Wednesday, December 21, 2005


It's taken me a while to get around to writing about this, as I kind of feel like this could be long and involved--but hey, I could be wrong. That's what's so great about stream-of-consciousness no editing writing. Who knows what will dribble out--I ahve never been accused of being succint.

That said, a few weeks ago, I went to see Tosca at the LA Opera. I was actually looking forward to it after seeing the truly execrable Parsifal (although I have been told that if you were a true Wagnerite, it was wonderful. I am not.). I went with friends, and went to the pre-lecture, which promised an exciting evening. Alan Chapman, who teaches at UCLA and broadcasts on the radio from USC, was entertaining, and reminded me of what a good teacher does. He explained the different motifs, and especially the hostility that Puccini faced with this now classic opera. He informed us that music critics in London were the worst, followed by Boston, each providing a scathing review of the opera. One critic suggested he write music somewhere else, while another called Tosca something along the lines of bad underscoring for a great drama. I also loved the review from the Italian police gazette that was upset at the negative portrayal of the police and suggested alternate plot and character points. Hysterical. We love bad reviews of great works in hindsight.

So-- a little background and plot summary--Tosca was a popular play written by Sardou for Sarah Bernhardt. It was a very popular play. Puccini became interested when seeing a production in a language he didn't even speak. He was so captivated by Bernhardt he wanted to make an opera of the play. It took him another ten years to do it. The plot is complete melodrama--and here's a short summary:

Acto One-o: Cavaradossi, an artist, is painting a portrait in a cathedral that is a mix of a woman he saw praying and his lover, Floria Tosca, a local singing star. He is interrupted by a man who is fleeing from the police--a political fugitive, whose sister was the woman Cavardossi saw praying. Basically, she left her brother a key to the chapel and Cavardossi hides him. Tosca is horribly jealous, and enters with suspicion that her lover is having an affair as the painting has the look of another woman. She is convinced by him that he's not, and they arrange a romantic rendezvous after her singing engagement. She leaves. Cavardossi tells the man, who comes out of hiding in the chapel, to flee to Cavaradossi's cottage, and he will be safe there. They leave. The police come in, led by the evil Scarpia, who oozes badness. He assumes that Cavaradossi is hiding the man he is searching for, and order the police to look at the cottage. He also tells us that he is in love(lust) with Tosca, and finally can pin her into having to gratify him. He spurns God as well, just in case we missed how bad he was. In a church. Perhaps this was problematic to the Italian police.

Acto Two-o: We are in a police office/suite in a room above the place where Tosca is to sing. Scarpia has Cavarodossi, and is waiting for Tosca. In between the acts, Tosca has met Cavardossi at the rendezvous, and all jealousy is gone. Tosca comes in. Scarpia begins to torture Cavaradossi to make Tosca talk. Even though Cavaradossi tells her not to talk, his screams get to her and she finally tells where the prisoner is. Scarpia promises to let Cavaradossi go if Tosca has sex wtih him, as Cavaradossi is set to be executed the following morning. Tosca agrees, and Scarpia tells his lieutenant that they should shoot him just like another prisoner whose death they had faked. They will pretend to shoot him, and he will pretend to die, but none of it will be real. The lieutenant menacingly agrees, leaving Tosca alone with Scarpia. As Scarpia is about to pounce, she spies a knife on the table and stabs him. He dies.

Acto Three-o: A parapet of the castle where Cavaradossi is to be executed. Tosca comes in and warns him that she killed Scarpia, but they can flee once he, and she says "you'll laugh at this" pretends to die for the firing squad. They come out, shoot him. He falls. She goes to get him, and he, of course, is really dead. She runs off and jumps off the parapet, screaming "Scarpia, Avanti a Dio!" (Scarpia, we'll meet before God!"). End-o

So, the singing was great. Sam Ramey was amazing as Scarpia. Loved Violeta Urmana, though I do prefer a heavier voice, and the tenore playing Cavaradossi sounded like he was standing in front of me. A little light on the nuance, that one, but still, well done.

The first thing I thought was that this could be any drama/crime TV show currently on the air.The plot was completely melodramatic, but gripping, and you can see why people have responded to it for a century.

The second thing I thought, and the main reason I'm writing about this at all, is the nature of torture and truth. Scarpia is an interesting, and completely evil character. He follows his lust. What's fascinating is that in the opening he is actually hitting the nail on the head with his suspicions. We repel from him, though, because we know he has no proof. From the beginning he presumes guilt, and then looks for the evidence to back him up. It's interesting to me that even though he is searching for truth supposedly, and wants to uncover the villain, he becomes the villian by trying to prove what he believes, not seek the truth. In that way, he reminded me of another current leader in power.

He also reminded me of the current administration in use of torture. He actually used it to get something he wanted that he had decided was true. The torture works, but we are left with how inhumane it is, how terrible a way to leverage answers--even more horrible for the person watching than for the one being tortured. And I kept thinking of how torture has been in the news, how it's being debated and being used. Of all things, I didn't expect this opera to resonate at all with me, but then here was a character believing he knew the truth with no evidence, pushing forward to prove it to justify his lusts, and then torturing anyone who got in his way. It's interesting to me that Cavaradossi and Tosca are actually guilty of the crimes they are accused of, but that doesn't matter to us. When the accuser is corrupt, we have no choice but to side with the victims of his accusation. Certainly it's drama, and contrived for us to side with the "good guys", but interesting how slippery the truth is, and intention is all.

Now that's good melodrama.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Bush today

Well, a little troubled by this whole "domestic espionage" thing today--even more by the Bush camp's insistence on saying they have done nothing wrong. Anyone who is even passably familiar with the system of checks and balances in this country knows they have gone way out of bounds. Why even bother passing the patriot act when they are just going to go and do whatever they'd like in the interests of national security. I have nothing new to add to this, except that I was more than disturbed at this line from Bush: "Open debate about law would warn the enemy." Yes, God forbid we ever have open debate in this country. No one has ever died for that right, Mr. Bush, have they? Ugh.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Rock Star's Burden

If you don't read the NY Times on-line, here is A fascinating article about Africa and Bono's current efforts at helping the continent. An interesting point of view you don't hear very often.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Timefullness and Timelessness

I live in LA. I just saw a woman with obvious plastic surgery in jeans and a seat jacket. I realized suddenly why plastic surgery is so disturbing here when it's overdone and obvious. It's like your face is dressed up with nowhere to go. The woman's face looked like it was on the way to the Academy Awards, but she was dressed for grocery shopping. Disturbing.

On the timeless side, if you have a moment check out this NPR Story about Marine Colonel MAtthew Bogdanos, who is a NY Ass't DA and a Classics Scholar. He formed a group to chase down priceless antiquties that were stolen from the Baghdad Museum. IT's been closed for twenty of the last twenty-five years, and many of the treasures have been looted. Hearing him talk about a small pot from the 6th Millenium BC, and the effect it had on his men, is truly inspiring. To hear someone so fired up about art and its importance in our lives is wonderful. You can feel it in his voice.


All this talk in the news about "Terrorism" that just doesn't seem to die away, has caused me not a little consternation. I keep thinking about all of the other more pressing issues we should be facing, from poverty to global warming, instead of preparing for a threat based on fear and paranoia. I keep thinking of the quote below from Howard's End. Although written from the personal, I think it has some merit in this situation, especially considering our current budget issues and the economy. More later.

"Looking back on the past six months, Margaret realised the chaotic nature of our daily life, and its difference from the orderly sequence that has been fabricated by historians. Actual life is full of false clues and sign-posts that lead nowhere. With infinite effort we nerve ourselves for a crisis that never comes. The most successful career must show a waste of strength that might have removed mountains, and the most unsuccessful is not that of the man who is taken unprepared, but of him who has prepared and is never taken. On a tragedy of that kind our national morality is duly silent. It assumes that preparation against danger is in itself a good, and that men, like nations, are the better for staggering through life fully armed. The tragedy of preparedness has scarcely been handled, save by the Greeks. Life is indeed dangerous, but not in the way morality would have us believe. It is indeed unmanageable, but the essence of it is not a battle. It is unmanageable because it is a romance, and its essence is romantic beauty. Margaret hoped that for the future she would be less cautious, not more cautious, than she had been in the past."

--E.M. Forster, Howard's End, Chapter 12

Friday, December 02, 2005


A friend's son's preschool is having their annual Hannukkah Festival on Saturday, changed from last year's Holiday Festival. It does make sense, as it's a Jewish Community Center--even though the majority of the kids aren't Jewish. But they do Shabbat every Friday and sings songs, and learn Jewish stories, so Hannukkah Festival does seem apt--I mean, are they worried about offending the Christians? Anyhow, a friend expressed discomfort at last year's festivities, as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was represented at a Hannukkah Festival,a nd he thought it was a little jarring.

I mentioned to him that if Rudolph had 8 pointed antlers, four on each side, he would look like a menorah, and you could use his nose as the "shamash", the middle candle used to light the others.

And--going further--Rudolph is the 9th Reindeer, whose light helps the other 8 reindeer see their way. And the light burns through the night, much like the Hannukkah miracle (although that's eight nights, but go with me on this one).
Although Rudolph was written to bring in shoppers to Montgomery Ward in 1939, and wasn't written by a Jew, I wonder if there wasn't a little Holiday magic going on there. So Rudolph could actually be the tie that brings the traditions together. Now we only have to figure out how to include Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Kwanzaa, Sufism......

But I will think of Rudolph now as a giant flying Menorah, lighting the other candles in front of Santa's Sleigh. Since my Mother's Jewish and my Father wasn't, it brings it all together for me in a lovely way. I hope it works for you, too--a flying venison (kosher!) menorah pulling a Saint in a sleigh. I love the holidays.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

World AIDS Day

Today is World AIDS day, so I thought I'd spread the word that Bristol Myers Squibb is donating $1 to AIDS research for every time you click on this site--Light to Unite. I will keep in check my comments about how much money they are making off of AIDS drugs, and the ad they have for a new one as a banner on this site. I will just say it's a nice gesture, and welcome.
More on the Radio today about AIDS in South Africa and the huge number of children born with the virus. Luckily, one Catholic Bishop has his head on straight and is taking the Catholic Church to task about their stance on condoms. They can only bury their head in the sand so long, until too many children (and women) are buried because of their "morals". It's not happy that we have to have this day, but it's good we recognize how much of a struggle there still is.

While you're at it, you can visit, who give "gifts of service" for the holidays from your donations.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Since CBS is airing Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer tonight, I thought I'd type up a list of the reasons you need to see it:

10. The Island of Misfit Toys--the song, the way of life

9. "No child wants a Charlie-in the Box", etc....

8. Yukon Cornelius

7. "Bumbles Bounce!"

6. "She thinks I'm cuuuuuuuuuute!"

5. Clarissa the Doe singing "There's alway tomorrow"

4. Burl Ives

3. "Eat, Papa, eat! No one likes a Skinny Santa!"

2. Rudolph

1. Hermey the Dentist, stand-in for gay men everywhere. And bless them, in 1964,
they didn't make him have a girlfriend in the end to assert his sexuality. He's
just a different elf. I'll spare you the gay analogy stuff, 'cuz we all git it.

I'm sure you've all seen it, so here is a link to IMDB Memorable Quotes, which
will hopefully make you all smile.

Here's just one:

"You'll never fit in. Now you come to elf practice, learn how to wiggle your
ears and chuckle warmly and go hee-hee and ho-ho and important stuff like that.
A dentist. Good grief."

And what an embarassment of Riches, as ABC is showing the not as often seen Santa Claus is Coming to Town on Friday. Now if they would only show The Year Without a Santa Claus.....

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

I went to see Gay Sex in the 70s this weekend. It's a documentary about, you guessed it, gay sex in the 1970s. I was interested in seeing it as it had some good talking heads, Larry Kramer and Tom Bianchi among others, as well as great historical photos, if not footage. Most of the footage was actually from Hand in Hand Productions, a porn company that produced "real" porn in the 70s. Who knew that movement had such deep roots?
I was slightly disappointed. Aside from brief forays into the reasons gay men came bursting out of the closet, there wasn't a great deal discussed about why gay men were having so much sex--out in the open, everywhere possible. There were some charming, and not so charming, stories. And there was mention that some thought there would be a reckoning (thank you Larry Kramer--though thankfully he is not the only voice echoing this sentiment). I particularly liked Lawrence Mass and Arnie Kantrowitz, who had a great deal to add, particularly as Larry Mass is a Doctor, and was able to speak about the emergence of AIDS. To be fair, it was mentioned that gay men were liberated for the first time, and were seeing sex anywhere and everywhere as their right. There was even some mention of the spiritual aspect of it. One of the talking heads mentioned how it became too much after a while--it started as fun, but ended up being completely compulsive and overwhelming. As did the drugs everyone was one.
I suppose it's just difficult for me to understand the sense of comeraderie in it in the early days. All the men spoke of how friendly it was, that having sex was just a hello, and that it was such a key part of their lives and to be celebrated. I suppose it's challenging now with AIDS, the gay media, so much information and history to see sex as just that simple. And perhaps, in the end, I wanted it to be deeper than it was, but it can't be. Perhaps the story is that simple: gay men had a lot of sex in the 70s.
Touched upon lightly was the danger--that people would fall into the river through holes in the floor of the piers and drown naked in the river. The men having sex would look over at the police, and the body, and just continue. Also mentioned were the trucks, and how dangerous it was to go into the back of a dark truck at night to have sex and not see anything. The man who most frequented them mentioned how he would leave his wallet at home and put his number on a piece of paper in case anyone found his body. There was a picture of a naked body that had been dredged up from the River and police standing around. And pictures of inside the piers themselves, which were fascinating. Even though I lived in New York for a long time, I had never seen those. Actually, my favorite anecdote was how the guys from the meat packing district would come over at lunch to watch the guys having sex, sometimes laugh, and sometimes join in. Different times.

I guess I would have liked to see why the sex and the danger were so interesting, why the drive was there like it was. I've read a book by Kevin Bentley called Wild Animals I have Known about his young, gay drug fueled days in San Fransisco. And it's pretty much the same. Sex was the drive, fueled by drugs, youth, sometimes by love. The book is diary entries, and there is a lot of sex, intrique, etc., and not so much thought about it until after the whole time changes, of course. And unfortunately, we don't have a lot of that generation to tell us more about it and what that looks like in hindsight.
I sometimes wonder how much things have changed, though. We're certainly more prudish about sex, while it is more in our face than ever. As gay men, we have more neuroses and fear about sex, and it's hard for anyone under 40 to not equate sex with disease. And the drugs that people are doing seem to be more and more destructive. Still. I was talking to a friend after the movie I ran into about how guys used to meet on the Subway, walking, or anywhere and just go have sex. He said to me, "Come on, haven't you done that?" So maybe the big difference is either we're not doing it as much, or we're just doing it indoors. With the whole internet hook-up, computer world we're in, perhaps that's it. And if so, then that's kind of sad, because as crazy as it seemed, people had to go out of their houses to make a connection. Though it may have become a destructive impulse after a while, the original impulse was for connection.

Obviously the subject is fraught and there have been books written. Many of them. One final note, though--I saw it here in LA with a friend who said it should've been called Gay Sexin the 1970s in New York, as LA, Chicago, and San Francisco were not even explored. San Francisco is a glaring omission, considering it had a gay population that rivaled, and perhaps surpassed, New York's. Perhaps if they had been included, the film would have felt more substantial. And I'll admit I was swayed by a female friend of mine who saw it earlier whose summation was, "Okay, gay men had sex in the 70s". But as a student of gay history, it's still interesting. Go for the interviews, and for primary research. Who knew thirty years ago could seem so far away?

Monday, November 14, 2005

Musical Theatre Big O

it's been so long since I've had the chance to blog, and I've missed it. Busy and trying times, but we soldier on. Anyhow.

I had a big O of musicals this weekend, with free tickets to the Drowsy Chaperone at the Ahmanson in a pre-Broadway tryout, then Barbara Cook in concert at a small college, capped off with the delightful Ballets Russes on Sunday. What a great weekend. I have to say it was slightly complicated by my own feelings about performance, which are hugemongous to say the least. And I sang in a cabaret on Friday night, so this whole weekend was complicated by own performance as well. But enough about that! On to the excitement!

I was lucky enough to see the preview of The Drowsy Chaperone at the Ahamanson, a new musical from Canada in its pre-B'way tryout. What a blast. The musical starts in a dark theater, with a voice talking about dark theatres. Lots of laughs. Lights up to a digny New York studio and man in a chair (we never learn his name) is about to play for us his favorite musical from 1928 called "the Drowsy Chaperone", by Gable and Stein. The next two hours are taken up with the playing of the record (a double album!) while the cast takes the stage, and takes over his apartment. By the end of the show, there is no apartment left, just the show, until we are aprubtly brought back to reality after the bows. This show was just brilliant from top to bootom. Wonderful performance by Sutton Foster in an hysterical dance routine choreogrpahed to show off every trick she can do. Beth Leavel as the Drowsy (read drunk) Chaperone was hysterical, as was Bob Martin as the Man in the Chair, who co-wrote the book. It's a brilliant conceit, as it allows us to simultaneoulsy revel in the escapism while making fun of the entire enterprise. He points out the flaws, the racism, the ridiculousness, and even tells backstories for all the actors who are playing the characters. And we get to see all of it, and see why he loves it. I am going again, and I would highly recommmend it. I'd write more, but no reason to spoil the laughs.

What can you say about Barbara Cook. She's an insitution, and walking history. Her current show is a delight. Barbra Cook's Broadway is a walk through the shows she has been iin and those she hasn't as well. Her voice is still sharp, though somewhat lower at 78 than years ago. It's still brilliant. As she says, she knew that she "had a way with a lyric". That's an understatement. Everything she does is in service to the song, so we can see her as any character she chooses. To cap things off, she told the story about auditoning for Bernstein for Candide and thinking she'd never get it. Then she starts to sing Glitter and Be Gay, and while putting on fake diamonds, the recording of her 40 some years ago takes over, and we are watching a seasoned veteran lip-synch to a recording of her younger self. What could have been distrubing becomes a thrilling moment, where an artist is celebrating her past accomplishments without denying that time has passed. It's a rare artist who can confront a younger self to see how good she was. And she wouldn't be able to do it if she wasn't still extraordinary.

Then, I saw the most wonderful documentary, Ballets Russes. What can I say but go see it. I have a weakness for dance documentaries, and I don't know why, but this one is splendid. It tells the story of the two Ballet Russe companies that sprung up after Diaghilev, and how they came to America and introduced ballet to America. Interviewing the surviving dancers, the filmmakers have given us a wonderful slice of history. There is amzzing archival footage of Toumanava, Markova, Tallchief, and many, many more. To see Nathalie Krassovka and George Zoritch perform a bit from a pas de deux in their eighties is delightful beyond comprehension. All you need to know about love, art, and life are in Nathalie Krassovska's eyes. Delightful.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Howard's End

It's been a hard day. And as I keep having struggles between security and art, I think it's time to read Howard's End again. Feeling a bit like Leonard Bast of late. Not a great thing. I love that book.

And as a side note, I'm working next to a place that I thought was a shoe store, but is actually a night club (it's a second night job). I said to the doorman it's like Beauty Bar in New York, and he told me it's the same owner. Huh. Everything's a chain. But Beauty Bar in New York was fab when it first opened. Beauty shop paraphernalia in the front window, sixties theme, and rumors it actually was a beauty shop. Filled with shiny, arty people squeezed in too tight, laughing and drinking out of martini glasses, talking about art and everything that happened below 14th street. I'm missing New York, too.

More on Howard's End later.

"There must be some closing of the gates after thirty if the mind is to become a creative force"

"Margaret was no morbid idealist. She did not wish this spate of business and self-advertisement checked. It was only the occasion of it that struck her with amazement annually. How many of these vacillating shoppers and tired shop- assistants realized that it was a divine event that drew them together? She realized it, though standing outside in the matter. She was not a Christian in the accepted sense; she did not believe that God had ever worked among us as a young artisan. These people, or most of them, believed it, and if pressed, would affirm it in words. But the visible signs of their belief were Regent Street or Drury Lane, a little mud
displaced, a little money spent, a little food cooked, eaten, and forgotten. Inadequate. But in public who shall express the unseen adequately? It is private life that holds out the mirror to infinity; personal intercourse, and that alone, that ever hints at a personality beyond our daily vision."

Oh, just you wait. :)

Monday, October 24, 2005

Bar Mitzvah Disco

I just read an article in the New York Times about a book being released and the website called
Bar Mitzvah Disco. It's Brilliant. And, as pointed out, not just embarrassing Bar Mitvah photos from the eighties, but a cultural study of a time when Jews were beginning to make more money and move to the suburbs. Looks great, and the pictures are hilarious.

Jesus, My Imaginary Friend

I finally watched Hell House this weekend, the documentary about Trinity Church outside Dallas that each year puts on a Haunted House showing the evils of abortion, suicide, homosexuality, etc, and that the Divil is gonna gitcha!

There are many unintentionally funny/chilling moments in the movie for me, probably the best being someone asking for red paint to paint a pentagram, and then painting a Star of David in a circle. The cluelessness of the people in the film was interesting, or perhaps I should say their ignorance of the things they were warning about. They clearly had no experience of most of the things they were dramatizing--at one point, the man who supposedly had been to a bunch of raves talk about the "date rape drug", though he couldn't remember the name. In the Hell House scene, a girl is given the drug, raped, and then kills herself after we find out that she has also been molested by her Father. And, you guessed it, she's going to Hell!! She's not the only one--she is joined by the gay man dying of AIDS, the woman who has an internet affair, her drunk husband, and the boy who was molested by his uncle. But not the girl who took RU485! Although she was bleeding profusely and died (from the pill, supposedly)--she accepted Jesus on her deathbed and went to Heaven. We have to wonder how all the women who will be causing harm to themselves if Roe V. Wade is overturned will fare. I was also fascinated that the one Latino and one Black face we saw in the church were in the Drug Dealer scene. I guess those people from Trinity have been watching some of that evil TV!

The portraits lack any compassion, which one would think is curious for a "Christian group." I suppose it's not, rather it's comforting. If difficult questions are answered with a "because God says so" and any detour is thought to be from the devil, then the world is pretty clear. I heard a woman quoted on NPR recently saying that anyone who questioned Harriet Meiers' nomination to the Supreme Court was from the Devil. Please stop these people from taking office, as there goes democracy, but it does explain a lot about the current administration. Anyhoo.

What interested me most was the infantile theology. I'm calling it the "Jesus, my Imaginary Friend" theology. Why, Jesus thinks exactly like I do. And he hates everyone I hate. And I know as long as I follow HIm, and listen to Him (that is, myself), then I will go to Heaven and I'll my enemies will go to Hell and I am right and they are wrong and I am good and they are bad and if they'd only listen to my Imaginary Friend who is with me at all times telling me what to do and who is good and bad, then they could be Saved! And I love knowing I'm right, I just love it. And I love to speak in my language that only my imaginary friend and me understand. Why he made it up and told it to me himself! Some might have thought it was indigestion, but I knew it was the Spirit! And if everyone thought like me and my Imganary Friend, the world would be healed. Oh, except for those bad people who never will and are going to Hell, Hell, Hell.

Well, you get the idea. I am always fascinated/infuriated by this kind of thing.

I was touched by a Father of five raising his kids my himself. In one of the opening scenes in the film, his smallest child, who has CP, has a seizure. He prays over him while the paramedics come, and as the child comes out of it, he says that it was God that brought him out of the seizure. He seemed to know the seizure was caused by epilepsy aggravated by CP, but I couldn't help think of a friend of mine raised by a super-religious mother with similar beliefs (though Catholic). My friend grew up in the sixties in a small town in Iowa, and his mother used to lock him in the closet when he had seizures, as she was convinced he was being possessed by the Devil. I couldn't help think if God released the boy in the Father's mind, what did he think caused it. The MOther was nowhere in the picture--she had met a man on the internet and had a few meetings with him in the park, so now was not part of the family. I guess the Devil made her do it.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Shelby Lee Adams

If you get a chance, you might want to check out the documentary on Shelby Lee Adams, "The True Meaning of Pictures." Adams has spent the last thirty years befriending and photgraphing families in rural Kentucky. He has published books of photos on Appalachia. The film is interesting for me in the exploration of the artist as a documentarian. He calls himself one, yet his pitcures are lighted and posed. He also seems to photograph the poor and some more gruesome elements of people's lives. And seems for the most part to ask them not to smile, which I was intrigued by. Also included are Mr. Adams' own documentary footage.

The subjects have a chance to talk, as do talking heads. This is one of the more complex films about how art is received that I've seen. The dialogue of the artist, critic, and subject is fascinating. Some call him exploitative, some believe he is documenting. He seems to me a bit manipulative, changing his accent depending on who he is talking to, and refusing to talk about his pictures in any other light than the terms of classical art. Certainly a talented photographer, and a great technician. Check it out for the thrilling and uncomfortable nexus of poverty, art, exploitation, and class in the United States. Still thinking about it, and still disturbed. You can pick it up on Netflix or a local video store.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Best in Drag Show

I must write about the most hysterical, over-the-top brilliant benefit I have seen in a long, long time--perhaps ever. It is the annual "Best in Drag Show" to benefit Aid for Aids in Los Angeles. Formerly called "Battle for the Tiara", this pagaent boasts seven competitors from seven states, each building and paying for their own costumes and drag. And what drag it was. I will be getting pictures from a friend, and I will be sure to post some.

The seven contestants were:

Lu Ow (Raphael Ganchegui), Miss Hawaii, who came out in a volcano dress for evening wear, and whose talent was swinging flags and balls while lip-syncing Bette Midler's "If you're crackin up from having lack of shacking up..." song, then sacrificing herself into a volcano from a mini trampoline.

Wanda Joy Sparks (Rusty Hamrick), Miss Nevada, who carried a live chicken named Carol, tap danced, sang, and twirled baton for talent, and worked Carol in her dress for the evening gown.

Carrie Okie (Aron Ross), Miss Oklahoma, who sang a medley of the whole score of Oklahoma in two and a half minutes for talent, entering on a horse and then singing to him.

Heleyna Haanbasquette (Jason Krich), Miss Illinois the nine year old lollipop fanatic, who when asked what her definition of possible was responded "It's when you're in the shower, and you start at your head and wash as far as possible, then you start at your feet and you wash up as far as possible, and then you (giggle) wash your possible."

Rita Morongo (Wagner Soares), Miss California, who had a dress that was backed by a glittery deck of cards, an evening gown with 200 yards of fabric and as many peacock feathers, and a truly inscrutable talent, which involved arranging flowers on a cabinet while lip-syncing "I am what I am", then poopping behind the cabinet to emerge with the pot of flowers on her head.

The night, though belonged to two contestants, Sandy Crab (Eric Yake), MIss Louisiana, and Patrola DeBorder (Antonio Martinez), Miss New Mexico. I will have to describe each separately, as both were brilliant in their own way. I am biased, but I think Miss New Mexico would have won for camp value (as fair New Mexico is my homestate, as well as Stinky Lulu's and countless other great peoples'), but Miss Louisiana brought it out in the end on costume construction and sheer hilarity.

Miss Louisiana provided the first big laugh and standing O of the night by emerging in a giant pink oyster for the bathing suit competition. That would have been hysterical enough, but she pushed a bouncing pearl through her legs at the top of the stairs, which bounced downstage and shocked everyone, who promptly jumped to their feet. And then the oyster opened. Her talent was somewhat wonderful as well, a badly played Gershwin medley, including parts of "Rhapsody in Blue". And she was able to put her candelabra in her hair while playing. Fabulous. But the thing that put her over the top (literally), was the evening gown. She was wearing a red, white and blue dress with an arch that looked like something from the French Quarter. She pulled a string and it turned into a MIssisippi Steam boat that spewed real steam. Another standing ovation, much deserved.

Miss New Mexico, Patrola de Border, won my heart, though, while running from the MinuteMen, who were patrolling the crowd. Her opening dress was a mess of chicken wire and desert plants, with a "keep out" sign on the back. Her swimsuit included a wrap that looked like a tortilla, and she was dressed like the innards of a taco, which defies description. Her talent, though, was the best thing of the night. She emerged looking like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, albeit with an antebellum hoop skirt. The strains of "Over the Rainbow" began. She started talking to her dog, Cholo, a stuffed black puppy she had under her arm. A moment after she began singing, a mustachioed man wearing a wife beater and covered with grease stains emerged from under her dress, and ran off the stage. By this time the audience is dying. She continued to sing alternate lyrics and the refrain "Over the Border". Each time a verse ended there was a gunshot, which she moved to avoid. The man running kept coming on and off stage, at one point to take the trumpet from Patrola, which she had managed to play during the instrumental. The second to last gunshot killed her dog, and she collapsed on the last one at the end of the song. The entire crowd jumped to its feet. It ranks as one of the most hysterical offensive and perfect drag acts I have ever seen. This is why we love drag. For her evening gown, she wore what looked like a wedding cake, and tricked the host into marrying her for abig glittery green card. So Louisiana may have pulled it out on the construction and talent end, but for camp, Miss New Mexico has my heart.

The winner was crowned by last year's winner, Breedem Young, who emerged on stilts, pregnant, and in a wedding dress. She gave birth to multi racial twins (one black and one white), between the opening and closing.

The most wonderful thing, though, is that 90% of the money raised in this benefit goes directly to services. The majority of the services for the event are donated, except for theatre rental etc. There is also no corporate support, which leaves people free to say whatever they'd like. A great majority of the people involved and performing I believe are part of the recovery community as well, and there is much talk of being of service--it's powerful to see that mandate in action. There are, of course, cleberity judges. Each year is opened by Kathy Griffin, and judges were Marcia Cross, Joanne Worley, Loni Anderson, Tori Spelling, Caroline Rhea, and Melinda Clarke. One hysterical moment (of many) was provided by color commentator Ida Dunham (Todd Sherry). He told a cautionary tale to Tori Spelling. It seems he had waited on her years ago at the Hard Rock Cafe, and asked her how he would like her meat cooked. She apparently thought he said "How would you like your meat? Cooked?" To which she snappily said something like "Yes! Duh!" He gave a warning to Hollywood--you never know who's waiting on you. The other color commentator , Lotta Slots (Jeffrey Drew), was hysterical as always. And opened the show with his customary back flip that someone pledged $1500 for him to do. IN previous years he has entered on a camel. Brilliant. And such a sweetheart.

The evening was punctuated during downtime with reading of pledges and checks, one that should be noted is Kathy Kinney. She is usually there every year, but this year work kept her away. She sent a note saying how sorry she couldn't be there, and a check for $10,000. It made the MC cry, which is also one of the best parts. And what an amazing gesture from a wonderful woman.

Sorry to go on and on, but for camp, laughs, talent, and heart, you just can't beat this thing. Hopefully some pictures will follow.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Due Divas

I saw two divas, or co-called, this week: Lypsinka, and Cecilia Bartoli. One retained her title, one faltered. No big surprise who's who.

I have never seen Lypsinka live, and was a bit disappointed. This show was entitled The Passion of the Crawford. It consists of mostly a recording of a Town Hall interview with La Crawford circa 1972, and some additional fun performances from film and otherwise, the highlight being a completely awfl "to our children" poem from the 1950s, written to Alice in Wonderland and Little Bo Peep. I wish I had the text. Just howlingly awful. Joan starts to deconstruct/combust as the evening wears on, including Lypsinka's famous phone montage, where the phone is constantly ringing, and each time it is picked up another line from a movie is "said". There are a few photos of Joan's eyes, reminding one a bit of the Dreyer film, but just a bit. I felt the performance was a little flat. Jon Epperson as Lypsinka's skill is great, and her takes, here to the fawning man who is interviewing her, are hysterical, but there was little to draw me in. Speaking of the interviewer, he was done with great skill by, well, I don't have my program with me, and he doesn't seem to be listed in any of the press--but he did a great job in a mostly thankless role. I suppose my beef here is that there isn't much of a narrative, and sound design, though fun and in this case spectacular, cannot carry a show for me. The interview is a hoot, though it presupposes an interest in Joan Crawford, and is also interesting for the James Lipton predecessor conducting it. At the end, I thought this was something that would have been a blast in a downtown NY bar, but not at 35 bucks a pop in a theatre. Just my two cents.

As for real women who use their voice, I saw Cecilia Bartoli last night in recital performing works by Handel, Scarlatti, and Caravelli. Wonderful. A friend commented it was like watching the Olga Korbut of opera, as Bartoli is truly gymnastic vocally. The difficulty of some of the arias, the embellishments alone, are akin to watching gymnastics and waiting for a fall. That she can sing these is amazing, and that she can act them and feel them while she does is even more impressive. She has an ebullience and joy on stage that is thrilling to see. It's wonderful to see someone this alive, present and joyful on stage. And, to top it all off, her pianissimos are thrilling. To see someone at a time when she is so in charge of her instrument is a true joy. Not a big voice, but worth seeing for her presence alone. My absolute favorite thing about the night was to see her at the end of the fast or angry arias, waving her arms at her side, reminding me of Popeye swinging his arms of all things, and seeming that she would jump of the stage at any moment, or simply take off. And all in a big green dress with a long, long train. Now, that's a diva.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Word of the Day

While reading an article on Fiona Apple in the New Yorker this week, I happened upon one of my favorite words ever, and one I generally only come across in the New Yorker. It's a four letter word. I love it.


And I love this word because it never really needs to be modified. You never need to ask (forgive me for this) "if you were a twee, what kind of twee would you be?" There is no need to ask. I rarely come across situations I can use it, but I will seek them out and keep it on the forefront. Though perhaps its charm is its rare use. Who knows?

The def: Adj. Overly precious or nice. From tweet, baby talk for sweet. Chiefly British.

Brilliant. I'll use it. And I encourage you to do the same.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Fat Girl

I just saw one of the most confounding French films I have seen in a long time. i have no idea how to tell you why I found it confounding without revealing to you the entire plot, so


Okay--still with me? The movie, Fat Girl, concerns Anais, a thirteen year-old girl (and the fat girl in the title) and her fifteen year-old sister Elena. The movie opens with them talking about sex. Most of the movie is concerned with Elena losing her virginity to a sexy Italian college student. There is a twenty minute scene of groping in Elena's bed alone, while her sister looks on. And it's not particularly sexy--though that's not the point. We are with Elena and Anais as the meet the young man, then when the young man sneaks in (invited) into Elena's bedroom, finally taking her from behind, as she would not give up the front. His arguments are as old as the hills, and as a viewer we want her to resist, though we know she'll succumb. The young man also asks for oral sex. The entire episode is uncomfortable, as it's meant to be. It's made doubly uncomfortable by sight of the young man's erect penis. There is no doubt in this that it is a weapon, and he is following it.

We watch some more tense moments with the girls, Anais the next day being forcefed bread by her sister while crying. We see more of the parents, who seem to just be surly and smoke and nothing more. There is a walk on the beach. There is a conversation between the girls about the nature of thier sisterhood. Is this how French teenagers talk? Elena pulls out a ring that they young man gave her, saying that it was his dead grandmother's and they are engaged. The deed between the young man and the girl is done, after we see him put a condom on his large, very erect penis. (I wonder if they had dick auditions for this as well--can you be really, really hard?) After the initial penetration, we hear him moaning and only see Anais, the younger sister, crying in her bed. Anais states to her sister, as she had at the beginning, that she wants to lose her virginity to someone she doesn't care about. The next day, the young man's mother arrives, saying the ring was hers and he stole it. Much crying. The girls have to leave vacation early with their mother. They stop at a rest stop to rest, and a crazy man beats in a windshield with an axe, kills Elena and strangles the Mother. He rapes Anais in the nearby woods. She looks at him as it's ending without fear or any attachment. When the police find her, she tells them it wasn't rape. And scene.


I suppose I am mostly thrown off by the title "Fat Girl". In French this is called A Ma Souer!, which is To my Sister! or even At My Sister!, which seems more apropos to this particular film. In the end, I was left with the feeling that all intercourse is rape, or at least coercion. IF that's the feeling i was supposed to get, I don't really have a clue how the director thought "Fat Girl" was an appropriate title. Much is made of Anais' weight and eating, but not as much as the xes and the brutality of it. there is one particuarly fascinating and creepy scene in which Anais swims back and forthe between a wooden pole in a pool and the rail of the pool ladder, talking to them like they are jealous lovers and kissing them. I've never seen any other Catherine Breillat's fims; Romance is the only one I know about. She seems to have sexuality as her theme. This is quite an angry film, to me. Skillful, well-acted, but angry, nasty, and uncomfortable. Then again, this is not the first French film with completely disturbing sex, and the French gave it an award for French culture at Cannes. Perhaps they're just more realistic than we are (that's a given). I suppose it's staying with me, but mostly because I was so put off by the ending I'm still figuring out what I think about it. Easy out is my first thought. If you've seen it, please feel free to let me know what you thought.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Commander in Chief

Little Casting Tips I learned from watching Commander In Chief last night:

1. Cast as many young blondes in positions they seem unqualified for as possible.

2. Press Secretary is a really easy job, where you have to be only slightly informed, but cute. It's best if you have a little hair you can have fall in front of your face and look through it while tilting your head down.

3. If there is a "nemesis", you should have an evil woman by his side. Preferably blonde, and preferably reminiscent of Eleanor Parker as the baroness in "The Sound of Music". And pull her hair back--she'll look more mean. Oh, and evil people are always caught in the middle of a joke, laughing unaware as their dastardly plan has been foiled.

4. When casting children, even though the parents are brunette, make sure the older ones, who may actually have sex in the course of the series, are blonde. And hot. Especially the son, who will have sex in the third episode.

5. When there is a younger child, she can actually look like she would be the spawn of the two parents and be brunette, but that's okay, as she's not going to have sex.

6. Make sure it looks like the President and the First "Gentlemen" have sex, especially if you can make it happen within the first few epsiodes. Like, episode 3. And it's great if he can just tell her to go to bed and forget everything, and she does.

7. Try to have everyone on her staff and involved on her side be under 45. Then you can bring in an older Vice President to balance it out, and make it seem like someone has experience. Oh, and make sure the Secret Service are hot, too. Hopefully some young blondes in there as well.

8. Have the press corps look really thin and attrractive, except for one heavy, obnoxious lady who always interrupts when it's not her turn. Have her do it every time there's a press conference. Fat people are always obnoxious, right? Or jolly. And the women wear too much makeup and jewelry.

9. Don'e mention that she would be the youngest President in history as well as a woman, that way maybe no one will notice that no one looks like they have enough experience to do anything.

What's up with this series? I would have loved to hear the pitch on this. I'm sure they started with a good idea, but ended up with the OC set in Washington. "Hey, let's take out all the dialogue, character development, and interesting dramatic situations, but set it in Washington! Sounds great!--Oh!, and we'll make sure there's a lot of personal intrigue and promises of sex. Hot!" I really was hoping for something interesting, but any show that includes the line "I work in an oval office, but I still get backed into a corner", I am not sure deserves another viewing. Someone tell Peter Coyote to eat a burger or something. I'm worried.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


I need to write about this movie while it's fresh in my head, and before it's pushed out by Harriet Miers and the Supreme Court. Why does no one mention that "Activist Judges" is just a veiled reference to gay marriage. It certainly seems that way to me. From John Roberts, who sent a woman to jail for eating a french fry, or Ms. Miers, who tried to get the Texas Bar to change its position on abortion, I am wondering how these people will argue for the status quo when it comes to gay men, but try to change the status quo when it comes to abortion. Without "activist" judges we would still have Jim Crow laws, misgenation laws, and who knows what else. Probably a huge amount of emergency room traffic from botched abortions. it's just sad. When I hear the village idiot talking about "equality" or "freedom", I just insert the words "except for gay people". Then I hear what he's saying. Like this supreme court upholidng the Virginia Law passed to people of the same sex from making any contract at all. No living wills, no saying where your property goes or who gets to say if you have the right to die. We are officially always under the legal age, not truly a citizen. I didn't think that kind of thing would ever stand up, as it denies basic rights to an entire group of people. Now I'm not so sure. We could be in for a very scary time ahead. Buut i digress.

Speaking of forty years ago, I went to see Capote the other day, and was stunned by Phillip Seymour Hoffman. An incredible performance that has to be seen to be believed. What effected me most about the film was the silence. There isn't very much of it in current film. It was that silence that created the period for me, more than anything else. There was a lot of space--in Kansas, where the murders happened, but between people as well. The dialogue is brilliant as much for what is said as for waht is not. I can't remember a recent film where the silences between people spoke so much. The supporting performances were universally outstanding. I was most surprised by Catherine Keener as Harper Lee. I really came away with feeling for her--for her position as a writer, as well as Capote's best friend. I could go on and on about the richness of Hoffman's performance, but you should just go see it. He's not a likeable character, but i felt like I was given a window into who he was and why he acted like he did. And a great film about the monster of creation, from Capote, to Lee, to Capote's partner Frank. Great show. It's sticking with me.

Friday, September 30, 2005


Click on this link to see four guys in an hysterical dance routine. It's a video for their song "a million ways", and it's great. The song's catchy, too.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Last Weekend on this American Life

I am really hoping this will post, as I've been having issues with things actually showing up, but here goes....

Before getting back to our regularly scheduled criticky stuff, here is a link to This American Life on NPR. This weekend there was a harrowing account of how the Gretna, Louisiana sherriff's office stopped hundreds/perhaps thousands of New Orleans tourists and residents from crossing over a bridge to safety. They were shooting guns in the air, aiming at people as well, saying that Gretna wouldn't be "turned into another Superdome". They were ordered to shoot to kill. More fun from the history of race relations in Louisiana. Listen and be amazed. Not in a good way.

You can read more about it here, or visit

And now, back to our show....

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Call To Witness

The other night, I finally took the DVD of Call to Witness, Pam Walton’s documentary of three gay pastors struggling with ordination in the Lutheran Church. I am glad I did, but I had the same reaction I did to Trembling Before G-D; the action of the film is basically watching people hit their heads against a wall. What keeps me watching them is that the wall is built only of ideas, but ideas that are treated as immovable, unchangeable, and profoundly right. Based, of course, on text, ignorance, and discomfort.
This documentary centers on Steve Sabin, a pastor of a congregation in Ames, Iowa, who lives with his partner and his two daughters from a previous marriage to a woman; Anita C. Hill,, a woman hoping to be ordained as the first lesbian minister; and Jane Ralph another woman who was defrocked with no recourse. There are also interviews with three openly gay pastors from an independent congregation in San Francisco. In the larger congregation in San Francisco, the church knew it would be disciplined by appointing pastors who were unapproved by the Bishop, but did anyway, as it is located in the Castro, and felt its mission was to minister to gay men and lesbians. Smart move. The church was excommunicated from the whole, as expected, and has now formed a non-profit organization that helps other pastors who have come out, or congregations who wish to support their pastors and become independent from the larger church body.
We see Steve Sabin with his congregants, who are all supportive (at least the ones we are shown), and follow him on the time leading up to his hearing. He, of course, is defrocked. It is interesting to note, though, that his church refuses to fire him. At one point, a man on the board questioning him suggests that because he isn’t married to his partner, that he sets a bad example by living out of wedlock. As if that was an option. I love these people—I really do. Revered Sabin had the most emotional moment for me, speaking of discomfort, and that sometimes we are called to be uncomfortable and make uncomfortable choices. I also thought it was fun to see him with his partner, who is just a big gay nerd, in the best way—he plays piano at services. You can tell that Steve is not a huge fan of having so much publicity, but is truly invested in his work and his duty, which is inspiring in itself.
Anita C. Hill, as well, who has performed all the duties of pastor, including communion, is hoping in the film to be the first openly Lesbian minister. In my favorite example, she was shown wearing her sash sideways, like a beauty contestant. She was not allowed to wear it down, like a pastor approved by the Bishop. As predicted, she fails, but, having been the pastor at her church for twenty years, they decide to go independent rather than lose her.
These congregants are not revolutionaries. But what I came away with was the power of coming out. These people have deep relationships with their congregants. That was inspiring, to say the least. And it’s here where I can see how things can change. The more it’s everyday, the more people will change their attitudes. Of course it’s religion—it’s slow. And it’s scripture written about tribal hatreds and fears from 6 milleniums ago. But, the more people are willing to add their own stamp, the more religion has a chance to inspire and elevate.
I won’t get too deeply into my thoughts here, but I keep coming back to the idea of religions itself, and man’s impulse to praise, to wonder, to awe. A friend said there are theories now that awe is one of the basic human emotions, and the one that inspires religion. If that’s so, I hope that G & L people express their part of this when they need to. I try to look at this as positive, not as just a struggle of people beating their heads against an imaginary wall for someone else’s approval. Because as base I believe it’s not God making any of these decisions. And it never has been. If the divine lives anywhere, it lives in the congregants who are standing by the people who have supported them. That’s a brave, laudable, and divine act.
I have about six more documentaries on religion in my Netflix queue, so I’m sure there will be more. Yeeha.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

The Post Office

Today I had to stand in line at the post office. Usually, I use the machines that sell stamps, or that new automated thingy where you can mail packages by yourself and drop them into a terrorist-proof bin (Stinky Lulu knows the formal name and acronym, but I have yet to incorporate that into my vocabulary). But while there, I had some time to think of some new slogans. So hey, USPS, try these on for size:

The Post Office: We're not going anywhere, and neither are you
We're in no hurry-- the Post Office
The Post Office: In this hurried world, helping you slow down
This is as fast as we go: The Post Office
Yeah, take a number--the Post Office

I figure it's signing up for the most Sisyphean task one can think of. The mail, it just keeps coming. In fact, that's a good slogan, too--it keeps coming.

So, I must thank them for making me slow down and contemplate life bit. In dim lighting.

Friday, September 02, 2005


I just spent a great deal of time writing about this storm and my anger at the President, and the whole thing was erased when it published. So--I am just going to do greatest hits here, I think

Read Leon Wynter's piece about race just on NPR. There is so much going on, and I think there will be much more made of this in the upcoming days. As it should be.

Read Michael Moore's letter to the President.

And most of what I wrote was anger at the stupidity of the President. He was on vacation until Wednesday. Where was he on Tuesday during the flooding and when people were dying? Why did he show up today and say this will require more than one day of his attention? He stood there today saying how great Trent Lott's house would look when it was rebuilt. What about the entire ninth ward? What about all those poor people with no jobs who now have lost there houses? But what really got me was when he said the storm looked worse than the "worst weapon you could imagine". That's the problem. He's been imagining weapons here and abroad. Pushing paranioa here and destroying a country there. Moving the amphibious vehicles that were needed to a desert (!) to fight the people there. This storm could have been imagined. It was, in fact. Before he cut FEMAs budget by 40% to fund the (#*&%#)(*$&ing "War on Terror". Before he appointed someone with no disaster experience to the head of FEMA in 2001. There were studies done, and then fudning pulled. Why? Well, there were imaginary terrorists to keep ourselves safe from. And now, he finally manages to make it to the city after four days of death and starvation to say he's handling it. What a (*&#$)(*&ing idiot. I really hope this makes Americans think about who we are electing. The data was there. No one seems to be talking about how the climate is changing, and global warming is causing water temps to rise and therefore, you guessed it, worse storms. But who cares when you're rich, landlocked in Texas, and making tons of money for your oil buddies, here and in Saudi. Ugh.

And the other thing--there is a group that sent an email that the storm looks like a fetus, and is God's retribution for allowing abortion. Add that to the voices of those saying that because Southern Decadence was starting on Wednesday, the whole thing was God's destruction of Sodom again. A friend emailed that it could be God's destruction of the South for its intolerance. Just as likely. Busy God, though-- I also read how people believe the US is being punished in Iraq for tolerating homosexuality. This makes complete sense. Iraq executes homosexuals, and you can see how they are having a most blessed time right now.

Well, I wrote more than just bullet points, and I hope I covered most of what I was thinking. Mostly that the Yahoo in charge needs to think a little less about weapons. We could have had people there, and people in place. Even if the whole thing could not have been prevented, the reaction to it could have been much faster. There has been much needless loss of life. This is awful and an embarrasment to our country. And I think we will be feeling it for a long time to come.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Has it been...?

Has it been so long since I last posted that I am now getting Note Spam? How wierd is that? My last posting has one comment, and it's spam about the timber industry. I will soldier on, undeterred.

So, since we last spoke, or since I last pissed out into cyperspace, as it were, my job ended. Probably a good thing in the long run, but in the short, it has been disastrous for my wallet. So, my time has been taken obsessing about finding a job. but don't think I haven't thought about posting, because I have--here's a short list:

Judith Moore's Fat Girl, Everybody's Famous, and Look at Me--I have been threatening to write on these for a while, as they all have dig female teenage protagonists--although Fat Girl is in a different category, and makes an issue of it in the way the others don't, but i still think it's key in the two movies as well. Two movies, I might add, that are enoyable, each in their own way.

Grizzly Man and March of the Penguins (do you really need a hyperlink for that?)--I saw both this weekend, and am interested in the completely different view of animals and how that's managed. Also, Timothy Treadwell of Grizzly Man is one of the most interesting characters I have seen in a while

Man's search for meaning--this is a recurrent theme, but I have wanted to write for a while about man's need for a higher power, diety, what have you. Reams have been written, forests have been felled, and answer. I will write when I feel I have something to contribute to the conversation.

Reviews of Chicken Little, Must Love Dogs, Devil in the White City (which is haunting), and the new Nick Hornsby.

So there's a lot in there, and hopefully I'll get some of it out. For financial reasons I have not been patronizing the movies much of late--and there's been not much interesting to see. But, I do want to see The Aristocrats, and we are moving into hopefully an interesting movie fall.

I miss the fall out here in the land of LA. I am pining for it. Hopefully a trip to the mountains.

I also have my first job in television, gentle reader. It is only temporary (isn't it all?), but is the finishing up of a show now broadcasting on Animal Planet, called K9 Karma, about a dog doing yoga. IT's very New York centric, and it's making me pine for New York, but then I remember that I never had a house in the Hamptons, nor did I have a fabulous East Village pad and my own yoga studio, and fabulous wealthy friends who took their dogs to doggie day care. Ah well. One can dream. It's a cute show, on daily 11:30 and 2:30pm EST on Animal Planet. Especially the episode where all the puppies learn to swim. CUTE!

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Christ, the Devil, and Lewis

I decided to reread the Narnia Chronicles with the news that there will be a film released around Christmas, with the amazing Tilda Swinton as the White Witch. I’ve been wanting to reread them for a while for a couple of reasons: I first read them when my parents were divorcing, and even the name Prince Caspian summons up images of my mother sunbathing in a bikini in our Omaha backyard while crying about leaving (odd, but true), so I was hoping my rereading them I will actually remember them, as I was emotionally otherwise engaged; I am also interested in the Christian imagery, which I kept hearing more and more about.

And wow—I’ve read the first two books, and it’s insane. I’m particularly sensitive right now, given our current religious situation in this country—the war,etc., and I feel like cosmologies are everywhere—from Christianity to Scientology, Mel Gibson to Tom Cruise.

For those of you who don’t know, the first book is The Magician’s Nephew, which deals with the creation of Narnia, and the second book is The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, which deals with the war over Narnia and the death/resurrection of Aslan the lion. And basically it’s crazy with Christian allegory—with a little Greek thrown in for fun-- The evil queen is a descendant of Lilith; the humans are called “Sons of Adam”; one of the children bring evil into the new world; the lion must die for the sins of a traitor, but then manages to come back to life and triumph.

Lewis was famously a theologian, and a friend of Tolkien’s. His world is less complex than Tolkein’s, and more whimsical, although Tolkein took his subject from another tale as well. I prefer Phillip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” trilogy, though it is baldy anti-religion. Narnia is for a younger child, I would imagine. But that is where it’s magic lies. Who does not dream of a new world? Who didn’t touch the back of their closet after reading this book as a child, hoping that it would dissolve and reveal an enchanted glade? I love the World between Worlds in the first book, and how there are many different worlds. Pullman owes a debt to Lewis for this. And Lewis’ writing is wonderful—easy, descriptive, charming, captivating. Also funny that it was written for a little girl, as Alice was written for a little girl, and Peter Pan for a little boy. Tiny British muses.

The ideas to me in the first two books are a catechism in Christian thought, though: the world is created by a breath of a god-like creature; there is evil, it’s your fault on some level and your responsibility; there must be a battle; there must be a death/resurrection. And I guess that’s what sitting in my craw at the moment. I am fascinated at the whole idea of resurrection, especially now that people are “dying for our country”—it begs the question of what did Christ/God do that any parent with a child at war is not asked to do? And be glad about it? It’s the martyrdom that’s at the base of all our thought. I was particularly interested in the way that Aslan is killed. He is lashed to a stone table, but only after being shaved and ridiculed. He is beaten/dehumanized (de-lionized?). And that struck me the same as the Roman soldiers in Mel Gibson’s highly successful snuff film “Passion of the Christ”—not only do they kill him, they mock and beat and taunt him as well. As if killing was a release from the ridicule. Or to make things worse. Now is this to dehumanize their victim for themselves, or is it to dehumanize the killers for us so we don’t feel bad later when they are slain? And where is the Christian value of life in that? I don’t want to get off into those contradictions, but it’s interesting in our current climate. There is a nebulous “terrorist” who is evil and bad by nature for no reason, has no humanity or intelligence, and therefore we are off the hook when they are killed. These are how wars are fought. I could go on, as the examples are endless.

There is a great excerpt from Julia Sweeney’s recent one-woman show “Letting Go of God” on This American Life, where she talks about her bible study, the idea of Christ suffering, and how off-put she was after actually reading the bible and seeing its contradictions. (She's recording it on CD, and wirting a book--can't wait). I have no intention of offending anyone, but the questions are interesting. For me, that’s how we find god. And it’s interesting for me to see in this book written for children such bold ideas as resurrection put forth. That idea, that someone can save us by dying for us, is now at the center of Western thought. I don’t think we can underestimate its importance.

I’m also interested in the principal evil being an independent, power hungry woman. Of course, the most fascinating Disney villains are as well--the new film of the book is being made by Disney. Why is that? I also want to know why Aslan sets up a monarchy in the first book, and the political system of choice is a monarchy. There is much of kings/queens in the bible, and noble lineage (Christ descending from David, etc—hero must have noble blood, King of Kings, blah blah, blah--my Lord used for Jesus as well as for the despot who levies a tax on you). I am fascinated that our mind goes there so easily, that we are still a product of centuries of that thinking. Democracy is only 200 years old. Before that—unheard of-- some people were just born to serve. I hear that the Christian imagery gets less as the books move on, and I am excited to know. There will be more thoughts, as there is much more. But I am constantly interested in how all of these thoughts and belief systems are abutting in our current culture.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

I am my own wife

I saw an amazing show last night. I have rarely felt that I am watching not only a theatrical event, but a testament to humanity, and it’s complexities. The show is “I am my own wife”, the examination of the life of Charlotte Von Mahlsdorf, a man who lived as a transvestite in East German Berlin from the early years of World War II to until shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

I had seen the Rosa von Prauheim film of the same name, "Ich bin meine eigene Frau",, in the early nineties a couple times, intrigued not only by the style of the film, but by Charlotte himself, who appears in the film instructing the actors how to play him in different parts of his life. Since the release of that film, Charlotte was given the medal of honor, appeared on talk shows, and became a hero. Subsequently, it was found out that he was working for the East German secret Police as a spy, and may have been responsible for the incarceration of one of his closest friends.

There are too many incredible aspects to Charlotte’s life to report here: He was a collector of German furniture and furnishings circa 1890-1900, had a 27 room museum that housed his collection, saved a famous bar from demolition by bringing all the furnishings to his basement and having gay gatherings there, killed his Nazi Father, had an incredible lesbian aunt who was responsible for giving him Magnus Hirshfeld’s “Die Transvestite” and a sense of who he was. I won’t recount more here—it’s a stunning story. The title can be translated as "I am my own wife", which Charlotte tells his mother when she asks if he will marry, or as "I am my own woman", which seems as apt, if not more.

It is told in a bravura performance by Jefferson Mays, who plays 34 characters, including Charlotte and the playwright himself. And he is utterly believable—wonderful, in fact. The play itself is based on interviews Doug Wright conducted with Charlotte between 1992 and 1993. And as a play, it’s somewhat frustrating in what it doesn’t answer. We are unsure by the end what is true or not. The play raises the questions, but can’t answer them, as it is a life we are seeing, and not a drama. It’s somewhat more of an interview and an inquiry than a play. And it’s fascinating.

One of the more harrowing stories is how Charlotte and her friends are attacked by neo-Nazi skinheads in her own home after the fall of the wall, precipitating his move from Germany. He appears on a talk show, with a fun silly host, and completely changes the energy of the show.
Doug Wright wisely does not try to answer many of the questions we have, or delve too deeply into any side aspect of the story, from the gay movement to Nazism. Through Charlotte’s story we get all of that. And, on some level, we come to the same conclusion he does. In the play, he says (I’m paraphrasing) “I need to believe she survived Nazism and Communism, the two most oppressive regimes in Western History, and did it in a pair of heels”. I felt that need as well. The story is too good. And even if not all of it’s true, a lot of it is.

Wright leaves us with a story of a picture he received after Charlotte’s death. It is Charlotte as a 10 year old boy, Luther (I believe), on a park bench flanked by two lion cubs. He tells us how they could have hurt the young boy, as they are big enough, but he is staring straight ahead smiling, and he is completely relaxed, an arm over each cub. It’s a haunting image. Even more haunting is that a large version of the photo is in the lobby to see as you leave the theater. I have rarely felt such a force of history.

I felt at the end of the show that I was standing and clapping for not just a great performance, but for an extraordinary life.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Mysterious Skin

I left work a little early the other day and caught a matinee of a movie I had wanted to see. Little did I know the power of this small film, or that it would have one of the best performances I have seen in a long while.

The movie is Gregg Araki’s latest, Mysterious Skin. It’s for me by far his best work to date, and contains some great performances and beautiful film-making. It’s based on the novel of the same name by Scott Heim. Now, I’ve had this novel on my bookshelves for nigh on 5 years or so. Every once in a while I will pick it up, read the blurb in back, and then think “I am really not in the mood for this.” I also have a resistance to the “young hustler” genre of gay fiction: anything that seems to telegraph Gritty! Urban! Seedy! when it seems to be more Exploitive! Titillation! And pedophilia is not one of my favorite subjects.

I’m glad I saw the movie. Now I will read the book. Not only are the characters compelling, the movie managed to tell a very delicate story without being sensational, disturbing without intention to shock. If the book is the same, it must pack quite a wallop.

I don’t want to give to much away, as a lot of the power in this film is the sense of loss and being lost, and by default, discovering. The film focuses on two boys. Neil, played by Jospeh Gordon Levitt, and Brian, played by Brady Corbet. Neil walks us through a sexual relationship that he has with his little league coach, and we see him later as the drug-taking hustler he has become. Brian, meanwhile, who was on Neil’s baseball team, is searching for 5 missing hours of his life, that he believes hold a secret to something wonderful. His main theory is alien abduction.

There are some great performances in this film: Elizabeth Shue as Neil’s mother, a heavy-drinker and promiscuous dater; Mary Lynn Rajskub playing a strange uptight farmgirl who believes she has been abducted by aliens (you will never think of alien abduction the same way again); Michelle Trachtenberg as Neil’s best friend and confidante.

The power in the film, though, is its use and look at sex. It functions as a drug, weapon, balm or enterprise to different characters in the film. And it seems at different times in this film seductive, painful, terrifying, soul-wounding. It is powerful to see a nascent, unapologized for sexuality in an eight year old boy, becoming aware of who he is attracted to—that is something I have never seen on film and something I related to, having been an eight year old gay boy starting to recognize those feelings. But it is also scary to see how those feelings, if in contact with an uncaring and truly disturbed adult, can be twisted and changed forever. These are the most graphic sequences of pedophilia I have ever seen or care to see. They are profoundly disturbing, but so necessary to this film. If you wondered how one experience could change someone forever, this film will graphically demonstrate it.

But the thing this film really has going for it is Joseph Gordon Levitt. His Neil is a mass of will, defiance, fear and pain. Watching him in different scenes with the men he picks up I was struck by how present he was in giving us a character who is living so completely on the edge, and, for all his bravado, is unsure of what he is doing. Though, once again, there are some scary, and not at all arousing sex scenes in this film, so be warned. We are kept off balance as much as he is. Most impressively, we can see why Neil would stay interesting to his friends, even though he mostly is defensive and walled-up. From his way of speaking barely moving his mouth, to his belligerent cockiness, he is fascinating.

Brady Corbet is also wonderful as Brian, the other boy searching for his missing time. It's a credit to him that you just want to take care of him, and try to make everything better. It's a sweet performance of a character who has internalized things in a very different way than Neil. I can’t say anymore except to say you should see this film, and this performance.

P.S. I am interested in this trend of brutalizing sex in the movies. It may be just indie films, but it seems to be happening more and more. As moviegoers, we’re kind of having our nose rubbed in it, for lack of a better word. I think with a lesser film-maker and actors, the sex in Mysterious Skin would have been unbearable, and much of it is by its nature already. I’ll have to write about this more, but I am interested in this fascination with showing unromanticized hurtful sex more and more in films. I wonder what that impulse is coming from? We all know it can be dissapointing, uncomfortable, and strange, but it seems that it is more and more in indy and foreign film. Hm.

Monday, June 06, 2005


So yesterday I eschwed the gym, yoga and any other responsibilites to go see Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. And I must say it was a good choice. Other than my inexplicable love for "Chick flicks", I also wanted to check out America Ferrara, who, after one film, has become someone I will go see a movie for. I wasn't disappointed. I found myself a little weepy a couple of times in the film, even though I knew I was being manipulated. I even rolled my teary eyes when easily one of the most contrived lines ever put on film was being said by a twelve year-old. But I was still weepy. And I loved every minute of it. Loved Alexis Bledel as well, playing the girl who goes to Greece only to be swept up in the romance of an impossibly handsome Greek Fisherman. What's not to love about that? Her stiffness worked perfectly in the role, and she reminds me of a young Audrey Hepburn--and I'm sure I'm not the only one. America Ferrara was wonderful as expected. Sure--there was a lot manufactured about it, but I just bought it, hook, line and sinker. And I amy see it again with a friend who wants to see it as well. I could definitely spend some more time with that Fisherman.

And, as an unexpected bonus, I saw a trailer for a movie with a most unfortunate title, but one that I will be in line to see on opening day. Diane Lane as a divorcee, Eliabeth Perkins as her best friend, Dermot Mulroney as a divorced dad and--big drum roll--JOHN CUSACK as a possible love interest. As for actors I will go see in just about anything, John Cusack tops the list. I would have jumped up and cheered in the theater, if it were not for the cool reception I would have gotten from all of the 14 year old girls surrounding me. John Cusack--can't wait. The movie, unfortunately, is titled Must Love Dogs.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Tinka tinka tink

I don't really like to write about my life, but i have to say I am bored out of my mind today at work, and also slightly addled that I will need a new job in a month, as this one is ending. I am finding it challenging to remain hopeful, and also faced again with that renewable, annoying question from one and all (including myself): "What do you want to do?" Ugh--if I knew that, I'd be well on my way. I have inklings, but I don't think I'll know until it's done. I feel like Cinderella in "Into the Woods"--"But how can you know what you want 'til you get what you want and then see if you like it?" Ah, Sondheim.

Meanwhile--to the ridiculous. I went to a press screening for Bewitched last night, the new Nicole Kidman/Will Farrell movie. Always fun to brush up against that wierd Hollywood i-know-someone-you-don't-know-and-am-trying-really-hard-to-impress-you-but-seem-like-I'm-not vibe that goes into any strange orchestrated Film World event. But I digress.

Althought there was a great moment when the man who removed the reserved tape and sat behind us was asked to move, as his seat was for press. He argues and argued, finally asking for his money back for the time he stood in line. For a free movie. You can't make this stuff up.

I didn't expect much from this movie, as I'm not the biggest Nicole Kidman fan. It occured to me last night that the last two films I actually have seen in the theatre are hers--as "The Interpreter" was the one before this. In that, I felt she was acting with her beauty--or perhaps she just can't get past it. It's part and parcel of how she is. I think the most I have liked her ever was in "The Hours", and perhaps because she didn't look like herself. Who knows?

In Bewitched, Nicole plays Isabelle, a witch who wants to be mortal, and ends up doing a remake of Bewitched that she is hornswaggled into by the sleazy Jack Wyatt (Farrell), a movie star on his way down. Hilarity ensues. I actually found myself laughing a lot in this film, mainly from the great delivery from some top supporting actors (Shirley MacLaine, Michael Caine, Jason Schwartzman, Kristin Chenoweth, Katie Finneran, Stephen Colbert). The first scene with Kidman and Kristin Chenoweth was one of my favorites in the film. The biggest surprise was how good Nicole was at comedy. She has good timing, and she's completely charming. The biggest probelm for me was believing that somehow this character had left most of her brain somewhere else, perhaps at home with her hat and broom. But still, it's light comedy, and in that it mostly succeeds.

Mostly, because there are a couple of mis-steps. The great thing about this film is that you get to see a bit of the old Bewitched, and remember how wonderful everyone was. The film plays on that as much as it can. The filmmakers make a decision though, to put a couple of key plot points into the hands of Aunt Clara and Uncle Arthur. Unfortunately, Marion Lorne and Paul Lynde, both being dead, were not available. So, unfortunately, we get a couple of cut-rate versions. I was confused by the ending, wondering if Uncle Arthur was supposed to be real or not, and who he was. I suppose we were to believe that these were not Samantha's Uncle Arthur and Aunt Clara, but two people who were kind of stand-ins in the way that Kidman and Farrell are standins for Montgomery and York/Sargent. I have now spent more time than the fimmakers trying to work that out, I think. The film, for a long time, gets by on the charm of its stars, and the nostalgia factor. And the fact that they don't try to make you believe that anyone is playing the characters you so fondly remember. When they do, it's just not so good. Marion Lorne and Paul Lynde were brilliant, individual comedians with years of practice and their own well-rehearsed schtick. These new two don't measure up. I feel sorry for them having had to do it in the first place.

We are given some glimpses into the show within the show, and I kind of wanted more of that and less of a love story. But then again, I'm sure it's because the question of how to ever remake that series is one of the most interesting questions of the film.

Other than that, though, there are some genuinely funny moments, and two very charming leads. And hey, I think I enjoyed it more than the Interpreter. And at this point, that nose wriggling sound effect is hard-wired into everyone's brain-- it just takes you back. I kind of wished we all been sitting in a theatre watching old Bewitched episodes.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

American Idol

Looking at my last few posts, I seem slightly bitchy. I don't think that's a good thing. I will resolve to perhaps be a little less strident, a little less rant-y. I hope. There must be a better way to ask the questions, I guess. But hey, maybe it's just me--maybe I don't sound bitchy at all. I think I'll perhaps post when I'm in better moods, and not troubled by something on the news or in the world. But then--what is there to write about? :)

American IDOL! And I don't mean this in a bitchy way--but Carrie's tone was a little off for me. Like under it. And over it. But hey--she's cute. And I love country pop, so I can't wait to hear what she does. Nervousness can make for oversinging. And I'm kind of eager to see what happens with Vonzell. I loved that they had the cute big guy from last season doing one of the remotes. I had a secret crush on him, and I think he's great as an announcer. And did you notice how nice Bo's hair had gotten? I usually don't notice those things, but he was groomed. I think he'll do well. And I love they had the girl sing the Star Spangled Banner. A great moment. What she lacked in pitch she made up for in feeling, and if nothing else, you really got that she meant it. And that's a great anthem for you.

Monday, May 23, 2005


I'm feeling like I should post something, because it's been so long. And frankly, I'm a little overwhelmed. And kind of sad.

The news of the pharmacists who want a say in the doctor patient relationship is upsetting me. What's next? They won't prescribe medication to people with STDs because they don't agree with their lifestyle? Or HIV medication? A friend of mine's mother said that what this country is missing right now is healthy shame. I can see the point I suppose, but who decides what that is? Being one of the gays, I can't help but feel those fingers pointing at me. And it feels increasingly like a war is being waged. Has it always been this bad, or have these people figured out if they play victim that there is a chance they can win by saying their rights aren't being respected? I do think we've gone over the top with the victim culture, and that has to stop. But what to make of all this? Sad, just sad. Where will it end? I heard on NPR that pharmacists or nurses could refuse chicken pox and rubella vaccines because they were originally developed using stem cells. So it's better to have a healthy child die or risk it's life than use something developed with discarded cells that were never viable? I fret for our future.

I was thinking about this in light of the dicey ethics on display in Kingdom of Heaven. We are given kind of a wuss of a hero (Bialin played by Orlando Bloom), and I have to say that I am unsure how he survived the final battle considering he had just learned to fight in the beginnning of the movie, but...
He falls in love with another man's wife, and has sex with her, but when the option of killing the man to save the kingdom is suggested, he says that it would be wrong, and he refuses. Because of that, the villian becomes king, attacks the Muslims, thousands die horrible deaths, and Jerusalem is lost. And this is ethical because...? You can fuck his wife, but spare his life so thousands die, even though you know he will destroy the kingdom. So you can be noble. This is our hero? I'm not sure the choice I would have made, but in the politics of the time and what was presented, it doesn't look insanely heroic. Sounds callous, but that's how it came across to me. Though I can't believe I would be arguing for murder to retain the status quo. I think it's the adultery thing--and what they all seemed to stand to lose. Which was everything.

I'm sure the pharmacists loved it.

Well, I'm unsure if it's good I'm posting this or not, but hopefully on to a less rant-y topic next time.

The news--it's just getting me down.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Those terrifying Trolls and Trannies

I’m crabby today, so take this all with a grain of salt.

I just saw Zus & Zo, the Dutch movie from a few years ago. Basically , the plot centers around three sisters who are trying to stop their brother from getting married and inherit the hotel where they frolicked as children. The movie focuses on their estrangement from each other and their brother, who we learn is heartbroken, and really wants to be a woman. He gets his fiancĂ©e pregnant, and then his gorgeous boyfriend comes back to save the day, and loves him enough to support him through the operation. The sisters see the light,too. Screw the hotel, it’s important that you want to be a woman. And sure, your gay boyfriend will be supportive of you going from an attractive man to a spectacularly unattractive woman! Yea! And you’ll get a baby in the process. Huh? What was this movie about? Maybe the Dutch are just more supportive. They certainly speak more languages. Great performance by Halina Reijn as the bride-to-be, though, and just attractive award to Pieter Embrechts, who is a composer in real life as well (!). I was impressed by certain moments, but overall it was way too pat, almost rivaling the barfalicious rainbow happy ending of The Object of My Affection, a perfectly wonderful book ruined by a pandering, offensive screenplay by Wendy Wasserstein (who however much she says she likes gay men, doesn’t really seem to in her writing). But don’t get me started on that movie, or we’ll be here all day.

Speaking of people disliking the gays, no one seems to be better at that than ourselves. I was watching “You’ll get over it”, the French entry into the young golden boy coming out movie sweepstakes, and noticed a theme: the gay bar, and out gay men, as sites of evil. In the French film, the boy has been sleeping with an out gay man, and lies to everyone to be with him—I believe one of the lines is “Don’t you realize the risks I take to be here?!”. Later in the film, he meets the out man for a night on the town, but every gay man in the bar they go to treats him like a pack of dogs finding a steak covered in meat sauce. He runs away terrified. It got me thinking about all of the gay films where the young, tender gay goes to a bar to find himself either spurned or chased after by older unattractive men with glints in their eyes like the proverbial troll under the bridge. And who is making these films? Gay men. Who else is interested? Now, I’m not saying bars are the best place for people to be, or incredibly supportive. BUT, if we continue chafing at the representation of ourselves as corrupters who prey on youth, shouldn’t we look at the ways in which we are reinforcing that stereotype ourselves? I mean, isn’t there a happy medium? Why is the young out gay man, with whom this other young man has been sleeping, made to be the ultimate corruptor? And was it necessary to have everyone try to grope the boy, so he runs away screaming into the night? Please.
That said, it's still French, and therefore a little deeper and more interesting than American movies of the same genre. Even though the title translation is unfortunate.
I was thinking about Beautiful Thing, (which is in the top 5 of my favorite gay films) where the pub is slightly terrifying to the boys (which is true to any young person's first visit to a foreign, slightly titillating, and decidedly adult place), but then becomes the place they can be themselves. In my experience of gay rites of passage, that seems a little more apt. Bars aren’t the only place for people to be by any means, but we need to look at how we demonize ourselves when we create sites like the one in the French film. I’m sure Queer as Folk has something like this, too, from what I remember, but I can see it easier in a soap like that.

Speaking of soap, I’ll get off my soap box now. As soon as I watch Everybody’s Famous, I’ll be sure to get back to you on that and Look at Me, which I liked a lot. They both have slightly heavy girls singing and dealing with their relationships with their fathers. Fun.

I’ll go and drink some soothing green tea or something.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

The gays--bringing people together

I just wrote this whole diatribe, and managed to lose it, so I will attempt to find my righteous indignation again. :)

I noticed this story on the front page of the New York Times today. What the hell? Is the only way these people can unite through common hatred? Don't they have anything better to do? (Insert feeding tube, abortion, marriage joke here). This seems to me a ridiculous waste of time.

What continues to amaze me is that someone feels that they can read one book and feel like they can tell everyone else how to live. Do they even care about God, or only their own power? Every one of these religions that these men represent started as an impulse from someone--Jesus, Mohammed,the Bal Shem Tov (I won't mention Joseph Smith--there are elements of singular divine revelation in Mormonism, but the impulse is ego and control)--to bring the divine to everyone; to say "you don't need these structures, you just need you and an open mind." Then they are hijacked by idiots who make it an orthodoxy and we are back in the same place. Again and again. Will we ever learn from this? And who are these people that think from reading a 6000 or 2000 or 1400 year old text that they somehow know the mind of God? Does God even have a mind? If they truly believe that a divine force created the entire world in all it's complexity, what kind of hubris does it take to believe that you could somehow comprehend that Divinity and its wishes? It all seems an attempt to make God smaller. To match their minds. And how do they get away with it? How do people continually let them? Are people that afraid to think for themselves? Are people afraid of the mystery so much they will believe any BS shoved down their throats for comfort and ease? These idiots would have no power were it not given them. And not by God, that much is clear.


Well, at least the gays are managing to bring people together, if only in common hatred of them. But, to sink to the silly millinered mens' level, they all look old and we can only hope they'll all die, and their hatred with them. I think it's past bringing any real light to them, if their quotes are any indication. We can only hope they have no influence over young minds. That would be truly destructive. So there. I didn't have to dig too deep for that indignation, huh?

To paraphrase Tony Kushner--the great work begins.....again.

But you have a great day. Do something nice for yourself.