My take on ‘Burlesque’

There’s a review in the print edition this week (and online) of Burlesque, but I didn’t write it because I didn’t screen the film in time. But as the film opens today I wanted to weigh in. Not because I disagree with our reviewer, but because I agree with her … and wonder how many other gay men out there do, too.

I’ve often grouped gay men not into traditional categories like top/bottom, twink/bear, daddy/boy, but rather by their favorite diva. Judy queens. Liza queens. Bette queens. Barbra queens. Celine queens. Mariah queens. Patti queens. Of late, Gaga queens.

And, of course, Cher.

Often, this is a generational thing (I may be Gaga’s oldest living fan); some youngsters don’t even know who Judy is. But Cher seems to cross ages. Maybe it’s her long career (her 2000 single “Believe” made her the oldest soloist ever to have a No. 1 pop hit). Maybe it’s her massively bad career choices (her Oscar follow-up is Mermaids?) or her trans child, Chaz. But for some reason, gay men have always given Cher a pass when it comes to reviews of her work. You can never trust how good she really is, because her fans seem to want to prevent the truth from coming out. They protect her. And sometimes she needs it.

Cher hasn’t made a feature (other than a cameo in Stuck on You) since 1999′s Tea with Mussolini, and she chooses to return to film with a Showgirls-vibed musical from a first-time director? Just how badly does she need money?

But here’s the thing: The movie succeeds. This is not to say it is a good film; it is most definitely not. But it is exactly what it sets out to be. It’s the McDonald’s french fry of cinema: Addictively enjoyable if objectively trashy. Hooray for Cher — she gave us just what we wanted.

So did the writer-director, Steve Antin. He doesn’t miss one cliche. Not the farm-girl (Christina Aguilera) from, of course, Iowa; not the creditors beating at the door, wanting to shut down the Burlesque Lounge, which seems to emerge like a ghostly haunted house from the Sunset Strip. (Here’s my notion for why the club doesn’t turn a profit: 20 dancing girls who get free drinks and big enough salaries to drive BMWs, a six-man live band and staff of bartenders big enough to man a cruise ship.)

But there’s an energy to the movie — it succeeds despite itself. Antin has fun with the musical numbers, and he lingers on the body of hot young boytoy Cam Gigandet, dressing him in a Fosse-inspired bowler with sleeveless shirt and guyliner. It’s gayrific, but straight-friendly. (Eric Dane is in it too, but not the playing the beefcake this time.) Even gayer is Stanley Tucci, perfection as the bitchy old queen with the smart-ass wisecrack, who plays off of Cher expertly. He gives her sometimes wooden acting credibility.

Acting’s one thing, but Cher’s big number — which makes no logical sense in the movie; few scenes do — is a marvel of passion and pride and survival. It makes up for all the nonsense.

Aguilera acquits herself well both as a singer (no surprise there) and as an actress. Is she this year’s Mo’Nique? Not even close. But she could become Cher. And that’s not such a bad thing.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Ex-gay treatment for vultures? Gay groups protest forced separation of gay avian couple

Griffon Vulture

Gay groups in Germany are upset that officials at the Allwetter Zoo in Munster, Germany, have separated two male vultures who had set up nest-keeping together and were obviously a couple.

The two Griffon vultures, Guido and Detlef, have been a couple since March, according to U.K. news site The Register. They build a nest together, defended it from the other vultures, and spent most of their time together grooming each other.

But zoo curator Dirk Wewers apparently believed Detlef and Guido’s relationship was what I call situational homosexuality, like men in prison who have sex with other men because no women are available. Wewers said: “A suitable female was missing and in such a case vultures look for companionship from the next best thing, even if it is a male. Detlef looked for a bird of the opposite sex but settled with Guido.”

So the zoo decided to give the two other options by breaking up their happy home and sending Guido to a zoo in Ostrava, Czech Republic, where he would have access to female Griffon vultures. Meanwhile, Detlef, back in Munster, has been set up with a mail-order bride from the Czech Republic.

According to reports, Detlef’s “ex-gay therapy” appears to be working. But over in Ostrava, Guido is having none of it. Reports are he won’t have anything to do with the female vultures.

Both male vultures are 14 years old, which means both are still relative youngsters, since their lifespan in the wild is estimated at 50 to 70 years old. The oldest known Griffon vulture — or Great Vulture — in captivity died at the age of 118.

According to Wikipedia, Griffon vultures are on the brink of dying out, although there have been resurgent populations in some areas of Europe. In Germany, Griffon vultures in the wild died out in the mid-18th century, but, “Some 200 vagrant birds, probably from the Pyrenees, were sighted in 2006, and several dozen of the vagrants sighted in Belgium the following year crossed into Germany in search for food.”

So, OK — the idea of creating breeding pairs and replenishing the Griffon vulture population has merit. But still, it just doesn’t seem right to me to separate what was obviously a loving couple for the sake of making some baby vultures. I am sure there are plenty of other hetero male Griffon vultures available more than willing to take care of the breeding needs.

Either way, it gives new meaning to the old saying, “Birds of a feather flock together,” huh?

—  admin

Salon.com, Where Cult Theories On Homosexual Youngsters Thrive

Last Monday Salon published "Is that my son wearing a dress?: I'm a progressive, supportive dad. Why was I so troubled by the sight of my little boy dressed as Snow White?," which ended with Matt Cheplic insisting he is fine with his son cross-dressing, but other people might have a problem with it. ("But why? Did I see the dress as a threat to my legacy, an insult to generations of men who fought wars and presided over propane grills? No, I honestly don't believe that a 4-year-old's Halloween costume has the power to cement his sexual identity for life. I was not threatened by fears of a same-sex, vegan wedding ceremony or a rejection of power tools and the Super Bowl. A far more immediate evil loomed in my magic mirror: children who mock other children.") Today, Salon published "Why does my son keep coming out to me?: My 16-year-old tells me he's gay. Is it the truth, or a side effect of his recent brain injury?," where Drema Dial wonders whether her teenage son might be gay because after being a "healthy 16-year-old" he was hit by a minivan while on his bike and landed in a medically induced coma. Or rather, she wonders whether he continues coming out to her, repeatedly, as if he never told her before, because of his brain injury. One of these things make sense.


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Queerty

—  John Wright