Rogue One and the Cuban Rebels

team Rogue One

Due to a series of illnesses, I only just recently saw Star Wars Rogue One. It was long enough that I had some major spoilers about the ending which ultimately I’m glad about. This is me warning you that this post is full of spoilers. But if you don’t mind or have already seen it, perhaps you’d like to read how I sat in a theater crying over Cuba as I was watching a science fiction movie about space politics.

Oh, I’m Cuban by the way.

It is a dark time for the rebellion…


Transgender and bathrooms

In light of the recent controversy, I’m blogging the argument I’ve been making about a year now ever since this topic came up in a conversation around me.

Basically, I don’t understand why this issue is an issue and how it ever became such a huge mainstream question at all. How would I even know if I was in the bathroom with a person who is transgendered? Who is the perv looking into stalls checking out people’s genitals… excuse me “making sure” that the correct genitals are in the correctly labeled room.  If I happen to look under a stall for feet to see if a bathroom is occupied, and I as a woman see man’s shoes or hear someone who might be peeing while standing up… I’m not running out screaming that there might be a man in the bathroom. It might be a woman in man’s shoes or someone with a medical condition emptying their colostomy bag. I don’t know, and I really don’t care.

I have to deal with the very real 12 year old boys that mom’s are bringing into the ladies room. I couldn’t care less what genitals the person in the stall next to me has.

The people in support of these laws are ignorant or bigoted and most probably a combination of both. There is no issue here. Laverne Cox shouldn’t have to use the men’s room and Chaz Bono would probably be directed to the men’s room by a helpful person if he tried to use the ladies room. And that is something no one needs to make any laws about except mind your damn business. I don’t want to imagine how these laws would be enforced. It’s too much of a dystopian nightmare.


Chasing Amy… so to speak

Kevin Smith’s movie about his failed relationship starring his ex-girlfriend from previously mentioned failed relationship

I recently watched Kevin Smith’s Chasing Amy now that it’s on Netflix. It’d been years since I’d watched the whole thing. Generally I only like the first half and usually shut the movie off right as soon as Banky shouts “figments of your fucking imagination.”  So now after having forced myself through the entire movie again I couldn’t help but remember my inner thoughts at age 19 when I sat in the theater watching this and my reactions now at age 37.

This post is full of spoilers.

While I always thought the movie was hilarious, at 19 it irked me. Hence why I hadn’t watched it all the way through in 18 years.  I know I’m not the only one who noticed that Alyssa went from lesbian, to not a lesbian (since she started sleeping with Holden), to liar (since she misled Holden about her sexual history). At 19 I was pissed at the movie about a lesbian who wasn’t actually a lesbian. Why couldn’t Alyssa have just been a lesbian and Holden just had to learn to fucking deal with it?

Could have been a story where straight white boy Holden learns a lesson about friendship

At 37 I see Alyssa as a hugely complex character that I can really relate to. And no offense to Kevin Smith, but I really think creating this complex story was a pure accident on his part. Maybe things in 1997 New Jersey were different, but I’d just graduated high school in Miami. If you were a straight woman here, cool. Lesbian? No problem. Bisexual? Yeah right. I’m sure every pan or bi person has heard this. That bi men are just confused and bi women just want attention from straight men. I’m ashamed to have been stuck in that mentality for more years than I can truly remember.

In my opinion, Alyssa should have come clean to Holden once they embarked on a relationship. Maybe she wanted to one day, but she shouldn’t have waited so long because, as happened in the film, Holden found out about her past because they had acquaintances in common. But it wasn’t fair of me to scoff at this movie because Alyssa turned out not to be a lesbian. Looking at the movie now I feel that her character could have easily just been falling prey to what everyone else around her might have been saying. That she had to be one or the other. And if she preferred women, then she went with it, and just ignored the part of her that was sometimes attracted to men.

“another one bites the dust”

But I believe Kevin Smith’s point to the story, gathered from his interviews, is that Holden shouldn’t have judged Alyssa on her experimental past. That part I’ve always agreed with. I’ve always hated the idea of this societal expectation that a woman be chaste (or near it) while men banged their way through several belts worth of notches.  Maybe Alyssa’s impassioned speech to Holden in front of the hockey arena influenced me, but I can’t remember a time after seeing that movie that I have ever apologized for my sexual history. I’m no Samantha Jones or Alyssa Jones (was that a coincidence?) but I can hold my own.

My view on the end of the movie changed fundamentally as well. As I watched Holden explain to Alyssa and Banky his master plan for the three of them, I just sat on my sofa and shook my head. Then I remembered how at 19 I hadn’t thought much of it. Could it have worked? I didn’t know…. but 37 year old me knows. That was a terrible plan. Some people can have threesomes and be okay, but I do not believe Holden was one of those people at that moment. Alyssa was perfectly right. I’d forgotten she’d slapped him for it, and nodded my head. He deserved it.

You will want to slap Ben Affleck in the face too after watching this scene

I’m not sure how well the movie holds up in 2015. It’s still funny as hell. But things for LGBT folks have been changing faster than I’d ever imagines possible. Maybe younger people watch the movie and wonder why Alyssa didn’t just say she was bisexual or pansexual or something other than gay. So maybe the movie is more like a time capsule. A skewed view of the LGBT perceptions in 90’s society and the hang-ups with sexually autonomous women.

Was that blog ending worthy of a Silent Bob speech?

Unvisited branches of a family tree

I’d say papa was a rolling stone, but mine beat Mick Jagger’s known count of fathered children

When I was 11 years old or so, my father brought two of my half-siblings down to Miami. I’d never met any of my many many half-siblings, the product of my father nearly giving Ol’ Dirty Bastard a run for his money. My mother just had me, so I was raised as an only child.

I was excited. I’d always wanted to have siblings. Being an only child is kind of lonely. So when I got to the old arcade my dad took me to I ran up and hugged one of my brothers. Silly. I mistakenly thought they’d be as excited to meet me as I was to meet them. As I felt my brother stiffly hug me back, I felt humiliated. I don’t remember if I hugged the second one. It was a long and awkward afternoon. I wouldn’t see either of them again for many years to come.

My brothers from another mother

At the Delano with Lou Reed and This Girl

Another story of times past.

A few years ago I reconnected with an old friend from my school days.  This girl…. this girl. Sorry. Let me get through the intended story first.

She was dating another old friend of ours from back in the day who had a few connections in the movie industry. This meant one day I ended up attending an after party at the Delano Hotel in South Beach.

When I was a kid I stayed at the Delano once with my mom and her friends from Jersey. It wasn’t such a fancy hotel back then when I went. I remember a room that needed to be aired out and a couple of cockroaches  as well. (btw I never realized that was spelt cock-roach and now I can’t unsee). Anyhow, the hotel was eventually remodeled and these days the Delano is pretty ritzy. When we went in, a bouncer had to check our names at the elevator before we were let on.

I stuck to this girl through the party while her boyfriend made the rounds. At one point her and I went into the bathroom. And here’s a pet peeve of mine, the girls in the bathroom switched from English to French when we walked in. My friend looked at me and switched from English to an eastern European language she had been studying while traveling through Europe. I had learned a few phrases as well, but not enough to understand what she was saying to me. So god only knows what she was saying but I responded with things like “this is my first time here”, “It is 1 o’clock”, and “this hotel is very beautiful.”

I tried to match my tone of voice to hers. And as far as I know we got away with it because it’s a pretty obscure language all things considered. We continued on that way for the rest of the party. Lou Reed from the Velvet Underground was there. At one point we were standing next to him and he looked over really confused. So did a few other people, but hey Lou Reed noticed me so I don’t care.  I wonder if he spoke the language or understood enough to realize we made no sense.

This girl. We’re two sides of the same coin. I always felt when I was with her that we were a juxtaposition. She expressed all her emotions freely no matter how many people she may have alienated. I spent those same years mute and hanging on the words of Allan Moyle. Her eagerness to help made her fall victim to many people who took advantage of her. I don’t trust anybody. And so on, and so forth.

Sometimes I wonder if in another universe we’re together, wrapped up in each other and facing down the world side by side. But I don’t think so. The pessimist in me thinks it would’ve turned out similar to another story I’ve already told. Our entwined history filled with too many thorns to move on completely.

There was too much I wanted out of life when I was younger.  Experiences I thought I needed to have in order to say that I had lived. That isn’t a regret. I’m glad I went through them. There’s not much more I need to cross off a mental bucket list. I feel now that I am sated. Satisfied with my experiences with only a few regrets, the price of one more lesson learned, and gladly paid.

So I came to tell the story of being at a party with Lou Reed, but then I remembered this girl and I had to pause, because she’s the better story. And yes, we’re still friends even though she lives far away but we still remember each others birthdays, no Facebook notification required. But the story of us isn’t something I think I can accurately put into words. I loved her and I still love her.  Our friendship now reminiscent of high school as she rages against the machine all over Facebook and I silently Like all her posts.

And when you’re dancing and laughing and finally living, hear my voice in your head and think of me kindly