It took a couple hours, but I’ve started crying. Partly, it’s the staggering shift from my childhood in Cincinnati, when and where being gay was treated more or less the same as being a pedophile, to my adulthood in LA, when and where my gayness is at least protected by the state (and the State) and the vast, vast majority of people I deal with on a daily basis either celebrate who I am or don’t give a rat’s ass. Partly, it’s remembering my wedding, when I married Rob, back when it wasn’t even legal in New York, and it will always be one of the greatest days of my life. Partly, it’s because of remembering losing Prop 8 and the debilitating sorrow I felt. Partly, it’s because that sorrow was made powerfully profound knowing that my neighbors and some of my family members and millions of strangers had contributed to it. Partly, it’s that my marriage and my subsequent partnership didn’t survive to this day, that having the right to love doesn’t give you the ability to make it last. Partly, it’s knowing how this ruling will change the lives, in concrete ways, of friends I have in Michigan and Ohio and Texas (and everywhere else), and these changes, the assurances and protections, are so needed and so great. Partly, it’s that I haven’t had any coffee yet, since I haven’t been able to tear my eyes from the computer screen. Partly, it’s knowing that I am going to the wedding of my dear friend Curtis in a few months, and it will be the first time that I will be at the wedding of two gay people and it won’t be a subversive act, and that is such a relief.
At the screening of Bridesmaids that I attended with my husband, during the few lulls between thunderous guffaws we could hear the young blonde woman sitting next to Rob commenting on the plot to her mother: “What a bitch!” “Aw, he’s so cute!” “That would never happen!” As we walked out, she said, “If my best girlfriend ruined my shower, she would not be invited to my wedding. That was so unrealistic!”
I wanted to say two things to this girl, but civility prevented me.
First, I would have pointed out that Bridesmaids is a broad comedy in which things that would never happen do happen all of the time. Don’t ponder the psychology or the physics; just laugh!
Second, I would have said, “Talking during a movie is rude. You’re exactly the kind of bobble-headed dingbat Kristen Wiig would have hated.”
Read the rest on the LGBT Weekly website, or, if you’re local, in the actual print edition, found at your local gay-friendly business.
As it seems that not everyone knows what a “story slam” is, it’s sort of like a poetry slam, but instead of poems, the slammers tell stories. If you don’t know what a poetry slam is, then, well, gee. Read this nice Wiki entry. And for every “poem,” insert “story” and you’ll get a what a story slam is. Or read this recent Times story about the Moth, a story slam that has been around since 1997 but was finally noticed by the Times, you know, last week.
(Last week, The Paper of Record also ran a story about how pot bellies are trendy. It’s as if no one noticed that Americans are fat until last week. That story should have run in the Onion. Guy Trebay is going to end up in the same special level of Hell reserved for hack Styles writers that was originally created especially for Alex Witchell but now has numerous already predestined denizens.)
Rob reminded me that we promised to go, and since I’m always griping about how there is no culture in San Diego, I should probably get off my ass to go see the culture that is actually here. And we should support the folks pouring their sweat and tears (and occasionally blood, if there’s an accident) into such ventures. Through our friend Jess, we met such folks, and they’re responsible for So Say We All, which is San Diego’s version of the Moth… minus the professional actors and arrogance. And they’re also responsible for VAMP, which is a video, art, music, and performance event that complements So Say We All. They’re each monthly, and they usually share a theme. Because Rob and I were going to be part of the first VAMP, we went to see a So Say We All story slam.
It was at Cream, a coffee shop in University Heights that I used to frequent because it has big tables you can stack a lot of books on and because their salads were good. Then I discovered that Twiggs had much better coffee and all my friends were usually there. Also, Cream has weird ventilation problems: When we arrived at So Say We All, it was hot. Damn hot. And crowded. Really, really, really crowded. I couldn’t believe that there were 200 people in San Diego who wanted to hear amateur strangers (or mostly strangers, since I’m sure every storyteller brought 10 or 20 friends) tell five-minute stories about “When Disaster Strikes!” which was the theme that month. But there they were. It made me feel, I dunno, warm and fuzzy inside. San Diego!
[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zkxTv0Wurh4]The stories started out okay and then got very good. Of course, it was after two beers and only a few okay stories that I put my name in the hat, thinking, “Heck, I can do that!” Then the really good folks got on stage, and I got nervous. I went second to last. And I won! Well, there was a three-way tie for 1st place, but the lady had won in a previous month and the guy worked at the place from where the prize came from, La Jolla Playhouse. So, I won the prize, which was two tickets for Herringbone, a new musical starring BD Wong. The video of my story is above. It’s about debt, Williamsburg, lawsuits and the evil that is Patenaude & Felix. Remember what those asshats did to me? Now there’s video!
The event was inspiring. It’s made me write again. For realz. For VAMP, I got dirty. For the next slam, I’m going to be sentimental. And next Thursday. I start a poetry class. And… AND… I’ve started working on my novel again. W00t.
Last night, after we saw “Disturbia,” we found a freakishly large, freakishly lime green
grasshopper katydid on the roof of our car. Here’s a close-up of the little, er, big guy. I didn’t realize that they came in that size. He was a cool critter, but I was a little, uh, disturbed.
Anyway, the movie was fun. Most of the remakes-for-teen-agers that have been released in the last few years have been really, really bad. You have to go back to “Cruel Intentions” for one that worked. And that one may have worked because it was so, so wrong and so, so campy. But “Disturbia” worked, more or less. And “Rear Window” is one of my favorite movies. Despite the utter sacrilege, I liked the update/rip-off/twist of
- setting it in suburbia, high school, and 2007 (instead of New York, early middle-age, and the mid-1950s)
- putting the protagonist under house arrest (instead of a cast and a wheelchair)
- having a wacky Asian friend (instead a sarcastic, sexless female friend)
- using all the modern, though still very limited, technologies for surveillance (instead of one telephoto lens)
- having the very cute, very charismatic Shia LaBeouf carry the movies (instead of, ya know, the great Jimmy Stewart)
Neverthess, there were some problems. Obviously. You don’t redo one of the greatest films ever made and get off scott free! (Unless, of course, you’re Tim Burton, and it’s “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” and your version is so, so, so much better, and anyone who thinks the creepy Gene Wilder version is “great” had too much sugar before they saw it. So there.) Yeah, so there were some problems, like
- the replacement of Grace Kelly with Sarah Roemer wasn’t quite so great (probably because Roemer only has a career because she looks like a teen-aged Gwyneth)
- the replacement of the very creepy Raymond Burr with the pretty creepy David Morse didn’t quite work (possibly because Morse’s hair was so bad)
- turning the wife killer into a serial killer made the situation less believable and therefore less scary (and it had “make the movie bloodier!” notes-from-a-studio-exec written all over it)
- allowing LaBeouf to be able to fight back instead of being truly trapped made the situation less tense and therefore less scary (and it had “give the thing more action!” notes-from-a-studio-exec written all over it)
Eh. Still, it was fun. And the several dozen teen-aged girls just loved it.
Oh, the previews were pretty good. In fact, one was just plain awesome. I can’t believe I’m saying this about a Michael Bay movie, but I cannot wait to see “Transformers” (which is another Shia LeBeouf film, and he’s been cast in the next Indian Jones film, so I guess he’s having a good year.) I also love the hilarious fanboy discourse about the movie. I love that some of them are refusing to see the movie because the Transformers aren’t going to transform the way the toys did in 1985. Well, if you’re going to go that route, why not demand that the Transformer not be able to transform unless an 8-year-old boy fumbles with its plastic parts for ten minutes. Fanboys can so, so strident.
Clearly, I’ve gone soft. It’s the suburbia. Disturbing, hunh?
(Even my prose has become cliched. Shit.)