The Spirit of Ed Wood Blog-a-thon, shared by David Jones.
i'm nearly the same age as Marilyn, and remember seeing Behind The Green Door in the theater when it was new. At that time, films like Green Door and Deep Throat were considered by many people to be part of a sexual, and a larger cultural, revolution. The fact that it had a sordid and exploitative side, or that it didn't change everything, doesn't distinguish it from the politics or other aspects of the 'revolution' of the 60's and 70's. It turns out that often what we think is significant, isn't, as we overlook something else which might be. This interview from 1977 gives a peek into how Marilyn viewed herself and was viewed, back in the day. Back then she seemed very much the sort of person i wished i could be.
Many years later, my beloved Studio North art film theater (now The Magic Bag) had become an adult cinema. The videotape revolution was drying up porn palace revenues, and the place had begun having live burlesque and stage shows. A girlfriend of mine attended a performance with Marilyn Chambers headlining, and returned raving about what a fabulous gal she was - so funny, friendly, and generous to all the other females. As my friend wasn't usually so effusive about other women, or people in general, for that matter, i remembered this endorsement.
So about ten years ago, i found myself at The Cinema Wasteland Movie and Memorabilia Expo with Took, who snapped the photo above. It's a great, great, convention, but it gets kind of dull when you're sitting at a vendor's table all weekend. It was even duller, i think, for Marilyn Chambers, who was a guest primarily because she was the lead in David Cronenberg's Rabid. (If you haven't seen Rabid, please add it to your queue NOW.) She wasn't selling a ton of photos or autographs, and she was all alone at her little table. We would get up and pace the room, doing the circuit like caged animals, and would gravitate to each other's tables every day. Perhaps it was because Took and i were ladies of her age, or maybe because we all liked to laugh, but Marilyn treated new acquaintances like forever friends. i remember meeting her not so much because she was famous, or infamous, but because she was a blast. Also, pushing fifty at that time, she was still really sexy. Yes, the years of ups and downs, struggles with drugs and alcohol, had taken a toll, but the Marilyn essence was an inside-out sexy. The attractiveness of a person who is alive to possibility never dies.
Yesterday when reading the shocking news of her death, i noticed a bit of emphasis on her living alone in a trailer. Perhaps to family, friends, fellow professionals, she was bitter or sad. But i never got that from her in an environment which certainly reminded her of the mainstream film career her adult films capsized. It seems to me that a person with her dignity and class deserves celebration, not pity or cheap moralizing.
Susie Bright has a good remembrance in that vein here.
The Wild Hunt points us to Technoccult, pointing to this excellent Radar story on the ongoing pandrogenous relationship between Genesis P-Orridge and the late Lady Jaye Breyer. An epic tale of identity, destiny, magick, music and kink, the Radar piece by Aaron Gell is also in the current newsstand issue.
Farhad Manjoo's Machinist blog at Salon didn't impress me at first, but has been rapidly winning me over, and cracked me up today. If you live anywhere in Metro Detroit it's been impossible to avoid the snippets of text messages revealing a sexual affair between Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and his Chief of Staff Christine Beatty.
Not such a big deal, or big surprise, but a whistleblower lawsuit has cost the city over 9 million dollars, after two police officers claimed they were fired for investigating the Mayor's horseplay. The over 14,000 text messages between Mayor and CoS confirm perjury about their affair and removal of the snoopy officers. There is at least one other pending federal lawsuit connected to the Mayor's alleged hosting of a party at the Manoogian Mansion, brought by the survivors of a murdered exotic dancer said to have performed at the party. Until last night hearings have found no actionable connection between the mayor's office and the stripper's unsolved death, but now the text messages will be subpoenaed in an updated complaint.
So. As Manjoo wisely points out - "please, for the love of all things good, refrain from text messaging your booty calls". Thank you and amen! i mean, my heart goes out to the poor overtaxed, depressed, overburdened citizens of Detroit at this time. They surely deserve the truth, and the expanding County Prosecutor's investigation commencing today. But what baffles me is that otherwise smart, tech-savvy folks like Kwame and Christine don't know that what's done in cyberspace remains in cyberspace. Phone calls, emails, and, duh, text messages. If you're so lame in covering up your cheating, please do not use texting to discuss the coverup.
Even if "all" you're guilty of is a little mess around, disgracing two cops doing their jobs, and squandering millions in one of the nations most cash-strapped cities, assume someone is watching. Because in the unlikely event that the frustrated and heartbroken citizens who reelected you on a mountain of lies decide to forgive you, they will still have to laugh at you, because TEXTS LOOK DUMB.
KK: That's the first time that I couldn't fully seduce you. My game is off. LOL! Thanx for the conversation and the QT! Love you!
CB: LOL! Your game is way on baby! "you had me at hello!" Jerry McGuire 2000. LOL.I just didn't want to get caught.
Just a word to the wise. And Jerry Maguire came out in 1996.
TV Guide reports that All My Children is concluding the Zoe/Bianca storyline on April 26. The controversial MTF transgender/lesbian romantic storyline has been collecting viewers, but both actors have other commitments and were signed to short term contracts. Since late 2006, Eden Riegel has reprised her role as Bianca (Binks or Binx) Montgomery, and Jeffrey Carlson was cast as the rock star Zarf, who came out as the female Zoe. Riegel was working on the N.Y. based show while living in California, and Carlson is beginning Hamlet in Washington D.C. in June. Still, it's sad to say goodbye to the brightest stars in an increasingly dull show.
Though daytime drama fans may have a reputation for conservatism, horror at the idea of a man who is a woman inside isn't all the rumpus surrounding Zinks. AMC has always been socially progressive, and used lesbianism in a story in 1983, an AIDS story in 1987, and Bianca coming out in 2000. AMC has received GLAAD Media Awards for Outstanding Daily Drama in 2002 and 2004, and again for 2007 just last week.
One of the issues for some Riegel fans is that the love story could have been between Binks and Maggie, played by Elizabeth Hendrickson. Back in 2001 the actresses were so hot that Hendrickson's Frankie character, who was basically a plot device created to be killed off, had to be recreated as a twin sister, Maggie. Fan response was unexpectedly warm to both actors and their characters, and an enduring fandom for BAM. Some (but not all) of these fans have a real hate-on for Zoe. It's partly because the show has been so poorly written in recent years.
Zarf's arrival in Pine Valley coincided with one of those idiotic serial killer sweeps plots soap writers resort to when cast salaries rise and imaginations fail. By the time the dust settled this year and Zarf was Zoe, a beloved character Dixie, who had returned after years was callously dispatched, along with 6 cast members great and small. Also Babe was supposed to be killed, but then actually turned out to be a survivor in hiding, another sweeps stunt i've seen trickle up to prime time this year. The killer was revealed to be a supposedly dead, tiresome character with completely baffling motivation, even for daytime drama. But there was an upside. You can see Zoe singing at Dixie and Babe's funeral here.
During Zarf's development as a character, but just before Zoe told us her name, a friend asked me if "he" could be the Satin Slayer. That, of course, would have been impossible, because no matter how craven the writers become, they will never portray their first trans character as a villain. In fact, when the writing is superficial and silly, Jeffrey Carlson's acting chops round it out and sell it. And in the time honored Agnes Nixon tradition, research is done, communities are consulted, and millions are educated and enlightened. Here's an unscripted scene at a transgender support group.
This level of intensity, propelled by powerful acting, generates a lot of passion. For the past several hours i've been lost on YouTube, going over fan videos asembled from AMC footage. The soundtracks may be Dixie Chicks, Nine Inch Nails, Linkin Park or Muse, but they all recognize the universal need to find ourselves and where we belong. Below is one of my favorites is below - by Heather, using "Answer" by Sarah McLachlan. If it leaves you frustrated, here is one where they kiss!
In lieu of actually blogging, which since my father moved in i somehow have less, not more time and energy for, i bring you this:
Penn Jillette's mug on a box of Chinese "Viagra". This is traveling the internets, but i got it from The Bulldada Newsblog (an impeccable record of the dumb shit that happens daily), who got it from AdLand.
As reported today by BoingBoing, my favorite Neal Stephenson novel, perhaps even my favorite science fiction novel, The Diamond Age: Or, a Young Lady's Illustrated Primer, is being produced by George Clooney for The Sci-Fi Channel as a six hour miniseries. Even though a really great adaptation is perhaps too much to hope for i'm still pretty chuffed that someone with Clooney's commitment to quality is overseeing a teleplay certain to give this multifaceted book a wider audience. It's now over a decade old, but this dense, colorful jumble of cyberpunk, steampunk, nanotechnology, history and sociology is still fresh and perhaps more relevant.
Though it won the Hugo in 1996, The Diamond Age is controversial even among Stephenson fans, in part i think because the dual protagonists deny the ending of a standard closure. In my unscientific poll of Stephenson readers, it seems that people who thought the book was primarily about Nell loved it, the people who thought it was about Hackworth, not so much. i don't recommend this for someone planning to read it for the first time (much spoilage), but the excellent Wikipedia entry has some elaboration on this issue. Like Dune, Diamond Age is a madly cultish book, and undoubtedly any television adaptation will multiply the book's fanatic admirers.
It's funny, recently i was thinking about The Diamond Age while reading about The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy Foundation. Some writers had issues with Oprah developing charities in South Africa rather than North America, or with lavishly equipping and housing a small number of girls, rather than warehousing and training the largest number of students possible with the funds allotted. The idea of giving girls education, culture, and tools specifically to enhance their leadership potential reminded me of the Victorian and Chinese girls with their runcibles. It seems to me that if a billionaire is investing in the futures of young people, it's all speculative, but positive. Without wealth exceeding even Ms. Winfrey's, there's simply no way to prove the more practical approach, but her goal isn't merely standard competence, but exceptional acheivements. When Oprah explained her interest in African girls was because, more than Americans they appreciate and grab the opportunity, it led me to consider the tension between cultural paradigms illustrated by the Victorian girls and the Mouse Army. If someone was actually able to build 'ractive' illustrated primers, i think it likely that Oprah would be willing to bankroll them to empower her girls.