Archive for the 'Other People's Stories' Category


Going for a Song

A bartender the other day was telling someone a few stools down from me about a regular he served the night before. He was some corporate lawyer drunk who the bartender theorized had a need to subdue his conscience with booze.

“It doesn’t work, but he has fun trying,” he said. And they all laughed.

“You can tell when he’s wasted because he reads the closed captioning.” He gestured toward the TVs stationed behind the bar. “He sings it. He sings the closed captioning.”

I looked up at the television sets. Words scrolled, line by line, disappearing up into a netherworld of text. It just keeps coming and coming, with spelling errors, with missing words, missing phrases. Sometimes it’s just gibberish for a few seconds until something, a computer or a human, catches up.

“He always said the closed captioning looked like Morrissey lyrics,” continued the bartender.

Well, I’m not sure if this says more about the lawyer or about Morrissey.


You Better Work

Start with a strong-woman ensemble piece like the 1980 film 9 to 5. Add music written by gay-fave country diva Dolly Parton. Throw in an orchestra, some sequins and a bit of razzle-dazzle, and you should have a recipe for a little slice of gay heaven.

9 to 5: The Musical,” which opened at New York’s Marriott Marquis Theater last night, comes pretty close.



If You Were In My Movie

If there was ever a movie just screaming to be remade, it is Hush … Hush, Sweet Charlotte.

Just get a load of the synopsis on Netflix:

After her betrothed died from multiple ax wounds 40 years ago, everyone in town thought Charlotte Hollis (Bette Davis) was guilty. But with no evidence to convict her, she walked. Since that time, holed up in a crumbling Southern mansion with her devoted servant (Agnes Moorehead), Charlotte’s been a recluse. But when an ambitious cousin (Olivia de Havilland) comes along to get her hands on the plantation, Charlotte has to defend herself.

It is irresistible.

And check out the trailer:

Magnificent. Thunder and lightning! A shameful affair with a married man! Bloody murder! A madwoman hiding away in a decaying mansion! Shattered glass!

Agnes Moorehead is marvelous as the loyal maid with suspicious motives. (I had only ever seen her as Endora on Bewitched, a role I see now she was clearly overqualified to play, but apparently her masterful if not subtle turn in Charlotte is nothing unusual for her.)

Olivia DeHavilland is the perfect villain, a charming and respected city slicker career woman, and eternally jealous.

And of course the inimitable Bette Davis, well into the creepy autumn of her career, is still on top of her game, capable of both the most grotesqueoverreaction and the highest subtlety of movement. Through most of the film, she (actress and character) is a sad case, in an almost humiliating role, getting slapped around and tricked into madness by the people she trusts most. But she utterly carries the climax of the film and has such a satisfying triumph, that all the cliches of mid-’60s psychological melodrama are enthusiastially forgiven.

A remake of this movie with a slightly modernized point of view could be something really dark and gorgeous. So I got to thinking: Hey — fun party game! Load up on mint juleps, pop in Bette Davis’ cultish masterpiece, and go around the room asking everyone who would play each of the characters if the movie were to be remade today.

My picks:
Charlotte Hollis, the protaginist, a recluse, mad with grief after the brutal murder of her married lover 40 years prior. Did she kill him? Did her overprotective father?
Original: Bette Davis
Remake: Susan Sarandon or Sigourney Weaver

Miriam Deering, the jealous cousin with a long memory and a deep grudge, the outsider, the villain.
Original: Olivia de Havilland
Remake: Annette Bening or Marcia Gay Harden

Drew Bayliss, Charlotte’s cousin and trusted doctor — a little too eager to pump her full of sedatives.
Orignal: Joseph Cotten
Remake: Billy Bob Thornton

Velma Cruther, the faithful servant, looking out for Miss Charlotte’s best interests ’til the tragic end.
Original: Agnes Moorehead
Remake: Shirley Maclaine

Harry, a charming, snooping British writer investigating the true story behind Charlotte’s legend.
Original: Cecil Kellaway
Remake: Ian McKellen or Michael Caine

Big Sam, Charlotte’s papa, who sets off this whole murder business in the opening scene.
Original: Victor Buono (Anyone remember him as King Tut in the 1960s Batman series?)
Remake: Tommy Lee Jones

Jewel Mayhew, the wronged widow with the shocking secret around which the entire story turns.
Original: Mary Astor
Remake: Meryl Streep

Luke Standish, the sympathetic sheriff who has been humoring the presumed murderess for far too long.
Original: Wesley Addy
Remake: Peter Coyote (who else?) or maybe, if you want more quirk, Johnny Depp

John Mayhew, Charlotte’s unlucky lover, who gets hacked to pieces early on. (We just need someone forgettable and disposable.)
Original: Bruce Dern
Remake: Keanu Reeves


No Vegetables After Midnight

At a diner in center city Philadelphia, the Midtown III Diner and Cocktail Lounge, a friend of mine was recently seated for an after-hours snack. As he picked up the menu, the waitress told him gruffly, “No vegetables after midnight.”

I wonder if that includes french fries and ketchup, or if he was forced to choke down a plate of bacon and liverwurst.


44th and 1st

The inauguration, as witnessed through my friends’ Facebook status updates:

is anticipating noon

is having an inaugural pizza party

is thrilled, less than an hour to go before we come out of the darkness.

is wishing she was in D.C. right now!

is all about the transfer of power.

presidential pizza!

is thinking that both of her parents would have loved to see this moment.

is excited for change in Washington D.C., but it’s beginning to resemble a circus.

is a little choked up already.

thinks Bush is loaded. did he have a few bloody mary’s this morning?

wonders what’ll happen when they haul George W. out there.

The millions of waving flags are gorgeous.

Don’t worry…they will call him “Barack Hussein Obama” when they swear him in. No more of this “H” crap.

People of Earth…Miss Aretha Franklin!

agrees that Cheney being wheeled in looked like Mr. Potter.

is soooooo glad Cheney is gone!!!

What must Sarah Palin be doing now??

thinks Rick Warren could at least have gotten a decent haircut for the occasion.

Ladies and gentlemen … the Racial Inclusion Chamber Orchestra!

is a giant goosebump.


aw… hes stuttering :).

Unflappable Obama is a little flummoxed. As are we all. God bless.

has a new President!!!!




is pretty damn proud to be an American today.

sssssssssshhhhhhhhhhhhhhh The Prez is talking.

liked the shoutout to “data and statistics”.

is thinking we all need a little HOPE right about now.

wonders if Clinton taught Obama that thumb thing.

is wondering where Oprah is….

is proud that Obama did not omit his middle name when he took his oath.

is in awe of America

is moved

is ready

is happy happy happy!

It must be a difficult day for Hillary, but here she is…chosen to be tentpole for the “big tent.”

thinks we’re going to kick some ass now. America is BACK!

says now THAT is a president!

thinks the US turned this one out. Work.

Welcome home, Mr. President.


Best. Product. Review. Ever.

Ari Brouillette is my hero. Bear with this and read through to the end:

The Secret saved my life!


Golden Boy

This is old news, but I’m just getting to it now. Cute-as-a-bug’s-ear Australian diver Matthew Mitcham won gold on Saturday. I don’t think he was favored to win, and any one of the top scorers might have gotten it. On his own merits as a diver, this is impressive. According to, Mitcham earned the highest-scoring dive in the history of the Olympics — big news for diving and for Australia. And a break in China’s winning streak. But one of the main reasons this is so important is that he was the only out gay male athlete in Beijing.

I was in a bubble all weekend, at a rugby tournament in New Jersey on Saturday, and on the Jersey Shore with some rugby buddies all day Sunday. When rugby is happening, the world stops, doesn’t it? And if I had access to TV at the time, you know I’d have been all over those yummy divers. So I think I can forgive myself for missing the historic moment.

Someone went to the trouble of capturing all of his dives, the medal ceremony, and the following celebrations in one long clip. His final medal-winning dive comes in at around 6:16, but don’t miss the other amazing work that comes before.

Following the dive, you can see him raise his arms and looks across the crowd and sees the scores coming in. I think you can see the moment when he realizes he’s won a medal, when he brings his hands to his face and begins to cry.

At the medal ceremony, it’s fun to see him so excited next to the stoic Russian. And it’s sort of thrilling to see him leap up into the stands and climb up to kiss his mom and his partner and greet his other supporters after, like a good boy, asking permission from his doll-like usher.

the untallied hours

the tweets

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