Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Great Way to Bring a Conversation to a Grinding Halt

"I met three men in a Tiki bar once in Texas who were married to each other."

So said Chloë Sevigny in a recent Los Angeles Times interview with her "Big Love" costars Bill Paxton, Jeanne Tripplehorn and Ginnifer Goodwin. Here's the reaction to Sevigny's remark:
[Silence]

Paxton:
Wow.

Tripplehorn:
That was a conversation stopper! What do you call that? Gay-lygapous? Gay-lygamy.

Sevigny:
They loved the show.
As well they should! By the way, for anyone who has ever asked him or herself "Gee, I wonder what Bill Paxton thinks about gay marriage," you get your answer here. In response to a question about the Mormon campaign to pass Proposition 8, Paxton says: "I just feel like, God, live and let live. As long as somebody's not trying to make me live a certain way, or people are consenting adults, I have no problem with it. But I'm a libertine and a liberal."

So there you have it -- the guy from "Twister" (and my personal favorite "Apollo 13" astronaut) supports your right to get gay-married. No word on whether the stars of "Volcano," "Dante's Peak" and every other disaster movie Hollywood hurled at us post-"Twister" are of similar minds.

P.S. As a parting bonus, here's a kind of gross clip of Jeanne Tripplehorn making out with Salma Hayek in "Time Code." (For those of you who haven't seen it, it's an experimental film in which four story lines are followed by four different cameras simultaneously and in real time with no edits; the audio you hear in the YouTube clip belongs to the action taking place in another quadrant of the screen the YouTuber didn't bother showing. Tripplehorn plays a typical nutty lesbian character in the movie, which was oddly appropriate given her involvement in "Basic Instinct.") If you prefer the retro butch look, you can check out Chloë Sevigny in "If These Walls Could Talk 2." A few of the search results will probably be age-restricted, but some of you pervs might like that.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Wanna Despair of Humanity?

More than usual, I mean. If so, read this. (Or you could just wait a few months for the inevitable "Law & Order" episode based on this particular crime to hit airwaves.)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Why Does Xbox Live Hate the Gays?

I'm not a video game person (though I used to take down fierce opponents -- namely my mom and her best friend -- in matches of Tetris and Dr. Mario, and was known to break the occasional window in games of Paperboy), so everything I've heard about Xbox Live has come directly from my brother and his geeky pals.

And what they've told me is that more than a few of their fellow gamers are hateful, foul-mouthed bastards with a fondness for anti-gay slurs. All of which adds to my confusion about Microsoft's purported practice of suspending users who identify themselves as gay in their player profiles. Why is the word "gay" considered offensive when it's used by a gay person, but acceptable when employed by trolls as an insult? And if Microsoft isn't willing to give the gays a break here, what code word should they use to get the point across without risking a suspension? I tried to come up with something all smart-assy, but I'm stumped.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Between Awards, An Oscar Observation

Boy, those musical numbers are really going to go a long way in making people think Hugh Jackman isn't gay, aren't they?

(More later, possibly, if I don't fall asleep.)

"What? Marisa Tomei for 'My Cousin Vinny?!'"

UPDATE (10:04 AM Monday) - Holy Bob Hope, was that a boring night. Lots of predictable and undeserving winners, which was par for the course, but the producers didn't offer anything to make up for it. And most of the speeches were so scripted and awful (still, anytime Penélope Cruz wants to hook up with me, I'm free -- and if I'm not, I can get that way in two seconds flat), with the exception of Dustin Lance Black's, which was the best and most moving of the night.

The insipid New Age-y/Oprah-style "We Speak Your Name" nominee ego-stroking in the acting categories was also problematic; only a few of the presenters (Eva Marie Saint, Whoopi Goldberg and Robert De Niro come to mind) were able to pull it off. Next year I propose having Steve Martin hand out all of the awards. Yes, my love for him is known far and wide, but he excels at taking the piss out of the same pretentious, self-congratulatory nitwits whose approval Hugh Jackman so nakedly desires. And so what if Jackman's a song-and-dance man? Anyone who has seen "Pennies from Heaven" and "All of Me" knows that Martin can cut a rug with the best of them.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Are You Ready For Some Football Oscars?

Awards are essentially meaningless, like almost everything else in life.

Last year, as you might recall, I covered the Oscar telecast. I've been asked if I plan to do the same tonight, and the answer is probably not. I'm underwhelmed by a lot of this year's nominees and don't think it'd be much fun to write about them, though a last-minute change of mind is possible. (A last-minute change of mind is always possible, unless it's about something like voting Republican.)

Also blasé about tonight's ceremony: the normally excitable Robert Osborne, the reigning queen of Turner Classic Movies and a professional Oscar historian, who recently told The Chicago Sun-Times: "We forget that the importance of the Oscars is to award artistic achievement. I'm not sure it is anymore." I'm with Osborne on two things -- that the Best Supporting Actress push for Kate Winslet in "The Reader" was ridiculous (she ended up being nominated in the Best Actress category and is widely expected to win; I'd rather see Melissa Leo take it for "Frozen River"), and that it would be great if Frank Langella won Best Actor for "Frost/Nixon."

Langella isn't thought to stand a chance in the year of "Milk" and "The Wrestler," but he's my sentimental favorite because Oscars, as we all know, are normally handed out to actors not for whatever performance they ultimately win for, but for a previous performance that was overlooked by the Academy. In my opinion, Langella deserved to win last year for "Starting Out in the Evening," but his work in that film wasn't recognized with a nomination. Honestly, I'm still shocked by that -- how dare the Academy disrespect Count Dracula! I hope he makes the rounds at the after-parties tonight and bites all their necks.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Kansas Woman Can't Stop Thinking About "The Joy of Gay Sex"

Who sits around and obsesses about "The Lesbian Kama Sutra" being on local library shelves? (Pretend that was said with an Austin Powers-esque "Who throws a shoe? Honestly!" tone of incredulity.) Concerned Topeka resident Kim Borchers, that's who. And in addition to her lurid fascination with flexible naked women having all kinds of bendy sex with each other, Borchers objected to her local library keeping "The Joy of Sex," "The Joy of Gay Sex" (if gay means happy, isn't all gay sex joyful?) and a book about quickies where anyone could find them. Because sex is dirty, you see, and needs to be hidden.

Borchers made the availability of the books enough of an issue that the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library's board of trustees voted last night on whether to restrict minors' access to them; they ruled 5-3 in favor of censorship. (If you read more at The Topeka Capital-Journal, you'll note that the three dissenting votes were cast by women; three of the five 'yes' votes were cast by men. I'm just throwing that out there in case any of you want to say something like "The patriarchy strikes again!" I love lesbians who blame everything on the patriarchy; they're funnier than half the movies Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon made together.) The controversial decision caused one of the 'no' voters, Michele Henry, to get teary-eyed and announce, "I can hardly sit here. I am sickened to be a part of something like this."*

Does anyone else think this would make a great Lifetime Original Movie for John Waters to direct? Valerie Bertinelli could play Michele Henry, and the role of Kim Borchers has Mink Stole written all over it.

*I guess that means Henry's unaware of the national epidemic of kids going to check out "Encyclopedia Brown" books and stumbling across guides to spicing up your gay sex life instead. It happened to my cousin a few years ago and he still hasn't recovered.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

UK to Bigoted Phelps Clan: "Fuck Off, You Wankers"

Remember Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary of the UK who made waves a few months ago when she basically told Iranian gays seeking asylum in the United Kingdom to piss off and stay closeted in their home country to avoid execution? She's attracting headlines again this week, and this time it's for something good: American hate-mongers and national embarrassments Fred and Shirley Phelps want to stage one of their moronic protest publicity stunts outside a Hampshire, England performance of "The Laramie Project," and Smith is having none of it; she has blocked Fred and Shirley from entering the UK on the grounds that they're hatred-inciting extremists.

Not everyone is satisfied with Smith's decision (gay rights activist Peter Tatchell doesn't understand why homophobic Jamaican reggae singers don't face similar bans), but I like it. Not as much as I'd like to see Fred and Shirley picketed by thousands of angry gays and stylish drag queens holding signs that say "God Hates Hags," but it'll do for now.

Edited to add: Smith, by the way, is still insane.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Sometimes the Headlines Write Themselves

It's been a while since we last flipped through the pages of British tabloids (one can only stomach so many stories about little boys who might be fathers; and previously reviled cancer-stricken reality TV stars who are contemplating dying on camera), but today I saw a headline I couldn't resist: "Gay City Roller."

If you think you know where this is headed -- that a member of the Bay City Rollers, a group I'm more familiar with as a punch line than as musicians (my middle-aged mom was more of a Carole King and Carly Simon girl in her youth) -- has come out of the closet, you're right. Sort of.

Singer Les McKeown, who fronted the band for most of the '70s, admitted during an appearance on the British TV show "Rehab" (which is apparently similar to VH1's "Celebrity Rehab," a program I hope that none of you watch -- there are much better things you could be doing with your time, and it wouldn't kill you to read a book or take your dog for a walk or something) that he's been shtupping guys throughout his lengthy marriage to a woman.

The revelation struck the Daily Mail as scandalous, but in reviewing the old photos of McKeown that accompany the article, I'm finding their shock a wee bit disingenuous. For a less tabloidy take on McKeown and his struggles with substance abuse, Scotland on Sunday has an interview with him that doesn't feature any sidebar links to stories about Posh Spice or Kylie Minogue.

For anyone too lazy or disinterested to click the links, McKeown would like to stay married to his wife despite his interest in man-sex, which is the only thing that prevented me from calling this post "Pop Star Everyone Thought Was Gay Shocks World By Revealing He's Gay (And It's Not Ricky Martin)." I mean, I may not be familiar with their music, but who hasn't heard the "Gay City Rollers" jokes a million times by now?

As a parting bonus, here's a 30-year-old picture of Les doing a somewhat drunken and dim-witted looking version of jazz hands.

Monday, February 16, 2009

CNN Turns to Soap Operas on Slow News Day

If anyone cares, CNN has taken time to recognize a monumentally important moment in the history of the fight for marriage equality crappy soap operas: Bianca "Daughter of Erica Kane" Montgomery's big fat lesbian wedding to some, uh, other lesbian. Enjoy it while you can, because I'm sure within the next few months it will be revealed that Bianca's wife is an alien or a guy who was cast out of Pine Valley as a teenager and then had a sex change operation so he could return unnoticed and exact revenge on Erica, or something similarly stupid.

Related: "Coronation Street" Residents Prepare for Potluck Dinners

Saturday, February 14, 2009

If Sam Cooke Was Okay With Cupid, Cupid's Okay With Me

Those of you who remember the way I bitched about Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve might have expected me to write something dismissive or contemptuous of Valentine's Day. Dear reader (I love it when columnists write "dear reader;" it always sounds so cloying), I will not. For somewhere today, probably in the Deep South, a redneck hid a cubic zirconia engagement ring in a bucket of KFC Extra Crispy and broke into a nervous sweat, hoping to God (or his favorite NASCAR driver) that his unsuspecting girlfriend wouldn't accidentally swallow it. And when that girlfriend found that ring, slathered in grease and rat droppings and whatever else those poor chickens are fried in after they've been decapitated by the ever-smiling Colonel, her eyes went as wide as they did that time in her junior year of high school when she peed on an EPT stick and got a false positive -- and they filled with tears of joy as she accepted his proposal.

Yes, this is called our most romantic holiday for a reason, and for the sake of romance, which has given us so many great movies and songs, I'm willing to overlook the most preposterous things about Valentine's Day. Take, for example, its crass commercialism, with all its stupid suggestions that women only care about jewelry and chocolate. I won't say a word about that.* Nor will I dwell on the fact that countless couples who are happy tonight will have acrimoniously split by this time next year. After all, that's hardly unique to Valentine's Day. (There are people who are single now who weren't single on Columbus Day.) Instead I will wish you all a Happy Valentine's Day, one I hope was filled with Preston Sturges films and old Drifters records, or whatever it is you like. (Maybe you're more the "Breaking the Waves" and bondage type, which is cool. You might have to be a masochist to visit this site with any regularity.) Oh, and I hope you took care not to pass STDs to anyone -- that's only supposed to be done at Christmas.

*I'm making a real sacrifice here because there's a lot I'd like to say about the fact that "Nights in Rodanthe," which was easily one of the worst films of 2008, is currently selling at a respectable clip on DVD simply because it was released to coincide with Valentine's Day. If hell exists, a seat must surely be reserved there for Nicholas Sparks.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Ah, Silly Rich People...

Well, fine, I'd make an exception for Tony Manero.

I don't know who the hell "charmingly loopy socialite" Arden Wohl is (Google says she likes the pot, but don't all charmingly loopy socialites?), but I'd like to thank her for cracking me up with her comments to The Observer about a short film she made that stars Azura Skye and Leelee Sobieski:
In the dark, romantic fairy tale, the two women flirt, gaze at one another profoundly, fight, gaze some more, cry, gaze, cry, gaze. The whole thing concludes with a scene in which Ms. Sobieski may or may not have sex with Ms. Skye's dead body.

"It's based upon my personal experiences. My harrowing and complicated relationships with the people closest to me," Ms. Wohl told the Transom. She was garbed in slim black pants, a frilly satin blouse and her usual eccentric headband.
Okay then! BTW, next week I'll be screening a short film based on my own personal experiences. It will consist of two women sitting in awkward silence, occasionally grimacing and checking their watches, and conclude with one of them calling the other uncommunicative. The accusation will be met with more silence, but there's a moment of suspense and ambiguity at the very end when the other woman finally looks like she's going to open her mouth. Is she about to speak, or simply sigh? Critics will spend decades getting into passionate arguments about it in the pages of Cahiers du cinéma and Sight & Sound. There won't be any necrophilia (Lynne Stopkewich pretty much cornered the market on that with "Kissed"), and anyone who shows up wearing an eccentric headband will be ordered to leave. You've been warned.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Stupid Headline of the Day

ZDNet wants to know, "Are drunk Facebook photos killing your job prospects?" What I want to know is: How do Facebook photos get drunk? Unfortunately, the article (which regurgitates figures from surveys of HR people and job-seekers alike) doesn't provide any answers. Because it's stupid.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Jo Monk Kicks Ass

The 91-year-old lesbian, who is working on a book about her life, had this to say about being gay in the 1940s and '50s (and way before that): "Everybody says what a terrible life it was, but I quite enjoyed myself. I didn't find it terrible. I was very proud." And she was wearing pants in public when it was still considered daring for a woman to do so, which just adds to her greatness.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

All the Young Dudes, Make Out With Each Other

"What? You mean this is seriously the best Miramax could do?"

How is it possible that "Velvet Goldmine," which first came out on DVD in the U.S. 10 years ago, hasn't been re-released with an anamorphically enhanced transfer? When I'm watching glam rockers played by Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Ewan McGregor paw at each other, it should go without saying that I want to see it in all its widescreen glory, dammit! I felt cheated when I rented "Goldmine" last night (having wrongly assumed the DVD had been upgraded somewhere along the line) and was treated to such a shoddy transfer. Miramax would never neglect a Kevin Smith movie like this, and Kevin Smith movies tend to majorly suck. It's a conspiracy, I tell you, and I'd call shenanigans on it if I knew shenanigans' phone number.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Wanda Sykes Talks to The Advocate

A good interview by Ari Karpel. Sykes is mostly serious, like when she talks about her seven-year marriage to a man:
"I actually made the choice to be straight as a kid," she says. "Early on I knew [being gay] wasn't gonna fly. No way. And from the teachers and church and all it was, This is wrong! What's wrong with me? And you pray and ask God to take it away, and you bury it and bury it, and you shut that part of yourself off. Then you try to live the life that you're supposed to live."
But she also gets in a few good jokes, the best about the media coverage devoted to her coming out at a marriage equality rally in Las Vegas last year after the passage of Proposition 8 in California: "I was like, Damn, whatever happened to 'What happens in Vegas...?' "

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Kelly Clarkson Denies Being a Lesbian, Doesn't Deny Sucking*

"Why on earth would anyone think I'm a lesbian?"

My sister alerted me to this. I believe her exact words were "Kelly Clarkson says she isn't gay," followed by maniacal laughter. So there you have it: My sister thinks Ms. Clarkson's lying. As for Kelly herself, it's true that she recently told the web site PopEater she isn't gay. She added: "I could never be a lesbian. I would never want to date [someone like] myself, ever. I'm a crazy person. I need some kind of stable, quiet man." You hear that, world? She needs some kind of man. A man with a penis. The kind of penis that isn't neon purple and made of silicone, because she totally isn't a lesbian. (No word on whether that means she's bisexual...)

I'll admit that I'm not quite sure I buy what Kelly's selling here, but I get why she seized the opportunity to prattle on about her alleged heterosexuality. A simple Google search shows that a lot of people think she's gay, and she has a new album to promote. What I don't get is why she thinks that being a lesbian means she'd have to date someone like herself. It's not like one woman is every woman (unless she's Chaka Khan), so there's no logic to her attempted logic. Her comments about feminism weren't much better, which is why I suggest forgetting all about the PopEater interview and taking a gander at this picture of Kelly that was snapped at the Playboy Club a few months ago instead. She's posing like fucking Papi from "The L Word," people. Wake up and smell the flannel shirts.

* About the headline: I don't really think Kelly Clarkson sucks. (Anyone who sings "Crimson and Clover" in concert without changing the lyrics is all right with me.) It was just really hard to pass up using a headline like that.

Step Away from "The Biggest Loser" and Switch to TCM

As if to make up for last month's ill-advised Ricardo Montalban marathon, Turner Classic Movies is showing "The More the Merrier" tonight as part of their 31 Days of Oscar: Urban Housing block of programming. Besides featuring one of Jean Arthur's best performances, this George Stevens comedy about the housing shortage in World War II boasts one of the most romantic scenes I've ever seen in any movie, as a woozy Arthur tries to resist her attraction to one of her boarders (played by the always brilliant Joel McCrea). The scene is on YouTube -- everything ever recorded in the history of the universe is apparently available on YouTube -- but you have to see it in the context of the movie to get the full effect.

Monday, February 2, 2009

About Roger Federer's Loss

A few days ago, someone asked if I'd wear Jeanne Moreau's veil again if Roger Federer lost to Rafael Nadal in Sunday's Australian Open final. The answer was maybe, depending on the match. The Wimbledon loss had been a heartbreaker and required a period of mourning. The Australian Open final turned out to be different. By the time it was over, Federer was crying like his name was Stella Dallas, but for me it was less a heartbreaker (there was no good reason for him to have lost this time) than a head-scratcher. And so the veil is staying put -- for now. Hopefully nothing will happen later this year to change that.

In happier, non-tennis news, Cherry Jones digs Golda Meier and uses the word "goyim" in this interview about her work on the new season of "24." I don't watch "24" (its creator, Joel Surnow, donated $2,000 to Rick Santorum in 2006 and I'd feel dirty doing anything that might help line his pockets), but in the wake of Tammy Lynn Michaels going nuts about Rick Warren and misspelling "yarmulke" all over the place in December, I was dreading the next shout-out a lesbian celebrity gave to the Jews. Thank you, Cherry Jones, for not making strange comments about matzo ball soup. You're a mensch.

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