Changing The World One Pansy At A Time!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Tilda Swinton

Lana Turner

My God what a horrendous show Sunday night's Academy Awards was, wasn't it?

For THIS they ended the Writer's Strike?

I love Jon Stewart, I think he is often brilliant. But this is just not his thing.
He already hosted one of the lowest rated Oscar shows in history & now guess what? He topped himself!  Sunday's ratings were in the toilet. At least Whoopi Goldberg's ratings were better even though the Academy snubbed her by not including any of her clips from past Oscar telecasts (they left out Steve Martin too!) The Academy has since apologized. When asked to explain why the late actor Brad Renfro was left out of the annual "ode to the dead" they explained(basically) that there were just too many dead people.

THRILLED for MARION COTILLARD & her deserrved Best Actress win! And she looked so lovely on her Gautier gown.

Someone who did NOT look so hot was TILDA SWINTON. Now don't get me wrong I think she is amazing actress & truly gave a terrific performance in"MICHAEL CLAYTON" But was she aware that the Academy Awards are TELEVISED? Has she developed some ALLERGY to MAKEUP since the film wrapped? Blessed Mother of God! 
Very tall with a SHOCK of red hair & pale skin you can almost SEE THROUGH the lady is ARRESTING! She shoukd come with a WARNING LABEL. A little foundation, some blush, hell it's L.A.... a little self-tanner wouldn't have killed her. And I think she should sue the designer at Lanvin who persuauded her to wear that dreadful dress. She looked like she was mugged on the way home from Graduation. I really like her & think she cold be helped. Perhaps she's just ill-advised. A very interesting woman too. She has some sort of complicated European love life...husband, kids AND a Lover! And we're all friends...isn't that terrific? Sort of?

Somebody who would never be caught without makeup was the late great LANA TURNER. The last great bombshell before MARILYN MONROE, Lana was quite a glamorous character & not a bad actress either. ("Imitation of Life" is one of my all time favorites) Though her 12 yr. old daughter did famously stab her gangster lover to death (Nobody's perfect!) Lana went on to find some happiness with 3 more husbands after that. I read this little anecdote the other day:

"She liked her booze!" the columnist James Bacon recalled. He tells of driving in a limousine with Lana on their way to a cocktail party & watching her sip vodka from a silver flask. "My God! Lana" Bacon said. "You're going to have a drink in 10 minutes!"
Lana replied: "And that's 10 minutes without a drink!" You gotta love those old broads!

I'm going to have to re-think my own drinking strategy for future Oscar shows apparently. I have always made it a policy not to have a cocktail til at least the "Best Supporting Actress/Actor" category which USED to be about 25 minutes or so in.  Not this past Sunday that award wasn't even handed out in the first HOUR! 

GayGardener Decorating TIP: Again this year,  I had fun decorating for my Oscar party with, what else? FILM!  Just grab some cheap film from your favorite discount store (99 Cents!) and use the "spools" as a table runner or garland for the fireplace mantle. Another cute thing is to take some of your old "negatives" (the ones you keep & aren't sure why) & wrap them around some clear votive candle holders, makes a nice effect when all lit do I!

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Sunday, February 24, 2008

“Why is This Night different from All Other Nights?”


No. I’m not talking about Passover. I’m talking about tonight’s telecast of the Academy Awards. Oscar. And Oscar is all wet. And not just because Los Angeles is expected to get it’s 1,000th day of consecutive rain showers.
Maybe it is because no one was sure it was going to happen at all due to the writer’s strike. It could be the nominated films themselves. “No Country for Old Men” (the likely Best Picture winner) ain’t exactly “Dreamgirls” nor is “There Will Be Blood” “Chicago” (O.k. so I like musicals, I’m a gay stereotype.) Nope, we have a bunch of dark & unapproachable films this year. One major annoyance to me is that the usually wonderful Cate Blanchet is nominated for Best Actress for “Elizabeth: The Golden Age” One of the worst pictures of the year mainly do to Cate’s over wrought & self-indulgent performance, not to mention Clive Owen’s heavy handedness with the self tanner. (Is it me or has there been a film every single year depicting a British monarch? Wanna an Oscar? Play a queen!) But thankfully this award will likely go to Julie Christie, or my personal fave; Marion Cotilliard for her portrayal of Piaf.

I also think part of the reason for the lack of excitement of not downright disinterest; is the 24/7 celebrity culture we’re living in. If you miss tonight’s show don’t worry, ACCESS & ET will be playing the clips & the “exclusive interviews” all week long, I’m sure. By the time a film or performance is nominated we’ve seen about 25 interviews plugging it. It wasn’t always like this.

In the pre- Britney era, you pretty much only saw celebrities (no one really says “Stars” anymore, do they?) when they were working, that is, on screen. Or perhaps chatting with Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show & the occasional scandal flare up in The National Enquirer. So you sort of HAD to tune in to the telecast of the Academy Awards if you wanted to see stars. And see them you did. In all their glory. Because everyone showed up. Or sometimes famously didn’t show up, as in the case of Marlon Brando & George C Scott. All the legends came & strolled down the red carpet. It may not have even been officially “red” back then. Women wore their own clothes & jewels; or if they borrowed them certainly didn’t brag about the fact. There were no stylists. Ladies may have had “the studio” do their hair & makeup but no one talked about that. Actually, Grace Kelly who won a Best Actress Oscar for “The Country Girl”, had to do her own hair in the limo on the way to the ceremony. She was working late, racing to the theatre, and her “coiffure” failed her. She simply took a few roses from a corsage given her & tucked them in her pinned up hair & never looked more breathtaking. Though, Judy Garland still should have won that year for “A Star is Born”

You can tell I have a lot of Oscar trivia stuffed in my head. I can’t help it. I only learned about the “situation in the Middle East” after Vanessa Redgrave was booed during her acceptance speech (Best Supporting Actress: “Julia”) for making Pro-Palestinian statements. I always thought of the Oscars as “The Gay Superbowl” Oh well. Maybe the commercials will be interesting.

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Friday, February 22, 2008

"Change You can Xerox"


Caroline & Oprah

I know, I know, I swore…but honestly, really, this is it? Sweet Jesus is there anyone under 40 who even knows what a Xerox is? I guess they still have them at law firms. And I remember the Xerox was the bane of my existence when I worked at that talent agency. (I used to volunteer to “massage” the Agency’s owner’s back rather than wrestle with that God damn machine spewing out the pages of some dreadful script! Of course this was in the pre- sexual harassment era.) Maybe this is an appropriate metaphor. Barack is the President for the “text generation” while Clinton speaks to the “stenograph” set.

While I was “out” I may not have mentioned that I attended a rally for Sen. Obama at U.C.L.A. Extraordinary! I’m sure you saw the coverage. Mainly because of the surprise appearance & endorsement of Barack by MARIA SHRIVER, the First Lady of California. CAROLINE KENNEDY was graceful, OPRAH bravely defiant, but the real star was MICHELLE OBAMA. She has gotten some bad press lately; but she spoke for more than 45 minutes without one single note & she was electrifying. Above is a photo I took from the rally.

I run the risk of repeating myself, but the only family that creeps me out more than those simian OLSEN TWINS are the ADAMS FAMILY from Down Under, THE IRWINS. Yes, yes, very sad about dad Steve, dying & leaving those kids without a father.
But Steve Irwin was an adrenelaine junkie who lived to take risks. And I was one of those people screaming when he was taunting that crocodile while holding his infant son. I remain unenthused by the star turns of the “Vegemite Shirley Temple, Little Bindi Irwin (who now has a look-alike doll named for her) but I blame her American mother, TERRI IRWIN Did you see this:

The 4-year-old son of "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin wasn't at all alarmed when he was recently bitten by a baby boa constrictor, according to his mother.
"He picked one of them up and it bit him on the finger, and he was so proud to have copped his first hit," Irwin's widow, Terri, said Monday at an appearance at FAO Schwarz with her two children to promote a new line of toys.
"He said, 'I hope it wasn't venomous,' so I assured Robert I wouldn't actually let him play with venomous snakes," she added.
Terri Irwin said the couple's 9-year-old daughter, Bindi, was first bitten by a snake when she was 18 months old.
The girl, who is featured in the Discovery Kids Channel show "Bindi the Jungle Girl," posed for cameras with a new action figure in her likeness.
"It's every little girl's dream to have an exact look-alike doll. It's amazing," said Bindi, who was signing action figure toys of her late father.
Steve Irwin, known through his nature TV series as a wrangler of crocodiles and snakes, died in 2006 from a stingray's barbed tail during an underwater documentary shoot. He was 44.
Irwin provoked an international outcry in 2004 after being filmed holding his then 1-month-old son while feeding a snapping crocodile.

“Copped his first hit”? Clearly the widow has spent too much time in the Jungle.

3rd day of rain in Los Angeles with more to come.  My new nightmare is that somehow; what with Global warming or climate change or whatever the hell they call it; I now live in SEATTLE.  And DALLAS is now Los Angeles.  I watched the TODAY show this morning & they were shooting from South Beach on a sunny morning, already in the mid-70's & thought what the hell am I doing here?  

Got on board a westbound seven forty seven
Didn't think before deciding what to do
Ooh, that talk of opportunities, TV breaks and movies
Rang true, sure rang true
Seems it never rains in southern California
Seems I've often heard that kind of talk before
It never rains in California, but girl don't they warn ya
It pours, man it pours

Out of work, I'm out of my head
Out of self respect, I'm out of bread
I'm underloved, I'm underfed, I wanna go home
It never rains in California, but girl don't they warn ya
It pours, man it pours


Will you tell the folks back home I nearly made it
Had offers but didn't know which one to take
Please don't tell 'em how you found me
Don't tell 'em how you found me
Gimme a break, give me a break

-Albert Hammond

Sunday, February 17, 2008

“Please Excuse Charlie’s Absence, he had a Virus!”

Oh My God! Were you worried that you hadn’t heard from me in over 3 weeks? Thanks for all the calls & letters! Here’s the story:

A few weeks back I started to get all these “Danger! Will Robinson” messages from McAfee that I had received some scary email that I must have inadvertently opened. Now, I thought that McAfee was supposed to keep this sort of thing at bay, but no matter. I tried to clear it up. I bought new Anti-virus software but this bugger wasn’t going down without a fight. I was able to discover that this virus affects the Windows registry rendering the use of Windows impossible. I cry “Uncle!”
I then take my computer to BEST BUY’s resident geniuses, THE GEEK SQUAD. Wait in line for 25 minutes, then explain to one of the “Blues-Brothers-Attired” staff what my problem is. (My computer problem that is) “Oh yea, don’t worry, we fix this sort of thing all the time!” “For $200 (!!) we’ll run a ‘Diagnostic & Repair’ & we’ll have your computer back to you within 3-5 days.” The young man with a crew cut then places some small wand in the back of the tower and grimacing says, “that’s strange but I can’t access Windows” Feeling a sickeningly diminished confidence; I ask if this could possibly be due to, as I just explained, I had a virus that compromises Windows??? “No worries, we’ll figure it out!”

Three, four, five days pass & not a single phone call. It’s like I’m dating The Geek Squad & we’ve just had sex & I’m feeling very vulnerable! I call & speak to a young Geek woman. I explain that its been more than six days &I’ve not heard anything. She assures me that the work is completed & that they would be “restoring” my computer that very evening. She calls back to inform me that e“oh, by the way, we charge $100 to give you the disc back with all the information that we retrieved from your computer!”  Well, by this point I feel like the Italian Government when one of their citizens is taken hostage in a foreign country…I’ll pay any price to have my computer back along with my personal information (some of which is, not surprisingly, of a sensitive nature, shall we say?) The list of Geek terms continues, “We’ll also need your system start-up cds & drivers to restore it ” I run them over immediately. I call back the same afternoon & am told that “There’s a problem with reloading Windows, so we’re going in another way!” (QUOTE) “We’ll call you” As they have yet to call me once in six days, I’m a bit dubious, so I decide to give them 24 more hours.

It is now “DAY 8 MY COMPUTER HELD HOSTAGE!” I return to the The Geek Lair. Thinking that because I have not heard from them, this is surely a good sign. It is not. I inquire at the desk & a young man greets me & says, “We have a problem.” “You have a ROACH” I ask (truly) if he can explain that in “laymen’s terms”? This question doesn’t translate. “No dude! You have a roach infestation in your computer!” “And it is our policy to cease working on systems that have a roach infestation!” “Armand” then gestures toward the room behind the counter where my poor tower is sitting forlornly on the floor, separated from all the other little computers & wrapped haphazardly in Saran Wrap. I want to cry. Some pertinent points: 
1) Apparently when “Diagnosing” an ailing computer The Geek Squad feels it is only necessary to actually “open” the computer in case of emergency. 2) There is quite obviously some hideously rampant infection of roaches inhabiting computers, particularly those being repaired at BEST BUY, enough so that the company has had to formulate an official policy! 3) This particular BEST BUY, sits between a BEN & JERRY’s & a STARBUCKS. Draw your own conclusions. 4) I have a live-in exterminator properly known as “MAX THE CAT” and in 12 years of living in this house have never seen so much as a water bug. 5) Moreover; ONE roach does NOT an Infestation make!

I call over a manager who kindly waves the Quarantine Policy & Armand swears that they will now be able to fix it. Upon my return the following evening (DAY 9 but who’s counting?) I’m greeted by the young woman who had previously assured me on the phone (my call) that the problem was fixed. A very unpleasant young lady; she then begins to recite BEST BUY’s ANTI-VERMIN MANIFESTO & points again to my sad little tower still wrapped in its home-made, see through, sheath; sitting in the same exact spot as it was 24 hours prior. I mention the manager’s name & ask for her to call him. The lady explained that that gentleman really had no power to decide anything & that the SQUAD had decided my problem was unfixable (was there some sort of conference, I wonder, where these cruel people deemed my little guy unworthy of life support?) and the fact that they cannot upload Windows has nothing whatever to do with my having a Windows specific virus.(!!??)

I insist on seeing the manager. She grunts (really) makes a face, & walks away. Now in her defense, the customary GEEK SQUAD uniform does consist of a white shirt & black pants & a gentleman’s black skinny tie, none of which is very flattering, even on a man. Her vain attempt at accessorizing with a metal studded leather belt was an utter failure. And sadly, she was bravely enduring some extensive & hopefully temporary out-break of cold sores & it WAS Friday night, so perhaps she just wasn’t at her best. In any event, the manager did come over & again promised they would fix it & contact me a.s.a.p.

Viola! Saturday night, “Javier” called me. (He called me, he called me!) He apologized & said he had only just begun to work on it but he would leave a note for the “night guy” (night geek?) to keep working & keep me informed.

No calls Sunday or all day Monday. Still, Javier had called & they were “working on it” So with a song in my heart I return to Geekdom on Monday evening (Day 11) I hand over my shockingly slim file considering all of my notes of the past week (s) to “Julius”. The song in my heart becomes a scream in my head as Julius tells me my computer is not fixed, will not be fixed, cannot be fixed. “Any explanation why?” I inquire. “Ummm, well I didn’t work on it personally.” Which at this point means he is the only one who hasn’t. “That guy over there can probably tell you what’s wrong with it!” “He’ll be with you as soon as he’s finished with that customer!”  Nope! Count me Out Geek! I’m done! 

I ask Julius to return my computer & my handsomely ransomed disc of personal information. He unwraps my tower from it’s shroud & hands me a cd. He had the grace to be ashamed & not look me in the eye once. But he kept fumbling around looking for something. “Is there anything else, Julius?” I ask. “Oh, I’m looking for a pen, you need to sign something!” I think, “a PEN??…a pen??? don’t geeks keep about a dozen pens in a pocket protector in their shirts?? “What am I signing?” I say instead. “Just a standard form that your computer was returned to you.” I sign the form & then look at the small print to see that it says something akin to my computer being repaired & returned to me & I am satisfied. Let’s just say I made some edits & amendments to that form. My only triumph that evening was on the way home I realized I had taken Julius’ hard-won PEN!

Happy to report that I am now inoculated with the only vaccine that stands a chance against computer viruses…A MAC!

As for BEST BUY & THE GEEK SQUAD…I’m OVER them. But I was so gratfied to tune into The TODAY show on Friday to see a young woman & her attorney announcing her $54 Million Dollar lawsuit against BEST BUY. Seems The Geeks lost (lost!!!) her computer with her tax returns, photos & numerous personal files. I hope she wins. And I’m sure she has earned every dollar by now. And has learned the hardest Geek lesson of all: at the BEST BUY Hotel, computers check in, but they don’t check out!

Again, please excuse my absence, I had a virus & a ROACH ate my homework.

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