Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Most Powerful Gay Thing You'll See This Week

Anthony Starble
The Internet is both a wonderful and terrible tool which has changed the lives of everyone born before the 1990's. A virtual Wild, Wild West of information; entertainment; knowledge; pornography; science; music; art; film and almost anything else you can think of, it can bring people together and drive others into total isolation. 

I like the Internet best when it teaches, entertains and introduces me to new artists; musicians; performers and cool science. Today, it introduced me to a young gay musician by the name of Anthony Starble. His latest single,"Oh Father" (via) is a gorgeous ballad about the very complicated relationship between so many straight fathers and gay sons. While I won't get into my theories about my own father and our rather complicated relationship, I will admit that Starble's song and video hit home on so many levels. And I'm guessing it does the same with many of my readers. See for yourselves:

My father always seemed on the verge of violence, especially once he realized I was never going to be the person he wanted me to be. I have long since forgiven him for how he treated my mother and I and actually feel sorry that he couldn't find the happiness he so desperately seemed to be seeking. I lost my father long before he actually passed, and did not mourn his passing in the 'traditional' way. Instead, I mourned the missed the opportunities we could have shared. Starble's song and video capture how I felt about him in an oddly personal way. As I am sure it will for many others. 

More, anon.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Not All Swedes Are Blond, Norse Giants

Alexander Skarsgard
Ask a straight man 'of a certain age' to name a hot Swede and he might answer "Elke Sommer." Ask a gay man of almost any age the same the question, and he'll almost certainly answer "Alexander Skarsgard," probably best known for his role as a sexy vampire on HBO's "True Blood." And while I can definitely appreciate Mr. Skarsgard's attributes, personally, I'd rather spend an evening with his co-star, Joe Manganniello, a dark-toned, hirsute brute with a killer smile and muscles that go on for days.. TMI? Get over it. My other hirsute hottie favs include Bollywood star Hrithric Roshan; Superman Henry Cavill;  Chris Evans and Iron Man himself, Robert Downey, Jr. Hell, Goonies and Caveman co-star (and former NFL player) John Matuszak filled the bill quite nicely, back in the day.

Okay - now you know more about Uncle P's proclivities  than many of my closest friends (no, not really - did you honestly expect me to reveal information my closest friends don't already know?)

Still, when I think of Swedes; Danes and Norwegians, I somehow always conjure up an image of Dolph Lundgren. But a video of members of the Swedish Marines lip-dubbing "Greased Lighting" from the film version of the musical Grease has proven me so very wrong. Brunets easily outnumber blonds in the viral video making its way around the Internet. See for yourselves:

Personally, hair color means far less to me than hair coverage. Damn! I've over-shared again. Anyway, I'd love to see a Gay Bear version of "The Bare Necessities," if only to hear the whizzing sound of Walt spinning in his supposedly icy vault.

More, anon.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Snow Day

Winter Storm Janus: Punishment for Christieism
I blame NJ Governor Chris Christie for Winter Storm Janus and the subsequent traffic snarl it caused yesterday afternoon, everywhere. If the fundies can blame me, then I get to blame some one, too. In truth though, the germ of the idea for this post came out of a Facebook status I posted last night, so forgive me if I'm repeating part of this. 

We all knew the storm was coming and the first tiny flakes started to fall yesterday morning just as I reached the last traffic-lighted intersection before arriving at the Day Job. At 11:00 I took my morning smoke break (yes, I know) and notice the plant across the way is closing, as cars begin to make a mass exodus from the lot. I came back to my desk to find an email from HR announcing we were closing at 1:00 (No lunch breaks, please). All well and good. The snow is light and easy to get off my car and I'm on my way by 1:12. It wouldn't be until 1:49 that I even got out of the town where the Day Job is located! The ride that normally takes 20 to 25 minutes and can sometimes take 40 to 50  minutes in bad weather, actually took me well over ninety minutes. And all because every other company along the I95 corridor closed at the same time and sent out millions of vehicles out onto snow-covered roads with hampered visibility. When I finally got home, after bitching about the weather and the traffic and the need to shovel, I sort gave in and resigned myself that this was happening and at least I'd gotten out early and would get a Snow Day out of it (an unusually high 2.5 this season). Which got me thinking about how I went from loving Snow Days as a kid to hating them as an adult. 

When Uncle P and his sister were kids, our Mom loved Snow Days, because it meant we got to stay home and she could play with us. We'd bundle up to go out and play in the snow; come in to warm up and dry out and have PB&Js and Campbell's Chicken Noodle soup and then go out for a another hour, until our faces were red and our noses runny. Then it was inside again where warm towels from the dryer waited for us wrap up in while leaning against the boiler's hot brick chimney. Then came hot cocoa and some sort of activity at the kitchen table. Colorforms; Shrinkey-Dinks; Spirograph; paint-by-numbers; coloring books and crayons; watercolors... always something creative to keep us busy until it was time for her to start making dinner in time for Dad to get home. 

Today, was not at all that kind of Snow Day. Sis's Sister-in-Law's son (say that three times, fast), who I've just started to get know and now refer to as my "Nephew-in-Law," came and shoveled me out today, and when I went to get money to pay him, he skipped. I texted him "No fair!" and he texted back "You're family!" Of course, when he helped me this past Monday to put the new battery in the car I'm trying to sell, I stuck a twenty in his pocket when his hands were busy and he had no choice. I'm going to make him some cookies or brownies or something. He's a good kid and I am appreciate my BIL and his family's (especially his sister and her son) kindness more and more, all the time. So, while I could have done any number of things today, including cleaning; painting; inventorying and purging the chest freezer (among others), I instead hibernated until after 10:30 and then vegged out on a "Tattoo Nightmares" marathon on Spike. And while I have 4 episodes of "Dracula" on my DVR, I'm not sure if I'm really willing to continue with the slow-moving plot that seems to have bogged it down the last few episodes I did see. 

So after dinner (the last of the chicken and hush puppies from Sunday) it was off to Netflix and the film version of a story I first read online: John Dies at the End. David Wong's online novel about time-travel; metaphysics; alternate universes; demons; mystical drugs and artificial intelligence (among other things) is transformed into a just-as-weird film by co-writer, director Don Coscarelli, creator of the equally weird Phantasm series. But this is also Coscarelli's homage to other genre directors with nods to Carpenter; Cronenberg and Raimi as told by Lovecraft. Produced by and co-starring Paul Giamatti, Coscarelli and David Wong worked on a script that both managed to connect some of the missing dots in Wong's novella, while maintaining its gonzo sensibilities. Add cuties Chase Williamson and Rob Mayes as leads Dave and John; genre fave Clancy Brown as a charismatic preacher/exorcist (he's so powerful, he can expel a demon over the phone); the often-used but rarely seen Doug Jones (Pan's Labyrinth; Hellboy); a cameo from Angus Scrimm (Phantasm's 'Tall Man') and loads of physical gross-outs and FX (plus an animated sequence that is both gross and hilarious) and you end up with a strange and often hilarious horror movie with two characters who deserve a sequel. *** (Three Out of Four Stars).

So, that was my Snow Day - some nostalgia; sleeping in; bad tattoos and a fun, weird horror movie I've been wanting to see that turned out to be actually pretty good. I may be too old for sledding and snow-forts, but you're never too old to appreciate a lazy day and then ramble on about it like anyone else really cares. 

Did you have a Snow Day today? What did you do or not do, today?

More, anon.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Family Dynamics, Universal Truths, Unmean Comedy and "Raising Hope."

"Raising Hope"
Like Gregory Thomas Garcia's NBC comedy "My Name is Earl," Fox's "Raising Hope" is set a fictional Camden County somewhere in Middle America but with a coastline of some sort, somewhat like Springfield on "The Simpsons." 

If you aren't familiar, "Raising Hope" revolves around perpetual loser Jimmy Chance, who had a one night stand with a serial killer, resulting in the serial killer's pregnancy and Jimmy's custody of their daughter after said killer's execution. Now in it's fourth season, "Raising Hope" has truly hit it's stride, combining absurd situations, hilarious throw-aways and an ever evolving storyline with one hell of an ensemble cast. I may hate Fox News, but several of their prime-time comedies are among the best, of which "Raising Hope" continues to be my favorite.

The Chances are an under-educated family barely living at the poverty line. Burt (hottie Garrett Dillahunt) and Virginia (actual child-star survivor: stage and screen veteran Martha Plimpton in a tragically over-looked, award-worthy comedic performance) Chance live with their son Jimmy (adorable ginger Lucas Neff) in Virginia's grandmother's house in Natesville. Maw Maw (the incomparable Cloris Leachman) also lives there, but spends her time hilariously drifting in and out of reality. But I think my favorite thing about Garcia's show is it's love of familial love. There are hardly fewer dysfunctional families than the Chances. The difference is, their dysfunction is born out of love, rather than non-communication and substance abuse. 

And talk about ensemble casting! Dillahunt's sexy/goofy charm is well matched by Plimpton's very sincere and hilarious modern interpretation of Madame Malaprop. Neff's Jimmy has his own goofy charms,as well, complimented by Shannon Woodward as the over-compensatingly apologetic daughter of rich parents, Sabrina (Jimmy's eventual wife and adoptive mother of the titular Hope - the very adorable Baylie and Rylie Cregut). And anytime Ms Leachman appears, she inadvertently steals the scene, through no fault of her own, though I suspect by deliberate intention of Garcia and his writers who undoubtedly know genius when the see it. Supporting performances from Gregg Binkley and Todd Geibenhain as the hysterically weird Frank help make "Raising Hope" one of the most original and funniest shows of the 21st Century. If you aren't watching, you should.

Oh, and add guest stars like Amy Sedaris; Lee Majors; Shirley Jones; Melanie Griffith and Leslie Jordan and TV doesn't really get much more Meta. 

And from the most recent episode:

More, anon.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Gayest Things You'll See This Week

Showtime's "Penny Dreadful"
After losing a massive (and, if I say so myself, really good) post about "American Horror Story: Coven" (how much do I love that Myrtle plays the theremin?)* thanks to a connectivity issue last week, I haven't really been all that inspired. But today I not only got caught up on AHS and it's insane, over-the-top season 3, I came across a couple of things I just had to mention and share.

First up (via) comes this Axe Body Spray parody which makes sure we all know that DADT is a thing of the past. And while the video below is purportedly a pro-Army shout out in the annual Army v Navy football game from 2008, it really doesn't get much gayer than this:

I can't believe that clip only has 19 thousand hits in 5 years.

And then (via) came this next clip; a teaser for Showtime's upcoming Not-The-League-of-Extraordinary-Gentleman show about literary characters banding together to fight evil, "Penny Dreadful" in which Broadway's original Spider-Man, Reeve Carney plays a decidedly bisexual Dorian Gray (I can only imagine that Oscar Wilde would be very pleased). See if you can spot the moment when Reeve gets licked:

For the first time in a long time, a Showtime series has gotten me hooked. "Shameless" hit me like a ton of bricks when I accidentally stumbled upon the marathon they ran the Sunday before the new season's premiere and I have become a huge fan. Let's see if they can hook me again (I'm guessing yes) with "Penny Dreadful." The show also stars Josh Hartnett; Timothy Dalton and Eva Green. Here are a couple more teasers:

Can't wait!

More, anon.

*I'll have to talk about my obsession with the instrument and it's creator, sometime. It's a fascinating story that too few people know (as well as the subject of a musical in progress from yours truly).

Saturday, January 11, 2014

TV Review: "Helix"

SyFy (I still can't get used to that silly name) debuted their latest original series "Helix" on Friday night with a double episode premiere. 

Set in an underground bio-lab in the Arctic, "Helix" is ostensibly about a group of CDC doctors led by Dr. Alan Farragut (Billy Campbell), who are sent to investigate a possible viral outbreak at the unregulated facility. Farragut is recruited by his ex-wife ("Supernatural" alum Kyra Zagorsky) primarily because the only surviving victim is his brother Peter (Neil Napier), with whom said ex-wife had an affair which ended their marriage. When Farragut and his team arrive, they are injected with RIFD's in their palms, which supposedly give them full access to the entire facility. 

Peter, near death with wildly fluctuating vitals and black blood when his brother's team arrives, somehow manages to escape his quarantined bed and rip his way into the facility's air ducts, using the severed hand of a security officer to access rooms now denied to him and spread the infection to other scientists. Meanwhile, a member of Alan's team learns that rats aren't the only lab animals in the facility when she is attacked by an infected rhesus monkey, after being told that no monkeys were present. It's obvious that something nefarious is going on here, especially after the facility's top scientist, Dr. Hatake (Hiroyuki Sanada), removes his contact lenses to reveal an unusual pair of reflective eyes.

I've been a huge fan of (and must admit to a massive crush on) the very attractive Campbell since first seeing him in The Rocketeer, a movie that should have done better at the box office and should have launched Campbell into an 'A-List' career. Most recently seen on TV as a disreputable politician in AMC's version of "The Killing," Campbell also starred as the leader of the cultish group of alien abduction survivors on USA's "The 4400," a show I loved and miss. He's still massively hot here and I would me remiss if I didn't admit that I'd watch him in almost anything in which he appears. That having been said, he once again holds his own among a cast of mostly unknowns in a series that offers few real surprises (so far).

Despite some dicey CGI effects and a storyline appropriated from several other sources (Stephen King's "The Stand" and John Carpenter's The Thing among them), I found myself thoroughly involved in and intrigued by "Helix" and am looking forward to seeing where it will go. And the upcoming appearance by "Star Trek" and "Body of Proof" alum Jeri Ryan will certainly appeal to both the str8 boys watching, as well as her many gay fans. Darker and decidedly creepier than my other SyFy favorite "Warehouse 13" (which is about to enter it's fifth and sadly final season), "Helix" has lots of potential. I just hope it lives up to that potential.

*** (Three Out of Four Stars).

More, anon.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Chris Kluwe; Keith Olbermann; Civil Rights & Tolkien?

Is Kluwe really Thranduil?
Former NFL punter Chris Kluwe is an undeniably valuable straight ally in the continuing fight for LGBT Civil Rights. He and former Ravens' player Brendon Ayanbedjo have almost certainly lost lucrative sports careers over their stances in support of LGBT rights. 

Both Kluwe and Ayanbejo are young, attractive and athletic. Both of them came of age in a very different era than Uncle P and both of them (because of their celebrity) are able to make their opinions available to the public at large in venues that are widely accessible to just about the entire world. Both of them have also had Major League sports careers which will allow them to support themselves for the foreseeable future. Kluwe has even managed to write a book from which he will see residuals for quite some time. 

All of that is fine and well, and even commendable. I will never knock or abrade anyone who understands that being gay is not a choice (as do every one of my friends and most of my family). 

Still... I can't help but note that no matter how much these two support our community, neither of them will ever really know the kind of discrimination, hate and abuse the LGBT community experiences on a daily basis.  Both are attractive and fit and both have very public forums in which to express their views. But both of them are straight and neither of them can truly know the kind of hatred expressed solely because of their innate sexuality (despite the by now far-more accepted bi-racial status of Ayanbedjo). 

Hear me out - No one can know anyone (you should excuse the old adage) until they have walked in another's shoes. Straight supporters or LGBT civil rights are all well and good (and more important to our cause than most of us realize) but they will never really know the kind of hatred directed at the people they support. 

Okay - LGBT Rights rant over, for now. 

On a much sillier note, look at Kluwe's ears in the interview below with long-time LGBT advocate Keith Olbermann. Is it me, or do his ears appear to be nothing less than Elvin? I think JRR would agree...

Yes, Uncle P knows his view of the world is slightly askew, but would you have it any other way? I should hope not. Why else would you be reading my nonsense?

More, anon.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

"Finding Mr. Banks" Is a Lie

P.L. Travers
Disney's latest live-action film is Saving Mr. Banks, supposedly based on the story of how Walt Disney convinced author P.L.Travers to let him turn "Mary Poppins" into a movie.

Travers, an Australian born failed actress, went on to later gain fame as a poet and novelist. Her own banker father died young of alcoholism and she was later raised by the stern and loving nanny who inspired "Mary Poppins." Rumored to be a lesbian and adopting a son (based on an Astrologer's advice) as a single woman in the 1940's, Travers was an early 20th Century pioneer with a rather mercurial personality, prone to moodiness and not particularly fond of children, who later wrote erotica.  But it was the six Poppins novels that brought her the most acclaim.

Travers apparently hated Disney's version of her first novel, even after he convinced her to allow it to be made into a film. 

Sometime in the early 70's, Mom surprised my sister and I by taking us to a matinee of  revival screening of Mary Poppins. After it was over, my poor little sister (who was maybe 5 or 6 at the time) cried hysterically because Mary left the Banks' house. We tried to explain to her that other children needed her help, but she would have none of it.

Recently the BBC made an extraordinary short documentary about Travers and Disney, which exposes much of what the recent film washes over. If you have an hour, I highly recommend the documentary below:

Mary Poppins made an international star out of Julie Andrews (who won her first Oscar for the role) and eventually became one of Disney's most popular films. In fact, I was particularly thrilled by the fountain in the newest part of the Grand Floridian Hotel in Walt Disney World.

The Grand Floridian Hotel Lobby
While my sister may very well be a self-described "Disney Dork," and I truly enjoyed seeing how the various hotels at the Disney World resort were decorated for the holidays, I somehow completely understand how Travers objected to Disney's 'Disneyfication" of her stories.

I understand her objections, especially given my own proclivity for the darker side of life... But I have to admit that the Disney film had a major influence on my own movie experience. I was just 2 when the movie was first released and probably 6 before I saw it for the first time. 

Despite what Travers intended and objected to, millions of children look to Mary Poppins as a peek into early 20th Century British life. Regardless of what Travers thought, both she and Disney made millions off the movie. As much as she may have objected to the movie itself, Travers' children's novels took off because of the film. Travers established a charity using the money she made, but never established a real relationship with her adopted son or his children. 

More, anon.

Thursday, January 2, 2014


Started my new film year with a short film from 2013 called Proximity, an 11 minute thriller from director Ryan Connolly and co-writer Seth Worley that is well worth the watching. My last stage boyfriend, Chino Cougar Devine (yes, he spells it that way), a hot little Latino with an adorable fiancee, shared it on Facebook and after watching it, I knew I had to share it with you.

Intriguing from the outset, Proximity starts as two men unload a truckload of bound and hooded men in a remote area. They cut their bonds, remove their hoods and wait to see what happens. What follows is a smart, intense Sci-Fi take on The Defiant Ones that's loaded with action and surprises. If this is what Connolly and company can do in 11 minutes (and reportedly shot in only 10 days), just imagine the feature they could make, given the budget. You can watch the film below, along with the trailer for 1958's The Defiant Ones, starring Tony Curtis and Sydney Poitier. 

Now that I have Netflix, I plan on seeing and reviewing more films than I had last year. I still haven't gotten to the movies since Gravity, I think, and that makes me sad, especially with holiday gift cards in my wallet. Dear D owes me at least two... Anyway, enjoy Proximity and look for more from Connolly on his YouTube channel.

Here's to seeing more movies in 2014!

More, anon.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Welcome 2014!

Justin Mikita and Jesse Tyler Ferguson
So many things to look forward to this year. I'm about to direct a new work and present a proposal to direct a play by the insane and hilarious Christopher Durang. I may be auditioning for Shrek (though I haven't quite decided, yet). 

My house will hopefully be transformed enough to have a small "Re-warming" gathering by the time my sister and the BIL come up in the spring. Hopefully all paperwork; deeds, quit-claims; forms and any & all legal documents having to do with Mom's estate will be closed out soon. I do hope my old car sells, quickly, now that the word is out. I could use a little cushion. Tax refunds will help, too. And I'll be having a BIG yard sale this spring (I'll let you know in case you want to stop by). 

I'm also excited to see the rapid advancement in Marriage Equality in the last few months and look forward to the building momentum as more states join the right side of history. I have real hope mostly because of something a friend posted on my Facebook timeline in response to anti-bullying piece I had shared on the JTMF page while the idiotic "Duck Dynasty" debacle was going down:

"Brian, I saw your link regarding homosexuality and suicide. This is a subject that has been on my mind, weighing heavily, since the GQ article came out the other day. The Robertson's have a large family, odds are there is at least one poor, tortured, closeted soul in that family. Originally, I said that I disagreed with everything Phil said, but that I supported his right to say it. Since then, I've come to regret that stand. I don't want Phil or anyone else spreading and encouraging that venom and filth for other clueless parents to glom onto. I don't know for sure if there is someone hiding in the Robertson clan, I pray there isn't, but the thought makes my heart and soul hurt."

Wow. I also hope no one in the Robertson clan is hiding in fear of what their patriarch (or any other family member) thinks of them. But more importantly, I'm so thrilled I was able to make someone see the light and actually change her mind about the power of words. I replied "No child should take his or her life because of what anyone says or thinks about them." So as the states continue to move forward and the conservative right realizes they most evolve if they want to remain relevant, we (by which I mean Western Society as a whole) are that much closer to achieving the ideals of true equality under the law for every citizen of the world. Of course, the battle in some places is going to be tougher than others, but I have no doubt I will see marriage between any two consenting adults in all 50 states and Puerto Rico in my lifetime. Maybe within the next 5 years. And who knows? I might actually meet someone by then... Ever hopeful or ever delusional? We may never know.

I had my traditional New Year's Eve with K, Q & Dale last night. It was also my penultimate gift-exchange of the season (the final one being this coming Saturday with the Dinner Club crew). The three of them conspired and got a gorgeous Steampunk clock that will eventually live in this office, scheduled for redecorating after the aforementioned BIG yard sale. Sis & BIL got me some very fun gifts including a huge ceramic piggy bank dressed as Batman; a zombie Batman keychain fob and a lovely framed print of a photo of an abandoned coaster at Six Flags New Orleans in a funky frame (among other things). While in Florida (which, as lovely a time I had, was still a very weird Christmas for me), I bought myself a few presents, as well (thanks for the extra spending money, Auntie!). I also had a chance to spend some quality time alone with the BIL while there, and we finally had some real bonding and I am happy that we are now closer than ever.

I'm glad the holidays are coming to an end, just so I can really start getting used to a new routine and spending time doing things just for myself, for a change. That in itself is reason enough to look forward to the new year! Thanks for still reading me. I hope you will continue to do so, as long I have it in me to write it. I hope Santa was wise and generous and your holiday foods were delicious and plentiful. The Triskaidekaphobia-inducing year has come to a close and lucky 14 is here, Thank Zeus!

Here's some movie nonsense, proving how bad last year was in just about every way:

More, anon.