Thursday, April 24, 2008

Dr. FilmBlog. Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying And Love the Gay

navel gazing averse readers please ignore this post. I beg you. Thank you, -the management.

Is the blog too gay to function lately? Too superhero clogged? I tend to follow my moods but I worry that the film experience is a bit schizophrenic when my mood swings wildly from week to week, day to day... hour to hour? Next week: various film festival offerings --they're not exactly filled with homoeroticism and superheroes (unless the press notes are wildly off target)

Lately --was it those Disney hunks, the new Madonna video, the Savage Grace screening, all that showering? -- I've felt like TFE was getting even lighter in the loafers than usual. I worried, not in a self-loathing way, but in an all inclusive movie-loving way. I love the diverse readership I've built thank you muchly but you can't be all things to all people. What's more, I highly doubt that movie blogs written by straight men ever worry that they're being too narrow in their focus as they cover their cinematic interests. But such is the life of a navel gazing movie obsessed writer who loves actresses and superheroes and talky dramas and foreign films and a bunch of other things (as Gemini moods shift and strike) and who happens to be gay.

But this morning I breathed a giant sigh of relief. It's only a phase! Unbeknownst to myself I've merely been building up to the absolute gayest day of the year and had completely forgotten about. No, not gay pride... though in my opinion they should at least move National Coming Out Day to April 24th. For you see, today is the combined birthday of Shirley "It twirled up!" Maclaine (73), Barbra "Hello Gorgeous" Streisand (65) and flamboyant designer Jean-Paul Gaultier (55), he of the Milla Jovovich bandage dresses, Bruce Willis backless orange Ts, Madonna cone bras and Gael García Bernal in Bad Education costumes or lack thereof (among many other riveting accomplishments).

T'were a lot of gay birthed on this day.

I thought my blogosphere experience couldn't get any gayer this week and then, magically (but unsurprisingly) Planet Fabulon managed to up the homo ante with a video of Liza Minelli covering Donna Summer's Bad Girls. It's not Liza Minelli's birthday today but it really should be. That'd make this day complete. To get the Gay up front and center and therefore perhaps out of my system for a few posts (it's like totally singing along and out loud to that song that's stuck in your head. It's the only way to be free of it), here's a menage-a-cinque (is that an orgy?) of abso-fabu-lutely gayish vids. The aforementioned Liza number, Babs doing "My Man" (the Oscar was richly deserved) from Funny Girl, a hypnotic Jean Paul Gaultier perfume commercial, John Barrowman (Torchwood star) singing "I Am What I Am" from La Cage Aux Folles and finally, a really well edited film montage. YouTube has a lot of poorly edited clip reels but this one, promoting the book '101 Movies Every Gay Man Should See', is really well done and features a pleasingly diverse group of films: documentaries, foreign films, American Indies and classics. Can you name them? How many have you seen?






That's a whole lotta gay. That's enough gay even for today, which is gay-gay-gay. Peace out.

19 comments:

The Jack said...

This is a sensitive subject to approach, but I've always appreciated the fact that you don't push your sexuality too strongly. You're don't hide the fact that you're gay and you make gay themed posts, but that's not the only facet of your blogging personality - not even close - which it can be with other gay bloggers. So I say keep doing what you're doing how you're doing it.

Robert said...

Well lets be honest (and I say this as a straight man), you can't love the movies without being at least a little gay.

And besides, show me a blog that doesn't reflect the personality of the proprietor and I'll show you a bad blog.

Anonymous said...

I don't think your blog is too gay either (are there too straight ones?). I find it is a varied and fastly updated blog about movies. I don't even know what too gay means.

As a gay man myself, I don't like Barbra, nor Liza, I couldn't stand La Cage Aux Folles, not even Brad Pitt turns me on, so I don't know if I'm a qualified enough ;).

Iggy

NATHANIEL R said...

the jack --thanks. that's what i like to hear. because in truth, the only reason i fret about it is that if i describe myself to people "gay" isn't the first word i use...though i do get there ;)

It's some variation on 'movie fanatic' that comes first.

robert --xoxo, i hope that's not too much gay love for ya

iggy --i do think you should see someone about your lack of gay tendencies ;) but you're probably just a younger gay man. Each generation has their divas you know. Madonna being my generations numero uno.

thombeau said...

Heehee! YAY!!!

That Liza vid blows my mind! It just epitomizes so much! Her parents would no doubt be proud. As for moi, I'm just cracking up and loving every minute of it!

Love you, too, Nathaniel!

Anonymous said...

Hahaha, yes. I'm just waiting to see if, let's say, Clooney (Jackman would do as well) offers a shock treatment I could apply for...

Iggy

Dame James Henry said...

Judging by the clips, is that last video for the 101 Movies Every Gay Man Should See suggesting that Scary Movie and Jackass: The Movie are essential films? Were those just fillers so they could reach the 101 total without going for super obscure choices?

fergie said...

Because the talk is about gayness, can someone explain this to me (preferably from a sociological approach) :

Why is it when people use the word "gay" it's always to talk about men, not women.

I mean, why are most gay icons women who are not gay themselves, yet you never hear about guys being gay icons if they're not a bit affiliated with homosexuality ?

Another thing that bugs me is the growing sentiment that every male actor is gay. it seems like nowadays you need at least 15 posts claiming you're gay on imdb to be considered a promising actor. And when one seems like he could well be gay, the internet goes crazy.

Glenn said...

There are plenty of men who could be considering "gay icons" (Jake Gyllenhaal springs to mind) but, as sad as it is to say, unless you actually are gay (Neil Patrick Harris would be another that springs to mind) you can't court the gay audience like women can. If a man gets up on stage deliberately trying to appeal to gay men then they get labeled "gay" themselves and gay men have troubles in Hollywood. If a woman does it, she's just appealing to a mass market.

And I know plenty of straight guys who like Madonna's "4 Minutes" but won't be buying the album because it's a bit too gay. I'm like "...what the fuck?!"

And it's just a fact that many of the genres that appeal to the typical gay man (musicals, pop music, tragic victims) are the arena for women.

Glenn said...

Iggy, you're not alone on your feelings toward Brad Pitt. Although I do like the other things you mentioned, so...

Glenn said...

AAAAnd that clipreel for the 101 thing is both great and silly. Scary Movie? Jackass? Giant but not Rebel Without a Cause? The latter is the one with all the gay undertones, not the former. And, obviously, Brokeback Mountain? Mysterious Skin? Mulholland Drive? etc etc

NATHANIEL R said...

true. there's a lot to argue about but it's also pretty broad. I love that they actually have fucking amal in there (swedish film about two girls in high school)

fergie -- i think the women as gay icons thing has a lot to do with transference or whatever you'd like to call proxy / vicarious movie watching. and I think it's definitely happening less as gay gets more mainstream... there's less remove and layering and ...

i don't know what i'm talking about? what am i talking about. I think gay culture is getting more boring now that it can be directly about itself instead of channeled through something else. but maybe that's just me. I guess i like the fringe. Plenty gay men these days care more abotu David Beckham than any great actress.

and that's a shame :)

Anonymous said...

Nathaniel, I love you just the way you are (to quote Mr. Darcy). Thanks for always being a good read. And also thoughtfully responsive to comments. If I could think of a good name, I'd stop being "Anonymous".

Catherine said...

Come back to the five-and-dime, Barbara Streisand, Barbara Streisand.

Anonymous said...

Leave John Barrowman out of this as it's clear he wants to be gay but somehow can't quite seem to make it on a regular basis.

Poor fellow needs a support group or maybe a blog of his own where he can embrace his gayness by being too gay...regularly...

or something...

yeah...hmmm

Janice said...

Would a heterosexual male blogger ever wonder aloud "Am I being too straight?"

Clearly, no.

Just keep being yourself, Nat, and the rest will take care of itself. (Why oh why must we still be so concerned, if not exactly "tortured" anymore, with identity issues?)

Fergie, you raise some very excellent questions. I'm sure the identification of gay men with straight women in films has been adequately explained elsewhere. the part about "gay" generally meaning "gay men" and not "women" is still frequently confusing to me, some 15 years after coming out as a lesbian. I see the word "gay", I think it's going to include gay men and women, then I realize no, it's about the guys by and large and the women are not invited to this party.

Or rather, that we don't crash the party. Perhaps we haven't had time. It's not that lesbian women don't have their likes and dislikes, their campy attitudes and their guilty pleasures. But lesbians have also been on the front lines of activism for lesbians, for gay men and AIDS, for women in general (even in issues that don't affect us as much, such as birth control); we've been "there" for everyone else and like the good martyrs we are, don't really expect much help or support in return. Plus there's that issue of women earning less then men and having to do with less in general, or having to raise their children from previous marriages to men, etc - after all of that, who has time to get out there and be fabulous, when all one wants is a nap?

There's also an element ranging from indifference ("I don't need men/I don't need women") to downright hostility between the genders that I have often observed in the "gay communitities" I have lived in that makes the "war of the sexes" in the straight community look like so much playground pattycake. Straight men and women need one another, when all is said and done, for sex and procreation if for nothing else, even if they don't especially like one another. gay men and lesbians don't "need" one another in that way - rather, we need each other for political (and sometimes emotional) support; we are no less stupidly prejudiced regarding people who are unlike us than straights but we know we "shouldn't" be, and we're afraid, I think, to discuss our differences honestly.

NATHANIEL R said...

anonymous --not sure what you mean about Barrowman. We hear in the states rarely hear about him though i understand he's much more famous in England. so i'm not really aware of what his offscreen persona is like. I've just enjoyed the various incarnations i've seen of him in the media for several years. starting with the days when he was just a handsome young fellow posing for us weekly or whatever --wasn't he even roommates with Tommy Page at one point?

janice --it's true that there's a divide but i think it's overstated (generalization always bites us in the ass)... i think the same strengths and weaknesses are present in both gay and straight communities in terms of gender issues. more evolved people aren't as "ewwww, gross" about the opposite sex in myriad ways and many people both gay and straight prefer the mars/venus divide to shelter them and make the labels easier.

i'm not too crazy about being boxed in myself. I used to have many lesbians friends and enjoyed them but almost all of them are with men now, no joke. which kind of negates the lesbianism ;)

L.U.G. you know

Janice said...

I know I've got some gross generalizations in there, Nat, but I've also seen gay men and women (specifically, a group - or groups, rather - in North Carolina) basically shoot any efforts to unite on a project (in this case, a gay/lesbian "safehouse") right out of the water. There is a lot of tension and emnity etc and so forth that I think isn't acknowledged (because we're supposed to be above all that - right? We're all superior beings because we've gotten rid of our prejudices - right?) and we're going to keep shooting ourselves in the collective foot if we aren't honest, name our prejudices but realize there's important work to be done and then move onward.

Just my two cents.

That said, I don't like boxes or labels anymore than anyone else, and I think a lot of the "shoulds" for gay men and lesbians in particular (a lesbian "should" be this or that) are changing or disappearing. This is both good and bad, of course - aspects that made our culture unique are disappearing. On the other hand, just because I'm a lesbian why CAN"T I love Moulin Rouge, love to dress up, and then wear flannel the next day? What I wear or watch, whether I love musicals or not, does not define me or you or anyone else as a human being, right? I think we can all get behind that idea.

Janice said...

BTW- that clip of Babs reminds me how much I admired her as a teenager (ok, so that was in the '80's, well past her "glory years", but still) and how much I loved Funny Girl. It's been too long - I must see it again.