Tag Archives: RuPaul’s Drag Race

Genitalic

 

The documentary, Tongues Untied by Marlon Riggs engrained in me the importance of storytelling and using personal experience to create art. Marlon interweaves Black gay culture, poetry by Essex Hemphill and Joseph BeamSELRES_19391c97-4436-4c9f-abd1-46b2f929e1fcSELRES_646ec62c-616e-43ae-bba9-ae8b806d2647the poetry of Essex Hemphill and Jospeh BeamSELRES_646ec62c-616e-43ae-bba9-ae8b806d2647SELRES_19391c97-4436-4c9f-abd1-46b2f929e1fc, striking imagery, and a snapping tutorial. I have watched it repeatedly to learn more from Riggs.

Years later, I used some of the techniques that he used to produce my first documentary, Genitalic.

Last summer, I curated a reading at the LGBT Community Center of the Desert in Palm Springs with the writer, Dave Lara. Lara, in his 70’s, talked how he received a dishonorable discharge for being gay during the Vietnam War. I realized that I needed to preserve Lara’s story for younger LGBT generations because thousands of men like Lara were never able to share their story. I applied for a grant through the city of West Hollywood in order to film the documentary.
Genitalic centers on life for gay men in West Hollywood in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. Eight older men were interviewed (seven in Los Angeles and one in London). Their narratives interweave as they discuss HIV/AIDS, race, racism, ageism, passing, daddy culture, and desire in the older male body.
The interviewees include Dave Lara, Lee Jackson, Philip Littell, Juan Castillo-Alvardo, David Friar, Clarence R. Williams, Brian Sean Gaston, and Martin Patrick. Each interviewee has a unique perspective. Dave Lara appeared on RuPaul’s Drag Race on Season 5 on the military makeover episode. He was paired with the winner, Jinx Monsoon. In the documentary, he discusses the impact of AIDS on West Hollywood and how men started disappearing. He also discusses how he helped create a gay-run organization for HIV testing and prevention.
Lee Jackson, a fair-skinned Black man, discusses the three picture identification rule for Black and Mexican men enforced by doormen at nightclubs in West Hollywood. These groups of men had to present three I.D.s and without them, they were denied entry. On some days, Jackson passed for white and was allowed entry into the clubs without a problem.
There is a preview screening at the West Hollywood City Council Chambers on June 2nd at 1:15pm. It is part of One City One Pride’s A Day of History event. Watch the trailer below:

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Models of Pride 2014 at USC

This Saturday, USC will host Models of Pride (MOP). MOP is a free one-day conference for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) youth up to age 24, and their allies. The event includes: workshops, a resource fair, free food, a dance, and entertainment. For the entertainment segment, Alex Newell of “Glee” will be performing along with a number of surprise celebrity guests. There will be appearances by William Belli (of Rupaul’s Drag Race), Michael J. Willett (of Faking It), and immigration activist, Ronnie Veliz.

Also, I will be leading a creative writing workshop during the second session. In the workshop, I will be teaching participants good writing habits, how to use writing prompts to create poetry and prose, effective journaling tips, and next steps for their writing careers.

There are over 40 different workshops; with 10 writing-related workshops. After my writing workshop, I will be sitting in a zine-making workshop.

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Notes on Shoe Shine Boxes: Another Essex Hemphill poem

A young woman wearing pink high-heels at Helsi...

Image via Wikipedia

HOMOCIDE: For Ronald Gibson by Essex Hemphill

Item:
Ronald Gibson, 20, was found shot to death in the 2700 block of Arizona Avenue, N.W. Police said Gibson was wearing a dress and high-heeled shoes at the time of his death. According to Homicide Det. Lloyd Davis, Gibson, also known as “Star,” hung out during the past two years in the area near 14th and Fairmont Sts., N.W., an area frequented by drag queens who solicit sex for money. Detectives say they have no suspects and know of no motives in the case.
 The Washington Blade, 1/8/82

The poemHOMOCIDE: For Ronald Gibson by Essex Hemphill

Grief is not apparel.
Not like a dress, a wig
or my sister’s high-heeled shoes.
It is darker than the man I love
who in my fantasies comes for me
in a silver, six-cylinder chariot.
I walk the waterfront/curbsides
in my sister’s high-heeled shoes.
Dreaming of him, his name
still unknown to my tongue.
While I wait for my prince to come,
from every other man I demand pay
for my kisses. I buy paint
for my lips. Stockings for my legs.
My own high-heeled slippers
and dresses that become me.
When he comes,
I know I must be beautiful.
I will know how to love his body.
Standing out here on the waterfront/curbsides

I have learned to please a man.
He will bring me flowers.
He will bring me silk
and jewels, I know.
While I wait,
I’m the only man who loves me.
They call me “Star”
because I listen to
dreams and wishes.
But grief is darker.
It is a white dress
that covers my body.
It is a wig
that does not rest gently
on my head.

E.N.D

Published in Blacklight Vol. 4, No. 4

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The Other Brazil: DVD REVIEW: Madam Sata

Madame Sata Movie Trailer

The directorial debut of Karim Ainouz’s, Madame Satã, is a pictorial marvel detailing the life of João Francisco dos Santos, a black Brazilian man living in 1930’s racially and socially oppressive Lapa (northern Brazil). João (Lazaro Ramos), along with Laurita, (Marcelia Cartaxo) his best friend and Tabu, (Flavio Bauraqui) his pseudo household maid, construct a colorful yet restrained, irrational yet tender, spellbinding yet dark world through prostitution, drug usage and fantasy. Having the desire to rise above his meager lifestyle, Joao aspires to be a celebrated stage entertainer (drag queen) and loved by the public. Madame Sata illustrates how João “negotiates being in the world,” reacts to its judgment and the harsh realities that hauntingly follows. Ramos and the entire cast of Madame Satã, unforgettably breathe life into the sounds, sadness, beauty, and personal narrative of the human experience. The movie alluringly captures the multifarious textures, shades, and rhythms of Brazil in dramatic lighting and cinematography.

Madame Satã (film)

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Emotional Scene from Madame Sata

Madame Sata is subtitled, it’s a Brazilian film in Portuguese. After the first five minutes it’s like you’re watching an English language film. The movie was nominated for a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Film – Limited Release and won Cinema Brazil Grand Prize’s top prizes Best Actor (Melhor Ator) and Best Actress (Melhor Atriz).

The name of the movie is taken from Cecil B. DeMille‘s movie Madam Satan about a woman trying to seduce her unknowing and unfaithful husband and teach him a lesson. In the movie João dresses as the character from Madam Satan.

Lazaro Ramos also stars in one of my other favorite movies, Carandiru, about Brazil’s largest prison in São Paulo. I only own two DVD’s Madame Sata and Carandiru.

Carandiru Movie Trailer

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happy endings and mic stands

hot java is a community coffee house in long beach’s gay ghetto at broadway and junipero. across the street from the coffee house is bixby park, a notorious park where gay men cruise (i accidentally found out it’s a cruising park). a sign is posted to prevent cruising. inside hot java you’ll see a lot of gay men and lesbians and hipsters and straights, of course. i went the first saturday of the month for the sanctuary open mic night. a poetry, spoken word, and music event. it’s hosted by two lesbians but straight-friendly. i met a poet by the name of husseldiva and a woman with brown locks whose name i can’t remember. the woman with brown locks suggested i get up on stage at the next open mic night. i’m debating if i should go. i have until may 6 to decide.

what piece would i do? my poems are typically short and really open mic/spoken word type/Def Poetry Jam pieces.

An Unfinished Zeta-Jones

Image by forklift via Flickr

somehow this reminded me of catherine zeta jones. she’s been admitted to a mental health unit for bipolar.I read she was stressed out over her husband, michael douglas’ cancer battle. that sounds more like stress and not bipolar. whatever it is sounds serious though.

it’s the stressful times that has inspired me and made my work real. when i was trying to get over the last guy i was dating i was editing chapter 4 of my new book, the taste of scars. i used everything i was feeling with him to make the characters made relatable. i achieved with memory and imagination. creative souls, that’s often, what we have to go on.

to all the crazies out there stay crazy and create.

which gets back to my original question what piece should i do? maybe i’ll write something about Catherine Zeta Jones, at least i’ll tell people it’s about her when really it’ll be about me.

 

 

 

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