Well, the spring equinox has been and gone. . . . High time, then, to take a look back over the recently ended winter in Minnesota. And what a winter it was!
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, 2018 . . . and now into 2019.
So let's get started with this latest installment . . .
above, I'm pictured at the February 23, 2019 rally in Minneapolis which saw approximately 100 people gather to voice opposition to the Trump administration's rhetoric of “regime change” in Venezuela and talk of seizing that country's vast oil reserves (the largest in the world).
For me it was important to take a stand against what looks and sounds like yet another build-up to an illegal U.S.-led invasion of a sovereign nation. It was also a way to stand in solidarity with the majority of Venezuelans who oppose both U.S. military intervention and sanctions. For more on both this event and issue, click here.
Last September I began working part-time as the Palliative Care Chaplain at Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids, MN. That position went full-time in January.
Above: With fellow members of Mercy Hospital's Palliative Care team – March 2019.
Above: A portrait of my boyfriend Brent, whom I've been dating since October 2015. Did I capture him in a moment of deep reflection? Of prayerful introspection? . . . No, he's checking his phone. 🤣
Above: Also checking his phone is my friend Mahad. I took this pic when we were out on the evening of Wednesday, January 2, 2019.
Pictured above is my new housemate Connie and my friend Deandre (with Connie's cat Charley on his lap!) – Saturday, January 19, 2019.
Above: My room in my new south Minneapolis home – January 2019. And trust me, it's not always this tidy.
Above and left: On the evening of Saturday, March 3, 2019, my friend Deandre came over and put together for me a desk I'd bought at IKEA!
Later that night a winter storm came through, ensuring that everything the next day looked like a winter wonderland!
Above: Charley – January 2019.
Above: With friends Darlene & Tom, Kathleen, Brigid, and Nikki – December 2018.
Above: At a dinner hosted by my friends George and John on Saturday, February 9, 2019. From left: Brent, Joan, Matt, John, and George.
Celebrating Christmas 2018 with friends in Minneapolis (above) and St. Paul (below).
For The Wild Reed's Advent 2018 series, "Guidelines for the Advent of a Universal Mysticism," click here
For the special Wild Reed post, "Christmas 2018 – Reflections and Celebrations," click here.
Above, right, and below: Celebrating Amelia's 5th birthday . . . with snakes! – Saturday, January 19, 2019
My friends Pete and Jeffrey hosted the eighth Queer Movie Night on Saturday, February 2, 2019. The film we watched and discussed was the 2015 Spanish-language Irish drama film, Viva.
Pictured above are Joan, George, John, Hae, and Matt.
Paddy Breathnach and written by Mark O'Halloran, Viva is set in modern-day Cuba and tells the story of a young drag performer (played by Héctor Medina) who must come to terms with his sexuality after reuniting with his estranged father.
Viva was selected as the Irish entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Academy Awards. It made the shortlist of nine films, but it was not nominated.
Film critic Deirdre Molumby notes that the film’s screenwriter Mark O’Halloran “looks at marginalized figures in society and exercises the minimalism he demonstrated in his previous work. . . . Very little actually happens in Viva and there is a tangible sense of realism in this. We are given a real insight into the place, its characters, and are granted a much more satisfying cinematic experience which opposes escapist fantasy as a result. At heart, Viva is an age old story about being true to oneself. But with its talented cast, stunning Cuban backdrop, and slowly enrapturing screenplay, it is one with a difference.”
For more about our Queer Movie Night series, click here.
Above: At Orchestra Hall in downtown Minneapolis with friends Kathleen and Brian for the Minnesota Orchestra's 16th Annual Young Composer Institute, showcasing the work of seven young composers – January 18, 2019.
Above and left: On Saturday, February 16, I joined with several hundred others in Minneapolis for a rally and march against President Donald Trump's declaration of a State of Emergency by which he intends funding the building of a wall on the southern U.S./Mexico border. Those who rallied view the building of this wall, a pet project of Trump since his presidential campaign in 2016, as an appeal to his base and as a means of further promoting his racist, anti-immigrant agenda.
For more about both this event and issue, click here.
Above: An Oscars night gathering with (from left) Jeffrey, Pete, Brent, George, and John – Sunday, February 24, 2019.
Right: With friends George and John. I'm wearing a Black Panther t-shirt as I was hoping that this film would nab the Best Picture Oscar. It lost to Green Book.
For more about Black Panther at The Wild Reed, click here, here, here, here and here.
Above: Pete and Jeffrey, filling out their Oscars ballot – February 24, 2019.
Above and below: I have to say that I found this past winter to be a particularly hard one!
For more images and commentary on my experience of it, click here, here, here, and here.
Above: My friend Adnan, with whom on March 31, 2019 I spent time at Diamond Lake in south Minneapolis. Here we enjoyed the warmth of the sun in that in-between time well known to Minnesotans. It's that time when the snow and ice of winter have mostly gone but the greening of spring is yet to take place. . . . Oh, and on that day, too, I introduced Adnan to ginger ale! And, yes, he liked it.
Winter 2018-2019 Wild Reed posts of note:
• Brigit Anna McNeill on the Meaning of Winter Solstice Time
• Forbidden Lover
• Something to Think About (and Celebrate)
• Christmas in America, 2018
• Christmas 2018 – Reflections and Celebrations
• A Blessing for the New Year
• Midnight Garden
• A Prayer for the Moment Between
• Michael Greyeyes’ Latest Film Provides a “New Understanding of How History Repeats”
• For a Loved One Struggling With Addiction
• Remembering Mary Oliver’s Queer Pagan Spirit
• Nakhane’s Hymn to Freedom
• “Something Special,” Indeed
• Talkin’ ’Bout An Evolution: Marianne Williamson’s Presidential Bid
• Why Marianne Williamson Is a Serious and Credible Presidential Candidate
• Remembering and Celebrating Carl Anderson
• Carl Anderson: “Pure Quality”
• Carl Anderson’s Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar: “The Gold Standard”
• Carl Anderson’s Judas: “A Two-Dimensional Popular Villain Turned Into a Complex Human Being”
• Carl Anderson: “Artist and Vocalist Extraordinaire”
• Playbill Remembers Carl
• Remembering the Life of Carl Anderson: “There Was So Much Love”
• In the Abode of the Heart
• Daniel Hochman on What Causes Addiction
• Saying “No” to Trump’s “Patently Illegal Power Grab”
• Happy Birthday, Buffy!
• A New Snowfall Record
• A Call to Halt an Illegal Invasion of Venezuela
• Remembering Dusty, 20 Years On
• Progressive Perspectives on the Ilhan Omar “Controversy”
• President Trump, “We Hold You Responsible”
• Prayer of the Week – March 17, 2019
• Winter . . . Within and Beyond
See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
• Out and About – Autumn 2018
• 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
Images: Michael J. Bayly.