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23 posts categorized "JIM PARSONS"

Sep 13 2018
Steamy Roleplay + Trump Dumps On P.R.: Deaths Never Happened! + Kavanaugh Docs Sent To FBI + Eric Trump Goes Full-On Anti-Semitic + Gay TOY STORY Nuptials + Lourdes Strikes A Pose + MORE! — 12-PACK Comments (0)

ABOVE: A li'l close-up magic.

BELOW: Keep reading for Trump's Hurricane Maria denial, hot and funny roleplaying, Henry Cavill riding the Superman controversy, remembering Nell Carter and more ...

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Jun 03 2018
Jim Parsons On Roseanne Barr: Who Is She, Who Was She, Who Does She Hope To Be? Comments (0)

Jim Parsons“How ... and why?” (Video still via CNN)

Jim Parsons comments on comedy in the age of Trump ...

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Jun 01 2018
The Men Of INSECURE + Rubio Campaign Chair Likens Obama To Curious George + Aiden Turner Shirtless + Pogo Says His Pulse Cheering Was For Pretend + Feckless C-Gate Rages + MORE! — 12 PACK Comments (0)

Above: The eventual unveiling is going to be a pretty picture. Follow here.

Below: Insecure hotness, the shirtless Poldark hunk, Vienna readying itself for Patti LaBelle, anti-gay Pogo claims he was just joshing' around and is really bicurious (but also loves right-wing nuts), Trump digs in on Samantha Bee, and more ...

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May 31 2018
Mean Boys: A Review Of THE BOYS IN THE BAND On Broadway Comments (0)

5-Boys-in-the-BandLives of the party (All images — except for Maria, what've you got against her? — by Joan Marcus)

Many things have been written about The Boys in the Band, Mart Crowley's acidic, unsparing look at the jousting within a circle of gay friends attending a 32nd birthday party, and opinions have swung widely from “groundbreaking” to “retrograde.” Some of the gay men old enough to be activists when it bowed treated it like anti-gay propaganda, while some younger gay men simply find it depressing, filled with too many low blows and angst.

Is this what my life will be like?

Even now, as the show opens for the first time on Broadway — 50 years after its premiere ScanOff-Broadway at Theater Four on April 14, 1968 — the positive pre-press it has received is filled with arguments about how it's a period piece that represents the way we were, not the way we are, as writers attempt to persuade still younger gay audiences it is a play that's probably worth seeing as a historical marker if the production is on point.

I think those writers are getting it wrong; The Boys in the Band is not a great play that is of another era, some time-capsule peek at the bad old days and bad old gays, but a great play, period. It was and remains an unflinching look at the unique ways in which many gay men, coached our whole lives by society, pick at each other's emotional scabs, wearing each other down to lift ourselves up.

As Vito Russo once wrote, the play, which came out at a time when most gay representations in the theater and all gay representations on film were dismissive or pathological, is negative, but fair. It's easy to tell it was written by a gay man who understood that testosterone spiked with lavender is still testosterone. Gay men who are friends will not hesitate to be competitive, to be jealous, to attempt to take each other down a notch, to hand off their earrings ahead of a rumble.

Inside the Big Boys in the Band After-Party! — HERE

To the play's great credit, it presents drama-filled gay relationships not as the by-products of abomination, but as the by-products of social pressure not to be gay in the first place. The self-loathing is accepted by the play, but only in the context of the story at hand, and even then, the play's central figure expresses hope that things will improve in the future as he darkly jokes about the only happy homosexual being “a gay corpse.”

V2-Boys-Tuc-Watkins-Michael-Benjamin-Washington-and-Matt-Bomer-in-THE-BOYS-IN-THE-BAND-Photo-by-Joan-Marcus-2018-1All Boys calling

Yes, things have improved in the past 50 years, but whether or not you're familiar with the play, you'll be surprised — as you, hopefully, watch the Broadway revival that officially opened at the Booth Theatre tonight — by just how timely and relevant it still is. 

I would argue that The Boys in the Band is not a crystal ball, and this is no seance; rather, the play is a mirror, so make sure your hair looks good ...

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BOY Crazy: Inside The Party For THE BOYS IN THE BAND Comments (0)

IMG_5201Playwright Mart Crowley appeared for the final bows
IMG_5201Take a bow — the boys of The Boys in the Band (Images from audience member in mezzanine)

It took The Boys in the Band 50 years to get to Broadway, and it took me nearly as long to get into the pre-opening after-party ... but I did.

Huge Recap of the Original The Boys in the Band — HERE!

I impulsively bought one of the last tickets for Wednesday's 7 p.m. performance (I had already seen the first preview April 30), scoring one with an empty seat on one side of me and two empty seats on the other. (There were only seven empty seats in the house; not surprising since the show's official opening night is tonight, which is probably the night fans targeted, thinking it would be the star-studded choice.)

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May 06 2018
THE BOYS Are Back In Town Comments (0)

Screen Shot 2018-05-06 at 2.41.58 PMCrowley defends the play against criticism that it's too negative. (Video still via CBS)

Great piece on The Boys in the Band playwright Mart Crowley on CBS This Morning today. So wonderful that he lived to see his work on the Great White Way — it's in previews now and opens May 31.

My Boys in the Band Flashback Piece — HERE!

The piece also contains quotes from some of the plays stars, including Matt Bomer, Tuc Watkins, Jim Parsons, and Zachary Quinto ...

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Apr 17 2018
What Is It? What Was It? What Does It Hope To Be?: Untucking THE BOYS IN THE BAND Comments (0)

Boys in the Band still 1Happy birthday, The Boys in the Band — just “beware the hostile fag!” (Image via Cinema Center Films)

The Boys in the Band, Mart Crowley's (b. 1935) play about eight gay men and one opaque interloper sparring at a Manhattan birthday party, opened Off-Broadway at Theater Four on April 14, 1968, running for 1,001 performances.

My Review of The Boys in the Band on Broadway — HERE

The play's 100-seat theater attracted lines of 500-600 people and hosted many celebrities, viewable by its actors because one of them had drilled a hole in the set; Jackie Kennedy (1929-1994), Groucho Marx (1890-1977), Marlene Dietrich (1901-1992) with Alexander Cohen (1920-2000), and Carol Channing (b. 1921) were said to have attended.

Both the play and the 1970 movie version (directed by William Friedkin, b. 1935) were pop cultural sensations, but as Gay Lib took hold in the '70s, both fell out of favor with many gay men, who found them to contain embarrassing, even homophobic representations that did little to help the gay cause.

6a00d8341c2ca253ef01b7c9616d53970b-800wiPoster from the original cast's British engagement (Image via Wyndham's)

I've always loved the play, the movie, and the men they explore and immortalize with, alternately, affection and recrimination. Even a teenager could see that the film is different from most others of the era with gay characters in that the men were, while not above some stereotypical swish (who is?), flesh-and-blood human beings who should be taken as they are, as products of their environment. These are neither diabolically nor carelessly concocted phantoms meant to slur homosexuality.

Inside the 2018 Boys in the Band Broadway After-Party!

As the great Vito Russo (1946-1990), writer of The Celluloid Closet (1981), noted, The Boys in the Band, Thecelluloidclosetthe movie and the play, are “not positive, but fair.” Not positive is right! The film's director, Friedkin, said rather unempathetically:

I hope there are happy homosexuals. they just don’t happen to be in my film.

So, I understand why some gay men might have had a kneejerk hateful response to the film, but it boggles the mind that so many of them seem to think these characters do not exist in real life. I have met them many times.

Also worth considering is the fact that The Boys in the Band was such a unique film it was often framed by the media at the time as definitive, which is why I think so many gay plays, movies, TV shows and even blogs are pilloried by gay men — the sense that something is perceived as being all-encompassing breeds hostility. In the case of The Boys in the Band, Time called it a “landslide of truths,” Look dubbed it “the most touching and honest portrayal of homosexual life ever to come to the screen,” and The New York Times chose as the header for its review, “Crowley Study of Male Homosexuality Opens.” Those types of reactions tended to make the film seem like a documentary or case study, not a story, not a fiction.

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It was about Some Boys in the Band, not All Boys in the Band — and are we going to pretend viciously attacking each other died at Stonewall? We've since invented the term shade, which is practically an Olympic sport now.

Also, let's remember the play was written by Crowley, a gay man seeking to create something from his soul during a “depressed,” clearly introspective time in his life when he was flunking out of the Hollywood scene. Diana_Lynn_in_Every_Girl_Should_Be_Married_trailerOffered a shot at house-sitting the posh Beverly Hills mansion of former film star Diana Lynn (1926-1971), he took that time to commit his vision to the page, recalling that some of the opening dialogue sprang from him immediately when he set to work. (Lynn's final screen performance was in the TV film Company of Killers, which would've been a good alternate title for The Boys in the Band.) It is a work from the heart of a gay man who sees that he isn't perfect, but refuses to accept that gay men are less than human.

But still: I get it. Crowley was writing a warts-and-all story about gay men at a time when we had not yet enjoyed almost any positive characterizations on the silver screen. Gay men were used for low humor, were invariably tragic suicides (the best choice), or were presented as vile, perverted villains almost always in popular culture. To ignore that and attempt to show a group of flawed men might have seemed like a continuation of the negativity, when it was arguably a bold rejection of it and an assertion that gay men aren't all villains, but aren't all saints.

Russo argued:

[Crowley’s] characters were losers or borderline survivors at best, but they paved the way for winners.

Exactly right.

It's also worth noting that The Boys in the Band is a pre-Stonewall creation — the riots happened in the middle of the play's initial run. It's only natural that a work of art created in that context might reflect aspects of each era. The film came out less than a year after the riots.

Unfortunately, The Boys in the Band's arguably modern approach to gay men existed as a unique work in the world of film for many years, with most successive movies of the '70s continuing the old stereotypes, some misconstruing The Boys in the Band, carrying on its tropes to ill effect.

In the past 20 years, the play and movie have enjoyed some reassessing. The most high-profile new take on the old Boys launches April 30, when a new production begins previews on Broadway. It's taken 50 years for the smash-hit play to enter the Great White Way — Brenda Broadway! — and I think it comes at the perfect time, a time when we should be able to examine the honesty of the play and contextualize why those characters behaved in the ways they did. Perhaps uncomfortably for some, we may also recognize some of the dysfunction that stubbornly clings to many in our community, even after all the great strides that have been made toward acceptance by the world at large and by ourselves.

For anyone still bitching about the bitches in The Boys in the Band, I've got to go with film critic Stuart Byron (1941-1991), who wrote in American Film some time after the film's backlash had begun:

If homosexuals weren't like that in the '60s, then why do we need gay liberation? BOYS IN THE BAND

Russo concurred, concluding:

The internalized guilt and self-hatred of eight gay men at a Manhattan birthday party formed the best and most potent argument for gay liberation ever offered in a popular art form.

On the eve of the Broadway debut of The Boys in the Band — starring Matt Bomer (Donald), Zachary Quinto (Harold), Jim Parson (Michael), Andrew Rannells (Larry), Robin De Jesus (Emory), Brian Hutchison (Alan), Charlie Carver (Cowboy), Michael Benamin Washington (Bernard), and Tuc Watkins (Hank), as pictured in the image above right — I rewatched the movie version again 30 years after I first saw it ...

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Jan 23 2018
Tennis Aceholes + Oscar Madness + Congressman's Sex Abuse Due To Obama + Boo To Bravo + Dancer From The Sundance + Ryan Reynolds Remaking CLUE + More! — 12-PACK! Comments (0)

Above: Answer — you.

Below: Keep reading for hot tennis players, Oscar recap, how Obamacare made a congressman sexually harass someone, some female firsts, Ryan Reynolds tampering with one of your favorite movies, The Boys in the Band's cast speaks and more ...

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