Amoeblog

Postcards of My Vacation Back Home:

Posted by Job O Brother, August 26, 2007 02:43pm | Post a Comment



Well, well – Look who’s come sauntering in like everything’s normal. If it isn’t little ol’ me. I think I can just waltz back in here after having been missing for days and expect you to just read my blog as though nothing’s happened? Is that it?

Well, I have another thing coming. You’re not some screensaver I can leave on, perpetually cycling a kaleidoscope of flying toasters while I go out and have a life! This is unacceptable! I mean, am I a blogger or not?

STOP!

You want the truth? Is that it? YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH.

Actually, you can, but I love that line. YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH. It’s so over-the-top. I’m totally going to say it to my future kids whenever possible.

“Dad? How do erasers work?”

Continue reading...

(In which Job hero worships.)

Posted by Job O Brother, July 29, 2007 02:48pm | Post a Comment
I just received my copy of Playboy Magazine in the mail. Stoked!

No, no… don’t get all shocked. I’m not a subscriber. Who can afford magazine subscriptions? Not me. And if I could afford a magazine subscription, I would choose National Geographic over Playboy. I mean, National G gets you way more pix of naked women for your money.

Before you start second guessing that you clicked on the right blog, I’ll explain myself. While I’m known to ogle a pretty gal now and again, the reason for my purchase is for one woman in particular: Sandra Bernhard. 

You just reacted one of three ways:

1.) You groaned a little. You don’t understand why this woman is famous; you don’t “get” her stand-up comedy and your knowledge of her is mostly confined to vague recollections of shenanigans with Madonna and, oh yeah, she was that lesbian character on “Roseanne.” You fall into the category of person we’ll term “Plebeian.”

2.) You got all excited and an exclamation of “Yes!” echoed in your brain … urr… unless you’re French, in which case it would have been “Oui!” - or “Iya!” if you’re Papua New Guinean, which, if my research polls on who is reading my blog suggests, you are. I really should learn Tok Pisin…

Oh, Sandra Bernhard. Right. Okay. The second category of person is the one in which I fall; that is, a fan. We’ll term this sort of person “Rad.”

3.) You have no idea who Sandra Bernhard is. We’ll call this category of folk “Linda Hamilton” (not to be confused with the actress who starred in the Terminator films).

My first encounter with Miss Bernhard was at age 17. My friend Salem and I were alone in the enormous house which my Mom and Step-dad could afford for about six months, thanks to a brief cash flow yielded by a Pyramid-scheme.

I don’t remember how it came in to our possession, but we had a VHS copy of Bernhard’s “Without You I’m Nothing,” a film version of her one-woman show. I was probably stoned; I usually was at that age, and even if I wasn’t, being 17 is pretty psychedelic.

Salem and I popped in the video (“Have we got a video? YES, WE HAVE A VIDEO!!!”) and sat transfixed for the next 89 minutes as Miss Bernhard blew our f-wording minds.


Crazy on you: Miss Bernhard live... very, very live.

It’s not that it was laugh-out-loud hilarious, though it often was – it was something deeper and altogether special. This woman was creating a world and speaking a language that was hers entirely, and if we didn’t understand, that didn't seem her concern. Her wit and heart were uncompromised, pure, and complex; some kind of impossible cross between Joan Rivers and Marcel Proust.

(In which Job clarifies the difference between the gay community and lunch.)

Posted by Job O Brother, July 15, 2007 01:08pm | Post a Comment

Thursday night, after a sexy and glorious workday at Amoeba Music Hollywood, my boyfriend Corey picked me up and whisked me away to the premiere party for Outfest, held at the historic Orpheum Theatre in downtown LA.

Outfest is LA’s most popular film festival for the GLBT community. (GLBT stands for Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender and should never be confused with the BLT, a popular sandwich.)


Know the difference - Bacon, lettuce, tomato vs. gay actor, Montgomery Clift

"Outfest is the only nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring that the extensive but threatened LGBT film heritage is preserved. Since the beginning of the struggle for LGBT equality, visionary filmmakers have recorded their lives, challenges and triumphs on film. Outfest is committed to saving, preserving and providing access to that precious, affirming heritage for generations to come." - quote from their website

Put another way, this is a chance to see lots of muscle hunks come to terms with bullies and remakes of “Pretty Woman” that could be called “Pretty Women”.

If I sound cynical, it’s because I am, a bit. But that’s not a reflection of Outfest, rather, a problem I often have with queer cinema. I’ve never been a fan of romantic comedies, and because the definition of gay is indicative of sex, so many gay films are “romantic”.

That’s just one issue I have. On the whole, queer cinema suffers from the same things that mainstream films do. Clichés and what-not. It’s particularly discouraging to see gay films that mimic straight films but, you know, with gay people in ‘em. It’s rare to find a film that is distinctively “gay” outside of the love scenes.

That’s not to say there’s no room for light entertainment within queer cinema. Don’t get me wrong! I realize that not everyone wants the films I do – in fact, most people don’t.

Beyond my personal tastes, I absolutely believe it is important that organizations like Outfest exist. It is vital that minorities see themselves represented in media. When I was a kid and still mystified by my own sexuality, seeing gays in film and on TV provided a sense that I was not alone, that there were others like me, and they were successful and unashamed.

Of course, being born in 1974, those glimpses were rare, and it took a real stretch of imagination to feel kinship with kd lang as she got a straight-razor shave from Cindy Crawford. Still, it helped.


Straight-razor… heh…

The party was populated by the usual crew to be found at such an event. I didn’t see anyone A-list. Tori Spelling mingled as camera crews followed her every move, gathering footage for her “reality” TV show. Perez Hilton stood behind me in the line for free booze. Chi Chi Larue strode through the crowd looking much like Marilyn Monroe would have if she were still alive.

The biggest treat was listening to my man Corey as he talked shop with the people who really keep the Hollywood business functioning. I got to hear a hilarious story about Arianna Huffington from one of her former assistants, but I’m not allowed to tell you about it. You just can’t keep a secret, I’m afraid. You have only yourself to blame.

In honor of Outfest 2007, and because I don’t want you to think I’m homocinemaphobic, I offer up the following films as suggestions of rad things to watch; one for every letter in the aforementioned acronym:


"Dude, your nipple is, like, hella awesome!" Keanu Reeves & River Phoenix

For the ‘G’, I recommend watching “My Own Private Idaho”, Gus Van Sant’s modern take on Shakespeare’s play “Henry IV”. It beautifully explores gay love and desire without offering moral platitudes, and doesn’t content itself with only “gay” issues. Oftentimes funny and always poetic, it also perfectly captures the (sometimes self-destructive) essence of the Northwest grunge scene of the early 1990’s. It also stars the late River Phoenix in one of his finest performances.

Next is the ‘L’. This is a tough one, because there’s actually quite a list of movies I love that qualify. Ultimately, though, I’m going to settle on the classic film “The Children’s Hour”, starring Shirley MacLaine and Audrey Hepburn.


"Darling, I would never confuse you with Katherine..." Shirley MacLaine & Audrey Hepburn

I realize the irony that my choice of lesbian film didn’t actually star a lesbian, but the movie stands as significant. It broached a topic that dared not… urr… film its name…? Furthermore, it starred two A-list celebrities, adding weight and credibility at a time when homosexuality was still widely believed to be a psychological disorder. It is beautifully shot and packs an emotional wallop.

I can’t help but sneak in another film, however. It’s more obscure. “The Sticky Fingers of Time”, written and directed by Hilary Brougher. The story, essentially science-fiction in nature, is still human in a way that reminds me of a Philip K. Dick novel. It’s very low budget but uses this to its advantage and struck me as intriguing, haunting and, how you say, dope.


Terumi Matthews & Belinda Becker in "The Sticky Fingers of Time"

Then on to the ‘B’. B, B, B… hmm. Oh, I know!

“The Hotel New Hampshire”. This gem has a cast of stars a mile long, yet remains surprisingly unknown. This is perhaps due to its acute quirkiness, and storyline which ambles along without clear climaxes, much as our lives do. Alternately hilarious and slapstick, then suddenly tragic, it follows the lives of an eccentric family headed by a whimsical father (played by Beau Bridges) as they find fame, fortune and love, then lose it, then gain it again. (Wow, that sounds awful… I’d never see it if I heard someone describe it that way!)


Jodie Foster makes love to Natasha Kinski in a bear suit! I mean, what more do you need?

It features a very naughty, yet somehow sweet, incest love scene between siblings played by Jodie Foster and Rob Lowe. I cannot recommend this movie enough, even if I can’t recommend it well.


Rob Lowe & Dorsey Wright, working it all out

Finally, the ‘T’. Again, so many to choose from. I’m afraid I’ll get my Fan Club status revoked for not championing “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”, but that’s so obvious and anyhow, writing about it would lead to another eight pages of me boring you with nostalgia.

So, I’m going to settle on “Orlando”, Sally Potter’s gorgeous adaptation of the book by Virginia Woolf of the same name.


Superlative actress, Tilda Swinton as "Orlando"

It’s the story of a young man, Orlando, born in Renaissance England. Having been ordered by the aging Queen Elizabeth I (played with humorous gravity by Quentin Crisp) to never grow old and die, he doesn’t, and the film takes us through major time periods unto present day, all the while exploring love and sex as relating to gender.

It is quite simply a visually perfect film. Anyone who delights in set and costume design must take a peak. It stars the amazing Tilda Swinton in the title role. And you get to see her naked, if that matters to you. And it does.


Tilda Swinton, Tilda Swinton, Tilda Swinton, and also, Tilda Swinton

So, there you have some considerations for queer cinema that transcends the usual bunch. If you’re in the neighborhood, be sure to check out Outfest. Just watch out for Tori Spelling’s camera crew, ‘cause those dudes are f**ing all over the place.

(In which one of Job's dreams comes true... also a nightmare.)

Posted by Job O Brother, July 3, 2007 05:40pm | Post a Comment

Is it wrong to have Coors Light for breakfast?

This is the question I’m struggling with right now. It’s so cuss-word hot in Hollywood today. It makes it hard to think. I need to write a blog!

I wish Amoeba Music sold Coors Light, then I could just blog about that. I could be drinking it and telling you how I “recommend it” and stuff like that. That would rock.

Oh hey – I saw a great concert the other night. It was the final performance of the True Colors Tour, which started a month ago in Las Vegas and ended at the Greek Theatre in LA, as opposed to the Greek Theatre in San Francisco, where they played the night before.

(The Greek thing is a tip off.)

I got to see Debbie Harry and Cyndi Lauper in the same line-up. Added to that was Erasure; between these three acts I felt as though I was 14 again and had escaped to the city for a concert. Except I was sober and the car wasn’t stolen, so I guess it wasn’t too much like being 14…


Erasure, top; Dresden Dolls, bottom (...you know what I mean.)
The Dresden Dolls also performed, but my sweetheart and I missed it; we were cuddled on a grassy knoll eating the most expensive and, ironically, most horrid cheeseburgers I’ve ever had in my life.

I had never seen so many homos in my life. I’ve never been to Pride or Bed, Bath & Beyond, so this event was the gayest I’ve attended. Of course, Margaret Cho was the host, and as a particularly surreal touch, Cyndi Lauper’s encore was backed-up on drums played by… Rosie O’Donnell?


"I pretend the snare is Donald Trump's head!"

Gay. Gay, gay, gay!

At the end, all the musicians shared the stage and sang “True Colors” (duh) and a cover of ABBA’s “Take a Chance On Me”. At that point, anyone in the audience who might’ve been heterosexual must certainly have been transmuted.

This part of the show was actually a nightmare come true for me, because they brought out something like 20 enormous balloons and sent them out on the sea of people. Corey and I were sitting towards the back, so I watched, petrified, as these freakish multi-colored death bubbles slowly made their way to me. It was like a dream I couldn’t wake from. It left me feeling like I could relate to Vietnam vets.

Vietnam vets can drink Coors Light for breakfast and nobody gives them any grief for it.

Cyndi Lauper is an amazing performer. Did you know that? Yeah, we all love her for her record-breaking record “She’s So Unusual”, (the first debut album to have 5 top ten hits, FYI), but what I didn’t know was what a dynamo she is live. Where does this middle-aged mother get her energy? She’s on-stage, running around, dancing through the audience constantly, singing crazy notes and cracking jokes and being all cute and dramatic and delightful and then there’s me, who’s tired from “standing there” for so long.


I am nothing next to her.

The concert was her brainchild; a fundraiser for the Human Rights Campaign.

It was also Debbie Harry’s birthday. I choked-up seeing her, I’m not ashamed to admit it.


In the flesh - Debbie Harry

As a side-note, most of these performers I’ve mentioned have all been fat in the last decade, but they weren’t fat at the show. Andrew Bell looked fit, Cho was slim, Debbie and Cyndi looked like they were fresh from Curves. What’s going on?

Anyway, it was a great night. The tour is over, so I can’t exactly “recommend it” but I think it will happen again next year, in which case I recommend that you go, if only to see how Cyndi deals with instruments malfunctioning. That alone is worth the price of admission.

Oh, but don’t eat the cheeseburgers.

(In which Job wrestles with his subconscious mind and recommends an album.)

Posted by Job O Brother, June 30, 2007 08:17am | Post a Comment
It’s seven-thirty in the morning; I’ve just rolled out of bed after a weird and ultimately unhelpful dream about being accidentally tossed off the Thunder Mountain Railroad ride at Disneyland, after which I ended up drenched in water and yelling at Timothy Dalton, who was working as a security guard, for not believing that their stupid ride malfunctioned and landed me in a private parking garage.

Seriously. That’s what I was dreaming. Is it any wonder I’m awake an hour before normal? I mean, who needs that kind of crap? I am like, totally giving my subconscious mind the silent treatment today.

Two things are helping salvage my mood. One is writing this to you, of course. The other is listening to Jobriath.


This dude’s story is mostly tragic; one of the casualties of the music industry. He was glam at a time when glam had just started retiring. Bowie had already reinvented himself as a Zoot-suit wearing soul singer. Even so, Jobriath was promoted by Elektra Records as though his debut album would be more popular than The Beatles, and subsequently, God.

His half-naked frame was plastered all over cities at a time when we weren’t used to seeing such things. (I mean, nowadays it’s like, “Oh, a huge billboard of two, scantily-clad beefcakes frolicking in a pool together… in an advertisement for Toilet Duck.”) Jobriath’s first album was inescapable, and it hadn’t even been released.

So that, when it finally did hit the shelves, though it was critically acclaimed by many, it couldn’t live up to the hype that had come before it. Jobriath was eventually abandoned by his management and lived the rest of his life out in relative obscurity; his major legacy being an example to record companies on how NOT to handle a new act.


A compilation of songs (“Lonely Planet Boy”) was released in 2004, spearheaded by one of Jobriath’s loyal fans, Morrissey. I personally didn’t discover it until Eric of Amoeba Music mezzanine fame, tipped me off.

It is good. Glorious, even. Highlights for me are “Heartbeat”, “Be Still” and “I’maman”. Any fan of glam-rock must absolutely must check it out. The only downside is that, once you’re a fan, you have little else Jobriath to explore. His two albums are rare and expensive and mostly represented by the c.d. compilation. The man himself retired from recording and made a living singing cabaret in NYC, passing away in 1983 from AIDS.

Fans of Bowie, T.Rex, and the other glam classics; fans of Elton John and the romantic man at the piano; fans of the new breed, Hedwig and Mika – y’all have something to add to your collection.

And f**k Timothy Dalton, man.

You cannot escape me. I'm inside you. You cannot escape me.
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