This article on women characters in movies – skip to the end – is very funny. I think her Ethereal Weirdo is my favorite, although I will admit to having women like her. They’re usually stoners. I’ve always thought of her as the Cortazar Hopscotch fantasy woman, because I dated a guy who actually admitted, out loud, that he fell in love with the woman in that novel when he read it.
This girl can’t be pinned down and may or may not show up when you make concrete plans with her. She wears gauzy blouses and braids. She likes to dance in the rain and she weeps uncontrollably if she sees a sign for a missing dog or cat. She might spin a globe, place her finger on a random spot, and decide to move there. The Ethereal Weirdo appears a lot in movies, but nowhere else. If she were from real life, people would think she was a homeless woman and would cross the street to avoid her. But she is essential to the male fantasy that even if a guy is boring he deserves a woman who will find him fascinating and perk up his dreary life by forcing him to go skinny-dipping in a stranger’s pool.
But no post about women in film is complete without Bechdel’s Test for Women in Movies:
Some days it’s hard to come up with any that do pass the test. Help me out, readers?
Inception is a cool, cool movie – meaty enough for someone who prefers novels – there are moments you actually feel lost in its world(s) – and yet has all sorts of chase scenes, gun battles, & explosions.
He’s got a Buster Keaton thing going on, doesn’t he? I think so, but then I’m a big fan of Buster and of Aeneas. He is not so slothful that all he does is rest himself on the slope – he does, also, sharpen his claws on it.
It made me think of that line uttered by Dmitri Karamazov: “There are fathers and there are beasts who only sire you.” That’s probably a paraphrase from the novel, but it’s a direct quote from the film version (in which Dmitri is played by Yul Brynner. Really.)
Worthy project, no? On top of that, she’s made some other cool films. To help her out, you can make a donation via PayPal via her website, or you can buy another cool short film of hers, or you can pass this message on via Facebook or other social networking sites.
There are partners who are male, female, and trans; there are partners who met their trans person before the trans person knew what was going on; there are partners who married crossdressers who had sworn off crossdressing who purged and then dressed and then purged and then dressed again; there are partners who met their husbands crossdressed; there are partners who met their trans person during transition; there are partners who met their trans person long after transition; there are partners who didnâ€™t know their trans person was trans when they met.
You, the individuals who are in love, were in love, who are seeking companionship and partnership and occasionally a good spanking, are said to be like snowflakes. Flawless Mother Sabrina told me that one night at the now defunct Inaâ€™s Silver Swan, and she was right. Each of your stories is unique, even when there are similarities; each of you realizes your transness, as I like to call it, in a different way: some crossdress, others do drag, others transition. Some do all three, and others â€“ none of these, but you express your genders in some other way. But you have your stories, your characters in movies, even if and when they are comically or tragically or unfairly drawn, but those you love have â€“ well, weâ€™ve got a machete and a spot on the edge of the wood we mean to get through.
Michelle Lawler is producing a documentary film about Vicki Marlane, a 74-year-old transsexual woman who is an amazing drag performer, and who still puts on two shows a week at Aunt Charlie’s Lounge in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood. Drag performance, particularly the traditional “record pantomime” style that Vicki does, is a joyous, subversive, heart-warming art form. Vicki has been doing professional theatrical drag for 50 years. She is a total inspiration to me, and an honored elder of my community.
Michelle and her editor Monica Nolan have completed a final cut of the film, titled “Forever’s Gonna Start Tonight,” (so-called after a line in Vicki’s signature number, “Total Eclipse of the Heart”). We expect the film to premiere at Frameline’s San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival in June 2009–look for the official press release on May 19!
We’re still trying to raise the last few thousand dollars we need to pay for music rights and the final audio mix to finish the film. I’m writing to ask you to make a donation that will help us complete this important film.
You can make a tax-deductible contribution online from that page or you can make a non-tax deductible donation by sending a check made out to the film’s Executive Producer, Kim Klausner, at 1541 Alabama Street, San Francisco, CA 94110.
All donations — $5, $25, $100, $500 or whatever — will help. Feel free to forward this email to people who might be interested in supporting this project.
Each generation of lesbians uses new and different terms to describe how we present ourselves and what attracts us. GenderPlay in Lesbian Culture is the first ever Los Angeles exhibit to talk about labels and explore gender and its boundaries.
The OPENING EVENT, at the One Museum on Saturday March 14, will feature singer Phranc, emcee Marie Cartier and performance art from Latina trio, Butchlalis de Panochtitlan. More→
I’ve had the remarkable good fortune to teach Freshman Studies at Lawrence this term, which is a class Freshmen take, a kind of critical thinking course. We’ve already talked about Milgram and his obedience studies, and next up is Gilliam’s Brazil.
In watching it for the umpteenth time, that I’m still amazed at how remarkable this movie is.
I’m also really shocked at how much more like the movie the world has become since the last time I saw it – just the metal detector scene in the beginning, where Sam runs into Jack (Palin) while they’re both waiting for security clearance, & then again when Sam dines with his mother – right before the bomb goes off in the restaurant.
It’s wholly depressing, but that seemed entirely unlikely at the time it came out – and just as dystopian as so many other of the film’s details – and yet, here we are, going through security in so many places these days, and with the same bland obedience as they do in this film.
How exciting is this? A book called Tomboys: A Literary and Cultural History.
Random page quotes:
“The link between childhood tomboyism and adult homosexuality might seem to have eradicated this code of conduct from American literature and culture, but the late 1950s and the decade of the 1960s actually witness the release of a considerable number of tomboy-themed novels and films.”
I suppose this is what makes me a freak, but I’m going to devour this one. Yay! Tomboys!
As many of you know, I was at the LGBT Bloggers’ Initiative this past weekend, feeling simultaneously like the new kid on the block and the old whore. Many of my fellow bloggers – I realized during a presentation on media access by Cathy Renna – are bloggers, only. It never occurred to me that being a blogger who was a published book author first was weird, but there I was.
Here’s a review of Milk, about the life of Harvey Milk, by my friend Doug McKeown. (I haven’t seen it yet but will because of his review.)
Let’s get two questions out of the way. Is Milk entertaining? Without qualification. Is it important? Resoundingly. Also funny, tragic, endearing, and rousing. There is not one false note from any of the actors, nor from director Gus Van Sant, screenwriter Dustin Lance Black (I will be seeing this one again just for the screenplay), or photographer Harris Savides. A very complicated story unfolds with absolute clarity, a story as much about the city of San Francisco as about Harvey Milk. Iâ€™d say more than that â€” itâ€™s about the actualization of democracy, about community organizing as the great force for social justice. Take that, Sarah Palin!
I was especially pleased that no attempt is made to be “delicate” about Milk’s personality, either his sex life or his out-sized ego, a forthrightness that makes him all the more heroic, I think. After a stunning opening sequence tossing us in medias res, and a conventional framing device (and foreshadowing), we quickly get to know Harvey Milk through the persona of Sean Penn, a smooth and easy task if there ever was one. He hooks up with a younger guy, Scott Smith, who has the movie star good looks of a â€” well, a James Franco. It is completely credible that Francoâ€™s Scott goes for the self-deprecating charm of this man with a face so open it hides nothing, who is so comfortably flamboyant, and finally, irresistible. The camera captures not so much sex between them as lovemaking â€” which is to say, as much warmth as heat. There is even what I would call nuzzling, in close-up. Whatâ€™s not to like? But there are inevitable strains. While we are ostensibly caught up in the difficulties of their relationship, the larger drama emerges as Scott withdraws into the background. An extraordinary moment in time elevates the Mayor of Castro Street to local hero.
A friend of a friend in Lincoln, Nebraska got to see the documentary She’s a Boy I Knew which I’d heard good things about, so I asked her to write a review.
by Dr. Pat. Tetreault
Sheâ€™s A Boy I Knew is a remarkably well-made film. It is honest, funny, poignant and real. Canadian Gwen Haworth narrates and directs the documentary about her life, her coming out process regarding her gender and sexuality, and how her transition to become the woman she is meant to be impacts her life as well as the lives of those she loves and who love her. Through the use of home videos and interviews with family members and friends, including her ex-wife, Gwen reveals the depth and range of emotion and the process involved in coming out and in transitioning. Brief animated segments are also included to lighten the film while providing background information. More→
With Theron & Kidman playing them, this just seems like another excuse for “hot lesbian innuendo.”
I’m also a little perturbed by the “play a transsexual / get an oscar” trend.
Still, i’ve always expected the wife of a trans woman to be played by someone like Kathy Bates, & at her worst, too, so Charlize Theron isn’t so bad. Except that the book seems to imply her husband’s transsexuality was her own fault, and in the reviews of the book, it seems she comes off as a cheerleadery sort.