28 November 2014

Movie Review: Getting Go, The Go Doc Project


I actually started watching this movie months ago, but after about ten minutes, I stopped in only to repeat this twice. I finally decided to finish it. The main character, played by Tanner Cohen, main character in Were the World Mine, is a neurotic college student and the first 10-20 minutes are neurotic.

I know that many (but not all) young gay men experience a late teenager - early twenties experience of romantic relationships as extensions of power/control and not love.  Here's the plot:  A shy college undergrad devises to shoot a documentary about the New York City nightlife scene to meet the go-go guy he's obsessed with.

In this convoluted self-imposed head trip, the working glass go-go boy reflects something that is more than just sensation, but something feeling. This neurotic, mental college undergrad is given acceptance and feeling from the go-go boy.


But I'll leave for you whether the mental college boy is able to really embrace his inferior function and learn something about love. The film builds and before the denouement, it does climax in a cuddling and feeling way.

27 November 2014

Book Review: With the Hand

Mels van Driel is a urologist and sexologist attached to the University Medical Centre in Groningen. He also wrote Manhood: The Rise and Fall of the Penis.

There are so many things that can be said about this book. For one, van Driel gives a fairly comprehensive account of the history of hte idea of masturbation in Western civilization.

One long standing confusion I had was why nineteenth century moralizers referred to masturbation as onanism. Onan was the Hebrew in the Old Testament that refused to impregnate the widow of his older brother -- which was a custom in ancient Israel, apparently. They would have sex, but he's pull out before he'd ejaculate. I think the Latin is "coitus interruptus". Anyways, the sin of ancient Israel was that he would "spill his seed" and that would make in ritually impure for a day. The Catholic Church has used this story to justify its opposition to contraception. After reading the discussion on it, I think I understand how masturbation got the American medical name "onanism."

He also discusses the literature regarding masturbation and adolescence. Fascinating discussion. I didn't enjoy the literature section and I thought in someways the discussion regarding how patriarchal customs tend to oppress women. How is it possible that many women are not familiar with their genital areas and how to pleasure themselves?

The version I read was a 255 page cloth published by Reaktion Books on April 15, 2012. ISBN: 978-1861899194. Lowest price seems to be abebooks.com and amazon.com

25 November 2014

Movie Review: Naked As We Came


Okay. Pretty white boy alert (up to two possibly). I was a little confused by the movie at first, but it was well produced. It deals with the subject matter of a dying parent with a gay theme woven into the story. It is really tangentially a gay film. It is rather an interesting rumination on the meaning of dying for a dysfunctional upper class family. If you aren't looking for pretty white boys or ruminations on death, this is not the movie to watch.

24 November 2014

Movie Review: TomGay มึนรักสลับขั้ว

This was an interesting comedy. I'm a big proponent of limiting the feudal power of the clan/tribe/family especially when that power is used to enforce patriarchal values paraded around as cultural norms. *breathing* Anyways, this movie somewhat parodies the lengths to which Chinese-Thai mothers will go to rescue their LGBT children from a life not characterized by procreation.

Plot summary: Young gay man is a training/aspiring life guard at some beach. Small problem is that he hasn't yet learned to swim. In his first "save", he resuscitated a young man who falls in love with the trainee lifeguard. But in his second "save", after resuscitating the victim, the victim turns out to be a tomboy type lesbian named Tom, who punches the lifeguard and they subsequently get into a fight. The local police break it up but arrest both of them.

Anyways, the mothers of these two characters happen to be friends and plot to marry their "abnormal" children to each other. They do this through deception and force and eventually lock them in a room to "mate" chained and imprisoned. 

 

Through a series of disturbing but funny efforts, the mothers fail. The two are able to eventually escape. In the process of being imprisoned, both break up with their boyfriend and girlfriend, respectively. It's not clear why they do not tell their partners why they were absent for so long (the cause of the breakups). The end was a huge let down as it wasn't funny or dramatic.


23 November 2014

Movie Review: Night Flight 야간비행


All of the marketing material for this movie was misleading, like this poster. The framing conveys one message where, in fact, in the storyline, it is much more brutal and tragic. As Emily Dickenson once noted: 'Parting is all we know of heaven and all we need of hell.'


Having watched so many of the Japanese yaoi television stories in the last year, one forgets about another vision, a dark vision or truth for a gay adolescence where gay love must struggle for life in the dark, horrible world of sadism, patriarchy, heterosexism, abuse of power and greed.



A summary of the story: Yong-Joo is a top student as a high school somewhere in Seoul. His teachers' hope is that qualifies and enters Seoul University. Ki-Woong is the leader of the gang at the high school and also a part-time "enforcer" for the local neighborhood mafia. Yong-Joo and Ki-Tae are like the geeky nerd friends in the high school. Other guys in Yong-Joo's gang pick on Ki-Tae because he's fat and wears thick glasses. Yong-Joo is definitely in love with Ki-Woong and practically stalks him. When a series of events occur that set the stage for the movie.

I won't give away the ending, but what I'm about to say can constitute a spoiler so, stop reading now if you want to be totally surprised. This movie represents a turn in gay Korean cinema. It is violent, brutal and passionate. But in the end, we are given a choice whether we choose power or we choose love. This seems to be the first movie where the characters are allowed to make that choice. A set closer to a life of happiness.

04 November 2014

The Wind-Up, A Challenge


It was late at night. Just as soon as I got in and sat down, my mind began to wind itself up. It must have been well over an hour that he and I were driving on that desolate provincial road. I lost track of time. He didn't say a word while he drove. It was only as we got closer to the end of the roadthat I realized that the radio had also been silent the whole time.

The car passed the seemingly abandoned AFP guard post on the right where another dark road winds its way up the side of a cliff to a radar station. The car entered the provincial beach recreational area and he drove all the way to the end. Unusual. There were no other cars parked on the side of the road at that place. He turned the car around and pulled off on the beach side of the road.

He remained looking forward. He was tense. After what seemed like forever, he broke the silence.

“Look.” he said. I held my breath.

“I have a girlfriend now. It's what my family wants.” he said.

“I.....I.....” I stuttered.

“It will never work.” he interrupted me while maintaining his forward stare.

“Do you love her?” I asked. There was a long, long pause.

“It doesn't matter.” he said breaking the silence.

“Do you love her?” I asked again. There was an ever longer pause. I noticed for the first time that the windows had fogged up and I could no longer see the dark ocean out my window.

“But it could never work.”

“Do you love me?” I asked. There was a long pause. He slid his hand over my hand which was resting on my leg. The palm was warm and moist. He was still looking forward. He then turned to face me and a tear ran down his cheek. He quickly closed his eyes as tears began to stream down his cheeks.

He then leaned toward me and put his head on my shoulder and wrapped his arms around me awkwardly. He began weeping uncontrollably. I wasn't sure whether I should try to wrap my arms around him too. But I did.

“I.... I don't..... mean to hurt you.” he sobbed. I started to tear up a little.

He began to kiss my neck. I tried to push him away – at least mentally. He suddenly swung over the gearshift and center console and now straddled me as he kissed my neck. His hands caressing under my shirt. It felt so nice but I wondered if we should be doing this.

As I got the courage to open my mouth a little to express my doubts, he blocked me with his mouth. We began to passionately kiss. And we did this as we caressed each other for a long, long time. We rubbed against each other a little now and then and we were both clearly aroused. But we just kissed and cuddled in the passenger side seat.

After a few hours of kissing and touching, you finally collapsed on me. And the gentle rhythm of your breathing lulled me to sleep under your weight. A delicate dance, a delicate embrace, a requiem for the past that is our present – forgetting the weight and pain of this refrain once more. The mainspring is unwound and I all alone beweep my outcast state.

And then you said, “I love you.”