Monday, May 27, 2013

Oscar, Schmoscar

"Beyond the Candelabra" is a tour de force of acting, directing, art direction, cinematography and seamless digital effects. I remember working in Television and being looked down upon since I worked in a shabby mass entertainment art form.
I will now argue the roles are reversed.

The black t-shirt, two-day stubble iPhone crowd at the studios rejected this film's economic model, I'm sure because it's way too gay for mass consumption. Uh oh...what just happened there? Who's the dumbed-down, "safe" medium now? It's pretty hard to get a "film" made now unless there are people in tight suits blowing shit up in it.

Which brings me to the Oscars. I think I just saw five performances that would make best supporting actor, best supporting actress and best actor in any other year. Alas, this was not a real "film" even though it was shown at Cannes with glowing reviews.I would argue that the coveted, prestigious Oscar either needs to get bigger, or be delegated to a medium that is having it's lines blurred out of existence.

The majors probably not care if they ever make art again, especially since they are part of the corporate Golem now, but it's dangerous to institutionalize risk-averse film making in an industry that exploits the passions of artists.  This film was made by artists(including Jerry Weintraub, the producer) who didn't give a shit what anybody thought: they saw a good story and told it.

Douglas is fucking amazing: fearless and committed to showing us this complex egomaniac with a tender side. Damon is the same; committed and incredibly vulnerable. It's really an old-fashioned love story, and an oddly-old-fashioned movie in some ways.

Rob Lowe almost steals the movie as the reptilian plastic surgeon who lives in a drugged and drunken haze. All of the supporting cast are great; Scott Bakula, Dan Akroyd, and Paul Reiser. Debbie Reynolds was so good as Liberace's mom, I didn't know it was her until the end credits.

All of the tech credits are nearly flawless; they should just give them the Emmys now. The pieces with Liberace playing piano are so good I didn't wonder until later how they did it.

All this from a director/cinematographer who's walking away from the industry; maybe that's what the industry needs. So sad: big screen for teenage popcorn fodder, small screen for art. You heard it here, first. Maybe.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

My friend, and fierce advocate for any little boy who has ever tried on a dress, Helen Boyd, posted  the following YouTube link on her blog today.

I'm excited, because the tale of the Gay Crewes in New Orleans is not just fabulous, but it was crucial in the fight for basic human rights for all queer people; as usual, the Queens led the charge.I cannot wait to see this documentary.

Serendipitously, I also found this photo of Tennessee Williams and our delicate Prophetess, Candy Darling. They appeared together in one of Williams last plays,"Small Craft Warnings" in 1972. To call Candy a "Drag Queen" doesn't dishonor her, but it sadly under-informs the listener about who she was, and the impact she had on all of us who followed her.

Here they are, two beautiful and fragile creatures who were decades before their times, destroyed by the clumsy hands of U.S. culture.
Candy Darling and Tennessee Williams 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Looking due West at the Santa Susannas. Charlie Manson lived there.
We Live

We lived in the white flight suburbs of the Conejo "bubble",lost our house, and now we live in "THE VALLEY". 

When I was young, living in the The Valley was made to sound like a death sentence for a snotty westsider like I was.

The Valley is full of great ethnic markets, and authentic taco stands outnumber the Taco Bells and Del Tacos; you can't get Lengua or Tamarindo at Taco Bell.

I drive to work on the 118 every day, and get to pass through some of the tortured ethereal geology of the Santa Susanna pass. I pass Stoney point every day(their spelling,not mine, and there's good evidence it was named after stoners), and see rock climbers on their way in to commune with the sunrise, and the white trumpets of Datura brighten my drive for a week or two each year.

People often say they hate L.A.; I wonder if they hate the idea of L.A. more than the place. We aren't the only wicked town in a weird and beautiful place.

Now if I could just get out of the car.....

Thursday, May 2, 2013


It's Blog My Face Wednesday, Bitches.

Bring the artsy fierceness.