Monday, December 31, 2012

The Gayest Music Video You'll See This Year

Jake Shears
I imagine I could have a rather good time spending a night with Jake Shears, one of the lead singers (along with Ana Matronic) of the very gay U.S. pop music group Scissor Sisters. He's gorgeous, has a great body and is openly gay. 

I first encountered the group when they released a disco version of Pink Floyd's 'Comfortably Numb' in 2004 (a song near and dear to Uncle P's heart for more reasons than I care to go into right now).

This year, Scissor Sisters had an unexpected hit with their rather silly (and totally NSFW) dance track "Let's Have a Kiki" thanks in part to Videodrome Discotheque's homemade video for the song. It may well be the single gayest thing (of many) that Uncle P saw in all of 2012 (and trust me, I saw some pretty gay stuff).

Without further ado, I give you Videodrome Discotheque's very gay (and very NSFW) video for "Let's Have a Kiki:"

SCISSOR SISTERS - "Let's Have A Kiki" (Custom Videodrome Discothèque Video Edit) from Videodrome Discothèque on Vimeo.

Happy New Year, readers! May 2013 find all of your dreams coming true.

More, anon.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Uncle P's 6 Best Movies of 2012, So Far

I have not yet seen every movie I wanted to see this year. And as always, I haven't seen nearly as many movies as professional film critics see. But that doesn't mean I don't have a few favorites among the ones I have seen. For better or worse, these are the six movies I've enjoyed most this year (your list may vary - I don't really care).

6. The Cabin in the Woods. Taking on several Horror movie tropes while adding a dash of Lovecraftian lore, Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard managed to turn the genre on its figurative ear with this insane and highly entertaining comedic film. Citing loads of classics and taking on even more stereotypes, The Cabin in the Woods is both a thrilling horror movie and an hysterical comedy, featuring some excellent performances from the likes of Bradley Whitford, Richard Jenkins, Sigourney Weaver and genre favorite Jodelle Ferland.

5. The Avengers. Whedon makes his second appearance on my list with his take on the Marvel Superheroes. Funny, thrilling and highly entertaining, The Avengers not only took up the mantle of the Marvel superhero movies that have come before, but allowed for some terrific interaction between some of the hottest actors in Hollywood. Some of the most fun I had at the movies all year.

4. Life of Pi. Director Ang Lee has never made a boring film and Life of Pi, while hardly perfect, is certainly indicative of Lee's take on the world as he sees it. Gorgeously photographed and often brilliantly acted (thanks to Suraj Sharma's terrific performance), Lee's version of Yann Martel's novel is often fascinating and always beautiful.

3. Chronicle. Writer Max Landis and director Josh Trask take on the Superhero genre using the first-person style of film making popularized by The Blair Witch Project with this witty and often intense film about three teens who suddenly find themselves imbued with super powers. This very smart and often thrilling (though ultimately tragic) movie has tons to say about teen angst; self-loathing and parental abuse, all while smartly exploring the dark side of being Peter Parker.

2. Prometheus. Ridey Scott's 'non-prequel' to Alien explores the origin of humanity while setting up many of the events n his 1979 Horror/Sci-Fi classic. Terrific performances from Micheal Fassbender and Charlize Theron override the many complaints from nit-pickers, while the automated 'abortion' scene provided one of the most horrific sequences ever put on film.

1. Cloud Atlas. Lots of people hated this adaptation of David Mitchell's novel from Tom Twyker and the Wachowski siblings. Many complained about some of the bad makeups while others faulted the plot's Karmic aspects. Personally, I loved the filmmakers' audacious attempt to create a movie unlike any that has come before. Creating an entirely new form of narrative story-telling, the three directors took what many considered an 'unfilmable' novel and made an extraordinary movie using a cast of exceptionally talented actors. Say what you will about Cloud Atlas, but I promise you've never seen a movie like it.

There are still plenty of films that I haven't seen this year and this list may change by the end of the month. And while these may not be the 'best' movies this year, they are the ones which I found most entertaining. What movies did you love this past year? I'd love to know.

More. anon.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Martinis Are Like Breasts...

Mutant Boob Fantasies Are for Str8 Boys
Many years ago, a straight friend told me: "Martinis are like breasts: One isn't enough and three are two many." Personally, I love a good Sapphire martini: dry; up; no fruit. And three are just enough, thank you.

Now, despite the rumors. not all gay men like breasts. Many of us, Uncle P included,  prefer well-defined, fuzzy male pectorals and abs, instead (TMI?).

The same rule does not apply to gifts, though. I am assuming that the popular Amazon Wish List is responsible for me receiving three of the same Christmas gifts from three different friends. And while I am not about to reveal who those friends are or what the gift is, I will say that I certainly appreciate the thought from all three of them. And to be totally fair, I put all three behind my back and shuffled them, then did "eenie-meenie-miney-moe" to choose which one I would keep and which two I would return.

Of course, this means I have three friends who care enough about me to check my Amazon Wish List and buy something from it. It also means I have three friends who know me well enough to know which item on my Amazon Wish List would make me the happiest to receive. And all three of these folks are people about whom I care very much and I would never hurt their feelings by telling them that they had bought me the same gift. Not that any of them would mind, actually -- still, etiquette must prevail. 

Thank you, all three of you, for caring. I hope none of you are offended by my exchanging your gift. You all made me happy to know you care. I'll let you know what you got me instead, as soon as I get to the mall.

More, anon.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Reflections On a Randomly Assigned Value of Time

Astronomically, a year is how long it takes for the Earth to revolve around the Sun; approximately 365.25 days. And we measure a day by the time it takes the Earth to revolve around its axis. Of course, the measurement of time is a completely random assignment, as we can only really exist 'now.'

Time has been measured ever since man first realized there was a regularity to the rising and falling of the sun. But it's still a completely objective thing, cut into increments that make sense  to our own concepts of existence. Much like space, time is truly immeasurable and exists solely as a conceptual ideal. The dates on our modern calendars were set by an ancient Roman emperor, to coincide with the seasons. We gladly accept that this coming year is the 2013th year since the apocryphal life of a Nazarene who may or may not have lived in the Middle East some 2000-odd years ago (and there is very little in the way of historical proof of that). 

Setting all of the religious; philosophical and astronomical implications aside, this past 'year' has proven to be a rather extraordinary one for Uncle Prospero. I performed in a musical for the first time in 10 years. I celebrated the 10th Anniversary of a philanthropic theatre company in which I was instrumental from the very start. I made new friends and visited places in the U.S. to which I'd never been. I finally got to act with a dear friend who I've been directing for the past 8 years. I saw some amazing theatre; movies and other performance arts. I set up a future artistic endeavor with one of the new friends I made this year and started a few new projects of my own. I rewrote two screenplays and outlined a dozen or more others. I blogged, Tweeted and Facebooked thousands of words, photos and videos. I also explored thousands of things both online and off, and tried to learn something new, everyday. I earned and spent money; attempted to dance (despite my aging, arthritic knees and total lack of coordination); grew closer to existing friends; cared for an aging parent and hopefully grew as a person. 

I may not have millions of dollars or the perfect house/car/boat/whatever. I may not be a famous celebrity or an award-winning artist. Hell, I'm basically just another Joe Schmoe trying to make my way through another randomly assigned value of time. But I do have some rather amazing friends, family and acquaintances who help me get through every day. In the end, that's what really matters. Astronomy; Philosophy, Religion and Physics aside, all that really matters is living the life you want to live and loving the people who help you live it.

So far (with a few minor exceptions), I think I've done just that. And my 'New Year' wish for all of you is to have the same.

Sorry for the cheesy Rent clip but Larson actually had a good idea with that number.

More, anon.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

These Were a Few of My Favorite Things

"You Can Put Your Weed in It"
My friends and family know me so well. The image to your left is of the very Steampunk Trinket Box given to me by Q, K and Dale, along with  a brain-shaped ice-cube tray and a set of Farm Animal Butt Magnets. Other than making me laugh, the ice tray and magnets had nothing to do with the very cool trinket box (it has a compass on the lid!). I still love them all.

Of course, my sister was just as successful in her Holiday plotting. Along with her annual Jack Skellington T-shirt. my sister sent me a Box-O'-Zombie stuff which included a metal Zombie Warning Sign; two different Zombie decals; a "Zombie On Board" magnet and an "I Heart Zombies" keychain. She also sent along a "Box of Boogers" gummies; an AMC gift card and a super-insulated Batman tumbler.
Sis Knows Me Well

I really love how the colors of her three very different gifts go so well together in that picture of them beneath my tiny tree and atop my cable box and D's Christmas gift. I also got a terrific set of Skullcandy earbuds; a car charger for my Smartphone; lots of much-needed new socks and underwear; an outstanding sonic toothbrush; a pair of extendable, bendable, magnetic LED flashlights and 3 jars of the most delicious mixed nuts and dried fruit I've ever tasted. 

And while I mostly bought it for Mom, the big hit this year was the new Keurig Platinum coffee maker (which I got for a deal I couldn't pass up). Mom loves how fast and easy it is. I also bought it for myself, so I don't have to clean four separate elements of a self-grinding coffee-maker every night. Initially disappointed that my sister didn't send her usual 5 Lb bag of coffee beans, Mom quickly got over it when she finally opened the K-Cups Sis sent, instead.

I still have at least two gift exchanges to go (hopefully the weather will cooperate this coming Saturday) and D and I will get to see a matinee and exchange before I have to go back to the Day Job.

The holidays for me are always much more about giving, though I am always thrilled when my friends and family know me well enough to give me stuff is both useful and makes me laugh.

Happily, no one I know got either of these, this year:

What were your favorite holiday gifts this year?

More, anon.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Postponed Plans and Idle Hands

They Say the Devil Finds Work for Idle Hands, Whoever 'They' Are
As I write this, the wind is literally rattling the windows and the rain continues to pound this part of the Northeast, all part of the same system which brought blizzard conditions to the Midwest and tornadoes to the South. I was supposed to spend the evening with K, Q and Dale, exchanging gifts and just hanging out with my dearest friends. It was snowing rather viciously where Q and Dale live, just as I was planning to make the hour drive north to see them. A round of phone calls later and we decided to postpone until tomorrow. I realize this is hardly the end of the world, though it did leave me with an evening free and nothing to do. I tried watching some TV but found myself nodding off to the crap that's on during the last week of the year.I do have a couple of movies saved on the DVR, but I don't want to use them up all at once. And I'm still hoping for a cinema matinee or two before I go back to the Day Job next week.

Anyway... in the days following Sandy (while I was without power and a keyboard), I started a new, hand-written screenplay to keep from going absolutely insane. I wrote 27 pages over three nights by candlelight. That's almost a complete first act. It's not very good, to tell the truth. Still... it does have some potential. Initially inspired by Sandy and reignited by tonight's weather, I started re-writing that first act and am actually quite pleased with what I have so far and I've consequently decided that staying off treacherous back roads tonight was probably the right thing to do. 

If like Uncle P, you have the whole week off, I hope you are having fun and/or being productive (NOT mutually exclusive concepts). If you're stuck at work until the four-day weekend, I'm sorry. I just know that I have three more gift-exchanges (i.e.: three more opportunities to make other people smile) to go before I'm ready to declare an end to this Christmas.

More, anon.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Retro Reviews: "Chronicle" & "A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas"

Okay, so I lied. I was planning on taking  a day off from blogging, but then I saw two movies today that I'd been saving on my DVR and wanted to talk about them, so there went that. And I'm also thinking that it would be nice this year to have at least a full month's worth of posts. which would satisfy that small part of my left brain that insists on order in at least some measure.

I had hoped to see both of these movies when there were current, but instead caught up with them on Showtime and Cinemax. First up: A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas.

I have to admit that I really love Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle. The whole movie is just completely ridiculous and absurdly hilarious in the vein of Better Off Dead and Cheech and Chong's Up In Smoke. Outrageous, preposterous and downright silly, Kal Penn ("House") and John Cho (Star Trek) are perfect as two pot-smoking buddies on a quest for greasy fast food. Along they way they ride a cheetah through the woods and encounter a very wasted Neal Patrick Harris. The duo returned in 2008 with Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, an equally outrageous but not quite as funny sequel (trailers may be NSFW):

Last year saw what is hopefully the last of the series. Set six years after Guantanamo Bay, the latest movie in the franchise has Harold married to a hot Latina, while working as a broker and trying desperately to win the approval of his father-in-law (Danny Trejo). Kumar, meanwhile, is still a stoner living like a slob months after his girlfriend left him. When a package arrives for Harold at Kumar's apartment, he decides to deliver it in person. The giant joint inside ends up burning down the Father-in-Law's prized Christmas tree and the quest for a replacement begins. What follows is a fairly depressing story involving an accidentally drugged baby; the Russian Mafia; Neal Patrick Harris denying his sexuality (albeit satirically); dosed eggnog; penis 'jokes' and shooting Santa in the head. That's not to say the movie doesn't have its moments. I did laugh more than once (some of the more obvious nods to the 3D were very amusing), but I was more often mystified as to why Penn and Cho would stoop to some of the truly appalling things that happen in this movie. 1/2* (Half a Star Out of Four) Trailer very NSFW:

But my disappointment in that movie was more than made up for by Josh Trask and Max Landis' exploration of the Superhero genre using the mostly first person "found footage" technique for Chronicle, a surprisingly effective film about three teenagers who suddenly find themselves with increasingly potent superpowers told mostly through the lens of shy young Andrew (Dane DeHaan) whose mother is dying and whose alcoholic father (Michael Kelly) copes by abusing his son. Andrew's closest friend is his cousin, Matt (hottie on-the-rise Alex Russell), who just wants Drew to put down the camera and enjoy being a teenager. Matt convinces Andrew to accompany him to a rave, where Matt and his buddy Steve (Michael B. Jordan) find a weird hole in the woods. When the three climb down into the hole, they discover a cave housing... something. While it is never explained what the object they encounter is, it appears both alien and sentient. After their encounter, they discover they have been changed. 

A cleverly written take on the Superhero genre, Landis (son of famed director John) and Trask wisely introduce all the trappings of teenaged angst in their screenplay, without having to announce that they're doing so. The performances in Chronicle are as honest as any I've seen, with all three of the film's stars tapping into both the coming-of-age and comic book zeitgeists without a hint of irony or cheesiness. Russell, who will next be seen as Billy Nolan in the Carrie remake, is both likeable and believable as the trio's voice of reason, while DeHaan does his bast young Edward Furlong as the confused and angry Andrew. Jordan ("The Wire;" "Friday Night Lights;" "Parenthood") may be the most recognizable member of the cast and while he gets the least screentime of the three, Steve was the most relate-able and likeable character. The SFX in Chronicle are quite remarkable for an indie film, particularly during the rather breathtaking flying sequences. The eventual tragedy that comes from their circumstances, though obviously foreseeable, is no less tragic for being so and is made so much more poignant by Russell and DeHaan's performances. If you haven't seen Chronicle, you've missed one of this year's true gems. **** (Four Out of Four Stars). This is one that is definitely going on my 2012 Top 10 List!

More, anon.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Silent Night

Hope You Don't Live Next Door to This Guy

For a very long time now, we've opened our gifts after dinner on Christmas Eve at my house. There's a long story to go with why we do so, but we do. And that's all over here. The wrappings and tissue paper are all wadded up in a bag and the corrugated boxes are broken down to be recycled; the gift bags worthy of another use folded up and put away for next year. Mom's new Keurig is all set up so she can easily brew her own cup of coffee in the morning, my new earbuds are plugged into my PC and I've already put a few things away. Tomorrow we'll sleep in and have a hearty brunch (I'm making a Banana-Pineapple French Toast casserole and sausage) and spend the rest of the day being lazy; watching movies; picking at tonight's leftovers and just enjoying a quiet day off. I'm hoping that you have had or will have a lovely holiday, whatever it is that you celebrate for whatever reason(s). I'll be back on the 26th. I'm sure you'll find something to do with your time between now and then. Whether you celebrate the religious meaning of the holiday or do so secularly, as I do, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

More, anon.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Which Is More Gruesome? Plus: Commercial of the Year

Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan Winning in Scary MoVie
So, I found both of these trailers for upcoming movies on Towleroad, each accompanied by some brief copy/snark, but no real discussion. So I thought I'd discuss them.

First, Towleroad said "This is what Lindsay Lohan has been reduced to:" and linked to the trailer for the fourth sequel the increasingly awful Scary Movie franchise. Created in 2000 by the once-funny Wayans Brothers and since obtained by the once-funny Zucker Brothers, the first two Scary Movie movies parody the Scream  franchise. But as they made more films, they incorporated move Horror subgenres. By the time Sheen first appeared in the series, he was doing his pre-douche Mel Gibson in Signs. And Zucker perennial Leslie Nielsen was The President as if  played by Dubya, himself. Even into the last movie in the series (2006's Scary Movie 4), they all featured under-recognized comedic genius Ana Farris as Cindy Campbell and "Ally McBeal" alum Regina King as her best friend, Brenda Meeks (who dies in every one of the movies, much like Kenny on "South Park"). Six years later, David Zucker and Pat Proft are still trying to milk the property for all it's worth with Scary MoVie (i.e. Scary Movie 5):

At least Farris and King were smart enough  to stay away this time, while I imagine Lohan and Sheen are as desperate for attention as they always have been.

Horror parody isn't easy and can never be lazy. Comedic horror is even harder, though writer/directors Sam Raimi and Peter Jackson made rather lucrative careers for themselves by getting it so very right. As did hottie hyphenate Eli Roth (who's debut feature Cabin Fever was both hilarious and horrific), who recently produced; co-wrote and starred in the English language debut of Chilean director Nicolas Lopez, Aftershock. The story of an American tourist looking for a good time (Roth) who finds himself among the survivors of a massive earthquake Aftershock soon devolves into a kill-or-be-killed survival story. As with most projects in which Roth is involved, the loss of humanity and gory, violent mayhem ensues.

Yikes! While I find that first trailer scary because it's so sad, I find the second one scary because it probably isn't far from reality. And what a tag line! "The only thing scarier than Mother Nature is human nature." Roth was supposed to film Stephen King's non-zombie zombie novel "Cell" but the deal fell through. I'd love to see the "Bear Jew" take the zombie genre for a spin. 

And just to lighten the mood on Christmas Eve eve, though I'm embarrassed to admit that I cannot remember where I found it, here is something of an anomaly for me: a commercial I actually love. Most TV advertising is insipid at best and downright awful at worst (particularly on the local level). Occasionally, some ad agency will come up with a clever and memorable campaign. While rather  rare in the U.S., truly memorable and clever commercials seem the domain of Europe and South America. This one, from a Belgian newspaper group, is downright brilliant:

There is hope for the printed word, yet. 

More, anon. 


I will be spending this evening wrapping and bagging gifts, rather than doing a full post. 

I went overboard, as usual. But that's my mother's and grandmother's faults. They were always overly-generous at Christmas, often just to get my father's Grinchy goat. A child of the depression who was glad to get an orange and some walnuts in his stocking, it drove him crazy to see such indulgence. My sister and I thought everyone had such extravagant Christmases and were often dismayed to see some of our friends' more austere holidays, wondering how bad they had to have been to deserve so little. My mother's mother was a character and she loved spoiling me and my sister. I carry on that tradition, mostly to spoil my mother back. Her health isn't the best and none of us knows how many Christmases we have left. I had a good year for overtime, so why not splurge? 

As in the picture above, my gifts are usually color-coordinated and decorated, but I cheat and use pre-made bows. I can arrange flowers and planters; skyline a display shelf; color coordinate without using swatches and even throw together a centerpiece using a candle, some greens, twigs and pine cones scavenged from my own backyard, but I'll be damned if I can tie a decent bow to save my life. 

The lady in this video does pretty much everything I do though I do the ends differently (I fold the sides in first). I do "finger press" or crease the edges. Of course, this is only useful for square or rectangular packages. Odd shapes and sizes may require some creative solutions, or even a gift bag.

Are you done wrapping?

More, anon.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Nightmares Before Christmas

I imagine this is how most babies and toddlers see Santa
So here we are, as of this writing, 36 minutes into December 22nd and as every rational human being knew, nothing happened. Of course it is inevitable that many people died today, making it the end of the world for them. But if you are reading this, then congratulations! You have survived the Nonpocalypse. Again. 

I keep wondering if there will ever be a time when everyone realizes "You know what? There probably really isn't any truth in the vestigial, superstitious beliefs of our mostly science-less ancestors." Probably not. Nonetheless...

Many years ago, I played Santa at the department store where I was a manager (talk about a smooth segue). As the actor on staff, many such jobs fell to me. No pictures or throne or anything like that. I just walked around the store and gave out candy canes and talked to kids briefly. A quick tour of the store and I was done for a couple hours. One afternoon a young mother called to me, "Santa! Please come say hello!" I looked over to see a sleeping baby in a stroller and thought, 'Oh, please save us from screaming.' But the mother looked like she really wanted me to, so I headed over. 

"Are you sure?" I asked her.

"No, I promise, he loves Santa."

"Okay, but let me get down so I'm not towering over him." So I squatted down (those were the days when my knees still worked well enough to squat) and smiled. 

"Sean," Mom called. "Sean, wake up! Look who's here!" 

The baby Sean, certainly less than a year old, roused and opened his eyes and looked around and then landed on me. 'Here it comes!' I thought. The baby Sean opened his mouth in surprise... and started to smile... and smile... the single most beatific baby smile I have ever seen in my life. That moment... that amazing smile... that was Christmas. Twenty-five years later and that moment always comes to mind when I most need some Holiday Spirit.

Of course, it took this post about about nightmarish Christmas things to get me there. All this Apocalypse nonsense; that dreadful business in CT (not to mention the idiocy of the NRA's response) and the seeming interminable week before the holiday vacation had me cranky today, and when BoingBoing shared some strange Christmas videos, I had to talk about them and find a few more. And even though I had a very nice evening tonight, I still wanted to share some weirdness.

This first goodie is called Santa in Animal Land and features a goose (?), cat, dog and frog (?) who are sad that there is no Animal Santa, so the goose (duck?) and the cat head off to find the most horrifying Santa in Puppetland. PeeWee would probably not approve:

I really have nothing else funny or snarky to say about that truly horrifying piece. It's evil speaks for itself.

This next treasure is a short from Castle Films, which I'm guessing is from around the late 30's or early 40's. Merry Christmas isn't overtly nightmarish (well, not most of it) as much as it cries out for the MST3K treatment:

Joel and his bots did take on a Castle short, which while having nothing to do with Christmas, is certainly nightmarish (not to mention probably the funniest short they've ever done, which was paired with one of the funniest features they ever did). If you've seen Here Comes the Circus before, you know you can't wait to watch it again. If you're seeing for the first time, enjoy. If you are Dear D (i.e. coulrophobic) DON'T watch it at all:

This next (also via) drek-tacular nightmare apparently got the Riff-Trax (sort of the Son of MST3K) treatment, but is certainly hilarious and weird and nightmarish all on its own. And it isn't just the sub-amateur acting, mid-century suburban locations, crappy stock footage and terrible camera work. There's actually something very 'Funny Uncle' about the whole thing. Both the Narrator and Santa even sound like child-molesters. Honestly, Ed Wood made better movies. Here's 1963's A Visit to Santa

"Every doll must have a head. And also, a body!" Was this thing written by a young Thomas Harris? Then there's this gem: "For little girls, a doll is fun to warsh and dress and spank!" My head nearly exploded from that single line alone. Only to be followed by this: "How Ann enjoy these pretty dolls and Dick...(inappropriate and ill-placed pause)... shows no delight." And then even more incoherence: "She'll cook and scrub the whole day long and serve a TV dinner." What? WHAT!?!? TV dinners? What the hell was she cooking all day, Soylent Green? Oh, and the reason for Christmas? " celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, hundreds of years ago." The underlining is mine. But I suppose that Santa is correct. I mean if the Earth is only 4,000 years old, then Jesus must have lived in 1763 or something. Right? In fact, he gave George Washington a ride across the Delaware on the back of his stegosaurus.*

There, that's better. Tonight saw a lovely dinner with some very dear friends, followed by a fond Christmas memory and some creepy holiday nonsense. Why wouldn't I feel better? Well, the citrus vodka spritzers I had while writing this post didn't hurt. 

I am off from the Day Job for the next ten days and am looking forward to sleeping in, spending time with most of the people I love most in the world and maybe venturing out for a day trip or two. I have many gifts to wrap (and just a few left to get) and lots of cleaning to do in the next few days, but that's okay. I'm finally actually looking forward to my very secular version of Christmas, in which I choose to celebrate those I love with gifts, food, laughter and good times. 

And that is Christmas, too.

More, anon.

*Art challenge. Submit your artistic interpretation of Jesus giving Washington a ride across the Delaware on a stegosaurus (or any dinosaur) and the best entry will win a piece of show biz memorabilia.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Pre-Apocalyptic Bicentennial

As of this writing, Australia and New Zealand are still standing well into 12/21/12 (and as I am updating this post it is actually 12:23 AM on 12/21/12 Eastern Time). But I started this post on 12/20 (confused yet?) just in time to celebrate the 200th Anniversary of the publication of the first edition of "Grimm's Fairy Tales" in 1812. 

The Brothers Grimm were folklorists and were the first to publish the tales they collected over the years. Without them, Uncle P's sister would not be the Disney Dork she is today. Indeed, Disney might be a completely different evil corporation based only on Hans Christian Andersen; Jules Verne; Helen Mayer; P.L. Travers; Sir Richard Burton; Carlo Collodi; Felix Salton and de Villeneuve. No Snow White or Sleeping Beauty; no Cinderella or Rapunzel. Or any of the recent spate of Fairy Tale movies, including the upcoming Jack the Giant Slayer and Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters

And two of television's most popular television shows (ABC's ridiculous "Once Upon a Time" and NBC's equally ridiculous but far superior, "Grimm") wouldn't be enthralling the masses. And while it wasn't exactly a blockbuster, we shouldn't forget innovative experimental director Terry Gilliam's 2005 film The Brothers Grimm, an underrated and under-appreciated fantasy about how the authors might have gained their inspiration. Never mind the perfect casting of Matt Damon; Heath Ledger; Jonathan Pryce; Peter Stormare; Lena Headey and Monica Bellucci -- the connecting of several real Grimm plots may have proven too much for audiences who just didn't get some of the more subtle jokes and obscure references.

Even worse, audiences who only know the Disney versions of the stories and have no idea of the horrific elements in the original stories. Eyes plucked out by birds; heels and toes cut off to fit glass slippers; decapitated horse heads giving advice to a deposed princess; children hacking their families to death in a cannibalistic rampage... The stories may well have been written by Eli Roth or Stephen King. 

So here's too 200 years or terrifying fantasies that didn't always have happily-ever-after endings and the movies they've inspired:

And of course, what kind of gay musical theatre icon would I be, if I didn't include at least one number from Into the Woods:

Happily ever after, my butt!

More, anon.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

"Mad Max" IRL?

While the world almost certainly isn't coming to an end in two days, it certainly seems as though we're edging closer to it with every passing moment, especially in light of recent events.

There is no denying that man is a violent animal, who all too easily allows the reptilian brain to take over, for all sorts of reasons. Truthfully, people are born monsters. Tiny, squalling, red-faced balls of Id, human babies don't care about anything but their own needs. And that's as it should be. But Homo-sapiens' larger brain eventually allows us to control those urges and to put others' needs ahead of our own (though 'self' is always first and foremost when it comes down to it). We learn compassion and empathy; manners and respect; the difference between right and wrong. We can apply everything we've ever learned about what it means to be a good person as much as we want, but there will always be that lizard in the back of our skulls, ready to pounce at the oddest of provocations. 

"Road Rage" has long been a term here in the U.S. though it has proven to be not just an American problem. We've all seen plenty of those Russian traffic videos. And now it seems that the folks from Oz have caught on, as evidenced by the video I am about to share with you.

Australian Tabloid News program "Today Tonight" (via) brings us this story of of an Australian road rage victim who was terrorized by a madman, but caught the whole thing on video. The next 8 minutes of footage are among the most frightening I've ever seen:

Yikes! So how long do you think it's going to be before that devolves into this:

And don't give me that "Violent movies and TV shows are to blame" BS! They make violent movies and TV shows because it's what people want to see. We're no better than Romans at the Coliseum. We love carnage and mayhem. Rubbernecking at an accident is far more of a traffic maker than the accident itself. Real-life tragedy is exploited for ratings. Meanwhile, 20 children are gone forever and we're still arguing about gun control and mental health? Of course, we can thank The Great Communicator for closing so many mental hospitals in the 1980's, rather than giving them money for the overhauls most of them so desperately needed, thereby forcing so many mentally ill people onto the streets and denying much-needed care for all those to come after. But I digress...

It's that caveman brain... the one we try to suppress with all our might... the one that sometimes gets off its leash and does inexplicably horrific things. It's the lizard brain that reacts to fear. Fear of death; fear of the unknown; fear of people different from themselves. Fear and hatred are learned. And yes, some fears are good - they keep us alive. Others... well, they make us attack and beat down and kill other people. As much as things seem to get better in so many ways, I see things like this and worry that the lizards aren't going anywhere, soon. I also worry that they seem to be gaining speed. I just hope I'm not around to see it all go to hell... because you know it will. If you're reading this in the future, I'm sorry. Some of us tried to fix it...

BTW - If I were writing this piece 20 years ago, it would have been Mel in the picture above. He was so hot in those movies (and more than a few others). Of course, that was before I knew he was an anti-Semitic, homophobic, misogynistic douchebag.

As you can tell, my Holiday Spirit is still fighting to get out...

More, anon.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A: Not Just the Longest River in Africa.

Q: What is Denial? 

Worst and most overused pun of the last 25 years, but I couldn't help myself, and you'll see why in a bit.

And forgive me if it seems that I've been saving up all my gayest stuff for the end of the year, but it just so happens that a lot of gay things have been happening lately. Happily, for the most part, that's a very good thing. Marriage Equality took amazing strides this year, especially after President Obama became the first sitting POTUS to publicly endorse it. There are more elected openly LGBT public servants than in U.S. history. I am actually proud to have lived through three distinct civil rights movements: Ethnic, Gender and Sexual Identity. 

But there is still lots of work to be done. Starting with ourselves. This post is about two very different coming out stories. One sort of amusing and the other in need of advice.

First, (via): It has been reported that porn star 'Cody Cummings' (lamest porn name ever, BTW... Uncle P's is the awesome: 'Shane Hobart'), known primarily as a "Gay-for-Pay" model, has officially come out as full-on gay (though he sort of immediately denies it by saying he'll continue to make bi and straight porn for his female fans). Said Cummings, in part:

I apologize to my fans for waiting so long to make this announcement. You've all been so patient watching me expand my horizons and explore my sexuality onscreen, and while I've been hesitating to say this so long -- because of all the haters -- I feel the need to be honest with you. I am a proud, gay American.

Kevin 'Cody Cummings' Lengyl

I won't deny having seen Cummings (nee: Kevin Kristopher Lengyel) 'perform.' It was the leadenest, dead-eyed sex scene I've ever witnessed (and I've seen the 160-minute version of Caligula). This isn't about my denial, anyway. It is, however, about Mr. Lengyel's. I've often thought there was more to the "GFP" industry than money. I don't care how much I offer any straight man I know, not a single one of them would have sex with another dude. There's no shame in coming out and labeling one's sexuality as "Bi." Why be coy about it? And really - "When life gives you lemons... ?" Being gay is like getting a lemon? Screw you, you self-loathing low-life!

Of course, I can think of one reason to act like such a douche: The gay blogosphere was all over this story today. As the sayings go, "There's no such thing as bad publicity" and "The only thing worse than being talked about, is not being talked about."* Lengyel is not at all my type (thankfully - ick!). Truth is, I don't have just one type but I know when someone isn't one of them. Of course, when his peen turns black and falls off, it won't matter who he wants to boink.

Second and more serious is the clip embedded below, in which a 20 year-old gay man asks for some very specific advice on coming out to a very specific person. Watch it first, and I'll let you know my thoughts and advice:

First of all, I have several friends who went through this much later in life, and they will all agree it is much better for this young man to end it now. 

Secondly, Dude - she already knows. Your wife is in even deeper denial than you have been and has been so even longer than you. You are both young enough to recover from this unfortunate situation relatively unscathed and may very well become best friends again. I have witnessed this particular phenomenon in person, more than a few times. 

Third: It really is getting better. Living true to yourself is the best gift you can give yourself and while the emotional pain both of you may be experiencing now seems like the worse thing you've ever felt, it is nothing compared to the pain of regretting not living the lives you both deserve. The truth will always set you free. Trust me on this one, my young friend. Take a deep breath; put on your big-boy pants; own yourself and everything your are; tell her the truth and move on with the life you were meant to have. 

More, anon.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Gayest Santas You'll See This Week

No Wonder the Elves Work for Free
I haven't seen late night TV in a long time. Not because I'm not up, but I'm usually writing and doing other nonsense when it's on, and I DVR enough with out adding daily stuff.* I see the best of late night on line the next day, anyway. I think Leno should just hand over the reigns, already. And Letterman should probably follow. There are younger, funnier and far more clever guys ready to jump in. Jimmy Kimmel's show is often hilarious, though I've never really been a fan of his. Craig Ferguson just doesn't care and does whatever the hell he wants and I think of him as the 21st Century Ernie Kovaks (showing my age on that reference, even though Kovaks was actually before my time). Of course former SNL cast member Jimmy Fallon is a talented comedian, musician, mimic and improvisor. He has the look of youthful innocence, the sense of humor of a performer (my fellow actors/singers/dancers know exactly what that means) and the fearlessness of dirty old man. 

"What the Fudge does any of that first paragraph have to do with gay Santas?" asked everyone reading this post. Once you see the clip I've embedded, all will be clear. Of course, if you're a regular Fallon watcher (Man, I hope that there's a species of bird somewhere in the world called a 'Fallon'), you may already be familiar with the bit. And if so, please don't ruin it for others...

Anyway, knowing I wanted to post about this particular clip, I went in search of images I thought might convey the spirit of the post, as usual. So I did a Google Image search for "Gay Santa." I got some rather amusing, astounding and downright filthy results! The treasure trail... er, trove of images I found aren't for kiddies, though they or may not be SFW.

Don't judge an aging bear... you know you find at least two of those pictures hot, no matter what your sexuality. 

And now, back to late night TV. Jimmy Fallon was doing a bit in which audience members' suggestions get acted out on the show. Take a look at this and you will understand:

As they say: "Still a better love story than Twilight."

I honestly think that while I am slowly getting into the holiday spirit (especially as my holiday vacation draws nigh), it's a very different version of 'holiday spirit' than I'm used to. I'm sure it has something to do with my encroaching decrepitude, though that's only part of it. And it gets harder and harder to find gifts for people you've known forever and who already have everything they could possibly need. Of course, the pursuit is often as fun as the giving. This year is just... different. 

More, anon.

*Confession: I do record "Chelsea Lately" every night, but they're only a half hour each and I don't always watch the guest segment, though I often watch a whole week's worth in one sitting.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

How Many Times Do I Have to Say "Goodbye?"

So the Apocalypse is upon once again. Did we learn nothing from the last time some lunatic announced the End of Days? Apparently, not.

Social media users are already complaining about how annoying 12/21/12 is going to be, so I thought I'd get it out of the way and move on to real things, again. 

I suppose I might buy that if the Mayan calender could actually be applied to the modern Gregorian calender, then December 21st, 2012 could plausibly be where the Mayan calendar ends.  All well and good. But... it is has been verified that out of the world's many religions and cultures, the Maya are among the few people who don't have any sort of Apocalyptic mythology. And good ole NASA has happily provided reassurances to that effect:

I can hear all you Doomsayers: "Of course that's what NASA wants you to believe. They're in on it, man!" And there are plenty of delusional people who think that the Zombie Apocalypse is real, too. Uncle P may love me some Zombies, but I (like every rational human being) know the likelihood of such a think happening is far, far less than zero.

Of course, Hollywood has exploited The End ad nauseum:

I can't wait to wake up next Saturday and laugh...

Oh, I so love "Raising Hope" and it's perfect casting! Personally, I have too many things I'm looking forward to doing and experiencing to worry about some stupid and unmerited hoax revolving around a society that worshiped the sun and winged serpents while practicing ritual sacrifice. It all makes perfect sense, if you think about it. "Screw you, Catholic Spaniards! Our gods will protect... uh-oh! Well, screw you anyway. You only have another 600 years! Ha-ha!"

Still - at least one sure sign of the Apocalypse has reared its ugly head:

Sorry. I stopped after 58 seconds and wouldn't blame anyone who stopped sooner. Maybe the world should end, after all. At least we wouldn't have to worry about going to work that Monday. Of course, I already have that whole week off, so it doesn't make any difference to me.

More (most assuredly), anon.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Do You Hear The Wedding Sing?

"Congratulations On Your Wedding. I'm an Orphan of War."
Long time readers know how much your 'Funny Uncle" loves a really good, well-planned and smoothly executed flashmob. While many of the best ones seem to be musical in nature, Improv Everywhere stages all sorts of such events, mostly without music, throughout New York. 

The big ones are professionally engineered, usually to promote something: The "Glee" flashmob in the Italian trains station; Gay Mardi Gras in Australia and this more recent Star Wars Theme orchestral flashmob promoting German (Austrian?) radio station WDR:

Today, among all the gun control arguments and ridiculous religious-nut-with-Photoshop tributes and prayer requests and whatnot, my sweet friend Amanda posted the video below. While the description on YouTube makes it clear that the couple are Musical Theatre fans, but I have to wonder if this was the right song (or even show) for a wedding reception flashmob. Read the description and then watch the actually impressive video:

"The perfect wedding surprise for the musical-loving newlyweds Susanne and Sune Vibæk Svanekier on their wedding on May 26 2012 at the Workers' Museum in Copenhagen."

First of all, many of those folks are actually good singers and their English is excellent. It's obvious that these folk rehearsed and rehearsed for the number and the couple (particularly the groom - watch for him "conducting") are really into it.  I just have to question the use of a song from one of the saddest musicals of all time; a song about preparing for battle, no less, in a wedding tribute. It's almost as bad as a DJ playing "Please Release Me." Now before you say nasty things - of course it is obviously the couple's favorite show. Of course it is appropriate for them. Should my lovely, creative and talented friends stage such a flashmob in the very unlikely event I got married, I think "You're the One That I Want" or something from "The Wedding Singer" or "Springtime for Hitler" or almost anything else than Les Miserables! Of course the fact that the movie is just over a week away from it's U.S. release doesn't hurt.

I posted both movie versions, just in case you want to prepare. Did you notice a gorgeous blond John Barrowman in the second version? I almost forgot Uma Thurman was in that movie, though Roger Bart's Carmen Ghia is almost as funny as the original's Andreas Voutsinas. Here are a few more numbers I don't suggest for a wedding:

No, at my wedding I want Big Dipper: (Most certainly NSFW):

More, anon.

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Broken Nation

I had to spend some time looking at funny stuff before I could even entertain writing about the events of this morning. It's beyond the pale... incomprehensible; ghastly; horrific; senseless... the list goes on but there truly is no one word to describe the grief, pain and suffering in a town that might as well be Bedford Falls. 

Newtown is in southwestern Connecticut, just northeast of Dansbury. Filled with Colonial estates and modern McMansions, Newtown is the epitome of the American Dream, much like the place of the same name where I spend my days. It's not the kind of place where really bad things happen. At least not outside of closed doors. It might as well be called Pleasantville. Until today.

Today a monster killed 20 children and 6 adults, including his mother and himself. I'm calling this obviously insane person "No," because rather than becoming famous for the atrocities he committed this morning, his name should be stricken from the record. What worse fate can anyone suffer than to have any and all acknowledgement of one's existence erased forever? The cold-blooded son-of-a-bitch mowed down 20 children with an automatic weapon. Somehow, No slipped through the cracks of the mental health system and got himself some guns (legally purchased under his mother's license) and finally broke. As if of this writing, no one knows why No did what he did. Matricide is the act of a particularly disturbed individual to begin with. No shot his mother in the face, an exceptionally personal and brutal way to kill. No then went the place of his mother's employment and... well, did what he did.

I know I talked about the discussion my friend James and I had about guns after this summer's shooting in Colorado. That discussion continued among James and several other of my friends on Facebook toady in response to my original post:

"I can't imagine the grief and horror going on in CT right now. I wonder how the NRA lobbyists are going to spin this one? My heart goes out to the victims and their families... so tragic." 26 comments later, my 'Final final word' was: "Go tell the people you love that you love them. There is no warranty on life."

Here's the thing: No one wants to take away guns from responsible hunters and target shooters. No one wants to take pistols away from properly trained homeowners who want to protect themselves. What we want is for it to be harder for people like No to own guns. What we want is for it to be harder for gang kids to get guns. What we want is the chance for a 6 year old to grow up and live to his or her full potential. What we want is to be able to go to the mall or the movies or a political fundraiser without of fear of being shot. What we want are mental health professionals who will speak up when they feel a client may be dangerous. In 2011, 8 people were killed with guns in Great Britain. 10,728 were killed with guns in the U.S. Despite the difference in populations, those numbers are terrifying.

Of course, today's events aren't the only thing that prove our nation is broken. We're still fighting two costly wars; the economy is just coming back, though the much talked-about "fiscal cliff" could drive us back into recession. The extreme right continues to fight progress every step of the way, despite recent election results. The Tea Party may well be the worst thing to happen to American Democracy since the Civil War. Racism and homophobia continue to thrive in what is supposed to be the most advanced nation in the world. Corporations are legally recognized as 'people.' Does that mean if there's a hostile takeover, the aggressor can be charged with murder? Doubt that.

Speaking of the recent elections, I don't remember a more divisive Presidential race in my lifetime. Or an uglier one. Of course, several good things other than the re-election of President Obama happened in November. Four states approved Marriage Equality by voter majority and two states legalized recreational marijuana for personal use. Mr. Obama has said he has "bigger fish to fry" than pursuing antiquated laws left over from the Nixon administration. Too bad that greedy corporate goons drove Hostess out of business. Stoners in Colorado and Washington better learn to like Little Debbie and Tastykake (if they can get them). Oh, did I mention that one of the SCOTUS judges (whose son used to 'minister' to an "Ex-Gay" organization) openly flaunted his homophobia today? And just in case you forgot, Snooki made more money last week than you made all year. Donald Trump pays more for the stylist that does his ridiculous comb-over than you spend on groceries for a week (of course, that stylist may well be responsible for Mr. Trump's obvious brain damage). So many things broken...

How do we repair what's broken? I'm not sure. I have hope, though. I try to take solace in the fact that there truly are FAR more many good people in the world, than bad. Here's a video to prove it:

You should be good because it's the right thing to do, not because someone threatened you with eternal damnation if you didn't. Fear should never be anyone's motivation to do what's right. So, at the risk of repeating myself: Go tell the people you love that you love them, as often as possible. There are no warranties for our often surprisingly fragile lives.

You should also learn to take joy in your life and laugh as often as possible. I couldn't end such a dour downer of a post end on a such a somber note so please enjoy a bit of nonsense:

More, anon.
More, anon.