me much more deeply than such a scenario might.
The rest goes here.

I read Waters first novel, Tipping the Velvet, and viewed the adaptation, as well as read Affinity. I loved the first novel and enjoyed the adaptation but I must admit that I enjoyed the movie version of Affinity even more than the book, which seemed weighted down somehow by a slow paced description of Margaret’s life. She is as confined in her gilded prison as Selina is in gothic goal. The dresses she wears, as well as the customs of the times are richly visualized in a way that doesn’t require words. I was also intrigued by the film’s portrayal of spiritualism, a topic I researched for a play I wrote some time ago. Waters and the film convey a true sense of what it might have meant to believe in communication with the dead and the power of a world beyond the material. They show us how a logical, sane person might be convinced of the existence of spirits, especially when falling love.

In the discussion after the film, Waters and the screenwriter, Andrew Davies, expressed a belief about spiritualist mediums I share. Some were or are today sincere and can help people, even if they have to cheat a little to keep up their reputations and produce the results their believers come to demand. I won’t reveal the ending but I believe you will be surprised and you will be left, as I was, to wonder why you didn’t see what was so obvious. It’s almost like that old riddle about the car accident where a child and his father are rushed to the hospital and the doctor says, “I can’t operate on that boy, he’s my son.” Who is the doctor? People couldn’t get that the doctor was his mother.

I strongly recommend this movie to anyone who is interested in women, historical dramas and welcomes a chance to examine their own assumptions about gender, class and sexuality.



Monday, June 02, 2008

why is this mom sooo scared of sex ed?

Because teachers are giving kids the green light to shower together--and we're not talking after gym here!!!

Well, okay, JK, not really. Don't mean to alarm you.

But that is the scary message the National Abstinence Education Association is giving to parents. The group kicked off an email campaign, which aims to enlist one million people in its fight to throw out comprehensive sex ed programs from public schools in favor of abstinence-based curricula.

Meanwhile, almost all research on sex ed has shown that abstinence education is not effective in lowering rates of pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections.

One thing's for sure: NAEA knows how to elicit our emotions. Its video may exaggerate and manipulate some information to get its point across. But with great camera work, some talented actors, and an amusing dialog, it's easy to get caught up in a story and forget about real-life facts.

I even found myself thinking "too much, too much" to the part about teens hiding condoms on their bodies.