Saturday, December 16, 2006

Sometimes the wheel turns slowly, but it turns

HarperCollins Fires Judith Regan Who Backed O.J. Simpson Book

(Bloomberg) -- Editor Judith Regan, who backed a book by O.J. Simpson on how he could have killed his ex- wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman, was fired yesterday by HarperCollins, a unit of News Corp.

Among other things, Regan is a garden-variety GOP hypocrite.

Getting to know you, getting to know all about you

Most every month, I get a handful of comments and/or emails on this blog from people that I don't know. Which is cool. But I'd just like to know a little bit about who you are and where you came from. Or what you like or not about the blog.

So if you wouldn't mind, tap on the comments line down there to the right and introduce yourself. Tell me anything and everything you want me to know, or you think I might like to know about you.

A few suggested questions to answer follow.

When and how did you find my blog?
When you're not reading this blog, what are you trying to do with your life?
And how's that going for you?
Where did you grow up, and where do you live now?

Marital status?
Democrat, Republican, or other?

Use as many or none of them as you like. BTW, this is strictly for my own curiosity, I'm not conducting a demographic survey or anything.

Friday, December 15, 2006

So you see the kind of rape you get depends on what you pay

Oof. This one just opens (trap) door after door. Shakespeare's Sister:
The online virtual game Second Life has a swell feature that allows players to purchase a rape:

Gawker: "What's the fun of enjoying your second life in Second Life without a little ultraviolence? ... We're not as conversant with SL's moral conventions as your average nerd, but it surprises even our jaded souls that you can indulge in rape fantasies (options: 'Rape victim,' 'Get raped,' or 'Hold victim') for a trifling 220 Linden dollar things. Nice that the purchase takes place in an evocative back alley, with the actual rape set in some kind of red cobblestone gimp-dungeon."

Ann at Feministing has more, and points to a review of a game calle RapeLay, which actually made my stomach churn and eyes water as I read the description of the game. [Warning: Graphic content ahead.]

If you can stand it. Me, I'm thinking about those wrongheaded fucks who praise video games as a form of art with beautiful, poetic moments. Now I'm not stupid. I wouldn't really want to condemn an entire branch of entertainment because of one or two anti-life examples.

(If I did, I'd have given up on Doctor Who after "Love & Monsters.")

Rape and other anti-life moments have been fantasized about (or at least trivialized) in comic books, movies, music, probably puppet shows, and music videos. And musicals. including The Fantastiks, referenced in my headline.

And I don't think any of those forms of entertainment are bad per se. Nevertheless.

I'm reading these reviews and I'm thinking about those wrongheaded fucks who praise video games as a form of art with beautiful, poetic moments.

And I'm wondering:

Tron led to this?

Tuned to a natural "E."

Here, in a connection pulled out of the ether, are two posts that just make me feel good. First, courtesy of Kos,
To amplify what others are pointing out, the know-nothing Beltway Blowhards are conveniently ignoring a hugely important point:

Democrats now have 233 seats in the 110th congress, more than Republicans have had since 1952. the Republican "revolution" never secured this large a majority in the House. We beat them. We did better than they ever did. So much for the vaunted Republican political machine, which recorded record voter contacts, record fundraising, and record early voting this cycle. With their best effort, we beat them harder than they ever beat us.

This is a progressive country. All the talk of a "conservative" majority destroyed with a Democratic majority that towers over the best the Republican "revolution" could ever muster.

It's been a good year.

And second:


Someone filmed my dream

For a few years now, I've been saying that when we die, if we've been good, we take a hot shower with Virginia Madsen.

I still stand by that. She reminds me of Lillian Gish (in-joke you have to have seen the above movie to get).

But this...this would be pretty good too.

(Another branch from the Tree of Thoughts)

Just in case any of you were wondering...

Yes indeed, I was caught up in that motherfucker of a windstorm we had here in Washington (and Oregon) last night. I gather from the news that it was the worst since a storm that hit the night of Bill Clinton's first inaugeration, before I lived here.

That irony-loving god. Every time the Democrats win a signifigant electoral victory, he takes away power from one of the most Democratic places in the country.

My lights went out last night around 10:30 and only just came on about a half an hour ago, give or take (I was actually out when they did).

I was able to switch off power to the computer so there wouldn't be a surge when it came back on. And as luck would have it, I had a candle handy. So I read for an hour and a half (my eyes are ruined anyway) to see if they would come back on, then took asprin and sleeping pills around midnight. I dug out my portable casette player, put new batteries in it and listened to old radio tapes till asleep.

My area didn't have a lot of falling branches, but that wind was so bad I was actually wondering if my windows would hold up. But honestly, I had it good-this storm actually claimed four lives, and although I missed having heat (believe me!) at least I was inside.

Where I could get under a blanket and afgan and a couple of cats.

And at least I don't live in the city that used to be New Orleans.

But just in case you were wondering.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

That's my girl

Anne Hathaway, Jessica Biel and Jennifer Hudson are this year's winners at the Hollywood Magazine's Breakthrough Awards.

Hathaway won the Star of the Year award for her role in The Devil Wears Prada, and Jessica Biel and Jennifer Hudson were also honoured for their roles in The Illusionist and Dreamgirls respectively.

I don't know Hudson or her work, but Jessica Biel isn't fit to wear Anne's nail polish.

Spider's webs and dragon's lairs (Some nights you just feel more isolated from your culture than others)

As always, I want to draw a perhaps-thin distinction. I don't like to see anyone criticize things they don't know about; so I'm going to be trying not to do that in what follows.

What I want to talk about is why I find myself with surprisingly little interest in seeing the new Charlotte's Web or Eragon. And I'll acknowledge up-front Web's been getting generally good reviews, and it's entirely possible that I'm "wrong."

Beyond the coincidence of their opening at the same time, there are a couple of connections between them. Both are based on popular children's books, one I've read, one I have not.

And in both cases, my resistance to seeing them stems largely from the realization of a non-human character.

Look, I'm an archnaphobe from way back (I trace it to a television viewing of Tarantula at too young an age). When reading the book by E.B. White I could keep the picture of Charlotte in my mind's eye in such a way that I could deal with it. I probably did it subconsciously.

Hanna-Barbera had the good sense to anthropomorphize her enough that I could do the same thing. The new movie has a CGI, realistic-looking spider seen in close-up. That's just fucking creepy, whether Julia Roberts' voice is coming out of it or not.

As for Eragon, I haven't read the book, but based on the TV ads, I just want to ask: How is it possible that in something like almost 60 years of modern filmmaking, the one-and-only good onscreen dragon is the one in Dragonslayer?

Dragonheart, which looked like it was going to be so cool in theory, ended up being fucked by its director and Reign of Fire was just stupid. Dragonslayer's only a good movie, not a great one, but it makes them look sick, and the dragon puts them all to shame.

Now that's what I'm talkin' 'bout! (I like dragons a lot. Have I mentioned that to you people?)

Seriously. Did I miss one?

(Apart from an unjustly obscure animated short I saw at a festival back in 1991, Denny Goes Air Surfing. Which, believe you me, if I could find online I would post here in a milisecond.)

The things you find when stars of TV shows you like are nominated for Golden Globes

I was just idly looking her up to see if there were any good reaction quotes-Sarah Paulson, the lone nominee for "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip", is gay. I had no idea.

I suppose it's postively indecent of me to mention how much I've been enjoying the fact that promos for her Christmas-themed romantic TV-movie include her saying the words:

"Ben, I have faith in you."

Sigh. Best invocation of my name from an actress I like since the moment on the "Leaving Las Vegas" soundtrack CD where Elisabeth Shue says "Don't you like me, Ben?"

I could die every time....

Other nominations for shows I like include "24," which was nominated for best drama and best actor (Kiefer Sutherland) and "House," which got a best actor nom for Hugh Laurie.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Oh, spiffy

Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson of South Dakota was hospitalized after becoming disoriented Wednesday, weeks before his party is to take control of the Senate by a one-vote margin.

Johnson, who turns 60 on Dec. 28, was admitted to George Washington University Hospital with an undiagnosed illness, said a spokeswoman, Julianne Fisher.

She said, however, the senator did not suffer a stroke or heart attack. His office had said earlier it was a possible stroke.

Democrats won a 51-49 majority in the November election. South Dakota's Republican governor, Mike Rounds, would appoint a replacement to serve until the 2008 election should Johnson die or resign.

If the Senate is split 50-50, the vice president breaks ties. That is Republican Dick Cheney at present.

The worst thing about this-besides the worst thing about this-is that if it happens, we can count on some of the godfearing, Christian GOP to start referring to it as an act of god.

au revoir, Peter Boyle

Updated: Wings For Wheels has a nice rememberance of him too.

Peter Boyle, who played the tap-dancing monster in "Young Frankenstein" and the curmudgeonly father in the long-running sitcom "Everybody Loves Raymond," has died.

I'm remembering his turn as the racist old father in "Monster's Ball," and his good work in "The Candidate," still one of the best and most acute political movies ever made. I'm also kind of fond of his work in "The Dream Team" as the former ad exec with a Messiah complex.

Coincidentally I have been watching "Everybody Loves Raymond" a little more recently because I read producer Philip Rosenthal's book. By and large I can either take it or leave it.

But I've seen enough to get a sense that Boyle's role on that show was to be a little one-note. But that one note he played, he played exceedingly well.

I'm also remembering a charming movie he made back in 1973 called "Steelyard Blues." I don't know how well-known it is today. I only know it because in the book "Harlan Ellison's Watching" there's a rave review Ellison wrote of it at the time. Along with what he called "A Sort Of An Interview With Peter Boyle," so named because he didn't feel he was able to spend enough time with the actor.

Rather touchingly, Ellison admits in the piece that one reason for doing the (sort of) interview was that he wanted to meet and possibly become friends with Boyle. I was gratified to see them together on a talk show (I think it was "Politically Incorrect") years later, and get the sense that it had happened.

But like most people, I suppose, I do think of him first in "Young Frankenstein"-Mel Brooks' best film, I've always thought. Everybody remembers the dancing, but with the repeat viewings to which the film holds up, you realize that Boyle's performance contains a note of pathos that is the soul of the film.

Pathos usually defeats comedians, most of whom have to be kept away from their Chaplin shit with a whip and a chair (think Robin Williams). But although he could be extraordinarily funny, Boyle was an actor through-and-through first.

As fortune would have it, "Young Frankenstein" is currently availible in the cable On-Demand section. I shall almost certainly be watching it later.

"If you're blue, and you don't know where to go to, why don't you go where fashion sits..."

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Dwarf Star

Two quick casting observations:

I didn't mention this at the time because I was lost in one of my paralytic depressions. But five representatives of four different "Star Trek" series have now appeared on "Boston Legal:" William Shatner, Jeri Ryan, Rene Auberjonois, Armin Shimerman, and last week, Michelle Forbes.*

And apparently there's a new rule: If a part exists for a dwarf woman on a Tuesday-night show I watch, Meredith Eaton-Gilden will play it. She's had a several episode stint as a client turned Denny Crane's onetime paramour on "Boston Legal," and tonight a guest-star part on "House."

I can hardly wait to see how they'll work her in to "Veronica Mars".

*Forbes, incidentally, also played my favorite untied loose end from a previous season of "24."

He was talking about Being An Actor, but...

It's so hard to be sure because one is inside oneself. One is one's own instrument, and inside the complex maze of one's own personality, one can go sadly astray.

An actor, like any other artist, is someone who can't forget. A painter's medium is paint, a writer's words. An actor's medium is character.

--Simon Callow

Note to self: Read more newspapers around the ladies.

Unnamed Official probably could have gotten away with the handjobs, but Unnamed Official wanted something more…"

The two men are then alleged to have moved on to another part of the building, where the politician was spotted giving oral sex to his companion.

…When questioned about the allegations, the politician denied taking part in any sexual activities on the swimming pool premises.

"I understand that it could have looked like that," [he said] to police. Instead he explained that the whole thing was a misunderstanding. He had been leaning over to read his companion’s newspaper when the pool employees arrived on the scene.

I don't know how many times that's happened to me. I just lean over to look at someone's newspaper and then—bam!—I'm sucking his dick.

-Shakespeare's Sister

Monday, December 11, 2006

Get well SOONER, Roger Ebert. Soonest would be best.

Because without you to hold him in check, Richard Roeper's stupidity reigns unabated. In just one (1) episode of the show you built with the late Gene Siskel (rest his soul) tonight, Roeper:

  1. Attributed the movie As Good As It Gets to Nancy Meyers instead of Jim Brooks. I've killed for less. Yes, it was obviously a mistake-he was thinking of Something's Got To Give, which also starred Jack Nicholson-but the show's not live. You have retakes for a reason, and on a show that supposedly celebrates film, getting a writer/director's work wrong should be the unpardonable sin.
  2. Dissed the teriffic animated 1973 classic version of Charlotte's Web, Hanna-Barbera's greatest artistic achivement.
  3. Credited Mel Gibson's Braveheart with historical accuracy.
  4. And got in a little dig at Vietnam vet Oliver Stone's patriotism.

The man's an idiot who wants a slap across the face so hard he has to check to see if he still has his upper lip. Come home soon, Roger. Please.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Random Flickr-Blogging: IMG_9609: The "S" edition


I'm posting this first one not because I have anything very affecting or funny to say about it, but to give my chum Corey Klemow a fright. You see, by a random coincidence, this image is from (according to its tags) a production at Sacred Fools, an L.A. theater group Corey's in.

Something called The Cody Rivers Show, about which I know nothing, but it certainly does seem to be an intensely wrought scene, doesn't it?


Choose which child in this scene is going to be an actor, a writer, a GOP candidate for President, head of the CIA, or conservative talk-show host. I'll give you a hint. The writer's the one seething with self-hate.



Secretly, Shannon knew the other girls resented her for her full bust.



Although she was pointing to the crucial word as directly as she could, Paul never had been the kind to take a subtle hint, and chose to believe she was invoking the ancient Hebrew name for Lord.



"Yes, Jacky, I see you, yes, it's great that you got your flying suit working just in time for my wedding. What a wonderful way to show just how not in love with me anymore you are...warm the car up, dear! He's packing herring!"


The state of the gay in Hollywood

This is the kind of article we get at least once a year, but good. Some excerpts with irreverent (not to say irrelevant) commentary...

According to Donna Deitch, who wrote and directed the groundbreaking lesbian romance Desert Hearts in the mid-1980s, playing a gay character is now seen on a par with playing an autistic character, or a schizophrenic, or someone with horrible physical deformities. "That's where the acclaim is," she said. "Actors want to play disadvantaged people, whatever the disadvantage is...

Two steps forward, one step back.

But playing gay and admitting to being gay are two completely different things. When it comes to the latter, Hollywood still adheres to the mentality that American audiences look to their on-screen idols as outlets for their own romantic fantasies and thus need to think of them as strictly heterosexual. The mentality is not necessarily wrong - homophobia is certainly widespread in the American heartland, as evidenced by the slew of recent state ballot initiatives condemning gay marriage. But it does suggest a certain failure of the imagination. Actors, after all, are professionals who make audiences believe they are something they are not.

That failure of the imagination (appropriately enough), goes both ways. I've always resented the assumption made by some Hollywood creative teams that straight audiences cannot be entertained and moved by, or identify with, a good storyline about characters different than themselves.

Indeed (he said, climbing on a high horse), one of the things that arts and entertainment is for, I think both for creators and audience, is to "see how the other half lives." To put it another way, how many of us are likely to see (or be) dancing penguins or British superspies in our day-to-day lives?

Hasn't stopped audiences taking Happy Feet and James Bond to their hearts, has it?

If a straight actor like [Tom] Hanks can play a gay character convincingly, why shouldn't a gay actor play straight?

This seems to be another one of those minority opinions I often hold, but I think that's a pretty big "if."

There are exceptions to the rule. A openly gay character actor such as Sir Ian McKellen can work unhindered partly because of the prestige that comes of being a British stage veteran and partly because he is not expected to play heterosexual romantic leads. An actress like Ellen DeGeneres - who famously came out on her own sitcom in the late 1990s - doesn't suffer unduly because she is a comedian first and an actor only second, and because, once again, she doesn't play parts that call for her to knock the sexual socks off her male audience members.

Ah yes, Ellen DeGeneres. I still remember back in her "pre-open" days when she made the aptly-titled attempt at a "straight" romantic comedy, Mr. Wrong. I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area at the time.

I don't know about the rest of the country, but in the San Francisco Bay Area, Ellen DeGeneres being gay was not news. So when billboards went up around town featuring her in a wedding gown standing next to Bill Pullman...well, it almost caused a couple of accidents.

I'd have scored higher if I'd gone for that Free Love course like I wanted to.

How evil are you?