Live from Seattle: Princess Leia’s Bikini!

No drooling on the keyboard.

Back in Seattle for a friend’s wedding and, continuing to wonder if this might be a new home once my swamp exile is over, I found myself drawn again to the Experience Music Project. The EMP is becoming an all-purpose temple of pop culture, with big-time rock, sci-fi, film and video events constantly rotating through the museum. The Seahawks’ Super Bowl trophy and ring are even on display here. Makes sense, as Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen is the controlling interest in both ventures.A lit … [Read more...]

Remembering Pedro and Sean — and why Marriage Matters

Pedro and Sean's commitment ceremony: never before seen on TV.

When you teach undergraduates, there are frequent moments that remind you that youth culture has passed you by, and that the “coolness” card that every young person carries simply by virtue of their age, in your case, has been revoked.During a recent class, a student made a presentation arguing that reality television was not just unreal, but bad for society. This argument has been around since the first reality TV experiments, like An American Family, shown on PBS in 1973. The disturbing par … [Read more...]

Popping Collars Part II: “Jesus becomes a monster for us and with us”

Book Cover

My book, Hollywood Biblical Epics: Camp Spectacle and Queer Style from the Silent Era to the Modern Day, dropped yesterday. Get it on Amazon or anywhere fine books are sold.Continuing now with the "Popping Collars" podcast in which the Rev’s Greg Knight and Betsy Gonzalez and I discuss biblical epics, scripture, and popular culture.Here’s the link to the whole podcast, which is much more entertaining than reading a transcript.Again, I offer the caveat that this is a not-at-all acc … [Read more...]

Richard’s Book Is Here! + Part One of Popping Collars

Book Cover

So the big day has arrived. My book, Hollywood Biblical Epics: Camp Spectacle and Queer Style from the Silent Era to the Modern Day, drops today. Get it on Amazon or anywhere fine books are With a title like that they’re not exactly going to have it at your local Books-A-Million.To celebrate, I want to post an excerpt and a link to a recent appearance I made on the "Popping Collars" podcast explaining some of what the book is about and my interest in popular culture and b … [Read more...]

Is the Soul Gendered?

Caitlyn Sebastian Thumbnail

I’ve noticed recently that when you post an article on Facebook, the all-knowing Newsfeed will post three articles below your post – two that agree with the article you posted and one that disagrees. This is an interesting idea, and may help break down the “echo chamber” that so much of our online dialogue has become.But then, sometimes, the articles Big Brother Facebook suggests are just downright offensive.Looking over some postings on the remarkable coming out of Caitlyn Jenner the oth … [Read more...]

The Art of Forgetting Fossils: A Review of Sufjan Stevens’ ‘Carrie and Lowell’

Sufjan Stevens Portraits

Benjamin Griffin is back. Now a resident of that hipster paradise of Austin, TX, he reviews Sufjan Stevens' latest album, Carrie and Lowell.The Art of Forgetting Fossils: A Review of Sufjan Stevens’ Carrie and LowellBy Benjamin Drew GriffinWe don’t know who Sufjan Stevens is. Some have claimed him as this generation’s greatest folk artist, a master of Americana orchestration and literary construction – but they were foiled by the glittery psychedelia and opaque personal deconst … [Read more...]

‘Montage of Heck’: A Gospel of Kurt Cobain

Cobain Wings 1

Last year I got a chance to see and review Seattle’s Experience Music Project’s exhibit on Kurt Cobain and the grunge era. The occasions for the exhibit were the 20th anniversary of Cobain’s death and Nirvana’s induction into the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame.Now director Brett Morgen has added further to the Nirvaniana with a documentary on Cobain’s life, Montage of Heck. The film debuted at Sundance this year and had a limited theater release before being broadcast on HBO May 4th . It is now ava … [Read more...]

The Multiple Meanings of “Pride”

Pride film still

The British coal miner’s strike of 1984-85 has been fodder for several small but scrappy films in the last twenty years, including Brassed Off (1996), Billy Elliott (2000)  and the steel-industry based but still scrappy The Full Monty (1997).Joining this award-winning lineup is Pride (2014), which won a BAFTA and the heretofore unheard-of “Queer Palm” at Cannes, and is now out on DVD and streaming video on demand.What’s fascinating about these four films is that although they seem to be a … [Read more...]