Welcome to the inaugural issue of our Dwell on Design newsletter. As a past attendee we wanted to give you a preview and invite you to sign up to continue receiving this newsletter.
We’re excited to share with you all the upcoming announcements and breaking news regarding this year’s event. You will be the first to know as we confirm exhibitors and speakers, special events, the line-up for the 2012 Home Tours, and more. Of course you may still receive important notices and updates from time to time by email but this newsletter will be our primary mode of communication to you for Dwell on Design June 22-24, 2012 at the LA Convention Center. So sign up today!
For this first issue we'll take a look back at some of the highlights from 2011.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE FOX IS BLACK
Guest blogger Bobby Solomon, aka The Fox Is Black, put together a slideshow of show floor highlights, including wares from Molo, David Trubridge, Zoe Garred, and Daniel Ogassian.
Essentially the West Coast equivalent of ICFF in New York, but with less hype and austerity, Dwell On Design is an exciting time for Los Angeles. It unites designers, creatives, larger corporations, as well as the average person on their quest to beautify their home.
I’m glad that the douchiest thing about me is that I use Axe Body Spray. That is, I used to use Axe. My conscience has finally gotten the better of me. I don’t want to turn into this meme–
To explain my usage of this is to come out about another dirty secret. I perspire a lot. I stink a lot. Even hours after a shower. While some people have a five o’clock shadow, I have a five o’clock stank cloud. Like all those women in tampon commercials before me, it leaves me feeling self-conscious, unconfident and unable to juggle my job and a baby. Well, not that last part. But I definitely start to hide in my belly button when I feel my underarms start to dampen ONE HOUR into my work day. And I’m dark-haired and furry, so the sweat doesn’t exactly roll off me like water off a duck’s back.
I usually have to take multiple showers a day. But I am not ashamed of this. Many great and sexy people over the years have had to take multiple showers to not turn into sweaty beastmen. People like Brad Pitt, Louis Armstrong and Helen Gurley Brown.
So to remedy this, and because I don’t have a million dollars to spend on cologne, I turned to the cheap Axe spray. In addition to my bathroom, I have emergency cans in my glove box, my messenger bag and gym bag. I’ve never not had to use them.
What I love and hate most about Axe is their ridiculous names for scents. Xtreme names like Viper! (I smell like a fucking poisonous snake, y’all) Instinct! (now I’m a lizard who can survive in the mothereffin’ Amazon, sucka) Kodiak! (take your hands of my child, cousin, I’m the last bear you’ll ever see) Howl! (oh, you thought all the animals I’d been before existed in nature? Guess again, and say hello to me, a holy hell werewolf, son)
I couldn’t take it anymore. In the CVS, my trembling hands reached for the can, but like Alex in “A Clockwork Orange” before me, my brain short-circuited, and I ended up in the fetal position on the carpet.
My eyes had been opened, and now all the douchiness of their product that I had previously, politely ignored now became as clear as a bell. Their ad campaigns where you used Axe, and were suddenly beset with bitches–
Yes, bitches be crazy. And absolutely no woman can resist Axe body spray…
Or slightly homo-phobic/erotic–
Hmm. Maybe I’ll give this “sweat” thing a day in court.
Or just plain ignorant to how bugnuts insane and scary their psychotic chocolate man is–
Leave me alone! I’m not playing anymore! Seriously, where are your eyelids?
So out of respect for my approaching 28th birthday and standing as a man possessing a modicum of intelligence and dignity, I am switching to unscented Right Guard spray. It doesn’t appeal to my love of scents, variety and punny names, but at least I can face the world. And now life is good again!
The Kate Winslet buoyed HBO miniseries “Mildred Pierce” just wrapped up it’s laborious five hours. She did her best, it had great production values (production designers! Is there any Hollywood workhorse that’s had more consistent results?), but in the end, the story did not justify it’s runtime. So, sadly, I don’t think I got much out of it…
WAIT A TICK! I did! It was the biggest display of pie porn since “Pushing Daisies”. Winslet makes her bones as a pie maker, and the masturbatory running time allowed for many (MANY!) pie baking scenes, set to 1920′s ragtime. Pie Porn made just for me.
Like “Julia & Julia,” don’t watch this movie hungry. Better yet, don’t watch this movie. Watch “Pushing Daisies”. But in the meantime, here are the five pies that have been present during the show about pies (and, apparently, some Mother-Daughter tension):
1) Maple Pecan Pie
Do you know this pie is made with two cups of maple syrup??
2) Deep-Dish Plum Pie
There’s no bottom crust, only top crust. (scared and confused now)
3) Raspberry Pear Tart
Made by Marcus, he decided to something we in the business call “improvising”, and threw some raspberry jam into the pie. Seems as though he had an “instinct” that it might “taste good”. Pff!
4) Key Lime Pie
Bought by Denny. The prospect of baking proved overwhelming for him, the poor lamb. Frankly, it was the best one.
5) Banana Cream Pie
The first pie I baked where it didn’t all fall apart, forcing me to sheepishly ladle into a bowl for my too-polite guests.
So what if millions of dollars went into this, and actors and writers poured their heart and soul into the story, and all I got out of it was pie porn? Less has been had out of greater projects.
Plenty has seen improvements over the years by the intervention of a gay man in the design and interpretation process. Yet there are some serious areas of major money-making businesses that could do with some style, panache or just a plain old edgy renovation.
In the battle of large-scale Everything Stores, K-Mart is more gay-friendly than Wal-Mart and Target combined. So, why then do they insist on being the most depressing shopping experience ever? It’s all dirty floors, harsh fluorescents and baby clothes. I get so glum walking past the Little Ceasars that I half-expect to see a single red ball roll across the floor, followed by a woman screaming “Help! Where’s MY CHIIIILD???”
I’d rather shop at that grocery store from “The Mist.”
K-Mart needs a total makeover, and I’m not talking about just renaming it “The Big K.” They need a new color scheme, a bang-up logo, and a hipster marketing campaign. Also, please, please, please, here are the things to put at the front of your store: DVDs, a Coffee Shop, and a fashionable-yet-sensible clothing line from a minor fabulous celebrity (I’m thinking a Christine Baranski or a Faith Hill). Here are the things to not put up front: baby clothes!!! You put baby clothes up front, y’know what the first thing a young, hip person’s gonna see when they walk in? Tired mommies or even more tired nannies. Vogue, damn your eyes!
Also, if it wasn’t a copyright infringement, you could call yourself “Gay Mart”.
2) Late Night Comedy
SNL, you need a gay cast member right now. You needed him yesterday. (I suggest a gay man for SNL. I have a better place for lesbians below– be patient!) SNL’s recent Elton John-centric show really illuminated how awfully clumsy they are with gay material. They are clearly supportive, but they all seem so blockheaded when it comes to execution that every sketch ends with Jason Sudeikis wildly tongue-kissing Elton/Fallon/Timberlake to the wild hoots of an audience so desperate for laughs, they’ll drink the sand. What the hell? When did I agree to start watching MadTV?
Giving straight Taran Killem all the gay parts doesn’t count. Don’t waste Elton’s time, people.
SNL has had one openly gay cast member in its entire 35+ year run, and that was in the early 80′s (that’s right– one gay cast member and that was when gays were thought of as lecherous diseased parasites by the majority of the viewing public), for one season. Terry Sweeney, who was pretty much regulated to doing Nancy Reagan. SIDE NOTE: The one nancy-as-Nancy sketch I saw was pretty funny for that era– it involved Mrs. Reagan shuffling around trying to find the perfect placement of a vase. She becomes so frustrated that she just destroys the vase.
My point, SNL, is when you have no gay cast members, you really have to walk on eggshells as to the kinds of gay jokes you can do. If you get a gay in there, your options will open up, and everyone can calm down and finally think of something funny. I know (sarcasm alert) you have edge to burn right now, but this could give you an edge on other sketch shows. You career is older than Madonna’s. Reinvent yourself!
Also, The Daily Show needs a lesbian correspondent. A Rachel Maddow, if she weren’t so prominent. Daily Show also suffers the same thing as SNL: compassionate, but because they have no gay voices, they are left to take the straight guy approach to gay rights stories, which is: I’m for it, but we don’t quite understand the intricacies of how the lack of rights is affecting these people.
Plus, gays need some refreshing political humor pronto. We’re getting too stuffy for my liking.
3) Universal Studios
If you mean gay as in lame, then yes, Universal Studios is very gay. But I say it needs the other kind of gay: the stylish, good at entertaining people kind of gay. I just got back from spending a day at their Hollywood Park. We were there from Noon to 6, and I swear to God we ran out of things to do. And I don’t buy that it’s just “they don’t have that much land to work with.” Disneyland doesn’t have much land to work with, either, and they’re pulling through alright. The park is going through an identity crisis: Do we have reverence for old movies or do we not? Rides for flash-in-the-pan films like “E.T.” and “Back to the Future” are being ripped out and replaced with rides for more timeless treasures like “The Mummy Returns” and “Transformers: Dark of the Moon.”
The big problem is the Studio Backlot Tour. What should be a glamorous extravaganza of film past and present has now been reduced to a golf cart trip through empty lots, where we ride past the Bates Motel set, but we don’t hear any history about it because the driver is too busy advertising “Hop.” I almost leapt across the cars to grab the mike and start narrating the tour myself! We were told at several points to be quiet because “Desperate Housewives” was filming. Cue audible gasps and murmurs of “that show’s still on??” And that new King Kong 3-D part of the tour? Twenty seconds of bad, dull IMAX (that apparently cost $4 million).
Oh no, it’s that King Kong from the thing and the…has it really been 40 minutes since we boarded?
Universal, get your gay on, embrace the glamor of old Hollywood, like Hitchcock (I PROMISE YOU, gays and film nerds– of which I’ve heard there are a couple of in Hollywood– will flock). Also, get some nightlife for goodness sake. Your park closes at 6 (it’s still light out!), and your Citywalk (y’know, with all the bars and cool restaurants) closes at 10! Criminy! If only Horror Nights could last all year round.
4) The Hip Hop Industry
When are these guys gonna kiss already?! 50 Cent, with the homophobic tweets; Lil’ Wayne, with the “no homo”; all the posturing and shirtlessness “you’re my bitch”. I can’t take much more of this sexual tension game, fellas.
5) Jennifer Aniston
Jennifer, I love you. I’m a “Friends” fan. You had an amazing stint on “30 Rock.” So, let me put this delicately: STOP. DOING. MOVIES! They all stink. All of them. Stop doing movies with straight schnooks like Sandler and Gerard Butler.
BOOO all of your choices!
Go back to TV! Courtney Cox and Lisa Kudrow did it, and their gay fanbases are growing by the day. There isn’t a gay I know who isn’t obsessed with “The Comeback,” and my gay buddies are the only people I’m aware of excited for “Scream 4.” Oh, I’m sorry, “SCRE4M.”
Return, return, return to TV. There will be shitloads of money in it for you. You are disrespected in the movie world. It isn’t where you belong! You will be welcomed with open arms, and you could probably meet a really nice guy on set who isn’t gonna be too famous for you.
6) The CMAs
Award Shows are for gays. I don’t care if it’s country music or the Source Awards, the only people who watch are gays and girls. So, why oh why, would my dear Reba McEntire get onstage and make a WORN-THE-HELL-OUT “Brokeback Mountain” joke in reference to why Gyllenhaal broke up with Tennessee Songbird Taylor Swift?
If only those Awards Show gift baskets were paid for by a few chuckling cowboys, this wouldn’t be such an issue.
WHY? Spruce this up! The decorum is terrible. Also, the Oscars, I think a grain or two of dust could stand to be blown off that workhorse.
7) Marvel Superheroes
Actually, this one’s on here because it needs less gay. The gay blogosphere is lit up to a near Christmas-like capacity over every new “Captain America” and “Thor” promo picture, that we have to be responsible for at least 3/4 of its buzz. Avi Arad should be so overcome with gratitude that he orders Chris Evans and Hemsworth to give round the clock blowjobs to every gay nerd in town. But, as usual, our contributions to the buzz machine will be overlooked and lumped in with the “Girls 14-25″ demographic.
I’m getting a little worn thin, frankly, with all the promotions, and we’re still months away. Yes, Thor is hot and positively giddy to see Natalie Portman in something again in my “Black Swan” afterglow, but I have ears and a brain, and it looks like true malarky.
Apparently, director Kenneth Branagh spent months agonizing over the look of Thor’s legendary hammer. And after an exhaustive search he came up with…probably the same hammer I would’ve chosen in ten seconds.
It’s a mythical god kingdom, and everything is fetish armor and Anthony Hopkins whizzing his legacy down his ankle. Everything’s so big and grandiose without original design. If you don’t have a crazy unique design for a god kingdom, then go for something muted and gritty. You don’t have to blow your load at everyone opera-tunity.
All I’m saying is that comic book movies need to get less gay or start actively chasing our demographic more. It’s dishonestly closeted. From May to July, I should not be able to go into the Abbey or Fiesta Cantina without running into ten big blond dudes dressed like Thor, handing out condoms with May 6th/Rated PG-13 on ‘em.
If Thor, Wolverine, Captain America and the gang are going to bang us, we expect a kiss on the mouth.
Months ago, Apple received a whole unwanted hulabaloo when they approved the app "The Manhattan Declaration," which consisted of little more than a question "Do you believe marriage should be kept between a man and a woman?" If you answered yes, the Manhattan Declaration would ask you to sign their statement of support for the Antis. If you answered no, you were told you answered incorrectly and to try again. Not even kidding.
The whole fiasco ended with Apple removing the app from their store.
WELL! An admittedly far worse app has just been approved. Exodus International, a documented hate group, better known as the "Pray the Gay Away Camp" people, better known as dangerous liars, better known as the dirty part under the sink, have an app now!
This is a particularly crafty Joe Camel-esque attempt to seize on gay kids' minds when they are at their most tender. Ever since it's become widely accepted that the idea of forcing a change in sexuality is difficult to the point of impossibility, Exodus Int'l has shifted their focus away from "Pray the Gay Away," and onto a softer touch of "help these poor lambs remain celibate so as to not further pollute the water."
In fact, the Exodus Think Tank (surely consisting of scientists, doctors, lawyers, poets, psychologists and other high degree holders) have come up with a nifty new nickname for us gays:
"God's Handicapped Children."
Not to be confused with actual handicapped children, who I think should be allowed first dibs on the moniker.
There's a listing for events, so you can never miss such milestones as Meet My New Wife Picnics and Hang Yourself Thursday. Also, a Videos section, where I'm sure you see testimonials from guys with big Ned Flanders moustaches. You also get the chance to ride that fine line between feeling panicky and close to laughter.
Favorite part of the app description: it's one-star rating, filled with endless comments that are pretty much "You and Apple should be ashamed of yourself."
So, we'll see how long this app lasts. If I were you, I'd run out and get that brand new iPad 2 today and fire up this app while it's still tolerated. With the new A5 microprocessor, you can delude yourself up to 9 times faster than ever before.
That’s right, another trip to RetroJunk.com has riddled me with a drive-by Melody Lane-ing. Pizza Hut’s BookIt program, that’s awesome/awful little blue buttons that promoted reading/lying-about-reading in order to gain Pizza Points.
Now, to be fair to myself, I did end up reading about 80% of the books I claimed to read, but that 5 books a week drove a hard bargain and forced me into a lying situation.
This New Year, I campaigned (myself) to read two books a month, and so far, I’ve kept that up.
But as a throwback to my old fibbing days, I’m going to do what I suppose one could call the opposite of the Oprah Book Club. I’m going to talk about a book BEFORE I read it.
First on my reading list is “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay” by Michael Chabon.
Here’s what I know about the book:
*It was #18 on the Best Gay Books of All Time list from AfterElton.com
*It follows Joe Kavalier, straight Jew, and Sammy Clay, gay Jew, and their efforts to launch a superhero character, The Escapist, amidst the Golden Age of Comic Books in the Pre, During and Post World War II-era New York City.
*It spans a great deal of time.
*It won the Pulitzer Prize in 2001
*It was attempted several unsuccessful times to be turned into a film.
Here’s what Fibbin’ Adam Sass thinks is going to happen, based on my BookIt Context Clues.
*I just watched Chabon-written “Wonder Boys” on VHS, which featured a sexual orientation-ambiguous Robert Downey Jr. and Tobey Maguire. The gay character of Sammy Clay will be chatty, neurotic and (being the 1930′s and 40′s) not be overtly homosexual (kissin’ boys) until later in the book, if at all.
*Couple people at Barnes & Noble, when I bought the book, said they cried their eyes out at the ending. They were both women, but they did not clutch their chests when they said they cried. It is therefore not an ending where someone beloved dies or experiences terrible heartbreak, it is a heartwarming ending, like “A League of Their Own,” where characters have loved and lost along the way, and we look back at how far we’ve come.
*The artwork is retro 40′s, involves Jews, so there will be several characters who must hide who they really are (just like the gay one) for fear of not “making it” in the comic book industry.
*The character of the Escapist will therefore be a blond Aryan god, as it will be the envious creation of two small, dark-haired Jews who are trying to throw people off the scent of their heritage in such war-lorn times.
*The men will have a professional and personal falling out that will span the decades between Post-War and, say, the 70′s, when a Second Golden Age of comics comes into being, and they are reunited as old men, the character of Sammy having probably come out by then.
*I predict I will enjoy the book a tremendous deal, being a gay-theme, comic book enthusiast, chatty character-loving fan of the Jews.
*I predict I will go on and on about the book ad nauseum to my friends and family, who will humor me for a few minutes and never pick the book up, save for a few who read it a few years ago when it was more current.
I therefore pre-give the book the BookIt Seal of Approval. Where’s my Goddamn dessert pizza?
My friend James Barry often says about the addictive southern chicken chain Chick-Fil-A, “It’s just chicken and a pickle on a biscuit, people.” This is a quote often accompanied by a link to a story about how sickeningly anti-gay the wildly successful restaurant is. His link is often commented on by chicken lovers who instruct him to kindly “leave Chick-Fil-A alone” or “never insult their chicken in front of me” or “give it a rest, already, I’m a fucking nut for that chicken.”
Okay, that last one I made up. But Chick-Fil-A’s supporters are quite unforgiving.
Take The New York Times‘ food writer Kim Severson, who wrote today on the swirling anti-gay controversy about “Chick-Fil-A.” It’s frankly, an embarrassing article for gays, as well as for her journalistic integrity, and The New York Times. To be honest, Chick-Fil-A comes out of this article car wash shinier than ever. The article isn’t bad. It just left a bad taste in my mouth.
Long story short, Chick-Fil-A is a privately owned, heavily Christian restaurant, and they aren’t hiding that fact. There’s lots of stories about they don’t hire people unless they believe in Jesus. There was an even a lawsuit brought against them by a Muslim man. Ms. Severson gives voice to a lot of folks who feel that this has all gotten out of control, and this is infringing on their religious freedom. According to Ms. Severson, “Jaded secular fans” call it “Jesus Chicken.” Hmm. Not really sure what place “jaded” has in this article, but so far we seem to be off to a very slanted start.
Oh, and she also couldn’t shut the fuck up about how great the chicken is. Some excerpts from the Chick-Fil-A ad/investigative piece:
The Chick-fil-A sandwich — a hand-breaded chicken breast and a couple of pickles squished into a steamy, white buttered bun — is a staple of some Southern diets and a must-have for people who collect regional food experiences the way some people collect baseball cards.
That’s how it begins, and I’m already salivating. I do give Ms. Severson props for refraining from words like “marinating,” “slow-roasted,” and “finger-licking good.”
What a fucking great sandwich!
Michael Geer, the president of the Pennsylvania Family Instituteand a fan of the Chick-fil-A southwest salad with spicy dressing, says the whole thing has been blown out of proportion. He simply asked a local, independent operator to provide lunch.
Maybe, Ms. Severson feels the article was getting a little fluffy or drab and needed the bigoted Mr. Geer’s personal Chick-Fil-A order to give it a personal flair. Still, I give her kudos for staying objective and not popping in her own preference for the Chicken Minis.
My mouth is fucking watering you guys. Does anybody have a towel?
Ms. Thomas grew up as a Southern Baptist in a small town in north Georgia. Her daily high school lunch was a Chick-fil-A chicken biscuit and sweet tea.
Okay, now it’s a humanist piece on a young woman who wants so badly to return to her good old days when a Chick-fil-A sandwich waited in her lunch pail, and the company’s hatred for gays was blissfully private. Ms. Thomas’s waxing brings the whole damned toothless article in for a landing:
Still, she said she had empathy for people who struggle to choose between their beliefs and a sandwich.
“It’s a hard call, a personal call,” she said. “You have to decide which soul you want to feed.”
Are we really asking ourselves this inane question? A social injustice over a fucking sandwich?
I just creamed in my pants looking at this sandwich. You’ve got to be kidding me!
So, Ms. Severson succeeded in making her readers hungry, belittling the opinions of the people who are actually angry about this, and fulfilling her obligation to the newspaper to at least mention gays in the article.
And she also made it look like us gays are out to destroy religion. We aren’t. But busting into our homes and limiting the kind of lives we can have is a good way to make that happen.
I don’t care about their prayer circles, or their not hiring Muslims or Jews, or their disallowing gay couples from attending their events. Don’t care about it, not gonna use it.
I’m not anti-religion on principle. I’m anti-religion when they bust into my life like so much street punks into Charles Bronson’s apartment. Then, they deserve everything coming to them. Chick-Fil-A gives copious amounts of money and lunches to events and organizations that use that money to fund anti-gay initiatives like Prop 8, which took rights away from me.
But the sandwich! I grew up on this shit!
It’s very simple math, math Ms. Severson seems completely unable to grasp. And it’s graspable without resorting to subjectivity.
1) You give money to Chick-Fil-A in exchange for sandwiches.
2) Chick-Fil-A takes that money and puts it into the big Chick-Fil-A bank account.
3) Money is taken from the big Chick-Fil-A bank account and used for things like paying employees, keeping the lights on, and sometimes, yes, as donations to the Pennsylvania Family Institute and the National Organization for Marriage.
4) The National Organization for Marriage uses their bank account, which contains Chick-Fil-A dollars (AKA your dollars), to pay for radio ads, video ads and street signs for initiatives like Prop 8 and Question 1.
5) Prop 8 of California and Question 1 of Maine had campaigns that had significantly more donation money to work with than the No on Prop 8 and No on Question 1 campaigns did.
6) Prop 8 and Question 1 were successfully passed, due in no small part to their visibility.
7) Prop 8 and Question 1 stripped gay citizens of California, like me, and gay citizens of Maine of their right to marry.
8) Your Chick-Fil-A sandwich took away rights.
There. Not a lick of subjectivity. So, in a way, CNN and New York Times are not subjective because they cloud this math. Intentionally or not, the lines between anti-gay businesses and stripped-away rights are never drawn.
C’mon you guys, it is NOT just chicken on a bun with a pickle, okay? It’s not. Have you tried the chicken? I mean, have you tried it? No, shut up, have you tried it?
I am now going to leave the land of subjectivity.
Phew. That was a scary couple of seconds. Gotta get a joke out there. Okay, wait. I can come up with one. Okay, maybe the Chick-Fil-A/Rights Taken Away math problem is flawed because we never get to step 8. Because by Step 5, Maggie Gallagher of NOM has used the Chick-Fil-A money not for Yes on Question 1 stickers, but for more Chick-Fil-A sandwiches.
Wow, subjectivity makes you rusty. No wonder no newsperson does it anymore.
It’s a Southern thing. You just don’t understand.
In the wake of the revelation of these donations, Chick-Fil-A owner Dan Cathy has issued a statement saying the organization will no longer fund anti-gay organizations.
“Jesus!” I thought. ”I can’t believe such a staunchly religious person gave in to our demands like that. They usually aren’t able to keep their fucking mouths shut or stay out of my affairs for two seconds, so–”
Wait, the article continued after I stopped reading:
“At the same time, we will continue to offer resources to strengthen marriages and families. To do anything different would be inconsistent with our purpose and belief in Biblical principles.”
Ah-so. Basically, what he’s saying he’s still going to support these initiatives. He’s just going to be a little more clever about how he does it next time.
Dan Cathy. Or is it Charles Widmore?
If I said Christopher Nolan was robbed of a nomination this year, many would agree. ”Inception” was outrageously gorgeous, relentlessly entertaining, and intelligently romantic. It did not reinvent the wheel, it was not mind blowing. I believe it was not meant to be that. It was meant to be dazzling! That’s why I was amazed that the nod was given to Nolan’s screenwriting and not his insane visual direction.
This oversight is Nolan’s great misdirection. The movie was billed, reviewed and buzzed as a mind-bending, game-changing bramblefuck of a topsy-turvy. The blowback it received from some people complained that it wasn’t this. I never saw it as a ‘through the looking glass’ moment. Wait, it was, but not for what everybody thought. What it was was a breath of fresh air for Hollywood films. It was not the future. It was a throwback to the days when escapism did not mean “this is stupid,” and action did not mean “here’s a bunch of shit, catch!” Emotional, MacGuffin-using, time-clock-racing, effects aiding the story, don’t know how they did that visuals, twists, not forgetting to take a breath, and unforgettably grand scores.
Kinda like Hitchcock used to do. Hmm. Another guy who never got an Oscar.
I adore Nolan’s work, but I don’t think he’s a contemporary Hitchcock. What he does have is a lot of Hitchcock’s more taken for granted characteristics.
For start, the visual accumen it takes to tell a story as rich and grand as this without a lick of voice-over (he’s learned a lot since “Memento”) is a feat indeed. The simple tick-tick-tick of a Tag Heuer watch slowing down and speeding up, the relationship of speed to time, never so elegantly and mainstream-edly showcased.
I mention the brand of the watch because I believe it was not an accident.
STYLE! I don’t think I could come up with a single filmmaker working today who consistently dresses his characters within an inch of their lives. It’s style for style’s sake, and it’s a lost art. Just look:
Marion Cotillard looks like she’s a dangerous gift to cinema, time-travelling from 1949. She looks like she could have been right at home in a Hitchcock thriller. He would have loved her…if she were blond.
In fact, here’s a look at Marion playing “Marion”:
That photo is the stuff gay geeks’ dreams are made of.
Speaking of women and gays, here we have a big breaking off point between the Master and Nolan: sex. Nolan, film-wise, is completely disinterested in sex. Hitchcock’s women were famous. Not eroticized. But fantasized. Like Norman, Hitch was always watching.
The women were fascinating, mysterious, but not nothing-to-say sex objects (that’s the different between Hitchcock women and Bond girls).
But, with the exception of the elegant and perfect Ms. Cotillard, Nolan has no real fascination with the women in his films. Take a look:
That’s the most flattering photo of Maggie Gyllenhaal that I could find. And they’re usually romantically-inclined tomboy friends of the protagonist with, interestingly, less to say than the decked out Grace Kelly in “Rear Window.” It’s like all of Nolan’s female leads are “Vertigo”‘s Barbara Bel Geddes. Or that girl who ran around with Encyclopedia Brown.
As it is, Nolan’s best-dressed, most fascinating, glamorized characters are the men. Feast your eyes:
That’s not to say I think Nolan’s not into ladies. As a matter of fact, Hitchcock was probably the gayer one (probably a 3 or 4 on the Kinsey). He had a fascination with off-the-beaten-path sexualities that was more prevalent in his earlier work like “Rope” and “Strangers on a Train.” A femininity within masculinity.
Tom Hardy definitely has it going on, spurred from his teasing last summer that he used to fool around with men. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is slinky in his vest. And let’s not forget the men himself, Leo. Leo, the Disturbed Boyish one, who was the first man kind enough to tap me on the shoulder as a young lad and let me know which way the sexuality wind blew.
Is it any wonder “Inception” has garnered such Hitchcock comparisons. It isn’t necessarily “Hitchcockian.” It’s just a beautifully-construted throwback to more stylish times of some artistic consequence. Take a look at this Internet-made mash-up to see how well “Inception” melds with old-fashioned Hollywood.
Exquisite! Now let’s close this picturesque comparison with a couple discarded theme posters, always a joy.
Hey, are you confused about the different names of sizes at Starbucks? Well, you’re about to get thrown deeper down the rabbit hole? Because by May, all Starbucks will introduce an even bigger size (sigh)– the Trenta!!
31 oz. of pure drinking goodness! The Trenta size will only be available for Iced Coffee, Iced Teas, and Iced Tea Lemonades. Starting next week, they’ll be available in 14 states (mostly the Deep South, purely coincidentally). And on February 1st, California gets it. Closeted fatty California.
The move is addressing concerns of customers (oh, those concerned customers, they’re always so fit!) that they weren’t getting more bedonks for their buck. This is coming on the heels of recent California laws mandating food chains like Starbucks place the Calorie information next to each drink. They wisely only provided this for the low calorie items, so they’ll stay under 300.
This move was also done because McDonald’s has been offering coffees, lattes and the dreaded 32-oz. Sweet Tea for just a buck, and it’s been eroding Starbucks sales they believe.
Good fuck, what a terrible escalating arms race this is.
The reason I get iced tea from Starbucks and not McDonald’s is because Starbucks remains a classier product. I don’t want to cart around some hand-truck, or see other peopleI have no idea what the cups are going to look like (anything that doesn’t look like a bucket will shock me).
To quote “Jurassic Park’s” Ian Malcolm: “You were so preoccupied with whether or not you could, you didn’t stop to think if you should.”
I have taken a major step, my first of many, into getting old. I now have a pair of reading glasses, in addition to my maximum strength contact lenses (they do not make them any stronger without a special order). And LASIK is out of the question, as I am not a candidate (because I'm such a blind old man).
In fact, without my reading glasses, it's a touch difficult to read this sentence that I am writing. I hope there's no errors7.
So, to a Specialist I go! As I must now think of my future. Which is difficult because both of my grandfathers are pretty much sightless. Which I thought might happen to me too, except 50 years from now. Hopefully, I can handle this transition with the quiet dignity and grace of Gene Wilder, and not the "quiet dignity and grace" of Gene Wilder in "Young Frankenstein."
As I kick my emotional can down the dirt road of my existence, I must now reorganize everything in my life to revolve around my reading glasses.
1) I must constantly badger everyone in my life on putting money aside in a Roth-IRA (it's just good horse sense!)
2) My wardrobe must now consist of 90% cardigans.
3) Must move to New York's SoHo district, and be tagged as "Unidentified Older Gay Gentleman" in photos next to celebrities who I write sassy copy for their Twitter feeds.
4) Smoke purple cigarettes and write society-drenched crime novels, furthering my transformation into Truman Capote. (Not totally opposed to this one)
5) Begin comfort level in relationships as being referred to as "Daddy" or "Papi." But if I'm Papi, how gay is that guy?
Every time I mention my eyesight trubbs, there's always somebody who turns around or pops out of the bushes who is all too happy to tell me that "it only gets worse!" Please, if you read this, and you hear me bitch about my eyes, DON'T BE THAT PERSON.
But all might not be bleak. According to the package on some of these CVS-Brand reading glasses, there is a light-device on the frames that would appear to grant me no less than psionic powers.
So, I got that going for me. Which is nice.*
*"Caddyshack" references only increase with age. Next stop, ear hair.