Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Marriage Day

Gay marriage has never been a top priority to me. In addition to the fact that I'm perpetually single, I also happen to believe that the LGBT community should be working to assure that men and women are treated equally under the law regardless of sex, gender, sexual orientation, or perceived gender identity. Marriage could then follow logically, but never seemed to me a necessary first step. But today, I must admit, I'm very proud to be queer in California and to feel that for the first time, the State Supreme Court declared me equal under the law and realized that this was an issue of equal protection and nothing less. That is a beautiful thing.

Even more beautiful are the lives that changed today. I've been reading stories and looking at pictures and I can't help but cry to see all of the gay and lesbian couples, with their parents and siblings and children watching, who have cemented their relationships with the full sanction of the state today. The images in the LA Times and the San Francisco Chronicle are truly inspiring.

I must say, I wish I saw more women in tuxes, or any men in dresses. At least in these two major media outlets, the images are mostly of good looking matched couples in suits or white wedding dresses. I do love these guys' outfits. The relatively palatable imagery is a deliberate campaign to avoid providing fodder for the hatred of the other side, as reported here in the LA Times. Of course, this just makes the conventional imagery even more odious to me. I'd much rather see people also getting married in plaid jackets or punk rock gear or leather and drag queens in bridal gown glory and everything else that makes the queer community beautiful and diverse and distinct. In the months between now and November (and hopefully long after) I hope people will get the chance to have all the beautiful, outrageous, queer weddings that they want. And for now, matching suits or bridal gowns are pretty beautiful, too.

Oh, and in closing, one of the many things that made me cry today was this lovely blog post by (heterosexual) sci-fi writer John Scalzi, who happens to share his anniversary with this historic day. This is truly how to be a friend and ally.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Time to Play

Finding myself with some free time for the first time in a very long time, I'm feeling a strange compulsion to play games. Now, I am by no stretch of the imagination a gamer. I don't play many video games (although I do have a Nintendo DS), computer games, or board games, but many of my closest friends do all of these things. I have friends who are huge fans of Settlers of Catan. When Bioshock and Portal came out, I heard everything about them even though I've never played either. I even have friends who play a regular D&D game, but I'm not one of them. I've lost many friends to World of Warcraft. I'm a big fan of Apples to Apples at parties, but in general I am at best a casual gamer who will occasionally play a game of Babble or other solitary games.

However, gaming has come up in my life a lot recently. Not just because my brilliant best friend studies and designs games, although that doesn't hurt. He'll be running around New York as part of the Come Out and Play festival this weekend. I also, completely randomly, found myself playing dice with friends outside of a coffeehouse yesterday.

Finding myself craving some gaming recently, I downloaded the new Penny Arcade game, On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness: Episode One. I found the whole thing highly amusing, though overpriced for its length. The situations are hilarious and I found the aesthetic entertaining. The turn-based action was a bit annoying, but overall the game itself was fun and made me laugh. I enjoyed it quite a bit, except that it was over too quickly. I will probably play the next episode, but I hope it's cheaper.

I've said for a year and a half that once I finished my dissertation I could get a Wii, and now that I've filed, I'm hoping that my parents will give it to me as a graduation gift, but considering that there still aren't any on store shelves, I'm not particularly optimistic that my parents will come through.

In other gaming news, I watched Jane McGonigal's talk, "Saving the World Through Game Design" from the 2008 New Yorker Conference on their website. It's a fairly familiar but quite interesting and simple explanation of what's going on in gaming and how it helps us see and deal with our lives differently. Prophboy sent me this link about how GTA IV changes the way players experience New York City. And at GigaOm, Nabeel Hyatt of Conduit Labs tries to define social gaming by distinguishing between synchronous and asynchronus games.

None of these things, however, has satisfied my craving for gaming. So I ask the internet, what games should I be playing? What am I missing out on? Should I try to organize a game night with my friends to play board and card games? Invest in a console? Try to convince my Wii and XBox-owning friends to invite me over to play? Or just read some more gaming news and theory?

Stealing the Spotlight

Spotlight Stealerz. Highways Performance Space. 5/31/08.

D'Lo, Adelina Anthony, and Alison M. De La Cruz teamed up for this hilarious show at Highways, and while each (well, I can attest to D'Lo and Adelina) are amazing solo performers, they also make a wonderful team. The evening was a collection of sketches and skits, and while some scenes missed the mark or were overly serious for an evening of comedy, altogether they put on a great show.

I was amazed by each artist's work developing characters; they ranged from butch to femme to male to female to young to old to skunk and each character was clearly established through costume and mannerism as well as script. Each artist was brave in exploring both their own established identity positions and crossing the boundaries to perform outside their own identities. While Adelina as a 20-year-old boy was impressive, D'Lo in drag as a femme bank cashier was truly astonishing both because of how well it was done and how unexpected it was.

The throughline of the piece, which I found quite compelling, featured De La Cruz as a baby butch (recently converted from femme) exploring butch identity through conversation with an elderly butch/femme couple in a nursing home. Several of the other characters fit into this storyline, though that only became clear in retrospect. The establishment of this plot was extremely cleverly arranged, but I would have liked to see even more of these characters, and perhaps have seen them established earlier. I would have loved to see what the butch character (Frankie) was like as a femme (rather than being told several times) and what Frankie was like on dates. Perhaps we even could have seen the elderly couple when they were young. Several of the issues discussed between these three characters were fascinating and could have been fleshed out more, but this is only a minor consideration.

Overall, the evening was hilarious and showcased some very talented artists who have great chemistry together. I hope I get to see these three work together again soon. In the meantime, I've marked my calendar to see D'Lo in Ramble-Ations: A One D'Lo Show at Highways June 27-28.