soul de cuba cafe’s
february 2015 Volume 6 Issue 7
Jonathan Kuahiwi Moniz: ‘Ae ‘Ike! President
Marriage Equality: Adding “Herstory” to History
Advertising & Marketing
William Fernandez: (ph) 808-281-4084
Graphic design HTL Marketing
Scratch That Itch
LGBT Film Releases
video & multi-media Lisa Baxter PJ Delanoza
Mickey Weems PJ Delanoza
Legal & Research
Glenn Honda, Esq.
Lisa Baxter PJ Delanoza
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‘Ae ‘Ike! B y: m i c k e y w e e m s | p h o t o s : j t l
Jonathan Kuahiwi Moniz and the Art of the Hawaiian Wedding 4 | fe b r ua ry 2 0 1 5 - E X P RESSION808.C OM
Since he started `Ae `Ike Hawaiian Wedding Officiant Services in October of 2012, Jonathan Kuahiwi Moniz has been helping couples incorporate Hawaiian culture into their marriage ceremonies. “I am a kupa o ka ‘aina o Wai’anae, which is a term used by residents of Wai’anae who can trace their genealogy back multiple generations,” Moniz said with pride. He has dedicated his life to education, and insists that his weddings be Hawaiian in ways that are appropriate for the couple in question. Moniz spoke with us about the business he started (‘ae ‘ike is the Hawaiian equivalent to those magical words of love, “I do”) and the need to be culturally competent when using traditional Hawaiian ways in modern rituals.
Tell us what inspired you to create `Ae `Ike Hawaiian Wedding Officiant Services. The biggest motivation for me is seeing nonHawaiians put on a kihei [traditional square cloth draped over one shoulder] and a lei po`o [head lei], use our chants incorrectly, and pass something off to destination wedding couples as Hawaiian. I know how to chant, I know the correct chants. I use `olelo no`eau [traditional proverbs] in all of my ceremonial scripts that I compose for each couple.
As an educator, what is the most important issue for you in any wedding that incorporates Hawaiian culture? Cultural competency is really the biggest concern of mine. If you have that DNA proof of having Hawaiian ancestry, I have no right to stop you. However, make sure you’re competent about it. Cultural appropriation should be used with the utmost discernment by the officiant. Each island, each district, each family cluster had its own specific ceremonies, and it was up to the haku or leader of the family clan to perpetuate that. Be careful who tells you what is tradition and what is not tradition - what are their credentials? Who is the author of that resource that you read about Hawaiian weddings? Be careful! YouTube is exploding with the exploitation of Hawaiian culture. There are tutorials of ho`oponopono [cleansing] and huna [secret] on YouTube by individuals who claim to be kahuna and learned from this person and that person. If they are EX P RESSION808.COM - fe b r u a ry 2015 | 5
I have never faced criticism for using my style of a Hawaiian ceremony for any couple, LGBT or heterosexual. I am a confident Hawaiian. I know my culture.
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publicly telling everyone they know huna, then they totally lost the concept of huna because it ain’t no secret anymore.
my style of a Hawaiian ceremony for any couple, LGBT or heterosexual. I am a confident Hawaiian. I know my culture.
How are today’s weddings different from those in precontact Hawai‘i?
Are there any LGBT weddings that left an especially strong impression on you?
There is a huge difference in marriage traditions of our Hawaiian kupuna to now. One thing to remember: our chiefly ancestors had these ho`ao [ceremonies] to establish rank. It was the Calvinist missionaries of 1820 who influenced our chiefly women about the Bible and Ola Hou [New Life] if you follow the Gospel. That is when the Western concept of marriage with vows, rings, and monogamy was introduced to Hawaiians.
I have had three memorable same-sex ceremonies that I always hold close to me. My first same-sex civil union was for a couple who married at Moanalua Gardens. When marriage became legal, I did a second ceremony for them Christmas morning at Ala Moana Beach Park. The second was the historic ceremony at the Sheraton Waikiki the early morning of Dec 2, 2013. I married one of the six couples who were given that honor of being Hawai`i’s first. History in the making. The third happened few weeks ago when I was able to perform the first ceremony in Hawai`i for a samesex couple who were imprisoned in the same correctional facility.
Wedding vows replaced the chanting of mo`oku`auahu [genealogies] of both couples. The mo‘oku‘auahu praised the lineage of both sides of the families, and this itself could make the ceremony lengthy, you wouldn’t want to omit or forget an ancestral name. It would be like forgetting to say a vow. Rings replaced the ceremonial wrapping of the kapa moe [traditional Hawaiian bark cloth that was wrapped around the couple as they attempted to conceive a child]. Lei garlands replaced chants that spoke about the couple’s ma`i [genitalia] to promote and encourage childbirth. Wedding receptions replaced feasting with foods which were the kinolau [physical manifestations] of specific deities associated with the coupling of two individuals.
Some might question the extension of Hawaiian cultural forms to non-Hawaiians or to LGBT couples. I have never faced criticism for using
What advice do you give to those who seek your services? What is the most important thing a couple can do to prepare for the big day? Communication, communication, communication! Most of all, accept whatever cultural appropriations are given to you by the officiant. Every one of my ceremonies is different. Don’t expect the identical script and ceremony that you may have witnessed from someone else or by me months prior. As the officiant, I consult a lot with my couples and sometimes may seem ni`ele [nosy], but I’m actually using my discernment to determine how much of the culture I share with each couple.
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Adding “Herstory” to History BY: JTL
Left - Right: Ann Freed, Holly Broman, Andrea Anderson, Kyle Lovett, Jo-Ann Adams 8 | fe b r ua ry 2 0 1 5 - E X P RESSION808.C OM
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Last December, the first anniversary of marriage equality (SB1) in Hawai‘i was commemorated with an event that celebrated the role of women in the landmark legislation and consequent legalization of marriage equality. As part of the function, we asked several members on the panel that included Holly Broman, Hawai‘i United for Marriage; Andrea Anderson, CEO of Planned Parenthood; Reverend Kyle Lovett, United Church of Christ; Ann Freed, Women’s Coalition; and moderator Jo-Ann Adams, who agreed to answer questions about the role of feminism, women’s issues such as reproductive rights, religion, and politics in the struggle for LGBT rights.
The success of marriage equality in Hawai‘i was due to many coordinated as well as combined individual efforts. Why is it important to highlight the role of women? Jo-Ann Adams: It is more common than not that her-story becomes hisstory, and in the process, the role that women played is completely omitted. It is important for women to step up and document the roles they played for at least two reasons: First, it gives a more accurate picture of the village it took to pass this monumental legislation, and second, it may inspire young women to become politically active. If the women who were involved make sure their faces are included in the fact of the movement, young women are more likely to see themselves as future community leaders.
How have lesbians affected the feminist movement? Ann Freed: In my opinion, lesbians are critical to the continuity and endurance of the women’s movement. Their double - and for lesbian women of color - triple oppression, gives them a steadfastness that helps to sustain the fire, the fight and the fearlessness within our movement. That is why support for marriage equality from Hawai‘i’s feminist organizations has never been a question. We just simply took up the cause.
Why did Planned Parenthood take a stance on marriage equality? How does control over one’s body relates to LGBT causes? Andrea Anderson: It was the right
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thing to do. Standing up for marginalized citizens who don’t have a voice at the table is what Planned Parenthood has been doing for almost 100 years. Reproductive freedom, the ability for a human being to control their fertility, and in essence their very bodies, is the very soul of our movement. Inextricably linked to reproductive freedom is sexual freedom, and we believe that no one should be denied their rights in our society based on their gender, gender expression, sexuality, or sexual expression. Social justice is the underpinning of our movement and we’ll fight to make sure that all people are treated fairly and that they have their voices heard, whether it’s women fighting for the right to control their own bodies against a political machine that sees them as less than the fetuses they carry, or queer folk fighting for the right to marry the person they love. Andrea Anderson
It is unacceptable to give an individual or group the power to determine that one human being is somehow lesser than another because of these differences, and on that basis deny them the rights that are given to others. Holly Broman
the past, and to try to not re-live the more harmful moments as if it were today. Another thing that helps me is to remember that everyone who was from the opposition is a person. Surely there was an imbalance of aggression and attack during SB1. Ironically one of the most helpful things to do is find compassion for the opposition, the very thing that is the basis of most of their religions, which in turn were against same-sex and same gender marriage. However, we must dig deeper.
Holly Broman: Yes, there was much hate and a lot of frightening moments during SB1. Many still do - as you said - have PTSD. I know that I still do, having spent many days at the Capitol, yet with time, it is fading.
One of the most powerful moments of SB1 for me was the first day at the Capitol, before they drew the separation line and had the separation barricades the following days. I was inside the House gallery, and the opposition was almost right up against the windows. Their chants were loud and reverberating. I stood close to the window on the inside, and just started looking at some of the most loud and aggressive protestors right in the eyes. I wasn’t staring them down, I was just looking at them, with the intention of showing them my humanity. I knew they could not see that we were human, and hoped to show them that we are. A few of my friends came to stand next to me, and we all did the same. Just looked at them in the eyes. Things shifted. Some of the more aggressive and loud people calmed, some eventually turned away… some cried and left.
One of the things that have helped me is to keep putting those events in
So... sometimes we just need to remember that each of us is human.
There was much hate during SB1 and some people are still recovering from the negativity. How does one heal from the backlashes of posttraumatic stress?
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Mind, Body, Spirit, and Heart B y: m i c k e y w e e m s | p h o t o s : j t l
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West Africa has come to Hawai‘i, by way of a Cuban restaurant in Chinatown. Walk into Soul de Cuba Cafe and there, above the diners, are colorful portraits. “These are the Orishas, the angels of Afro-Cuban spirituality,” said Jésus Puerto, owner and proprietor of the restaurant. Oshun, the golden Goddess of Beauty, is pictured multiple times - she appears in both her West African form and her Catholic incarnation as Mary, Nuestra Señora de Caridad del Cobre (Our Lady of Charity or la Caridad), patron saint of Cuba. Oshun is all about love, and it is this aspect of her that Puerto strives to express in his own life. “The greater mission of Soul de Cuba Cafe is to showcase Cuban culture to the world through food, art, and music,” he said, but that is only part of the picture. The restaurant’s walls also feature images of his kinfolk, the source of his culinary inspiration. With family recipes he inherited from his Cuban father and African American mother, Puerto provides nourishment for the body, pleasure for the palate, and joy for the spirit as musica cubana flow throughout the establishment (Soul de Cuba Cafe also has some of the best mixed drinks in town).
Bringing the Goddess to Hawai‘i The road to Honolulu was filled with turns and twists.
Before he came to the islands, Puerto lay critically ill in Tampa, Florida; worked in the Peace Corps in Samoa; and built his first restaurant in New Haven, Connecticut. He also had to find Oshun/la Caridad in Miami before he could bring her to Chinatown. Puerto was born and raised in Tampa’s Cuban community. He came by his love for humanity and cooking honestly: “It was well known in the community that my great-grandmother Beatrice would serve meals for whoever wanted to come over.” About 25 years ago, a near-death experience shifted his perspective on life. Puerto came down with a fever on a Thursday that spring. After checking into the hospital on Friday, he was diagnosed with meningitis - the infection caused his body temperature to skyrocket. His condition worsened and doctors told his kinfolk he had maybe 10 hours to live. Two days after he was hospitalized, he rallied and had a full recovery. “The doctors told me I should not have survived, and they had no scientific explanation why. They used the word ‘miracle.’” It was Easter Sunday. While still in the hospital, two young men visited him. They wanted him to go celebrate with them because they had gotten their high school equivalency degrees. “I was still in recovery, so I asked them why I should leave the hospital in my condition.” They told him that his encouragement pushed them to accomplish their goal. Upon pondering what they told him, he was overwhelmed by a feeling of joy. “I just broke down and cried. I knew that the feeling was linked to a cosmic spiritual experience,” he recalled, adding that the one way he could recapture that same joy once more was to help others.
Samoa to Chinatown That same joy that inspired him to serve as a Peace Corps and United Nations volunteer, and it was from Samoan elders during his time in the Peace Corps that made him humble - when asked to describe himself and what he does, he said, “I just cook rice and beans.” He returned to the U.S. and worked with Peace Corps headquarters in Washington, DC then relocated to New Haven, Connecticut to work with a Paul Newman charity. “A vision of Soul de Cuba Cafe came to me in mid-’80s, but I was not financially fit nor mentally fit to give it the life it was seeking to
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have. Ten years ago, I was able to bring it to life in New Haven.” One thing was missing. “Just after signing the lease, I awoke from a vision that said I needed Cuban artwork and a picture of la Caridad. Instinctively, I knew I could find what I needed in Miami. I drove 24 hours to Calle Ocho [Eighth Street] in Little Havana. I visited shops, but nothing hit me. When I returned to my car, I realized I had parked in front of Luis Molina’s gallery with a huge portrait of la Caridad on display. Luis also had all the Orishas.” The colorful god-portraits in Soul de Cuba Cafe are by Molina. “But she wanted to come back to the Pacific,” he said, referring to his restaurant, which he genders as feminine, and to his mother Oshun. “Soul de Cuba is an expression of the way I know Cuba. In Samoa, mea alofa means ‘gift.’ If I wanted to return to Samoa, at least I could bring this mea alofa, this knowledge of myself and the people of Cuba in exchange for allowing me to sustain myself. That journey got me as far as Hawai‘i.” Just as he was leaving for Samoa from New Haven to open his second restaurant, fate intervened. “The New Haven restaurant is adjacent to Yale University, and the director of admissions saw me. When he learned I was planning a stop in Honolulu, he connected me with the president of the Honolulu Yale Association who is in real estate.” Puerto saw an available space in Chinatown, and the rest is history.
December 17, 2014: A Sacred Transaction Despite so much time in Pasifika, Puerto has never lost his connection with the Caribbean. He returned to Cuba last December in time to see the United States begin formal recognition of the island nation, putting an end to 50 years of trade sanctions and animosity. “It was a sacred transaction,” he said, referring to the fact that friendly relations between the two countries were re-established on December 17, which is the feast day of Babaluaye, the God of Healing. “The thrill of joy that came with normalization was like gliding on a rainbow. That’s how I feel, and that’s how the people of Cuba feel.”
Son of Oshun “It’s a blessing to know good food and to be nourished by good food,” observed Puerto, who also acknowledges that the soul needs nourishment as much as the body. He founded a charitable organization, Cubanakoa, with a vision for connecting all of humanity through “sacredness, spirituality, sexuality, sustainability, self-sufficiency.” Cubanakoa works with organic farms in Wai‘anae, and seeks to connect equatorial places such as Cuba, Samoa, and Hawai‘i so that “humankind will experience that we are and always have been connected at the deepest level of existence.”
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He does this because he is a good son of Oshun. “We also know her as the mother of the rivers and sweet [fresh] water,” he said, pointing out a legend that credits Oshun with showing people how to farm. “She showed humans how to sustain themselves using sweet water on the land.” Puerto, Soul de Cuba Cafe, and Cubanakoa continue her work.
Eat, Pray, Love: Afro-Cuban Style The Orishas portrayed in Soul de Cuba Cafe are the following: Oshun, Goddess of Love and Beauty (along with Oshun as la Caridad) Obatala, the Motherly Father Elegua, Gatekeeper of the Spirit World Yemaya, Goddess of the Sea Orunla, Master of Divination Shango, God of Thunder Osain, God of Plants Ogun, God of Technology Babaluaye, God of Healing
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Orishas are both mortal and divine, each one possessing powerful forces and human imperfections. We are their children - their strengths and weaknesses are our own. They have their own favorite foods, colors, worshippers, and lovers. Afro-Cuban religion does not discriminate against LGBT people. During certain rituals, worshippers go into trance and become gods themselves, but not necessarily gods of their samesex or gender. Women become masculine gods, men become goddesses, and some worshippers become gods that we might consider trans. Some Orishas are gender-fluid. Some have same-sex lovers. Yemaya is feminine and motherly. But in her deep-sea form, she is masculine and bearded; Shango is super-masculine, but once dressed as a woman. He also has a Catholic identity as Saint Barbara; Obatala is both masculine and feminine; Oshun is a favorite of feminine men; Babaluaye, associated with Saint Lazarus, helps those with AIDS; Oya, Shangoâ€™s wife, is a patroness of lesbians; Oshosi, God of the Hunt and Ogunâ€™s brother, seeks out male and female lovers.
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Scratch That Itch B y: m i c k e y w e e m s
In Texas, you cannot own more than six. In Arizona, two per home is the limit. In Alabama, they can only be bought for medical or educational purposes. In Jamaica, it is against the law to build a fence made with them. Such is the concern over dildos, love-missiles that some people fear could destroy humanity, hence the need to regulate or even ban them. But dildos are beloved tools of the trade for sex enthusiasts, especially for same-sex love. In fact, the dildo is a bridge that unites lesbians and gay men. On the other hand, dildos create moral panic in conservatives all over the world, which is why they are often advertised as something other than erotic implements.
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There is real reluctance among the general public to discuss exactly what itch a dildo is designed to scratch - hence the “massage wand” label and pictures with models using them on their backs. Most people of whatever orientation, however, agree that dildos are humorous, perhaps because TSA finding one during a luggage search in an airport or shopping for one in a specialty store brings a person’s sex lives into the public eye.
Who Wants What To learn more about dildos and their fans, we reached out to somebody with dildo-selling experience. Monica AguonZehner and her wife Kimberly own Velvet Video, an erotica shop in Waikiki. “We have silicone, realistic, UR3 [high quality realistic skin], and glass dildos,” she said. “The popular dildos would be UR3 and realistic - all different shapes, colors, and sizes. Everybody leaves our store happy.” Aguon-Zehner has been in the business for 18 years, so she has experience in who buys what product. “You get your typical lesbians who want strap-ons. Usually they just want regular size. Strapless strap-ons [designed to hit the g-spot of the wearer] are also popular with the ladies.”
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Even though lesbians and gay men share the same fondness for fake phallic fun, the choice of toys is markedly different. “Gay guys like big ones with the suction cup so you can put it anywhere - against the wall, for example. And gay men definitely believe that bigger is better! I wonder where they put it all.” Aguon-Zehner has not seen many trans people looking to buy dildos. “No trans men that I know of. Some of them are really butch, so maybe I can’t tell when they walk in. Trans women shop with their manly boyfriends, but I don’t recall any of them buying dildos.” Her clientele is not limited to LGBT lovers. “Straight couples shop here too. Usually the woman does all the talking and makes the purchase because the guy is too shy, especially if it’s a strap-on.” When asked about dildos being a bridge that links gay women and men, Aguon-Zehner agreed. “They are something we have in common,” she said. “We all want to be happy, and we’re in love with people of the samesex. Dildos add pleasure for the both of us.” Not to leave anyone out, she added, “Dildos also link straight and gay.”
phallic toys and World Peace As mentioned earlier, conservatives cannot handle dildos because they invoke thoughts of a penis as fun (To totally freak
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them out, show them a double dildo, or hand them a face-mask dildo). On the other hand, conservatives’ penis-phobia does not extend to dildo-shaped things that kill. They often have a hard-on for phallic shaped bullets, rocket launchers, and missiles that destroy rather than give pleasure. Just as a man’s penis certifies a man’s right to rule over his wife, a nation’s weapons certify the right of one nation to dominate another. Ultimately, this is why warmongers often have problems with LGBT people and our allies. For them, sex is only for reproduction and male superiority. Not for us! A penis is not a means for establishing dominance over uppity women and other enemies of civilization. It is an organ for pleasure that, incidentally, may also be used for procreation. Our open-minded acceptance of artificial penises as well as living ones reflects our celebration of the erotic in its many forms, many of which do not include making babies.
deep. Butt-plugs, the shorter back-door version of the dildo, are available in various personalities such as Vladimir Putin and Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson. Some butt-plugs have a variety of animal tales attached, including raccoon, pig, and Pikachu. Obsession with dildos is not limited to humans. Porcupines are especially fond of using sticks to pleasure themselves, and orangutans make dildos out of wood and bark. Noting these animal precedents, it is possible our ancestors may have fashioned dildos long before we became homo sapiens. The oldest one on record is 28,000 years of age. Sometimes a dildo is in the eye of the beholder. A giant inflatable art piece supposedly representing a Christmas tree in Paris was labeled obscene for resembling a butt-plug, then deflated by an anonymous vigilante. In Britain and the USA, Play-Doh was recently criticized for creating a toy that looked a bit too dildo-esque.
We will be so much closer to world peace when people consider a bomb more obscene than a dildo. Fun Facts Here are some interesting things about dildos that make for a great conversation at the family dinner table - or maybe not. They come in many forms and shapes, including religious icons and Hello Kitty, although strictly speaking, the Hello Kitty version is sold as a “neck massager” - a dildo by any other name still drives as
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Armed with art and unbridled optimism, Stan brunches with his girlfriend Annie, a schoolteacher, only to discover that she wants to take a break. Aaron confronts his boyfriend Marcus about their open relationship. The lives of these two couples become intertwined when Stan and Marcus meet online and hook up. Apparently, Stan has a bi-side, and Aaron walks in on the aftermath of Marcus and Stanâ€™s afternoon tryst. Annie confides in her fellow teacher Mandy about her relationship troubles. Mandy and Annie engage in some flirtation and decide to try a lesbian relationship, which in turn, reminds Annie that perhaps she was in love with Stan all along. Eventually all of these characters must face the consequences of their choices and decide what matters to them most.
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DVD Street Date: March 18, 2014 Genre: Drama Country: USA Running Time: 87 minutes
The Happy Sad: Two young couples in New York - one black and gay, one white and heterosexual - find their lives intertwined as they create new relationship norms, explore sexual identity, and redefine monogamy.
DVD Street Date: September 30, 2014 Genre: Romantic/Drama/Lesbian/Foreign Country: Thailand Running Time: 94 minutes
She: Their Love Story is a tale of passionate female intimacy and the struggle to overcome society’s repressive demands. Bua is a successful business woman with the “perfect life.” Following a sudden cancer diagnosis she leaves her family behind to ease their pain and hide her destiny. Residing by the sea, she befriends June, an undemanding independent female photographer with a sensual energy and spirit. Meanwhile, Da has her reputation ruined when her “perfect” boyfriend emails out raunchy video clips of her. In order to escape the embarrassment she accepts a job to write a feature about the love life of lesbians in Bangkok. She convinces Bee, a charming tomboy, to be her research subject. As their lives cross, they all embark on a journey of emotional and sexual discovery: With Bua at the end of her life journey, she is granted one last chance to discover the profound meaning of passionate love. And as Da’s work relationship with Bee turns sexual, she starts to ask herself if it is real love.
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DVD Street Date: January 14, 2014 Genre: Drama/Foreign Country: Lebanon Running Time: 102 minutes Language: Arabic Subtitles: English
Out Loud is the first film from Lebanon with a gay theme that sets a new standard for cinema from the Middle East in the midst of the Arab Spring.
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A powerful and bittersweet tale of friendship and love in Lebanon, a nation that has been plagued by civil war for decades, and where untraditional relationships and ideas trigger violence and hatred. Jason, an innocent young Lebanese man, befriends five free spirited young wanderers, who, like himself, are lost between traditional morals and their new generation beliefs in what is truly right. Their taboo alliances and out-loud statements result in tragedy and heartache, but in the end, their commitment to one another and to a life of tolerance and equality allow them to persevere with the hope of creating a world in which bigotry and discrimination are a thing of the past.
DVD Street Date: February 25, 2014 Genre: Drama/Shorts Country: USA, France, Sweden, UK, Hong Kong Running Time: 85 minutes
Straight Men & The Men Who Love Them 3: An exploration of relationships and attraction among straight men. This third installment of international shorts chronicles the pitfalls and pleasures of fluid sexuality in men exposing the complex, dynamic and at times volatile relationships and situations surrounding friendships and hidden attractions. Themes included in this selection explore the differences and similitudes of shared experiences as societal expectations, stereotypes, and traditional values are unexpectedly challenged as attitudes evolve.
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Gwen Stefani Spark The Fire “Spark The Fire,” which the three-time Grammy Award-winner co-wrote with producer Pharrell Williams, reunites the two hit makers. They first collaborated on the 2005 hit “Hollaback Girl” which was featured on Stefani’s debut solo album Love. Angel. Music. Baby. A number one single, “Hollaback Girl” was the first digital download to sell over one million copies in the United States. “Spark The Fire” will be featured on Stefani’s upcoming album which will be released in 2015. GwenStefani.com
Marina and the Diamonds FROOT “FROOT” is the first single off of Marina’s third studio album of the same name, due out worldwide on April 6th. To celebrate FROOT, Marina And The Diamonds has introduced “Froot of the Month,” a series through which she will share one new track every month until the release of the album. The album is made up of six colors, each representing a different “Froot.” The first “Froot of the Month” is “GRAPE.” Fans who pre-order the album will receive a download of the single “FROOT” and will automatically receive one download a month of other “FROOTS” until the album’s release in April 2015. MarinaAndTheDiamonds.com
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Feeling bold and courageous, the Grammy Award-winner releases her forthcoming True Romance album out February 17, including triumphant lead single â€œConquerorâ€? - currently the #1 most-added song at Urban AC radio. The stunning black and white visual, which recently premiered on VH1 Soul, features a graceful male dancer using bursts of sand and cascading white paint to create a bold canvas of moving art. The soul pop gem features a sky-high chorus, powerful vocals, and an infectious hook. EstelleDarlings.com
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2CELLOS Shape of My Heart Propelled into international fame in 2011 after their version of Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal” went viral with 20 million-plus YouTube views, Croatian cellists Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser return to their rock roots on their third album, Celloverse. 2CELLOS playing style has broken down the boundaries between different genres of music, from classical and film music to pop and rock. They have no limits when it comes to performing live, and are equally as impressive when playing Bach and Vivaldi as they are when rocking out. 2cellos.com
Olly Murs WRAPPED UP
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Charismatic British and international acclaimed singer/songwriter Olly Murs released the single “Wrapped Up,” featuring Gym Class Heroes lead vocalist Travie McCoy. The funkinfused song has been officially unwrapped for U.S. music fans on iTunes, and serves as the first offering from Murs’ upcoming second U.S. album, Never Been Better, slated for stateside release in spring 2015.
Since his dynamic breakthrough via the X Factor UK in 2009, Murs’ has soared as one of the globe’s most captivating singers. The amiable star has notched three multi-platinum albums in the UK, four #1 singles, and multiple sold out arena treks. He’s been an exciting artist to watch from the very start, with his 2010 self-titled UK debut album scoring the biggest opening week sales of any UK debut artist that year. OllyMurs.com
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