musical monday!

10 08 2009

Click here for your Monday morning musical selection!

question of the week responses

10 08 2009

The question this week: What is your favorite queer themed book and movie? For being off the meme for so long, I was really happy with the response!

  • Movies: Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (two votes! – thanks Doris and Wolfie)
    Shortbus (two votes! – thanks Jazmine and Jeff)
    Running With Scissors (Jeff)
    Happy Endings (Jeff)
    Wild Tigers I Have Known (Jeff)
    Beautiful Thing (Jeffrey)
    C.R.A.Z.Y. (Jazmine)
    Latter Days (Codicaine)
    The Talented Mr. Ripley (Joanne)
    The Hunger (Joanne)
    Trick (Jeff L.)
    Maurice (Jeff L.)
    Paris is Burning (ClipsNChips)
  • Books: The Complete Tales of the City Collection, by Armistead Maupin (two votes – Wolfie and JaytheBigLug)
    Michael Tolliver Lives, by Armistead Maupin (Wolfie)
    I am Not Myself These Days, by Josh Kilmer-Purcell (Jeff)
    The Last Herald Mage Trilogy, by Mercedes Lackey (Jeffrey)
    Written on the Body, by Jeanette Winterson (Jazmine)
    History of Sexuality, by Michel Foucault  (Jazmine)
    Tin Star, by J.L. Langely (Codicaine)
    Of Lena Geyer, by Marcia Davenport (Joanne)
    Friend Green Tomatoes, by Fannie Flagg (not the movie, Joanne of TheSkeptikOne is quick to point out)
    Brokeback Mountain, by Annie Proulx (Jeff L.)
    Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel (ClipsNChips)

My votes? For my movie, I have two standards: one for meaningful/interesting/important themes, and the other for fun/can watch anytime. I would say Shortbus, by far, is one of my favorite queer themed movies that talks about something more than just another trick or just another gay boy love story. For the latter, I could watch Mambo Italiano, Trick, and Broken Hearts Club over and over and over again and never get bored with them, though they aren’t deeply meaningful except as fun romantic comedies. An honorable mention should go to Cabaret for subtlety and because no gay movie list should exist without at least one Liza Minelli on it.

For book … the question is significantly more difficult. Melanie Rawn’s Exiles Trilogy series is one of the first scifi/fantasy pieces that I ever read with a serious queer character; a special shout out goes to Jacqueline Carey and the Kushiel series which deals with BDSM so artfully. For something brainier, I have enjoyed reading David Halperin’s What Do Gay Men Want as a thought exercise, and I enjoyed (though disliked) the arguments in Daniel Harris’s Rise and Fall of Gay Culture. Brokeback Mountain, as a novelette, is totally worth a read; the movie dragged too much for my tastes. Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison is also an excellent read, and is considered a classic, though you wait until the last 10 pages to find out why it is “queer themed.” What may be most interesting, however, is that I cannot think of a single mainstream novel I have read that had a major queer theme that I actually enjoyed … I expect to investigate your suggestions and find something I truly enjoy.

And while we’re on the subject, Examiner Sheela Lambert writes three columns worth checking out:

what i’m watching

6 08 2009

My on-going quest to watch my entire 300+ movie collection without repeat goes on:

  • Driving Miss Daisy – first time in a long time – Stellar cast and a few Academy Awards (rightly) won, DMD is one of the few movies that, watching 20 years after it was made, is absolutely, truly, unmistakably still worth a revisit every year or so. (10 of 10)
  • Lady Sings the Blues – first watch – A 1970s biopic of the life of Billie H0lliday. It’s amazing to see the difference in drug use portrayal then and now; never once did we see an actual needle, nor did we see her actually inject. Unfortunately, LStB leaves me wondering just how Diana Ross became as huge as a star as she became, or how movie makers could think they could pass off the 20-something as a 13-year old girl. Nonetheless, the music and the life of Holliday make up for some of its failings. (5 of 10)
  • Thank You for Smoking – The tale of tobacco lobbyist and his job — just to talk, he says. It’s intelligently made, smartly written, and funny. Not classic work on the part of any of the actors, but great satire and commentary. (7 of 10)
  • Titan [A.E.] – first time in a long time – I don’t know what inspired my brother and I to watch it in the theatres, nor what made me buy it, but the cartoon is fun if a blatant rip off of about 100 other science fiction and fantasy story lines. At times, the move feels like an extended music video.  (6 of 10)
  • Vanity Fair first watch – Reese Witherspoon’s weak attempt at doing a Hollywood-ized version of a Victorian English novel. Beautifully costumed and set, I was kind of disappointed with the storyline because I couldn’t understand how it was a classic. I read some on line reviews and found that most of the story was cut, including the depth of Becky Sharp’s desire climb the social ladder. Decent and beautiful to watch, but not memorable. (4 of 10)
  • The Boondock Saints – I warn first timers to TBS of the graphic and violent nature of the movie. That said, it is an unbelievable and powerful ride through faith, vengeance, redemption, and vigilante-ism against the mob in Boston. Sean Patrick Flannery and Norman Reedus, the two brothers, are gorgeous, which helps, and Willem Dafor should have been nominated for his role as the self-assured, gay detective. Watch it, buy it – you’ll understand. (9 of 10)
  • Mamma Mia!first watch – I cannot believe it took me this long to watch, but are you surprised I love it? Christine Baranski is by far the surprise singer in the group, though she plays the role we’re all used to her in: the drunken socialite best friend. Meryl is fantastic, Dominic Cooper is gorgeous, and we are introduced to the amazing talent of Julie Waters. Best song and performance is “Lay All Your Love On Me,” by far. Too bad Pierce Brosnan singing almost ruins the entire film. (8.5 of 10)
  • 1776first time in a long time – I hope they never, ever remake this movie because of how good it is; for my generation, it’s hard to watch William Daniels without thinking “Mr. Feeney,” but the cast is perfect even though you probably wouldn’t recognize a single name other than the bit part by Blythe Danner. I stole the DVD from my father after the trip home this past weekend; he doesn’t know yet. (9 of 10)
  • Hairspray (2007) – What can I say? My favorite movie of all time. I’m kind of sad I watched it so early in the countdown, rather than saving it for much later when I’m struggling for movies to enjoy. (10 of 10)
  • The Libertinefirst watch – Johnny Depp, Samantha Morton, and John Malkovich? Yes please. The story of John Wilmot, the second Earl of Rochester, and (according to the promo materials for the movie) one of the most decadent men of his generation. Depp saved the film from being what could have been a weak period piece into an enjoyable and beautifully depicted piece. (7 of 10)
  • A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum – Buster Keaton’s last movie before he died, this Broadway comedic musical was recently brought back to the stage with stars like Whoopi Goldberg. It’s funny and a little scandalous, but nothing ground breaking. Oh, and with very few exceptions, the music is not memorable. Worth a few bucks if you want a couple of laughs one afternoon, but it’s a classic and survived. (7 of 10)
  • Tea With Mussolinifirst time in a long time – How’s this for a cast: Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Cher, Lily Tomlin, and Joan Plowright, directed by Franco Zeffirelli. Yea, I’m surprised more people haven’t seen it too, especially considering how smart and well done the flick is. Set in Italy during World War II around a conclave of wealthy English women settled in Florence, I would recommend it to anyone. My mother and I found the movie in a bargain bin and have been raving about it ever since. (9 out of 10)

My new goal is to watch a new movie, a first time in a long time, and an old favorite in that order. I have a lot more “never seen” flicks than I had originally thought.

question of the week!

6 08 2009

The popular feature returns! Answer in the comments, respond on Twitter, or email!

What is your favorite queer-themed movie? Queer-themed book?

Answers posted on Sunday!

what i’m reading

3 08 2009

My mother gave me The First Man in Rome, by Colleen McCullough, years ago and I never got past the first few pages. I realized why I never got much further this round: it has too many words. The sentiment sounds absurd for a book, but McCullough goes through so many individual histories and asides that it is hard to keep the storyline straight. The book has exceptional historical accuracy, down to the minutiae, and it’s an amazing read for history buffs. If you don’t want the detail, however, it drags on. 200 pages later, I still wonder if I can finish it.

It does not weave the history in gracefully as Gone With the Wind does. Rather than using it as context, the history overwhelms the story.