Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Man on Top of the World: Q&A #13

Is Izzy based off of David Bowie?

- Chaz Martin

Oh yes - circa his The Man Who Fell To Earth era with that hair, especially, hehe!


But of course we're talking about Izzy channeling David Bowie, in look, style, aesthetic, aura, and sex appeal. Being that Izzy is transfemme and essentially bi-gender, he also channels others like:

Candy Darling


Marilyn Monroe / Norma Jeane Baker



Louise Brooks


And many, many others, because as y'all readers know, Izzy is a man of many characters!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Crying In The Rain: Rest In Peace, Debbie Reynolds

Tragic. Unbelievably tragic.

Just like that, within just 48 hours, two generations of amazing women are gone, just like that. And I think it's pretty safe to say that Debbie Reynolds died from a broken heart, to lose her baby girl.


It's a cold and yet warm feeling to imagine that at least mother and daughter are together again. But the daughter that's left behind...to lose your mother AND your grandmother within a day apart, poor Billie Lourd. Nobody should ever have to go through this kind of pain.


My heart goes out to all three of them.

Rest In Peace, Carrie and Debbie, and long live the memories and the legacy that they left behind.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

On Grief Shaming, and RIP Carrie Fisher

Now we lost our beloved Carrie Fisher.


We've lost so many legends all in one and the same year, and people wonder why people are blaming it on 2016?

No, it has nothing to do with literally blaming a time or year. We're losing cultural icons way too fast, way too young, too quickly, and too tragically within days, weeks, and months apart in the same year, and the only way many can cope with it is by simply saying "Fuck 2016." Not literally blaming 2016, it's not that literal. It's simply acknowledging that this is the year where truly there's heartbreak after the next, one loss after another, and it all so happened to take place in 2016, and in such a very strange and sad way.

RIP, Carrie. The Force will always be with you, and you will always be with us.

Nobody has been personally bullying me, but I'm seeing this aplenty on social media, on this thing that's become a thing now: grief shaming.

 I can imagine you have many friends that are critical of people mourning over celebrity deaths. To each their own, of course, but please, don't let any of them invalidate your natural human response to mourn. It's not only the celebrity we're mourning for, it's the end of an era, a piece of our childhood, and a huge chunk of pop culture that is now gone. And heck yeah that's worth crying for, we're allowed to cry, and celebrate, and remember, and love, at the same time, for such a loss.
We're crying for you now Carrie Fisher, and we will celebrate, remember, and love you, for as long as we want and need to, because dammit, you deserve it.


Again, I'll say it again: NOBODY is LITERALLY blaming 2016 for the losses. But we will keep on saying it until and maybe even long after it's over: Fuck you, 2016.


I don't know why or since when grief shaming has been a thing, but seriously: mourning for a celebrity does NOT mean that we don't care about the death of ordinary people, there's no universal law or rule out there that says you can only mourn for people you know personally, and last time I checked, who one personally mourns for doesn't hurt anyone. Being annoyed by the general population mourning is one thing, but grief shaming is petty, period.

To anyone who is being guilt shamed: don't. You can mourn for whoever you like or want to, for as long as you want or need to. Our human nature to mourn is only a thing of beauty, care, and love, and that's worth giving into even in times when others may not tap into that as much as many others.  It's not about them. It's only about you and the one(s) you're mourning for and celebrating. Whether you know the person or not, the celebrity or not, grieving is love, and love is still love, even in this case.

 

Monday, December 26, 2016

2016: The Year of Endless Heartbreak: RIP George Michael

When I first heard the news that George Michael passed away on Christmas Day, I was shocked.


This was more than a man, more than just an artist, but George Michael was a gay icon who essentially made a soundtrack around his sexuality through his amazing music, beautiful voice, and his huge talent, and it's because of that why we'll never forget him, eternally thank him, and always love him. Thank you George Michael for never letting us down and making us believe in the power of faith. And freedom!



As if it wasn't already heartbreaking enough that we lost David Bowie and Prince, but now George Michael too? Seriously. I don't think I'll ever get over how we lost David Bowie, Prince, AND George Michael in one and the same year. So fucking surreal. And we lost these three so quick, so suddenly, and so cruelly.  2016 is in more ways than one truly the year of endless heartbreak.


 In times of so many celebrity deaths, here we'll go again and again with many trying to criticize why we mourn for celebrities/icons in the first place. We can mourn for our heroes for as long as we want to; there's no right way of doing it, there's no deadline for when it should end, there's no "normal" time span for it. It only means we're holding them closer now than ever before when they were on this Earth, sharing their beautiful gifts with us. From with us to no longer, we will always love them.

As long as we'll always have music, we'll always have freedom and faith.


Monday, December 19, 2016

Kicking Off 2017 With...

My first-ever magazine publication, and it's with the fabulous and inventive Bonk! Magazine!



More details to come soon: stay tuned!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Man on Top of the World: Q&A #12

If Izzy and the Diamonds were American, how do you think the story would differ?

- Tanezia McAdams

I don't think the story itself would have been different, but the context of it would change drastically because the 1970's glam rock era originated in the United Kingdom. The outrageous costumes, androgyny, gender playing, makeup, hairstyles, and attitudes of the glam rock scene didn't cross over well in America. David Bowie, as well as many others like Marc Bolan, T. Rex, Sweet, and Roxy Music, to name a few, made glam rock well known, popular, and fashionable, and so did American glam rock artists like Alice Cooper, New York Dolls, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, and Jobriath. These artists were a hit, and may have crossed over well in the states, but the genre itself was not necessarily as hip and happening in the USA. The American glam rock artists had to scale back on the androgyny, fashion, etc. to please an American audience, or they fell into obscurity too quickly because the glam rock aesthetic was too avant-garde for America. Glam rock not only wasn't that marketable in America, but it was offensive, panned, and criticized. If Izzy and the Diamonds were American, they'd indeed be more excited to tour in Europe than at home, because it's in Europe where they'd be accepted, applauded, and marketable, and they would be way more popular there than at home! Whereas at home they may have had to scale back on their fashion, makeup, etc., as soon as they'd make it to Europe, they would go crazy, like they already do now as they are, as Brits, hehehe.

Part 1 of this David Bowie documentary, Hang On To Yourself, gives more insight into what I'm talking about, furthermore showing how glam rock wasn't only a genre of music, but of a culture :).

Monday, December 12, 2016

The Man on Top of the World: Q&A #11

Had the story taken place in modern times, what genre of music would Izzy have played? How would this affect his relationship with Jon. In general, how do you think the story would have gone in a modern setting?

- Tanezia McAdams

Very good question! I honestly find it hard to believe that Izzy would be Izzy if it weren't for when he arrived at the time and era that was destined to him. The 1970's and glam rock was where and when artists could freely invent their own kind of music and their image too, and with such abandon. No other era and genre of music was quite like that, where it was so much about freedom and experimentation, so respected and applauded. If Izzy existed in let's say the 90's, he wouldn't stray too far from rock and roll. He'd be a pop-rock artist, with more leanings towards the pop sound. He'd have to be even more so in the closet, like he couldn't even flirtatiously hint that he was bisexual, he'd present as strictly straight, and musically, he'd be too risky, too cheesy, and probably not cool, not with his aesthetic and style. If anything, he'd just be a flash in the pan, and would be drowned out by the boy bands and girl bands. And let's say if he did exist in this modern context, this would even more so affect his relationship with Jon, where they'd both have to present as so straight, and they certainly also couldn't have played with androgyny either, no glam makeup, no glam fashion even. Essentially, everything that made them who they are on and offstage wouldn't exist if they lived in another time and place. Their ambitions, hopes, wants, and dreams would also change tremendously, or if not change, it would just be wishful thinking, like a pipe dream. Chances are, and most likely and most saddest of all, he'd probably end up with somebody else, and it wouldn't be with Jon.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Man on Top of the World: Q&A #10

Was Roxanne just trying to get a record deal, or nah?

- Tanezia McAdams

Oh my, what makes you think that?! ;)

Roxanne had two loves: Izzy Rich and a hunger for being a superstar just like her man.


 (À la Angela Bowie, circa 1973)

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Man on Top of the World: Q&A #9

Does Leo work for the family business, or does he do something else?

- Tanezia McAdams

Yes, Leo works for the family business. Another reason why Jon wants to stay far, far away from working in the family business! ;)

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Design For Living

I thank Cole Riley for mentioning Design for Living in his review of my book, or else it would have taken me even longer for me to finally get to reading and watching this incredible play and movie.



What I adore soo much about the pre-Code era was for how soo ahead of the times the films were in exploring human sexuality, feminism, and re-defining social norms, the things we hold so dear today unlike back then. Design for Living is everything that a 1930's threesome is and was: so sexy, carefree, daring, and progressive, and also banned and denied. It's surprising that for how so ahead of the times it was, this movie is so underlooked and underrated today. This movie tickled me at the same time that it truly made me swoon at seeing this trio embark on an "uncommon lifestyle" and giving it a go, having a ball with this great unknown.

I'd highly recommend getting a copy of the Criterion version of this for the essay by film critic Kim Morgan and the Joseph McBride interview that explores all of what makes Design for Living so unique for its time. To this day, this one is very special, and is now one of my favorite plays and movies.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Beautiful

And the reviews keep getting better and better, more generous and BEAUTIFUL.

I love a review that's chock full of film and book references!



 And it's always so lovely to know that a reader truly gets it!


And I'm glad that many are overall enjoying the story.



Thank you to everyone so far who has written their "take" on The Man on Top of the World. Each and every passionate interpretation has truly moved me and has helped make this book more visible.

Each and every single one of you, you're rock stars to me. Love ya!


Friday, November 18, 2016

The Man On Top of the World: Q&A #8

What would Jon have pursued career wise if he never ended up as Izzy's drummer? Would he have just fell in line with the family business or maybe look for something else to do?

- Tanezia McAdams

This was answered in the book in three scenes: in Chapter 3, Chapter 11, and Chapter 16 :). Jon always wanted to work with a famous musician, a rock star in particular. It didn't have to be Izzy, but he wanted to work with Izzy, that was his ultimate dream. If it wasn't Izzy, he would be with another celebrity artist. Being a drummer for a rock star was what he'd do whether he was with The Diamonds or not. The family business is his easy and guaranteed Plan B, but one he'd prefer not to do because as much as he loves diamonds and takes pride in being a Maxwell, the business isn't his thing. 


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Man On Top of the World: Q&A #7

The Man on Top of the World Q&A is back! Did you miss it? ;)

So far, questions have been asked about Jonathan, Roxanne, and Izzy. Now, here's one for Holly!

                                                                         ***
Do you think Izzy and Jon would have ever gotten together if Izzy didn't create Holly?

- Tanezia McAdams

Oh, definitely and absolutely they would have gotten together eventually. Holly helped launch their love affair, making it so much easier and faster for them to bare their heart, soul, and feelings to each other romantically and shamelessly. Holly wasn't an all-or-never-at-all gateway to them getting together, but she was convenient and arrived at the right time when Jon and Izzy were ready to take their relationship further. And if it weren't for her, Izzy and Jon wouldn't have been as honest, tender, and free with one another and not nearly as quickly and as effortlessly. She was their God-send!


Monday, November 14, 2016

From The Trump Rally....With Love

From the Trump rally at Washington Square, NYC with love.





And my little contribution:


Saturday, November 12, 2016

Unravel

While you are away
My heart comes undone
Slowly unravels
In a ball of yarn
The devil collects it
With a grin
Our love
In a ball of yarn
He'll never return it
So when you come back
We'll have to make new love


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

From Brexit To Trump: Where Are We Now?


There's so much and so many reasons why we have reasons to be worried, scared, disappointed, angry, and afraid. We all have every right to feel this way, and also have every right and reason to also try and be positive, optimistic, and hopeful, even with teary eyes and hanging by just a thread.

So Donald Trump won. He is our new president. He needs to redeem himself somehow. "Make America Great Again" has to start with him. He can't run our country under such toxic and dangerous hate, bigotry, and fear that has made this election more painful and scary than any election that has come before. All the people who voted for him can't have it both ways either. If they want to "Make America Great Again," it has to start with them too, with all of us, but especially them and him.

I'm by no means telling anyone what to do and how to feel. How I feel and what I do is me.  This country has a whole lot of healing ahead from all the negativity and pain this election caused, and it starts today, on ironically the same day when 27 years ago in 1989, the world celebrated the fall of the Berlin Wall. And now we have a new president who wants to build one. Isn't the irony chilling?

This new president and AmeriKKKa will NOT erase the good that's in this world and in this country. They may fuck up with the progress that was made, but I will NOT give in and let them take over, or else this win for now will be a win forever. Fuck that. Never that. Fighting and keeping things positive, hopeful, and optimistic doesn't make me naive - it's hard, it's a balancing act, it's something that I've trained myself to do all at once, and I will still keep fighting, believing, and hoping, online as well as actually doing something about it offline and face-to-face, as if it's easy when it's not, regardless if people agree or disagree with me. This isn't about me. It's about our future. Our future deserves to keep the faith, hope, and belief that hate may have won for now, but it won't be a winner forever. Never forever. This we can be sure of admist all this fear and uncertainty:

Hate, from time to time in history, wins. But hate never wins forever.

The progress is never for nothing. It only continues, but we only fight harder, to make our convictions, and us, even stronger than before. And this we know as well:

As scary and fucked up this all is, I know that I'm still loved, that my LGBTQI community is still loved, and that love still exists, that love, no matter what, is still real. Love is as valid as you and me.


We have survived before. We've never stopped, we never will. We will survive again.


And we must remember this too:

Our self-love and self-care more than ever matters. Nobody is alone. We have each other.


Friday, November 4, 2016

Spread Your Take/Interpretation!

And The Man on Top of the World reviews keep coming!



I truly appreciate them all. I know that realistically not every single person who reads Man will also review it, but anyone and everyone's "take" on it does matter to me - I do not take it for granted!

You can review Man just about anywhere on the Internet where a review can be posted.

The Top 3 Places:

Amazon  / Amazon.co.uk

Goodreads

B&N

Everybody's take/interpretation of any book is going to vary because we're all just so different with too many unique tastes. There's no book out there that's for everyone, but...with the millions upon millions of books in the world, we're never short in finding a book that's fitted just for you. That's why I appreciate reviews and also all that every book has to offer in our beautifully diverse world.


(David Bowie, NYC 2013, Jimmy King)

To all who have been spreading the word and your take so far - THANK YOU! LOVE YOU!

And to those present and future who will - I can't wait to hear your voice!

THANK YOU. LOVE YOU.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

The Man On Top of the World Q&A: To Be Continued...

... on November 16th - which would make it 3 months since The Man On Top of the World has been out! ;) Since the election is coming fast and soon, I thought it best to continue on with the Q&A then.

Long before this Q&A started and since it began, I'm truly amazed at how incredible my readers are - y'all are something pretty awesome. The questions that have been submitted so far have been so thoughtful, inspiring, intelligent, sexy, and oh so much fun! Let's please keep this spirit going!


As a friendly reminder: this Q&A is an ongoing thing. Any questions that you have for the book, its characters, or for me, I'll answer them. There's no rush. There's no deadline here. This Q&A will keep going for as long as people contribute questions to it, and I'm not planning on stopping either! No matter how busy I am, I will always make the time to post the Q&A here.

To all who have participated so far, Scarlett Knight, Tanezia McAdams, Marie M, and Chaz Martin: thank you for your gorgeous questions and thank you also for reviewing the book on Amazon and Goodreads.

I know that not everyone is into reviewing, and that realistically not everyone who reads this book will review it as well, but your interpretation/take on it does matter: readers do read them and I do appreciate all of them. Bad review or good review, I don't take any review or reader for granted.

Love you all, all you real rock and rollers.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

"I Want A Dyke For President"

I saw this Zoe Leonard billboard at NYC's High Line yesterday. It's so powerful. Makes you stop to read it more than once. And most of all, THINK.


Mykki Blanco performing "I Want A Dyke For President" is as moving as the words written and now spoken.


Sunday, October 30, 2016

LGBT Film Review: Moonlight



There hasn't been a movie since Pariah that so realistically and beautifully tells the story of what it means to be black and gay. With Moonlight, we have not only the journey of one young man who's coping with his sexuality, but also with his mother being a drug addict and with his relationship with his best friend, Kevin. The two shape who he is from a bullied, innocent, and confused boy ("Little"), a tortured teenager ("Chiron"), and a tough, headstrong adult ("Black") into a person who from beginning to end has a story and yet no story, a mystery that has yet to be solved. This gives Moonlight an almost unfinished feel about it, where so much is left unanswered, but this we know: Moonlight is moving, thought-provoking, lyrical, intimate, stunning, and powerful, a near-perfect triumph of LGBT cinema that will touch the Little/Chiron/Black in all of us who have been - or are still - in his shoes.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

"Bowie"

Somehow and so brilliantly, the talented Menno Kooistra summed up David Bowie's entire legacy in one breathtaking video that pays tribute to such a beautiful man.

No exaggeration - this is incredible! It made me cry.


Friday, October 28, 2016

The Man On Top of The World: Q&A #6

If Izzy and Jon had been men of color in the same setting, how do you think the story would differ?

- Tanezia McAdams

For sure, Izzy would channel Little Richard more than David Bowie! Not enough love is given to just how intolerably beautiful and effeminate Little Richard was - and this was way back in the 1950's!

What a man! 




Even David was a Little Richard fan!


The story arc would still be the same. It would still be a glam rock soap opera/love triangle, but with even more tension, frustrations, drama, and emotion because of the racism, homophobia, and bigotry that Jon and Izzy would face for being glam rock men of color. Izzy would most likely be treated differently. The interviews would focus on his race as much if not more than his sexuality. He'd be even more sensationalized because he's an androgynous and ambiguous black entertainer. In the states, he wouldn't merely be treated like an alien. For sure, their trip would have been dangerous in those Bible Belt states - and Izzy would have a whole lot to say about that! Izzy and Jon's bond would be even closer because despite Izzy being the rock star, they'd share the same struggles and burdens in their industry because of their race. They'd not only have their groupies, but probably chasers, fetishists, and more than a few racists in the mix - which would mean even more work for Izzy's security team! Roxanne and Izzy's pairing would be extremely sensationalized. The interviews would heavily hinge on their interracial relationship, treating it as something taboo and outrageous. Izzy would be even more scared of his relationship with Jon if it were public, afraid that they'd be killed if they were out. And the way the story ends, it would have us wondering even more about Jon and Izzy's fate. It could potentially be even more heartbreaking as well as triumphant. All this would undoubtedly make The Man on Top of the World even more interesting - and a much longer book, lol!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Intersex Awareness Day

Gender is everything and yet nothing to me. I've explained it few times before, but on Intersex Awareness Day, it's that time to remind myself again that in my heart of hearts:



I'm proud to be intersex.


With my intersex condition, it's a blessing and a curse to have male and female genitals, but I love it.

I love me.

My genitals do not make, dictate, define, or validate my gender.

I'm transgender. And proud of that too.

I've never identified with the gender I was assigned with and raised as. I always knew I was different. People oftentimes still see a dude, even when I am femme. As much as I tried to "pass" as female as much as possible, even with breasts, I never fit in with women, or men. I still did not belong in the binary and with the conformity of it, regardless. And in the masculine, it made no difference: people for the most part weren't sure what they really saw: a man? or a woman? People's perception of my gender based on my appearance, is not that important to me, and it actually means nothing to me. Because of my androgyny, the perceptions will vary so much, from person-to-person. That's my normal. Whether I'm gendered as male, female, or both, I'm not one or the other. I'm not both.

At the heart of me, regardless of what people see, at the end of the day, I'm neither male or female.

I identify as Vanessa, as someone who's intersex and trans, who's non-binary by nature, who doesn't let my genitals, my upbringing, my clothing, and our society define my gender identity. I identify as myself, who's free to be happy, who's free to be self-accepted as the person I am, as simply Vanessa.

This awareness wasn't something that happened overnight. Who I have become from head to toe and inside and out has nothing to do with my looks, my hormones, my gender expression, and so forth. It has everything to do with me, from my soul that I've searched my lifetime for and am at peace with today. What a blessing that I'm alive and living to be at this peace with my intersex body and gender identity all at once, in a lifetime where many may still find me confusing. But I am NOT confused.

I'm just being Vanessa.