Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Screening Dates Announced!

Okay, we got word from Cinequest of our premiere dates and times:

Monday, March 6th 7.15pm and Friday, March 10th 9.30pm at Camera 12 Cinemas in downtown San Jose.

We're so excited to have the dates down. This morning we attended the Cinequest press conference and got to eat yummy quiche and sit next to a major newspaper writer while trying to not dribble my orange juice. We were one of three films featured by Cinequest at the press conference and it was an honor to be there. I ran into old radio friends of mine there. It's funny, since I worked in radio for eight years before crossing over to the visual medium, I have a sense of compassion for people working for big corporations like my radio friends do. On an individual level they totally support what we're doing and the curse is they are major media figures and due to corporate content qualifications, they can't touch subjects like this. Their stations are meant to create entertaining content to allow people to forget there's war, poverty, discrimination and the like. So there's no room for discussion of real issues like this on their airwaves. Makes one wonder how much we don't hear. How much content isn't talked about because it's too real.

Well, that's why there's documentary makers and film festivals. So, support them if you want to hear different stories and not just the message that "everything's just fine, now go back to WalMart." Speaking of which, have you watched the recently released WalMart documentary by Robert Greenwald? Make sure to watch the DVD extras, especially the parody commercials. Oh my gosh, the "sales associate" had me in stitches with that canned opening. That's a dream job for me, doing parody commercials...anyway, you can get the doc from NetFlix and a bunch of other outlets. Check it out. Don't be afraid to learn more about the wizard behind the curtain.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The Conference is Homeless

So it goes with event planning...you start with your dream and then life comes along with its lessons in variables and knocks out pieces here and there along the way. Where we wanted to hold the conference originally didn't have our date open due to a Quinceanera.

So, we're looking for a home to host our first Conference after the Cinequest showings. It's really important to us that we go to a church that is authentically open and affirming...it's not just a tag line AND it's not just for GLBT people.

Seriously, if we really want equality, then we have to live the equality we want to see for ourselves. Hmm...sounds like a good blog topic. I'll talk more about that when I'm not shopping for a venue.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Do You Love Me for Who I Am, or for What I Do?

I had breakfast with Rev. Deborah Johnson and Valerie Joi Fiddmont yesterday morning talking about the God & Gays conference. They are both in the documentary along with Mel White, Darlene Bogle and Mary Lou Wallner, all established leaders in this issue.

So, we start talking about how there seemed to be in our growing up within the christian church an intentional separation between sexual identity and spirtiuality. Latest example? A Dr. Phil episode. A woman was on saying she is a PK (pastor's kid) and at 18 had strong sexual feelings for her boyfriend. When they slept together, she felt such guilt that 10 days later they married. She's not on Dr. Phil telling the world how great their marriage is...even after kids of course. She's miserable. He's miserable. The kids are miserable.

Anyway, back at breakfast, Rev. D said that with that kind of learning, that kind of indoctrinating, the question deep down becomes for all of us, no matter the struggle we're in: do you love me for who I AM or for what I DO? If I know in my own personal truth that I'm gay but learned this after kids and marriage, I may fear how my husband and my parents or other family members may handle the news. Is it noble to stay in the marriage to please everyone else's agenda of what I should do knowing I cannot love my husband fully as he deserves and vice versa, having that lack of affection between parents be the norm for my kids and lose those years in a waiting game? Live in a broken home or rise up out of one? How do I live authentically, as I am, for who I am amidst these consequences? Some of us know the answers, especially if we're not in the situation...easier said than done.

Nonetheless, the lesson, the challenge and the question remains. The people who love me will love me for who I am: perfect, whole and complete. A work of art uniquely created by God. People who ask me to pretend or "do" something that isn't me and I oblige is my choice but also my situation that I create. If I'm unhappy, I made the choices to get myself there. If I'm not happy, I sure know that the people around me aren't either...not the kind of life I want (and choose) to live. But, I can choose differently. I work on being me and the fruit will bear from there. That's where faith helps me a lot. I gotta love me for who I am and not what I do too. I can't ask anyone else to do that until I can do it for myself. Rock on...

Monday, January 09, 2006

We're in Cinequest!

Okay, it's official. We're premiering the documentary at Cinequest which is rated in the top ten film festivals of the world and it's held in San Jose, CA. The doc is in the Documentary Competition so we'll have at least two screenings which is incredible. Our publicist at Cinequest is a fan of the doc and we're so grateful to have her helping us get the word out. It makes a difference when one works on something that one really feels passionate about and worthwhile. The programming guy at Cinequest is a huge fan too and working very hard to have the screenings at times and days most accessible for the greatest amount of people to come. It's awesome working with these professionals. This is a "2" year for us numerology-wise, from what I am told, which is about partnership and patience. So, having partners like Cinequest, PFLAG, SoulForce, First Congregational churches and Inner Light Ministries is great company to keep. life is good.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Everybody Has Their "work"

Something I find really interesting is lately I've been watching Oprah. There was a woman who lost something like 160 pounds and she mentioned identifying with transgendered persons because she felt like a totally different person on the inside than who people saw on the outside. She always felt she was a skinny person but she was instead morbidly obese. First of all, kudos to her for putting more humanity and understanding to the transgendered reality. Secondly, kudos to her to put the dots together and feel a common link even though the "work" of weight wasn't exactly the same as gender identity.

Then I saw an episode of these beautiful creatures of God who whole-heartedly felt like they were as ugly as monsters. Oh, the pain they are in! Such distortion from their mind and the lies they believe about themselves. Oh, and the families of these people just felt so helpless, such dispair.

So, it became abundantly clear to me that even though there's such a focus on gay people (and nay a mention in the mainstream media of gay Christians) and their struggle when EVERYONE has their own struggle. I'm a teacher and I once had a student who is an NFL cheerleader. She didn't "come out" as a cheerleader to me until Finals. I asked her why she didn't live her truth and she was afraid of people not liking her, thinking she was sick or desperate or confused...the list went on but does it sound familiar?

There was another woman in her late thirties who still looked and acted like a six year old child when talking to her mother. She couldn't stand up for herself. She couldn't realize her potential as her past seemed to oppress her.

So, my work, my struggle in finding out who I am was about being gay and Christian, so it is with anyone else. For someone else their work is getting back their power from family members and doing the occupation they want. Oh, that reminds me again of some other students...so many have come from Business school or computer science and the like. They start in those majors for their parents, they say. Fortunately, they realize that is their parents' life and not theirs and went to a program they REALLY wanted to be in. Sometimes we get support, sometimes we get rejection, but as Oprah says, "the people that love you, will love you."

Our work is about having the courage to be who we are. Living our truth. Because we have to live with ourselves. We have unique fingerprints for a reason. That's not a mistake. We each have the journey to live our truth and truly be a blessing in this life and to this world. So instead of going out and "being somebody," just be yourself, where you are as you are. And have fun doing it! Woo Hoo!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Comfort Zones are Slow Dream Killers

This title is actually the title to my master's thesis back in 2000 but it holds so much value with the context of creating this doc and this conference. I mean, really, if I really acknowledge my comfort zones back when I was struggling with being gay and Christian, even though I was quite the sparkler in my group of Christian friends even then, my zones were still rather naive and narrow. I missed out so much on diversity of ideas, thoughts, creative ways of doing work and living a happy life.

If I didn't take the time and emotional challenge to identify my comfort zones, I wouldn't....I COULDN'T be where and who I am today. I wasn't aligned. I wasn't aligned with God, God's Will, with myself even though I was heavily involved in church. It took courage. It always takes courage to grow. But when you know there's gotta be something better, you have to do it. You have to for yourself, for your spirit. I mean better in God's way not like easier or anything. God's way seems hard but only because it's unfamiliar, it's based on faith, taking a step and feeling secure there's a ground to place your foot upon because God won't give us anything we can't handle. I keep telling myself whenever I get to another level and it becomes hard, "don't not do it just because it's hard."

We're "different" in this society for a reason. It's our responsibility to be who we are. I just don't have the guts to tell God that he made a mistake with me. Who am I to say that to the Creator? My comfort zones are areas of my patterns that I created and wrap myself around in. But I miss out in so much if I stay there. It's like my comfort zones are eating corn meal and water every meal, every day. Hey, at least I know what it is and that I can eat it. Well, then I'll never experience God's creations in other amazing tastes in foods.

If I chose to not push out of my comfort zones, my dreams of being self employed, doing documentary work, finding the love of my life, etc would never manifest. And that would have been my choice...out of fear and therefore untrusting of how God wired me. Finally, I got out of my own way and practiced surrender. My dreams are beautiful visions and not illusions. I hope the same for you.

I hope and pray that you too acknowledge your comfort zones and see where they may be killing your dreams. But, you are not a victim. You can choose differently. For example, it's not that there's not enough time in a day, it's that we aren't managing the time we have effectively. So, change the perception and see your dreams not as illusions but visions. As Reverand Deborah Johson says, "pain pushes, until vision pulls." I wish you the best in this new year. May it be a year of hugely beneficial change.