The Honey Badger Don’t Give a Shit Friday, Feb 18 2011 

I saw this on a blog today and couldn’t stop laughing. I love it!

This faux nature documentary is narrated by Randall, a comic character by Christopher Gordon. You can check out similar videos on his YouTube channel.

At first I was a little nervous about this clip: using a “gay” narrator like this seems potentially homophobic — reveling in stereotypes and casting aspersions on an entire group of people, us gays. But then I decided that, as a comic piece, the creator is entitled to make us of us gays and even draw upon gay stereotypes to make us all laugh. I don’t think it’s hating on gays; it’s laughing at a certain type of gay. The sad thing is that such narration would make most nature documentaries more interesting!

Now I want a t-shirt that says, “The Honey Badger don’t give a shit!”

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Theater of War: A Review Monday, Nov 1 2010 

Recently PJ and I watched a documentary titled Theater of War, which is about The Public Theater’s 2006 production of Mother Courage and Her Children starring Meryl Streep. The stage production was directed by George C. Wolfe and was newly translated into English by Tony Kushner.

Here’s a clip about the production that I found on YouTube:

We had just received our Netflix for Wii and wanted to watch something just to try it out. Of course anything starring Streep was going to catch our eye, and we both love the theater and Bertolt Brecht’s work in particular. Theater of War turns out to be an excellent and engrossing documentary that covers a lot more than just this one production.

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The Man You Had in Mind: A Review Monday, Dec 14 2009 

Last night, PJ and I watched a documentary called The Man You Had in Mind, which tells the stories of five gay couples from the Portland, OR, area who have been together for varying lengths of time: one year, seven years, ten years, fifteen years, and fifty years. Here’s the only trailer I could find on YouTube:

I really like the idea of this documentary. There at least seem to be so few records of queer lives and relationships that any addition is more than welcome. And this documentary’s focus on what gay male relationships are like in the age of fighting for marriage equality is both interesting and timely.

In particular, I think the filmmakers have chosen their couples well. To some degree, I’m sure they were selected with some degree of randomness — whoever was willing to participate, for example. But the range of couples is really good. There is the range in the length of their relationships, for example. But there is also clearly a range in socio-economic backgrounds, in religious backgrounds, and in experiences. Some of these men have children from previous marriages; it’s interesting to see how they accommodate this into their same-sex relationships.

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Pageant: A Review Monday, Nov 2 2009 

PJ was feeling under the weather on Saturday, so instead of going out for Halloween, we decided to stay in and watch Pageant, a documentary about the Miss Gay America Pageant. Here’s the trailer:

Simply put, I loved this documentary. Let’s start with the level of being a documentary. This film focuses on five of the 52 contestants in the Miss Gay America Pageant. I liked this emphasis on just a small sampling of the contestants, since it allows you to become familiar with them and start rooting for (or against) one or more of them. This focus creates the documentary’s narrative and sucks up into the competitions and back- and onstage dramas.

Like the ladies in the Miss American Pageant, these ladies participate in a series of competitions before the pageant’s finale, where the finalists are named and then compete for the crown. We see the contestants undergo an interview as men — they are required to dress in male clothing and are judged, in part, on their ability to distance themselves from their drag persona. They have a solo talent competition, in which they have to perform alone and without separate props. Then they have a talent production contest, in which they can have back-up dancers, props, and sets. And they have to compete in evening gowns.

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Chris and Don: A Love Story–A Review Sunday, Mar 1 2009 

Yesterday, PJ and I watched the 2007 documentary Chris and Don: A Love Story, which is about the 30-year relationship between Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy. Isherwood was, of course, a famous British writer who emigrated to the United States in 1939. Bachardy is an artist who specializes in portraits; his work is also familiar to anyone who follows queer art. It’s a great documentary.

Here’s the trailer:

As the trailer makes clear, the relationship between Isherwood and Bachardy began in controversy: the former was 30 years older than the latter. The age disparity in this relationship takes up a lot of the documentary’s time, but it’s not the only, or even the most, interesting part of this love story.

It is really interesting to hear about how Isherwood and Bachardy met. The latter was still a teenager, and Isherwood was already an important author who had started working for Hollywood films. It’s also interesting to see how beautiful Bachardy was as a teen — I can see why Isherwood was initially attracted to him. Here’s an early portrait of the couple:

Seeing an image like this and knowing that the two are lovers raises a lot of issues and questions in our culture. The film doesn’t shy away from these issues. But the really interesting part of this story is watching Bachardy narrate the rest of their lives together.

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Documenting Jack Wrangler & Peter Berlin Saturday, Nov 29 2008 

Last week, PJ and I watched two documentaries about 1970s gay porn stars: Wrangler: Anatomy of an Icon and That Man: Peter Berlin. Both documentaries trace their subjects from childhood to success as gay icons to their more recent lives. I thought that they were both excellent and informative documentaries.

Wrangler: Anatomy of an Icon looks at the life and career of Jack Wrangler, who became famous for embodying the butch, masculine gay role model that dominated the queer subculture of the 1970s. Here’s the trailer:

Born Jack Stillman in 1946, Wrangler became one of the most famous gay port stars of the decade. In the 1980s, he crossed over into straight porn and eventually became involved with Margaret Whiting, a cabaret singer. Despite his marriage to her, Wrangler continues to identify as a gay man, which makes this documentary, which is narrated by Wrangler himself, an interesting study of identity and sexuality during the last four decades.

That Man: Peter Berlin explores similar territory, in a way. Its subject is another icon of butch 1970s gay culture: German born Peter Berlin, who became a celebrity figure in San Francisco. Here’s a clip from it:

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