The Normal Heart

20 08 2014

Read this one a while back but I accidentally returned it before I took a picture with it. Luckily, I now work at a library so going to get books is no longer a problem.

It’s been a while since I’ve read a play, but this one is really good. I can definitely hear how angry Larry Kramer is through his words. There isn’t really anything else I have to say about it except that it is a really, really good read. Some great writing in here. Now that I’ve seen the HBO TV movie as well as a stage production, it’s interesting to see how it carries over and how others have worked with the text. But no one wants to hear me blab on about that, so here’s a picture of me upside down.


How to Survive a Plague

10 11 2012

This movie has been on my watchlist for some time now, and I was afraid I wouldn’t get to see it in theatres, since it’s 1. a documentary, which means it already has a limited release, and 2. that it’s not a huge, well-known doc right now, like The Queen of Versaiiles or Ai Weiwei.  I was pleasantly surprised to see on the Van City Theatre’s site a week ago that it was indeed coming to town, and quickly noted down the showtimes.

Well, I finally saw it tonight, and wow.  I’ve seen two documentaries on the AIDS Crisis this year alone, and this one is by far the best, and the most emotionally moving.  Needless to say, I cried at a few parts in the film, and had to restrain myself from downright sobbing in my seat when activists dumped their loved ones’ ashes on the lawns in front of the White House in protest.  Just watching the trailer makes me tear up.

I really hope this film gets nominated for an Oscar for Best Documentary.  It’s so well put together and so devastating.  It’s just one of those films that you wish everyone would — no, must — watch to understand.

United in Anger: A History of ACT UP

23 08 2012

Synopsis: a look at ACT UP, an organization vita during the AIDS Crisis in the US during the 1980s.

Super awesome things: I’ve actually been wanting and waiting to see this film for a while.  It screened in town a few months back and I missed the screening and was sad to be unable to find it anywhere online.  So imagine my surprise when I saw that the Queer Film Festival was to be screening this film!  Hell yeah!

There’s so much to say about this film that it’s difficult where to begin.  Interviews with original ACT UP members, archival footage of protests including the big one at the FDA — it’s all extremely powerful stuff, especially considering these mass protests don’t happen much today (with the exception of, say, the Occupy protests).  “ACT UP!  Fight back!  Fight AIDS!” they say (among many things) countless times throughout the film.  THere’s a strong sense that people were literally willing to die for change — some even speak openly about that.  This is what makes United in Anger so raw and powerful: it taps into our human need and drive for change, something so very emotional — something universal.  And the “die-in” at a Roman Catholic Church in New York, where members of the group silently leaped from pews into the aisle to show everyone the amount of those dying every day, has got to be one of the most powerful and bravest things anyone has done as a form of protest, I gotta say.  Such a powerful statement without words.

Not so awesome things: the archival footage is fantastic, but because it’s guerrilla filmmaking, the quality isn’t very good.  More importantly, it’s extremely shaky, and midway through the film, I found myself getting nauseated, despite sitting practically at the back of the theatre.

As well, despite the information about ACT UP, it’s not a balanced film.  There are no interviews or anyone with opposing views of the group.  Sure, there’s the asshole Bishop and the FDA not testing drugs for HIV patients, but no direct interviews.  I’m sure ACT UP wasn’t a perfect organization, and I’m sure they screwed up one time or another, but as presented in this film, it appears they never have.

Good for watching: for a history on gay/queer rights.

Overall: a very good doc, held back from being great by unbalanced info and lack of quality.

Grade: B+


15 01 2010

Back in 2007, I took part in Project Stitch, a project organized by local youth in preparation for World AIDS Day on December 1st. There were different activities divided amongst us and since I was into creative writing, I joined the Slam Poetry folks (which really consisted of me and two other girls). During my time there, I wrote this poem to express how I felt about people.


My bones remain broken,
My bruises visible.
The damage of deception, betrayal, and blistering words have cut
these canyons in my heart.
So I feebly kneel before the pieces, attempting to begin building these shards
Here comes an invited guest,
Loading up on trust,
Before walking away.
Followed by a mother,
And a lover,
Several others,
All taking a bite of what I’ve too freely handed out.
It’s not long till I’m left with my heart,
Stale as a rubber tire.

Without question, I leave my heart in the cold,
Until it is coated with frost and suspicion.

Without doubt, I construct and fortify layers of walls,
Of stone and insecurity.

Without hesitation, I put up frigid, heavy chains,
Melded from iron and isolation.

Every ending has its lessons:

My bones still remain broken,
But my bruises lay unseen,
Beneath this vast, desolate, empty entity
That I used to call “me”.