Friday, June 24, 2011

Filming "Into the Lion's Den"

Tearing up Amish country with Ronnie Kroell, Kristen Griffith, and a talented crew filming the thriller "Into the Lion's Den".

my screenwriter pal Chad Darnell says each time you look at a cell phone in a thriller, you're dead. Yup, I'm a goner.

at least I don't have a silo growing out of my head
Ronnie contemplates just having broken the transmission learning to drive stick
It's the fun intro road trip with following a mini-van with its back open and a crew and camera hanging out the back, or sometimes with a camera in the car, our director in the trunk watching playback, as I'm driving a stick shift jetta with fake california plates in Pennsylvania (we're supposed to be coming from LA), making porn star Jake Steel run buck naked onto the side of a busy highway, stealing locations, everything entirely permit free. I love micro budget!
And just like a road trip we're laughing and learning a lot about each other. When Ronnie was seven, he kissed his first girlfriend on a stoop in Chicago. She seductively rolled on her chap stick, and leaned in for the kiss.  After it happened he was so grossed out he barfed Spaghettio's into her lap.

At the same age, Kristen's parents were looking for him in the toy store, scouring the aisles of trucks and boy toys and finally found him with a death grip on a doll of Ariel the little mermaid, "With the removable shimmer fins and optional blue dress with blouse sleeves". Several years later, they sat him down and came out for him.

Director Dan Lantz will do anything to get the shot, and we've also come to love our make up artist Sherry. She's recently divorced and has found major success in the bountiful boy-hunting grounds of a website for cougars. She's also a photographer, mother, and a mixologist who shared with us her original recipe using whipped cream vodka.
Ronnie and Sherry aka "Crazy Tiny"
essential props
Sherry also is teaching me how to smoke since I don't know how and my character does.  Her wisdom: Don't fear the flame. 

There's been long days and long nights in backwoods motels near Lancaster, PA, in Amish county. Clothes drying on the line (we saw no bras or underwear, do they were them?), horse and buggies, clydesdales, weeding, bailing hay. It seems all bucolic until you realize that if their kids leave that isolated community (and venture out of 1834), they are effectively disowned by their families. That's the love of the Lord!

Kristen fuels up at the Amish buffet. Or maybe it's Mennonite. The Mennonites are allowed electricity.
Along our journey, I've been meeting the rest of the cast of characters. I meet gas station attendant Jake Steel ("I'll be blowing you later"), bartender Frank ("You'll be raping me later"), or backwoods Barbie "Betty" ("You'll kill me with a crossbow later")
Ronnie blocking. Betty should beware the Spaghettios.
the furkini...
Let's make the happy transition from religion to porn. Here's Jake Steel pumping gas.
It is illegal to leave this nozzle unattended.
sometimes you can't improve on the copy.
Bloggers note: Jake is wearing the boots he wore in his immortal film, "Piss in Boots"

don't get excited, it's not really $2.35 a gallon. the station has been closed for years.
There was a lot of discussion on whether or not Jake Steel should be soft or hard during our sex scene. Jake said he didn't care. It's not a porn but they wanted it to look real, so they asked him for a "3/4 erection". Jake just said, "I can give you soft or hard - I don't do fractions"! You'll have to watch the film to see which way it went. 

Today, I'm going to get buried in a shallow grave.  Which is I'm sure how many people would like to see happen to my career!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Vital Vidal

Before reality television there was....seminal television!  Talk about Outplay, Outmatch, Outlast. Have you caught this amazing spar match on the Dick Cavett Show from back in 1971? Must-see TV!

Writers Gore Vidal, Janet Flanner and Norman Mailer face off - and Mailer is completely out of his league vs. these three wits. Of course he didn't lead well with: "We all know I stabbed my wife..."

So just in case before now you didn't think Norman Mailer was a total douchebag:

It's like not only does he miss every barb, but all he's got is...finger bowls?  Reduced to the bellicose menace he truly was, Mailer personifies arrogance. Brutalized by quicker brains, he claims intellectual superiority?  BTW, what are finger bowls?

And can we all agree Janet Flanner wins this round gloved hands down?

It's funny to me how grown men, grown learned men, so easily race right back to playground to name call.  Or go for the easy ad hominem.  Gore Vidal is provocative, always taunting, needling the enemy. Here's a famous interview with conservative William Buckley getting so needled by Gore that Buckley resorts to calling him queer and threatening to smack him in the gob til he's plastered (?). I'm sorry, weren't we talking about the Vietnam War?

What do you think of gay grandpa Gore Vidal?  He's still spewing. 

Lately Vidal vitriol is aimed at American imperialism.  He's had choice words for Bush and of Ronald Reagan, who he once quipped was "A triumph of the embalmer's art." Recently, at 85, when asked if he had a better way of governing, Vidal said, "Give me a few days and I'll come up with something  better; it took one of my predecessors only seven".

The acid comes easy when you know you're right. He is always right, but is that all it is - being right?

Vidal lived with his partner Howard Austen for 53 years (until Austen's death), but Gore Vidal says he's not gay - that there are "homosexual acts" not "homosexuals" and if we put labels on it's too easy to scoop us all up and send us to Auschwitz. That's why you don't see him headlining Pride parades.

Unfortunately right is not might. Wouldn't it be nice if people didn't have to identify allegiances, take sides like they do on the Dick Cavett show.  I couldn't agree more with his philosophy. If I could I'd erase confines of sexuality, I would. I'd also erase the barriers of race, nationality, religion.  But we are not that advanced, so IMO, you had better step up and represent for advancement.
I'd like to live in a world where humans picked up books with the same alacrity they pick up weapons. That's not going to change until the next Cambrian extinction and a higher consciousness arises from our ashes. Until then, I am gay. I belong to a tribe, no matter logic that says we are all the same. No matter we know this should be the least interesting thing about us. 

He's not a hypocrite or an Uncle Tom. Gore Vidal just doesn't give a fuck. Let's face it - he never did. He wrote one of the first books with a gay love story "City and the Pillar" in 1948 and was pilloried for it. It's a harmless, sweet novel if you've read it - but the New York Times was so incensed it refused to review his next 7 books - because he dared once write about the love that dare not speak its name (in print or otherwise).  So what does Gore Vidal do? He becomes the a literary lion, a pundit, a polemic; he's in politics, and later he writes Myra Breckenridge, one of the first novels about a transsexual.

Yes he does represent, in action. So when I say Gore Vidal doesn't give a fuck, I'd wager he gives too much of a fuck and that's the drive to being right, disavowing every limitation with that trenchant acid.

I feel major ambivalence toward this anti-hero.  There always seems too much contention and too little love and aren't you scared of growing old this way? He exasperates me like he exasperates his adversaries and maybe that's because he is just flat out more intelligent. Listen to him if you care, ignore if you dare. Gore Vidal makes me wonder how maddening it must be to live seventeen generations before your time.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Half-Share: the Trailer

Exposing all the glamor of your summer in Fire Island Pines!  Last year, epic comedians Sam Pancake, Jack Plotnick and Alec Mapa flew in from LA to Fire Island to join the cast and help make Half-Share a riot to shoot and produce. We're almost finished - and we're proud to announce its world premiere!

Half-Share has been selected to premiere this month at the prestigious Palm Springs International Short Film Festival where it hopes to get noticed (and picked up, like any good boy) by all the right people.

Welcome to the island of misfit boys - where the cocktail is always half-full! Take a peek at the press release (click to make it bigger!) and the trailer below - and a big sincere thanks to our investors and everyone involved. The laughs couldn't have happened without you!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Biss is it!

Here's a little clip someone sent me of miss Violet Tendencies from RAGE magazine in LA!  It's out there on DVD, kids, Violet is waiting for you to pick her up and take her home.  Don't make her go on that Frisky Friends line again. Phone lines are soooo 1990's.  Besides, it's dangerous...and she's out of peanut butter!

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Lieutenant Sulu just beamed me up!

I started following Star Trek's George Takei on Twitter, and I got this direct message back.  Will definitely RT and #FF him hard!  Yeah I know it's a form tweet, but it made my day nonetheless.

Monday, June 06, 2011

What are you reading?

Here's three very different books off the pink shelf that are well worth a look. 
My pal over at Boy Culture blog, Matt Rettenmund, wrote a hilarious romp at the end of last century called Blind Items, or as he inscribed to me, his "pre-internet, pre-Perez, romantic/tragic/comedic free-for-all"! The humor in this book is so spot on and hilarious, I had to slow down its consumption just to catch all the laughs. They were being thrown away at the speed of a 30 Rock episode per page! 

The meat of the multi-generational actor fandom double story line had me so separately engrossed, I didn't even see coming the twist that connected them by the end.

The very last line of the film, a press release from a gay actor who just came out reads: "Consider your decision to be closeted very closely - you don't know what -or who-you're missing." Just this week, the author responded to a sloppy Queerty "opinion piece" suggesting closeted actors "smell desperation" and attacking a great couple (and out gay actors) Steve Callahan and Matthew Montgomery for encouraging actors to live authentic lives.  I was also happy to give my opinion on Elisa Rolle's blog.
Tomas Mournian's debut novel HIDDEN takes on the modern underground railroad - teens escaping "ex-gay" torture facilities and the families who have the sanctioned (and sanctimonious) right to put them there.  In a story that grips and never lets go, we follow Ben as he makes a harrowing escape from "Serenity Ridge" to San Francisco, always haunted, always hunted. 

He meets a cast of gypsies, tramps and thieves who live in the "safe house" with him, doing whatever they have to do to survive (cam sex!) The suspense never lets up, not even at Halloween and while I wasn't always sure if the terror was real, it sure was to Ben/Ahmed, and isn't that the way it works?  Terrorize them young and they'll be forever suspicious.  Show kids that unconditional love means abusive oppression, and you wonder: Will they ever be able to love? 
Quite the opposite, two-time Olympic ice-skater Johnny Weir's memoir "Welcome To My World" is a true tale about what can happen when parents uplift and encourage their children.  It's thanks to them that little Johnny Weir is/was able to take on a monolith as galactically intimidating as the world ice skating "Federation".  I love nothing better than a whistleblower and an iconoclast and he's all that and blessed with world class talent. Before ice skating, Johnny was an equestrian prodigy.

Everyone knows he's been unfairly scored for his unfettered flamboyance in the gayest sport in the universe (a sport which tries futilely to downplay this distinction); how often he's judged by news and sportscasters who once announced publicly, at international competitions, that "Johnny should get a gender test", but Weir shrugs them all off. His unabashed, unashamed refusal to be anyone but himself is so attractive that when I met him in New York, I kissed him on the face (and got makeup on my lips).

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Is it too soon to make fun of Japan?

Here is what my friends found outside a corner shop in Shinjuku, Tokyo. You thought it was an urban legend, but they really do sell used girls' panties in vending machines!  And for only 500 Yen (US $6)! 

No wonder the Japanese are so good in a crisis. In the same vending machine, no less, you can purchase a plastic pussy (or ass) for the same price. 

No wining, no dining - $6 pussy is the cheapest date ever!