Facing Fear is a gay-themed Oscar-nominated documentary short about fear and forgiveness. Director Jason Cohen, who is straight, presents the true story of Matthew Boger and Tim Zaal, and the fateful night they met in the 1980s. Matthew, who had been thrown out of his house for being gay, was living on the street with other homeless teens, hustling to survive. Tim ran with a skinhead crowd, espousing their neo-Nazi doctrine. Tim and his gang nearly beat Matthew to death (Tim thought they had) one night in an L.A. alley. Years later, after Matthew survived his life-threatening injuries, and Tim had left his homophobic and racist ways behind to become a family man, the two met again in an unlikely setting and formed one of the most unusual friendships to ever occur. I spoke with Cohen in February 2014, shortly before the Academy Awards.
Gay writer Tim Federle knows that readers come in all ages. For his two Young Adult novels, Better Nate Than Ever and its sequel Five, Six, Seven, Nate (both from Simon & Schuster), Federle has created one of the more endearing fictional characters in recent memory. Titular character Nate will keep you in stitches as he navigates his way out of his dull, dead end hometown, onto a Broadway stage and towards his first kiss. For somewhat older readers, Federle serves up Tequila Mockingbird (Running Press), consisting of cocktails with literary themes. I spoke with Tim about his books in early 2014.
Out singer/songwriter Patty Larkin is rapidly approaching her 30th year as a recording artist. Her latest disc is the radiant and raw Still Green (Signature Sounds). An extraordinary guitarist, Larkin stretches the bounds of traditional folk incorporating influences ranging from jazz to rock, with the occasional bit of programming thrown in (check out the loops on “Mando Drum” and “So Cold”). A musical journey of healing and heartache, Still Green is a verdant collection of tunes that highlights Larkin’s ability to make us cry, laugh and think, all set to immediately appealing and unforgettable melodies. I spoke with Larkin shortly before the release of the disc.
Branden James made the LGBT community at large proud when he was a finalist on the eighth season of NBC’s talent competition show America’s Got Talent. James, a gay classical crossover artist (and performer with Chicago’s Lyric Opera), made an indelible impression on the audience with his stellar rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” James has included that song on his debut CD The Voice of Christmas (MCON). A welcome addition to this year’s crop of holiday music, The Voice of Christmas is the perfect showcase for James’ breathtaking vocal gifts. What better way for him to display them than through such celebratory music? I spoke with Branden in December 2013 about the CD and his career.
Elf: The Musical is a Broadway play based upon the critically acclaimed 2003 motion picture starring Will Ferrell. Now in its third year, the show tells the story of little orphan William Hobbs (aka Buddy,) who falls asleep inside Santa’s bag one Christmas and awakens at the North Pole, where he is then mistaken for an elf (a mistake which becomes evident as he grows.) Adult Buddy becomes curious about the identity of his birth family and sets out to track them (and the Christmas spirit) in New York City.
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