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Brenda, Francis and Abigail are three transgender immigrants who fled Mexico to start new lives in the city of Los Angeles. After suffering mental and physical abuse in their home country, the three women made their ways to the United States, each eventually seeking political asylum.  But for each of these women, leaving home was only the first step. Transgender immigrants have an even harder time surviving in a new country because of issues caused by transphobia. Once in the United States, obstacles like discrimination, loneliness, and addiction continued, and in some cases continue, to stand in their way.  While some members of this community struggle against these obstacles, others are becoming advocates and activists, thereby proving what it truly means to be an American.

Crossing Over is the story of these three strong, transgender women who immigrated to escape a lifetime of sexual and mental abuse, and found that if they wanted a better life, they’d have to fight for it.

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As children, Bullish and I received a balanced diet of books and movies. Our mother read to us every night and our father gave us the Saturday matinée. There were less cinema choices back then, and we almost always ended up at the long-gone Briggsmore Seven, right next door to the old Thrifty’s, where everyone got their candy cheap so they could afford that bigger bucket ‘o popcorn. Nowadays, we most frequently frequent our own home theater, streaming movies from Netflix, but when we DO splurge on the real thing, it’s almost always for a can’t-stand-to-miss-it date with The State.

We love The State Theater. From its historic roots and restored glamor to its eclectic mix of films and events, it is one of Modesto’s true treasures. Built in 1934 and restored to its current glory within the last decade, the theater has been functioning as a registered non-profit since 2005. The State’s mission includes “presenting a broadly inclusive and consistent schedule of classic, foreign and independent films, performing arts and entertainment events as well as educational, civic and social events“ and they have been delivering on that promise month after month.

With the Modesto Film Society (membership starting at $15 per season) and the Cinema Club(membership includes free passes to all nine films per season), as well as volunteer opportunities for many of their events, there are plenty of ways to get involved and show your support.

Of course, if you’re merely looking for a good time, a bag of real buttered popcorn, a glass of wine and the kind of movies you can’t catch at the megaplex, then join Bullish and I at the only theater in town where the center of the front row is still the best seat in the house. If you haven’t been, check out their Monthly Calendar below and pick out an event. If you already love The State, drop a note in the comment box and tell us the best thing you’ve seen there this year.

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“Everything is more complicated than you think. You only see a tenth of what is true. There are a million little strings attached to every choice you make; you can destroy your life every time you choose. But maybe you won’t know for twenty years. And you may never ever trace it to its source. And you only get one chance to play it out. Just try and figure out your own divorce. And they say there is no fate, but there is: it’s what you create. And even though the world goes on for eons and eons, you are only here for a fraction of a fraction of a second. Most of your time is spent being dead or not yet born. But while alive, you wait in vain, wasting years, for a phone call or a letter or a look from someone or something to make it all right. And it never comes or it seems to but it doesn’t really. And so you spend your time in vague regret or vaguer hope that something good will come along. Something to make you feel connected, something to make you feel whole, something to make you feel loved. And the truth is I feel so angry, and the truth is I feel so fucking sad, and the truth is I’ve felt so fucking hurt for so fucking long and for just as long I’ve been pretending I’m OK, just to get along, just for, I don’t know why, maybe because no one wants to hear about my misery, because they have their own. Well, fuck everybody.”

Synecdoche, New York (2008)

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Mr. J. took me to see the new Friday The 13th this afternoon. It is, best I can remember, the first time I ever actually saw a slasher flick in the theater. And I would like to give a giant pissed off shout-out to the two late-twenties-or-early-thirties women who in line ahead of us, buying tickets to the show for their two itty bitty little girls (and here, itty bitty means children old enough to walk five blocks to school by themselves in most neighborhoods, but whom you wouldn’t send into a bus station bathroom by themselves), because as much as I intended to enjoy my first ever in-theater slasher flick, at the tender age of thirty-nine, I found myself pulled out of the moment again and again by the thought of those two little girls. It blows my mind to think that to the ratings board and the ticket takers, there is no discernable difference between that woman’s six-year-old and my sixteen-year old. The sex was graphic the gore was horrific, and the melding of sexuality and violence, which is the cornerstone of the genre, a theme grown adults can discuss politely at length over espresso and pie, is so far beyond inappropriate for small children that I honestly wanted Child Protective Services to be standing outside the theater to whip those girls up and away to have their fragile psyches wiped clean.

01.06.09

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I logged in today, only to see that I had eight draft posts, which is particularly pathetic, even for me. One was about movies (Pineapple Express made me laugh so hard that I snorted Diet Pepsi out of my nose, which I hadn’t done in much too long). Another was about a couple of books I just read, “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They” and Andrew Sullivan’s “Love Undetectable” which consists of three rather brilliant and wrenching essays. Another celebrated Solonor’s completion of my requisitioned cover of “House of the Rising Sun”, which deserves more explanation and kudos than I am going to give it here (hence the uncomplete draft that will be completed posthaste). The others are a mish-mash of holiday/family/angsty/nothingish rambling, which usually ends up getting deleted rather than posted, and in that way, well you’re not missing out on all that much. Now, if I don’t hit PUBLISH, I can see this post ending up drafted along with the rest, so here you go.