Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Film Review: Just a Question of Love

Do Not Own

Just a Question of Love

Review by: Lauren

Country: France

Just a Question of Love tells the story of the relationship between Laurent and Cédric. Laurent is a college student living with and pretending to be in love with his best friend Carole, to hide the fact that he’s gay. His aunt and uncle’s son, Marc, was also gay but kicked out and abandoned when he revealed the fact. Even when Marc falls ill and eventually passes, Laurent is the only one in his family willing to go and visit him. As such, Laurent keeps his sexuality a secret and uses Carole as a cover for his family, who he loves too much to be honest and risk losing them.

During school, Laurent is given an internship to help him graduate, for he’d been slacking off ever since Marc died. This is where he officially meets Cédric, who is in charge of his internship. As time goes on, the two finally begin a relationship, but Laurent still refuses to be honest and Cédric won’t live a lie. Though the two are in love, they can’t seem to reconcile their differences, leading to a very emotional second half.

Just a Question of Love is a French film (though I watched it with the English subtitles) that is emotional, sweet, funny, passionate, and true. This isn’t a big action film, but rather one that deals on a more simple level to provide you with a story that could ring true for a lot of people. The main actors Cyrille Thouvenin (Laurent) and Stéphan Guérin-Tillié (Cédric) did an amazing job. Their chemistry on screen made me believe that this story could be real.

Do Not Own

Just a Question of Love is a great film and I’d definitely recommend it to those who are at all interested. I especially love the overall message, which was simply and beautifully put by Laurent: “It’s not a question of gay or straight. It’s just a question of love.”

Note: I know this is only our second film review for the site, but I did want to mention that not everything will be a foreign film. There just happen to be a lot of great LGBT films that aren't from the United States.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Giveaway: Five Copies of Gleeful up for Grabs

Interview with Gleeful Author, Amy Rickman!

By: Lauren

Follow the Author on Twitter

1. What made you first start watching Glee?

Funnily enough, I actually didn't catch the very first showing of Glee when it launched after American Idol. But what I did notice was after the show, suddenly all my friends were talking about (in person, on facebook, on twitter, on their blogs) this amazing new show that was a musical as well! I'm a huge fan of musicals so I had to check it out -- after watching the pilot episode online, I knew I was hooked.

2. Who is your favorite character?

My favorite character has to be Sue. Sue -- and the genius that is Jane Lynch -- elevates the show to a whole other level. I think she's a huge reason why Glee has such a huge audience. My boyfriend would never watch a show described as a musical. But a show with Jane Lynch? Definitely.

3. What can people expect to find if they pick up Gleeful?

A lot of Glee-tastic info! I tried to think of everything a Glee fan would want to know about the show -- from the history of glee clubs to Ian Brennan's original concept for Glee (a movie!) to biographies of their favourite cast members. I also incorporated some fun, trivia-related sidebars (called 'Gleeful moments!) which list things like the locations of Lea's tattoos or songs that were cut from an episode. You'll also find a list of every song in the show, so if you heard something you liked and want to download it, you can look it up in Gleeful! Of course, if you get bored you can always look at the great pictures. All the cast is so photogenic!

4. Who do you want to see guest star on Glee or have their music featured?

Honestly, it seems like every time I think of someone who would be great for Glee, they're one step ahead of me and put them on the show! Neil Patrick Harris was a great choice. And Britney? Loads of people were skeptical but she was brilliant! Maybe it's time to bring Justin Timberlake on the show...

5. What makes you gleeful (besides the show)?
Books! I'm a book-a-holic. Aside from writing about awesome shows, I work in publishing in London, UK, so my apartment is filled to the brim with books. There's nothing like the thrill of diving into a new story...


Want to win one of five copies of Gleeful!? Take a look at this Gleeful question below and send your answer to (Open to residents of US/Canada only)

Q. What's the name of the actress who plays Rachel Berry?

a. Jenna Ushkowitz

b. Lea Michele

c. Naya Rivera

Giveaway Ends on Oct. 31

Amazon Associates: Buy the book from this link and we get a small percentage to support the site. Thanks!

The Country Teacher (Guest Film Review)


Director: Bohdan Slama

Czech Republic

Review by KenG

When I found out I’d be screening a film with a gay man as the protagonist, I was both apprehensive and curious. I’ve seen too many films where a leading gay character has to die or suffer some miserable fate as a necessary part of the story’s narrative (BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN, A SINGLE MAN). However, as a gay man myself, I was curious about gay life in eastern Europe, particularly in a non-urban setting. It didn’t hurt that the film was a 2010 GLAAD award nominee for best film.

THE COUNTRY TEACHER, directed by Bohdan Slama, presents a realistic portrayal of a gay man in conflict that is free of the more annoying stereotypes one has come to expect from Hollywood. The movie tells the story of Petr (nicely underplayed by Pavel Liska), a closeted prep-school teacher from Prague who comes to a bucolic Czech village to instruct children in the natural sciences. In an early lesson he advises prophetically, “If we don’t understand nature, we can’t understand ourselves.”

Do Not Own.

Shortly after his arrival, Petr is befriended by Marie (Zuzana Bydzovska), a local cow herder who lives with her teen son Lada (Ladislav Sidivy). While tutoring Lada in math, Petr finds himself attracted to the young man and embarks on a course of action that has traumatic consequences. It made me wonder, if Petr had been an out gay man, would he have had the problems he had? Is it possible to have a healthy romantic relationship if you still have at least one foot in the closet?

This provocative yet sensitive movie doesn’t flinch from showing Petr’s feelings for Lada. We also see that certain cultural touchstones for adulthood are more relaxed in this rural community. There is no adult censure when 17-year-old Lada is seen drinking hard liquor or smoking pot and there is acceptance of his sexually active relationship with a young woman. Does the film show that homosexuality is also acceptable? Well, to a certain extent, yes, but there is also a good deal of bewilderment, fear and ignorance.

Director Bohdan Slama (LIKE HAPPINESS, THE WILD BEES) bravely declines to portray Petr as criminally disturbed and it was refreshing to see that Petr’s parents seemed more concerned about his loneliness than his sexual orientation. While Petr may have felt the need to be alone when he fled city life, he soon discovers that isolation is not the answer. As he stumbles awkwardly toward making bona fide human connections, he discovers they can be found in unanticipated places.

As for Marie’s reaction to Petr’s encounter with her son, Zuzana Bydzovska’s beautifully layered performance shows us that a cow herder can have a pretty sophisticated understanding of human nature. In fact, Marie’s intuitive abilities regarding both Petr and Lada left me wondering whether she was the real “country teacher” here.

For nature lovers, there are two graphic scenes showing a cow giving birth on Marie’s farm. I leave the symbolism for others to discern. But if you’re in the least bit squeamish, you’ve been warned!

KenG has worked in film and television for over twenty years and is a senior advisor to LinkTV’s Acquisition Division.

Amazon Associates: Buy the movie from this link, and the site will get a small percentage. If you do, thanks for supporting!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

How LGBT is Glee?

I do not own this photo. Click it to see where I found it.

Ever since the first episode, I've been a huge fan of the show Glee. I think it's amusing, fun, genuinely moving at times, and just a really interesting show. The dacing and singing are always fun to watch (and I'll admit I'm a bit envious I don't have those talents) and the characters just keep you pining for more. Remember, the show is on at 8 p.m. EST on Tuesday nights so be sure to watch today's episode, or tape it if you can't.

This post isn't a giveaway post...but rather a discussion. I want to know who you love, how LGBT friendly you feel GLEE is, what songs you want to see, who you want guest starring, etc. Let me know. Whatever you have to say about Glee...I'm curious. Just be aware of other's feelings and no flat out hate or we do have the right to delete your comment.

As for me, I think GLEE is very LGBT friendly. It would be great to see more variety on the spectrum in the future, but having Kurt is a start. He's becoming more and more confident in himself and I love to see that. Of course, there are also many openly non-straight actors and actresses on the show and as guest stars which is also amazing. I commend Ryan Murphy (out himself) for creating this show and allowing GLEE to be real, while at the same time goofy and sweet.
If you post about GLEE on your own blog, link back here and let us know in the comments. I'll be sure to stop by and show my love via commenting too.

Keep an eye out for a couple GLEE giveaways this week.

And again, anything you want to see? Drop us a line!


Monday, October 11, 2010

GLSEN + GLBT Week + All Things Glee!

Today, October 11th, is National Coming Out Day. In honor of that and the release of Jumpstart the World by Catherine Ryan Hyde tomorrow is the reason behind some auctions happening here. All the money benefits the Cincinnati chapter of GLSEN. They are an amazing organization, so think about bidding and supporting...or picking up a copy of Jumpstart the World tomorrow.

James from Book Chic is also having a GLBT themed week going on. You can go to his blog to find some great posts and contests.

As for Let's Get Beyond Tolerance...don't forget to check out the posts from last week (sorry there weren't AS many as I wanted) but this week there is going to be a theme: GLEEK WEEK. That's right, lots of fun posts that deal with the hit show, Glee. There might be some non-Gleek posts, but if not, you can certainly find those after this week.

Thanks for following. I hope you'll comment and share your thoughts and ideas! This is about all of you as well...share with us!!!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Giveaway!! Jumpstart the World by Catherine Ryan Hyde (Signed)

Jumpstart the World by Catherine Ryan Hyde (Co-Founder of this here blog)

Out: October 12, 2010 (this Tuesday!)

Amazon Associates: Buy from this link, and we get a small percentage for the site.



Elle is a loner. She doesn’t need people. Which is a good thing, because she’s on her own: she had to move into her own apartment so her mother’s boyfriend won’t have to deal with her.

Then she meets Frank, the guy who lives next door. He’s older and has a girlfriend, but Elle can’t stop thinking about him. Frank isn’t like anyone Elle has ever met. He listens to her. He’s gentle. And Elle is falling for him, hard.

But Frank is different in a way that Elle was never prepared for: he’s transgender. And when Elle learns the truth, her world is turned upside down. Now she’ll have to search inside herself to find not only the true meaning of friendship but her own role in jumpstarting the world.

Tender, honest, and compassionate, Jumpstart the World is a stunning story to make you laugh, cry, and honor the power of love.

In honor of Jumpstart's release as well as National Coming Out Day (Monday, October 11) there will be a week of amazing auctions on my main site here. These aren't books...but you'll definitely want to check them out because you might find something great for yourself or a friend/family member, especially with the holidays approaching. All the money for the auctions will go to the Cincinnati chapter of GLSEN: Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. It's an amazing charity so you'll certainly want to support them.

If you don't bid or don't win an auction, you can still expand knowledge by supporting LGBT books and buying Jumpstart the World or requesting it at your library. Support Catherine, support people that need these books, support people that want these books, and show that you believe in these titles.

Auctions will run from Oct. 11 to Oct. 15. You can even find a button in the top right hand corner of my site (link above) if you wish to use that. Spread the word though. If you post about this on your blog (the book AND the auctions) then you are eligible to enter to win a signed copy of Jumpstart the World!

To Enter: Post about this on a blog if you have one...if not, tweeting or facebooking is okay.

Ends: October 15th

Open To: U.S. only I'm afraid

+1 if you follow this blog (leave a new comment)

+1 for any post on Let's Get Beyond Tolerance that you comment on (leave a new comment here so we count it)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Top Ten LGBT Books According to Lee Bantle

My Top Ten Favorite LGBT Books of All Time By Lee Bantle (Author of David Inside Out)

1) ANNIE ON MY MIND by Nancy Garden. This is a must read! If you want literature, if you want great writing, this book is for you. And if you’re a girl who thinks you might like other girls, this compelling love story will resonate. I aspire to write like Nancy Garden. She is lyrical and this novel is beautifully realized. Winner of many awards. Deservedly so.

2) REFLECTIONS OF A ROCK LOBSTER by Aaron Fricke. This book has faded and deserves revival. Nonfiction. Aaron took a boy to his prom. In 1980! Way before people were doing that. And then wrote the story. What guts! A pioneer. Fulfilling and historic, this memoir is another must read.

3) GIOVANNI’S ROOM by James Baldwin. Baldwin is a brilliant, intuitive writer and this is a classic. Bear in mind though that it was written in the 1950's and that being “homosexual” was far from accepted. That said, Baldwin broke new ground by taking on this theme and exploring erotic love between men.

4) BOYS LIKE US – A Collection edited by Patrick Merla. This compelling collection of coming out stories from gifted gay writers is evocative, moving, and marvelously entertaining. Edmund White, Andrew Holleran, Brad Gooch. There is nothing more revealing than a gay man’s exposition of this coming out experience. Don’t miss the astounding entry by Alan Gurangus.

5) BORROWED TIME by Paul Monette. This harrowing tale of the last 19 AIDS-wracked months of Monette’s lover is not for the faint of heart. I remember being overcome with despair as Monette’s powerful love and practical intervention are not enough to save the man who means more to him than life itself. Heartbreaking. An important historical document of the calamitous 1980’s.

6) DANCE ON MY GRAVE by Aidan Chambers. “If I die first you dance on my grave,” the young hero tells his new BF. This request gives life to a coming of age love story which is delightful and quirky. Adolescent love is captured in all its awkward, passionate glory. Written in 1982, this one has stood the test of time.

8) MAURICE by E.M. Forster. Forster is, of course, one of our literary lions. This tale of love between men was written deep in the past and, at the author’s request, published posthumously. So no punches were pulled. Taking on the class structure as well as societal disdain for gay love, there is no question what desires lay deep in Forster’s eloquent heart.

9) TALE OF TWO SUMMERS by Brian Sloan. A delicious summer read. This book keeps you hooked. Hilarious, sexy and surprising, it’s the story of two friends — Hal and Chuck (one straight and one gay) — apart for the summer, who keep in intimate contact through a blog. Hal’s tales with Henri (the French bad boy) will leave you panting for more.

10) WEETZIE BAT by Francesca Lia Block. Magical realism comes to gay LA. Anything by Block is a quick, fun, uplifting read. She gets it. There is depth. The perfect book for one of those sleepovers when you never go to sleep.

This post was written for and originally posted at Elisa Rolle's Livejournal. As a warning, she does write and focus on adult books and topics but all fall under the LGBT tag. The link I gave you brings you to Lee's post there, where Elisa gives you details and links for all of these books.  
Amazon Associates: Buy the book from the above link and we get a small percentage to support the site!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Review: Sprout by Dale Peck

Sprout by Dale Peck

By: Lauren

Also for Teens Read Too (I recieved my copy from them)

Author Site:

Sprout has seemingly made his life an open book: in a new town, people know that he lives in the trailer covered in vines, that his dad is the town drunk, and even that his mother passed away before he arrived. However, his being gay is supposed to be in that category and it’s not completely that way. It does become known as the story goes on that he’s gay and I love that he doesn’t have a problem with it, but it’s still a bit of a secret for awhile.

Nature Pictures, Images and Photos

This book is told through the point of view of Sprout and the set up is a bit hard to explain, but reads a lot like essays strung together in an overall story. Things in the beginning are mentioned later on, but there are points when it seems the story starts over and focuses on something else and then goes back. For example, the beginning of this deals a lot with a teacher and Sprout working on his essay writing in the summer so he can enter a competition that she believes he can win…only, of course, if he doesn’t mention he’s gay. Then the story stops talking about that for awhile and you focus more on a boy named Tyler that Sprout hates at first, but slowly starts to fall for. Eventually the two parts line up for the end.

It might sound a bit confusing, but it seems to work overall. I found myself invested more in the Tyler part as the story goes on, but the competition is a big part in Sprout’s life and truly shows how he changes in the end.

This isn’t a happily-ever-after, but it’s not so depressing you can’t find the hope. That’s something that Sprout always had to do…find hope and brightness in his sometimes messed up life. His relationship with Tyler was awkward and interesting and quite different than anything most people have read about, whether a straight or gay relationship. It seemed more realistic in a way though. It wasn’t “I’ll love you forever” right away or even in the end. It was complicated and tough.

In the end, Sprout is a different book that would appeal to people looking for something a little off, a little goofy, a little sad, and a little lovely.

Photo from Photobucket. I do not own.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Official Launch Week + We Ask You, You Ask Us!

This week is the official launch of Let's Get Beyond Tolerance! Again, this was co-founded by myself (Lauren from Shooting Stars Mag), author Catherine Ryan Hyde, and author Lee Bantle. They are both fabulous and you should definitely check out their own LGBT themed and not themed books.

I hope to have some fun posts every day this week, but please forgive me if a day is missed due to school and other such fun activities. You'll find a variety of things this week that you can continue to see in the future: book reviews, author guest posts. book giveaways, movie reviews, concert reviews, and more. I've been saving up some reviews for this week so I really hope to get your feedback and see what you think. Be sure to look out for the announcement post this week as week is going to be a really fun THEME week to continue along with our launch!

As for this very first OFFICIAL LAUNCH post, I want to know what you would like to see. If you have any questions that you'd like the authors or myself to answer, please leave them in the comment as well. If we get enough...we'll make a fun Ask Us! post and feel free to leave a question or comment anonymously if you aren't comfortable stating who you are. Of course, this isn't cause to bash or be mean...those comments will be deleted as soon as I notice them.

Now let's go: What Do You Want to See on Here? and What Questions Do You Have For Us?