Monday, January 23, 2006

The Comic (and X-rated) Roasting of Brokeback Mountain

It's official: Ang Lee's movie Brokeback Mountain has become a cultural phenomenon. Taking the two top awards at last week's Golden Globes and continuing to cause a stir at the box office, it is positioning itself to become one of 2005's biggest hits. But is it just me, or is anyone else sick of hearing people refer to the movie as Bareback Mountain? Isn't it, like, one of the most unoriginal jokes in the history of jokedom by now? I mean, hell, as far as I'm concerned, it had worn out its welcome the second time I heard it.

Of course, as we all knew, it was only a matter of time before one of the gay porn companies capitalized on the title and released one of their own. And here it is: Scheduled for release on January 30 by Porn Team Productions is -- you guessed it -- Bareback Mountain. I haven't seen any clips from the movie yet, but I must admit that I kinda like the video box cover. The guys look kinda hot, even if they are pulled from the usual array of twinks that populate Porn Team's flicks. One can only assume that the movie will include some degree of bareback (read: unsafe) sex -- a major no-no in many porn circles, but that remains to be seen just yet as the movie has yet to be released and nobody has sent me an advance copy of it yet. Not that I wouldn't mind receiving one.

I suppose it was inevitable that people would poke fun at such a "serious" movie about, well, cowpokes in love. That Porn Team is the first adult video company to do so is the surprise. I would have expected someone like Treasure Island Media or Hot Desert Knights (the two leading bareback X-rated movie houses) to have jumped on this, but alas, looks like Porn Team was quick to the, um, draw.

Of course, adult studios aren't the only ones to cash in on Ang Lee's smash hit. A hilarious parody has popped up in the form of a fake trailer for a movie that (unfortunately) will probably never be made. It was posted on the Net, though Google blocked it because of what they considered indecency. (Some people have no humor!) Telling the "controversial" story of the forbidden love between a man and his horse, it's one of those comic masterpieces that make me happy to be in the entertainment business. Why didn't I think of it first? Anyway, if you haven't seen it yet, you must check it out by clicking here.

Hollywood Ken

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

My Globes Experience (and Levi Kreis)

Well, this year's Golden Globe Awards came and went without a hitch, and with no real upsets in the bunch to speak of.

What is most interesting about this year's crop of winners was that there was no real big winner among them. True, Brokeback Mountain walked away with four Globes, the most of any other winner, but I wouldn't call that a "sweep" by any means. Which can only mean one thing: The Oscars are going to be all over the place.

My experience with the Globes got off to a shaky start. I did my predictions before the show started, but didn't get any of them right until about half-way into it. Which is odd for me. I'm usually right on the mark with most of my awards predictions. But this is one of those years when everything is simply unpredictable. I did score on Film, Director, TV Show (Drama), Actress in a TV Comedy, and several others, but missed just about every supporting actor category there was. I was convinced that Michelle Williams would have won for her brilliant turn as the long-suffering housewife in Brokeback, but I was pretty surprised when Rachel Weisz won it for The Constant Gardener. To be fair, Weisz was excellent in that movie, but for my money, nobody could beat what Williams pulled off in that one moment afer she looks out her front door and catches her husband in the arms of another man. What she conveyed in the following moments was absolutely stunning, and it was all without words. Oh well.

And George Clooney for Syriana? When Paul Giamatti deserved it for Cinderella Man? I mean, come on, folks. Obviously, Clooney was given this award to make up for the fact that he was not going to walk out with trophies for Film and Director, but still... Just what do voters have against Giamatti anyway? God knows he carried Sideways last year, and his work in American Splendor was absolutely out of this world. Perhaps voters are waiting for him to build up enough of an ouevre of work before they give him the love he deserves, but I still think it's a shame that he was overlooked yet again.

I was a little bummed that Heath Ledger didn't win Best Actor, but I suppose that Philip Seymour Hoffman deserved it for his showy but brilliant work in Capote. And hey, at least it went to someone playing a gay role. I was extremely sated, however, that Felicity Huffman got the top honors for her work in Transamerica, another film with major ties to the gay community. And, yes, with Brokeback snagging Best Film (Drama), Best Director (Ang Lee), Best Screenplay (Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana) and Best Song ("A Love That Will Never Grow Old"), this was probably the gayest Golden Globes show ever.

But what was up with all the accolades for HBO's Empire Falls? I mean, Paul Newman winning Supporting Actor in a TV Series or Mini-Series for his phoned-in work in EF over Entourage's Jeremy Piven??? And Best Mini-Series or TV Movie over Warm Springs and Lackawanna Blues? Sheesh. Enough with the love for Empire Falls already. It wasn't that good.

I was also a bit disappointed that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association decided to award Best TV Series (Comedy) to Desperate Housewives when its competition consisted of both Everybody Hates Chris and Weeds. Now, I love me some Housewives, but it's been a spotty second season for them so far, and Everybody Hates Chris is one of the most consistently funny, most well-written shows on television. Ditto for the brilliant Weeds. At least there was some justice when Weeds star Mary-Louise Parker (one of the most brilliant actresses working in film and television today) took home the Best Actress in a TV Series (Comedy) award, beating out all four of the nominated Housewives. (But where was the love for Elizabeth Perkins, who, frankly, should have beat Sandra Oh for Best Suporting Actress in a TV Series. Oh well, at least Joanne Woodward didn't win for Empire Falls).

Gotta love that Steve Carell won Best Actor in a TV Series (Comedy) for his hilarious work on The Office, but Jonathan Rhys Meyers for Elvis? Beating out Kenneth Branagh for Warm Springs in the Best Actor in a Mini Series or TV Movie category? Again, what gives? And, while I love Geena Davis on Commander in Chief, I really thought Kyra Sedgewick should have taken home a trophy for her work on The Closer. (Major kudos to Davis, though, for a hilarious acceptance speech. In fact, a lot of Monday's speeches were awesome, including those by Clooney, Carell and Hugh Laurie.)

Speaking of Laurie, I suppose it was no surprise that he won Best Actor in a TV Show (Drama) for House, and Reese Witherspoon and Joaquin Phoenix were both locks for Walk the Line, which I must admit, I still haven't seen. But even though Walk the Line won in the Musical or Comedy Film category, I doubt it carries that momentum with it to the Oscars, where I predict Brokeback to emerge victorious.

All in all, the show was pretty good, and I had a lot of laughs even among all the yelling and throwing popcorn at the TV screen that took place in my living room.

Before the Awards, I was actually down on Melrose checking out a show by the brilliantly talented singer-songwriter Levi Kreis, whose gorgeous piano ballads are some of the most soothing and enriching songs I've heard in ages. Levi played to an almost-packed house in the Zephyr Theatre, with incense and candles burning all around him as he crooned some of his haunting love songs and breakup songs. Some of you may have seen him recently on TV's The Apprentice, or heard his song "I Should Go" on Days of Our Lives, or even caught him in the movie Frailty, but if not, I recommend that you keep your ears and eyes open for this one, 'cause I predict that he will be going places. ANd he's hella cute to boot. :)

The pic above is of me (left), Levi (center) and writer Dennis Hensley, whose book Misadventures in the (213), was incidentally the book that I read on my first airplane flight over to Los Angeles four and a half years ago. Now Dennis is a good acquaintance of mine, and I can't wait for his next project to come out!

Anyway, that's it for me this time around. Gotta head on outta here. Talk soon!

Hollywood Ken

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Happy New Year and All That Jazz!

My God, has it really been almost a month since my last blog entry? Sheesh, where does the time go? I suppose it has something to do with the holidays. It's so easy to get caught up in the rigamarore (sp?) of attending Christmas parties, making sure you cook something for said parties, and maneuvering traffic at the malls that it kind of leaves you exhuasted at the end of the day.

My holiday season was fairly nice. I spent Christmas Eve with my friend Jerry, who had a bunch of his friends over for a wonderful dinner (I brought wine, I admit; I was too lazy to cook this year). I actually spent Christmas day alone at my apartment just chilling and watching some of my favorite holiday-themed shows and movies for the second year in a row. And, while some people might find such a notion rather depessing, I have to say, I really enjoy it. I made a nice simple dinner for myself and played Christmas music and lit candles and watched some great stuff.

Speaking of great holiday entertainment, does anyone else recognize that Meet Me in St. Louis makes great Christmas viewing? I try to watch it every year around the holidays, because I just think it's one of the greatest musicals ever made, and, of course, there's that whole Judy Garland connection. LOL! (Yes, yes, I love Judy. I admit it. And why not? The bitch could sing, dance and act her ass off. You name me one entertainer today who is half as talented as Judy was. Well, OK, maybe Liza, but she's too busy allegedly beating up closeted gay husbands to do anything new, though I did love her on Arrested Development last season. But I digress.) Back to Meet Me in St. Louis, there's just something so wonderful about watching this very close family living in such a much simpler time that really inspires me. I think that it speaks to me, since I've really been trying to simplify my life in the past few years. No more drama, no more strife, just living each day as it comes and basking in the small, simple things that really inspire joy in the heart. (For those of you puking at the sentimentality of that statement, maybe it would help to get your fingers out of your throats, you cynical wise-asses. Haha)

Anyway, the week in between Christmas and New Year's was rather low-key for me, as I'm sure it was for everyone else. New Year's itself was rather uneventful. My buddy Mike and I went out to the bars around Silver Lake and I was in bed by 3am, rather early for me when I don't have to be up the next day.

I spent New Year's Day itself much like I did Christmas, just bumming around the apartment and watching TV. This time I pulled out my DVD of Rudolph's Shiny New Year (right), one of my favorite kiddie holiday specials, and just had a blast watching it for the first time in so long. It made me feel like I was 8 years old again. There's just something great about watching stuff like this as an adult that isn't celebrated enough. Why grow up? I'm a Toys 'R' Us kid! Haha. Later, my buddy Mike and I had a few drinks over in West Hollywood and bummed around town for a bit. It was a good way to start 2006. Two days after that I celebrated my 35th birthday (I'm officially a MAN now, thank you very much; no more calling me "just a puppy," OK???).

The very next day, I left for Las Vegas to cover the Internext Convention, which is sponsored by AVN Online and was simultaneously running alongside the Adult Entertainment Expo and CES, the computer convention. Let me just tell you; the Venetian Hotel and Casino was a friggin' madhouse, but I had the time of my life meeting new people and making new friends, I didn't really even notice until I was late for a seminar and everybody was in my way. Which is really nothing at all unlike driving in Los Angeles, so I was pretty used to it. Haha. (For those who would like a more detailed account of my adventures in Sin City, I will be posting a Vegas wrap-up -- complete with pics -- very soon, so stay tuned.)

I returned to Los Angeles this past Sunday tired and exhausted, and took Monday off work to recuperate. Since smoking is allowed in Vegas, I came back thoroughly parched, with a voice that was slowly giving out. I think it's finally starting to come back to me now. Which is good, 'cuz God knows I love talking.

Anyway, we're in a jam to get the next issue of AVN Online out, so things are a little busy at work, which has made freelance writing a little difficult this week, but I have been doing some music reviews the past few nights. I turned a couple in to the editor at Performing Songwriter, who wrote back to tell me that she didn't think my style was suited to the magazine, but I'm not one who takes no for an answer, so I quickly rewrote the reviews and resubmitted them to her today. If it works out, that'd be great. I'm fairly certain that I can write just about anything well if given proper feedback and provided just a little bit of patience.

Last night I saw The Squid and the Whale, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I really thought Jeff Daniels did a great job in the movie, as did Laura Linney. The way the film examines the anatomy of a divorce is very original, almost rooted in the absurdist comedy of Wes Anderson (who, incidentally, produces). Don't forget to check out my movie reviews on my new film review site, by the way. This week I will be posting my favorite films of 2005. I also checked out Woody Allen's Match Point earlier in the week, and was equally impressed.

One of my old "boyfriends" is out in L.A. this week, so we are planning to get together and hang out this weekend. We talked for over an hour on the phone last night, just laughing and carrying on like old times, which was really nice, considering that I was pretty bummed out over him for quite some time after it ended. I guess I am growing up after all.

Anyway, I really do have to run along now. Hope you are all well, and I shall be in touch soon.

Hollywood Ken

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