Saturday, November 21, 2015

David Bowie is at his best when he's weird.

In a nutshell, that's Blackstar. And naturally, I LOVE it.


What's to love so much about it?

It's David! And he's back. And embracing his age and his gray hair. That's hot. He's hot. Damn.


His new band. They're a jazz band doing rock and roll. And it works. Brilliantly, actually.

The lyrics. 

For me, the song/video really kicks in at 4:41 mins into it. And these verses are incredible (and you really got to love David's dancing and Thom Yorke-like impressions he's doing):

(Courteously posted on David's Facebook Page)

SOMETHING HAPPENED ON THE DAY HE DIED
SPIRIT ROSE A METRE THEN STEPPED ASIDE
SOMEBODY ELSE TOOK HIS PLACE AND BRAVELY CRIED:
I’M A BLACKSTAR
I’M A BLACKSTAR

HOW MANY TIMES DOES AN ANGEL FALL?
HOW MANY PEOPLE LIE INSTEAD OF TALKING TALL?
HE TROD ON SACRED GROUND HE CRIED ALOUD INTO THE CROWD
I’M A BLACKSTAR
I’M A BLACKSTAR
I’M NOT A GANGSTAR

I CAN’T ANSWER WHY
I’M A BLACKSTAR
JUST GO WITH ME
I’M NOT A FILMSTAR
IMMA TAKE YOU HOME
I’M A BLACKSTAR
TAKE YOUR PASSPORT AND SHOES
I’M NOT A POPSTAR
AND YOUR SEDATIVES BOO
I’M A BLACKSTAR
YOU’RE THE FLASH IN THE PAN
I’M NOT A MARVELSTAR
I’M THE GREAT I AM
I’M A BLACKSTAR

I’M A BLACKSTAR I’M WAY UP, ON MONEY, I’VE GOT GAME
I SEE RIGHT, SO WIDE, SO OPEN-HEARTED PAIN
I WANT EAGLES IN MY DAYDREAMS, DIAMONDS IN MY EYES
I’M A BLACKSTAR
I’M A BLACKSTAR

SOMETHING HAPPENED ON THE DAY HE DIED
SPIRIT ROSE A METRE THEN STEPPED ASIDE
SOMEBODY ELSE TOOK HIS PLACE AND BRAVELY CRIED:
I’M A BLACKSTAR
I’M A STARSTAR
I’M A BLACKSTAR

I CAN’T ANSWER WHY
I’M NOT A GANGSTAR
BUT I CAN TELL YOU HOW
I’M NOT A FLAMSTAR
WE WERE BORN UPSIDE DOWN
I’M A STARS STAR
BORN THE WRONG WAY ROUND
I’M NOT A WHITESTAR
I’M A BLACKSTAR

OO OO OO OO

I’M NOT A GANGSTAR
I’M A BLACKSTAR
I’M A BLACKSTAR

OO OO OO OO

I’M NOT A PORNSTAR
I’M NOT A WANDERING STAR


I don't know if it's only me, but the one line "Something happened on the day he died..." made me think and wonder if David's singing about his father, Haywood Stenton Jones. I'm most likely totally off about that, but you never know! I guess it's mostly because David looks soo much like his dad now more than ever. The Jones have such strong genes (his daughter with Iman, Lexi, also looks as much like her grandfather as she does her daddy!)




The intense creep factor. 

Honestly, it's not that creepy for me, but it's creepy in general, and only Bowie can make it sexy with the "beady eyes" and somehow has made scarecrows hot too lol.




This music video makes sense and yet it doesn't make sense. Maybe there's no meaning behind anything, maybe it's just surreal for the sake of being surreal. Some fan theories are that it's about:

- Major Tom. The last of a "trilogy" of sorts where we're first introduced to Major Tom in "Space Oddity," where he's resurrected in "Ashes to Ashes," and his God-like status is now complete with "Blackstar."

- Making references to Labyrinth (especially with the girl with the tail).

- About Satanism.

Who knows! I think it could possibly be about all this and more. If there's one thing I've learned about David is that even if there may be a lot of symbolism and themes in his works, he doesn't really dissect the work that much and usually never has the answers to the questions his fans might have for his songs and/or music videos. The interpretations are up to us to decipher. It's part of the fun.

Here's a ★ interview that can also vouch for that. 

This is the Bowie that we've always known. Ever-changing. NEVER resting on his laurels. He's not the Chameleon King for nothing. This single alone makes me terribly excited at what ★ (that's the album's title, pronounced "blackstar") has in store. Without a doubt, ★ will blow our minds.

I mean, it's Bowie. He does this naturally.


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

HIV =


This is huge. This is important. This is something that we all need to realize:

Straight America needs to STOP thinking that HIV/AIDS only happens to gay people. It can happen to anyone. 

Now, the discrimination has to end, and we need to see this through an equal perspective. Anyone can be infected with HIV. We should show love, support, and empathy for anyone who does, regardless of their gender and sexual orientation. 

Charlie needs our love, not our laughs. No matter who's the butt of the joke, not everything is a joke. 

Straight or LGBT, we all have a status.

Stop the stigma, get tested, and don't be afraid - nobody is in this alone.


And lastly -

It's okay to have questions. It's not what's asked, but how you ask. We can all do the right thing.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Je Suis Paris

C'est un cauchemar, un vrai cauchemar...

Incroyable.

Dégueulasse. 

Horrifiant. 

Paix pour Paris qui j'aime beaucoup. 


 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Don't Call It A Comeback: A True Return to Form

Missy Elliott dropped her new single and its music video today, and....


Watch "WTF (Where They From)" and you'll be reminded of this:

Missy Elliott is a genius. 

Seriously. This is no overstatement and yet this is an understatement. Missy Elliott has always been innovative, creative, and inspiring, and she continues to be in her first new song and music video in quite some time. It has been 10 years, but her absence hasn't let people forget this. And her.

Missy Elliott is all about female empowerment and sexual positivity in a no-shame zone. 

Missy's one of those few artists who has managed to do this consistently without shouting and screaming about it. She lets her songs and music videos send off that message. It speaks for itself. 

Missy Elliott's fashion game is a fierce one. 

The disco ball suit. The makeup. This is sick. Only she'd come up with something this wild.

Missy Elliott and Pharrell are making marionettes super-duper cool. Where can we buy them?

 
The music industry really needed Missy Elliott back. 

In an industry that's more or less pretty predictable and formulaic, Missy Elliott has always and so consistently amazed us. Just when we'd think that she couldn't possibly be more creative with her music and the videos, she blows us away. Missy makes our jaws drop, Missy's music puts a spell on us to where we never stop listening. Do we want to? Not really, because this is what we need.

Missy Elliott and Dave Meyers create magic together. 

They are the masterminds of why Missy Elliott's videos are beasts. Need I say more?

There are no such thing as comebacks.... 

Just a true return to form.

Master of None: A Standing Ovation


There's a new show on Netflix, and as some of you know, I'm absolutely in love with it. I don't normally binge on TV shows. Heck, I'm not even one to care for most TV shows, be it on Netflix or on cable. This is the first I've even talked about a TV show that I watched on Netflix on here, but I had to, because it's that good. Only 1 episode into Master of None, and I was HOOKED. So hooked that I watched the whole series, all ten of the episodes, in one sitting. Sure, like any show, even one of this caliber, is going to have a few episodes that feel like "filler." Master of None only had one of those episodes, but the rest? Oh. My. God. This is not only comedy. Master of None is brilliantly constructive. It's racially and culturally diverse with an Indian man, the hilarious, adorable, and whip-smart Aziz Ansari, as the leading man, and there are also black and Chinese people of color that makes this show truly of its time, where men, women, people of color, and many cultures are inclusive. The diversity is killing me softly because it really is about time that we had this show.

Here are the little things that made me instantly adore Master of None:

- The Indian character, Dev, actually GETS LAID. He gets the girl! 

Seriously, Indian characters typically are never shown in this kind of light. They never get to have all (or any of) the fun on screen. They're always portrayed as if they aren't deserving of sex, love, romance, and affection of any kind and that they only belong in a taxi, restaurant, or doctor's office.

- It explores what we all know, but are so afraid to talk about: racism. And stereotypes. 

I can't rave enough about episode 4: "Indians on TV." I felt like this was a piece of Aziz's heart. This was the core of what makes this show so special, so important, so necessary, and so right. Aziz in his New York Times article talks about racism in the film and TV industry. More specifically, about how Indian actors and actress are typecast (or not even chosen for the part) based on asinine Indian stereotypes and race. I'd recommend reading this article before or after you watch "Indians on TV." To those who may only see the surface and may not entirely understand our worldview as people of color, "Indians on TV" will give you a glimpse of that perspective of how the struggle, the stereotyping, and the racism is real. It's an episode that will make you laugh as it will also make you think. And it masterfully really did touch upon EVERYTHING with what Indian actresses and actors go through as much now as they always did then. And in only 25 minutes? That's damn impressive.

- It explores interracial dating. Not as a fantasy. Not as a fetish. Just something real. 

Could be a spoiler, but not really: Dev's love interests are white. An Indian/white pairing is surprisingly rare to see in real life as well as on screen. But this is not enough: what it does more is examine some of the cultural differences that can enrich as well as complicate the relationship. This show explores that with such down-to-earth humor. It's so real to life that it gave me good chills. But it didn't beat us over the head about it and the relationships didn't hinge on that Dev is Indian and the girl is white. They're portrayed as normal couples, but it can't be denied that yes, sometimes, race and culture can test the relationship of an interracial couple. It's not make or break, but it will be there.

- How we need to respect and love our parents and/or elders. 

Episode 2 "Parents" and Episode 8 "Old People" is another heart of the show. It's all ooey-gooey and it's really such a universal message behind both episodes, except that the only difference is that Ep. 8 is more general where as Ep. 2 specifically explores Dev and his friend Brian's relationship with their parents who immigrated to America to make a better life for their kids. This was done with an equal dose of humor and sweetness. And if this episode won't warm your heart enough, fun fact: Dev's parents on the show are Aziz's real life parents! AND...read his dad post that he posted on FB.

AWWW, right?

 - Denise




She's black. She's lesbian. And she's FUNNY. Honestly, she's my spirit animal, lol.

And lastly....

THE DIVERSITY/INCLUSIVITY!

This is what makes this show groundbreaking. This is what makes this show brilliant. This is what makes this show EVERYTHING. There's no pandering, no making a big deal that these characters are Indian, black, lesbian, Chinese, and white and that they're friends and/or dating. There's no relying on stereotypes, no hinging on their identities and race - no, this show does NOT have time for that! And speaking of time, every episode feels too short, but that's because if it were any longer, its message wouldn't be as powerful and have as much impact. This series is bitingly to-the-point and yet somehow says it so much in such little time. That's more than amazing. That takes talent. None of these characters are stereotypical, cookie-cutter, and far from boring. Every character is more than their race, culture, job, gender, and sexuality. They are all real people with universal appeal. These are characters you can relate to. These are characters like you and me. And like our families. Everyone on this show from Aziz Ansari, Alan Yang, Kelvin Yu, and everyone else in this cast truly nailed it. Together, they created something quite special. The world needs more Master of None.


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

On Writing Trans And Intersex

Once in a while, I get somebody who comes up to me to want to hear my opinion on whether or not they should bother writing a trans or intersex story because it's outside their experience, and what my general viewpoint is on when cis people write trans or intersex stories. Or, in other words, on writing trans and intersex.


First off, this is a free country. You are allowed to write whatever you want as I can too. Nobody is saying that as a cis person, you aren't allowed to write trans and intersex stories. It doesn't bother me that cis people are telling our stories. It's OKAY. What bothers me is this:

- "This had to be written." 

If I had a dollar for every person who has told me this when revealing to me that they're writing a trans or intersex story as a cis person...

No book HAS to be written. Only school assignments (essays, creative writing projects, etc.) HAVE to be written, or else you won't get your grade to move on up to the next one.

It's a CHOICE to write a novel.

"This had to be published" would be better to say, but even that is highly narcissistic. This phrase in general annoys and bothers me because it's seriously, obnoxiously egotistical. Being one of thousands if not millions of authors writing a trans or intersex story does not make someone's book the special snowflake. It just doesn't. It's great that it's being written, but...it doesn't HAVE to be written.

- An ally is not our voice. An ally is not our mouth piece. An ally is a supporter, not God's gift to us. 

I see too much of this: when an ally projects this attitude that their novel/story will make or break an entire community, it presumes this notion that trans and intersex people don't have a voice and only allies can and should speak for us. Not only is this presumptuous, but that's an inflated self-serving  ego that reeks more of them being in it for themselves than actually caring about the people. Nobody needs to see that and it isn't about you. Writing a trans or intersex story, whether written by a cis or intersex and trans person, is not enough to make an impact in this world to make a change. Awareness, sharing articles, volunteering, taking action, being part of the conversation, and so much more is what really makes activism go round. A book can help, but it is not all that there needs to be.

- When an ally thinks one trans or intersex narrative represents all, and that's the basis of their story. 

I'll use Janet Mock's Redefining Realness as an example. Janet Mock's narrative is a great model, but hers is one of millions of trans narratives. Is it possible for those millions to be one and the same? Impossible. There's just no way. Janet Mock's story is not the definitive trans story. Nobody's trans story is. We can only speak from our own experiences with the hopes that others will share theirs.

Too many trans and intersex stories hinge ENTIRELY and ONLY on the character's gender identity. There's too much focus on just the person's genitals and surgery (or no surgery) to validate that person's gender identity and who they are as people. Where's the person? Who is the soul behind the trans or intersex character? Who are they in general? That person being trans or intersex is not all that they are about. Them being trans or intersex alone does not make that character/person interesting, and their character development shouldn't only revolve around them being trans, being pre-op or post-op, wanting surgery, not wanting surgery, etc. All trans and intersex people alike are individuals, so by nature, like everyone else, all our experiences are going to be different. There's no "right way" to transition. There's no "correct" way to be yourself. Just because many trans people want to fit into the binary and be "passable" does not mean that ALL trans people identify with it. Not ALL trans women are girly-girls and glamor goddesses. Some are tomboys or butch, that's how they want to present that way. Not ALL trans men are alpha male. Some are femme and are proud to be effeminate. Not all intersex people are gender neutral. There are intersex people who identify as female, male, or even both. Some trans women and some trans men are non-binary and may not identify with either gender even as trans female or trans male. This is all BEAUTIFUL. There are many shades of trans as there are many shades to transitioning too. We aren't black and white. We are as colorful in our experiences, journeys, and transitions as anybody else. The trans narrative in fiction needs to stop relying on the same tired tropes. We deserve better, because we are more than that.

And lastly,

- When the character being trans or intersex is made into a big deal. 

It's not. Trans and intersex people exist. It's not like finding the cure for cancer. It's NOT a big deal.

Let trans and intersex characters just be characters. Once their gender identity is established, let them spread their wings and be free as they are outside of their genitals, their surgical decisions, legal papers, and who they're sleeping with or falling in love with. The plot doesn't have to be only about those things. Let them just be trans or intersex, let them be who they are, as not a big deal, but as people who have layers and flaws, who are good people, bad people, let them just be people.

And just be an author/writer. You're telling/showing a story. Trans or intersex, the story has to be interesting, engaging, and entertaining. It doesn't need to be a public service announcement. If a point needs to be made, let it be there naturally. There's no need to force it or stand on a soap box about it.

Remember, as a cis person/ally supporting LGBT, you aren't the loudest voice in the room. Whether you're writing a book, taking part in the conversations, volunteering, etc. we're all making a difference. It's not about one person changing the world. We're all heroes. We're all in this together.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

On Appropriation: A Blatant Example

I love The Advocate, I still like them, but this...this was in bad taste.


The politically correct (PC) culture is strong and fierce these days, and it's necessary and important. However, I think appropriation is used so loosely these days, to the point where the PC culture is calling appropriation for just because somebody's wearing the costume, celebrating the holiday that's not of their culture, etc. when that alone doesn't make it appropriation. This is appropriation:

On their Facebook page, The Advocate used "Gay of the Dead" as their headline. So basically....

 - They reduced a sacred holiday into a silly meme. Where's the respect to the holiday?

- They clearly don't know what the holiday is about. The proof is that they posted this when it's not actually Día de los Muertos. That's on November 2. November 1 is where the people commemorate the children that lost their lives too soon. All they had to do was Google search it to know this. Doing that would show that they at least have some respect and sympathy for the culture. Evidently, they don't. Where's the respect to the culture?

- Chances are that nobody on their staff knows any Mexican people. If they did, they would have thought twice before doing this. Where's the respect to the people?

That's appropriation. Taking a culture that's not one's own, stripping away its meaning, and showing no respect to the people. What they could have and should have done was post about LGBT children who lost their lives too young, or make it about LGBT Mexicans celebrating their holiday. This meme will most likely be their only nod to the culture and holiday, and that's...that's not right. I was happy to see that ALL the comments, yes, ALL of the comments, in response to this on their page said that this was disrespectful, tacky, and in poor taste, even "wtf?" worthy. Do you agree?