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Thinking OUTloud

Friday, January 05, 2018

Goals for the Upcoming New Year

Okay, someone has to say it. We’ve survived the first year of the Trump administration, but it has done damage to both the country’s reputation and our community. And if you feel that way, 2018 is your year to correct that path.

AS WE WRITE THIS, DOUG JONES has defeated Roy Moore in a special senate election in Alabama and Time magazine has named “The Silence Breakers,” the women who have brought to glaring light work[pace sexual harassment, especially by men with power. Both of these events could be a harbinger of a long overdue social and political awakening. However, given our society’s difficulty with rational discussions about sex, we fear there a moral panic may be the outcome. As Masha Gessen recently wrote in the New Yorker, citing the work of pioneering feminist scholar Gayle Rubin, we seem to be in a period of renegotiating sexual norms that tend to lead to “ever more restrictive regimes of closely regulating sexuality.”

Friday, December 22, 2017

Baltimore Theatre Shines

Ladies and gentlemen, look upon this man sitting on his meager pallet of straw, this unfortunate man who, for the amusement of all of you here, has foregone physical nourishment for 40 days this Hunger Artist, who without dispute the greatest practioner of his craft the world over has sat in this very cage in this mighty hall and has not taken even the slightest morsel of sustenance.

So, states the impresario of A Hunger Artist, and if one needed any more evidence that the Baltimore theatre scene is vibrant and exploding, there was Baltimore Theatre Project’s limited performance run of this show last week. Once again, the small Preston Street theatre proved itself to be the source of creative and innovative theatre, and it was a homecoming for a Baltimore playwright to boot. Baltimore native Josh Luxenburg, a graduate of the Baltimore School for the Arts, wrote the script for the one-man play starring performer Jonathan Levin. The two are cofounders and directors of Sinking Ship Productions based in Brooklyn, and they brought the show to Baltimore after successful runs Off-Broadway and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland.

Friday, December 08, 2017

Consent • Shades of Gray

Claims of sexual harassment fill the airwaves and are sending famous heads tumbling every day. So what should be an operative definition of consent? A simple “no” won’t do: so many sexual encounters begin with a “no” and turn into a consensual situation. That’s the nature of seduction, and women like seduction. It’s very on-point that the acclaimed new gay film Call Me By Your Name comes out in the midst of this and even women think it’s beautiful. The characters don’t turn to each other and say “Is it okay if I touch your penis?” No romantic movie ever went that way, and no one would watch them if they did.

Most people would walk away if the future seemed unclear and shut you out because they’re afraid. But I’m not. I’m right here. That’s what my love is for. My love will be your cure.
—“Your Cure,” an original song from season two of Merce

Merce, the web series about a gay New Yorker living with HIV, is a little bonkers. The candy-colored musical comedy, written by and starring the singular Charles Sanchez, has “the lowbudget appeal of an early John Waters romp,” as I wrote when season one hit your computer screens two years ago.

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