October 31, 2014
Month: October 2014
October 31, 2014
October 30, 2014
Apple CEO Tim Cook has at last come out publically, with a terrific statement saying, “I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me.” I love this, because I’m a bit tired of folks saying things like “Being gay is the least interesting thing about me”, or “I look forward to a time when being gay is meaningless, like having blue eyes.” Why should anyone dismiss or under-value such an important and glorious aspect of their life?
But as one of Tim’s loyal customers, and fellow Gay Americans, to truly celebrate his public declaration, Tim needs to do the following:
1. Institute a 40% discount for all gay consumers. Gay Apple customers can prove their homosexuality by providing an overview of all the websites they visit, including porn, any site which analyzes how Kim Kardashian dresses her baby, any site where people argue over the visibility of Ben Affleck’s penis in Gone Girl, and any LGBTQ site where the L,G,B,T and Qs are constantly annoyed with each other.
2. Tim must change his Grindr profile to read “Who cares whether I’m ripped or not, I’m the CEO of Apple, bitch.”
3. Tim should make the next, most advanced iPhone available only to gay people for the first 24 hours. This will torment homophobic tech freaks, and make everyone gay, for at least that first day.
4. All of those genuinely wonderful, knowledgeable salespeople at the Apple stores should be required to begin any consumer interaction by asking, “How may I help you, especially if you’re gay?”
5. Tim might mention that CEO stands for Certifiably, Excitingly Out.
6. Tim should allow his gay employees to call him Timmy.
7. There should be a mandatory screensaver on all Apple products, featuring a photo of Tim deep-kissing Rupert Murdoch.
8. Apple should create its most revolutionary product ever: a device which would allow gay people to instantly transmit their criticism of everyone else, without using any form of language. Oh wait, it’s already here – a raised eyebrow.
9. Any text message, email or tweet sent on an Apple product should automatically begin with the word “darling” and end with the words, “stop it” or “oh, please.”
10. Before Tim was officially out, interviewers often referred to him as “intensely private”, “a confirmed bachelor” and “a gym nut.” Now they can just call him “dreamy.”
October 30, 2014
This past Monday I headed out to Brooklyn, for a live taping of the terrific NPR program Playing On Air. This show records one-act plays by all sorts of writers, using New York’s finest actors. My play, called My Husband, was performed by the sensational Harriet Harris and Michael Urie, and the other plays in the evening were by Leslie Avayzian and Lanford Wilson, and featured Lisa Emery, Frank Wood, Jessica Hecht and Dominic Fumosa.
In the photo above, Michael and I were lucky enough to meet a group of students who were part of the wonderfully appreciative audience. The casts had only a few hours of rehearsal time, but they delivered like mad. I’ve worked with Harriet many times, and I remain in awe of her talent and fearlessness; she combines the most extraordinary and disciplined comic technique with the most wildly hilarious freedom. I first met Harriet when she participated in the earliest readings of Jeffrey. Harriet was the only woman in the cast, playing multiple characters, and I kept adding roles for her, to make sure she’d agree to be in the original production at the WPA Theater. The play’s director, Chris Ashley, and I would watch Harriet with blissful appreciation, because she was so inventive and so consistently uproarious. On Monday, she played Gabrielle Finklestein, an NYU professor, on the day when gay marriage became legal in New York. Michael played Gabrielle’s son, who’s still single, and Gabrielle does her best to find him a husband.
I’ve been a huge fan of Michael Urie’s since I first saw him on Ugly Betty, and onstage in plays like The Tempermentals. He was astounding in Jonathan Tolin’s brilliant Buyer&Cellar, where he played an out-of-work actor who’s hired as a salesclerk in Barbra Streisand’s basement. Michael and Harriet were a dream team in My Husband, and the show will be broadcast all over the country during the next few weeks.
October 29, 2014
This past Monday I attended the memorial for the beloved director Nicky Martin. The event was held at the Mitzi Newhouse Theater at Lincoln Center, and it was sensational. I’m sure that Nicky would have approved, because the proceedings were uproariously funny, packed with stars, and included a cascade of memorable photos projected on the scrim – there were pictures of Nicky hugging people, Nicky in costume from his days as an actor, and always, Nicky laughing. Almost all of the speakers discussed Nicky’s wildly infectious cackle, and I began to realize that Nicky’s laughter had been designed to make everyone around him feel not only witty and gifted, but appreciated. When I was growing up in New Jersey, I’d dreamed of a life in the theater, amid funny, glamorous, bawdy people, and Nicky’s memorial was a celebration of just that sort of circus. The speakers included Andre Bishop, Jack O’Brien, Kate Burton, Victor Garber, Andrea Martin, Jessica Stone, Christopher Fitzgerald and more. Brooks Ashmanskas, that superb comic whirlwind, had been both a student of Nicky’s, and a treasured friend. Accompanying himself on the piano, Brooks sang For All We Know, which was tremendously moving.
The spirit of the memorial was exemplfied by the blissful Debra Monk, who recalled telling Nicky a filthy joke that made him helpless with laughter. She then said, “Here is that joke. How do you make Martha Stewart scream twice? Fuck her in the ass, and then wipe your dick on her curtains.”
October 24, 2014
Some actors are ruggedly handsome, while others are dashingly smooth, but Eddie Redmayne is ridiculously adorable. He’s so cute and so talented that once he grins, he can get away with anything. In The Theory of Everything he plays the brilliant English scientist Stephen Hawking, who’s led an extraodinary life while suffering from ALS, and it’s a good thing that Eddie’s onboard, to charm his way through the sorrow.
This movie is the latest installment of Noble British Heartbreak, which is a cousin to Irish Working Class Uplift, and kin to The Dreary Courage of Unemployed Welsh Coal Miners. It’s in the tradition of films like The King’s Speech, My Left Foot, Philomena or any movie in which either the Queen or the Duke of Windsor makes a cameo appearance. In The Theory of Everything, much of the action takes place at Cambridge, so there are plenty of genteel Downton Abbey/Brideshead Revisited visuals, and from the first frame, I knew that Eddie would be rushing through at least one academic courtyard, spending time in a sunlit country garden, riding a bicycle and wearing a cardigan beneath his tweed blazer. You can tell that this movie was made about people who are still alive, with attornies, because everyone behaves impeccably, and couples manage to get divorced without ever raising their voices.
Luckily, Eddie’s around to seduce us, and his russet-haired, toothy, long-jawed handsomeness manages to combine Hilary Swank with Peter Pan. Felicity Jones plays his devoted wife and caregiver, and over many decades, her wigs suggest everything from youthful flirtation through quiet middle-aged yearning. I wanted this movie to come with one of those Parental Guidance Advisories, saying “This film contains fleeting smiles, lingering glances, autumnal skies and choral music. PLEASE BE ADVISED: TEA IS SERVED.”
In The Theory of Everything, Eddie also gets to perform one of my favorite tasks, which only movie stars playing geniuses get to do. At one point, Eddie is required to stand in front of a very large blackboard, where he grabs a piece of chalk and scribbles an endless mathematical formula which will astound everyone, just like Russell Crowe’s formulas in A Beautiful Mind. For an onscreen scientist, this is the equivalent of an onscreen artist painting the Mona Lisa or an onscreen composer waking up in the middle of the night and jotting down the first few notes of the 1812 Overture. But someday I want to watch an onscreen wizard include smiley face emoticons, multiple exclamation points and stick figures having sex, all on his inspirational blackboard. Or maybe just the words Eddie+eyeglasses=Dreamboat//man-pixie would be more than enough, if you ask me.
October 22, 2014
2. “If you’re riding a bike, why are you still fat?” (This is especially useful when yelled at people who aren’t overweight, because it will destroy their self-esteem.)
3. “Watch out for that….oops!”
4. “Don’t worry, the law doesn’t apply to you, because you’re special! You should be in a special class!”
5. “I LOVE YOU!” (If you sound especially sincere, this will confuse the bicycle rider and make him turn around and then ride into a tree.)
6. “Cool spandex outfit! Flattering!”
7. “A Citibike! Hot!”
8. “Thank you for saving the planet! Asshole!”
9. “That guy stole my bike! Get him!”
10. “You dropped something!”
October 20, 2014
Don’t call yourself a survivor, unless you’re being carrried out of whatever just happened to you on a stretcher. Appearing on Survivor does not make you a survivor; appearing on Survivor just makes you grimy and smelly.
Don’t call yourself brave, just because you’ve broken up with your boyfriend. If that makes you brave, then what should we call a firefighter? Unless, of course, the firefighter’s also just broken up with your boyfriend.
Don’t call yourself a rebel, unless you’re prepared to wear a little Confederate cap and die at Gettysburg.
Don’t call yourself a hero, unless you’re working at Subway and tormenting your fellow employees by putting your head inside a bun and saying, “Look at me! I’m a hero!”
Don’t call yourself an outlaw, unless you’re under six years old and wearing a little red cowboy hat with a drawstring under your chin.
October 19, 2014
It’s so hard to figure out who we’re allowed to hate nowadays. Because, thanks to political correctness, we know that all religions are filled with sensitive, caring people who all want the same things, and that Jews, Christians and Muslims agree on pretty much everything, except for when they want to kill one another. We can’t hate criminals, because so many of them come from terribly abusive backgrounds, and we should feel only sympathy for drug addicts and alcoholics, even when they’re breaking into our cars or peeing in our hallways, because drug addicts and alcoholics suffer from a disease, just like, say, the measles or the mumps, even if people with the measles or the mumps rarely stumble into their cars and run other people over. And we can’t hate communists, because we know that communism is on its way out, because everyone in China now has a flatscreen TV. So the only folks we’re allowed to hate are non-religion-specific terrorists, cackling serial killers, Time-Warner and Nazis.
I will confess that I enjoy hating Nazis, and I love watching them get killed as violently as possible, especially by Brad Pitt in his new movie Fury. Brad plays a tank commander nicknamed WarDaddy, because everyone in the tank gets a nickname, as if they were Mousketeers or Disney dwarves. I have a feeling that Brad decided to appear in this film because he remembered how great he looked with a World War II haircut in Inglorious Basterds. Brad’s hair is long and highlighted on top, which gives him styling options, and tight on the sides, and in his fabulous, battered cargo pants and leather jacket, he looks like an ad for some great new Ralph Lauren fragrance, called Squadron or Bootstrap. The weird thing is, and I’m in no way claiming that this was included in Brad’s contract, but this sort of military hairdo looks very odd on all of the other cast members, including Shia LeBoeuf and Jon Bernthal, who seem like the 4th and 5th Stooges.
There aren’t a lot of surprises in this movie, but that’s just fine, because we get to see Brad and his pals under incredible duress, still managing to kill Nazis, get drunk, and bond with each other. In one scene, the American troops obliterate a German village, but luckily one building remains remarkably intact, and inside Brad discovers silverware, hot water, fine china and two pretty young German girls wearing spotlessly fresh dresses. This scene peaks when Brad decides that he needs a shave, to feel human again. In response to the prayers of myself and every other audience member worldwide, in order to shave, Brad removes his shirt, and that shirt stays off, for quite some time. I will just say this: Brad Pitt with his shirt off is why the Allied Forces won the war, and a shirtless Brad could probably defeat ISIS, ebola and maybe even a Republican-controlled senate, if you ask me.
October 17, 2014
Sometimes, when I’m feeling blue, over the rumored death of a certain gay sensibility, and a delectable flamboyance, I come across my two favorite gentlemen co-hosts on one of the home shopping channels. Jorge and Brian sell Waterford Crystal together, and all you really need to know is that they both wear blazers with pocket squares the size of a cantaloupe. Here are a few favorite moments from today’s show:
– While hawking a vase, Jorge comments, “I love a tight nosegay on top.”
– Brian and Jorge discuss the Waterford seahorse ornaments, and Jorge announces that, “The seahorse is the most majestic creature in the universe!” Brian tells us that he’s replacing the more ordinary “French crystals” on his home chandelier with seahorse ornaments, and confides, presumably describing his chandelier, “And I have five arms!” To which Jorge responds, “But what if you had ten arms! Or fifteen!”
– While promoting the small, budget-wise Honor bowl, Jorge says that, “I just have to tell you, when I was discussing this bowl in one of our design meetings, things got heated. Because I demanded a lid and a pedestal foot, and I got them!” When Brian describes a similar meeting, he insists, “I was lucky to get out of there alive!”
– While admiring a crystal eagle paperweight, Brian suggests, “This would be perfect for my brother, who drives a Harley. What am I saying, you don’t drive a Harley, you ride one!” Jorge adds that the eagle would be “perfect for anyone in the military.” He later advises that a set of goblets would be ideal, “for serving chilled beer, or for breadsticks on Italian night!”
– Both men love to invent additional uses for any piece of Waterford. Brian turns a bowl upside down and hides a wristwatch under it, saying, “Won’t your husband be surprised when the waiter brings this out!”
– When Brian admires “those swag cuts” on a bowl, Jorge ripostes, “That bowl’s got swagger!”
– When Brian tells viewers to order multiples of every item, he explains, “Those UPS guys are built like that for a reason!”
I adore these men, whose conversation is both bizarre and joyous. But today, when the segment grew too wild, a female host appeared and admonished, “Boys, behave!”
October 15, 2014
You know how sometimes, when there’s a searing work of bold cinematic artistry, it can also be a little bit boring? This is completely not the case with Birdman, which is an amazing movie that’s also incredibly entertaining. It stars Micheal Keaton as a washed-up Hollywood star, coasting on his long-ago success as the lead in an action-hero blockbuster and its many sequels. Michael wants to regain his self-respect, so he adapts a Raymond Carver short story for Broadway, which he also stars in and directs. And I know just what you’re thinking, please God, no, not another movie about a Raymond Carver short story on Broadway. But the whole idea works beautifully, and there’s not enough Raymond Carver to get you depressed; it’s a movie about actors misbehaving in as many wonderfully appalling ways as possible.
In my personal experience, with both my Massapequa High School drama club and my later work on an undergraduate production of The Trojan Women, in which everyone wore masks, because they were so embarrassed, theater people can go insane in the following ways: first, they can take themselves very seriously, and talk about their craft and their instrument, both of which they use to upstage other people. Secondly, actors can become needy on a level which would shame a newborn baby in a wheelchair. They can ask a huge amount of questions, all of which concern why their character needs to be onstage with other people. And finally, actors can decide that, in order to fully inhabit their roles, they need to do things like get drunk onstage, pad their crotches or their bras, or weep constantly, both onstage and off. This last ability has always made me wonder: does Juilliard offer a class in manufacturing tears, even when someone just brings you a Diet Coke, when you’d specifically asked for a Coke Zero?
In Birdman, Edward Norton plays a gloriously difficult younger star, who could teach Shia LaBeouf, Lindsay Lohan and Nicholas Cage a thing or two. Edward struts around in his underwear and less, and he loves to talk about finding the truth of a moment, while he’s eyeballing the delectable Emma Stone, who plays Michael’s cranky, neglected daughter, who slouches around, telling people off, in smokey eye makeup and micro-skirts. Birdman has a truly great script, which lets you remember just how terrific actors like Michael and Edward and Emma can be, when they’re not in franchise movies being promoted with McDonalds Happy Meals.
While almost all of Birdman takes place within a few blocks surrounding the St. James Theater, it feels epic. The director, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, and the cinematographer, Emmanuel Lubezki, are absolute wizards, and not just because their names have cornered the market on vowels. I kept wondering, how did they do that? How did they get the camera to glide from the inside of a taxi, onto the roof of a theater, into a dressing room, and then through a basement hallway and onto the stage in front of a sold-out house, all in one take? I never wonder, say, how do they make Spiderman swing through midtown, or how can Superman stop a runaway subway car with his index finger, but the effects and the camerawork in Birdman will leave you gasping, and I haven’t even mentioned the sequence with the marching band in Times Square.
In real life, actors can be very dangerous, because they can be staggeringly appealing and out of their minds at the same time. Male actors like to wear thrift-shop overcoats and little hats, while actresses will tend towards battered leather jackets and chiffon-y camisoles, in January. Maybe the best way to encounter all of these people, without losing your heart, your wallet and possibly a kidney, is onscreen, in something as spectacular as Birdman, if you ask me.
October 13, 2014
Halloween will be here any minute, and I’ve always been fascinated by the costumes available at KMart. Even though most of these costumes are intended for children, they’re always called things like Sexy Witch, Sexy Nurse, Sexy Pirate Wench and Sexy Cop. Why not Sexy Secretary of State, Sexy Marine Biologist or Sexy Booker Prize Winning Novelist?
There are plenty of couples costumes out there, and I’m not sure if this is offensive or imaginative or both:
This is upsetting, but I’m not sure why. Just be grateful that I wasn’t able to upload the extremely graphic costume of an agonized pumpkin giving birth to a smaller pumpkin:
This is almost lyrical. Almost:
This is brilliant:
October 12, 2014
2. “Have a nice day, or don’t, see if I care, I was just being mindlessly polite.”
3. “Have a nice day, yes, I am the kind of person who says, ‘Have a nice day.’ Fuck you.”
4. “Have a nice day, despite your hair.”
5. “Have a day filled with niceness, even overflowing with niceness, just jam-packed with niceness. Choke on niceness.”
6. “Have a nice day, but a terrible evening.”
7. “Have a nice day, by blinding yourself to the misery of others.”
8. “Have a nice day. Or I’ll kill you.”
I found the above image on Bing – isn’t it disturbing? It’s like a greeting card from Sylvia Plath.