Tuesday, May 31, 2016

#MeBeforeEuthanasia: The Guy Dies in a Horrid Book and Film

Let me completely spoil the film and book Me Before You, because it represents the worst of ableist pop culture, and because anyone who is disabled knows it, and is saying so. The guy dies in the end.

From Time magazine to individual posts by many disabled people –authors, artists, activists – Jojo Moyes' story of a quadraplegic who 'nobly' chooses to die for the sake of able-bodied others is being excoriated for its ignorance and treacly romance twist on a serious issue.

Let's start with the Time feature, which gives disabled peoples' Twitter posts some deserved attention:

Stefani Shea: Illness and disability do not disqualify anyone from being able to live a full, rewarding life

Imani_Barbarin: Stop perpetuating the idea that disabled people only exist to make you feel better about your life by comparison.

NathanielGale, a fabulous "trans queer non-binary disabled activist and occasional artist" posted his remarks on Twitter, and he just did a BBC interview critiquing the film. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Forty Wild Crushes - Rocky Horror Controversies...in Abundance!

Few works of pop culture hold a devoted fan base like The Rocky Horror Picture Show and its original stage version, The Rocky Horror Show. Months before its October airdate, the Fox TV adaptation is riling fans and critics based on a few publicity photos and a one-minute trailer. My own connection as part of a shadow cast of the famous midnight film screenings is documented in fictionalized, and not so fictional, versions in my two latest books.

Just a sweet trans...gender?
First, the Fox controversy. The network will air their "adaptation" of not the stage script, but a version of the classic film. Playing the lead role is notable transgender actor Laverne Cox, known for outstanding performances in the hit Netflix series Orange is the New Black.

LaVerne Cox and Ben Vereen in the Fox Rocky
Already, rumors of a censored version being produced have ticked off fans of the film and stage play. Despite its innuendo-laden wacky script, the sexuality of the show is farcical and the sex scenes are traditionally done behind screens. How will that translate to a network broadcast?

Recent live broadcasts of classic musicals have also been criticized for casting and production values, but more for not remaining reverent to the original sources. And comparisons have been made to the "cleaned up" and abbreviated version of Rocky performed on the hit Fox TV show Glee

But that episode specifically dealt with the issue of censorship, making for another, in my opinion, "meta-theatre" take on repressive high school morals. The gay character Kurt (played by openly gay actor Cris Colfer) refused the role of Frank N. Furter on the grounds of typecasting, so it went to Mercedes Jones (robustly played by Amber Riley).

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Forty Wild Crushes: PR campaigns and Bitly links

It's more PR time. Win a signed paperback copy of Forty Wild Crushes, my new short fiction collection. Link: http://amzn.to/1TwAew0
"Teenage lust in summer theatre, cheating boyfriends on The Tonight Show, and an escapee from a pumpkin farm; these are just a few of the characters in short stories from Lambda Literary Award winner Jim Provenzano. The five-time novelist shares new and previously published works, and excerpts from forthcoming novels."

The GoodReads promo book giveaway is slower to get approval from their staff, even though it's owned by Amazon.com. Kinda ironic, since Amazon is 100 times bigger than GoodReads. Or not. Anyway, it runs May 14 through May 28.

You can pre-order the Kindle edition now, which will be out June 1. I was informed this is a good way to promote a book, so that when it's released it'll show up higher on sales rankings. Frankly, I'm a bit pre-exhausted with all this expected promotional stuff; giveaways, ARC (Advanced Reader Copies), blog tours, etc. 

One friend said "Get a cat and vlog shirtless with it." 
Yeah, okay, no.

You know how I promoted my first San Francisco reading in, 1994? I was in the anthology Waves, which included the title story, "Forty Wild Crushes."

I stood outside A Different Light Bookstore on Castro Street, handing out little mini-flyers with info about my story and the book, with this picture of a shirtless Robert Conrad, like a street huckster. The Wild Wild West actor is mentioned in the short story. By the time the reading started, the store was packed.

So it was surprisingly appropriate that my colleague Aldo Alvarez (whose short fiction collection, Interesting Monsters, was part of the inspiration for my assembling a short story collection) blurbed my book with this quote:

"Jim Provenzano's short stories are as beautiful and chiseled as a young Robert Conrad, and they make me swoon just as much." - Aldo Alvarez, author of Interesting Monsters, founder and editor of Blithe House Quarterly 

I have some San Francisco area readings coming up in June and July. Follow me on Twitter, where everything's reduced to a Bitly link. PR, Sweetie! Pop-Specs!

Selling point! PR! Giveaway link here!