“Non-Love-Song”: A Review Thursday, Aug 28 2014 

If I were teaching my Lesbian and Gay Lit class this term I would show my students this 2009 short film, “Non-Love Song” written and directed by Erik Gernand

I think this short beautifully captures the experience of many young gay men: king of having an unrequited crush on your best friend and trying to let him know how you feel and who you really are while worrying about what would happen if he knew you were gay. At least that’s how I interpret the film — some viewers argue that straight guys have the same interactions. But I think the part where Josh asks what would happen if they meet up again in a few months and they’re different suggests the character’s anxiety about coming out and whether Alex will still be his friend. His defensiveness about Alex’s use of words like queer, faggoty, and gay further reflects this, I think. As does Alex’s assertion, “I know” when Josh tells him how much it bothers him. I think the emotion on the actor’s face when Josh asks, “Do you understand?” is especially poignant. 

I also like how the grittiness of the cinematography and some of the jumpy editing reflects the nervousness of the main character.  

And Alex’s line, “You won’t be different. Not to me” is just perfect. 

 

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Test: A Review Wednesday, Aug 27 2014 

Recently, PJ and I watched Test, written and directed by Chris Mason Johnson and starring Scott Marlowe and Matthew Risch. Set in 1985, it tells the story of the early days of HIV testing through the eyes of Frankie, a gay modern dancer in San Francisco. Here’s the trailer: 

AIDS movies can often seem cliched and preachy. What I like most about this film is that it avoids the preachiness while still getting it’s point across. While it isn’t a perfect film — I’m not sure it entirely captures the look of the early 1980s — it is nevertheless an excellent one. It really conveys the fear and indecision that marked the early AIDS crisis and testing in an era in which testing positive was usually a death sentence. Frankie explores such questions as whether an HIV diagnosis be misused to discriminate against gay men and whether gay men should stop having sex — was it even possible to stop having sex — in order to preserve their lives. I thought the dance scenes were also quite good, and there’s a little man-on-man action to spice it up a bit. 

I really liked this film and think it could easily make it onto my top ten films of the year. I highly recommend it. 

SotW: “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran Tuesday, Aug 26 2014 

This summer I’ve clearly listened to more male solo artists than I usually do. While many of these have been gay (Adam Joseph, Sam Smith, and Eli Lieb), some have also been straight. Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” is one of my favorite songs right now. Here’s a live version:

I love the sentiment and romance of this song. While the latter part are more particular to Sheeran’s experience as a musician, overall the song is universal is expressing love for that someone special. I especially like the lyric about falling in love every day. That’s definitely how I feel about PJ! 

 

SotW: “I’m Not the Only One” by Sam Smith Monday, Aug 11 2014 

Sam Smith’s In the Lonely Hour has rapidly become one of my favorite albums of the year. He recently released his latest video, “I’m Not the Only One.” This is one of my favorite tracks on the album, and I think the video is hauntingly beautiful: