79 posts categorized "STARRY-EYED"
I didn't realize until recently that Becky Ann Baker is married to Dylan Baker; I have seen both around my neighborhood for years.
Becky Ann is currently giving an Emmy-worthy performance on Girls (a show on which it's damn hard to make a big impression, with so many other outstanding performances), and she also knows that redheads look fantastic in purple.
Seeing Jonathan Groff in Hell's Kitchen is about as rare as seeing guys in tank tops on cold days here, but it's exciting seeing him nonetheless. Granted, my snap this time is not the best, but it's still hard to take a bad pic of the looker.
More interesting than his looks, Groff is simply not given enough credit for all he has done. He has killed it on Broadway more than once, was a part of the phenomenon that was Glee and fought the good fight with Looking, an honest effort to present the LGBT experience (part of it!) to the mainstream without watering things down.
Along with looking good in jeans.
One of the only events I attend that reliably leads to YouTube views for me is the annual
premiere party for the new season of RuPaul's Drag Race.
The show's rabid fans seem to live for news about the fresh crop of queens who have been drafted to do engage in gladiatorial battle—backwards and in high heels. (Visit VossEvents for info on tickets to other events in your area.)
Last night, the 12 ladies of Season 8 showed their mettle, their talent and various body parts (receipts available) at a Hell's-Kitchen-fabulous party for the March 7 premiere of the season, which will also be the 100th episode in the series.
At Stage 48 on W. 48th St. and 11th Ave., I shot the girls on the carpet and met and interviewed each and every one—finally, after all these years, Logo realized the press needs a full two hours to get time with all of these talkative broads!
Your Season 8 queens are (click to connect with them):
The carpet portion of the evening went so smoothly and the ... let's go with “women” ... were so dazzling in comportment and wardrobe I'd have to call it a luster-fuck, even if a sweet kid from Logo was filming everything on his phone over my head, narrating each entry with, “Yasss!” ... and even if some of the queens weren't yet able to find their light.
First impressions are everything, and I have to admit Thorgy Thor—in a fat suit that was one step up from the one “Monica” wore in those Friends flashbacks—fooled me into believing she was an actual large lady. It was like Pat Ast had returned, give or take, from the grave.
Otherwise, Kim Chi was probably the most out-there yet still striking, flaunting a glitzy (gangnam) style, Naysha Lopez and professional Britney Spears impersonator Derrick Barry were the most in need of an aquarium and Bob the Drag Queen (space suit) and Laila McQueen (unitard emblazoned with slurs) were the edgiest.
As a bonus, Younger co-stars Molly Bernard (who I'd just interviewed via email) and the delicious Nico Tortorelli—whose name sounds like something that they should've been passing around on a tray—showed up and did some photos with their crew, allowing me to get selfies. I loved Nico's Cry-Baby styling and inexplicably punk/drag-black ears.
Finally, it was time to interview each queen. Here are my impressions, and be sure you watch all the videos:
Gorgeous in gray, Dax was the prettiest queen who was not consistently name-checked by her rivals as being among the prettiest queens of the season. Jealousy? Or is her persona just more understated than that of some of the vixens she did battle with this season?
I'm not sure, but she came off as sweet to me and pulled off an unforced coquettish performance when in character. Not a try-hard.
Cynthia Lee Fontaine
A Puerto Rican queen who's based in Austin, Texas, she for some reason gave herself a name she can't really pronounce. Sinteeali. It's gold.
Miss Fontaine is a true nut, in the best possible way. She was babbling gaily about how she calls her ass her “cucu” (for culo, one presumes) because it was a word she used when she had to go poop as a child. She's a real character, but not a character in the sense of some of the others; she seems to be the person she is, in or out of a dress. I also couldn't detect an unkind bone in her body, and she was serving a Susan Lucci/Jackie Zeman soap diva beauty.
Wait until you hear her in all my videos—bitch has the gift of gab.
Earlier this week, I was excited to attend one screening that was a part the FIAF (French Institute Alliance Française) series CinéSalon: Lhomme Behind the Camera, which is running through February 23 at Florence Gould Hall (55 E. 59th St., NYC).
The series honors French cinematographer Pierre Lhomme, 85, whose work on a variety of classics and interesting efforts is said to have “helped shape the careers of iconic directors, including Chris Marker, Jean-Pierre Melville and James Ivory.”
The event that I was lucky enough to take in was a screening of the 1987 Merchant-Ivory film Maurice (pronounced Morris), a lushly romantic adaptation of the 1913 gay-themed novel by E.M. Forster that was not published until 1971, due to concerns that its subject matter could be ruled obscene.
Not only was Lhomme present, but director James Ivory, 87, also appeared to briefly introduce the film and then take part in a Q&A after, which I wouldn't have missed.
When I was in college at the University of Chicago—a school I attended in large part because I randomly found a queer students' union flyer when I went to visit, not even focusing on the school's reputation for academics—I had a job with a literary agent in the Fine Arts Building downtown. Maurice played that quaint venue, and I knew I could not miss it, even though it would mark the first time I saw a gay movie in public. I remember being scared to death buying the ticket, and then sitting in the theater, wondering if a man would try to grab my knee or something, and wondering if I might be recognized. (I was out to some high school friends back home, but almost no one on campus quite yet.)
I couldn't have asked for a more beautiful film to see in that phase of my life. I appreciated the unrepentant emotionality of Maurice (James Wilby) and Clive (Hugh Grant), as well as the cautionary aspect of Clive's retreat into the closet. Most uplifting to me was the film's happy ending, in which the upper-class Maurice finds passion and—just maybe—eternal happiness with a working-class stiff (Rupert Graves). As I told Mr. Ivory after the screening, the movie represented to me a true gay love story, and also a cautionary tale, but one that dealt with very contemporary issues (coming out) and did not feature characters who had to be punished for their alleged sins.
At the time, Roger Ebert begrudgingly gave the film three stars, but noted:
Maurice tells the story of a young English homosexual who falls in love with two completely different men, and in their differences is the whole message of the movie, a message I do not agree with. Yet because the film is so well made and acted, because it captures its period so meticulously, I enjoyed it even in disagreement ... The problem in the movie is with the gulf between his romantic choices. His first great love, Clive, is a person with whom he has a great deal in common. They share minds as well as bodies. Scudder, the gamekeeper, is frankly portrayed as an unpolished working-class lad, handsome but simple. In the England of 1914, with its rigid class divisions, the two men would have had even less in common than the movie makes it seem, and the real reason their relationship is daring is not because of sexuality but because of class. Apart from their sexuality, they have nothing of substance to talk about with each other in this movie. No matter how deep their love, I suspect that within a few weeks or months the British class system would have driven them apart.
Okay, well, what about 1990's Pretty Woman, a piece of fluff about a rich CEO falling for a streetwalking prostitute? Ebert gave it a far more enthusiastic three-and-a-half-star write-up. What about the characters' differences? Well:
He offers her money to spend one week with him, she accepts, he buys her clothes, they have sex and of course (this being the movies) they fall in love. They fall into a particularly romantic kind of love, the sort you hardly see in the movies these days - a love based on staying awake after the lights are out and confiding autobiographical secrets ... There could indeed be, I suppose, an entirely different movie made from the same material —a more realistic film, in which the cold economic realities of the lives of both characters would make it unlikely they could stay together ... But by the end of the movie I was happy to have it close as it does.
Yeah, so gays can't get one happy ending, but straights could, back then, get them every single time without a raised eyebrow. Perfect. (Decades later, Maurice is the better-reviewed and better-respected of the two films—91% on Rotten Tomatoes with 87% audience approval—even if Pretty Woman—62%/68%—is an immortal piece of pop culture because one of the leads had a vagina.)
Watching it again 29 years later was moving in that I remembered so many scenes as if I'd seen the film a thousand times (just once). Even the music was a strong sense-memory—I had bought the album and listened to it over and over. It's an exquisite, evocative score by the late Richard Robbins, who did many of the Merchant-Ivory films, and who passed away in 2012. It was a treat to relive this experience, and I must say my fetishization of Hugh Grant's hair in this film (he isn't really high on my list of crushes anymore) and of every inch of Rupert Graves (he is) remains intact.
Afterward, Ivory and Lhomme took questions from the audience, some intelligent and some head-scratchers, including a long one from a woman who wanted to know if the actors were gay (!) and if the director had cast beautiful men as a comment on gay narcissism (gay!!!).
Two things that irked me: The woman next to me made a comment that my camera was making too much noise (it makes a very faint electronic whir when it turns on) before the film even started, and yet she wound up being the culprit when a wind-chime alarm blared throughout the last five full minutes of the movie. She also kept asking me to confirm what the subjects had said during the interview, even though I was clearly videoing everything.
The other bummer was that the very last question ended with a statement that Graves's character Scudder was “possibly the worst person alive.” I was blown away by this assertion, as was I think Ivory, who didn't address it.
I asked the questioner afterward what he meant. “Oh, are you a Scudder apologist?” he asked me. Gee, I don't really think Scudder needs apologies made for him. Anyway, the younger guy asserted that he and all of his reading group all hated Scudder. Apparently, the segment in which Scudder—who had hoped to make love with Maurice again but found himself ignored—bluffed that he might blackmail his lover made this guy think Scudder was evil and manipulative. To me, it seemed baldly obvious that the intent of the author and the director was to show that Scudder genuinely loved Maurice and was extremely insecure when rejected. He specifically, warm-heartedly folds when pushed by Maurice, and explains he'd never take a penny from him.
Scudder risked his security by coming to have sex with Maurice the first time, then he gave up his security in the Argentines (as well as contact with his family) to spend what we hope will be the rest of his life with the guy. Putting aside how sexy Scudder is (check out this scorching montage of love scenes), he is nuts for Maurice, and he represents the non-judgmental self-actualization that Maurice needs and embraces, in stark contrast to the life of lies and self-denial that Clive has slid into and advocates. If Scudder is the worst person ever, what is Clive? It just seems to me that it's an accepted observation that Maurice was written by Forster explicitly to be a gay love story with a happy ending. If Maurice ends up with Scudder and it's supposed to be a happy ending, I have to believe Scudder is not supposed to be an unpleasant drama queen.
It was an interesting exchange, but one of those times when you not only have an impression you feel strongly, but your impression fits with the only possibly explanation of an artist's work. I will say that the ending has some room for interpretation in that we can't be sure the men will be happy always. Ivory mentioned to me that one complicating factor would be World War I, but he also said it was, indeed, supposed to be a happy ending.
Check out the my video, containing most of the answers and comments from Ivory and Lhomme, after the jump ...
This guy's account of his win-a-date with Angelyne sounds 100% accurate. She's nuts in an unfun way.
I played along with her nonsense at an autograph show once for the experience, but she is probably totally delusional by now because of people playing along with her.
Autograph Show Posts (2010—2014)
A hub for all (?) of my many autograph-show posts, in honor of 10 years of Boy Culture. Enjoy!
All of my posts related to autograph shows—and there have been so many!—are like one, gigantic post in my mind, and so I'm grouping them all here. I first got into these things after reading an old story on the Internet about a show in the '70s at which a '30s Western star appeared, even though her face was devastated by cancer. I got the idea to do a book or a movie on these shows, so I dug into my pocket and attended one in Jersey (Chiller Theatre) and then one in Burbank (The Hollywood Show).
Dozens later, I still keep going back. I started out above it, but I'm not definitely of it, as well. They're not the posts that get the most hits, but they have more of my love than most.
What follows are all of my autograph show posts (I think!) in roughly chronological order:
My pal Bob Deutsch has taken some truly incredible, intimate images of celebrities in public over the decades, some of which are the only photographs from various moments and days in the lives of top stars. He has incredibly intimate shots of Carol Burnett and Barbra Streisand, mainly because he pursued and photographed them as a true fan, back when they were just starting.
If you're in Fort Lauderdale, don't miss his exhibition—the pictures tell so many stories.