In Vancouver, the kids at an elementary school and a secondary school pulled on the pink and pulled off a giant flashmob to dance their way to acceptance... acceptance of you, gay viewers!
In Vancouver, the kids at an elementary school and a secondary school pulled on the pink and pulled off a giant flashmob to dance their way to acceptance... acceptance of you, gay viewers!
When he was thirty, Douglas Coupland published his first novel which permanently named the post-Boomers Generation X. In the eighteen years since, he's written thirteen more novels, nine works of nonfiction (most recently a biography of Marshall McLuhan and the official guide to the Vancouver Olympics), and plays, screenplays, and tv scripts (next, a miniseries called Extinction Event). This fall, he delivered the Massey Lectures in Canada, following in the footsteps of Noam Chomsky, Jane Jacobs, Carlos Fuentes, Margaret Atwood, and Martin Luther King Jr. Ever the intellectual renegade, Coupland's "lecture" is a five-hour real-time novel called Player One: What Is To Become of Us [no Kindle] that takes place in an airport cocktail lounge amid a global catastrophe. His publisher writes:
"Five disparate people are trapped inside: Karen, a single mother waiting for her online date; Rick, the down-on-his-luck airport lounge bartender; Luke, a pastor on the run; Rachel, a cool Hitchcock blonde incapable of true human contact; and finally a mysterious voice known as Player One. Slowly, each reveals the truth about themselves while the world as they know it comes to an end. In the tradition of Kurt Vonnegut and J. G. Ballard, Coupland explores the modern crises of time, human identity, society, religion, and the afterlife. The book asks as many questions as it answers, and readers will leave the story with no doubt that we are in a new phase of existence as a species -- and that there is no turning back."
Coupland lives with David Weir in Vancouver, where they bought the midcentury house behind theirs for a high style project loved by the NYT. If you're wondering how the past 19 years has produced 14 novels, 8 nonfiction books, and numerous scripts, Coupland says he works seven days a week and has never taken a vacation.
After studying art history at the University of Heidelberg and flying as a combat pilot in WWI, F.W. Murnau directed his first film The Boy in Blue in 1919 when he was thirty-one. Before his death in a car crash at forty-two, he became one of cinema's early giants -- (said to be 6'9" tall) -- with a prodigious output in Germany, most famous of which is Nosferatu from 1922. After four years and many more successes (The Last Laugh, Faust) Murnau moved to Hollywood and made what many critics consider one of the greatest films ever, Sunrise, which shared the top prize at the first Oscar ceremony. Sunrise sinks to a lowly #82 on the AFI 100 Greatest Films list but in 2002 the British Film Institute ranked it #7 of all time. He made two more movies -- Four Devils (lost) and Our Daily Bread (released as City Girl) -- before his final picture, Tabu, a loincloth romance shot in Tahiti that won a cinematography Oscar for Floyd Crosby (father of David Crosby who is biologically the father of Melissa Etheridge's children). He died a week before Tabu's premiere. Because humans are easily titillated, and because some are snickering homophobes, the baseless rumor persists that Murnau's fatal car crash was the result of his performing oral sex on his chauffeur.
Born in central Argentina in 1932, Manuel Puig first wanted to be an architect then became a film archivist with hopes of becoming a screenwriter. His love of movies infuses his first novel, Betrayed by Rita Hayworth, published when he was thirty-six. Praised in Latin America as that work was, his international reputation rests on his fourth novel, published in 1976, about a gay man and a political prisoner sharing a cell: Kiss of the Spider Woman [[Kindle]] also became an Oscar-winning film in 1985 and a Tony-winning Broadway musical in 1993. The buoyancy of his early books, mixing high literary art with the low-brow style of telenovas, gave way to a bitterness in later books that reduced their popularity. A leftist exile in Mexico City for decades, he died there at fifty-seven suffering a heart attack after gall bladder surgery.
Who brings the funk, da noise, and the klezmer? That's right, the super original Jewish Canadian rapper Josh Dolgin aka Socalled. If you think Ukrainian music from the 1930s won't mesh with drum n bass, you haven't heard his Ghettoblaster. His trippy "You Are Never Alone" video became a YouTube sensation with 2.5 million views, and earlier this year he was the subject of a feature documentary by Garry Beitel [below]. In a world of timid, homogenized, market-driven art, Socalled is a standout. Which doesn't mean everything he tries works, but when he hits, he's genius. I met him and loved him after the NYC screening of the documentary. Not to brag, but after talking a while I did the very best thing one man can do for another... insisted he read Tatyana Tolstaya. If you're near New York on January 20, see him at Joe's Pub.
Before she hit the Giller Prize longlist, Johanna Skibsrud had only sold a couple hundred copies of her debut novel, The Sentimentalists, published by a very small press. Now, after winning the $50,000 award last night, she has the #3 spot on Amazon.ca, behind Keith Richards and a former US president.
A fourth generation Chinese-American, B.D. Wong made his Broadway debut in 1988 in M. Butterfly, for which he became and remains the only actor to win the five major theater prizes for the same role. But it was not enough to convince David Cronenberg to cast him in the movie version five years later, when he chose John Lone instead. Wong starred with Margaret Cho in her much praised, quickly canceled series All American Girl, then played a priest on Oz, and for ten years running Dr George Huang on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. He and his ex-partner Richie Jackson, an agent, are parents of a son named Foo, the surviving one of two twins born extremely prematurely. Wong wrote a book about the experience called Following Foo.
Emma Donoghue is 41 and this is her year. In May, Knopf published her immensely entertaining, decade-in-the-making exploration of lesbians in literature, Inseparable [Kindle], and last month Little, Brown published her defining book, Room [Kindle]. So far, that novel has been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, the Writers Trust Fiction award, and the Governor's General Award. Room has become an instant bestseller in Canada and the UK, and here in the US, even as the NYT list becomes more crowded with Follett, Franzen, Connelly, and le Carre, Donoghue moved up three spots last week, her fifth week on the list. Best of all -- because what's better than knowledge -- she learned the word autoantonym from the website you are reading now. The youngest of eight children of literary critic Denis Donoghue, Dublin-born Emma is also the youngest of “the four,” contemporary U.K. lesbian novelists, along with Sarah Waters, Jeanette Winterson, and Ali Smith. In her novels she is equally at home in the present day (Stir-Fry, Hood, Landing) and the past (Slammerkin, Life Mask, The Sealed Letter). She lives in Ontario with her partner Chris, their young daughter Una, and their six-year son Finn, on whom last year she test-ran questions for Room's five-year-old narrator, Jack. At a recent New York reading where she was kind about Band of Thebes, she admitted she even coaxed him into a "game" of rolling him up in a rug to see how he would fit and how difficult it would be for her character to wriggle out. In fact, very difficult. She told me her next novel will return to lesbian life.
A towering outsider with impressive insider pull, 6'5" Dan Mathews led the "I'd Rather Go Naked" anti-fur campaign and convinced Morrissey, Pink, Pam, and Paul McCartney to do spots for the love-them-or-hate-them animal rights group PETA. He started poor, was bullied in high school, worked at McDonalds and as a model to put himself through American University, and after graduating started at PETA as a receptionist. His 2007 memoir Committed: A Rabble-Rouser's Memoir [Kindle] finally pubbed in the UK last year, when gay rights living legend Peter Tatchell chose it on Band of Thebes best lgbt book poll saying, "It’s a story full of ideas, action and loads of gossip about the many celebrities who support PETA’s work. Off-beat, hilarious, irreverent, and highly ethical, Committed is a damn good read. It shows how direct action can raise consciousness and secure social change – and be lots of fun."
Five long years after Don't Get Too Comfortable (nine years since Fraud!), David Rakoff is releasing his new book today. According to the bestselling gay Canadian Jewish New Yorker, Half Empty promises to be "a defense of melancholy, pessimism, anxiety and all of the emotions that have been tarred with the brush of negativity and therefore stricken from the larger cultural conversation. I hope to argue...that, while these emotions may well be hedonically less pleasant, they remain necessary and even beautiful at times." It's a tribute to his sense of humor that he's continued to write about the comedy of pessimism while undergoing chemo for cancer. The cancer is a result of earlier radiation treatments when he had lymphoma in his 20s. Now he may lose his arm. As he says, " There's a lot of stuff you can do with one arm — like continue living." And continue writing for GQ and continue broadcasting on PRI's This American Life.
And continue touring. Rakoff appears tonight at B&N Union Square, tomorrow night in Baltimore, and the following night in DC. After that, he reads in Columbus, Chicago, St. Paul, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, New York, Brooklyn, Boston, and New York. Details here.
Online journalist Pam Spaulding of the essential, influential lgbt political blog Pam's House Blend today turns forty-seven (click for a photo tour of four decades of happy smiles and evolving hairstyles). A Fordham alum who lives in Durham, with family backgrounds in both New York City and North Carolina, Pam considers herself to have "dual citizenship" as a Southerner and a Yankee. She started the Blend in 2004 "as a personal response to the anti-gay state of the political landscape." It won Best LGBT Blog at the 2005 and 2006 Weblog Awards and made Pam one of OUT's 100 last year. Make sure she's part of your daily reading.
Filmmaker Thom Fitzgerald worried his debut feature The Hanging Garden would be too arty and too gay for anyone to pay attention to: Sweet William, now slim and confident at twenty-five, returns home for the first time in a decade to attend a wedding, where he talks to the hanging corpse of his fat fifteen year-old self who was caught having sex with the bi guy his sister is now marrying. The universally lauded movie was nominated for eleven Genie Awards and won three, among many other Canadian and international prizes. His second movie was Beefcake, the popular docu-drama homage to Bob Mizer of the early gay muscle mags from the Athletic Model Guild. Fitzgerald's fourth and fifth features, The Event and 3 Needles, cover different aspects of aids and hiv. 3 Needles stars Olympia Dukakis, Chloe Sevigny, Lucy Liu, Sandra Oh, Stockard Channing, and Shawn Ashmore, and earned its director a DGA nom. Earlier this year, Fitzgerald debuted his first play, Cloudburst, to rousing acclaim. Raised in New Jersey, Fitzgerald attended Cooper Union and spent a semester in Halifax, Nova Scotia where he has lived ever since.
British archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans (far left) did not begin his famous excavations at Knossos until 1900 when he was forty-nine. In 1878 someone had discovered a small portion of the ruins but it was only after Crete became an independent state free of Turkey that Evans was able to purchase the site and organize a dig on a necessarily massive scale. The "palace" is a series of 1,000 interlocking rooms. Luckily, Evans lived another forty-one years, plenty of time to unveil the structures he decided were source of the mythic King Minos and his fabled Minotaur; hence Evans' coining the term Minoan civilization from the 27th to 15th centuries BC. One aspect of real life there was bull dancing, a tradition in which youths cavorted with angry steers to great honor and, usually within three months, certain death. Mary Renault brings the practice alive in her novel The King Must Die about Theseus's Cretan adventures. (Below, my picture of bull dancing from Knossos this May and actor Henry Cavill as Theseus in Tarsem Singh's ancient Greek hotfest The Immortals coming November 2011.) Evans was Keeper of Oxford's Ashmolean Museum from 1894-1908 and many, many of the treasures he found at Knossos ended up in its collection. He is degayed in most accounts of his life but not in Cathy Gere's intriguing Knossos and the Prophets of Modernism.
Soon after graduating from Harvard in 1930, Philip Johnson became the first director of MoMA's Department of Architecture and Design though he himself was not yet an architect. In the ensuing years he was a committed fascist, an ardent admirer of Hitler, and he even toured conquered Poland at the Nazis' invitation. How he as a gay man reconciled the Reich's murder of gay men probably shouldn't be any more pressing than how he as a human reconciled the Reich's slaughter of humans, but somehow it sharpens the point. In 1948, when Johnson built his master degree thesis, Glass House, was immediately hailed as a masterpiece and remains one of the most important designs of the century. His two best known other works are the Seagrams Building (with Mies van der Rohe) and the AT&T Building with its controversial Chippendale top, completed when he was seventy-eight. His many other projects include the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California, the Amon Carter Museum,
Initially Dolgin resisted the idea of doing a documentary but relented after a couple weeks when he realized it would be an ideal vehicle to drive people to the artists who inspire him: Katie Moore, James Brown trombonist Fred Wesley, Lounge legend Irving Fields, clarinetist David Krakauer, and cellist Matt Haimovitz, all of whom make music with him. Another inspiration to him is adult filmmaker Toby Ross, whose old porn Dolgin loves so much he started making his own documentary about Ross. Dolgin screened Ross's gay porn Cruisin 57 with live band accompaniment in Montreal. He says he intentionally showed it downtown (in an old porn palace that was originally a Yiddish theater), not in the gay neighborhood, because he wanted to share queer culture with a nongay audience.
As for his own sexual awakening, Dolgin said it was two gay skin magazines that he shoplifted while on a class trip to NYC when he was 14 that got him through his adolescence. He also said it was Ryan McGinley -- with whom he went to the Montreal gay strip club Taboo -- who told him about Toby Ross. McGinley was invited to last night's screening but was too busy to attend.
You'll hear him in the trailer below sounding exactly like another master, John McPhee, saying he has no confidence in his work, yet he's compelled to create.
The JCC (along with the New Festival) held a rooftop reception for Dolgin after the screening Q&A. When an older guy described his taste in men, Dolgin asked, "What's a Wonder Bread Queen?" I told him that was my favorite thing he said all night; he told me he had been reading a lot Somerset Maugham (so I mentioned the new biography) and a lot of Stephen King. I took this second comment for what it was -- an obvious cry for help -- and insisted that since he loved the Russians he needed to know Tatyana Tolstaya and her magnificent stories newly collected as White Walls.
When you're ordering that book, also get Socalled's album Ghettoblaster with tracks like "(These Are) The Good Old Days," "You Are Never Alone," and "(Rock the) Belz."
You can watch the whole movie now, as the documentary is one of the four debut films in YouTube's new pay per view program. It's 99 cents.
Los Angeles-based director Gregg Araki, 50, has won the Cannes Film Festival's first ever Queer Palm award for Kaboom. Araki, best known for his adaptation of Scott Heim's Mysterious Skin and his Sundance hit The Living End, told Hub Culture in this video interview that the midnight screening of Kaboom at the Grand Palais "was seriously probably the highlight of my entire life." The movie's relaxed plot revolves around film student Smith (Thomas Dekker) who has aimless sexual encounters with both women and men but refuses to use the label "bisexual."
The IndieWire critic Eric Kohn said the movie "offers a welcome return to Araki’s self-made universe" and
"Despite a rocky first act, the story drifts along with a persistent dedication to fun. The freely lackadaisical plot structure eventually reaches a crescendo of pure campy delight: Everything apparently builds toward something…and ends up, in a final outrageous punchline, building toward nothing at all."
IFC acquired distribution rights to Kaboom prior to its win. IFC is also releasing gay Canadian director Xavier Dolan's Heartbeats, which was awarded this year's Prix Regards Jeune, repeating his victory from last year for his debut, I Killed My Mother. Dolan is 21.
Apichatpong Weerasethakul won the Palm d'Or for Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives.
Actor Mathieu Amalric won best director for his Tournee.
Best actress was Juliette Binoche and the best actor award was shared by Spain's Javier Bardem and Italy's Elio Germano.
Writing in the Feminist Review, Annette Przygoda takes a look at Nancy Nicol's six-hour documentary, From Criminality to Equality: 40 Years of Lesbian and Gay Movement History in Canada, available on DVD. In order, the four parts are: Stand Together (1967-87), The Queer Nineties (1990s), Politics of the Heart (queer families), and The End of Second Class (same sex marriage and equal marriage legislation 2005). Przygoda says,
"The most moving of the four DVDs for me was Politics of the Heart, which portrays lesbian and gay families in Quebec as they fight for equal parenting rights. Not only did it remind me of my own history growing up with two mothers, it also presented a perspective the other three films lacked. It reminded the viewer that even in times when lesbian and gay people didn’t have the same rights as heterosexuals, we found unique and often very creative ways to live our lives and live them well. Politics of the Heart shows that queer families existed in spite of not being recognized by law or the broader society. As one friend put it: 'I would have liked to have seen less about the fights and more about our alternative lives. We don’t just exist in opposition to heterosexuals.'"
Nicol has also made an hour long documentary called One Summer in New Paltz, A Cautionary Tale about Mayor Jason West's decision to marry same-sex couples in 2004. Those 302 marriages remain unrecognized.
YOWIE! This is a trailer. Watch two seconds.
Two significant art projects on display at Pride House are a newly commissioned statue of a nude hockey player, and photographer Jeff Sheng's portrait series, Fearless, of out lgbt athletes on varsity teams in U.S. high schools or colleges. Seventy-one of his images appear in an increasingly powerful online portfolio. Click through them all, or start with a few of the notables: Xander, from Brown's water polo team; Jamie, a University of Michigan gymnast; Greg, a high school soccer captain; Ryan, an NCAA ski champ from the University of Utah; Rachel, from the Yale women's rugby team; and cross country runners Caitlin, from the Thetford Academy; Alex, from Rice University; and Nick, from San Ramon High School, which imho is the deepest and most poetic photograph.
Pride House is free and open to all.
Of course homophobia in sports is a major problem, and yes out celebrities have fewer endorsement opportunities, but seriously if you choose to wear cobalt sateen Alexis Colby - Krystle Carrington castoffs covered with spangles, and style your hair to maximize its poofiness, and emote on ice to Neil Diamond serenades, do you really have the right to ask a judge to seal your ex-partner's palimony suit because someone might think you're gay? Canadian ice dancing dynamo Brian Orser thought so in 1998. The judge thought not. So, long after turning pro, ten years after The Battle of the Brians when Boitano took the Olympic gold and he settled for silver, Orser was dragged out of the closet. With no harm to his career. Now forty-seven, Orser is a big supporter of aids charities and gay equality and has been in a committed relationship for a decade.
Festival favorite Were the World Mine opens today in New York, San Francisco, and Berkeley. Reviewing for the NYT, Stephen Holden said the gay puppylove musical set during a Chicago high school's production of Midsummer Night's Dream "is an enchanting, mildly subversive fantasia that reconciles sassy teenage argot with Elizabethan." He added:
Two weeks ago Shamim Sarif's new movie was released starring Lisa Ray and Sheetal Sheth as lesbians in love. Today Shamim Sarif's new movie was released starring Lisa Ray and Sheetal Sheth as lesbians in love. Is this a movie theater or an echo chamber? Why Regent Releasing thought it was smart to put out The World Unseen and I Can't Think Straight fourteen days apart is anyone's guess. It didn't seem to win over NYT critic Jeannette Catsoulis, who wrote:
Half Italian and half East Indian, Toronto native Emanuel Sandhu enrolled in dance school when he was three and won a spot in Canada's National Ballet School when he was eight. He stayed for ten years before devoting himself full-time to ice skating, winning his first Canadian Men's Skating Championship three years later with a perfect score. He has won it twice more since then, placing first or second each of the nine years between 1998 and 2006. In 2007 he was third. In the Q&A on his official website, four of his first ten answers are Madonna (music, movie, hero, desert island companion), so don't be surprised that on his MySpace page Sandhu identifies himself as "future pop superstar of the world." Both sites play his song Burn Up the Floor. Today he turns twenty-eight.
The clip from his audition for So You Think You Can Dance Canada features his coach saying "The ego! Sometimes too big!" followed by an earnest Sandhu announcing, "Dancing is my favorite language. It's body language. And I love it."
Earlier this month Alice Munro allowed herself to be interviewed by The New Yorker's fiction editor before a rapt audience, and twice she praised Katherine Mansfield. Munro said people in her hometown in Ontario still are frequently upset by the content of her stories, but she had always expected this, especially knowing it had often happened to Mansfield. Citing half a dozen favorite authors from her formative years, Munro said, "I loved those people. I just clung to what they wrote." They were Mavis Gallant, Edna O'Brien, Katherine Mansfield, Eudora Welty, Flannery O'Connor, and Carson McCullers. Munro readers have two reasons to celebrate: A very long short story called "Too Much Happiness" is forthcoming in The New Yorker and a new collection will be published in 2009.
As it happens, today is Katherine Mansfield's 120th birthday. If somehow you've never read her, start with this collection. If you already adore her, and want to know more about her final years and her relationships with Ida Baker and her second husband, John Middleton Murry, consider Linda Lappin's new novel, Katherine's Wish. It covers their time in England, France, Italy, and Switzerland. The book's closing chapter was a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award and it appeared in the anthology Best New Writing 2007. The marvelous, insightful writer Alexandra Johnson said, "Katherine’s Wish is a beautifully observed novel. Linda Lappin has created far more than a haunting portrait of Katherine Mansfield, that subtlest and most modern of writers—it’s as if the unfinished stories, notes jotted in journals or letters suddenly coalesced. Katherine’s Wish grants the writer’s own final wish to give permanent shape to the arc of a life in which the creative and the personal are inseparable. The novel reveals a core truth: that Mansfield’s was not so much a creative life cut short as one that flourished so long against all odds."
Eleven months after its Canadian run, Breakfast with Scot is finally coming to the U.S. The movie was adapted, with significant changes, from Michael Downing's wonderful, sweet, short novel about a quiet gay couple in Cambridge who become guardians of a femmy, flamboyant nephew they've never met. The film is set in Toronto, and one of the dads is a professional hockey player. As you've read before, this marks the first time a major sports league, the NHL, allowed a team logo to be used in a gay movie. (The NFL even refused to allow any Steelers merchandise to appear in Queer as Folk, set in Pittsburgh.)
If you live in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Berkeley, Palm Desert, or New York, please consider going to see it on this crucial opening weekend. Two weeks from Friday it expands to Boston, Atlanta, and San Diego. On Halloween, it moves to Philadelphia and Minneapolis. In November, it adds Columbus and Seattle.
Read yesterday's Los Angeles Times' article on the movie's long path to release.
Alan Bennett's really delightful little book about the Queen becoming an avid reader with the help of a young gay palace worker, The Uncommon Reader, is finally available in paperback. Last year, it earned smashing reviews. It is still the perfect gift for book people. Although it will only take you thirty-six minutes to read, the story's charm is enduring.
Gyles Brandreth has published his second aesthete mystery, Oscar Wilde and a Game Called Murder, in which the playwright proves himself an exceptional sleuth. Famous contemporaries including Arthur Conan Doyle and Bram Stoker play an innocent parlor game with fatal consequences, leaving Wilde to solve a series of murders. Like his previous Oscar Wilde and a Death of No Importance, Brandreth's new novel has received good reviews. Publishers Weekly called the whodunit impressive and intricate.
Current Giller-Prize shortlist author Emma Donoghue published her fifth novel, Landing, last year and the paperback went on sale last week. A worldly flight attendant from Dublin and a woman from a small town in Canada called Ireland have an unexpected romance then settle down. Donoghue, who grew up in Dublin, fell in love with a Canadian woman ten years ago and now they live together in London, Ontario. Write what you know.
Included on the longlist for the Giller Prize, Canada's top literary award, is The Sealed Letter, a novel by out Irish lesbian Emma Donoghue. Like her bestselling, much praised Slammerkin about a murder in Wales in the 1760s, her new novel is inspired by actual events. In London in the 1860s, a spirited feminist and independent publisher, Emily Faithful, runs into her former dearest friend, Helen, now married and embroiled in an affair with a young army officier. Reluctantly, Emily is drawn into their "sensational" divorce trial which transfixes Victorian society. Publishers Weekly loved it:
...a colorful tapestry of spiraling intrigue, innuendo, speculation and mystery. Characters indulge in pleasures at which Victorian novels could only hint, and which Donoghue renders with aplomb. Period details—etiquette, typesetting, dress, medical treatments, public amusements, shipping and jurisprudence—are rendered with a spare exactitude organic to the story. Donoghue's latest has style and scandal to burn.
It's impossible to tell if the coy hints about forbidden love refer to the adultery or possible lesbianism, which Donoghue has written about in most but not all of her books. Wouldn't the ideal reviewer for this be Sarah Waters? Officially The Sealed Letter pubs here next Tuesday but actually it seems to be on sale everywhere already.
The longlist of fifteen titles will be narrowed to a shortlist of five titles on October 7 and the winner will be announced on November 11. This year's judges are Margaret Atwood, Colm Toibin, and Bob Rae.
Donoghue is married to a Canadian woman and they live in Ontario with their two children. And, yes, she was named for Emma Woodhouse.
Don't even try to resist Rufus Wainwright and his midtempo, art school melancholy. He came out when he was fourteen and after DreamWorks records automatically degayed his bio for his debut album when he was twenty-four, he insisted his official press kit say he is out. That self-titled cd made him the year’s critical darling, and Rolling Stone named him Best New Artist. His follow-up effort, Poses, was again a critical favorite, followed by Want One in 2003 and Want Two in 2004. His fifth studio album, Release the Stars, executive produced by Neil Tennant, was number two on the UK charts. In June 2006, he made history at Carnegie Hall by recreating, song by song, Judy Garland's famous 1961 concert there. Response was so ecstatic he was invited to repeat the show in London, Paris, and at the Hollywood Bowl, yet the sales of the subsequent live cd were lackluster, peaking at #171 in both the US and UK. Keeping his sense of humor, he titled the dvd of the concert Rufus! Rufus! Rufus! Does Judy! Judy! Judy! His several different performances of Hallelujah on YouTube have been viewed a total of more than five million times. Watch it below or, for more, take a look at his website.
The Mulligans poster advertises itself as "The Graduate for a New Generation." Aside from all the other ways in which that's a preposterous claim, it's depressing to see that The Graduate's original trailer from 1967 was completely open about the "scandalous" older - younger, college boy - girlfriend's mom affair, and forty-one years later Mulligans' trailer artlessly obscures the "scandalous" older - younger, college boy - buddy's dad relationship.
If you ever have to sit through this Canadian golfing / coming out movie, wear your iPod. The film will make more sense if you never hear the dialog. You would be spared the jarring disconnect of 27 year-olds playing college kids Tyler [above, left] and Chase and 37 year-olds playing Tyler's parents, Stacey and Nathan [above, right]. Your iPod would also save you from the movie's weepy, emo score and soundtrack, but you would still be left to wonder why all these people cry so much. Why is Nathan sniffling before he leans in to kiss Chase? (Mrs. Robinson was the sexual aggressor! She'd kick this dad's ass for crying.) Did you fall asleep and wakeup back at home watching a Lifetime movie from the 70s? Because that's the level of mournful "affirmation." Their one melancholy night together slowly, for the rest of the film, destroys the marriage, breaks up the family, wrecks the boys' friendship, and leaves Chase no longer on speaking terms with Nathan. But they're all a little wiser. The end.
It's a shame because the movie offers a lot to enjoy visually. Alice Brooks' lush cinematography makes the waterfront cottages of Victoria, British Columbia look heavenly. Jackie Adamthwaite, Diane Kanstrup, and Aileen Lubiniecki each deserve an award for perfectly capturing the summer house vibe, right down to the too-new, matchy-matchy quilts (the wife, trying too hard) and envy-inducing ancient, wooden, library card catalog bureau in the boys' room (the husband, moneyed and casual).
The problem, of course, is that the Mulligans script never goes deeper than a J. Crew summer catalog photo shoot. I didn't realize until I got home that the actor who plays Chase, the college buddy, wrote it.
Someone from the production company has posted this excerpt on Imdb presumably trying to entice you with the movie's best lines.
Stacey Davidson: I'm just trying to talk about something other than golf. There are other people at this table. Maybe you'd like to know what Birdy has planned for the day. Would anyone like some more waffles?
Birdy Davidson: We haven't even started yet.
Stacey Davidson: Well, we'd best get started then shouldn't we?
Nathan Davidson: Your mother is right. It's polite to show interest. Otherwise we can seem cold or frigid.
Stacey Davidson: Sometimes that's what people do when the actions of others seem erratic or unusual.
Nathan Davidson: It's difficult for a person to attempt spontaneity if they are greeted with ridicule.
Stacey Davidson: If you don't tend your chickens, they'll never produce a golden egg.
Tyler Davidson: Okay, okay, I get it. Show a little interest. Birdy, what do you have planned for the day?
Birdy Davidson: Mom doesn't like that I saw a penis so I'm going to start playing tennis.
Tyler Davidson: That's great. Great waffles Mom, really great.