Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Monthly Wallpaper - October 2009: Vampires

That's right, we're all about the Vamps for October, as you can see with this month's movie calendar wallpaper.

Count down to Halloween with no less than four Draculas, two vampire lesbians and one lost boy, and don't forget to vote for your favorite Drac in the latest MD Poll.

All you have to do is click on the picture above to enlarge it, then simply right click your mouse and select "Set as Background". (You can also save it to your computer and set it up from there if you prefer.) The size is 1024 x 768, but you can modify it if needed in your own photo-editing program.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Reverend's Reviews: Babs Goes Mellow

Barbra Streisand's new CDLove is the Answer was just released today in the wake of her well-received September 26 performance at the Village Vanguard in NYC. It was Streisand's first performance at the jazz club since 1961. Nearly 50 years later, Babs is still knocking 'em dead.

Her new disc is a mellow, intimate affair that reflects both her awareness of the vocal limitations that come naturally with age and the influence of the CD's guest producer, Diana Krall (who also provides piano accompaniment on several of the tracks). This is Streisand's sparest recording yet, with only a small backing orchestra and none of her trademark theatrical flourishes.

The song selections are classic grooves reflecting on the highs and lows of that thing called love, and serve as a perfect compliment to a romantic evening. They include "Here's to Life," the CD's beautiful opening track, "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning," "Make Someone Happy," "Here's That Rainy Day" and "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes." Alan and Marilyn Bergman, Streisand's longtime muses, are paid homage to via the inclusion of "Where Do You Start?" and "You Must Believe in Spring," the latter of which is a bonus track on some CDs.

Streisand is, as usual, in fine voice throughout. Now in her mid-60's, she seems to be adapting well to the inherent challenge of remaining active and relevant in one's "golden years." One can hope she will still make at least one more movie too; she is reportedly still interested in adapting Larry Kramer's never-filmed AIDS play, The Normal Heart.

While only a handful of personal friends (including Bill, Hilary and Chelsea Clinton) and 100 very lucky people selected at random actually attended Streisand's performance at the Village Vanguard, several videos from the event can be viewed at her official website.

Review by Rev. Chris Carpenter, resident film critic of Movie Dearest and the Orange County and Long Beach Blade.

MD News Desk: Thrills & Chills

Keep up to date with all the latest from the entertainment world with the MD News Desk:

Women We Love:
- Off the wall Karen Black on Airport 1975, The Blue Tooth Virgin and playing transsexual.
- Xana-doll Kerry Butler on motherhood, Rock of Ages and Catch Me If You Can.
- Entourage moll Debi Mazar on Dancing with the Stars, Maks' butt and her gay fans.

Tune in to TCM:
- Turner Classic Movies kicks off their new series A Night at the Movies this Friday with "The Suspenseful World of Thrillers".

GLBT Entertainment:
- Visit the set of Otto; or, Up With Dead People's Bruce LaBruce's next gay zombie flick, L.A. Zombie, including run ins with porn superstars François Sagat and Francesco D'Macho.
- AfterEllen.com catches up with the cast of The L Word.
- OUTtv reality stars Chris Carter and John Simpson are returning to find "the next Halloween Superstar!" Didn't we already see this with The Search for the Next Elvira?
- Coming to Logo: The Gay Houseboys of New York, possibly featuring fashionista Marc Jacobs.

Coming Soon:
- Remake ... or sequel? The Hollywood Reporter says Warner is remaking The Hunger, but author Whitley Strieber's Imdb page says The Hunger 2 is in development.
- In more unnecessary WB remake news: the fourth (yes, fourth) version of A Star is Born (possibly starring Beyoncé Knowles) is finally moving forward.
- Instructions for the following: find a grain of salt, take it ... a Friends movie?

Out in Film:
- Nominees for the Stonewall Awards, which "celebrates people who have had a positive impact on the lives of British LGBT people", include Being Human's Russell Tovey and Milk's Dustin Lance Black.
- Broadway hottie Cheyenne Jackson rehearses Finian's Rainbow.
- Alan Cumming chats with The Advocate about his new solo album, I Bought a Blue Car Today.
- New York to name Tommy Tune a "Living Landmark".
- Recent Emmy winner Cherry Jones honored by the Point Foundation.


Videodrone:
- What if ... such films as Raiders of the Lost Ark, Ghostbusters and Forrest Gump were made during the classic era? These "pre-makes" on YouTube have the answer.
- That ain't right: The "extended" version of The Jetsons theme song.


From Screen to Stage:
- The national tour of Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein, starring original Broadway cast members Roger Bart and Shuler Hensley, begins tonight in Rhode Island.
- Forget about it: David Mamet's "dark and scary" version of The Diary of Anne Frank.
- The Stephen Schwartz opera based on Séance on a Wet Afternoon had its world premiere in Santa Barbara last week.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Memo from MD: Twitterpated

Well, we resisted long enough: we are now on Twitter and Facebook.

You can follow Movie Dearest on Twitter here, as well as our sister blog, The QuOD - The Queer Online Database, here. All of the regular blog posts will be "tweeted", as well as any breaking news and/or random ramblings.

You can also visit my personal Facebook page here and be a friend or a fan if you so choose. You can find all of the links to the social networking sites we're on listed in the upper left hand sidebar as well.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Reverend's Reviews: Heavenly Movie Soundtracks

This post is part of Film Babble Blog's "Soundtrack September".

As an avid collector of original motion picture soundtrack albums since the 1970's, being asked to choose the best from among the 400+ I own is akin to a parent being forced to publicly identify their favorite child from among several! So rather than make a ten-best list, I've decided to write about a dozen or so from my collection that I consider significant not only to me personally but in the genre of music composed specifically for the silver screen. Some are former Oscar nominees or winners that remain celebrated today. Others have been woefully forgotten and are deserving of renewed attention.

While the first soundtrack recording I recall buying was the inescapable Star Wars by modern movie music maestro John Williams, it was Williams' follow-up score for Superman: The Movie that really struck a chord (no pun intended) with me. I will never forget the dramatic impact Superman's main title march had on me, accompanied as it was by the film's literally soaring opening credits. Williams brilliantly utilized a variety of styles to underscore the superhero's story, from his origin on the doomed planet Krypton to his climactic showdown with arch-nemesis Lex Luthor. The score also includes the song "Can You Read My Mind?", although it is performed in the film by Margot Kidder as more of a spoken word recitation, with lyrics by Leslie Bricusse.


The Superman score was nominated for a 1978 Academy Award but lost to Giorgio Moroder's innovative electronic score for Midnight Express. Moroder would go on to score a number of successful 80's movies, including Flashdance. In my opinion, however, Moroder's best work is his alternately lyrical, intense and sexy score for the 1982 remake of the horror classic Cat People. David Bowie co-wrote and performed the film's title song, which was recently resurrected to awesome effect in Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds.

There are many big-screen musicals in my collection including my all-time favorite, the underrated 1967 Doctor Dolittle, but I want to single out another soundtrack LP from a similarly unappreciated movie: Popeye. Robert Altman's big budget, live-action take on the classic cartoon character got a wildly mixed reception, as did its song score by pop songwriter-singer Harry Nilsson. Popeye ended up being Nilsson's first and last feature-length film score, as he unexpectedly passed away just a few years later. It is a charming score, with simple but often witty and emotionally resonant songs performed by Robin Williams in the title role, Shelley Duvall as Olive Oyl, and the great Ray Walston as Poopdeck Pappy. The soundtrack has never been released on CD, which is a shame as it includes a couple of songs that were cut from the film and better orchestrations.


While the movie-musical for which they were written is painful to sit through, Richard O'Brien's songs for 1981's Shock Treatment are great. This misbegotten sequel to The Rocky Horror Picture Show attempted to send up both television and the psychiatric profession. Skip the movie, but try to hunt down its rockin' soundtrack. You'll be singing the virtues of "Denton, U.S.A." as soon as you hear the song of that name!

During the Christmas season of 1981, two historical epics were released with primarily instrumental scores by composers accustomed to writing lyrics as well as music: Reds, by musical-theatre titan Stephen Sondheim, and Ragtime, which was Randy Newman's first film score. While both scores are excellent and deserve continued recognition, only Newman was honored at Oscar time with two nominations for best original score and best song, the tender "One More Hour." Sondheim has rarely written for movies since, with 1990's Dick Tracy a notable exception, while Newman has become one of the most sought-after film composers of our time and finally won an Oscar (after 15 prior nominations) in 2001.


No list of great film scores and composers would be complete without the late Jerry Goldsmith, and his Oscar-nominated work on 1982's Poltergeist ranks among his finest achievements. The music zigzags, not unlike the movie, from jaunty, comedic tones to intense sequences of musical menace. Goldsmith's similarly-styled scores for the mid-80's fantasies Gremlins and Supergirl are also noteworthy.

Two other composers who must be mentioned are John Barry and Ennio Morricone. Barry's ravishing, Oscar-winning score for Out of Africa is my personal favorite of his, while The Mission by Morricone has not only withstood the test of time but is one of the most spiritual recordings of all time ... if a recording can be said to be spiritual.


Asian influences in film music have become more pervasive this decade, but the progression began with the acclaimed, memorable scores to Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence and The Last Emperor. Both were composed by Ryuichi Sakamoto, the latter with an assist from "Talking Head" David Byrne. Also worth noting in this regard is Stomu Yamashta's appropriately magical score for 1982's Tempest, Paul Mazursky's update of Shakespeare's comedy The Tempest.

Danny Elfman crossed over from Oingo Boingo front man to film composer with a series of great scores to accompany director Tim Burton's flights of fancy. His score for the first big-budget Batman movie in 1989 was so successful that Elfman became the go-to guy for a while for superhero movies, including Darkman, Spider-Man and Hulk. But it is Elfman's work on Batman Returns that remains his finest hour. He created memorable themes for the villainous Penguin and Catwoman, and created a cool song for Siouxsie and the Banshees, "Face to Face," out of the latter's.


Lest one think I'm stuck in the 80's when it comes to my faves (although I can see how it is tempting to do so), there are a number of both older and more recent film scores that are close to my heart: Max Steiner's unforgettable Gone With the Wind; the admitted guilty pleasure Lost Horizon (1973), with songs by Burt Bacharach and Hal David; Halloween, composed by its director, John Carpenter; Carter Burwell's haunting Gods and Monsters; the driving, minimalist score for The Hours by Phillip Glass; John Corigliano's passionate, Oscar-winning score for The Red Violin; A Beautiful Mind by James Horner; and this year's fabulous Coraline, with a creepy-cute score by French up and comer Bruno Coulais.

I think I've mentioned more than a dozen here, contrary to what I set out to do. Obviously, when it comes to film music I have difficulty restraining myself! I sincerely hope readers will check out any of these scores you are unfamiliar with, as well as identify your own, time-tested favorites.

Click hereto purchase any of the above soundtracks from Amazon.com.

By Rev. Chris Carpenter, resident film critic of Movie Dearest and the Orange County and Long Beach Blade.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

MD Poll: The Drac Pack

We're getting into the Halloween spirit a little early here at Movie Dearest with today's launch of a special four-part vampire-themed "Mega-Poll"!

With so many cinematic bloodsuckers out there nowadays, we couldn't limit our poll to just ten, so we're giving you thirty. That's right, three separate polls, one each for the next three weeks. This week's poll asks to pick your favorite movie Dracula, while next week's will cover the remaining movie vampires and week 3 will spotlight TV vamps. Then, the winners from each week, along with the remaining top vote getters for all three weeks, will compete in a two-week poll to decide the "Ultimate Vamp Champ", who will be revealed on (naturally) Halloween day.

You can vote now for your favorite movie Dracula in the MD Poll located in the right hand sidebar. Note that we stretched the contenders to include characters directly inspired by Bram Stoker's original "Prince of Darkness". Also, be sure to note that this poll will only run for one week, so vote now! Fangs a lot!

UPDATE: This poll is now closed; click here for the results, and click here to vote in the next MD Poll.

MD Poll: Ryan's Hope

It was a tight race in this year's battle to be named the Hottest Summer Movie Hunk and the final victor was Ryan Reynolds (who also gets our vote for Hottest Magazine Cover ever).

The sexy star of The Proposal (on DVD and Blu-rayOctober 13) beat off such strong contenders as his X-Men Origins: Wolverine co-star Hugh Jackman and Public Enemies #1 Johnny Depp, who tied for third place. The surprise second place finisher was Star Trek's new Captain Kirk, Chris Pine. Beam me up, hottie!

See the comments section below for all the studly stats.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Reverend's Reviews: Virgin Territory

"The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself." — Albert Camus

Quotes from wise elders, including the one above, are sprinkled throughout The Blue Tooth Virgin (now playing in LA and NYC) on attractive cards designed by Yolanda Santosa and Paul Kim. At times they illuminate and at other times they stand in stark contrast to the pseudo-literary mayhem on screen.

The film's writer-director-producer, Russell Brown (Race You to the Bottom), has a keen ear for the inflated, self-important conversation that is often de rigueur among both aspiring and accomplished Hollywood screenwriters. Brown focuses here on longtime friends Sam (Austin Peck, best known as Brad Snyder on As the World Turns) and David (the winning Bryce Johnson). Sam is a struggling screenwriter who once created a well-regarded television series. David, on the other hand, is a magazine editor who claims to have no interest in writing.


When Sam asks David to read and weigh in on his screenplay-in-development, the ensuing rift exposes not only the shallowness of their friendship but the general lack of depth in the Hollywood movie-making machine. Of course, one has only to look at what The Blue Tooth Virgin is opening against — the reportedly lame Fame remake and the sci-fi wanna-be thrillers Surrogates and Pandorum — to see this is true.

Brown's script can be accused of being all talk and no action, but it is intelligent, insightful and often quite funny. The best scene in the film involves Karen Black (who looks great, by the way) as a New Age script consultant/therapist who charges $1,500 an hour.


It is also a very handsome-looking movie thanks to Marco Fargnoli's photography (the influence of his mentor, the great Robert Richardson, is evident) and the editing by Curtiss Clayton and Christopher Munch. Clayton is a veteran of several Gus Van Sant productions, and Munch wrote and directed as well as edited the acclaimed gay-interest films The Hours and Times and Harry and Max.

By the movie's end, viewers will likely agree with Camus on the importance of writers but most will be tempted to thank God we still have books!

Click here to watch the trailer for The Blue Tooth Virgin.

UPDATE: The Blue Tooth Virgin is now available on DVD from Amazon.com.

Review by Rev. Chris Carpenter, resident film critic of Movie Dearest and the Orange County and Long Beach Blade.

MD News Desk: Guys & Dolls

Keep up to date with all the latest from the entertainment world with the MD News Desk:

Coming Soon:
- Who says a woman can't be a movie star after 50? Barbie to get her own live action feature film.
- See Drew Barrymore and Ellen Page in Whip It a week early ... and get a free T-shirt!
- Diablo Cody is heading back to high school with an adaptation of the Sweet Valley High book series.
- David Cronenberg is remaking The Fly ... again?!
- More Hollywood originality at its best: Dimension to produce sequels to Halloween, Hellraiser, Scanners and Scream and remakes of Children of the Corn and Short Circuit.

Women We Love:
- Betty White to guest star as herself on 30 Rock.
- The Tony winning stars of An Evening with Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin will bring their acclaimed concert act to Chicago next year.
- Meanwhile, over on the west coast, the Dynasty diva will present An Evening with Joan Collins in Long Beach next month.

Hands Off the Merchandise:
- Thanks to the Lego Prince of Persia toys, you'll have just what you always wanted: a little Jake Gyllenhaal to put in your pocket.

Out in Film:
- Congrats! Sexy sax man Dave Koz gets his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
- Lily Tomlin to do some Damages.
- Broadway's latest Billy Flynn, the dashing Tom Hewitt, submits to Playbill's Cue & A.
- Hairspray reunion: producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron and composers Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (along with some guy named Steven Spielberg) are teaming up on a new Showtime series about the creation of an original Broadway musical.
- Another Showtime reunion: Bill Condon will direct his Kinsey leading lady Laura Linney in The C Word.
- Ian McKellen to be honored with the William Shakespeare Award for Classical Theatre.
- Big Gay Sketch Show's Colman Domingo goes solo in his one-man show A Boy and His Soul.
- Bryan Singer adds another project to his busy schedule, the fantasy adventure Jack the Giant Killer.
- Jesse Tyler Ferguson chats about playing a gay dad on the new comedy series Modern Family.
- DJ Samantha Ronson to guest star on 90210 ... as a DJ.

And the List Goes On:
- "Heavens to Murgatroyd!" Snagglepuss leads the way (exit stage right) in Out Magazine's collection of the Gayest Cartoon Characters.
- The Advocate names the Best of the Bicons: Josephine Baker, Marlene Dietrich, Billie Holiday and Frida Kahlo.

From Screen to Stage:
- Angela Lansbury and Catherine Zeta-Jones will head the cast of the upcoming Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheim's A Little Night Music.
- Get ready (OK) for Bring It On: The Musical (with a book by Avenue Q Tony winner Jeff Whitty).
- Costumes and masks from Broadway's The Lion King were donated to the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.

Awards Watch:
- With Bill Condon too busy to produce this year's Oscar show, could the gig go to such other A-gays as Bruce Cohen and Dan Jinks or Craig Zadan and Neil Meron?
- Save the date(s): The movie awards season calendar.


Cinematic Crushes:
- Twilight stud Cam Gigandet will join Cher and Christina Aguilera in a little Burlesque.
- Wentworth Miller to take on Resident Evil: Afterlife.
- Dwayne Johnson is a super cop with Samuel L. Jackson in The Other Guys.
- Justin Timberlake will play a co-founder of Facebook in The Social Network.
- Watch This: Dancing With the Stars pays tribute to Patrick Swayze.

GLBT Entertainment:
- That's Gay: Bryan Safi exposes the ins and outs of coming out on TV.
- Dan Savage's book The Kid: What Happened After My Boyfriend and I Decided to Go Get Pregnant is now a musical.


The Latest on TV:
- Tune in to CBS on Sunday night for the latest installment of The Amazing Race (featuring out brothers Dan and Sam McMillen), then switch over to ABC for the season premieres of Desperate Housewives and Brothers & Sisters.
- It's official: Heather Locklear will return to Melrose Place (which has been picked up for the rest of the season, along with Kevin Williamson's The Vampire Diaries). Here's a video review of the best of Amanda Woodward.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Reverend's Reviews: A Tasty Cup of Coco

Not being a fashionista, I knew very little about the life of world-famous designer Coco Chanel. Fortunately, Coco Before Chanel has arrived to fill in the gaps. It begins a national roll out tomorrow in LA and NYC. The filmmakers are hopeful about the biopic's Oscar chances, especially when it comes to Audrey Tautou's excellent performance in the title role.

The movie is, befitting its subject, elegant and evocative. It opens with the abandonment of young Gabrielle (who will become Coco) Chanel and her sister by their father at a French orphanage. The black habits of the nuns who run the establishment will later become a source of inspiration for Coco.


Upon turning 18, the girls left the orphanage and found employment as singers and courtesans in a cabaret frequented by soldiers. Here, Coco is discovered by a successful equestrian, Etienne Balsan (Benoit Poelvoorde). Balsan would introduce Coco to a world of wealth and extravagance in which she initially didn't move easily but would soon rise to the top of.

It was also through Balsan that Coco met Arthur "Boy" Capel, who became the love of her life even while their relationship was doomed to not be a happy one. Capel is played in the film by Alessandro Nivola (Laurel Canyon, Junebug), who has never been better nor sexier. He is an American actor but speaks French here, frequently and perfectly!

Coco Before Chanel epitomizes the term "costume drama," and I fully expect designer Catherine Leterrier to receive an Academy Award nomination for her fine period work in this. (The various Chanel-designed dresses that appear late in the film were loaned to the filmmakers by the Chanel Conservatory.) Alexandre Desplat's musical score is also lovely and likely to be an awards contender.


While it doesn't go into details, the screenplay (by Anne Fontaine, who also directed, and Camille Fontaine with an assist from Dangerous Liaisons' Christopher Hampton) does touch on Chanel's reported bisexuality. This is primarily conveyed through Coco's friendship with Emilienne (a strong turn by Emmanuelle Devos), a former courtesan who becomes a successful actress. When Emilienne asks Coco point blank whether she prefers men or women, Coco nonchalantly responds "skin is skin."

Tautou reveals a growing maturity both as a woman and as an actress via her interpretation of Chanel, who passed away in 1971. It is clear that Tautou has evolved beyond playing wide-eyed naifs such as those in Amélie and A Very Long Engagement, as well as outgrown Hollywood's big-budget attempts at seduction like The Da Vinci Code. She makes Coco Before Chanel worth watching even for those of us largely ignorant of or uninterested in couture.

Click here to watch the trailer for Coco Before Chanel.

UPDATE: Coco Before Chanel is now available on DVD and Blu-ray from Amazon.com.

Review by Rev. Chris Carpenter, resident film critic of Movie Dearest and the Orange County and Long Beach Blade.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Reel Thoughts Interview: Meet the Kinsey Sicks!

The Kinsey Sicks, America’s favorite Dragapella Beauty Shop Quartet, doesn’t hold back when it has an opinion, as evidenced by the title of its latest show, Wake the F#@k Up, America! Equality Arizona has partnered with the voluptuous foursome to strike fear in the hearts of bigots statewide for a night of bawdy and brilliant comedy and song.

Founded in 1993 by four friends who attended a Bette Midler concert in drag, the Sicks pair razor-sharp parodies with flawless harmonies. Oy Vey in a Manger, its holiday show, demonstrates the troupe’s Jewish sensibilities, but everyone can enjoy the Sicks’ comic sense. From sold out concerts nationwide to the Off Broadway sensation Dragapella!, to its popular and long-running Las Vegas show, the Kinsey Sicks prove a huge audience exists for the take-no-prisoners humor it provides, mixed with out-of-this-world singing.


You’d never guess that Rachel (Ben Schatz), Winnie (Irwin Keller), Trixie (Jeff Manabat) and Trampolina (Spencer Brown) actually led lives pre-Kinsey as activists, lawyers and actors before donning their gay apparel and becoming the fabulous quartet that will invade the Chandler Center for the Arts September 25 for one night only.

I spoke with Rachel, the group’s muscular worrywart, and sometimes her creator, Ben Schatz. I thanked her/him for doing the interview, despite coming straight off of a rehearsal and performing in Provincetown, Massachusetts. “Let’s see what you think afterward,” she joked.

The Sicks managed to make it through the Bush era, even “switching sides” to sing “I Wanna Be a Republican,” so I asked Rachel how life was for the Sicks in the Obama age. “Oh, much better. The sex is better,” she replied.


The Sicks are excited to come to Chandler and help Equality Arizona. “We believe in being equal. It’s my favorite sugar substitute.”

I warned Rachel about the crackpot pastor in Tempe who wishes President Obama would die and preaches that homosexuality is “an abomination which God punishes with the death penalty.” She sounded sad for a moment. “Ahhh, he’s just pissed off because we had a difficult break-up,” she said.

I gamely suggested that the Sicks might go kick some wacko right-wing ass, but Rachel demurred. “I think we’re wacko enough ourselves, thank you very much. It’s hard to kick your own ass. Try it!”

I asked Rachel what Dragapella lovers should expect from the show? “Years of therapy,” she quipped.

I asked whether or not the Kinsey Sicks ever goes too far, and Ben stepped in to answer. “We do sometimes push the envelope, but we’re constantly reevaluating to see how we can hone our material, and some routines are great for some audiences but not for others.” But is the material too biting? Do they go too far? “People do often complain that we use too much teeth. But that’s generally after the show,” Rachel replied. And sometimes the group’s members feel that they went places they shouldn’t go? “Well, I certainly hope so!”

I asked Rachel what she thinks of America now, and the whole political climate. She said, “I think we need more lunatics. I’m lonely. I’m hoping that at one of these health care forums, I can find a mentally-deranged date.”

I mentioned how Rachel is referred to as the most muscular of the Sicks and she corrected me. “That’s only my genitals.”

I asked Rachel to dish a little and tell me things about the other Sicks that they wouldn’t want to see in print. “I absolutely would never say that they’re all untalented cows … but I would think it. And how many cows are talented when you really think about it?”

I asked Rachel if she is looking forward to coming to Arizona and she quickly replied, “You know, I love Arizona. It’s my favorite iced tea, and a damn good place to perform.” Ben cut in and added, “We’ve always had just a phenomenal time, we get such a great reception. It’s such a relief to know that there are so many tasteless people all gathered in one state.”

The Sicks have been through Clinton, then Bush, Rove and Cheney, and they’re still here, so I asked Ben what the secret is. “There will always be idiots to make fun of, so my work is never done.”

Back to Rachel, I asked her what one thing people should know about the show. “No refunds,” she replied. And what would she like people to take away from their performance? “Several of our CDs.”

I thought in closing, it would be fun to do a little word association with Rachel, just to see how sick she was. She did not disappoint ...

NC: Ann Coulter ...
Rachel: The sex was HOT! Although someone needs to tell Ann that up close, you can totally see his Adam's apple.

NC: Swine flu ...
Rachel: This is why you should never have sex with a pig without using a condom.

NC: Venereal disease ...
Rachel: Not an obstacle. Call me. PLEASE!!!

NC: The Defense of Marriage Act ...
Rachel: When I was young I saw my parents performing a "marriage act" and believe me, there was no defense for it.

NC: Death panels ...
Rachel: I don't know why they want to pull the plug on grandma. If she wants to use a plug, Obama has no business pulling it out of her.

NC: A good man is ...
Rachel: An oxymoron.

For more information on The Kinsey Sicks' fundraiser for Equality Arizona at the Chandler Center for the Arts, click here.

Interview by Neil Cohen, resident film critic of Movie Dearest and Phoenix's Echo Magazine.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Reverend's Reviews: Song Sung Blue (Car)

I don't think of Alan Cumming as being first and foremost a song-and-dance man, but that is likely the result of my increasing short-term memory issues. After all, Cumming won a Tony Award for his role as the Emcee in the acclaimed Broadway revival of Cabaret, and has had prominent musical roles in Rob Marshall's TV adaptation of Annie and in Showtime's Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical. He is slated next to play a singing Green Goblin in Julie Taymor's increasingly big-budget stage production, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.

Before he tackles that highly anticipated, Bono-penned show full-throttle, however, Cumming is performing his one-man show-with-music, I Bought a Blue Car Today in certain US cities (for a list of scheduled performances, please visit his official website). The pseudo-cast recording, Alan Cumming's I Bought a Blue Car Today,has just been released today on Yellow Sound Label. It is also being described as Cumming's debut solo album.


A naturalized US citizen originally from Scotland, Cumming explains the title in his CD's introductory notes. "There is a bit in the (citizenship) test where the man says a sentence and you have to write it down to prove your prowess in English," he writes. "My sentence was 'I bought a blue car today' which initially I thought was really sweet and child-like, but on closer examination I realized it is all about consumerism and gas guzzling and rather brilliantly manages to encapsulate America's financial and energy crises in one fell swoop."

Cumming doesn't have the prettiest nor most polished singing voice, but he has passion to spare as well as a knack for dramatic interpretation. Most of the songs on the CD are covers, including Cyndi Lauper's rousing "Shine," "Wig in a Box" and "Wicked Little Town" from Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and "Here You Come Again," popularized by Dolly Parton. The openly bisexual Cumming also puts his unique spin on "Mein Herr" from Cabaret and "What More Can I Say" from Falsettoland.

The CD, like the artist behind it, is a unique compilation; "Where I Want to Be" from Chess and "All I Know" from — of all things — Disney's Chicken Little are also included. The delightful but foul-mouthed closing song, "Beautiful," was written (according to the liner notes) by Cumming's personal friend for a 96-year old woman's birthday!

Whether you are able to catch Cumming live on stage or not, I recommend I Bought a Blue Car Today on CD (click hereto purchase from Amazon.com).

Review by Rev. Chris Carpenter, resident film critic of Movie Dearest and the Orange County and Long Beach Blade.

MD News Desk: Taylor Made

Keep up to date with all the latest from the entertainment world with the MD News Desk:

Coming Soon:
- Twilight Watch: Taylor Lautner bares (almost) all on the set of New Moon.
- Could all the Emmy love mean good news for the Pushing Daisies movie? Creator Bryan Fuller hopes so.

Awards Watch:
- The Producers Guild will have 10 Best Picture nominees this year, just like the Academy.
- Colin Firth, Julianne Moore and Clive Owen are among those getting some good Oscar buzz from the Toronto International Film Festival.

GLBT Entertainment:
- The Advocate's "queen on the New York theater scene" Brandon Voss braved the queer theatrical offerings of the New York International Fringe Festival and lived to tell about it.
- With Ten More Good Years, documentary filmmaker Michael Jacoby explores the challenges — and prejudices — faced by today's GLBT senior citizens.
- A one-night-only performance of John Cameron Mitchell's Hedwig and the Angry Inch will be presented at New World Stages in Manhattan next month.

Cinematic Crushes:
- Brad Pitt rumored to play the dastardly Moriarty in the already-planned Sherlock Holmes sequel.
- Josh Lucas to romance Katherine Heigl in Life as We Know It.
- Matt Damon to star in Clint Eastwood's next film, Hereafter.

Glee:
- Woo-hoo! Fox has picked up Glee for a full season!

Coming to DVD:
- Just in time for gift giving! The Judy Garland Show Holiday Special coming to DVD on October 20 (click hereto pre-order from Amazon.com).

From Screen to Stage:
- Falsettos composer William Finn to take on a musical adaptation of Little Miss Sunshine. Also in the works: Like Water for Chocolate.
- The new national tour of Avenue Q begins this week in South Carolina.
- The Chase Ends! Broadway's The 39 Steps will close in January 2010, as will London's Calendar Girls.
- The Broadway-bound play Enron, about the scandalous rise and fall of the Texas energy company, already set for a trip to the big screen.


The Latest on TV:
- This week's premieres of interest include the return of The New Adventures of Old Christine (CBS, Wednesday), Grey's Anatomy (ABC, Thursday) and Smallville (CW, Friday), along with the series debuts of two new shows with gay characters, Modern Family (ABC) and Mercy (NBC). Also new on ABC Wednesday: Eastwick, based on The Witches of Eastwick.
- Dancing With the Stars will offer a special tribute to Patrick Swayze on tomorrow night's results show.

Tune in to TCM:
- Upcoming salutes on Turner Classic Movies: Vincente Minnelli (Thursday), Stephen Boyd (Saturday), Natalie Wood (Sunday) and Mia Farrow (Monday).


Videodrone:
- "I feel the need, the need for ... carrots?" The 30 Second Bunnies take on Top Gun. (And yes, the sweaty rabbits reenact the celebrated volleyball scene.)
- What if True Blood was an Alice-esque sitcom ... starring Movie Dearest fave Carrie Preston! (NSFW for language.)

Potent Quotables:
- Carrie Fisher (whose darkly comic autobiographical solo show Wishful Drinking begins its Broadway run at Studio 54 tonight) on her baby daddy Bryan Lourd, who left her for a guy named Scott: "(That makes) Scott the man who got the man who got away."

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