Saturday, August 24, 2013

Read Me, Hear Me, Touch Me

It's always great when word gets out about my books, and those of my fellow authors. But when the same large corporation with whom you publish actively resists getting your books shared with disabled people, that's f*cked up.

The first published review of PINS the audiobook has been posted on Amos Lassen's blog

Here's a short excerpt: "What makes this novel so important is that we so identify with what goes on and it tears at our heartstrings. I found that reading this is difficult because of the subject matter but hearing it read really drives it home."

"Hearing it now made me realize how important this book it. The voice makes everything seem more real and [narrator Paul] Fleschner is able to capture that in his voice. Get a copy and sit down for a listen. You will not regret it, I guarantee."


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Sochi: Catching Fire on Ice

Will Johnny Weir be the Katniss of the Sochi Winter Olympics?

The openly gay figure skater has stated in interviews that he is "prepared to be arrested" at the Sochi Winter Olympics, scheduled to take place February 7 to 23, 2014.

In a case of calculated evil, the repressive Putin regime in June enacted a law banning "gay propaganda."   

The law prohibits statements maintaining the "equivalence of traditional and non-traditional sexual relations." Foreign citizens who violate the law in the media face a fine of 50,000 to 100,000 rubles (up to $1500 U.S.), arrest for up to 15 days and deportation.

"If it takes me getting arrested for people to pay attention, and for people to lobby against this law, then I'm willing to take it," Wier said to CBS, adding: "Like anyone, I'm scared to be arrested. But I'm also not afraid of being arrested."

Sochi spokesmen have clearly stated that the anti-gay law will be enforced at the Olympics. Then the International Olympic Committee turned around and lied, saying that would not happen.

The result of the legislation has unleashed a flood of violent attacks on LGBT Russians. People have been assaulted, threatened, kidnapped and murdered. A gay newscaster who came out mid-broadcast was fired, and the state media outlet deleted any trace of his reports on YouTube.

The comparison to the film and books The Hunger Games seems apt. While the hairstyles and costumes may differ, the similarities are clear. The gargantuan hypocrisy of the futuristic terror in The Hunger Games also pervades the upcoming Winter Olympics, which have yet to begin.

But the Olympics-specific violence has. An electrician at an Olympic residential building where the Games will be held was raped and tortured by Russian police.  They deny any torture took place.

The threat of violence pervades the country. Competitors in the Olympics and the fictional Hunger Games are faced with threats from their rulers. Vaunted to international celebrity status, they ride a fine line between standing up for the common people and obeying their overlords just to stay alive. Meanwhile, outside the arena, thousands suffer.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Dancing Barefaced

 It's a strange situation, feeling remotely sad when a celebrity dies. Cory Monteith, Karen Black; their passings mark significant cultural moments in our lives. 

Even the death of "minor" celebrities bring on a wistfulness, like that of Munchkin Margaret Pelligrini, and Cosmo Allegretti, who created and performed the Mister Moose and Bunny Rabbit puppet characters on Captain Kangaroo, as well as the oddly endearing Dancing Bear.

But the death of Sean Sasser denotes a different sort of celebrity. As the real-life boyfriend of Pedro Zamora on the first season of the MTV show The Real World, Sean and Pedro provided viewers with a pair of young, handsome and understated examples of gay men in a media world at the time still rife with stereotypes and homophobia. While Pedro brought a face to youth in the midst of a pandemic, Sasser's supportive nature supplemented that realistic media image with a hope that PWAs weren't always alone.