Monday, July 30, 2012

Old Timey Hotties, Triple Hobbits, Gay Rejection and Olympic Nonsense

Mihai Eminescu, age 19, 1860
I first found My Daguerreotype Boyfriend on Tumblr about a year or so ago. I completely forget where the link came from, but many of the photos (most from the late 1800's into the early 1900's) are intriguing, to say the least. I think I was most surprised at how many of the men featured there looked so modern. Granted, not every photo is a gem, but what you find attractive and what I find attractive won't always be the same. K and I are usually amazed when we find the same guy attractive, while my friend Laura and I rarely disagree (though the guy we usually find most attractive is also most likely to be the first to die in a horror movie - Tuc Watkins in The Mummy, for example).

Many of the guys featured on MDB are unnamed prisoners and Civil War soldiers, though there are plenty of portraits of famous men in their youth, like Teddy Roosevelt, Charlie Chaplin and Lionel Logue (the real speech therapist featured in The King's Speech). The blog also has a whole section dedicated to men from the past who look like stars from today. MDB is currently searching for photos of hot Olympians from 1896 - 1936. 

Now, as gorgeous as some of those men may be, I don't think they can compete with modern athletes like Phillip Boy or Jonathan Horton or Danell Levya. Of course, being the dirty old man I am, Uncle P is really only interested in seeing the Men's Gymnastics; Men's Swimming; Men's Diving and Greco-Roman Wrestling events. But honestly, that's always been the case for me, old or young.

And speaking of rings (wow - talk about stretching for a segue), director Peter Jackson has formally announced (via - among others) that The Hobbit will indeed be a trilogy. Seriously? I know it's been a very long time since I read Tolkien's "prequel" to The Lord of the Rings (I think I was 13) but I don't remember there being enough material to support three feature-length films. Or maybe I'm wrong. I do know that while I really liked reading the LOTR trilogy, I enjoyed The Hobbit a whole lot more. Personally, I just can't wait to see how Jackson imagines Smaug!

And finally, I initially missed the first video in this series, but Towleroad has posted these very amusing tutorials on dealing with rejection for gay men, by TipsForLife:

He's already got the whiskey and the gin - he might as well add vodka, rum, tequila, sweet and sour mix and Coke to make an LIT.  If you're going to drink, it should at least taste good, no? And honestly, no one knows more about gay rejection than yours truly... Oh, that sounded a little pathetic, didn't it? Trust me, I have had my share of acceptance, though the scales do seem to have been tipped in the other direction. Not that I'm complaining... (well, maybe just a little).

More, anon.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Pulling the Wig Down from the Shelf Again

John Cameron Mitchell as 'Hedwig'
After Jeffrey, I was feeling a little down. I'd had some potentially bad news about someone for whom I care very much; I had no theatrical projects on the immediate horizon; I had gained back a few of the 16 pounds I'd lost doing Hairspray and I was about to turn another year older with little to show for it. 

So I went looking for something to lift my spirits a bit and ended up listening to the soundtrack to the movie version of John Cameron Mitchell's Hedwig and the Angry Inch. I never got to see the original  stage production, but I absolutely adored the movie (which I reviewed for There is something about Hedwig's eternal optimism despite her many setbacks that is inspiring, to say the least. I loved every one of Stephen Trask's songs (especially "The Origin of Love"); was overjoyed to see the amazingly talented Andrea Martin as Hedwig's manager; adored Mitchell's performance and became of fan of the massively underrated Miriam Shor (late of ABC's ridiculous soap "GCB" and CBS's aborted summer sizzler "Swingtown") all at the same time. I am, by the way, determined to direct a production of Hedwig... someday.

Anyway, Kevin Sessums (author of "A Southern Sissy") has blogged that Mitchell and Trask are currently hard at work on a stage sequel! Talk about synchronicity. Mitchell, who also wrote and directed the sexually explicit Shortbus, is quoted as saying about the new show, “We spend so much of our early lives trying to figure out who we really are... And we spend the rest of our lives preparing ourselves to let it go.” Personally, I can't wait to see what's happened to Hedwig since we last saw her. Hopefully, the stage sequel will warrant a film sequel, as well.

Here are few of my favorite numbers from the movie (watch for Shor in stubbled male drag):

Long live Hedwig!

More, anon.

Friday, July 27, 2012


Summer 2012 is far from over and while there are still several Summer movies I'm really looking forward to seeing (Total Recall; The Odd Life of Timothy Green; The Tall Man; ParaNorman and The Expendables 2 - Okay - D made me promise to see that one with him, and even though it co-stars my obsession, it's not exactly at the top of my list), there are loads of movies coming up this fall I also want to see, many of which have recently had trailers released online. So let's take a look at some of the movies I'm looking forward to seeing in the second half of the year, shall we? 


I loved the Colin Farrell remake of Fright Night, and I think Farrell (as do many others) is hot! This version looks to be closer to the Phillip K. Dick story "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale" than the Arnold Schwarzenegger version.


This strange and sweet Disney fantasy may just be the palette-cleanser we all need after the rest of the summer's violent blockbusters.

 Kodi Smit-McPhee (Let Me In) and the amazing Jodelle Ferland (Silent Hill) are among the voices in this animated fantasy about a boy who sees dead people.


Forget the ridiculous Stallone movie. Karl Urban (Star Trek) stars as Judge Dredd, the comic-book hero who never removes his helmet.


Hot up and comer Joseph Gordon-Levitt (The Dark Knight Returns) and Bruce Willis star as a time-traveling assassin who is supposed to kill himself.


Ethan Hawke is a true-crime writer who discovers a supernatural element to the story he's currently researching.


I actually enjoyed the bizarre original adaptation of the creepy video game, thanks in part to terrific performances from Radha Mitchell, Jodelle Ferland and Sean Bean. The sequel looks equally bizarre and interesting.


Tom Hanks; Halle Berry; Jim Broadbent; Hugo Weaving; Susan Sarandon and James D'Arcy are among the many stars in the Wachowsky's adaptation of David Mitchell's complex novel about time, love, birth, death, and everything in between. I've watched this trailer several times, and it never fails to get me excited to see the movie. Watch this one in Full Screen.


Daniel Craig returns in his third outing as James Bond in director Sam Mendes' (American Beauty) take on the character and the genre. As long as Craig shows off that magnificent body, I'll be happy. though as a Bond fan since the Sean Connery days, I can't wait to see what Mendes has in store for us.


Director Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain) adaptation of Yann Martell's novel about an Indian zookeeper's son who is shipwrecked with a variety of animals in the Pacific. Another trailer you should watch in Full Screen:


The first Cirque film, Journey of Man literally brought tears to my (and my companions') eyes with it's beauty. Their follow-up, Allegria, was a little too bizarre for most folks. The latest from my other obsession looks nothing less than amazing. Watch this one in Full Screen, as well.

While I probably won't get to see all of these films in a cinema (though I will make sure to see at least three or four of them on the big screen), I am excitedly anticipating seeing all of them in one format or another. What movies are you looking forward to see in the next few months? 

More, anon.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Dan Cathy Has the Right to Do Whatever He Wants with His Money

I'm not about to defend the actions of Chick-Fil-A president Dan Cathy. He is a backward, Southern  hick holding on to the superstitious beliefs imposed upon him by his backward, Southern hick parents, who truly thinks that God wants him to keep LGBT people from having equal rights. But the Constitution guarantees him the right to believe whatever he wants to, when it comes to religion. So if he wants to take the money his privately held corporation makes from franchising fees and use it to promote the values in which he believes (no matter how archaic and unevolved they may be), it is his right as an American citizen to do so. It might be different if Chick-Fil-A was a publicly held company; the shareholders would then have a say in what Cathy does. But it's still privately owned and as such, there isn't much anyone can do to make him stop giving money to hate groups - just as there is nothing Cathy can do to stop me from giving money to pro-LGBT groups. If you don't like what he does with his money (like myself and millions of others), then don't buy Chick-Fil-A's food.

"But Uncle P, each Chick-Fil-A is owned by independent franchisers, many of whom support LGBT rights and causes" (something I've heard from plenty of people, including a few at my usually very liberal Day Job). That may be true, but the money they pay in franchise fees goes to the Cathy family, which donated over $1.7M to anti-LGBT rights groups last year. Those people could buy franchises of any number of other businesses, but they have chosen to be a part of a company whose President openly supports hatred. They do not get a pass.

Cathy says that his company's philosophy is based on "Christian values." You know - Love and Compassion. What he really should say is that their philosophy is based on "Old Testament values" - like selling your daughters into slavery, treating shellfish as an abomination and stoning to death those who "sin." Hardly "Christian" values. So my personal challenge to Mr. Cathy (indeed, anyone who uses Christianity as an excuse to promote intolerance) is this: Find me a New Testament passage in which Christ mentions homosexuality or marriage (and no, the performing of a marriage is not commenting on it). Find me a quote from Jesus that says "Homosexuals are evil." Find me a quote that says "Hate thy neighbor." You won't, because they simply don't exist. 

As for the cities of Boston, Chicago and Philadelphia making official proclamations barring Chick-Fil-A from opening franchises, I have to disagree. Government has no right to deny a business the opportunity to operate (unless they are doing something illegal). Chick-Fil-A should be allowed to operate wherever and however they like, just as consumers have the right to boycott Chick-Fil-A for their hateful, harmful, immoral and decidedly un-Christian practices. Personally, no matter how damned delicious I find their food, I will never spend so much as one pink dime of my money at Chick-Fil-A again, and hope that you won't, either. 

My friend Bill M (who happens to be straight), has posted some of his thoughts on gay marriage on his blog. I encourage you to check it out. He also recently posted the following on Facebook:

"I don't think gay marriage opposers get how things work. If your religion says you can't watch Doctor Who on Sunday, that doesn't mean you try to outlaw watching Doctor Who on Sunday! It means that YOU cannot watch Doctor Who on Sunday. I can watch all the Doctor Who on Sunday that I damn well please! If your religion is against gay marriage, that doesn't mean you outlaw it. It means YOU cannot marry someone of the same gender. Basically, you don't force your beliefs on others."

If only everyone were as evolved as my friends (of course, that's a big part of why they're my friends in the first place). 

More, anon.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Gayest Things You'll See This Week

Kellan Lutz
So, let's get away from politics, violence, religion and Chick-Fil-A, shall we?

My friend Megan and I have this running joke about Kellan Lutz. We both agree that the "90210" and Twilight actor is gorgeous, but probably vapid and practically brainless. Of course, not knowing him personally, we have no idea if this is true or not - so please - no hate mail about him (or us). Still, if you Google images of him, you'll find that in the majority of the photos of him that are available online, whether clothed or semi-naked,  he has the same goofy smile on his face as he does in the photo on your left. He always makes me think of the Julie Brown song "I Like 'Em Big and Stupid." And while Big and Stupid may be fun for a one-nighter, it doesn't bode well for a relationship. After all that hot and sweaty rolling around in the hay, what do you talk about? Philosophy? Astrophysics? Grammar? Probably not. Sigh.

Anyway, The Hollywood Reporter has announced that Lutz has been signed to play a straight man in gay world in director David Tillman's indy feature All You Need is Love. The film supposes a world in which gay people are in the majority. Lutz plays a man who falls in love with a woman (Camilla Belle) and is bullied for doing so. Based on a short film by Kim Rocco Shields, with a screenplay by Shields and Tillman, All You Need is Love may just be what doubting straight folks need to change their attitudes about LGBT folks. Of course, that was the hope many of us held out for Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain - which did a lot for our cause, but wasn't exactly the turning point we'd hoped it would be. The point, of course, is to show str8 people what we have to deal with on a regular basis. Whether or not the message will be heard and received, remains to be seen. 

Also (via) in gay entertainment news is the Disney/Top 40 mashup "Cinderfella" (not to be confused with the 1960 Jerry Lewis movie of the same name) from former "American Idol" contestant Todrick Hall. One line reminds me of my days directing Shakespeare at Princeton, where many of the students were fond of asking "Do you go here?" How many Princes and Princesses can you spot? Look for appearances from Janice Dickerson; William Belli; Kimberly Cole; Aubrey O'Day; Lance Bass and Ben Melick. Legalize Love, indeed.

More, anon.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Facebook Fracas

Oh, Great Noodley One!
Regular readers know by now that Uncle P was, until recently, an agnostic. They also know that a few years ago, I became an avowed Secular Humanist. And while I suppose that belief in an eternal life rewarded for being a good person is nice, it's probably better (and certainly more rewarding) to be a good person just for the sake of being a good person. And honestly, should I believe in stories that are not only thousands of years old, but which have also been re-translated and mistranslated from dead languages who knows how many times, or should I go with empirical scientific evidence to the contrary? Truth be told, I'm placing my money on Science.

Earlier today, I shared a Humanist message on Facebook which read: "Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime. Give a man religion and he will starve, praying for a fish." I had no idea that this would start such a war of words between my humanist and religious friends. The thread had grown close to 30 comments before I shut it down and deleted the post.

Here's the thing: believe what you want. I don't care. Whatever gets you through the night. And while I would like to think that my consciousness will go on after I've passed away, I seriously doubt that it will. Whether it's in "heaven" or on another plane or in another incarnation, I just don't think (like millions of others) that it will. Dead is dead, baby. And that makes every day I live all that more meaningful to me. My late jackass of a father (who would have been 74, today) often told me that "Life is it's own reward." As I have gotten older (and hopefully wiser), I've come to realize that those words are true. Enjoy and embrace each day you are alive. And know that it's like will never be repeated. Like live theatre, no performance is the same as the one that came before, nor will it be like the one that comes after. Every day is a gift to be cherished for what it is. Every moment is one that will never be again. Embrace and it enjoy it, for it's like will not be seen again.

I truly believe that if every person on the planet shared this view, there would be less violence; less hatred; less jealousy and less fear. Do away with religion (the single biggest reason for hate, war, murder and separatism in history) and we are all the same. 

Wow. Between yesterday and today, I've really gone off on all the world's ills, haven't I? But I can't keep quiet when I see corporations, governments and religious leaders supporting discrimination and hatred based on superstition and fear.

Love who and how you love. Be kind to one another; obey the law and do what you know in your heart is right. Don't judge; don't hate; don't discriminate. Admit that differences of opinion don't equal right or wrong. Embrace diversity. Don't fear differences in color; race; sexuality or ethnicity. Know that we are all human, and as such, are equally flawed and equally valid. Stop comparing yourselves to one another and accept your individuality. In the end, we all have the same fate: rich; poor; famous; anonymous; healthy; sick; beautiful; ugly... we're all much more alike than we are different and we all end the same.

Yikes! I once again find myself pontificating. I think I need a massage and a sauna. Or something.

The Pythons seem to have gotten it right, anyway:

"There's bugger all down here on Earth!"

More, anon.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Perverting the 2nd Amendment

Does Anyone Really Need a Hello Kitty Assault Rifle?
So, some 230-odd years ago, the framers of the U.S. Constitution added an amendment that allowed U.S. citizens the right to bear arms. All well and good, when those arms were single-shot muskets and hand-loaded pistols that required powder and lead pellets. They had no idea that one day we would have rapid-fire guns capable of shooting dozens, if not hundreds, of rounds of ammunition in the blink of an eye. 

The NRA and the gun lobbyists both extol and hide behind the Second Amendment as an excuse for gun manufacturers to grow rich on the blood of innocent people. Guns, rifles and assault weapons kill thousands of Americans each year. Children in inner-city neighborhoods are more than three times as likely to be shot in cross-fire incidents. African American youths are shooting one another in record numbers. Philadelphia and Chicago are currently experiencing their highest gun-related murders in their history. It makes me sick to think about it.

James Holmes legally bought four assault weapons and 15 pounds of ammunition, which he used to injure and/or kill 71 innocent people who were out for what they thought was an evening's entertainment. There are those who say "Well, if he didn't have the guns, he would have made bombs and killed even more people." Maybe. But he did have guns. And easy access to them. And even easier access to ammunition. All purchased legally. What the hell?

Now, I'm not saying that people shouldn't be allowed to own firearms. There are plenty of hunters and target shooters who don't go around killing people. And most hunters and target shooters don't use rapid-fire automatic weapons. But maybe - just maybe - if was a little more difficult to obtain such weapons, there might be fewer murders, attacks and cross-fire shootings. And while I won't go into the whole Freudian concept of guns as penis-extensions, I do have to surmise that the ease with which Americans can purchase guns certainly adds to the number of gun-related murders. Honestly, who needs an AK-47 to take down a deer? Where's the 'sport' in that? Of course, there are those who think they need to own a gun in order to protect themselves from criminals. Possibly. But statistically, those folks are more likely to have their own weapons used against them in an assault.

Here's the thing: If we make it harder for criminals and lunatics to own guns, we just might be able to decrease the number of gun-related murders. Write to your representatives. Tell them to ban assault weapons for non-military personnel. Tell them to make it more difficult to own a gun and ask them to provide tougher penalties for those who use guns while committing a crime. This madness has to be stopped. 

More, anon.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Last Day of Vacation

I wish my office chair was as cool as the one in the picture on the right. 

I return to the Day-Job tomorrow, after a 10 day "stay-cation,' during which I had all sorts of things planned to do around the house. Needless to say, very few of those plans actually came to fruition. I could blame the heat or my broken toe or any number of other things. Or I could be honest and say I just didn't care enough to get them done. I watched some truly dreadful movies on cable (The Thing (2011); Scream 4; The Help) and even worse talk shows ("The Talk").  I deep-cleaned my kitchen. I cooked some amazing meals (tonight's spinach, feta, bacon and fresh garden tomato omelet among the best). I went to dinner and a movie with my four dearest friends. I attempted a night out with three other gay friends on Friday, but that soon fell apart (for a number of reasons). I cleaned out and lubricated the track to the sliding mirror doors of my medicine cabinet. I turned a year older. I blogged.

I did nothing of any real significance. And I've decided that that's okay. Vacation is really just about not being at work. In that sense, it couldn't have been more of a success. I didn't think about work at all, even when co-workers sent me a 'Happy Birthday' messages on Facebook.

Sometimes it's good to just shut-down and relax. And I did plenty of relaxing this past week. I slept in. I watched TV. I didn't think too hard or too much (well, except for Friday morning's horrendous events in Colorado). I didn't even shower on a couple of days. So, I'm marking this particular stay-cation as a success. Though, truth be told, I don't want to go back to work tomorrow. 

I really need to win the Publisher's Clearing House $5,000 a Week Forever sweepstakes. Hook me up, will you?

More, anon.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Review: "The Dark Knight Rises"

Tom Hardy as Bane and Christian Bale as Batman
I read exactly one other review of Christopher Nolan's final Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises, and while it was surprisingly spoiler free (as I will do my best to be), it was basically a full-on rave. The bad news is that The Dark Knight Rises is not better than The Dark Knight. The good news is that it is at least as good.

Eight years after the events of The Dark Knight, Gotham City is celebrating 'Harvey Dent Day' and the Dent Act which basically allowed the GPD to lock up every organized criminal in Gotham, making the city relatively safe for all it's citizens. Of course, this is eating away at Police Commissioner Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman), who knows the truth: Dent (Aaron Eckhart) was insane and Batman took the fall for his crime spree. Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) has become a recluse, his body so damaged that he has to walk with a cane. At a party celebrating Dent on the Wayne estate, cat burglar Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway) disguises herself as a maid and manages to steal not only Bruce's mother's pearls, but his finger prints, which she then sells to men working for the nefarious mercenary, Bane (Tom Hardy) in exchange for a program that will supposedly erase her record and allow her to start fresh. Meanwhile, Green Earth maven Miranda Tate (Marion Cotillard) has been trying to meet with Wayne about his long-mothballed nuclear fission reactor, which she believes will save the planet. Officer John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) has sussed that Wayne is Batman and implores him to return to take back the city from Bane. Much to the dismay of trusty Alfred (Michael Caine), Wayne once again takes up the cape and the cowl, to save the city he loves. To give away more would spoil too much, so I'll leave the complicated plot there.

There is much to admire in Nolan's third and final outing with The Batman, including a story line that ties all three films together; characters (both new and old) who are full of surprises and probably some the franchise's best performances. Hardy (who spends 99% of the movie with his face covered by a mask) is a massive, hulking villain who isn't always understandable but who manages to convey evil through his eyes quite well. Bane, a disciple and successor to Ra's Al Ghul (Liam Neesom in a hallucinatory cameo), plans to finish what his master started and destroy Gotham completely. Hathaway, in one of the best performances I've seen her give, plays a different Catwoman than we've seen before. Rocking a catsuit complete with razor-heeled boots and a mask whose visor flips up to become ears, Hathaway's Selina Kyle is a repentant criminal who wants to get out and move on with her life, but just isn't able to do so. She shows great range here, playing everything from tough-as-nails to scared-as-hell with a seeming effortlessness that both surprised and delighted me. But probably the best performance belongs to Gordon-Levitt as Blake. Strong and smart, his Blake is a man whose admiration for everything for which Batman stands drives him to be a better person and this performance is the one that most people will talk about when they think of the future mega-star's first great role. The rest of the cast is fine and the audience we saw it with were thrilled to see Cillian Murphy return once again in a cameo as Jonathan Crane/Scarecrow. And I was pleased to see both Matthew Modine as Police Chief Foley and Nestor Carbonell as Gotham's gorgeous Mayor.

The script, by Nolan and his brother Jonathan is smart, often funny and filled with plot-twists that literally had at least one of my companions (okay, it was Q) gasp and often made the audience cheer and applaud in delight, especially near the end. The action sequences and FX are nothing short of spectacular and Nolan manages to make several cities (including Pittsburgh and Newark) look like one. Hans Zimmer's soaring score is just about perfect while Lindy Hemming's often elegant costumes are both practical and effective. The film's two hour and thirty-four minute running time flew by and I was actually sorry to see it end. Nolan has once again delivered Uncle P a most excellent bi-annual birthday present. **** (Four Out of Four Stars).  The Dark Knight Rises is rated PG-13 for "intense sequences of violence and action, some sensuality and language." Personally, I do NOT recommend this film for children under 10. 

Finally, just a note about movie courtesy. Put your damned cell phones away! If you can't live without looking at your effing phone for a couple of hours, stay the hell home! D became concerned when I voiced my dismay to a nearby patron, who looked at her phone at least once every five minutes. That light in the corner of my eye was extremely distracting and exceptionally rude, and I just couldn't keep quiet about it a minute longer. The young lady did oblige, thought not with out sighing heavily. Seriously, I didn't pay $12.00 to be distracted by your phone display, a-hole!

Since I posted the latest trailer last night, here's a parody trailer I found amusing:

Oh, and we saw the teaser for Zack Snyder's Superman movie, Man of Steel:

Snyder's last movie was awful, but Nolan is producing, so who knows what we'll get. I still have issues with new costume design.

More, anon.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Don't Live in Fear

The Century 16 in Aurora, CO
A movie theater is a place where you are supposed to be able to escape the horrors of real life for a couple of hours. The lights dim, you sit back and (hopefully) enjoy 90 or more minutes of escapism, far from the madding crowd...

But early this morning, at 2:39 AM Eastern Time, a madman (identified as James Holmes, a former med student, originally from San Diego) opened fire on a Colorado audience who were enjoying the midnight premier of The Dark Knight Rises, the final installment of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy. Holmes was quickly apprehended and reportedly told police "I'm the Joker." When police went to Holmes' apartment, they found it booby-trapped with "incendiary devices." As of this writing, a motive for Holmes' actions has yet to established (or at least, announced). Neighbors describe Holmes as "a loner."

I already have tickets to see TDKR for tomorrow night, along with D; K; Q and Dale. We're seeing it at an AMC, which has announced that they have instituted a new policy prohibiting costumes, masks and replica weapons. Personally, I'm not scared. Just as I wasn't scared to go to McDonald's after the 1984 incident in San Ysidro or enter a high school after the 1999 shooting spree at Columbine. Nor did I stop attending public events after Senator Gabrielle Giffords was gunned down in 2011.

Yes, these were all horrible, terrible, evil events. But I can't allow the actions of a few lunatics to stop me from living my life. Terrible, random things happen all the time. Auto accidents; earthquakes; tsunamis; tornadoes; hurricanes; floods; wildfires; lightning strikes; falling trees; terrorists flying airliners... the list goes on and on. And yes, they are all awful and tragic and very sad. But that's just life. Now, I don't want you to think that Uncle P is a callous bastard who doesn't empathize with the victims of such tragedies. Quite the opposite, in fact. My heart is broken every time I hear about something like this. So many futures cut short; so many families torn apart; so many loved ones lost.

But we can't live our lives in fear. Hell, if I worried about everything that could kill me, I might never leave my house. And what good does that do anyone? I could fall down the stairs or slip in the shower or get electrocuted by a faulty lamp. Broken toes or arrests for public lewdness only serve to prove that we are alive. Face it - the worst thing that is ever going to happen to you is going to happen, no matter what. Whether it's at the hands of lunatic or while asleep in our own beds, there is no escaping the inevitable.

Keep going to the movies. Keep riding roller coasters. Keep sky-diving. Truly live your life as though today is the last, because it very well may be. But never stop planning for the future. A life lived in fear is no life at all.

I'll post my review of The Dark Knight Rises as soon as I get home tomorrow night.

More, anon.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Does My Broken Toe Trump the New Pee-Wee?

Wha' Happened?
A gentle summer rain is falling as I write this post. I can't think of anything more antithetical to what I am about to share tonight.

While I won't admit to actually being lazy, I will say that on occasion, I am wont to leave things where they don't necessarily belong. Especially shoes. My shoes often end up staying wherever it is that I take them off. That's mostly because I hate wearing shoes. I would rather be barefoot (despite the ugliness that is - are? - my feet). So when I took off my shoes last night. I left them in the living room, at the end of the coffee table where I usually sit to watch TV. This morning, after giving Skye his daily fresh water, I stubbed my left pinkie toe against one of those shoes, cursing and nearly crying from the pain. 

Uncle P - we've all stubbed our toes. It hurts. WTF?

Nothing ever hurt like this. Mind you, I have had  dislocated fingers; broken collar bones; splinters which required surgery and dental surgery from hell.* None of them have come close to this kind of pain. It actually radiates up into my ankle. And while I know there is very little that can be done for such an injury, the very angry dark purple bruise that has developed at the base of my toe is just another indicator of the self-inflicted injury for which I have no excuse but my own laziness. I'd posat a picture of the bruised and swollen digit, but would rather spare you the (literally) ugly details.

Of course, that pain in no way measures up to the humiliation recently suffered by one of my personal hero actors, Fred Willard (pictured above). What a segue.

I've been a fan of Willard's since the days of the bizarro soap opera, "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman." Willard went on to co-host the spin-off "Fernwood Tonight" as well as appearing in most of Christopher Guest's improvised comedies (Waiting for Guffman; Best in Show and A Mighty Wind) along with appearances on "Roseanne;" "Raising Hope;" "Modern Family: and countless other films and TV shows.

Yesterday, Willard was arrested at a Hollywood "adult movie theater" for doing what most men do at "adult movie theaters." Really? This is how the LAPD spends their time, looking for 70 + year-old guys whacking off in porno theaters? Let's forget about all the gang violence and heavy drug trafficking that goes on in L.A. No, we're going  to arrest guys who have their peens out in a darkened porn theater.  Truth be told though, if any comedic actor from this era was going to arrested for this kind of thing, I would have placed money on Martin Mull. Still, Willard now has something in common with Paul Reubens, though I doubt it will have the same effect on his career.

*Which instilled my dentaphobia (?) and requires a post of its own, someday.

More, anon.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

I Missed My Anniversary But Not My Birthday!

I can't believe I missed the 4th Anniversary of Caliban's Revenge. It seems like just yesterday. But I suppose that since today is my birthday (yes, I'm a Cancerian, though many astrologers prefer the term "Moon Child") I can add the two together in one post.

And since I have done so before, I'm going to update my first real post "10 Fantasy/Sci-Fi Movies That Should Be Remade:"

10. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Steampunk is everywhere these days, and what better vehicle to exploit it than Jules Verne's classic novel about a pacifist and his nuclear submarine? Disney's 1954 classic version invented SCUBA (Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus) and involves an investigation into narwhal attacks, but ends up releasing the Kraken. Modern effects could make or break a remake.

9. Logan's Run. This one has been kicking around forever. The original is pure cheese, dated and almost silly, though it won an Oscar for Special Effects. I wonder if Farrah Fawcett was one of them... Anyway, it's well overdue for an update that's truer to the source material.

8.The Haunting. Jan de Bont's abysmal remake isn't worth mentioning, though Robert Wise's original 1963 film adaptation of Shirley Jackson's novel remains the scariest movie ever made (I dare you to watch it alone with the lights off). Just imagine what a good director can do with the material today.

7. Something Wicked This Way Comes. Disney's 1983 version misses out on so many of the things that make Ray Bradbury's novel one of my all-time favorites. A better script (even though Bradbury wrote the Disney version), combined with modern FX would make Something Wicked... a true movie event.

6. The Exorcist. Currently playing as minimally staged play, William Peter Blatty's novel about demonic possession was a sensation, as was William Friedkin's movie. Personally, I never thought the movie all that scary (though I suppose belief in such things helps). While Dick Smith's physical makeup FX were state-of-the-art at the time, imagine that spinning head today.

5. The Shining. People who love Stanley Kubrick's version of The Shining have never read Stephen King's brilliant and terrifying novel about a haunted Colorado hotel and the family that spends a winter taking care of it. Give me the money to do so, and I'll make a version that will make you poop your pants!

4. Ghost Story. While I personally don't believe in ghosts, Peter Straub's novel about ancient evil really got to me when I first read it. Imagine my disappointment at the lame, truncated movie version. 

3. The Stranger Within. This ABC TV Movie of the Week featured Barbara Eden ("I Dream of Jeannie") as a woman impregnated with an alien child. For the 70's, it was awesome. I imagine a new version would be even better.

2. Metropolis. Fritz Lang's silent masterpiece about social classes is more relevant today than ever before. A remake would be the ultimate 99% allegory. 

1. The Wizard of Oz. Heresy, you say? Wicked is still a massive Broadway hit and Sam Raimi's Oz, the Great and Powerful looks like it's going to be amazing. With so many remakes of other classics in the pipes, why not remake Hollywood's most famous fantasy? Do you know how many film versions of Alice in Wonderland there are? 

I'll be seeing Chris Nolan's birthday present to me (The Dark Knight Rises) this weekend, but I have to know what movie(s) you would like to see remade.

More, anon.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Goodbye "Eureka"

SyFy's "Eureka" kind of flew under my radar in the beginning. I knew it existed and appreciated the premise - basically a fish-out-of-water story about an everyman sheriff in a town of super-geniuses whose research often causes havoc which only the everyman can objectively evaluate and resolve the weekly conflict. I watched it sporadically, usually liking what I saw, even if I didn't fully understand the character dynamics. But that changed for me the same time the show changed it's dynamics by sending the main characters to 1947, when the town of Eureka was a top-secret military base in season 3, entirely changing the timeline for season 4 and reestablishing characters in entirely new circumstances. Season 4 was exceptional, ending with the disappearance of the Astraeus, which was bound for Jupiter's moon, Titan.

The final season opened with the crew of the Astraeus thinking four years have passed since they left earth, while they are actually being held in a computer simulation in which the evil Senator Wen (Ming Na, no!) is using them to create technology and then stealing it for her personal gain. The series' last episodes were filled with ethical questions and dilemmas; obscure concepts (3D bio-printing, electro-biological interfaces, artificial intelligence); robotics; the military; death and resurrection; family and love, all with the same sense of humor and wonder it had from the beginning (which I discovered when I went back and watched the first two seasons in full. Of course, it didn't hurt that it had hotties like Niall Matter; Ed Quinn and star Colin Ferguson, as well as genre icons Joe Morton (The Brother from Another Planet; T2: Judgement Day) and Wil Wheaton (ST:TNG) and host of guests like Wallace Shawn, Ever Carridine; Olivia D'abo; Chris Parnell; Matt Frewer and Frances Fisher. I'm sorry to see this fun, outrageous and smart Sci-Fi comedy leave the air. But I'm also pretty happy that "Warehouse 13" returns next week in the same time-slot.

More, anon.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The End of the Best

I've seen my share of TV SciFi over the years, from the very  good ("The X-Files;" "The Twilight Zone;" "Lost;" "Battlestar Gallactica") to the very bad ("Land of the Giants;" "Manimal;") to the inexplicable ("Terra Nova"). And there are plenty of favs in between the extremes: "Lost in Space;" "The Time Tunnel;" "The Invaders;" one or two of the more recent "Star Trek" shows; "Farscape;" "Warehouse 13." So trust me when I tell you that J.J. Abrams'  "Fringe" is quite possibly the best Sci-Fi series, ever. Yes, I said 'ever.' And I meant it. And here are the two reasons why:

1. Brilliant writing. Smart, complicated and enigmatic; "Fringe" has managed to maintain the balance between its stand-alone episodes and its complex history, employing an alternate universe and strange visitors to tie everything together.

2. An effing amazing cast! Why no one from the cast of "Fringe" has been so much as nominated for an Emmy is beyond me. I think it's snobbery and jealousy. Not only did most of the cast have to play at least 3 (when you factor in the new timeline established last season) different versions of themselves, the astonishing Anna Torv also had to channel Leonard Nimoy (and did so, brilliantly). John Noble's Walter Bishops are a literal tour de force of acting, while Joshua Jackson as Peter and  Jasika Nicole as Agent Astrid Farnsworth (whose name the oft-addled Walter can never remember; hilariously calling her "Assturd" in one episode) provide the emotional balance to make us care about what happens to these people. Nicole's meetings between Astrid and her Asperger's-afflicted version from the other dimension were both heart-wrenching and fascinating. This cast is at the top of their games and believe in what they're doing and it shows in every single minute of their performances. All actors should be watching and learning from this truly exceptional ensemble.

After 4 tumultuous seasons, Fox is ending "Fringe" with a thirteen-week finale, in which Abrams and his team will hopefully wrap everything up. Set twenty-years in the future, the season was set up in last season's penultimate episode. The 'Observers,' having destroyed the planet in the 25th Century have come back in time and taken over 21st Century earth. The crowd attending the "Fringe" panel at Comic-Con were shown this today (via):

There's still time to catch the first four seasons on DVD before Season 5 starts. If you are looking for smart, funny, moving and most of all, human Science Fiction, you owe it to yourself to see this show, from the beginning.  If like me, you have been watching and loving "Fringe" since its 2008 pilot, you are very sad to see it go, but can't wait to see how it ends. I feel your pain.

More, anon

This Is Why...

AMC's daring and often brilliant The Walking Dead ranks as my number two show on TV. Season two was... interesting. And despite protests of the show taking too long to get going, you can't deny that the last three or so episodes were nothing less than spectacular. 

Somehow, a certain red-headed auto-enthusiast scooped me on the Season 3 trailer that was presented at the "Walking Dead" Comic-Con panel. But I've stolen it from him (I know he won't mind) and posted it, below.

The other day, while watching "Falling Skies" with my mother, I said "I can't believe that two of your favorite shows are Science Fiction and Horror."

"What Horror?" she asked, puzzled.

"'The Walking Dead,' silly."

"Oh, that's not Horror. That's drama."

And of course, she's right. If I were to say the word "sub-genre" to her, Mom would cock her head and be off thinking about something else entirely. For her to be able to lump in her beloved procedurals; hospital dramas; law firm dramadies and cooking shows alongside "The Walking Dead;" "Falling Skies" and "Fringe," is nothing less than amazing to me (though I often have to explain what's happening on "Fringe" - a show she likes, but isn't quite sure why, Of course, she even surprised herself by falling in love with "The Walking Dead" almost against her wishes. Yes, I sort of forced her to watch that first astonishing episode and she was, like millions of people, desperate to know what happened next. 

TV's most ambitious thriller, ever, returns this October.  Excuse me for drooling.

More, anon.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Why I Don't Like Pictures of Me

Jeffrey Final Dress, Photo by Rich Kowalski
No, that's not a still from the latest J-Horror movie; nor is it some bizarro production of Madame Butterfly. No dear readers, this is a production still from last month's JTMF production of Jeffrey. From left to right: Dear D, adorable Chino Devine and (dear lord) Uncle P. The script called for "elaborate Chinese pajamas, perhaps." I got a gorgeous custom-kimono that was so fun to wear, but look at the puss on that guy. I'm telling my Broadway dancer boyfriend Darius (Chino) to "Leave this house!" because he didn't know who Ann Miller was. It looks like I'm about to vomit! And there are plenty more, where that came from. My mouth hanging open; my eyes squeezed shut; my hair in a thousand and four directions like a fat, gay Professor Irwin Corey (how much does that date me?). Ugh! 

Anyway, here are a few more shots from the first half of Act I. I'll post more here tomorrow and others on the JTMF blog, soon. All photos in this post are copyrighted to NJ's best theatre photographer, Mr. Rich Kowalski.

"Hi there!"

I Work Out!

"Nice Set"  "You, too!"
"Do you like this? On me, I mean."

"It's! Just! Sex!"
"Am I making you nervous?"
"Your single, you're gay..."  "It isn't pretty."
Okay, so that last one isn't too terrible. And you should know I got a haircut the very next afternoon, before the show opened. If I can't be photogenic (I really appear much more human in person), then I'm going to surround my self with actors who are. 

But that's really unfair, because the folks other than Yours Truly aren't just pretty faces. They are exceptionally talented and giving performers who work with JTMF because they really want to and are thrilled when asked. And while we expand our talent pool every year, we've also developed a core company whose members consider one another to be family. The talent we've discovered and developed all believe in JTMF and our mission. They are all people who I personally love beyond words. If you're reading this and you are one of those people, then you know what I'm talking about. Nothing brings us more joy each year, than participating in the JTMF event. I am both proud of and humbled by what we've accomplished these past ten years. Everyone who has ever taken part in a JTMF production (and there are several dozens), should feel the same way. 

Watch for more photos (and maybe a backstage story or two) from Jeffrey in the next few days.

More, anon.