Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger... boy culture: STARRY-EYED

86 posts categorized "STARRY-EYED"

Feb 07 2016
Lie Down, Sir: Revisiting MAURICE 30 Years After It Was Filmed Comments (0)

DSC06487James Ivory (L) & Pierre Lhomme (R) before a screening of Maurice (Image by Matthew Rettenmund)

Earlier this week, I was excited to attend one screening that was a part the FIAF (French Institute Alliance Française) series Screen Shot 2016-02-06 at 4.54.13 PMCinéSalon: 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.”

Screen Shot 2016-02-06 at 4.02.35 PMSample of three posters for the film; I had the middle one on my wall in collage. (Images via Cinecom)

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.

Tumblr_ngd0utOU4W1u01g6zo5_1280James Wilby as Maurice, the cat at the center of Forster's great gay love story (Image via Cinecom)

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 -I-love-you-maurice-1987-13009433-720-406though 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 Woman62%/68%—is an immortal piece of pop culture because one of the leads had a vagina.)

10168980724_6eb461c4e6_bHugh Grant has had a very good hair life. (Image via Cinecom)

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.

Tumblr_inline_mkqgzjX3LH1qz4rgpScudder, off to London to get his (gentle)man. (Image via Cinecom)

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.

Tumblr_mk5lk1XDN51r2e74go8_500RupertGraves05They were there, they were queer, they got used to it. (Images via Cinecom)

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.

Tumblr_lq5lroluFz1qa22qso1_500Theirs was a love that dared speak its name. (Image via Cinecom)

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.

032_hugh_grant_theredlistOh, Mr. Graaant! (Image via Cinecom)

Check out the my video, containing most of the answers and comments from Ivory and Lhomme, after the jump ...

 Read More

 
Nov 14 2015
Angelyne Is One-Of-A-Kind ... Thankfully Comments (0)

ANGELYNE_EXPERIENCE-1Buy me this?

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.

 
Nov 06 2015
Signed, Sealed, Delivered: All My Autograph Show Posts! Comments (0)

Autograph Show Posts (2010—2014) 

A hub for all (?) of my many autograph-show posts, in honor of 10 years of Boy Culture. Enjoy!


6a00d8341c2ca253ef0191044746ed970c-800wiAll 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:

 Read More

 
Nov 04 2015
They Had Faces Then ... And Bob Deutsch Photographed Them Comments (0)

1509006_10153742934847042_922052073194032121_n

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.

 
Nov 03 2015
Guydar: Yes, It's Zachary Quinto Comments (0)
 

Quinto-Ing the line. #zacharyquinto #hot #guys #surr#men #menofnyc #nyc #nycmen

A photo posted by mattrett (@mattrett) on

H/T My Instagram

 
Nov 02 2015
It May Read: A COCKTAILS & CLASSICS Screening Of MOMMIE DEAREST Comments (0)

DSC06469“You see, Carol Ann, you have to stay on top of things every single minute”: Rutanya Alda & Michael Musto

I had a blast at an intimate cocktail party earlier for Cocktails & Classics (#CocktailsAndClassics), the Logo TV series that's a (good and bad) movie lover's wet dream. So glad Michael Musto asked me!

Tumblr_m86mf1m8P51rpw0g4o1_400

The show, hosted by one of my celebrity crushes, Michael Urie (whose performance in Buyer & Cellar is one of the best things I've ever seen of any kind), brings together gay gab, cinema and the sometimes befuddled stars of neo-classics in a chatfest of which you'd die to be a part.

The party was to celebrate the show's second season, and was held at The Eventi - A Kimpton Hotel (#EventiHotel) in Chelsea in a charming screening room, where we all watched Mommie Dearest (1981) ... again!

DSC06470Fuck with me, fellas!: Tayte Hanson, Shangela & Michael Urie

At the screening, I had a great chat with Urie about Madonna (he raved about her Rebel Heart Tour, his first-ever Madonna concert!) and Manilow (he is a Manilover); kibitzed with Musto about his ready-to-wear statement necklace made of wire hangers; listened in shock as Mommie Dearest actress Rutanya Alda told me Faye Dunaway recently asked her to help her write Dunaway's proposed memoir about the movie for free; said hi to CockyBoys pornstar Tayte Hanson; did an interview with Tym Moss; and was reunited with Jason Russo of HeyMrJason Photography, who shot my book(s) party. I sat with fellow blogger Kenneth Walsh of Kenneth in the (212) and our pal Greg Endries, the latter of whom won the night by exclaiming, “I'll have what she's having!” when Christina Crawford/Diana Scarwid was moaning during her ovarian-tumor episode.

Mommiedearest-jesuschrist

After the jump, check out 99% of the fun panel talk that preceded the movie, featuring Musto, Urie, Shangela and the ageless Alda (presented in black-and-white for that extra cinematic flair) ...

 
Sep 30 2015
Standing With Hillary Comments (0)

DSC06392Madame POTUS?

Tonight, three years (I can't believe it!) after my run-in with President Obama, I was able to attend a reception for future President Hillary Clinton at Jay Z's 40/40 Club on W. 25th St. here in Manhattan.

IMG_7896She went thatta way!

Screen Shot 2015-09-30 at 10.28.51 PMEntering, we had to pass a couple of anti-Hillary loons in Pinocchio noses murmuring about Benghazi. Oddly, they didn't really dampen anyone's enthusiasm. The woman is imperfect, but her desire to change the country for the better and her intellect are formidable.

It was an intimate gathering, no more than about 60 supporters, I would guess, a decidedly youthful and racially diverse lot. I spent most of my time chatting with a sexy guy whose company is already helping the campaign take advantage of digital outreach, and a guy who apparently invented an app that scans any object at all and provides you with info about it. He was telling me that the legendary photographer Albert Watson has promised him 7,000 outtakes of his famous shots of the late Steve Jobs.

 Read More

 
Aug 21 2015
Presidential ... Sweet!: Hangin' At HAMILTON Comments (0)

Screen Shot 2015-08-20 at 3.05.59 AMGroff trade

As you may have read, I think the much-hyped Hamilton is—if anything—underrated!

IMG_3178With the man behind the show's flamboyantly self-assured Thomas Jefferson, Daveed Diggs

I had a great time at the show, and was lucky enough to get to go backstage, where I met up with the charming Andrew Chappelle and other members of this talented cast.

IMG_3153With Andrew Chappelle, who is getting to do what most understudies don't—kill it in the show.

All were super nice, and I was again surprised by how tall Jonathan Groff really is. (We bumped into him on the way out, as he was graciously mingling with his stage-door sallies.)

 Read More