Trans filmmaker D. Smith has done something incredible with her first film, the documentary “Kokomo City” (Magnolia). She has given voice to black, trans sex workers, a segment of the population that has something to say after remaining silent for too long. Focusing on four individuals – Liyah Mitchell, Dominique Silver, Daniella Carter, and the late Koko Da Doll (who was murdered in April 2023) – Smith offers us insight into both the trans and sex worker communities in equal measure.
If Fin Argus, who stars as Derek in the movie “Stay Awake” (MarVista), now available on VOD, looks familiar to you, you may recognize them from their portrayal of Mingus in Peacock’s 2022 revival of “Queer As Folk.” Depending on how old you are, you may also recognize them from the time they spent as a member of “Kidz Bop.”
Based on the autobiographical novel by Makoto Takayama, director and co-screenwriter Daishi Matsunaga’s “Egoist” (Strand) is one of the most original and moving gay movies of the year. Slightly reminiscent of Hong Khaou’s 2014 “Lilting” (starring out actor Ben Whishaw), in which a mother and her son’s lover bond following a calamity, “Egoist” finds the perfect balance between eroticism and emotion.
Here’s a funny, gay, “small world” story. In the 1990s, years before I actually met Raymond Luczak, we were both published in the long-running (1976-1995) gay culture magazine “Christopher Street.” In fact, “Lincoln Avenue,” the short story of mine published in the issue of “Christopher Street” which featured Luczak’s “Notes of a Deaf Gay Poet” article on the cover, would go on to be the titular piece of my short fiction collection published by none other than Luczak’s Squares and Rebels Press in 2014.
Anyone who has been following queer singer/songwriter Caroline Rose since her independently released 2010 debut album “I Will Not Be Afraid” through her latest, 2023’s “The Art of Forgetting” (New West) knows that she’s comfortable slipping in and out of genres.
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