Thursday, August 30, 2007

Hypocrisy Rules

August 29th is my mother's birthday. She is 76! Go Jo Go!

Yesterday was also the second anniversary of Katrina and I watched a couple of the many updates and special reports.
Our government's Katrina response did more damage to my heart than a ton of greasy junk food and a four pack a day habit could have. I doubt if I'll ever get over it but, I am grateful for the wake up slap in the face.
I didn't think I was naive. I've worked for the U.S. Government, worked on political campaigns and with politicians. I grew up Black, spent my summers in the south, and I am gay and a woman. I know racism and bigotry. But I didn't know the DEPTHS of U.S. hypocrisy and hatred until August 29, 2005.

I could blame it all on Bush and his insensitive ignorant mother, but I won't because it goes deeper than them. It goes beyond party or so-called liberals and conservatives.
So, from that date forward my faith in our American Government was shaken to the core, permanently. I still have faith in the American people to help each other, but not this government.

Hypocrisy, thy name is America. Watching the political debates is a joke, really. America is made up of so many underground societies that will NEVER be addressed by any candidate or politician. We will never deal with anything; the drug problem, poverty, public education, health care, bigotry, crime etc., because what's real in America is never discussed or dealt with in any real way. It's all band aids and bull shit. Republicans and Democrats are amazingly alike in this way.

In light of Senator Larry Craig's adamant declaration that he is NOT gay, made in response to his former guilty plea when arrested for lewd behavior in a Minnesota airport bathroom stall, I surprisingly found myself agreeing with Tucker Carlson. How 'bout that!
Tucker noted that every one of Senator Craig's former friends and colleagues were ready to drop him like they'd never known or worked with him. All perfectly willing to throw him on the fire. "Not one.." Tucker said, was willing to say, he's in trouble yes, but I liked working with him, he's a nice guy. Not one.
Sen. Craig's not gay activities are no secret around Washington. No big surprises here. And yet, everyone is feigning shock and lighting torches to run him out of town like the Frankenstein monster. I want him gone too. He is the worst kind of hypocrite. But the hypocrisy of his Washington cronies stinks to high heavens too.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Dim Dems

LOGO and the Human Rights Campaign's 2008 Presidential Forum certainly made clearer for me the positions of the top Democratic candidates on GLBT issues. Senators Kucinich and Gravel are 100% supportive and there is overwhelming quasi-support from Senators Edwards, Clinton and Obama.
The audience was full of familiar GLBT faces like Alec Mapa and Calpernia Adams. I also noticed filling in the seats were cast members of some LOGO shows.

What I gleaned from the Democratic GLBT Forum.

Senator Obama says his job as Prez would be to assure equal rights and benefits (including Federal bens) to all via civil unions. Marriage is a matter for each church to deal with. OK. So, does that mean civil ceremonies will no longer be called "marriage"? All things being equal it would mean that. But, of course he gives ownership of marriage to the church only in GLBT cases. Barack claims he wants to take things "step by step". Full benefits and rights would be a great big step. I'll take it.

Senator Clinton, also a proponent for full civil union rights but, again with the semantics, "marriage", should be left up to the states. Okey Dokey. Again with the states deciding if and where I am a full human being and a full U.S. citizen? That's pathetic.

(Monica feels Barack and Hillary have no personal qualms against same sex marriage and are simply playing it safe to get elected. Could be.)

Hillary didn't introduce legislation to overturn DADT (Don't Ask, Don't Tell) because it would be futile with this hostile Prez. True, but legislation is often brought to the floor for more reasons than assured passage. How about taking a stand and putting it out there, making a point. The same with that horrid DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act). C'mon Hillary.

HRC/LOGO did not include a Transgender person on the panel. They should have. The only Trans related question of the evening was directed to Senator Edwards who assured us he would hypothetically support a Transgender employee if faced with that situation. That's good.
However, Edwards is still "on a journey" regarding gay marriage.
I realize he has conribution problems considering he is at such a disadvantage not being able to turn black or into a woman and all. Geesh.
I don't dislike Edwards and I appreciate his honesty about his "journey". It could end in a sunny grassy field full of wonderful GLBT folk. Who knows. And I appreciate that he vowed not to impose his faith on the country.
But his "journey" just irks me.

Bill Richardson was asked if being gay was a choice. He replied yes. Then he said in essence, who cares. What difference does it make when it comes to equal rights. "I am interested in human beings, not science I don't understand." Well, I was thinking that's interesting way to see this because some folks will never understand. For those folks, all they need to understand is that we have the same rights as Americans and human beings. I was all ready to think this was the best point of the evening. But WAIT! The next day Kucinich says, of course it's not a choice. "I know that." "I didn't understand the question due to jet lag." (More commonly known as the Paula Abdul gibberish syndrome).

Kucinich is too good to be true. He talked of love and real equality and spoke on the war, etc. He is the kind of critical thinker that this country will never elect, but should.


We still celebrate this American Treasure, even 30 years after his death.
He was gorgeous and could sing and move his hips like no one else. He admitted he was not really much of a guitarist, that's a surprise to many people - the piano was more his instrument, and he was good, especially with blues and gospel. I loved his unique, nerdy, quirky dancing and loved most when he sat at the piano or just with a mike and sang.

The 1968 Comeback Special with it's big production numbers and intimate jam sessions in front of a small studio audience remain one of my favorite concert performances ever.
I liked his movies too. Well, some of them. The first Elvis flick Love Me Tender 1956, Jailhouse Rock 1957, Kid Galahad, Wild in the Country with Hope Lange, Viva Las Vegas with Ann Margaret 1964, and King Creole in 1958, his most critically acclaimed acting performance. It's a shame he never pursued more serious roles outside of the usual light fluff. It's a shame he didn't, even with Barbra Streisands strong encouragement, take the role opposite her in A Star is Born. It may have changed his life.

So they are lined up outside Graceland today to remember his music and phenomenal success and his unfortunate tragic early end. He was the consummate rags to riches to overindulgent American story. And we can't let him go.

Rockin' to the Jailhouse Rock !

Elvis sings Memories in 1968 special.

Elvis Pics

This guy was so photogenic it's ridiculous! So here are some Elvis pictures to celebrate his good looks. Check out the lip - the early development of the sneer.

The black leather clad Elvis on the NBC 1968 Comback Special

King Creole and Viva Las Vegas

My cousin Sandy worked at Graceland as a tour guide.

In the 1970s, his chart hits and movie smashes dried up - but Elvis reinvigorated his career as a touring artist. He played almost 1,100 concerts between 1969 and 1977

Thursday, August 09, 2007

National Underwear Day

PlanetOut/ is celebrating Underwear Day with
Rockers in their undies!

My guy, Joshua Klipp's career is going in so many directions. He not only has a smoking new CD, a hot video directed by Margaret Cho that's going onto LOGOS Click List, and his exciting show on tour, but now he is modelling underwear. Yep, Josh the rock star in his skivvies. Lookin' so Good.

Check out Joshua Klipp and his new CD, "Won't Stop Now." that features both b-box/dancer Hollywood and Trans rapper Katastrophe.

We met Josh a couple months, ago saw his show and had a blast. He is a wonderful gracious man and a dynamic performer.
His success is well deserved.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Pearl & Dinah

I can't tell you how much I wish we could see more pure entertainment like this.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Summer Flicks

Monica and I see loads of movies in the summer. My nephew Nolen and his wife Aisha like to "call" movies, that is, beating each other at predicting good ones. They must get the trailers on the day of release because we can rarely beat them on calling a movie. This may be a good thing because if you call a bad one, they hound you forever about it. I once suggested they see Magnolia. I wasn't calling it, just saying they should see it because it was so weird. So now when I suggest a film, I hear, "aren't you the one that told us to go see Magnolia?" Such a vindictive bunch.
I remember Magnolia because that was our first encounter with the "Show Nazi." We saw it at the Village Theater on Clark Street in Chicago. It was then what was called a $1 show. Almost recent movies for a buck. Good deal. It's a dinky little theater and should be only a buck. But they had this guy, an usher? or manager or something who directed everything in the lobby. He put up this velvetine rope and barked orders while we stood in line. If you wanted to use the bathroom before the movie you had to raise your hand and he'd let you through to sit in the chair and wait your turn. He watched everyone closely. Now this theater is in a pretty upscale area so it's not like the patrons were hoods, far from it. But this power hungry usherguy took no prisoners including with the snacks. Monica and I bought popcorn and added salt to which he barked, "that's too much salt!" OMG! I hid the Raisonettes.

Anyway two flicks we've seen are Hairspray and I Now Pronounce you Chuck and Larry.

Hairspray 1988 vs. Hairspray 2007
The 1988 John Waters cult classic is an old favorite of ours (especially Monica) and now the 2007 version is just chock full of some of my favorite people. John Travolta, Queen Latifah, Christopher Walken, Jerry Stiller, Michelle Pfeiffer, Allison Janney and a slew of talented new folks.
I'm doing a comparison here not a review. But I'll tell you the new version is really new, with new songs and dances, a different perspective and emphasis on different characters. But, the story is the same. In early 1960's Baltimore, chubby teen Tracy Turnblad is obsessed with a local TV dance show. "The Corny Collins Show" is all white except the once a month "Negro Day". This reality creates the drama worked out in the midst of tons of teenage angst.
Overall, I like the John Waters film better, but there are exceptions.

Mrs. Turnblad - Divine vs. Travolta. Slight edge to Divine. Slight. Travolta's fat suit was curvy and fun but his face didn't move. John's dancing at the end was wonderful. But I miss Divine's voice and Edna's obsession with ironing.
Mr. Turnblad - Walken, a good dancer, but is always spooky looking and not very fatherly and I was disappointed that he didnt dance more.
Jerry Stiller - I prefer Stiller opposite Divine in '88 as Wilbur Turnblad. Playing a small part in 2007, Stiller is always an asset.
Mrs. Von Tussell - Michelle Pfeiffer as a bigot and villain? It worked! And she can sing! How 'bout that!
Motormouth Maybelle - Diminuitive R&B singer Ruth Brown in HS'88 with the blond hair and kooky rhymes, was more quirky and it worked with John Waters' edgy humor. Queen, with her talented bigger than life self, made it harder to believe that even in the '60's she could be held to one "Negro Day" a month on The Corny Collins Show. But, Queen is a winner with her singing, especially the moving song during the protest march that brought home the racial topic. Nice touch.
Mrs. Pingleton - Allison Janney's Prudy Pingleton was even more manic about keeping daughter Penny pure and white than in the original version. Penny's character was faded back a lot in 2007. I liked the 1988 lollipopping, positivily permanantly punished Penny much better.
Seaweed Stubbs - This character overshadowed Penny this time. Played by Elijah Kelley, this guy can do it all and made that character stand out.
Tracy Turnblad - Ricki vs. Nikki - For me Ricki. Nikki Blonsky is certainly talented, energetic and adorable in her first movie and did Tracy proud but Ricki's Tracy just seemed more personable.

HS'88 was made 20 years after the events in the film and it was still fresh and topical. John Waters used actual 1960's songs and dances. Add another 20 years, HS'2007 creatively took a different approach with slicker production numbers, snappier modern lyrics, but still bringing home how things were. Both movies do a good job of reminding us, and especially teens, of how racist and stupid the world was not so very long ago.
Look for cameos of John Waters and Ricki Lake.

Chuck and Larry
I like Kevin James and Adam Sandler so I went to see what I thought was sure to be a growing and learning type flick. Nothing deep, just another entertaining, lightweight, summertime, little message movie. Cool.
Sandler (Chuck) and James (Larry) are NYC fireman and best buddies. Chuck is a womanizing jerk pretty much and Larry is a still grieving widow with two kids who wants to name his buddy as beneficiary to care for his children if he dies. He discovers he has let the time expire to name a beneficiary after his wife died and the only immediate remedy is get remarried or gay domestic partnership. Yep, Chuck and Larry go up to Canada to get hitched and spend the rest of the movie trying to fool the insurance peeps and everyone else.

What and who was this movie aiming for? (A)Can crushing macho heterosexuals and homophobes and the folks who never gave gays a serious thought? (B)Trying to reach a broader audience with it's little message? Well it was marketed to reach both but the script was writen for group A.
It's a comedy that trotted out every gay cliche and stereotype. All of them. The point being, I assume, to oversaturate with the bashing and stereotypes and cheap shots, then hit us with tolerance. Bam! Stop It! Gays are people too!
That's nice. However, according to this flick, gay men are all sex crazed swishy clowns who may incidently manage to contribute to society and don't deserve to be hated or ridiculed.

Just a few of the stereotypes and cliches all in this one movie.
Chuck and Larry's firefighter buds don't want to play basketball or shower with them anymore. Surprise!
Their lawyer, played by Jessica Biel, has a silly swishy brother.
A very macho black firefighter who is reveered and feared by all, comes out.
The mailman is gay and offers late night deliveries and more.
Larry tries to get his son to play baseball, but he's more interested in tap dance, doing the splits and getting a part in Pippin' and Annie.
Larry is ousted from coaching little league and the scout troop.

There is not a single gay man in this film who is not sniffing around for sex, skipping, or wearing a boa. (Except for Chuck and Larry who aren't really gay.)

The two buddies confront their firefighter friends, "we are the same guys" who have come to your aid many times including pulling you from burning buildings. Think about that.
When the guys go to court, the fire squad shows up in full support. Because of Chuck and Larry, they understand being gay is ok. (Except Chuck and Larry are not really gay.) When the guys come out as not gay it makes no difference because everyone is now all tolerant. Chuck says, "don't say faggot, it's not nice".
Well, unfortunately, or fortunately there exist some group A types who will learn something from this flick, it goes where they are, so all is not lost.

And, there was the one character that could have help pull this film from the fire, but nope, they totally missed it.
It's the super macho black firefighter, played by Ving Rhames, who was inspired to come out by Chuck and Larry's situation. But, as soon as Rhames' character admits he's gay, he gets the limp wrist etc. etc. They could not just let him be.

Oh, and Larry's son gets the part in Annie because Chuck has been secretly encouraging and helping him with his role. Quelle Suprise.