Monday, January 16, 2012

Of things a wee bit fey...

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Why Does Hollywood 

Hate Gay Sex?

If you’ve seen any of the high-profile gay-themed movies from 2011—from Beginners to J. Edgar—you may have noticed they have one thing in common: the gay sex takes place in the dark (or not at all). Ramin Setoodeh interviews actors, directors, and writers to find out why gay sex is the last taboo in Hollywood.
By now, you’ve probably heard about Shame, this generation’s Last Tango in Paris. Michael Fassbender plays a single (and often naked) Manhattan bachelor named Brandon obsessed with sex, and the movie offers a voyeuristic look into his anonymous encounters with various women. One afternoon he even has sex with a pretty blonde prostitute against the window of the Standard Hotel, for all of downtown New York to see.
On another drunken night, Brandon wanders into a gay club. He’s so desperate for sex, he’ll sleep with anybody—even a man. The scene is meant to illustrate how depraved his character has become, but the moment is a turning point for another reason. For the first time in the film, Shame is ashamed to show you what Brandon experiences. In a dark underground corridor, a guy unzips Brandon’s pants …and the camera cuts away. The screen fades to black.
Gay sex is the last Hollywood taboo. When Ellen DeGeneres came out of the closet as the first openly gay sitcom star in 1997—and her fictional self followed suit—a parade of gay characters came after her. There was Will & Grace, and Carrie Bradshaw’s Sex and the City sidekick, Stanford. In movies, the gay best friend became a staple, from My Best Friend’s Wedding to Mean Girls.
Yet none of these characters do what gay men do. As Hollywood portrays it, the homosexual man is, astonishingly, sexless.

Sony Pictures Classic
If you can’t name any great love scenes between two men in hit films or TV shows in 2011, it’s because there weren’t any. Last summer, Justin Timberlake experienced all the benefits in Friends With Benefits, while his gay pal (played by Woody Harrelson) was sidelined. On Glee, Kurt finally lost his virginity to his boyfriend—off camera, to the frustration of many of the show’s fans. When Christopher Plummer came out of the closet in Beginners, he signaled the occasion by wearing purple (his younger boyfriend hovered in the background). Leonardo DiCaprio’s J. Edgar had a hot male companion (Armie Hammer), but he exchanged only a single kiss with him.
The film’s screenwriter, Dustin Lance Black, who won an Oscar for his Milk screenplay, says that a love scene would have been too revisionist historically. “I certainly didn’t want to see J. Edgar doing it,” says Black, who is gay. “In the 1930s, oftentimes, a loving relationship with gay men was never consummated.”
Max Mutchnick, the co-creator of Will & Grace, remembers attending a party the night before the show’s pilot was filmed. Mutchnick recalls being told by (the also gay) director Joel Schumacher: “Whatever you do, don’t make it too butt-fucky. Don’t let anyone in the audience think about butt fucking and you’ll be fine.”
Mutchnick continues, “The sad reality is, if you’re in a theater and they show gay sex, someone in the audience will shout, ‘Ewww!’”
That’s the crux of it. Studio executives aren’t necessarily homophobic, but the film business is in a financial slump and averse to risks even in the best times. Though gay marriage is now more accepted across the United States, the industry is driven by tickets sold to straight men. That’s why lesbian sex gets a pass: when Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis spend a steamy night together in Black Swan, it helps sell tickets. There’s no similar financial bump attached to gay male intercourse. As one producer noted, anal sex is still considered something out of the ordinary, anyway. In The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, the anal sex scene is part of a rape between a man and woman—existing as a symbol of sexual sadism.
As Vito Russo’s significant 1981 book The Celluloid Closet argued, Hollywood has always had a complicated relationship with gay men, keeping actors in the closet and stereotyping feminine men. For a long time, the Hays Code banned gay characters from even being in the movies. When they finally appeared, they did so with a vengeance in the underground queer films of the ’60s and ’70s. 
These movies had a lot of ground to make up for, which explains their pornographic tendencies. Andy Warhol’s 1964 short film 'Blowjob' lived up to its title. Saturday Night at the Baths (1975) featured another early depiction of gay sex. Even in the controversial Cruising (1980), starring Al Pacino, gay sex was recognized as an important, defining part of gay male culture—the film features a graphic orgy with a fisting scene.

Real or Imagined: 

Homo-Eroticism in 1960s 

Beach Movies

By Tom Lisanti
Here is a look at Hollywood surf movies from a different and albeit biased perspective. Gay men are always looking for gay subtext in movies and TV, and I am no exception. Am I reading more into these films? Probably—but it was sure a lot of fun doing the research.
The Sixties beach movie craze began with Gidget (1959) starring Sandra Dee and James Darren, a fictionalized look at teenager Kathy Kohner’s surfing escapades in Malibu during the mid-Fifties. It was groundbreaking as the movie contributed to the mass dissention of surfers on the beaches of Malibu and started a series of surf-theme films such as Gidget Goes Hawaiian and Ride the Wild Surf. 
The surf movie soon morphed into the beach-party film, whose heyday was from 1963 through 1965, where surfing was only used as a backdrop to fanciful teenage beach adventures. Beach Party from AIP starring Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello launched Muscle Beach Party, Bikini Beach, Pajama Party, Beach Blanket Bingo, How to Stuff a Wild Bikini, and The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini. 
Soon other studios were releasing their own Beach Party rivals such as Surf Party, The Girls on the Beach, and Beach Ball. Some of these films varied from the formula by shifting the locale to a lake (A Swingin’ Summer) or the ski slopes (Ski Party, Winter a-Go-Go, Wild Wild Winter). These movies for the most part followed a successful simple formula—start with attractive swimsuit clad teenagers twisting on the sand, add a dash of surfing (or ski) footage, mix in romantic misunderstandings, stir in popular musical performers, add aging comedians for comic relief, and whisk in villainous bikers or predatory adults.  


The Karen Carpenter Story

Openly gay, experimental filmmaker Todd Haynes burst upon the scene two years after his graduation from Brown University with his now-infamous 43-minute cult treasure “Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story” (1987).
Seizing upon the inspired gimmick of using Barbie and Ken dolls to sympathetically recount the story of the pop star’s death from anorexia, he spent months making miniature dishes, chairs, costumes, Kleenex and Ex-Lax boxes, and Carpenters’ records to create the film’s intricate, doll-size mise-en-scene. The result was both audacious and accomplished as the dolls seemingly ceased to be dolls leaving the audience weeping for the tragic singer.
Unfortunately, Richard Carpenter’s enmity for the film (which made him look like a selfish jerk) led to the serving of a “cease and desist” order in 1989.
The film covers Karen Carpenter's life from the time of her "discovery" in 1966 to her untimely death by cardiac arrest (secondary to anorexia nervosa) in 1983. The movie begins with a quasi-first person recap of her mother Agnes Carpenter discovering Karen's body in her parents' Downey,California home on February 4, 1983, and then returns by flashback to 1966. The story touches on major points in Karen's life from 1966 on. Read the full story on Wikipedia.

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What lies beneath...

Harry Connick Jr: "I'm Probably Gay"

 Posted by Sassy Smith
Crooner Harry Connick Jr is quite certain he has gay tendencies and he's far from a guy's guy. He's spent most of his life surronded by women and therefore, wouldn't really have a clue what to do in the company of macho men.
Harry is married to model Jill Goodacre and has three daughters so it's estrogen all around! He said, "I have so many women in my life, I wouldn't know what to do with a guy. In fact I'm probably gay and I don't even know it!" Should his wife be worried?
"My life is chick power. My manager is a woman, who has been with me since I'm 18, and my wife is a strong and intelligent woman. I have three daughters. My dogs are all females."
Connick Jr continues, "Even my sister Suzanna... she just got a double medical degree; she's now a psychiatrist and an internal medicine doctor and she speaks about 10 languages. She's so impressive. I'm surronded by strong, intelligent women."
Sheesh, I was worried he was about 10 seconds from telling us he has a vagina!
Text and image via Fame Crawler

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