So, Ellen Page ‘comes 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.
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.
Valentine’s Day, enjoying my burgeoning relationship.
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:
In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,In the bleak midwinter, long ago.
It’s snow day here in NYC. Me and the man are at his place in Williamsburg. It’s been 5 months now. Seems to be enduring. We are watching a neo-liberal straight man mock elderly Russians in Sochi for their old-fashioned views about gay people. He really didn’t have to go that far to find narrow-minded people with hate in their hearts for the gays.
He could have gone to New Jersey.
As for narrow minds… just because one’s a gay doesn’t mean that you have a naturally expanded view of the world… that you are more insightful, more agreeable, less prejudiced or liberal. Yet, the pro gay press wouldn’t dare reveal the dark side of the gay for fear of annoying their new pay masters.
Ask dumb gay people what they think about immigration, women’s rights, racism and laugh at their fucked up right wing views. Yes, do it.
What a delightful diversion the gays have become. Whilst we fight to be in the military the military fights illegal wars, whilst we demand benefits those same benefits are taken away in the name of austerity, whilst we line up to get married the divorce rate soars.
With that in mind I thought I might share my recent queer adventures with the gays.
Given that the gays in AA pretty much write their own rules… writing about them seems perfectly ok. After all, we are meant to keep what we see and hear in AA a big fucking secret. The gays rarely play by that fundamental rule.
They sit before meetings gossiping and cruelly discussing what they heard at their gay AA meetings. “My sponsor HATES him.” I heard some bitchy queen exclaim. So I asked what kind of sponsor hates people in AA and tells his sponsee? That didn’t go down very well.
Gay AA is a cult within a cult.
The man just cooked me breakfast. He really seems to love me. Being loved is always a surprise. Whenever it happens. The delightful routine, the domesticity, the kissing. Taking the dogs for long walks in the snow.
Philip Seymour Hoffman died this week. The rooms of AA were full of weeping newcomers grieving his death. Finding spurious reasons to hitch their wagon to his hearse. Sober people with many years of sobriety rolled their eyes as crocodile tears drenched the disingenuous faces of people claiming intimate friendship with the deceased film star.
At the Perry Street morning AA meeting the press stood in packs, enduring the frigid February winds waiting for people who might have known PSH. Many were less than discreet and sang like canaries.
The press was awash with sentimental descriptions of Hoffman, endless references to his ‘genius’ ‘talent’ and the ‘tragic waste of life’.
There were long essays by addiction ‘experts’ describing how addicts like Hoffman had no choice, that he was predestined to die with a needle in his arm, that his death symbolized something more in American culture that just the death of a ‘lonely’ junky.
You know, junkies who are taking drugs on the lam tend to isolate. It’s hard to load a syringe, find a vein and discreetly nod off in a room full of people. Especially when you are a household name. He wasn’t lonely, he was alone. He needed to be on his own to conduct his junky life.
The police arrested the guys who allegedly sold Hoffman the heroin. They arrested the wrong people. They should have gone after the directors of the ‘for profit’ treatment center he attended last year. The snake oil sales men who promise relief from active addiction by cosseting addicts in expensive rehabs, re packaging the 12 steps of AA with no chance of long-term sobriety.
Criminal sober people with no interest in helping the desperate addict, just screwing them for the big bucks year after year for short-term relief.
Anyway, he’s dead. Just like thousands of other junkies all over the USA but he gets a fanfare… they get a pauper’s grave and the shame of the addict heaped upon them.
Addicts are selfish, self obsessed monsters. He chose to call his dealer rather than reach out to a sober person. He chose to load his syringe rather than pick his kids up from school.
Now he has a million apologists who think he had no choice at all.
Yesterday I signed up for the NYU AA men’s retreat to be held at Bill W’s house in Massachusetts.
As I walked into the room where the event was being organized the young gay white men with no more than 7 years of sobriety looked imperiously at me. They could scarcely concealed their contempt or their bitchy sneers as I sat down and asked pertinent questions about travel and accommodation.
Their faces began to droop however, as they grasped that there was very little they could do to exclude me from coming to their cozy gay event. The idea they could be trapped at a country retreat with me… for three days filled them with total horror.
The Gay men from the controlling gay AA cabal… who don’t even attend the NYU AA meeting are organizing the event. I’m perfectly sure they went into isolation overdrive. What could they do to get rid of me?
They were texting each other furiously.
We will see what shenanigans they come up with. This is going to be very interesting.
Jon Fortin/Zac Bissonnette
Last Saturday I went to the birthday party of a model publicist at The Skylark on 39th St. It was a dreary affair, too few people bumping around a cavernous space. Andy Roddick and Brooklyn Decker, a gaggle of ‘event gays’ and some asian women I convinced my friend were rifling his gym bag. Yes, he had his gym bag with him.
After a moment of party remorse I decided to talk to some dull looking gays at the bar. I wasn’t disappointed. They were terrible. Anyhow, I was introduced to one mealy-mouthed homo called Jon. Jon who? Jon Fortin. He told us that he had started and had consequently left the organization GoProud the Republican gay group that represents gay conservatives and their allies.
I thought Jimmy LaSalvia started GoProud? No? Hadn’t he recently renounced his republican affiliation?
Hmmm, Jon Fortin. Name didn’t sound familiar, between cranberry and sodas I snuck away and there on my second screen was Jon Fortin. Google turned up very little about Jon Fortin other than a brief mention in the Gay Blade as a booth helper at the RNC and in his Linkedin profile as a Political Consultant for GoProud, The Whitehouse and John McCain.
He took my number and we met for brunch the following day with my friend Vanessa. The brunch was very enlightening. Firstly, he told us that he had fucked Aaron Schock the republican to whom Itay Hod alluded in some crude Facebook posting but was subsequently roundly discredited.
Jon described how he had picked Aaron up from Dulles airport, taken him to his hotel and fucked him. It was very convincing. My friend and I were both entranced.
Secondly, after brunch… during the boring Super Bowl he took me to one side and with sad eyes and wet mouth revealed that he had left his wallet at home in another coat. As you may know dear readers I really don’t mind paying for lunch but I really mind paying for alcohol.
He left, promising to make it up to me the following day. Yet, when the following day came around he refused to meet me on the east side where I was at my 12.30 AA meeting (listening to PSH stories) preferring a spot near where I lived.
Annoyed that I was being asked to walk 15 blocks through ten inches of wet slush I balked. I told him that it was up to him to come to me as he owed me lunch. After a bit of text argy bargy which included him telling me that I should just forget about how much lunch cost, he decided to leave $72 in dimes at my club which they very kindly processed.
It was an amusing stunt and one that had taken some careful preparation.
He paid his share. I didn’t care if it were in pennies or euros. It was paid. Republicans believe that we are all ultimately responsible for our actions and there are consequences for our mistakes. It was only right that he paid.
That was that… I thought. Until this morning when an unidentified source revealed that rather than ‘political consultant Jon Fortin’ I had in fact fallen foul of Brayden Forrester porn star and hooker.
I Googled Brayden Forrester and my screen was ablaze!
Of course he had ‘lost’ his wallet. Of course he was pissed that I asked him to pay his share. Poor love. I felt rather sorry for him. 30-year-old ex porn star fails to secure free lunch at exclusive club.
I let him know what I knew about his porno past and he called me a train wreck, a psycho, mentally ill, insane. The usual insults. I’m used to them. Yep. Sounds accurate.
Jon. What did you do?
I received calls from the gays. Don’t blog about him… it will ruin his life. Ruin his life? How?
In my humble opinion the truth will set Jon Fortin free. He should shamelessly embrace his Brayden past. The gays love a good porn star and Brayden knows how to take a big cock/load. CHECK IT OUT BITCHES. He’s far more interesting to me as Brayden than he ever will be as Jon. Most gays agree. Lance Black only benefitted from those X Rated pics of him getting fucked… in the ass… without protection.
My unfortunate encounter with Jon/Brayden reminded me of the equally repugnant/misguided writer gay: Zac Bissonnette, author of the perfectly revolting and poorly written book How To Be Richer, Smarter, and Better Looking Than Your Parents. Yes, he really wrote a book with that title.
This elitist prick became infuriated when I mentioned on Facebook that he didn’t write particularly well to my friend Benoit Denizet-Lewis. This solicited from Zac the sort of invective only the gays have ever reserved for me.
Zac trolled the internet and after reading vile and libelous comments left by anonymous queens… repeated them back to me as facts. Accusing me of being a pedophile, trying to shame me for filling for bankruptcy, suggesting that I deserved to be in jail, he reminded me that I am old and ugly. You know, the usual gay shit.
Smelling a delicious and potentially lucrative law suit I urged Bissonnette to make the pedophile accusation public. Of course… he refused. “Without proof I would never say that publicly, do you think I’m an idiot?” He minced.
Yes, I think you’re an idiot… Zac.
Zac (like Jon) believes that unless you are living a life that almost exactly replicates his with his specific design for gay living you may as well be dead. In an attempt at peacemaking Zac offered an olive branch but it’s kind of hard to forgive a man who accuses you groundlessly of fucking children.
I bought a huge green fur hat from Marc Jacobs. It’s very warm, very green and attracts many, many comments.
The people who comment fall into three distinct groups.
1. The people who comment most are African-American men and women who approach me with huge smiles and open hearts and say wonderful things about the hat.
They tell me how happy it makes them. They ask where they could get one. They love the color. They hold me at the checkout at Trader Joe’s and ask if they can touch it. Black school kids holler across the street.
2. White woman tentatively tell me how much they like it, how warm they imagine it is. They rarely look me in the eye and their diminished confidence allows them only the slightest… but genuine opinion.
3. Gay men. I sighed writing that. Gay men. I sighed again.
When gay white men (strangers) talk to me about my hat it is always with sneering disregard. They go out of their way to say something catty and unpleasant. They look at me witheringly, their comments infused with: who do you think you are wearing that absurd hat? They dress compliments up in such a way that confuses the listener.
If the African-Americans who complement my hat had not done so I would have nothing to compare the responses of the gays. I might think I was going crazy. But I’m not.
We all know what a heartfelt compliment sounds like and the gays seem incapable of giving one… unless (of course) they want to get laid.
Here are more pictures of our brief stay in Malibu and our trip home.
First, if you’re going to out someone, then out them. Itay Hod did not out Schock in his piece, he outed a “hypothetical” congressman who just happens to fit Schock’s resume. He also presented thin evidence, which consisted of hearsay from an unnamed journalist friend and video footage that he claims TMZ has of Schock “trolling gay bars.” Hod knows a Facebook post is the only place this cuts it; that’s why it appeared there and not at any publication.
Secondly, a group of several gay journalists and activists on Twitter — including Dan Savage, Michelangelo Signorile, John Aravosis and Josh Barro — have decided that mocking Schock for exhibiting stereotypically gay attributes, like caring about his clothes and body, or following Daley on Instagram is the way of dealing with him. This is the same sort of behavior that the same people have said is harmful when it happens to closeted LGBT kids in schools. And, when I look at this happening publicly, I know that those closeted kids could be seeing it too. If it’s harmful for those kids to see athletes say anti-LGBT things, how isn’t it harmful for them to see prominent out people teasing Schock for his pants?
Chris Geidner is the sole brave gay journalist who dared criticize the velvet mafia for their inchoate name calling and bullying… aimed at Republican Politician Aaron Schock… the reason for this gay vitriol? Hunky journalist (we only agree with the good-looking ones) Itay Hod posted some ugly, muddled references on his Facebook page to a man who might hypothetically be Aaron Schock.
I’m not a fan of Aaron, he’s a typical… loathsome republican with typically unpalatable views with an unlikely sartorial edge, an atypical personal aesthetic and a body that most gay men seem to die for.
Most gay men seem to think Aaron has a ‘gay body’ so must be gay.
Rather than homosexual… Aaron Schock looks to me like a right-wing narcissus. Remember the art of the Third Reich? Remember Die Partei, Arno Breker‘s statue representing the spirit of the Nazi Party, fetishizing male perfection? Like most young contemporary gays, young nazis were encouraged to aspire to an idealized body as proof of their loyalty to the state (the state of gay) and their undying patriotism. A common right-wing obsession.
Aaron has embraced the people’s fascination with his perfect abs and pecs whilst extolling the values of racial purity, militarism, and obedience. Perhaps that’s exactly why the white, elite gays believe Aaron is a homosexual… because he is a full on, 100%, bone fide narcissist.
And, if you are wondering… defending him from the gay mafia does not make me a self loathing homosexual. It makes my blood boil that hate speak usually reserved for gay people is being used by gay people against a man who may or may not be gay.
Aaron! If you had only kept your abs to yourself, your (some might say) good looks under wraps… and your Instagram private… the gays wouldn’t have noticed you in the first place. But all those pics of you with your bronzed pecs and tight white underwear have driven the gays wild. And, like Tom Cruise before you… all the gays really want… is… to fuck you… convincing themselves and others that if they want you that badly… there’s no chance you’re straight.
You’ve confused the average gay, blindsided him with your million watt smile.
If you had been an ugly troll saying hateful things… the gays wouldn’t care less who you were fucking. Anyway, they’d have already caught you with your mouth behind a glory hole or paying for boys on rentboy.com and dismissed you with a limp wave and a meh.
But Aaron, much to their consternation, you seem to be sexually abstinent. Nobody has caught you with your pants down with anyone… male or female. Because you don’t take your pants down? The gays NEVER understand celibacy or abstinence or how all men are not exactly like them. It drives them crazy that they can’t catch you, shame you, kill the demon of homophobia within… then fuck you.
Itay Hod and his jacked up supporters are crude, repellent people. Old fashioned bullies… judgmental and prescriptive. If you dare disagree with their group think assessment you will be damned to hell… just like Chris Geidner…
For a bunch of guys who loathe judgement in others the gays sure got judgmental about the rest of the world. Since the Supreme Court DOMA decision the gays have woken up… emboldened, embracing their power. Like children, testing their parameters, the boundaries of what can and what can’t be said or done. Sadly, after a life time of hibernation, they have taken on the attributes of their worst enemies.
Dan Savage, Michelangelo Signorile, John Aravosis, Josh Barro.
They are, after all, just men. White gay men, looking down their noses at the rest of us.
While the affluent, white gays sink into a sanctimonious swamp the rest of the LGBTQ alliance look on at them with barely concealed embarrassment.
Their treatment of Schlock, their asinine assumption that he is gay based on pics of his bare-chested, manicured body… his trousers, his shoes… says more about them and the type of gays they are… than the kind of straight man Schock is.
Dodgy circumstantial evidence convicts Aaron Schock of homosexuality in the court of the velvet mafia. Using gossip and here say, bad shoe pics and plaid pants as indisputable proof of his gayness.
This is BULLSHIT!
I thought is was who we were fucking and loving rather than who we were aping that made us gay?
Perhaps Aaron Sch-jock is truly asexual? Maybe he’s waiting for the right guy… maybe he’s a pedophile practicing abstinence… or suffers erectile dysfunction and hates the gays because they are so obsessed with hard cocks?
What of it? It’s all conjecture until he tells us what he is if he feels so compelled.
The guy is a republican hater who dresses like a european and loves showing off his abs… have you seen Instagram or Tumblr recently? Based on this proof… this ‘criteria’… the whole world (hopefully) would be gay. All of my young straight friends are posting pics of their abs and their shoes on Instagram and Tumblr every day.
Haven’t we got past this crap? That only pansies and girls do that sort of thing?
God forbid, what happens if Aaron comes out? Like Ken Mehlman before… who caused untold harm to fellow gay people. If indeed Schock is gay and comes out? There will be a parade. It will take the baying gays about ten seconds to shamelessly forget his homophobia, objectify his abs… go to his pool parties and drink his vodka whilst he condemns immigrants, destroys women’s rights and turns a blind eye to racist colleagues.
But don’t worry… he’ll be out and proud.
I felt both overwhelmed and liberated in 2013. Simultaneously.
I spent the past few hours un-subscribing from 100 mailing lists from whom I receive emails begging for money. All perfectly decent causes, gun control, black theatre, saving the ocean, climate control, Unicef, the world wildlife fund, democratic causes, mercy for animals, slow money…
I un-subscribed from cook shops, travel companies, furniture stores and fashion lines. I spent a few moments each day erasing my name from the lists I added myself in the hope of being better informed, no more Gawker or Huffington Post or the Daily Beast.
It was an odd year. It was unusually diverse. I continued writing my film tho I stopped talking about it. I met thieving producers and film industry liars. I spent time with weed smoking Susan Sarandon in the back of her ping-pong club.
Away from the film I travelled to Martha’s Vineyard, to Des Moines and over the Rocky Mountains. I travelled by car all over America. Los Angeles to New York and back again… three times. I was constantly surprised by American kindness whenever I found it.
I fell in and out of love with AA. In and out of love with the gays tho… mostly out of love.
We are presently finalizing our divorce.
During the past months I began a strange adventure with a young man who I tentatively call my boy friend. I began to dream again… of better things… even though I am still cautious and burned. Erring toward single at all times.
I wrote a great deal but never published a word of it.
I wrote indignant things like this…
I am queer. They are gay. They are white and affluent. They want to get married and join the army. They want to assimilate. That’s what they say.
When you question them… when you ask them what assimilation looks like… they still want to keep gay pride, gay bars, gay apps, gay film festivals, gay morality.
They want the gay section in the bookshop, the ‘gay voice’ section in The Huffington Post. They don’t really understand what assimilation looks like because most of them are too comfy not assimilating.
He said, “This is all about your internalized homophobia.” I smiled. “It’s not internalized, it’s externalized.”
One can devote ones life to betrayal. Betrayed by parents, family members, institutions, schools, by loved ones even the country of ones origin. I have felt a smidgen from all of the above. Yet, I forgave my family, my school, the class system, my beloved country.
Because I wanted to be free.
I huffed and puffed about the NSA, I applauded Glen Greenwald and Chelsea Manning and Ed Snowdon. I stopped worrying about who could read whatever I was writing privately or which ever websites I was wacking to because there is nothing private. Not any more.
My counsellor asks things like, “Where in your body to you feel the anger first?”
I began to identify the genesis of my anger and feelings of uncomfortability. It usually starts with a demand for money from a worthy cause. A picture or video of a screaming rabbit as it is having it’s fur pulled off or a pile of euthanized dogs waiting to be incinerated.
It was the hopelessness that infuriated me, the cruelty, the stupidity, the hypocrisy.
I came to conclusions in 2013. That I do not, have never had, am not interested in… A CAREER! Careers, I realized, are… for other people. For those who may be interested in a legacy. I stopped calling myself a film maker and started telling people, if they asked, that I do… nothing.
I understood that wherever I found myself both good or bad I was meant to be. It was all for a reason. A reason that would one day be revealed to me. That my life was a series of choreographed moments. The life of a narcissist. That the cameras I learned to love whilst in the reality show had always been there and had never gone away.
In 2013 I never gave up. I waited patiently. I didn’t worry about the future nor was I enslaved to the past. For this I was grateful.
Occasionally I hankered to go home but knew that after a few days in Whitstable I would find my life shrinking and darkening. I did not go home. Though, I spoke more to my Mother this year and was curious about my nieces and nephews.
Finally the JB entanglement came to an end one nondescript day in November. I wanted to write to him and make amends for the mess I had caused.
But I wrote this instead… it was never sent.
An apology is owed.
I was wrong to lie to you. I was wrong to lose my temper. I was wrong to fight you. I was wrong to have asked for money to be paid when you owed me nothing. I was wrong to have blamed you for any part of our unhealthy association. The blame must fall squarely at my feet for everything that went wrong. The moment you came out I should have politely walked way… I did not. I was advised by everyone I knew and cared about… to walk away from you but chose to ignore their good suggestion. I should have thanked you and walked away. I regret very much that I did not. I am extremely remorseful. Due to my weakness of character I initiated a drama that harmed you and caused distress to your family. I should have walked away. The moment you told me you were gay. I know that you are happy now. I know that your happiness will continue.
It took two years to own up.
2013. Un-subscribing to websites, making amends, keeping my side of the street clean, owning up, anger management.
Let’s see what 2014 will bring.
As the years pass by, unrelenting, amazing, fulfilling, desperate, happy, sad.
Even though I have filled my homes with art and furniture and friends and the lingering smells of delicious feasts… even though I have made films and plays and paintings…. all I have ever wanted, really craved… was peace of mind.
I’m getting there. Slowly. A Happy and Prosperous New Year everyone.
The Little Dog is, as usual, very chill. He becomes more trusting as he gets older.
I spent two days in the hospital having a stent removed from my gall bladder. Yes, I did.
I had dinner with Fern Mallis… who, as you know, invented fashion week.
After dinner we decided to attend the Giorgio Armani One Night Only event.
When we arrived we were whisked off to meet Armani who refuses to speak english but spoke english to Fern… because Fern is a legend.
On Sunday we went to the doggy Halloween parade in Tompkins Square Park but we couldn’t be bothered to wait in line.
In Woodstock we met a man wearing a lovely sweater.
I met a friend of Wendy Asher’s.
The hedge fund billionaire who owned the apartment also owned a perfect Nakashima coffee table.
The lounge is perfectly beautiful and looks like the Beverly Hills Hotel interior on Acid.
This is my Halloween costume:
It is a paper napkin with two slits torn into it.
The following day I went back to Woodstock to look at a lake house I want to buy.
This is me and The Little Dog in the view taken by Angelo:
Before I start. Before I show you more pretty pictures.
(I am loyal to those I love.)
I have something to say.
Something that needs capitalized.
I want to remind you that ARTISTS WILL PREVAIL. Unfalteringly. However or how often they are plagued by false accusation or malicious slur. However their friends are forced to defend them. Everything gets added to the pot.
The older, the more immune one becomes. I hear it all. Before… it made me crazy. Now I am inured. Eventually those who dare say it are forced to face me. Try stopping me.
These plebeians. No, no, no.
I was house hunting this weekend upstate. Looking at pretty interiors. Imagining cottage gardens. The full, fleshy petals of pale pink peony around the house. Imagining blackberries and apple. Dahlia in the autumn.
Gay and Lesbian cinema is enjoying a well deserved revival and two very special films are garnering a great deal of post Sundance attention.
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.
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.
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.
It started with a short message and ended up with a whole bunch of choices I never expected.
Not in my wildest dreams.
I’ve read what you had to say. Now it’s my turn.
Stepping away from the mess. It’s not so messy. It seems like it was planned.
This pantomime. Look at the cast of unusual, freakish characters. Look at them.
Boys and men, trans and women.
Young girls. Yes. They are here too.
So you wrote me a poem. No title… of course.
We were connected .
When it expires we are expired.
The order? It was a good idea. It was a great way to formalize the end of our association. I can only imagine that you feel much the same way I do.
I wish we had never met.
Don’t you shudder whenever you think about it?
I understand why you needed to rewrite the narrative.
I took advantage of you?
You had far more to lose by telling the truth.
When assigning blame, I take full responsibility. I should have walked away.
Everyone I trusted advised me to do so. Everyone I trusted.
Instead, I pinned my hopes on you. I found your interest in me all at once baffling and inspiring.
A romantic relationship was impossible.
Because I am a broken, sick man. Incapable of intimacy.
You sold me:
A big fat lie.
Yet, we never talked about my lies. Yes, I lied to you about almost everything.
Lies I had held onto for a very long time.
This man is a liar. Just like me. Did you ever think that?
The last time I checked, and that was some time ago, you seemed very happy wearing your new clothes, your relationship, your job and your family.
I am delighted. You will make a much better job of being a gay than I ever could.
Your ability to form and maintain relationships will mean that you’ll have everything you always wanted. Everything you ever dreamed.
The questions I wanted to ask… I have no reason to ask.
The truth set you free and I am very proud of you… even though I have no desire to set eyes upon you ever again.
May 6th 2013
When did you have time to write that? Was it really meant for me?
Did you wonder if I should reply? Did you think I could?
There are no words left.
The storm rattles the house, thunders down the drain pipes. Torrents of rain over the mountain. Hammering down onto the wide, new leaves.
Make some toast and lime marmalade. Boil some eggs. Stand naked in the warm rain.
Last Monday I qualified at an AA meeting in the East Village. A twenty-minute qualification.
I skipped the drugs and drinking part of the story and talked exclusively about how I got sober and how I stay sober.
Since returning to NYC I had thrown myself back into AA. 90 meetings in 90 days. A new sponsor and a new sponsee. I quickly realized that there was no place for me in the gay meetings and opted for the straight/mixed meetings in far-flung places.
I could blast gay AA if I could be bothered… but I can’t. Needless to say, it’s just not for me.
Monday morning, during the qualification, I nearly burst into tears. In fact, I nearly burst into tears three times.
Once describing seeing the word God in the written steps of Alcoholics Anonymous at my first meeting, the second when describing how humbling it was spending time with the tranny hookers I met in jail and thirdly when I remembered the final moments of my using.
I have never ever cried when qualifying. I knew by the end of my share that something was seriously wrong with me.
I had a fun weekend with a young Texan. We visited the New Museum, had various lunches and dinners with friends but all the while I felt listless, irritable, prone to bad temper.
We had HIV tests, we explored Williamsburg. We looked at art, we bought action figures.
Tyler left on Sunday.
Within hours of his leaving my pee had turned a dark umber.
I felt the return of the pain in my chest that I often commented, when ever I had it, on Facebook.
I told them:
Is this flu or depression or anxiety or kidney failure? Guess what folks… the terrible chest and back cramps have returned with a fever…
The terrible chest and stomach pains that I learned to dread, that had plagued me for the past two years were getting progressively worse.
Now, added to everything else… the pale brown pee. I knew things were… serious. But I remained optimistic that by the morning the pee would return to normal.
On Tuesday morning, despite my optimism, my pee had turned the colour of coca cola.
I called a doctor friend at Cornell who made an appointment to see me immediately.
In huge pain I made my way to his office on the upper east side.
He prodded and poked then had me take a sonogram which revealed the cause of the problem: gall stones… lots of them.
One of them, he suggested, may have lodged in the bile duct and the bile was now backing up into my blood.
By Tuesday afternoon my eyes were bright yellow.
I told my doctor friend that my mother had her gallbladder removed and my father had died of pancreatic cancer. He baulked. He couldn’t be sure that this wasn’t cancer until they had probed a little more.
He took blood and sent me home, making an appointment to see his urologist friend this week.
When I got home I went directly to bed. The pain worsened. I was in difficulty. I called my doctor. He told me to go to the ER.
The doctor called ahead so I was quickly admitted and given a massive dose of morphine.
In a painful daze, during the next day, I had the blockage removed.
The young gay man who removed the stone was incredibly chipper, explained what he was going to do and soon I was asleep.
They shoved something down my throat and into my tummy. They cut into the bile duct and removed the obstruction. They checked my pancreas.
It was ironic: the gall bladder and the pancreas irritating each other. My mother and father at war in my tummy.
I woke up.
Thank GOD it wasn’t cancer. It was a gall stone. But my pancreas was angry. The doctors urged me to have the gallbladder removed.
The following day I was wheeled into surgery and had my Laparoscopic Gallbladder Removal.
I woke up with a dull thud in my belly and four small incisions.
The surgeon described my gallbladder as ‘severely traumatized’.
The bladder had been suffering for many, many years and within hours of surgery I knew that I was waking up without just the physical bladder but without a huge emotional burden.
I felt free. I feel free.
A day longer in the hospital recuperating and they sent me home.
Dear Cristina sent a car to fetch me and Stephen and Roy filled the fridge with wonderful things to eat.
My time in the hospital was made so much better by everyone who works there.
The doctors, surgeons, specialists, nurses and orderlies.
Every one of them treated me with respect, kindness and the level of care I received was without comparison.
Each doctor looked me in the eye, introduced themselves and shook my hand. They described in detail what was going on and gave me options.
The surgeon bantered and made one feel at ease.
The nurses said goodbye to each patient when they left their shift.
Every person I met wished me a speedy recovery and good luck.
Even though the hospital remains over crowded (since hurricane Sandy) and we were housed in former waiting areas and reopened buildings the staff were sublimely professional.
The other patients, however, were terrible. They complained about everything. The staff remained, in the face of this rank ingratitude, resilient.
I saw drug addicts in the ER demand morphine. I heard men rudely tell nurses that they ‘didn’t do’ wards. I heard cantankerous men demand their diapers changed. The nurses were treated like care slaves. Like servants.
The lack of any kind of humility from most patients was stunning.
I apologized whenever I could for the behavior of my fellow patients.
I’m sure that fear and pain determine the behaviors of most people in hospital.
I’m sure that the entitled rich expect so much more because of the high insurance premiums they pay and the poor… well, they never get to treat anybody as they are treated.
Still, it’s no excuse. Bad manners prevail.
It was another peculiarly American experience, one I will never forget.
The dogs were happy to see me but I was less happy to see them. I couldn’t deal with how much attention they demanded.
I lay in my bed watching the Oscars. A long way away from that terrible, cruel world.