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Showing posts from June, 2017

Pic of the Week

Our latest of Pic of the Week is singer Aaron Carter. Aaron has been to Champaign-Urbana a few times to perform and, unfortunately, has been the subject of some body-shaming recently. Goodness knows why. Enjoy.



If You Could Read My Mind

Dance clubs are a funny thing. They contain within their walls a life force and vibrancy sometimes unmatched anywhere else. When dusk settles and the lights come on, people will flood the dance floors to gyrate to music with hypnotic beats and songs about love, lust and fun at the disco. At gay bars, this sort of scenario usually increases ten-fold. It isn't for everyone, but for many it is a respite from the harsh realities of the real word. It is a place that isn't just a structure, but a sanctuary where folks -- minorities in their own communities -- can take shelter and unwind with abandon, at least for a few nighttime hours.
As someone who benefited greatly from such an aforementioned gay dance club, you can imagine my dismay at news of the closing of Chester Street Bar. In business for over three decades, gay-owned and operated, there was a time when C-Street (as it was known by most) was the only haven for those in the LGBT community, near and far, to enjoy themselves …

The Relaxed Reassurance of Twin Peaks

I've been enjoying Showtime's revival of Twin Peaks this past month. We are now seven episodes in to an eighteen-episode season, and I am actually looking forward to a Sunday evening for a change. The mood created within the world of David Lynch's creation can at times be mesmerizing, and the plot is progressing, albeit slowly. It's that slowness that is perhaps one of the key reasons I'm enjoying the show so much.
We live in a fast-moving age. Our Internet connections move in the blink of an eye. The service industry caters to an ever-increasing society that is on-the-go. Movies and TV shows have all but done away with opening credits, fearing that a viewership with short attention spans won't want to wait through such tedious trifle. Camera shots in film and television are so fast now, down to low-end single-digit seconds. And the hype machines are out in full force. I never remember producers being interviewed about the shows they were in charge of, explain…

Why Can't We Be Friends?

I was somewhat taken aback recently when I learned that a single friend doesn't care very much for the company of couples. It is difficult not to take personal offense at this, being part of a couple, but then I took a step back and thought about the various types of people who I know and prefer to associate with socially. And the reasons why. It was an enlightening self-analysis.

The Twenty-Five Best Films of the Century So Far

Lists, rankings, etc. are, despite how much some may claim objectivity, very much a personal thing. We bring our own lives and bias to the list-making process, though there is nothing wrong with that, as long as we're honest about it. Such a curation should also attempt to provoke. Not in a violent manner, obviously -- but in thought. It should nudge us to think upon what our own lists would be for the same scenario.
To that end, Richard Brody's rather pretentious list of his Top 25 Best Films of the 21st Century (so far, of course) has done its job. I see a lot of movies, dear reader, but have not heard of most of the ones on the list. This isn't said with any pride, more of a quizzical cocking of the head, and a desire to make my own list of what I consider to be the best of the 21st century through 2017. It is, of course, the definitive list.
And so, the best of the century so far...

Of Matts and Ashleys, Churches in New England, and Other Doppelgangers

The dream recurs on at least a semi-monthly basis, always a mixture of familiarity with alarming disorientation.

From the very first time the dream occurred, I felt at home within the small New England church. And, for whatever reason, I immediately understood where I was. Starting in an abrupt stupor, I was immediately seated roughly two-thirds from the altar, in about the tenth pew toward the back. The rustic church was made mostly of wood, some of it stained, other parts (such as the beams and rafters) painted a gleaming white. There was stone, too. You could tell it was before a service was to begin. People were milling about, generally making their way into the structure.
Somehow, I knew the location, but not why I suddenly found myself there. This caused some considerable consternation, as you might imagine it would. The church looked to be like what I imagine those centuries-old old Protestant churches are like in New England, hence the sense of knowing where I was, or at least…

Pic of the Week

Hope everyone is enjoying their month of June so far! Here is our latest Pic of the Week, actor Ben Rosenfield. He has appeared in HBO's Boardwalk Empire, last year's film Indignation, and in the first two episodes of Showtime's Twin Peaks revival this year.




The Best Science-Fiction TV Shows of All-Time

It isn't a giant leap of a statement to say that we're shaped very much by our childhood. Our parents and home life play a major role in development, along with friendships and, for most, pop culture. This includes TV viewing and, growing up during the 1980s, my television habits included  a lot of comedies, some drama (it was the era of nighttime soaps, after all) and, most notably, science-fiction & fantasy shows. Of all of the programs I have enjoyed over the years, it is the latter that has been most prominent in shaping my entertainment outlook. To this day, I'll take a sci-fi/action thriller over a romantic comedy.
Given that my favorite television shows are often science fiction & fantasy, what, then are my favorite programs of said genre? Which ones stood-out as the best of the best over the years? I'm glad you asked, dear reader, because following is a break-down of my Top 10 favorite ones (in alphabetical order). Let's get to it.

What We Leave Behind

Periodically my mom will give me some mementos, heirlooms, documents and photographs of our family history. I've enjoyed receiving them, though with more than a pinch of wistfulness included. The handing-down of treasured familial possessions is always a bit of rite of passage, a quiet signifier of aging and our own mortality. The keepsakes are wanted, yet there is almost the urge to reject what their receipt symbolizes.
It occurred to me that there is another, even more personal, reason that I grow rueful whenever the subject of fondly-held items arises. I have no children to leave anything to. Now, admittedly, that is perhaps the most selfish reason to have a child, but then it can be argued that people have children for a variety of reasons. Some wish to carry-on their lineage, others want another human to love and care for. A few didn't expect to have a child, and are making their best go of it. So on and so forth.

I Love How You Love Me

Episode five of the new season of Twin Peaks was overall another good entry for the revived program. We were treated to a progression (albeit a slow one) of the plot lines previously dangled before us in episodes one through four, as well as some new elements that were introduced to keep us guessing. I could have done without the sadistic violence and profanity, but am resigned to expecting such things with David Lynch, especially when he's unshackled from the constraints of network television.
It is pretty well-known that David Lynch's works don't always make a lot of sense. To this day, almost two decades after its release, people are still debating what the heck his movie Mulholland Drive is about. Lynch was also reticent to reveal the killer of Laura Palmer which, you know, is kinda the reason millions of people initially watched the original series of Twin Peaks. With that, I was a bit apprehensive going into this new season, as devoting several hours of one's ti…

Thoughts on Wonder Woman 2017

With an opening in the very respectable range of $100 million in North America, the new Wonder Woman movie is certainly taking the world by storm (the overseas box office is in the $122 million range). Critics and audiences alike appear to love it And I? Well, what follows are my (spoiler-filled) thoughts on the film.
First, let's open by saying that I'd give the new Wonder Woman movie a 7 out of 10. If you want something even simpler than a numerical system, I give it a thumbs-up. Having said that, there are a lot of minor criticisms I have about the film, things that could have made it better.

Wonder Woman Story

As a kid, I wanted to be Wonder Woman.
This isn't a confession of some sort of sexuality (not more than what regular readers and friends already know). I simply liked the Lynda Carter Wonder Woman TV series (1975-1979) and, like most fantasy characters that kids enjoy (Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, etc.) I wanted to dress-up and role play as them. In the case of Wonder Woman, it would have meant wearing a more feminine-defined garb.
Such childhood thoughts came back to me recently, no doubt spurred by the Wonder Womanmovie released in theaters this week. That movie may be good, but it will never be the show that first introduced me to the character, in all its '70s glory. When I watch it now its corniness bleeds through, but as a kid, it was pure gold. Lots of fun and adventure.