Sunday, September 30, 2007

Philip Roth, my 'bro

Surprised? Yes ... he’s an ally of mine ... so it seems. I find that many adults are embarassed to say that they are faithful practitioners of the gentle (maybe) art of masturbation. I’m glad to say that he has come out as a pleasure-seeker with no hope of propagation.

In a conversation with Hermione Lee in the October 1, 2007 issue of The New Yorker, he discusses his new book, Exit Ghost. And, within that discussion, he talks about a character named Kliman. This novel continues the journey of Roth’s character in several books - Nathan Zuckerman. Zuckerman hates Kliman for several reasons, one being “the kind of biography Zuckerman believes Kliman to be writing.” Another is that Kliman writes of Lonoff’s “secret history.” Lonoff is a former professor and onetime inspiration for Zuckerman. In his conversation with Hermione Lee, Roth says:
It would be as wrong-headed to read into the presentation of Kliman an attack on the genre of biography as to read, say, my presentation of Portnoy as an attack on the practice of masturbation. I count myself a friend of both.

Moi, aussi.

I have designed a t-shirt that says ...

Front: Dr. J. Elders' Magic Rub
Back: always satisfied ... ‘nuff said

PolCat says that the reference to Dr. J. Elders is too obscure. I'm referring to one of my heroes, the former U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Jocelyn Elders.

Here's Wikipedia on Dr. Elders:
In 1994, she was invited to speak at a United Nations conference on AIDS. She was asked whether it would be appropriate to promote masturbation as a means of preventing young people from engaging in riskier forms of sexual activity, and she replied, "I think that it is part of human sexuality, and perhaps it should be taught." This remark caused great controversy, especially among conservative Christian groups and right wing interests in the United States. President Clinton, who had been recently traumatized by the Republican takeover of Congress, asked for her resignation.

Yes, that hypocrite, Clinton, asked for her resignation. I hope he feels great shame when he thinks of Dr. Elders and the way he treated her.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Filmmaker answers L. Paul Bremer III

Charles Ferguson, creator of No End in Sight, presents a video rebuttal to claims made by L. Paul Bremer III that top American officials approved the decision to disband the Iraqi army. It was posted on the New York Times web site. Go here. (You may have to register on the New York Times web site - but, it is free.)

Sunday, September 23, 2007

400 Blows: New print, yum!

Everett Collection

The New York Times has an article written by Terrence Rafferty in today's online edition about François Truffaut and Les Quatre cents coups (400 Blows). Rafferty mentions that there's a new print to be shown at New York's Film Forum. I'm going to keep a lookout for it ... hope the new print comes to my town!

Here's an excerpt from the article:

He moves through the Paris streets (photographed with exhilarating clarity by Henri Decaë) confidently but a little anxiously, a trace of unease betrayed by an odd scurrying half-run he breaks into from time to time, as if he he’d suddenly remembered that someone was chasing him. It’s the gait he uses in the movie’s famous final sequence, when he escapes from the reform school he has wound up in and, his pursuers well behind him, makes his way across a bleak beach for his first-ever glimpse of the sea.

The camera travels with him, recording every jerky small step until he reaches the edge of the water, looks at the big-deal sea for all of about five seconds and then turns back, expressionless, to face us in what quickly becomes a freeze-frame: the last, powerfully ambiguous image of the film.

This sort of ending wasn’t common in 1959, and viewers were impressed. Mr. Truffaut, overcoming the considerable ill will he had earned as a Cahiers critic, won the prize for best director at Cannes; the movie was a hit in France and all over the world.

That freeze-frame stuck in people’s minds as if it were a sharp, nagging memory of their own. What looks most remarkable now, though, isn’t the blank still face that closes the film, but the daringly long run that brings us to it, that allows our emotions to gather and build with each short, stiff step until, without quite understanding why, we end up overwhelmed. It’s the movie in miniature, really.

Oh, yes. That last shot. I've never forgotten it.

If you want to read the whole article, go here. But, if you're not a registered New York Times user, you'll have to register. All articles are now free on the NYTimes website - you just have to register.

Old pirates, yes, they rob

On this day in 1980, Bob Marley gave his last performance in concert.

Bob Marley played his final concert at the Stanley Theater in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on September 23, 1980. The live version of "Redemption Song" on Songs of Freedom was recorded at this show.


Old pirates, yes, they rob i;

Sold I to the merchant ships,

Minutes after they took i

From the bottomless pit.

But my hand was made strong

By the and of the almighty.

We forward in this generation


Wont you help to sing

These songs of freedom? -

cause all I ever have:

Redemption songs;

Redemption songs.

Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery;

None but ourselves can free our minds.

Have no fear for atomic energy,

cause none of them can stop the time.

How long shall they kill our prophets,

While we stand aside and look? ooh!

Some say its just a part of it:

Weve got to fulfil de book.

Wont you help to sing

These songs of freedom?

cause all I ever have:

Redemption songs;

Redemption songs;

Redemption songs.

Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery;

None but ourselves can free our mind.

Wo! have no fear for atomic energy,

cause none of them-a can-a stop-a the time.

How long shall they kill our prophets,

While we stand aside and look?

Yes, some say its just a part of it:

Weve got to fulfil de book.

Wont you help to sing

Dese songs of freedom?

cause all I ever had:

Redemption songs -

All I ever had:

Redemption songs:

These songs of freedom,

Songs of freedom.

Rest in peace. We're not there yet.

Their Eyes Were Reading Zora

If you'd like to read a wonderful essay by Zadie Smith about Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God ... and why that novel is so imporant to literature, go here.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Quotes From Books: History could make a stone weep

Another new feature I'm starting up ... Quotes From Books.

For this post, the quotes are from Gilead by Marilynne Robinson.

Photo from The Deseret Morning News

It was like one of those dreams where you’re filled with some extravagant feeling you might never have in life, it doesn’t matter what it is, even guild or dread, and you learn from it what an amazing instrument you are, so to speak, what a power you have to experience beyond anything you might ever actually need.

To be useful was the best thing the old men ever hoped for themselves, and to be aimless was their worst fear.

We human beings do real harm. History could make a stone weep.

Happy Birthday, Leonard Cohen!

Photo from the Canadian Songwriters website

Anthem by Leonard Cohen

The birds they sang
at the break of day
Start again
I heard them say
Don't dwell on what
has passed away
or what is yet to be.
Ah the wars they will
be fought again
The holy dove
She will be caught again
bought and sold
and bought again
the dove is never free.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.

We asked for signs
the signs were sent:
the birth betrayed
the marriage spent
Yeah the widowhood
of every government --
signs for all to see.

I can't run no more
with that lawless crowd
while the killers in high places
say their prayers out loud.
But they've summoned, they've summoned up
a thundercloud
and they're going to hear from me.

Ring the bells that still can ring ...

You can add up the parts
but you won't have the sum
You can strike up the march,
there is no drum
Every heart, every heart
to love will come
but like a refugee.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.
That's how the light gets in.
That's how the light gets in.

This little bit from Wikipedia:
Leonard Norman Cohen, (born September 21, 1934 in Westmount, Montreal, Quebec) is a Canadian singer-songwriter, poet and novelist. Cohen published his first book of poetry in Montreal in 1956 and his first novel in 1963.
If you want to read more, go here.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Diesel Dyke

(c) 2007 K. Smokey Cormier

Remember the old phrase "diesel dyke"?

Monday, September 17, 2007

Saturday, September 15, 2007

No One Recalled a More Cowardly Sound

Photo credit: André Natta

16th St. Baptist Church

Birmingham Sunday

Come round by my side and I'll sing you a song.
I'll sing it so softly, it'll do no one wrong.
On Birmingham Sunday the blood ran like wine,
And the choirs kept singing of Freedom.

That cold autumn morning no eyes saw the sun,
And Addie Mae Collins, her number was one.
At an old Baptist church there was no need to run.
And the choirs kept singing of Freedom,

The clouds they were grey and the autumn winds blew,
And Denise McNair brought the number to two.
The falcon of death was a creature they knew,
And the choirs kept singing of Freedom,

The church it was crowded, but no one could see
That Cynthia Wesley's dark number was three.
Her prayers and her feelings would shame you and me.
And the choirs kept singing of Freedom.

Young Carol Robertson entered the door
And the number her killers had given was four.
She asked for a blessing but asked for no more,
And the choirs kept singing of Freedom.

On Birmingham Sunday a noise shook the ground.
And people all over the earth turned around.
For no one recalled a more cowardly sound.
And the choirs kept singing of Freedom.

The men in the forest they once asked of me,
How many black berries grew in the Blue Sea.
And I asked them right with a tear in my eye.
How many dark ships in the forest?

The Sunday has come and the Sunday has gone.
And I can't do much more than to sing you a song.
I'll sing it so softly, it'll do no one wrong.
And the choirs keep singing of Freedom.

-- Richard Fariña

Still in our hearts and prayers

Addie Mae Collins (aged 14)

Denise McNair (11)

Carole Robertson (14)

Cynthia Wesley (14)

and 22 more were injured

In Birmingham, Alabama ... on this day in 1963, at about 10:25 a.m., when 26 children were walking into the basement assembly room for closing prayers after a sermon bombs exploded. Four girls were murdered. And 22 other people were injured.

I was 14 years old. I mourned them and prayed for them ... and I still do.

I invite you to watch Spike Lee's 4 Little Girls. It's a really good documentary about this subject.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Middle of Nowhere: Films

Every once in a while I'm going to pick movies at random ... movies I really like or maybe don't like and give a mini-review. Or ... pick a performance in a movie (like Lee Grant in The Detective Story) that I just want to talk about. I'll call this kind of tidbitty kinda post Middle of Nowhere.

My Waking Life (USA) animated but you won't find it in the kids' section.
It's an adult animated film which doesn't mean sex. Lots of conversations.
The use of animation is incredible. The director, Richard Linklater, actually filmed a movie and then created the animation afterwards with the help of animation software Very creative. He doesn’t just convert the live action to animation though. He changes it. And he’ll add things. Like when someone is thinking something deep or strange, there will be starts floating out of the top of her head. And the conversations in the movie are thought-provoking. Mostly they're about the nature of consciousness.

Spirited Away (Japan) Animated. It is a kids' movie but for older kids ... 8 and up depending on the kid. It's very trippy. Absolutely wonderful animation. You never know what's going to happen. I love this filmmaker--Hayao Miyazaki. He also made My Neighbor Totoro and Kiki’s Delivery Service. Just gorgeous animation. Plus, not your usual plot.

Eve's Bayou (USA) Just watched this recently. It's about an African-American family in Louisiana. The father's a doctor and a philanderer. The main character is an 11 year old girl. The acting is great. I'm shocked that people don't talk about this more. It's really a good movie ... very interesting.

All About My Mother
Talk To Her

Both from Spain and directed by Pedro Almodovar. He's one of my favorite directors. And Matador is one of my favorite movies of his but you can’t get it on Netflix because it’s not on DVD ... at least here in the U.S. Both were made in the past 10 years. Really good.

Y Tu Mama Tambien (Mexico) Sexy. Fun. With substance. Plus, gorgeous beaches. Great escape. But my kind of escape -- with substance/pain too.

Bend it like Beckham (U.K.) Just a fun fun movie. About an Anglo-Indian 18 yr old woman who wants to play soccer but her parents want her to start learning how to be a good wife to prepare her for marriage which she should be concentrating on instead of soccer. She's not married but they want her to start thinking in that direction. Good soccer scenes. Funny too.

Fire (from India) directed by Deepa Mehta. Set in India. It's about a young woman who is newly married to a man who's having an affair on the side from the very beginning. They live with his brother and the brother's wife. The two women of the household become attracted to each other. Sparks fly. Both women are very sexy in my humble yet haughty opinion.

Bleu (part of a trilogy by Krzysztof Kieslowski - the director) Sometimes titled: Trois couleurs: Bleu (1993) It's in French so I think from France. But the director is Polish. Juliette Binoche stars in it. The movie is about a woman -- a composer -- who is mourning the recent death by car accident -- of her husband and daughter. The acting is superb. The music is wonderful. And Kieslowski really pays attention to photography so it's beautiful.

Rushmore (USA) Quirky. Interesting. The acting is very good. It's about a 15 yr old boy at an all-boys school. He's got a crush on the female teacher from England who's grieving the loss of her husband. It's also about how this boy has failing grades yet a leader at his school. A real organizer. The actor who plays the boy is very good - Jason Schwartzman. All the acting is good. Bill Murray gives a really good, subtle performance.

In the Mood for Love (Hong Kong) Set in the 60's. This is such a subtle film. I really love it. But it's the anti-thesis of a Hollywood action film. Very little action. Lots of feeling - true human feeling. Beautiful photography, luscious music and close-ups. The slowness of two adult human beings spending time together. Mystery - human mystery, not murder mystery. No murders. No violence. Oh, I should amend that. No violence created by any of the main characters. Just some scenes from newsreels about the Viet Nam War to place the characters in time/context. The movie begins in 1962 and goes forward to 1966. It takes place in Hong Kong. Great acting. Subtle. It seeps into you slowly. The whole movie is a slow cooker. Until you're stewing in your own juices. An ending that defies the audience's desires. Directed by Kar Wai Wong. It stars Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung Chiu Wai.


Just sent this email to several folks at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences ... you may borrow any or all wording if you'd like.

Subject: Censorship=boredom

Dear Representative of the Academy,

I like to watch interesting shows. Shows with real life in them.

If you're going to censor shows, I just don't want to watch them. That's boring. You're taking the interesting parts out.

Sorry, won't be watching your show since you decided to edit out Kathy Griffin's remarks.

I know you and other executives are very worried about revenue and offending certain people. Fine. But there are consequences when you do that.

There are a lot of us out here in TV viewing land who are sophisticated enough to know that Kathy wasn't making fun of Jesus. She's making fun of those mock pious people who sicken most of us. We hear what kind of lives they live and then they sweetly thank Jesus.

Plus, if you know Jesus' real teachings ... they were all about love and turning the other cheek, not punishment.

Go ahead. Transmit your boring show. I won't watch.


Ms. Manitoba

'nuff said

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Congratulations, Kathy Griffin! Jesus has a sense of humor

Here's an article that was on Yahoo Entertainment news today:
Kathy Griffin's Jesus remark cut from Emmy show
Tue Sep 11, 6:19 PM ET

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Comic Kathy Griffin's "offensive" remarks about Jesus at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards will be cut from a pre-taped telecast of the show, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences said on Tuesday.

Griffin made the provocative comment on Saturday night as she took the stage of the Shrine Auditorium to collect her Emmy for best reality program for her Bravo channel show "My Life on the D-List."

"A lot of people come up here and thank Jesus for this award. I want you to know that no one had less to do with this award than Jesus," an exultant Griffin said, holding up her statuette. "Suck it, Jesus. This award is my god now."

Asked about her speech backstage a short time later, an unrepentant Griffin added, "I hope I offended some people. I didn't want to win the Emmy for nothing."

The speech drew fire from a leading Roman Catholic group, the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, which condemned Griffin's remarks as "obscene and blasphemous."

"It is a sure bet that if Griffin had said, 'Suck it, Muhammad,' there would have been a very different reaction," Catholic league president Bill Donohue said in a statement posted on the group's Web site. He called on TV academy president Dick Askin to denounce Griffin's "hate speech" and on Griffin to apologize.

An edited version of the Creative Arts Emmys is set to air on cable television's E! Entertainment Network on Saturday, the night before the live Fox network broadcast of the main Primetime Emmy Awards.

"Kathy Griffin's offensive remarks will not be part of the E! telecast," an academy spokeswoman said on Tuesday. An "abbreviated version" of her acceptance speech will air, instead, she said.

Griffin's reaction to the imbroglio, according to a statement issued by her publicist: "Am I the only Catholic left with a sense of humor?"

There is so much I want to say! First of all, if you believe in a Supreme Being ... do you really think something like this really bothers Her? I think it bothers folks that are insecure in their own religious beliefs.

If you believe the Catholic teachings about Jesus, do you really think he would preach punishment or revenge? What about all that stuff about love and turning the other cheek?

CHRISTIANS, CATHOLICS -- READ THE FUCKING BIBLE! Get familiar with the real teachings of Christ.

Here's what I believe: I believe that Jesus would have a sense of humor.

And, yes, of course, if she had said "Suck it, Mohammed" those radical Islamists would be up in arms. True. Is that who you want to copy?

I thought lesbians were supposed to have a lousy sense of humor ... you know "FemiNazis" and all that. Maybe male Catholic leaders have a worse sense of humor. Maybe it's to take their minds off all that young flesh that tempts them so much.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Mayor of Castro Street to be filmed

Sean Penn to play Harvey Milk! With Gus Van Sant directing.

Yes, the Hollywood Reporter says that there's a movie in the works with Sean Penn playing Harvey Milk and Gus Van Sant directing.

I'm excited to see this movie. What a combo.

And, if Matt Damon can wrap a project quickly, he'll play Dan White, Harvey Milk's assassin.

Here's the article:

TORONTO (Hollywood Reporter) - Sean Penn is attached to play gay '70s San Franciso politician Harvey Milk, and Matt Damon his assassin in a long-gestating project from director Gus Van Sant.

Once a distribution deal is finalized, Van Sant hopes to begin production on the as-yet-untitled feature in San Francisco as early as December. The uncertain start date may affect Damon's participation as Milk's killer, Dan White.

It's the latest chapter in a long-running race to film the biopic of the first openly gay prominent elected official, which has pitted Van Sant's project against another from fellow openly gay director Bryan Singer.

Producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron ("Hairspray") have attempted to produce a big-screen version of Randy Shilts' 1982 bio "The Mayor of Castro Street" for more than 15 years. Warner Bros. Pictures attached Singer to the project two years ago.

This summer the studio's art-house arm, Warner Independent Pictures, brought in Singer's "Usual Suspects" scribe Chris McQuarrie to write a new draft of the script. But McQuarrie is now in Germany with Singer working on the Tom Cruise drama "Valkyrie" and also working on the "Castro" script, making an immediate production start less likely to happen before Singer starts his "Superman" sequel commitment.

In a coincidental twist, Van Sant once wrote a draft of the "Castro" project and was set to direct his adaptation for Warners. The script for his film was written by Dustin Lance Black ("Big Love"). Producer Michael London and his Groundswell Prods. are financing the film, set to be produced by "American Beauty" producers Bruce Cohen and Dan Jinks.

Penn has never portrayed an openly gay character onscreen, but he did play the sexually ambiguous Olivia Newton-John impersonator "Groovin' Larry" in a section of Trent Harris' 2001 cult hit "Beaver Trilogy." Penn's video short was shot in 1981, then combined with Harris' 1979 documentary short on the amateur performer and his 1985 short narrative version "The Orkly Kid," starring Crispin Glover as Larry, to create "Beaver."

Damon would play White, who shot San Francisco city supervisor Milk and Mayor George Moscone in 1978. After serving five years of a seven-year sentence, White committed suicide in 1985.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Filmmaker Retrospective

Interestingly enough, all of us who post at these, our two blogs - Ms. Manitoba, FoTPC, and TPC - are terrible introverts. Last week, Ms. M and I were discussing our ideal vacation. I regret to say we agreed the very best holiday would be to hole up in a reasonably nice hotel in a town which was hosting a retrospective of some favorite filmmaker.

In the event, last year we hosted a Kurosawa retrospective at Casa de Los Gatos, thoroughly enjoyed by los gatitos, el jefe de casa, and myself. Nasty weather outside always means movie nights at the old homestead, and we had a fine time with a goosefeather bed on top of the comforter, and lots of pumpkin seeds and almonds and walnuts and sunflower seeds and glasses of wine.

This year, Ms. M is contemplating an Almodovar retrospective. Me, I'm immersing myself in depressing movies, Battle of Algiers, When The Levees Broke, Sophie Scholl, Bonhoeffer, and a slew of Ousmane Sembene movies. I'm eagerly awaiting cheerful reports on the Almodovar Retrospective at Casa de Manitoba. Something's got to cheer me up, right?

On the plus side, I do have Borat coming from Netflix, and this week we're watching The Barchester Chronicles. I have to say Donald Pleasence is utterly triffic.

Madeleine L'Engle

Life is short.

I will always be grateful to Madeleine L'Engle for her wonderful gift and her generosity in sharing it with so many others.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Jon Stewart 24/7

I am just so tickled. All episodes, including the most recent ones, of The Daily Show will have a web site and we'll be able to watch them. Viacom's MTV Networks will be launching this. Plus, they will be launching a site for gay-focused animation and other goodies. See the following report from the Hollywood Reporter ...

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - A new hub for Comedy Central's "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" headlines a slate of two-dozen targeted Web sites that Viacom's MTV Networks will launch by the first quarter., which launches in the fourth quarter, will archive the entire video history of the show including headlines, interviews and the "Back in Black" feature. The portal also will present the previous evening's episode in its entirety an hour or two after its broadcast.

Comedy Central's "The Sarah Silverman Program," MTV's "Engaged and Underage" and Nickelodeon's "iCarly" also will get new sites.

The company also will launch a teen girl gaming site, the N's, and a site for video game cheats and hints, Niches sites, ranging from hip-hop dance to stand-up comedy to gay-focused animation, are also in the works., a pop culture site that debuted in beta mode last month, also will fully launch.

Yes, Ms. Manitoba is into pop culture. It's hard to find something that Ms. Manitoba is NOT interested in.