One of the great things about Video-On-Demand is the opportunity to see movies that never came to our city... this weekend was 2011's little-seen Albert Nobbs, in which Glenn Close plays a woman passing as a male waiter to earn a living in a 19th-century Dublin hotel.
This is a world where male waiters earn superior pay, tips, privacy and prestige, and Nobbs keeps her true life secret until she is forced to share a room with a male visitor at the hotel.
Close's performance suggests vulnerability, sadness and loneliness, with a naive optimism, and it totally worked for me in this tender and touching film.
Based on an Irish novel, and a play from the 1980s that Close starred in, Albert Nobbs in a little bit Downton Abbey, a little bit Victor/Victoria, a touch of a Sandra Bullock feel-good movie, and a whole lot of good drama.
Close is magnificent in her Oscar-nominated performance, as is Janet McTeer in her Oscar-nominated supporting role as a kindred sprit who helps Nobbs see the world differently. After thirty years of living her life as a invisible charade, a new perspective threatens to destroy everything Nobbs has worked so hard to build and hide.
There is not a lot of fast-moving plot here, it is a character study of what happens when Albert, invisible by choice, starts dreaming of a life beyond the shadows. This is about the quiet search for love, acceptance, and a sense of self. Albert Nobbs is an emotional and thought-provoking film, with moments of tenderness and heartbreak. And while it may not be a perfect film, it very well may be a perfectly acted film.
Close co-wrote and produced the film, and it is a tour de force for her. See it.
I guest posted on the faboo blog Naked Girl In A Dress this week, where I wrote a post called Naked BoyIn A Suit (clever title, huh?) on marriage equality and what I have learned about marriage. So yes it's a short post. Find it here... http://bit.ly/KkkqM1
And in my regular Tuesday Sprocket Ink post (yep, that is every Tuesday, people), I went all classy and wrote about a growing Canadian business that makes me so very proud to be a Canuck... vibrators. Colourful cuddly Canadian vibrators. Read on... http://bit.ly/KEIzxx
I love my dog and step-dog, and we pamper them endlessly. They are well taken care of and much loved, with toys, treats, daycare, loving family, long walks, and lots of hugs. My husband teases me about Alfie being the love of my life. And it's likely true.
Still there are limits, and if I didn't know that before, I sure do now.
This week we watched a show called I Cloned My Pet on TLC. This show was intriguing and yes it was totally disturbing. The show features pet lovers who have lost their dogs and then spend from $50,000 to more than $150,000 to bring them back; they go through Korean doctors who take DNA from the dog, create a cloned embryo, do their voodoo, and insert it into a surrogate, who gives birth normally to the clone of the lost dog. Or two clones. Or three...
Is the second generation dog really the same dog? Some say yes, some say no. Based on the show, the clone has a similar but not the exact same personality. Seems more like a cousin through chemistry than the same dog.
This is clearly about love, I get that. I feel for these people -- the woman who lost her dog Kabuki to cancer, the man who lost his Chihuahua Bob to a Rottweiler attack. Either of those would break my heart. Hell, I sat in the car and cried when Alfred was having eye surgery.
I see and I get people struggling and spending big money on treatments for a cancer-sticken pet because their pets are family. You do what you can, and then at some point it is time to say goodbye.
While the show was interesting and touching, it did not touch on the real controversial aspects of cloning in terms of ethics. Since Dolly the sheep was cloned in 1997 this has been a hot-button issue, and while I see the research potential, for a pet, this seems ethically questionable and economically irresponsible. For the couple who spent $155,000 to clone their golden retriever, I can't help but think they could have bought a purebred golden puppy who would have been a total joy to them, and they also could have saved hundreds of doggie lives in a shelter.
Dogs bring happiness. And if these people or anyone else wants a dog, there are lots of dogs out there in shelters who need homes. Or go through a reputable breeder if you have really specific wants in a dog. We will follow one of these options; our dogs are aged 5 and 12, and there will be more dogs in our future.
I love our dogs and hope they live a long time. But when they are gone, they are gone. And this is not about just about pets. If I go before my husband, he won't clone me. He will miss me, but he won't clone me. He will enjoy the quiet in the house, and the (alleged) lack of cereal crumbs on the counter... and he won't clone me.
Tomorrow is our second wedding anniversary... Happy Anniversary, Honey! And uh sorry I am not gonna be there, but this job means travelling a lot, so enjoy your day of peace and quiet (except for the adorable yet loud barking dogs). Here is the post I wrote last year for our first anniversary; not that much has changed, except the coyotes have not been spotted in months, and yes we are still waiting on our builder to finish the effing landscaping...
I write this post sitting at the counter in our new kitchen, in our new house, while my beloved 70s music (hello Little River Band!) plays through our fancy dancy new sound system and the world's cutest furball is sprawled across my lap. I look through the windows and see the stately trees and the tranquil lake, the rabbits and the Canada Geese. And I am amazed at and appreciative of life. Late the other night the dogs and I were out for a pre-bedtime walk, and I was thinking how fortunate I am in terms of life, love, marriage, home, career, all of it. Then we met a confused lost wolf, or a skinny really angry dog, and yep I stopped being esoteric and got the hell home. Though I truly do realise how fortunate I am... uh, except for the wolf part. Life is not easy or smooth, and over the last year it feels like I have done a swan dive off every cliff of change you can, except literally jumping off a cliff. Cuz I'm a pussy. The past year changes... selling a house, moving in together, wedding and marriage, building a custom house, moving again, trying to sell another house, resigning from my volunteer position of 6 years, resigning from my employer of 12 years, starting a new job. Plus add in the stress of money, family, homophobia, homophobic family (some, not all...), and life in general. Life is hectic craziness, people. Amidst good and bad, turmoil and calm, Charlie Sheen lunacy and vapid royal weddings, I realise how fortunate I am. One year ago today I married a great guy. And he married me (it's way easier when you both agree). I am lucky to have found him, and we are lucky to live in a place where we can legally wed and it is (mostly) accepted by society. We have each other, people who love us, a wonderful new home, and two amazing if a tad spoiled dogs. I have learned a lot this year --- distancing yourself from negative people, being comfortable using the words "my husband" though it may make other people uncomfortable, how to truly partner with someone, and yes there really are 23 ways to fold towels (and apparently my way is wrong). And yet in the middle of all this madness I sit in a rare moment of peace and realise how fortunate I truly am. Happy first anniversary honey! You are so lucky... and, uh, this blog post is your present...
The death of Donna Summer last week shocked me. WhileI didn't know her personally, and yes I was a fan, let's face it, people die all the time, celebrities die all the time, and it's sad, but we move on... but still... Disco Queen Donna Summer?
Summer was not troubled like Whitney Houston, and she kept her battle with cancer quiet. I loved her music, it was upbeat and fun and always put me in a good mood. It was sexy at times, lovely and inspirational at other times. And as someone who has spent thousands of hours running with an iPod, Summer's music was perfect exercise music, with a pounding beat, a straightforward story line, and breathtaking soaring vocals.
Before Gaga and Madonna, before I knew the terminology or the culture, Summer was a gay icon, with disco music, crazy fashions, and elaborate stage shows. I remember staying up late to watch her Bad Girls TV special with her beret-wearing PG hooker by the lamppost and being amazed. Summer fell out of favour with much of the gay community due to a since discredited story about homophobic remarks a long time ago, a story she sued over, and went on to become a fundraiser and advocate in the battle against AIDS. Before the internet, before Entertainment Tonight and TMZ, she ignored the story rather than fight it, until it was too late to put the lying genie back into the bottle.
Summer was more than the queen of disco: she was a songwriter, had an opera-quality soprano voice, was a mother and grandmother, and won five Grammy's including awards for best vocals in dance, inspirational, R&B, and rock performances.
She was a huge influence on other musicians, and tributes rolled in this week from Bono, Madonna, Barbara Streisand, Gloria Estefan, Elton John, Macy Gray, Beyonce, Aretha Franklin, Quincy Jones, and many more.
After hearing about Summer's death, I went down to the basement, dug out Donna Summer CDs and played them non-stop in the car - On The Radio, There Goes My Baby, She Works Hard For The Money, Bad Girls, Melody of Love, Hot Stuff, Carry On, MacArthur Park, Love to Love You Baby... and yes among our collection we had many Donna Summer CDs to choose from, because we're gay.
Here are my favourite Donna Summer songs.. what are yours?
Love is the Healer
MacArthur Park Last Dance
On The Radio No More Tears/ Enough Is Enough (duet with Barbra Streisand)
I Feel Love
and from her last album, 2008's Crayons, Stomp Your Feet and The Queen Is Back...
Gay men adored Summer. We still do. Donna Summer's accidental rise and fall as a gay icon, when she went from writhing out Love to Love You Baby at the disco to talking about God and being misquoted about AIDS, was probably an education for future artists about how not to handle your publicity. Her legacy is her music and her charity work. We miss you, Donna Summer, rest in peace...... toot toot, beep beep...
It looks like the GAP is making good on their promise to modernize the brand. In addition to adding more colour to their shelves, they’re also adding a little diversity to their campaigns with a new ad in Los Angeles featuring a very cute gay couple next to the slogan Be One.
After their failed campaigns against JC Penney and Urban Outfitters, I am guessing those One MillionHateful Moms will be after this one next... or are they sick of being hateful and also losing these fights?
Besides the obvious social justice about all of us being equal, you think the right wingers would figure out that this is about advertising, and we the gays like to shop...
Historic day today... Barack Obama became the first sitting US President to endorse gay marriage... and sure he could have done it earlier, or he could have done it as part of the Democratic platform, but still, what a huge historic moment. It got better!
Obama's announcement, after refusing to take a clear stand for months, cheered gay rights groups who have long urged him to support gay marriage. It also highlights a clear divide with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who opposes gay marriage.
Polling suggests the nation is evenly divided on the issue.
"I have hesitated on gay marriage in part because I thought that civil unions would be sufficient," Obama said on Wednesday in an interview. He added that, "I was sensitive to the fact that for a lot of people the word `marriage' was something that invokes very powerful traditions, religious beliefs and so forth."
Now, he said, "it is important for me personally to go ahead and affirm that same-sex couples should be able to get married."
This is a huge moment in the ongoing history of the civil rights movement and marriage equality. Huge!
As with all things gay, I am going to leave the last word to gay icon and advocate Bette Midler, who tweeted:
I always knew something had to replace disco, but I never dreamed it would be marriage!
Yesterday the voters of North Carolina voted for Amendment One, which banned marriage equality (aka same-sex marriage) in the state. This measure also scrapped civil unions for gay and straight couples. Pundits are saying this may also impact adoption rights, as well as health care and other benefits for same sex couples and their families. In addition to the basic rights involved, there was a spotlight on this one due to some celebrity wattage -- Bill Clinton campaigned against the amendment, Billy Graham in favour of it. This also gets extra attention as the media coverage grows over the vague marriage equality stance of the Obama administration. As for North Carolina, the redneck stereotype lives on... this is where an amendment outlawing interracial marriage remained a part of the state constitution until 1971.
To the people of North Carolina, if any of you stumble across this blog, I have to ask... please explain how allowing marring equality would truly negatively impact your lives...? I mean, really? Then again, this is a state where it is still legal to marry your first cousin, and where there are no employment protection so people can be fired for being gay, no questions asked.
Hey North Carolina.... to the 40% who voted against this measure, thank you and job well done. For the rest of you, hey people, hate is not a family value, period. As this was abuzz online last night, here's my favourite tweet of the evening, from the actor and activist Mia Farrow: Oh North Carolina ---- the disappointment we feel now is nothing compared to the bewilderment and shame your children will feel.
(visuals from thenewcivilrightsmovement.com and someecards.com)
I have a laptop or iPad on my lap when watching TV. And usually a dog or two napping across my legs.
Last night during The Voice performance finale -- and by the way, amazing awesome fantastic duet on The Beatles' Yesterday, Adam and Tony -- I was on twitter. This is not unusual, ask my husband.
And for my own sanity and perspective, it's a good thing I peruse The Globe and Mail and Entertainment Weekly online, cuz in addition to all the Christina Aguilera bashing (okay I did some of that, she's such a bitch), here's the headlines a la twitter:
1- Re: @TheRealXtina's horrible behavior tonight: WWWDS? What Would Walt Disney Say? #tsktsk#TheVoice (yep had to include Christina bashing one...) 2- Stephen Colbert Is Very Afraid of Teens Drunk on Purell 3- Bishop Won't Let Group Publicly Honor Gay Student 4- Obama's Vague Gay Marriage Stance Under Scrutiny 5- Some of you people retweet the dumbest shit 6- The Winnipeg Jets are going to the Western Conference Final for the first time in franchise history! (uh, how did a sports one get in here....?) 7- Christina, Don't judge. Must we revisit your National Anthem situation, falling at the Grammys, etc etc?....#TheVoice (yep, another one...) 8- Jon Stewart Has Some Questions for France 9- Who's reading Eugenides' "The Marriage Plot" and dying from every leaf and page of beauty therein? Me, that's who. 10- Hillary Clinton Wants To See A Female U.S. President, Says It Won't Be Her 11- Selena Gomez & Ashley Benson talk breaking out of the 'good girl hold' (uh, problemo here, I don't know who Ashley Benson is...) 12- Dinosaur farts caused global warming in the Jurassic period
13- Lawsuit Alleges John Travolta's Penis Is 'Roughly Eight Inches' With 'Unkempt' Pubes (uh, thanks, I am gonna go vomit now....) So yes this is a peek at who and what I follow on twitter.... pop culture, gay stuff, random sarcastic people... that's all perfectly normal, right? Okay even if it isn't a normal view of the world -- and hell, what is normal anyway --- this last one from comedian Andy Borowitz makes it all worthwhile:
In Romney's world, corporations are people, people are robots, and dogs are luggage.
One of my favourite bloggers, who is also one of the biggest in the bloggy world, has just published her first book. She is Jenny Lawson who writes as The Bloggess, and the book is Let's Pretend ThisNever Happened. It is smart and funny, and oh yeah debuted at number one on The New York Times bestseller list. Jenny is like a Texas version of Tina Fey, with a crazier life and a way filthier mouth.
Lawson writes about health crises, infertility, loss, motherhood, drugs, crazy stuff at work, crazy families, and lots of taxidermy. She is such a good writer that I could relate, though we have so little in common. But I related to all her life stories because she is smart and funny and real and crazy and loving a hellluva writer and yep mostly crazy.
Any woman who buys a 5-foot metal chicken, which she then names Beyonce, just to drop it at her own front door and run away, all just to startle her husband, is aces in my books. Oh and the husband's reaction? Nothing. Blankly shuts the door and walks away, cuz thats not the strangest thing that has happened to him that day.
Chapter titles include I Was a Three-Year-Old Arsonist, No One Ever Taught Me Couch Etiquette, My Vagina Is Fine Thanks For Asking, and Draw Me A Fucking Dog. So you get the idea...
Example from the book: I just bought a fifty-year-old Cuban alligator dressed as a pirate. It apparently isn't weird, as it sort of goes with Hamlet con Schnitzel (a taxidermied mouse dressed up as Hamlet in a Shakespearean ruff collar) and a stuffed mounted half-squirrel in cowboy gear.
I learned stuff from Let's Pretend..., like it is somewhat sensible when someone brings their pet donkey into a bar, because it's illegal to leave an unattended donkey in your car in Texas.
Lawson is smart and funny and damaged. She believes that the most mortifying moments of our lives, the ones we’d like to pretend never happened, are actually the ones that define us. She shares all of her embarrassing moments proudly, and you may hurt yourself laughing.
I wish I had written this book; not only because is a blogger gone really big, but because the book is smart and touching and hysterically funny. Read it. But read it at home, because you will laugh out loud. A lot. I read it in airports and on planes, and as I laughed out loud over and over it became a little weird. People stared at me. Those judgey bastards....
Last year an Australian TV commercial for marriage equality went viral and got us all watching and sighing and shedding the occasional tear.
Now there is this new commercial from our British friends, and I love its message and its simplicity and its heart and its tagline at the end: All men can be heroes. All men can be husbands. End marriage discrimination...
All-American actor Chris Evans, best known for Fantastic Four and Captain America, has spoken about his support for his gay brother and marriage equality several times before, and now as his star rises he is out there doing it again!
As he is doing press for his new movie The Avengers, Evans spoke about marriage equality to (of all places) Playboy Magazine.
When asked about his feelings on marriage equality Evans stated: "Are you kidding me? It's insane that civil rights are being denied people in this day and age. It's embarrassing, and it's heartbreaking. It goes without saying that I'm completely in support of gay marriage. In 10 years we'll be ashamed that this was an issue."
Love him! If you aren't familiar with his work, Evans was charming and shirtless in the thriller Cellular, and he was charming and shirtless in Fantastic Four, and then he was charming and shirtless in last year's What's Your Number... hey, wait, I see a pattern...