Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Old Hollywood Hotties

"Because I just went gay all of a sudden!"

That's the incredibly handsome Cary Grant wearing lingerie in Uncle P's all time favorite movie Bringing Up Baby. It's been rumored forever that Grant had a long-term relationship with equally handsome Western star, Randolph Scott. The two lived together in a 'bachelor pad' for years, and even after Grant married his first wife, Scott continued to live with the couple; much like Noel Coward, Alfred Lunt and Lynne Fontanne (as depicted in Coward's play Design for Living) supposedly did.

There's a new book coming out called "Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars" by Scotty Bowers (with Lionel Friedberg). The book is Bowers' memoir of his days as a sex-broker to the stars. Bowers claims he arranged for thousands of same sex assignations for major Hollywood stars in the 40's, 50's and 60's, starting with his own encounter at a Hollywood gas station with Walter Pidgeon. You can read all about it in a New York Times article here (via).

Now I know a lot of my under 40 readers are asking "Randolph who?" and "Walter what?" All I can say is, today's hot male actors have got nothing on those who came before. You owe it to yourself to visit some classic movies that were made long before you (and probably your parents) were born. I've posted pics of some of my favs, below.

Blogger seems to be acting like a d*ck tonight, so I'll sign off now. Expect more Old Holly Hotties, soon.
More, anon.


Randolph Scott

Paul Newman

Gary Cooper
Tyrone Power

Montgomery Clift
Troy Donahue
Gene Kelly
Rock Hudson

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Lamest Thing You'll See This Week

Mia Sara, Matthew Broderick and Alan Ruck

I am by no means a John Hughes fan. Yes, I know his films defined the youths of many Americans who were teens in the '80's. But I was already in college in the 80's and found most of his movies to be just annoying. Of course, Sixteen Candles and Home Alone have their charms. And even Trains, Planes & Automobiles has its moments. Personally, I hate The Breakfast Club (so sue me) and actively despise Uncle Buck. But there's something about Ferris Beuller's Day Off that makes me forgive Hughes for his other crappy movies. 

The thing I love most about it is young Matthew Broderick's self-assured performance as the title character, elaborately faking a sick day in order to spend a day playing in the big city with his friends while making fools of all of the adults he encounters. And I love how the performances from Alan Ruck (then already in his 30's); Mia Sara; Jeffrey Jones; Jennifer Grey and Edie McClurg all just add to the fun. And Hughes makes my beloved Chicago have even more appeal than it does in The Blues Brothers.

Ferris... is probably Hughes' best film and certainly the movie that made a star out of Broderick. Add appearances from Charlie Sheen, Kristy Swanson and Ben Stein and you have what may well be the quintessential 80's teen comedy. 

When a 10 second teaser featuring Broderick in a robe and a snippet of Yello's iconic "Oh, Yeah" made its way onto the 'net a few days ago, folks were going crazy over the possibility of a Ferris Beuller sequel. Needless to say, many folks' hearts were broken when they discovered it was just a clip from a Honda Superbowl commercial which featured Broderick parodying his career-defining role. And even worse, the actual (terrible) commercial was released today, sending waves of shock and resentment among the film's many fans. 

See for yourselves:

Ugh! A lame, unfunny sellout, which only goes to prove that most so-called "stars" are only interested in making a buck. Broderick may have found additional fame on Broadway in shows like How to Succeed in Business... and The Producers, but this commercial for a generic soccer-mom SUV does nothing to for him or his career. And that's a shame. He already has to live with SJP. Isn't that punishment enough?

More, anon.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Sing Out, Louise!

Harvey Fierstein as Edna in 'Hairspray'

This may well be my last regular post for a while. Oh, I'm not going anywhere. I'll still be posting as often as I can. I just may not be able to post as often as usual.

Tomorrow night is call-back auditions for every other role in the JTMF/MCCC production of Hairspray and regular rehearsals start immediately on Monday night. I will be singing along with potential cast members tomorrow night, and honestly, I'm a little scared. I haven't sung publicly in about 8 years and I haven't had a lead singing role in a musical in over 10 years. My pipes aren't what they used to be (whose are), though thankfully, the role of Edna Turnblad doesn't require the voice of Barbra Streisand.

Not that I ever had the voice of Barbra. My last major musical role was Pseudolis in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Before that, it was Sweeney in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Since Forum, I have sung the role of Mister Mister in The Cradle Will Rock and then the General in the original show Musical! the Musical. I do sing in the shower and along with the radio or whatever CD I'm listening to, but I haven't sung formally in a very long time. So you can imagine how anxious I am about singing tomorrow night, especially with folks I don't know from Adam.

I think I've said before that Hairspray will likely be my farewell to musical theatre, but I can't imagine a better role to go out on. There certainly aren't many major musical roles for men my age, anyway. And while I have spent the better part of the last 10 years directing more than acting, I know I have a few more non-musical roles ahead of me before I retire from performing altogether. To be honest, I find that I actually get more artistic satisfaction from directing, these days. I have a list of plays I want to direct that grows every year. And of course, I'm still looking for something with which I can act along with my dear Q (God of Carnage?).

Anyway, rehearsals are scheduled Monday, Wednesday and Thursday nights until 11 PM Eastern time, so I may not always get to post as regularly as usual, though I'll do my best. I suspect that sheer exhaustion will be the culprit rather than time, should I not post. And I'll probably be posting over at the JTMF blog more than here through June's 10th Anniversary production of Jefferey (when it says "Posted by JTMF Staff," that's me). And I may even post something here at the Revenge during the day, from time to time.

Bear with me, dear readers. I won't forget you. And I hope you won't forget me.

If you are in the central NJ area, you can see Uncle P singing in drag while helping out several good causes. Tickets are on sale now. Get yours before they're gone!

More, anon.

Friday, January 27, 2012

A Dirty Shame

That's Moisturizer, Right?

This post has nothing at all to do with the disappointing 2004 John Waters' film of the same name.

If you visit the same blogs as Uncle P does, then you've probably already seen the banned Hungarian version of the poster for Steve McQueen's Shame. And while I haven't actually seen the critically acclaimed film, I've heard and read enough about it. Hell, George Clooney made one of the Golden Globes' funniest jokes referring to Michael Fassbender's anatomy in the film. And Fassbender himself has joked that he is contractually obligated to appear naked in every movie he's in.

Many years and about 60 lbs ago, Uncle P briefly appeared naked on stage in the NJ premiere of Terrance McNally's Love! Valour! Compassion! It's not an easy thing to do, the first time. Of course, over the six-week run of the show, it just became part of the show; the next thing that happened in the scene. I was naked for all of ten minutes, I think. And most of that was spent lying on my stomach on a 'raft' in a 'lake.' I disrobed; went backstage and got wet in tub of tepid water (I was supposed to be swimming); came back onstage to lie on the 'raft' and then froze as the heat from the lights rapidly evaporated the water on my skin. It was far from sexy (nor was it meant to be). 

Being naked on stage or in film is rarely sexy (at least for the actor). There's lighting and camera angles, staying in character and having to know what to do and say next; all while a bunch of strangers (either audience or crew) sit or stand around, watching. I imagine it was just as unsexy for Fassbender; especially given the nature of the movie and his character, an unfulfilled sex-addict who derives less and less pleasure from sex, even though he is compelled to seek it out more and more. And while McQueen's film has been a critical darling since it premiered at Cannes last fall, it failed to garner a single Oscar nomination. And I suspect it's because it was released with an NC17 rating. But more on that in a moment.

Of course, if I had a body like Michael Fassbender's, I'd be naked as often as possible. But let's be honest, so few us have bodies like Fassbender's. Or Chris Evans', Ryan Reynolds', Ryan Gosling's or even George Clooney's. And I can certainly understand why that poster was banned in still socially conservative Hungary. Of course, most of the Hungarian Americans I know are as liberal as I am, which I guess says something about the difference between the formerly communist nation and the U.S. And I won't even go into the inordinate number of gay porn stars who claim to be Hungarian - that's a post for someone else's blog. 

Still, I don't understand Americans' squeamishness when it comes to sex. American audiences think nothing of violent murders and closeups of autopsies in films or on TV, but heaven forfend we should glimpse a nipple during the Superbowl half-time show or show a penis on a movie screen. 

Many, many years ago, Uncle P traveled to France with his high-school French club. While in Paris, our teachers thought it would be a good thing to take us to a real French movie. So our tour guide recommended the number one film at the time, L'amour viole (Violated Love). It told the story of a marriage that fell apart after the wife was raped. The rape in question was very graphically depicted and our teachers were visibly upset by the scene and asked the group of 16 and 17 year-olds (who were actually horrified by the scene) not to tell our parents they had taken us to see it. They didn't get that we were far more upset by the film's violence that the sex. 

And that's what I don't understand about American audiences today. Why is it okay to see someone's eye's gouged out or someone get beheaded, but not a woman's breast or a man's penis? Why is alright to watch an unnatural murder, but not a natural act of love? Have our psyches been so pervaded by our Puritan and Victorian ancestors that we can accept blood and death but not love and semen? Obviously, porn is a multi-billion dollar industry. Yet most folks will admit to watching Conan the Barbarian before admitting to watching Debbie Does Dallas. There's a strange disconnect there, don't you think? 

Even worse, as provocative and graphic as Shame may be, director McQueen still shies his camera away during the film's one male same-sex encounter, which speaks volumes to how uncomfortable most people are when it comes to that subject. And while queer director Greg Araki proves the exception to that rule, his films have hardly the same high profile as McQueen's.

Maybe it's just me. Maybe I'm one of those few people who actually find sex to be a beautiful, natural and magical thing. Oh, don't get me wrong - I like imaginary violence and murder just as much as the next Horror fan. I just know the difference between the two.

More, anon.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Saddest Thing I'll Post This Week

I often joke that I went to "Saturday Night Fever High." In the mid-70's, one of TV's hottest sitcoms was "Welcome Back, Kotter" about a teacher (comedian Gabe Kaplan) who comes back to teach remedial ed in the Brooklyn high school from which he'd graduated. The remedial students he taught were referred to as the 'Sweat Hogs.' Their bad-attitudes and hijinks were source of most of the show's plots. The kids did something bad (though not really, especially by today's standards) and Mr. Kotter would teach them a valuable life-lesson around what they had done. 

And while John Travolta's Vinnie Barbarino was the breakout character, I was always much more attracted to Robert Heyges' Juan Epstein, a Puerto Rican Jew who always managed to have a forged note signed 'Epstein's Mother.' Of course, I've always found darker-skinned, compact, hirsute men attractive. Heyges, at the time in his mid-20s, certainly filled the bill. While Travolta may have gone on to become a super star, thanks in part to his turns in films such as Carrie; Saturday Night Fever; Grease; Face-Off; Pulp Fiction and Hairspray, Heyges continued to work in TV and film (including a gig on "Cagney and Lacey") until his official retirement in 2002.

Heyges passed away today at the far-too-young age of 60, of an apparent heart-attack. And while officially retired, he was still reportedly involved in promoting local arts projects in his native New Jersey.

Nothing makes Uncle P feel older than hearing news like this. While it only ran for four seasons on ABC, "Welcome Back, Kotter" still holds a place in my heart as one the shows that defined my own high school experience. And Heyges' Epstein will always hold a place in my heart as one of my teenage crushes. 

With his gap-toothed grin, crazy afro and very hairy chest, Hegyes managed to push all the right buttons with me. Of course, with the right wig, I can see D playing the part of Epstein in a stage musical based on the show. And while I'm already too old to play Kotter, I might get away with playing Principal Woodman

RIP, Robert Heyges. Another part of my youth slips away... sigh...

More, anon.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

2011 Oscar Snubs


So, last night I gave you my picks for this year's Oscar winners. Tonight I'm talking about those left out in the cold by AMPAAS; those films, actors and technicians who probably should have, but for one reason or another were not nominated for a naked gold guy.

And speaking of golden guys, there's lovely Ryan Gosling, passed over for both People Magazine's Sexiest Man Alive and an Oscar nom, Tsk-tsk. So sad. So pretty. So talented. At least they didn't add insult to injury by nominating Bradley Cooper for an award. Happily, Ryan's in good company. Leo Dicaprio was similarly ignored for his turn in Clint Eastwood's fairly unliked J. Edgar. Of course, critical darling Michael Fassbender was ignored (well, Oscar-wise) for his performance in Shame, though I know plenty of folks who would give him an award just for a certain body part which gets lots of screen time in the film. Andy Sirkus was likewise ignored for his motion-capture performance in Rise of the Planet of the Apes (though many think the Academy should create a special category for this increasingly popular type of performance). And what of Patton Oswalt in Young Adult, who gives what many critics have called a "revelatory" performance? How about Albert Brooks, playing against type as a very bad man in Drive?

On the ladies' team, the always amazing Tilda Swinton was not nominated for her role as the mother of a killer in We Need to Talk About Kevin and Kirsten Dunst was likewise ignored for her role as a depressed bride in Lars van Trier's Melancholia, despite being lauded by nearly every critic on the planet. Charlize Theron in Young Adult; Elizabeth Olsen in Martha Marcy May Marlene; Sandra Bullock for Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close -- all not nominated. 

Directors left out in cold include Stephen Spielberg (Warhorse; The Adventures of Tintin); David Fincher for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo; Tate Taylor for The Help and David Cronenberg for A Dangerous Method

And what about those pesky Best Animated Films? For the first time in years, Pixar is not nominated, though I must admit that Cars 2 is hardly their best effort. But no love for Tintin or Puss in Boots

As for Best Picture -- well that list could be very long: Shame; Melancholia; Drive; Bridesmaids; Super 8; Martha Marcy May Marlene; The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and 50/50 (among many other excellent films) were all ignored. To quote my favorite 70's madcap comedy (and 10 points to the first person who can identify it): "C'est la vie. C'est la guerre. C'est la drek!"

In the end, awards mean nothing, especially when a relatively bad movie like The Help (don't hate on me - it really isn't all that good) can get nominated. I mean, look at Crash. That piece of crap actually won against Ang Lee's beautiful, powerful and wrenching Brokeback Mountain (something I will probably complain about until the day I die). Maybe someday Academy nominators will actually get it right. Though I doubt it.

If you love a movie others hate, or vice-verse, so what? Art is purely subjective. Of course, one has to draw the line somewhere. Mine is drawn at The Smurfs. And Chipwrecked. And the deplorable remake of Arthur. Dame Helen, what were you thinking?

Anyway, here's the trailer for one of my favorite movies of 2011: 

More, anon.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Oscar Predictions

Coincidence? Yeah. Probably.

I'm actually disappointed in the number of films I've seen this year. Busy, lazy and broke, I spent my ticket money only on films I really wanted to see. Sadly, not all of them were good. 

And while this list is early for me (I usually wait until just before the actual awards ceremony), I thought I might as well get it out of the way. As usual, please do not place any bets based on my predictions, though I think many of my picks are pretty safe. I'm not going to talk about Best Documentary or Best Sound Editing. I will cover the big Baker's Dozen.

So, let's get started, shall we?

Best Original Screenplay:

What I Want to Win: Bridesmaids, because I love Kristin Wiig.
What Will Win: Midnight in Paris, because it's Allen's best movie in years.
Upset: The Artist, because everyone just loves this movie
Long Shot: A Seperation, because no one has seen it.

Best Adapted Screenplay:

What I Want to Win: Hugo, because I loved this movie and it is very close to the book.
What Will Win: The Descendants, because it's going to win lots of other awards, too.
Upset: Moneyball, because it's the underdog.
Long Shot: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, because it's a remake.

Best Original Score:

What I Want to Win: Hugo, because it's Howard Shore's best score since The Fly.
What Will Win: Warhorse, because the Academy loves them some John Williams.
Upset: The Artist, because many folks think Bource simply stole from other composers.
Long Shot: The Adventures of Tintin, because it's animated.

Best Art Direction:
What I Want to Win: Hugo, because it's just gorgeously designed.
What Will Win: Hugo, see above.
Upset: The Artist, because black and white is so forgiving.
Long Shot: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II, because it's a Harry Potter movie.

Best Cinematography:

What I Want to Win: Hugo, because Robert Richardson's camera used 3D to create a very real world.
What Will Win: Hugo, see above.
Upset: The Tree of Life, because of that amazing opening sequence.
Long Shot: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, because it's essentially a horror movie.

Best Costume Design:

What I Want to Win:  Hugo, because Sandy Powell's costumes were simply gorgeous.
What Will Win: Hugo, see above.
Upset: Jane Eyre, because folks love the classics.
Long Shot: Anonymous, because people hate Shakespeare haters.

Best Director:

Who I Want to Win: Martin Scorcese for Hugo, because he put so much of himself into the film.
Who Will Win: Martin Scorcese for Hugo, because he deserves it.
Upset: Michel Hazanavicious for The Artist, because he took a major chance.
Long Shot: Terrence Malick for Tree of Life, because no one really understood it.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role:

Who I Want to Win: Christopher Plummer for Beginners, because he was fearless.
Who Will Win: Christopher Plummer for Beginners, because he deserves it.
Upset: Nick Nolte for Warrior, because everyone loves a comeback.
Long Shot: Jonah Hill for Moneyball, because he's just a kid.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role:

Who I Want to Win: Melissa McCarthy for Bridesmaids, because she was fearless.
Who Will Win: Octavia Spencer for The Help, because she's had so many thankless roles before.
Upset:  Jessica Chastain for The Help, because she's just a kid.
Long Shot: Janet McTeer for Albert Nobbs, because she also plays a woman pretending to be a man.

Best Actor in a Leading Role:

Who I Want to Win: George Clooney for The Descendants, because this is his year.
Who Will Win: George Clonney for The Descendants, see above
Upset: Jean Dujardin for The Artist, because he doesn't speak at all.
Long Shot: Demian Bichir for A Better Life, because who?

Best Actress in a Leading Role:

Who I Want to Win: Glenn Close for Albert Nobbs, because she has yet to win. 
Who Will Win: Viola Davis for The Help. Because she deserves to win.
Upset: Michelle Williams for My Week with Marilyn, because she has a long career ahead of her.
Long Shot: Rooney Mara for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, because she's a complete newcomer.

Best Picture:

What I Want to Win: Hugo, because it's a movie made just for me.
What Will Win: The Artist, because people love this movie.
Upset: The Help, because it's actually not a very good movie.
Long Shot: The Tree of Life, because so many people actively hated its obtuseness.

So there you have it. Again, please don't use my predictions to pick your Oscar pool choices. Besides, I really couldn't care less who or what wins. Tomorrow I'll be posting about who and what I thought were snubbed.

More, anon.


Monday, January 23, 2012

A (Happily Minor) Health Scare

I will do my best not to get too graphic here, but I think it's just as important for men to check themselves for lumps as it is for women.

While showering last Sunday, I discovered a small lump a in place where there had never been a lump before. I was concerned, but not terrified. The lump was was smaller than a pea and not causing me discomfort or any functional problems. I noted it and decided to mention it to my doctor on my next regular visit.

That was until Thursday, when I awoke to discover that the lump had not only tripled in size, but was now painful to the touch. Cue full system panic mode! 

I got to work and called the Health Advocate to find a specialist, ASAP. If your employer does not offer Health Advocate services, ask them to. Health Advocate will (among many other things) find you a doctor or specialist who accepts your insurance, help settle medical bill disputes and even help find long-term care for your elderly parents. Staffed by polite, caring and discreet nurses who immediately make you feel at ease discussing the most intimate of health issues, Health Advocate has proven an invaluable resource for Uncle P in the past few years, especially now that I have reached a certain age. The amazing nurse Kathy at HA found me a local specialist who had an available appointment this morning. After a quick call to my PCP (Primary Care Physician) for a referral, I was on my way. 

The doctor they sent me to was not only competent and professional, but adorable. Not quite as hunky as the doctor in the above picture, but certainly someone Uncle P could appreciate on a non-medical level, if you know what I mean. After a thorough examination of the area and lump in question, I left his office with a prescription for an antibiotic and the assurance that what I had was nothing more than an inflamed cyst, something he said was quite common among men my age. He ordered a blood test and scheduled a follow-up in six weeks.

You have no idea the relief I felt upon leaving that office. Still, I am glad that I know my own body well-enough to realize when something's not right. And I urge you all to be just as aware. While my issue turned out to be simple and not at all life-threatening, it is so important to be aware of changes to any and every part of your body. Examine yourselves regularly and mention any changes, lumps and other anomalies to your doctor right away. What you find may well be nothing, but it is so much better to be safe than sorry.

While every doctor you see may not be as hot as ER's Goran Visnjic, he or she may well be the difference between nothing to worry about and something serious. 

Okay - lecture over. Back to my usual nonsense, tomorrow.

More, anon.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Gorgeous George

When I reviewed Up In the Air back in 2009, I likened George Clooney to a modern-day Cary Grant. He's devilishly handsome, very smart, very hip and very talented. He's already won the Golden Globe this year for Best Actor in a Film Drama for The Descendants and is likely to be nominated for an Oscar for the same role. An infamous practical joker and lifelong bachelor, Clooney at 50 is sexier and hotter than ever. 

A known straight ally in the fight for LGBT equality, Clooney was recently asked his thoughts on Mitt Romney's anti-gay stance. My sweet friend Stephen in Portland posted George's response today over at Post Apocalyptic Bohemian:

“Well, I’m not much concerned until there’s an actual nominee… but I think it’s the wrong side of history. I think everyone sort of understands it might be the last leg of the civil rights movement. I do believe that. So I think that at some point, It’s certainly not the wedge issue it was in 2004, so that’s a good sign. So those are important things to me.”

Sigh... Like his good friend (and often the target of his practical jokes) Brad Pitt, who has said he won't marry Angelina Jolie until all U.S. citizens have the right to marry the person they love, Clooney gets it. As do all intelligent and moral straight people. They know that there is no such thing as the so-called "gay agenda." They also know that gay people aren't out to recruit their children; destroy the fabric of society; put an end to traditional families or traditional marriage. They are smart enough to recognize that LGBTQ people are in fact, born the way we are and that we all share the same fundamental rights and that among them is the right to marry the person we love. 

Here's the thing: How can someone like Newt Gingrich, who has been married three times and carried on an extramarital affair of his own while leading the charge to impeach Bill Clinton for doing the same, have the audacity to cite morality and the sanctity of marriage as part of his virulently anti-gay Presidential platform? At least the idiot Rick Santorum, despite being wrong about everything he thinks he knows about gay people, has only been married once and cites his strict Catholic upbringing as the basis for his homophobia. And yes, like Gorgeous George, I believe history will prove both of these men (along with people like Maggie Gallagher, Bryan Brown, Bryan Fischer and Tony Perkins) very, very wrong. 

And while I know George is straight, I will continue to lust after him, along with millions of gay men and straight women all over the world who know they will probably never get within ten feet of him, let alone actually have him for themselves. But mostly, I will admire him for telling the truth about the bullies who want to continue to oppress the single most hated minority on the planet. Thank you, George. You just keep on giving me more and more reasons to love you. And I don't mean in a gay way (though actually, I kind of do).

More, anon.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Trip to Hell?

Photo via People of Walmart

About three years ago, a Super Walmart opened on the site of what was once a lovely suburban shopping center, the Levittown Shop-a-Rama. The center had a Pomeroy's* department store; a Woolworth's Five and Dime; Lobel's Youth Center (where our mother bought both my sister and I our scouting apparel); Carvel; Western Wearhouse; McCrory's and other assorted long-gone stores. In the early '90's, Uncle P worked at Boscov's in the former Pomeroy's building. The center also housed a post-office and the headquarters of the LPRA (Levittown Public Recreation Association), which oversaw the half-dozen or so public swimming pools that once dotted the region. Only one still exists, now run by a private corporation. The rest have been filled in and plowed over to make way for public parks. Just across the street was the long-gone Towne movie theatre, where my sister and I saw many Disney films for the first time.

On the site of the old Shop-a-Rama, now sits a very generic strip mall, anchored by a Super Walmart. It was there that Uncle P ventured today to purchase new computer speakers, among a few other things. I brought with me a short list of six items: Mustard; vanilla Silk almond milk; fish oil supplements; Afrin; contact lens solution and the speakers. I ended up leaving with 19 items, including a box of much-needed gravel for Skye; some amazing lemon poppy-seed muffins; a 4-pack of Stewart's Black Cherry soda and bananas. I almost fainted when my total came to more than $90.00.

I have to ask myself if Walmart is so clever at marketing that they can trick me into spending more than double what I had intended to spend, or I'm just a sucker. I generally despise Walmart's business practices, but their prices are so seductive that I can't seem to resist. Grocery items are often half of what my favorite grocery chain charges and their selection of general goods is usually quite expansive. And while I link to the photos posted on PeopleofWalmart.com quite frequently on Facebook as a joke, I still find myself there once or twice a month. 

How did this happen? How did I become a -- gasp! -- Person of Walmart? Maybe I just need to move back to a big city, where the insidious retailer hasn't yet ensconced itself. Or maybe I should just stop complaining and reconcile myself to being an average suburbanite trying to save a buck or two wherever I can. Or maybe still, I need a trip to Barney's

At least I can take comfort in knowing that I will (hopefully) never appear in a video like this:

More, anon.

Friday, January 20, 2012

I HATE When That Happens

I'm am currently writing to you from a silent computer. I am hoping that it's just my crappy old Dell speakers that have given up the ghost and not my HP  PC's sound card. It's certainly easier (and probably cheaper) to replace hardware than software. Oh, I know I could spend hundreds of dollars on very fancy computer speakers with super-duper woofers and tweeters, but I have a really good pair of Sony headsets for the Sony boom-box on which I listen to most of my music. I listen to a lot of music; mostly film scores. And while my 600 plus CD collection might suggest I'm a bit of an audiophile, I once dated a guy with a collection of over 2000 CDs. I imagine it's much larger now, even if he isn't (oops!). 

Since I'm about to start rehearsals for Hairspray, I've been listening to the OBC (Original Broadway Cast) recording of the show. And while most of the cast includes some rather terrific singers, listening to the otherwise amazing Harvey Fierstein sing is actually painful. For the most part, Harvey 'speak-sings' his role, much like Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady  or Richard Burton in Camelot. Still that gravelly, grating voice of his is less than pleasant. Don't get me wrong - I adore Harvey. I played Arnold in his amazing Torch Song Trilogy in the second annual JTMF fundraiser and find him hilarious in movies like Mrs. Doubtfire and Independence Day but I cannot get past his "singing" in this show. I hope he faired better in the revival of Fiddler on the Roof where Rosie O'Donnell played his wife. Wow, A gay man and a lesbian pretending to be a straight married couple - what's the world coming to?

But for now, trying to watch something on YouTube is very annoying without sound. Have I really become so spoiled that a day or so without sound is making me so crazy? Now I just feel like a douche. "I complained I couldn't hear until I met a man with no ears" (or something). Yes, I'm a total douche.

Maybe I need to see The Artist. Hope you can hear that amazing score in this clip, because I can't:

Wow - Jean Dujardin is gorgeous!

More, anon.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Mmmmm... er, Ewwww... Frothy!

"Rick Santorum thinks about gay sex more than the guy selling dildos at Dorothy's in West Hollywood." ~ Bill Mahr

If Santorum actually looked and presented himself like the obviously Photoshopped picture on the right, I might consider voting for him. Of course, we all know I wouldn't vote for that homophobic a-hole if you held a gun to my head. And the fact that he might have actually won the Iowa caucus (8 districts' results cannot be retrieved) certainly doesn't change the fact that he's a neanderthal. No - I take that back. Neanderthals probably didn't think about gay sex as much as the Frothy Mix does.

Seriously - why would any rational person vote for this tool? Okay - Ward and June Cleaver, maybe. As a joke. While high on methamphetamine. After a three martini lunch. With a gun held to the Beav's head. While wearing blindfolds. 

I'm sorry. I had breakfast for dinner and the lingering scents of bacon, everything bagels and peanut butter Oreos has left Uncle P a bit disoriented. 

A few years ago, while promoting a JTMF show at the official NJ Pride event in Asbury Park, I saw an amazing t-shirt that had a picture of Joan Crawford and "WWJC Do?" written underneath it. What would Joan Crawford do, indeed? I imagine this:

I have to ask myself why Santorum is so afraid of gay people. And the only answer I can come up with is that he's like most virulently homophobic men who are desperately closeted, themselves. Either that, or he's been brainwashed by the Catholic Church into believing that rich pedophiles have all the answers.

I don't remember being so sickened by a Republican candidate since W. Nor do I remember being so scared by one. I have seen the face of true evil and it is called "Santorum." And while I take comfort in knowing that he is unelectable, I still worry that his message of hate is being heard by those who don't know any better. 

More, anon.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Joining the Blackout

Tell your representatives that SOPA is NOT good for anyone.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

An Obsession Returns

Before I even start, I suggest you watch all videos in this post (both linked and embedded) in full-screen.

Long-time readers know about my several obsessions. There's hot Brit action star Jason Statham; American hottie Chris Evans; movies; amazing food and Cirque du Soleil

I became obsessed with Cirque the very first time I saw them on their HBO special, We Reinvent the Circus. This was only their second touring show and the first to play the U.S. It wasn't nearly as sophisticated as they have become, but it's obvious the troupe, headed by founder Guy Laliberte, was onto something special. Their next big show was Saltimbanco, their first to actually tour the U.S. I convinced my friend Elizabeth, who hates the circus, that this was something special and she agreed to accompany me to New York to see the show. We spent two hours with our jaws agape and promptly returned to gush to anyone who would listen to us about this amazing company. Since then, I have seen about a dozen of their shows, including 2 performances of La Nouba in Downtown Disney. They are the single largest live entertainment company in the world, with 22 shows currently playing on tour or in permanent residence in New York; Florida, Nevada, Mississippi and California. Their headquarters in Montreal is nothing short of amazing and Laliberte has become a billionaire, overseeing an entertainment empire. Not bad for a one-time street performer.

Combining acrobatics; clowning; dance; music and astounding technological innovations, Cirque du Soleil is Circus as Theatre and unlike anything you have seen. They've even been parodied on "The Simpsons" as 'Cirque du Puree.' Unfortunately, as they've grown, they've also priced themselves out of reach for Uncle P, making it difficult for me to see their latest shows (though I may make an exception to see Iris in L.A. should I be fortunate enough to get there on business next Fall).

The last touring show I saw was the breathtaking Kooza in 2009, a combined Birthday/Christmas gift from my beloved K:

Their most recent touring shows include the insect-themed Ovo...

...and the Native-American themed Totem.

Today, they announced their newest show, opening in Montreal this spring, Amaluna:

Their latest permanent shows are Zarkana in NYC...

...and Michael Jackson: Immortal, now on tour but soon landing permanently in Las Vegas.

There's nothing like Cirque du Soleil to pull me out of my Winter doldrums!

If you have never a Cirque show, you owe it to yourself to do so. Sure, they've had performances on HBO and Bravo, but seeing them on TV is hardly the same as seeing them live. You'll never forget or regret seeing a Cirque show. Trust me on this.

For clips from their many other shows, go to YouTube and search Cirque du Soleil. I've only shared a fraction of the amazing videos they have there.

More, anon.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Gayest Thing You'll See This Week

Todd Glass has been performing his profanity-laden comedy for a while now. He suffered a very public heart attack in 2010 and after undergoing angioplasty, appeared on the Bonnie Hunt show a few days later to talk about. He practices Muay Thai kickboxing and uses decidedly 'straight' references in his standup, though I must assume that will change, soon.

Today, on comedian Marc Maron's WTF podcast (via), the ruggedly masculine Glass came out publicly. Out to his family and close friends for many years, Glass was prompted to go public in the wake of the suicide epidemic among young gay men, saying that he asked himself "...when are you going to have a little blood on your shirt for not being honest about who you are?"

Glass joins Kristie McNichol among the most recent public figures to come out for the same reason. He says he hates the word "gay" but finds it preferable to "homosexual," a term I've always found clinical and cold. I understand his feelings, because it's about labels. I may be a gay man, but that hardly defines who I am. I am a director, an actor, a singer, a son and a brother. I am a friend, an acquaintance and a co-worker. I am a blogger, a screenwriter and a playwright. I'm a cinephile, a TV addict and (gasp!) a smoker. I also happen to be gay. All of those things (among others) define who I am. Citing just one of them is both shortsighted and disingenuous.

I came out to most of my family in my 30's, though I had been out to most of my friends long before. I understand how difficult a decision it is to do so. But I have also come to realize that the more folks who do so, especially those in the public eye, the better. Celebrities have a platform that allows for public discussion and a better understanding of what it means to be gay. Gay men like Glass also let people know that being gay isn't a stereotype. There are plenty of masculine gay men, just as there are plenty of feminine gay women. And of course being butch or fem, masculine or feminine and/or any permutation thereof, doesn't (and shouldn't) matter.

What does matter is that we are all human beings with he same hopes, desires and dreams of happiness that everyone else has.

So, to the Rick Santorums and Pope Benedicts of the world, I say "Get over yourselves, already."  We don't want to subvert society. We don't have an agenda. We aren't interested in 'recruiting' your children. We only want the same rights that straight people have. I don't think that's too much to ask, do you? I can imagine a day when all of this is history and people are ashamed to remember a time when the LGBT community was marginalized as much as black people were in the 60's. In fact, I can't imagine a better subject to talk about on MLK Day. I would hope that if he were alive today, Dr. King would be a powerful and vocal ally in our fight for equality.

If you are not familiar with Todd Glass' standup, here's an NSFW clip:

Come out, come out, whoever you are!

More, anon.