Naz & Maalik, the debut feature from Jay Dockendorf, and starring Curtiss Cook, Jr. and Kerwin Johnson, Jr., is a new film with a new story.
It follows two closeted Muslim teens in New York City who have their Friday afternoon ruined by FBI surveillance. The film won Best LGBT Film at this year's Nashville Film Festival. Due for release on DVD (and digital) in January, Naz & Maalik could be visiting a film festival near you.
IS sexual assault by a celebrity the new normal? Must we all now have tales of molestation by famous faces from the past?
Cult gay icon Maggie Kirkpatrick (famous for her role as Joan "The Freak" Ferguson in Prisoner) was convicted of historical child sex assault charges last week, whilst the Bill Cosby rape show continues to play out. Meanwhile, vlogger Stahr Milan has been accused of "molesting" Tahj and King Milan. In their case, the term "molest" has been used to calculated effect; Stahr was the "gay mother" to "children" Tahj and King; these young gay men are holding onto their identity as "children" as if their lives depend on it. But they are no more children than Stahr Milan is a mother.
With huge fanbases, Kirkpatrick and Cosby have benefited from vocal, vociferous defense. And not just from their fans; questioning minds might wonder how anyone could be found guilty of a sexual assault, committed in 1984, and on a psychiatric patient. When the evidence amounts to my word against yours, you have to wonder. Or is it guilt by association a factor? Is Maggie Kirkpatrick guilty because Rolf Harris got away with it for so long? Nevertheless, a jury decided that was the case. Another jury might have decided something else. In the case of Cosby, we hear fewer and fewer voices raised to defend him. In part, this is because so many in the black community hated him even before the allegations came to light. Like Kirkpatrick's, his alleged crimes are also of a historical nature, but the statute of limitations means he can't be tried. There are those who would say that is right and just. Can you remember what you were doing in the '80s (assuming you'd even been born)? How about the 1960s? Veteran Coronation Street actor William Roache faced a lengthy and humiliating trial for crimes allegedly committed fifty years ago. He was found not guilty. How about former British Prime Minister Edward Heath, who faces accusations of child sex abuse? He can't defend himself: he's dead.
The Cosby case is usually framed as a picture of a rich and powerful man taking advantage of defenseless women. I don't think it's unreasonable to suggest that, as much as the rich and powerful man part might be true, it's also true to say that rich and powerful men (and women) attract a certain type, people who might play with fire because they hope to get something out of it for themselves. Well, guess what, if you play with fire, sometimes you get burned. Some might say that cashing in 20 or 30 years later, with lucrative book deals and talk show appearances, is coming back for a second bite of the cherry.
The Cosby case casts a long shadow, and it's in its shadow the House of Milan saga blossomed. You can laugh at their self-appointed status as celebrities, but their claim to celebrity status isn't any less valid a claim than that of those these young gay men worship and emulate - the Kardashians and their ilk. In the court of public opinion (read: YouTube), Stahr Milan has been tried and convicted as a paedophile and a rapist. Depending upon whose account you believe, he was having sex with Tahj and King when he was 19-years-old, and they were 16-years-old. The insane babble of online commentators have cast him as a predatory old man (he's now 23-years-old) and the boys as innocent victims. Anyone who's seen one of King's YouTube videos - or his Instagram account - might find that hard to swallow: the boy makes Nicki Minaj look like Mother Theresa. It could well be that Stahr was an older boy who used his position as top dog - or "gay mother" - to get what he wanted. But it's hard not to form the impression that what actually happened was three gay teenage boys, living together unsupervised by responsible adults, ended up having sex, consensually, with two of them doing so (at least in part) in exchange for favours.
When we read about sexual assault and accusations of rape, we're encouraged to think in terms of predatory perpetrators and innocent victims, but often there's more to the tale than meets the eye.
AND TIME Courage isn't just a matter of not being frightened. It's being afraid and doing what you have to do anyway
Adventures In Space and Time is a weekly throwback to Doctor Who proper (as opposed to the sub-Spielberg, pseudo-soap 21st century reboot), with clips from the BBC's official Doctor Who YouTube channel.
This week, the moment the Autons come to life in Spearhead From Space (1969). The shop window is just around the corner from where I live, and looks in 2015 much like it did in 1969... Sans Autons, of course.
Silencing the screaming queens: Roland Emmerich's Stonewall, and the erasure of queer rage. "I can be open about who I am and whom I love. And I have transgender people, butch lesbians, queer youths of color, and angry drag queens who rejected the status quo to and fought to revolutionize society to thank for that - not a cute boy from Kansas named Danny. Not a boy like me."
"We’re surrounded by murders": A day in St Louis’s most dangerous neighbourhood. "Residents in overwhelmingly black College Hill see poverty, despair and a lack of jobs, plus ineffective political leadership, as the causes of the violence."
Yemen | Can the gay community survive the Iran-backed militias? "Being gay in an Arab state is never easy. Since the Houthis made their move on Yemen, it’s become unlivable."
Israel | Gay activists are angry with Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, who stayed away in the US after an extremist stabbed six people, one fatally, at his city's Pride celebration. Jerusalem in the wake of the LGBT Pride murder, in pictures.
Israel | Doctor sacked for calling gay people "perverts".
On the Domestic Front: Scenes of Everyday Queer Life, a new exhibit at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, until 25th October. Above, Blackbird author Larry Duplechan and his husband, in Sunday Morning, 1989.
Art AIDS America, a new exhibit opening 3rd October at the Tacoma Art Museum. "This exhibition underscores how powerfully a plague that is still with us has changed us,” curator Jonathan D. Katz says.
Guatemalan photographer Eny Roland Hernandez's El Poder de la Palabra project, unveiled as part of the Copenhagen Pride 2015 celebrations.
The Broadway revival of Hedwig and the Angry Inchis to close. Taye Diggs' performance has had a less than enthusiastic from critics and ticket sales have slumped.
Jonathan Ollivier, of Matthew Bourne’s all-male Swan Lake, is dead. He was 38.
Iris Prize – the world’s largest LGBT short film prize – has announced its 2015 line-up.
The Stonewall whitewashing controversy rumbles on. Former child star Mara Wilson (Mrs. Doubtfire, Miracle on 34th Street) tweeted, "Stonewall wasn’t one of the parties at [director Roland Emmerich's] house exclusively for young, fit, white, gay men."
Fantastic Four's director says Fox made his great movie terrible. Is he right?
Why bad films aren't getting the disrespect they deserve. "Adam Sandler’s Pixels was a recent rare example of a truly terrible movie getting a cinema release. With studios now burying their turkeys on Netflix, we’re unlikely to enjoy the pleasure of hating another Showgirls or Gigli."
Tyra Sanchez, the winner of RuPaul's Drag Race season two, posts insane rant about suicide: "Hate it or love it I have no sympathy for people that commit suicide. They're cowards. They give it & give in. Stop tweeting me about it. If you want to kill yourself, go ahead it’s your life. Am I gonna be sympathetic for you & give pity? I think not. Too busy living MY life."
Seven reasons for the utter disaster that was True Detective season two.
Six Feet Underrevisited: The 10th anniversary of the finale makes us recall the show's impact.
Why Deadwood - "the best drama HBO has ever made" – must be revived. "The network made a catastrophic error in cancelling the profane period drama, but can finally correct it by greenlighting a rumoured follow-up film."
Jerry Heller expresses himself. "The legendarily controversial N.W.A manager talks about never being consulted on ‘Straight Outta Compton,’ why he still defies the accusations of financial malfeasance, and what he really thinks about Ice Cube."
Usain Bolt’s final turn. "The legendary runner is less than a year away from vying for a third consecutive dominant Olympic performance. But as he nears the end of an unprecedented career, questions of doping in track linger, and the competition is gaining on him."
Friday night lights. "On the start of the high school football season in Odessa, Texas. An adaptation published alongside the release of Bissinger’s 1990 book of the same name, which led to the movie and the show."
"I would also like to take this opportunity to squash the persistent rumours about mysterious 'disappearances' and emphasize that rural and urban areas are now enjoying a life of harmony and peace. I'm sure you're glad to hear this. And I'm happy you're glad."