Thursday, January 29, 2015

PRIDE DVD Straightwashed for US market

Two postings ago, I offered my brief review and recommendation of Pride, as the best gay film of the year. In fact, it won the British Independent Film award a month ago for best overall British film of the year.

I wasn't aware at the time of posting that the DVD cover of the film for US markets had removed all references to 'gay' and 'gay activists' from both the cover and the write up blurb. Yet again another sign of just how backward parts of US culture remain. There were, of course, a number of attempted rationalizations - to the effect that if the gay references were left in, the film would be back shelved and out of reach. By cleansing the product, it makes it more accessible, ete etc. Here's the director trying to put a positive spin on it (He was clearly taken by surprise)

"Pride" is a film which plays incredibly well to a global mainstream audience of any political or sexual persuasion. It’s a film about two groups of people forming an unlikely alliance and fighting each others’ corners rather than just their own. It is probably one of the most political films ever to hit the mainstream and it is certainly one of the most loved films of the year (even by people who hate politics). I don’t consider it a "gay film" or a "straight film." I’m not interested in those labels. It is an honest film about compassion, tolerance, and courage.
Marketing "Pride" has proved an interesting challenge from day one, and there are many people in the mainstream who have yet to see the film. My guess is some of those people are imagining that the film is maybe "too political" for them, and some others are imagining it could possibly be "too gay." As it happens, these concerns completely evaporate in the presence of the movie itself, but they are important when attempting to manage potential audience perceptions through marketing. Since the day I first read the script I have felt passionately that this film, of all films, deserves to find a fully diverse audience from all walks of life. Indeed its very meaning and message is diminished the more "niche" it becomes. I look forward to living in a world where these kinds of marketing negotiations are neither valid nor necessary -- but we're not there yet. In a sense, that's why I made the film.
For these reasons I don’t automatically condemn any attempt to prevent the movie being misunderstood as an exclusively “gay film." I certainly don’t regard such attempts as homophobic.

Quite a difference, I must say, and a shameful one.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A World of Shadows: CITIZEN FOUR, Edward Snowden, and Charlie Hebdo

(These reflections were taken from previous posting, which was a little too long with too many themes.)

The world is not in a good state at the moment at this beginning of 2015, and I certainly don't wish to be a prophet of doom. I trust as always in the deeply hidden mystery of Divine Providence, ever there, ever watching, always guiding, always supporting - in the shadows, in the silences, in our doubts and fears - the loving face of the Divine leading us through darkness into the glorious light. 

I just watched Citizen Four, the extraordinary, chilling documentary about Edward Snowden by Loira Poitras.This one is also not to be missed. Scary and horrifying to see it all layed out there, the full extent of the surveillance machine aimed against us. The film helped me immeasurably to come to terms with the enigma of Edward Snowden, and as I feel about good Pope Francis, I continue to believe in Snowden's integrity and courage, despite some very alarming red flags! There are suspicions in some quarters that he was a CIA plant from the get go, dishing out carefully controlled and selected revelations as a way of protecting the truly damaging secrets. A disinformation agent engaging in 'controlled dissent.' Hard to believe, however, than any one human being would make such a sacrifice, forced to hide away in a foreign country, cut off from family and friends with little hope of returning home. Why has this radical point of view gained any credibility? Because of the strange linkage of journalist Glen Greenwald and documentary filmmaker, Laura Poitras with billionare owner of Ebay (and Pay Pal), Pierre Omidyar. This was all the more disturbing when it was revealed that Omidyar has close ties with the NSA, the very institution that Snowden was supposedly exposing. Furthermore, Omidyar was funding some of the same Ukrainian NGO's the US was funding in its (successful) attempt to overthrow  the pro Russian Ukrainian government. This has led to suspicions that he was funding on behalf of the US government and not simply acting independently.  Suspicious indeed. Now this billionaire business man with close ties to US intelligence, surveillance and government essentially owns the 'secrets of Edward Snowden'. Not a propitious ending to this story at all and it leaves a very sour taste in the mouth. The subsequent posturings and rationalizations of Greenwald have not helped the case either. The documentary, however,  takes us right into that famous Hong Kong hotel room two years ago when Greenwald and Poitras first met Snowden, recording history in the making. I felt the film revealed a genuine, honest, thoughtful idealist, who seemed truly pressured and in fear for his own safety.  This was not an acting performance we were treated to, the man seemed really under threat - no matter how the affair has ended up - and it is certainly not ended yet. But the mystery and enigma is shrouded in shadows. Who is the real Edward Snowden, living in exile in Moscow - with no uncertain future ahead of him, 'the most wanted man in the world'? Let the reader decide. 

Here's a worthwhile article asking the right questions:

Keeping Secrets: Pierre Omidyar, Glenn Greenwald and the privatization of Snowden’s leaks.

Edward Snowden has popularly been compared to major whistleblowers such as Daniel Ellsberg,Chelsea Manning and Jeffrey Wigand. However, there is an important difference in the Snowden files that has so far gone largely unnoticed. Whistleblowing has traditionally served the public interest. In this case, it is about to serve the interests of a billionaire starting a for-profit media business venture. This is truly unprecedented. Never before has such a vast trove of public secrets been sold wholesale to a single billionaire as the foundation of a for-profit company.

Here is FBI whistleblower, Sibel Edmonds, website, BOILING FROGS:, which contains the most searching critique of the Edward Snowden affair available online. Since Sibel is a noteworthy whistle blower herself, her criticism has considerable merit and deserves to be taken seriously. I just can't go quite as far as she does in dismissing Snowden as as a fake from the get go. Sorry, Sibel, he seems like the real thing to me (but then what do I know), but he handed over all controls and documents to Greenwald and Poitras. Are they the 'villains' in this story? 

In the interests of fairness, here is Laura Poitras explaining her own motivations and the many grave risks she took in making the documentary. It is stirring stuff.

My own intuitions are with Edward Snowden as a genuine hero for the age. 

I see I've babbled on enough in this posting about too many disparate subjects, but for any readers interesting in exploring the background investigations going on about the horrendous Paris shootings, here is the website of former secretary of the Treasury under President Ronald Reagan, Paul Craig Roberts (Paul Craig Roberts:Institute for Public Policy), who is now a fierce critic of US foreign policy. He frequently publishes updates from his French contacts on the Charlie Hebdo affair - and the number of alarming red flags surrounding it and the glaring holes in the official story. I kept my distance from all of the mass hysteria, the marching in the streets, the arms joined by some of the worst offenders of free speech in the political world. It just seemed too suspicious to me. However, I was moved by the solidarity of the 'masses' in the streets of Paris, joining hands across religious and ideological lines. Was this, indeed,  a false flag event, as many are suggesting? Circumstantial evidence seems to point as much in this direction, and to various security agencies (unnamed),  as it does towards the two (conveniently) assassinated radical Islamic brothers. Were they set up as patsies beforehand, with a trail of incriminating actions they might have been led into by double agents? Fodder for a great spy novel. I would say it's about 50/50 at the moment, but it does all have a very fishy smell. However,  this is food for a future posting. 

Not a very happy or uplifting way to end a new year posting, but then it has been a shocking beginning to 2015. So here is a great photo of our favorite, gay friendly Super Model, River Viiperi! Looking very sexy and sassy in white! 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Gay Culture and Films for the New Year

This stunning painting of gay love surviving in the shadows of a hostile world is by the wonderful artist, Doug Blanchard, who is responsible for the extraordinary gay stations of the Cross, The Passion of Christ: A Gay Vision, with text by Kittredge Cherry! Check out her Jesus in Love site, devoted to LGBT spirituality. 

This painting captures so many dimensions which words cannot adequately express - the dingy hotel room with the cracked grey walls, the shattered window pane, the broken coffee cups. It looks very much like a refuge, a place of hiding and escape. The two men's bodies glow with a life giving warmth, but the look of yearning and sorrow on the young man's face is both passionate and mournful. Together at last, yet for how long, for only this brief moment? When will the shadows disperse and when can we be open and free.

On a similar note, I recently went through what are probably the three most noteworthy gay films of the past year, in order of my preferences:

The wonderfully heartwarming, Pride, nominated for a Golden Globe for best picture and for several Bafta's, including Best British Film of the Year, which I hope it wins - though the award will probably go to one of the biops The Imitation Game or The Theory of Everything. The film tells the story of "U.K. gay activists working to help miners during their lengthy strike of the National Union of Mineworkers in the summer of 1984." A deeply moving study of how tenacity and passion can eventually overcome the barriers of homophobia, the ending brings tears to the eyes. The largest contingent of marchers in the fledgling London's Gay Pride Parade of 1984 - was composed of seven tour buses of Welsh miners come to support their friends.  Their numbers were so great, they were put at the head of the parade, banners and all! In those long ago days, there were few communities more homophobic than the Welsh miners and their wives. The motley group of young gay activists, passionate and idealistic, broke through all barriers `and won the miners' hearts and respect, but not before suffering much misunderstanding, ridicule and rejection.  Deeply moving and powerfully political, and as one reviewer noted - and I paraphrase - "with no disrespect intended, this would make a great musical." The best gay film of the year in my humble opinion! Not to be missed. 

My second favorite film of the year was the tender, poignant and very timely love story, Love in Strange, the story of a gay teacher (Alfred Molina) who loses his position as choir director at a Catholic high school when he marries his partner (John Lithgow) of many years. This couldn't be more relevant, as numerous gay employees of Catholic institutions are fired right and left for marrying their partners or coming out as married in any public way.  We the viewers suffer with heartache as the couple in the film deals with the devastating consequences of the Church's intransigence - the loss of their security, their own apartment, health insurance = all the consequences of a deeply homophobic church, unable to face its own dark shadow or practice the virtues it preaches. Devastating. Molina and Lithgow deliver such tender, true performances, with all the wrinkles of such a relationship on display, warts and all. Yet what remains is the haunting image of their lasting love throughout it all -  including bouts of infidelity. Some gay reviewers at IMDB objected to the ending, the long lingering look at Lithgow's young teen nephew, riding his bike alongside his new girlfriend, a bittersweet, sad smile on his face as he thinks with affectionate nostalgia of the uncle he recently lost and whom he deeply misses. In the previous scene, we had seen him sobbing on the stairway, overcome with grief.  "See, he's not gay, thank god," was the cynical response of quite a few of these (younger) gay reviewers, incensed that this seemed to be a film for straight people, reassuring them that the younger boy would not turn out gay (whew! sigh of relief). I'm not sure what to make of that. A bit of truth to it, I suppose, a final note of reassurance for straight viewers that 'even' a gay uncle can have a loving, positive influence of a young male gay teen. "Thank god he was not a pedophile," seems to be the subliminal message some of these viewers read into the film. Yet I found the ending quite positive and affirming. After all, life goes on and what are the statistical chances of the young man being gay? Had he been gay, I would have found the story a bit contrived. Instead, we are presented with a picture of an average straight boy starting out in life, discovering love for himself - after his loving gay uncle gave him the necessary push in the right direction. The gay uncle understands the power of love and what the young man needs to do to find it. In the end sexual orientation matters not a wit. What matters is love and the power of affectionate commitment and loyalty to the end. A beautiful film, not to be missed. 

Alan Turning being arrested on charges of indecency.

The last film, The Imitation Game, chronicles the true life story of Cambridge mathematician, Alan Turning who successfully cracked the German Enigma spy code, helping to shorten the war by at least several years and saving several million lives in the process. He was of course, 'tortured' for his homosexuality when it was discovered in the 1950's (a tryst in a toilet with an undercover policeman). He was forced to undergo chemical therapy to inhibit his gay libidinous tendencies. He committed suicide a year after the treatment began. He was posthumously pardoned by the Queen on December 24th, 2013, a little over a year ago. It is a sad and shameful tale of an extraordinary  man, a hero by any accounts, who made an inestimable contribution to his community, but who was persecuted for his sexual orientation which he had to keep secret for most of his life. The film takes quite a close look at this dimension of his character, including his loving relationship with one of his female colleagues on the Enigma team (the lovely Kiera Knightley) who wants to marry him, sexual orientation be damned. "We can be companions,' she tells him. Benedict Cumberbatch is nominated for both an Oscar and a Bafta for his performance. Another unmissable film. 

Other news:

I Have been watching 'poor' Pope Francis stumble his way through the contraception, birth control debacle, trying to find his way out without compromising the reputation of his office and authority in general in the church - on the one hand, wanting to ensure more Catholic babies, on the other assuring us we don't need "to breed like rabbits." Poor man, trapped by his own preconceptions, priorities, intellectual and theological formation and the heavy pressures of his inflated office. I continue to like him as a sincere, spiritual man, and unlike the cynics, I do not think he is simply lying or playing a propaganda game. Yet it is difficult not to become cynical when - in the words of Jerry Slevin - we see the Pope kissing babies on the one hand, and hobnobbing with billionaire right wing extremists (heavy donors to the church) on the other He seems really and truly trapped by too many restrictions coming from too many directions, not least of which is the pressure from his fellow cardinals seeking to shore up their own authority and escape prosecution for crimes against children. The message I get from this - apart from the obvious one, that we need to stop relying upon authority figures to solve our problems for us or reform anything - is that even a good and spiritual man with the best intentions in the world can be compromised and even corrupted by this system of authority in the Church. It's too easy now to paint him as a hypocritical villain, slyly playing a double game, talking nicey nicey while dealing deviously behind the scenes, shoring up the financial pillars of the institution, protecting the criminals, propping up its tottering public image and authority by trying every which way to continue the contraception ban. I can't quite accept this scenario, though I might simply be naive myself. There seems to be  an authentic decency in the man, genuine and true, and therein lies the paradox. Decency is simply not enough these days! This is a much more subtle, complex picture of a human being than the simple caricature being parroted about here and there. One wonders if John Paul I, Albino Luciani, wouldn't have been somewhat the same.  Caring, decent, saintly - and yet also a man of the church who would have moved very slowly. But given his history of comments about birth control, one also suspects that on this one issue he would have been ahead of his successor + 2.

From The Passion of Christ: A Gay Vision by Doub Blanchard (artist) and Kittredge Cherry (author). 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Outcasts of Christmas and the Winter Solstice

A Blessed Winter Solstice celebration for all you holy pagans out there, followers of Attis and Dionysus, both of Greece; Mithra of Persia; Salivahana of Bermuda; Odin of Scandinavia; Crite of Chaldez; Thammuz of Syria; Addad of Assyria, and Beddru of Japan. (All of these male deities celebrate their birthdays on December 25th).
For all of you Christian sinners out there (like me), Feliz Navidad! A blessed day in honor of the Crucified Savior, born in a shelter for animals outside the inn. 

To remind us that Jesu was born an outcast, here is a haunting photo of a Romany family being investigated by police in Romania. 

No room for Jesus in the Inn of respectable society. But the Roma would have taken Him in.

Today is a day to celebrate the inclusion of all outcasts in the warmth of our Divine Mother/Father's familial embrace. All are welcome. 

(thank you, Chris Mac, from The Scarecrow Blog)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Barracuda - a Young Gay Teen Novel

A significant contribution to gay teen literature, but not without its exasperating flaws.

I had to struggle to finish this book, but I persevered to the end because I respected the author's intentions and his deliberate efforts to integrate the gay sexuality of his central character into the narrative without making it a central issue. We are still in dire need of gay fictional treatments of the difficulties of coming out and dealing with homophobia and gay bashing - witness the continuing spate of young gay teen suicides or the most recent draconian legal attacks on gay people in Uganda. Nonetheless, there is a countervailing need to see gay characters integrated into quite  ordinary life stories, dealing with the commonplace conflicts and challenges of simply being human. Barracuda fits into this latter category. Never once is the sexuality of his central character made an issue in his ongoing struggles with profound shame, inferiority, humiliation and the concomitant explosions of rage and violence that result. This is a story of a young teen male struggling with a profound insecurity which he seeks to heal by striving to be an Olympic level swimmer. When he fails miserably at his attempts, his own inner world collapses, and he is filled with rage and fury, which he seeks to exorcise throughout the remainder of the book. I could never quite get a handle on the ultimate source of his profound emptiness - other than some sketches of his difficult relationship with his father, and his humiliation at being a wog (of  Greek ancestry) on scholarship among his upper class peers and the 'golden boys' of his school swimming team. Nonetheless, while it was refreshing that his sexuality was never made a central issue, this omission was very strange in a character dealing with profound humiliation and shame. Had it been another set of conflicts, it would have been understandable. But for this reader, it didn't quite work. It was a clever attempt, however, on the part of Christos Tsiolkas. Why not present a gay character who has deep conflicts of inferiority and shame quite unrelated to his 'alternative' sexuality - which he simply accepts as an unremarkable part of his nature and not a contributing factor to his psychic dilemma. There is one very refreshing, bold 'coming out' admission on the part of Christ to his cousin that is not a 'coming out' at all, simply an admission that, just as his cousin misses contacts with girls, Chris misses sexual contact with males. And that is that.

My problem with the book, which other readers share, is that the focus on Chris' inner turmoil is so relentless, repetitive and intense it eventually wears the reader down. It is simply repeated again and again and again, and the end result is to make the character - for much, but not all of the book - a very unattractive person to be with.

What I found to be a great narrative strength, however, is the alternating time spans - covering four phases in the young man's life, from the traumatic early teens, through young adulthood with a male partner. We are switched from one to another and back again, for no readily apparent reason, but this worked for me. Other readers have stated they would have preferred to have grown along with the character. But I couldn't have stood his constant raging and fuming without some respite and without the very clear insight the future flash forwards provide us of a young man who eventually through many painful trials manages to rescue himself from his debilitating neurosis. I thought it was a fascinating look at the way a character can, quite simply, grow up, and it added to the mystery of human development. There were also some remarkable surprises in these flash forwards (no spoilers here).

Lastly, the physicality of the character - which some more genteel readers found offensive - I found refreshing, because it grounded the character in the very real gritty experience of the average teenage boy, acutely conscious of the workings of his body, including pissing, shitting, farting, ejaculating. The incidents in which these bodily functions were described were very sparse and few and far between, just enough to give a believable sense of the sensitivities of an ordinary adolescent. This is a part of being human and part of the 'shame' all of us must come to accept about being ensconced in an animal body. Kudos to Tsiolkas for not shirking from it.

In the end, this is a tortuous, arduous journey of redemption, but I found the end result to be believable and true. I just wish it hadn't been so exhausting to get there.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Religion of the Gypsies

I am very pleased that my first book review at Crime Scene Reviews is the sweeping historical saga, Dosha, Flight of the Russian Gypsies, by Sonia Meyer (Author Interview here) which I’ve selected from Book Club Reading List. 
This deeply DoshaCover_Page_1moving account of the tragic plight of Russian Romany gypsies is an appropriate choice for this site because it deals with a horrific crime of state against a persecuted minority, the Romany. This event was all the more poignant because in the past Russia was the one European country that most welcomed, appreciated and loved its Gypsy communities. They were loved for their unique music and dance, their rich culture, the freedom of their lives, and their passionate loyalty to one another. Gypsies felt safe in Russia for centuries. Sadly, after 1956, this protective haven was destroyed and the Romany were forced to flee for their lives, including many who had fought for Russia as loyal partisans in World Word II. Those who could not escape were herded into starvation camps in Siberia and left to die.
In 1956 – one year after Dosha’s mother, Azra, daughter of the king of thousands of traveling Lovara, had died -the Red net began, without warning, to entrap nomadic Gypsies into the grinding mill of Soviet Standardization.
However, Sonia Meyer has not simply written an historical tract or a sociological essay. She has crafted a richly detailed, deeply moving fictional account of Gypsy life, both within the forests and plains of Russia and during their flight to freedom in the West.  She has personalized the tragedy of an entire people by taking us into the lived experience of a remarkable young Gypsy girl,  Dosha, granddaughter of Khantchi,  the King of her Lovara tribe.  We follow Dosha through a series of harrowing adventures as she seeks to escape to freedom in the West, together with her beloved stallion Rus. For Dosha is a highly gifted rider of horses, and through the training of her father, she is transformed into a master of the horse. This mastery, together with her magnificent stallion,  will catch the eye of Russian agents recruiting for the renowned Leningrad dressage team. Because of this fortuitous event, Dosha will discover her pathway to freedom, and map out a path of escape for the rest of her tribe.
Read the full review here at Crime Scene Reviews

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Mystical Same Sex Marriage with Jesus = at Jesus in Love Blog

There is a beautiful posting up at Jesus in Love Blog about Spanish Jesuit priest, Blessed Bernardo Francisco de Hoyos y de Seña, and his mystical marriage to Jesus.

The entire reflection is very moving and informative, but I was especially touched by these closing words, as the young 24 year old priest lay dying:

His dying words indicate that he felt the presence of his Spouse Jesus at the end. Bernardo’s last words were, “Oh, how good it is to dwell in the Heart of Jesus!”
Here is another account of the young saint at the fascinating blog, Good Jesuit, Bad Jesuit, but as Kittredge Cherry points out at Jesus in Love, the 'gay' mystical marriage of Blessed Bernardo is played down (not even mentioned) in favor of upholding him as an apostle of the Sacred Heart.

Just one more example of how gay lives and experiences are expunged from the public record in subtle ways - too hot to handle. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Cross of Garabandal and the death of Joey Lomangino

Garabandal seen from the Pines

A little bit late, but I just heard of the death of Joey Lomangino, the blind man who became one of the principal apostles of the apparitions of Garabandal, Spain (1961-1965). Joey passed away on June 18th of this year, and shortly thereafter his New York Garabandal Center was closed. Only a tiny remnant of true believers still remain from those long ago days, still waiting for the expected Warning and Miracle. Joey, however, was special, a genuinely holy man of profound faith and deep surrender to the Divine Will. 

This is very moving news and quite sad in its implications, but only of possible interest to Garabandal devotees and enthusiasts, of which, I confess, I am one. I first visited Garabandal in August 1976, shortly before the death of Pope Paul VI and the election of Albino Luciani as the saintly John Paul I. I was profoundly moved by the visit and have never doubted the spiritual authenticity of the Garabandal charism, though I've kept myself distant from its more spectacular elements and all of the attendant speculation about future events. Garabandal is simply one more sacred space on earth where one encounters the Divine Feminine, calling us to a life of prayer, mortification, sacrifice - and above all, forgiveness and love. And in fact the sacrifices most dear to the Heavenly Mother's heart are those moments of forgiveness that sometimes cost us such a struggle of soul. Love and forgiveness, and after them a loving practice of self denial. 

Joey had a now well known visit with stigmatist, Padre Pio, shortly after the accident that left Joey blind and without his sense of smell. This visit with Padre Pio restored his sense of smell and healed his soul as well. Planning a visit to Garabandal, Joey, not wanting to jeopardize his newly restored spiritual state,  asked the renowned holy man if this was all right, and Padre Pio said it was and gave Joey his blessing for the trip. Once he arrived, he heard a heavenly womanly voice comforting and advising him. This was only a very brief epiphany, but it marked Joey for life and embarked him upon his new vocation as an apostle of Mary. However, Conchita, the head visionary (now in her sixties) told Joey she had been told by the Blessed Mother to tell Joey that the voice he heard was her own and that on the day of the great miracle, he would 'receive new eyes.' This prophecy has been one of the mainstays of Garabandal belief and certitude over the past forty plus years, so Joey's passing is indeed a blow, a sign of contradiction and a heavy cross to bear. However, he died peacefully surrounded by his family on the very anniversary of the first apparition at Garabandal, and that does not seem like a coincidence to me. Joey was a holy man and his holiness and humility are the greatest testimony to the vocation given him to spread the message of Garabandal. That in itself is enough of a holy sign. Joey's heartfelt surrender to his Holy Mother and all she asked of him is more of a miracle of grace than the restoration of his sight, however spectacular such an event might have been. There is a mystery at work here. Let us contemplate it in silence and with respect. 

(Lest we forget: The young Garabandal visionaries in ecstasy and the event that rocked the Catholic world in the 1960's long before Medjugorje)

One of the other more significant prophecies of Garabandal, however,  is that as we approach the 'end times' and the moment of the 'Great Miracle,' an event would occur that would cause many to doubt. This has now taken place with the unexpected death of Joey Lamargino, and the naysayers were not long in voicing their gladful responses. However, many sincere persons of faith have been troubled by this event and it leaves them saddened and perplexed.  Personally, this is how I view the fact of Joey's passing, as a paradoxical mystery and a moment of grace. Above all, it is a moment to 'let go' of all expectations of spectacular fulfillments of prophecies. . It is just such paradoxical reversals, so painful and difficult to fathom, that challenge our faith all of the time. The message behind them is peaceful acceptance and detachment in a spirit of deep faith. In faith, we have everything. 

In light of this reversal, those who feel spiritually connected to Garabandal must resort to prayer and discernment to understand the significance of this event - and part of this prayer must be a request for the grace of detachment from any expectations of spectacular events or prophetic fulfillments of Garabandal.

Till the end of my days, I will continue to believe that for one brief moment of time, the veil concealing Eternity was gently pulled aside on a hillside in Spain between the years of 1961 and 1965 and the Heavenly Mother of us all revealed her glorious, loving and compassionate presence. Yet this is a presence that can still be discerned, intuited, deeply felt in our own hearts and well as on the hillsides of this still remote Spanish village.

The story of Garabandal is still not over and the death of Joey Lamangino is one of those sacrifices that will bear much fruit. 

Blessings on you Joey and may you rejoice in your new life of heavenly joy and with your newly bestowed eyes of the Spirit. Joey pray for us.

Joey's Garabandal Website here

A Quick summary of the major events of the apparitions

Interesting discussion group about Joey's passing (many conservatives and true believers in view, but not all)

The range of people who feel some connection with Garabandal is wide and broad, though most sites dealing with the apparitions are dominated by Catholics of the most traditional kind. Some of us - myself included - feel called to right the balance of this equation, however. Mary is calling many of us, including this aging happily queer gay Catholic man, who believes in all things liberal in the Church, from women priests (please soon) to gay marriage (a little bit later). I stop at abortion, however, a social phenomenon mentioned in the visions at Garabandal - to the shock and consternation of the then 14 year old visionary, Conchita Gonzalez. Since this was long before the time abortions became legal in many countries, the simple village girl could not comprehend the Heavenly Mother's description of the procedure. "How can a baby be killed in its mother's womb without also killing the mother,'asked the young visionary. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Still alive and kicking

Prague Noir on a Wintery Night

I'm still alive and kicking, as the saying goes. But I've been putting a lot of time into my new book review blog, Crime Scene Reviews. Check it out if crime novels are your cup of arsenic laced tea. And if you want to help out, please vote in the book poll on the site. Both books up for a vote are based on true life individuals who lived and survived at the heart of some harrowing periods of injustice. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014


Pequot Woods Park
And now for a bit of whimsy:

One of the results that pops up for Gay Mystic on Google is one called Gay Mystic Map Listings.

I-95 Rest Area
And here we can find all of the gay cruising areas in Mystic, Connecticut. I never knew there was such a place. Who knew?  To be honest, I've never indulged in this kind of naturistic activity, though I know friends who have.

??? Secrets in the Woods???

1. Pequot Woods Park


MysticUnited States
1 Ratings
My photo, just for fun. Guy on the right doesn't look very comfortable. 
This little civic park offers great daytime cruising. Guys wait in or near the parking area or on the first trail to the left. Lots of secluded areas for activity.
Crowd: Good mix of ages.

2. I-95 Rest Area

Between exits 89 and 90,
MysticUnited States

Between exits 89 and 90,
MysticUnited States
I-95 Rest AreaThis rest area attracts a good crowd of mixed ages after dark. Activity continues until wee hours, though probably best just after dark as police 
do make rounds late at night.
Crowd: Good mix of all ages. (How nice)

No Description for this one, but 1623 views!

3. I-95 Scenic Overlook


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1623 View
Mystic County Tourist Guide (What to do in Mystic)