Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Disgustings, or The Gayest D-Bags You'll See This Week

Drew Droege and Jordan Firstman
Writer/Director/Star Jordan Firstman's short The Disgustings spends time with the kind of gay men we all know... and hopefully avoid: Elitist haters who pretend to be above everyone else and who can take no real joy in life. 

Co-starring and co-written by Drew Droege (best known for his hilarious YouTube videos where he parodies Indie actress Chloe Sevigny), The Disgustings is a dead-on look at the kind of narcissistic, self-hating gay men we've all encountered (and wanted to smash in their faces with a trendy cocktail). Judgmental, crass and completely unaware, Jordan and Drew hit every note about what is wrong with modern gay culture in this biting satire.

The Disgustings from jordan firstman on Vimeo.

Hilarious and sad at the same time, yes? Uncle P (as have many of you, I'm sure) has met his fair share of guys like this. It's no wonder they're taking selfies alone. I hope I never wind up as one of these sad queens who hate everyone and everything, just because I hate myself (which I don't). Thankfully, some exceptionally good friends, my amazing sister and some very affirming recent experiences (does Uncle P have a new Beau? Stay tuned to find out...) have convinced me that no matter how cynical and jaded I may become, I will never be as awful as these two. If you see yourself in this movie, don't bother to look me up. And get some help, bitch.You need it.

More, anon.
Uncle P

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Retro Review: "John Carpenter's 'The Ward'"

Genre great John Carpenter made his mark with the original Halloween and has since made some of the most memorable genre films of all time, including Christine; They Live; his amazing remake of The Thing and the very campy Big Trouble in Little China, among others. This 2010 effort from the now 68 year old director, unfortunately can't hold a candle his previous work.

Amber Heard plays Kristin, a teen girl found standing outside a farmhouse to which she set fire, and with no memory of anything before that. She is taken to a special ward of the local mental hospital where Dr. Stringer ("Fringe" and "Sherlock Holmes" villain Jared Harris) is testing a new kind of therapy on a group of similarly-aged teen girls, each with their own disassociative disorders.  Kristin moves into the room formerly occupied by Tammy, who in a prologue appears to have been murdered by some malevolent entity.

What follows is probably the most un-Carpenter-like Carpenter film ever made. Filled with cliches and genre tropes, this 1966-set 'ghost' movie ends up being little more than a pseudo-psychological thriller ala Identity and Shutter Island, though both of those movies are superior in almost every way. There are some terrific performances by the young cast, which includes Mamie Gummer; Danielle Panabaker; Laura-Leigh and Lyndsey Fonseca, all of whom have appeared on plenty of prime-time dramas and assorted smaller films, and all of whom manage to create interesting - if not exactly original - characters. The script by Michael & Shawn Rasmussen is both clunky and derivative, and I am surprised Carpenter agreed to do it. Proof that even if you've got it, you don't get to keep it.

Want to have a John Carpenter Halloween movie festival? Watch the 5 films mentioned in the first paragraph of this review and avoid this stinker like Vampires. *(One Out of Four Stars). The Ward  is rated 'R' for "violence and disturbing images." It is currently playing on Cinemax and Cinemax OnDemand, should you wish to waste 89 minutes.

More, anon.

Thursday, October 16, 2014


Mitzi Ruhlman in Yardbird
I love finding new works from new filmmakers. While Australian director Michael Spiccia's 2012 short Yardbird may not exactly be new, it's relatively new to the States, having played at last year's Tribecca Film Festival. I had never heard of it, but thanks to the good folks over at Neatorama, I discovered it today.

Written by Julius Avery, Yardbird is about a young girl named Ruby, who lives with her father on a remote Australian junkyard. After saving a cat from being tortured by a trio of young thugs, Ruby and her father find themselves under attack. Unfortunately for the chief instigator, Ruby is... special. Taking cues from Stephen King's "Carrie" and employing some extraordinary SFX, Yardbird should be a lesson to all those who would be bullies. You never know who you're screwing with, so don't screw with anyone. 

Ruhlman, in a silent role, gives an extraordinary performance for such a young actor. Without saying a single word, she manages to convey every thought and emotion she's experiencing simply by letting us read her exceptionally expressive face. A remarkable short film by a team from which I hope to see more. Take 11 minutes to watch Yardbird. You won't regret it (a few NSFW F-bombs):

Yardbird from Bridle Path Films on Vimeo.

Not exactly a horror film (though certainly containing elements of the genre), Yardbird is a perfect example of the power of 'quiet' film making. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I and hope you'll share it. It certainly deserves to be seen.

More, anon.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

National Coming Out Day

So today was National Coming Out Day.  I hope lots of folks did and are the happier for it, as am I. And while it's all well and good that we have an official "Coming Out Day," for many of us, coming out isn't or wasn't a one day deal. 

For Uncle P, the process started with a few High School Theatre girl friends, claiming then (and through much of college) that I was Bisexual, knowing full well that wasn't true in the least. Of course, Uncle P came of age at the beginning of the AIDS crisis, adding additional stigma to being a young gay man. And while all through my 20's and early 30's I had my fun, it wasn't until I went into therapy that I was able to not just come out to myself, but to to my immediate family. I was going to tell my mother on "Come Out with Ellen" day, but chose to do so a week before, steeling myself with a drink or three, first. She cried, not because I was gay, but because I had been afraid to tell her. Eventually, I started expressing to her which men I found attractive on the TV shows we both watched and we would have small conversations about why and whether or not we found the same guys attractive. She loved my long ago ex, Ric and encouraged me to find someone right up until she went into the hospital for the last time. 

I told my sister that same year, on the last night of my once-annual October trip to Florida. She was neither shocked nor upset, though embarrassed at having used the "F" word, earlier in the day (something that almost stopped me from telling her). To this day, she continues to not only be my BFF (I love you K & Q, but you know...) and a staunch supporter of LGBT rights, including Marriage Equality. I feel so lucky to have her on my side, especially given the stories we all know about families abandoning their LGBT members. And while there are still a few elderly family members (my Aunt and Mom's Aunt and Uncle, among them) who don't know - and as far as I am concerned, don't need to know - most of my cousins and few aunts and uncles know. And that's fine. They are all mostly liberal and accepting. And if not, the hell with them. I have reached the age where I truly don't give a rat's ass what you think about me.

For me, coming out was a long, drawn-out process which took many years. As I am sure it was and will continue to be for many gay people. But as more and more of us make ourselves visible, it will be easier and easier for those who come after us. Eventually (hopefully), 'coming out' won't be something anyone needs to worry about. Am I too optimistic about a Roddenberryesque Utopia where the whole word gets it? How  I would love a peek into the future a hundred or so years from now. I can only hope the smart folks win.

In celebration of Coming Out, here's the trailer for my favorite gay rom-com and sweet coming out story, Big Eden:

And here's a very affirming music video about Coming Out:

Own yourself. Love yourself. Be yourself!

Sending you love and support! Come out, come out, whoever you are! Know that there are many people who love and support you! I'm here if you need an ear.

More, anon.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

"The Walking Dead" Season Five Special Event

I am hardly surprised by the general excitement surrounding this coming Sunday night's Season 5 premiere episode of AMC's massive genre hit, "The Walking Dead." Nor am I in the least surprised by my personal excitement. The consistently excellent writing (yes, even Season 2), acting and production values on the cable original all combine for a show that (love it or hate it) will certainly go down in the annals of Television History (as long as such things exist, anyway) for so many reasons.

If you were with me back then, I would re-cap and comment on each episode during Season One and some of Two. I sort of miss doing that, but don't have the time to do so, anymore. But I still love the show and realize that Season Five is a milestone and I want to commemorate that for a couple of reasons.*

Sunday, October 12th from 9:30 PM Eastern to 11:05 PM Eastern, Uncle P will be Live Tweeting leading up to the premiere and during commercials! It will be the only episode I'll watch in real time this season (or maybe the season finale if this goes well - we'll see...). I hope I have enough to talk about! 

Don't already follow me on Twitter? You should. @Caliban761

*All of this, I think, is part of a new enthusiasm inspired by several recent events in Uncle P's life that are pretty much the exact opposite of the events around the same time last year (more on that in my next post). My 'New Normal' continues to become a more level and increasingly positive place that makes me want to get back to writing and expressing myself more. When I thought of doing the Live Tweet thing, I got excited about writing again and I can't wait to see what happens! Hope to see you on Twitter on Sunday night. I'll try not to be too spoilery!

More, anon.
Uncle P

Saturday, October 4, 2014

New 80's Music; Lip Dubs & Other Gayest Things You'll See This Week

Uncle P Was Here
So far, this weekend has been really excellent and this year's fourth quarter seems to be (finally) starting out to be better than last year's. After a terrifically fun & funny dinner and drinks with five other close co-workers (the official closed Facebook invite was called "Drink and Bitch") I came home on Friday, not quite ready to call it a night. So I hopped in the shower, changed and headed toward Southeastern PA's gay Mecca, New Hope and had a very fun evening which included getting to see my favorite comedian/bartender Adrian Colon (among other things; wink-wink, nudge-nudge). 

Today, Uncle P got to spend time with some dear young theatre friends at the Philadelphia Fall Festival (photo above), held in Center City's 'Gayborhood.' Tons of amazing food, cocktails and craft beers (I had a particularly delicious raspberry ale that was amazingly subtle and not sweet at all) as well as vendors and artists and tons of live entertainment from all over the region. We left around 3:30 (taking an hilariously unnecessary route back to the garage where we'd parked, but encountering a very cool, functional R2D2 because of it) and the increasing crowd was already becoming increasingly inebriated. I think we got out while the gettin' was good. Oddly, for what was promoted as an LGBT event, there very few LGBT-related booths or activities. After coming home, I ran some errands, defrosted the meats for tomorrow's Meatloaf Florentine and caught up on "Gray's Anatomy" (shut it!). After checking Facebook, I went to visit a few of my usual cyber-haunts, where I found a few music videos which I just had to share, because I loved them (and you should too).

First up (via) is The Department, with their decidedly 80's sounding and looking "As If Transformed." Electronica Lives!

Wow! That takes me back! 

Next (also via) is proof that artists and art everywhere. This weird, wonderful and super-fun single-take lip dub of Kiesza's "Hideaway" is just amazing and deserves to go viral.

Of course, Kiesza's original single-take video is pretty amazing, too.

Last, though hardly least (and to keep 'The Gayest Thing' tag relevant), the very adorable Berkshire Boys are back with their lip-dub of Demi Lovato's over-played "Really Don't Care." They're so cute, you can forgive one more listen!

All this and I still have a Sunday evening first date to look forward to. Whee! Yes, I still have my moments, but after Bluebird and these past few weekends, I'm finally starting to really feel like myself, again. And while I am always loathe to quote a criminal One Percenter, "That's a good thing." 

More, anon.