Friday, December 28, 2018

Out and About – Autumn 2018

Well, both the winter solstice and Christmas have been and gone. . . . And last night a winter storm rolled across Minnesota ensuring lots of shoveling and plowing of snow today.

It seems a good time, then, to take a look back over the recently ended (and decidedly more warmer and colorful) season of autumn.

But first, regular readers will be familiar with my "Out and About" series, one that I began in April 2007 as a way of documenting my life as an “out” gay man, seeking to be all “about” the Spirit-inspired work of embodying God’s justice and compassion in the world. I've continued the series in one form or another for the last 11 years – in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 . . . and now well into 2018.

So let's get started with this latest installment . . .

So, the big news of autumn was that I began in September working as the Palliative Care Chaplain at Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids, MN.

You may recall that in August I completed a year-long chaplain residency at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis. My residency at Abbott was an incredible experience, to be sure, especially my work with the Palliative Care team there. Indeed, I came to be so connected with this team that I continued to work two days a week at Abbott, covering for the hospital's regular PC chaplain, until the end of November. My position at Mercy started as a part-time one but in January (that's next week!) I go full-time.

Above: With members of Abbott Northwestern Hospital's Palliative Care team – Tuesday, November 27, 2018. This was a farewell dinner the team arranged for me at the Anchor Fish and Chips restaurant in Minneapolis. I will miss all of these folks immensely. They are not only caring and competent professionals in the field of palliative care, but they've become for me trusted friends and colleagues.

Above: With my boyfriend Brent with whom I've been dating since October 2015. We're pictured at an art exhibit in Minneapolis on Saturday, November 10, 2018.

Above: My friend Mahad – Sunday, September 23, 2018.

My friends Joan and Matt hosted the sixth Queer Movie Night on Saturday, September 22, 2018. The film we watched and discussed was one I chose, the 2004 French drama Wild Side.

Pictured above are John, George, Matt, Joan, Omar, and Hae.

Directed by Sébastien Lifshitz, Wild Side is the story of the relationship between three individuals on the margins of society; a relationship that stretches the traditional bounds of love and friendship.

Stéphanie (Stéphanie Michelini) is a pre-operative transsexual who supports herself as a prostitute and shares a flat with two roommates – Mikhail (Edouard Nikitine), a Russian soldier who has fled the army and is hiding out in Paris, and Jamel (Yasmine Belmadi), a hustler from Algeria who services both men and women in the city's railway stations. When Stéphanie's mother (who is still in deep denial about her child's transition) falls gravely ill, Stéphanie travels to the small town where she was born to help care for her. Mikhail and Jamel soon join her.

About Wild Side, Time Out magazine notes the following:

Sébastien Lifshitz’s third feature opens with the soaring Antony Hegarty (of Antony and the Johnsons) singing ‘I Fell in Love with a Dead Boy’, with its quavering question, ‘Are you a boy or a girl?’, to a parlour of Parisian transsexuals. What follows is a meditative tone-poem on society’s marginals, drawing on the director’s collection of real migrants and misfits. . . . Discreetly shot by Agnès Godard, the film stitches the frayed threads of [Stéphanie, Mikhail, and Jamel's] lives into a non-linear tapestry that assesses their fractured and self-spun senses of family, nationality, sexuality and gender.

Above: With Brent and Cree – September 22, 2018.

My friend Kathleen hosted the seventh Queer Movie Night on Saturday, October 6, 2018. She chose the 2017 drama Disobedience to view and discuss.

Pictured above are Jim, Hae, Omar, and Kathleen.

Set in North London, Disobedience tells the story of a woman who returns to the strict Orthodox Jewish community for her father's funeral after living in New York for many years estranged from her father and ostracized by the community for a reason that becomes clearer as the story unfolds.

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 85% based on 136 reviews. The website's critical consensus reads, "Disobedience explores a variety of thought-provoking themes, bolstered by gripping work from leads Rachel Weisz, Rachel McAdams, and Alessandro Nivola." David Ehrlich from IndieWire praised the importance of the film's subject, the outstanding acting and good direction, saying: "A fraught and emotionally nuanced love story about the tension between the life we’re born into and the one we want for ourselves.... Both Weisz and McAdams do a phenomenal job of negotiating who their characters are versus who their characters feel as though they have to be."

For more about our Queer Movie Night series, click here.

Above: With Brent and Omar.

Right: With my friend Jim – October 6, 2018.

Above and below: Autumn beauty in Minnesota. (For more images, click here and here.)

Above: With my friend Paula and her husband – September 29, 2018. The occasion was a party for Paula marking her retirement after many years of serving as the ICU chaplain at Abbott Northwestern Hospital.

Above and below: Pictures from a social gathering with colleagues from Abbott Northwestern Hospital – October 20, 2018.

Above: and below: My friend Mahad with Natasha, the most affectionate cat I know! – October 1, 2018

Above: Gathering to watch the season finale of Poldark with friends (from left) Jeffrey, Pete, Kathy, Brent, and John – Sunday, November 18, 2018.

We're at the home of John and Kathy, and for the occasion John made a fruit and rum nicky, also known as the Cumberland Rum Nicky. John learnt about this pie via The Great British Bake Off TV show.

The overall message of the fourth season of Poldark? Well according to one review it is that "Life is cruel, but love is the only way to live it."

Above and below: A portrait series I did of my friend Mahad – Minneapolis, November 27, 2018.

Above: Friends (from left) Deandre, Brent, Pete, and Jeffrey. This picture is from one of the number of 53rd birthday celebrations I had in late October. (To read my special birthday post, click here.)

Above, right, and below: On the evening of Monday, October 22, the night before my birthday, Brent and I saw British soul singer Lisa Stansfield in concert.

Lisa performed at the Pantages Theatre in downtown Minneapolis as part of her "Go Deeper" tour of North America, and our VIP tickets, a birthday gift from Brent, ensured that we got to meet her briefly before the show.

Above: A lovely picture of the Jacquet-Morrison family, all of whom are dear friends of mine. From left: Dee, Phil, John, Noelle, Scott, Alicia, Liana, and Amelia – November 24, 2018.

Above: Mahad and the (early) Christmas decorations at Eden Prairie Mall, Eden Prairie, MN – November 27, 2018. We went there to see the movie Beautiful Boy.

Above and below: Winter returns. (For more images, click here.)

Autumn 2018 Wild Reed posts of note:
Insightful Perspectives on the Kavanaugh/Ford Hearing
Something to Think About – October 10, 2018
In the Garden of Spirituality – Gerald May
The Prayer Tree . . . Aflame
Musings on the Possibility of “FinnPoe”
World Hospice and Palliative Care Day
With Love Inside
New Horizons: Reflections on David Lean’s Adaptation of E.M. Foster's A Passage to India
Our Bodies Are Part of the Cosmos
Samhain: A Time of Magick and Mystery
A Shared Language
On the Eve of the Midterms, Three Insightful Perspectives on the Voting Process in the U.S.
Acts of Love . . . Carl's and Mine
Jason Johnson on Stan Lee's Revolutionary Legacy
Maria by Callas: “Revelatory, Unprecedented, and Authoritative”
Autumn – Within and Beyond
A Prayer for Asylum Seekers Being Tear-Gassed at the Border
Autumnal (and Rather Pagan) Thoughts on the Making of “All Things New”
December's Snowy Start
Happy Birthday, Mum!
Guidelines for the Advent of a Universal Mysticism: An Introduction | Part 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8
Ride to Sundown
An Inquisitive Little Visitor
The Carl Anderson Appreciation Group
“Wholeness Is Never Lost, It Is Only Forgotten”
Another First for Black Panther
Thoughts on the Disease of Addiction
Photo of the Day – December 19, 2018

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Out and About – Summer 2018
Out and About – Spring 2018 (Part I)
Out and About – Spring 2018 (Part II)
Out and About – Winter 2017-2018
Out and About – Autumn 2017

Images: Michael J. Bayly.

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