ever avenue

I know Nicky is a fun, lighthearted character and I know that it’s easy to forget his struggles, but, as someone who’s grown up with strict Christian parents, here are some things I’d like to project onto discuss about the boy:

  • he was still trying to please his parents. Even at their worst, he loved them. Even when he didn’t trust them to care for his cousins, he wanted them in his life. He is a boy who loves and loves and loves even when the people he’s loving are cruel to him, even when it’s killing him to hold on, even when every inch of him is screaming to let go.
  • you have to be pretty fucking done to actually leave. You have to have let everything go. You have to have exhausted ever other avenue, tried any and all other solutions time and time again. You have to have hit rock bottom and then kept digging. Sometimes you’re so far gone that you don’t even feel like a real person anymore, but it takes even more than that. You’ve gotta be at the edge of your life, ready to die but too tired to do anything about it. The boy was at the end of his rope when he finally went to Germany.
  • the Nicky that arrived in Germany wasn’t a happy one. Wasn’t ok. He was barely anything at all. He was done.
  • he didn’t give up his faith. I know that sounds so miniscule, but the effort and the desperation it takes to hold on to something you can’t see is unbelievable. He’d have been so full of doubt and guilt at times that he felt like he was drowning in it. Up in the middle of the night staring at the ceiling going “if you’re really there, then prove it” and not getting an answer, but still hoping anyway. It’s enough to completely drain you emotionally.
  • finally getting better but falling back into that dark place sometimes for absolutely no reason and hating himself because why can’t he just be ok? He can’t even explain the bad feelings anymore, he shouldn’t be having them. Why can’t he just be happy?
  • Nicky is a kind boy. A loving boy.
  • and he is the way he is because he knows how to suffer and he doesn’t want others to have to.
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this might be the worst thing I’ve ever heard

“Foggy Notion” - The Velvet Underground, La Cave, Cleveland, Ohio, October 1968

Hey, the late/great Sterling Morrison would’ve been 75 today! The best guitarist? Totally. There are lots of ways to celebrate, but I’m listening to Sterl rave at La Cave in the fall of ‘68 on a 10+-minute “Foggy Notion.” Was Euclid Avenue ever the same again? 

There’s obviously a lot more VU in the archives for you to enjoy. 

so wrightworth avenue q au is a thing that has to happen. i’m sorry. pheen and edgeworth are actually rod and nicky irl its the law

i’m probably gonna do some more with this soon but for now have some crappy doodles!!! (ps @gaylawyerhell idk if you’ve ever seen avenue q but here’s some au garbage for u)

10

Duckling Escort: the cutest thing Pennsylvania Avenue will ever see

“Spotted a mother duck and her nine ducklings in the park across from the World Bank building on Pennsylvania Avenue.

A crowd gathered. One woman, who stayed with us until the end, called the police and the humane society. They didn’t show up and the ducks were getting restless, trying to run out into the street.

We begin our procession from 19th and Pennsylvania to the duck pond on the National Mall.

A group of us created a corridor and held up traffic as they crossed each street. I had to lift up some ducklings who couldn’t jump high enough onto the curb.

Along the way, we spied three policemen, one woman yelled out "Hey bike cops, come and stop traffic for these ducks!” they came and held up traffic for us on Constitution Avenue.

After a few blocks, (must have felt much longer for the ducks), we made it.“

Photos/caption via Imgur

Why #StormPilot Matters

Of all the major fandoms in the world right now entertaining thoughts of a gay relationship between major characters (e.g. Sherlock and Watson, Captain America and Bucky Barnes, etc.), none is so passionate nor as popular as the #StormPilot movement, advocating a relationship between Poe Dameron and Finn in the newest Star Wars trilogy. I have, from the beginning, been a proponent of such a relationship, because it is phenomenal, logical, and so hot. But I am finally ready to elaborate on exactly I find it personally important, and as an extension why I think it is important to the larger world.

I am a 27 year old gay man. And, for various reasons which aren’t worth going into here, I didn’t come out to my family (the most important step) until just a few months ago, after (although I must admit not because of) seeing The Force Awakens. Still, the pro-gay backlash I witnessed in response to this very idea has heartened me to no end, and it is for this reason that I feel like I must speak out in favor of it now.

One of the common refrains I have seen amongst those who are resistant to the possibility of a gay romance in Star Wars, under the guise of being reasonable and not-at-all-homophobic, is some variant of: “Don’t sexualize Star Wars – it is a movie for children and it has never been about sex.” And that is, on the surface, reasonably true. This is what makes the claim seem so innocuous and valid. But my question remains: is anyone actually asking to sexualize the franchise more than it has already been sexualized in previous iterations? At most, proponents of a Finn/Poe (or whatever other gay pairing) relationship are looking for verbal confirmation that these two characters love each other, and maybe share one or two chaste kisses (which is even something I could begrudgingly live without, were the first part present). How is that any different from Leia and Han in the original trilogy? How is it not even less overtly sexual than the Anakin/Padme relationship in the prequels, which resulted in a pregnancy even though Anakin was supposed to be sworn to celibacy as a Jedi knight? Did those twins come about from immaculate conception? And how can one even claim, with a straight face, that the original movies were never sexual, when Carrie Fisher was paraded around in a metal bikini, which subsequent pop culture (e.g. That 70s Show, How I Met Your Mother) has explicitly recognized as the fantasy masturbation material for many a young, nerdy, heterosexual man in the late 20th century? No one is lobbying for Oscar Isaac to march around in a thong in Episode VIII (although I would certainly be the last to complain if he did).

So accepting that introducing a gay relationship is not, in fact, about sexualizing anything to a greater degree, this gets toward a much larger point. Heterosexual relationships, whether the sexual aspect is particularly explicit or not, are totally normalized in mainstream, blockbuster films. And that is fine. A very large part of the human population is heterosexual, and of course that would be and will continue to be the norm. But that does not mean that movies, which have such a large influence on general culture and indeed pride themselves on pushing the boundaries of and even making culture, can continue to ignore non-heterosexual relationships to the exclusion of all others. Our media has a responsibility to reflect the actual population. And this is not even a new concept. In an American context, the majority of the population is also white (at least for now) – yet most enlightened circles have converged on the reality that racial minority representation in movies is extremely important. Why would sexual minorities be any different? Back up half a century, and the same majority values and religious arguments were being used against minority (especially interracial relationship) representation in popular culture, but such qualms have now been left in the past by anyone worth listening to. And today, when there is any indication that they have not (such as the #OscarsSoWhite controversy last year) it is to everyone’s general misfortune.

That’s not to say that gay representation doesn’t exist in film – it obviously does. But when looking at my own movie collection, I notice that I have exactly five films, of the 100+ that I love enough to have purchased in the this modern day of streaming, with explicitly gay themes. And I have explicitly sought those gay-focused films out. The average young person, struggling with his or her sexuality, may be quite likely to find Star Wars within the family collection of films. It is much less likely, growing up in a straight family, that he or she would find “The History Boys” or “Pride.”

Thinking back to when I was a young man, struggling with my sexuality but still nowhere near ready to actually seek out “gay” media, I cannot imagine how encouraging it would have been to have seen positive reinforcement, or even simple and tacit acceptance, in one of the biggest movie franchises in the world. Obviously, it wouldn’t have fixed everything. But it would have been a major boost to my confidence and a big step forward in my path toward self-acceptance. Here, in a universe and a story that most people love right alongside me, is a hero who is also gay, but whose sexuality has nothing to do with what he or she could do nor the value that he or she can contribute to the world. When the real world is throwing signal after signal at you that you are less important and less worthy than your straight counterparts, such a role-model – even of the fictional variety – is invaluable, because his or her existence provides hope that things could be different and better. And after all, what is the world of fantasy and sci-fi if not a representation of our hopes and dreams (and sometimes warnings) about alternatives to the flawed world in which we actually live?

I can’t help but compare this tame and easy solution to what we already have in the biggest franchises of the day. While most are relatively benign in their tacit expectation and depiction of heterosexuality, I can’t help but think of Deadpool. As the first major R-rated super-hero movie of our age, I was excited to see it since the source material promised a vulgar and pansexual hero of the 21st century. If ever there was an avenue toward at least partial gay acceptance in a broadly-popular blockbuster film, this would be it. And while I generally did enjoy the film for most of the reasons promised, the sexuality issue left me desperately wanting. Although Deadpool was quick with a homoerotic remark, it was almost exclusively as a joke. Any homo-specific remark, such as “suck my dick,” offered to another male, was still leveled as the basest of insults. There was even one explicit visual scene in which the very idea of having something inserted up his ass was the ultimate indignity that our hero could simply not abide. Even though he was meant to be open to all sexual experiences, he could only ever be seen to tolerate strictly heteronormative sexual activity. Again, no one is asking for an explicit scene depicting StormPilot penetration – that would indeed be quite outside the realm of the Star Wars universe and purpose. But a simple indication that these characters do love each other, with whatever that means left well off camera, would go miles toward progressing the norm of acceptance in popular culture.  And that in turn, would be enormously beneficial to many.

Fortunately for me, I never reached a level of despair over my sexuality so deep that I considered self-harm in any form. But the statistics show that I am one of the lucky ones, and this only serves to emphasize the point. The rate of self-harm and suicide for LGBT youths is dramatically higher than the rate for their straight counterparts. I, as a 27 year old gay man who by some miracle ended up relatively well-adjusted and was ultimately fully embraced by my family, sexuality be damned, am still pleading for positive representation in popular culture. So just imagine what more this positive representation could mean for a much younger gay person, who is subject to an even greater amount of self-ridicule over his or her inborn sexuality and has not yet found a level of self-acceptance nor a network of external acceptance to make these negative feelings bearable.  

I’m not a fool. I know that one major franchise will not a solution make to gay representation in the media as a whole. But I also know that a more comprehensive solution must start somewhere, and I don’t see any franchise better poised to make that essential first step than Star Wars is right now. Perhaps there will be a marginal amount of dollars at stake among those who are still resistant to the forward march of equality. But frankly, the franchise can afford to lose those dollars. On the other hand, and in a much larger and more consequential sense, there are human lives at stake if we, the forward-thinking and enlightened members of society, who know that this is right and necessary, continue to ignore the plight of the marginalized and refuse to recognize and depict their humanity. I don’t personally live or die by #StormPilot becoming canon. But in the larger world, now and in the years to come, there may well be some who do. I, for one, am much more concerned with their well-being than that of the bigots who will be temporarily pissed at seeing a dude kissing a dude.

Stanford had thought it was over, after Stanley’s secrets had finally come spilling out, after the demon he’d been working with (and really, Stanley? Really? How did you ever think that was a good idea?) had taken over his body and tried to kill Stanford. Had thought Stanley had finally seen the light, seen what chasing down ever-darker avenues of research was doing to him, to them both.

He’d thought they’d both left it all behind them when they left Gravity Falls.

He’d thought wrong.

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For Always, Forever
Every Avenue
For Always, Forever

For Always, Forever - Every Avenue.

Another late night driving around
We’re losing sunlight so we head downtown
To Woodward, off Charlotte Street
The old place that we used to meet.
We were young and we lived it up
But those nights never lasted long enough
Looking back, we were so naive
What happened to the days when we shared our dreams?
If I could go back now
I wouldn’t change a thing
Oh, it feels so good to say
Guess we made it this far, guess we’re doing alright
Looks like we made it out alive
Yeah, we made our mistakes, but we followed our hearts
Even though we drift apart
For always, forever
Weathered yellow still frames in my head
For always, forever
The sunrise would beat us to sleep
We didn’t wanna go home so we slept on the beach
Oh, the summer never felt so sweet
I still feel the sand underneath my feet
The memories of the nights that faded
I don’t know how the hell we made it
Looking back, we had everything
Those were the days when we shared our dreams
If I could go back now
I wouldn’t change a thing
Oh, it feels so good to say
Guess we made it this far, guess we’re doing alright
Looks like we made it out alive
Yeah, we made our mistakes, but we followed our hearts
Even though we drift apart
For always, forever
The secondhand kiss of a summer night
For always, forever
Even though some time has passed
And we’ve gone our separate ways
No matter how far apart
We’ll always have our memories
If I could go back now
I wouldn’t change a thing
Oh, it feels so good to say
Oh, it feels so good
Guess we made it this far, guess we’re doing alright
Looks like we made it out alive
Yeah, we made our mistakes, but we followed our hearts
Even though we drift apart
For always, forever
Endless copper street-lamps on my mind
For always, forever
At Woodward, off Charlotte Street