Friday, November 28, 2008

The Sexually Ambiguous 80s Music Scene: Annie Lennox

Nothing epitomizes the sexual ambiguity of the 80s, than the Eurythmics, featuring the singing of Annie Lennox. Wearing a man's suit with a bright red crew cut, Lennox rocked my world in the Sweet Dreams video. An early introduce to how blurry gender can be.

Link to the video.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Sexually Ambiguous 80s Music Scene: Scritti Politti

Scritti Politti, the post-punk / New Wave band from the UK, peaked in popularity with their 1985 release, Cupid & Psyche 85. The single "Perfect Way" got airplay in the US and UK, and the video was in regular rotation on MTV. The band's name is a bastardization of "political writing" in Italian.

Frontman, Green Gartside embodied the 80s push towards post-modernism. Gartside sang in falsetto over synth beats and keyboards, grew out floppy hair, wore manicured clothing, and name dropped Jacques Derrida (of course I had no idea who that was back then) in one of his songs. The end results made his lyrics, which sound like he is singing about girls, also sort of not sounds like it.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Designers: Costello Tagliapietra

Costello Tagliapietra are Joe Costello and Robert Tagliapietra. The team were original Norma Norrell taught to sew by their individual grandmothers who both coincidentally worked for forty years ago. Although they are bears in appearance, there designs for women offer an interesting counter point to their masculine presence.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Madonna's Men: Guy Richie

After seven and a half years, Madonna and film director husband Guy Ritchie are divorcing. The big difference this time around is that is the one child they parented, one child they adopted together, and one child from a previous relationship, which complicated the ending.

Ritchie prior life pre-Madonna was directing two heist films. Of course, during their marriage they made a film together, a remake of Swept Away, with bad reviews and low box office take following. Ritchie seems to be getting by and bouncing back with his recent return to roots with another heist film, RocknRolla and the upcoming Sherlock Holmes.

Dignity somewhat intact, he doesn't want a penny of Madonna's estimated US$400 million fortune. He'll make do with his US$40 million.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Madonna's Men: Warren Betty

Beforethe filming of "Truth or Dare," Madonna began seeing Warren Beatty, after starring in his film version of "Dick Tracy." His prophetic line in "True or Dare" - "Why would do you anything off camera?" has increasing relevance to the current social norms of today.

As Breathless Mahoney, she does a decent job in the comic strip adaptation. Of course, Madonna is playing a vixen night club singer. Beatty, with his player reputation, made an interesting match Madonna. Alas, by 1991, they were done and Madonna was added to the list of Beatty's substantial ex-list (Carly Simon, Cher, Brigtte Bardot, Candice Bergen, etc.) Although hey didn't work on another movie, his follow ups Bugsy, Love Affair, and Town & Country all bombed, with Madonna no where to be seen.

The post script of the story is that after decades on bachelor infamy, he met and married Annette Bening in 1991. They are still married with four children.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Madonna's Men: Sean Penn

Madonna gave Sean Penn a shout out as her true love in pre-reality television, film "Truth or Dare" in 1991.

Empowered and self-determining, citing Madonna as the prime example of the post-feminist is almost academic. Her fascination with film is one of the rare instances of a career and artistic endeavor which had lead to mixed results. Part of her fascination seems to result in the dating of men in that field (Early in her music career, she also dated DJs and music producers.)

In 1986, she met and married Sean Penn. They separated in 1988, and divorced in 1989. During their relationship, they starred together in Shanghai Surprise, infamous for terrible reviews, and even worst box office take. It wasn't "so bad it's good," it was just bad. It was also the first of a handful of movies that she starred in with boyfriends or husbands.

Marring Madonna has got to be one of the most emasculating experiences a guy can do, which is also slightly ironic because the men in her life also tend to be very "male" in appearance and demeanor.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008 providing the ultimate beard resource

As beards continue to work its way its current cultural resurgence, the site has been running since 1996. It has just about everything you want know about growing and styling men's facial hair, as well as a nice gallery and style guide.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Batman: Christain Bale 2005

Chris Nolan, who made his mark with Memento, which went back in time. After the last Batman series ran its course, Nolan picks it up again by casting Christian Bale in Batman Begins. Nolan retells how Bruce Wayne become Batman. Purists decried the invention of a new character who trains Wayne. Bale's take on Batman is serious, with little camp, save for a few one-lines. I mean, it is Batman after all. As Wayne, his playboy antics run slightly false, but it works because you don't want Wayne's character to go down that path.

Nolan also makes interesting directorial decisions, such as showing the bruises on Wayne's body after a fight and having (the always excellent) Morgan Freeman's character explain that his suit can't stop a direct shot from a bullet. An integral part of Batman is that he has no super powers, unlike Superman. Mortality and the the morality of vigilantism are themes throughout the film.

(Michael Caine is a pretty good Alfred.)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Batman: George Clooney 1997

By the time, George Clooney rolls into town, the Batman revival is showing signs of breaking down. On paper, Clooney should have been great in Batman & Robin, with his charmed, never grow up, confirmed bachelor status in real life. But he with Chris O'Donnell as Robin and Alicia Silverstone as Batgirl, sleep walk through the movie, pausing only on occasion to offer some double entendre one-liner. Nothing in the movie gels, the villain Mr. Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and Poision Ivy (Uma Thurman) feel like the 3rd string team. I have no idea who is to blame. Most likely it's just the Hollywood system. Where, by the fourth in the series of a good run, people get lazy and rely on formulas and gimmicks instead of original ideas that made the first films interesting.

Two months ago, this movie was playing on flight to San Francisco, and yes, that is the sad state of our airlines. It's unfortunate, that the movie hasn't turned into, so bad, it's good. George, Chris, Uma, and Arnold as just as bad as they were a decade ago, and I doubt it will get better with age.

Well, there is one thing to note, Clooney discusses playing Batman as gay in an interview in 2006 with Barbara Walters.

"GEORGE CLOONEY outs Batman on Barbara Walters' Oscar special tonight. Asked if he'd ever play a gay role, Clooney says he already did - as Batman. "Think about it," he explains. "I was in a rubber suit. I had rubber nipples. I could have played him straight but I didn't. I made him gay." Well, that puts Bruce Wayne's "ward" Robin in a new light ..." via Rotten Tomatoes and the Daily Dish.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Batman: Val Kilmer 1995

What can I say? After two successful movies, Burton and Keaton bow out and director Joel Schumacher and Val Kilmer take the helm for Batman Forever. Schumacher tries to dial of the erotic, with a more "organic" look and feel, ie, phallic Batmobile and nipple protruding from the suit.

The end result is, Kilmer is sort of like George W and the recent Republican presidents. Keaton revived the character, as Reagan did the GOP. Clooney killed the franchise (more on him in the next post,) like George W is leaving his party in shambles.

George W and Kilmer were sort of the inconsequential middle men who failed to live up to the high expectations of the man before him. Although they didn't completely mess up, they still weren't asked back for a second go.

(Don't ask me where Bill Clinton or Christain Bale fit into this, because the metaphor breaks down and I don't know.)

At the end of the day, if Kilmer can survive playing a blind guy who gets sight in At First Sight, the guy is going to do alright. More recently,
Kilmer is the new voice of KITT on the new Knight Rider, to be honest, not entirely sure what to make of that.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Batman: Michael Keaton 1989

Back when they announced that Michael Keaton in the new movie version of Batman, there was a collective, "WTF, the Mr. Mom guy?," myself included.

But when people saw Tim Burton's dark interpretation of Batman, influenced by the Dark Knight graphic novel series by Frank Miller, all was forgiven. Although orphaned like Superman, Batman and his home turf of Gotham City was a stark counterpoint to Superman and shinny Metropolis. Instead, Burton created a world of grey, both in the art direction and also the morality of vigilante justice.

(Also, a muscle-tone black rubber Batman suit, having Jack Nicholson play the Joker, a score by Danny Elfman, and kick ass soundtrack from Prince helped too.)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Batman: Adam West 1966

Campy and classic, this version of Batman planted the seeds for all the homoerotic references of the Batman and Robin relationship. Part of the reason behind it, was the literal translation of the comic to live acting, with tights, full screen text sound effects, and over the top dialogue. Smirkers today should be reminded that at its height of popularity, Batman was the "it" guest star show for Hollywood, including Otto Preminger, George Sanders, Liberace, Art Carney, Roddy McDowall, Tallulah Bankhead, John Astin, and Shelley Winters.

In the 90s, I seem to recall Adam West making rumblings that he wanted to play the role in the new movie franchise. But today, he has made piece with the role in superhero history, voice-acting various parts in Batman animated productions. Plus, he had a recurring role in "The Adventures of Pete and Pete," one of the best shows every made for television.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Gay Blogger Avatars part 4: Perez Hilton

How could I forget Perez Hilton? I didn't. Here, the use of the illustration only emphasizes to me Hiton's (ne Mario Lavandeira) quasi-infamous fluctuating waistline.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Knight Of The Revolving Door

Today I saw a man and a women (who I guess where are couple or married) using a revolving door, and the man let the women go first.

Let me break it down for you. The man is supposed go FIRST in a revolving door in order to push for the, ahem, lady.

What the take away?

Chivalry make not be dead, but etiquette is gasping its last breathe, while gender roles are still alive and well.