Monday, July 29, 2013

mondays


Thursday, July 25, 2013

butterflies are free

Hi dolls.  I'm a day late and a dollar short in my Under the Dome recap this week.  Sorry.  It's just that watching that last episode made me unbearably anxious.  As someone who loves television, there's nothing worse than bad television.  Under the Dome is bad.  Everything about it is bad.  The show is poorly plotted, terribly lit and inconsistently shot.  Every actor is giving a hackneyed performance with no regard for tone or ensemble or consistent stakes.  I could go on, but I don't want to.  Despite the Bougie Contrarian that lives inside everyone who has a "blog," I like being positive.  I love to like things - Just ask Joe Seely!


So, while I could spend an hour coming up with catty things to say about Ginger Dursley and her dead husband, Nicky Arnstein's gambling problem, I would much rather take this opportunity NOT to discuss Under the Dome and, instead, explore some of the fantastic developments in "queer cinema" over the past couple years.  Strap yourself in, we're going off genre.

Andrew Haigh.


Andrew Haigh made a romance for the ages. Weekend deals with the complexities of two men trying to overcome their own baggage and make a genuine connection.  This movie was way ahead when it came out in 2011, influencing everything from Rihanna music videos to Lena Dunham's Girls.  Criterion even released their own edition of the film last year.  Andrew Haigh is directing and producing a new series for HBO about a group of gay besties living and loving in San Francisco.  If it's anything at all like Weekend, it looks like we all have something to look forward to this winter!

Travis Mathews.


Travis is the queer iconoclast who was hand-picked by performance artist James Franco to guide him into the gay consciousness.  Franco and Mathews collaborated on Interior: Leather Bar which pretended to recreate the mythical missing forty minutes excised from Cruising in order to explore how we deal with male sexuality and objectification, etc etc.  I'm much more interested in Travis' first feature, I Want Your Love.


I Want Your Love is based on Mathew's short film where two hipsters talk for a bit and then have graphic sex and kiss.  The feature version tracks an aimless twenty-something artist whose life plan isn't coming together the way he imagined.  We follow him through his last day in San Francisco before moving back to the mid-west with his parents.  Yes, the actors have real, on-camera sex but this movie isn't a porn.  I Want Your Love shows us something much more terrifying to the Million Mom brigade than sodomy - emotional intimacy.  Shocking!  This movie captures the transition from ennui to productivity, from just fucking around to actually wanting something more (or not).  I Want Your Love is great.

Adam Goldman.


Like Miss Vanessa Williams (second reference this week - point to Gryffindor!!!), I went and saved the best for last.  Adam Goldman's The Outs is perfect.  It's a perfect thing.  To call it a web-series is too limiting.  The Outs is aspirational.  Goldman proves that we can create the art we deserve.  Gay stories don't have to be about Coming-Out or about AIDS or about being shirtless whores with lemon faces(dotcom).   The Outs is about learning to love yourself enough to accept reciprocity. When my long-term relationship ended last winter, I watched this show repeatedly, as if I was trying to absorb it so I could somehow manifest a happily ever after of my own.  It worked.  That's the power of good art - in it we can see reflections of ourselves and our potential.  I cherish this series. More thoughtful than anything you'll ever find on Logo and better produced than most features, The Outs is the future.  


The next time you find yourself disheartened by lackluster, late-summer entertainment, know that there are alternatives (and we only have five more weeks until Glee is back up and running).  

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Shame, Shame...

Take it from me, if you're not careful, being a gay man in your thirties can lead to some pretty reckless behavior.  One minute you're cancelling plans so you can lie on the sofa and catch up on the Betty Draper Chronicles, sitting there stone-faced, binge eating marshmallows and drinking Miller 64s (they delicious with just a spash of bloody mary mix - try it!) - the next minute, you're passed out with a black eye wearing soiled, over-sized cashmere sweater in some stranger's bathtub.  Tricky.  Very tricky.

I'm starting to feel out of control.  I'm starting to feel like the female protagonist in Tyler Perry's Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor.  It wasn't very well publicized for fear of alienating Mr. Perry's audience base, but said film was actually a remake of Andrzej  Zulawski's Eastern European body-horror classic, Possession (1981).   

Possession and Tyler Perry’s Temptation are both histrionic explorations of the dissolution of a once happy marriage. Possession features a gorgeous actress, Isabelle Adjani, playing a woman in the final stages of a loveless marriage to the Antichrist (Sam Neill).  Temptation features a gorgeous actress, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, playing a woman in the final stages of a listless marriage to a wholesome Christian pharmacist who wears sweaters that zip down the front.

"He gon' take you straight t'Hell."


To different ends, these films both brazenly assert that women have sexual urges for which they (obviously) must be punished.  Men are martyrs, victimized by these women who no longer wish to be at their beck and call.  In Temptation, Jurnee is repeatedly chastised for not cooking for her husband, despite the fact that she works more hours than him in a much more demanding profession.  What a selfish bitch.


"I can't exist by myself because I'm afraid of myself.  I'm the maker of my own evil."


Tyler Perry repeatedly allows his lens to linger on two different muscular, and oftentimes shirtless, Black men.  As noted heterosexual directors are wont to do, Mr Perry makes sure they are adequately baby-oiled throughout.  Early on in Tyler Perry's Temptation, the leaner, richer of the two shirtless muscled black men unleashes the untold fury of racial oppression on an otherwise innocent white man in the park.  Similarly, in Possession, Sam Neill drowns his rival in a public toilet after showing us his bum; he grows facial hair and lacerates himself with an electric meat carver to indicate emotional distress.   In Temptation, shamed beauty-queen, Vanessa Williams wears a poodle wig and speaks in a fake-French accent like PePe LePew.


In Possession, we track our heroine's descent into madness, watching her bring men to her rented flat across town, vacant except for a soiled mattress where she kills and feeds the essence of her victims to a monster that lives in her closet.  In Temptation, Jurnee starts wearing heels and lipstick and getting blow-outs.  Isabelle Adjani keeps leftover body parts in her refrigerator.  Jurnee Smollett-Bell stops going to church.  

Jurnee's husband forgets her birthday and shames her for wanting to have sex with him in their kitchen so she takes a private plane to New Orleans with a richer, leaner black man.  In Possession, Isabelle miscarries a malevolent entity in an underground subway tunnel - screaming and thrashing about while leaking blood and demonic ooze out of multiple orifices.


Possession prominently features a tentacled Hell-Beast that can only be satiated when devouring man-flesh.  Temptation prominently features Kim Kardassian.  They’re basically the same movie.


In Possession, Isabelle has consensual sex with the tentacled Hell-Beast and their lust manifests a dark-mirror-version of Sam Neill.  In Temptation, Jurnee gets beaten and left for dead in a bathtub after catching AIDS from getting raped on a private plane.  Rest assured, she had it coming - she drank champagne!

Tyler did change a few things to make his reboot more appropriate for the Urban audience.  In Possession, Isabelle Adjani has a mirror-self which is Isabelle Adjani wearing contacts and a lighter wig.  Good Isabelle attends to her son and keeps Sam Neil company while Evil Isabelle is off across town living in sin.

Since the only actor allowed to play multiple roles in a Tyler Perry joint is Tyler Perry, the double in Temptation is played by Moesha.  In Temptation, Moesha is the dark mirror to Jurnee's character - living in a filthy garret apartment with no furniture.  Moesha was once wanton in her sexuality.  She loved getting that fine muscle dick until she wound up with AIDS - now she works at a pharmacy with Nanny Fine's mother and wears a lot of earth tones.


"Thank you so much for sharing this story with me.  I'm gonna end this almost-affair and stay with my husband."

Anyone who has survived the dissolution of a primary care relationship knows that playing victim and placing blame is commonplace.  People and circumstances change over time - both parties contribute to the equation.   Breakups induce a chemical withdrawal that can leave us feeling more than a little unhinged.   Possession is a movie for adults; it doesn't presume to dictate right or wrong.   It dives headfirst into that mania and leaves us to pick up the pieces in the rubble.   Isabelle Adjani always has the upper hand, alternatively laughing and screaming at the concept of being possessed by a man. She is no man's property.

The same cannot be said for Jurnee in Temptation, a film that posits women who are dissatisfied with their relationships are clap-having harlots who must be punished.

Jurnee is cast out for trying to better herself.  She's publicly shamed for trying to grow and having the gall to aspire above her station.  Tyler Perry says that a woman who strives for greatness will end up alone and ugly with short hair and dark lipstick, doomed to suffer the further indignity of having to get her AIDS medicine from the pharmacy where her Good Christian ex-husband works now living happily ever after with his new, younger wife and children.  



"I hate fags who hate women."
-Madonna, Truth of Dare

My favorite moment in Tyler Perry's misguided epic, The Family that Preys, is when Miss Robin Givens - decked out as high powered executive named Abigail , says to Miss Sanaa Lathan, "It's sisters like you that give us all a bad name".  Correct.  That's exactly how I feel about Tyler Perry.  I, for one, don’t want to watch any more Tyler Perry movies anymore because, unlike Mr Perry, I don't hate myself.  Each of his "films" is more regressive than the last.  This man in a dress is actually dangerous to women.  His backwards moralizing and casual misogyny is deplorable and aggressive and could only come from the most hateful of hearts.  If you don't believe me, just check out Lindy West's brilliant piece on the subject over at Jezebel.  

Watch Possession because it's a riot.  It's the perfect Lovecraftian mash-up of Nicholas Roeg and David Cronenberg.  Find a copy and share it with your friends.   Sharing our favorite things and educating against intolerance is how we can show love and that will always win in the end.  Love is love.  So whether it’s taking a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday to eat a bag of marshmallows in front of the TV or fleeing a suffocating relationship, be sure to take good care of yourself.  No one else can tell you what’s right for you.  

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Christmas in July



Everybody, be sure to send Birthday love to the queen of Hollywood, Phoebe Cates.  
She's fifty and fabulous! 


Please note: her Gremlins monologue got me into the BFA program at Emerson.

members only

This week on Under the Dome, Dorothy is busying herself with a wetlands charity when Rose becomes convinced that she may have contracted HIV from a blood transfusion and Sophia promptly labeled all the cups so she doesn't catch her AIDS.  No, that's not it.


"You're not better, you're just pretending."


My DVR cut off the "previously on" monologue, so we're already screwed.  Jesus, this month!  Is Mercury still in Retrograde?   The episode opens with Ginger Dursley in a state of mild concern because she's out of her dolls.  What sort of dolls they are is anyone's guess, but I bet money they're those Hair/Skin/Nail vitamins from Costco.  I'd be upset too.  Outside Ginger's house, people are throwing eggs at the wall and extras are shoving one another to get on camera.

The Hot Guy Who Locked Shelly the Waitress in the Bomb Shelter brings her a black prom dress.  So thoughtful!  He promptly teleports to his next scene at the hospital where everyone just so happens to be this week; everyone except for Shelly the Waitress who has that no-so-fresh feeling and, now that she's finally alone, takes to busting open a water pipe to freshen up.  Resourceful.


"Excuse me, I'm a physician."


The camp quotient is turned to eleven this week because Samantha Mathis is still wearing her prop glasses and now she's pretending to be a doctor.  She takes over the Little Hospital Under the Dome, hooking people up to those cute little EEG hats that Jill Zarin wore on season four of The Real Housewives of New York.  They even brought in the legendary Celia Westin in to play two scenes lying down in old-age lipstick before dying in front of the Latina Who Can't Act. My kind of theatre.


Samantha Mathis continues to go really hard on this "pretending to be a doctor" thing, doling out prescriptions and imaginary diagnosis, she even denies Celia Westin antibiotics for added artificial tension - it looks like someone's been watched The Impossible!

"I'm gonna get you something to eat and you're gonna eat it."

I like this Tide commercial with a dad playing cowboy with his toddler daughter who's dressed as a princess.  I wonder if his wife is dead or if she's just busy working to keep a roof over their heads since he's never been able to hold down a job.


The Hot Guy Who Locked Shelly the Waitress in the Bomb Shelter gives a monologue that has no linear logic, motivated by nothing, while a bunch of extras make some really good faces.  I think maybe that's the secret to Under the Dome - just watch the extras. Also, everyone is wearing pastel button downs this week.  There must have been a sale at Ross: Dress for Less.  Do they have those in Canada?

Ginger has put her hair in a pony to indicate sickness while The Goth Girl convinces the Epileptic Boy to make a sex tape.  Shelly the Waitress is upset because she doesn't know how to fix the pipe she broke.  Silly goose.  Somehow Ginger goes from running around the hospital to passing out in the cabin by the lake and Mike Vogel carries her away before telling her that her husband is dead.  Who says chivalry is dead?


"Are you stealing insulin?"

Are you invested yet? So, this week there was an outbreak of meningitis that was promptly cured by Samantha Mathis who gave everyone pills.  Whew!  The Latina Who Can't Act let her hair down and took off her silly police outfit.  The Old Guy in the Pleather Member's Only Jacket is no longer wearing his pleather Member's Only jacket.  Was this book this uneventful?

Monday, July 15, 2013

this calls for a big lunch



What a crap weekend and already back to work.  It's times like this that we all need to remember what's important: calling in sick for an afternoon of day-drinking with besties!

I love you all.

xo

Friday, July 12, 2013

kaiju kaiju kaiju

Things to know before going to see Pacific Rim(job).


There are no gay people in this movie and all the boys look exactly the same.  Charlie Hunnam is only shirtless for about a minute but, when he is shirtless, it's pretty fantastic - you almost forget how awkward it is when he speaks.


Charlie Day is doing the best Rick Moranis impression since Rick Moranis.


Spoiler alert: Robots (jaegers) fight monsters (kaiju).  That's all that happens. It's akin to watching kids play action figures...for two hours.   I loved the look of it - Lost in Space!  While the production design is absolutely gorgeous throughout, there's not a lot going on beyond robots fighting monsters and monsters fighting robots.  While it's very pretty, this movie suffers from the same trappings as Transformers - it's hard to be emotionally invested in giant robots.

Pacific Rim feels like the lackluster sequel to a much better Pacific Rim movie - the movie that's hinted at in its opening prologue.  I fell asleep three times.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

it's all for you!

Hi.  Quick thing. We have acknowledged that Suri Cruise is the real life incarnation of Damien Thorn, right?
  

I mean, it's not just me...



I hope Katie has a good gay bestie - or at least has the sense to hire someone to water her plants.


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

game night!



sick dome, bro


So, while Don was still off in California existing in perpetual flashback, Peggy was empowered by her new haircut (from a European Homosexual, no less) and finally got her own office while Joan was raped by her fiancĂ© on the floor… no, wait.  That was my hetero-normative Betty Draper program. 



On Under the Dome, America's most riveting show about a bunch of actors who have never spoken to one another off-camera attempting to play scenes together someplace in Canada, the Gregg Araki kids were having a 90s themed skate party.  I know I swore off this program, but this week was written by a Jew.  THEY PULL ME BACK IN!



Oh look, it's already commercial time!  Can someone please explain to me the proliferation of Mary Louise Parker?  I just don't get it.  Don't get me wrong, Angels in America is everything - but Mary Louise 2.0 is off.  She seems resentful and on the verge of snapping.  I imagine she makes a lot of crew people cry.  I don't like it. 


"I figured you could use some protein."

The Hot Guy Who Locked Shelly the Waitress in the Bomb Shelter is wearing his hoodie in the kitchen, indicating mania.  His father is the Old Guy in the Pleather Member's Only Jacket and, yeah, he's still wearing the jacket, its zipper near buckling from the girth of his beer gut.  Choices.  But, seriously, why aren't people changing their clothes?  Is this like 24?  Is everything that's not happening not happening in real time?  This must be one of the secrets that Ginger Dursley speaks of in her opening "previously on" monologue.  There's a whole lot of cop talk this episode.  The Latina Who Can't Act and the Old Guy in the Pleather Member's Only Jacket are looking for a rogue cop someplace under the Dome.   Shouldn't be too hard to find him...


"My partner and I are a same sexed couple with a child."

HAHHAahhaahhaa.  This show!  What WON'T they tackle?  Samantha Mathis's better half gets shaded by the townsfolk eating in her diner and Ginger Dursley has her first scene with the Hot Guy Who Locked Shelly the Waitress in the Bomb Shelter. Oh God, this commercial with Blythe Danner starring in a fictional play and talking to us backstage about her osteoporosis is SO GOOD.  I love when commercials exist in an alternate reality!



Back on the show - the Goth Girl and the Epileptic Boy are eating breakfast burritos.  They're joined by a bunch of the Gregg Araki kids and all the girls have fucked up hair.  The kids call the power generator a "genny" - you know, like teenagers do.  It turns into a party.  If only this show would just shift focus to the kids taking over the town like Children of the Corn.  It's kind of amazing how little happens on a program that's comprised entirely of plot. The Hot Guy who Locked Shelly the Waitress in the Bomb Shelter has a very emotional exchange with the Dome and Ginger tries to make it about her.  The Latina Who Can't Act plays a scene with a pig which is clearly meant to be a Simpsons reference, but it only comes off as hackneyed and sets a tone that none of what we're watching matters - like it's all a joke.  That said, the pig was very convincing and natural.  Good thing I'm a member of the SAG Awards Nominations Committee!


The Latina Who Can't Act was promoted to sheriff (whatever that means) and there was a commercial for the Sarah Michele Gellar/Robin Williams show which is actually unwatchable, as indicated by the fact that the entire commercial was comprised of behind-the-scenes interactions and slow-motion, thoughtful smiling.  This week we learned that lesbians are allowed to be on network television dramas but gays are only allowed on comedies.  We learned that Ginger stockpiled all the conditioner or hairbrushes under the Dome and hoarded the entire supply for herself while all the other girls are left with frizz.   The Goth Girl is also an epileptic and the Old Guy in the Pleather Member's Only Jacket still hasn't taken off his jacket.


I'm starting to feel like Shelly the Waitress.  Stockholm Syndrome is setting in.

Monday, July 8, 2013

basically...

Nothing today could be more important than the fact that it's Milo Ventimiglia's birthday.


He was in the pool at the Viceroy in Palm Springs a couple years back and looked like a real life G.I. Joe action figure.  I still think about it.  A lot.

.
Attention must be paid.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Nice & Easy

“She’s a psychiatrist.”


Good morning, dolls.  Another Wednesday is upon us and that means I shan't leave the house until I trudge through this Under the Dome program so you don’t have to.  Let’s see…we left off with Samantha having invited her trans neighbors up to her roof in the Meatpacking District for a Flirtini (that’s vodka with pineapple and champagne) Fourth of July BBQ and Carrie wore those shorts… No, wait, that was a good show.


This week begins with Ginger Dursley, that girl who was fired from Twilight, espousing about three pages worth of exposition to make up for the fact that there was no character development in the pilot.  Previously on, indeed. 

Mike Vogel is wearing jeans and a t-shirt.  It's pretty clear that Mike Vogel would be great in a Dukes of Hazzard reboot – all sweaty, with that smirky grin.  I wish this show was a Dukes of Hazzard reboot – with Jessican Simpson!  Can you imagine?  Dreams.  Whatever is happening cuts to Mike Vogel shirtless, sleeping in a fully lit TV set… you know, like humans do.

The Latina Deputy Who Can’t Act intuits that the Dome affects things with batteries because The Lawnmower Man had a battery in his heart and it exploded when he went near the Dome.  Then there are a couple of kids from a Gregg Araki movie talking about seizures and stars while Lenny Kravitz and my girlfriend are still working at the radio station – they’re both "costumed" in a bunch of junk that someone found in a Forever 21 dumpster in 2010.  Relevant.  Fresh. 


Samantha Mathis is wearing Ugg boots.  Oh, she’s a lesbian!  GAME CHANGER. There are military soldiers patrolling on the other side of the Dome so Ginger Dursley throws tennis balls at them.  Why not?

“He screwed my brains out and I loved it…”


Shelly the Waitress and the Only Hot Guy on the Show are playing scenes from House at the End of the Street.  Fresh.  Relevant.  They’ll work it out.  This man is actually gorgeous.  I’m sure he’s a NIGHTMARE to talk to at a party – just going on about how he’s getting a lot of attention from the show and how his real passion in life is hiking and the art of jujitsu.  Actors.

Meanwhile, the Gregg Araki kids are walking around holding skateboards and spray painting on the Dome.  Hip. Young. Fresh.  Mike Vogel pops by to check on their progress at the same time as Ginger miraculously appears at the radio station and the Latina Deputy Who Can’t Act finds the Old Man in the Member’s Only Pleather Jacket going through police files.  Plot Plot Plot

I'm getting back on my soapbox.  Plot without context or character is useless.  It’s not fun to watch and doesn't actually mean anything.  Respect your audience!

The lesbians have a Goth daughter (shocker).  The Gregg Araki teenagers see soldiers in lab coats spraying the dome with a hose and they realize the Dome is porous.   While, back at WKRP Under the Dome, Ginger has hijacked the radio station to let people know that the Dome is a Dome.  Whew.  I think we all know who’s getting that Pulitzer Prize this year!


Oh, look - a commercial for Wolverine.  Hmmmm.  I’m not being catty to say that this movie looks an awful lot like Elektra, right?  What’s with the 2005 wigs and inner-city arts high school costume craft outfits?  Remember when Darren Aronofsky was going to make this?  Poor Famke.  There’s also a commercial with a man saying he’s lucky to have a woman who dyes her hair. 


A crowd has gathered at the diner where the lesbians live. Then, in one of the most unintentionally hysterical scenes ever conceived, a bunch of extras hand Mike Vogel pans of water that he throws at a wall engulfed by computer-generated fire.  Somehow the teenagers and Ginger Dursley are there.  How did they get there?  How big is this town?  This brings us to the most interesting paradox of this program:  Geography.  We have no idea of the town’s layout – it feels as though everyone is on the set of The Carol Burnett Show.  One minute Mike Vogel and the Hot Guy are fighting in an empty cabin set and the next moment, they're rolling down a grassy hill by a river.  It's confusing.

Costumes.  Actors.  Is this meant to be The Truman Show?  Is that the twist?  They all know they’re on a TV show and M Night Shamalamadingdong is going to pop out at the end and give some homeless family a house?  If anyone knows, please tell me because this shit is exhausting!

The Lawnmower Man is already dead – as is Ginger’s husband.  And like three cops.  So...?  Killing off people who we have no attachment to means absolutely nothing.  I used to hate-fuck Smash until they killed off that gay boy and proceeded to act as though he was the reincarnation of the Christ Child (despite the fact that he had never been on the show or expressed anything beyond an extensive collection of Gilt cardigans and Justin Bieber's old haircut). I had to stop.

So this week, we discovered that everyone town is trapped under a Dome (...) and a house burned down.  The Old Man in the Pleather Member’s Only Jacket did not take off his member’s only jacket, Ginger Dursley's hair did not move and we learned that Samantha Mathis is in a biracial lesbian relationship who lives in a diner.  This would could be campy if it wasn't legitimately awful.

Camp is derived from a complete and reckless abandon towards a singular vision.  Showgirls is the absolute best version of Showgirls there could ever be.  Same goes for Mommie Dearest. Everyone involved was completely sure they were making something good.  Under the Dome isn’t campy because no one seems remotely committed or present.  There are no stakes – there’s no tension.  It’s over-lit and boring.



Bates Motel is majestic because it took characters and a premise we thought we knew and flipped our expectations - creating a new mythology and one of the most watchable shows on television.  American Horror Story continually presents a hundred different concepts and throws everything at the wall with an all-star cast, letting the good stuff stick.  This show does neither. I think we’re done here.  What do you think?  Should we continue or should we just re-watch The Stand?