Sitting on a train from Central California dropping into a sea of smog and traffic filled with LA’s finest I found My Life, My Pageant, My Crown, by Norman Jones, (BookLocker.com, 2012) to be a fun and insightful look into pageant life and the history of Miss Gay America.
Madonna’s Rebel Heart (Maverick / Live Nation / Interscope) is her best and most accomplished album since Ray of Light. The deluxe edition, which contains 19 (!) tracks, finds the almost immaterial girl (see MDNA and Hard Candy) on the road to redemption. For instance, there’s a lot of Catholic symbolism and references (oy, the Kabbalah community must be wiping the shvitz from their foreheads now that the meshuggeh shiksa has gone back to her roots) on the album, particularly in songs such as “Devil Pray,” “Illuminati,” “Inside Out,” “Messiah,” and the sexually explicit “Holy Water.” The best tracks, including the non-denominational gospel fervor of “Living for Love,” the simplistic but enjoyable “Hold Tight,” the sensitive and personal “Joan of Arc” and “HeartBreakCity,” the wordplay of “Body Shop,” the almost comically self-referential “Veni Vidi Vici,” and the acoustic/electro title cut, all qualify as an artistic comeback. However, Madonna’s overuse of “bitch” on “Unapologetic Bitch” and “Bitch I’m Madonna” (two song titles, really?) are detractors.
Four thousand miles may seem like nothing in our connected world. It’s huge, however, when you’re on a bicycle trip for that distance, and it could be a chasm that wide when people from different generations are brought together. 4000 Miles, which is part of the Amy Herzog Festival (along with After the Revolution playing at Center Stage’s Head Theater), attempts to close that chasm.
Like Ira Sachs’ Love is Strange, the Brazilian film The Way He Looks (Strand), the full-length feature debut by writer/director Daniel Ribiero, wasn’t just one of the best gay movies of the 2014 LGBT film fest circuit, it’s one of the best gay movies ever. Period.
If you’ve ever seen any of Patrik-Ian Polk’s films, you know one thing for certain. Polk is a master of the ensemble cast. Beginning with Punks and continuing through Noah’s Arc (both the movie and the TV series), as well as The Skinny, Polk has a knack for creating characters who are smart, sincere, sensitive, and exceptionally sexy.
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