Posts Tagged ‘Gregg Araki’

Ooops; I forgot to blog, my bad.

November 26, 2008
MILk - Sean Penn as the Milk Man

MILk - Sean Penn as the Milk Man

Argh; I haven’t written anything for the longest time.

It is an annoying irony of blogging – and diaries in general – that the more you do, the less time you have to document it.

I have been busy every single night this week – and actually was double booked for tonight – so freaked out and stayed at home. (Well, kinda – I visited an old friend and went to Pogo for a Punk burger.)

Yesterday I saw Lemon Tree, the uber-PC Israeli film that launched the UK Jewish film festival here last week and on Monday I saw Gus Van Sant’s MILK. MILK is awesome; so fucking ripe what with all this Prop 8 bullshit.

MILK - getting the campaign started

MILK - getting the campaign started

Sean Penn is totally great in it; and I hate Penn as much as anyone else with a sense of humour. But, then again, he did made Vedder-fest, Into The Wild and he and I seem to love Emile Hirsch (now that’s a decent German name) as much as each other so I guess I was starting to give the guy another go.
But, seriously, he’s wonderful as Harvey Milk – totally charming, cute, passionate, dedicated to his righteous cause.

Old skool womens Mag

Women's Mags; they'll make you fat and lonely

Spare Rib - awesome!

Spare Rib - awesome!

Erm, what else have I done? Oh yes – Saturday I went to the Woman’s Library in Whitechapel as my friend had put my name down for the Study Day about woman’s magazine through the ages.

It was SO great to be in an academic setting, talking seriously about pop culture. I miss that! And, the best thing? All the ‘old women’ and Sue O’Sullivan (co-editor of Spare Rib 1979 to 1984).

Seriously, I’m 24, and I was like, the youngest. I was so enthused to see and meet these retired women who although over 60, were lecturers, private tutors or studying themselves.

Every coffee break (NB – good biscuits) saw me meet another amazing woman, inlcuding a member of DIVA’s editorial team (deffo below 60) and a cognitive therapist (over 60.)



I was also introduced to NOVA magazine – old issues of which look totally cutting edge even today.

Anyway, more about that later – I’m going to watch Gregg Araki‘s TOTALLY FUCKED UP now and I can’t wait – even though it’s really bed time…

Totally Fucked UP - Pecadillo Pictures

Totally Fucked UP - Pecadillo Pictures


New Queer Cinema; My Own Private Idaho to The Living End

September 23, 2008
Where are they today? Wooden actors Craig Gilmore and  Mike Dytri in The Living End (1992)

Where are they today? Wooden actors Craig Gilmore and Mike Dytri in The Living End (1992)

So, as I said, I like (really like) John Waters’ movies, but not as much as I like him and the ephemera that goes around midnight movies, dressing up, having bad taste-themed parties.

A far more moving piece of indie queer cinema that I watched recently was L.A Times reviewer-turned film-maker (only in Hollywood, huh), Gregg Araki’s The Living End (1992) which is getting a UK DVD re-release soon.

Clearly taking its ideas from Gus Van Sant’s My Own Private Idaho which came out the previous year (1991) and John Waters’ own silly melodrama, it may take someone watching it for the first time in 2008 a little bit of time to take seriously.

It did me. Like, after the ridiculous scene were hustler, Luke narrowly escapes being shot in the head by two OTT lesbians in the make of their cherry-red topless car and then when he again narrowly escapes being bludgeoned with a meat cleaver by the wife of the man who was, for that night, his John (see here for through description of the word in the sexual sense) , I was like ‘ARGH. THIS IS SO STUPID. GAYS DESERVE BETTER – HECK, WE ALL DO.’

But then, you know, it got kinda good. And, though I haven’t seen My Own Private Idaho for a good long while (and whenever I see it am always dissatisfied), I think I may even prefer it!

River Phoenix as Mike Waters in My Own Private Idaho

River Phoenix as Mike Waters in My Own Private Idaho

I feel a bit scandalous saying that since as a girl who became a teen in the nineties, I am of course still besotted with River Phoenix. The link above offers quite a good opening para about the film and how crucial River and Keanu Reeves are to any modern day readings of it.

Marianna Martin says:

Let’s acknowledge up front that, no matter how hard we strive to focus on directorial matters, the star personas of River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves must come to the forefront of any discussion of My Own Private Idaho, and we might as well let them do so rather than prevaricating uncomfortably. Idaho is a key film in understanding these two actors’ careers. In the years following Idaho, Keanu Reeves went on to become Neo and die for our sins in The Matrix, and River Phoenix simply died, overdosing two years later in a Hollywood club. His star image is forever frozen in the “live fast, die young” mode, placing him alongside James Dean, but that is far from all the two young stars from different decades had in common. In 1991, at the time of Idaho’s release, it was still no small matter for a male star to “play gay” in a film, and a great deal of press was generated by the “controversial” and “courageous” choice by these rising young actors to play gay hustlers. The “official” story, as propagated by those involved in the production, was that Reeves and Phoenix were such good, professionals that they were able to artistically transcend the nature of these characters so alien to their true selves, as is often hyped about performances by versatile actors.

Ewww. I just realised that though I’m a year older than River was when he died, I have still never done a speedball in a Johnny Depp-owned club. Sigh. (Bad taste? You decide)

Anyway, The Living End ends brilliantly; after a long, dusty road trip involving two godforsaken guys that appears to be going nowhere (and isn’t that the point), you’d hardly be surprised should the movie fizzle out and the camera stays still as the boys just keep driving, or crash or something.

But not this one – on a Californian beach with the pink sun setting around them, the two Aids-carrying lovers lie down together. One ties the other up, pulls down his pants and rapes him, while holding a cocked gun in his mouth. The idea being, he’ll blow himself up as he cums.

And he tries, but….well that’s more than enough spoilers for one blog post. But seriously, check it out on its re-release. It’s not perfect but it’s now, what, like 17 years old and a bona fide piece of movie history.

Now, after seeing Kalin’s Savage Grace earlier in the year, I just need to see Swoon, which wikipedia tells me is as important as any Araki movie.

The Living End (again)

The Living End (again)

Ooh and read Mark Adnum’s piece about new queer cinema – it’s interesting!