Wednesday, August 16, 2017

LGBT Film Review: On The Grayscale (2015)



Synopsis (from IMDB):

Bruno, an architect with a great life, is hired to build an iconic landmark, and as he works with a gay history teacher named Fer, an unexpected and intense romance starts to blossom.

My Review:

This movie is EXQUISITE from the cinematography, the acting, the dialogue, and the Chilean landscape. It so beautifully sweeps us away into not only the language, sights, sound, and culture of Chile, but also on these two men who are very different from each other, but who form a bond anyway, despite how problematic things are between them. Bruno is bisexual, but doesn't know how to identify with his sexuality. Fer is out and proudly gay, but he's strongly attracted to Bruno. The sparks are definitely there between them, together they're so wonderful. If there's only one downside to In The Grayscale is that while Bruno never truly comes to grip with his bisexuality, I didn't like the execution of the ending, it felt so abrupt, like it lacked something to give this movie the closure that it deserved. Yet, the cinematography and even the music still gave it justice. With so few bisexual movies out there, this was a real joy, even if the ending was typical. Nonetheless, I loved it!

* Currently on Netflix *

LGBT Film Review: Weekend (2011)





Synopsis (from IMDB):

After a drunken house party with his straight mates, Russell heads out to a gay club. Just before closing time he picks up Glen but what's expected to be just a one-night stand becomes something else, something special.

My Review:

I loved this movie so much that I watched it twice. There's so much to love about it: the cast is perfectly suited for the characters, the dialogue is sharp and natural, the sex feels and looks so down to earth and intimate, and most of all, it takes such a simple premise of two men hooking up and spins it to where we slow and gradually learn more about both these men, on what makes them so different and opposite from each other, and what they have in common despite their flaws and shortcomings. It's not a typical hook-up story, nor is it a typical love story either. It explores the age-old question: can a hook-up possibly turn into something more, is love possible when it only begins as sexual? They did such a lovely and beautiful job on Weekend, I can't recommend it highly enough. It's fantastic.

* Current on Netflix *

Sunday, August 13, 2017

LGBT Film Review: Below Her Mouth (2017)




Synopsis (from Rotten Tomatoes):

BELOW HER MOUTH is a bold, uninhibited drama that begins with a passionate weekend affair between two women. Dallas, a roofer and Jasmine, a fashion editor, share a powerful and immediate connection that inevitably derails both of their lives.

My Review:

I see this more as a movie that's reacting to Blue Is The Warmest Color by making their lesbian sex scenes more realistic and trying to show that two women can do more in bed than hardcore scissoring. Sadly, this is really all that this movie is about. There is no plot and there is no character development. There is nothing else that this movie shows other than its surface, which isn't a lot there to begin with even with that. I love that this movie is sexually frank, I love how stylistic it is to where it is basically soft-core porn with a glossy indie-film finish, but I really wanted to know who these characters actually are, and why they're attracted to each other beyond just the physical. While Blue was heavy-handed with the sex, at least we knew exactly why and how its two lead characters were attracted to each other and what broke them apart. With these two, there's nothing but pure, carnal, physical desire, which is fine, but that alone doesn't make a movie worth watching. Not to mention, the acting is a bit funky at times, and the dialogue oftentimes is unintentionally laughable. It's a shame because there IS something to like here, Below Her Mouth has so much potential, but if only they'd have given us something more.

* Currently On Netflix *

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

My Ancestry And Me

I took an ancestry test two weeks ago and got them back the day before Pride! I'm....

West African


South and Central African



British and Irish



Scandinavian


Iberian


South Asian



Southeast Asian


Native American



I knew about the African and South + Southeast Asian side of me that I gathered from family reunions and my grandma, but I was surprised to see a lot of British, Irish, Scandinavian, and Iberian in there! So fascinating! It was worth every penny to do this because the results are pretty priceless!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

An Evening With Jimmy Fallon

Spending an hour this evening with Jimmy Fallon at the Paley Center was soo much fun! He had me in tears laughing over his Prince stories, like how obsessed Prince was over wanting to play ping pong with Jimmy and how crazy and weird that ping pong match was, his rehearsal with Barbra Streisand where she was so nervous that she bumped her nose into the mic and it fell, and how Obama was so cool that other than that they really didn't have time to rehearse, he didn't need a rehearsal because Obama was just that good. I was surprised how much he discussed in just an hour, but I learned so much about The Roots as people (QuestLove and Tarik are such awesome dudes), the whole process of how they make The Tonight Show happen from the writing, theme song, guests, setting the tone, etc. Thank you Jimmy for such a fun, chill, and amazing night, and thank you for the autograph, you're the best! ♥ 


Monday, May 15, 2017

The Man on Top of the World Is A Finalist!

EXCITING NEWS.

I'm so happy to announce that The Man on Top of the World is a finalist for the 5th annual Bisexual Book Awards


I'll be reading from Man preceding the Awards Ceremony, which is organized by the Bi Writers Association, on Saturday, June 10th, at Westbeth in the West Village (55 Bethune St. just west of Washington St.) There will be a book signing at 6:30 with the Awards itself happening from 7-10 pm, and another book signing at 10:30 pm. I'll be busy, but it sure is gonna be fun!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Ripped Bodice

I'm happy to announce that you can now find The Man on Top of the World at The Ripped Bodice, the only exclusively romance brick-and-mortar store in the USA!





Thank you Ripped Bodice for the love!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Happy Record Store Day 2017

My Record Store Day was a success!!

As some of you may know, I LOVE vinyl, and my favorite New York City record store (the one of few that are still standing in the Big Apple), Generation Records, was hosting theirs today, and it was awesome!

Getting to Generation Records very early was soo worth it for these Record Store Day exclusives, I was thrilled I got them all:

Bowie Cracked Actor


Bow Promo


And lastly:

Deee-Lite "Groove Is In The Heart!!" in pretty pink vinyl!




They all sold out fast, of course!

I hope all of you that participated on Record Store Day today also got to have your limited edition exclusive vinyls! LONG LIVE VINYL!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Rainbow Book Fair

I just realized that this has been my first blog post in a while...I've been very busy and resting on some exciting news that I still have to keep hush on! But for now, what's coming up soon for me is the Rainbow Book Fair! This will be my first book fair and my first time reading from The Man on Top of the World in public and for people to buy in person and for me to sign in person of course as well. I'm looking forward to it! So if you're in NYC on the 29th, feel free to drop by!



Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Championing Diversity Means Nothing If The Support Isn't There


Diverse stories. Own voices. Inclusivity. What a time to be alive that we're seeing this being not only a reality, but a DEMAND in the publishing and film making world - that's a GOOD thing. But what's not so hot is this: when we put diverse stories and own voices on such a high pedestal that we make it loud and clear that while everyone else can afford to write more than one bad book or make more than one bad movie, we can't. By putting ourselves out there, by telling our stories, the slightest negative thing that anyone looks for in the representation, we are invalidated, and that's not only not right, but it's plain and simply not fair. What it says when we put our own on a high pedestal is that we lose sight of how it's not about having perfect LGBT, diverse, and own voices films and books. It's about having them exist, period. The good and the bad. Yes, there's more bad than good. But still: as long as it's by our own, that is good. There's nothing wrong with wanting better, but...

This is the thing, that I've been noticing for quite some time:

There's no point in demanding diverse books and diverse films if the support isn't there. It's disheartening when that very same audience that champions more diversity, more inclusivity, and more own voices in film and publishing are the same people who don't buy it, who don't support it, where all their championing ends entirely when that book or film exists, even when it's good.

What's the point? It only sends the message loud and clear that our audience is fickle - that we only demand, but don't support.

I'm not saying everyone is doing this. We see our supporters. Yes, they are out there. We have them.

But on the whole, we can all do better than this.

It's not enough to demand a supply. We have to rush out to buy it as strong and passionately as when we're championing it on our social media. So what if some diverse or own voices books aren't a perfect representation - why should it have to be perfect when we don't expect perfection from the books and films by straight creatives? Why can't we enjoy our own books and films the same as we do the straight ones without having such an overly critical gaze on them? As long as these books are written by actual LGBT, PoC, women, etc. and not only written by the straight and/or white perspective, whether these books and films are good or bad shouldn't really be the point and bottom line. This industry, this world, is big enough to have all types of books and films. We should want our share of good and bad just like how there are so many terrible straight books and films and hardly anybody bats an eyelid about them - and also, nobody's perspective on the subject matter changes entirely just because it was bad. But when it's us - every. little. thing. matters. Even though I know most of our hearts are in the right place in wanting more good diverse books and films, I feel like we're focusing too much on being negative and critical of our own instead of supporting our own. It feels like we're out to looking for anything and everything that's bad with that story instead of doing what we should be doing: simply enjoying it. The escapism. The fun. The magic. And the pleasure.

I look forward to the day when readers and viewers can enjoy diverse stories the same as they do the straight ones. Like truly enjoy it, not overanalyze it and focus on the negative. I look forward to the day when we can all afford to fail just like our straight counterparts with no big deal being made of it. I look forward to the day when we aren't put on a high pedestal for being published at all. Not that we shouldn't be congratulated or acknowledged. Naturally, we should. But the high-pedestal mentality of it - isn't it counterproductive when we do this? We want to be treated equally. There shouldn't be this bias, especially when it's not as if diverse stories aren't out there, it's not as if we aren't being published. We are being published. Our stories are out there. It doesn't just start with our own, it begins and should end with our own by supporting one another, and not only by simply championing and demanding for more representation and more stories. There's no point in any of it if our own don't support our own by putting their $$$ where their mouth is. We got to let our $$$ talk as well since that is what it boils down to on whether or not our works will continue to be visible, or made and published at all. I get it - some still say that there's still so much bad out there, and nobody wants to spend their hard earned money on something bad. But the thing is: there's so much good out there. Why is it with the latter, the audience that wants more good stuff aren't supporting the good stuff?  And why do we want perfection so badly? Is it out of fear that the one bad film or one bad book will tarnish us? Why do we have this fear when there's no need to? Whether it's good or bad, not one book, not one movie, has the power to do that. With diversity, there's the reality that we can't expect every book, every movie, every author, etc. of our own to get it right all the time, every time. By expecting that, we're being unrealistic, doing more harm than good to the bigger picture. We come across as unsupportive, fickle, indecisive, and just never happy with any book or movie that's centered on us, even when it is by our own. Is that what we're all about, really?

It's okay to be unsatisfied and frustrated when diverse, inclusive, own voices stories don't get it right entirely. It's okay to want better from our own. But when does it stop, do we even know how? When can we start supporting our own without putting our own on a high pedestal and expecting them to fall at the instant we find something wrong? And when they do fall - why don't we lift them up and encourage them to do better for the next time? Why can't we be more supportive of our own? 

It has to start with us, and the rest of the world can and will follow. But it has to start with us.

It's not more diversity that we need. We need more support. That is ultimately what we should want.


Monday, March 6, 2017

LGBT Film Review: Mosquita & Mari


My LGBT movie of the day was Mosquita & Mari (2013), a simple, down to earth, honest, funny, and charming coming-of-age story about two queer Latina teens who gradually fall in love, but don't know how to act out or express their true feelings for one another. This is one of those movies where not a whole lot actually happens and where you really wish the characters and their relationship could have been developed more, but it was just so adorable, well-acted, and felt so real that I couldn't help but love it despite its shortcomings. It captured young puppy love exquisitely and left a lot to the imagination, especially at the end. Quiet, but powerful.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Movie Review: Get Out

Not many know this about me: it's not that I don't like scary movies, but I just don't watch them often, and when I do, I can't help but laugh. I don't know why. I've always laughed at scary movies. I did at this one, too, but for a whole other reason because...


Get Out is BRILLIANT! It's one of those very rare scary movies for me that I actually truly loved: it was hilarious, entertaining, and SMART. The racial commentary - from its spotlight on interracial relationships, casual racism, microaggression, colorism, black fetishism, and the nod to the anti-blackness and racism in the Asian community as well - was SPOT ON in every way. I was hooked. This movie is as much a must-see as everyone who has seen it is saying it is. GO SEE IT.

How often do you see a movie with a 99% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes?

NEVER!

Yes, it is that good. 

It's a real treat.

Monday, February 27, 2017

The Little Movie That Could: Moonlight


None of us expected Moonlight to win Best Picture. We hoped it would, of course, but knew it would go to La La Land. La La Land was announced as the winner, until...this happened.


My heart was legit racing and I was shaking at that MAJOR epic, embarrassing fail that was also the most brilliant moment we've ever seen at the Oscars. MOONLIGHT WON BEST PICTURE! Movies about the queer black experience CAN win, and for that, all us queer black folks of the world can at last feel like we belong. I'll embrace this moment forever: a queer black movie WON and it wasn't about slavery. What a time to be alive to see this.


Moonlight also won these awards:



Tonight's Oscars was historic for these reasons: Mahershala Ali became the first ever Muslim actor to win an Oscar, Iran won for Best Foreign Film, black actors won, and a movie about the queer black male experience won Best Picture. THIS is what America is made of - diversity and inclusivity. Absolutely beautiful. And most of all, Moonlight's win is a win for the entire LGBT community as this makes Moonlight the first ever LGBTQI movie to win Best Picture.

So proud of Moonlight, so proud of this moment, so proud of our history. We are now part of Oscars history, and damn it feels so good.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

ALL US KOOKS ARE PROUD OF YOU, DAVID BOWIE!

David Bowie not only won ALL five of the Grammys he was nominated for (Best Rock Performance, Best Rock Song, Best Alternative Music Album, Best Recording Package, and Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical), but he also swept his two nominations at the Brit awards too!



David's Brits win for British Male Solo Artist was accepted by Michael C. Hall, whose speech was so lovely and poignant.


And a lovely surprise that David's son, Duncan Jones, accepted David's final Brits award for British Album of the Year with a speech so touching and a throwback to a humble beginning.

Like saving the best for last.


For those who may not know, "Kooks" is a song off Hunky Dory that David wrote for Duncan when he was a little boy. It was the one of very rare times that David shared with us a glimpse of his personal life through song. It's one of his best and most nostalgic songs he's ever done.


Duncan reminded us that we are kooks and should be very proud of that as his dad was so proud of us for being kooks. This one's for us, for David Bowie. Thank you for everything, Mr. Jones.


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

My Funny Valentine: The Art of the Teese

I had the most fun and awesome Valentine's Day ever: got A LOT of condoms from my favorite gay bar (Stonewall), had the most politicized sex toy conversation ever with an employee of one of my favorite BDSM shops in Christopher Street (LONDON), bumped into one of my favorite actors from The Get Down (Justice Smith, I was surprised he remembered me from the afterparty of the play he's in now, Yen, that I loved him in so much), and to top it all off, aside from Dita Von Teese's show being oh so phenomenal, SEXY, magical, and body positive and inclusive, because I was soo much into the show, I got picked from the crowd on stage by her host, my favorite drag king, Murray Hill, for a dance off, and won 2nd place and got a free Dita T-shirt, it was nice to see the lovely Amanda Lepore, after the show meeting Violet Chachki, and seeing that one of my favorite guys (Milo) that works at my favorite record store in NYC, Generation Records, just oh so happens to work at Gramercy Theatre too! We were both surprised to see each other especially him when he saw who was dancing on stage lmao! What a night! Dita is so amazing and so is her equally talented burlesque girls and burlesque boys. It was unique to be at a show that attracted both the straight and LGBT crowd, and how everyone was so kind, and was too sweet with their compliments on my dancing, lol! 

No pressure that Dita was watching the whole time!


 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

A David Bowie Valentine's!

This is so adorable that I had to share it on here. Whether you celebrate Valentine's Day or not, whether you're a David Bowie fan or not, how can anyone not LOVE these?

Which one is your most favorite?



Monday, January 30, 2017

The Man on Top of the World: Q&A #14

The first Man on Top of the World Q&A of 2017 begins with this lovely one!

Which character of your book do you identify yourself the most with...curiosity killed the cat.. But not this cat..

- KatieChainsaw Spronk 

This may not be a surprise to anyone, but I most identify with....Izzy!
 
And most can probably guess why, hehe. I may be agender, and he may be bigender, but we are so alike in our gender expression, sexual appetite, no-nonsense attitude, style, and list can go on!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Celebration of David Bowie


So that David Bowie Celebration last night in NYC / Terminal 5 was...phenomenal. Beautiful. Touching. Sweet. Unforgettable. The concert went on for a whopping 3 hours! We not only got our money's worth at this show, but the band gave us a concert that we will remember for a long time.



 



Mike Garson was our emcee. Any time he performed or even just talked, he was just a treasure. He is a legend in his own right, especially for what he's most famous for, his piano number in "Aladdin Sane." Mike still got it! Doesn't his piano playing just make you swoon? Mike kills it effortlessly. Gail performing this with him added more to the gorgeousness of this "Aladdin Sane."


The highlight of the night for me personally was when the lovely Gail Ann Dorsey performed and sang "Space Oddity." She had us in tears, and as you can tell, she too was choked up and emotional.


Another highlight was Gabby Moreno singing "Five Years" and "Rock & Roll Suicide." She's got pipes!



Kate Piersen of the B-52's sang "Golden Years"!


I thought (well, I can imagine many of us thought) that this night would have been a very solemn evening since this was on the 1st year anniversary of David's death, after all, but brilliantly, they didn't make this event sad at all. They kept our spirits up, performing so many of David's songs from Space Oddity, Hunky Dory, The Man Who Sold The World, Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, Pin Ups, Diamond Dogs, Young Americans, Station to Station, Low, Heroes, Scary Monsters, and Earthling with only one song from The Next Day, "Where Are We Now?" The spirit was so warm and the love was abundant. It was all about that, not the sadness of David's passing or that it was the 10th of January when we lost him, but about us being alive to celebrate the man that we loved so much. We were there to celebrate him, and that was certainly what this concert was from 8:15 pm - 11:15 pm!

Another rousing highlight was when the Harlem Gospel Choir joined in for "Young Americans" and "All The Young Dudes."


And Darren Criss performing "Changes" was pretty killer!


I loved this cover of "Heroes." Bernard Fowler is amazing.


The best for last was Catherine Russell performing "Under Pressure." LOVE HER!


Oh, there was oh so many highlights and moments, too many to share on this blog post, but thankfully so many generous people have uploaded plenty more on YouTube.

The best moment of all was the ending when after the band gave their standing ovation, as they were exiting the stage, "Modern Love" was performing, and long after they left the stage, the audience kept on singing along to "Modern Love" until the music was over. It was our last goodbye to him for that night.

This tribute was a true testament to not only how talented David's band was, all of them - Gail, Cat, Mike, Sterling, Zack, Earl Slick/"Slicky", Mark Plati, and so many others - but how the man himself was a musical genius and a true artist of many faces, many changes, many musical styles and inspirations, and so much more that it still feels like we're only scratching the surface of his brilliance. And for many years to come, we will keep peeling off the layers of David Bowie.

Watch That Man: At Half Off On Amazon!

I've been spreading the word on both my Twitter and Facebook, because the deal is just oh so good, I have to also share on here: for a limited time only, Amazon has the paperback version of The Man on Top of the World at HALF OFF - making it even lesser than the e-book version!


Purchase it quickly off Amazon here: http://a.co/4dXmB9W

I know some of you have been spreading the word or have taken advantage of this sale already. I can't say this enough: THANK YOU. It truly does help with making my book more visible, which not only helps with sales, but makes the shelf life of this little bisexual genderqueer glam rock romance novel last just a tad bit longer, hehehe ;). And who knows what else can be in store if we keep the momentum going! (Well, an audiobook possibly if y'all really want that badly, hehe, but the sales have to show for it first!) And I'd even appreciate it more of you can keep those amazing reviews coming! I don't take any like, share, retweet, etc. for granted. It really means you care!

Love you all, and thank you for the support so far!

 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

In Honor Of Him

On this day on the 1st year anniversary of David Bowie's death, I'll be going to a tribute concert where it stars his band, friends, and colleagues paying their respects and celebrating him in such a way that would make the Starman very proud. It's gonna be one emotional night tomorrow, but I'm ready to celebrate David Bowie's 1st year death anniversary with the Bowie people.


Since it first premiered on January 7th, since it's been uploaded on YouTube by the talented and oh so generous david bowie tin machine, I've been watching this new David Bowie documentary, The Last Five Years, many times now. It's sad, yes, and it will make you cry, but it will also make you smile.


This tribute video was made 4 years ago by the also talented and generous Menno Kooistra, but it resonates even more now that Bowie is gone. The editing is mighty impressive, and the feels is oh so there each and every time I watch this. Truly mind=blowing, moving, and powerful.


David may be gone, but our greatest tribute to him is our love, keeping his legacy alive.

Bowie Forever. Forever Bowie.

"Something Happened On The Day He Died..."

It was a year ago today that we lost our beloved David Bowie. A year ago, and it feels like yesterday that the world paused and cried in shock at the most terribly sad, surprising, and tragic news. My heart is not as heavy as that day, but it still feels raw, and it still hurts.


Iman posted on her Facebook page before David's passing: "You never know the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory." David Bowie gave us so many moments, and forever they will stay in our memories, as will the man himself. David Robert Jones is gone, but for as long as we celebrate, love, and remember him, he will be here forever, in each and every single one of us. I just wish he could have stayed, to live a much longer life to his 80's, maybe his 90's. At 69, that's just far too young. 

It's sad, but I keep reminding myself: he lived a beautiful life, and he even had a most blessed death. We were so lucky to have him here. He really was like a heaven on Earth.
 
Rest easy, David Bowie. We miss you so much.