Confession: I like men in drag

 


 Joanthan Rhys Meyers and Ewan McGregor in Velvet Goldmine

The other night, I watched the movie Velvet Goldmine again and it got me thinking about how much I like an androgynous man.  Velvet Goldmine hearkens back to the days of Glam Rock and features hot men like Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Ewan McGregor and Christian Bale in make up. Ironically, Eddie Izzard is one of the few stars in the movie not wearing make up.
I began to notice men in the 1970′s, when rock stars like David Bowie, Marc Bolan and the New York Dolls were popular. It was the days of men with long hair, glitter eye shadow and tarty lipstick wearing flashy clothes and it made a big impression on me. These men with their blatant gender bending were so much sexier than the average Jock type to me. They were rebelling against the traditional male uniform. They were bravely flouting convention in an in your face way that was hard for me to resist. You see, I also have a rebellious spirit and a keen fashion sense and I related to these men, who I saw as so much more manly than the Jocks or the Suits. These men were breaking new ground, they were leaders. They were the new Alpha Male in all of their peacock feathered splendor.

Marc Bolan of T Rex                                                     The New York Dolls

David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust

Then there was Tim Curry in the Rocky Horror pictures show licking his shiny red lips with a naughty, mischievous glint in his eye and singing “Give yourself over to absolute pleasure”. It didn’t matter that he was into both women and men, in fact that was a large part of the lure for me. He was unabashedly crashing through sexual boundaries.



Tim Curry in the Rocky Horror Picture Show

Since those days there have been very few examples of in your face male androgyny. In the 1980′s, Prince filled that role. At once, both masculine, feminine and oozing sex from every pore, Prince was my fantasy in those days.


Prince, from the Lovesexy Album cover

In the 1990′s Marilyn Manson took androgyny to a much darker and more Gothic place with his flawlessly painted face and very masculine voice. he merged male and female into one hot package.


Marilyn Manson

Currently, the most famous example is the aforementioned Eddie Izzard who has been quoted as saying, ”Women wear what they want and so do I”. That attitude is irresistible to me.


Eddie Izzard, in all his glory.

Androgyny isn’t just dressing in drag. It’s a mindset. It’s a lifestyle. It’s sexy as hell.

 

 

 

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Hooked to the Silver Screen

 


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David Bowie in The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976)I got knocked flat by a nasty flu bug that has kept me in bed all week. I’m still on the mend and not fully recovered but I wanted to post a quick update and compile some links to a few things of possible interest.

First up, here’s a couple of links to my latest posts at The Movie Morlocks. The first is for an interview I did with local artist Nicolas Caesar who will be appearing on Creepy KOFY Movie Time tonight at 11PM, February 19th. Creepy KOFY Movie Time is a local Northern California TV program that airs every Saturday night on KOFY TV20 or CABLE13 and they play classic horror films as well as cult favorites. Nicolas will be chatting about the Herschell Gordon Lewis’ movie Color Me Blood Red (1965) on this week’s show along with the program’s regular hosts Balrok and No Name.
– My KOFY Break with Nicolas Caesar @ TCM’s Classic Movie Blog

This week I almost didn’t post anything at The Movie Morlocks but at the last minute I managed to (roughly) finish a little something that I had been working on for weeks called “Life On Mars” that borrows it’s title from one of my favorite David Bowie songs. It’s a personal post that takes a look back at my earliest attempts to write film reviews for my school newspaper. If you want to know what films I was watching and writing about at age 14 you can find a couple examples I scanned from old school newspapers. I had planned on writing more in-depth on the topic but I couldn’t find any other issues of my school newspaper to scan and I was getting a little too self-reflective for my own good. I didn’t want to bore Movie Morlock readers with my self-indulgent trip down memory lane so I tried to make my post as brief as possible. Unfortunately my fever didn’t help matters much and I’m sure I rambled a bit more than I had intended. But movies have always been an important part of my life and it’s fun to look back at my early reviews and remember how I started seeing films differently at age 14.
– Life On Mars @ TCM’s Classic Movie Blog

Rondohammer
Martin Kosleck and Rondo Hatton in House of Horrors (1946)The Rondo Awards were announced this week and although Cinebeats wasn’t nominated for anything this year, a few of my favorite bloggers were including Stacie Ponder of Final Girl, Pierre Fournier of Frankensteinia, August Ragone of The Good, the Bad and the Godzilla, Curt Purcell of Groovy Age of Horror and the esteemed Tim Lucas of Video Watchblog who also has lots of other nominations for various projects he’s worked on including his magazine Video Watchdog. If you do vote this year please consider their fine contributions to the blogosphere.
– The Rondo Hatton Awards

In other news, the For the Love of Film Noir Blogathon started on Valentine’s Day, February 14th and runs until February 21st. Some of my fellow Morlocks expressed interest in participating so they took up the gauntlet for TCM. I’ve linked to a couple of their contributions below and posted a great video clip for the blogathon compiled by another one of my favorite bloggers, Greg of Cinema Styles. If I wasn’t feeling like death was at my door I might pull something together myself but please give these other posts a look.
– For the Love of Film Noir Blogathon: THE STRANGER ON THE THIRD FLOOR @ TCM’s Classic Movie Blog
– For the Love of Film (Noir) Blog-A-Thon: The Sound of Fury (1950) & TCM’s Classic Movie Blog

 

 

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David Bowie expected at Whitney Houston ’s funeral


David Bowie is expected to come out of hiding to attend Whitney Houston’s funeral today.
It has been a long time since anyone saw the Thin White Duke, so it will be a special moment to see him pay his respects to Whitney. His wife Iman is expected to be with him.
Amongst the other guests are: Clive Davis, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Oprah Winfrey, Kevin Costner, Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Elton John, David Furnish, Bill Cosby, Brandy and her brother Ray-J, Alicia Keys, Janet Jackson and Mariah Carey.

 

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David Bowie Retrospective at MAD in NYC

 


I recently took time to see the David Bowie: Artist exhibit at the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) while in New York City on Thursday. The retrospective features several videos spanning Bowie’s entire career, live shows, his acting prowess and a look at his artistic roots and influences. The museum also screened a documentary on the singer/producer and offered younger fans a chance to catch him in “The Man Who Fell to Earth,” Bowie’s first starring role.

While at the sixth-floor exhibit, there were fans of all ages paying homage to one of the 20th century’s most dynamic and diverse artistic talents. While the early 80s videos brought back some memories, it was good to see his videos from the 1990s which were rarely seen in the U.S. Still, when looking back at Bowie’s early work, his pioneering video effects that may seem primitive to the digital age producers of today actually brought to life the idea of adding visual artistry to the music video — a strategy quickly adapted by select producers in the US and UK and eventually led to the golden age of music videos.

Overall, the exhibit is both enjoyable and intriguing as it gives the viewer a real look into Bowie’s full history and background as an artist and showcases his talents in everything from cabaret to painting to mime to cool suits.

The David Bowie: Artist exhibit will be at the Museum or Arts and Design (2 Columbus Circle, NYC) through July 15th. Information on the event and admission can be found on the MAD website.

 

 

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David Bowie in The Man Who Fell to Earth





Went to a loft party this weekend where they played this in the background on mute. I couldn’t focus on the bands and just stared at this beauteous man instead.

 

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NYFF 08: Che, Cantet, Rourke And….David Bowie!

NYFFYear1small.jpgSo it’s that time again. It snuck up on me because I was unable to make it up to Toronto this year which is in and of itself, a minor tragedy. I love the Toronto International Film Festival and all its attendant studio pomp and circumstance. But that’s no matter. What’s passed is past. It’s New York Film Festival time and for pure film geek glee, it’s right up there. Sure, some films suck and the program is often lacking in real surprises, but honestly, that’s not what I really look for in the festival. Should it take more chances? I think so, yeah. For example, the omission of Charlie Kaufman’s Synecdoche, New York has ruffled a few feathers this year and the the overall predictability of the selection from year to year has been bemoaned on the circuit for years. That said, it’s not an industry event. It’s for the public and none of these films have played in New York. All in all, it’s one of my favorite film events of the year and not just because I love the opening night party/after party.
I don’t always go to Cannes or Toronto and as a result, the NYFF often has 15-20 films I haven’t seen and this year, it’s got more than that. Not only that, but almost every film in the main selection has a full press conference following the press screening, something which only a handful of festivals provide. It has also provided me with one of the more surreal moments of my life in the form of John Ritter in 1996.

It was at the opening night party at Tavern on the Green. I had seen Sling Blade at the press screening and was completely blown away. At the party I approached John to tell him this (needless to say, as a child of the 70′s/80′s and a neophyte journalist, I was rather nervous to be approaching Jack Tripper). He couldn’t have been
nicer and more excited to hear my reaction to the film. He lit up and grabbed my hand, saying “Oh! We have to go and find Billy Bob so you can tell him that!” With that he dragged me hither and thither across the massive restaurant until we found Billy Bob Thornton. John planted me in front of him and said: “Go ahead! Tell him!” So I told him. Billy Bob was less effusive than John and nervous as hell (“scared shitless,” he may have put it) but no less gracious and excited by the good reactions he was getting.
Here’s something funny. On May 29th, I emailed someone I know at the Film Society of Lincoln Center (who put on the NYFF, of course) and wrote: “It occurred to me last night that Nagisa Oshima’s vastly underrated Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence is turning 25, this year and that it would be a brilliant film to show at the NYFF….! What a cast! David Bowie, Tom Conti, Takeshi Kitano, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Jack Thompson. Oshima’s still kicking around. Oshima retrospective, anyone?” The reply I received read: “oshima? we’re way ahead of you. it is the retrospective for the festival this fall…. (hopefully you won’t be disappointed!).” I just wanna say, I am psychic and I am very excited.
I swear to god, if David Bowie’s at this year’s opening night party, the butterflies I felt 12 years ago in approaching John Ritter will seem like mere larval jitters compared to the chance of saying word one to Bowie. I’ll behave, I promise, but inside I will be jelly. Why might he be there? Well, he’s one of the stars of Nagisa Oshima’s Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence of which I am extremely fond. You might even say besotted. I first saw it at the then UA Theaters in East Hampton when it was released in 1983. I was a 14 year-old Bowie fan, but even at 14, I knew it wasn’t going to be like an Elvis movie and that it was a serious work of cinema. And so it is.
Flash forward some 19 years and I programmed it at the Hamptons International Film Festival as part of the Films of Conflict and Resolution sidebar. The powers that be rogered me on screening slot (9pm on a Friday night) and it was raining, so the turnout at the Sag Harbor theater was, erm…less than robust, but at the end of the screening, there was not a dry eye in the house and each patron personally thanked me for programming this beautiful anti-war film that they hadn’t heard of. Thinking back, we were one year into the war in Afghanistan and four short months from invading Iraq. We need more anti-war films, it would seem.
Merry3.jpg
Ok, enough about that. Tomorrow I will be seeing Laurent Cantet’s Palme d’Or winning film The Classand I can’t wait. His 2001 film Time Out also screened at the NYFF and it was a masterpiece. I’ll let you know! Among other films Adam and I will be covering here include Steven Soderbergh’s Che, Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler, Jerzy Skolimowski’s Four Nights With Anna, Kelly Reichardt’s Wendy and Lucy and Gerardo Naranjo’s I’m Gonna Explode (Voy a explotar), among many others.My father was many things, among them was the attorney for the government of Cuba from 1960 until his retirement in the mid 1990′s. During the time he and his law partner Leonard Boudin were in Cuba courting the new government’s business, my dad became fast friend with Ernesto Che Guevara. Of course I never knew Che. He was killed two years before my birth, but the friendship between he and my father, started over a poolside chess match in Havana and cemented over many a game in Cuba, Geneva and elsewhere, informed my life. So… Soderbergh, if you fuck this one up, so help me god…..
Che3.jpg
loved Aronofsky’s The Fountain and while I may be in the minority, I am not alone among respected writers. That said, the cynical and cutthroat media (of which I am part, on occasion) pretty much wrote his follow up off before seeing it, especially since it starred a “has been.” Now that the film won the Golden Lion in Venice and got picked up in Toronto, it seems as if he’s an indie darling, once again. Good for you, Darren.
Wrestler.jpg
As for the Skolimowski, I’ve only seen his Deep End, which is a brilliant piece of cinema. Four Nights With Anna is his first film since 1991 which might give one pauce except for the fact that it opened Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight and it received a solidly positive review from a critic I admire, Variety’s Derek Elley. With respect to Reichardt’s Wendy and Lisa, I need to confess something. I was at countless film festivals with her last film, Old Joy and I missed it every time. I know. I’m a jerk. Well, I hope to make up for it by catching this one. It stars Michelle Williams, an actress I’ve been a fan of for years and who never fails to delliver a fantastic performance, be it in great films (Brokeback Mountain) or, erm, not great ones (The Baxter). In the latter, I would have clawed my eyes out if it weren’t for the fact that Williams lit up the theater every time she was on screen. Do yourself a favor and read her profile in yesterday’s New York Times.
Wendy2.jpg
All right, that’s enough for now. There’s plenty of time for more from the NYFF!
Photos credits, Top to Bottom: My first NYFF press badge, 1996; Janus Films/Film Society of Lincoln Center; Wild Bunch / Film Society of Lincoln Center; Wild Bunch / Film Society of Lincoln Center; Oscilloscope / Film Society of Lincoln Center

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