June 9, 2023
June 9, 2023
April 14, 2023
April 14, 2023
October 27, 2022
Here’s the wonderful cover of my upcoming novel, to be published by Simon&Schuster in June. I’m wildly proud of this book, so I hope readers will enjoy it. It covers a range of subjects I’ve been wrestling with for years, and they’ve finally cohered, into a kind of epic that’s both hugely comic and deeply serious, centering on a passionate romance that spans decades, continents and every sort of upheaval and joy.
March 28, 2021
My new novel, a romantic comedy entitled Playing The Palace, will be published on May 25, 2021, by Berkley. It’s about a love affair between Carter Ogden, a gay NYC event planner, and Edgar, the Prince of Wales. And I think Meghan and Harry would approve!
August 18, 2020
I’ve got a new play called Guilty Pleasure, to be directed by the wonderful Christopher Ashley and produced at the LaJolla Playhouse. The play was scheduled for this Fall, but due to the pandemic, it will premiere next Fall.
On September 12, 2020, HBO will begin airing Coastal Elites, a script I wrote, directed by the amazing Jay Roach with a dream cast: Bette Midler, Dan Levy, Issa Rae, Sarah Paulson and Kaitlyn Dever. I wrote it to reflect everything we’ve all been going through over the past four years: the rage, anxiety, heartbreak and passionate concern for the future of our country.
I’ve tried to explore this through five smart, funny, heartfelt characters, all seeking honest answers, connection, a way to channel their fury, and above all else, hope.
February 6, 2019
I’m sorry I haven’t been updating this blog regularly but here’s some news:
Libby Gelman-Waxner’s If You Ask Me column is now appearing every few weeks on The New Yorker’s website.
I’m tweeting at PaulRudnickNY
July 18, 2016
This Wednesday, July 20th, I’m being interviewed by the wonderful Randy Cohen for his show Person Place Thing. It’s from 7 to 8:30 PM, at the Museum at Eldridge Street, a gloriously restored synagogue which is worth a trip in itself, at 12 Eldridge Street. Each guest is asked to name a person, place and thing of great personal significance, so come by and hear mine!
June 19, 2016
During the first test screening of In&Out, the audience had been recruited from all ages, races and genders. They knew nothing about the movie they were about to see. The crowd was enjoying the action, laughing and involved, until Tom Selleck grabbed Kevin Kline and kissed him. The place went wild, with approval and disgust. I watched one teenage boy try to hide behind his girlfriend, while another covered his eyes and put drinking straws in his ears (I’m not kidding.) This was unnerving, as was the response card from a woman who said that she loved the movie, the characters and the cast, until she was asked, “Would you recommend this film to a friend?” She replied No, and when asked why, wrote, “Against God’s law.”
The Broadway musical Shuffle Along portrays how revolutionary it was in the 1920s, for a show to include a kiss between an African American man and woman.
The shooter in Orlando was reportedly enraged, a few weeks before the massacre, by the sight of two men kissing.
While In&Out was in development, certain studio execs kept asking if the same-sex kiss was necessary. It was.
Some additional thoughts on the Orlando killings: as always, Republicans are only even mildly sympathetic to gay lives, once the gay people in question are dead. Over the past week, these Republicans have reverted to their ordinary bigotry, refusing to pass an anti-discrimination bill in Congress. Trump, who portrays himself as a friend to LGBTQ people, has pledged, if elected, to roll back gay marriage. He’s also congratulated himself on the massacre, using it to fuel his anti-Muslim diatribes.
I remember how, during the peak years of the American AIDS crisis, gay lives at last became visible, due to a hideous plague. Now a gunman has returned these lives, and these deaths, to the front pages.
Also: Anderson Cooper’s reporting from Florida has been extraordinary. His grief has been heartbreaking, and he called out Pam Bondi, the state’s Attorney General, on her earlier attempts to reject gay marriage and defame gay lives.
March 11, 2016
February 27, 2016
As I was watching Gods of Egypt I was so dazzled that I could only think of three words: Vegas Bat Mitzvah. While the film is set in ancient Egypt, the production design is so glorious that it reminded me of the ceremony I’d dreamed of but could only approximate, when I was turning 13 at Temple Beth Lauren in Great Neck. Sure, I had lovely floral arrangements and monogrammed cocktail napkins, but Gods of Egypt is like a late-period Michael Jackson video crossed with an even whiter Oscar Nite Best Song production number.
The story follows Set and Horus, the two warring sons of Osiris, who, like deities and pudgy Republican candidates everywhere, both want to rule the world. Set is played by Gerard Butler, in a rugged style I can only term Hungover-Divorced-Dad-Yelling-At-The-Valet-Parker. Gerard is handsome, grizzled and angry about everything, which, as with so many Scottish actors experiencing mid-life angst, makes him occasionally morph into a gleaming, winged, golden creature who looks like the hood ornament on a custom Maserati.
Gerard is especially upset by his arrogant but good-hearted brother Horus, who’s played by the dreamy Danish actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, whose name does sound like a chain of Scandinavian big-box stores. Nikolaj shares Gerard’s swarthy, sweaty, where’s-my-latte-and-my-agent-who-I’m-about-to-fire machismo. My favorite moment was when Nikolaj was introduced to the people of Egypt as, “Horus – Lord of the Air”, which made me hope that Nikolaj was about to riverdance, but instead he just strutted around in a streaky spray tan and a wardrobe of Donna Karan-style, work-into-evening leather wrap skirts. At one point Gerard plucks out Nikolaj’s eyes, which become glowing ice-blue crystals, perhaps to be mounted on Gerard’s stick shift, or dropped into Gerard’s tumbler of fancy flavored vodka.
Gerard and Nikolaj also battle over Hathor, the Goddess of Love, who’s played by the slinky Elodie Yung, wearing all the Golden Globe gowns which even the Real Housewives of Anywhere deemed, “a little too bachelorette-party belly-dancer.” While Hathor can use her sultry gaze to get anyone to do her bidding, she spends most of the movie trudging through swamps and conjuring up visions of the afterlife in sand tornadoes. No one ever suggests that Hathor might be the best choice to rule Egypt; she’s like Elizabeth Warren with a perpetually bare midriff and too many bangles.
During their warfare, the gods are accompanied by Brenton Thwaites as a mortal lad, seeking to retrieve his dead girlfriend, Zaya, from the underworld; when she was alive, Zaya worked as a temp for a royal architect, and together she and Brenton inspect many scrolls filled with hieroglyphs, which resemble laminated takeout menus. Brenton is always pointing to a picture of a sacred cat and announcing, “It says that the entrance to the pyramid is right here!” Zaya is played by an actress named Courtney Eaton, and I kept thinking about how great it would’ve been, if her character had been named Courtney as well, or maybe Madison of Thebes. Brenton is adorable, but with his button eyes and his asymmetrical shag, he reminded me of both young Princess Stephanie of Monaco, and Kimmy Gribler from Full House.
Eventually everyone in this movie tries to stab everyone else with a spear, as guided by Geoffrey Rush as Ra, who wears a hefty Marin County gluten-free braid and steers a golden chariot through outer space; as I’m sure Geoffrey’s business manager informed him, when the script for Gods of Egypt arrived, “It’s a job.”
Gods of Egypt isn’t quite as lustily homo-erotic as 300, where Gerard cavorted with hundreds of other Spartan bodybuilders in swirling capes and leather Speedos, and it doesn’t have Christian Bale, glowering as a goyische, hipster-bearded Moses in Exodus: Gods and Kings. But it’s still altogether wonderful, in teaching us just how difficult it is, for an actor to wear what looks like a plastic Burger King crown, and try to bring peace to the Nile, if you ask me.
February 14, 2016
There have also been more terrific reviews: Publishers Weekly called the book “a whirlwind, laugh-a-minute escapade about a girl swept far outside her comfort zone, with real heart beneath the acid humor”, while Booklist called it “one riotously good read.” My favorite review may be from the delightful Maria Mei on Goodreads, who said, “FIVE STARS! I DON’T CARE! I LOVE IT.”
Reviews are always a tricky proposition, especially when they include everything from raves to snark. I included an especially snitty character in the book itself, the scary fangirl Ava Lily Larrimore. As Caitlin, one of the book’s heroines, says, “I feel bad for Ava because she’s backed herself into a corner, where nothing will ever be good enough. But I never want to become Ava, sitting at home with her arms crossed, sneering and judging everyone else, ruling from her iPad and never taking a risk or daring to enjoy herself.” Luckily, the Avas tend to be in the minority, although they never recognize themselves.
Speaking of Avas, the Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died yesterday, at age 79, in his sleep, in Texas. Scalia had been a terror, doing active, far-reaching damage for years, to both womens’ rights and gay causes – Scalia wasn’t just bitterly opposed to gay marriage, he’d wanted homosexuality to remain a crime. His supporters mourn him, while liberals are in a quandary – should we actively celebrate the passing of such a genuinely villainous figure? I’m not sure, but I do know this: there’s something especially awful about anyone in a position of great power, who uses that power to harm innocent people.