Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The DL Chronicles The Complete First Season|
Actors: Damian T. Raven, Oneil Cespedes, Latoya Haynes, Anthony Clark, Irene Amen
Directors: Deondray Gossett, Quincy Le Near
Genres: Drama, Television, Gay & Lesbian
"The DL Chronicles" tells the stories of men of color who by consequence and by choice, live sexually duplicitous and secret lifestyles. The "Down Low" is a slang term sometimes used to refer to African-American men who id... more »
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Intelligent, Insightful, Well-Written, Well-Acted!!
MUZIK4THAPEOPLE!! | Orlando, FL | 02/06/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD expertly captures the many different
scenarios and complexities of the modern urban
phenomenon called "The DL" (Down Low) or a closeted
gay or bisexual man( usually black or latino, but not
exclusively!) who lives a dual life of sleeping with women
to keep up their public image / street cred / family ties,
etc., while secretly indulging in intimate encounters
with other men!--It's been going on for years!
Of course, these men insist on and, in some cases,
will fight you to prove that they're straight!
But it's a sad game of self-deception,
self-denial and ultimately, self-hate, which leaves
lives turned upside down when the inevitable truth comes
to the light! This series brilliantly captures all of
this through its main case studies:
Wes, the sucessful married executive who is a beautiful
man with a beautiful wife and a seemingly beautiful life that,
as we go under the surface, hides deeper inner pain and
longing which is brought bubbling to the surface when
his wife's devastingly gorgeous, manipulative and roguish
gay brother comes to stay with them for awhile to
"get on his feet"!!---That ain't all he gets on!
Then there's Robert, the handsome everyday guy who is
a sucessful talent agent who was once married and has
a college-aged daughter who lives with him who has no
clue that her dad spends his free time in gay chat rooms,
cruising guys on the internet and having secret gay liasons.
His life is turned upside down when he meets an
attractive openly gay, but not nelly, man who owns a health
store and through their budding relationship, Robert
is transformed and learns the meaning of honesty,
love and self-acceptance.
Then there's BOO--The stereotypical "thug",
whose hyper-masculine swagger, hip-hop era (outwardly)
homophobic attitude, sagging jeans, 3/4 timbz,
wife beater teez and exposed boxers are in sharp contrast
to what he really likes to get down in when he isn't
fighting with his hood-rat girlfreind Keisha,
who puts him out at least twice a week
or mooching off of his church-going, bible-thumping mother!
Who is the type to say she's a loving christian,
but then bashes and condemns those who aren't like
her every chance she gets!
Boo is a "man-boy", who though he's very much
a grown man physically, is but a child both emotionally
& mentally!--A very common occurence these days!
He accepts no responsibility for his life on any level,
thinks he has the answer between his legs to all the
world's problems, puts down gays in one breath while
sleeping with them every chance he gets!--He also cheats
with other women too!--Just the quintessential "playa" type.
Anywayz, this scenario plays out with alot of interesting plot
twists that will keep you laughing and oohing and ahhing!
Lastly, there's Mark and Dante, a black and latino
middle class gay couple of 3 yrs who reside in San Francisco
who are making leaps and bounds in their relationship when
they get an unexpected and uninvited visit from Mark's ol'
sorry-azz drifter no-account cousin, Terrell, who brings
baggage of all kinds with him from L.A.!!
But the guy is sooo funny too!
This story has a lot of great twists to it as well!--
Without giving everything away, this is a great series
because it is done intelligently, with humor and with great
sensitivity. It also rings true in so many ways and really
opens up understanding in those whose hearts and minds are
open and may either be in this situation or has a freind
or family member in this situation.
In the black and latino communities, there is such
an ugly and heavy stigma and homophobia
against gays that a lot of people,
thankfullly not myself, feel they have to live this
DL lifestyle just to function and remain close to the
ones they love and hold on to whatever it is that they
think they have accrued in this life.
But the truth is the light, and I hope that through
films like this that don't use stereotypes and show
gay/bi men of color as what they really are---men,
in every sense, who just, through natural selection
or fate, share a different end of the sexual spectrum
from their mainstream counterparts and deserved to be
loved and valued like any other human being
as part of the bigger human family.
Through stories like these, intelligent, respectful
and understanding dialogue can be started amongst
freinds, amongst family members, etc., to overcome
what really shouldn't be an issue anywayz!--And hey,
if they abandon you, then they didn't love you for you
anyway and should be considered good riddance
to bad rubbish! Self-Love, Self-Acceptance,
Self-Acknowledgement, etc. and living your truth will
lead to a richer and fuller life for all parties concerned...gay/bi/straight or whatever!
But, personal philosophies aside, this series
(the complete first season) is a great and
groundbreaking step in the right direction and
I can't wait to see more!
It's well worth the money to add this
to your collection!
I was pleasantly surprised
Olukayode Balogun | Leeds, England | 03/03/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For anyone who may not already know, a man on the "Down Low" or "DL", is one who secretly has sex with other men while pretending he only has sex with women. Such men can be single, have long-term girlfriends, fiancées, wives and even children and they rarely form romantic relationships with the men they have sex with. This sexual behaviour can be seen all over the world of course and is not in any way unique to the US. Neither is it the sole preserve of black men or even men in general, as men AND women of all ethnicities are also known to behave in correspondingly similar ways.
For reasons I haven't been able to determine however, African American and Latino men have chosen to formalise or institutionalise this phenomenon and coined and embraced the "DL" term. J. L. King wrote a book about it and went on Oprah to tell her and her wide-eyed studio audience how it's done, (apparently from first-hand experience), and in his book Beyond the Down Low: Sex, Lies, and Denial in Black America, writer, activist and broadcaster Keith Boykin put together the most adequate exploration of this complex and intriguing phenomenon I've ever come across. I've heard - I've never met one of them personally myself - that these men are quite proud to proclaim themselves as being on the DL and are reported to be a really big deal in the eyes of the men who are said to lust after them. Each to his own, I suppose.
I do find it interesting though that unlike most social developments in the US, this is one that hasn't succeeded in crossing over the Atlantic to the UK. At least not yet. The behaviour exists, obviously, but the label just hasn't found a home here - and I would know.
Anyway, to the DVD. Though I had some preconceptions, I didn't know exactly what to expect. I deliberately didn't read anything about the DVD, not even any other reviews here on Amazon. I didn't even read the splurge on the back of the DVD (although I was surprised to see that the whole season was contained on just the one disc); I just put it in, sat back and watched. I was pleasantly surprised.
The season can fit into just the one disc because there are only four episodes to it. Created, produced & directed by real-life couple Deondray Gossett and Quincy LeNear, all four episodes - two written by Gossett, the other two by LeNear - are all woven together by narrator Chadwick (played by Damian Toofeek Raven) who plays an aspiring journalist who's writing a book about men he's met and knows about. He only gets to physically meet one of the men whose stories are featured here so I had to assume he knew of the other three. Each episode is about each of these four men.
First off is Wes, a married real estate banker (played by Darren Shnase), whose wife Sarah (played by Jessica Bashir) tells him one day that her "weird" brother Trent (played by Ty Vincent) will be staying with them for a while. It's clear from the onset that Trent makes Wes uncomfortable and he seems to know something about Wes that we don't.
The second episode introduces Robert, a talent agent (played by Terrell Tilford), who meets a charming young man named Austin (played by Austin Wade) after an incident in the health store Austin manages. In a case of coincidence that stretches the imagination somewhat, the two later meet online and arrange to meet. Robert appears eager and evasive all at the same time and Austin wants to take things slow. This episode is given added vigour by the performance of Sheilynn Wactor, who plays Austin's fiesty co-worker Shirley. Karamo (from MTV's Philadelphia season of "The Real World" has a cameo appearance, acting, ironically, the role of a straight dude. This is a better story than the previous one. I laughed out loud in places and I was slack-jawed towards the end.
We meet Boo (played by Oneil Cespedes) in episode three, and while this is supposed to be an episode that challenges stereotypes, to me, Boo was a stereotype walking. Hard-acting, tough-talking, bald-headed, Timberland-wearing and with tattoos and trousers down around his thighs, he was the archetypal thug. He was also hypersexual to boot and seemed to be sleeping with everyone, male and female. The good thing about this episode though, was that it went a long way to explain some of the reasons why these men behave in the way they do and it also bravely introduces the tricky issue of HIV/AIDS into the mix. There's a gasp-inducing moment where I'm sure a lot of folks will be reaching for the review and pause buttons on their remotes and, speaking for myself, I was particularly taken with Boo's friend Deron (played by Anthony Clark).
The final episode, perhaps wisely after the issues raised in episode three, decides to go for humour and we meet Mark (played by Ulrich Que), who's in a long-term committed relationship with partner Donte (played by Colbert Alembert). Mark's zany cousin Terrell (played by Dee Gibson) drops by unexpectedly and uninvited one day and asks if he can crash for a while. He's apparently fallen out with his girlfriend Regina. Terrell doesn't know that Mark is gay and poor Donte has to pretend to be Mark's roommate and he's NOT pleased. The stage is thus set for a whole lot of drama and misadventure. There's a shock twist to this story that I did NOT see coming and I'm usually good with that sort of thing. The end had me in absolute hysterics.
I really commend the show's creators and makers for this piece of work. Every single one of the preconceptions I had about the series was smashed (I thought the actors were all going to be chiselled-jawed model types; I thought the scenarios were all going to be E. Lynn Harris-esque upper-middle class, with lots of flashy cars, first-class flights, talk of designer labels and the like; I thought the talk would be all about sex and I was wrong on all three counts) and although there were a few "Nollywood" moments, on the whole the series was very well acted and very well directed. I also have to commend here! - I believe it's a cable channel - for taking the series on. There were enough love scenes and scenes of full nudity to make it interesting without it being too tacky. I actually like this better than Noah's Arc - The Complete First Season.
Most crucially though, I feel that no matter what opinions we may hold about this breed of men, this series will go some way to enabling us to understand them better. I certainly do. I used to believe that they were a bunch of duplicitous, selfish and dangerous renegades but while I don't excuse what they do and probably never will, at least I now know it's a lot more complicated than that. At the end of the day, if the society we live in wasn't so virulently homophobic and patently heterosexist, these kinds of men would probably not exist. I have a feeling they're not all that happy living the way they do and as fellow human beings - men, women, gay, straight, bisexual, black, white or whatever - I feel we all need to be concerned about that.
It'll be interesting to see where these guys go for season two. I'm looking forward to it.
PS. Sorry the review is so long but I had a lot to say about this one!"
These "Chronicles" are great!!
Mister CHO | Los Angeles, CA | 12/12/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"i'v been lucky to have seen several of the "Chronicles" at some local film festivals & i am so excited to see they will be available on DVD. Deondray Gossett & Quincy LeNear have done an excellent job of telling the stories of black men & their sexualities, and the production quality is also amazing. if you have any interest in the true stories of how some black men negotiate the tensions between what they are expected to be and how they really are, these "Chronicles" are highly recommended."
Leading Double Lives
Amos Lassen | Little Rock, Arkansas | 12/25/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
""The DL Chronicles"
Leading Double Lives
Here! TV has produced some wonderful shows. Following two excellent dramas like "Dante's Cove" and "The Lair" is not an easy thing to do but it has been done by independent directors Quincy LeNear and Deondray Gossett in "The DL Chronicles" which focuses on men who lead double lives. Dealing with men of color who are sexually duplicitous, here is a provocative look at sexual discovery including denial, love, betrayal and loss.
The first season is now available on DVD and it is absolutely amazing. The term "downlow", as I have learned, refers to African-American men who, for appearance's sake, are outwardly straight but secretly have sex with other men. They go out with women, marry them, have children and appear to be straight to outside society. They do not self identify as gay or bisexual and refuse to be part of the gay community or have anything to do with the gay lifestyle except for sex.
The DVD is comprised of four shows and each is a gem. Standing above the other shows, however, is the episode entitled "Robert" which gives the story of Robert Hall (Terrell Tilford), a talent agent who lives in the closet but falls for a man 20 years younger than him who runs a heath food store. The two men fall very much in love but Robert does not disclose that there is a special female in his life and keeps that secret. When the store manager becomes suspicious, things get rough and we see the evolution of a triangle with surprises along the way.
Also noteworthy is the episode entitled "Wes". Wes Thomas is a very successful real estate broker with a beautiful wife and a very sexy brother in law. He feels an attraction for men and this makes him a very unhappy person. But when his brother in law comes for a visit, temptation takes over and the expected happens.
Gay African Americans have been
depicted, in most cases, flamboyantly in the movies and on TV and it is refreshing to see them here as masculine men whop do not deal with the old stereotypes.