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. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Man On Top of the World: Q&A #5

* Spoiler Alert *

Does Roxie take the settlement money and become the Queen of Pop in 1980s NYC? Is there another path/sequel potential? Inquiring minds want to know...

- Marie M


Are you clairvoyant, Marie? How did you know?! ;)

Yes, she does! Since all the rights to her first album goes to ex-husband Izzy Rich, she starts fresh with a new album, On The Rox, that she considers to be her actual first and real debut instead. If there were to be a second installment about Roxanne's story, I'd call the book by that album's title.

As to whether or not that installment will actually happen...nothing is written yet...but I will say for sure, without trying to jinx myself, that it's definitely a possibility!

Friday, October 21, 2016

The Man On Top of the World: Q&A #4

* Spoiler Alert *

Does Izzy ever go to rehab? Or something? Hell, does Jon? Therapy?

- Tanezia McAdams 

I guess this question was already answered in Q&A #3 as far as therapy goes. But as for rehab, no.

If The Man on Top of the World took place in modern-day times, they would have absolutely went to rehab! But being that it takes place in the 70's, it wouldn't be the most honest and true to the era if these guys didn't revel in the drug culture that was synonymous with their rock and roll lifestyle. It's crazy to us today, but back then, this was a time when not even coke was considered a bad drug. It wasn't a big deal how much they did drugs and why and how - they just did it, and did it a lot.


This may be debatable (or so I hope), but because of this lax attitude, neither Jon nor Izzy saw themselves as addicts, nor did anybody else around them think so. It wasn't as if they were the only ones who consumed a lot of drugs and booze, so those who did it with them didn't think they or them had problems either. Jon used drugs and booze as a coping mechanism in times when he had nowhere to turn to for emotional sanctuary. They were his refuge, his answer, to his problem. Izzy relies on drugs and booze in a similar way too. They were both walking that very fine line between just being rock and rollers who do what rock and rollers do, and being two men who really need help and should stop, for obvious reasons. But neither of them wanted to quit drinking or doping, not even after all that they went through, and not even with the near-fatal overdoses and the tragic deaths.

Now, that's not to say that nobody in the 1970's went to rehab, that nobody saw themselves as addicts, or that family and friends didn't intervene back in the day. And it's also not to say that everybody was this way back then. This book not only had to be true to the time period with how mostly normalized this all was, but the characters had to be true to themselves too. Jon and Izzy are flawed, always have, and will never be perfect. As much as they want to try and be better, they just aren't there yet in that Bowie/Iggy phase where it's "clean up time" and they journey sobriety together. Maybe in or for another story, but in this one, they wouldn't have been true to themselves if they randomly decided to get clean when it was never established that it was what they wanted to do. But who knows...maybe there will be that "clean up time" story for Jonathan and Izzy...only time will tell! 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Melanianade

SNL was surprisingly in rare form last night - it was non-stop HILARIOUS!

This is the first time that I've dedicated a blog post just to an SNL skit, but with this one, well, it was just so well done, it's so worth sharing lol. Melanianade was BRILLIANT - one of the best spoofs that they have done in a long time, at least since that Adele "Hello" parody last year!

"You'd just be that guy with the weird hair." 

Friday, October 14, 2016

Mr. and Mrs. Bowie: Eternal Love

On this day, fate united these two lovers together on their first date.

And the rest was Mr. and Mrs. Bowie history.


The Man on Top of the World: Q&A #3

** Spoiler Alert **

What does Jonathon do to work on himself during the 9-ish month break at the end of the story? Like, how does he approach his relationship with Izzy differently than how we saw him?

- Tanezia McAdams  


In the early stages of writing, when The Man was in its really rough state (in 2013), I had Jon tell us what happened. He and Izzy divided time between living with one another from Jon's condo to Izzy's mansion and doing all the things that Jon wished they could have done while on tour, like the domestic bliss stuff that he pined about and longed for. Like sleeping in, breakfast in bed, and being lazy, just staying in, not doing much and going nowhere all day, the two simply enjoying a "normal" day, having a "normal" relationship. Still in private and in secrecy naturally, but they were reveling in a domestic life that was only theirs, pretty intimate, quiet, and boring, just as they wanted it. Because Izzy wanted to keep the lowest profile ever while there was still noise and hype around his divorce and the scandal(s), they rarely went out. When they did, they'd sneak out at between midnight and 3AM or something to hang out with their band mates at their homes, with Izzy covered from head to toe when they'd step out in public from and back to Jon's car, being too quick to be noticed. Jon also went on telling us about how he and Izzy went to therapy, apart from each other. Jon went to a therapist for Odette to still pick up the pieces from that devastating relationship, and also for Leo, on how to better handle his hopeless relationship with his brother. Izzy went for Vivian, for Roxanne, on the abuse he did to her and on how to handle the divorce and its repercussions, and with still mourning the death of his family, and with his "daddy issues." As a couple, they weren't with a therapist (way too risky), but they pulled through with making music, some of it that would make the cut in On My Own (Not Alone). They even had plenty of sexless nights, the two just talking, like real in-depth talks about what went on in their therapy that day, on what they learned, and linking most of the lessons to their relationship. Sometimes those moments would be so heavy that there would be more crying, letting the pain out. Some nights they had to sleep in separate rooms for space and breathing room. Lifestyle-wise, they still smoked cigarettes, scaled back on the drinking, took a break from the hard drugs, and occasionally got high on reefer. This doesn't necessarily mean that they were trying to get clean. They just didn't need the hard drugs at this time when the fags, some liquor, and weed was enough, and they did this socially too, with their band-mates and friends.

So with all this not in the book obviously, this might have you (and others) be like "Wait, so why did you leave all this out?" This is a huge chunk of character development that's missing, right? Well, the problem was...with the writing. It was all telling. That irritated the hell out of me. I try to avoid telling when it's always best to show. So I did. I showed all this. It was a whole chapter! But...

Something about it didn't feel right. Telling wasn't working, but neither was the showing. It stalled the flow of the story. It strangely felt out of place, slowing it down, way down, it was tedious. The chapter gave away too much. Nothing was left to the imagination. And I was torn.

As much as a part of me wanted those scenes there to establish that these two were working things out and getting the therapy that they deserved (and should have gotten a long time ago), it was just oddly anti-climatic. It was right for them, but it didn't feel right for the book. It might be typical and predictable a thing to say, but in my heart of hearts, I felt that it was best to leave all this for readers to imagine instead of me having it all there on display for you all to see. To make up for this lost chapter, instead I changed the tone of the writing and their character in the last chapter, to vaguely imply the possibilities that you now know, but leaving it ultimately just up to you.

If this lost/missing chapter stayed, The Man on Top of the World would have been a Happily Ever After instead of a Happily Ever After For Now. And with these scenes, we definitely would have seen a whole different side to Jonathan and Izzy. It would have added another layer to them that wasn't there before, something new. But this would still remain: Izzy is still Izzy and Jon is still Jon. They are still rock stars. Still boyfriends. But they have changed. Still broken, but not hurt. Nervous. Scared. And yet confident, anxious, and excited for the future, even though they have long ways to go to finding ultimate forgiveness and moving onward as lovers. Never perfect, but better than the past.

Maybe if one day there's an opportunity for a 2nd edition (that is not up to me, that's all up to you readers so my publisher and I can make this happen!), I'd rewrite this missing chapter and work it into the book. This time, I had to trust my instinct and make that ultimate choice to not give everything away and leave it for y'all to make your own interpretation of what was, or what could have been, between these two, in those nine months while they were away. With the more I think about it, this choice still feels appropriate, and I don't feel as torn now. For the domestic bliss to truly be theirs, Jon couldn't share that with us. As for the therapy, it was too private, too vulnerable, that Jon couldn't share that with us either, and Izzy too, of course, wouldn't share that, especially not on national television.

Also - I'm not sure if that ending would be as powerful if the missing chapter had stayed ;). 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Happy National Coming Out Day!

Today is National Coming Out Day! It's for those of us who have been out and proud for years and for those who're just out today. Even if today you aren't ready to come out, it's okay. National Coming Out Day is about you too anyway. You're still loved. Take your time.

I came out as intersex and trans first, pansexual second, in 2013. I'm still proud of the person I've become, of all this that makes a part of who I am. No regrets. Trust me: it does get better.

The Man on Top of the World: Q&A #2

** Spoiler Alert **

Do you think Jon would have been okay with a polyamorous relationship between him, Izzy, and Roxanne had Izzy just been upfront and honest with him from the beginning?

- Tanezia McAdams 


Maybe some people can imagine Jon, Izzy, and Roxanne being in a polyamorous relationship together, but I can't picture it. With Jon being jealous, skeptical, and mistrusting of Roxanne from the start, it wouldn't be realistic for him to be for it if Izzy was upfront about it from the beginning. If Jon had any romantic attraction to Roxanne, sure, he'd most likely be open to it, but as his feelings are and as the story goes, with how much he can't stand her, not even his (repressed) sexual fantasies of her would be enough to make it work. Because after all, a poly relationship is still a relationship, and sex alone does not make a relationship, not even when it's a polyamorous one. I don't think Jon could even grow to love Roxanne like he loves Izzy. How could he when he doesn't even like her?

Plus, what about Roxanne? With her being who she is, can we really picture her being open-minded to poly relationships in general, let alone being open to being in one herself?

Sunday, October 9, 2016

All You Beautiful Boys

All birthdays are special, but there's something uniquely special when it's a birthday shared between parent and child.
 
Happy Birthday, John Lennon and Sean Lennon!



Friday, October 7, 2016

The Man on Top of the World: Q&A #1

Did you think about ever starting the story at a different point in time, for instance, when Izzy met Jon, and related to that, why did you ultimately choose to begin the story at the sexual turning point of their long friendship?

- Scarlett Knight  

It feels like yesterday when I first thought about this story and how it should be written. I knew that it had to be from the point of view of Jonathan and that it should, and in a way had, to take place three years after and since Jon was first hired to be in Izzy's backing band/The Diamonds. Three years is a long enough time for these two to have established a bond as bandmates and form a brotherly friendship to feel comfortable enough to where a sexual relationship later would come naturally to them. And what a more appropriate and convenient time for them to start that sexual relationship than in 1973, a time when the sexual revolution really peaked and when glam rock as well was really taking off, and when by this point in Izzy's career, with his lifestyle and reputation, both of them could get away with being as hedonistic as they want and as freely as they did. If I had started the book to when Izzy and Jon first met, it would have been 1970. The sexual revolution wasn't quite dawning yet at that time. Everything was still tame. Nobody was yet rebelling against what the 1960's was mostly about: conforming to all societal standards, repressing desires, and seeing sex, no matter if it was straight or homosexual, as something that was taboo in general. During this time period, it was essentially about being straitlaced about all things human nature that only once the mid-to-late 1970's hit that people started embracing what was only and always a part of us inside and out.

Let's take David Bowie himself for example. In Melody Maker (UK), January 22, 1972 with Michael Watts, was when David Bowie gave his most famous interview, where Bowie said "I'm gay."


Whether Bowie meant it or not, this was a very brave thing for him to do, for any rock star to have done, whether it was true or wasn't true that he was gay. Nobody had done this before, not until 1972, and it started with David Bowie. Like with many things, he was the first to do such a thing!

Jonathan and Izzy had spent three years on the inside, enjoying their friendship and bond as best mates, and reveling in the rock and roll lifestyle together and yet apart from each other, that once 1973 arrived - the timing was just too perfect, for them to finally be free on the outside. And the easiest way for them to do that was through sex. But it wasn't about the just having sex itself, the other difference was how and where they did it that represents the times. They could get away with having sex in public by 1973. It wasn't just these two that did it. A lot of people did it, whether they were rock stars or not. That was the culture, it was about being outrageous, without apologies.

If the book started at 1970 or earlier, more than likely Izzy and Jon would have been more tame, maybe a little daring, but more than likely not nearly as bold. And to think of it in this way also - three years is also a long time to keep sexual desires for someone to oneself. Izzy and Jon clearly have long had a sexual attraction to each other, but the timing wasn't right, until when the story takes place where it is, in the middle of a new tour, in 1973. So once they started, it should be no wonder or surprise at all as to why these two have a lot of sex in the first 3 chapters! Can you blame them? ;)

The Man on Top of the World Q&A


I'm truly, utterly flattered by how this book has brought out so many feels, from the good and the bad, in so many passionate individuals. Because of this emotional response, it feels appropriate to have this post be a space for people to ask any questions they'd like to have answered about The Man on Top of the World from the characters, the book's themes, etc. Anything you want to know, just ask!

Like for example, I've noticed how a few readers have been saying that they wanted to know more about Jon and Izzy, but I've yet to see anyone say specifically what that is they wanted to know.

I want to know what you wanted to know! What did you want to know more about Jon? What other sides to him did you want to see? And same with Izzy - what more did you want to know about him?

Don't be shy and don't be afraid to reach out to me. Even if you have questions about the sex scenes, ask away! Chances are, I'll have all the answers to any question that will be asked. Even if those answers may be hidden or not present in the book, a lot of my choices if not most of them were made for a reason, but I hope that my response will make sense and maybe make you see the book a little bit differently, even if it means that you'd want to read the book again hehe. Seriously, by all means, everyone, ask me anything about The Man, and I'll dedicate a post to your question and my answer.

Whether you loved or hated the book, whether you want to be nit-picky or you'd prefer to keep things sweet and simple, let's please keep this positive, mature, and most importantly, fun. Not that I think any of you would act this way, but since this is the way of the Internet these days, sadly it must be said: this is not a space to be trolling nor is this an open invite for folks to be rude, judgemental, and obnoxious. No juvenile behavior, please - enough is enough with that. Life is just too short. We lose sight of what fiction actually is: it's fiction. It's not real. Fiction is just fiction, and regardless of genre, it really is supposed to just be a fantasy, an escape, and a fun one. And this is just a Q&A. Let's have fun and see what we can learn not only more about this book, but about each other, and yes, Bowie too ;). Ask your question(s) below - ask one or as many as you like. Or ask me a question on Twitter (@FoxxyGlamKitty) with the hashtag #ManOnTopOfTheWorldQandA. Or private message me on my Facebook page. Let's get this ball rolling - the more questions, oh the fun we'll have! This Q&A will go on and on and on for as long as y'all have questions before, during, and/or after reading!

The Q&A sessions (so far): 
Got more questions? Simply ask/post below!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Moonlight

I'm so happy to be alive to see so many things that I didn't think would exist in film or TV. It's about time that Moonlight has arrived, since so many have wanted this raw and realistic representation for a long time, and it's finally here:



"It’s incredibly difficult to love and be loved as a black gay man in America—but it’s not impossible. And as Moonlight shows, realizing that love can be beautiful, even life-changing.

For that reason alone, it’s a minor miracle of a film, one that has come along at just the right moment but still leaves you wondering why it took so long."

Sunday, October 2, 2016

The Heart of An Era

What a throwback this is - not just back to David Bowie circa Ziggy Stardust, but to the fanboys and fangirls who ADORED him as the glam rock messiah he truly was to them. What's even more amazing is that the ones who're still with us today, they really haven't changed. They still adore him as they did back in these days. This was truly a one of a kind era. These fans were the heart of it all.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Debate Night at Stonewall and With Samantha Bee


Needless to say, this has been a most crazy election year. So crazy, that honestly, I'm sick of it, and have tried to deliberately not make any of my social media pages politically charged. But that's not to say that I'm not out there being part of the dialogue and conversations about it. After I went to Bowie/Collector, I went to Stonewall, not planning to watch the debate that night, but I did, and am so glad that I did. It was overwhelming and yet brilliant, being upstairs at my favorite bar in NYC, surrounded by my fellow LGBT people of many races, cultures, and backgrounds, from black, white, Asian, and Middle Eastern, and from ages young and old. That night, anyone could see in the crowd our worries, our fears, and our anger amid our laughter, our cheers, and our jaws dropping with astonishment at times (many times) throughout the debate. I didn't realize we were being filmed until the debate started, and at the time, I had no idea that we were going to be on Samantha Bee. I signed the consent forms, just being told that I was going to be on TV, but I didn't know anything else besides that. So what a funny surprise that when I watched this clip, there we are, and here I am!

I have a little cameo at 2:14 minutes in.


Everybody really was serious at this point during this segment of the debate, naturally so. But still, I was surprised that nobody wanted to be interviewed for this! I loved how they edited this to where it led to an awesome segue-way to "gif guy." He was as amazing in person as he was in this clip!

I wasn't at that sports bar, of course, but the best from that: the republican woman staring out into space when asked about Trump's "plans." That was NOT acting. This was all live and in the moment. 
 
That whole night was amazing, even though the debate itself was scary. Very, very scary.

As is the election in a nutshell. SCARY.

The Gouster


The Gouster is one special album. It was long lost, even though for years these tracks have been circulating and available, but not officially released. This was recorded after Aladdin Sane and created the foundation for Young Americans. The Gouster could have been the next album after Aladdin Sane but it was scrapped in favor of Young Americans. I loved that David Bowie had such an affinity for soul and funk music. I loved this album's title, referring to a type of dress code worn by young African American teens in 1960's Chicago. And most of all, I just love David Bowie's soul in this. He jokingly called it "plastic soul" because of how he's not a real "soul brotha" but a Brit trying to emulate one. There was nothing plastic about David Bowie's soul. David Bowie had a whole lot of pure soul and it's a beauty in The Gouster. It's truly a must-listen, because it really is that divine.