Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Power of the Media?

America's Moral Downfall?
A certain douchebag politician who never had a chance in his recent bid for President, has managed to use the recent Supreme Court hearings in a truly pathetic attempt to somehow remain relevant. I won't deign to name this particularly loathsome Republican, but I'm not above linking to hilarious pictures and definitions of him. Anyway, yesterday, said D-bag came out and used something Joe Bidenhas previously praised to defame Marriage Equality, 'blaming' the 1998 sit-com "Will and Grace" for the demise of "traditional marriage." Talk about grasping at straws. I won't even get started about how "traditional marriage" has absolutely NOTHING to do with Christianity, since marriage pre-dates recorded history. But his comments got me wondering about how modern media has helped change minds about the LGBT people.

Truly, before "Will and Grace," there were very few positive portrayals of queer folk on TV. Yes, there was that trans character on "All in the Family." But Beverly was murdered in a later episode. Then Jody came along in "Soap," though as progressive as Billy Crystal's character was, he still wasn't portrayed in the most flattering of terms. Even the theatre and films of the time didn't help. The play (and subsequent movie) The Boys in the Band portrayed gay men as tortured, unhappy and unfulfilled. It wouldn't be until 1997, when comedienne Ellen DeGeneres came out both in person and on her show, that a gay character was portrayed in a truly positive light - and it very nearly destroyed her career. The following year saw the premiere of "Will and Grace," the story of a straight woman and her GBF. Often hilarious; occasionally subversive; loaded with double entendres and populated with relatable characters, "Will and Grace" introduced successful (if neurotic) gay characters to middle America.

Sure, so-called 'Queer Cinema' has been around since the 70's, it would be 2005 before a major studio released a film about gay love. Oscar-winning director Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain was the film we all hoped would open people's eyes. And while it was both a critical and financial success, it really didn't do much to help the cause. Of course, the unhappy ending didn't help. You're gay? Oh, then you'll either die at the hands of homophobic a-holes, or you'll end up alone for the rest of your life. Not very encouraging. And while Showtime successfully adapted the British series "Queer as Folk" into a gay, soft-core soap-opera (followed soon after by The L-Word), the audience for the show wasn't nearly as wide as a broadcast network show. Often naked Bear Richard Hatch may well have been the first winner of "Survivor," but that didn't actually sit well with Maude in Milwaukee.

Another 5 years would pass before there we saw a truly positive gay couple on ABC's "Modern Family." Once again, Middle America found itself with happy and loving gay men in their living rooms every week. 

Still, none of these films or shows were the first to bring up Same Sex Marriage. We have to go back to 1972 for that. Sociologist Alvin Toffler wrote the book Future Shock in 1970, and it was adapted into a 'documentary' (narrated by Orson Welles). I was 12 or 13 when I was first shown Future Shock in school, and I giggled along with my classmates at the scene where two men got married, even though I secretly hoped that such a thing might actually be possible. 

So I have to ask Frothy (who is only 3 years older than Uncle P), is "Will and Grace" truly the first time you got the idea that Same Sex Marriage was a possibility? Or were you so so horribly scarred by a screening of Future Shock, that you felt it your duty to prevent people who loved each other from sharing the same rights as other people who loved each other? I honestly wished I believed in hell, so I could tell him to go there, though it's nice to imagine him roasting in Dante's 8th Level forever.

From Ireland, comes a bit of media Frothy would probably lose his mind over:


More, anon.
Prospero
You have read this article D-Bags / Frothy Mix / Gay / Hate / LGBT / LGBT Rights / Love / Marriage Equality / Media / Movies / Politics / Ramblings / TV with the title March 2013. You can bookmark this page URL http://tammycross.blogspot.com/2013/03/the-power-of-media.html. Thanks!
Thursday, March 28, 2013

Before Laramie

1979
This coming October will mark the 15th anniversary of Matthew Shepard's beating at the hands of two troglodytes in Laramie, Wyoming. But this past December marked the 25th anniversary of the murder of my friend and high school classmate Anthony Milano at the hands of two monsters who have yet to pay for their crimes. 

That's Tony on the far-right of the top row, right next to Uncle P (in the white shirt and over-sized aviators) in a photo from our high school senior year in 1979. The future looked so bright for all of us. 

Tony was quiet and shy but very smart and creative and subversively funny. A talented graphic artist with a skewed sense of humor, we spent three years together (with the rest of the good folks in this photo) in our High School Humanities program, led by a teacher who would go on to be the most celebrated High School Theatre Teacher in the country (and the first adult to tell me it was okay to be gay), Lou Volpe

About a year or so after this photo was taken, Tony and I ran into each other in a gay bar in Philadelphia (where we were both too young to be, legally), though neither of us was yet willing to admit even to each other that we were gay. He offered to drive me home to my apartment in Northeast Philly (I had taken the train into Center City) and we parted without saying a word about where we'd met. It was a very different time. 

Over the years since then, we'd meet in various places and situations, never once mentioning that encounter. The last time I saw him, I was working a retail job while trying to establish an acting career. It was early December and I was just too busy to take time out to have a meaningful conversation with him. I promised I would keep in touch and brushed him off, too concerned with whatever it was I was doing to worry about hurting his feelings. A week later, Tony was dead and I was wracked with guilt at having dismissed him.

On December 14th, 1987, Tony stopped for a sandwich and a beer at a local bar, where he ran into Frank Chester and Richard Laird, who goaded him into ostensibly giving them a ride home. Chester and Laird were both relatively attractive men. Did Tony think he was going to have sex with one or both of them? Was he too afraid to refuse their request for a ride? Did they ply him with the promise of more alcohol or drugs? Did they intimate they were willing to have sex with him? We'll never know. What we do know is that they led him to remote, wooded area and murdered him in very cold blood. It's still not clear who did what, though it is certain that one of them held Tony down while the other one slashed his throat with a box-cutter (so brutally that flesh was found in the surrounding trees). They then set his car on fire and left him for dead. Chester and Laird were eventually found guilty and sentenced to death, though both of them remain alive and well in Bucks County Prison, filing appeal after appeal.

I remember attending Tony's viewing and seeing his obviously sedated parents; the undertaker's less-than-successful attempt at hiding the damage to his throat in his surprisingly open casket and the dozens of my weeping classmates. It was surreal, to say the least. Tony's mother never recovered and passed away a few years later. His father, a mild-mannered barber, passed away in 2012. His sister, Annamarie, is the last member of the family to survive. She rarely gives interviews or comments on the events surrounding her brother's death. Chester and Laird are still incarcerated, even though Laird was re-tried in 2007 with the same outcome. 

As a whole, the LGBT community has made great strides in the last 25 years. Just this week saw two  historic Equality issues argued before the Supreme Court. Still, I can't help but wonder what Tony might have accomplished in those years, had his life not been cut short by two ignorant, homophobic creeps. Worse still... There are plenty of ignorant, fearful and violent people who wouldn't hesitate to do the same thing to a naive young gay, lesbian or trans person, given the chance.

As children, we're told there are no such things as monsters. Sadly, as adults, we learn that's just not true. Personally, I am usually against the Death Sentence. In this case, I am happy to make an exception. 

Sorry if this post was a bummer but I think things need to be brought into perspective every now and then. As much as we may want to celebrate the eminent demise of DOMA and Prop 8, I think we need to take a moment to remember all that has led up to it. Hate crimes against LGBTQ people are still reported on a daily basis. So many young LGBTQ people are still rejected by their families, bullied by their peers and ostracized by the churches in which they grew up. Suicide among LGBTQ youth remains at an all-time high. It's up to all of us to stop the madness and embrace the idea that we are all human, no matter who or how we love.

More, anon.
Prospero
You have read this article Anthony Milano / Crime / Criminals / Gay / Hate / Hate Crimes / High School / LGBT Rights / Matthew Shepherd / Murder / Old Friends / Real Life Horrors / Sad / Sick with the title March 2013. You can bookmark this page URL http://tammycross.blogspot.com/2013/03/before-laramie.html. Thanks!
Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Value of Solidarity

So, if you are on Facebook or Twitter, you have no doubt seen the symbol that's on your right. You may even have seen it if you don't use social media, as it has made a bit of a stir on traditional media outlets, as well.

It is a variation of the Human Rights Campaign's traditional blue and yellow Equality logo. As the US Supreme Court heard arguments in both the Prop 8 and DOMA cases yesterday and today, millions of social media users (Uncle P, included) changed their profile pictures to HRC's pink and red logo. Interestingly, it wasn't just LGBT people who did this. On Facebook, my news feed was a sea of red as a good two thirds of my Facebook Friends posted the symbol, the majority of whom are straight. Seeing so many friends lend their support to Marriage Equality was both heartwarming and empowering. Of course, I wouldn't actually be Facebook Friends with anyone who wasn't LGBT friendly. And like many Facebook users, the majority of my Facebook Friends are people I've never actually met in person. They are friends of friends, or people with similar interests and beliefs, or just folks I think are funny and cool.

George "Sulu" Takei is being credited for getting the bandwagon going on this. His many, many followers saw him post it (and it's many, many variations) and took up the mantle, showing their support for him and LGBT people in general. It was amazing. Of course, there were detractors. "Oh, like SCOTUS is going to base their decision on your Facebook profile picture." Of course, that's hardly the point.

Here's the thing: The overwhelming majority of social media users (most of whom are between 18 and 30), are for Marriage Equality in America and don't understand why anyone would do otherwise.  The millions of folks who posted the red Equality symbol don't need to show SCOTUS that they support the cause (though traditional media coverage certainly couldn't escape the 9 Justices). Still, those straight allies who posted the symbol did so much more, just by letting us know that they have our backs. The tide is changing, and the pervasiveness of the red Equality symbol says more than any Quinnipiac poll ever could.

The haters are losing. And that's OK with me. And my friends, both on Facebook and in real life.





More, anon.
Prospero


You have read this article DOMA / Gay / LGBT Rights / Marriage Equality / Politics / Prop 8 with the title March 2013. You can bookmark this page URL http://tammycross.blogspot.com/2013/03/the-value-of-solidarity.html. Thanks!
Saturday, March 23, 2013

Extended Winter Blahs

No Sh*t, Sherlock!
Normally, I despise Winter. And while this winter seems to want to hang on well past its welcome (an Ohio prosecutor has actually - though  satirically - indicted Punxatawny Phil, demanding the death penalty for Phil's 'deliberate misrepresentation of early spring'); there are a few things that made it more bearable than most (and one or two that made it a little worse). 

Let's start with what extra-sucked about this winter, so I can end on a high note, yes? First, though I deliberately chose to take most of this season off, I have done nothing theatrical since last June and have nothing lined up until October. Yes, I could use a break to concentrate on other artistic endeavors (and two dormant projects are well on their ways to revival and possible full fruition) but I still find myself jealous of my many of my friends who are (or have been) in some terrific shows, lately. And I worry that I'll get lazy and forget everything I've spent most of my life learning about acting and directing. I know it sounds silly, but the theatre folk among you know exactly what I mean. Of course, my mother's recent health issues and my increased involvement in her care have taken their toll. And I miss the Sun. We've had more gray days here in the East these past few months than I can remember. And as much as I hated spending 5 days without power and heat following Sandy, I know there are folks who had (and still have) it much worse than I.

Still, there were several things that kept this winter from being a complete disaster. First, I doubled up on my vitamin D supplement starting in late September and I can honestly say that it's made a difference. And as for those revived projects; I am very excited to see them in the hands of new collaborators, both of whom are very talented young men I am pleased to call 'Friend.'

Of course, the best thing that happened to Uncle P in a very long time was meeting T.  Being found both interesting and attractive does wonders for one's self-esteem. Last summer, I was telling friends I had given up on romance and had resigned myself to living a life of solitude. I don't know if it was the extra vitamin D or something else, but after Christmas I decided I wasn't going to settle for that and joined a few online dating sites. And along came T. And hope. T and I are still very new (and live an hour apart from one another) and I have no idea where it might lead (if anywhere), but it's nice to know I'm not done with romance, even if I'm older than dirt.

Now if it would only get warm and sunny already.



How does a movie so bad have such a great soundtrack? At least Peter Frampton was still adorable, though Aerosmith has the best number:



More, anon.
Prospero
You have read this article Bad Movies / Blahs / Dating / Depression / Movies / Musicals / Ramblings / Seasons / Sgt. Pepper's Lonelyhearts Band / The Beatles / The Bee Gees / Uncle P / Winter with the title March 2013. You can bookmark this page URL http://tammycross.blogspot.com/2013/03/extended-winter-blahs.html. Thanks!
Friday, March 22, 2013

Sterotype Schmereotype

Seriously?
Word is, people started lining up in front of the Supreme Court Building Thursday evening in order to attend the arguments in both the DOMA and Prop 8 cases, next Tuesday and Wednesday. If I could afford to spend 6 nights camped out in unseasonably cold weather, it would be on vacation with a hot, fuzzy companion to help keep me warm while Aurora Borealis shone above our heated tent.

But seriously, the next week may well prove the turning point for Marriage Equality on a national level. It's truly conceivable that the United States may actually progress into the 21st Century and join the planet's other progressive Democracies and acknowledge that not only is sexuality innate, but that Civil Rights belong to everyone. 

There are of course, many in the U.S. who (because of fear, ignorance and superstitions passed down from their parents and clergy) believe that LGBTQ people are perverted, evil sinners who flaunt their sins and try to entice intrinsically straight people (especially children) into homosexuality. These folks (probably gay, themselves) use extreme examples to perpetrate the lies they espouse. Sure, hot guys in leather ride floats in Pride parades. But hot girls with big breasts serve wings in tight T-shirts and cut-offs at Hooters, too. 

But I digress. Long-time readers know of my disdain for so-called 'Reality TV.' Manipulative; sordid; soul-sucking drek, shows like "The Bachelor;" "Survivor;" "The Apprentice;" "The Jersey Shore" and their ilk, pander to the lowest common denominator and insult all of our intelligences by their very existence. Tabloid TV seems to have taken over, making TV programming far worse than it ever was.* Unfortunately, Canadian cable channel Slice ("... the juicy channel women have been waiting for.") has lowered the bar yet another notch with their newest 'Reality' show, "Golden Gays."



Yes, this is the image we want to project to the rest of the world. Woo-hoo! We survived the plague! Yeah! We wanna get it on! Wee-haa! Viagra! This kind of crap is exactly why the Rednecks, religious radicals and Repugnicans hate us. Now, I'm not saying you shouldn't let your freak flag fly. By all means. I have no business telling anyone what to do, say, watch or participate in. I'm just saying that the sore thumb may get the most attention, but the other nine fingers end up doing all the work.

Yes, I know - this whole post comes off as an internal homophobic rant, but I swear it's really about the intentionally exaggerated circumstances created by the producers of these exceptionally horrid shows. And while I will happily admit to watching the Food Network's "Restaurant Impossible;" "Dinner Impossible" and "Chopped," those are more about my love of food than the sort of Schadenfreude in which most 'Reality' shows seem to revel.

More, anon.
Prospero

*Thankfully, scripted television has recently upped the ante with cable shows like "The Walking Dead;" "Breaking Bad;" "Dexter;" "Mad Men" and a few others.
You have read this article Aging / Bad / Bad TV / Constitution / Crap / Daddies / Gay / Gay Bears / Legal Precedent / LGBT Rights / Marriage Equality / Nonsense / Prop 8 / Reality TV / Slice / Supreme Court with the title March 2013. You can bookmark this page URL http://tammycross.blogspot.com/2013/03/sterotype-schmereotype.html. Thanks!
Thursday, March 21, 2013

Damned If You Don't

Alexandra "Xan" Cassavetes (daughter of actor/director John Cassavetes and actress Gena Rowlands) has directed a 21st Century take on the old Hammer vampire movies of the late 1960's and early-to-mid 1970's with her fictional feature debut Kiss of the Damned. Sexy, gory and loaded with old-school Hammer imagery, the trailer for Kiss... very much reminds me of the old Christopher Lee Dracula films churned out by Hammer studios when I was a kid. 

French actress Josephine de La Baume is the vampire Djuna. Young hottie Milo Ventimiglia ("Heroes") is her victim and Roxane Mesquida (Rubber) is Djuna's sister, Mimi. 

Cassavetes seems to have pulled out all the stops on this over-the-top SXSW fan-fav, using everything she learned from her father's films combined with the Hammer pantheon to create a vampire movie 1000 times sexier (and probably 10,000 times better) than anything starring that Uber-Creepy Flat-Faced Brit and the Girl Who Can't Act to Save Her Life.

Released by Magnet (the same studio who gave us the sentient tire movie, Rubber), Kiss of the Damned will be available OnDemand March 28th and in limited theatrical release on May 3rd. You can visit the film's Facebook page here. I'm hoping it will play locally and will post my review as soon as I have seen it. The Red Band trailer below may be NSFW, depending on where you work.



More, anon.
Prospero
You have read this article Gory / Hammer Films / Horror / Kinky / Movies / NSFW / Sexy / SXSW / The 70's / Trailers / Vampires with the title March 2013. You can bookmark this page URL http://tammycross.blogspot.com/2013/03/damned-if-you-don.html. Thanks!
Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Shocked?

Michelle Shocked
By now you all know the story of the tragic breakdown of the once-promising alt-folk singer Michelle Shocked, who made a name for herself in the late 80's and early 90's. In the mid-90's (while gaining her greatest success with a song -- "Quality of Mercy" -- for the soundtrack to the Sean Penn/Susan Sarandon film Dead Man Walking), Shocked joined the choir of the West Angeles Church of God in Christ, a Pentecostal church in L.A. and subsequently became "Born Again." Honestly, I thought she'd given up performing, as I hadn't even heard her name in many, many years.

Of course, she got her name back in the press with her horrific homophobic rant this past Sunday at Yoshi, a club in San Francisco, where she declared that she was afraid that Marriage Equality would trigger the return of Jesus and the end of world, telling the audience (who walked out after) to "Go on Twitter and say that 'Michelle Shocked hates fags!'" Since then, 10 out of the 11 remaining venues where she had been scheduled to perform have cancelled her shows and LGBT groups have decried her statement all over the Internet. 

Today, Shocked issued an apology of sorts, stating she was merely expressing the worries of other Right-leaning Christians and the she (like Jesus) loves everyone.

Hmm. Too little, too late, Michelle. Or is it? Before this week, when is the last time you heard her name in the press (if ever)? I'd venture to say that no one born after 1985 had ever heard of her before this week. So I have to wonder... They say "There's no such thing as bad publicity." And Oscar Wilde famously said "The only thing worse than being talked about, is not being talked about." So, my question is, was this a true melt-down or just a publicity stunt? I'm guessing it's probably a little bit of both. The gigs she lost will likely be replaced with invitations to perform at anti-gay rallies for groups like NOM and Focus on the Family, regardless of what she actually believes about gays and Marriage Equality. And she'll be fine with taking their blood money. 

Take it from the voice of experience - performers are whores. Each and every one of us. Most of us are just a little bit classier about it. If this is a publicity stunt, I hope it backfires on her. If it isn't, she's already lost her credibility as an indie folk performer and sent herself on the same path as anti-gay nut-job Victoria Jackson - another has-been, desperately trying to stay relevant in a world that has mostly forgotten her.

I actually sort of feel sorry for both women. Their careers shut down at their peaks; misguided by right-wing religion and desperate for attention, what recourse did they have but to make outrageous statements about marginalized people who are finally coming into their own? In the 1960's, they both would have come out against desegregation and mixed-raced marriage.  Sad, sad, sad, no matter how one spins it.



I can only hope that smart folks will see through the hate these women espouse.

More, anon.
Prospero
You have read this article Cynical / Hate / Homophobia / LGBT Rights / Marriage Equality / Michelle Shocked / Nonsense / Publicity / The Most Homophobic Thing / Victoria Jackson with the title March 2013. You can bookmark this page URL http://tammycross.blogspot.com/2013/03/shocked.html. Thanks!
Monday, March 18, 2013

The Gayest Music Video You'll See This Week

Mister Chase
I won't be shy about it - I like great new music and hot guys. Mister Chase managed to fit into both of those categories this week with the release of his newest video for the song "Stay."

Truthfully, I was not aware of Mister Chase until I stumbled on his video today on Towleroad, America's premiere site for LGBT news. I have no idea how such a talented hottie managed to remain under my radar for so long. The video for "Stay" is both sexy and poignant and shows another side of Chase. Known primarily for dance tracks, Chase takes a chance on a torch-song ballad with "Stay" and it pays off. The video's striking visuals speak to all of us who thought they had found "the one," only to find out otherwise.

Here (via) is the video (might be NSFW, depending on where you work).



Having grown up in a fundamentalist Christian household, Chase suffered from academic anxiety until he discovered his school's theater club and began to overcome his fears (much like Uncle P did). His albums are available for download on iTunes or on CD from Amazon.

More, anon.
Prospero

You have read this article Hot / LGBT / Mister Chase / Music / Music Video / Sexy / The Gayest Thing with the title March 2013. You can bookmark this page URL http://tammycross.blogspot.com/2013/03/the-gayest-music-video-you-see-this-week.html. Thanks!
Saturday, March 16, 2013

Review: "Oz, the Great and Powerful"

Mila Kunis, James Franco, Michelle Williams & Rachel Weisz
I almost titled this post "All of Them Witches," but I didn't want to associate Disney's Oz, the Great and Powerful with Roman Polanski's masterpiece, in any way. And make no mistake, OGP (as I will from now on refer to it) is certainly no masterpiece. But it isn't completely terrible, either. Well, almost...

You've read the reviews and know the plot and spoilers by now, so let's get down to the meat of the matter, shall we? Yes, yes, yes... oh man, yes... It is BEAUTIFUL! Director Sam Raimi (Spider-Man; Drag Me to Hell) spends his entire budget on the 3D CGI and every penny spent is apparent on the screen. His Oz is super-saturated color and texture and homage, both visually and in tone. The Oz we know and love is clearly visible (or at least it's roots). There are plenty of in-jokes about (Oz is a carnival magician in the Baum Brothers circus; after scaring off a lion with a chemical trick, Oz shouts "You coward!" as it runs off) and even lines lifted right from the original (more on the script in a moment). I read all of the Oz books as a kid, and was glad to see China Town and the Quadlings & Tinkers included with the Munchkins and the Winkies. And of course, there was lots and lots and lots of cinephilic eye-candy. Unfortunately, That's almost all there is to recommend about OGP. I say almost, because there are a few performances worth praising.

Michelle Williams and Rachel Weisz seem to be among the few who know they're in an Oz movie and come off like they are in the same movie as one another. Williams' Glinda has a determination we might not have expected from Billie Burke's version (though Glinda is 20 years younger in this story) and Weisz' has the chops to play a wicked witch without an ounce of cynicism. The amazing Bruce Campbell turns in another hilarious Raimi cameo as a Winkie gatekeeper and even Zach Braff has his moments as Finley, a nice flying monkey (the witches use flying baboons to reign terror down on Oz), though Q was distracted by Finley's resemblance to old-time comedian Red Buttons. Sadly, the worst performances are from the actors in the crucial roles: James Franco and Mila Kunis seem to be in a completely different movie from everyone else. Franco's contemporary style doesn't fair well in a turn-of-the-century tale of a ne'er-do-well making good and has none of the bombast required for the character. Yes, a good actor should bring his own take to any iconic character he or she is lucky enough to play... but there's something to be said for honoring what's come before. Franco's cowardly huckster doesn't ever seem quite resourceful enough  to come up with the Big Plan (another cool homage to the original), let alone trick an entire country into thinking he was a wizard. But worst of all... What the hell is Mila Kunis even doing in this movie? I like Mila. She's pretty and funny and was so good in Black Swan. But I never once believed that she believed she was in Oz. During her transformation scene, Kunis is off screen while we see her CGI shadow on the wall as she speaks. All I could think was: 'Meg?' Even worse is 'evil' Theodora, looking something like a cross between an X-Men villainess; a dominatrix and a character out of Mad Max, Kunis fails miserably and more often than not, spends most of the movie looking silly and sticking out like a sore thumb.

As for the script by Mitchell Kapner (Romeo Must Die) and David Lindsey-Abaire (Rabbit Hole; the upcoming Poltergeist re-boot) has a few clever moments, especially when paying homage to Victor Fleming's classic (Oz's ride through the tornado is particularly fun and I loved that Theodora's tears left her with scars). But a few clever moments are hardly enough to carry an entire film and the story these two have concocted is hardly compelling. We already know he is going  to be crowned Wizard of Oz, so there's nothing really at stake. Of course Glinda isn't going to be killed. How could she help Dorothy, 20 years later? Why should we be concerned about the outcome?

Raimi, a master of visuals since he burst onto the indie scene with the original The Evil Dead in 1981, does the best he can with what he's been given, though I must say that every film he's ever made before is better. Danny Elfman's score is reminiscent of the work he recently did for Cirque du Soleil but isn't anything special. 

Gregory Maguire's novel (and its subsequent musical adaptation) 'Wicked' is certainly a more interesting and well-thought out prequel to the first story, though neither it nor its sequels address how the Wizard came into power. And of course, this isn't Disney's first trip to Oz. 1985's Return to Oz introduced the world to indie darling Fairuza Balk as Dorothy in a movie featuring electroshock therapy; a talking chicken; living rocks with egg allergies; a witch who can change heads; a key-wound army; a flying sofa with a stuffed moose-head and every person in Oz turned to stone. Dark, dark, dark. And a much better and much more interesting film than OGP. *1/2 (One and a Half Out of Four Stars).



And here's a fan-made trailer for Return to Oz:



I was hoping for so much more from Raimi. I can only hope the upcoming Evil Dead* remake (which he produced) is everything its trailers promise it will be. You know I won't be waiting a week to see that.

More, anon.
Prospero

*I showed this trailer to T and he said, "You actually want to see this movie?" Oh, dear. I guess he's in for an education.
You have read this article James Franco / Michelle Williams / Mila Kunis / Movies / Oz: The Great and Powerful / Rachel Weisz / Reviews / Sam Raimi / Trailers with the title March 2013. You can bookmark this page URL http://tammycross.blogspot.com/2013/03/review-great-and-powerful.html. Thanks!
Friday, March 15, 2013

A New Obsession

"Wonder Showzen"
It comes as no surprise to me that I missed "Wonder Shozen" when it aired on MTV2 in 2005 & 2006. The only thing I've watched on MTV since 1995 is "Teen Wolf," and I'm ready to give up on that if this season isn't a vast improvement over last.

Today, a link on CNN led me to an EW story about cult TV shows. And while I might have ranked more than a few differently, I can't really find fault with anything that introduces me to something so smart; sick; biting; satirical; anarchistic; subversive and downright genius. Essentially an adult parody of PBS's educational programming from the 70's (think Avenue Q but weirder, sicker and yes, dirtier). Annoying, foul-mouthed puppets; children singing and saying totally inappropriate things; cartoons that make Fritz the Cat look like Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm and an obvious disdain for the media all add up to the most insanely hilarious stuff I've seen in ages.

Creators Vernon Chatman and John Lee are very sick (but very funny) men and the clips I've seen just today have me salivating for more. Both seasons are available on Amazon to download or purchase a DVD copy and I have added them to my 'Wish List,' if you care about such things and know that my birthday is just 4 short months away...

Just take a look at what I'm talking about (videos probably NSFW):





"Just like my nightmares!... Delicious Murder!"

And here's a completely inappropriately racist (but effing hilarious) little ditty:



And possibly the most horrific of all; "Aunt Flo:"



Of course, my favorite "Slaves" has had all embedding disabled, but you can watch it in all it's horror-inducing hilarity, here.

I always like to think of myself as ahead of the pack when it comes to outre and/or subversive entertainment, so I have no idea how this gem passed under my radar.. Perhaps a different venue (IFC or even SHOWTIME) might have nurtured "Wonder Showzen" beyond two seasons. But MTV2? 

Regardless, I now feel compelled to seek out the entire show. A new obsession is born!

More, anon.
Prospero
You have read this article Anarchy / Comedy / Dark / Funny / MTV / Nonsense / Not for Children / Outre / Perverse / Puppets / Sick / Subversive / TV / Wonder Showzen with the title March 2013. You can bookmark this page URL http://tammycross.blogspot.com/2013/03/a-new-obsession.html. Thanks!
Thursday, March 14, 2013

Falling Mascots and Other Nonsense

So I bought myself a present today. I'm listening to it right now. In typical Musical Theatre geek fashion I broke down and bought the "Smash" Season 1 CD. Love it or hate it (I've embraced it's silly soap-opera look at the business and really love it), you can't deny how well done it is. I'm also a fan of composer Marc Shaiman (Hairspray), who writes the music for Bombshell, the fictional musical about Marilyn Munroe at the center of the show. I know there are loads of Katherine McPhee haters, but I have never seen "American Idol" and had no idea who she was before "Smash," and I kind of fell in love with her in this part. But it really is an ensemble and what a cast! Broadway, film and television veterans who all certainly understand the process. And they honestly do some much more interesting covers than "Glee" could hope to. I think the music is even better this season, and am looking forward to both the Season 2 and the complete Bombshell CDs.

Posting that "Mascot Fails" video last night had me seeking out more. Honestly, whenever I see one of these for the first time I end up curled up on the floor, convulsing in laughter. My buddy James is the same way. It's very specific for me, because it's not the falling mascot that makes me laugh but imagining the expression on the face of the poor confused and terrified schlub inside the costume, flailing helplessly as he goes down, all while the visible face continues to grin idiotically. Oh... just thinking about  han;,s,md;lamk;nrf'aknjjkabhdkghddp 

Sorry. I didn't mean to scare you. I did not have a stroke. I lost all control there, for a second, laughing. I mean seriously. It's terrible. Every time I see some poor loser on the side of the road in a giant hotdog or chicken costume, I silently wish "Fall! Please, oh please, oh please, please please, PLEASE fall down!" I did see a Quizno's Cup Guy get pushed by the wind once, but he managed to stay upright (needless to say, much to my disappointment). Jimmy and I dare you not to laugh at these:







Oh, man! That last one just about made me hyperventilate. It just gets worse and worse and the poor jerk's ass must have hurt for days! I have to give him (or her) credit, because I would've given up a long time before the blue chicken does.

Here's wishing you a silly (in a good way) day, tomorrow. I'm doing everything I can to laugh as much as I can. Because I know if I don't... well... I prefer laughing, anyway.

Still not sure I'm back, back. Meeting a friend of a Day Job friend tomorrow night for drinks. We've been Facebook friends for a while and are finally meeting face-to-face before he takes off for Boston for a few weeks (our mutual friend describes him as a 'gypsy').

Yes, T and I did have that date, and it was.... very nice and we are both looking forward to more. I'm looking forward to some decent sleep, soon. And doing some laundry. And maybe going out for lunch. Calgon, take me away!

More, anon.
Prospero
You have read this article Costumes / Fail / Falling Mascots / Funny / Monty Python / Music / Musicals / Nonsense / Silly / The Day Job / TV with the title March 2013. You can bookmark this page URL http://tammycross.blogspot.com/2013/03/falling-mascots-and-other-nonsense.html. Thanks!
Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Don't Cry For Him

Pope Depravatio XXV
Today, a bunch of old guys obsessed with sex (because it's forbidden to them) voted for the new leader of their "No Gurlz Alloud" club. The RCC has certainly had a rollercoaster ride in the past few years, hasn't it? Sex scandals are just the tip of the iceberg, kids. And I know that folks are sort of excited that Francis I is the first Pope from South America, but I have have to wonder how the conclave missed the potential for Evita jokes. Seriously - that many Cardinals in the same room all missed the musical theatre reference? I hardly think so.

Jorge Bergoglio isn't exactly a charismatic man, despite his resemblance to "Arrested Development" star Jeffrey Tambor. And yes, he's the first South American Pontiff. At least he doesn't look like Evil Incarnate. Still... 

I just want to play 'Devil's Advocate' (you should excuse the expression - or not - don't care)  here... We know that Ratzeneater was in the Hitler Youth Corps and (allegedly) helped hide pedophile priests from prosecution as a Cardinal. We know that plenty of Nazis fled to South America after WWII; the majority of them taken in by Brazil and Argentina. I'll let the tinfoil hat/truther/ex-gay/abductees among you to draw your own conclusions to that particular setup.

Here's the thing: Nothing is really going to change for the Church (or its progressive members), other than a new PR campaign. Personally, I think it's too little, too late. Americans are abandoning the RCC in record numbers; both disgusted by the sex scandals and disappointed in the Church's refusal to recognize homosexuality as innate. Francis has previously expressed his opinion on gay adoption and marriage, despite the Argentine government's ruling which legalized same sex marriage. They've already begun the spin about Bergoglio's humble roots and his connection to and support of the poor and downtrodden. 

Unless the poor and downtrodden are gay, of course. Oops! How on earth did that slip out?

There are very, very few instances in which Rowan Atkinson (pictured above) has been able to make me laugh. I have honestly just never found him funny in more than one or two instances. That having been said, I can't imagine being sent into fits of hysteria more than by the thought of Atkinson as Pope. Yes, even more than the thought of a falling mascot.


Hocus-Pocus; Alakazaam! If Jorge can't do it; no one can!

Of course, this is the outcome Uncle P was really hoping for:



More, anon.
Prospero
You have read this article LGBT Rights / Liars / Marriage Equality / Nonsense / Religion / The Church / The Pope with the title March 2013. You can bookmark this page URL http://tammycross.blogspot.com/2013/03/don-cry-for-him.html. Thanks!
Monday, March 11, 2013

The Gayest Post Since I Took a Break!

Don't expect much. I have no idea if I'm actually back or not. But I saw this crowd-funding video for the new film from director Darren Stein's (Jawbreaker) new feature, G.B.F., about three Mean Heathers vying for the affection of their high school's only openly gay boy in order to claim him her Gay Best Friend. As I am about to revive two dormant artistic projects with two different collaborators, one of which will involve a Kickstarter (or some other crowd-funding site), I was intrigued and took a look. And I have to be honest; as much as I want to endorse and encourage LGBT and LGBT-themed Film and Theatre, I'm not sure G.B.F. is any smarter or funnier than any other lame teen sex comedy. Watch the video and then I'll explain (via).



Really? The so-called Gay Best Friend is an 'accessory?' What the hell? Oh, okay. The lesson is actually that 'no people should be treated as accessories.' That's good. But for a movie that's supposed to be told from the perspective of two gay teens, there seems to be an awful lot of focus on the straight girls. And while happy to promote LGBT friendly stars Natasha Lyonne and Megan Mullally, they curiously neglect to include co-stars Rebecca Gayheart; Jonathan Silverman and the newly-slim Horatio Sanz in the promo. I'd be advertising to the broadest audience possible, wouldn't you?

I get it. I do. It's a gay Rom-Com for young audiences. No one is expecting high art or any statement  (unless there's one they aren't showing us in the teaser). Don't get me wrong, there's a lot to like about G.B.F. I just wish there was less to dislike. Or maybe it's just me. Have I moved past these kinds of movies? No. I still love Big Eden; All Over the Guy and The Lonelyhearts Club (all for mostly sentimental reasons). 

I'll have to actually see G.B.F. before giving a fully informed opinion, though I don't think I'm too far off the mark, here. What do you think? Will you see G.G.F. should it be released? Would you be willing to invest in it? I miss your comments.

More, anon.
Prospero
You have read this article Fundraising / Gay / Heathers / LGBT / Mean Girls / Movies / Queer Cinema / Stereotypes / The Gayest Thing / Trailers with the title March 2013. You can bookmark this page URL http://tammycross.blogspot.com/2013/03/the-gayest-post-since-i-took-break.html. Thanks!

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