Category Archives: hollywood

More Southland

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Did Secret Agent Fred and I have a lovely time down in the southland?  Why, yes, yes we did.  Thanks for asking.

In Los Angeles, we repeated our “Fancy Ass Manicure and Mexican Food Tour” plus we added the thrill of making a pass by the Los Angeles County Museum to see the Big Rock.   Friends more in the know than little me had chastised me for going to LACMA last month and skipping said Rock so I was determined to show them up this time.

It’s supposed to be called “Levitated Mass,”but even the people that work in the museum refer to it as The Big Rock.  Here’s the scoop from the LA Times review of it:

  • “Levitated Mass” is a piece of isolated desert mystery cut into a dense urban setting that’s home to nearly 10 million people. A water-hungry lawn north of LACMA’s Resnick Pavilion was torn up and replaced by a dry, sun-blasted expanse of decomposed granite. A notched gray channel of polished concrete slices 456 feet across the empty field, set at a slight angle between the pavilion and 6th Street. Like a walk-in version of an alien landscape painting by Surrealist Yves Tanguy, quiet dynamism inflects a decidedly sepulchral scene.

Whatever.  It’s a big rock sitting on top of depressed (in every sense of the word) sidewalk and you walk under it.  It is just as artistically thrilling as it sounds.  As a big rock, on the other hand, it’s great.

We also drove out to Palm Springs where it was HOT, bitches.  I tried to enter into an appreciation of the blasto sun, like a lizard and that sort of worked.  Mostly I avoided it as much as you can in a desert, but I still got the blotchy red skin so very appealing in those of us descended from Vikings and other Northern European cabbage eaters.

Our charming bungalow was in a hotel very successfully decorated by Kelly Wearstler, the mistress of bold graphics and white paint.

I got to go swimming at night, which I love and ate hot fudge sundaes every night.  A perfect desert trip.

I also bought a painting by Chris DiVincente.  I love it, but I don’t have any room for it, so I’m negotiating for our friends Jan and Aaron to take a big ass photo off my hands to open up some space.

Clint, Clint, Clint

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OK, I haven’t watched the entire lunacy that is Clint Eastwood’s remarks (one would be hard pressed to call it a “speech”) at the Republican convention, but not because I haven’t tried.  I just can’t sit through more than a few seconds of the stammering, wandering,”I left my tinfoil hat at home” wackiness of it.

And then, in reading about it, I stumbled across the slightly astounding fact that he’s scheduled to direct Beyonce in a remake of the movie A Star Is Born.  Wow.  On so many levels, wow.

Wow number 1: Clint Eastwood is a proven good director (Million Dollar Baby.)  He is also a proven crazy old man (Republican National Committee convention.)

Wow number 2:  Beyonce is making a movie career out of resurrecting gay singing icons gone-by, either dead (Etta James in Cadillac Records,) from one of their past heydays (Diana Ross in Dreamgirls.  Sort of.) or fictional/past/dead (Esther/Judy Garland in A Star is Born.)   A mrpeenee prediction: before the next presidential election, we will see Beyonce in a remake of Yentl.  You heard it here first.

Wow number 3.  Clint Eastwood used to be really cute.

Oh, Just Get Out Already

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Not Kevin Spacey. And that’s a good thing.

Since I have to replace the seal on my toilet today and, oddly, am not particularly enthused about the prospect, allow me to waste some time here ranting instead.

Over at http://www.expatriato.blogspot.com , our dear Muscato points out yet another profile of Kevin Spacey that tiptoes around his possibly poofiness cause, you know, innocent until proved, “Mr. Spacey does not comment on his private life,” it’s all just malicious rumors, yadda yadda whatever. As Tallulah once said “I don’t know, he’s never sucked my cock.” Personally, I don’t need his mouth wrapped around my manmeat to make the leap that a man of his age and background with no visible female attachments is, oh I don’t know, GAYGAYGAYGAYGAYGAY.

Ahem.

But this isn’t really just about him. It’s about me, of course. Isn’t everything? It’s about the damage that your life led in the closet does to my life led outside it. An important way in which homophobes have their fear and loathing of gay men (that would be me. Hi!) reinforced is by a lack of exposure to us. The less contact they have with queers leading lives out of hiding, the easier it is for them to convince themselves we don’t even exist and therefore our demands for equality are unwarranted. It’s like seeking protection for leprechauns.

So. Gays in highly public arenas (Oscar winning actors, for instance) could have a beneficial impact on breaking down that invisibility by stepping up and saying “I suck dick. Mmm, it’s tasty.” I understand they have no real individual obligation to do so. I’m explaining why I don’t respect their choice not to.

Oh, it’s their personal life? Please. They’ve chosen to enter a profession that features photos of Brittney Spears’ vagina. How much privacy were they hoping for?

Yep, it’s frightening to announce that you’re a perv, and when you’re trying to get started in that field the last thing you need is one more obstacle. Got it. But one of the reasons being gay is an obstacle is the closet of actors who’ve made it, like Spacey. OK, it’s chicken and egg, gay actors have to hide because there are no roles for gay actors because gay actors are in hiding. So Will on Will and Grace is a straight man; and Heath Ledger plays Ennis and grants detailed interviews about how icky it is to kiss Jake Gyllenhaal (ingrate); and all the other scraps of gay roles go to straight actors in a kind of sexual blackface. And even in 2008, you can still see polls of people who claim they know no gays or lesbians. Of course you do sweetie. His name is Kevin Spacey.

File under "Hmmm."

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So I was looking up Jeff Chandler (why not?) which, of course, made me think of Esther Williams (“Jeff, you’re too big for polka dots.” look it up.) and in stalking her briefly I ran across this amazing blurb from her autobiography:

“Cary and I had known each other for years, having spent time together at many parties and public events, although we never had been close friends. But movie stars all belong to a sort of secret society; we share a special understanding of the burdens and comforts of celebrity. There is a shorthand we can use when we meet, and we empathize in ways other people cannot comprehend if they haven’t stood in the spotlight. He came to the telephone immediately when I gave my name to his secretary. When I said, “Cary, I’ve got to see you right away about something,” he invited me to come to his office at Universal the next morning.

“Cary, I’m at the end of my rope,” I told him the following day. “I’m deeply troubled about my life, and when I read what you said about how LSD had changed your life, I wondered if it might help me.”

“Esther, it takes a lot of courage to take this drug,” he warned me. “You may not want to do it when I tell you what it’s like, because it’s a tremendous jolt to your mind, to your ego. Some people don’t react well to it at all.”

“But it was so successful with you.”

“Yes it was,” he admitted, with a flash of his glittering “Cary Grant” smile. “But it’s only being used on an experimental basis. You’d have to be as desperate as I was to try it.”

I smiled back my own “Esther Williams” smile. “But I am as desperate, Cary,” I said as calmly as I could. “I need to find some answers, fast. Would you call your doctor and make an appointment for me?”..”

Esther Williams, tripping. Hmmm.

Ball o’ Fire

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Thanks to the wonder of Netflix, last night we watched Ball of Fire, a 1941 Howard Hawks movie I’d always heard about, but never seen. A young Gary Cooper, looking suave and luscious, and Barbara Stanwyck with her fabulous gams uncovered pretty much the entire running time. The plot is some gibberish about a professor studying slang. Hey bopa ree bop! Slide, jackson and make a mook with the cardpass! Don’t be a log, put the clutch in!

Some of that was actually in the movie, some I just made up, all of it sounds like most of the dialogue, painfully delivered by a roster of MGM character actors who deserved better trying to sound hep and coming up pretty short. Like George Bush discussing the interwebs. It was amazing, though, to see Babs rise above the material and prove there was no movie she couldn’t survive. This is just one more reason R Man is so suspicous of letting me loose on the Netflix queue.

I Gotta Go

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R Man and I are off to Los Angeles on Thursday for a little road trip. As Dame Shirley Bassey would say, “Wheeee!” I love visiting the southland and don’t understand the snotty attitude here in the Bay Area against it. “It’s so sterile” they squeal, denizens of the deep East Bay who are able to revel in the rich urbane tapestry of Hayward. How can any place that’s produced Colt Studios and Sunset Boulevard (the film and the street) be sterile? Insane, maybe, but not sterile.

Los Angeles has always seemed to me be a conglomeration of idiosyncratic villages. I’m wild for the shabby charm of Echo Park and Silver Lake and the neighborhoods that kind of straggle in between them. And who could say no to the pissy, buffed charm of West Hollywood? It’s like a zip code composed of expensive rentboys.

Mostly, the trip is an excuse for a long drive. For those of you not familiar with the magic that is Interstate 5 from here to there, let me tell you the image of a lush California with surfers frolicking on Annette Funicello-esque beaches is no where in evidence. I’ve driven the long dull stretches of west Texas and this is plenty the same, just with the addition of dusty mountains out past the cantaloupe fields.

Exactly half-way is Harris Ranch, a hotel with a behemoth restaurant that’s probably not bigger than several combined bowling alleys, it just seems that way as you’re trekking off to your table. It’s a working ranch and supplies beef to plenty of the food industry in California so the menu is very meat-centric. Just being in the vicinity compels you to stab things and grunt. Mmmm. I’ll try to take some pictures of my slab o’cow.

I gotta go.