Monday, February 05, 2007

Brent Corrigan: A New Chapter

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Well, another first here at the Pop Culture Institute: today I received, via email, an actual press release. It seems notorious gay porn star Brent Corrigan is trying to go legit. Somehow I received word of this, and so I'm happy to report it. In a way, it's like I'm going legit too.

Now showing on YouTube is a trailer for a rock opera created by Eric Svejcar and directed by Ryan J. Davis called "Didn't This Used To Be Fun". At first viewing it appears to be glorifying the twink culture, but the possible message is that a constant round of drugs and partying may be - gasp! - not much good for you. Unlike most "you should do what's good for you" messages, this one is at least sexy, so maybe it'll get its point across.

Mr. Corrigan last appeared on this page in a story about the murder of his business partner and former lover Bryan Charles Kocis. He mentions the event on his blog thusly:

"In light of the tragic events that took place last week and due to the extreme sensitivity and its nature, I have been advised by my attorneys and law enforcement officials in charge of the investigation not to make public comments or statements regarding this very sad and senseless crime.

"When I am again able, I will address the issues surrounding this terrible tragedy. Contrary to what others may have written, we had finalized a settlement with Cobra Video and Bryan regarding the civil lawsuit. The settlement documents were signed and all parties were looking forward to moving on to a mutually beneficial arrangement. Please pay your respects to Bryan Kocis, his family and friends. It is time to show them all the love and support you have shown me."

I am eagerly awaiting such a statement, and I will be republishing it here when it does appear.

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God Save The Queens

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"Queen Elizabeth II marked the 400th anniversary of Amsterdam's English Reformed Church, the oldest English speaking congregation outside Britain, in a low key visit to the Netherlands Monday. The British monarch, dressed in a plum coat with a burgundy coloured hat with plum coloured flowers, attended a one-hour church service together with the Netherlands' Queen Beatrix.

"The English Reformed Church is housed in a 16th century chapel in central Amsterdam donated to the English Protestant community by the city in 1607. The church held its first English-language service on February 5, 1607 and services continued regularly with only a short interruption during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands during World War II.

"Monday's service featured hymn singing and reading from the Bible and a sermon by Reverend Alan McDonald, the moderator of the general assembly of the Church of Scotland. Churchgoers said the service was very simple and the only difference from a regular Sunday was the fact that the church sang "God Save the Queen" at the end. Over 38 nationalities from different Christian denominations attend the English speaking church's services and on Sunday its 450 seats are nearly full.

"In his sermon McDonald stressed "the double identity and the dual nationality" of the church but insisted "this is not an historical place, we are not a museum".

"The question is: Where are you now, where are you going?" he said.

"The congregation is part of the Church of Scotland (Presbyterian) and not the Church of England (Anglican), which Queen Elizabeth II officially heads. However, the monarch does attend services with the Church of Scotland when she is in Scotland. Ministers from the English Reformed Church have been invited to preach in the chapel of the British royal's Balmoral Castle. Even though the English Church -- known locally as the Engelse Kerk -- has been led for the last 17 years by Scottish pastor John Cowie, it presents itself as "ecumenical and international".

"This is one of the major characteristics of the congregation: this is not an expat congregation, we have very strong links with the Dutch society," Cowie said. "Half of the congregation is being renewed every five years, but it keeps growing, which is a far cry from the situation in the UK parishes," he added.

After the service the British queen will meet some of the modern day worshippers and Amsterdam city officials at a private reception at the neighbouring Amsterdam Historical Museum, which is hosting an exhibition on the church's 400th anniversary. She is expected to fly back to London on Monday evening.

Earlier on Monday the queen also paid a brief visit to the International Court of Justice in The Hague, presided over by British judge Rosalyn Higgins. The queen met the judges and their partners and members of the registry. There were no speeches at the court as the queen had said she was just interested in meeting the people.

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Blog Fodder - RIP Picture Card

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That's right, I destroyed the 512 MB memory card I'd been using in my camera. Thank you. Thank you very much.

Fortunately I still have the old 256 MB; unfortunately it just will not do, even for a week. So tomorrow I guess it's down to the shops for a 1 GB card. I'd been meaning to get one anyway, but the 512MB card was pretty functional, so I was waiting before getting the larger capacity.

The wait is over... And once again comes progress in the wake of my own stupidity. If that's all it takes I should make quite a lot of progress.
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Father of the Year: The Ryan O'Neal Story

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[Look out! It's 3-D Ryan O'Neal! Don't get too close!]

One of the most indelible images of the 1980s for me was a picture of Griffin O'Neal grinning without his two front teeth.

Now, this was not a tow-headed little sprite but a grown man, who'd just had his teeth knocked out by his father, Ryan O'Neal. It was quite a story, though in those days the celebrity press was pretty much just "Entertainment Tonight" and "People Weekly". It could have spawned a discussion in society about the treatment of children by adults, but it didn't. The scandal passed after a couple of weeks without leaving too much of an impression, although it left one on me. Since this was more or less how my father behaved, I would follow such stories when they (too rarely) appeared.

It was 15 years later, in 2003, that I discovered "Paper Moon" on DVD, and a new, earlier chapter of the story came to light. Apparently Ryan campaigned Peter Bogdanovich to cast Tatum in the roll of Addie in "Paper Moon", but got jealous of the attention Tatum got for the role (which is, by the way, entirely deserved) once the movie was released. Throughout the film, as well, Ryan's character has a powerful antipathy towards Addie that could possibly be grounded in his own real-life insecurity.

Then, a couple of years ago, reading Tatum O'Neal's memoirs "A Paper Life", I felt a chill as she described her father's behaviour toward her the night she won an Oscar for "Paper Moon" and he didn't. She claims not to recall him punching her, yet right or wrong the story persists, probably because the truth has yet to come to light.

And so here the story comes to a third act. Ryan O'Neal has been arrested for pulling a gun on Griffin, and this time is off to the jailhouse. Since he and Tatum are long-estranged, maybe newly-in-remission longtime galpal Farrah Fawcett will be there for him in his moment of need, as I doubt Griffin will be.

Despite having given this post a very judgmental title, and an ambivalence for celebrities besides, it is my sincere wish that Ryan somehow comes to terms with his own rage and the damage it has done to his children, not to mention his life. As someone who struggles with rage issues, I know how easily anger can destroy lives, and I hope this is his wake-up call. I hope he gets the help he requires to make peace with the ones he's hurt (beginning with himself) before it's too late.

Even if it does turn out that Griffin was to blame for starting the altercation, pulling a gun on your own son? Who does Ryan O'Neal think he is, anyway, James Caan?

[The preceding was an anecdotal remembrance of a series of events. It may be unclear in places and contain inaccuracies; should you the reader note any, please don't hesitate to contact me so I can make the necessary corrections.)
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Do Not Adjust Your Set

On a whim Sunday evening I stopped in at Chapter's. I got Jake Arnott's "The Long Firm" about a gay male gangster in 1960s London (a la Ronnie Kray), and "Do Not Adjust Your Set". The following article describes the thing better than I ever could.

I must say, it's nice to see children's television that doesn't talk down to its audience. There's very little difference between "Do Not Adjust Your Set" and "Not The Nine O'Clock News", except that the former eschews an occasional naughty word and political satire where the latter revels in it. It also, in a way, prefigures "You Can't Do That On Television", which, sadly, has yet to be released on DVD, but which would be much appreciated.

(Catch "You Can't Do That on Television" while you can on YouTube. Who knows? "Do Not Adjust Your Set" might be there too.)

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Do Not Adjust Your Set UK, ITV (Rediffusion, *Thames), Children's sketch, b/w, 1967 Starring: Denise Coffey, Eric Idle, David Jason

At Last The 1948 Show led directly to Monty Python's Flying Circus and so, in equal measure, did Do Not Adjust Your Set , a children's show of inspired sketches and skits featuring the combined - and then still largely unknown - talents of Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin. It also propelled a decidedly untried young actor into television: David Jason, discovered by producer Humphrey Barclay in an end-of-the-pier show in Eastbourne. The fifth member of the team, by no means the least, was Denise Coffey, a versatile and naturally funny comic actress whom Barclay spotted in a play at the Edinburgh Festival.

As producer of the excellent BBC radio sketch comedy I'm Sorry, I'll Read That Again, starring John Cleese and all three of what would become The Goodies, Barclay was invited by Rediffusion executive Jeremy Isaacs to produce, along similar lines, a witty TV show for children. (The title Do Not Adjust Your Set came from the standard fault card screened during TV breakdowns - still a common sight in the late 1960s; I'm Sorry, I'll Read That Again had been titled from the standard newsreaders' apology on radio.)

The key to the show's success was Barclay's decision to produce the funniest comedy he could, irrespective of the age of the viewer. The tea-time scheduling was not overlooked, but neither did it govern the material, avoiding the most common pitfall of children's TV: the patronising attitude. Idle, Palin and Jones kept this creed firmly in mind and generated some terrific material that was satirical, surreal, absurdist and even, at times, macabre. When a sketch was felt too risqué for the hour it was simply set aside for future use elsewhere. Inevitably, Do Not Adjust Your Set quickly amassed a cult following, many adults finding excuses to leave work early and rush home for the 5.20pm transmissions. It also won a major international award, the Prix Jeunesse, in Munich in 1968.

Subtitled 'The Fairly Pointless Show', Do Not Adjust Your Set was strong in every department. Every edition featured a musical interlude by the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band. Likened by Denise Coffey to 'Spike Jones and his City Slickers on speed', the Bonzos were terrific value, their lead singer Viv Stanshall, one of the great British eccentrics, never failing to create an impression. (The band also helped out in some of the sketches.) The final few editions treated viewers to the work of a young American artist new to British TV, Terry Gilliam, who provided drawings. Another bonus was a weekly serial, Captain Fantastic, which featured David Jason as a bowler-hatted, old-raincoated and moustachioed superhero trying to rid the world of the evil Mrs Black (Denise Coffey). Such was its popularity, Captain Fantastic enjoyed a life of its own, new episodes being incorporated into Thames' children's magazine Magpie from its premiere on 30 July 1968. (Thames also took over DNAYS when it won the franchise from Rediffusion.)

Five months after Do Not Adjust Your Set came to an end BBC1 launched Monty Python's Flying Circus.

Researched and written by Mark Lewisohn.


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Blog Fodder - The Denver Colts

Blog Fodder is a new department devoted to those times when I do something stupid. I expect Blog Fodder will not only become our most productive department, but our most popular as well. - MSM

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(Indianapolis Colts quarterback and Super Bowl MVP Peyton Manning, doing one of those things they do with that ball they use.)

At dinner Saturday night with Seumas and the eight musicians composing Oran nan Car I was determined to impress. I'd brought all my witty banter in the most sparkly handbag I had, and I was doing pretty good as well until talk turned to the topic of the Super Bowl. I knew it was Bears/Colts, and I knew that the Bears (dah BEARSS!) are from Chicago.

I have no idea how many times I said Denver Colts before I was gently corrected.

Oh well... At least the Indianapolis Colts managed to win despite my gaffe, and that's the important thing. Unless, of course, you're a fan of the Bears. (dah BEARSS!) It scarcely needs to be said that I am a fan of the bears (dah BEARSS!), the twinks (dah TWINKSS!), the frat boys (dah FRAT BOYSS!)... I think you get the point; too bad I don't.

WHOA! Watch out for that tangent!
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