Movie Monday: ‘House of Boys’ in limited run at the Texas Theatre

Where the Boys are

House of Boys is basically Burlesque with men, Mohawks and leg-warmers (and without Cher) — an otherworldly allegory about humanizing the denizens of the gay subculture. As such, it’s both depressing and titillating. It convincingly recreates the era’s sexual openness, but also its dirty authenticity: Sex in the shower with a young punk may be hot, but you know the tub is moldy. (European films seem unnervingly comfortable portraying the murky reality of life — and Udo Kier in a gold bustier and blonde Marilyn wig is about as real and murky as life gets.)

For the entire review click here.

DEETS: Texas Theatre, 231 W. Jefferson Blvd. 9:20 p.m. 117 min. Not rated. Through Thursday. TheTexasTheatre.com.

—  Rich Lopez

The Pretty Things Peepshow tonight at The Kessler

Sword swallowing, fire eating and burlesque dancing, oh my

The Pretty Things Peepshow recalls old-timey circuses or better yet, the HBO show Carnivale, which really left viewers hanging. This vintage vaudeville sideshow packs in a whallop of acts into two and a half hours. For a hump day, acts that include electric chairs, animal traps and whip cracking might even outdo the Dallas Eagle. We’re kinda looking forward to the special burlesque dancing which includes a fan dance and spinning fire tassels. For real! You won’t see that on the dance floor at S4.

The show even features the “Midget of Mischief” Lil Miss Firefly who stands just over two feet and performs as the night’s glass walker and straight jacket escape artists. Yeah, there’s too much to miss to not make this show tonight.

DEETS: The Kessler, 1230 W. Davis St. 9 p.m. $15. TheKessler.org.

—  Rich Lopez

Hotter than Hell at The Kessler featuring lesbian legend Satan’s Angel

Queen of burlesque

Satan’s Angel — a stage name, of course — is a legend who has a few healthy decades under her belt and she doesn’t want today’s generation to forget what burlesque should really mean to performers and audiences.

“Burlesque is about sexuality, being sensual and teasing,” she says by phone in a gravelly voice. “It’s getting the audience worked up and then letting them go home all fired up. It really is about the journey of titillation, not the destination.”

As part of Saturday’s Hotter Than Hell show at The Kessler, Ms. Angel doesn’t perform like she used to, but she still headlines this show that will include “boylesque” artist Jett Adore. Now 67, Ms. Angel has seen it all and welcomes the diversity in burlesque now, but she was in a class all her own back in the day.

—  Rich Lopez

Burlesque: Cher’s Best Opening Weekend

CHER CHRISTINA AGUILERA BURLESQUE X390 (GETTY) | ADVOCATE.COMBurlesque may be facing stiff competition from Harry Potter and Tangled,
but the movie musical starring Cher and Christina Aguilera is on its
way to making million dollars over the five day holiday frame.
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  admin

Watch: The Cast of ‘Burlesque’ — Cher, Christina Aguilera, Stanley Tucci, Cam Gigandet — Speak Out on Anti-Gay Bullying

Burlesqu

Earlier this month we sent Towleroad's Josh Koll to talk with the cast of Burlesque — Cher, Stanley Tucci, Christina Aguilera, and Cam Gigandet. While their discussion of the film was much like what you've seen in plenty of other interviews, we thought we'd highlight what they told him about another topic that has saturated the news lately — bullying.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP

Check out Nathaniel Rogers' review of the film here.

Josh Koll also writes the blog Josh & Josh are Rich and Famous.

Burlesque1



Towleroad News #gay

—  admin

Movies: Welcome to “Burlesque”


Burlesque_wink

NATHANIEL ROGERS

Guestblogger

…lives for the the tail end of each year. That's when Oscar buzz wags the film dog. He blogs daily at the Film Experience. Follow him on Twitter @nathanielr.


YOUR FEATURE PRESENTATION

Happy Thanksgiving to all you Towleroad Readers. Care for some turkey? Cher, XTina and gay filmmaker Steve Antin shall provide a succulent bird. If you’ve been looking forward to the new musical BURLESQUE, relax. I come not to disparage the movie, but to (mostly) praise it. Consider this a corrective protest. It will prove too easy a target for critics and haters, who often seem to despise girlie or flashy movies before they’ve even seen them, but it’s not truly a turkey. It’s more like a (hot) pink flamingo; the plumage is so colorful, you forget that it looks like it should fall over.

The basic plot of Burlesque is so typical as to be personality free: small town dreamer arrives in big city to make it big. Does. The End. But let’s backtrack. Christina Aguilera, referred to as “Ali” since she’s acting or “Iowa” since she’s just off the bus, chances upon the club “Burlesque” run by Cher. For some reason everyone in the movie keeps calling Cher “Tess" but even Cher knows she’s just playing Cher. Tess even gets an 11th hour power ballad "You Haven't Seen the Last of Me Yet" to remind you that she's Cher. But no matter. Cher plays herself so superbly she reconfirms her status as the best actress pop music ever produced.

MORE AFTER THE JUMP

Cher_burlesque
"Are you Tess?" "No, I'm Cher, dummie"

Cher finds Christina/Ali annoying (I know the feeling) but reluctantly hires her. Metrosexual bartender Jack (Cam Gigandet) finds Ali sexy and invites her to sleep on his couch. Queen bee Nikki (Kristen Bell) finds Ali threatening and things turn sour between them immediately though you might find it absolutely jarring to hear Christina Aguilera of all people diss another woman for looking like a drag queen. Just sayin'. Cher’s right hand man Sean (Stanley Tucci) finds Ali interesting and opts to pretend that Christina Aguilera is Anne Hathaway, playfully recreating his entire Devil Wears Prada performance. (What? You loved it the first time.) Alan Cumming playfully recreates his Cabaret emcee performance (also, still great) but the movie barely notices. The club has a new star and things are looking up. Or are they? Unfortunately, a vulture (Eric Dane) is circling both “Burlesque” the club, still having financial problems, and Ali who is having ‘fresh meat’ problems as the new girl with the giant breasts/voice.

Christina_burlesque At times Burlesque plays almost exactly like a well choreographed flashy long form Christina Aguilera music video but for those who aren’t particularly drawn to her, Cher is a genius counterprogramming buffer. Aguilera’s voice has always favored the charm offensive, as if every note of each song is the climax or a new opportunity to demand fan submission but Cher merely warbles within her limited range knowing full well that she already has your full attention. Cher’s opening number “Welcome to Burlesque” provides brilliant meta-commentary.

“Show a little more” (That’s Christina.)

“Show a little leh—eess” (That’s Cher)
“Welcome to Burlesque” (Hey, they’re in a movie together!)

Writer/director Antin unfortunately misses a huge dramatic opportunity in the reveal of Ali’s giant sized voice, which comes about half an hour into the movie. The moment is meant to be an astonishment to everyone from Burlesque patrons to the club managers while providing a smart wink to the moviegoing audience (who are ahead of the game, being familiar with Christina's pipes). But Antin spoils it by having Christina sing twice before the reveal, once to herself as the movie begins and once in a stupid fantasy sequence that’s a direct lift from Roxy’s “All That Jazz” interruption in Chicago (2002). There's already too little of Kristen Bell in the movie, and then they have to take her big number away from her and give it to Christina? Dirrty.

Burlesque_cam The movie is riddled with derivative problems like this, but in our current post-everything mash-up culture, this weakness can work as an interactive strength. Before Ali becomes a showgirl, for example, she’s a cocktail server prone to performing the dance steps while serving and all of these little cutaways scream Nomi Malone discovering “Goddess” for the first time in Las Vegas. If you can’t smile when reminded of Showgirls (1995), I weep for you. Perhaps Burlesque shouldn’t work but from the big budget presentation of its frequent musical numbers to the banter between the characters, it finds ways to be entertain. It helps to have actors as fun and confident as Cher and Tucci and Bell in any movie’s corner. But, shockingly, even Cam Gigandet, whose body has always dwarfed his acting ability, finds a way to make Jack endearing during an improbably cute snacky seduction scene in his kitchen. That he’s most endearing while completely naked is perhaps no coincidence. If the sales of Famous Amos cookies skyrocket post Burlesque, Cam is to blame.

The movie's biggest misstep, if you excuse all the shameless borrowing from superior films, is how soggy it gets, weirdly diluting its own bitchiest moments. The ladies from Showgirls and Chicago, this movie's twin revered towers, never worried about their likeability and we liked them more for it. They’d eat Ali and Nikki alive. Embrace the bitchy, Antin! It’s a show queen movie, for Nomi’s sake.

Burlesque_cher_tucci After the all-media screening I mostly heard “disaster” comments and one critic, shocked that anyone (like myself) enjoyed it, lost it. ‘Crossroads is a masterpiece in comparison,' he say. 'This was pure torture.' Clearly time heals all wounds or this critic has never been waterboarded. Christina Aguilera is never going to win an Oscar but by virtue of her total mediocrity as an actress she is instantly eliminated from the Most Wooden Pop Diva wars. (That title has to go to Mariah in Glitter or Kelly Clarkson in From Justin to Kelly, right?). It may sadden the perverse reader that Burlesque is too competent for the Bad Movie We Love sweepstakes and perhaps it’s a must-avoid if neither of the two divas do it for you. But if you love Cher and/or Christina, it’s a must-see and an obvious future member of the Movie You Always End Up Watching When Channel Surfing Club.

Picture 44 ALSO OPENING
Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway get naked and battle Parkinsons in LOVE AND OTHER DRUGS. The haunting gay romance UNDERTOW (Peru’s Oscar submission, also known as CONTRACORRIENTE) is opening in select cities this weekend. It’s well worth a look. I spoke to its debut director, out filmmaker Javier Fuentes-Leon this week, and I’ll share some of that conversation next week. See it! It has some stiff competition for the foreign film Oscar nomination but it’s a moving gay romance so cross your fingers. The Oscars could stand to be a little gayer (he said ironically). And, finally, the ad campaign for TANGLED, Disney’s latest animated musical, promised a snarky Shrek/Hoodwinked style twisted fairytale. It lied (thank God). This musical version of Rapunzel is an admirable sweet return to classic Disney fairytale form. You can add Mother Gothel (voiced by Broadway’s ever brilliant Donna Murphy) to the list of Disney’s best screen villains. But skip the 3D. You'll save money and you won't miss a thing.


Towleroad News #gay

—  admin

Cher returns to film — and we’re getting a ‘Showgirls’ vibe

Recently, I wrote about a local man who collects Cher — like a maniac. People are just obsessed with her, which accounts for why, although she hasn’t had a major role in a feature film for a decade, expectations for her next movie are always high.

Well, we finally got a glimpse of it, the Vegas-set Christina Aguilera vehicle Burlesque, and it looks… well… just see for yourself.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Weekend planning: Check these two events from both ends of the spectrum

Les Femmes Aplomb
Les Femmes Aplomb!

We were afraid these two events might slip under your radar of things to do this weekend. There is lots going on and as the holidays get closer, weekends are likely to be packed. Starting tonight, the next couple of days are overflowing with options for fun.

Tonight, get some burlesque action with Les Femmes Aplomb! at 1727 on the Levee. You might not expect curvy busty ladies to dance for a good cause but that’s what tonight is about for this Burlesque Bust Out. Really, it’s hard to beat their own description of the show. Somehow they can mix provocative and philanthropic all into one sexy show.

“Ladies and gentleman, prepare to be entertained, tickled and titillated by our fabulously raunchy, powerfully raunchy, exotically entrancing performances. Dedicated to bringing deliciously sin-sational, tantalizing glamour to stage for your viewing pleasure.”

Oh and they ask for donations to The Family Place. Any type of donation will knock $5 off the $15 ticket price. Visit their Web site for show and donation information.

Higdon.
Higdon.

On the other end of the spectrum, catch lesbian composer Jennifer Higdon tomorrow afternoon at the Modern Art Museum in Fort Worth. The show is part of the Cliburn Concerts series. Check her out beforehand. She was featured on the Lesbian American Composers CD.

Heck, make an day out of it. Grab lunch at Cafe Modern, finish up with Higdon’s distinctly American classical music and enjoy the reflecting pool. Or, if you can, do it all at once.

—  Rich Lopez