Stupid Girls

Monday, May 31, 2010

MOVIE: "For Roseanna (Roseanna's Grave)"

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Silly Americans! This is an homage to Fellini! Of COURSE, there are bad, Italian accents! Have we ever SEEN a Fellini film, made for distribution in the states? Fellini, himself, did some of the voice over work in his films! Your FIRST clue should have been the circus folk, then the angel on a bicycle, then the clown posters and on and on! These weren't even heavy accents! I am beginning to think we live in a world now where media are so narrow cast, people can go through life never hearing another dialect! I have even read reviews at NetFlix where viewers whine about English (and sometimes they mean Australian) and even AMERICAN accents as being too thick to understand! My God, people! Get out of the MALL once in awhile and expose yourselves to LIFE! My only problem with this film is that Ruehl does not get enough dialogue and face time. This centers on the antics of the husband of her character far too much. But, it is his buffoonery that makes the film funny. And I did laugh out loud, which is unusual for me, on several occasions. She is the archetypal Virgin Mary tragic figure, which is rather a shame, as Ruehl is so funny, when she gets a chance. This is a dish of perfectly prepared pasta and a glass of wine from the local vineyard. The only people who could POSSIBLY object to this film eat too many burgers with fries, and will die never having lived. Bravissima, Ms. Ruehl! Molto bella! And the ending? Ah!

on cigarettes, sexuality and consciousness

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Well, I fell off the wagon when Nilly died, but I don't give up hope. Not going to force myself right now, though. I'm handling a lot of loss and stress.

I am not strong enough to bury Nilly properly. Dogs dragged her from her grave yesterday. Fortunately, these are eating, not playing, dogs and they cleaned her neck and head very well. But they pulled her whole body from the grave to do it. So, I dragged her back, covered her with some thin foam rubber I have and shoveled dirt over her again, just to reduce odor.

The problem is that the smell is attracting scavengers and predators, primarily stray and wild dogs. Some are pets; I can tell. Yesterday, I woke to find all my ducklings and goslings dead, not eaten. That indicates a house pet who is hungry, can kill, but doesn't know how to eat a kill.

Last night, there was a ruckus under the house. I saw a muzzle stick out a vent hole and threw firewood at it, which was stupid, as now, the dog was afraid to exit. So, I shifted into "nice dog" voice and a weird, little black and white thing with a long snout, like Patton's dog, came out. It has a body like a small pit bull. It's less than 2 feet long. It looked terrified, sad and remorseful. It had collar and leash, both old and faded.

As I was organizing her, another muzzle poked out. This is the same size, shorter, wooly with a face rather like an Irish setter. She's so old, her eyes are bleary. She, too, wore a faded collar and leash. They were chasing chickens under the house.

I wanted to hurt them, to kill them. But I saw the faces and knew, immediately what I had. The younger is a bitch in heat and the older is just an old bitch. It's obvious they had little care where they lived, judging by the condition of the shaggier one's coat. They aren't skinny, so I know they were dumped out here just a short time ago. Whoever had them just didn't want the inconvenience of them any more, put them in the car, drove up here and dumped them, leashes and all. They can't have been here more than 2 days. Nobody up here has seen them before.

I know they're the ones who killed the ducks and geese and probably my old rooster, too. I jerry rigged a tether to the front porch over night and got them food and water.

This morning, I made 2 tethers, running the width of my back yard. They have shelter under the back porch for now and a bucket of water. I'll put more kibble out, later.

They're close enough to goats and chickens to see them and get used to them, but can't hurt them. The younger is a pretty good barker, but only sounds off if there is actually something out there. They'll make good outdoor dogs. Weasel hates them; he's jealous and sticking to me like velcro.

Rachel has apologized for some of what she put me through. She can never have a normal relationship; I see that now. Her intersexed childhood, hiding her desire to be female, began her journey into secrets and hiding herself. I imagine the castration at 13 was far more of a trauma than she will ever acknowledge, and I expect her psychological development is partially stuck at that age. Many transsexuals go through long phases of self obsession. They are forced to become almost obsessively self-conscious about "passing," "living in stealth" and blending in. Rachel was never one of those people who became obsessed with makeup, hair, etc. to the point of looking like a drag queen. She is sensible about her appearance and wears functional clothing and shoes. But she was fat and has an eating disorder. She's in a recovery group now (at my persistent insistence) and weighs about half what she did when we met. She also had facial feminization surgery soon after we began living together; she'd been saving up for years.

The cumulative self-obsession and self-consciousness, combined with the role modeling of her dad's cruel mental illness, have left her with a bad case of narcissism. Everything outside Rachel's skin is only important if it benefits Rachel. Anything that interferes, even temporarily, with Rachel's agenda must be ignored, attacked and eliminated. This includes me.

She is an excellent mimic. She used to entertain school chums with her cartoon voices. She loved making her voice high. She is a sometimes stand-up comic. She works in radio. She can parrot others' philosophies, emotional perspectives and mannerisms very convincingly.

I fell in love with what she wanted me to believe about her. I'm not a chump; this happens to many who love narcissists. They are VERY good at manipulating people to care about them. But they cannot sustain it, of course, and that is what happened with us. The more I requested that we have an honest relationship, the more hostile she became until she became physically abusive.

The odds of a narcissist healing to some semblance of "normal" psychology are really bad. They have no interest and the process of facing oneself honestly is too threatening. They stay, forever stuck, in a world with themselves at the center, alone.

This grieves me, of course. Rachel is, basically, a very good person. She is funny, creative and even compassionate at times, when it will make her feel good about herself. She is very good at reading others, but, again, only to satisfy her own needs. She is living in the basement room she was in before we started dating: one window, dark, cramped, all alone. She likes it like that.

When an animal has been tortured its whole life, it is very difficult to gain its trust. It's nearly impossible to make it safe to be around. In Rachel's case, this last is especially true. She will always be dangerous, as long as she ignores what she needs to do to heal. Her damage is profound.

At the same time, I have a lot of respect for her. She has survived some very hideous experiences. She lives a relatively full and productive life. She finds little pleasure in anything, but seems somewhat content with the choices she has made.

I believe she senses the extent of her damage. For many years, she actually lived as though she were a cyborg; a human body with artificial intelligence and sensory apparatus. I believe she has retreated to that place again.

Being with me was too terrifying: I'm too out there, too expressive, and I attract too much attention. Rachel spends a lot of effort on being invisible, when not on stage.

So, I'm done being angry about Rachel. She cannot do what she cannot do. She cannot love me. She cannot see me as an equal or a partner. She cannot give without strings and hidden agendas. She cannot receive, for the same reasons.

We have 3 1/2 years' personal history together. We each know the other better than probably any other human on Earth, because we told each other stories we never told others. We know how each other operates in the world. I do not expect, given Rachel's path, however, that she will ever be able to understand or support me. To do so is a threat to her defenses and protections.

But, when I am in a crisis in some way to which Rachel can relate: the animals, the radio station, etc., I do contact her. She never does likewise, of course. She is a cyborg; she needs no one. She takes no risks, nor forms any attachments, which might cause her to feel anything that might hurt some day.

She lives in a world of film and radio. She is a geek with electronics and computers. She studies martial arts, not as a meditation, but as self defense. Rachel is all about self defense.

I love her as much as I can. She cannot love, but accepts me as much as she is able.

To expect any more of Rachel would be like demanding a quadriplegic go ballroom dancing or ice skating with me, being angry and accusing her of not loving me enough because she can't and won't bother to try.

Rachel is what she is. She survived her childhood. She is a woman now. By all outward appearances, she is a success. She fooled them all, even me.

Rachel is one of the most profound experiences of my life. But it's a lot like having to watch and smell Nilly as she rots. Who I loved is not there.

I have a lot more to say about bodies, consciousness, etc. but will save them for a further email. It even involves synesthesia (smelling words?), preverbal communication, the misconception that we can only think if we have words, senses as communication and experience, etc.

I don't know your opinion of this whole "born a woman" argument. I'd like to. I think Sonia Johnson and her partner were very ignorant and very wrong to refuse to accommodate Rachel as an intersexed eunuch who is now female.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

MOVIE: "A League of Their Own"

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Put the name TOM HANKS in the NF search engine. Almost none of his films is available for instant viewing on internet. That is true of all the most popular titles, actors, directors, etc. here. Of the very few offerings for HANKS in internet viewing is A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN. I have to assume it is because this movie is not so popular as to choke bandwidth or crash the server? That is very sad to me. Here we are, with Title Nine, and presumed cough equality for sports for women. How many professional leagues, of any sport, have we? Personallly, I hated sports as a kid and I still only watch very few sporting events. These women were so brave, so committed. That poignant scene of the African American woman, catching and throwing a ball? Ouch. You can tell Penny Marshall truly loved the subject of the film. It was very tender and full of joy. So, this is to the women of our history who made the trails and broke the ice. If we do not claim what they won for us, it is all lost. What a fun movie!

MOVIE: "King of Masks"

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When will Hollywood make films this good? It is brilliant: a story of ordinary people and ordinary courage. In these truly frightening times, it will be role models like these that will give us hope and strength to survive and flourish. The film has perfect craftspersonship and I agree: even the monkey deserves an Oscar! MORE

MOVIE: "The Naked Civil Servant"

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All those macho men of film will never truly understand courage, integrity and honesty because they never embraced so sincerely their femininity, creativity, outrageous refusal to comply with ignorance as has Mr. Crisp. Take nothing of modern openness for granted; it can be taken in an instant. Remember Mr. Crisp is a reason we are much more free today. That this was broadcast on television -- anywhere in the world -- at the time it was is truly a miracle. I honor those who produced and broadcast it. They, and Mr. Crisp, probably saved lives.

Friday, May 28, 2010

MOVIE: "Disfigured"

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At first, I gave it three stars, but decided on four, because it is about gawdam time SOMEBODY got these conversations into popular or commercial media.

I am sorry it went all remedial about food obsession. I wish it had gone to a place like: I have an issue and you have an issue that seems opposite, but is really the same issue, which is that we have both been poisoned into hating our bodies and, therefore ourselves. We could be recovery buddies. We can talk with each other about the real issues, rather than the symptoms. We could encourage each other to be healthy and to keep our commitments and goals, so we can change our lives.

But, I guess it went remedial in order to try to stimulate discussion of social prejudices: to teach the audience how not to talk to fat and anorexic people: to change us, instead?

Women, be GRATEFUL if you CAN eat a balanced diet, if you are physically capable of regular exercise! By their apartments (one of which is on or near very expensive Venice Beach), neither of them knows that most low income rural and urban women live in food deserts where healthy diets are impossible or very expensive.

And the class garbage is blatant when a fat, privileged white woman tells a HOMELESS, chemically dependent Black person what a piece of NOTHING he is! Oh, yes! Let us talk about pointing fingers -- literally -- at each other, demanding the WORLD change to accommodate us, rather than changing ourselves to live in more harmony with the world! Oh, and the website is inaccessible to me because I am vision impaired. Thanks! I feel so included! Sisters, I LIVED in Venice in the seventies! At the Radical Women's Center, the Fat Underground (FU) met. Maybe you could learn something from them? Otherwise, you sort of look like whining, bored princesses with nothing better to do with your lives but obsess on how you eat? Really? Do we WANT to go there and do that? I do not. Good effort, but no home run.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

MOVIE: "Glen or Glenda?"

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This gets 5 stars from me for sincerity, gentleness and a child like sweetness. This is the sould of Ed Wood, himself and was, therefore, a tremendous risk. I am so impressed by his courage. I appreciate his kindness to sweet, old Bela Lugosi: a tragic figure in B and horror movies. The only reason Lugosi is in this film is that Wood tickled the fish with the producer (who was, in my opinion, a total skank and parsite) to get Lugosi on payroll. Lugosi wouldn't live much longer. The set for Lugosi was meant to be a science laboratory, not a horror set, but people cannot look at Lugosi and a skull and not think monster. Yes, Freudian pseudo-psychology was not exactly enlightened, and today, we might draw different conclusions about the subjects addressed. But Wood did not exploit transsexualism, simply because that was the agenda of the producer. This is a kind and loving movie. The odd stock footage was well used, except I will never understand the bison stampede. I love Ed Wood for having made this film. I bet it might have saved a few lives. He is a hero.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

MOVIE: "The Secret Life of Words"

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I wish survivors of trauma were taken seriously. We don't need to be rescued, but it would be nice to be seen, heard and respected. Unfortunately, the message I got (and the reason I knocked off one star in my rating) was that only the pretty, the petite, the delicate, the quiet, the modest and self effacing will get any attention, that few of them will and that the primary motivation of that attention will be some individual man's urge to protect and to procreate.

The rest of us will be left on our own to negotiate the eternal nightmares. The people around us will think we are crazy. If we are not completely isolated from them, they will harass and torture us for whatever they learn about us (chicken, white rice and apples?) and we may be punished anew for what was never our fault. The solitary confinement, with the corpses manacled to our ankles, is dreary, horrific. Most of us attempt -- and often complete -- suicide.

Our dead children never leave us, never grow up, never live, but we carry them around as even more weight.

The only reason I'm alive is that my suicide would be a terrible memorial to my daughter.

Tim Robbins betrays his liberal, white US guilt in this film as a savior of a woman he can't even understand. Heaven save us from the good intentions of others, with which the road to hell is paved. The writer is a Spanish woman, a professional film maker and not, as far as I can tell, a war survivor.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

MOVIE: "The Stoning of Soraya M."

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This is not about Islam, or even about sharia law; those were just the justifications of a mob. It is about the willingness of people to gossip, condemn and torture in self-righteous stupidity. Before we Westerners feel smug and superior, we must remember that it is those very feelings which make actions like these possible. In a town of 1,200, with at least ten churches, my animals were shot. I was constantly threatened. Gossip about me spread until I couldn't find a house to rent. I lost almost everything. I arrived here, almost 200 miles away, exhausted and terrified. My dog had a bullet in her shoulder, so I was accused of animal cruelty and of being mentally incompetent to take care of myself or my animals. I live without sewage, running water or heat in winter. Yet, I planted a garden; my nanny goat had two kids; I'm raising ducklings and goslings; I have a hen on a nest and two laying daily. I am trying, with PTSD and brain injuries from childhood, to start over at 54 years old. Yesterday morning, as I drank my coffee in the front yard while feeding my animals, a mother passed my place with two girls. The youngest, no more than three, pointed at me and said, “Mira! La Loca!” Look! The Crazy Woman. They don't know my name, where I came from, how I got here or anything else about me. And the gossip is already starting again. Can you imagine my terror and depression? Until we can see humanity as Us, not Us versus Them, nothing will change. As Soroya walked through the streets, through the crowds, to her death, I thought of Jesus on his way to Calgary. Two thousand years and nothing has changed. Stoning was first condoned by Jewish tradition, then so-called “christian” and THEN by Islam. Do not feel smug or superior. We do this every day, all over the planet. Men are the worst perpetrators, the worst gossips, because they, traditionally have more power. But women do not protect each other, do not protest, do not prevent. I want to be like Zahra.

Here's something you can do about it:

Saturday, May 22, 2010

MOVIE: "Long Life, Happiness & Prosperity"

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STREAMING VERSION HAS SUBTITLES NOW, FOLKS! I almost didn't watch this because of the subtitles complaints but figured, what the heck? I understood every scene. Thanks, NF, for fixing that, 'though one reviewer here says the Chinese dialogue was pretty incomprehensible to Chines speakers. Valerie Tian deserves Long Life, Happiness & Prosperity. What an actor! I hope racism in the film industry doesn't squander her childhood talents as an actress and lets her play more such roles! Of course, this assumes such roles for young girls are being written. Colin Foo played two roles, one of which was quite funny and made me wonder if there is any tradition in Chinese culture that allows for Queers or gender benders. I don't believe in any of the magical thinking shown in this film -- or in any culture or religion. BUT! I must say it was gratifying to see this small girl, who speaks almost no Chinese, research the traditional healing practices of her culture, as the next older generation just brushes her off as silly. Did my heart good to think maybe, just maybe, the old trad ions may find away to live, in spite of how modern and sophisticated we think we are. What a big turtle! I'm jealous! I loved every subplot, twist and firecracker. It's so fun to see movies about girls from cultural backgrounds so different from my own! I'm learning so much!

MOVIE: "Anita & Me"

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Someday, the world will understand what a powerful and sacred thing it is to be an adolescent girl. This was very poignant. I would argue, given the film, Bend It Like Beckam, that things haven't changed that much for adolescent girls of color, living outside their location of ancestory, surrounded by light skinned people of European descent. I see so much courage in films like these. The demands of the competing cultures are truly inhuman and the girls are very brave. I want a grandmother just like hers. Auntie Shaila, whom I wanted to smack in the face on several occassions, is played by the author, Meera Syal. I have to be nice to her, just like a real family member who would drive me crazy. Chandeep Uppal, who played the protagonist, is so wonderful, even I wanted to pinch her cheeks, and I do not do that. It is amazing to me that any of us survives her adolescence!

MOVIE: "Amelie"

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It's a lot like The Fisher King and Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in composition, with a smattering of Jacob's Ladder. A child is traumatized by the death of a parent. Maybe that's why she appears to the snobs who hate this movie to be immature? Could it be arrested development? Yet, she's a responsible adult: her apartment's clean; her cat's fed; she shows up to work on time; she combs her hair. Sometimes, the greatest act of rebellion is to refuse to be cynical. That doesn't mean you might not be shy and, especially, nervous about being loved. It's sort of Terry Gilliam: Magical Realism. I didn't hate it. It's an amusement park ride and fairy tale for grown ups who may have become a little too grown up, and need to remember wearing cherries as earrings. Maybe you never wore cherries as earrings? Then you, especially, may need to see this movie. It's fun. It wasn't meant to be deep, profound or earth shattering. It's penny candy for the heart.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

TELEVISION: "Bernice Bobs her Hair"

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Ok, so HOW is Fitzgerald such an icon of American literature? I understand how the bob was such a symbol of the newly liberated woman, truly I do; that's why I watched this. But there's none of that in this piece. Women are groomed, domestic, house pets: it's hideous! The story is taken from letters Fitzgerald wrote to a young, female relative, telling her how to be more attractive to men. Sad. If I'd met a man from an ivy league school, I'd be brimming with questions about curriculum and all! I get that these are self conscious and small minded youngsters; does that deserve a story? Does it deserve a National Endowment for the Humanities grant to make into such a lackluster and poorly produced piece for public broadcasting? First thing, the tape hiss is horrible, and I have tinnitus, so I'm accustomed to a hiss. The sound engineer should be badly punished for the terrible mixing of interior scenes. I blame this, in part, for shooting inside real houses: floor clunks, reverb off walls, etc. But a good sound engineer could have mitigated these. The house interiors and veranda were death to camera people with dollies, too, it would seem. At one point on the veranda, I got the feeling the camera was about to tip over! I guess they did not use tracks in such a confined space. I think a sound stage was warranted. Duvall is a waste of time and always has been (note her performances in The Shining and in Popeye: she is dead from the neck up -- and down). If I were to broadcast a version of this today, I would set it in East Los Angeles, with an all Latino cast. In fact, America Ferrera would be a great Bernice and the other woman can be played by Ana Ortiz. This is one of those pieces that makes white women look like air heads, during an era when we were actually working for a living, thanks to WWI. We also began to wear more practical clothing, dance, smoke & drink in public, attend universities, postpone marriage, organize labor unions and exercise our franchise for the first time in U.S. history. So, if this is what Fitzgerald thought of us back in the day, it is no wonder it is taking so long for us to sneak up to earning seventy cents to every dollar men earn. The comedy of this is lost on me. I hated all these people -- even, I am sorry to say, Bud Cort, who I had hoped would be as cool as he was in Harold and Maude. I feel much better about never having read Fitzgerald now. And I was an English major!

MOVIE: "Bent"

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I find it inspiring: at some point, we choose to be free, or not, no matter what the enemy does to try to own us. And freedom is never free. There's nothing depressing about that. Life demands courage. What if modern you were in Nazi Germany? That is this movie. Director immediately demands we know this is a play set to film. “Streets of Berlin” song modern composition; Jagger ruined with cracking voice and mockish expressions. I'd have hired Bowie or, more interestingly, Mc Cartney. Old factory location: most of film? Very compelling: Queer & Nazi spaces same? Interior of Max's place quite interesting: looks like stage set; sets tone for movie as stage play. Large to heat in cold, German winters; producers must be Californians. Nazis @ party: Y didn't they arrest people then? Love Gretta closet! Face of the young guard, holding Max on train: poignant. Sepia train montage: great editing. Rock pile location intense, beautiful editing, excellent music. Love making perfect: new meaning 2 oral sex! Diet, exhaustion would make push-ups improbable. Bodies would have been stripped: clothes, shoes recycled, teeth extracted 4 gold fillings, sometimes even skin 4 parchment, hair, 4 soap. Items on electric fence safe unless grounded. These are just quibbles. You are a Queer in Nazi Germany: what do you do? I don't know. More art about this subject, please. I've always been so interested. Lately, people misspeak and say ten million Jews. It was six million Jews and about four million Romas, Communists, behaviorally health challenged, people with birth defects, Queers, et al. No disrespect to Jews, but I do want more stories of the others, or their histories will disappear. And we have promised, haven't we? Never Again.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Queers can't act non-Queer?

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Stupid article in Newsweek, written by a so called Gay dude, saying Queers can't play non-Queers.

My comment:

Maybe you ought to stop criticizing and start writing stuff Queers can act in, instead. We Queers have to act non-Queer, every day, all day, all the time. Come out here to rural New Mexico, to Alabama, to INLAND California, to UPSTATE New York, to the REAL world and see how much acting is going on! And we are SO good, actors or not, we don't usually get fired, beaten to death, raped, evicted for doing it! The smug coasts are not the real USA. I'm thinking someone hasn't been getting enough attention lately, so decided to pee in the punch bowl so everybody at the party will notice! This is very queer. Not Queer, peculiar.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

MOVIE: "The Story of O"

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You know why women have so much strength and endurance? We have to put up with weak, brittle men. In fact, we even have to give birth to them.

Just ONCE, I want to see a women write, produce and direct a movie where MEN are treated the way we've been treated since the day dudes figured out their sauce had something to do with a bun in the oven!

I'm so SICK of us taking this garbage to PROVE ourselves to a bunch of insecure cowards!

I have a MUCH better sex life than sister O. And nobody gets to beat, rape, humiliate or torture me.

I watched this because I had a pal, back in the day, who was a closeted BDSM. It wasn't politically correct in Lesbian Feminist circles back then. She was so happy that movie came out, she actually said something out loud about it among those of us who didn't know her little Secret. Mostly, I figured her out when an ex girlfriend gave her steel handcuffs on her birthday, and she blushed pink (an odd color on a butch). So I thought, what the hell, if she was into it, maybe there's something to this stuff.

I really truly respect my old pal. And I understand that, for its time, this must have seemed a pretty liberating movie.

I don't think so. In fact, I'm just embarrassed for my pal.

Friday, May 14, 2010

MOVIE: "Boys on the Side"

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This film is a good friend of mine. I'd watch it, or listen to the sound track, to keep working toward my escape from abusive relatives as I fixed up an old RV to drive 2,300 miles to try to start my life over.

Twenty years later, I have no close friends or family here, but I'm so proud of myself for taking the risk and, for the most part, I am satisfied with what I've managed to accomplish now that I'm free from all that.

This film would probably have been stronger if it had been written by a woman, but I do recall being amazed, at the time, that it was written by a man. I would never have thought some of the nuances of women's friendships, sexuality and even a cameo by the Indigo Girls would have been included by someone not female.

"Chick" is an epithet, just like racist epithets. Nobody would ever use such terminology to describe "Malcom X" or "El Norte" as films.

This film is as strong as "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" or "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington." Just because it is woman centered is no reason to diminish or dismiss it with epithets, simply because it doesn't center around men. Boys on the side seems to be a threatening concept to the status quo.

To reduce this, or any, woman centered art to a silly epithet like "chick" is insulting.

And, to whomever said the plot is predictable? When this film came out, there were scant realistic depictions of women's collective living, of a Lesbian bar, of mulit-cultural community and of surviving with AIDS. It was, in its way, a revolutionary film.

All you cynical, snide peticritics who think you're so superior to this film? What have YOU ever contributed to the arts that helped a terrorized and victimized woman travel twenty-three hundred miles to take her life back?

That's what I thought.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

MOVIE: "Japanese Story"

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Reasons to watch the film:

The Outback

Yumiko Tanaka as Hiro's wife. The dignity, the clarity, the reserve. I could never be a Japanese woman. I'm not strong enough.

Reasons not to watch the film:

Plot, interiors, HAIR, makeup (shiny female lead looks like deranged blow fish), editing, acting (except above) tape loop quasi Japanese/classical fusion blend theme that sounds suspiciously like "Will I Lose My Dignity," from "Rent!" understanding of automechanics and survival skills, shallowness of emotion (except for garishly contorted face of Angla lead, as compared to face of Yumiko Tanaka, each depicting profound grief), constant product placement for Hertz and Qantas, sand up one's um bathing trunks, pretty standard stereotypes of a Japanese business person, strong female who turns into snot factory at most crucial moment requiring courage, back story.

Turns out, Neaderthal boy is supposed to be blowfish snot factory's ex lover and they were trying to pitch their software to Japanese dude. I read it online. Who knew? Not anybody watching film, for sure.

In hotel room, look for crew member's reflection in mirror.

A true work of "art," hai? Hai!

Monday, May 10, 2010

MOVIE: "The Winter Guest"

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They say this movie is "understated, dark." I don't think we were watching the same movie. It's full of light and, while it's so cold the sea has frozen, it's so warm and rich and comforting.

I think it's a US pop culture problem We've eaten big macs so long, we have no appreciation for home cooked, gourmet foods. If it's not greasy, sugary and salty, we think it's boring or ominous or depressing.

This film is a black and white photo, taken with a real camera, with real film, developed in a real dark room, printed on real paper.

If we can't see that any more, if instant gratification and distraction are all we want of life, we are no longer human.

Now, the blurb here says something else I find very objectionable: Another plot thread follows a couple of dotty old townsfolk who love to attend funerals.

Wrong. These are old friends, in a small town, who, every week, see obituaries for friends who have died. They're not going to funerals for entertainment; they're going to show their respects. One says, I don't want him to blow the candle out.

That line in the blurb is a prejudiced stereotype of old people as mental defectives, and objects of ridicule. It has no place in this.

I loved the boys. Brilliant acting, brilliant script. Brave boys, playing theese parts. Bet they caught it when their school chums saw.

Burn all action films and soft core porn. We need more films like this. People need to remember that their lives are precious poetry. People need to remember the play of light on ice, and in eyes.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

MOVIE: "Seducing Maarya"

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I have nothing in my life experience which would lead me to relate to anybody in this movie except, maybe, the Queer white guy, but I'm female.

I was moved to tears several times, it is so well written, directed and acted that I can relate to a story so divergent from my own. I understand these people and don't judge them. I have no idea what I, in any of their positions, might do.

The film is total eye candy. It shows a highly tuned sensuality. The food was torture. I can almost smell it. I had to pause the tape and boil a pot of jasmine rice to make it through. I'm also searching vindaloo recipes.

The sound track (except for the "Mango Chutneys") is truly delightful.

All the actors had such character in their faces. The brother was truly terrifying.

I laughed a lot more than I would have thought.

MOVIE: "Finn's Girl"


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This is a perfect apologia for the arguments of right wing, fundamentalist fanatics.

Queers can't parent, control their hormones, think of anybody but themselves, keep sex paraphenalia or pornography out of the hands of children, keep illegal and mind-altering drugs out of the hands of children, exhibit morals or ethics.

Women will put their careers ahead of family and will make impulsive, emotional decisions (like bringing people home from bars to have sex right next door to a child). But Lesbianism will make them so deranged, they'll put a sexual encounter ahead of performing their duties as police officers.

Marijuana is so destructive to decision making that, while "hiding" one's stash behind locked doors, one's child has access to the key. Upon discovering that not only the child, but two of her little friends, were repeatedly under the influence of one's stash, one makes no attempt at control. Rather, one makes the true statement that the child's brain cells haven't finished developing, but makes no attempt to keep that child away from drugs.

And "Daddy" is no better (liberal, white men are still the problem, the fundies will say): when a child is caught breaking the law, please, let's offer that child money!

Genetic research is warped and twisted, with no medical ethics or review, used for the personal gratification of the researcher. But then, she's a woman, and a Lesbian, and a marijuana user, to boot, so what can one expect?

Is Max's mom a nut job, driving her son to "jump off a bridge," because she doesn't want her son around all that mess?

Look, I'm an agnostic and a Queer, and I wouldn't allow any child around that mess.

Mommy walks out on child to buy armor for herself. Her child's concerns for her own safety are never addressed, discussed or respected.

I would never recommend anybody who felt ambivalent about feminism, liberalism, Queers, single parenting, marijuana, genetic engineering, abortion or health food watch this! It's a truly convincing argument against all of them.

It looks to me like the writer, at least, has unresolved, subconscious guilt and shame, having internalized the messages of the dominant society and thought they would be resolved in this screen play. If this is an attempt at rebellion, it is an adolescent one: giving power to the same oppressive elements one claims to rebel against.

This movie is embarrassing. It could set us back fifty years, if it ever gets shown in mega churches.

Friday, May 07, 2010

MOVIE: "The Piano Teacher"

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Oh, good, I thought: a woman with no shame that her sexual curiosities are as powerful and assertive as a man's. And, just like a cheap, "B" horror movie, she must "pay" for her transgressions and invasions into aggressive and blatant urge. sigh.

Freudianism is the real restraint, the real sadism of this film. It's all Mommy's fault! Yawn. I saw no indication that Mommy's insecurities and urge to control were anything like a justification for reckless, irresponsible behavior.

There is a point at which one must climb from Mommy's bed and live one's own life. I know this from personal experience. My mother was so mentally ill, she tried to tear my genitalia off with her finger nails when I was eighteen months old. She forced me to sleep with her for several years while I was a young girl. And she beat me into a brain injury and PTSD.

I didn't just choose not to let my mother into my adult bed (metaphorically as well as literally), I worked at it very hard, very consciously, until I could experience the pleasure of being a woman with eyes wide open, completely sober, with no guilt.

French pride in Sade makes as much sense as German pride in Mengela would.

And this is not sado masechism. This is not consensual: people are affected without choice.

So, I can only rate it as adequate. It's not a story in which people grow, learn or die with the risk of trying.

This is a sensationalistic film by, for and about cowards who'd rather watch life than live it.

MOVIE: "Gas, Food, Lodging"

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This is the worst movie poster! Doesn't look anything like the actors.

Ok, this isn't a SMALL town in New Mexico. It has at least one truck stop. It has a bowling alley with more than two lanes that appears to be open more than two evenings a week. It has a real movie theater.

Transitions between "town" and whatever other communities people visited were murky and I was lost a lot because of that.

When shooting on location in New Mexico, it's smart to look at how locals behave in the environment, so one won't film stupid, bone headed mistakes that only city people actors would make. One would NEVER sit on a street curb at an empty lot full of tumble weeds. They have sharp, pokey seeds that hit the ground. One would, first, check the curb for them, goat heads and ants before parking one's tender bits so close to pain. In fact, a true local would have a compulsion to brush off the curb before sitting, whether prickles were visible or not. Second, on a summer night, one would never stand with both the screen door and front door open with every light on in the house because billions of nocturnal insects would swarm into one's house. And every local kid would know the terrain better than any geologist would, because there's nothing to do and hidden places in the desert would be party spots.

Not too preciously quaint and ciche, the locations, props, costumes and interior sets were bland enough to be believeable, except for the cutesy lamp shades on the diner's tables.

Good story. Don't think it moves very fast? Well, welcome to the desert of New Mexico. If people moved fast, they'd burn out.

I can't believe people in such a close community wouldn't have gaydar. And I can't believe they wouldn't know who and where everybody is at all times: it's a form of entertainment out here.

I think this must have been written by a former tourist, not someone who lives out here.

Who was that last "rocks" guy sleeping with to get the part? Terrible actor. Must be someone's brother.

MOVIE: "Hounddog"

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The script's a cliche? On what planet? I've never seen such an honest portrayal of a survivor. How do I know it's honest? Personal experience. Self assured, wise, intelligent, honest and curious child is systematically betrayed and forced into mute self denial.

The struggle to heal isn't worth the effort. Even though she languishes, she remembers useful facts that seem unrelated to her situation. Later, she will use them to liberate herself and her closest loved one.

I wish I could have freed myself, but the option didn't present itself. I was incarcerated with the viscious perpetrators until I ran at 17 to live on the streets.

Southern cliche? This story happens everywhere, all the time. Didn't need to be in the south; would have translated to inner city, Beverly Hills, the White House, Afghanistan, Paris, Harvard. But people would still have found excuses to object.

Script isn't slow; editing isn't illogical. Remember the song in the loft? "I had a ...." what? Are the images of dreams, visions, hallucenations, children's fantasies, nightmares ever logical? "Slowness" was actually thoughtfulness. Repetitive music let the actress and the character find their voices. For those of you who don't like to see depictions of children being abused, change the culture; don't shoot the messenger. People raise animals for meat; they can't allow pets to think it's ok to kill them. You're so worried about a gun shot, you never mentioned turkey feathers . . . or a rusted nail.

This is what it's like to survive trauma, folks. We're not crazy; it's the ones who whine that they're reminded trauma happens. Take two Soma and don't see me in the morning.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

MOVIE: "Frances"

Frances Farmer before "treatment"

Frances Farmer after "treatment"

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No student of psychology or psychiatry ought to be allowed to graduate without seeing and discussing this movie in class. People with behavioral health challenges are still treated as though we have no rights, no ability to choose our lives. This film is a quite honest and unflinching look at the threat of psychiatric incarceration and its devistating effects on us, especially on women.

Seventy-five percent of electroshock "therapy" is performed on women. Ninety-five percent of those administering the torture are men. Electroshock causes permanent brain damage.

Historical accuracy in this movie is not the point. Everything in the psychiatric industrial complex portrayed really does happen to incarcerated women, including forced prostitution inside institutions.

The depiction of the transorbital, "ice pick" lobotomy and of "Dr. Freeman" (I put his name in quotes because he is neither a doctor nor a free man) is completely accurate. Listen to "My Lobotomy" on "Sound Portraits," on the internet.

If you are a survivor of psychiatric abuse, some of us are organizing for fairness and justice. Search for Mind Freedom and for Psych Rights.

These days, they're using atypical neuroleptics and antipsychotics instead of lobotomy. And they're prescribing to children as young as two years -- not for chronic mental health issues, but for "behavioral problems." They're advertised on tv for depression. Their side effects shorten human life span by twenty-five years: diabetes, liver damage, heart disease, chronic obesity.

Never forget how few rights women had in the US in the early twentieth century. We only got the vote in the '20s and couldn't get credit without a father's or husband's signature until the late '70s.

In other countries, "treatments" far worse than those depicted here still go on.