Monday, September 5, 2011
As I've posted earlier, I was a co-producer for a gay show entitled "4 Martinis" by Carfer Lamor which premiered at the fresh fruit festival in July. As publicity director, I contacted virtually every person of interest in my address book, including a goodly number of fellow bloggers. The play was about gay members of the Latino community.
After the play wrapped up its run, I googled to see if there had been any mention of it. Sure there was -- on this blog! Anywhere else? Nope. Sheesh, even the gay Latino bloggers ignored it.
Now this is what you call support from the community, LOL.
Regarding "4 Martinis," there are other items of interest. One of the stars of the show, a Trans Woman, turned into a Diva Suprema and became completely uncooperative. She eventually ran off with all of the clothing bought for her to wear in the show, literally ran right out of the dressing room with the booty in her hands. [Do I smell a lawsuit on People's Court?]
Not all of the cast members were gay [including the Trans Woman]. But I was pretty certain that this one guy was not only gay, but very gay; even had a "gay" name if you can believe it. While one straight actor unfortunately felt it necessary to "act" gay, this guy didn't seem to be acting as far as that was concerned. [May I quickly add that all of the performances were nonetheless excellent, including that of these two fellows.] On his web site and face book page he referred to the play as concerning Latino characters but left out the word "gay." His facebook page also alleges that he has a wife, but when you click on her name you find there is no photo uploaded and very little information about her. Plus on his web site there is absolutely no mention of a wife. Now I realize that some actors can be pretty self-absorbed -- when Robert Vaughn wrote his memoirs he only mentioned his wife and children on the dedication page and never again thereafter -- but this seems a little strange. Is he "in-ing" himself because he thinks he won't get parts due to his sexual orientation? He certainly went out of his way to publicize himself on gay blogs when he was seeking work as a model.!
Anyway, the playwright had to step into the role vacated by the Trans Woman at almost literally the last moment. He did a superb job, probably better than she would have done [we'll never know, thanks to her diva behavior]. The play was very entertaining, and well-received by those who bothered to come to see it [not nearly as many as I would have preferred].
While this was all playing out I was dating -- at least I thought I was dating him but he might have felt differently -- a very attractive younger man who simply departed from my life without a backward glance or even a kind word. That sucks, but what can you do?
Maybe there's a play in there! Or at least a blog post. Stay tuned.
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
I am a co-producer and publicity director for a new play by Carfer Lamor entitled 4 Martinis. The play will premiere at the the LGBT "Fresh Fruit" Festival [yeah, I hate the festival name, too] later this month. What is the play about? Well here is a synopsis from the Facebook page:
4 Martinis is a controversial and provocative new play about six gay Latinos in the art world. Everything goes bare when an Argentinean gallery owner celebrates after a successful art show opening. Along with his ex, a transgender Puerto Rican, his houseboy and her boy-toy, they invite a nudist artist and his lover to stay for the night at the SoHo loft they share. Their art talk is quickly deconstructed after they inject it with comments about racism, ageism, alcoholism and simple discrimination. These outlandish characters bare their souls, and themselves, while discussing their sexual attitudes and the problems that surface when their relationships are saddled with the strain caused by cultural differences. (Nudity.)
I couldn't have put it better myself. [Although I am publicity director I didn't compose that blurb, although I wish I had as it perfectly describes the play and is very well written besides.]
If you live in New York or will be visiting, here are the play dates:
There are 4 performances of 4 Martinis as part of the Fresh Fruit Festival:
Monday, July 18th, 9:15 p.m.
Tuesday, July 19th, 5:00 p.m.
Thursday, July 21st, 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, July 23rd, 1:30 p.m.
More performances to be announced.
Tickets are available now. They are a measly $18.00 Go to http://www.4martinis.com/trendy/ to order tickets.The show will be presented at the Barrow Group Theater at 312 W 36th Street, third floor.
The show has a wonderful cast, which is as follows:
Lee Bevins as Arturo
Cece-Suazo Augustus as Lupe
Bri Molloy as Gustavo
Craig Mark Wells as Frank
Kristoffer Infante as Eric
Jesuhan Malave as David
While 4 Martinis deals in part with LGBT groups that are not often covered by the media [including gay media] -- Latinos and seniors -- the cast and characters run the gamut from young to elderly, and the play deals with universal themes that can be enjoyed by all, regardless of age or ethnicity.
Hope to see you there!
Thursday, June 9, 2011
This coming Saturday, June 11th, 2011, there will be a party at Boxer's Bar in Manhattan from 4 PM to 8 PM to benefit the play "Four Martinis" by Carfer Lamor. There will be drink specials, $5.00 absolutes, and $2.00 off a personal pizza. You can meet the cast of the play, as well as the playwright.
I am one of the co-producers of "Four Martinis" and the director of publicity. The play premieres this coming July and I'll be writing more about it in the near-future.
Boxer's is located at 37 West 20th street between 5th and 6th avenue.
Come and hoist a few and support gay theater! [And watch the Belmont races on the big screen as well!]
NOTE: There have been infrequent posts on JATGAB recently due to personal issues -- including my caregiving of an elderly friend -- but I am hoping to maintain a regular schedule very shortly. Thanks for your patience.
Thursday, March 3, 2011
When The Good Wife -- a woman (Julianna Margulies) whose politician husband (Chris Noth) is disgraced by scandal and jailed goes back to work as a lawyer -- first aired I thought it was an interesting and excellent program. In its second season it's still a reasonably good show, but I've come to realize that virtually all of its characters are pretty unlikable.
But I'd like to spend a short time discussing the LGBT characters on the program. First we have Kalinda (Archie Panjabi, a woman), who seems to be an investigator for the law firm that the title character works for. Kalinda seems to wear nothing but the same leather skirt every day. We saw her kissing guys on some episodes and passionately making out with a woman on another. It wasn't clear if she was a lesbian who was struggling to accept herself and come out, or what was meant to be a bisexual (or at least bisexually active) character. Just a week or so ago she admitted she was bisexual with no preference, that she doesn't -- if I remember correctly -- distinguish between the sexes. The trouble is that some of her words and deeds on previous programs make her seem a bit skittish about her gay feelings and relationships. Whether this will ever be addressed on the show or not remains to be seen. Lily Taylor played an ex-girlfriend of Kalinda's -- she seemed to have her own issues -- but it was never made clear exactly how serious a relationship they might have had. Probably not very serious as far as Kalinda is concerned, but whether it was because Taylor wasn't the right woman or because she simply was a woman went unexplored. [Internalized homophobia anyone?]
There has been some sexual tension between Kalinda and a male investigator who joined the firm this season. Discovering that this guy was investigating her, Kalinda took a bat to his car [amazing that he never sued her or had her arrested!]. On a recent episode the two nearly got together, but just when you thought Kalinda was going to smooch the guy she fisted him in the stomach instead. I'm glad the show didn't go in the predictable direction.
A brief digression. I remember a lesbian on a message board who admitted that it bothered her when a bi-identified person in real life or a bi character on a TV show opted to enter into a hetero relationship. She bemoaned the fact that she was "biphobic" and felt she was no different from a redneck who hated gay people or blacks. I thought she was being politically correct to a ludicrous degree! She wasn't being biphobic, she was just being gay. It's perfectly understandable that she would relate better to and feel more comfortable with a bi person or character who decided it was Good to Be Gay -- in other words, who felt comfortable in a homo relationship -- just as a straight person, even a gay-friendly one, might respond more favorably if the bi person entered into a hetero relationship. [Gay/Bi or whatever actor Alan Cumming is also on the show but he's apparently playing a straight character, and why not?)
But back to The Good Wife. Recently the show has added a second queer character, the protagonist's brother, who is gay, but, alas, not in a good way. I really hate having to say this but honestly, if you looked up faggot in an old-fashioned dictionary this guy's picture would be there. That is to say he pushes all the stereotype buttons: epicene, bitchy, blase, unwholesome, unattractive, just arch and unpleasant and unmanly and well, untrustworthy, as gay men were often depicted and thought of as being [even today]. You wouldn't trust this guy as far as you could throw him and I can't imagine anyone even wanting to have a drink with him. He's just a big yucch. I have no idea of the personal life of the actor who plays him, if he's just doing a really good -- or bad -- acting job or simply playing his own reality, but if they had to have a gay man on the show -- not a bad idea, of course -- did it have to be this guy? The problem isn't so much with his whole demeanor, as negative as it is, but he just doesn't come off like a particularly nice or likable person. [For this show, maybe he's just joining the club.] Who am I kidding, it's everything about this guy.
But when it comes to gay characters in films and on TV it's always been two steps forward and three steps backward.
note: The Good Wife was created by Michelle King and Robert King.
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
The problem I've always had with the admittedly humorous show Sex and the City and the movies thereof was its decidedly stereotypical treatment of gay men. [Also the fact that lead character Carrie is rather shallow and uncultured. Supposed to go to the opera with a guy on one episode, she decides to forgo the Metropolitan and hit McDonald's instead. Huh?]
The two main gay characters on the show were both big queens [not that there's anything wrong in that], one of whom was kind of sweet and likable, and the other of whom was bitchy, grotesque and altogether repulsive. These two went out on one blind date and hated each other almost on sight. So what happens in Sex and the City 2? These two get married in the Big Gay Wedding that occurs early in the film.
Yes, yes, I suppose it's okay to poke fun at gay stereotypes at times, but am I the only person who's getting tired of references to gays and musicals, gays and Liza Minnelli (who officiates at the wedding, which is mildly amusing), and the like. Virtually every gay guy depicted at the wedding is a screaming queen. In one scene at the bar, Carrie's husband "Big" [I never quite understood what she saw in this guy, who is quite a bit older than her in addition to other problems] is hit on by a gay guy who is played by an actor who resorts to such "faggot" mugging that you'd swear you had temporarily switched to The Gay Deceivers or something along those lines.
Then the girls go to an Arab nation on a junket and are each assigned a kind of butler/personal concierge. The gay one is, of course, effeminate and nicknamed "Paula" after Paula Abdul. There are the usual tiresome jokes about gays and hairdressing, decorating, dressing skills, even though most the gay guys I know have little knowledge of any of that shit. It's the old gay-guy-as-straight-woman's-accessory all over again.
What makes it worse is that Sex and the City 2 -- which seems to go on forever -- was written and directed by openly gay Michael Patrick King, who I have to assume must be a Big Ol' Queen or Swishmeister Deluxe with that painfully awful old-fashioned queer sensibility that thinks and/or suggests that All Gay Men are limp-wristed hairdressers. [And a reminder here that even out-of-the-closet gays can be dealing with issues of self-hatred.]
Sometimes if you object to stuff like this you're told by gays and straight alike to get over yourself, because -- after all -- there are gay guys like this out in the real world. This is the justification for a lot of gay humor/fag jokes that can be well-intentioned or mean-spirited. But I mean, the world already knows that some gay men are Big Queens -- can't we just get past it? Surely there's some humor to be mined in the bear community with its chubby chasers and big fat guys strutting around like sex symbols? [Then again -- maybe not. There's a kind of bearish gay couple on a show called Modern Family but they seem to be a couple of Big Queens as well.] Let's see something different and more diverse, please!
The thing is that stuff like Sex and the City -- while it has a large gay following I imagine -- is not directed specifically at gay people. I know that I am tired of the constant linking of gay men with fashion and hair-dressing, transvestism, and "girlie" attributes -- and the snide attitudes this engenders in even gay-friendly straights, many of whom are much more comfortable with obvious gay men and lesbians they can feel superior to [don't get me started!].
Gay men have had a perpetual problem in being taking seriously as men and stuff like The Producers and Sex and the City 2 -- no matter how supposedly good-natured -- don't help at all.
Monday, January 10, 2011
When I was a kid I used to sulk like hell when my parents put on Perry Mason. The minute I heard the music I knew we were in for what is now known as "adult drama," nothing that could possibly interest a kid. I mean there were philanderers [what the hell was that?] and suspects and long, boring courtroom sequences, and people screaming "I did it, yes I did it" from the witness stand. Nothing to engage the limited attention span of a child.
Years later when I was all grown up I actually enjoyed Perry Mason. I thought some of the stories were clever, and I enjoyed the badinage between Perry, his secretary Della Street, and his buddy-private eye Paul Drake. Then there was the craggy Lt. Tragg and the always-losing district attorney Hamilton Burger.
Paul Drake, played by William Hopper, always flirted mildly with Della ("Hello, beautiful") but he never asked her for a date. Perry and Della had dinner frequently, but Paul was often there, or even Burger or Tragg, and they generally talked about a case. Neither Mason nor Drake were seen very often, if ever, with a female date.
Hmmm ... Paul and Perry? Why not?
I had always heard that William Hopper, Hedda Hopper's son, was gay [which may be just another of those Hollywood rumors, let me make that clear] but I heard nothing about Burr, who also went on to play Ironside in another successful series. After his death, of course, it came out -- pun intended -- that Burr had had a long-time male companion. I finally got around to reading Michael Seth Starr's [don't know anything about this guy, but jeez is that a "gay" name or what?] bio of Burr, Hiding in Plain Sight: The Secret Life of Raymond Burr.
Burr went so far as to fabricate a marriage [there was one genuine short-lived marriage], a deceased son, and military heroism, but on the other hand, he sounds like a kind-hearted man who was a friend for life if he liked someone. "Hamilton Burger" [actor William Tallman] was fired from the show after being caught in a nude party [apparently not a gay one] and Burr rallied to his defense and finally got him reinstated on the show. Plus there was his entertainment tours for servicemen, which he never publicized a la Bob Hope.
Some of the people quoted by Starr make rather ridiculous comments about Burr. There's some nonsense about how he supposedly greeted workmen in a shocking pink bathrobe, and other allegedly "gay" stuff that people think they can get away with because Burr was homosexual. (You can't blame Starr for this if that's what people told him.) As Perry Mason, Ironside, and as various heavies in film noir thrillers [including Hitchcock's classic Rear Window] Burr never came off as dainty or stereotypically effeminate.
Burr may have made some outrageous assertions to cover up his sexual orientation, but [except for one brief period] he didn't use a wife as a beard, but lived with his male lover for a very long time. The one and only time he got political in a gay sense was when celebrities were urged to boycott Colorado because of the state's passage of an anti-gay amendment. Burr didn't agree with the amendment, thank goodness, but he didn't think boycotting the state was the correct way of fighting it.
It's interesting to contemplate what Burr might have been like had he been born into a later generation. For nowadays it is not uncommon for actors, character actors at least, to come out of the closet once they've become established or even before.