Monday, November 30, 2015

KISS legend shows us some love

I really wasn't expecting this (not by a long shot) but a link to last night's blog post was Retweeted by Dr. Love himself, Gene Simmons.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Why are Christians fair game?

I was watching the Kansas-Kansas State football game yesterday with a couple of friends. Actually, we weren't really watching. We were talking, and the subject of my movie came up, and that raised the topic of Christianity.
One friend felt guilty because she has occasionally mocked the Christian faith. I am a Christian, and so is the other friend, and we both acknowledged there was times when Christians set themselves up to be mocked. Nobody likes a hypocrite.
As I've stated many times, part of my motivation for making "Out Here In Kansas" is so certain Christians and certain gay people stop tearing each other apart.
Which brings us to Tim Tebow, the Heisman Trophy winner and former NFL quarterback who proudly wears his Christianity on his sleeve. He's been in the news because apparently his relationship with a former Miss Universe just ended, reportedly because he wouldn't have premarital sex with her. The tabloids are having a field day.
"Tim Tebow still can't find the end zone," announced a New York Daily News headline. Ha, ha.
(There's even been speculation that Tebow might be gay, but I'm not going to touch that one.)
Anyway, I saw this morning that Tebow and his Christian faith are being fiercely defended by - of all people - Gene Simmons, co-founder and bass guitarist of KISS.
To me, this is like Bizarro World. I grew up in a time when KISS was considered public enemy No. 1 by Christian parents everywhere. I've told this story many times, but I wanted to be Gene Simmons for Halloween one year. My mom said no. Neither of us budged. Finally, it started getting dark on Halloween night, so I hastily covered my face in red lipstick, threw a red towel around my neck and announced I was the devil before bolting out the door.
That's right: My mom was happier with me being the devil himself than Gene Simmons.
And now here's Simmons, a Jewish rock star with his own family-friendly arena football team, using his fame to defend a man who believes in Christ his Lord.
The video is just a minute and a half long, and I encourage you to check it out here.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Steve Balderson: A Kansas original

Steve Balderson is from Kansas, he's gay and he's an accomplished filmmaker. So when he offered to help with our film about being gay in Kansas, what were we going to do - say no?
We caught up with Balderson over the weekend in his hometown of Wamego. Balderson's directing career has taken him all over the world, but he's never really left Wamego, where most of his family still lives and works. (His sister owns a winery in town, which I'm guessing sweetens the deal.)
What was most interesting about Balderson's story is just how attached he remains to Kansas, and how growing up gay in little Wamego was never a huge issue. When I asked how he came out of the closet, Balderson explained that he was never really "in." He was allowed to be true to himself from the day he could talk, and has had a solid support system around him his entire life.
I just started watching Balderson's documentary trilogy on Wamego, which I highly recommend if you're interested in the behind-the-scenes aspects of filmmaking. It's fascinating listening to him talk about his dealings with movie icons like Dennis Hopper and Sissy Spacek, and some of the agonizing decisions he's had to make as a director.
And he's worked with Karen Black, which means he's one degree separated from both Jack Nicholson and Rob Zombie. Seriously, how many people can say that?

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Worth the wait

Today was our last scheduled shoots before post-production, the first of which I've been trying to schedule for close to a year.
Matthew Vines is a busy guy these days, ever since his book God and the Gay Christian and Reformation Project movement have taken off. His travel schedule is heavy and his speaking engagements are many, so I'm thankful editor Kenny and I finally got the opportunity to catch up with him in Kansas City.
As I anticipated, Matthew was knowledgeable, thoughtful and passionate. Toward the end of the interview - and I don't know what made me do this, because it certainly wasn't on my list - I asked him why he thought God created gay people. He said he would never presume to know what God is thinking, but followed with an answer that blew me away. 
Our last interview was a couple hours away, on the other side of Topeka. It was terrific, too. But I'll tell you about that later this week. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Thank you, pastor

There's a little coffee shop in downtown Towanda, Kansas called "Hebrews." It's been closed for awhile, but I became attached to the place and even got permission from the owner to do some post-production shooting inside.
I haven't talked to him in months, but this morning he gave me a Facebook message. He and his wife were in possession of my wallet, which they found on the highway.
How it ended up on the highway, I'm not sure. But I am sure I'm lucky they're the ones who found it. He is also the pastor of the church in town, and he didn't even realize who I was until I called him.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Keep your eye on her

It was a whirlwind of a week since I last posted - I started a new gig as a sports talk show host - but I didn't want another day to go by without mentioning this interview with our friend Savannah Rodgers, a young filmmaker based out of Kansas City and Lawrence. (This is the cool logo from her production company.)
Truth be told, Savannah is becoming more than a just a friend of our project. In fact, if you've been interested in the progress of Out Here In Kansas - or if you're just a fan of filmmaking - you may want to start following Savannah on Twitter or Instragram.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Up in Lawrence, up in the air

We had a crew of four working a shoot in Lawrence yesterday. Why Lawrence? Well, let's just say we weren't focusing on Jayhawk football, which is on its way to a historic winless season. (Even though it was homecoming, and Halloween, the pregame atmosphere was bleak.)
Anyway, we were fortunate that Lawrence happens to be the current home of the young dynamic filmmaker Savannah Rodgers, who I met in June. Savannah even connected us up with the operator of a drone. Why did we need a drone in Lawrence? Because that's how the scene was written.