At SXSW2017: Music Festival Day 4

Look, there are simply far too many bands at SXSW for one man to cover but damned if I didn’t try.  It’s been said that Austin is uniquely situated to host a festival like SX and it shows – it’s a sprawling sonic smorgasbord of musical delights where every nook and cranny of the town becomes a stage. I’ve seen a lot of bands throughout this week but here are a handful of the standout artists that truly rocked my soul. … [Read more...]

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...]

Top 50 Records of 2016

Just under the wire – my personal top 50 albums of the year. This is, of course, in no way an objective list. This is for two reasons: 1) I don’t think that’s possible and 2) I think that’s rather boring. The beauty of year end lists is to discover the music that moved other people and why, discovering not only new artists along the way but, ideally, new ways of looking at the world. That’s what music’s good for, after all – soundtracking our lived experiences. Sure, not all the records on my lis … [Read more...]

Spa Night/Being 17: Two Twists on Coming Out Tales

Having moved back to Civilization, I now have access to an embarrassment of riches when it comes to gay cinema. In the past few weeks I was able to take in Spa Night, a Kickstarter masterpiece by indie director Andrew Ahn, and Being 17, the most recent release from revered French director André Téchiné. Both films place the drama of young gay men coming out within deeply embedded social and geographical contexts: in Being 17, a rugged mountain village in the Pyrénées; in Spa Night, a close-knit f … [Read more...]

#KillerSerials: LUKE CAGE, Eps. 1 & 2

Tony Jones and Ryan Parker discuss the new Netflix hit, Luke Cage, and talk about how it's folding in current events and concerns, celebrating black history and culture, and drawing on religious imagery and narratives. They're also well aware that as a couple of white guys, they're probably only scratching the surface of the series' themes and references. Take a listen. … [Read more...]

San Francisco: The Movie

"I've come to the conclusion that there are really only two types of people in San Francisco…'Jeanettes'…and 'Tonys.' Jeanettes are people who think that the city's theme song is 'San Francisco' as sung by Jeanette MacDonald. Tonys think it’s Tony Bennett singing 'I Left My Heart in San Francisco.' Everyone falls into one camp or another . . . in a manner of speaking." -- Michael Tolliver in Armistead Maupin's Further Tales of the City.For the last two weeks I have felt what the Israelites mu … [Read more...]

From the L.A. Film Fest: ‘Political Animals’ — Lesbian Legislators and the Hard Work of Change

“There is no period so remote as the recent past.” – The History BoysIt’s always hard to remember how difficult it is to make things change. Those of us who celebrated the Supreme Court’s decision last year to allow all same-sex couples to marry across the country may find it hard to remember, or to believe depending on one’s age, that gay folks were politically radioactive just a few short years ago.For those who want to learn or remember what the dark days of the late 1990’s were like f … [Read more...]

A Gay Presbyterian on a Jesuit Retreat

For a Protestant, doing things in a Catholic setting is like going to a foreign country where they speak English. You can understand what they’re saying, but you’re in a land of different cultural cues. You spend a lot of time playing the Venn-diagram game of What’s the same/What’s different. So it was when as a Presbyterian I found myself on a silent retreat at a Jesuit spirituality center in Louisiana.I went on the retreat because I had heard about the Jesuit discipline of discernment. This … [Read more...]