February 27, 2012

Dear Oscar Producers...

Dear Oscar Producers...

Congratulations on coming through the mini-scandals of this year --- Producer makes gay slur and quits! Host Eddie Murphy quits! Kodak sues to get their name off theatre! --- and pulling off another big awards show!

I love the Oscars (also known as the "Gay Superbowl") and have been watching since I was a little kid and it was on way past my bedtime. Now it's just so long it feels like it is past my bedtime. The Grammy's were faster and more entertaining.

Award shows, as Seth Rogen said at the Independent Spirit Awards, exist to "give everyone a chance to express how much they admire each other’s work." So while you are out there congratulating each other, please please be more entertaining for those of us at home.

Here's some thoughts on the show. Because you asked...

1- We were all relieved to hear Billy Crystal was coming back as host, because as Natalie Portman said, "We know we're in good hands." His opening montage and ongoing schtick was fun if not fresh. I like the guy, and now we've been there done that, again. Let's have a new host every year, shall we? I vote for Tina Fey and/or Neil Patrick Harris next year.

2- The show is just too long. Do we really have to start the coverage at 2 in the afternoon with previews of previews to the red carpet fashion parade ? Yes we are gonna watch but we are not going to respect ourselves in the morning. Make it 3 hours, all in, max.

3- I know you guys are all white men, but we need more variety in the nominees; sure there were so many Jews I assume the meal afterwards was kosher, but where are the women, the blacks (aside from very occasional acting awards), the Asians?

4- No more production numbers, period. I love the Cirque de Soleil, but what the hell do they have to do with 2012 movies? Nada zip zero.

5- With the sole exception of the In Memoriam segment, no more montages! By the end of the night I was expecting a montage of tonight's greatest montages...

6- Kill the banter or at least make it better. Who were your writers? I saw like 30 people on twitter who were faster and funnier.

7- If we absolutely have to spend hours on the red carpet, new rules: (1) mandatory drug testing on all "reporters" so that the bottom 10% morons are kept off camera; (2) Everybody gets to throw something at Ryan Seacrest. And let's publicly acknowledge that Spanx is the real Oscar fashion sponsor, shall we?

8- Take some awards out of primetime. Do we need to see Best Short Film, Live Action? No disrespect to the director or the film, but we haven't seen the film and never will. Do a dozen on Saturday night streamed online and a dozen in the big show.

9- About those acceptance speeches: tell the nominees to prepare something "just in case". Offer writers (not yours). And them let them speak for more than 30 seconds.

10- Your official Oscar tweets were even more boring than the show. Hire Whitney Cummings and Bette Midler to tweet live from the no-name theatre.

I enjoy award shows, even crappy ones, and overall this was a tame if not terrible one. And tweeting the show was very fun, and brought a sense of community to the whole thing for me. And made the boring parts less boring.

If you want fun Oscars, look at Jimmy Kimmel's post-Oscar special -- sure it was probably too irreverent for the big show itself, but man he brought the fun and the funny to Oscar night!

Next year, have less boring parts and I promise to see more of the nominated movies...

February 25, 2012

Better Oscar Posters...

This weekend is the Gay Super Bowl... the Academy Awards! I'll be watching, will you? Uh, and yes I'll be tweeting too...

For some fun, here is a rethink on posters for some of the nominated films... I like the one for The Help best. And yes I loved the book and the movie, and this poster still resonates...

from www.theshiznit.co.uk

February 23, 2012

Alfie's Oscar Picks...

This weekend is the biggest night of the year in movies, the gay superbowl... the Academy Awards!

And while Alfie doesn't really see movies, unless you count the ones playing on our TV while he sleep-farts on the sofa, I do see a few, should see more, and have opinions on them all.

As always there is some wonky stuff with the nominations this year, like nine best picture nominees (not five, not ten, but nine...), and only two best song nominees, but overall looks like a pretty solid list. Here's my pics for the top six categories. And oh ignore the Moneyball poster, that is totally random....

Best Picture:
The Artist: No I haven't seen it it, but it seems to have the momentum. I loved The Help, The Descendants and Midnight in Paris, and was inspired by Moneyball, so those are contenders in my book, however The Artist seems likely to win. Man, I gotta see that movie!

Best Actress:
I didn't see The Iron Lady, but judging by the commercials Meryl Streep is amazing. Still I vote for Viola Davis of The Help, it was a terrific performance. I forgot she was acting.

Best Actor:
Much as I loved Brad Pitt in Moneyball, we recently saw The Descendants and George Clooney gives an amazing performance, mixing tragedy and comedy and making us feel his pain and his passion. Clooney for the win.

Best Supporting Actor:
Christopher Plummer, Beginners: While the movie was not as great as I expected, Plummer's performance as a man coming out of the closet at age 75 as he faces widowhood and cancer, was real and heartfelt and funny and totally believable.

Best Supporting Actress:
Octavia Spencer seems to be a lock for The Help, in what was a showstopping performance. But don't forget Jessica Chastain for the same flick, who brought a wacky character to life in a caring and empathetic way.

Best Director:
Alexander Payne for The Descendants... because he should have gotten it for Sideways.

What are your picks for best film and performances of the year? Let me know in the comments below, I have some movies to see...

You can go to www.oscar.com for a full list of nominees, and lots of technical and legal junk as well...

February 21, 2012

Here come the gay greeting cards...

When we married almost two years ago, we received some warm cards and some elegant cards and some funny cards. I think only one or two of them were specifically geared towards same-sex weddings, likely because there are relatively few such cards out there, at least few I have seen. (Hey Hallmark people, there's a market for you...!)

Then I saw this card online last week. It is from Whole Foods, the healthy food store. Who knew they sold cards? Are the cards vegan? But I digress...

I saw this card. I chuckled. And then I was embarrassed that I laughed. Yes it's funny... and kind of racist?

Would Mitt Romney be offended? He is the only Mormon I can think of right now, besides the Osmonds, and Marie Osmond has a married lesbian daughter she is cool with. So I guess I would care more if she were offended, rather than Romney-Bot. What would Marie Osmond do?

And how would someone feel about receiving this card? On our big day would I want a card that brought up the controversy and bigotry about same-sex marriage? Or just a simple well wishing card, maybe with some sparkles and a mini pink boa?

On second thought, it is funny....

February 19, 2012

Jimmy Fallon & My Freebie Five...

And now to class this joint up... here goes my third annual "freebie five" post! Every year around Valentine's Day I step outside that cuddly romantic tradition and list the five guys who I would (theoretically!) sleep with despite my marital vows... take that, Saint Valentine!

Unlike George Michael or Newt Gingrich, I am not a big fan of cheating or open relationships. That being said, we all have a pulse and an imagination, and it is fun to speculate. So we talk about the "freebie five", which is a list of five celebrities so attractive that your significant other must let you sleep with them, consequence-free, should that unbelievable opportunity ever arise. The idea was popularized in an episode of "Friends" when each character listed their five, Ross named Isabella Rossellini, and then literally bumped into her... and fumbled it.

Awesome as she is, Isabella Rosselini is not on my list. Who is? Who would be on your list?

Here's my new list, in no particular order, and with a very clearly stated preference for my husband (who typically adds his list in the comments, look for Ricky Martin)...

1- Jimmy Fallon: Because smart and funny are sexy. So is smirky. And a guy-next-door with killer smile...

2- Shemar Moore - over the last year we have become hooked on the disturbing Criminal Minds, despite its creepy violence and total lack of male nudity. Moore is handsome and super fit. And he can act... I think... who's paying attention to that?

3- Chris Evans: The hunky boy-next-door, Gucci model and star of What's Your Number and Captain America can act and has a penchant for dropping his shirt in movies. And speaks proudly of his gay brother and advocates marriage equality. That's killer attractive...

4- Nick Youngquest: Handsome Australian professional rugby league footballer and sometime model. Need I say more?

5- Jesse Williams: the Grey's Anatomy actor likes to play doctor (yep, I went for that cheesy easy pun)...

6- Brad Pitt: actor, producer, activist, dad to 345 kids, and maybe a Moneyball Oscar winner next week...

And yes for those of you keeping track, that is six not five.... my blog, my rules!

So who is your Freebie Five... or six... or...?

February 14, 2012

Dear Grammy Producers...

Dear Grammy Producers,

Congratulations on Sunday's show. I understand it was your biggest ratings success in 20 years, and in the TV biz that is golden... woo hoo!

I enjoy award shows, even crappy ones, and this was a good one overall. Plus doing the live tweeting thing during the show was fun to read and to write, and brought a sense of community to the whole thing for me. Very fun.

You were thrown a curve ball by the unexpected tragic death of Whitney Houston, and I thought you handled it elegantly, from the prayer by host LL Cool J (and this coming from a guy who doesn't pray), and then to the remarkable emotional tribute performance by Jennifer Hudson.

I love Adele, love her album, loved her performance, love that she won six -- count 'em, SIX -- Grammys. Good call. Bruno Mars was joyous. I also liked Paul McCartney's performance even though he looked like an over-the-hill waiter, and the Springsteen open was awesome.

As for the Nicki Minaj Madonna-wannabe performance, well it was a car crash, but we have one of those each year, so why the hell not.

But.. and this is a big BUT... what the fuck is up with Chris Brown? Forgetting the fact that I think he is talentless homophobic hack, you gave him two performances! So you made the conscious decision that he gets more air time than Whitney or Adele. Huh?

Oh, and you gave him a Grammy for best R&B album. This for the same Chris Brown who three years ago, on Grammy night no less, beat the living shit out of his girlfriend, sending her to hospital. Then made all kinds of excuses about it, portraying himself as a victim. Google the pics, they are disturbing beyond description.

I am all for giving people second chances, but maybe he should do the contrition before we do the forgive and forget? You just anointed him a prince of the music business. And if you think he is gonna be classy about it, think again. Twitter was all over this one, during the awards and since, for and against Chris Brown, and then this is what Mr Congeniality tweeted:

The guy is a douchebag. And now, a Grammy-winning douchebag...

February 13, 2012

Valentine's is such a drag....

We don't make a big deal out of Valentine's Day around here.... we are together, we work hard, we have a good life, we are both trying to eat less sugar and other crap, and we are spending money on lots of other things (hello new laptop, hello new coffee machine, hello new-ish house!)....

I know it is a big day for florists, but it is winter here and those suckers are gonna last two days max. As Madeline Kahn said in Blazing Saddles, "Ooh. A wed wose. How womantic."

Then I found this Valentine's video.... LOVE IT!

A Valentine's For Homophobes from FCKH8.com on Vimeo.

Happy Valentine's Day!

February 11, 2012

A Total Stranger I Now Love...

I first heard of this guy yesterday, when I was listening to Howard Stern's discussion of Ellen DeGeneres and the JCPenney "One Million Morons" controversy.

So I googled the speech Stern was talking about, and here it is. Cory Booker is the mayor of Newark, New Jersey, and his talk about marriage equality is brilliant in its truth and simplicity. Check it out...

February 9, 2012

Downton Dynasty Abbey...

With all the international buzz ---- well at least from critics, awards shows, and our artsy gay friends --- we were curious about the acclaimed British series Downton Abbey.

Having missed this BBC miniseries when it was broadcast last year, and feeling left behind as everyone watches the second season, this weekend we got the seven episodes of season one on DVD from the library.

So we sat down to watch the first episode on Friday night... and we got caught up in the upscale British soap opera. We watched three episodes that evening, and then four more on Saturday. Yes, for those of you doing the math, we watched the whole damn thing in 24 hours. Is that an addiction?

Downton is a new Upstairs Downstairs, a prewar Britsh Dynasty about the wealthy Crawley family and their phalanx of servants' comings and goings, romances and backstabbing. Smart upscale witty soap. Luuuuv it!

Even with its sudsy soapiness, no one would consider Downton Abbey a guilty pleasure — it's an Emmy award winning "BBC Masterpiece," for heaven's sake, the television equivalent of a Masters Degree in English lit! That being said, the Crawleys are the Carringtons of their generation. Sure they are all Dukes and Earls, or cooks and valets, but they are doing the typical things of a drama series --- falling in and out of love, squabbling over money, having illicit affairs, breaking away from their parents expectations, becoming politically aware, wearing corsets and finding a dead foreigner in a virgin's bed...

Lord Crawley sees his family heritage, especially the grand country home Downton Abbey, as his mission in life. The death of his heir aboard the Titanic means distant cousin Matthew Crawley, a middle class Manchester lawyer, suddenly is next in line and accepts moving onto the vast estate with his even more modernist, socially engaged mother, who clashes with his lordship's domineering, conservative mother. Crawley struggles with this while trying to marry off his adult daughters. Meanwhile the butler presides over a staff which serves the family but also lead most of their entire lives in the servants quarters, intriguing amongst themselves.

Is Downton Abbey realistic? I am guessing no, as the servants are like members of the family, the language sometimes seems more modern and informal than the times would call for, everything and everyone seems freshly scrubbed, and the only two characters who smoke are the villains. Do I care that it's not realistic? Not a whiff. I am totally entertained.

With the honourable father, the fun-loving mother, the trouble-making daughter, and the array of servants with secrets, my favourite character is the family matriarch the Dowager Countess of Grantham, played with acerbic wit by Maggie Smith. The delightfully snobby Lady Grantham uses her imperious stare to great effect, especially when discussing electricity and/or Americans — but really, she just gets the best lines:

Lady Grantham: "You are quite wonderful the way you see room for improvement wherever you look. I never knew such reforming zeal."
Mrs. Crawley: "I take that as a compliment."
Lady Grantham: "I must've said it wrong."

Downton Abbey is totally addictive smart sudsy entertainment... are you watching? If not, what the hell are you waiting for? I have put a 'hold' on season 2 at the library; we are number 187 in the queue, so I am thinking any day now...

February 8, 2012


A big step forward for marriage equality yesterday, when California's Court of Appeals voted that the state's Proposition 8, which outlawed gay marriage in the state after five months of California having marriage equality, was unconstitutional because it took rights away from a specific group.

So gay marriage will be coming back in California, or it will head to the Supreme Court. Either way this is a big step forward towards equality.

Due to the narrow and specific wording of the court, any Supreme Court decision will impact California only, although with that state having 9% of the country's population, and New York already having marriage equality, the tide is definitely turning... take that, Mitt Romney!

February 6, 2012

Introducing C N N's resident homophobe...

I used to watch a lot of news networks CNN and HLN, and have admittedly been doing less so recently, since they fired smart Joy Behar and daffy Larry King. After this weekend, I plan to turn the CNN networks off entirely.

I won't watch because of CNN contributor Roland Martin, who I have seen on the network before with his boisterous bullying ways and really bad dancing (it's probably on YouTube).

This weekend Martin's true homophobia came shining through. For the second time.

The first time was last year when Tracy Morgan's comedy routine included the proclamation that if his son came out as gay he would stab him. An uproar ensued, Martin loudly defended him and abruptly dismissed those who were offended, then Morgan apologized, and Martin looked like a jerk. Now after this second incident, GLAAD is calling on CNN to dump Martin, who apparently boasts on his website that his wife “has counseled many men and women to walk away from the gay lifestyle.”

This weekend, the CNN pundit send out homophobic tweets during the Superbowl. Yes, on twitter, where even the smallest asinine thing will come back to haunt you. He wasn't even smart enough to do it in private. So a homophobe AND a moron!

After H&M’s sexy underwear commercial, Martin tweeted: “If a dude at your Super Bowl party is hyped about David Beckham’s H&M underwear ad, smack the ish out of him! #superbowl”

In response, GLAAD tweeted: “@rolandsmartin Advocates of gay bashing have no place at @CNN #SuperBowl #LGBT“

Then Martin decided to fit more of his foot in his mouth. He replied: @glaad @CNN well you’re clearly out of touch and clueless with what I tweeted. Way to assume, but you’re way off base”

Mr Sensitive's comments weren’t contained to twitter; the next morning he posted to his Facebook fan page: “Who the hell was that New England Patriot they just showed in a head to toe pink suit? Oh, he needs a visit from #teamwhipdatass”

Martin now says his tweets were regarding soccer fans, not gay men. On his Facebook status, he wrote: I made several cracks about soccer as I do all the time. I was not referring to sexuality directly or indirectly regarding the David Beckham ad, and I’m sorry folks took it otherwise...

Mr. Martin, I don’t know a damn thing about professional sports, but I do know this: Nobody pays attention to soccer in America. That story doesn't fly.

On its website, GLAAD concludes: Martin’s tweets today advocating violence against gay people weren’t an accident — they are a part of a larger pattern for Martin. Anti-gay violence in America is a serious problem facing millions of Americans. It’s no joke. CNN should fire Roland Martin.

GLAAD asks supporters to sign a petition. I did. Find it at http://www.glaad.org/.

I am counting three strikes here, CNN... the homophobe has to go. But he will fit right in at Fox News...

Update: as of Feb 8th, 3 days after the Superbowl, CNN has suspended Roland Martin. Stay tuned to see what happens next...

February 5, 2012

That's Me... Behind The Crazy Lesbian Mom!

This week the winners of the 2011 Canadian Weblog Awards were announced... and hey, Alfie may be the world's cutest canine but the blog named in his furry honour did not take home the first-place ribbon...

On the upside, alfred lives here did get second place for best LGBTQ* blog in Canada... so woo hoo, there are a lot of gay gay gay blogs out there, and this is pretty damn exciting!
*(LGBTQ = lesbian/gay/bisexual/transexual/queer)

What is this award? From the awards website: The Canadian Weblog Awards promote good weblogs of all genres from across Canada... The Canadian Weblog Awards are about quality not popularity, so there is no public vote. Each weblog is judged by a volunteer jury against a set of criteria.

alfred lives here came in second behind crazy lesbian mom. Yes really, that's what the first place blog is named, and it is new to me and touching and personal, with an awesome tagline: "I'm a lesbian, I'm crazy, and I want to be a mom". Find her at www.crazylesbianmom.blogspot.com.

When the shortlist was announced on twitter a couple of weeks ago, I was thrilled to be included, and started using my not-gonna-happen longshot chance of victory to potentially rationalize the purchase of a shiny new laptop. Cuz mine is old and slow crashes and freezes and wheezes and moves like it is powered by an arthritic hamster. And yes I may have been spotted lurking around my local apple store lately. Total coincidence...

In this category, third place went to 2 Moms To Be. And not that I am keeping score about first or second or third, because that would be soooo not classy, but let's all remember that Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan was the best Trek of them all!

For more about the awards, or to discover great Canadian blogs, look here:

And here for no apparent reason is a picture of Mr Cuteness himself... YAY Alfie!

February 3, 2012

Hanna (with no sisters)...

Sometimes films come and go so quickly that if you miss opening weekend, you have missed your chance. Except of course those damn Twilight movies which linger forever.

One of those blink-and-you'll miss it films is last year's Hanna, which we just saw on demand, and it is fast, suspenseful, and more involving than I expected.

Young Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) is living with her father Erik (my secret movie boyfriend Eric Bana) in the snowy woods. She has spent her life learning to hunt, fight, and speak several languages. At this point, she determines that she is "ready," and so Erik unearths a metal box with a switch inside. When Hanna flicks the switch, CIA agent Marissa Weigler (a super wicked Cate Blanchett) will know where they are. And the game will begin.

Without giving away too much of the plot... Weigler and Erik have a dark history (I can't tell you more), Hanna is on a mission to kill Weigler (I can't tell you why), there is a capture (not gonna tell you who), a fake death (ditto), more chases, and assorted brutal killers are chasing each other, all while the shawdowy tale behind the big chase is slowly revealed.

There are some quiet moments that anchor this smart action flick, such as when a mesmerized Hanna asks"What does music feel like?" and when she makes her first friend. Most of all, fantastic acting and crisply choreographed action sequences propel this unique, cool take on the revenge thriller.

While the plot doesn't seem like much, there's really quite a bit here. Putting aside the entirely questionable parenting choice of teaching Hanna to kill, the father/daughter relationship is believable and touching. The movie's clashing personalities create a lot of friction, and the traveling family Hanna meets argues about raising children as it reflects on Hanna, who is highly trained in combat and weapons, and totally naive about things like music, clothes, food, and even electricity. Lots of contrasts going on here.

I think the heart of this movie says something about our attempt and failure as humans to truly connect with each other. But mostly it's a fast chase movie that goes with any flavor of popcorn. See it.

February 1, 2012

Cynthia Nixon... Born This Way?

I heart Cynthia Nixon --- the Emmy and Tony winning actress, best known for playing the brainy Miranda in Sex and the City, has given great performances and been an articulate liberal activist, using her name for causes like arts education and breast cancer awareness, rather than say selling hair colour and Venus razors (yes I am talking to you Jennifer Lopez).

After a 15-yr heterosexual relationship, Nixon has been in a relationship with a woman since 2004.

Last week Nixon raised eyebrows with her comments in The New York Times Magazine when she told the writer that homosexuality for her “is a choice.” She refused to call herself a bisexual, though I gotta say that from over here she looks like "Exhibit A" of bisexuality.

For many people it’s not (a choice),” she conceded, saying others “don’t get to define my gayness for me... Why can't it be a choice? Why is that any less legitimate?"

The predictable uproar in the gay press ensued. People said she had just handed a hammer to our opponents, who will now argue that what we need are incentives for people to change from being gay, not equal rights.

I was surprised and offended by her comments, because (1) I don't think it's a choice as I don't remember choosing to be gay --- or choosing to be male or white or devastatingly handsome, for that matter; and (2) comments like this play into the hands of haters like Michelle Bachmann and her non-gay husband, because if gay is a choice they will say that we can all choose to be straight.

As I read articles and blogs about Nixon's comments, I came to agree that while her critics have good reason to worry about how her words will be used, we have no right to demand silence or conformity from Nixon. She’s entitled to her own truth. But she also should be smarter and know that words have power, and that as one of the few "out" famous gay people, her words may have a lot of power. She should be more careful and be sure she means what she says to a reporter.

Since the publicity shit hit the fan this week, Nixon has come out with another statement, saying that though she doesn't like the word, she is a bisexual, and that being bisexual or gay is not a choice. She is bisexual and has chosen to be in a gay relationship. Back pedalling? Or just clarification? Hmmm...

Nixon has worked hard for the gay community, and she is entitled to say what she wants, and to revisit her controversial comments. No one gets to "define our gayness,” as Nixon said.

If gay was a choice, would discrimination be ok? As New York Times columnist Frank Bruni said this week, think of religion -- religion is a choice, and we don't tolerate discrimination. So bottom line is it shouldn't matter if is a choice or not. But then again, bigotry isn't rational.

I think if Nixon meant her original comments she should have stood by them, as she is entitled to do. If she didn't, then her comments were naive or absurd or just stupid, and if nothing else prove that she is better when has a script in hands and is not just winging it.

I did like her closing words though... “Our community is not a monolith, thank goodness, any more than America itself is. I look forward to and will continue to work toward the day when America recognizes all of us as full and equal citizens.”

Now let's go back to the level of conversation we should be having about celebrities... holy crap, Cynthia Nixon shaved her head for a new play!