talktooloose: (naked_sword)
2012-06-07 08:04 am

(no subject)

We're into Tilda Swinton. We've been eating up interviews she's given in addition to watching her films. When she mentioned her long association with Derek Jarman, I remembered that I'd always been curious about his film, "Blue." It was a film he made when AIDS had taken his eyesight and all he could see was a field of blue.

The movie is just that: 85 minutes of blue screen and a soundtrack. I've never had the patience to sit through it, but I realized yesterday it was probably on YouTube, so now I'm listening to it as I make breakfast and lunch and get ready for work. Magnificent radio play.
talktooloose: (naked_sword)
2012-05-27 10:41 pm

Thoughts on Ghost Stories

“The Woman in Black” is a fairly crappy cookie-cutter angry-ghost-in-old-mansion horror film. About the only thing to recommend it is the fun the director had in choreographing the creepy sequences, and the good-looking cinematography. But despite its half-assed scripting and wasted opportunities, I still rather enjoyed it, since I love ghost stories.

Béla and I had an interesting discussion about why these stories are powerful. They all revolve around the wall that is drawn between us and the experience of death, and the brief period when there are cracks in the wall.

We are surrounded by death, and throughout our lives, we walk a tightrope over the chasm with the sure knowledge that we will eventually miss a step. Yet, even though we are faced constantly with death, we cannot truly know death. We talk about people “dying,” and think of it as a sometimes prolonged process. But in fact we only ever see two states: alive and dead. If you have ever watched a person of animal die, you might have experienced the sure knowledge of the moment when the state changes. All the cliches are true: a light goes out, a spirt departs. Something clearly changes. And it is sudden. The wall that divides life from death is real, and the crossing is sudden, no matter how long you’ve been expecting it.

Ghost stories tell stories of when that wall becomes permeable. The experience of this is necessarily terrifying for the characters (and us by proxy), but neither they nor we can turn away. That is why the hero goes into the basement or the attic even as we scream, “Don’t!” The view of the unviewable is irresitable.

In the best ghost stories, there is resolution, but it is incomplete. The hero can never be the same again. That is why there is often a final shock — you think you’ve escaped, but now you know death all too well, in an unhealthy way that does not allow ever again for perfect peace.
talktooloose: (Saints in Love)
2012-05-02 05:06 pm
Entry tags:

Movie: Going Places

Last night, we watched "Going Places (Les valseuses)," a 1974 Bertrand Blier film, starring a young and shockingly hot Gérard Depardieu. It's a loose, giddy 70s movie about two childish, violent but charming young criminals on a rampage of spontaneous crime in the name of living a free life.

I think in the context of the time it was made, it was a kick in the crotch to the establishment and we are supposed to be rooting for the two criminals and identifying with them as they twit the bourgeoisie and let out their rage against anyone in authority.

The movie works very well, but the misogyny is pretty off-putting. It's like to the filmmakers, there are only two archetypal women: mothers and wives, and both are seen as stifling hypocrites who must be fought against and degraded. The women in the movie either resist this abuse and "get what they deserve" or awaken to their own sexual and societal freedom by being slapped around and threatened with rape. heh, having written this last paragraph, I'm angrier at the film than I was when i watched it.

And it's hard to say if Miou Miou, as their muse and eventual crime partner, actually has the most power in the trio by the end.
talktooloose: (Default)
2012-04-13 07:35 pm

Cross Polination

I'm feeling a great desire to blog these days, as well as a reluctance. There is so much that would be useful to express, but I am also very protective of my soul now. So, I'll start cautiously, and perhaps I will continue, and perhaps not:

I've discovered a YouTube channel with dozens and dozens of episodes from the TV show, "Inside the Actor's Studio." I find the host rather insufferable and the show is sometimes a more intellectual version of People Magazine, but with an articulate guest (I'm watching Mike Nichols now), I learn so much.

At this point, my artistic life has condensed into two media: songs and novels. Yet strangely, I'm much less likely to listen to interviews from musicians or novelists, and much more likely to draw inspirations from actors and filmmakers, and sometimes cartoonists or photographers. If there is anything unique about the art I make, it's that I admire mongrel forms. In some ways, I am a traditionalist in song and fiction, but I rarely feel like it is the work of others in that genre I am directly channeling.
talktooloose: (naked_sword)
2012-02-10 11:11 am

(no subject)

Okay! Chapter 9 of my book is written. The last thing I did was rewrite the whole opening of it and it became something surprising. I love being caught off guard by my own characters.

Fourteen chatpers to go!
talktooloose: (Saints in Love)
2012-01-02 05:48 pm

Death on New Year's

With my sister and her husband in from Long Island, and my nephew home for the holidays from Harvard, my family was  all going to get together for New Year's Eve. But an hour before Béla and I were to head uptown, my mom called to say that my sister-in-law's father had died suddenly at age 95.

She and my brother were left waiting for hours with the body for the Coroner to show up, and my two nephews were stuck up in Vaughan waiting for their parents to come home, so the rest of us had a smaller, quieter New Year's.

How I almost drop the coffin )
talktooloose: (mmmmmwtf?)
2011-08-24 06:12 pm

Memory Crush

Someone was asking on a YouTube video about first celebrity crushes. I had to think about this a bit and then actually research it because I had no idea the actor's name. But when I was around puberty, I was into this TV drama called "Family." Unusual taste for a 13 year old boy, but then it was me. It was a great show with terrific actors. I was totally into the teenage son, Willy, played by Gary Frank. I managed to find only one clip on YouTube, and it happens to be about Willy coming to terms with his best friend's coming out! I have no memory of this episode, but it's pretty far ahead of its time for network TV in the 70s.

Here is Willy in his (to my young eyes) cuteness, hashing it out with his dad (who, btw, is Matthew Broderick's father):

talktooloose: (fire-ice_slide)
2011-07-04 11:12 am


My X-Men fanfic novel, Days of Becoming, has been read by 523 people. Many more have begun it, but 523 have consumed all 400,000 words. Additionally, approximately 100 people have downloaded the book in pdf format. Soon I will have it available as an ebook. There is a huge spike in readership on chapters 17 and 18 which are the highest romantic point of the arc (actually, I might dispute that — the events at the end are highly romantic but in a much more painful and complex way). I like the idea of people going back to re-read the chapters that made them feel good. I've done that.

The X-Men: First Class story I posted two weeks ago has been read by 266 people.

All of these numbers are heartening and encouraging. I am so glad there are people sharing this journey. When I finish my current non-fanfic novel and begin serializing it, I expect the numbers to be much lower, at least initially. *sigh* Then I'll just be an ordinary writer.
talktooloose: (Kurt Kim)
2011-06-23 06:04 pm

X-Men: First Class Fic

Title: Nigger, Faggot, Mutie (1/1)
Author: Talktooloose
Pairing: Havoc/Darwin one-way
Warnings: Mature themes (racism, sexuality) but no overt sexual scenes
Betas: [ profile] kuriadalmatia and my husband, Snake.
Summary: Darwin encounters racism as the only black member of Xavier and Lehnsherr’s new mutant squad. He and Alex must reconsider their own prejudices in light of new bigotries.
Notes: First Class takes place during early days of the Civil Rights Movement. I wanted to explore themes of racism and homophobia in light of the 1962 setting and how they might affect our characters in ways not shown in the movie. The casting of Kenyan actor, Edi Gathegi as Darwin seemed sufficient justification to make the character African American and change his birth name to “Armand.” I embrace the ridiculousness of Alex Summers being a teenager in 1962 by making a time-trippy reference to Scott. Comments welcome.

Darwin heard them before he rounded the corner…

talktooloose: (Bobby_Gack!)
2011-06-20 10:35 am

Careful Balance

Ack! My marriage works by means of careful balance (as do most relationships, I believe). We are two loners who like being coupled. This means we crave lots of together time and lots of alone time.

Since Snake's contract ended a few weeks ago, the balance is fucked. Not only are we at home together at all times except when I'm working, but we are sharing ALL our projects at the moment. In addition to the normal cooking, cleaning, discussing, and entertainment parts of our lives, we are also making art together, exhaustively planning a trip together, and planning and executing a renovation together.

This is too much togetherness, and our peace is cracking like an egg. We had a very faggy fist fight this weekend at the height of it (slippers thrown and wimpy blows to biceps) and screamed at each other and slammed the crappy hollow doors on our second floor. But then we went out and bought cookware and felt better.

Balance, baby, everything is about balance. You heard it hear last.
talktooloose: (I See!)
2011-06-14 05:18 pm


The weekend turned into a Michael Fassbender festival. After watching him as Magneto on Friday, we saw him play jailed IRA terrorist, Bobby Sands in the riveting movie, Hunger. The movie takes place in the Maze prison in Belfast in 1981, where IRA inmates were fighting for the right to be treated as political prisoners instead of common criminals. The movie deals with the period leading up to and including Sands' hunger strike and death.

Read more... )
talktooloose: (glam batgirl)
2011-06-14 10:24 am

Things that Stick in Your Head for Too Long

Not that this is meaningful to anyone but me, but I finally figured out how I would stage the ending of "Sunday in the Park with George" in a way that would make it work.
talktooloose: (Kurt Kim)
2011-06-12 08:55 am

Fic Monsters

Ack! A plot bunny woke me up at 6am, and by 8:00, I had plotted out a 2000 word First Class ficlet. Must write. No time to write!
talktooloose: (Default)
2011-06-10 10:43 pm

Thoughts (WITH SPOILERS) on “X-Men: First Class”

This was, in many ways, the most complete and satisfying X-Men movie yet, especially the first half, where the combination of character-driven plot, global location, style out the wazoo and sheer fun were beautifully executed by all. thinklings )
talktooloose: (Kitty_JustAPhase)
2011-06-06 10:24 am


I must say, it does my heart good to see First Class fics starting to appear. If [ profile] xmmff had not risen from its torpor, I would have been convinced of the death of LJ. I am relieved.
talktooloose: (naked_sword)
2011-05-28 06:50 pm

The speeding planet burns, I'm used to that

We've been demolishing our crappy old patio by day and watching films by Alejandro González Iñárritu by night. Destruction and redemption.
talktooloose: (glam batgirl)
2011-05-17 11:23 am

Floppy Bits

I really like the temp we have in the office today, but he has an unfortunate Liza Minnelli haircut, including the floppy bits hanging down by the temples. In a weird coincidence, just this morning I was listening to Tina Fey describe just such a haircut she once got.
talktooloose: (mmmmmwtf?)
2011-05-16 12:17 pm

Thought Policing

I don't believe in thought policing. I expect people (including myself) to have racist, sexist, homophobic thoughts and I'm okay with that. I'm only interested in actions. If I call my partner "husband," I am okay with some people feeling uncomfortable. I am mostly okay with people expressing that discomfort, as long as it is in the spirit of "hmm, isn't it interesting that I feel uncomfortable," not, "would you stop saying that which makes me uncomfortable."

For example, I sometimes still feel weird around transsexuals (mostly mtf transsexuals, interestingly) but I recognize this as my problem, not theirs. My discomfort has diminished greatly over time and has been illuminating in that it uncovers gender conversations I am still having with myself.

So, no thought policing, please. What's inside of us is a work in progress and does not benefit from opprobrium, but rather knowledge.
talktooloose: (naked_sword)
2011-05-11 01:36 pm

Don't Engage! But…

I know, I know, don't engage trolls. But…

I responded to a YouTube vlog about "Monogamous Homosexual Relationships." It was a bland, but reasonable Vlog entry, though I didn't like the use of the word "promiscous." I wrote:
My husband and I have been together for coming up on 23 years, and we were only monogamous for the first six months. Non-monogamy isn't cheating if the "rules" of your relationship allow for it. "Promiscuous" is a fairly useless word, How do you define it? From whose point of view? Is it number of sexual encounters? How can it be when the healthy number of encounters for one person is unhealthy for another. How about the nature of those encounters? Are they affirming? Are they self-destructive?

I got an unsurprising response by someone who knows his (or her?) mind:
that is not a husband is more like a friend with benefits, i believe in monogamy open relationships are for people that dont respect their own body. first of all you are not married, second you are just a slut.

Which I should have ignored, but…
JUST a slut? I am a husband, son, uncle, employee, citizen, artist, friend AND a slut! I'll thank you not to ignore my other roles.

I await a response!
talktooloose: (Saints in Love)
2011-05-10 09:09 am

Revealing and Hiding

I'm on a company retreat now. In the week before we went away for this extended 3-day exercise, I floated the idea of hosting an open mic. I tried to word the invitation as gently as possible, asking if people had a song, a poem, a piece of writing—their own or something they admired. I said it would be a good chance to show some sides of ourselves we don't usually see in the office. I got a resounding silence in response and dropped the idea.

I was disappointed because I had wanted to sing some of my songs to the group. What did end up happening was a wild karaoke plus an X-Box dance game. Both of these things involved people making wild fools of themselves. The contrast got me thinking: there is an apparent gap between people's shyness and their comfort with shrieking wildly in public to AC/DC tracks or busting moves in a game. But really, the very extravagence of the foolishness was a mask. It is much easier to jump and scream in public, because you have deniability: "That's not me: I'm just being a good sport."

Actually sharing something of your soul is way beyond most people's comfort level. Even with colleagues they have known for years, in some cases people who are supposedly good friends, standing behind an actual emotion, a discordant philosophy, a piece of true joy or heartache is TMI.