Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Break

So, after almost 5 years of writing Caliban's Revenge, I think I may have run out of things to talk about.

No, not really. But with everything that's been going on these past few weeks (Mom's health; a new relationship; etc.), I think I simply may be just too tired to write about anything.

I'm not going away. I refuse to go away. But I need a little break, I think.

I don't know how long that break will be. A few days? A few weeks? A few months? I have no idea. I just know I need to take a break. My lack of new posts in the past few days is certainly an indicator of my need for a break. 

Hopefully, I'll come back recharged and excited to blog again. Hopefully, I'll have done some work on other, long-gestating writing projects I've been putting off for too long. Hopefully, Army of the Dead will have it's KickStarter page up and running.

I love that you read my nonsense and hope you don't forget about me while I'm gone - no matter how long that is (I'm hoping not very long). Keep watching this space. I WILL be back. I promise.

To hold you over, my favorite new music video, "Head Hung Low" by Father Tiger:

More, eventually.

I'm Tired

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Big 5 Oscar Picks

Oops! Wrong Oscar!
So, between my mother's most recent health scare and my exhaustion thanks to dealing with it, I really haven't posted much this week. But since tomorrow brings us the 85th Annual Academy Awards, I thought I should at least post my annual picks. 

While I won't apologize for making a joke about Oscar Pistorius, I won't judge him until I hear all the facts (unlike Casey Anthony; Jodi Arias and Drew Peterson). But that's not what tonight's post is about.

Tonight is about the impending Oscars and my picks for the 5 Big Awards (and a few others). As always, I'll be listing What Will Win; What Should Win and the Long Shot. And as always, I'll be asking you not to place any bets based on my picks, because I am never 100% accurate (though I did manage to get most of last year's Big 5 right, if I remember correctly -- and weren't too lazy to go back and look). 

So, without further ado, here are my picks:

Best Actor (Supporting Role):

Who Should Win -- Robert Di Niro in Silver Linings Playbook. Giving his least affected performance in years, Di Niro is simply excellent.

Who Will Win -- Alan Arkin in Argo. Arkin has been around a long time and will win for his body of work.

Long Shot -- Philip Seymour Hoffman in The Master. A simply astonishing performance from one of America's best living actors.

Best Actress (Supporting Role):

Who Should Win -- Sally Field in Lincoln. We really liked her a long time ago. Despite being all wrong as Aunt May in The Amazing Spider-Man, Field is more than just 'good' as Mary Todd Lincoln in Spielberg's biopic.

Who Will Win -- Anne Hathaway in Les Miserables. Her performance, while brief, was the best part of Tom Hooper's misguided adaptation of the stage hit.

Long Shot -- Jacki Weaver in Silver Linings Playbook. Who? The Australian star is completely unknown in the U.S. and very unlikely to win.

Best Actor:

Who Should Win -- Denzel Washington in Flight. Washington was nothing less than amazing as an alcoholic pilot who lands a plane and saves it's passengers against all odds.

Who Will Win -- Daniel Day Lewis in Lincoln. Did anyone doubt they were watching the real Lincoln?

Long Shot -- Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook. Cooper is still young with many great roles ahead of him.

Best Actress:

Who Should Win -- Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook. Lawrence just gets better and better with each film she makes and she shines here.

Who Will Win -- Jessica Chastain in Zero Dark Thirty. As the woman who found Bin Laden, Chastain more than makes up for her performance in the ridiculous Mama.

Long Shot -- Quvenzhane Wallis in Beasts of the Southern Wild. No child has ever won in this category, despite the 9 year old's brilliant performance.

Best Director:

Who Should Win -- Ang Lee for Life of Pi. Lee won for 2005's Brokeback Mountain, but his singular visual style in Life of Pi (despite the movie's 'spiritual' message) and the performance he gets out of young Suraj Sharma certainly warrant acknowledgement. 

Who Will Win -- Steven Spielberg for Lincoln. Having won for Schindler's List and Saving Private Ryan, Spielberg seems to do well with historical drama. 

Long Shot -- Behn Zeitlin for Beasts of the Southern Wild. First-time nominees rarely win in this category, no matter how wonderful their films are.

Best Picture:

What Should Win -- Argo. Ben Affleck's dramatization of the 1980 rescue of 6 hostages in Iran is a thrilling and entertaining version of a daring rescue in a very uncertain time in history.

What Will Win -- Argo. Do you really think any other movie has a chance?

Long Shot(s) -- Les Miserables/Amour -- Tom Hooper's tepid musical and Michael Haneke's tale of love among octogenarians both face uphill battles against several much better films.

Other Winners:

Animated Feature:  ParaNorman: The first animated film to feature an openly gay character, director Chris Butler's stop-motion horror comedy may well turn out to be the first animated film in a long time to beat Pixar.

Cinematography: Life of Pi. Quite simply the most gorgeously filmed movie of 2012.

Animated Short: Head Over Heels

Original Song: Hands down - Adele's 'Skyfall' from Skyfall

Costumes: Anna Karenina

Makeup and Hairstyling: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Original Screenplay: Moonrise Kingdom

Adapted Screenplay: Argo

I'll talk about the awards again, after I've turned them off in boredom half-way through - though I do have high hopes that the adorable host Seth MacFarlane will be amazing enough to keep me watching.

And just as a side note, last November I occupied a 4th row seat in the Dolby Theatre for Cirque du Soliel's Iris. I wonder what celebrity will be planting his or her butt where I planted mine.

More, anon.

Thursday, February 21, 2013


I hear you, exhausted mole...
Don't look for much more than this. I just don't have it in me to finish this post.

More, anon.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Vive La Vie Boheme!

I was in high school when Queen released their signature anthem, "Bohemian Rhapsody." At the time, it was a song the headbangers didn't get; the Disco lovers despised and all the artistic kids adored. I'll let you guess into which category I fell.

In college, a group of theatre friends and I would get together at parties and thanks to our piano playing friend Micheal L., would sing this song until the neighbors called the police. 

The 1992 comedy Wayne's World used it most effectively and many of my friends and I will stop and sing along anytime it plays on the radio. 

Indiana University's Jacob School of Music's ad hoc orchestra just released this video of their sublime orchestral version of "Bohemian Rhapsody." I know that all of you who love the song as much as I do, are singing along, despite the lack of vocals:

Uncle P has been dealing with Mom's health issues and I'm frankly, exhausted. I haven't been sleeping, I'm worrying about all sorts of implications and financial fall-out this might have and I am worried that despite being moved to the ICU Step-Down unit, Mom may not make it home.

I'll try my best to keep posting this month, but can't guarantee any regularity. Stick with me. 

More, anon.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Where's Chris Hansen When We Need Him?

To Catch a Predator?
I don't mean to make light of pedophilia and illegal sexual activity with that picture on your left, but since 'Herbert the Pervert' never really seems to get what he wants on "Family Guy," I suppose his non-stop ogling of youngsters can be seen as comedic. Tasteless? Politically incorrect? Offensive? Of course it is. But then no one is watching "Family Guy" for its 'Family values.' And honestly, if you can't find the humor in Seth McFarlane's outrageously offensive show, then go watch "America's Funniest Videos" and shut up.

Of course, the same can't be said for the hundreds of Catholic priests who actually acted upon their urges and assaulted who knows how many young boys and girls under the guise of being someone they were supposed to trust. So it comes as no surprise that following the announcement of his abdication, Pope Benedict will be afforded immunity from prosecution in his involvement in covering up the many sex crimes committed by priests under his watch as both a Cardinal and Pope, by being granted permanent residency in the sovereign state of The Vatican.

On the heels of this latest announcement, comes word that a convicted sex-offender has just been appointed to a prominent position in the Newark, NJ archdiocese. Rev. Michael Fugee has been appointed co-director of Continuing Education and Ongoing Formation of Priests for the diocese. Every resident of New Jersey should be pounding on the diocese' door, demanding this creeps head on a pike (or at least his genitals on barbecue skewer). This is the kind of man who scares normally rational people into thinking that all LGBT people are evil.

For centuries, the Catholic Church has wielded far too much power over its adherents, resulting in more torture, murder and war than any other entity in history. Starting in 1095, the Church waged a "Crusade" against Muslims and Jews which went on for 200 years. Richard the Lionheart is still revered as an English King who led his troops into battle against the 'Infidels' (and served as part of the inspiration for the Robin Hood mythos). In reality, The Crusades were violently brutal, resulting in the deaths of millions. 200 or so years later saw the Spanish Inquisition, during which (under the rule of Grand Inquisitor Tomas de Torquemada, confessor to Queen Isabella), thousands of Jews and Muslims were tortured and murdered. And let's not forget the silent assent from Pope Pius XII, who never uttered a word about Hitler's 'Final Solution.'

And now sexual abuse among Catholic priests appears to have been rampant for the past 40, 50 or even 60 years (and probably much, much more). So what does the church do? Nothing. They promote pedophiles and hide and protect those who were complicit in hiding and promoting pedophiles. As a Cardinal, Joseph Ratzinberger helped hide these men and now that he is resigning as Pope, he will be protected from prosecution under Vatican law. "Disgusting" doesn't even begin to cover how I feel about this injustice.

And as much as I would like to see the HRC (NOT the Human Rights Campaign) go down in flames (indeed - as much as I'd like to see ALL superstition take the same track), there are billions of frightened, unenlightened and superstitious folks who still cling to unscientific ideals in the hope they will 'live' forever. The same principles can be applied to radical, religious fanaticists of any faith. "Rationalism" and "Science" seem to be words missing from from all of their vocabularies.

Of course, if the HRC has to have a Pope, I'd vote for Pope Betty:

She may not be perfect, but at least she's honest!

More, anon.

An Apology

As part of last night's post, I mentioned a friend and fellow blogger, who mistook a comment about his blog as negative. I never meant to offend or upset him and have removed the reference from the post. I hope he can find it in his heart to forgive what was meant as a simple observation and not in any way a criticism or negative comment. I still visit and enjoy reading his blog daily and hope he continues to visit mine.


Sunday, February 17, 2013

1.47 Million and Counting

1.47 Million?! Holy Cow!
I don't often check my blog stats. I don't really care if people are reading what I have to write. I started Caliban's Revenge as a way to document the process of producing and directing a play. Over time, it's developed into so much more.

It's become my place to vent; reminisce; critique; comment and talk about how I view the world in the so-called "Information Age." And while I may have only 57 'official' followers, I know there are plenty of folks who read these posts regularly, even though they don't 'follow' the blog. And they certainly aren't shy about letting me know they read it, especially on Facebook.

So tonight, wondering if I should talk about the awesome time I had last night (a young friend joined me for his very visit to a gay bar - The Raven Inn in New Hope, PA*) or some other topic, I figured I might as well check my stats. And I was floored by what I found.

In the 4 and half or so years since I started writing Caliban's Revenge, it has been visited over 1.47 million times. Of course, I have no idea how many people have actually read what I'm writing. I have no doubt that some people just Googled some random topic and were led here, only to discover this wasn't what they were looking for. I also have no idea how many people found the blog randomly and liked what they saw and kept coming back (except for those 57 brave souls who publicly admit that they like what I have to say enough to follow me).

My followers (that sounds FOX TV creepy) are horror fans, movie fans, gay folks and a few real-life friends. My readers are from all over the world (in occasionally weird and remote places), though mostly here in the U.S. The vast majority of hits come from Google searches (some of whom are undoubtedly looking for the truly awful thrash-metal song of the same name). While one reader in particular seems bent on posting hateful, homophobic comments (all of which are rejected, so I don't know why this self-hating troll keeps trying) even folks with dissenting opinions have been respectful and polite. 

I have no idea how long Caliban's Revenge will continue. I know plenty of bloggers who have shut down their bogs and/or created new ones. My friend Stephen in Chicago gave up his blog and now exclusively posts on Facebook, while my friend Pax in NJ has turned from Horror to photography. Personally, I plan to stick around for a while. At least until I'm too senile to post things that make sense. Or until my fingers have become too arthritic to type. Or my death. Whichever comes first, I guess.

If you are a follower, I thank you. If you are just a regular reader, I thank you. If you are a friend who reads because you think you have to, I won't be hurt if you don't. If you've stumbled across my nonsense by accident - Welcome! I hope you stay.

Know that I will never stop having opinions about many things; I'll never stop loving movies and horror; I'll always be honest when I write and I'll always try to keep it interesting. 

Thanks for your support. And here's a bit of random nonsense for you:

More, anon.

*Bucks County's only gay bar, since The Cartwheel burned down...

Friday, February 15, 2013

Role Reversals

I've never really been upset by my own aging. While many of my opinions have changed over the years (well, a few) and my hair has gone mostly grey and silver and the bags under my eyes my have gotten a little bigger, I feel that for the most part, I am aging pretty well. 

No, the worst part of aging is watching our parents age...

Mom called me at the Day Job this morning (not an unusual thing) and left me a voice mail that said "Call me right away, please!" The tone of her message was not her usual. I called and after she picked up, there was some fumbling and then quiet. "Hello?" I said. "Mom?" Hello?" Then she said, "I think I'm going to call 911. I think I'm having a heart attack."

"Hang up and call them now! I'll be right there!" My boss had heard and simply said: "Go!"

I raced from work to find her already in the ambulance when I got there. She was having trouble breathing. Long time readers will remember our last ambulance trip to the hospital for an episode of diabetic shock, which ended up in a 5-night stay. This time it seems that congestive heart failure led to fluid retention resulting in respiratory distress. Mom was scared and upset and kept apologizing for upsetting me and disrupting my day. The E.R. nurses were terrific about getting her blankets, pillows and whatever else she needed. I went and got some lunch and made a few calls, then headed back to the hospital with her book, a hairbrush and some toiletries she requested.

She's spending at least one night in the ICU while they give her diuretics to get rid of the fluids. The ICU nurse (a very nice lady named Vivian) explained everything that was going on and assured me that she's going to be okay. I don't honestly expect her to be released until Sunday or Monday. She has yet to see her cardiologist (a 6'5" hottie who reminds me of Michael Crichton and whom she adores), though I expect I'll hear from him tomorrow. Everyone, from the EMTs to the attending physician, says she did the right thing by calling 911. And I must once again commend the members of the Levittown/Fairless Hills Rescue Squad and the staff at Lower Bucks Hospital who have all been wonderful.

I hate that I have to watch her deteriorate. This once strong-willed, speed-walking powerhouse of a woman is increasingly becoming a frail, little old lady and I hate it. Now I'm doubly worried about her upcoming shoulder-replacement surgery. Of course, this episode may have postponed that for a while...

Having seen my aunt care for my grandmother after her stroke, helped me prepare a bit for what was to come, but these ladies have some smart things to say for folks in my situation:

If you're parents are aging and/or ailing, I hear you. Don't ever be afraid to reach out. I'll listen and know what you're going through.

More, anon.

Thursday, February 14, 2013


So... Today was Valentine's Day. You'll notice they've taken the "Saint" out of the holiday. Valentine was supposedly a Christian martyr who may have, among many other myths, performed illegal Christian marriages. His remains are reportedly interred in Ireland. Most modern, right-wing Christians don't really think about the time when being a Christian was punishable by death under Roman law. Or if they do, they certainly don't equate that persecution with their persecution of modern minorities.

The image on the right is from a series of "Puritan Valentines" posted on CollegeHumor.com, though it certainly expresses the opinion of the happily dwindling number of people in the U.S. who think I and others like me are evil; possessed; mentally ill; morally bankrupt; perverted; unnatural; hell-bound; filthy; sick or otherwise corrupted.

People complain that Valentine's Day is a "Hallmark Holiday," concocted by the Greeting Card; Jewelry; Floral and Candy Industries to drive sales in early spring, after having drained consumers' wallets just two months prior.. Having spent my fair share of time working in many aspects of retail, I can assure you that this is partially true. Still, there is something exhilarating about romantic love and the idea of a 'soul mate.' While T and I exchanged Valentine's texts (his was particularly sweet) and talked tonight,  I can't exactly say we're each other's 'Valentines.' Not yet, any way.

As for the Day Job's 'Red Food Party' today, everyone laughed along with Uncle P and "The Tale of the Wrong Spice." I promised to make them correctly for next month's 'Green Food Party' (remind me to buy green food coloring). 

If you had hot, romantic fun times with your Valentine today/tonight, go you! If not, here are some goats that sort of sound like people:

Sorry. I'm "in a mood," as they say.

More, anon.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Failure and Inspriration

Cinnamon Hazelnut Mochachino Rolls w/Cream Cheese Icing
It's been a while since I've blogged about food and/or the Day Job; and since we do have an 'any excuse for a party' policy, tomorrow is NOT a Valentine's Day Party in deference to those without Valentines of their own. Instead, it's a Red Food Party. I had no idea what I was going to make and had several ideas bouncing around and finally settled on a chocolate version of a cream-cheese iced cinnamon roll. But when I went to buy my ingredients, I went in a slightly different direction. The recipe called for a certain brand-name chocolate hazelnut spread, but I found a new brand-name chocolate hazelnut spread and a mocha cappuccino version. I debated... and decided to go with the flashier flavor and went off-recipe, even adding an ingredient. And I'm not sure it worked. In the end, I didn't care for the flavor of the spread (it had an odd after-taste), though I loved the cream-cheese frosting, even though I forgot to add the red food coloring -- and now that I know how easy it is to make, I may try my hand at a carrot cake.* The rolls look pretty good (yes, that's an actual picture of my finished product, taken with my Android). Of course, the ultimate judges will be my co-workers. If no one eats them, I'll know they're a fail. I'll try them again in a smaller batch, according to the original recipe.

So, I know I promised you something inspiring and here it is (via) comes the below video, part of The Campaign for Southern Equality's WE DO campaign, in which LGBT couples across the South apply for and are denied marriage licenses in an effort to raise awareness of the need for Marriage Equality. 
Matt and Raymie apply (and are rejected for) a marriage license in Morristown, TN. Of course,the best parts of this clip are Raymie's sweet, heartfelt speech; their families' support and the sweet, smiling clerks who are obviously supportive. Get your tissues out, (because you're gonna cry, pervs!):

How much have you fallen in love with Matt and Raymie? So I guess I'm officially making Matt and Raymie my Valentines, this year. T and I have yet to have a second date -- thanks to Nemo (ugh!), so I thought I'd celebrate another couple's love, instead. Thanks guys, for making your voices heard; for showing the faces of true love; for giving all of us hope. I hope the two of you have a wonderful and romantic Valentine's Day.

*Uncle P's favorite cake, which his cake baker sister never makes him...


I took a small break from writing to get a drink and finish cleaning up the kitchen when I found I had made a fatal flaw! What I thought was a bottle of ground cinnamon was actually a bottle of ground cumin! No wonder I hated them! Here's a cooking lesson well-learned. Double Check the Label! And now I must make a trip to the grocery store for something on my way in. Crap! Double Crap! ARRRRRRGGGGGGHHHH!

More, anon.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

More Oscar Animation

As promised, I went and took a look at the remaining Oscar-nominated Animated Shorts and was truly delighted by what I found. Story seemed to be key this year, though clever and voiceless had their place, as well. I've already shared Head Over Heels and the trailer for Disney's CGI/Hand Animation combo, Paperman. I haven't seen The Simpsons: The Longest Daycare (in which Maggie spends a day at the Ayn Rand School for Tots), though I believe Fox is planning on airing it this coming Sunday. 

That leaves Adam and Dog, a sweet mythology about the first man's first best friend:

And Fresh Guacamole, an absurd little stop-motion cooking lesson, of sorts:

And in case you missed it, here's the full version of Paperman:

While I do have a favorite of the four, I'll wait to name it until I've seen The Longest Daycare.

Which of these is your favorite?

More, anon.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Nope! He's a-No Longer de Pope!**

Insert The Omen Theme Here
My Day Job Co-Worker: "The Pope's stepping down!"

Uncle P: "He never should have stepped up."

Other Co-Worker: "You got that right! He should never have been Pope in the first place." 

The single most unpopular Pope in modern history*, Pope Benedict today announced that he is resigning due to his age and health. He is the first Pope to resign in over 400 years. Of course, Benedict had a hard act to follow. John Paul II was the most beloved Pope in modern history; a charismatic man who survived an assassination attempt and exuded kindness. Benedict, an honestly creepy old man with Draconian values turned out to be not only horrendously homophobic but complicit in covering up sexual abuse while a bishop in Germany. Corruption, depravity and hypocrisy are nothing new in the Catholic Church. Perverts, pederasts and murderers have all been Pope, many times over. Of course today, shaman and fakirs hold much less power over rationalism and people aren't afraid to tell the truth, especially when those they were supposed to be able to trust, violated them so personally and so horribly.

Such an historic announcement certainly seems to me to have deeper and exceptional significance in the secret annals of the Vatican vaults. I truly believe that there is a secret being buried that is so explosive, the Church would never recover should it get out. 

Now you know me. I'm hardly a conspiracy nut. But if any organization has reason to conspire a cover-up. it's the Holy Roman Catholic Church. No, I'm not suggesting that that ridiculous DaVinci novel is true. Or that Beyonce's flashing of an Illuminati sign at the Superbowl was the signal to take German Joe down. Of course, Pat Robertson would have you believe 'Nemo' (I still think that's a stupid name for a storm, Jules Verne be damned) is punishment for the states which approved Marriage Equality in November. Hey, Pat. 'Nemo' is nature's punishment for us abusing the environment, ya douche.

Many LGBT groups are happy to see Benedict go. 'Other Co-Worker' predicted we will see a Pope of color next, citing several Brazilian Cardinals on the "short list." Okay. Still, no one should get too excited about real progress in the Church any time soon. The Cardinals are still all a bunch of old men, obsessed with sex because they aren't supposed to have it. What's that saying about the deliciousness of forbidden fruit? Absurd doesn't even begin to cover it.

Secular society will move forward first, and the Church will eventually follow in another generation or two (they'll have to, if they want to remain relevant to the few remaining followers they'll have by then). People are still afraid to let go of superstition, though the tide is turning toward rationalism and reason. It amazed me to see how freeing it was to do so. Life is too short and too precious to worry about what happens later. What matters is now. 

I can't stress this enough: If you are living a lie because some religious leader told you that you were evil; if you are afraid of what people will think of you; if you think your family will abandon you... the worst thing that's going to happen to you is going to happen to every single one of us, no matter what we do. Why not enjoy the very brief gift we've been given to its fullest? Don't hide your light under a bushel (you should pardon the reference, no matter how relevant). Come out and love the life you deserve with someone who deserves your love.

And the next time you complain when you can't get cell-phone reception, think about the kid in some refugee camp who can't get enough food to keep the cramps away. 

Don't live your life the way someone else tells you should. Live it in the way you know you should. Live the way that brings joy to you, those that you love and those who love you back. They are the only ones who matter. Trust me.

So, maybe this video is the big secret. Or the one below:

Oh, how love crazy people. I have no doubt the Pope is evil. Just not in the way these nutjobs have concluded. Benedict is evil in the way that all people who perpetrate mythology as truth; homophobia as righteous and hate as love, are evil.

You have no power here. Begone, before someone drops a house on you!

More, anon.

*You gotta be pretty bad to be less popular than a Nazi sympathizer.

**Once a Musical Theatre Geek, always a Musical Theatre Geek

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Head Over Heels

The older I get, the less I care about entertainment awards shows. When I was a kid, there were only five: The Oscars; The Tonys; The Emmys; The Grammies and sometimes The Golden Globes. It was a big deal when Rita Moreno became the first person ever to win the all of the Big Four. Then came MTV and it all went haywire.  Of course, it still seems to me that awarding prizes for art is just silly. How does one maintain objectivity in such a subjective field? But since we do so award arts and entertainment, and since I'd like to consider myself to be primarily an 'Entertainment' blogger, I guess I should at least comment on them, no?

The Grammys were tonight, hosted by hot rapper/actor LL Cool J. The bastard step-child of awards shows, no one really cares about the Grammy awards anymore (if they ever really did). The general decline in the quality of popular music in the last 30 years makes me sound like my parents complaining about music in the 80's. Of course, we knew enough to appreciate how what came before influenced those who were popular at the time. Today's popular music is boring, repetitive and unoriginal crap. This year's Grammy broadcaster CBS issued a much-reported dress-code memo to invited attendees. I honestly can't wait to see the response.

The Oscars finish the season in a few weeks, and while I've seen several of the nominated films, I haven't seen enough of any of them to make any sort of truly informed opinion,. Curiously, I have now seen two of the films nominated in the Best Animated Short category. The first is from Disney, combining traditional hand-animation with CGI for the sweet and romantic Paperman:

Also nominated is Head Over Heels, a striking stop-motion film about a middle-aged couple who are separated by so much more than just gravity.

I know there is a live-action Sci-Fi-Romance coming out with a similar idea, though I doubt it will have the same emotional impact and commentary as that surprisingly delightful short. I think I need to seek out the other nominees in this category. I'll let you know what I find.

More, anon,

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Gayest Superhero You'll See This Week

Personally, I have never attended (and don't really hope to do so) a kiki. Made popular by the Scissor Sisters' single Let's Have a Kiki (link may contain NSFW content), a kiki is a small, impromptu party with close friends, or something. There may be catwalk modelling involved. Or Ecstasy. Something.

So, in case I haven't mentioned it before, part of my not-so-secret geekery includes Super Heroes. I'm a DC kid (though Spider-Man was fun). I think it had to do with the characters' secret identities. In public, I'm an upstanding, everyday citizen (except for the billionaire part, of course). Behind a mask, I get to wear tights and a cape and express who I really am. Gee -- I wonder why gay kids identify with Super Heroes? 

As a child, I was Batman for Halloween 3 years in a row. I used to tie a towel around my neck and ride by "Batcycle" (really a Schwinn "Pea-Picker" with a banana seat; wide handle bars and a sissy-bar for a passenger) down the street, singing "Nah-nah-nah-nah-nah-nah-nah-nah..." And no, I am hardly ashamed to admit this. Many of you know you did something similar. 

There's certainly nothing new about the homoerotic connotations in the relationship between Bruce Wayne/Batman and Dick Grayson/Robin. They sleep in the same bed, for eff's sake! And there's tons of fan art imagining much more going on between the hero and his sidekick.

Of course, comedian Jonny McGovern has his own ideas about Batman; his voice and what he's like when drinks too much (language NSFW):

There are rumors that Warner/DC's announced 2015 Justice League film is in trouble. The latest script is supposed to be a disaster and not a single actor has been signed. Personally, I think we'll need a Wonder Woman movie and a Flash movie, first. And a Green Lantern sequel that isn't a mess of ideas without anything to really tie them all together. And really, why hasn't there been a Wonder Woman movie, already? Sheesh! 

More, anon.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Bite Me, Mother Nature (or: The Saddest Gay Post This Week)

Better call me a waaahhm-bulance.
As I sit in my home office writing this post, the 'historic' storm Nemo (really, Weather Channel?) is raging outside. Well, it's snowing. And has been for several hours, amassing less than 2" so far. Not enough to be crippling like in 1996, but just enough to make travel unwise and spoil a very special evening I was supposed to have with T. This after a truly  horrendous day at the Day Job. The storm is having a major impact on us, while causing unnecessary panic for our clients who don't read or bother to look at the updates on our website (or look in completely inappropriate places when they attempt to -- it's on the home page in bright orange! How can you not see that?). This was the worst possible weekend in all of winter for this storm to hit. I ended up having to stay late, on top of (and this is really just adding insult to injury) cancelling my very much-anticipated date with T because of the impending driving conditions (45 minutes of highway driving in sleet and snow isn't really all that wise). To be honest, it was quite possibly the worst Friday I've ever had (or at least certainly in the Top 5). 

So I came home and tried to cheer myself up a bit. I watched some comedies I'd DVR'd and then poured myself a drink and visited good old Towleroad, where there were two exceptionally gay clips that almost did the trick. You'll see why I say "almost."

First up, openly gay Bravo president and talk-show/reality-show host Andy Cohen recently had Jenny McCarthy and Calvin Klein Superbowl model Matthew Terry play a ridiculously exploitative game called "Paper or Plas-Take It Off:"

Terry may be young and very pretty,  but McCarthy might as well be an SNL cougar. Fail.

So, I went for some nonsense and the video for RuPaul's latest single, Peanut Butter. Watch first and then we'll discuss (may be NSFW):

First, let me get this right out of the way: Who the f**k is Big Freedia? Bitch scares me. Second: Ru, bubbulah, what the hell? Stick with dance tracks, girl. This bizarre rap/dubstep mashup weirdness just doesn't work. For anyone. 

Of course, RuPaul is outrageous. We get it. And we know you have to keep up with the times if you want to stay in the spotlight, but aren't the dancing twinks in banana hammocks in a video for a 'song' that's basically one big penis joke just overkill?* We deserve better from the Queen of Drag.

I really shouldn't complain. I know it could be so much worse. New York and New England are going to get slammed for the second -- and even third -- time in less than a year. Still, sometimes it seems I just can't get a friggin break for myself, ya know?

So I am left to console myself with smoke and drink, taking some pleasure in the idea of anticipation. After all, half the fun of any great roller-coaster is the anticipation as the train climbs that first hill, waiting to take that first breath-taking, soaring, weightless plunge*... I need a cigarette, now. Just don't remind me that an exceptionally horrendous Monday is just a brief two days away.

*Every single pun ever, intended.

I'll make this up to you, T. Promise.

More, anon.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

A Literal Flashmob & The Gayest Thing You'll See This Week

Search "Flash Mob" on The Revenge and you will find 13 entries (including this one). And while "Flash Mob" hardly has as many entries as say "Movies" (587); "Horror" (284) or even my beloved "Zombies" (101), it's still an intriguing idea and something I desperately want to plan. And while some posts combine "Flash Mob" with entries like "Zombies;" "The Gayest Thing" and "Music Video," there are plenty of ways to read about what I call a "Mini-Obsession."

One of the very first Flash Mobs to go viral was Improv Everywhere's Frozen Grand Central. I immediately loved what they were doing:

They've since gone on to several "No Pants Subway Ride" events; a board meeting in the middles of an office supply store; synchronized car alarms and any other number of insane and amusing events, all of which can be seen on YouTube. Since they made their big splash at Grand Central, they returned to help celebrate the fabled and historic terminals 100th anniversary with a synchronized light show, literally 'flashing' their audience (see, I know you all have minds like mine, and I do not mean this). Via comes this clip of "Grand Central Human-Powered Light Show:"

I'll bet you're glad I didn't link to that Bondi Beach video again, aren't you? 

Since I'm already talking about videos and "The Gayest Thing," below (also via) is Sherry Vine's latest bit of nonsense; a parody of Tina Turner's 'Private Dancer.' Really? A parody of a 30 year-old song? Why not? It works, mostly because the hilarious lyrics are about the men gay boys (who, me?) lusted after in the 70's and 80's. And because Vine never takes any of it seriously, mocking both her performance and the production values in a very silly and obviously last-minute bit of foolishness. Enjoy:

There is another 'snowpocalypse' predicted for the East Coast tomorrow and Saturday (which would cause grief for me both personally (postponing a much-anticipated second date with T) and professionally (you don't want to know). If the fear-mongering TV Weatherfolk are wrong (as my rational, non-ratings-seeking, airport meteorologist friend Chris says they are), then I will hopefully not be posting tomorrow night as I have something much more exciting planned (wink-wink, nudge-nudge).

More, anon.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Web Has Lost Its Mind

What the...? It seems that embedded videos in all the blogs I regularly visit (including my own) have disappeared. Has Anonymous hacked YouTube? Has Vimeo been taken down by hackers? If so, to what end? I don't get it. I've even noticed that commenters have noticed. On Bits and Pieces, one commenter wrote: "The videos don't work! I broke the Internet!" 

Of course, as I write this post, the videos seem to have been restored. And I'm sure that whatever happened is my fault. I've finally met someone and am happy. There had to be a price to pay...

No, my self-esteem isn't quite that low. I know there was some weird technical glitch somewhere that was resolved by someone far more technically savvy than Uncle P (and trust me, it doesn't take much to be more technically savvy than me). Perhaps I can blame it on all the idiots I talked to today. No, I talk to idiots everyday - why should today be any different?

Personally, I don't care why or how what happened, happened. I'm just happy it seems to have resolved. And so my love/hate relationship with the World Wide Web continues unabated. We can all relax again and enjoy cat videos to our hearts' content:

Am I growing cynical? Man, I hope not.

Of course, ShareThis is still not working... (sigh...).

More, anon.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Last Days of Coney Island

As a kid, Uncle P's Mother spent part of her summer vacations with her grandmother at Coney Island. I heard stories about the Steeplechase; the Shoot the Chutes (a precursor to today's "Log Flume" rides) and of course, the Cyclone rollercoaster. Of course, the only thing that really remains today is the Cyclone (the Wonder Wheel came much later).

As someone who has a mild obsession with coasters and theme parks, I imagined a romanticized version of Coney Island that I would never get to see. Of course, the Internet came along and I discovered hundreds of images, stories and details about Coney Island in its heyday in the early 20th Century. I even started to write (and may yet finish) a musical called Luna Park, about Coney's most fabled amusement park which burned down on August 12, 1944. Coney Island (like much of Brooklyn) has experienced a renaissance of sorts and a new Luna Park has opened in recent years (long-time readers will remember my birthday trip there, a few years ago).

So I was fascinated to learn that animator Ralph Bakshi (best known for the X-rated Fritz the Cat; the first film version of The Lord of the Rings and the live-action/animated combo movie Cool World with Brad Pitt) has created a Kickstarter page to finance Last Days of Coney Island. Set in the early 1960's Last Days... is a series of animated shorts about the decline of the once-glamorous vacation spot and the people who inhabited it.

Personally, Bakshi's films have always been hit-or-miss. One of the last 2D animators working in the feature film industry, Bakshi always has some interesting ideas, even of his films don't always hit the mark. So I was delighted when the Happy Mutants at BoingBoing posted Bakshi's Kickstarter video plea for funding of Last Days of Coney Island.

I do hope Bakshi gets funding to make this film. 2D animation is going away, and it makes me sad. Even Disney incorporates CG animation in their 2D films these days. A cool, successful, experimental 2D animated movie may just be what some young animator needs to inspire new works in this dying art form.

Uncle P is also hoping to have his own Kickstarter page by the end of the year; first to raise money for a trailer for Army of the Dead and eventually full funding to shoot the feature. I recently enlisted the help of a fellow actor, friend and graphic artist to create some storyboards for the page. You know I'll be keeping you posted.

More, anon.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Beyonce Concert or: You Made HOW Much?

Stevie Nicks Called. She Wants Her Song Back
Like many folks, I honestly couldn't care less about professional sports if you paid me. Personally I think it's criminal that professional athletes, musicians and movie actors make millions, while teachers; cops; cancer researchers; nurses; EMTs and any number of people working in fields which actually add to the quality of our lives often live paycheck-to-paycheck. Not that I would deny anyone the right to make money but it seems our values are rather screwed up when it comes to professional salaries.  Think about this - Adam Sandler makes $20M for every awful, unfunny movie he makes. A high school English teacher who has been working for 20 years; dealing with uninterested, bored and even drug-addled students; is lucky to make $50K a year. 

I don't even want to know what Beyonce Knowles was paid for her 13-minute half-time appearance* at tonight's Superbowl. 13 Minutes. Surgeons can spend hours on end saving lives and are paid a very small fraction of what Ms. Knowles made for singing and dancing  in a leather and lace bathing suit for 13 minutes during the break in a game.

"But Uncle P, you're an actor/director/designer/writer. Shouldn't you be paid for your work?" 

Of course. As should everyone, no matter what they do for a living. And as much as Sports and the Arts contribute to the quality of life, it just seems insane to me that people who play games, sing songs and pretend to be people they're not should make so much more money than someone who teaches children to read; removes a life-threatening tumor; comforts the dying or protects us from those who would do us harm. There's a strange disconnect here, don't you think? Why does a guy who can kick a football earn more than a person who can literally save your life? Why does a woman who can sing and dance earn more than a woman who can make us understand the squiggles and symbols that make up the written word? 

Don't get me wrong - I'm all for Capitalism and the right to earn as much money as one can. I just think that our value system is a little more than askew. Beyonce is indeed a talented woman who deserves to be paid for what she does. But ask yourselves this: Does she deserve to be paid more for singing and dancing for 13 minutes than the surgeon who spends six or more hours removing a complicated tumor from someone's brain or the cop who puts his/her life on line to protect you from criminals? I think not.

*Some are reporting that Knowles actually lost money by performing at Superbowl 47. I can only imagine that such an appearance just added to her future revenues.

And I'm so glad that so many Superbowl winners are going to Disney. Like they need more money...

More, anon.

Saturday, February 2, 2013


Honestly... Not the Best Sandwich in America
Yesterday was K's birthday. She's 3 2 years older than Uncle P, but just like me, acts 10 (or more) years younger. Today, our two other BFFs (Q and Dale) treated K to a day in Center City Philadelphia, starting with a visit to the Reading Terminal Market and a stop at Tommy DiNic's for an Italian Pork Sandwich with Kohlrabi broccolirabe (voted 'Best Sandwich in America' by Travel Channel's cute bear Adam Richman). Yes, the roast pork was delicious, but the kohlrabi broccolirabe was cooked with some rather intense garlic, which made the sandwich a bit too garlickly to be actually good. I saved half and will remove most of the kohlrabi broccolirabe before I eat the rest. Truth be told, I've had a better sandwich at any number of more local places.

We wandered about the very crowded market for another hour or so and I ended up buying some delicious local cheese; a jar of seedless blackberry jam; an amazingly delicious black cherry balsamic vinegar and a homeopathic remedy for my poor mother's increasingly painful night leg cramps. I also got to taste a sample of an astoundingly delicious Maple/Bacon cupcake, which found both Dale and myself in foodie heaven.

Afterwards, we made out way to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which I haven't visited in a very long time. We wandered about the first floor which houses the museum's collection of Modern Art (much of which confounded K - and some of which confounded Uncle P) and then made our way up to the second floor. There we found some amazing and intricate Renaissance and early Dutch; English and American art and furniture. Nearly exhausted from all the walking, eating and carrying-on, we made our way home having spent a day with people we love very much... and that's what really mattered in the end. 

Between last night's rather wonderful date and today's visit to the very nearby Cradle of American Democracy, this weekend has proven to be one I will remember for quite some to come. Of course, tomorrow will involve involve bill-paying, grocery shopping, house cleaning and laundry... a bit of a let-down from what's come before. But I'm not complaining.

More, anon.

Friday, February 1, 2013

First 1st Date In a Very Long Time

I Hope He's Not a "Dud"
So, having (mostly deliberately) been single for quite some time, it suddenly dawned on Uncle P that he wasn't getting any younger. And while I have so many wonderful and loving friends in my life, I hated being the 5th or 7th at dinner. And not just that; I missed intimate contact. So, a few months ago I joined a couple of dating sites, hoping to meet someone who wasn't just out for a booty call. 

I corresponded with some very attractive and very interesting people, most of whom were as far away as Sweden and Brazil. Not exactly conducive to a serious relationship, though they helped me get a feel for the online dating thing in the 21st Century (it can be very scary out there).  Now you must remember, I am a man of size and well-over 40. My chances of finding a life partner at this point in my life are... well, let's say 'low.' I met my last BF online through AOL, so you know how long ago that was...

About three weeks ago, I was contacted by T, through one of the sites I'd joined. He lived within driving distance; we shared more than a few traits in common and from his photos on the site where we were matched, he seemed reasonably attractive. We went back and forth through the site's email system a few times and then went to personal emails which soon led to texting and actual phone conversations and even more photo sharing. We thought we might have a connection and finally decided we should meet. Tonight was that meeting.

Now, Uncle P is no fool. Hannibal Lecter; Jeffrey Dahmer and Ted Bundy all looked great on paper.  T and I met at a chain restaurant (where our server was an theatre acquaintance of mine) for a few drinks, appetizers and dessert. I arrived first and secured a booth with a view of the door and waited (I have a habit of being early, except when it counts -- oops! TMI?). I waited, a little more than nervous and warming my hands by alternately blowing and sitting on them. I texted him: "I'm here. Got a booth with a view of the door." 

I couldn't help but have this bit of nonsense running through my mind:

A few minutes later, T arrived and I waved. He waved back and approached and we both had broad smiles on our faces. My anxiety level dropped almost immediately.

T was not only even more attractive in real life, but funny, warm and very sweet. Easy to smile and laugh with a devilish cleft chin, T was, well... charming. Over the next several hours we talked about tons of things (including brief stops on exes; theatre; sports; work; movies; parents; friends and who the hell knows what else), all the while (warning - Cheese Alert) playing 'footsie' under the table. We both admitted that friends had offered escape plans if things weren't going well, but neither of us used them. Two and and half hours flew by and I can't remember the last time I had such a good time on a first date.

And you will all be proud to note that as much as I wanted to do so much more than play 'footsie' with T, we both retired to our own homes for the evening, after the promise of a second date and some rather chaste kisses in the parking lot.

I must admit, I'm feeling a lot better about myself than I have in a long time. Of course, I'm not counting any chickens, but I am very much looking forward to Date # 2. And I'm so glad that tonight was nothing like this:

Bad movie. Very good first date.

More, anon.