Monday, April 6, 2015

A Creepy Peeps Update

The game is still afoot, it seems. I arrived home on Friday afternoon to find a pink gift bag hanging on my doorknob. I immediately knew it was another dolly for my growing collection. The eerily beautiful creation on your right came with the following (edited by me) note:

Dearest Brian,

Who needs an Easter egg hunt when you can continue wondering which of your loving friends is behind your creepy peeps?!

We bring this one to your door as she is magnificent, ceremonial and resplendent with colorful joy! A match to your present state of bliss and wonder with this (J) person we keep hearing about. Ah yes, you thought perhaps your blissful state had gone unnoticed? We're creepy, not blind dear one.

We do hope he shares your love for the unusual surprises in life!

Wishing you, the other (cartoon doll heads, colored in order of receipt: brown, green, pink and yellow) and (J) every happiness!!!

The Royal Order of Creepiness.

The fact that they know about J means they are  Facebook friends or followers, which doesn't help in identifying them in the least! Still loving this game! While more than one friend has expressed their jealously, several still find it genuinely creepy.

Of course, now that I have five, I thought it was time to name them. In order of reciept (you can see the first four here) they are: Aja; Jade; Temperance; Hanael and Scarlett. And yes, all of those names have meaning to your crazy old Uncle P.

Hope your life is as full of fun and surprises as mine has been, of late. 

More, anon.
Uncle P

PS - Did I happen to mention that I have fallen madly, deeply and hopelessly in love with J? Because I have. And amazingly, so has he with me. Life is good.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Why I Love Mid-Season TV

Miss me? I've been kind of busy nurturing a newish and amazing relationship while trying to direct a play that has had the dice stacked against it from the beginning (but which I am determined to bring into fruition if it kills me). But that's not what tonight's post is about.

Tonight, I want to talk about Television. Specifically Mid-Season Television. Mid-Season has traditionally been the time where the shows the networks weren't sure about were poised to take the place of the ones cancelled by the Holiday Hiatus. Lately, Mid-Season has become the place where the networks are more willing to gamble and experiment. Three very interesting new Mid-Season shows premiered this week and I have managed to catch - thanks to yesterday's snow day - two of them  ("American Crime" is still on my DVR, waiting to be watched).

First up was ABC's "Secrets and Lies," starring Ryan Philippe; Juliette Lewis; Kadee Strickland and Natalie Martinez and based on the Australian series of the same name. Philippe is house painter Ben Garner who, while out on an early morning run just before Christmas, discovers the body of a beloved 6 year old neighbor in the woods. His memory of events before his run are more than fogged from a night of heavy drinking (which followed an intense argument with his wife) and Ben is soon the focus of  what has become a murder investigation. Strickland (last seen on Shonda Rhimes' "The Practice") is Ben's wife Christy and Martinez ("Under the Dome" and "Eureka") is the boy's mother, Jess. Lewis (Cape Fear; Natural Born Killers) is the severe and intense Homicide Detective Andrea Cornell, determined to find justice for the young victim. The first two hours had as many plot twists and secret revelations as the season finale of last year's breakout, bat-shit insane drama "How to Get Away with Murder" combined with some powerhouse performances from the four leads and their supporting cast members. Directed by Timothy Busfield (who has a small role as a high-powered defense attorney), the two-hour pilot flew by, leaving this viewer exhausted by a roller-coaster of emotions. If you missed it, go OnDemand or to HULU or and watch it, now! If you aren't as immediately caught up in it, I will email you a personal apology. Well-written and beautifully acted, "Secrets and Lies" is some terrific TV drama. **** (Four Out of Four Stars).

Next, I caught the extended premiere of the latest from "Heroes" creator Tim Kring, the USA network's apocalypse mini-series drama "Dig." Part police procedural and part supernatural thriller, "Dig" stars oddly attractive DILF Jason Isaacs (best known to American audiences as Lucious Malfoy in the Harry Potter movies) as FBI agent Peter Conelly on assignment in Jerusalem. His boss and occasional lover, Lynn (the questionably sane Anne Heche) is trying to help him get over the recent loss of his daughter. When a case involving a terror suspect and the murder of a young archaeologist (who reminds Ben of his daughter) intersect with an ancient prophesy about a red cow (yes, a red cow - it's in the Bible or something), the apocalypse is apparently nigh. Oh, and it has something to do with clones, maybe? It's deeply twisted, high-concept mythology and I adored it! The fact that my beloved Lauren Ambrose ("Six Feet Under;" Psycho Beach Party) is some sort of religious acolyte who seems opposed to what's going on and Angela Bettis (May; The Woman) is a murderous religious fanatic makes it so very much better. Fans of "Lost," "Fringe" and "Heroes" (Season 1, anyway) will probably love this show as much as I think I do. It is supposed to be a limited, 10 episode run. I hope they stay smart and keep it that way. It's nice to see an American series follow a European model, ala the original "The Returned." I hope the rest of the series is as insane and maddening and satisfying as the premiere. **** (Four Out of Four Stars)

I'm truly hoping that ABC's other much-hyped Mid-Season show "American Crime" is as good as both of these. I'll let you know.

More, anon.

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Gayest Things You'll See This Week

Kenyth Mogan
It's been quite a while, I think, since I've done a Gayest Things post. Not that Uncle P is any less gay than before... whatever. 

Anyway... this post is about me and one of the best things to happen to me in a long time and the difference a chance encounter has made in my outlook. I know I've talked about my battles with depression in the past. And while I haven't talked about it much, Mom's death in 2013 left me with some very unexpected financial burdens which I'm still trying to sort out. Things were pretty bleak for a while (and in some aspects, still are). Then two things happened. First, I was cast in a terrific show with some terrific folks and spent time doing something comfortable, familiar, challenging and cathartic (and something Mom would have wanted me to do).

Second, prompted by another of Mom's wishes, I joined several online dating/meeting sites, though I had honestly given up on finding anyone at my age, who might even offer the hope of romance. But that changed last October, about a week after the anniversary of Mom's passing, when I agreed to meet with someone I met on one of the sites I'd joined.  I'll admit, I had my trepidations. The last guy I met online (while Mom was still alive) turned out to be a selfish social-climber whose home was filled his ceramic frog collection and wooden signs spouting  meaningless platitudes and 'motivational' cliches. Can you say 'douche?'

But I did go to that Pizzeria Uno that Sunday night and was very pleasantly surprised to meet a man  I not only found very attractive, but with whom conversation was so easy, natural and pleasant. And as different as we are, we had more than enough in common to make a connection. Our first kiss at the end of that first date was.... electric! Four months later and we're like... well...

J is sweet; kind; funny; tender; attentive; romantic; a great kisser and (TMI alert) outrageously good when it comes to 'intimate activities.'  He's 6' 3" tall, adorable and solid! His giggle is infectious and he is cuddly as all get out. This past weekend saw our first overnight together and I can honestly report that I am still aglow from those 18 hours -- and if his Facebook posts are to be believed (and I have no reason to doubt so), so is he.  When I am with him, everything else goes away... and after we part, the glow of my time spent with him is astonishing. I can't (for lots of reasons and circumstances) use the "L" word, yet, but this is the closest to it I've been in a long time!

All of that having been said, I found the below video on Towleroad, thinking it sweet, funny and oddly appropriate for the intoxicated  mood in which I find myself. Please enjoy Kenyth Mogan's Oz-inspired video for his newest single, 'Unlock Your Heart.'

More from Cloud Nine, anon.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Exciting News

So, having last directed Top Girls for Shakespeare '70 and Die Mommie Die! for the JTMF almost 5 years ago, I am about to take up the mantle again with a sort of unusual production of Jonathan Harvey's groundbreaking 1993 play Beautiful Thing

I say unusual not meaning the production itself will be (though that may well prove false, as well), but unusual in the way in which the show came about. 

So, I've talked about my friend Matty, who is a very talented actor and writer. Well, it seems Matty is just a few credits shy of receiving his degree from The College of New Jersey. While a full time student there, Matty and his friend Steve caused a bit of a media storm by attempting to not only break the Guinness record for the Longest Continuous Kiss, but to also be the first same-sex male couple to do so. Matty and Steve's story inspired novelist David Levithan to write the 2014 Lambda Literary and Stonewall Honor Book Awards-winning novel "Two Boys Kissing." David has since become another of Matty's mentors and they came up with a way for Matty to earn his degree with performance credits.

So, when Matty asked if I would direct, I couldn't refuse. I have so far been able to cast both of the remaining male roles with actors I know and love and trust (my own dear David - not to be confused with Dear D - and my Hairspray and Jeffrey cast mate Chris) and am currently looking for the two women I need. I'm hoping to have our first read-through next week, as the show goes up the third weekend of March! 

Because the JTMF was such an important part of his non-academic theatre education, he insisted that ticket sales be donated to our favorite LGBTQ causes.

I'll be sure to keep you all up to date. I'm very excited to stretch my creative muscles again!

The play was adapted into a rather excellent film in 1996:

More, anon.

Friday, January 23, 2015

2015 Horror Movies

I see you shiver with antici.....


Sorry. It was very late when I thought of this post and I didn't want to forget to do it. 

Whatever regular readers I have left know about my love of Horror movies, good and bad. And I'm always on the lookout for some interesting, original and startling works. And 2015 seems quite promising for this jaded genre guru. 

Four upcoming Horror movies have particularly caught my attention with some rather intense trailers. And while I'd love to talk about Guillermo del Toro's Gothic ghost movie Crimson Peak, there isn't any footage from the closely-guarded film to share just yet. Still, these four upcomings movies are pinging high on my personal radar!

 First up, a film from writer/director Adam Green (Hatchet; Frozen - no not  the Disney one). In Digging Up the Marrow, genre veteran Ray Wise plays a man who claims to have discovered an underground realm in which real monsters reside. 

New writer/director David Robert Mitchell makes his wide-distribution debut with It Follows, an interesting take on "Tag. You're It!" Starring no one you know, the very atmospheric trailer seems like it could be the start of several careers.

Chris Sparling, writer of the claustrophobic Ryan Reynolds movie Buried, directs The Atticus Institute, about an attempt by the military to weaponize demonic possession. It's one of the most insane movie concepts I can imagine and I can't wait to see it!

And while this last movie is actually a prequel, I'm still very excited to see it. James Wan's Insidious was one of the most effective Horror movies of the last 10 years, though it's sequel disappointed. Wan's long-time writing partner Leigh Whannel makes directing debut with Insidious Chapter 3:

I know there will plenty more Horror movies in the coming year. What movies are you looking forward to seeing in 2015?

More, anon.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Why "Selma" Won't Win

Click Image to Embiggen
"Racism is dead in America." ~ Anne Coulter.

By now you should know how I feel about Awards shows in general. Admittedly, I'll watch the Oscars this year, just to see NPH (loved his lunacy on "American Horror Story" this season). Like most Americans, I have seen very few of the nominated movies. I've seen Boyhood (which I didn't care for enough to even bother reviewing) and The Grand Budapest Hotel (which I did review and honestly wanted to like more than I did). With the exception of Birdman, I honestly have no interested in seeing the other nominated films. Not that you shouldn't see them or that they shouldn't be seen. And while I guess if was a professional critic, I would have seen them all, but probably grumbled about seeing more than one. Oddly, the rest of the nominees are all biopics... American Sniper; The Imitation Game; The Theory of Everything; Whiplash and Selma are all real-life stories. Fictionalized, of course, for dramatic interest. 

But it is Selma in particular, which seems to have generated the most controversy. First, it was reported that the movie was historically inaccurate and portrays Lyndon Johnson as opposed Dr. King's march in Alabama and the Voting Rights Act. And then the Oscar nominations came out. And while Selma is nominated for Best Picture, not one of its cast were nominated. In fact, not a single person of color was nominated in any performance category. Not a single Black, Latino, Asian or multiracial person on the list! No Inuit; Pacific Islanders; Native Americans; Maori or Aboriginals, either. That's just... I mean, how does a film get nominated for Best Picture, without a single nomination for any actor that's in it or the director who made it? One might also ask how The Color Purple didn't win a single one of its 11 nominations. Or why Brokeback Mountain lost to Crash. Oh, wait, wasn't Crash about racism? Sure, but in a really awful, hit-you-over-the-head way that went way out it's way to prove a point. Plus, it didn't have any icky man-on-man kissing. 

Hollywood, that supposed bastion of liberal hedonism, is racist, sexist and homophobic. Now, I know I'm not saying anything new here. But the Oakland Tribune headline up on the right just put it so succinctly and hilariously, that I had to comment, especially when the country is about to enjoy a three-day weekend in celebration of Dr. King's birthday. It's like the Academy voters are saying "We like the idea of civil rights; we just don't like the people who are asking for them."

Selma doesn't have a chance of winning Best Picture on February 22nd. Because the more things seem to change, the more they stay the same. 

For what it's worth, here are the trailers for this year's Best Picture nominees:

So, I guess... Yay, White People!? Ugh! Oh, and by the way... F*ck You, Anne Coulter!

Uncle P used to participate in a charitable event every MLK weekend as my Day of Service, but they and I parted ways a while ago and I focused my volunteering on the JTMF. Of course, JTMF is all but dead (only our Facebook page remains), though a last gasp may be at hand with a project I'll be talking about (and directing again!) soon.

If you are lucky enough to be off, enjoy your holiday. Don't feel obligated to do a Day of Service because it's MLK Day. You should always fee obligated to do service whenever you can. But if you need a special day for it, so be it. 

More anon,

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Dear Leelah

Leelah Alcorn
Dear Leelah;

Why didn't you ask for help? Why didn't you seek out those who understand? Why were you afraid?

The answer is simple: Superstition.

My heart is broken, once again. I cannot understand a parent who does not truly unconditionally love their children (or those who do not truly grasp the definition of that word).

We've all experienced emotional pain in our lives. Uncle P has seen his own struggles with it and I can remember more than one time when I registered higher than a 7 on the Suicide Scale. But I recognized the need for help and sought it. Even now, I have to say that counseled therapy was the best thing I ever did for myself. Of course, I was well above the 'Age of Consent' when I did so. Still - there can be no justification for anyone taking their own lives because their religion or their families tell them that they are somehow defective, wrong and/or evil just because of who they are.

Leelah was just 17 when she took her life by stepping into traffic on an Ohio highway. last month. She was still considered a minor and by Ohio was bound to follow her religious parents rules and preconceptions. Her parents, while still claiming to have loved her 'unconditionally' have still refused to acknowledge Leelah's own gender identity.

Reach out. Offer an ear or a save haven. Make sure that those who need help, get it! STOP this horrific epidemic!

Share anti-suicide information. Support The Trevor Project; The Tyler Clementi Foundation and/or your local anti-suicide charity. Too many lives have been wasted, Too much potential has been lost.

I can't wait until I never have to make this rant again.

More, anon,