Of burning down houses or keeping lovers warm

I really like this spoken poetry thing, or spoken word, rather. Well at least the bunch of videos I’ve been watching earlier this evening, one after another. Maybe I came across the art form before, I don’t remember, but a post from Gaybros led me to the following video featuring this gentleman named G.Yamazawa.

He just blew me away. It’s almost painful to hear his words, yet I’ve watched it a few times now.

I’ve felt a phrase fall out of my mouth like an atom bomb without knowing the effects will radiate for years.

I wish I can say I’ve only been the recipient of such atom bombs. It’s always better to be hurt than to hurt. But I know that, just as I’ve been hurt, over the years I too have said some awful things to some people I wish I can take back but of course I can’t.

***

Another one I really enjoyed, because I can relate to it as well, is the following featuring Kevin Yang.

***

Advertisements

Call You Home by Kelvin Jones

I just had the great pleasure of being introduced to this talented singer and this beautiful song he wrote himself, via Gaybros.

He’s raising money to record an album in a professional studio. Link here at Bandcamp.

Related:

Imran Khan vs. homophobia

I totally wasn’t prepared for how awesome this video was going to be. Found it via Gaybros. Where else but that subreddit as a reliable source for interesting gay stuff.

Just a bit of warning that there is that ‘f’ word at 1:50 and 2:10, for those who mind such things.

With winsome humour the video tackles some questions that are actually sad and dumb, but questions I can imagine going through the minds of ignorant, homophobic, or just the insistently hateful who are just hell-bent on putting down gay folks.

I laughed like crazy at so many parts, including the glitter ball and rainbow unicorn to illustrate the ‘gay AIDS DNA’, and oh my God, the stealthy gay conversion weapon. Genius.

But fun jokes aside, this video by the guys at All India Bakchod is really commendable for the effort to address discrimination and prejudice, even while it throws its hands up resignedly with a frustrated sigh at how ridiculous it all is. Sadly, here in Singapore we too have that 377A law which criminalises sex between men.

There is of course another famous Imran Khan, of Pakistan, the celebrated former cricketer who is now a politician. Who is incredibly sexy too, by the way.

But the hotness that is the host of this video with the breathtakingly beautiful eyes, is Imran Khan the actor, who works in Hindi-language films. An Indian American who was born in Madison, Wisconsin on 13 January 1983, (so he just turned 31 yesterday. Belated birthday wishes, you handsome big-hearted man.) Imran studied for and received his degree in filmmaking from the Los Angeles branch of the New York Film Academy. He is also a noted social activist, where he has taken up various causes including the elimination of violence against women.

I’m not familiar with his work, (I drool and fan myself more for his uncle Aamir) but for sure I’m going to be checking out Imran’s films very soon.

Needless to say, but I’ll say it anyway, it is so kind and generous of him to do this video. Risking his career and stardom, and his personal reputation to do this. I may not have watched a single film by him yet, but I’m already a huge fan of him as such a gracious human being.

***

“The point is, that you don’t need cultural approval to live and love in peace.”

imran khan

Image from the tumblr site ‘Imran Khan Fan Club’. Click it to go there.

***

Things to check out:

  • what’s elaichi? in biryani? (2:31) I love biryani. What is elaichi and why is it apparently gross in biryani? Have to check that out.
  • the question in Hindi in 5:01. Have to find the translation.

***

Update 25 January 2014:

  • A blogger I follow Nuwan Sen has kindly provided the translation in the comment section below. I’ll reproduce it here. It’s:

The guy in Hindi, states, ‘that no body has ever been arrested under section 377, do what you want in the bedroom, without talking so much nonsense (i.e. basically stop fighting for your rights, it all about sex and no love).

  • And elaichi is cardamom in Hindi as well as Punjabi, according to Wikipedia.

Police officers in Pune offered roses to Gay Pride parade participants

Someone needs to make this a winner in some Photo of the Year competition somewhere. It’s amazingly beautiful. I have John Lennon’s ‘Imagine‘ going on in my head now. I’ve never come across anything that did that to me before.

Pune Police 1483296_560621710682585_175786681_n

Photo by Deepak Kashyap, via gaylaxymag.com. Click to go there

It is one of two photographs from an article on Gaylaxy Magazine (love the name) by Dhrubo Jyoti, where I was led to by Gaybros.

Pune, India’s eighth largest city and situated in the western state of Maharashtra, celebrated its third Gay Pride parade last Sunday the 24th. The parade had more than 150 participants and gays joining the march was not just from the city but from other remote districts as well. Dhrubo wrote that:

… the highlight of the event was the support extended by the city police, in particular the cops at the Faraskhana police station. The police officers under Inspector Bhanupratap Barge distributed roses to the queer pride, signaling an offer of friendly cooperation with the queer population.

How brilliantly gorgeous is that.

I was trying my luck on YouTube to see if I could catch a video of the parade in Pune, and came across another heart-warming thing below. By the way, the beautiful human being Inspector Barge mentioned in the quote above is also featured in the video, at 0:53.

According to Wikipedia, when it comes to Gay Pride events in India, Kolkata (also known as Calcutta) held the first one in 1999. On 29 June 2008, it also held coordinated events with the Indian capital New Delhi and two other cities, Bangalore and Pondicherry, with the city of Chennai having its event the very next day. Later that year Mumbai held its first ever formal pride parade, to demand that India’s anti-gay laws be amended. A high court in Delhi ruled on 2 July 2009 that homosexual intercourse between consenting adults was not a criminal act. Attendance at the Pride parades has been increasing significantly over the years.

A ‘What Would You Do?’ episode touching on people’s reaction to homophobia

09.tif

John Quiñones. From the tumblr site severelycalm. Click to go there.

I’ve seen a few episodes of What Would You Do? on YouTube. Hosted by news correspondent John Quiñones, it’s an American series where actors are filmed by hidden cameras as they act out scenes of conflict in public areas, witnessed by bystanders who are clueless that they are being filmed. The purpose of the show is to document how some people genuinely react to the scenes of conflict, whether they will intervene by speaking up, or simply choose to look away. It’s really quite compelling. I’ve only seen a few episodes and the scenarios they come up with that I’ve seen are impactful and distressing, and sometimes I even get a little wet-eyed, haha.

But this one. Somehow the tears were rolling as I was watching it in bed last night. And my snivelling woke up my partner who was already deep in slumberland, the poor guy.

Some reality shows I’ve come across are so incredibly dumb and totally unnecessary. I guess at the end of the day, this one also uses some kind of sob-story angle to draw in viewers and their emotions, but at least it’s for something useful and meaningful. It makes us think on what we would have done.

Of course, what we would actually do may be totally different than what we fancy we would do. After all we would all like to think that we are nicer and braver than we are. The reverse also applies; we might turn out to be not as timid or apathetic as we think we are. We won’t actually know until we actually experience the situation. But it’s always nice to reflect on our character and wish to be a better person. And to me this show encourages people to do that, and that’s why I like and admire it a lot.

(Via Gaybros and the tumblr site homohautblk)

Lil Watan للوطن, by Mashrou’ Leila مشروع ليلى

mashrou leila 800px-Demco1

Photo by Tania Trabulsi, taken in December 2009 during an album release concert. Left to right, the members are Ibrahim Badr, Hamed Sinno, Andre Chedid, Carl Gerges, Firas Abou-Fakher, Haig Papazian and Omaya Malaeb. From Wikipedia, click to go there.

Mashrou’ Leila مشروع ليلى is an indie-pop band that sings in Arabic and is based in Beirut, Lebanon. It was formed in February 2008 at the American University of Beirut.

Their lead singer is the handsome and openly-gay Hamed Sinno. The band has also released songs that feature gay love right from the beginning with their 2009 self-titled first album, such as Shim El Yasmine (Smell the Jasmine).

I am delighted to have just been introduced to the band via Gaybros, where redditor Larikush has provided a link to their song Lil Watan للوطن.

The info accompanying the video at YouTube states that the title means ‘For the Motherland’, and that it is:

a song that discusses the way we are taught to acquiesce to the status quo, and the apathy we are rewarded for in Lebanese politics. “Every time you demand change, they make you despair until you sell out all your freedom. They tell you to stop preaching and come dance with them.”

Shake them boobies and booteh, baybeh!

I love the groovy and laid-back yet catchy sounds of the song. For the gist of what the song means, click here for several versions of its Arabic lyrics’ translation. The video itself was kinda ‘meh’ to me at first. However, this is from someone who was ignorant of the intention and message behind the video. From what I gather from comments on YouTube and the band’s Facebook, I’ve learnt that the video expresses a lament on certain segments of society in Lebanon.

Comments about the video on their Facebook include:

  • We’am Hamdan: The video is very sarcastic. VERY. It’s a parody.
  • Asmaa Faris: To everyone complaining about the video. This might be Mashrou Leilas strongest conceptual music video ever. The belly dancing is not the point. It’s about our shallow middle eastern society; how we can be distracted easily.
  • Ahmed Al Tamimi: Obviously the video serves as a parody of the arab world. That’s how arabic musicians sing they stand on a stage and have a girl belly dance around their talent-less selves.
  • George Audi: Love it. The contrast of the band wearing black (mourning the sad state of the country?) contrasted with the disconcerted dancer (the government?) is very well played. The filter effects, low production feel and simplicity of the video only emphasize this point further.

Related:

Take me to church by Hozier

First seen via Gaybros.

A stunning music video by new Irish singer-songwriter Andrew Hozier Byrne, known simply as Hozier. It was directed by Brendan Canty and Conal Thomson from Feel Good Lost, a visual arts production house based in Cork, Ireland, also where the video was filmed.

The song is really beautiful, and so is his voice.

One thing I don’t understand is that in the song the lover is refered to in the feminine, ‘she‘ and ‘her‘. Maybe I’m wrong, but my guess is that Hozier is not gay, he’s just pro-gay, like Macklemore and Cosmo Jarvis. Which is just an amazing thing to be. It takes an amazing person with a huge heart.

tumblr_mvlx4xc9T51rvqgxlo1_500

Singer-songwriter Hozier. Image seen on mytvisnotworking.tumblr.com. Click to go there.

According to Ireland’s online magazine State:

Hozier says the video “references the recent increase of organised attacks and torturing of homosexuals in Russia, which is subsequent to a long, hateful, and oppressive political campaign against the LGBT community. The song was always about humanity at its most natural, and how that is undermined ceaselessly by religious organisations and those who would have us believe they act in its interests. What has been seen growing in Russia is no less than nightmarish, I proposed bringing these themes into the story and Brendan liked the idea.”

Related:

***

Update (15 Nov 2013) to include a video of Hozier and friends performing the song live, uploaded by Dublin’s RTÉ 2fm onto their YouTube channel.

Ain’t love grand 2

tumblr_m9643cbIhI1qjbzeqo1_250

All images in this post are from the tumblr site Queer Men Of Color In Love. Click any of them to go there.

tumblr_mbsq6vfANA1qb3vsno1_1280

I joined the subreddit Gaybros, in fact Reddit itself, about two months ago and I’m so glad I did. It has turned out to be a great source to find gay-related stuff. In music, for example. So far Gaybros has led to the introduction of a lot of great music. And humour stuff. And eye candy. People I’ve never heard of before.

tumblr_mqijg1xHer1qkaoj3o1_r1_1280

And now it has introduced me to this. THIS. This beautiful, glorious tumblr of images of gay men in love. I have to say I’m not crazy about the word ‘queer‘. Why oh why do some people like to use that word when it also means ‘strange‘, especially since we already have ‘gay‘ which is great enough.

tumblr_mq653xqxUD1qk3o6xo1_1280

But the images are lovely. They’re just so damn sweet, although I think we should consider that just maybe, a few of them may just be straight guys goofing around. I certainly hope every single one of these guys know their photos are online and are cool with it. Having said that, if anyone reading this happens to own the copyright to any of these photos I’ve put here and do not want it here, please let me know in the comments and I’ll remove it.

tumblr_msp8di4GOr1sxkpqno1_1280

I love this tumblr not only because I’m a hopeless romantic and these expressions of love and affection caught on camera makes me go ‘awwww’, but also because they feature ‘men of colour‘. I think a great majority of images of men on gay (and I suppose straight as well) photo blogs like those on tumblr are of white men. Caucasian. I love gorgeous images of men (and women!) of any race, but it has struck me before that, yes, most are white.

tumblr_ma720rcJYL1qlsj9yo1_400

Another reason I love Queer Men of Color In Love is because they feature mostly regular-looking guys, and just a sprinkling of Adonises. Which is the opposite of many other photo blogs I came across.

tumblr_mk4obuKpMT1r5jhdmo1_1280

Related:

Stereotypes are just stereotypes

This is a funny and thoughtful segment from American satirical TV program ‘The Daily Show‘ hosted by Jon Stewart. I came across it via Gaybros some time ago. I meant to note it here earlier but got busy and forgot all about it. Thanks to my blogger friend Cindy Knoke who mentioned stereotypes in a comment here, I’m reminded to do so.

In the U.S., the states of Mississippi and Alabama are projected by adorable and openly gay statistician Nate Silver to be the last two states to approve gay marriage. But Nate Silver did not visit those states to research his theory. So reporter Al Madrigal went there to see if he could be right. As the show narrated, “it was time to see which one of these backwoods, inbred, homophobic states will swim the longest against the tide of history.” And he had a hilarious method of gauging this.

After interviews with representatives of the two states who heartily upheld the view that their states are indeed largely anti-gay, two stuntmen were employed to pose as a gay couple and engage in public displays of affection.

It’s a nice reminder that sometimes we make generalizations about whole groups of people, including by country, race and religion. We know it’s stupid and unfair, but sometimes we still do it because it’s the easy and convenient thing to do. I like how the exercise makes the point that stereotypes are just that, stereotypes, in such a funny and entertaining way.

Thanks to steffpfunk who uploaded the above video to YouTube.

Related:

Gay couples in the United States who choose to say ‘I don’t’

An interesting article by Ms. Cara Buckley in The New York Times about some gay folks including long-term couples who choose not to marry, not even in the 14 states there that now allow it.

Some of the reasons mentioned or indicated by those interviewed are:

  • It carries with it legal complications and financial burdens, including potentially higher taxes in joint filings.
  • The risk of the torturous experience of divorce, especially for those who are themselves children of divorce, who may already view marriage as not being the key to happiness.
  • It goes against their beliefs, religious or otherwise.
  • They already feel married. A couple says: “We are in all senses married, and it isn’t going to change anything in terms of how we feel about each other.”
  • Marriage may be considered an outdated institution by some, one that forces same-sex couples into the mainstream.
  • Some see marriage through the lens of a feminist critique of marriage, which considers it “not as a freedom to be gained but as an institution that has historically oppressed women”.
  • Marriage is inherently unfair. It privileges couples and stigmatizes singles.
  • It should not be a prerequisite for obtaining health care and deeming children “legitimate”.

An interviewee raised her concern that as gay marriage becomes more and more the norm, relationships of gay couples who choose not to marry, even though deeply committed but just not traditional, will be further marginalized, even by other gay people.

The article also contains a quote from one of my favourite film directors John Waters, which made me smile:

“I always thought the privilege of being gay is that we don’t have to get married or go in the Army.”

My favourite quote from the article, though, came from Mary Bernstein, a 50-year-old University of Connecticut professor who also authored “The Marrying Kind?”, a book on the marriage debate in the gay rights movement. She said of her relationship with her partner of 15 years, 61-year-old Nancy Naples with whom she is raising twin 9-year-old daughters:

“Some people feel the need for external validation. For us, I don’t think we could be more committed.”

tumblr_mqez63lYVr1saks2ho1_400

Image via manguitored.tumblr.com. Click to go there.

(Via Gaybros)