Thursday, June 30, 2005
The special effects, however, are absolutely amazing. Go see it for that reason. Just turn off the part of your brain that says things like "WTF? That doesn't make any sense at all" and ignore the character of Ray's son (there is no reason for him to be in the movie). And be prepared for lots and lots of eardrum-piercing screams from Dakota Fanning.
And be prepared to yell "Bullshit!" at the ending (and I'm not talking about the 'aliens dying from the common cold' ending from the book and the original movie . . . you'll know what I'm talking about when you see it). As one lady yelled out in my screening "I ain't buyin' it."
Am I glad I saw it in the theater? Yeah. Would I pay to see it again? No.
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
Thanks, Brian, for the link.
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
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I'm not quite sure, but I think this means I get to start sleeping with Tim Robbins.
Monday, June 27, 2005
Dear Mr. President,
Like many people across the globe, I share your concerns about the recent election of the ultra-conservative, fundamentalist Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as President of Iran. Especially given the dubious nature of the election which brings him to power.
I regret that the same thing happened in my country several years ago. And as many of us feared would happen, there has been a slow and steady dissolution of many of the rights and freedoms we considered to be the backbone of our country and as such took for granted. Attacks on the free press and attempts to "balance" and "bring them into the mainstream" by making them little more than mouthpieces for the administration have become common. The right to privacy, which hardline fundamentalist justices say is not a protected right at all, has been eroded as the government gathers information on us all and encourages people to actively spy on their neighbors and family; all in the name of protecting our homeland, of course. Those who dissent, even members of the President's own party or religion, are immediately labeled traitors and are subjected to savage smear campaigns, including verbal and physical harrassment. The government has even chosen an entire group of citizens and made them scapegoats, blaming them for whatever societal problems they see fit.
Sadly, I am a member of this particular group. On a daily basis, I have to hear how I am responsible for abortion, incest, pedophilia, bestiality, school shootings, sniper attacks, the decline of marriage, the loss of morality, earthquakes, tsunamis, terrorist attacks, and God's abandoning of our country.
But I've also learned that through adversity comes strength and while I'm not happy to endure what I am being forced to endure, I know I will come out of this a stronger person.
I'm sure you'll join me in hoping that the same holds true of the reformists in Iran.
That being said, someday I'll list the stuff that graduate students at my school were meant to have studied for the comprehensive master's exam. Then I'll highlight what I read. The results won't be shocking to those who know me, but will make you wonder about the value of a master's degree.
Anyway, the USC stuff.
A Hard Day's Night
Alice in the Cities
All About Eve
American Friend, The
Apu Trilogy, The
Band of Outsiders
Band Wagon, The
Battle of Algiers
Being John Malkovich
Bicycle Thief, The
Big Lebowski, The
Bob le Flambeur
Bonnie and Clyde
Boyz 'n the Hood
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Children of Paradise (Les Enfants du Paradis)
Coal Miner's Daughter
Cool Hand Luke
Crimes And Misdemeanors
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Deep End, The
Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, The
Do The Right Thing
Dog Day Afternoon
Eat, Drink, Man, Woman
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Fallen Idol, The
Fish Called Wanda, A
Five Easy Pieces
Force of Evil
Godfather, The (I & II)
Gone With the Wind
High and Low
House of Sand and Fog
It Happened One Night
Jules and Jim
King of Marvin Gardens, The
Kramer Vs. Kramer
Lady Eve, The
Last Tango in Paris
Lawrence of Arabia
Letter from an Unknown Woman
Like Water for Chocolate
Man for All Seasons, A
Mother and the Whore, The
On the Waterfront
Once Upon a Time in the West
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Out of the Past
Paths of Glory
Red Balloon, The
Rules of the Game
Seventh Seal, The
Shoot the Piano Player
Silence of the Lambs
Star is Born, A (1937)
Stranger Than Paradise
Talk to Her
Thelma and Louise
Third Man, The
Tin Drum, The
Touch of Evil
Trouble in Paradise
2001 - A Space Odyssey
Umbrellas of Cherbourg, The
Unbearable Lightness of Being, The
Wizard of Oz, The
Written on the Wind
Woman in the Dunes
You Can Count on Me
Sorrow and the Pity, The
Harlan Country, USA
Dogtown and Z Boys
Triumph of the Will
Roger and Me
Super Size Me
Capturing the Friedmans
The War Room
Don't Look Back
What the Bleep do we know?
The Thin Blue Line
Fast, Cheap and Out of Control
The Kid Stays in the Picture
Thelonious Monk: Straight No Chaser
The Celluloid Closet
Poto and Cabengo
TV [available to Rent]:
Six Feet Under
Sex and the City
Freaks and Geeks
All in the Family
The Wonder Years
Friday, June 24, 2005
That being said, for the last two days, I've been craving sushi like mad. I finally relented and had sushi for dinner tonight, tuna and avocado rolls. Texture . . . odd. Taste . . . odd. And yet, that's what I wanted.
I've also been craving Fresca.
WTF is up with my body?
In other news, this has been the theater week for me. Started with WYSIWYG on Tuesday. Chicken Delight on Wednesday. Sweet Charity last night. On Golden Pond tonight. Skating on Thin Ice on Saturday.
Well, I did move here for the theater.
So I've blogged about WYSIWYG (it was great . . . you missed it . . . nya, nya, nya). The next show was Chicken Delight by John Glines, produced by DJM Productions.
by John Glines
Directed by Dave McCracken
Starring: Gil Bar-Sela (Splash), Will Barrios (Neal), Dale Church (Brock), Michael Eisenbrown (Harry), Brett Parks (Randy), Christian Sepastian (Jesus)
Playing at The Dionysus Theater's L'il Peach (270 W. 36th St.)
One of the comic strips in Bloom County had Opus writing a review of "Benji Saves the Universe." He writes this savage review that ends with him saying the movie is so bad that it takes the word bad to new dimensions of badness. He then pauses and writes "Maybe it wasn't that bad, but Lord, it wasn't good."
That pretty well sums up Chicken Delight. The basic plot is that two college friends are hooking up with their young (hence the chicken in Chicken Delight) 21 year old tricks for the evening at a third friend's house. And there are a couple of cater-waiters there. The tricks show up and hijinx (should) ensue. Except it didn't. Nary a jinx could be found.
In situations like this, it's easy to blame the actors, but believe it or not, they were doing the best they could with the material and the direction. Sure, the 'chicken' actors were a little long in the tooth. And some of them had lousy comic . . . (wait for it) . . . timing (at times you could see them holding for laughs even though there were none). And sentences had Pinteresque pauses inserted in them that added nothing to the delivery. They also seemed nervous in that 'high school jock being forced to do theater and worried that he'll forget his lines' way. Weird energy.
Fortunately, there were a couple of actors who were pretty to look at (Barrios and Bar-Sela). Those two spent most of the show in towels. As one of the older 'gentlemen' in the audience said on his way out, 'this play would have been okay if they'd have gotten naked.'
It seemed like the actors weren't really sure what they were supposed to be doing while onstage. Movement, action, even lines didn't have any motivation behind them. The director should have noticed and corrected this.
Perhaps it was a short rehearsal process.
And another pet peeve. There was a remote control that played a big part in this show. Rather than the actors pointing it stage left to turn on and off the music (this was set on a balcony . . . stage left would have been toward the inside of the apartment), they pointed it toward the sound booth, either because it was a working remote control or to let the sound guy see what they were doing. Of course, the way the stage was arranged, that would have meant the stereo was hovering over the streets of Tribeca. Minor point, but it annoyed the fuck out of me.
As I mentioned, my biggest problems were with the play itself. It was based on a farce by Georges Feydeau. But unlike most adaptations, this one still had the feel and rhythm of a 19th century French farce. And it didn't work. Sure, Glines updated the language, but it just didn't sound right. I also had problems with the jokes. Painfully obvious. Humor usually has an element of surprise (I didn't see that coming . . . did she really just say that . . . etc.), but this didn't. Every set up had an obvious payoff . . . you really could say the punchlines along with the actors. And if you get the joke that early, by the time the actor finishes saying it, it is no longer funny.
So I guess what I'm trying to say is, don't bother with this production. Maybe if you know someone in the cast, someone gives you free tickets, or you want to see twinks in their underpants . . . okay. But otherwise, save your money.
I guess that explains why 1700 soldiers have died and Bin Laden (remember him? The fellow that brought down the World Trade Center?) is still free.
Follow up: I sent the following to Speaker Hastert
Recently a fellow in your office, Ron Bonjean, said the following: The Republican leadership priority is to have our troops hunt down, kill or capture terrorists before they try to attack us again at home.
I was wondering if perhaps the Republican leadership would amend this priority to include terrorists who have already attacked us at home. It has been almost 4 years and Osama Bin Laden is still free. And unless you have some intellegence report that says he's hiding in Iraq, our troops are in the wrong place.
And while you're at it, perhaps you could do something to catch the guy who was sending out anthrax. I know he's another terrorist who's already struck, but just for fun, why not bring him to justice?
Thursday, June 23, 2005
Anyway, here you go Jeff.
1. Estimate the total number of books you've owned in your life.
I'll guess it's in the 1000-1500 range.
2. What's the last book you bought?
"Gay Haiku" by Joel Derfner (a/k/a Faustus, MD)
3. What's the last book you read?
I guess this could include the current book I'm reading "The Oxford Dictionary of Plays". If it's meant to be the last book I read before this one, that would be Gay Haiku.
4. List 5 books that mean a lot to you.
"The Last Days of Summer" by Steve Kluger
"The Swiss Family Robinson" by Johann Wyss
"Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen
The poems of Lord Byron
Any of the Tales of the City books by Armistead Maupin
5. Tag 5 people
Like I have 5 people who read my blog . . . um, Jase, Frank, MzOuiser, David and any of the Brians and Mikes
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
My favorite of the evening was Matt, who gave the best reading I've seen him do (and that's with three WYSIWYGs under his belt). The story was funny and touching (he's posted it on his blog . . . read the comments, too) and his delivery was dead on. Fantastic.
Joe was a pretty close second with his story that managed to work in bathhouses, Oscar parties, dropping acid and midgets. And really, what more does a story need? Plus, Joe is funny, is a good speaker and is certainly easy on the eyes. There's a picture on his site; you'll see what I mean.
And though I have never checked out her blog before, Hanne Blank is my new queer mother-goddess hero. Her story was great.
I should also mention that Faustus did a couple of new songs (new to me, at least): a funny one about artificial insemination (kinda) and one that was really touching about unrequited love. Naturally, given the nature of my so-called love life, I was nearly in tears during the second one, but I bit my quivering lip until it bled and managed not to shed a single tear.
As for the rest, really, really funny. It was my first time with most of these bloggers, so I have a lot of reading to do to catch up. While I'm doing that, why don't you check out their blogs for yourself?
Hanne Blank (misia.livejournal.com)
Emily DePrang (pigeoninthesun.blogspot.com)
Bradford Shellhammer (bradfordshellhammer.com/weblog.html)
Jane Vincent (educatedslut.blogspot.com)
Dr. Faustus (searchforlove.blogspot.com)
Dan Fishback (cheeseonbread.com)
Thanks to Chris, Sparky and Andy for another great evening.
Monday, June 20, 2005
I like the new apartment. I like the neighborhood.
I hate unpacking, but what can you do?
I don't have computer access, other than at work, but that should be resolved soon. Then I'll be back to boring your socks off with tales of my humdrum life.
Monday, June 13, 2005
That explains why I didn't notice my wallet in the back pocket of my jeans.
At least my Metrocard still worked.
Thursday night I saw Altar Boyz with Frank. That was a lot of fun. They really nailed it. The painfully earnest lyrics. The proto-homo with an obvious crush on one of his bandmates. The dancing. All of it. While this wasn't 'Death of a Salesman,' it was one of the most entertaining shows I've seen in a while. I can't wait to get the cast album. I may even go see it again.
Friday, I met up with Frank and Stuff and went to the Famous Author Rob Byrnes Memorial Bar (East), a/k/a The Townhouse. Several of the um . . . working boys, were lookin' mighty fine. Of course the bar was also being visited by some extras from the latest George Romero film, so we decided to move on. We headed over to the Web so Stuff could do a little window shopping. I mostly just enjoyed the air-conditioning.
Saturday, I continued my NewFest adventures seeing two movies with Stuff and Jason, Afterschool Specials and Boy Meets Boy, both were screenings of short films. Several of them were standouts, most were good, one made me want to scratch my eyes out and scream 'Why, God, why?" If you ever get a chance to see a short film called 'The Mormon Conquests,' see it. It was brilliant. I'll try to write about some of the other shorts once I have a little more time.
Saturday evening, I went to see 'Thrill Me,' a musical based on the Leopold and Loeb story (two Chicago teens who, in the 1920s, kidnapped and killed a young boy, believing that they were the embodiment of the Nietzschean superman). The show was a little hit and miss. Part of the problem for me was that it was told entirely in flashbacks. It takes place at Nathan Leopold's parole hearing, with him being asked to explain what happened. He does so in narration and flashbacks of key scenes. I just got tired of having all the scenes introduced and then summarized after they were over.
Overall, it was an okay, barebones production (not much in the way of a set, though I tend to like that; music provided by a piano; simple costumes). Stephen Dolginoff, who wrote the book and music, is a good, but not outstanding, composer. A couple of the songs are really rather good; one of them, called 'Roadster,' was especially good. The problem for me was that the lyrics and the dialogue sounded too modern. Of course, I didn't expect it to sound like some sort of gangster movie and perhaps it was written that way to make it resonate for a modern audience, but it kept me from truly getting into the show. In addition, I found the book to be rather weak. There was very little dialogue to the point that I almost wish Dolginoff had either beefed up the book or gone the way of 'Rent' and had the entire show sung.
Of course, it's easy to be a critic. I'd suggest seeing it for yourself to decide. If nothing else, it was a fascinating story.
Friday, June 10, 2005
| You scored as The Beast. Your alter ego is The Beast! But that is only a name... you are kind hearted and sweet, people just misunderstand you. |
Which Disney Character is your Alter Ego?
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You scored as Cultural Creative. Cultural Creatives are probably the newest group to enter this realm. You are a modern thinker who tends to shy away from organized religion but still feels as if there is something greater than ourselves. You are very spiritual, even if you are not religious. Life has a meaning outside of the rational.
What is Your World View? (updated)
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Thursday, June 09, 2005
29th and Gay was pretty good. It could have been a lot better with a little more money in the budget, but with luck this film will be well-received enough to ensure that the director's next work will be better funded. I thought the story was pretty good, a gay man dealing with turning 30 and living a life that is nothing like what he expected. The film was written by and starred James Vasquez (his character's name was James Sanchez); Carrie Preston directed.
This film suffered from some of the things you'd expect from a low budget film. Some of the acting was pretty uneven, there were problems in some places with lighting and sound, the editing was a little rough. I'm willing to cut some slack; it turns out that much of the film had to be reshot after a computer crash destroyed a lot of the footage (they talked about this in the Q&A section)
I also had problems with the story . . . some of it was a little too grounded in sitcom rather than life; I had the feeling that I'd seen a lot of it before and every plot "twist" was telegraphed way in advance. Plus I always have a problem with movies where the plain schlubby guy (with no offense intended to Mr. Vasquez) ends up with the really hot guy (in this case played by a really cute fella called Mike Doyle). I have yet to see that happen in real life . . . wait, that's not quite true. I have yet to see that happen in real life where money or some other kind of renumeration wasn't involved.
The roles of James' best friends were played by Nicole Marcks (as Roxy Hymen, gal pal and sounding board for James) and David McBean (as the super-arch Brandon Bouvier). I thought they were both terrific. I read in McBean's bio that he played Chicklet in a production of Psycho Beach Party. After seeing him in this show, I wish I could have seen him as Chicklet. I bet he was hilarious.
Anyway, this was a cute film and frankly a hell of a lot better than most of the dreck that falls under the catagory of 'gay cinema'. If it gets a broader release or comes to a festival near you, I'd suggest checking it out.
So in other news, I was watching Law & Order last night and saw a guy that I knew from grad school (well, I was in grad school; he was an undergrad at the time). It was odd. I'm getting used to seeing people I know on Law & Order . . . I mean every New York actor has been on the show at least once. But this was kind of unexpected. I was pretty amazed that I recognized him after ten years.
Let's see . . . what else? I'm catching up on Six Feet Under episodes. Um . . . I went to a charity event the other day at a Chelsea gallery (good swag: mostly CDs and such). I noticed Andres Serrano at the event; he's a big supporter of the charity. I was really blown away getting to see him. I think he's an amazing artist (his portraits are stunning). After that event, I went to another one at Crobar. Not the kind of place someone like me tends to go (as I understand, it's normally equal parts Paris Hilton ilk, poseurs and Jersey guidos). It was a beautiful club; large and open like Webster Hall, but tastefully decorated. Really nice.
Anyway, that's my life right now. I'm gearing up for my move next week . . . or rather ignoring my move next week until the last possible moment. I've got some theater in my future: Altar Boyz with Frank tonight, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and Sweet Charity in a couple of weeks. Should be some good stuff.
Tuesday, June 07, 2005
Monday, June 06, 2005
Shockheaded Peter - Brilliant. Horror and comedy, Grand Guignol, music and a fine acting company all came together for a wonderful afternoon of theater. If it hadn't just closed, I'd suggest you run out and see it.
Flight - Very good. It got savaged by Charles Isherwood of the Times, but good reviews most everywhere else. Sad to say, the Times trumps most of the other reviews as far as the blue-hairs who go to shows are concerned, so the show is now very underattended. You should go see it while you can; it's really good. The play is about Charles Lindbergh and his wife, the trans-Atlantic flight, the kidnapping, the price of fame and how heroes often have feet of clay. It has a terrific cast: Gregg Edelman as Lindbergh, Kerry O'Malley as his wife Ann, Brian D'Arcy James as the Reporter and Andrew Polk, Rex Young and Victoria Mack as everyone else. I have a code that can get you a discount on the tickets, e-mail me if you want it.
Songs From an Unmade Bed - Um . . . okay. Just okay. While I thought the music in this "song cycle" was really good (lyrics by Mark Campbell and music by seventeen different composers . . . each did a song) and the actor (Michael Winther from Mamma Mia) was terrific, the show didn't do much for me as a piece of theater. I loved the songs (Campell is very funny, knows how to neatly turn a phrase and he and his composers really know how to work different styles of music) and I thought Michael Winther was funny and cute as the gay man whose love life was being explored in the songs, but I would have gotten about as much enjoyment out of a CD of the music and it would have been considerably less expensive than the $50 tickets.
Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy - Blah. Uniformly blah. Great source material, several great actors, very nice special effects . . . and yet, blah. Save your money, wait until it's on DVD, then don't rent it.
Foreign Exchanges - A group of short foreign films that is part of the NewFest (NY Gay and Lesbian Film Festival). Some good, some absolutely unbearable. Old Black Ridinghood was an animated short that really grew on me. Another good one was a Spanish film called Maricon.
Straight Acting - A documentary about gay men who play 'straight' sports (rugby, rodeo, hockey) and what it means to be gay and/or straight acting. This one was done by a fellow rugger who is on the LA Rebellion RFC. It was okay. Rough, but okay. It was also very odd seeing a lot of folks I know on screen. All in all, this is worth seeing.
Original Pride - Another documentary, this one about the Satyrs Motorcycle Club in LA, the oldest continuously active gay organization in the States (it celebrated its 50th anniversary last year). This was really good and I hope you will all keep an eye out for it as it plays the various film festivals around the country.