Baz Luhrmann’s Australia


Baz Luhrmann’s hugely anticipated Australia has all the elements of a classic epic movie but mixed reviews have cooled ambitions for success on the international stage. It is that country’s most expensive film to date with a budget of US$130m, an A-list cast including Oscar-winner Nicole Kidman and fellow AussieHugh Jackman. So much hype has surrounded Luhrmann’s new movie that the tourist industry is counting on the film’s success to uplift the industry’s decline. Talk about pressure. Kidman plays an English aristocrat who inherits a cattle ranch in Australia at the start of WWII. She teams up with cattle drover Jackman after rival owners plot to take her land. The pair drove thousands of animals across the country, fall in love, dodge Japanese bombs, and take in the panoramic vistas.

Bobby Field at The Cat Club

Musician, actor, and producer, Bobby Field headlined The Cat Club on Saturday night to showcase his “Songs from The Bridge” CD release party of his self-penned soundtrack of the upcoming feature, The Bridge, and was joined by an eclectic mix of musician friends. 

Field played MC throughout the night and was surrounded by musician and non-musician friends; his gratitude and love for the crowd so apparent on his face with his eyes positively sparkling at each introduction. Australian actress and singer songwriter, Bonnie Piesse, opened the night with a powerful and emotional set that mesmerized the crowd. Front man, Eric Garcia of Miami indie-blues band, Juke, whooped it up with frenetic harp playing and songs of love, loss, and redemption. Next up was The Bridge EP record producer, Nicholas Flynt, with his band The Muts. Hollywood’s own rock professionals performed acoustic with three guitars and sounds of effortless melodies on songs like, “Holly Would.” The charismatic Flynt reminded us, between flawless guitar songs, that The Muts are the “Most Unlikely To Succeed.” Although it was obvious that Australian singer songwriter, Natalie Maphis was new to the stage, her lack of confidence was instantly obliterated by a razor sharp sense of humor and a power house voice that could quite possibly by heard as far away as her own country. Maphis’s piano song for her husband was breathtaking, confident, and assured. She is undoubtedly an artist to watch in 2009.

But the night belonged to Bobby Field. He opened his set with the haunting theme from The Bridge, and was joined on stage by Piesse, who co-wrote the song. It’s a beautiful melody that pours all of Field’s heart and soul into the performance. For the remainder of the set, Field was joined on stage by Garcia, Maphis, and San Diego rock and blues band, Superunloader. The band rounded off the night with songs exposing front man Jimmy Lewis’s flawless voice and some of the best guitar playing around.


Pictures by the Author Ginger Liu

Prop 8: “Black Lesbian” Writer receives Blowback

Appeared today in the LA Times in response to Jasmyne A. Cannick’s Times Op-Ed article.



An unfair attack on white gays

A recent Times Op-Ed article exploits a double standard that says it’s OK for certain groups to openly express bigotry.

By Kevin Naff

November 12, 2008

In all the post-election commentary about California’s passage of Proposition 8, perhaps none was more offensive and wrong than Jasmyne A. Cannick’s Times Op-Ed article, “No-on-8’s white bias.”

Cannick’s piece raises important questions about the politically correct double standards that govern debate of gay rights issues. When white evangelical Christians (or Mormons, for that matter) attack gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender people, the response is loud and harsh: Bigots! Homophobes! Haters! But when black religious leaders attack gays, which is a regular occurrence in many churches, the response is muted because, well, it’s a cultural thing and we white people just wouldn’t understand. Bigotry is bigotry, whether emanating from the pulpits of white churches or black ones.

Cannick writes, “But even I wasn’t inspired to encourage black people to vote against the proposition. … I don’t see why the right to marry should be a priority for me or other black people. Gay marriage? Please. At a time when blacks are still more likely than whites to be pulled over for no reason, more likely to be unemployed than whites, more likely to live at or below the poverty line, I was too busy trying to get black people registered to vote, period; I wasn’t about to focus my attention on what couldn’t help but feel like a secondary issue.”

The argument that many black voters are too preoccupied with more practical matters to think too much about gay marriage is not entirely illegitimate. But it’s an argument for apathy, not a rational or legitimate justification for actively supporting discriminatory laws.

She continues, “The white gay community never successfully communicated to blacks why it should matter to us above everything else.” No one ever suggested that marriage should matter to blacks or anyone else above all other things. All that we suggested was that a tyrannical majority shouldn’t strip away hard-fought rights from a minority group. That is never tolerated for any group in this country — except for gays and lesbians. Cannick also puts the blame back on the dastardly rich white gays for not doing a better job of educating black voters. Yes, gay rights advocates (black and white) need to do a better job of educating voters about our issues, but that doesn’t absolve individuals from their responsibility to educate themselves about the ballot initiatives on which they cast their votes.

Cannick also writes, “Does someone who is homeless or suffering from HIV but has no healthcare, or newly out of prison and unemployed, really benefit from the right to marry someone of the same sex?” The answer is yes. Partners in a legal marriage enjoy a support network with many built-in benefits, such as access to a spouse’s healthcare plan.

Then Cannick’s screed takes another unfortunate turn: “To many blacks, civil rights are grounded in Christianity — not something separate and apart from religion but synonymous with it.”

Of course, when white Christians make such statements, they are derided as bigots. Is Cannick immune from that charge because she happens to be black? I think not. This fight, as Cannick ought to know, has nothing to do with religion. It’s about the civil right of marriage that conveys a host of benefits denied to an entire class of people. Cannick is merely parroting the worst propaganda of the Proposition 8 fight that led voters to erroneously believe their churches would be penalized for refusing to marry same-sex couples.

Perhaps the most egregious passage in Cannick’s opinion is this: “There’s nothing a white gay person can tell me when it comes to how I as a black lesbian should talk to my community about this issue. If and when I choose to, I know how to say what needs to be said.” It would have been helpful for Cannick to share her all-knowing and powerfully influential ideas before Nov. 4. Cannick suggests that the marriage movement is about white gays who are “racist and clueless.” Tell that to the multiple black gay and lesbian couples that have been plaintiffs in marriage lawsuits across the country. The lack of equality under the law for gay families leads to too many destructive consequences to enumerate here.

She concludes by stating, “Black gays are depending on their white counterparts to finally ‘get it.’ … Until then, don’t expect to make any inroads any time soon in the black community on this issue — including with this black lesbian.”

I don’t expect to make inroads with someone so closed-minded as Cannick. But maybe next time, she could define for all the racist and clueless white gays just what the “it” is. We understand perfectly well the sting of discrimination, and I certainly don’t need a lecture from Cannick on that topic.

Cannick’s diatribe aside, it’s not fair or accurate to blame blacks for the outcome in California. There’s plenty of blame to go around. Black voters overwhelmingly supported Proposition 8, but so did white Republicans in Southern California. Voter turnout in the gay Mecca of San Francisco was among the lowest in the state. The “No on 8” campaign didn’t respond quickly or effectively enough to the other side’s misleading attacks. Thanks to encouragement by their church leaders, Mormons pumped more than $20 million into the fight, putting the “No on 8” organizers at a huge disadvantage.

Despite all the bad news, there is a silver lining. Too many gay rights advocates, particularly younger supporters, expect Americans to embrace our cause just because it’s fair. They are finally learning an important lesson: Civil rights struggles aren’t won in 30 years. This fight for full equality is going to take a long time, and many of us won’t be around to enjoy the fruits of the labor.

But make no mistake: Minds are changing, and fast. Just eight years ago, California passed Proposition 22 in a landslide vote — 61.4% to 38.6%. Last week, 48% of voters said no to Proposition 8, a 10% swing in just eight years.

And best of all, voters overwhelmingly elected Barack Obama, who will be an ally in the fight for equality even if he’s not there yet on marriage rights. Obama’s views on the subject are far more progressive than Cannick’s. Indeed, change is coming; it’s too bad Cannick can’t see it.

Kevin Naff is editor of the Washington Blade, the nation’s oldest newspaper that focuses on gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues.

Soot Bull Jeep’s Natural Charcoal BBQ House is Cooking

Soot Bull JeepI’ve been a vegetarian for more years than I can remember and coming from the “If I have to cook it myself why am I paying for the privilege?” school of thought, you might say that my virginal entrance into the doors of the Zagat-rated Soot Bull Jeep’s Natural Charcoal BBQ House would spell disaster.

But minutes after I took my seat, I was told to order Bulgogi (tender thin slices of marinated beef) by one of two attentive waitresses wearing matching navy blue aprons. I sat at one of twelve long tables and watched smoke rise from sweet smelling marinated ribs and steaks which then disappeared into the stainless steel ceiling fans that hung over each table. Sunlight bounced off steel and the warm glow of rust-red faux brick walls with matching red chairs and linoleum floor, made for a cozy setting.

In no time at all I was served Korean OB beer, ten small side dishes (Banchan), and a plate of Bulgogi. I was terrified. I looked around the room at the other diners. They were a mixed crowd of hip young and not so young couples and families, mostly Korean but a few westerners who, like me, had a look of puzzled wonderment on their faces. I took a breath and decided to get stuck in; placing my strips of steak on to the burner, all the while paranoid that everyone in the restaurant was staring at me. I faked a smile and acted cool but inside, memories of my last two attempts at cooking in a restaurant: 1) the evacuation of a pizza restaurant I was working in when I forgot about the pizza I’d left in the oven; 2) the time I set fire to my glass of sambucca, spilled the glass, causing flames to engulf two tables and the corner of the bar.

With that kind of record it made sense for me to hold off on the Chum Churum Sake they served here. It was apparent that the other diners were in fact watching me when a girl from an opposite table coughed profusely then came running over to me to demand I chuck the glass of ice, which I thought was for my beer, onto the grill.

Soot Bull Jeep

As I did this my steak seemed to take on a whole new vitality. I nodded my thank you to the girl when a waitress rushed over with a pair of scissors to cut up my steak for me. I gulped my beer then swallowed my pride to ask the waitress what the large pieces of red lettuce were for. She explained that they were for me to make wraps. NOW I UNDERSTOOD. Once my steak was cooked and I sucked in the air and smelled its sweet and addictive marinade, I happily went about the business of wrap construction.

For the uninitiated: fill a large lettuce leaf or Sang Chu (red leaf lettuce) with a combination of your Banchan. I enjoyed the more traditional Kimchi (fermented chili pepper cabbage) and Shi Geum Chi (seasoned steamed spinach). Then wash it down with spicy Kimchi soup or the clear light Yeolmumul Kimchi (summer green water). The Bulgogi was tender and sweet and combined perfectly with the vegetable dishes.

Try this at home:

Kimchi: 1 head Chinese cabbage cut into ½ inch strips
3 tablespoons salt
6 green onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed dried hot red chilli
1 teaspoon chopped gingerroot

Soak cabbage over night in a pan of salted water with 1 tablespoon of the salt. Drain water and combine the remainder of the salt, green onions, garlic, chili, and ginger root. Transfer to a concealed container and refrigerate for 1-2 days before using. You can freeze it and it makes about a quart.

THE DETAILS: Soot Bull Jeep – Natural Charcoal BBQ House

3136 W 8th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90005

213. 387.3865

Monday-Sunday. 11AM-11PM

Obama: Definition of Civil Rights: for all minorities

“Rights to personal liberty established by the 13th and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and certain Congressional acts, esp. as applied to an individual or a minority group.

The rights belonging to an individual by virtue of citizenship, especially the fundamental freedoms and privileges guaranteed by the 13th and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and by subsequent acts of Congress, including civil liberties, due process, equal protection of the laws, and freedom from discrimination.

A broad range of privileges and rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and subsequent amendments and laws that guarantee fundamental freedoms to all individuals. These freedoms include the rights of free expression and action (civil liberties); the right to enter into contracts, own property, and initiate lawsuits; the rights of due process and equal protection of the laws; opportunities in education and work; the freedom to live, travel, and use public facilities wherever one chooses; and the right to participate in the democratic political system.”

Remembrance Day


Remembrance Day: WWI. Let’s not forget how lucky we are in the APARTMENT THE SIZE OF MY ASS
Sunday is World War 1 Remembrance Day. Most survivors of that war are now gone but let’s not forget them.  

We are so damn lucky not have to worry about being in a World War. We haven’t got a clue how hard life was during the World War.

So let’s not worry so much about our cell phones not working or if a restaurant sucks. We are sooooooooo damn lucky and soooooooooooo damn spoilt right now. A whole generation of young men are alive.

Cats posing for pictures

My cats have been posing for photographs today and I have been sending pictures out to the family. These chats are my family. They are also just like kids. They get my up at the crack every morning and whine for food or sleep on my head and lick my hair, jump on my back or stretch their legs into my face. Yes, they are so cute that I can’t get mad with them. I have noticed thought that they have been a bit pissy of late. The pair of them will hiss or give me a whack. Thankfully I clip their nails so don’t hurt me. But mostly, they sleep. They sleep all day and night.  JeezzzzzzBig CatCat awake time

Brown Girl in the RingBlack and White Boy