Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Someday, I will try to put into words how much Hedwig and the Angry Inch is not only my favorite film, but how it affected and changed my life...until then, all I can do is watch the movie, listen the soundtrack and continue to be in awe of how much it completely and utterly hits home with me...
Obviously an older writing, but as I'm planning a John Hughes film fest this week, I found it apropos.
So many people that I know were affected by the deaths of Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett. The death of John Hughes hit me harder than either of those. A lot of people may think it's silly to mourn the loss of someone that you've never met. I don't feel that you need to have met someone for them to have had a huge impact on your life. For all of us queer, weirdos, dorks, geeks, outcasts, etc, books, movies, and music are sometimes the only escape we have from the shitty, confusing world we're faced with. We can find reflections of ourselves, people we yearn to be like, or the message that it's alright for us to be just who we are. That it may not always be easy, but it's true and beautiful. That's what I got out the "brat pack" films of John Hughes. The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Pretty In Pink, Some Kind of Wonderful, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and Weird Science...they were such a massive part of my childhood and still hold an incredibly dear place in my heart. As a young, confused, weird queer kid in bumfuck Kansas, they were a beacon. They showed me that life wasn't always perfect or easy for the big city kids, the popular kids, or the beautiful kids, but that there was always hope. He may not have ever featured any gay teens, but his films still spoke to me as an outcast and someone that wanted to be loved and accepted, but on my own terms. People can be shit, you may not always get what or who you want, but that holding true to yourself is what matters the most. Amongst the nostalgia, the laughs, and the great movie quotes, that is why I mourn the loss of a man that I have never met...
Monday, June 14, 2010
I always hesitate to label myself a writer. It typically sounds so pretentious, and to really be a writer, aren't you supposed to be published and make some kind of money at it? That's the popular theory anyway. Still, writers write and professional or not, it's something that I've always done.
From the time I was a kid scribbling out stories for creative writing day at school until my current blogging fixations, I've been asked by family, friends, etc what the hell makes me want to write. Why work so hard at something that doesn't come easily, rarely pays worth a damn, and that more than likely, no one is going to read? As ridiculous as it sounds, I've always been one for telling stories. I truly believe that it comes from my grandfather, Chuck. The whole "why use 10 words when you can use 100 and make it come to life" theory of getting your point across. He never failed to have a story for nearly every point he was trying to make. I tend to be a bit shy and awkward in social situations, so small talk is torture for me. Get me going on a story about something that I've witnessed, read, or experienced, however and you can't shut me up. I thank him for that.
I sat and watched THE OUTSIDERS film last night for the first time in years. The film has aged incredibly well and I actually think that I appreciate just how beautiful it is more as an adult. I started thinking about how S.E. Hinton's novel was a constant in my adolescence. I read it every chance that I had, checking it out from the library as often as they would allow me. Looking back, it was the first book I read that really had a massive impact on me. I'd been a voracious reader as a child, thanks to my mom, but THE OUTSIDERS was the first time I remember putting a book down after finishing it, and just sitting, because I was so overwhelmed. I grew up an upper middle class kid with both parents in a tiny rural town in East Central Kansas during the 70's and 80's. I was certainly never a poor greaser from the wrong side of the city, being raised by my older brothers in the late 60's. Still, the book spoke to me like none had before. It truly caught that sense of not fitting in. How tough being a teenager is, especially if you are at all different from the preconceived notion of what a teenage boy should be. Regardless of whether you're fighting in the streets or hiding your feelings for the boy in your class because no one will understand it, it's the things that you love in life that enable you to survive. Whether that's family, the people that you surround yourself with, or writing, music, books, etc.
Hinton's book showed me that writing could be raw and honest, simple and beautiful. What mattered wasn't fancy words, or sentence structure, it was the story you were telling and the characters you brought to life. This is my motto every time I sit down to write, whether I'm telling a story, or raving about some album that I've fallen in love with.
I know that it sometimes sounds trite and cliche to say that a book changed your life, but THE OUTSIDERS did for me. It's the first moment I can recall a book deeply affecting me. It's also what I credit my love for writing with. That epiphany when I realized how much I loved telling a story, almost as much as I loved hearing one. To this day, anytime I finish a book that really gets to me, I still need a few moments after putting it down. Going on 30 years and a few dozen readings, I still do it every time I finish THE OUTSIDERS.
Sunday, June 13, 2010
A few hours ago, I discovered that Sigmar Polke died last week. I remember living in Dallas and a friend taking me to the Institute of Art. We wandered for hours until coming around a corner. There, much to my shock and delight was a Polke exhibit. Floor to ceiling, 20 foot tall images of art and commentary. I spent another couple of hours in utter awe of the images in front of me…While, I, myself, have never been a visual artist, I have always found particular images to have a profound effect on me. From the simple and basic, to detailed and intricate. Polke managed to balance both. While there was so much going on in his work, from the combination of paint and photograpy, to the commentary and voice of his art, there was always an underlying simplicity to it that spoke to me.
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Watching the Director’s Cut of Blade Runner and living in fear that it will be remade. When something is perfect and right the first time, why mess with it? Even after 28 years, the film still feels fresh and vital, and the visuals don’t look at all dated. A remake would only fuck up something that doesn’t need to be touched. I’m sure that it’s too cerebral, story driven, dark, and slow paced for most modern audiences, so the Michael Bay “cgi, blowing shit up” factor would rear it’s ugly, useless head…There are still moments in the film that force me to catch my breath. It’s the rare film that manages to make the bleak absolutely beautiful and took the thrill ride of science fiction back to it’s intelligent, thought provoking, profound roots.