SXSW 2017: ‘Divine Divas’–Drag Wisdom for the Ages

Anyone who has seen the legendary drag documentary Paris is Burning with Dorian Corey knows old drag queens can be sacred sages. During one of the last scenes of that film, Miss Corey shares a lifetime of wisdom in the few moments it takes to blend her eye shadow and glue down her false lashes: "Everybody wants to leave something behind them—some impression, some mark on the world. Then you think…you've left a mark on the world if you just get through it."Divine Divas, a new documentary by Le … [Read more...]

At SXSW 2017: “Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin”

One of the ideas I've been exploring recently in my teaching and scholarship is "canonicity"—what it is about a particular set of books, stories, films, or other works of art that makes them holy or set apart from others.Included in the holy writ for the LGBTQ community is Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City series. A nine-book story arc of multiple characters in San Francisco from the mid-1970's to 2014, the books have become history, prophecy, and right of passage for generations of queer … [Read more...]

A Feud of Biblical Proportions

So far, Ryan Murphy's Feud, featuring Jessica Lange as Joan Crawford and Susan Sarandon as Bette Davis, has delivered an entertaining take on one of the great rivalries in Hollywood history. One character in the show calls it a "feud of biblical proportions." Which biblical feud she's talking about I'm not sure. Cain and Abel comes to mind. Or perhaps the one between Elijah and the Prophets of Baal.Murphy has to walk a fine line here. He has to deliver the goods on these two battleaxes … [Read more...]

“Moonlight” Is a Film of Great Tenderness and Spirit

Moonlight has been receiving critical buzz since its debut at the winter film festivals last year, some of which has resulted in a Golden Globe for best picture (drama) and a slew of Oscar nominations. Written and directed by Barry Jenkins, based on a play by Tarell Alvin McCraney, it is a rare film that features black men being at turns tender and melancholy, crushed and resilient, without the usual Hollywood fetishization as thugs or sex machines. Tracing the coming of age of one black boy, … [Read more...]

Thoughts on ‘Rogue One’: the Maccabees of the Star Wars Canon

 If the box office receipts are to be believed, you've already seen Rogue One: a Star Wars Story. So rather than a full review, I thought I'd offer a few thoughts on this, the intertestamental literature of the Star Wars saga:  This is the most geek-tastic Star Wars film ever: "THRILL as Jyn Erso and Cassian Andor sift through the structural engineering files of the Galactic Empire! GASP as they try to upload the Death Star plans to a Rebel starship. Will there be … [Read more...]

‘Silence’: A PopTheology Conversation

Martin Scorcese's monumental Silence is now playing in select theaters and is slated for wide release on January 13th. The story of Jesuit missionaries in 17th century Japan is based on the novel by Japanese Catholic convert Shusaku Endo. It explores the nature of faith and doubt in the most impossible of circumstances--when profession of belief can lead to torture and death. But as the film plays out the conflict between the colonial impulses of Europe, which use Christian conversion as a tool, … [Read more...]

Fantastic Beasts: Carl Jung’s Lawyer Called and He Wants a Writing Credit

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the reboot of the Harry Potter series, takes viewers even further afield into the wizarding world--to the streets of Jazz Age New York.Based on a thin novelty book Rowling published in 2001, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander was supposed to be Harry Potter's first textbook for Care of Magical Creatures class.For a summary review of the film, read here. The following are some thoughts on my viewing of the film.Newt … [Read more...]

John Grant: Joyous Prophet of the Via Negativa

 John Grant has been gracing the covers of international magazines aimed at upscale gay men during the last several months. Long a player on the alternative music scene as a member of The Czars, he has been in the midst of a personal and musical revival for the last six years. Now, at age 48, it seems like we're really getting to know him for the first time.Grant is nothing if not a lumbersexual—in the gay world, a bear. The video for his spring indie hit, the surprisingly groovy " … [Read more...]