By Jeff Walsh
As it starts, "A Jihad For Love" has a familiar feeling for anyone who's ever seen movies about issues of sexuality and spirituality. We learn that the only reference to homosexuality in the Qur'an is about Sodom and Gomorrah. And that, though not part of the Qur'an, several Hadith (sayings attributed directly to Muhammad) directly condemn homosexuality. So, we're in familiar ground here, in a debate that continues about how to rectify sexuality and spirituality.
From the beginning, if you interchanged the words Qur'an and Bible, it would seem to make a lot of the same arguments with which many Americans are familiar. But as the film plays on, the familiarity washes away. People are imprisoned. Their backs bearing the marks of 100 bloody lashes. They leave their home and wait as refugees seeking asylum from a country they love, families they miss, and a religion that is still an important and meaningful part of their lives.
Muslim filmmaker Parvez Sharma isn't out to poke holes in Islam, or quote scripture back and forth with scholars (in fact, every scholar in the movie without fail just says homosexuality is wrong). But he is clearly interested in showing the depth of purpose that many gay Muslims feel, and the disconnect that causes with their culture. Sharma is also showing many sides of Islam, but none resembling the Al Qaeda caricature we usually see.
By Jeff Walsh
I'm not an unbiased viewer of "Every Little Step," the new documentary about the Broadway show 'A Chorus Line.' It is my favorite Broadway show ever. It is one of the first Broadway shows I remember having an impact on me. The cast recording has been part of my life for as long as I can remember. I have never once applied for a job without singing 'Who am I anyway? Am I my resume?' I've been known to sing about getting plastic surgery on my 'tits and ass' in public at karaoke bars.
On top of all that, I am still friends with Jason Tam from the Chorus Line revival cast, who I met (of course) because he was in the show, so just seeing him on screen is delightful. He gets a lot of praise in other articles about this documentary, as his audition is prominently featured and simply amazing. He leaves the producers crying, and is hired on the spot. But I'm way too biased about how talented Jason is to say any more. You'll have to watch this film and find that out yourself.
By Jeff Walsh
"Outrage," a new documentary playing select cities beginning this weekend, is taking on the hypocrisy of anti-gay politicians who are also closeted homosexuals. In each case, there seems to be a direct correlation between the closet and their anti-gay voting records.
Unlike the trailer for the movie (embedded below), the movie names the people in closets of power, interviews their former sexual partners, talks about where they go out to meet people, and makes a strong case for the homosexuality the men, such as Senator Larry Craig, still deny to this day.
I suppose outing has become a generic word in the culture, so we should go back to explore its historic roots. In an age where Perez Hilton "outs" Neil Patrick Harris, it is important to know that outing in the political arena is not about playing a gotcha game for people who merely deny their sexuality but enjoy secret gay lives. It is about people who deny it and actually cause harm to every gay person who has to live with the laws they pass to prove the lies they tell themselves and others are real.
New age music has been greatly inspiring me. I've been playing ultra chill new age guitar, hooked up to Ableton and ran through delay, reverb, resonation, etc. and it's really changed my perspective on everything, and made me much more relaxed. I highly recommend getting into this music or playing it.
Thank you, Devin Townsend, for making the album Ghost. Also, does anyone here know any music similar to this?
Daddy was a very smart man with horrible decision making skills. My melancholy and not so fortunate story starts with a man who brought me into this world seven years before he decided it was time to say goodbye to the air that travelled through his damaged lungs. My father was a foster home, lost cause, individual set between metal bars. An alcoholic. And addict. Whatever the twisted, mangled, frayed, and shattered label may have been, to me he was my father. Daddy heard the voices; he starred down the un-seeable with this quickly fading sanity. ..
I think I swallowed your name that night in the bar.
I think you infected my veins while the music was
raging some 90s rock song and nobody was
paying attention to us as we ran to the back
room of this exile for tar-winged children.
And boy, now you're starving for some
sort of distraction in button-down lust;
a porn star type in DKNY jeans.
But I'm not one of those underground souls,
looking to lose consciousness
in pretty lashes and money-grabbing directors.
Honey, you can take a cab home because
I'm only here for the bottled-up affection
you said would never be mine
I definitely wish I had ended my speech with that, haha.
So, I graduated! Everything went surprisingly well. (The hat and I were absolutely not friends, though. It messed up my hair so much.) Giving the salutatory speech was beyond nervewracking, though. When I got onstage and looked out into the audience, for some reason, I thought this girl in the very back was FCG, so it freaked me out big time. I later discovered that the girl was not, in fact, FCG, but I couldn't tell that from the stage. (It was possible that she could've been there. She's apparently still friends with IG.) Despite my nerves, I actually gave the speech with minimal problems. I messed up once because I started reading the wrong line, but it was only a little mistake, so it wasn't that big a deal. And I didn't trip going up the steps or walking across the stage!
A lot of the other girls cried, but I didn't. I'm so glad to get out of there. I can't even begin to put the feeling into words.
We've had another spat over high school. I want to take Italian and move back to Italy to home school, and spend my days wandering those deliciously silent streets of Venice. But Mom purses her lips and says that she won't "narrow my horizons" like that, that I'll get a better degree if I stay here. She says I have to see the "light at the end of the tunnel." I can see a light alright, but I might have to walk into it before the four years are up. She keeps talking about rights of passage and persevering. I just don't know if I can survive this.
*I've been reading Judy Shepard's book "The Meaning of Matthew" about her son who was murdered in 1998. I wanted to write a poem about who Matthew was as a person, not just the headline story. The title was taken from Lady Gaga's cover of "Imagine" by John Lennon.*
The state melted into a pool
of cerulean in your eyes,
Wyoming tinted your hair
a cowboy prairie blond and
stained your boyish lips
with a wanderlust grin.
Matthew, you've grown
older by now but some
things never change like how
the Curious Unknown
still sparkles in your dreams,
the sticker lights of Laramie.
A few days ago I went with my father to pick up some speakers he had bought, and I fell asleep in the car on the way home. When I went to get out the door I saw a crane fly right next to where my face was, at most a couple of inches away. The next day I was walking my dog and the same crane fly flew right in front of me. The day after that (yesterday) it was in my room, flying around me. And just now it was outside my window, trying to get in my room. What the fuck is this?