Monday, May 30, 2005


I suppose I ought to tell you that I'm on the road (or in the sky as the case may be) on an off lately --thus the widening gap between posts. I really want to talk about my experience at the Drive-In last night (Yes, Michigan still has 'em) but I need access to my actual computer to do so. Visuals, don't you know? So you'll have to be patient.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

"Celestia" Strikes Back

Do you ever wonder if Coley Lafoon sleeps well at night? I mean, presumably, this sometime cameraman and actor sleeps right next to two gorgeous women each night. Get your mind out of the gutter: Both of these women inhabit the same body, don't you know?!

Yes, lying there right next to him in the body of his gorgeously off wife, the actress Anne Heche (Happy Birthday girl!), is another being known only as "Celestia" who hails from the Fourth Dimension.

For those of you who cherish celebrity meltdowns (you know who you are!) Anne Heche's craziest days --roughly 1999 to late 2001-- have to rank in the utmost echelons of top star-fueled vicarious thrills for those of with normal lives. We watched as she plunged heartfirst into the world's most famous lesbian relationship, starred in lots of movies, broke up with her more famous girlfriend, wandered in the California desert unhinged, and did a Barbara Walters special and came out about her alter-ego, Celestia. Finally she documented it all in an autobiography called "Call Me Crazy."

Celestia's desert wanderings in the 2000 as she sought God and spaceships in Fresno (?) after splitting with Ellen DeGeneres are top tier classics of the celebrity meltdown genre. Anne Heche's escapades are way edgier than Angelina Jolie's pull quotes, way crazier than Hugh Grant's indiscretions, way more imaginative than Robert Downey Jr.s equally career-killing drug habit, and somehow less desperate and definitely sexier than Margot Kidder's sad headlining breakdown.

Now that Ellen DeGeneres, Heche's former love, is publicly besotted with another Ally McBeal alum (this time it's Portia deRossi who played "sub-zero Nell", currently on Arrested Development) might jealousy and regrets prompt another Celestia episode? Celeb watchers can only hope. This is not to wish Anne harm or continual employment to her therapist. But, truthfully, can you really ever move on after publishing tell-all biographies and speaking to God in your own invented language? These things probably stick with you.

More Celestia/Heche fun?
Revisit that famous Barbara Walters interview -click here.
For two funnier takes on the same thing, there's always Fame Tracker. Hee. And this.
Could you make it work with a crazy chick like Anne?
Anyone know if this TV pilot got picked up?
I'm not the only one who loved the Celestia episode, don't you know...
All that said. Anne is totally hot --I mean, can you really blame Ellen for putting up with her?
She's also a terrific actress.

Poll Madness

The Lusty Month of May: Star Wars Edition

Inspired by a particularly whack e-mail I received last week, there's a new poll on the site catered to those who get a hormonal rush of any sort from that galaxy far far away... (not that there's anything wrong with that. Whatever floats your land cruiser.)

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

May 24

I promise that the rest of May will be available on the site tonight but in the meantime. Happy Birthday to...

... Jim Broadbent, 55, one of the finest character actors in the world and the 2001 recipient of the FiLM BiTCH Award for Best Supporting Actor. He also won the Oscar that year but for the wrong movie.
...Roger Deakins,55, ace cinematographer. It's almost impossible to pick a favorite piece from his outstanding filmography . Go ahead and try ~ His resume includes gorgeously shot stuff likeBarton Fink, Rob Roy, Dead Man Walking, Fargo, Kundun, O Brother Where Art Thou?, The Man Who Wasn't There, A Beautiful Mind, and The Village and that's a sampling from only the last 15 years. Up next for Deakins? The gulf war memoir Jarhead. Will he finally win that Oscar that's eluded him?
...Kristin Scott Thomas who is 45 today and still a cool beauty. Chromophobia, her latest film which premiered at Cannes, didn't get a lot of buzz coverage but at the very least it reunites her with her former onscreen perfect match for icy gorgeousness, Ralph Fiennes. You'd think that reuniting the stars of The English Patient would be an angle worth marketing. If you like Kristin (and if you don't -- why the hell not?) I suggest a viewing of something you might not have seen like Angels & Insects in which she is typically strong. Or, if you want something a little more recent try watching Gosford Park again. Helen Mirren and Maggie Smith got all the attention (and Oscar nominations) but Thomas was also dependably terrific.

And Happy Anniversary to Kate Winslet & Sam Mendes. May 24th marks their 2nd wedding anniversary.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

"Truck Stop Theogony"

The following is an advertisement for "a choral reading of an epic poem" which happens to be written by my best friend (it's brilliant, he's brilliant. therefore you should go) -thus its improbable appearance on this here movie & theater blog:

The Writer's Voice Reading Series Presents:

"The pump attendant was a girl whose job -
Or rather whose entire existence -was
To fill the bellies of the gods with gas"

'With sixteen wheelers as gods and a Wyoming gas station as the gods' Olympus, "The Truck Stop Theogony," tells the story of the Pump Girl, a servant destined to undo the world and unleash "love's deadly disaese." Jon Jensen's epic spoof mixes Greek, Hindu, and Judeo-Christian myths with Mormon oral histories. In form, it combines the blank verse of Milton and the twang of Country Western. The poem seeks to reenvision faith and love in a world where "gods and men, machines alike, all run on power borrowed, stolen, bought or bled" '

Thursday, June 9th, 2005
8:00 PM
the George Washington Lounge @ the West Side YMCA
5 W 63rd Street (Between Central Park West & Broadway)
Admission Free & Open to the Public / Wine will be served

Aslan Comes Out

Before Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith on Friday night all of the teasers & trailers for wannabe blockbusters were popping off the screen.

Batman Begins
Can't wait.

Fantastic 4
Yes, it still looks like bad.

The Island
The first teaser (linked above) is much more effective than the new trailer in theaters. The trailer here gives you a small idea of the storyline. The trailer in theaters is a mess. All explosions and no discernable idea of what they're trying to sell. No applause in the theater despite the very applaudable pairing of Ewan 'lightsaber' MacGregor and Scarlett 'pink panties' Johansson. They even get horizontal in the trailer. I give that a standing ovation, personally. I don't know what was wrong with the crowd in my theater.

The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe
LotR fever strikes studios. This is an obvious attempt to deliver the next big multi-film classic fantasy book adaptation at holiday time. I am a bit surprised that they let Aslan out of the bag this soon, visually. (Though I can't find this trailer online yet) Perhaps I'm overstating. How many ways can a lion look exactly? Maybe they never planned on keeping him hidden. At any rate, you'd think they'd save him for the trailer a month before the actual premiere. My favorite image in the trailer is the brief glimpse of Tilda Swinton as the Snow Queen. Perfect casting.

Mr. & Mrs. Smith
This trailer sells explosions and mayhem. But it's Jolie and Pitt both on fleshy display that caused the explosion amongst the audience.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

cannes winners

Palme D'Or The Child d. the Dardenne brothers, Belgium
Grand PrixBroken Flowers d. Jim Jarmusch, USA
(this film's cast is sorta spectacular: Bill Murray, Jessica Lange, Tilda Swinton, Julie Delpy, Sharon Stone, etc... um, wow.)

Jury PrizeShanghai Dreams d. Wang Xiaoshuai, China
Best ActorTommy Lee Jones in The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada
Best Actress Hanna Laslo in Free Zone d. Amos Gitai, Israel
Best Screenplay Guillermo Arriago for The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada
Camera D'Or (First Film)
(tie) Me, You, and Everyone We Know d. Miranda July
and The Forsaken Land d. Vimukthi Jayasundara, Sri Lanka

Sith, Cher, and Cronenberg

random thoughts from Saturday morning...

01 Why did I see Revenge of the Lucas last night? Hasn't George tortured me enough? Maybe my therapist is right...Maybe I am a masochist? And why did the train take 28 minutes to arrive and then go 'local' when I was already bone tired from enduring Lucas's relentlessly busy and gaudy images?

02 Yesterday was Cher's birthday and I really meant to do a post about The Year of Cher, which was (for those confused due to her impressively lengthy career) 1987 in which she had hit records, constant media coverage, and three movies Suspect with Dennis Quaid, The Witches of Eastwick with Sarandon, Pfeiffer, and Nicholson, and her Oscar winning star turn in Moonstruck. I meant to write about the best actress race that year and to congratulate the Academy (something I am prone to be stingy about) for choosing so well. Five women all of whom were deserving of their nominations. So, I guess you'll never know that I loved all five of the nominated performances that year: Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction, Holly Hunter in Broadcast News (I like to pretend this nomination covers her spirited comedic work in Raising Arizonaas well), Meryl Streep in Ironweed(I still get chills thinking about her belting out "He's Me Pal", and Sally Kirkland in Anna.

03 Little Women is closing on Broadway. So my SuttonFosterLovin' best friend will be mightily pissed that by the time he arrives in August, Sutton will no longer be "Astonishing" each night in the new musical.

04 Who will win in Cannes today? Maybe they've already announced... it's soon at any rate. Buzz has the Cronenberg (A History of Violence), the Dardenne (The Child), and the Haneke (Hidden)as major contenders for something or other. Best Actor might be between Aragorn himself, Viggo Mortenson, and French star Daniel Auteuil. Of course there's always a chance that Jarmusch or Von Trier will be called.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Kathleen clobbers Jessica & Natasha

Excellent article from diva-obsessed Ben Brantley on a trio of famous actresses taking on three legendary roles on Broadway this season.

Professor Xavier's Comic for Gifted Writers

I have been genuflecting to Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Firefly. etc...)too much lately. But here's one more:

First, a generous heaping of backstory:

When I was a wee young thing in the 70s I stopped at the local 7-Eleven and picked up an issue of The Uncanny X-Men (issue #126 to be exact) and began descending into comic madness immediately thereafter. Each month felt like Christmas morning, opening up the pages to see what adventure, threat, personal drama, or battle awaited Nightcrawler, Kitty Pryde, Storm, Colossus, Cyclops, Dazzler, The Beast, etc...

Many years later I stopped reading because the comics just didn't do it for me any more. Some say it's an age thing. But I don't know... See, I love the medium itself. Still. I think it's just as valid as any other for storytelling and aesthetic possibility. But I just can't get into the actual comic books anymore. I try, maybe twice a year. I walk into comic shops, flip through a few things, maybe buy a few. And then immediately lose interest again. So maybe it's both age and a creative drought in comics? Maybe I just don't like the art anymore? I hated the Jim Lee (?) years of everyone drawn with the same gargantuan muscle look, which was not the case in the 70s/80s when superheros actually did have different body types, always fit of course but they weren't all injecting steroids and implanting silicone monthly. Anime is cool but I also hated when that became the standard look. I don't like every artist's work to look the same. Maybe I'm just picking up the wrong books? At any rate I lost a lot of joy in comic book reading. And I never got it back.

About Last Night:
A few months ago I started picking up issues of Astonishing X-Men when I heard that Joss Whedon was doing a one year writing stint. Color me impressed. After four issues now, I'm getting close to youthful obsession again. This last issue was a doozy. I really love what he's doing with these iconic characters, and I can't wait for the next issue when Professor Xavier attempts to put the smack-down on the Danger Room, which is now sentient and in humanoid form. Ouch. Now, I don't want to oversell this. But it's possible that last night when I closed the comic I was, for a fleeting millisecond, shocked to find myself in my 30s, on a subway in Manhattan, surrounded by strangers instead of in my parent's living room with the green carpeting and exposed brick wall, all giddy and pre-adolescent.

Are there any comic book readers reading? And if so, what else am I missing in the comics world? Or was I correct to stay away for many years?

Thursday, May 19, 2005

George "Palpatine" Bush

This whole Darth Vader as George Bush thing detailed here, there, and every which where is kind of fun to follow and also rouses my curiousity more than I expected. Though I am, in point of fact, still dreading seeing the actual film.

Oh, I know you're not supposed to judge a movie before seeing it. But consider how desecrated my childhood memories of Star Warsand Empire Strikes Back felt once I first spotted Anakin "Yippee" Skywalker in Phantom Menace, the CGI creation: the one who shall not be named, and realized that the only cool new character in a series that used to have gazillions of cool characters would meet a quick light-saber demise after just a few minutes of screen time, how am I too feel otherwise. I'm still shocked at how much I hated Episodes 1 & 2.

But anyway. Politics. This new Star Wars debate is all kinds of funny and all kinds of sad ---It takes a blockbuster movie to get the mainstream media to notice some of the creepy stuff that's been going down in our country? Discuss it we must.

...and by *'it' I mean the country's direction and not whether or not this new Star Wars film is a smidgeon better than the last two. Not that that would be a difficult feat to accomplish. And by 'not a difficult feat' I mean the quality of the movie and not the conversation this country needs to keep having, which won't exactly be a pleasant one.

Monday, May 16, 2005

cannes you believe it? (pt 3)

Top Five Cannes-Focused Thoughts Today
01. The forceful reaction to Cronenberg's A History of Violence which Manohla Dargis calls "awesome", which A.O. Scott seems confused about, which Mike D'Angelo scores tipping positive but with a question mark attached and calls "strange", and which prompted * Roger Ebert * to propose that Viggo Mortenson might snag an acting honor from Cannes on Saturday --suddenly making my way out on a limb Oscar prediction for the best actor lineup not so strange after all.

02. The return of the Woody Allen people actually admire with Matchpoint. Given that people seem very impressed with this film's actual PLOT, might this be accessible enough for Oscar to embrace? (If you don't know that Oscar, and American audiences in general, get much more excited about good stories than good atmosphere, ideas, or cinematic invention, than you're not paying attention.) Woody's last true Oscar success was Bullets Over Broadway some 11 years back. That won an impressive 7 Oscar indication that it probably just missed Best Picture nominee status. Could he actually return to the finals?

03. Natalie Portman's shaved head. But definitely not the Paris Hilton stories. Who cares? Seriously? I know this flies in the face of conventional wisdom given the amount of press ripples caused by every tilt and swivel of her blond head. But for me she's not a good celebrity. Vacant and boring? yes. Endlessly fascinating? to whom exactly...

04. Following Mike D'Angelo's grades ---His top five so far? Down in the Valley (David Jacobson), The Wayward Cloud (Tsai Ming-liang)The Child (Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne), Hidden (Michael Haneke)and Match Point(Woody Allen)

05. Speculating about who will win what... it's really just begun. The awards are handed out in less than a week but there are many films left to premiere.

* I would not suggest reading Ebert's coverage if you don't like spoilers because he gives too much plot away for more than one film. I was not able to completely read his article because I could tell he was divulging key plot elements and I just don't wanna know them.

La Pfeiffer: Still Teasing Us

I won't be holding my breath for the just announced I Could Never Be Your Woman because if I held my breath everytime a new Pfeiffer vehicle was announced I would have died of asphyxiation long ago.

At any rate. This new Amy Heckerling romantic comedy could be Pfeiffer's anxiously awaited return --or not. Past films that were supposed to have that glory include Coraline, Chasing Montana, Taming Ben Taylor, Liberating Paris, and She's Gone all of which were missing either a) Pfeiffer committing or b) a greenlight or c) a male co-star. Which leads me to two questions:

A) Does she really want to come out of retirement?
B) Do the studios not realize what a great movie star she is?
this question is rhetorical --I already know the answer
C) Do male co-stars hate working with her... or do they just hate taking second billing?

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Best Actress (the ones you've heard of)

Now... for you filmgoers out there: You may actually know these next ladies better than the ones in the musical category. I'm not sure why so many fine Broadway actors seem to be restricted to guestspots on Law & Order but no one has hired me as a casting director so I can't guess who will fix the system. But, anyway, in this particular category some names will be very familiar to filmgoers as well.

CHERRY JONES as "Sister Aloysius" in Doubt
Possible Campaign Angle: A true modern theater star giving a much buzzed about turn. Trust me, you'd be hypnotized. This is her fourth nomination.
Why You Know Who She Is: Frequent appearances in character roles in Hollywood pictures like Signs, Erin Brockovich, Oceans 12, The Village, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, The Horse Whisperer, The Perfect Storm and Cradle Will Rock. Plus she's an outspoken gay activist --If you saw her, you'd recognize her.
Pros: Genuine powerhouse stage performer.
Con: She's won already for The Heiress

LAURA LINNEY as "Patricia" in Sight Unseen
Possible Campaign Angle: Great performer. Plus she's not slumming on Broadway for attention. She returns every couple of years in between films despite being in demand in Hollywood.
Why You Know Who She Is: Oscar nominated turns in You Can Count on Me and Kinsey.
Pros: Great reviews. What do you expect? Didn't you read the words "Laura" and "Linney" above?
Con: Ancient history having played its limited run last summer.

MARY LOUISE PARKERas "Rachel" in Reckless
Possible Campaign Angle: "It's just an honor to be nominated"
Why You Know She Is: Billy Crudup's ex (famously dumped for Claire Danes while she was pregnant with Billy's child). Recent Golden Globe win for Angels in America and Tony win for Proof. Most well known film role is probably still within Fried Green Tomatoes
Pros: A marvelous stage actor.
Con: Revival closed after only 77 performances.

PHYLICIA RASHADas "Aunt Ester" in Gem of the Ocean
Possible Campaign Angle: She won last year for A Raisin in the Sun. "It's just an honor to be nominated"
Why You Know Who She Is: Many years as the Mrs. in TV's beloved Cosby Show
Pros: Aunt Ester is a crucial character in August Wilson's 10 play cycle, which documents the African-American experience decade by decade, but this is the first time Ester has appeared in one of the plays.
Con: The play closed after only 72 performances.

KATHLEEN TURNER as "Martha" in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf
Possible Campaign Angle: Her best performance in years. She's made the NYC stage her home after Hollywood kissed her goodbye.
Why You Know Who She Is: La Turner was an 80s film superstar. Like Martha, her character in Woolf,she was always more than a match for her male co-stars who've included Michael Douglas (Romancing the Stone, The War of the Roses, Jewel of the Nile) Nicolas Cage (Peggy Sue Got Married) Jack Nicholson (Prizzi's Honor) and William Hurt (Body Heat)
Pros: Great performance. Legendary Role.
Con: Virginia Woolfis losing momentum and Doubt is gaining given the Pulitzer.

Who will win?
I think Cherry Jones has a comfortable lead, given that she's an important stage actress and that Doubt is a hit with audiences and critics. The only possible spoiler is Kathleen Turner for her savage and boozed-up star turn as Martha. This role gave Uta Hagen her Tony and Liz Taylor her second Oscar. It's not impossible.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Best Actress

Now... you got all shivery reading that title didn't you? Sorry to put you under the cold shower but this ain't about the Oscars in March of next year. Nothing's happened yet to make me change my early bird predictions. I'm still going with Reese, Samantha, Uma, Juliette, and Joan until further scoops come in or at least until the annual summer rethink.

No, no. The topic of discussion today is the Tony nominees for Best Actress in a musical. For those of you who skip right over these theater bloggings, tsk-tsk. The Tony Awards are just as interesting if you dig in. While this year's Actress race doesn't seem to have half the drama as last year's (what a doozy that one was) The Tony categories come with their own particular brand of politics, "due", and 'momentum' issues. So here we go...

CHRISTINA APPLEGATE as "Charity Hope Valentine" in Sweet Charity
Possible Campaign Angle: Takes a licking and keeps on ticking. Perhaps misinterpreting the vernacular stage shout-out "break a leg!" Applegate went and broke her foot. The show was off. The show was back on! She heals fast. Out of town word wasn't kind but people (and Tony voters) admire tenacity.
Film Connections: Shirley Maclaine played this part winningly in the 1969 film version.
Pros: Low expectations can reap rewards. Audiences seem to like Applegate's energy in the show.
Con: Stars from film and television can sometimes trample true theater talents with their name-recognition factor. But it's not a foolproof way to clog your mantlepiece. Just ask Jessica Lange (The Glass Menagerie) and Denzel Washington (Julius Caesar), both currently treading the boards. Both were snubbed. Also, this show has never netted a statue for its leading lady; Gwen Verdon, the original Charity, lost the Tony. Shirley Maclaine lost the Golden Globe contest for the film version. She wasn't even nominated for the Oscar. And Debbie Allen, the last Broadway revival's lead, lost.

VICTORIA CLARKas "Margaret Johnson" in The Light in the Piazza
Possible Campaign Angle: Sell those reviews, they couldn't be more flattering.
Film Connections: It wasn't a musical at the time but this story, based on the novel by Elizabeth Spencer, was also filmed once in 1962 with none other than Olivia deHavilland in this part.
Pros: It's the most challenging role of the five nominated, with ample time to sell both her acting (lots of melodrama) as well as her considerable musical gift. She also has the best song in the nominated batch: "Dividing Day" obliterates the competition for songs that you want to eventually have associated with you as a performer.
Con: Not everyone loves the arty Piazza. Comedy is currently more of a Tony magnet than drama.

ERIN DILLYas "Truly Scrumptious" in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Possible Campaign Angle: Um... well, hey--never mind. "It's just an honor to be nominated."
Film Connections: This role didn't do all that much for Sally Anne Howes film career. She went straight to television thereafter. As for Erin herself, she hasn't made any features though she did appear in Jim McKay's last project Everyday People
Pros: Just playing a character with this moniker has to be seen as a pro --at least for your self-esteem, casting wise.
Con: She's the fifth slot choice. Even with great reviews, they can't win.

SUTTON FOSTERas "Jo March" in Little Women
Possible Campaign Angle: If Audra McDonald can win every other year, why not Sutton?!
Film Connections: This Louisa May Alcott classic has been filmed a number of times. So Sutton is filling the same tomboy shoes as Katharine Hepburn, June Allyson, and Winona Ryder...
Pros: ...and she can outsing any of them. (maybe Allyson fans would object?) The role is a perfect fit for her brand of stardom.
Con: She's already won. And recently. While that doesn't deter Tony voters to quite the same extent that it deters Oscar voters, the show isn't strong enough to push her into the forefront. Nor will the music provide much momentum since "Astonishing", her first act closer, is the only memorable number.

SHERIE RENE SCOTT as "Christine" in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Possible Campaign Angle: Matching set! For voters who want to reward Norbert Leo Butz in the Lead category for his energetic work in this adaptation, it makes sense to embrace Sherie, too. They give good stage chemistry.
Film Connections: Scott has the Glenn Headley role in this film-to-stage-musical work.
Pros: She's an endearing and hilarious performer. She and Butz arecharming together. Butz and Scott made gorgeous music together in the Off-Broadway classic The Last Five Years
Con: Her stage time is lacking. Though she shines in the second act, she's all but absent from the first. If she weren't already a star, this would've probably gone the way of the "featured actress" category.

Who will win?
Victoria Clark has a comfortable lead. Unless Christina Applegate's mix of media-friendly backstory and surprise success builds unexpected momentum.

Friday, May 13, 2005

love for sale

The Lusty Month of May: New Poll!
Who is your favorite onscreen hooker? Click on over to the site and choose: It's free. You don't even have to tip these lusty ladies (and men). I suppose these poll results might be different if I asked for whom you'd pay the highest price. Not that you need to pay.

cannes you believe it? (pt 2)

Manohla and A.O. Scott are blogging Cannes (linked in the title above). They both found things to praise in Last Days The Kurt Cobain piece by the aesthetically resurgent Gus Van Sant. And A.O. Scott joins Mike D'Angelo in getting Woody Allen fans hopes up super-high yet again. Everyone seems to think that Matchpoint is a true return to form for the ancient previously genius filmmaker. I couldn't be more enthused. No seriously, you can't see me but I am doing cartwheels in between sentences. Later I even plan to consume alcohol!

In other Cannes news: Here's a link to an ionarts blog entry on one of the greatest movie stars ever and from anywhere, Catherine Deneuve. And as a reminder, Mike D'Angelo is also blogging the Gallic festival... though since I'm mentioning him right after the Deneuve-love, I should also remind that he's more of a Sylvie Testud kinda guy.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Friends of Dorothy

That borrowed time post put me in a a mnemonic state and kept me there. While I'm nostalgic I took a trip back to my print 'zine "Film Bitch." I was thinking back to the Heathers inspired "lunch-time poll" section. So, for everyone reading, let's do one:

Who is your favorite Wizard of Oz character...and why? Think before you answer. (Hint: This film is so great that there are no incorrect choices.)

Joss Whedon + Stephen Sondheim

I guess it totally makes sense that Joss Whedon (Buffy creator and TV genius) is a Stephen Sondheim (musical genius) fanatic but I can't say that I knew before today:

The following is from Terry Teachout's blog (linked in the header above) which contains an excerpt from the latest Sondheim Review:

"Whedon's parents introduced him to Sondheim's musicals when he was a child, and he believes shows like Company and A Little Night Music were formative in the development of his creative vision, one that's "existential and bleak," though shot through with acts of devotion, courage and faith. "...I told my therapist that I knew all of Follies by the age of nine; she said, 'We have our work cut out for us.'"

That last exchange is classic, is it not?

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

cannes you believe it?

Another May, another Cannes film festival. And here I was talking about everything but... You can follow Mike D'Angelo's Cannes grades at the links above. He'll also be blogging it. Anyone know of anyone else who's helping us to live through the festival vicariously? If so hit me with that link!

Whedon Updates

I don't know how many of you notice that my sidebar changes weekly on Tues Night/Wednesday mornings when I do my weekly obsessions, but it does. This week Joss Whedon is on my mind. I am, naturally, a crazed Buffy fan. Is there any other kind? What is less known about my Whedon enthusiasm is that I never much cared for Angel. That's a TV series that I feel never quite found its voice. Or at least that the voice kept changing. To my way of thinking though Whedon might have struck gold again with Firefly which is now showing at The Urge (On Monday nights at 8:00 @ 2nd & 2nd in Manhattan if you happen to love the Whedon-verse, 2-for-1 drink specials, or Steve the bartender). I say "might" because the first season, which is good but starts slow gives off that familiar impression that the second season will be excellent. Just like Buffy. Her first season was interesting but not exactly classic. And the 2nd season and 3rd season are like television nirvana. Practically perfect in everywhere. But Buffy 's seven season survival was always a TV miracle. Most unusual or great or original shows don't survive. So, the TV gods, being what they are (i.e. oft incompetent) elected to cancel Firefly. No second season will ever exist.

Firefly, the series, for those who are are in the dark about it, was a hard sell. Combining the old west aesthetic with sci-fi, aired out of order, some episodes never aired. And it's all very unusual with tons of characters, complicated backstory, and heavy sexual undercurrents that Whedon shows never shy away from, but that TV audiences often cringe about because it's just too "adult" for them to handle.

The movie "Serenity" will be out in the fall so the growing members of this particular TV cult will have something to be excited about. Here is the trailer.

* In other Whedon news, there's still no word on the possible Faith series and I possibly shouldn't have even brought it up since my yearning for such an imaginary television series is so massive that it often threatens to crush me, the way Faith crushes men's hearts (and bones).

* In still more Whedon news, Wonder Woman is currently being written and will probably be filmed in Australia according to Dark Horizons.

Borrowed Time

Until I feel really inspired, and until this cup of coffee does its cup of joe mojo on me (still so sleepy), I'll be a-borrowing topics from others. My friend Nick just did this...

10 Years Ago I...
1. obsessed on Elisabeth Shue's performance in Leaving Las Vegas and Sean Penn's in Dead Man Walking. In a screw-you switcheroo Oscar loved the other performance in each film most of all.
2. realized that the group of friends I had made the year before were going to be lifelong ones. Big hugs to my 'Fruit Family'
3. dated alot and then a total boyfriend drought began (which I thought would never end).
4. was still licking the wounds of coming out to my parents the year before. My dad, asked me what I did when I got these "cravings." Hilarious now, the choice of words. But painful to hear at the time.
5. took my nephews to see Babe which we all totally loved and which, for weeks thereafter they mimicked in pipsqueak narrating-mouse voices.

5 Years Ago I...

1. obsessed on Dancer in the Dark --Film Comment even printed a snippet of a letter I wrote that said I suspected it would be the best of the decade and the decade had just begun!
2. thought briefly about the leaving the company I'm still with but stayed which wasa good decision at the time but doesn't feel so hot now that it's five years later and I'm eager for change.
3. was feeling the success of my virgin website and had given up the print zine upon which it was based.
4. went to the beach a lot with my best friend. I need another summer like that; large quantities of sun and sand.
5. attended Wigstock for the last time and also attended the Millenium March on Washington (i'm in the blond in both pics above) which was a highly memorable event. Thousands of GLBT people descending on the capital marching for their rights? Priceless.

to be continued...?

your eyes are getting heavy

I hate waking up to the loud radio but it does wake me up. Almost every morning on NPR as I get up, even though it's technically a different day of the week, the news is about suicide bombers. It's like an evil version of Groundhog Day. "Good Morning!"

I am still very very sleepy this morning. I am only typing this random and meaningless post because the wait for the coffee seems to be eternal this morning.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

make it stop

You know, to be a judge of musical performance there should be certain requirements for applicants like, say, "must not be tone deaf" --that's all I'm asking. How do Simon, Paula, and Randy keep their jobs? In other American Idol news: Carrie is still boring. Bo is still merely OK. Vonzell is still spirited but dependably off-key. Anthony is still excruciatingly syrup-laden. I'm so glad I quit watching this show (even if I do sometimes have it on in the background). Just because something is addictive doesn't mean it's good for you.

TONY Nominations: The Movie

It's a very cinematic year for the Tony Awards with lots of plays and musicals with previous film incarnations in the running... If you've never seen a Broadway show but have seen the following movies Glengarry Glenn Ross, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Sweet Charity, The Birdcageor La Cage Aux Folles, Little Women, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang than you've got half the categories covered. This is obviously not a good thing for the health of the theater BUT it will probably make the Awards show a lot more fun to play along at home with...

PLAY Doubt (7 noms) by John Patrick Shanley (known to filmgoers for his Oscarwinning screenplay for Moonstruck) and Glengarry Glen Ross (6 noms), the very well received revival of David Mamet's play, seem to be leading the play nominations. Rossbecame a 1992 film featuring Al Pacino and Jack Lemmon and is now, 13 years later, back on the Great White Way. The mixed-to-poorly received revivals of Tenessee Williams masterpieces A Streetcar Named Desire starring Natasha Richardson and the improbably cast John C Reilly and The Glass Menagerie with Jessica Lange were mostly ignored as was Denzel Washington's star turn in Julius Caesar--so the name recognition factor only went so far this year...

MUSICAL Spamalot!, the latest box office behemoth to hit Broadway seems to be sucking up a gargantuan portion of the nominations (14) in the musical category. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and The Light in the Piazza also did well. Not faring well at all was Little Women, one of the earliest entries which nabbed only a nod for cutesy Sutton Foster. that the nominations are announced, watch for the closing notices to go up for the shows that didn't do well or were completely shut out. Goodbye Brooklyn the Musical and good riddance!

Monday, May 09, 2005

TONY Predix: Cross Your Fingers For...

TONY nominations are announced tomorrow.
When it comes to the actors I'm crossing my fingers for the following performers who are not "locks" so it could go either way:
Beresse, Morrison, and, most especially, the unsung Sarah Uriarte Berry in The Light in the Piazza, Adriane Lenox in Doubt who is iffy only because her part is so small... but she's great, that dynamic duo Norbert Leo Butz and Sherie Rene Scott in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and Carla Gugino in After the Fall.

I've missed several of the late arrivals (little theater this past month for moi) -poor me. But in the major categories, I expect we'll see:

BEST PLAY -Democracy, Doubt, Pillow Man, Gem of the Ocean
I'm not confident about Gem of the Ocean given its short troubled run. Despite the oomph of being part of an acclaimed cycle, I could see GotO being replaced by Brooklyn Boy The other three would be absolute shockers if they were shut-out.

BEST REVIVAL -Glengarry Glen Ross, Twelve Angry Men, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf make up a very strong category. Then there's maybe Sight Unseen to fill out the category. More likely are On Golden Pond or A Streetcar Named Desire since they're more recent but I'm pulling for the better reviewed show to prevail despite having closed already.

BEST MUSICAL -Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Light in the Piazza, Spamalot! = locked up. Competing for the fourth spot are The 25th Annual Putnam Spelling Bee (my guess), that beloved flying car Chitty Chitty Bang Bang , and Sutton Foster & Co in Little Women. If the ghastly Brooklyn: The Musical is selected I will wear ear-plugs on TONY night or possibly not watch at all because I couldn't stand the wailing for one second longer. What a hideous, hideous show.

BEST MUSICAL REVIVAL -Expect this to be a battle royale between Le Cage Aux Folles & Sweet Charity. Pacific Overtures could fill out the category but it's an acquired taste so I wouldn't be surprised if the Tony comittee didn't acquire it. Just to be different than other predictors let's say they choose The Frogs instead.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Read Me

On Sunday I'm often vaguely out of it, wanderin' round the apt doing nothing 'cept the laundry. So I read other websites and take their cues! Nick listed a Book quiz. So I took it. I am William Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury and described thusly
"Strong-willed but deeply confused, you are trying to come to grips with a major crisis in your life. You can see many different perspectives on the issue, but you're mostly overwhelmed with despair at what you've lost. People often have a hard
time understanding you, but they have some vague sense that you must be brilliant anyway. Ultimately, you signify nothing."

That's way too heavy for me because it misses my fun side entirely. I'm not bipolar or anything but I am totally Gemini --i.e. close to the same thing. My significant other saw me taking this and he, being a total bookworm, sat down to take it as well. He is Mrs. Dalloway
"Your life seems utterly bland and normal to the casual observer, but inside you are churning with a million tensions and worries. The company you surround yourself with may be shallow, but their effects upon your reality are tremendously deep. To stay above water, you must try to act like nothing's wrong, but you know that the truth is catching up with you. You're not crazy, you're just a little unwell. But no doctor can help you now"
...a description which makes me giggle out of complete terror because it's, um, true. Enough about that--
Which book are you?

Kung Fu Hustle

So I finally broke my no-movie spell and saw this looney-tuned cgi/martial arts extravaganza Kung Fu Hustle. There's probably one (OK, two) too many setpieces and the whole crazy thing is entirely disposable. But, that said, it was good specific fun while it lasted. Stephen Chow who wrote, directed, and starred in this is quite the multi-tasker isn't he? Chow looks really good without his shirt off too. Not that that has anything to do with the quality of any movie (he hastens to add, blushing!)

KFH is better, funnier, and glossier than Ong Bak:Thai Warrior which is the last martial arts picture I wrote about herein. They'll make an interesting double feature on DVD later this year. But quality aside...when it comes to these two productions, I think I prefer the no-wire low-fi approach to action. And rippling Tony Jaa tips the scales even further toward OB:TWeven though it isn't much of a film overall. Still, imagine you're a filmmaker and you're CGI crazy. If you're smart like Stephen Chow, you'll put it to good use. It's a fine tool for surreal mayhem.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Poptart Sandwich

Lusty Monty of May: Nocturnal Editions

I was debating about whether or not to post this, me being regarded as such an innocent. But...what the hell. The other night, quite to my gay surprise I had an erotic dream about those once-dueling now kinda-over teen sensations Britney & Christina. I'm too shy to share details but it involved a big bed, these two very randy blond bitches, plus me (ahem). Normally I would have found this carnal r.e.m. nugget amusing in a pop-culture saturation way; even my dreams are star studded! But the week hadn't been normal. The embarassing truth was that the Brit' & 'Tina sandwich had fleetingly unnerved me. Following, as it did, another erotic dream two nights earlier that was also of the hetero persuasion albeit sans star wattage.

For a split second or two upon waking my whole 'living w/ boyfriend in gayMan-hattan' existence felt like a groggy sham. Ohmygod... am I straight? Laugh all you want beyootches. I'll join in. On about the third split second I realized that the last person who got busy with both XTina AND Mrs. Federline together was none other than Madonna herself. So I already had a little chuckle at my own expense.

Hetero fantasy flambé.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Have Table Will Travel

The Lusty Month of May continues...
Arriving home tonight I notice a cute guy sitting in the lobby (I guess the doorman didn't let him in?) Between his legs is what looks to be a massage table. I mean what else could that be all massive, folded up, and square?

The wait for the elevator is short. My mind wanders quickly. Maybe he'd offer me a special rate --being here in the building already? Maybe the intended recipient stood him up and he'll have to carry that load back to his tiny apt somewhere on this heavily populated island. He'll have no money to show for his trouble (poor thing). Maybe in my building somewhere is some divorcée as cool and self-actualizing as Holly Hunter in Living Out Loud--I mean, in that movie she had the jonezin' for some bodywork and called the guy right up, didn't she? Not that this guy was Eddie Cibrian or anything but he certainly didn't hurt my eyes.

It's an hour later and I'm still thinking about the massage that couldabeen. Know any good masseurs in Manhattan? Preferrably ones approximating Cibrianic hotness? That don't charge a small fortune for an honest hours work?

Theatrical Panic

Normally I love handicapping the Tony Awards nominations which are announced next week --but this year, despite seeing more theater than ever, I have somehow fumbled in the last weeks of the season and have missed recently opening shows like Sweet Charity, Spamalot!, that spelling bee musical, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and The Pillow Man. The fact that I actually had choice seats to one of those and stillmissed the show is a tiny snapshot reminder of how f***ed up things have been in the personal-life-we-shall-not-discuss-for-fear-of-being-called-a-drama-queen-again.

For a theater enthusiast like myself being responsible for a peculiarly empty seat in an otherwise crowded house is pretty embarrassing. Not that anyone would know who was responsible. Or that anyone would even notice if the house was full. Or would they...Are any stage actors reading? Do you notice the empty seats in a sea of people? Is that glass half full or half empty?

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

good vs. evil

This site is certified 43% EVIL by the Gematriculator

My actual website is apparently closer to god.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

"Meme" Quiz

As ModFab commands so I do. ModFab says go to this concert. I do ~excellent stuff. what a voice! ModFab says do this quiz. I start typing.

If I could be a scientist: One very memorable (and drunken) 4th of July while watching fireworks with a big gaggle of lesbians I developed an instantaneous and seismic crush on one of them -a total hottie in horn rimmed glasses. Whilst under the spell of this blazing insta-lust I desperately tried to impress with vivid and increasingly bonkers descriptions of each burst of explosives. She called me a "colorologist" and we laughed for what seemed like hours. That's my answer. Colorologist. Don't tell me it's not a real science. It is to me.

If I could be a musician:I do play piano or rather did when there were pianos around to be played. The talent I'd most like to have is an incredible singing voice. But because I'm such a queen I'd use it to sing Broadway showtunes as opposed to soul. Sorry G. Choice #2 If I couldn't have the voice but could still have the musical talent I'd most like to be a composer. I love the idea of creating something out of nothing. How does Sondheim, for example, go from nothing to complete genius scores forSweeney Todd, Passion, Into the Woods, Company, etc... How does that process happen?

If I could be a doctor: I'd be this guy in late June. Congratulations my friend.

If I could be a painter: I do paint or rather did when there were canvases around to be painted. I'm definitely not a landscape guy. Or still life. I need the human face and form. Despite all that I am inexplicably crazy for Jackson Pollock, though portraits be not his forte. As for the masters DaVinci, Caravaggio, and Vermeer excite me most of all. I also used to really groove on illustration and graphic design and had mad crushes on Erte and JC Leyendecker. My boyfriend loves himself some Robert Rauschenberg. He sometimes drags me on gallery walks but, unfortunately I get image overload and can never remember anybodys name. It's the sculptors who end up really getting to me. Richard Serra is my latest obsession.

If I could be an innkeeper: I wouldn't. The only bed and breakfast I'm interested in running is this kind: The party runs late. I pull out the extra pillows, air mattress, or maybe I just scoot over (depending on how cozy we're getting and the number of guests we're talking about) The next morning I make a huge pot of coffee --I scramble a mean egg.

Aaron and Joe.Tag you're it! Time to take the quiz.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Tra La... It's May

"Tra la, it's May, the lusty Month of May
That lovely month when everyone goes blissfully astray
Tra la, it's here, that shocking time of year
When tons of wicked little thoughts merrily appear

It's May, It's May, that gorgeous holiday
When every maiden prays that her lad will be a cad
It's mad, it's gay, a libelous display
Those dreary vows that everyone takes, everyone breaks
Everyone makes divine mistakes
The Lusty Month of May

Whence this fragrance wafting through the air?
What sweet feelings does it's scent transmute?
Whence this perfume floating everywhere?
Don't you know, it's that dear forbidden fruit

It's May, the lusty month of May
That darling month when everyone throws self-control away
It's time to do a wretched thing or two
And try to make each precious day one you'll always rue

It's May, it's May, the month of "Yes, you may"
The time for every frivolous whim, proper or im-
It's wild, it's gay, depraved in every way
The birds and bees with all of their vast amorous past
Gaze at the human race aghast
The Lusty Month of May

Tra la, it's May, the lusty Month of May
That lovely month when everyone goes blissfully astray
Tra la, it's here, that shocking time of year
When tons of wicked little thoughts merrily appear

It's May, it's may, the month of great dismay
when all the world is brimming with fun, wholesome or un-
It's mad, it's gay, a libelous display
Those dreary vows that everyone takes, everyone breaks
Everyone makes divine mistakes
The Lusty Month of May"

-from the musical Camelot by Lerner and Loewe