2008
05.31

Sex and the City has now been in theaters for almost 48 hours, and gay guys are supposed to be part of the target audience, so I feel this requires some acknowledgement. I have almost no active memories of sitting down and watching the show during its 1998-2004 run, but I know I’ve seen just about every episode somehow.

I’m not going to bother with spoiler alerts in this post. My guess is that roughly 30% of the people who want to see this movie went yesterday, in Stoli Raz-soaked groups of 10 or more.

Curious but wanting to avoid the throngs, I skulked into a 9:30 a.m. show this morning by myself, unshaven and clutching a 24 oz. coffee. In a 400-seat cinema, 15 were filled, and I was the only dude. With moderately fond memories of all but the show’s final season – when the focus shifted from serial dating and promiscuity to monogamy and garden-variety bridal/motherhood porn – I braced myself for the worst.

A couple of thoughts before we get to the gay stuff: Did all the characters get 30% dumber during the transition from small to big screen? Why is demure Charlotte squealing in every scene that she’s in, and why is she onscreen so much less than the other characters? Does anybody actually think that the Carrie/Big romance is one for the ages, and should represent the main thrust of the movie, even after we thought we put that puppy to bed eight times already?

If the movie is called Sex and the City, why is everything about monogamy, marriage and children (you don’t even see Kim Cattrall’s nipples, for God’s sake)? Why have all the men been castrated and lobotomized (like Harry and Big), or altered to fit the machinations of what passes for a plot (like Steve)? I realize the show was celebrated for its trendsetting approach to style, but does the movie have to flash 10 designer logos at us per shot, and stop dead in its tracks for a wardrobe-change montage every reel, thus bloating the running time to 145 minutes? Fashion brand obsession is one thing, but does it have to extend to bang-you-over-the-head-with-a-tire-iron plugs for Smart Water, Starbucks and Apple?

Does Miranda actually blame herself for causing Big’s cold feet – and when it becomes clear that Carrie does blame her, why does Miranda put up with Carrie’s bullshit (this, in fact, may be the central question of the entire series)? Did anybody, at any point, think that casting Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson as Carrie’s wide-eyed slave girl…I mean, assistant…whom she actually deems a “saint” may not be the most up-to-the-minute means of diversifying the cast?

And while we’re at it, what’s with the Andre Leon Talley cameo? And the “Charlotte shits her pants in Mexico” joke? And the “Sorry we made you wait till the 2-hour mark for male nudity but oh my God don’t look we’re showing you a penis!” scene featuring Samantha’s hot neighbor (fuck it, I’ll take Jason Segel any day)? Why does no one laugh at Carrie’s hideous Vivienne Westwood bridal abortion with the dead bird on top, until an hour later, they do? Why does Parker, so crafty and offbeat in movies like Miami Rhapsody, steamroll through this like Evita Peron’s preserved corpse? Why does no one laugh anywhere, least of all in the audience, in this jokeless comedy?

I take umbrage with the accepted wisdom that Sex and the City is a cult item among gays. Golden Girls (a show that is arguably less dated in 2008 than SATC)? Sure. Designing Women? Yup. But Sex: The Movie takes a weirdly retrograde approach to homosexuality.

Not far into the film, the old gals are strutting down a Manhattan sidewalk in their ridiculous outfits when Samantha starts checking out a guy, only to watch as he says hello to another dude and – DRAT! – kisses him! (It’s not your self-absorption that’s the problem, mall-dwelling flip flop-wearers in the audiences, the problem is that all the hot guys are gay!)

The only two gay guys that Carrie and company apparently know, dweeby Stanford and shrill wedding planner Anthony, eventually make walk-on appearances, and a split-second scene at a New Year’s Eve party implies that they have become a couple. Why? An episode in which Charlotte tried to set them up with each other established that they have nothing in common. It’s supposed to be five years later, and the lonely queens are finally settling for each other to go pink tuxedo shirt-shopping with?

The movie is so filled with off notes, misjudgments, inconsistencies, irrelevance and Fergie songs that this post could turn into a novel. I’m disappointed in writer-director Michael Patrick King, the SATC showrunner who later went on to create HBO’s brilliant The Comeback. The smarter characters on that show would have called bullshit on this movie, and the dumb ones would have loved it.

All I’m saying is, since it’s a hit, please don’t blame the gays.

2008
05.19

I’ve spent the last four days referring to myself as the Gay Marriage Fairy. Despite the obvious pun (I’m totally not married. Get it?), the name is accurate because I’m pretty sure that I’m the only person (ever) to have lived in both Massachusetts and California for their respective gay marriageifications. And in both places, I was at the forefront of the historic judicial decisions. In Boston, I stood on the steps of the State House with my then boyfriend Dave, taunting the swarm of queer-frightened elderly that were reboarding their god-bus headed back to irrelevancy. And in California, I was at the forefront of the battle for relief from my wicked hangover, which reared its ugly head again as my co-worker yelled, “Hey! I think they just legalized gay marriage in California! Congratulations!”

Congratulations. Don’t get me wrong, it was a nice sentiment. And I was touched that he was indeed more excited about the ruling than I was. But isn’t congratulating a 26-year-old, whose longest relationship topped out at six months, akin to congratulating Abigail Breslin on ten years of sobriety? I felt a little bit like someone handed me an inscribed Mitch Albom book as a congratulatory token for graduating high school 2000 years later than the rest of the kids, even though I wasn’t yet enrolled. I sort of felt like an “I’m sorry you missed getting to be married during the ’80s” would have been a bit more appropriate.

I guess there’s something to be said about one state being an anomaly, and two states being a trend, but I can’t help but to feel as though it’s much less real and meaningful coming in second on the biggest thing to happen to gay rights since, well, Guerilla Gay Bar. When gay marriage came to Massachusetts, it gave every gay person in the country a bizarre sensation of anxiety that comes with the option to be “normal.” Most gays spend a great chuck of their lives coming to terms with the fact that they’ll have to live “modified” lives. For so many, the thought of not being able to achieve the ideal of a white picket fence, gray-faced golden retriever, and collection of cable-knit sweaters is what keeps them peering through the closet keyhole for so long. Having that option suddenly set on the table was like being a well-rehearsed understudy called in to play the leading role for the first time.

And now having that in California kind of just means you can do all of that with a tan, right?

I don’t mean to downplay the significance of Thursday’s ruling. It was surely an incredible thing. I guess I’m actually just amazed that it’s starting to feel kind of normal being included in the land of normalcy. My generation is likely the last to know what it’s like the be legislatively marginalized for being gay. It’s intriguing to think of how that will that change us as a community. And more importantly, who will we gays get to repress in order to make ourselves feel better about our own marriages?

From the moment the ruling was read in Boston, I immediately fast-forwarded to the endgame. There was no turning back. Gay marriage was here to stay, and before long, it would be everywhere. Like Shia Labeouf. So now I have to remind myself that until that last state gives in (you know it’s going to be Florida), there’s going to be a lot of significant battles that will need our focus. And to do my part, I’m dusting off my Gay Marriage Fairy wings and movin’ to Idaho. 

2008
04.15

Television actor Luke MacFarlane spoke openly about his homosexuality for the first time in an interview with the Globe and Mail.

I, for one, am shocked. This is Luke’s first public admission that he’s gay? Is it because he’s not famous enough to have been interviewed before?

This is an actor whose small modicum of niche fame is due solely to the tabloid value of his relationships with other gay TV actors T.R. Knight and Wentworth Miller (the difference being that they’re series regulars, while Luke seems to flit from one short term guest-starring gig to another). The man is famous exclusively for being arm candy. He’s like the gay Lauren Holly.

I mean, uh, congratulations Luke, thanks for keeping it real. And good luck with pilot season.

‘Brothers & Sisters’ actor Luke MacFarlane: ‘I’m gay’ [Towleroad]

2008
04.08

Yesterday, we learned the shocking news that big bad Harvey Weinstein has wrestled Project Runway from the limp-wristed clutches of Bravo and stowed it between the dimply, cankled hocks of Lifetime: Television for Women.

Although the cash-strapped Weinstein may have pocketed a few ducats out of the deal (you know it’s all gonna be spent on roast beef and whores), this is ultimately a devastating decision – for Bravo, for the series, and especially for the viewer.

Here’s what we think Project Runway might look like in its Lifetime incarnation:

  • Designers challenged to create a fashion-forward set of Crocs
  • Heidi forced to balance Seal’s baby on her knee while judging runway couture
  • Pre-competition shopping trips move from Mood to JoAnn Fabrics
  • Heidi’s description of Michael Kors as a “top American designer” robbed of its giggly double entendre-ness
  • Nina Garcia replaced on panel by Valerie Bertinelli
  • Designers challenged to create a look for Kirstie Alley’s new line of ass-masking, cleavage-enhancing velour eveningwear
  • Tim Gunn forced to play helpful faghag to Marissa Jaret Winokur in upcoming telefilm about fat girl’s journey toward self-acceptance
  • Catchphrase “You’re either in or you’re out” replaced with “She Cried ‘You’re Out!’ The Heidi Klum Story.”

‘Project Runway’ makes a move [Variety]

2008
03.31

We’ve always been pretty nice to T.R. Knight. We defended him in the Great Isaiah Washington War, wept for him when Luke McFarlane went bounding into the arms of Wentworth Miller, and didn’t make a peep during his pink hair phase.

But now it’s gone too far. When T.R., who recently turned 35, started rolling up with an unfamous eyebrow-tweezer named Mark Cornelsen, we thought, “Good for him. He’s moving on. Yes, it’s with someone who looks suspiciously like what we think his nephew might look like, but still.” Then we found out that Mark is 19.

And we got a little grossed out because, you know, some 19-year-olds are hot (Michael Cera) but most ostensibly hot 19-year-olds are actually pretty lame (Zac Efron), and even if one of the hot, mature-for-his-age 19-year-olds had a thing for us, we’d say “No thank you,”* because 1) We’re not Jack Nicholson and 2) Ugh. And we’re only 26.

T.R. and Mark were last spotted “house hunting,” according to Just Jared. That could mean T.R. is in the market for new digs and just dragged Mark along. Or it could mean that Mark is taking advantage of the depressed market to become an unusually youthful homeowner.

But we fear it means that they’re moving in together. To which we say, “Beware, T.R.” At least when Martha Raye and Terry McMillan got swindled by young gay golddiggers, we got to laugh at them for their naivete and lack of gaydar. This would just be sad.

*Michael Cera, if you’re reading this, please disregard this entire paragraph.

T.R. Knight: We all have AIDS [JustJared]

2008
03.18

Barack Obama severs ties with his nutty ex-pastor by talking for, like, a really long time about his church. Like, a really long time. And this PEN15er takes comfort in the knowledge that when Hillary Clinton shows up at Senate prayer breakfasts, it’s for purely cynical, political purposes. [You Tube]

John Krasinski give the cutest straight-guy Advocate interview ever. No seriously, ever. [The Advocate]

Another awful, shocking death of someone who made a lasting contribution to what passes for mainstream queer cinema. How excellent a filmmaker was Anthony Minghella? He briefly turned Ralph Fiennes and Kristin Scott Thomas into sex symbols. He basically gave us Jude Law (which, until a couple years ago, was a good thing). And his The Talented Mr. Ripley is the main reason why I secretly think Matt Damon is the best movie actor of his generation. [Variety]

2008
03.03

We’ve been retching at the identical twin concepts of Lipstick Jungle and Cashmere Mafia ever since they were announced as upcoming midseason replacements last fall. Months later, both shows appear to be on the brink of cancellation. Yet with the networks’ post-strike intention to spend less money developing new shows and producing pilots, we’re pretty sure that we’re going to see a lot more shows like these in the near future: Predigested concepts featuring familiar fading stars that they can turn directly into series without wasting money on things like shooting a pilot, hiring talented writers or revising the scripts.

And because TV executives love nothing more than pandering to the insecurities of lonely single ladies, we expect a lot more aspirational dramedies about beautiful, high-powered New York women who just want to have it all, dammit. Like these:

Lycra Spandex County:
High-powered women’s magazine editor Octavia McBride (Lucy Lawless) falls down the steps outside her Upper West Side condo and into the arms of sexy furniture mover Hud (Steven Strait). What does this mean for her engagement to a wealthy commitmentphobe venture capitalist (Steven Weber)? Octavia frets over omakase with her best friends, an acerbic advice columnist (Samantha Mathis), an assistant DA (Elisabeth Rohm, or maybe Angie Harmon) and a television pastry chef (whichever one isn’t playing the DA).

Eyeliner Village: Workaholic ad executive Violet Heatherton (Teri Polo) is pulling another all-nighter surrounded by foamcore story boards and takeout Chinese food. But an MSG overdose sends her into the emergency room, where she catches the eye of a sexy gastroenterologist (Bradley Cooper). Can Violet juggle the demands of a career and a relationship, while still managing to spend 20 minutes per episode drinking white wine alone in her rent-controlled Greenwich Village loft? She nevertheless finds the time to self-reflect, loudly, during yoga class with her best pals, a wind-chime designer (Annabella Sciorra), the owner of a wildly successful online fortunetelling service (Debi Mazar) and a country singer (Crystal Bernard).

Pantyliner Paradise: Ambitious TriBeCa art gallery owner Marlena Albright (Anne Heche, assuming Men in Trees is cancelled by then) never met a markup she didn’t like – but she can’t put a price on her own happiness. Everything changes when she starts representing a brilliant, 18-year-old artist (Michael Angarano) who paints exclusively with blood and creme fraiche. Can Marlena put aside her prejudices about dating someone half her age? Find out during her weekly mudbath yak sessions with her lady posse, a brilliant veterinarian (Julie Bowen), a Wiccan talk show host (Fairuza Balk) and a token black lady (Regina King).

2008
02.21

Like every other blog, website, magazine and newspaper on earth right about now, it’s time to unleash the PEN15 Club Oscar predictions and preferences, while indulging in the time-honored tradition of whining about who wasn’t nominated. “Snub,” we cry. “Snub!”

Why should you read these? Because I’m not insulting your intelligence by drawing futile comparisons between the nominees and the Presidential candidates (“if Julie Christie is Hillary Clinton, then Ellen Page is Obama!”). You’re welcome.

I’m too lazy to cut and paste the nominees, so for reference, go here.

    Best Picture

Will Win: As pundits internet-wide attempt to MacGyver Juno and Michael Clayton upset scenarios into existence, the fact is that No Country for Old Men has swept the guild awards, is the second-highest grossing nominee, is a career-best for a respected filmmaking team, and has a Best Editing nomination. It wins in a walk.

Should Win: There Will Be Blood has the kind of sick genius that usually doesn’t even make the final five, so I’m eager for it to go the distance.

Where the Hell is…: Zodiac

    Best Director

Will: Coens won the DGA and will win this.

Should: Anderson, who’s never made a less-than-great movie in five tries.

Where the Hell is…: Todd Haynes, I’m Not There

    Best Actor

Will: Day-Lewis. Insert milkshake-drinking pun here.

Should: Day-Lewis, though Jones’ towering work as a military dad whose values are shaken to the core cut through the Paul Haggis treacle of Elah.

Where the Hell is…: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead

    Best Actress

Will: Christie will extend the Sexy British Ladies of a Certain Age streak to two years.

Should: Linney, who’s ridiculously overdue, for nailing the kind of role that usually goes to men like Hoffman or Paul Giamatti.

Where the Hell is…: Nicole Kidman, Margot at the Wedding; Molly Shannon, Year of the Dog

    Best Supporting Actor

Will: Bardem, like his character, appears unstoppable, although he’s shown a tendency toward loopy acceptance speeches so far this awards season.

Should: Holbrook, for making us cry like a baby during the last 20 minutes or so of Into the Wild.

Where the Hell is…: Robert Downey Jr., Zodiac

    Supporting Actress

Will: As usual, the toughest category. I think those “Blanchett scenes only” I’m Not There DVDs the Weinsteins sent out, though blasphemous, will nail it for Cate. I can’t fathom Ruby Dee winning for her five-minute, window-dressing role. Career achievement awards are nice, but Dee’s career has mostly been onstage and on television.

Should: I’m cool with anyone but Dee, but I’m partial to Amy Ryan for immortalizing that dying Boston stereotype, Dorchester-dwelling Irish Catholic white trash.

Where the Hell is…: Leslie Mann, Knocked Up

    Original Screenplay

Will: I have a feeling that everyone’s sick of Diablo Cody and the award will go, instead, to Clayton’s Tony Gilroy.

Should: Clayton is the most elegantly scripted piece of Hollywood entertainment in years.

Where the Hell is…: Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, Superbad

    Adapted Screenplay

Will: The Coens, unless people get sick of voting for them in every category and throw a bone to Anderson instead.

Should: Polley, for fleshing out a sketch of a novella with total grace.

Where the Hell is…: Ben Affleck and Aaron Stockard, Gone Baby Gone. There, I said it.

You’re welcome for the office pool victory. See you on the other side of my Monday morning hangover!

2008
02.19

I have seen the face of Satan, and her name is Patti Stanger, Bravo’s so-called Millionaire Matchmaker.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, Patti’s show is the one that Bravo’s been running ads for exhaustively over the last couple of months. In them, Patti, who has a face like a Gene Simmons drag king, wearing a bloodclot-red pantsuit, awkwardly shoots arrows Cupid-style and sprinkles rose petals over nothing.

This is not a bad bit of metonymy for the show, in which Patti scams dumb, rich L.A. sad sacks out of thousands of dollars to set them up with terrible matches, then blames their failure to connect on their own personality flaws.

Patti berates her clients, calling a 28-year-old entrepreneur “cheap” because he lives in a modest Pasadena condo. She scoffs when a client suggests, “Maybe I can wait to find someone who likes me for me.”

Her business is run like a telemarketing sweatshop, where she barks orders at her staff (whom she calls her “daughters”) as they cold call potential clients, then melts down when one asks for a raise. She forces a handsome, 5’9″ millionaire to stand behind a two-way mirror and listen to a couple of bubbleheads balk at the idea of dating such a “short” guy.

As for her own personal life, Patti claims to have had a boyfriend for 3 years. He may have appeared in one of the episodes I haven’t seen, but my guess is he lives next door to Corky St. Clair’s wife Bonnie from Waiting for Guffman.

My favorite thing about The Millionaire Matchmaker is that I have yet to see an episode where one of Patti’s matches leads to even a third date. The basic arc of every episode is 1) Patti’s client expresses his desire for a completely incompatible match, 2) Patti argues client’s instincts yet sets him upwith someone who fits his specifications, 3) the setup fails spectacularly, 4) Patti yells at client, 5) show ends.

Like Bravo’s equally, addictively vexing Real Housewives, the show is frustrating/fascinating because it refuses to take a judgmental stance on its subject. Instead, it seems to invite the audience to either enjoy it at face value or, as in my case, recoil in horror at the realization that this is how rich people spend their money.

I’m not sure if I’ll ever watch again, but I think I want to be Patti Stanger next Halloween.

2008
02.04

I’m Jordan, and I endorse Barack Obama as the Democratic candidate for the United States of America.As a member of the last generation of Americans who realizes that there hasn’t yet been a black President, I’m excited by the prospect of Obama being the first. He’s even much more handsome and white-acting than all of those black Presidents on the TV! And if being alifetime watcher of Fox’s Bones has taught me anything, life definitely imitates art. An Obama nomination is practically inevitable.

I must admit I am enchanted by Hillary’s strategically-weathered facade. As a young, gay professional, women like Hillary are my bread and butter – the one that could totally bust balls all day at work, and then somehow beat you to the bar, finishing her second G&T beforeyou can even get the bartender’s attention. She’d probably talk shit about her ex-girlfriends, refer to Condi in the masculine, and totally have something funny to say about the day’s Hot Topics on The View. I’m usually smitten with broads like that within seconds.

In the real world, men like Obama, conversely, make me nervous – tall, attractive, confident, well-dressed, straight, and super interested in your well-being. Call me a skeptic, but I’m skeptical. He probably doesn’t drink, either, which generally means he’d never laugh at my jokes and would probably be offended within 10 minutes of meeting me. He strikes me as the kind of guy that would generally want to show me affection, but would do so by trying to do one of those straight-guy-high-five-turned-hand-shake combos that scare the living shit out of me.

But here’s the thing: I want that guy to be President. One of the things that draws me most to Hillary is that she shares my level of thoughtful cynicism, but that’s also the one thing I don’t want our next President to have. Not an ounce of it. I want him or her to see the empty page that starts the next chapter of American politics and fill it up with whatever great ideas his or her well-intentioned heart dreams up.

I feel like Hillary would trace lines on the page and begin to write out a very liberal, very intelligent to-do list, laboring over every word as though all of American history’s past and future were critiquing her handwriting.

With the same page, I imagine Obama would start by turning the book sideways. Or even upside-down. Then, maybe he’d trace his hand, make it into a turkey, and then write an adorably smart haiku about turkeys underneath. Then, he’d turn the page and invite Vice President John Edwards to join him in a game of hang man. Because why not?

There’s plenty of time for The Same Old Stuff, but there’s rarely an opportunity to start off so fresh, inspired, and enlivened.

Oh, and he’s handsome as hell and could probably give Cheney a run for his money in the shorts department, if you know what I mean. That’s worth something, right?