Thursday, March 12th, 2009

Two fun things, a film and something overheard at Panera:

Panera logo While at Panera, sitting and eating and trying to mind my own business, I could not help but overhear the loud conversation at a nearby table between two female UD professors, one of whom was animatedly telling the other of her search on and off over the years for an old boyfriend and how her recent discovery over spring break of Facebook enabled her to finally track him down. She was apparently quite oblivious to the fact that she was broadcasting her personal information to all and sundry in the vicinity of Panera's fireplace, and also broadcasting (as it turns out, an apt verb choice) that of her ex-boyfriend, Dave Kelso, now a radio DJ in Oklahoma City who uses his middle name as his last name professionally because his real last name, which starts with an S, is always mispronounced by people. If David Kelso ever googles himself and happens across this, he'll know exactly who it was that was broadcasting information about him in public. David, your ex-girlfriend is so new to Facebook, she doesn't realize that she can set her Facebook profile so that strangers can't read it.

I've Loved You So Long photo After having learned more than I really cared to know about a random stranger, I went to the Neon Movies to watch a film whose main character is quite the opposite of the loud UD professor at Panera in that she reveals as little as possible about her life to anyone. Kristen Scott Thomas stars in Il y a longtemps que je t'aime, a film about a woman named Juliette who, after a long absence, goes to live with her younger sister and her sister's family. Details about Juliette's situation are revealed slowly over the course of the film, and they're not predictable, at least not all of them. I find such a film much more enjoyable than one whose ending one knows practically before it's begun. I'm also in awe of Scott Thomas who is perhaps best known for her English-speaking role in The English Patient but who is quite comfortable acting en français. I've lived in a foreign country myself and become fairly fluent in German but not so much that I could act in a film auf deutsch (not that I could act in English but at least I'd have a chance in English). Aussi je parle un peu du français mais il y a beaucoup de years since I took it (in high school, to give you a clue just how many). I remember enough to help my nephew with his French lessons and to recognize words and phrases in conversation but not enough to follow an entire French film sans subtitles.

So the lessons to be learned from today are to speak quietly in Panera (and in public in general) when talking of personal matters and to go catch I've Loved You So Long at the Neon while you still can.

Wednesday, July 11th, 2007

"2" movies
Something fun about the apartment building I live in is that they have movie nights and games nights (ever play Pokeno?). Tonight was a movie night, featuring, as you can see from the flyer to the right, "2" movies, Bridge to Terebithia and Daddy's Little Girls. All the announcements at Park Layne are in this style, with creative uses of quotation marks and punctuation.

I don't usually participate in these group activities, but I did want to see Bridge to Terebithia, since I'd become familiar with the book when I took Adolescent Literature a few years ago. The movie's not typical Disney, staying fairly true to the book including a tragic event that was the point of the book's being written. A great story for helping kids learn that tragedy's part of life and that they can deal with it. Also a great story for teaching about foreshadowing. Disney even leaves in (somewhat shortened) a little lesson about Jesus and Biblical literalism, which I think would make this a great film for a youth group to watch and discuss.

I can't tell you whether "2" movies were actually screened (or if that "2" meant something else) because I didn't stay for the second one. Sorry.

While I'm on the subject of fun things about Park Layne, here's another, namely that the basement garages flood whenever there's any rain outside. Usually I just see the aftermath, but yesterday there was a downpour outside as I was leaving, and so I got to see that my garage floods not just because of seepage from the walls but even more so because of a big leak in the ceiling. You can't see the leak so well in these photos, but you can see the effect of the drips hitting the pond below the leak:
Friday, July 6th, 2007
Having just read Allen Drury's book, Advise and Consent, featuring a senator who kills himself after being blackmailed over his homosexual past, I checked out Otto Preminger's 1962 film version, and, for the most part, I like the movie better than the book. Although the film clocks in at 2 hours 20 minutes, it's faster paced than the book,

The fresh-faced Senator Anderson,
played by Don Murray
and the film gives a glimpse into pre-Stonewall gay life that the book does not.

In the book Senator Brigham Anderson's WWII lover is given no name and makes only two brief appearances, once calling the Senator to apologize for having sold the blackmailers material and a second time atoning for his sins by jumping off a bridge unnoticed. We get no details about what Anderson's lover has given his blackmailers, and though we hear a lot about the photograph that first set off Anderson's enemies gaydar, we get only a vague description that it's "innocent-appearing" but bears a suspect inscription.


Forever—Brig
The movie, while it cuts out all of the subplot of how Senator Anderson's keepsake photo got into the wrong hands (and cuts out entirely the Supreme Court Justice who in the book found the pic), lets us see the photo for ourselves, and, showing two soldiers wearing leis but fully dressed in uniform, posed together but not even touching, it does seem rather innocent, were it not for the "Forever, Brig" written across the bottom. (The photo in the book, being one Brig had kept, surely would have had "Forever, Ray" instead.)


Dear Ray
buzz off!
Another change the movie makes from the book is that we actually get to see some of the material the Senator's lover has sold off, specifically a letter the Senator has written his ex-lover asking him to stop contacting him. Brig's not really gay, you see, and the butt-fucking wouldn't have happened were it not "for the war and the exhaustion and the loneliness." I guess there weren't any women at all in Hawaii who wanted to sleep with lonely soldiers. Brig has "a good, normal life" now and "want[s] to forget there was ever anything else," though he knows "it won't be easy." Our Mormon Senator from Utah was bound and determined to be an ex-gay, and it seems he did a pretty good job of it.

 

Gay pimp

Gay club

Gay club
 
The most interesting difference between the book and the movie is that in the movie Anderson decides to confront in person the only man who could have the goods on him. Hopping on a flight (the ease with which people jumped on and off planes back then is amazing) to NYC, Brig tracks Ray down, going first to what he discovers is a campy kind of cat-filled male brothel where he actually pays the proprieter, he thinks for information but for use of Ray and the room thinks the proprieter ("You can come back here with Ray — I mean you've paid").


On display
Poor Brig, obviously not thinking clearly, heads on to Club 602, the outside of which is rather bleak but inside which is filled to the brim with all kinds of queers (this 1962 NYC gay bar is even racially integrated).

Oh yes, we know your type
The setup of the club isn't conducive to closeted married politicians wanting to sneak in for a hookup. No, instead patrons must first get past a trio of judgmental fairies and then find themselves under a spot light atop a flight of stairs in full view of everyone already in the club. Although the friendly bartender welcomes him,
Sinatra sidebar
During the Club 602 scene crooning on the jukebox is none other than Ol' Blue Eyes himself, Frank Sinatra, singing not any song ever actually released but snippets commissioned just for this film: (MP3)
Let me hear a voice, a secret voice, a voice that will say, come to me, and be what I need you to be. Long alone, I have sung the loser's song alone...
Brig loses his nerve, turns tail and runs.

But not before his ex-lover Ray (looking doable but aging quicky for a hustler) notices him. Seeing the look on Ray's face, you might think Ray still loves Brig and hopes to be reunited with him. Ray goes after Brig, which doesn't please Ray's current boyfriend (trick, whatever) — Ray, you're with me — but Ray wants to explain to Brig, and that explanation (I needed money and you wouldn't give me any) doesn't go over well. Brig escapes in a cab, pushing Ray to the curb and leaving him like the gutter tramp he is.

Darling, you've
come for me

Wait, I
can explain!

To the curb,
bitch!
 
There was one part of the book I admired which didn't really make it into the movie version. In the book the Senator's colleagues are aware that he's being blackmailed and also pretty much aware of exactly how before he's driven to suicide, and they offer him some support. Brig kills himself during the day, while some of his colleagues are also working, and one feels particularly guilty afterwards for having let Brig talk him out of coming down to talk, feeling, perhaps rightly so, that he could have done something. In the movie, the Senator's colleagues don't know what's up until, after his suicide, they go to talk to his wife, who, in the film, has been given copies of the goods on her husband.

And another aspect of the film I really didn't care for was the casting of Henry Fonda as Secretary of State nominee Robert Leffingwell or the addition (not in the book at all) of his wide-eyed Opie-esque son. Casting Fonda made Leffingwell much more sympathetic than Drury meant him to be, as did having Fonda explain things to OpieJohnny. The film also changes slightly the fate of Leffingwell's confirmation, although I'll grant in a fun way that makes the Vice President look good and that ends the film neatly and quickly.

All in all, a film worth watching, much easier to digest than the book.
Wednesday, July 4th, 2007

1) At a gathering today in Republican-held territory outside Springfield, Ohio, I wore an Old Navy Fourth of July flag t-shirt and was told by another guest, "I can tell you're white."

"Oh?" I asked. (I'd thought my whiteness was rather obvious.)

"Yeah," he said. "You shop at Old Navy."

I didn't know what to say to that, but before I had time to say anything, this guy's wife chimed in — "Oh, honey. The blacks are starting to shop at Old Navy now. And the Gap too!"

Of course there is so much to be said to that, but given who said it and that I was at a family gathering, there was also so little to be said, too. These are the kind of people who voted for W.

2) This evening I went to see SiCKO at The Neon (back in Democratic-held territory). I'd been ambivalent about seeing SiCKO but friends called and said they were going so I went along, and I'm glad I did. Yes, Michael Moore takes things to extremes and isn't fair and balanced (though being fair and balanced is overrated), but he does document things that should really be unacceptable in the United States. Even if you believe that some terminally ill people (who have insurance) should be denied treatments because the treatments are experimental or because extending someone's life six months is a waste of resources, even if you believe it's okay that the United States is the only developed nation without universal health care, surely you can't believe that a hospital's arranging to have a confused old woman pushed out of a taxi onto the sidewalk wearing only a paper hospital gown and no shoes is right.

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2004

You've missed it, and I almost did, catching Being Julia on its last day at the Neon. Based on a novel by Somerset Maugham the film gives Annette Bening a chance to shine, which she does, achieving a happier ending than does Bette Davis in All About Eve, the classic mentioned most in reviews of this movie. I did think Bening was fabulous (isn't that a typically gay adjective), but it wasn't she who caught my eye, nor was it her younger lover T O M (you have to see the film to catch that reference) played by Shaun Evans. No, it was another Tom, her son, a little hottie played by Tom Sturridge. There's a fun bit where he tells his mother about his having sex earlier that night for the first time ever, and he doesn't get what's so great about it. Perhaps it's just that he hasn't figured out yet, as Bening's older lover Lord Charles (played by Bruce Greenwood, who's pretty hot too) later confesses to her about himself, that he "plays for the other side."

Wednesday, November 10th, 2004

Gael García Bernal
I went to see The Motorcycle Diaries, mostly because I think Gael García Bernal is cute but partly for a class. There's an entry in my books section if you want to know what I thought. You can see the film yourself at Neon Movies for at least another week.
Thursday, July 22nd, 2004 *
Today was the first day of summer in Lüneburg, not the first day with any sun, but the first that's been sunny all day and hot, something I've never been in Lüneburg.

There was a small USAC going away picnic in the Kurpark, and I saw shirtless boys in the grass, something I'd also not seen in Lüneburg yet, as well as kids playing in the fountain, including a completely naked little boy of 4 or so.

Today was also my room check, to make sure I hadn't damaged or stolen anything. The woman turned on each of the three lights and counted every photo, postcard and poster on the walls (the normal occupant had tons!). Like I'd steal just one photo. I'm also expected to wash the sheets sometime after I get up tomorrow but before I turn in the key in the afternoon, as if I didn't have class tomorrow.

I went shopping for a few last souvenirs and then went to see Swimming Pool, which I've seen auf Englisch/Französich but not auf Deutsch. It will be my last film auf Deutsch for a while, especially without subtitles in English.

Today was a good day for eating out. It was my last chance to eat at the Ratskellar, and there were a fair number of people there but not too large a crowd so I went for it. I was joined by a loud group of Americans. ("Do we want to sit under the umbrella? I don't give a shit. Do they have Budweiser?") Luckily they stopped only for a drink, not dinner.
Tuesday, July 20th, 2004 *
Today was my last lit class since the professor is out of town tomorrow. I really didn't feel very comfortable with this class at the start, mostly because reading auf Deutsch was so difficult but also because following along in class as well as trying to make any sensible comments was hard as well. Now that the class is over I feel much better. Reading Der Vorleser wasn't quite so difficult, even ohne Wörterbuch (without a dictionary), although I still miss some things, for example in this book what exactly Hanna was accused of having done. But I got the big surprises and was confidant enough to be able to talk about the theme of the book.

I went to see Mona Lisa Lacheln today. I'd wanted to see Mona Lisa Smile since I saw the previews. I thought it'd be interesting to see if Julia Robert's laugh sounded the same auf Deutsch (es war ganz anders). It was at the small cinema downtown, and I noticed that the tickets here, as at the multiplex across the river, have assigned seats too. I went ahead and sat in my assigned place since this theatre used the clever idea of having a diagonal aisle so that two seats in each row, including my seat, had no seat directly in from of them. Still it was funny to see an older German couple come into an almost empty theatre and carefully seek out their assigned places, across the aisle from me. A girl after them just sat down in front, probably not in her assigned spot.

After the movie it was pouring down rain, but I walked for a bit anyway, unsure what I wanted to eat. I found a place call Le Petit, on Am Stint, the street on the harbor (yes, Lüneburg has one, albeit very small). I thought briefly about ordering some kind of Scandinavian dish they had but settled instead for Schnitzel "Jäger" (hunter) style.

I learned that waitresses may address drunken customers mit "du" instead of the formal "Sie," although that may have been because the man so addressed was a regular.

The restaurant had a cat, who sat at the table next to me and licked himself while the men at the bar nearby discussed things, including, if I made it out correctly, the origin of Currywurst.

After dinner I had another glass of wine and read the Landeszeitung für die Lüneburger Heide, ein Niedersächiches Tageblatt. They had an article commemorating the 60th anniversary of Hans-Alexander von Voß, father of a local pastor, Ellen Ringhausen, who took part in the attempted assassination of Hitler. Actually he died on November 8th, 1944 but July 20th was when the assassination attempt took place. His son-in-law, Gerhard Ringhausen, is a professor at Universität Lüneburg.

Another article was about the 100th birthday of East German author Uwe Johnson, who wrote Jahrestage.

"Bitte im Sitzen pinkeln" reads the sign in the WC even here, proving that women in Deutschland have an obsession in attempting to control how men piss. I wonder if they really believe men follow their instructions.
Tuesday, July 13th, 2004 *
I was tired of the gray and wet today so I decided to treat myself to a nice dinner and a movie. I went to Sin Nombre, the Spanish restaurant that is also allegedly a gay bar, though there was no evidence of that at 6pm. I had a somewhat hard time deciding what to get. I asked the waiter what a certain wine drink was, and he said it was white wine with soda, so I got that. It wasn't bad. I got a tomato soup to start, which the waiter served without a spoon. He was very embarrassed when I asked for a spoon (Entshuldigen, aber ich brauche einen löffel). I got some sort of chicken dish with asparagus, which was pretty good. A girl in our cultural differences class this afternoon had said how much she disliked the asparagus her roommate's mother had served; maybe that put me in the mood for it. After dinner I was brought a coffee drink with whipped cream even though I hadn't ordered anything, perhaps as recompense for the lack of spoon earlier. I drank most of it since I was cold, but it confirmed that I don't like coffee.

Afterwards I wandered a bit on my way to the Movie Palace where 8 Frauen (a French film, 8 Femmes, that I saw and really liked last year) was showing. On the way I saw some graffiti on a T Mobile phone booth on Am Werdet that said, "Nazis verpißt euch! (Nazis, piss off!)" I hadn't realized that there were Nazis in Lüneburg to be pissed off.

The movie had German titles, noting the German actresses (famous actressess apparently) speaking each part (but not singing).
Thursday, July 8th, 2004 *
Tonight was supposed to be the English/German students night at the Old Dubliner so I went back. I might not have if it had been scheduled to start after the busses finished for the day. I would have been pissed if I'd walked only to find, as I did, that it was actually the night before!

I took the bus back uptown, past my WG, to the Uni to check e-mail. I ran into Donovan and Alejandro, who also were checking e-mail before joining some of the other USAC students to watch Spider-man 2 auf Deutsch. This was after the last bus so we ending up walking back downtown and then across the river to Lüneburg's modern metroplex. Here you buy tickets for reserved seats, as at a play or the opera; you can also buy beer, unlike the Berlin opera at least (The small art house I went to my first weekend in Lüneburg doesn't have reserved seats though). That didn't keep the crowd from pushing in a mad rush once the doors opened to get to their assigned seats, perhaps to ensure not missing the half hour of ads and trailers. The seats are red, plush and comfy. After the trailers the curtains close, the lights come up and two waiters come in to walk the rows and sell ice cream and other snacks to people in their seats.

Spider-man 2 was good. Having seen the first episode in English probably helped me to follow the plot, but my understanding of verbal German is improving. Plus this wasn't a particularly complex movie.

The movie got out after 11, and with standing around talking and indecision about whether the girls wanted to take a taxi home it was 12 before I did get home. Not good considering I wanted to study some for my 8:30am test tomorrow.
Monday, May 17th, 2004
Mondays are my long days since I have my observation at Stivers, followed by a class at Wright State (EDS333), followed by Dayton Gay Men's Chorus practice. Still on the way home I decided to stop by Neon Movies to see Latter Days.



  Some critics complain that Latter Days is just "an old and reliable screenplay formula" with two boys instead of a boy and a girl, that the film plays off gay stereotypes too much or that the two main stars are too buff and cute.

Well sometimes a gay guy can use a little buffness and cuteness, and Wes Ramsey and Steve Sandvoss certainly can provide that. The film is fairly predictable, but sometimes a gay guy just needs a happy ending in which the guy gets the guy. And sometimes a gay guy just needs to see some tight twink ass, and both Ramsey and Sandvoss can provide that as well, in abundance. Mmmm.
 
Saturday, May 8th, 2004

Pointless meme of the day:

  1. Go into your blog archives.
  2. Find your 23rd post (or closest to it).
  3. Find the fifth sentence (or closest to it).
  4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.
"At any rate, he's a good singer, so go see him yourself."
(from this post, Saturday, November 9th, 2002)


I also saw a fun movie, Good bye, Lenin!, at Neon Movies. Dieser Film war auf Deutsch, which is good practice; I understood a lot, but not all, of the German, so it was good it had English subtitles.
Thursday, November 21st, 2002

Neon Movies had the press preview of Frida tonight, and I was lucky enough to win a free pass. The movie opens to the public tomorrow. It's about an artist I'd never heard of, Frida Kahlo, who was married to another artist I'd never heard of, Diego Rivera. Their lives are part of the history we're not taught in school, in part because they were Mexicans, in part because they were communist/socialist revolutionaries, and in part because they weren't Ozzie and Harriet. In addition to giving a glimpse of that history, the movie is visually pleasing and works well in getting across a taste of Kahlo's art. Go see it while you can.

Saturday, November 2, 2002

Un film fantastique! Have you seen 8 Femmes yet? It was playing at Neon Movies downtown. I've seen it twice and think it's hilarious. What made it even funnier the second time is that during the end credits, the old man behind me stood up and said loudly, "That was the worst film I've ever seen in my life!"

The movie's about eight women snowed in at a French country home in the 1950s. The man of the house is found murdered in his bed, and all sorts of over-the-top revelations come out as the women try to figure out whodunnit. What makes it even better is that throughout the film they break into wonderful songs. Apparently the songs disturb some people, but I love them. The soundtrack's available at amazon.fr and amazon.de, and you can hear clips online there.

<bgsound src="../pictures/11-02-02/8femme-pournepas.mp3"> The clip to the right (OK, so I guess automatically playing music on a page can be annoying; click play to hear it if you want) is "Pour ne pas vivre seule," sung by Firmine Richard, who plays the housekeeper (lower right above). Kind of a sad song, with a fifties' perspective on being gay perhaps, but I like it anyway.

Pour ne pas vivre seul des filles aiment des filles
Et l'on voit des gar?ons ?pouser des gar?ons
Pour ne pas vivre seul
D'autres font des enfants des enfants qui sont seuls
Comme tous les enfants
Pour ne pas vivre seul
On fait des cath?drales o? tous ceux qui sont seuls
S'accrochent ? une ?toile
  Rough translation:
In order not to live alone
The girls love other girls
And boys marry other boys
In order not to live alone
Others make children of the children who are alone
Like all children are
In order not to live alone
One makes cathedrals
Where all those who are alone
Hang onto a star

 
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