‘Try to understand my determination to win’

Digging into the Isley Brothers’ late seventies catalog the last couple weeks keeps forcing me to come up with new favorites. This churning, gurgling track from 1977’s Go For Your Guns boasts one of the more bearable self-actualization lyrics in pop and R&B. Guess I’m a sucker for verses that end with an affirmative guitarContinue reading “‘Try to understand my determination to win’”

‘My question is, what are you going to replace it with’

Before the demise of DOMA and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, I use to imagine ratfucking a candidate forum by asking him or her what he or she could do for me, a gay man. Then watch the fumbling. Senator Ted Cruz got an impolitic question in a Hubbard, Iowa cafeteria, only the citizen was sincere.Continue reading “‘My question is, what are you going to replace it with’”

Best movies of 2015, part four

Magic Mike XXL, dir. Gregory Jacobs. The queerest of recent Hollywood films, this smashing entertainment outdoes the original. The cheapo attitude — no name director, same cast, no script besides routines and one-liners that sound improvised — is just what this concept needed (the ignominious exit of Alex Pettyfer is a plus too). How refreshingContinue reading “Best movies of 2015, part four”

Glenn Frey: Nobody knows where you’re goin’

Friends know the depth of my adoration for Glenn Frey. The survivors confirm his devotion to honing the Eagles sound, Dionysian spirit, and considerable gut, the latter of which he lost after a rigorous workout regimen. In retrospect this looks stupid but, really, how many rock stars in 1988 made a virtue of their cleanContinue reading “Glenn Frey: Nobody knows where you’re goin’”

Singles 1/29

Don’t let a couple of those 7s fool you. The best week of the new year occasioned skeptical relistening, and it turns out Laura Mvula’s Nile Rodgers’ collaboration is too vaporous for my taste and Esperanza Spalding’s too scattered. But put them beside Grimes’ demented cheerleading anthem and Morning Msume’s good cheer and there’s aContinue reading “Singles 1/29”

GOP debate: Justice Barack Obama edition

Having a couple drinks with a friend, I forgot about this boondoggle. Let’s give it a shot, pun intended. 11 p.m. Marco Rubio croaks nonsense about American porch lights getting switched on again when he’s president. 10:57. Saints preserve us, Ben Carson recites the Preamble to the Constitution, and I hold my breath, as oneContinue reading “GOP debate: Justice Barack Obama edition”

The continuing adventures of the Florida pepper mill

Ever since Marco Rubio received a samurai sword from Governor Jeb Bush in the mid 2000s on the floor of the Florida House I’ve heard miracles about his speechifying ability. My parents are Cuban, after all, so why shouldn’t I identify with a story about a hardscrabble life in exile, right? But since winning theContinue reading “The continuing adventures of the Florida pepper mill”

The sorrows of dead Goethe

In my sophomore year at university I took Continental Literature. The vague nomenclature didn’t hint at what the extraordinary Butler Waugh’s lectures encompassed: the European novel of the twentieth century, with which undergraduates are unfamiliar but once composed an essential part of an education. His selections were heterodox: André Breton’s Nadja, Italo Svevo’s Confessions ofContinue reading “The sorrows of dead Goethe”

Best movies of 2015, part three

* Appropriate Behavior, dir. Desiree Akhavan. Desiree Akhavan, working from her own script, plays a young woman of Persian descent who hasn’t explained to her family that she’s bisexual, despite having broken up with a girlfriend. This whirling comedy of embarrassment displays a healthy sense of self-parody, and after years of lugubrious gay coming outContinue reading “Best movies of 2015, part three”

Latinos against Trump

Well! Latino organizers sensed an opportunity when they heard Donald Trump was bringing his presidential campaign to Marshalltown, a small farm city that is home to an increasing number of Latino immigrants and their children. So they organized protests at the high school gymnasium where Trump spoke Tuesday, with about 50 young Latinos marching silentlyContinue reading “Latinos against Trump”

Best films of 2015, part two

* Mad Max: Fury Road, dir. George Miller. ,. The claque was boisterous enough for me to consider omitting it, but rewatching it over the holiday break I marveled over its mad inventions, expert pace, and determination to treat Tom Hardy as if he weren’t human. * Tangerine, dir. Sean S. Baker. Not as uproariousContinue reading “Best films of 2015, part two”

The surly bonds of earth: the Challenger explosion

For South Florida it was an astoundingly cold day: low to mid thirties. The morning the Challenger exploded coincided with the José Martí Parade, an annual ritual during which Miami private schools commemorated the Cuban journalist-poet-patriot by wearing leotards too tight to fit puberty-swollen bodies and instruments too adult to handle. I don’t remember ifContinue reading “The surly bonds of earth: the Challenger explosion”