Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Listen to what she says? Hug Etiquette

If a girl says that she is gay. If she says that the last person she dated was a guy, but that she currently has a crush on a girl and that she is poly. If she says that she can't tell when people are interested in her and so she needs them to make the first move. If she says this all while laughing at all of your jokes, smiling, and generally giving you the impression that she is flirting with you.
Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson. Smiling + laughing + flirting=FUN
If this happened, what would you do? Would you make a move? Let's say you do make a small move. You touch her arm, but she turns away. You respectfully take that as a sign that she is not interested. 
How did it get awkward all of the sudden?

Friday, March 4, 2011

How Did She Get to Age 55 before Realizing She's A Lesbian?

I just found out from Oprah what people have known since 2009: the mom from the 80s TV show Family Ties is gay. Meredith Baxter is an out lesbian.

She says in an interview, about the moment she knew she was gay, at age 55, that she though to herself:

"Oh, I understand why I had the issues I had early in my life."

"I had a great deal of difficulty connecting with men in relationships."

"I assumed I was a bad picker, which I was indeed, but I was involved with people who made me think they were the problem, and there were problems. So it never occurred to me to think, oh I'm gay."

Here is the video where she outs herself on TV.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Charm and Duplicity, Like a Talking Snake

I was in a meeting with a man. He said that he trades in charm and duplicity. He said this allows him to recognize it when others do it. Actually, he said that all of us in the arts work in charm and duplicity. Really? I'm not so sure.
I've got my eyes on you, mister.
Do not fuck with me.

I would like to interrogate the origins of that phrase, but the internet is not yielding. says
Charm: enchantment, allure, talisman 
Duplicity: deception, cunning, exhibition of disloyalty

The Online Etymology Dictionary says:  
Charm (verb): c.1300, "to recite or cast a magic spell," Related: Charmed; charming. 

Duplicity: early 15c., being "double" in one's conduct (Gk. diploos "treacherous, double-minded," lit. "twofold, double.")

Monday, February 28, 2011

Oscars: Arabs Did Not Win, But Lesbians Did

I watched the 2011 Oscars to see if Incendies or Outside the Law would win. Neither won. While watching I couldn't help but notice the fashion. Being a giving person, I thought I'd share a few observations. 

Best dressed of the evening goes to Mila Kunis. Lavender, lace, and swagger did the trick. It was almost lewd when she licked her lips for the 10th time and bent over while giving away the Oscar for the best supporting actress, but she managed to wurk it.

When Kunis was giving out the award, she snuck in that she hoped Natalie Portman would win best actress. Nice, right?

Natalie Portman did get the award for best actress, in her acceptance speech she thanked everyone in the world: "those who are invisible to the world but mean so much to the making of a movie." She thanked the people who did her hair and makeup, camera operator, 1st assistant, etc BUT she did not thank Mila Kunis, her costar. What happened?

Portman is now married to the choreographer from the film. So I wonder if maybe Kunis told the choreographer that Natalie enjoyed the lesbian scenes a little too much? Kunis would know. Check her out in this clip:

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Egypt and Tunisia: The New Arab Man

We watch cinema and televised real events in similar ways. They exist on a continuum of meaning. They impact our lives on both symbolic and material levels. News footage changed the image of the Arab male in the popular imagination after 9/11. Reflected and reinforced by numerous fictional cinematic stunts thereafter. Perhaps now, ten years later, the images of Tunisia and Egypt's uprisings will shift the dominant construction of the Arab male again? Now he is steadfast, organized, and committed to civic duty: directing traffic and cleaning graffiti without pay. We now share in his celebratory public tears while a baby sits on shoulders. Can we look forward to this principled and giving Arab male in upcoming cinematic representations?
The image of the Arab man has shifted from the post 9/11 terrorist, and now, through the images of Egypt's uprising, is replaced by the activist committed to civic duty and to celebrating with a baby on his shoulders.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Gemini Reveals Shinya Tsukamoto’s Fantasy of the Known Self

Gemini / Soseiji (1999), by Japanese director Shinya Tsukamoto, is one of my favorite films of all time. On the one hand it is an intelligent and visually stunning period piece set during World War One. And on the other hand, it sparingly uses the conventions of the horror genre as a device to explore class and identity. 
Rin's amnesia sets in after washing

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Catherine Breillat Awakens a Beautiful Sleeping Lesbian in The Sleeping Beauty

Catherine Breillat's most recent film The Sleeping Beauty / La Belle Endormie (2010) is the kind of lush exploration of the burgeoning sexuality of a young woman that audiences expect from her after her more than 30 years of delivering such works. This time, that sexuality is decidedly not heterosexual.
The Sleeping Beauty wakes and discovers that she is a lesbian.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Outside the Law: Year of the Arab Diaspora at the Oscars

If Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather (1972) and Gilles Pontecorvo's The Battle of Algiers (1966) where to have a baby, and that baby was a film, that film would be Rachid Bouchareb's Outside the Law / Hors La Loi (2010).
The Godfather and The Battle of Algiers have a baby

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Incendies: Lebanon is Scorched, Burned and Blistered

To say that the Middle East has been scorched, burned and blistered by war is an understatement. In Incendies–a ground breaking diaspora film, set in both present day Canada and in Lebanon in the recent past–we get to see in painful detail the intricacies of how the war burned many families into horrific mangled messes.

The idea of return is common among diaspora films of the last few decades. Usually the protagonist of the film returns to their family's place of origin and discovers the rubble and ruins that have been vacated by their parent's generation. Usually we do not see the atrocities that happened, but we are told that they are too terrible to talk about or to show. The protagonist walks around looking traumatized which, I have to admit, despite my devotion to these films, is part of the growing pains in the development of a genre.

Where Incendies distinguishes itself is in the crafting of a story that really is too terrible to tell and too terrible to witness. And then it makes us witness every terrible moment of it.
A cinematic moment. The image comes first and the explanation comes much much later.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

True Grit: The Formidable Fortitude of Tweens

Every once in a while a role comes along for a young woman who is at that tough age, that age that makes her adult-like, but before she's realized the limiting effects of the male gaze. She is smart enough to know what is right and young enough to not know that the world doesn't work according to right and wrong. She speaks truth to power, and expects power to accede to what would be justice. She sees what is incongruous and expects that if she shows it to others, they will correct their ways. If they don't correct their ways, she is old enough, and in her own power enough to be able to resist their attempts to make her follow their ways. She is interested in freedom and is often called willful, clever, argumentative. It is a window that, for most women, opens as puberty hits and then shuts as puberty ends. For many women, the social relations of feudalism and capitalism make us bend and transform under patriarchal control.
Mattie Ross in True Grit, played by a 14 year old Hailee Steinfeld, looks unimpressed and determined

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Tron Legacy: Arcades and the Zen of Nostalgia

If you are old enough to remember watching the original Tron when it came out in 1982, then you're old enough to remember playing upright video games at an arcade. You'd probably remember too that arcades were the hang out, the cool place to be, and also one of the few places to challenge your hand eye coordination. 
Original poster for Tron from 1982. They posed again like this in the sequel.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Lykke Li's Vagina Dentata is Gonna Get Some

Lykke Li was asked to describe her new, not yet released album Wounded Rhymes, as an outfit. She responded in Bust Magazine's issue 67, "It would be black gothic clothes that someone has been wearing all night. Maybe like if Keith Richards was wearing all black and he'd been out and about for two weeks." A little gross, right? And her first single and video from that album has been grossly misunderstood. People are calling it a departure and charging her with using sex to sell an album. Really, if you look at this video carefully, you'll realize that she does show her legs, and her pants are off, but what's revealed is not easily consumable sex. It's more like PJ Harvey howling "lick my legs, I'm on fire" than it is Britney Spears yapping about whatever it is she does. Lykke Li is finally telling us what she wants, and if you aren't ready for it, she will hold you down and give it to you anyway.
Lykke Li without pants, in her video 'Get Some'
Are those metal claws on her vagina (dentata)?