Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Glass Minstrel by Hayden Thorne

The Glass Minstrel by Hayden Thorne

Review by: Lauren

Copy from: Author

Amazon Associate: Buy the book, we get a small percentage

Official Summary: The Christmas season in mid-19th century Bavaria is brought to life in the THE GLASS MINSTREL, a new, original historical novel from acclaimed author Hayden Thorne. Two fathers, Abelard Bauer and Andreas Schifffer, are brought together through the tragic deaths of their eldest sons. Bauer, a brilliant toymaker, fashions glass Christmas ornaments and his latest creation is a minstrel with a secret molded into its features. When Schiffer sees Bauer's minstrel ornament in the toy shop, he realizes that Bauer is struggling to keep his son's memory alive through his craft. At first he tries to fault him for this, but then recognizes that he, too, is seeking solace and healing by reading his son's diary, a journal that reveals, in both painful as well as beautiful detail, the true nature of his relationship with the artisan's son. In addition to the story of the two fathers, a third character is central to the plot: fifteen-year-old Jakob Diederich. The young man is burdened with his own secret; he develops an obsession with a traveling Englishman who stays at the inn where Jakob works. The lives of all three men intersect during the holiday as Schiffer tries to focus on his family in the present; Bauer struggles to reconcile his past and Jakob copes with an uncertain future.

Review: The Glass Minstrel was one of the first historical novels I've read in awhile...and definitely the first at all that had LGBT content. I wasn't entirely sure if it would be a fit for me...but I'm definitely glad I read it now as it was very interesting. The fact that it took  place in the 19th century certainly shows viewers that feeling attraction for a person of the same sex has been around for a long time, and this is nothing new. While The Glass Minstrel shows that it could be much harder to deal with in the past...that didn't mean you could not be happy.

The novel is told through three different points of view: Bauer, Schiffer, and Jakob. In the beginning of each chapter, there is a section from Schiffer's son's diary. This diary allows you to see the relationship as it was between the sons of Bauer and Schiffer and not just the gossip and speculation that surrounds the men in their small town. This was definitely an interesting addition to the story and I really enjoyed it.  As for Jakob, he knows that he's gay too...but he doesn't know of anyone else, and his best friend won't talk to him about it (after all, it was just a mistake, right?).  It's fascinating being inside Jakob's head as he finally learns the story behind Bauer and Schiffer's son...and that his feelings aren't so bad...but still, who does he turn to?

As for Bauer and Schiffer, they both have to deal with life after losing their sons...and hopefully come to a reconciliation about the past, their future, and each other.

I've known of Hayden Thorne for awhile now, but this was my first time actually reading one of her books, and I'm sure glad I did. The Glass Minstrel is definitely a winter story in many ways, but you shouldn't let that stop you from checking it out whenever you wish. Even if you aren't a historical fan, you might still enjoy this. It's a universal story that could take place anywhere at any time.

This will definitely not be the last Hayden Thorne novel I read!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

LGBT News of the Week - Dan Radcliffe to Lady Gaga

LGBT News of the Week

I've had some various links saved for awhile, so I apologize if any of these are a bit old...but you may not have seen them yet, so check it out.

Some members of GLEE talk about who they believe should play Rachel's two dads. Through comment, I think Taye Diggs and Anthony Rapp would be cool. They are both from the original RENT cast and so was Indina Menzel (Rachel's mom).

An interesting interview about how The L Life came to be, and even a bit on the people included!

Do you wish there was a lesbian Twilight? Well, a new publishing company, Tiny Satchel Press, is bringing one to you! Learn more on AfterEllen.

AfterEllen also has a Gay Winter Book Guide. Personally, Kiss and Tell looks amazing!

Lady Gaga's Monster Ball tour is coming to HBO on May 7, 2011. I'm definitely excited as I've never seen her live...though I'd love to!

For all you GLEE fans...apparently, Santana is a lesbian. I'm definitely excited the show is going that route. It will be nice to have various sides celebrated.

Jodi Picoult's latest novel, Sing You Home, deals with a lesbian couple...and is going to be hitting the big screen. Guess who is one of the main people behind it? None other than Ellen DeGeneres!

Harry Potter's Dan Radcliffe has been supporting The Trevor Project, an organization that helps LGBT teens, for awhile...and now he will be honored this June with the Hero award.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Adam Lambert Collection

Adam Lambert may have lost American Idol, but he's also one of the few from the show that went on to do amazing things. Personally, I'm a huge fan and I'm excited to see anything and everything Adam becomes involved in. This post is going to include a few Adam-related news items as well as my review of his live show hence The Adam Lambert Collection.

The photo you see off to the side is an album/dvd being released this Tuesday, March 22. It's called Glam Nation Live and includes live versions from his show as well a some dvd footage. I was one of the lucky people who got to see Adam perform during his Glam Nation tour and you'll find my brief review of that below. For now, this might be something you'd like to check out...whether you saw him live or not.

We are a part of Amazon Associates: Buy the album from our link and we get a small percentage.

This is the DVD tracklising according to Amazon-

1. Voodoo

2.Down The Rabbit Hole

3.Ring Of Fire



6.Whataya Want From Me



9.Sure Fire Winners


11.Music Again

12.If I Had You

13.20th Century Boy
I also wanted to mention an interview Adam did with The Hollywood Reporter. He talks Lady Gaga, this new season of Idol, and his new album. I thought the following question/answer was interesting for those excited to learn more about his upcoming album...I know I sure am!
THR: You tweeted about recently working with songwriter Ryan Tedder, what else can you tell us about your new album?

Lambert: I think if anything, it might be a little less campy than the last one. With [For Your Entertainment], I really wanted to go high glam; it was always a vibe and a concept I was in love with and I did it for a year. I think evolution is good and I'm attracted to the slightly more serious… not so much fantasy or a mask put on -- which is fun, great f---ing rock-n-roll -- but I’m very drawn to music and artists that are singing from the heart about real things.

Everyone can actually purchase a remix of Adam's song "Aftermath" on his website right now. All the money will go to The Trevor Project, a wonderful LGBT organization. Here is a bit of what Adam had to say about the song and how it fits with the Trevor message in many ways-

It can be about a lot of different things. It's a really interesting song because one of the people I wrote it with was talking about overcoming addiction, someone else said it spoke about family. When I was an adolescent, I was really confused and had the good fortune to be raised in a very liberal, open home, but not everybody is. Back when I was dealing with that, I didn't really have a lot of examples. So that was one of the other reasons why I wanted this song to be a battle-cry, because there's not a lot of people that are championing this type of issue.

And finally...the ending of this collection!

Glam Nation Live Review

By: Lauren

When I realized that Adam was touring, I knew that I needed to go. However, there didn't seem to be any shows near me that worked and many places were already selling out (good for Adam, not for me). A friend of mine mentioned there being a show really close to us though...a place I knew, but didn't realize he was coming to. I checked it out and YES, he was coming and I was so excited. I got tickets and voila, my first and most certainly NOT my last Adam Lambert concert.

If you watched Adam on American Idol, you already know that he's wild and crazy and just so charismatic on stage. He really does own it, with interesting outfits and wonderful vocals. It was just amazing. Adam captured the audience and never let go until the show was over and you wished it would just keep going on. He performed many songs from his debut album, but he also did some covers like "Ring of Fire" and "20th Century Boy" were fun and exciting to hear as well. Plus, it brought you back to American Idol and their cover songs (since that's where most people fell in love with him).

Overall, Adam's great live. He's a true performer that brings you a wonderful show and lets you leave feeling satisfied with your choice in buying tickets. If you haven't seen him, you should if you ever get the chance.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Stranger in Us DVD Review

The Stranger in Us DVD Review

By: Lauren

Copy From: Breaking Glass Pictures

Amazon Associate: Buy the DVD from the left picture, we get a small percentage

Official Summary:

In this poetic debut feature, director Scott Boswell explores the pleasures and perils of losing and regaining oneself through the journey of a young, gay man in the wake of a traumatic breakup

Small-town Anthony (Raphael Barker, Shortbus) follows his heart to San Francisco, eager for domestic bliss with new boyfriend, Stephen. Soon Anthony faces a waking nightmare as their volatile relationship reaches the breaking point. Isolated and financially strained, Anthony takes to the nighttime city streets where he meets a strange and alluring cast of hook-ups and wanderers. When he befriends a precocious, young street hustler named Gavin, Anthony finds the human contact he craves, yet his inner struggles continue to engulf him.

I posted the official summary above so you know the basics of what this film is about. As for my review, I wanted to just state my feelings on the film. After I watched this, I immediately wanted to watch it all over again. It's not something that happens every time I watch a movie of course...just the ones that I really enjoyed or spoke to me in some way. The Stranger in Us, was obviously, one of those films. It's a slightly dark film all around and definitely shows the harder side of being in a relationship (Anthony) and finding freedom and the chance to be yourself (Gavin).

One of the things that I kept thinking about The Stranger in Us is that Adam Perez, who played Gavin, is an amazing actor. I really enjoyed the character of Gavin...and he's definitely the "young adult" point of view as he's 17 through most of it. I just think Perez did an amazing job showing viewers the type of person that Gavin is and who he wishes he could be. He deals with a lot but he also has a very optimistic look on life. He does things that he shouldn't, but he also helps Anthony stay on the right side of life in other ways by not doing drugs, and not going back to Stephen. You look at the type of things Gavin does to survive on his own and you might think he has no respect for himself, but it's not as simple as that. You really get to see the various sides of his life.

The Stranger in Us is set up, editing wise, in an interesting fashion. It took me awhile to follow actually as it has three different times being mixed together. I suppose it's hard to explain, but it gets easier as the film goes on. You just have to keep watching, figure out what is happening and when, and you're good.

I'm not sure The Stranger in Us has a rating, but I suppose with everything included...I would say it's rated R as it can be a bit graphic in parts. You definitely should have a more mature audience viewing this.

I was sad when the ending came, but I also found it to be realistic. Not everything is the way you might wish it to be, and it's definitely not a "happily ever after" end, but again, it seems more real because of this. You can still see the silver lining so to speak. It definitely left me curious about the characters' futures though and I think that's a sign of a pretty good film.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Jodi Picoult's Newest Novel Tackles Gay Rights

I love Jodi Picoult. She has some amazing books and for somebody that loves stories that tackle tough and interesting issues...she is great. I know she's not everybody's taste but for a blog such as this, you should think about giving her latest novel a shot. It's called Sing you Home and features a lesbian couple. Of course, that is the simplest definition of it and the book will deal with many other topics.

The book just came out, so I have not read it myself, but I do want to. It sounds amazing and I'm really glad that one of the newest "issues" that Jodi is writing about is gay rights. She speaks really well about it too, as you can see in the After Ellen interview. It's a wonderful look into the story, the author, and it just might make you want to read the book...or read it even more if you already did. One thing I found really interesting is that while she was working on Sing You Home, her oldest son came out. I'm really glad he was able to do that, as I am for anyone who has the courage to be true to themselves. I just thought it was an interesting note...and according to Jodi, he really enjoyed the novel.

What are your thoughts on Jodi, Sing You Home, the interview? Let us know!


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