Elevate Difference

Reviews by Brandon Copeland

The Magic of Think

Imagine, as a parent, helping your child form a robust and resilient identity and allowing your child to define his or her own values based on his or her own upbringing. Perhaps the gift that follows such acts is an individual with the ability to resist both the conditioning of modern marketing and majoritarian societies and the pressure of some peer groups that may not have his or her own best interests at heart.

The Demons of Aquilonia

The Demons of Aquilonia is a journey through a verdant panorama of beauty and a rich tapestry of the generations of families that comprise a small mountain village in the Italian region of Calabria. Lina Medaglia does a great job describing the push and pull forces that drive domestic and international migration.

Angel and Apostle

Deborah Noyes’s Angel and Apostle, styled as a sequel to The Scarlet Letter, is a fascinating journey and an interesting effort to flesh out the life of a child attempting to live under the shadow of shame, guilt, and community exile.

Names: Poems

Marilyn Hacker is a poet after the heart of not just poetry readers but poetry writers. I was immediately enthralled by the rich language of this National Book Award winner—for Presentation Piece in 1974—a language pulsating with raw indignation at injustice and celebration of what are life’s quotidian and banal joys: the small pleasures of winter light, sips of Sunday coffee, and the company of friends.

Anachronism and Its Others: Sexuality, Race, Temporality

Valerie Rohy’s exploration of the efforts to define both queer and Black identities and their subsequent intersections is as interesting as it is illuminating, as presented in Anachronism and Its Others, whether it is a discussion of the temporal implications of Frederick Douglass’ thought presented in his autobiography or demystifying the nebulous concepts of "queer time." _[Anachronism and Its Others](http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1438428650?ie=UTF8&tag=f

A Jihad For Love

To ponder the relationship between Islam and homosexuality is to consider something that does not exist. Parvez Sharma’s groundbreaking documentary, A Jihad for Love, calls this frequently held assumption what it is: a lie.


The first impression upon commencing Herta Müller’s collection of semi-autobiographical short stories Nadirs is one that is characterized by a child’s hybridized view of a world which is intensely real and also hauntingly and disconcertingly surreal.

Fucking Different: Tel Aviv

Fucking Different: Tel Aviv is the third installation of this international collaboration of visual storytelling, starting first in Berlin and New York City in a sense similar to Paris Je T'aime_and _New York, I Love You.

Chocolate, Please: My Adventures in Food, Fat and Freaks

What is not to love about a comedian who combines the raunch of Margaret Cho with the political incorrectness of a Don Rickles, and the acerbic wit of a Dorothy Parker? Lisa Lampinelli deftly employs all of these qualities to describe a hard-fought but nonetheless victorious perspective on her own decisions and accomplishments.

Oh My God

Oh My God is the kind of documentary that holds you in wonder from start to finish. Once the credits begin to roll, you finally exhale and find yourself muttering “Wow.” Peter Rodger's trek across every inhabited continent in search of the answer to one of humankind's ultimate questions—“What is God?”—is both a revelation on the unifying conceptualization of something higher and a celebration of what elevates us.

Deflowered: My Life in Pansy Division

As I was reading Jon Ginoli's retelling of the rise of pop punk's first openly gay band, Pansy Division―from his perspective as the lead singer―I found that whenever I left the book on the table, with its bright pink cover labeled with stickers reading “promote homosexuality” and “sexual anarchist,” I could only imagine there were a few raised eyebrows in the small town Northeast Ohio coffee shop where I read. And I can imagine that these raised eyebrows and perked ears listening to the unabashedly queer lyrics―something they were most likely not accustomed to―was one goal.

Schmatta: From Rags to Riches to Rags

It has become cliche to tell the story of an American going from rags to riches based on their own impassioned journey using a unique and personal form of ingenuity and hard work, but we may be on the path toward establishing a new and unfortunate conventional wisdom that says it is just as common to go from rags to riches and then back to rags once again. It is this new economic reality that Schmatta: From Rags to Riches to Rags explores in ways that are both haunting and saddening.

Queer in Black and White: Interraciality, Same-Sex Desire and Contemporary African-American Culture

Stefanie Dunning takes the scalpel of reason to the twin sores of misogyny and homophobia that sometimes stain traditional notions of a black nationalist consciousness.

I'ma Be Me

In her first HBO comedy special since 2006's Sick & Tired, Wanda Sykes’ I'ma Be Me promises from the outset that she is "not holding anything back." This is a promise she works assiduously to keep throughout the show.