Archives for category: Hollywood

Des Moines

1.

Monday morning.  Brooklyn.  The end of this particularly hard winter is nowhere in sight.  In LA the sun shines over the glittering sea, in London my friends post pictures of balmy evenings in St James Park. I run from our place to sit in crowded coffee shops.  I’m writing under a pseudonym nowadays for publications that love paying him/her but would never pay me.  Funny.  Doing what writers have always done: assuming different names for different opinions, different styles, different genres.  Consequently, I don’t get to write my blog very often… as I traverse the continent once a month.  From sea to shining sea.  No one understands why I love driving 2,800 miles twice over once a month… but I do.  The last trip was short and sweet.  I stayed in LA a few days then drove back over the Rockies and into a 50 car wreck on the i80 a hundred miles east of Chicago on the Ohio Turnpike.  Trapped on the side of the road for ten hours with two patient dogs and so many bad christian radio stations.  Badly educated, right-wing bigots on the radio.  Wondering out loud how they will roll back the rights of women and gays and undocumented workers, how they will keep hold of their white America.  The America their ancestors battled to tame.  I think about those early Americans very often as I drive over the Rockies,  the hardship they suffered, the dreams they had… the cruelty they inflicted on those who lived on the land they took and the slaves they owned.

I tried sleeping in the car.  Minus 6 degrees.  Occasionally fellow travelers would stop by to see if we were okay.  They offered cookies and consolation.

2.

I’ve been with my boy for 8 months.  We cook at home and watch bad make over TV.  Every day our situation gets stronger as we over come our own and the prejudices of others.  I realized that most of my male gay friends are single, even the ones with the best pedigrees.  The ones who are good-looking and sweet and a ‘good catch’.  I, of course, am none of those things.  I am the bullet you need to dodge.  That’s what they say.  But the gays are eager to diss all of their friends burgeoning relationships.  They are disparaging about anyone who may not be ‘ideal’.  This ideal that keeps them single and lonely.  They look at me sadly when they find out how old L is as if I am deluding myself that my relationship could ever work.  Did I think it would work?  Well, not in some fairy tale way, not the way gay writers write the perfect arrangement… the ideal.  We muddle through, we miss each other when we are apart, we fight occasionally but not as much as we did when we first met.  All in all, I’m happy and feel love from him and let my love flow… to him.  That’s occasionally a very confusing and baffling thing for me.  To let myself be loved.

3.

In Des Moines, I met Kookie Kardashian… the morbidly obese (500lb), hirsute… older sister of Kim Kardashian and Kourtney Kardashian and the other KKK Klan. She was in a dump of a hotel bar watching reruns of KUWTK on the TV above the tequila selection staring absently into a soupy pina colada.  Text messages remained unanswered as she pulls at her thin mustache. I introduced myself, she said she appreciated the company.  Apparently, when the cameras are in her Calabasas house Kris makes her leave with the undocumented servants.  Kris pokes her with a stick.  Kookie said that Ryan Seacrest called her a ‘fat cunt’, that if she wanted to be on the show she should ‘get a fucking lap band’.  Kookie, blinded by grief, drinks herself regularly into a blackout.  She commandeered Kanye’s jet and took it to Iowa. Her brushed denim and patent leather Fendi bag was stuffed with cash. If she loses the weight… Kris promised her that she and Rob can have their own show.

She told me she misses her dad.

4.

Has anyone been watching the OWN Lindsay Lohan ‘documentary’? That girl is OUT OF HER MIND. A world without consequence will do that to you. A world where nobody has the guts to confront an addict and her worst defects. A world where she believes she is still important or relevant, a world where no one will tell her that death is imminent… like Heath, Phil, River… living in a room stuffed with clothes, jewelry… evidence of active addiction.

Despicably, this tragedy is being manipulated by entertainment industry matriarch Oprah Winfrey… the disingenuous bad mum who knew all along that her little girl would let her down. Oprah’s fake outrage is utterly disgusting.

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Jacob Brown and Andrew Durbin

1.

Yesterday the HRC hijacked another celebrity coming out to further their own white, elite agenda.  Shame on you Chad Griffin.

So, Ellen Pagecomes out‘ with Chad at her side and (as scripted) is immediately hailed as ‘brave’ by the neo liberal media for telling her truth.  Big fucking deal.  Did Ellen Page come out in Uganda, risking her life?  Did Ellen Page use her power and prestige to help those less fortunate lesbians in other parts of the world who risk being imprisoned or worse for the luxury of telling their truth?  No, she talked about how hard it was for her to crash stereotypes.

Poor Ellen.  My heart bleeds for you.

As more and more celebrities come out it is no longer good enough to expect and prepare for fanfare without their truth becoming a political gesture.   It is not good enough for a celebrity in the free world to expect a ‘small gesture’ toward acceptance to be adequate.

Small gestures need to get bigger.  It is the responsibility of every lgbtq celebrity who comes out to address the disparity between their free lives and their oppressed brothers and sisters else where.  For Ellen Page not to mention Uganda, Russia etc. was willful and selfish.

After all, what did she expect… a fucking medal?  No, all she was doing was safeguarding her job and her position and her fame and fortune.

2.

Party last night at Jacob Brown‘s East Village duplex.  Celebrating his birthday were cute thin people, two old farts… me and the perfectly adorable producer Hunter Hill.   Crowd included (amongst others) the delectable poet Andrew Durbin and former MOCA head honcho Ari Wiseman.

I loved that my controversial green fur hat found favor with this cool, queer crowd.

3.

Valentine’s Day, enjoying my burgeoning relationship.

We decided to have dinner at Isa in Williamsburg.  We’d heard good things and it looked very lively when we passed by this summer.

We popped in at lunch time to make our reservation and the young lady maitre’d dutifully jotted it down, took names and numbers and the promise of a two top.

At 8pm we arrived at Isa.  The booking was lost, we were given the end of a community table under a loud speaker playing the most intrusive music, the waiters seemed to be very eager to process EVERYONE in and out very quickly.

We were asked by 4 separate people if we were sure we didn’t want alcohol.

Anyway, I ordered the rustic tomato soup and the skirt steak.  The soup was ok but served in very small dish.  The skirt steak entree was ghastly.  It was like chewing through a shoe.  A rubber shoe.  I sent it back and the duck special was whisked to our table in its place.  The duck was ok, not very well seasoned, the polenta was soupy and badly prepared and $30.  The tiny dish of $7 brussels sprouts were tepid and badly flash fried leaving most of them untouched by the pan… temperature issues at Isa became an irritating theme.

Our coffee was also cold so I left it.

The staff were the kind of people who try to shame you for making a complaint.  Condescending young people who are used to old people putting up and shutting up.  “Do you think you’ll like the duck better.”  He asked after I sent back the inedible steak… he asked as if I had some sort of learning disability.  No, I’m just past 45 years old.  I can hear and understand just fine.

We attempted to leisurely enjoy our dinner but the waiter was eager to snatch our unfinished dishes, “Still working on that?” they pestered.  YES!!  Leave us alone I wanted to scream but I didn’t.  This was obviously the worst choice for a Valentines dinner.   A total waste of time and money.

Here are some recent moments:

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Kay Saatchi and Tim Willis

“If a woman, an individual woman multiplied by billions, does not believe in her own discrete existence and therefore cannot credit the authenticity of her own suffering, she is erased, canceled out, and the meaning of her life, whatever it is, whatever it might have been, is lost. This loss cannot be calculated or comprehended.  It is vast and awful, and nothing will ever make up for it.”

― Andrea DworkinRight Wing Women

I never met Nigella Lawson, not yet.

She is still relevant.  She is the battered wife.  The super woman who drowned her sorrows in cocaine as her former husband lay dying of cancer and her ex husband allegedly emotionally brutalized her.

I only meet women like Nigella when they become irrelevant.

In my distant social orbit, light years from the warming sun of acceptability, circle the flotsam and jetsam of international society.  Isolated by ignominy, the ex wives of current politicians, media titans and corporate mega moguls float in and out of the rooms of AA, expensive treatment centers in the Arizona desert, The San Fernando Valley and Malibu.

Aping the lives they once had with limitless funds, they buy a few stems of bruised tuba rose* from the same florist who once filled their many mansions with exotic blooms.  Sumptuous bouquets placed on valuable escritoire, on silvered night stands, on grand dining tables.

As she leaves, she stands briefly on the threshold, looking down at her guilty feet and apologizes for the frugal fist of sweet smelling blooms.  The florist looks on piteously knowing that her younger, more glamorous successor can spend whatever she pleases.

The lonely ex-wife arranges a slim vase in her well-appointed but humble apartment in Pimlico moments from where she and her spouse once lived on Eaton Square.

These cast off ex-wives, these frosty women, their faces wet with angry tears, looking to half-baked sober life coaches in first-rate treatment centers to recalibrate their lives.

Drinking away their sorrows after being dumped by men whose power they loved and whose money they spent.    Yoga, sobriety, macrobiotics, spending, using, crying… nothing seems to work because all these women want is the sweet taste of revenge.

This week, one very lucky ex-wife gets her dues. She waited patiently on the sidelines of her ex-husband’s life to witness the crushing downfall of her Nemesis.

Today, American born, Kay Saatchi is not only back in Charles’s life but has had the delicious pleasure of helping dispense the woman who caused Kay pain beyond description: Nigella Lawson.

Kay is delightful.  I met her on numerous occasions in Los Angeles.  Of course she’s delightful!   A man like Charles Saatchi wouldn’t marry an idiot.  Kay is everything a powerful man would want, she is elegant, super smart, she has exquisite taste.  Kay, nowadays, is sober.

Yet, when Kay was drinking, she had an unpleasant habit of blacking out and talking gibberish about Charles.  She couldn’t and wouldn’t stop.  Even her best friend wouldn’t know how to stem the tirade.

Her life, it seemed, could only be nothing… without Charles.

She would disintegrate into a seething mess of Charles Saatchi resentment.

The only hook Kay had in her ex as she watched in increasing horror as Nigella used Charles as a spring-board into her own rock solid career as international domestic goddess… was her/their daughter Phoebe who Kay moaned constantly was ignored by her father.

When I asked Phoebe if her father ignored her over Christmas dinner a few years ago… she denied it, looked sadly at her drunk mother and told me that the only problem parent… was Kay.

Now things are different.  Kay is sober (unlike Nigella) and Kay’s undying love and loyalty for her ex husband has been rewarded by his begging her to help oust Nigella.

Kay will never be Mrs Charles Saatchi ever again but she has made herself indispensable to him during his time of need, once again firmly cementing herself back into his life.

Kay Saatchi

It is hard to explain to ordinary people the intoxicating effect of unlimited cash, how women like Kay and Nigella and now Trinny Woodall would willingly get involved with a man like brooding Charles Saatchi.

A man who throttled his ex wife in public.  A man, so ruthless, he recruits his vulnerable ex-wife to help destroy his current wife.

Do yourself a favor and read Andrea Dworkin’s Right Wing Women: the politics of domesticated females.

Money and power are everything to some women.  It defies logic and rationale. The patriarch, the provider, the batterer… do what ever you will to me and for me… I am yours forever.

The harsh glare of media scrutiny is lighting up every dark corner of Charles Saatchi’s famously private life.  It must be a painful time for Charles.

The most interesting aspect off the Grillo sister trial was the constant mention of the grown women (who were no more that indentured servants) as ‘family’ yet, as Deborah Orr points out in the only pro Grillo piece on offer this week…

“You cannot insist that someone is in your family, then cry fraud when they behave as if they are.”

The rich are different.  They like to live beyond scrutiny, they operate without care for consequence.  Partially, this week, on a micro and macro level justice was done.  For servants like the Grillo sisters and for ex wives who crave revenge… like Kay Saatchi.

* Princess Diana‘s favorite flower.

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Tuesday,  a woman I know sent me a revolting picture of a skinned, live puppy attempting to escape a pot of boiling water.

The following email I opened that day was from a friend telling me that the young Olympiad Tom Daley was dating Dustin Lance Black.

The similarities between these two emails far outweigh the differences.

Black, known to his friends simply as Lance has been around my life as long as we have both been making gay films.  Despite how we have been described, Lance and I are NOT friends. Never have been, never will be.

Recently, Lance’s films have fallen by the wayside. His famous friends and perfect Hollywood pedigree can not augment his startling lack of talent.  Despite the luxury of many recuts his film Virginia remains almost unwatchable.  One of his producers told me that Lance cannot and should not direct.

He claims that he loves my British Academy Award nominated film AKA.   Yet, for all his ‘love’ of my work… he and me have never really connected.  I’m not… a) a young blonde boy,  b) a Hollywood grandee,  c) interested.

Like so many gay men in Hollywood he is ruthlessly ambitious.

Lance Black (born to the Morman faith) is an affluent, white, gay man.  I stress this because it defines who he is as a so-called gay activist.

We see each other at gay apartheid (white only) parties in the Hollywood Hills.  I am usually the plus one.

He lives in a nice house on Fairfax Avenue in West Hollywood.  It is sparsely decorated.  For all his riches Lance lives a frugal life.  One might say the house lacks imagination which is odd for such an imaginative man.   One of the bedrooms in his humble home is reserved for the two surrogate children he is planning in his not so distant future.

The only fly in the ointment?  He will not have children unless married.  Sadly, his seeming inability (like so many gay men in Hollywood) to keep just one man, a man to marry… the bassinets remain empty.   He is drawn predominantly to much younger gay men.   The subject of child rearing, when discussed, often leads to amicable separation.

It seems that Lance may have found in Tom Daley a young man he can marry who shares his desire for an immediate family.  Let’s wish him all the best and that child-birth comes quickly… he doesn’t want to be an old dad, too old to play football with his young child.

Lance’s pre occupation with a nuclear family is at odds with how I would determine an activist.  But Lance is no ordinary activist.  He passionately wants for all gays to perfectly ape what heterosexuals seem to have.  Nothing less than full integration will do.  He fights vehemently for the gays to participate in the traditionally right-wing institutions of marriage and the military.

He hangs primarily with a gang of affluent white men who share similar mores.

Gay activists like Lance Black were quick to blame California’s African-American voters for the defeat of Proposition 8, the anti gay marriage amendment.  People for the American Way president Kathryn Kolbert, criticized “the speed with which some white gay activists began blaming African Americans—sometimes in appallingly racist ways.”

Black is wedded to right-wing gay organization the HRC who once famously refused to support the rights of trans people then issued a groveling apology.  Not learning from their white gay mistakes the HRC recently silenced the voices of trans and queer undocumented activists outside the Supreme Court during the DOMA Supreme Court decision, again… apologizing after the fact.

The gays at the HRC, it seems,  have a very narrow view of sexuality. The LGBTQ coalition leaves many affluent, white gay men feeling uneasy and confused.   Unsurprisingly, like so many gay men, Lance questions the legitimacy of bisexuality.  A nettle the gays prefer not to grasp…

Read more about the dark practices of the HRC here.

“In recent years, HRC has been working to contradict its former reputation as an organization overly focused on issues of concern to affluent white gay men, combating long-simmering charges of transphobia within the organization.”

When Lance first started calling himself an activist and regularly going to Washington to meet President Obama I bumped into him at Cafe Solar de Cahuenga on Cahuenga Blvd in Hollywood.  Solar is a tatty south American coffee shop/restaurant popular amongst young actors and writers within sight and sound of the busy 101 Freeway.

I praised him for his film Milk which he valiantly produced and won an Oscar for writing.  I didn’t ask him about the controversy whirling around the gay gossip vortex in which we are both hapless victims.

Amongst the back stabbing gays his success and authenticity were being questioned.

Hadn’t he stolen the Milk project from another gay producer?  Did he in fact write the script that won him the Oscar?  Some people said that Ron Nyswaner had in fact written the final script that Gus shot?   The gays told me that he took his Oscar everywhere.  That he couldn’t put it down.  They scoffed that he used his power and prestige within the gay community to snare impressionable young boys.   They said that he should have been wearing a condom when he was fucking his ‘boyfriend’ in the infamous shots of Lance with a cock in his ass… if he was at all interested in being an ‘activist’ he should have been wearing a condom.  They said that he should practice what he preached.  They said that the original documentary about Harvey Milk was far better than the film.

Harvey Milk made Lance Black famous.  What Milk would have made of Black personally… I wonder.  What Black would have thought of Milk if he had met him contemporaneously… I wonder.  Milk was a charismatic, bombastic, driven, older jewish man.  Lance channels Milk’s political inclusivity when he claims that all he wants to do is ‘give people hope’, this wholesale appropriation of Milk’s legacy… sticks somewhat in the caw.

Lance hangs with Milk’s contemporary and true activist Cleve Jones.   Lance riding Cleve’s activist coat tails?  Cleve seduced by Hollywood glamour?

What kind of political activist is Dustin Lance Black?

Whilst whistle blower and trans hero Pvt. Chelsea Manning rots in jail, ‘activist’ Lance Black lead the ‘human rights’ charge on The Castro for San Francisco Pride.   SF Pride chose to controversially exclude Manning from the official Pride demonstration in fear of upsetting Pride’s corporate donors.

Back in Hollywood, Lance sits writing on his own in the middle of the coffee shop sipping green tea.  Everyone could see him there.  We talked about British equality legislation fashioned by Waheed Ali.  I told Lance about British gay rights activist Peter Tatchell.  He seemed enthralled by Peter’s unique brand of direct action so I organized an introduction.  When the time came for him to meet with Peter… Lance bailed.

I sent a dismissive note.

We didn’t speak again until he started dating a dear friend of mine who was at that time living at my home.

My friend is perhaps one of the sweetest man I know.  Kind, considerate, thoughtful, intelligent, curious and recently out of the closet.  In fact, history repeating itself, my friend came out for Lance.  My friend made the first move.

Knowing that my friend was falling for Lance I tried to stay as impartial as I possibly could.  It didn’t last long.  I was furious.  I was supportive and kind for as long as I could be.  I asked Lance over to the house for his new boyfriend’s birthday lunch.  Lance bailed.

During the next few months of their relationship I watched my friend fall apart.  My friend started therapy.  He was torn and confused and miserable.

At one particular gay pool party Lance rudely left without telling my dear sweet friend that he was leaving.

My friend was distraught.

Thankfully, when Lance took my friend to The White House he didn’t bail.  They ran around with Don Lemons stealing Christmas cookies.  They had access all areas.  They hung in the Oval office.  My friend was delighted to see history being made… for affluent white gay people.

I maintained my impartiality.

I have no opinion about Lance and Tom.  Sadly, others do.

Tom Daley is being scolded in the bully chat rooms by the petit bourgeois gays for ‘making the first move’ as if his teenage innocence and delight can be construed as a devious attempt at star fucking.

The British public love Tom Daley and they will not let him get hurt or tangled in anything other than a relationship they deem appropriate.  For the time being they will give Lance Black the benefit of the doubt. I am sure that the British press will keep tabs on Lance.  If he thinks for one gay moment that he can get away with any duplicitous behavior around Tom Daley… he had better think again.

The problem is:  no one expects gay men to have morals, or stick to the rules.  Gay white affluent man have written their own rules and nobody dares question them.  They have become a super elite, their access to the world stage unparalleled.  But with wider acceptability comes broader scrutiny.

Elton John once said in front of me, “10 gay men run the world… and I know all of them.”

Tom Daley is a beloved young British boy.  We may begin to see this corrupt, elite gay world through his teenage eyes.  It is a shadowy world of sexual un-manageability, pedophilia and other unsavory obsessions.

It is not what the elite gays want you to know,  whilst they paint a public picture of themselves that makes them seem… just like you.

Farmers Market

Gay and Lesbian cinema is enjoying a well deserved revival and two very special films are garnering a great deal of post Sundance attention.

Concussion written and directed by Stacie Passon and Kill Your Darlings written by  Austin Bunn and John Krokidas, directed by John Krokidas.

By way of full disclosure, I was once very friendly with John Krokidas who stayed in both my ex boyfriend’s house on Fire Island and our house in London.

The similarities between Concussion and Kill Your Darlings, both opening in NYC this weekend, are legion.

Both are first features by writer/directors in their 40′s, both incredibly accomplished, both fatally flawed during the middle of the third act and both produced by lesbians.  Concussion, produced by the venerable Rose Troche.   Kill Your Darlings,  by equally lauded Christine Vachon.

Thankfully,  both have found their way into the mainstream at a time when the mainstream have developed an appetite for gay and lesbian culture.

After their opening night screening Troche, when asked what had changed for gay and lesbian film since she showed Go Fish at the Angelica twenty years earlier, said, “Social Media.”

We, as gay and lesbian film makers, are no longer so isolated, so dependent on traditional media to get our message to what was once a niche market but has become, due to the marriage equality debate, a broader church.

Kill Your Darlings is a ‘bigger’ film than Concussion.  There is a great deal of Oscar talk around Darlings and film industry infra structure to support that claim.  A period film, a grander stage, a huge cast.  My gay friend who saw it before me called it one of the ‘best films they had ever seen’.

There are flaws in both of these low-budget movies that maybe, with a little extra cash, could have been resolved.

Yet Darlings suffers most for its low budget.

When all is said and done, Darlings is a cold film, lacking substance.   It seems scared of embracing man/man man/boy emotion.  The characters lack depth and focus.  It is a cruel film.  Not least because it deals with a murder.   Yet, the murder only really becomes apparent toward the end.

A murder in 1944 draws together the great poets of the beat generation: Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs.’

Described thus on IMDB… the film does nothing of the sort.

Before the murder is picked at like an unsightly, syphilitic scab in the middle of the third act Krokidas sets up a youth orientated world where older men are vilified, where young boys (Daniel Radcliff and Dane DeHann) run from party to party, taking drugs, reciting poetry and jacking off .

Young, attractive, sexually ambiguous, entitled, partying college students vaguely remind one of Sebastian Flyte and Charles Ryder in Brideshead Revisted but sadly… without the wit, subtext or the huge budget.

The two main performances are, on the whole, lackluster.  Yet, every single performance beyond the unrequited lovers are… brilliant.   Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Jason Leigh etc. etc. Brilliant!

Poor Michael C. Hall playing David Kammerer, the soon to be murdered older man, turns up periodically looking forlorn and pathetic in his period coat and beard like a homeless person had wandered onto the set by accident.  Both he and the equally talented Jack Houston are horribly underused and sidelined while the less talented ‘youth’ continue to take drugs and quote Yates.

If Kill Your Darlings had really focused on the murder, the resulting trial and  aftermath this film might have succeeded.  Yet, the backdrop becomes the foreground, the story held hostage by pretentious fluff and circumstance.

Unaware of this compelling murder story before I saw Kill Your Darlings.   I Googled Kammerer, Ginsberg and Carr.

I remembered  William Burroughs coming to my 21st Birthday party.  I began to see how the story had been massaged by Bunn and Krokidas to suit their own 21st Century gay agenda.

How do gay men want to present themselves and our history?

The murderer in Darlings is a bad gay not because he murdered a so called predator (his defense) but because he subsequently got married and had kids and didn’t ‘come out’.

The ‘older man’ is dispensable… worthless… the murder almost… forgivable.

Even though the victim Kammerer was seven years younger than forty-year old Krokidas is now, the writer and director show this character little compassion.  Krokidas directs the audience to incorrectly believe that Kammerer was somehow a much older pedophile rather than a love struck gay man…  that he deserved to die.

One final note.

The spectacle of Daniel Radcliffe being fucked in the ass, his hairy legs forced over his shoulders is perhaps the most daring yet superfluous, unnecessary and redundant scene in the entire movie.  Sadly, it is for what this film will be remembered, which is not what the writers intended.

Both Concussion and Darlings are very white films.  There are no black people at all in Concussion which I found utterly baffling.

Kill Your Darlings has perhaps one of the most racially offensive scenes where Radcliffe and DeHann are the only white faces in a black speak easy imagining what trouble they could cause by manipulating the clientele if they were negro puppets frozen in time.

As a metaphor it was sickeningly on point: this is how white gay Americans treats black gay Americans.

How could this appalling white casting have happened?  Whilst Darlings can use the ‘period’ excuse… Concussion cannot.

The colorless casting issue aside, Concussion, because it seems to comfortably inhabit the parameters of a low budget film is a more accomplished and polished tale.

After a blow to the head, Abby decides she can’t do it anymore. Her life just can’t be only about the house, the kids and the wife. She needs more: she needs to be Eleanor.’

Concussion as described on IMDB only scrapes at the surface of what this ingenious film unpacks.

Concussion’s provenance is by way of the IFP script lab and Sundance Post Production fund.

The delicate performances, elegant settings, this thoughtful and spare film (compassionately told) delighting from beginning to end… well, until mid-way through the third act.

Concussion is Robin Weigert‘s film.  Her performance is sublime.

Weaving interconnecting tales of Suburban and urban lesbian life, an ordinary sexually unsatisfied house wife strays into a world of sexual diversion.  Selling her sexual self to other woman.  It’s as simple as that yet the adventure she chooses becomes our teachable moment.   Those who crave sex over emotion, or emotion over sex.

The questions posited pester long after the film ends.

Films about double lives are always intriguing.  How those two lives collide.  Picking up the children from school juxtaposed with violent images of remembered s and m sex.

Abbey is an interior decorator who is renovating a small apartment in lower Manhattan.  She uses the apartment to meet women who hire her as a sex worker.  After the loft is sold and her secret life revealed a choice has to be made.

Will Abby stay with her wife or move on?

I’m not going to spoil it for you other than to say that the answer gets lost somehow in a melee of loose ends.

Both Concussion and Kill Your Darlings are welcome at a time when almost every Hollywood studio is contemplating larger budget gay themed movies.  Gay film makers must continue to tell stories that use the language and locations of our own lives.   Although I had problems with Darlings it is imperative that these films go on being made.

White,  gay male youth orientated stories have become bankable.  White female middle-aged lesbian movies… not so much.  Powerful white gay men in Hollywood make sure that some gay stories get applauded whilst others (Liberace) are ignored.

The Weekend by Andrew Haigh (Creator of Looking for HBO) although breaching the straight/gay divide was not given the ‘A Gay’ benediction Krokidus is currently enjoying.  The gay men in The Weekend were too old, poor and took public transport… some of the criticisms I heard from the velvet mafia.  The film was consequently marginalized by Hollywood gays.

John Krokidas waited ten years to enjoy the dream of making his movie come true, within that ten years the face of film making, gay film making, distribution and post production have undergone a revolution. The culture, the matrix from which these films are conceived and born has changed beyond recognition.

Krokidas could not have made this film ten years ago.  Nobody was interested in making films like this.

The recently democratized means of production and distribution allow any young (or not so young)  gay film maker the freedom to tell our tales without masking their truth.

For too long gay film makers were advised to turn their back on their own stories for fear of marginalizing their careers.

For those of us who waited, remained tenacious it is maybe too late to find a place at the table.   Yet, I am thrilled for those… like John and Stacie who do.

@cosmosgrouper

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Liberace Scott Thorson

I was asked to direct this movie, or a movie like it, ten years ago.

It was a script based on the autobiography of Liberace’s lover Scott Thorson.

I read the script, I met the producers, I met Michael Keaton who was, at that time, attached to the project.

Now, I don’t remember the script, I don’t remember the producers.

I remember meeting Michael Keaton in an obscure room in Santa Monica. Michael was very quiet, not at all enthused.

I remember asking myself why he would want to make this movie. I remember sharing ideas about performance and parameters.

He didn’t want to do an ‘impersonation’.

Another script about Liberace arrived, a more dynamic, dramatic and excessive script. It piqued my interest.

It began with Liberace’s final moments in the back of a limousine.

Liberace is often damned for claiming he wasn’t gay, for never admitting to his HIV status. That those around him at the end of his life went to extraordinary lengths to hide that he died of AIDS.

Of course, there are still people, (living people) who never admit they are HIV positive.

Such is the shame around HIV and AIDS.

But equally there were many people at the time of Liberace’s death who went to extraordinary lengths to reveal that he died of AIDS.

They exhumed his already buried body to prove their point.

There were too many people eager to shame him. For that’s what they wanted to do. Shame the gay man.

Liberace never said publicly that he was gay. He denied it. Again and again.

I sympathise with his denial. It was his choice, a choice we now condemn.

In these prescriptive times if you are not willing to say you are gay… someone else will.

Liberace was a brand.

Like Posh and Becks.  When David Beckham was caught cheating… they went to extraordinary lengths to protect their brand.

It’s understandable that Liberace lied on oath. He had everything to lose.

In those miserable homo-ignorant times there were plenty who would have delighted and profited from his downfall.

Lonely?

Reading the reviews for this film a theme emerges: Loneliness.

Mary McNamara LA Times: ‘A darkly moving look at two lonely men who briefly found something like love.’

Michael Thornton The Telegraph: The Lonely Liberace I knew.

There are countless other references to this ‘lonely’ man Liberace. His ‘lonely’ mother, his ‘lonely’ boy friend Scott.

Scott was ‘damaged’, Scott was a ‘gold digger’, Scott was a ‘lonely soul’. Scott was ‘played too sympathetically because he’s in jail for burglary’.

It seems like the prophecy of fearful mothers comes to pass in this movie, that their gay sons with end up alone, abandoned, unhappy.

The relationship between Scott and Liberace may seem familiar to any powerful, older man who lets a younger man into his life:

“They establish a bond that is a blend of romantic love, father-son affection, brotherly playfulness, and prostitution.”

Liberace, like Brokeback Mountain before it brings into hard focus the lives and loves of queer men.

There is the obligatory delight and revulsion (in equal measure) of the kissing. Two men kissing.

Two men kissing seems to remind many straight men that a tender intimacy can exist between men and that may very well interfere what they imagine we do.

The gay butt fucking they imagine… immediately… after meeting one another.

Men kissing, like men getting married, seems to inflame the homophobe.

I’m wondering why Steven Soderbergh wanted to make this movie, why a gay director wasn’t chosen?

Did he do it because it seemed like a cool thing to do? A straight man, so comfortable in his own skin that he can work with queer subject matter?

It still feels to me like straight boys (actors and director) getting together to prove a point.

With so many talented and extraordinary gay directors in the world how did this end up being made by a bunch of straight guys?

Was Liberace too difficult and distasteful and potentially divisive for a gay director?

When ever I have stood before a queer audience with my queer films (confirmed by other queer, male directors) the audience who have the most problems are those who want to say: I didn’t see me.

Gay man are desperate to see themselves and their lives as they live them in TV and film. It is perfectly reasonable for them to expect this.

Rather than the gay freak, the gay priest, the comedy gay… they, understandably, want to see themselves fairly represented. They want to see gay detectives, gay wedding crashers, gay teachers, plumbers, gay undocumented workers.

Many reviewers of Liberace: Behind The Candelabra smirk at the foolishness and naivety of the straight women who swooned at this obviously gay man.

I once researched a documentary about fag hags. All the women I spoke to who identified as fag hags felt adored and listened to, appreciated, respected by a man. Even if that man was gay.

Those women provide the clue to Liberace’s denial and downfall.

Liberace wasn’t lonely. He was a performing artist who found solace and validation, like many do, on the stage.

Every night he performed he bathed in the glory of his screaming fans. The unconditional love of his audience.

An adoring audience of many thousands will never be any match for the love of just one man.

I remember saying that to Michael Keaton as I sat there in that small room realizing who Liberace was.

Tyler

Alex

Peter

Blue Rince

 

The Boy Mondino

Google you

Late at night when I don’t know what to do
I find photos you’ve forgotten you were in
Put up by your friends

I do, I Google you
When the day is done and everything is through
I read your journal that you kept that month in France
I’ve watched you dance

And I’m pleased your name is practically unique
It’s only you and a would-be PhD from Chesapeake
Who writes papers on the structure of the sun
I’ve read each one

I know that I should let you fade
But there’s that box and there’s your name
Somehow it never makes the pain grow less or fade or disappear
I think that I should save my soul and I should crawl back in my hole
But it’s too easy just to fold and type your name again, I fear

I Google you
When I’m all alone and don’t know what to do
And each shred of information that I gather
Says you’ve found somebody new
And it really shouldn’t matter
Ought to blow up my computer
But instead…
I Google you

 

Brian

Christmas Cheer

December 2nd 2013.  Just one year away.

1.

I didn’t stay at home last night.

On the way back to Malibu I stopped in at one of those coffee-house chains.  I sat nursing a cup of hot black brew.

I sat quietly.  I am wearing my black pantaloons (Miu Miu), a Stetson, raspberry colored hand knitted socks with sky blue trim.

I sat listening to a bunch of affluent white men in their 50′s and 60′s dressed in motor cycling leathers, complaining about President Obama.

They were rudely spouting one ill-informed cliché after another, rudely condemning: green solutions, ‘cripple’ access around Santa Monica, the ‘fiscal cliff’ etc.

These same men defend Israel.  Even though this week Israel and the USA find themselves horribly isolated on the world stage.

The old white men are stuck in another age, another time… baffled by a changing world… still unable to comprehend how Mitt Romney lost the election they were convinced he’d win.

I wanted to ask them questions but I knew nothing they had to say would tell me anything I didn’t already know.

Their fears laid bare:  Black leaders, electric cars, marriage equality.

“They’ll all cry that they voted for him.” they convinced each other.

I felt like I was on the winning side.  Their Schadenfreude didn’t feel dangerous… it felt old-fashioned.

On the way home I listened to something on NPR about a group called LA Jews for Peace.

A group of Jewish Americans committed to peace in the Middle East through a negotiated settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, an end of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands, and opposition to American militarism, imperialism, and exceptionalism.

Their spokesman bemoaned America’s UN vote against Palestine.

America, like the old white men at the coffee shop, seems unable to comprehend or adapt to the changing world.

What the white men at the coffee shop don’t seem to acknowledge:  they have more in common with their President than they seem to realize.  I mean… Obama is only half black, raised by white folks… cup half full lads?  Surely?

Obama owns his whiteness in the Whitehouse and flays his blackness on the stump.

Barry Goodman (old white jew),  unfriended me on FB the day the UN recognized the Palestinians right to statehood.

Just nine nations voted against the Palestinian Authority’s upgrade to nonvoting observer state status, which passed the General Assembly 138-9, with 41 abstentions.

Voting “No” on Thursday were Israel, the United States and Canada, joined by the Czech Republic, Panama and several Pacific island nations: Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru and Palau. The Pacific nations typically support the U.S. and Israel at the U.N. on key General Assembly resolutions.

In the face of this terrific news self hating jews like Barry Goodman reacted like spoiled, entitled children.

In a unanimous resolution passed Sunday, Israel’s Cabinet said it would not negotiate on the basis of the General Assembly’s recognition of a state of Palestine in the occupied West Bank,  East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip.

“The unilateral step taken by the Palestinians at the United Nations violates peace agreements,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu complained, justifying Israel’s rejection of the U.N. vote.

Astoundingly, he bleated:

“The only way to Palestinian statehood and peace is through direct negotiations with Israel.”

Then he told the rest of the non compliant world  he was going to hold onto money that was owed to the Palestinians and build all over their shit.

2.

I don’t trust any of the gay men I meet in LA.   Industry men.

Bryan.  WTF?

I had lunch with one of Bryan’s boy toys yesterday, the second in one week.  I met a technician Bryan works with, Bryan says, “I don’t want to direct movies, I want someone else to direct them and I critique their results.”

After I started defending the Palestinians during the Israeli bombardment Guy S (second rate Bryan sycophant)  tells me that they all hate me.  That’s like music to my ears.

I call Tom.  Tom denies what I already know to be the truth.

They know, they all know that sooner or later I’m going to write everything down.

Hollywood Babylon style.

It’s just a matter of time.

3.

December 2nd 2013.   Just you wait Henry Higgins, just you wait.

Brett Wyman

 

The criminal matter is resolved.

Do you want to know what happened?

As part of a plea deal crafted by the DA and my lawyer, I plead NO CONTEST to a misdemeanor.  My sentence?  An 18 month gagging order and a 52 hour course in anger management.

There was no jail time, no fine.  It was all over in 20 minutes.

I smoked a cigarette outside the courtroom.  So did the DA.  She sat there in her black coat.  Sitting where she always sits.  Behind a wall.

Like a naughty school girl.  Smoking.

And I felt like it was going to be OK.  Because she was smoking too.

The judge said goodbye, the bailiff smiled.  The stenographer watched with interest.

I said goodbye to my lawyers and drove to Venice.

I had a lot of thinking to do.

On the way to Abbot KinneyRussian woman rear ended me.  We stopped abruptly on Wilshire Blvd.

Her name was Natalie Volk.  She was very apologetic.  Her husband got out of the car.  Natalie must have been 80 years old, he was older.  She touched the back of the car to make sure it wasn’t all a bad dream.

We exchanged personal details.  I’m not going to call her insurance people.  I know what they’ll do to her.  How punitive they can be.

That night I stopped at a gas station to buy gas and soda.  A huge black woman begged me to fill her gas tank.  The station wagon was packed with kids.  They were homeless.  They lived in that car.

I paid for their gas.  I made it seem like a terrible imposition.

Absurdly, I didn’t want other people to think I was being hijacked.

I went to buy myself a soda.  The woman at the checkout said, “That was really kind of you, they were homeless.”  She smiled and said,  “I’ll pay for your soda.”

I felt badly that I hadn’t been kinder to the homeless women.

On my way out of the service station I saw the most beautiful black man.  A solid wall of muscle.  He was walking up Lincoln Avenue.   I circled around until I found him.  I stopped the car and asked him what he was doing.

We had a chai latte at the Coffee Bean in Marina Del Rey.  He was from Chicago.  28 years old.  A personal trainer.  He had moved to LA a few months ago to help his brother.  He used to have dreadlocks.

I dropped him off at his apartment.  He invited me into his empty place.

At 5am I drove him to the gym where he worked.

Perhaps I should have given him more?  More than a chai latte?

As I drove home up the PCH.  Looking over the Pacific Ocean.  I thought about the previous day.

All that public money wasted.  All that time taken by highly paid District Attorneys,  Attorneys who could have been solving real crimes.

Money that could be spent repairing a local school. Money that could have been spent investigating white-collar crimes.

I was listening to John Martyn.  Solid Air.  Synthesized sea gulls.  A heartbeat.  My heart is still beating.

2.

Whatever may happen.  How ever bad it gets.  It is is up to you… yes you…  you can turn the worst things that happen into the most extraordinary adventure.

As anyone who has a creative bone in their body knows, to carve something artful out of wherever you find yourself… well.  It’s up to you.

So, it was no coincidence that, after I spoke to the reporter about The Trust Act, after my involved and specific conversation with the  lawyer, after I had recorded the Youtube video….

I sat down at my desk and rewrote the ending of my script.

What a killing crime this love can be.

This is for you Daddy.  You bad, bad man.

On Friday at 10am I will stand before you all again, on your televisions, in your newspapers, sparking up the internet.

Damning the authority.

On behalf of the brown people.

And after it is all over?  I am left on my own.  Well, that’s not entirely true.  Because I have you.

I want to tell you about my neck.  The arthritis in my neck.  The arthritis that makes my arms numb.  My fingers tingle.

I am pleased not to share that with anyone.

The audience is singing along with the familiar tune.

It is 2am.  The dog is farting.  He’ll want to go out in the middle of the night.

 

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