Amoeblog

(In which we opine on the issue of Pride.)

Posted by Job O Brother, May 23, 2012 12:21pm | Post a Comment

pride flag


June is Pride Month, celebrating the LGBTel-em-el-oh-pee community past, present and future.

Writing on the subject is intimidating, because as someone who identifies with one of the letters in LGBT, the issues of equal rights feel raw, impassioned and profound. I am not an unbiased voice on the matter.

Growing up queer was almost indescribably difficult, and so much of who I am today was shaped by the negativity I experienced, not merely “often” – self-hate, fear and crippled self-esteem made it scary and gross for me every waking moment; thinking I needed to hide and obfuscate my unwanted inclinations meant that many of those I loved were kept from helping me, or even fully knowing me, which made for a special kind of awful loneliness.

In nearly every aspect of my life I see how I’m still "recovering" from being queer. For example: growing up, sports and physical fitness seemed like a test of manliness; I was so terrified of failing (which, I feared, would subsequently shine a light on my queerness) that exercise and playing outdoor games became something scary and intimidating, which in turn affected my fitness habits for life. It’s only in the last decade that I could drum up the courage to start exercising. This may sound ridiculous, but it really does cut that deep – that jogging around the block isn’t just something to get my heart-rate up, but something I’ve had to push myself to do in spite of a fear of being targeted for some form of ridicule. That’s just one example – there’s many more, equally pathetic and utterly unnecessary.

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Black [gay] History Month, 2012

Posted by Job O Brother, January 29, 2012 04:30pm | Post a Comment
black history gay

Ethel Merman’s voice makes my stomach acids sour and the very idea of shopping for clothes gives me a panic attack; despite these and other suspicious facts, I am a member of the LGBT community. For this reason, the issue of equal rights is ever-present in my mind.

There’s been a lot written and said about comparing the history of intolerance between racial minorities and the gay community, most especially in late 2008 when Prop. 8 was passed in the state of California amidst reports that large numbers of black people, urged by their church heads, voted to end the briefly instituted marriage equality of the state.

There were, of course, many exceptions to this and I don’t mean to angle this as a blacks-versus-gays situation – it's far more complicated than anything I'll do justice to here – but it did shine a light on an issue that often ruffles feathers. Knowing my place here on the Amoeblog as “light entertainment,” I will eschew any prolonged essays on the matter (for great, long-winded crap like that you should check out Charles Reece’s blog), but I will say that equal rights for all people is not only a victimless proposition, it’s one that benefits all people. Whether you think it’s appropriate to compare the struggle for gay equality with those of racial minorities, the fact is that everyone should have the same basic, human rights.

It would be one thing if a child was struck with bone marrow cancer every time two lesbians kissed, but kids, that’s just not the way it is and the sooner we let the gays get married, the sooner they can set up homes that will raise the property value of your block.

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Souls of Splendor San Francisco Premiere Screening, Thursday 1/12

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, January 9, 2012 03:45pm | Post a Comment
Souls of Splendor -- a comedic short film about being Gay, Geek, and creatively lost in San Francisco -- isSouls of splendor, wayne shellabarger, gay geek having its premiere screening this Thursday, January 12th at the Delancey Street Screening Room (600 Embarcadero) in SF. The film comes in at under 25 minutes and includes a Q&A with the cast and crew.  Doors: 7:30pm, film: 8:00pm. Get your tickets online HERE!

Souls of Splendor features the story of Leo, a black, gay comic book store clerk and writer who is dealing with his complicated relationship to his art. He feels left behind by his ex-boyfriend (a successful white artist) and creatively stuck in a place of self-sabotage and distraction. Although steeped in the worlds of comic geeks and San Francisco gay culture, Leo feels alienated from both. He finds the success of others unfair but can't seem to budge from his creative rut. When he sits down to write, distractions abound in the form of video games and his alter-egos: a superhero named Captain Fabulous and Franz Kafka. After an overdue confrontation with his ex-boyfriend, Leo realized that metamorphosis comes from within and has nothing to do with fairness or luck.

Poster art by Amoeba's own Wayne Shellabarger!
Music by David Copenhafer and Adam Josef.

LADY GAGA IS LATEST TO ADDRESS HOMOPHOBIA IN HIP-HOP

Posted by Billyjam, November 23, 2009 05:01pm | Post a Comment

More than any other popular musical form, hip-hop is perhaps the most consistently (and often apologetically) misogynistic and homophobic genre in all contemporary pop music. This is something that Lady Gaga speaks about in the video clip above, taken from an interview with host Touré from on On The Record, that will broadcast later tonight (Monday, Nov 23rd at 9pm) on Fuse TV.  Of course, this is not exactly breaking news to anyone No Homowho listens to popular rap, but it is nonetheless refreshing to hear a high profile person address homophobia in popular rap music. This is something that encompasses recurring anti-gay lyrics in songs and also the whole "No Homo" obsession, popular within hip-hop circles for several years now, whereby the words "NO HOMO" are instantly said aloud by a person right after they utter  something that might possibly be construed as "gay sounding." This two word statement absolves them from the ultimate crime (of being perceived as "homo"). This "No Homo" subcultural movement even spawned its own fashion line that includes the "No Homo" baseball cap (pictured).

In her interview, Lady Gaga, as always, is very supportive and defensive of her large gay following. When pressed by Toure as to which high profile homophobic hip-hopper she is referring to, she won't say. Truth is that it could be a great many rappers out there. But more than likely it is 50 Cent who she is referring to, since recently on the Angie Martinez radio show Fitty in a mocking derogatory tone referred to the scheduled Lady Gaga and Kanye West Fame Kills tour as the "gay tour." (the tour got cancelled due to Kayne's VMA outburst combined with lackluster advance ticket sales). This is the same rapper who in Spin magazine a few years back opined, "In hip-hop, there’s certain standards of things you can’t do. Being gay isn't cool -- it's not what the music is based on." Of course, many, including anyone within the so-called "homo-hop" subgenre of hip-hop, would argue that such a notion is nonsense. But, despite the growing numbers of queer rap artists, this hip-hop subgenre remains mostly a totally separate (and underground) world, and one that does not generally crossover into popular rap. Simply put, while most of the rest of popular culture has at least superficially embraced gays, it looks like it is still a ways off before popular hip-hop will accept its first openly gaHeavy D & The Boysy rap star.

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HOMOHOP'S ROLE WITHIN HIP-HOP: JUBA KALAMKA INTERVIEW

Posted by Billyjam, July 7, 2009 12:12pm | Post a Comment
Juba Kalamka
     Juba Kalamka performing at Amoeba Music San Francisco's recent Pride '09 in-store celebration with Pick Up The Mic stars. Also performing were JenRO and Dutchboy (6/25/09).
All photos from the event by Kaitlin Layher


Juba Kalamka was recently part of the Amoeba Music San Francisco in-store Pride '09 Celebration, which was also a DVD release party for the seminal "homohop" documentary Pick Up The Mic. Juba, along with fellow Bay Area queer rap artists JenRO and Dutchboy, who also performed that day at the Haight Street store (view all the pictures here), is one of the many talented stars of the must-see, Alex Hinton directed film. Although the film first screened a few years ago, it is only very recently available on DVD.

In early 2000 Juba Kalamka (aka Pointfivefag), along with Tim'm T. West (aka 25percenter) and Phillip Juba KalamkaAtiba Goff (aka Lightskindid) formed Deep Dickollective (D/DC), which also featured member Ralowe Ampu (G-Minus). The seeds for D/DC were sown a year earlier after Kalamka and West met at Stanford following a 1999 screening of black gay filmmaker and scholar Marlon Riggs' film Tongues Untied. I personally first heard of and met the guys from D/DC about a year into their career, and, most impressed with their hip-hop skills in combination with their refreshing take on a genre traditionally drenched in homophobia, I invited them to be included on one of the Amoeba Music Compilations.

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