In Which I Ponder a Lily-White Les Miserables Movie

I’ve been a fan of Les Misérables since the 90’s.

Like, a big fan.  When I was a kid I had 5, count ‘em, 5 different cast recordings.

As long as I’ve been a fan, every production that’s striven to be a definitive cast has included people of color.  The Tenth Anniversary Dream Cast (meant to be the best of the best) included Lea Salonga as Eponine.  The Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Concert included not only Salonga as Fantine, but Norm Lewis (whom we all love in Scandal) as Javert and Iranian-Canadian Ramin Karimloo as Enjolras.  The Complete Symphonic Recording, which strove to be international as well as definitive, cast Kaho Shimada from the Japanese production as Eponine.  Les Mis has been around for a long time; it’s been performed in a huge number of countries; and more than many other musical theatre productions it’s understood to be about content and story instead of about people’s skin color.

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Reading Past Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer

Because some pieces warrant a repost:

 

One holiday classic I’ve always found so unsettling is Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer.

I attended Catholic school between the third and the fifth grade and with the exception of two Asian students, I was the only POC in our entire class. Let’s just say at 8 years old I received a crash course in racism and we’re going to leave it at that.

Each year we would watch the animated classic of Rudolph. There was always something disturbing about the story, until last year when I came to the epiphany that the tale is a metaphor for minority plight.

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Brain Food – Episode 26

Hello everyone, and welcome to the 26th episode of Brain Food!

In this episode, I am waylaid by a bad cold and sore throat, and unable to talk.

So what’s a book reviewer to do?

Crank up the music and use a montage of pictures and words, of course! So sit back, relax, and enjoy my review of Adilifu Nama!

Here it is on Blip TV:

And here it is on Youtube!

The Next Big Thing: West of Sunset

So recently I participated in The Next Big Thing blog hop, thanks to good friends Catherine Lundoff, author of Silver Moon and Satyros “Satyr” Phil Brucato, author and designer of Deliria: Faerie Tales for a New Millennium.

As others have explained, The Next Big Thing is a branching pyramid-of-prose for authors to discuss their latest release or WIP. Each author answers some preset questions (see below for my answers), and then tags five others to go next week.

Today I will be discussing my upcoming novella that it tentatively due out next year.

rupertevans-grant ness

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“Just Don’t Watch It”

As I watch many many many programmes and critique them I inevitably get someone saying the same damn thing:

“Just don’t watch it!”

There are many replies to this, but irritation has worn me down until even I, who am not generally given to swearing, have to ask

“What the fuck do you expect me to watch?!”

Seriously. I’m a gay man who likes to watch the fantastic – primarily Urban fantasy, what do I watch? Because we’ve now reviewed 37 television series from start to finish (or current) and we’ve got two – TWO – with a GBLT protagonist. Lost Girl, headed by a bisexual woman and her true love/primary love interest is already underscored as being a man. And Sanctuary where Helen Magnus is a bisexual woman – you may have missed it though since it was one reference in one episode of 4 seasons – the rest of the time was focused on men. We don’t even have a GBLT person as part of an ensemble cast.

20 of those don’t have even a brief, token GBLT presence. Not for one second, not a bit actor, not a one off, not a thing. Completely and utterly straight from start to finish. Some of them have managed to reach their 5th season without any GBLT people.

4 of them have a GBLT character who appeared for one or two episodes – out of 8 seasons in some cases (yes, Supernatural, that’s you. Though your subtext means the slash fans love you and ignore your erasure) Of course that doesn’t stop these shows have a running commentary of bad gay jokes (Being Human US, Misfits – ye gods Misfits, the very poster child of a hot mess) or used these single episodes to push the horrible tropes (Being Human UK with the gay vampire killing his human lover).

2 of them have a recurring token. But, frankly, that’s generously deciding the Manscaping medieval prince who faints at the sight of blood (the dead Renly) and his lover, the knight of flowers count as tokens rather than one-offs on Game of Thrones. And despite Danny being nothing more than a token who only shows up in one episode in four whenever one of the straight characters needs something, Teen Wolf will always be loved by the slashers (If you want any greater evidence of how this damages us, both Racialicious and Kiss My Wonder Woman have actually praised Teen Wolf for their handling of sexuality while criticising it for its greater inclusion of other marginalised people. Yay for homophobic double standards!)

2 of them have recurring minor characters – but while I love Dark Angel’s Original Cindy, as the series progresses she just becomes more and more of a support character for Max. It’s pure desperation that has me include Bill Forbes 5 episodes on The Vampire Diaries a recurring character – and after his conversion therapy episode I could do without that as well.

So that leaves me with 7 shows with major GBL characters. With the protagonists that brings it to 9 out of 37

And these 7? We have American Horror Story with raped and murdered gay men, raped lesbian and graphic depictions of conversion therapy. Yay. I couldn’t even watch it in one sitting.

Almighty Johnsons has Sjofen, “the goddess who goes both ways” who has a one night, off-camera fling with Axel (a man) when he’s magically turned into woman and then focuses entirely on men from then on – but they make lots of jokes about her.

Hex and it’s many many many many, ye gods many, dead gay men and lesbians. Sometimes the same character died twice.

True Blood which I’ve already complained about.

Bedlam with a closeted character who was finally revealed as gay, had one kiss with a guy before vanishing without explanation.

So, that leaves Warehouse 13 (which, on day, will stop putting Jenks in the plot box and leave the gay jokes behind), Buffy (which wiser folks than I have complained about)

This is the genre I’m watching. This is what I get served up to me. So, again, what the fuck do I watch? What do I watch which doesn’t prompt me to criticise? And this is just criticising on grounds of sexuality – throw in race, gender and ability as well and the hot mess just gets hotter and messier.

There now follows a moment where everyone tells me to watch Glee or Modern Family or some other soap and sitcom, completely ignoring the genre that interests me. It’s ridiculous that when faced with an entire genre of erasure and shit – multiple genres of erasure and shit – the answer is to try different genres! I don’t like sitcoms, I hate soaps, I loathe high school dramas and I don’t remotely see the attraction of musicals. I don’t want to be bored to tears so I can cling to a show that actually realises we exist.

This is the same reason I rarely boycott shows, because I end up boycotting my entire genre and all the shows I have any chance of actually enjoying. Is that depressing? Yes, of course it is – but that’s reality but that’s also why I want to change things.

Which is why I won’t “stop watching it”. I will keep watching it. I will keep watching it and I will find the parts I enjoy and I will continue trying to be part of the genre I love. And I will continue banging on the window when they try to shut me out, continue shouting when I’m missed and demand that it be better, that it does better. For me to stop watching it would be for me to finally give up on the genre, for me to decide it can’t be fixed and needs to be rebuilt before I get involved again – I’ve already done that with some book genres, and it wounds me to feel driven to it.

This genre has a problem with marginalised people. MY genre has a problem with marginalised people. And it’s not going to be fixed by closing my eyes and pretending the problems don’t exist. Nor will it be solved by anyone who is hurt by these problems being driven away by people demanding our silence, demanding we “just don’t watch it.”

Voices of Dissent – Episode 1

Hello everyone and welcome to the first episode of Voices of Dissent!

Episode 1 – What does THIS button do? Oh dear…

It’s very rough, as I am new to using audacity, but I feel it would make for a great new tool in our war against bullshit in our media.

If you have any advice or have had any experience with using audacity, then please let me know by leaving a comment or contacting me through my e-mail.

Here are a list of links to the material used in the show:

Gail Simone Dismissed from writing Batgirl

 

Gail Simone’s twitter reply to Mike Nelson

Leaving Megatropolis

Tropes Vs Women in Video Games

Superblack by Adilifu Nama

 

Thank You Sniplits

So I recently learned that on Dec. 15, Sniplits will be closing its doors. Given the climate of the economy and the publishing market right now, it’s understandable. For 7 years founder/publisher Anne S. delivered some excellent stories from some truly talented up and coming authors.

I’m also honored to state that Sniplits was actually the first market where I made my first major sale many years back with my story, Stranger Than Fiction.

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