Jun 6, 2020

"Dead Set": Who Wouldn't Want to Watch the "Big Brother" Housemates Get Eaten?

Big Brother is a reality show franchise started in the Netherlands in 1999, and since expanded into the U.S., Canada, Britain, and other markets.  Basically you put a lot of random people in a house, cut off all contact with the outside world, and record their actions, hoping that they will do a lot of bitching, fighting, and screwing.  In some countries you compete in various challenges.  Every week one of the players is kicked out, based on a vote (by viewers in Britain, by the housemates in the U.S.)

Housemates are encouraged to lie, cheat, deceive, sabotage, and betray each other, conjuring up grand Machiavellian strategies,the snarkier the better., to become the last person standing  In other words, you're watching people being nasty to each other, just in case one of the guys takes his shirt off. I lasted for five minutes.

But what if you could watch them all get eaten by zombies?

That's the premise of Dead Set (2018),a British horror series that happened to air right after the last season of Big Brother, and use the same set.

The housemates are:
1. The bullying, homophobic Marky (Warren Brown, left)

2. Drag queen Grayson

3. Angel, his bff

4. The shy, timid Joplin

5. Tough-as-nails Veronica

6. Charismatic Space

7. Dimwitted Pippa

The zombie attacks begin very quickly, causing chaos all over Britain in just a few hours.  The production crew notices that something is wrong first, Riz (Riq Ahmed) is actually trapped far away after a zombie attack, and spends the series trying to get to the studio to reunite with his girlfriend.

Since the housemates are cut off from contact with the outside world, they don't notice until the next day, when the camera crew starts attacking them. What follows is basically a season of Big Brother, with the usual lying, cheating, and betrayal, except with life or death challenges: trying to get medical supplies or food, trying to leave the house to head for rescue boats from France.  And when you are betrayed by your fellow housemates, you are eaten by zombies instead of being kicked out of the house.

Spoiler alert:  at the end of the "competition," only one of the housemates is left alive, but they are stuck in a control room surrounded by zombie hoardes,so probably not for long.

At least the drag queen dies a hero.

Jun 5, 2020

A Very Brief Review of Hawk D'Onofrio in "Alibi Boys"

I admit that I found the photo first, and then looked on IMDB to see if he appeared in any movies or tv series that I could review.

But Hawk D'Onofrio (originally Hakan), the nephew of perennial tv star Vincent D'Onofrio, seems to be mostly involved in modeling. He has appeared only in some shorts ("Along the Bed's Edge Sitting," "Portrait of Olivia"), with a few guest appearances in sitcoms. His only starring role seems to be in Alibi Boys, a 2015 web series with 10 episodes.

Ok, Alibi Boys it is.

The premise: "odd couple college students use their alibi-creating skills to pay the rent."

Odd couple?  "Couple" means "gay."  Or at least gay-subtext.

The boyfriends are:

1. Liar O'Bannon (great name),played by Will Ritchie, whose other roles are shorts and "Bar Patron."

I'm liking this series already.


2. Jack Lord, played by Sean Carmichael, whose shorts appear at a lot of film festivals.  Seen here in Trinity, about a man who gets revenge on the priest who abused him as a kid. .

Hawk is third billed as Sebastian Douglas III.  Must be their flamboyant friend. .

Filling out the cast are Tony Longo as Mr. Toberlone (haven't I bought those in airports?), John Vanis III as The Bodyguard, and two women, Natasha and Hetty.

Episode 1:  Jack, Sebastian, and Liar  in a "gentlemen's club": not a good sign.  Fortunately, the women are fully clothed,and it's too dark to see anything.  They discuss their moneymaking scheme.

Whoops.  They go into a private room.  Brightly lit.  Each of the three gets a half-naked woman. Closeup of women's breasts and butts.  I'm outta here.

Fall 1979: A Roland for an Oliver: Gay Medieval Lovers

The old expression "A Roland for an Oliver" means that you're equally matched (for instance, these brothers can both bench press exactly 320 pounds each).

It's derived from the Medieval gay lovers that I first read about in The Young Folks' Shelf of Books during my early childhood.

I heard about them again in college, when my French Literature class was assigned a modern version of the 12th century Song of Roland, the national epic of France.

During the siege of Viana, Emperor Charlemagne agreed to let the outcome rest on single combat between two champions.  He sent his nephew, the bold, heavily-muscled Roland, the Prince Valiant of France.  Count Gerard of Viana sent his grandson, the handsome, quick-witted Oliver (or Olivier).  Their talents were complementary; they were perfectly matched.

As they fought, an angel appeared, separated them, and bade them become friends (the same thing happened to Simon and Milo a few generations later).

They spent the rest of their lives together, fighting side by side, and their love, with its divine mandate, was acclaimed in every corner of Charlemagne's Empire.

Then the Saracens began wending their way through Basque country,  If they entered France through the pass at Roncevaux, they would take all of Europe.  Charlemagne and his troops tried to stop them.  In the heat of battle, Oliver was killed, and the distraught Roland cried:

So many days and years gone by
We lived together.
Since thou art dead, to live is pain.

Then he died as well.

I didn't bother to point out the homoromance to my French professor, who no doubt would have insisted that Roland, like Aschenbach in Death in Venice wasn't Wearing a Sign.  He was betrothed to Oliver's sister, after all, and in the Italian epic Orlando Furioso, he falls in love with a woman (and flies to the moon).

The 1978 movie version of La Chanson de Roland gives Roland (Klaus Kinski) an overwhelming hetero-passion.  Oliver (Pierre Clementi, left) looks on with an unacknowledged, unrequited love.

Desi Arnaz, Jr.

Desi Arnaz, Jr. was born on January 19th, 1953, in the middle of a whirlwind of publicity, the child of most famous couple on television, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, and also the first baby ever "born" on tv (Lucy's real life pregnancy was incorporated into the plot of I Love Lucy).  He was on the cover of the first issue of TV Guide, on April 3rd, 1953.

Growing up with that kind of publicity, and his parents' connections, he had little choice but to go into show business.  In 1965, he started a boy band with his friends Dean Paul Martin (Dean Martin's son) and Billy Hinsche.

He guest starred on The Lucy Show (1962-65), and became a regular on Here's Lucy (1968-72), as Lucy's teenage son Craig. And he landed roles in lots of movies.

Oddly for the son of a comedy legend, Desi didn't do comedies.  He specialized in tear-jerkers. Many were about the tragic consequences of boys and girls who fall in love (Mr. and Mrs. Bo Jo Jones, She Lives, Having Babies, Black Market Babies).  

Others were gay-subtext movies about the tragic consequences of boys who fall in love with boys (Billy Two Hats, Joyride, To Kill a Cop).  

In 1983, he starred in a buddy-bonding series, Automan, about a computer whiz (Desi) who creates a computerized superhero (the hunky Chuck Wagner).  Unfortunately, it was promoted as a comedy, and Desi didn't do comedy.  He thought it would be a gritty urban drama.

After 13 episodes he left, and hasn't done a lot of acting since.  He is still involved with his music, and he owns the Boulder Theater in Boulder City, Nevada.

Although he was the subject of many gay rumors during the 1970s (my friend Cesar claimed to have hooked up with him), Desi was linked to several women, including Liza Minnelli, and he was married to Amy Arnaz from 1987 to her death in 2015.

See: Cesar Tells about his Hookup with Desi Arnaz Jr.


Jun 4, 2020

How Many of "100 Dinge" (100 Things) Are Gay?

Most of my German has faded away over time, but I remember enough to be unhappy with this Facebook post: "Was ich tun würde, wenn ich eine Frau wäre? Natürlich in die Ladies Preview von 100 DINGE am 05.12. gehen!!"

What would I do, if I were a woman?  Naturlich go to the Ladies Preview of 100 Dinge!

Two naked men who are obviously in a gay relationship, but the dope frames it in purely heteronormative terms as a movie for die Frauen.

Here they are again: the stars of the movie, Matthias Schweighhöfer (right) and Florian David Fitz (left).

There arre about 20 more photos of the duo interacting naked on their  Facebook pages.

Including one where they are hanging out naked by a lake. Maybe they're partners as well as costars.

Whoops, I was mistaken.  100 Dinge (100 Things) is an anti-materialist fable about  two best friends, Toni and Paul, who decide to give up all of their stuff for 100 days. Including their clothing. Then they get one thing  apiece back each day.

Why would they do this?  To make a point, I guess?

I have way more than 100 things,  unless you count by category, like "books," "silverware," and "clothes."

The blurb  on imdb says that "the only thing they can't give up is their friendship." So maybe there's a gay subtext?

The movie is not available on streaming services, but I found two trailers on youtube. One shows Matthias dancing with a woman, staring into her eyes, and kissing her for 1.01 of the 1.58 minutes, having sex with her for the next 20, and then talking to her naked in bed for the rest.  Florian isn't there.

Another trailer shows the guys doing the "loss of possessions" routine while Florian tries to court a woman (showing up at the door without pants, having a candlelit dinner on the bare floor).  Meanwhile Matthias dances/stares into the eyes/kisses another woman.  Then Matthias and Florian rush down  a city street naked.  They hug.  But, in case we get the wrong idea, they end up kissing women again.  

Doesn't sound there's much of a gay subtext.  They don't even seem to be living together during the experiment.

Matthias and Florian aren't partners in real life, either.  Matthias has a wife and daughter.  No wife listed for Florian.

 So all you get is a lot of male nudity, including frontals.  

That's more than enough to draw gay men, and no reason to identify the movie a for die Frauen

Jun 3, 2020

The Gay Guys of "The Trailer Park Boys:The Animated Series"

I've been watching the Canadian mockumentary Trailer Park Boys, about a trio of small-time hoods living in a run-down trailer park in Halifax, for what seems like forever (and in fact the first episode aired in April 2001): twelve seasons, three movies, three tv specials with the guys performing to live audiences, a spin off series that sends them to the United States.

I've seen the guys age from their 20s to their 50s, with few changes:
1. Julian (John Paul Tremblay) has managed to maintain his bodybuilder physique, and still has a full shot glass in his hand at all times but never actually drinks from it.
2. Bubbles (Mike Smith) is still living in that storage shed with cats.
3. Ricky (Robb Wells),  who constantly hatches crazy money-making schemes, has become a father, then a grandfather.

Corey and Jacob (Corey Bowles, Jacob Rolfe) still act like a gay couple, even though Jacob dated and then married Ricky's daughter Trinity.

Randy (Patrick Roach, top photo), the assistant camp manager, probably changed the most.  He began as closeted, keeping his relationship with  Mr. Lahey (John Dunsworth) a secret; he came out as bisexual, then as gay, and finally he and Mr. Lahey were married.  Don't worry, he still never wears a shirt.

I was wondering why they launched a spin-off animated series.  Were the actors getting too old to believably play Trailer Park Boys?  Did they want to do things that would be difficult to stage in live action?

I soon found out.  The first episode involves Corey getting his arm torn off and Jacob getting his head twisted backwards.

Don't worry, every episode doesn't involve amputated body parts.  They do other things that would be difficult to stage:  destroy downtown Halifax; host a concert for  thousands of people; fly into space; reminisce about their childhoods, when they all met over contraband hashish.

Mr. Lahey is carried off by a "shit hawk," leaving Randy a widower (John Dunsworth died in 2017). But he still appears out of bottles of liquor to offer advice and tell Randy that he loves him.

Gay people made the park denizens uncomfortable on the live-action series, but here they are met with nonchalance (in spite of Bubbles' incessant use of the term "cocksucker").

Julian signs up to play in a movie, without realizing that it's gay porn.  He tries to do it anyway,but finds it too uncomfortable, so he recruits Randy.

 Julian tries to make money with a car wash featuring girls in bikinis, but soon realizes that if he takes his shirt off, the car wash will draw a lot of well-tipping gay men.  Ricky meanwhile charges them to use his makeshift swimming pool.  His girlfriend is upset, asking "Are you gay now?"

"No.  What's the problem?  They're perfect customers," Ricky responds.  Then, when she continues to push, "Ok, you got me, I'm gay again."

Bubbles also assumes that Julian and Ricky are gay, and assures the news crew "I love the LGBT community.  I'm glad they finally came out."

Meanwhile Randy is peering through binoculars, making comments like "Perfect chest!"  The camera pans out, and we see that he's looking at Julian!

Wait -- what's the joke?  The audience knows that Randy is gay -- who else would he be looking at?

Mixed messages.  Business as usual at Sunnyvale Trailer Park.

See also:Trailer Park Boys

Jun 1, 2020

"Abnormal Attraction": Not about Gay People

I wasn't planning to see Abnormal Attraction, on Amazon Prime -- it sounds homophobic, labeling same-sex relations as "abnormal."  But the blurb doesn't mention gay people at all: "In a world where fairy tales are much more than tales, monsters and humans must co-exist. Some people respect the difference between races..."

Difference between races?  So the "abnormal attraction" isn't same-sex relations, it's miscegenation!  White supremacy has come out of the Oval Office and into a theater near you!  But maybe it's an anti-racist parody. This I have to see....

Prelude: A montage of monsters and humans going about their business, sitting on park benches, barbecuing. Some teenage thugs beat up a monster, while the passerbys ignore them.

No reaction to  brutal violence. Is this "Tomorrow Belongs to Me," from "Cabaret"?  Will we be seeing concentration camps next?

Monsters and humans interact at a party  (hunk alert -- shirtless muscle man!).  On TV, a non-human rights activist denounces the racial violence.

Chapter 1, Genesis:  At some sort of helping institution, rambunctious Nick (Nathan Reid, a fitness trainer turned actor) asks white-haired Dr.Cole to take over his AA meeting.  Dr. Cole is expecting alcoholics (the janitor even razzes him, proclaiming that Prohibition ended in 1933).  But AA really means Abnormal Attraction -- humans trying to overcome their attraction to nonhumans (fairies, ghosts, vampires, a leprechaun).

Hunk alert: A genie played by Gilbrando Acevedo.

Their stories are all heterosexual except for a guy who is killed trying to have sex with a male Sasquatch.

Transphobia alert: A guy sets a trap for the Tooth Fairy, only to get a male instead of a female -- a hairy-chested  drag queen.  Everyone in the group reacts with disgust.

Dr. Cole goes home, to a mermaid in his bathtub.  So he's experiencing an "abnormal attraction," too.

Chapter 2, Exodus (so Chapter 3 will be Leviticus?  I can't wait). Nick has car trouble, and is assisted by the grotesque monster  Finnbar, who makes sleazy double-entendre jokes and flirts with him (transphobia alert: Nick sees that Finnbar wears ladies' underwear, and reacts with disgust),.  

Next he meets an abominable snowman, who kidnaps him and takes him to Camp Morningwood (a lot of dick jokes).

Nick and some other humans are held prisoner by a gang of nonhuman revolutionaries.  Their leader, a witch named Madam Hildie, hates all humans after she was rejected by one as a girl.

Hunk alert: Nick is tied up with his shirt open -- nice pecs.

Nick psychoanalyzes the monsters and other human captives, encourages them to see beyond their differences, and they hug (some same-sex hugging).

Chapter 3, Revelations.  Alyssa, Nick's fiance, stops into a diner and meets with Finnbar.  They are working together to get revenge on the monsters for what they did to Alyssa's family years ago, and Finnbar has finally found their camp.  They gather some muscle and rush in with guns blazing.  But no one actually dies except for a Cyclops (Tyler Mane, left)

Spoler alert:
1. Madame Hildie is trying to find the mermaid that Dr. Cole has been sequestering.
2. Alyssa is Dr. Cole's daughter.
3. Nick is secretly a monster.  So a monster dating a human is leading a support group on how to avoid "abnormal attraction"?

Heterosexist Nick and Alyssa fade out kiss.  The end.

Is human-nonhuman sex really taboo in this world, or are Nick and Dr. Cole just right wing wackos who think it's against the Bible? It's never really explained,but the Nick-Alyssa kiss comes with cheers, not cries of disgust.

If Dr. Cole is working for a monster-attraction conversion clinic, wouldn't he know that the AA meeting was for Abnormal Attraction, not Alcoholics Anonymous?

This movie makes no sense.

I expected something classy and well-thought out, a society that could actually work, like on Once Upon a Time.  Instead, I got endless plot holes, ridiculous costumes, and stupid jokes fit for a fifth grader..  Frankenstein is Jewish.  A pig builds a straw house,but a wolf knocks it down.  There's a Purple People Eater.  Come on.

This is a Saturday morning cartoon, not a movie for grownups.

And what's with the ponderous paraphernalia, evoking gay conversion therapy, white supremacy and the Holocaust for a movie that is utterly silly? Too many tonal shifts.

My grade: D.

May 31, 2020

It's Raining Men

Humidity's rising, barometer's getting low
According to all sources, the street's the place to go.
Cause tonight for the first time, just about half past ten
For the first time in history, it's gonna start raining men

"It's Raining Men" was written in 1979, by gay composer Paul Jabara ("Disco Queen," "Last Dance") and Paul Shaffer, then a member of the house band of Saturday Night Live.  They offered it to many vocalists, including Barbra Streisand, Cher, and Donna Summer, But they all refused.  Even Two Tons O'Fun (Izora Armstead and Martha Walsh), then performing as backup group for pop star Sylvester, balked, thinking the song too weird to chart.

 Finally they agreed and released "It's Raining Men" on their third album, Success, in 1982.  They then released it as a single and performed in the music video as the Weather Girls.

In October 1982, it hit #1 on the U.S. Dance Club Chart but only #46 on the Billboard Hot 100.  It also charted well in Europe.

There have been covers from everyone from RuPaul to Geri Halliwell to the Vamps to Miss Piggy.

Of course, you can't perform it without backup dancers.  The bigger, the better.

In 2014, after a British politician blamed the UK's recent floods on gay marriage, a Facebook campaign was launched to get the song on the British charts again.  It hit #21.

Why is this a gay anthem?  It has nothing to do with liberation, and it's strictly heteronormative.  The men are raining down upon women.

God bless Mother Nature -- she's a single woman too
She took over heaven, and she did what she had to do

She taught every angel to rearrange the sky
So that each and every woman could find the perfect guy

Maybe because it's fun for gay men to think of being deluged by men, especially after growing up in a desert where same-sex desire was assumed not to exist.

It's raining men, hallelujah!
It's raining men, amen! 
I'm gonna go out, I'm I'm gonna let myself get
Absolutely soaking wet!

See also: Ocho Rios
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