Role/Play: A Review Saturday, Apr 2 2011 

Last night, PJ and I watched Role/Play from Netflix. This 2010 movie written and directed by Rob Williams stars Matthew Montgomery and Steve Callahan as divorcing gay marriage activist named Trey and a recently outed soap star named Graham who’s been caught in a sex tape scandal. These men happen to meet at a gay bed and breakfast in Palm Springs. Here’s the trailer:

I was really looking forward to seeing this movie for a few reasons. First, I have an irrational love for all things Matthew Montgomery. He’s a good actor, so I don’t want to reduce his appeal to the mere physical, but it’s also the case that I just think he’s hot and adorable. He’s definitely got charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent, to borrow RuPaul’s catchphrase. And hotness. Plus, he seems to make intelligent choices in his films, by which I mean that you know that, if he’s in it, it’s going to be an interesting film even if it’s not always absolutely great.

I’ve also tended to like Williams’s movies, which include Long-Term Relationship, 3-Day Weekend, and Make the Yuletide Gay.

And finally, the plot sounded interesting: these two wounded men meet, get it on, fall in love, decide what to do next.

Overall, Role/Play is an interesting film that’s trying to do exactly what I keep saying I want a gay independent movie to do: just tell a human story without the angst of coming out or the narrative pyrotechnics of a random drug abuse or murder plot. The problem is that the script just doesn’t get as incisive or as interesting as Williams hopes it is. Consequently, I liked the idea of the movie more than I liked the movie.


Bear City: A Review Sunday, Mar 6 2011 

Last night, PJ and I watched Bear City from Netflix. The movie follows Tyler, played by Joe Conti, as he searches for true love among the hairy, meaty, butch men of New York City’s bear scene. Along the way he makes new friends in the community and quickly learns that bears and men in relationships with bears have their own issues to deal with.

Here’s the trailer:

Perhaps I should start by admitting that I’ve never been into the bear scene. I don’t find big, hairy men particularly sexy — but then again I don’t tend to find any group, as a group, particularly sexy (except maybe male models!). Because of my lack of interest, I wasn’t entirely sure that I was going to enjoy this movie.

However, I quickly saw that my own preferences were not going to be a hindrance to thoroughly enjoying this movie. Bear City is a delightful romantic comedy that kept me laughing and entertained. The writing is funny, the actors are engaging, and the plot is a Sex and the City-ish look at this group of friends. I definitely recommend it.


SotW: This Time by Cassidy Haley Saturday, Feb 19 2011 

I  saw the video for Cassidy Haley‘s new single, “This Time,” on Towleroad and love it:

Haley’s video obviously uses Fight Club as a metaphor for a romantic relationship. While this is a rather pessimistic view of romance, the concept is interesting and well done. It captures much of the spirit of the movie but also gives it its own twist.

As usual, I immediately noticed how hot both of the guys — including Haley — are: I can be just as shallow as the next gay man. But I’m also impressed by the visual contrast between the guys’ hotness and the blood and violence of the fight club imagery. This contrast creates an interesting comment about relationships, gay or straight, I think. On the one hand, romance can be beautiful and sexually hot; on the other hand, relationships can be destructive and hurtful to the participants. Something that starts so beautifully can end up being tragically wrong. By the end, the video seems to ask why we do this to each other. Why do we hurt each other so much when we should love one another instead. At least that’s how I read the sadness of Haley’s face in the final part of the video.

Of course the video is also a commentary on the queerness of Fight Club. Weren’t we all expecting Ed Norton and Brad Pitt to make out during it?! This video is what should have happened!


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!”

Favorite Videos of 2010 Sunday, Jan 30 2011 

Since I’ve covered albums and singles/tracks, the last of my annual music-related favorites list for 2010 is my favorite videos of the year. As usual, I’ll list the videos and explain briefly what I like about them. I’ll conclude with some thoughts about what this list seems to suggest about me.

My favorite video of 2010 is Brandon Flowers‘ “Crossfire”:

This is the first time that my favorite song of the year is also my favorite video, but the song itself is part of what I love about this video. I also love its Charlize Theron as ninja storyline — I love kick-ass women! I also love Flowers’ smile every time she shows up to rescue him. Together, these elements are an interesting spin on the more traditional damsel in distress. I also love when she puts her arm around him at the end as a sign of comfort. This reversal of traditional gender roles is bloody brilliant. And it doesn’t hurt that I think Flowers is one of the hottest men in the world.


Strapped: A Review Sunday, Jan 9 2011 

Last night, PJ and I watched Strapped, a small gay independent film written and directed by Joseph Graham. Ben Bonenfant plays a male prostitute who easily adapts to each client’s needs. After coming home with a John — literally, since the character’s name is John — the hustler becomes trapped in an apartment building, meeting some of its various tenants. He sleeps with some of them, but he learns a little more about himself from each person he meets. Here’s the trailer:

We first see him with a client who tells him a story about the guy he loved when he was a teenager in Russia. Bonenfant’s character immediately replies with his own revealing tale of childhood abandonment. He then meets a queen, instantly becoming a queen himself and pretending to be a version of Keanu Reeves’s character in My Own Private Idaho. He hooks up with a closeted married guy while pretending to be straight himself, blows a guy at the queen’s party, and gets fucked by an older gay activist who’s grateful for the opportunity to have sex with a such a hot guy. He also runs into a guy who just wants to kiss and have his soul penetrated.

The Hustler–we never know his name in the film–adapts to each client’s needs, but he also shares tender moments with most of the men, connecting with them in some deeply personal way. But is it really connection? Or are the tender moments just another part of his professional toolbox?


Fruit Fly: A Review Thursday, Jan 6 2011 

Fruit Fly is a 2009 musical that PJ and I recently watched on Netflix. It stars L.A. Renigan as Bethesda, a Filipina performance artist who has just moved to San Francisco. Her performance art is about her search for her birth parents, whom she has sought out after her adoptive parents’ death. Her biological father is now also dead, but no one knows what has become of her mother. She has found a room for six months in an apartment building, and the film follows her attempts to stage her performance piece while getting to know her new roommates. Here’s the trailer:

Fruit Fly is a fun, entertaining movie. PJ and I both really enjoyed it.

Part of what I liked it about is its experimental nature. It’s not a traditional musical in which the characters break into song to sing about their emotions or falling love or stuff like that. These characters do break into song, but their songs are about public transportation, workshopping your performance piece, being a fag hag, or meeting another versatile bottom. In other words, this is a musical about urban, racial, gender, and queer identities.


SotW: I Want to Hold Your Hand by Glee Monday, Oct 11 2010 

Since today is National Coming Out Day, I especially wanted to blog about last week’s episode of Glee, which is one of my favorite shows. Chris Colfer was particularly wonderful in this episode, in which Kurt’s father has a heart attack and is left in a coma. While his father is in the hospital, Kurt sings The Beatles’ “I Want to Hold Your Hand” in Glee Club:

This song is very affecting in this episode, but what I like most about it is its potential as a queer song. This song is all about longing and wanting to love another person in this really simple way: to hold their hand.

Ultimately, I think that’s what all gay rights issues are really about: we want to hold the hand of our beloved openly and fearlessly, to be able to acknowledge who we are and who we love and share our lives with. This song sums that up for me, especially with a gay actor singing it.

Colfer’s version of the song is so simply beautiful. After hearing it for the first time, I told PJ that someday, when we’re allowed to marry legally and have a ceremony, I want this version of the song to be sung at our wedding. I think it would be beautiful.

So, I’ve downloaded it from iTunes, and I’m dreaming of the day when I’ll get married to the man I love. I can’t wait.


SotW: Ice Cream Truck by Cazwell Thursday, Sep 30 2010 

Cazwell’s “Ice Cream Truck” has been on YouTube for a couple of months now. It was definitely the queer song of the summer!

In general, I enjoy Cazwell’s provocatively queer sexual imagery. This video is less lyrically sexually explicit and a little more explicit in its imagery than some of his past videos/singles. But I think it’s catchy and fun! It’s also definitely easy on the eyes.

I also love this remix–makes me want to dance!


Pornography: A Review Sunday, Sep 12 2010 

Last night PJ and I watched David Kittredge‘s Pornography, a 2009 thriller in the vein of David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive. Here’s the trailer:

Pornography revolves around a 1990s gay porn star, Mark Anton, played by Jared Grey, who mysteriously disappeared a few years after his big debut. Since his disappearance, rumors have circulated that his disappearance was due to his death in a snuff film.

The movie is in three acts. Act one depicts Anton’s disappearance in 1995. Act two jumps fourteen years to follow a journalist, Michael Castigan, played by Matthew Montgomery, who is writing a history of pornography. Castigan becomes obsessed with Anton’s story and begins to investigate what happened. The third act also takes place in 2009 and focuses on another porn star, Matt Stevens, played by Pete Scherer, who dreams the details of Anton’s story and decides to make it the plot of his directorial debut. Acts two and three become increasingly suspenseful as Castigan and Stevens become increasingly unnerved by bizarre coincidences and visions that threaten their holds on reality.


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