Friday, March 31, 2006

Risky Bidness (Or, Sharon's Party Parts)

In just a few hours, I'm off to see Basic Instinct 2: Risk Addiction, which I suredly hope, please please please baby jesus, will be the worst movie of the year.

Sh-Sh-Sh-Sharon, I-I-I can't wait.

There has been a decidedly R-rated trailer floating around the web for a while, filled to the brim with full frontal nudity, freaky and violent - yet oddly unsexy - sex scenes, car chases and beatdown looking computer generated cityscapes.

Bad movies get me hot and bothered like nobody's business. I can watch Showgirls over and over again until my eyes burn with the afterimage of Elizabeth Berkeley's shaved hoohoo. As a kid, my idea of heaven was staying up late to watch Attack of the Killer Tomatoes on the local independent TV station.

I'm looking forward to what Ms. Stone is going to whip out of her panties this time around. After she denied knowing that the filmmakers behind the original Basic Instinct were shooting her exposed crotch in that famous interview scene ("Hey, what's that camera doing on the floor? Hey, when do you want me to remove my panties?"), seems like homegirl is going, um, balls out in the sequel.

Thing is, I think BI2 just might make a shitload of cash this weekend. Hopefully, this means more badass, sexed up trash will be oozing into more mulitplexes in the near future.

I can hear the studio brainstorming sessions already:

"We need to get Hillary Duff a sci-fi /snuff film vehicle. Think Barely Legal meets The Terminator meets Blue Lagoon. Clay Aiken wants to co-star. Think musical numbers."

"Jennifer Aniston is really interested in remaking the entire Emmanuelle franchise. That's right, all ten or so films. Let's make it happen people."

"We can't clear the rights to remake Deep Throat, so let's so something like it instead. How does Swallow Hard sound? Yes, yes...Julia Roberts is available."

"Fuck Cheaper By the Dozen 6. Give me Halle Berry starring in a sexy, slutty remake of Wait Until Dark. She's a blind stripper now. Perfect."

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Miracle of Science (Or, Two-Part Harmony)

Today is my mother's birthday. Since she is one of the five regular readers of this blog, I quite naturally feel compelled to offer her a hearty well-wishing here.

I also, also quite naturally, have birthday-related stories about her to share.

Well, two stories really. Or, one in two parts.

When I turned 29 five years ago, my mother was hot to give me a hard time about being in striking distance from that dirty milestone of 30. I could hear the coming glee in her voice when the topic of my age came up.

"You're getting old, Trev, " she said, setting up for a few spikes. I could hear the smart-ass one-liners diligently lining up in her head.

"Listen, lady. Don't go there." I said, attempting to shut things down. "Which says more about age? Turning 29 or having a 29 year old child?"

"Oh, shit. You're right."

We then agreed never to mention the specifics of age again in our yearly birthday calls to each other.

"If it's any consolation, " she continued, "it's OK to be bitter about turning 29."

"Really?"

"Yes. Because, you know what? You're going to be 29 for a long time."

I chuckled.

"In fact, I'm still 29 to anyone who will believe me."

She then went on to recount a fond memory of her days working as a speech pathologist. On the desk in her office, she had photographs of both my brother and me, each of us then in our twenties. At the time, my mom had been working with children who were on the younger side of the spectrum of elementary education.

In other words, her "I'm 29" schtick was going over like gangbusters.

One day, a little first-grade girl was in her office for a speech lesson. The little girl noticed the framed pictures of my brother and me and asked:

"Hey lady. Who are these men?"

"Oh, they're my sons, " my mother replied.

"What?"

"I have two sons and this is a picture of..."

"I heard you lady, " the little girl interrupted. "How old did you say you were again?"

Although nervous, my mother kept up her front.

"I'm, um, 29. Remember?"

"Oh, no lady. You can't do that."

"Do what?"

"Lie like that. I know what you're doing and it's not right. You can't have two growed up mens for sons and be 29."

My mother was now desperate to cover her tracks.

"You're right. I'm sorry."

"Now, how old are you really? You better not lie again."

"I'm 32."

The little girl gave her a shady, squint-eyed look, as if she were the most jaded of homicide detectives, sizing up the stories of potential suspects.

"OK, lady. That's better."

Finally off the hook, my mother started to resume the lesson.

"One more thing," the girl said.

"What's that?"

"Next year, you better be 33."

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Color Me Mrs. Federline (Or, Does This Beard Make My Ass Look Fat?)

I never thought I'd say this, but here goes:

I feel sorry for Britney Spears.

Yes, that's right.

The noticably plumper Mrs. Federline is either basking in the baby-weighted afterglow of baby #1 or the pregnant pre-glow of baby #2. Either way, the poor thing is getting pummelled and banged up and slapped around and ridden raw in the press like a two dollar hooker in the back of a parked semi at a truck stop in West Virginia.

Pictures of her, um, jelly roll and multiple chins abound everywhere. I can't escape them.

Really.

Here's the thing though: I feel the bitch's pain.

That's right.

Just this afternoon, after a mini-maelstrom of client calls, I went out to get lunch. On my way back into my apartment building, I stopped to smoke a cigarette. My downstairs neighbor, usually a genial and friendly elderly woman, was also entering the building and paused for a moment to say hello. Before she said anything, she looked at my ass, clicked her teeth, and said:

"What have you done? I haven't seen you since the fall. My God, you have gained weight."

During the "My God..." segment of her truly inspired speech, she made a circular motion around the side of my ass.

Fighting the elderly isn't exactly something I do on a daily basis. I was tempted to call her any number of filthy names, but before I could do that or kick her in the shins or bitchslap her, she said:

"You know, you really should exercise. It's good for you."

This from a woman whose daily trek up three flights of stairs is a personal near-armageddon.

"And another thing, " she continued, wagging her finger in my face. "I do not like your beard like that. Your face is too full as it is."

On that note, she walked into the building and began her "buns-of-steel" march upstairs to her apartment.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Come Back to the Five and Dime, Ellen Barkin, Ellen Barkin (Or, Once Upon a Magazine)

Just when I was about to give up reading New York Magazine (OK, not really at all. Not even close.), the publication comes out with the one-two-punch of hot cover stories (or, rather, cover stories that snap my particular bean - in no particular order):

"The Billionaire and the Bombshell" (On the Ron Perleman - Ellen Barkin Divorce - a story that is the delicious and dirty, dirty love child of Vanity Fair and US Weekly)

and

"Forever Youngish" (On the extended youth of New York's approaching middle-aged adults)

The latter of which is so spookily accurate, I can't take it.

Each cover story really put a spring in my step, I have to say. The first, for the knowledge that Ellen Barkin will finally be in movies again; the second, for the knowledge that I am not alone in my middle-aging extended adolescence.

I don't need to grow up, see. I just need to drop into my "shifting definition of adulthood"edness.

Um, after writing that last sentence, I just realized I should have only taken glee in Ellen Barkin's dirty laundry and not my own. Damn you, truth.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Hareback Mountain (Or, Somethings Are Better Left Resaid)


The inevitable has happened.

Thank Christ.

The folks at Angry Alien Productions and Starz! have aimed their well-trained, beady, red, teeny tiny bunny eyes at Brokeback Mountain. So let your fingers do the walking over to Brokeback Mountain in 30 Seconds As Re-Enacted by Bunnies.

Jack, I swear. It's worth half a minute of your life.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

We Three Rings of Ontario Are (Or, Don't Wraith On My Parade)

Just when we thought that J.R.R. Tolkien's tight, maniacal grip on popular culture was loosening up a bit (How many Oscars did those movies win? How much money did they make? How many wonky ass elf-pendant love trinkets and swords are sold in airline on board magalogs?), word on the street is that Lord of the Rings has been transformed into a stage show.

Not just any ole stage show, neither.

LOTR is about to become a (insert any handy x-rated expletive here) musical.

Uh-huh, that's right.

(Insert the applause of thousands of musical theater actor-dancer types who are on the short side. Choruses of hobbits unite!)

All of this is happening in Toronto as I write this.

Now, I have been known to bitch and moan and gripe and bitch about musicals from time to time, but if one happens to be done right (like Hedwig and the Angry Inch or - pardon my homosexuality for a second - Gypsy), I am thrilled.

Yes, thrilled.

OK, sort of sometimes thrilled.

Now, I have to wonder: just what in the Sam-the-Hobbit-hell are these songs going to sound like?

Oh, who am I kidding?

My mind has already started the musical trip to Mordor:

"I'm Just a Gollum in Love"

"Don't Wraith On My Parade"

"(Here's to) The Elf Queens Who Lunch"

"Frodo's Turn"

"On a Clear Day You Can See The Shire"

"Mordor Has a Whorehouse In It"

and the 10:00 show-stopper..."Everything's Coming Up Hobbits"

On that high note, I'll stop while I'm sort of ahead.

This just in from Backstage:

Jennifer Holliday will play Galadriel, the Elf Queen. Sandy Duncan and Cathy Rigby will be playing the hobbits Sam and Frodo. Patti LuPone, overwhelmed with the opportunity to "break almost new ground", has decided to leave the current production of Sweeney Todd in order to play Gandalf the Gray. Betty Buckley will be playing Gandalf the White. Gollum - represented onstage by an anamatronic device, will be played by Ethel Merman. or, rather, previously unused recordings done by Ms. Merman will be spliced together to provide Gollum's voice. Liza Minelli had been in talks to portray the villainous Saruman, but she declined due to the onstage nudity required by the role. She also felt that wearing a white wig was somewhat unbecoming of a legend.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The Side Affectationeses of Fame (Or, Out of Range)


So, MTV has done it again.

In keeping with its decade long stretch of ignoring the "music" part of "Music Television", the network has jumped on the latest trend in reality programming:

The Life of the Model.

Or, rather, the non-life of the model.

8th and Ocean, MTV's latest half-hour reality circle jerk, centers around the lives of a set of young models working their way up the we-don't-eat-food chain in Miami's, uh, "cut-throat" fashion scene. I nearly brushed this shiny, fucked-up, bite-sized-and-still-under-20-calories gem of a show aside in favor of something seemingly more worthy of my attention when the following gripping monologue sucked me in:

(In response to a model booker's query: "Don't you think your book is too young...that it needs to be more edgy...more sexy?")

FEMALE MODEL: I guess...but...like...I only...like...like to do...like...things that I'm...like good at. Like, I know that I'm good at, like, certain things. Like I'm really good at smiling. I'm good at laughing. I'm good at jumping. I'm not good at running. I don't think I'm good at 'sexy'.

Later, the model is whisked off to an "edgy" fashion shoot in the middle of a field of cowflop. Despite the challenge of standing near real live animal poo, Miss Model kept her shit together. Until...

(Insert pre-programmed conflict button here. Preferably an effective one - like when Irene Cara is asked to take off her top for an acting audition in Fame.)

A stylist asks her to take off her bra, because it is showing through the "high fashion garment" she's modeling. Through tears, the model takes off her bra and continues the shoot, convinced that the gay stylists in charge of the shoot are going to use the Polaroid proofs as jack-off material and that she has permanently fucked up her intimate relationship to Jesus.

Oh, yeah. Naturally, she's all freaky for Baby Jesus.

After the shoot, she rushes to a meeting held at a church - the sign outside the meeting reads:

MODEL'S FOR CHIRST

Good thing Baby J is forgiving.

I'm not sure though that 8th and Ocean will be quite the success that America's Next Top Model has become. Thing is, the cast of 8th and Ocean are actual working models.

With all of the braneseses and personality thereof.

Those scrappy gals on ANTM sure ain't working models - and probably never will be.

But at least the bitches have heat to spare.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Fresh Peaches of Teaches (Or, How to Steal a Show In Three Songs Or Less)


Last night, I went to see the Bring Them Home Now concert at the Hammerstein Ballroom. The line-up was a mixed bag - I won't launch into a heady review, since the cause was such a worthy one.

But...

I will say...

In the night's shortest set, Peaches quite triumphantly walked off with the show, the audience's affection firmly lodged between her well-turned, well-timed and wholly infectious nasty ass beats.

In an overly (and, I suppose, necessarily) earnest selection of musicians, she was able to make songs about tits, ass, sexual obsession, and the desire to watch man-on-man sex more political than anything else onstage. Armed with only a "magic wand", an amazingly 80s crimped hairdo and fishnet stockings, she sang three songs (actually, only two full ones) - but she left the audience breathless for more. When the performers came back on for an event-ending curtain call, it was Peaches who garnered the most vigorous applause.

Her spot-on introduction went a little something like this:

"It might be odd for someone like me to be performing here tonight. Thing is, I write songs about Bush and Dick. It's just that the bush and dick I write about is the kind everybody likes."

In today's nearly banal, desensitized pop-culture environment (where sex lurches at us at every turn, but somehow fails to titilate), intelligent sleaze is as radical a political post-postmodern notion as they come.

Monday, March 20, 2006

St. Hoohoo's Day (Or, You Are Now Rocking With The French)


Although I do enjoy the occasional, seasonal Shamrock Shake, I spent St. Patrick's Day in New York as any good New Yorker with absolutely no Irish blood in his system would:

I spent it hanging with the French.

My evening consisted of steak frites, martinis, and (French-and-English) Stereolab's concert at Town Hall.

Bons temps. Bon temps.

Above: a collection of Stereolab's most excellent album cover art.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Pubic Speaking 101 (Or, A Special Guest Star's Alternate Ending)

Ever since the folks at blogspot have created better filters to prevent lustily spammy, weirdo content- pushers from posting cockamamie advertising "comments" to this site, I have been at a loss for "fanmail".

Gone are the days when my email inbox would be stuffed (or, rather, mildly cluttered) with messages like:

"GREAT BLOG! Whenever I'm constipated, I try soft-core asian teens going at it hardcore in their first girl-on-girl experience with Canadian Viagra. Keep up the good work!"

or...

"I am also really interested in breaking into the real estate game. I bookmarked your site! Check out mine. It's all about Shannon's first time with a man who has a great new skincare regimen."

I still get real comments though, which is always a good thing. In response to this little ditty, an avidly bawdy BV reader (OK, it was my mother) offered this alternate punchline to the waitress with the Sunday mid-morning pop-up pubic patch story:

"Too bad they don't make special hairnets for that."

Once again, leaving the ongoing battle between nature and nurture a solid draw.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

We Always Hang in a Buffalo Stance (Or, Ram It Down and Dig Dig Dig Right In)

Today, my iTunes library has been chugging away - as usual - on random shuffle. Most of the time, this is my preferred mode of listening to music - sometimes the selection of songs is so great, I wish it were a repeatable experience. In equal doses, the selection of songs is sometimes so fucked up, I often wonder just who the hell I am.

For instance, one memorable evening, Judas Priest and Ethel Merman played on a double bill together. Hearing "Ram It Down" and "(If I Knew You Were Comin') I'd've Baked a Cake" back to back served as an oddly accurate self-portrait.

One I wasn't quite ready to see.

Since I bought my first iPod four years ago, my relationship to music has changed dramatically. I used to be very conscious about choosing albums to listen to (or a few at a time to load into my now long-gone stereo) - but now, I can't decide as well as I used to.

At all.

My selection behavior is a mad mash-up of attention deficit disorder and the proliferation of choice. I'm half-focused, half-scattered, and all lazy.

So, I let "random" do all the work for me.

I'm starting to question iTunes' interpretation of "random" though. Over the course of the morning and early afternoon, I have heard the following songs:

"Let the Beat Hit 'Em" - Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam
"Hippie Chic" - SoHo
"Here Comes the Hotstepper" - Ini Kamoze
"Everybody, Everybody" - Black Box
"Tom's Diner" - DNA Featuring Suzanne Vega

and...

"Buffalo Stance" - Neneh Cherry

Now, from that kissing-cousin-of-embarassing list it would seem I only have assorted dance collections (like "We Be Jammin'! Random Brokedown Pseudo Hits from 1992!") uploaded to my hard drive. Thing is, I have 42 days worth of music sitting on an external hard drive.

Yes, days.

Not hours.

So, out of those 42 days (or the even better-sounding 1,008 hours), how these six particular songs rolled out on their own randomly in a few hours is a bit freaky. Sure there were a few other songs breaking up the 90s Club Mix! flow of things, but I was having a tough time getting accepting the "random"-ness of it.

Or, maybe, it wasn't random at all.

(See, bitch. I told you I had issues.)

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Beware the Ideseseses of March (Or, Encyclopedia Dork Is On the Case)

OK, a less-than-sexy admission:

I am so addicted to wikipedia that, sometimes, I can't see straight. I won't embarass myself further by offering a detailed log of just how many hours of my life have been sucked away by its hypertexty, fluid vortex of useful and useless information.

The not-so-inner dork in me is thrilled that the world finally has such a great online encyclopedia that you don't have to pay a service fee for, have to be a registered user to access, have harsh clandestinely downloaded cookies jam the innards of your unit (how's that for sexy computer shop-talk), or obnoxious, wonkadoodly ads pop all up in your grill.

Plus, their image selection (most of them part of the public domain) rocks me, like, so hard (see above).

Oh, yeah, can you tell I've been strapped to my computer with too much work this week? Today is also the Ides of March, which, besides being the date of Julius Caesar's assassination, also declares in it's own, quiet way:

Hallefuckinglulah, spring is almost here.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Waiter, There's Some Girl in My Soup (Or, Something in the Way She Pubes)

Last Sunday I went to a friend's birthday brunch at a very swelligent (well, more like just smack- somebody- it's so-good, down and dirty) Frenchy restaurant in my 'hood.

I won't say which French restaurant it was.

I won't name names.

I ain't no snitch, see.

Our waitress was a bit out of it, and yet, was lovely in an oldschool, early 1990s junkie chic artgrrrl kind of way. She was wearing a lacy, peasanty top and very low slung jeans.

Like, way low slung.

(I'm not playing Elsa Klensch here. What she was wearing will be important in a hot second...)

She was making her way down our table of 20 or so, jotting down orders on a little pad of paper. Because, you know, wait-persons sometimes do that. As she approached where I was sitting, my friend Torrey grabbed my arm, yanking me in close.

"Look at the top of her jeans," he said through clenched teeth.

"Am I crazy, or can you see her motherfucking pubic hair?"

I tried to play it cool, despite Torrey's fingers still buried in my forearm. I looked up slowly at the waitress.

Crazy, Torrey was not.

I sat there, mesmerized by the sure and clear sight of pubic hair a popping - right out of the top of her jeans. And not just a few strays that happened to escape a recent hedge trimming.

I'm talking whole top of the wiley bush here, peeking out from those lowslung pants in defiance.

(See, I told you the waitress' fashion would be important later.)

As our end of the table tried to contain ourselves and not stare or giggle or contort our faces in horror at the sight of what appeared to be a man's toupee peaking out of the top of our waitress' jeans, I blurted out:

"Well, I'm definitely not getting the linguine."

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Run, Don't Walk (Or, Wig in the Hand is Worth Two on the Head)

Before it disappears from theaters, run out to see Dave Chappelle's Block Party while you can. It was far more than I expected - a fantastic and hilarious concert film. In this dismal stretch of the movie calendar year (post-Oscars, pre-Summer blockbuster whiplash), it is a tiny, well-observed powerhouse.

My personal favorite moment: while performing in the wind and rain, Erykah Badu's notoriously glorious afro is revealed to be a giant wig. The wind catches her hair, lifting it slightly from her head, showing the front seam of her wig.

Instead of trying to cope with the revelation and reposition the wig, she just whips it off without pretense and continues singing.

If only other stars had the balls to do the same thing.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Thursday, March 09, 2006

More Than A Woman (Or, A Fifth Of Beethoven)

An unintentionally loud web video sent my nextdoor neighbor barrelling to my door at 10:30 this morning.

The video, part of a work project, had played maybe three seconds before I could mute my computer's speakers.

Yes, it was loud.

Yes, it was unintentionally loud.

No, it was not pornography.

As soon as the doorbell rang, I knew it was him.

I could feel his velvety rage from inside my apartment. I opened the door to find him standing there in the hallway, arms akimbo - hands on waist - in that way that only has one thing to say:

Why do I have to live next door to you and your loudass music?

Thing is, I need to invest in some bigass stereo headphones, so I can just listen to music - or whatever comes chugging out of my computer's speakers - in peace.

When I was about eight years old, I got a gigantic pair of stereo headphones for Christmas. The things must have weighed twenty pounds. Whenever I put them on, it was all I could do to keep my head on top of my neck without collapsing to the floor under their weight. My little brother, probably two or three at the time, would beg me to use the headphones - so he could listen to his favorite album (probably Sesame Street Fever!), but I never would, for fear of having the weight of them snap his neck, turning him into a quadripilegic before he even made it to pre-school. I'm sure I paused to consider the potential AfterSchool Special glamour of such an ordeal, but he never got to experience Burt and Ernie's disco shenanigans in such a fashion.

Just after my neighbor left my front door, I quietly eased my computer's volume back up to an acceptably bland level.

Moments later, the BeeGee's "More Than A Woman" came on in a random shuffle mix. Whenever I hear songs from that album (the ubiquitous Saturday Night Fever soundtrack), I don't immediately think of the film, or of when I first heard it. I think of the artwork from the album cover - mostly the set of filmstills that span the inside panels.

I would listen to the album and sit and look at those photos, inventing a narrative to bridge the gap between sound and image. Since I was too young to see an R-rated feature at the time, I could only invent a story to go along with the pictures and songs.

In my mind, Saturday Night Fever was an upbeat musical along the lines of Grease, which also starred the then-magnificent John Travolta. There was some sort of dance-off (at least I got that part right), and "Sandy" was his girlfriend in the leotard. She was a sweet schoolteacher who was a single mother in New York not unlike Marsha Mason's character in The Goodbye Girl (which I was allowed to see).

Naturally, the whole thing took place in my eight-year-old-mind's-eye version of Manhattan.

Years later, I finally saw the film.

I nearly barfed.

Innocent "Sandy" is really a crass social climbing bitch named "Stephanie", most of the story takes place in Brooklyn, John Travolta lives with his parents and works in a paint store, and Donna Pescow, TV's beloved Angie, gets gang-raped in the back of a car near the Verazzano Bridge. It was as if my private, glittery version of the movie had been directed by Busby Berkeley and the real version had been helmed by Sam Peckinpah.

Funny how the ideas of movies, the myths of them, outsize their realities.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

What's Written on the Wind Rhymes With Gin (Or, Taster's Choice Tastes Better With Booze)

In order to alleviate the visual and audial pain caused by Lauren Bacall's strange and strained appearance at the Oscars Sunday night, let us know consider for a moment that her career spans upwards of sixty years and that she's into her ninth decade on the planet.

Hey, if I live to be 82, you can be damn sure that I'll be gunning whatever's available to me, be it over-, under-, around-, on-top-of-, or through- the goddamned counter.

I think she was a sport for showing up at all to introduce a montage of film noir - especially since nine years ago she was famously robbed of a Supporting Actress Oscar by Juliette Binoche. Binoche won for playing - in a stretch for sure - a crazy French nurse.

Binoche usually plays crazy French wives, mothers, and whores. It was the nursing bit that really threw it over the top.

So Miss Bacall was a bit more than drunk and, quite possibly, mainlining Sudafed™.

But can you blame her?

Back in the day, that's what you called getting into character.

I once had a debate with someone about Lauren Bacall's worthiness as a star and actress. Somewhere toward the end of the fight, it went a little something like this:

ME: What about To Have and Have Not? Written on the Wind? How to Marry a Millionaire?

THEM: Give me Grace Kelly any day.

ME: What about Bacall's voice?

THEM: Two words. Taster's. Choice.

ME: Fuck you.

THEM: Seriously, Princess Grace didn't do any fucking coffee commercials.

ME: At least Bacall knows how to drive a car.

Apologies to Princess Grace of Monaco. See also: one of my favorite books - J.G. Ballard's Crash.

Monday, March 06, 2006

My Boredom Has a First Name. It's O-S-C-A-R. (Or, Backlash Mountain)


So, it's come and gone again.

Awards Season, with all of its heady, self-congratulatory bebeaded glamour, is behind us.

And, for the second year in a row, the Oscar Ceremony just about bored me to tears.

There were wigs and weaves and waves.

There were gowns and trainwrecks and Jennifer Aniston, who captured both in one sad eyefull.

(Note to show producers: the Emmys are in September. That's where TV stars go. I know it got confusing when Helen Hunt got an Oscar for her role on "Mad About As Good As It Gets For You", but we've moved beyond that now with the help of booze and pills, thank you.)

There was the very well placed, well-wigged Dolly Parton that made us, the viewers at home, recall entertainers with real talent.

There were oddly placed, flaming set-pieces that made us, the viewers at home, recall car crashes and racism and why living in Los Angeles is, well, pretty intensical and dramatical, all at once.

There were oddly placed, hootchie mama back-up dancers in hot pants that made us, the viewers at home, recall our days in the sun, when it was so damn hard to be a pimp, with all our ho's gettin' money fo' da shit.

(Note to show producers: the Grammys are in February. That's where pimps and 'hos go.)

There was Salma Hayek again with the hard-to-understand-but-still-pretty-hot-like-her-titties English, curling around technical awards nominees names in confused pronunciational ecstacy.

There was Lily Tomlin and Meryl Streep, really tearing it up for Robert Altman, getting an incredibly overdue honorary Oscar. If only Nashville or M*A*S*H or Three Women or The Player or Short Cuts or Gosford Park or McCabe and Mrs. Miller or The Long Goodbye were released this year instead of Crash.

Crash says nothing next to any of those films. For a film about social behavior, there is far too much conceptual grandstanding going on. The average people (supposedly anyway) portrayed in Crash would never wander around, espousing the Big Ideas that they do onscreen.

Life doesn't happen that way. Life is as random as the events in Crash, for sure, but how people behave - and more importantly, how they speak - is even more random. Paul Haggis, the director and writer of Crash, took quite a few pages from Mr. Altman's playbook.

In my opinion, he should have taken a few more.

I think the real reason that Crash won though, has more to do with not giving it to Brokeback Mountain, than it does with giving it to a deserving film. In all ways, Brokeback Mountain is a superior film - but it is a film that has become a punchline to too many adolescent jokes made by (supposedly) heterosexual men who are uncomfortable with gay sex depicted onscreen. The sex in Brokeback Mountain makes men squirm not because it is explicit (which it is far from), but because it is relatable and, therefore, entirely threatening. The "gay" men in this movie have wives and children and - in all ways - heterosexual lives far away from the urban-identified type of homosexual of the same period - well-embodied by Truman Capote (the kind of effeminate, sexless gay man the Academy has no problem with, awarding Best Actor to Philip Seymour Hoffman).

Brokeback Mountain is a frightening movie to some audiences because it depicts a world of same-sex sexual behavior without the trappings of gay identity.

It is a film that is more about fear and the forced and enforced embodying of the American masculine ideal than it is about being "gay".

How I got from Dolly Parton to the soapbox, I have no idea. I do think, wholeheartedly, that Brokeback was robbed by a backlash. I am happy to see how far it went as a film and am thrilled that it one three Oscars last night. But it is a more deserving "Best Picture" winner than Crash is.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

An Apology, A Plug, A Joke (Or, A Belated Entry for Tuesday)

Yes, it's been two weeks.

Yes, I've been busy.

Yes, I'm sure there are few readers left, like I had any to start with, but since blogging is well-reportedly over, I'm bucking the backlash with new and improved lite-blogging for the lite-reading lite-style™.

Expect more exclusive, gossipy entries on WhiteTrash Heiress™, Fatty WhiteTrash Mommy™, and the perennial favorite, Junkie WhiteTrash Child Star Turned Junkie WhiteTrash Actress™.

(Also known as Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, and Lindsay Lohan, in no particular order).

(That was the apology.)

You can also check out my new favorite blog: What Would Tyler Durden Do?

It is hilariously well-written. The headlines (like, "Winona Ryder is annoying"; "Gywneth Paltrow is an idiot"; "Britney Spears is a great mom") are slayers. It's like that silly/post-postmodern genius section of US Weekly "Stars, They're Just Like Us!!!", except, in this case, stars really are just like us.

They're assholes.

(That was the plug.)

(Here comes the joke...)

In the maternity ward of an upscale Southern hospital, two sweet, tender, married young ladies are lying in bed in a shared room. Their husbands and families have left for the evening. Each of them has just given birth to their third child.

LADY 1: Y'know. When I had my first baby, my husband gave me a new Mercedes.

LADY 2: That's niiiiiiice.

LADY 1: Then, when I had my second baby, my husband gave me a beautiful diamond ring.

LADY 2: That's niiiiiiice.

LADY 1: As soon as I get out of the hospital here with my third baby, my husband's going to buy me a mink coat.

LADY 2: That's niiiiiiice.

LADY 1: It was niiiiiiice. Doesn't your husband do anything niiiiiiice for you after you give birth?

LADY 2: He does. After I had my last child, he sent me to finishing school.

LADY 1: Finishing school? Dear Lord, why would anyone want that as a gift?

LADY 2: Well, before I went to finishing school, whenever someone said something I didn't particularly care for, I would say "Fuck you.", now I just say "That's niiiiiiice."

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

America Needs More Carol Channing

I decided that. I decided that just now. Let Channing ring!