Friday, May 29, 2009

Carlease: 50! It Doesn't Look This Good On Everybody

If you're in the L.A. area, you've gotta get tickets for the new one-woman show/play, 50! It Doesn't Look This Good On Everybody by Carlease Burke.

The show celebrates the joys and issues that come with turning 50. I have no doubt that it will be an enjoyable show. The free Laugh-A-Latte comedy show Carlease hosts in Long Beach is fabulously funny. And she was fabulous as the Parade Commentator for the recent Long Beach Pride parade.

And with very few venues producing and promoting black theatre in L.A., it's a show that we should definitely try to support. Check it out!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Bite Hard

Pretty cool, relaxed weekend here.

A friend of mine gave me a copy of Bite Hard by performance and spoken word artist, Justin Chin.

It's a book of short stories, poetry, and essays about the intersections of LGBT life and Asian and Asian American life. I'm enjoying it a lot -- the humor, brutal honesty, and details I know we think about, but never voice them.

For those of you who get turned on by hearing the work first before reading it, take a listen to Justin's piece, Ex-Boyfriends Named Michael.

Have a good one!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Push. Precious.

Since the film Precious is already generating potential Academy Awards buzz -- and it's not even released until fall -- might be a good time to read the novel upon which it's based, Push by Sapphire.

Told from the point of view of an illiterate, brutalized Harlem teenager, this novel charts the psychic damage of the most ghettoized of inner-city inhabitants. Obese, dark-skinned, HIV-positive, bullied by her sexually abusive mother, Clareece, Precious Jones is, at the novel's outset, pregnant for the second time with her father's child.

The novel has been a "must-read" within African American book club and reader circles for over a decade. It's been on my to-be-read pile for the longet time, and definitely is going on my "must-read" list for summer.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Ask Me About My Divorce

We all know women who have made the choice to move on... whether they wanted the marriage to end, or their partner did.

And the new anthology, Ask Me About My Divorce: Women Open Up About Moving On, edited by Candace Walsh, features essays and writings from women talking about their divorce experiences and how that process was an exhiliarating one that opened up new doors in their lives.

Sounds like a good read for those who are sitting on the fence on whether to leave or stay. Or for those adult children who are still wondering why their parents thought they'd be happier ending the marriage.

If you're in the L.A. area, Skylight Books is hosting a reading featuring several contributors to Ask Me About My Divorce, on Thursday, May 21 at 7:30 pm. A free event that will most definitely be enlightening and a conversation starter.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Are You (or Your Family) Raising A Bully?

In the news recently we've seen many examples of kids being bullied in school for a number of reasons. Many of these bullying cases center around perceived sexual orientation issues.

Rod has been updating us on his blog about Jaheem Herrera and Carl Joseph Walker Hoover. Oprah Wednesday show this week featues two moms of kids who committed suicide due to being bullied. My friend Noel listed a book event about the emotional lives of teen boys, which triggered me to write this blog.

Having worked in schools and with students for a few years, I can tell you first-hand that parents are the first to be in denial about any behavioral concerns teachers/administrators bring up about their kids. They don't want to believe their kids have the potential to be bullies, liars, thiefs, physical abusers, blackmailers, or ill-mannered when presented with specific examples or observatioons of this behavior in school. Of course we're not talking about ALL kids, but then again parents don't see their kids ALL day.

And this is in "ideal" situations, where teachers/administrators actually intervene when presented with information about bullies. Most teachers sadly look the other way when it comes to bullying, behavior which is often rooted in sexual orientation, race, class, intelligence, or gender issues that kids can't comprehend or process on their own.

If you (or a close relative) get presented with this information, please take it seriously and have a series of conversations/interventions with your little one. There are some good tips at the government's Stop Bullying Now site. Often, I've seen parents get defensive and feel guilty over what they perceive to be a judgment on their parenting skills. Or, they say things like "Tell the other kid to fight back then...," or "Boys will be boys..." We all know violence isn't a solution to solving relationship problems. We all know enforcing gender roles isn't a solution to how kids should get along.

Sharing the information about your child's behavior isn't a judgment on your parenting skills... only you can assess what you've done/not done. But how parents choose to move forward once presented with information is within their control.

Friday, May 01, 2009

The Good News Garage

May 1 is a day for recognizing workers, workers' rights, etc... And seeing that there are fewer workers today than this time last year, I figure we could use a little something good to hear.

The Good News Garage is a non-profit organization that accepts donations of old, tired, beat up cars that people don't want anymore. They refurbish the cars and get them to working transportation status. And then they give them to low-to-working-class income families who need a car in order to get to work.

I know this type of organization is needed and appreciated all over the country. Especially when I think of life in big cities like L.A., where public transportation can take forever or isn't the safest. Currently, Good News Garage has branches in many East Coast cities. I'm sure there are similar organizations in other parts of the U.S.

While I am privileged to have a car, and have had one most of my life, there was a time while growing up when we had only one car. My parents would alternate who got the car for work (and/or school -- my mom was a working parent college student at the time) and I can imagine the conversations that go into such a decision -- what if kids get sick? hours needed for school/work? what's the weather going to be? etc...

I cringe when I see women at a bus stop alone at early morning or really late hours, because I can imagine the personal and safety sacrifices they're making to use public transportation to get to work.

Anyway, we all have that relative who has one too many junk cars in their own yard or garage. If there's an organization like a Good News Garage in their area, that junk car could be a gem for someone who needs it to get to work.

Happy May Day and weekend!