Monday, June 23, 2008

YOUR CHEETA HEART

Well, the votes are in, the die has been cast, and I am frankly heartbroken by the result.



We campaigned long and hard for our candidate; in fact I think we did everything humanly possible to win this election and yet, when all was said and done, I suppose the outcome was inevitable. The prejudices and bigotry of a generation simply overwhelmed us. We were, in the end, victims of our own innocence, for we truly believed this was going to be the year.

The year of Hope. The year of Change.



The year that Cheeta received a Star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.



But alas, it was not to be, and once again my friend and neighbor, the Star of so many fine films –



- “Tarzan”, “Tarzan in New York”, “Tarzan Finds a Son” and, in a rare departure from these admittedly stereotypically ethnic roles, “Dr. Doolittle” (the original, not the one where noted transgender enthusiast Eddie Murphy hammed it up with a collection of digitally enhanced gerbils and so forth to the point where one couldn’t tell where his performance ended and the computer generated beasties began…) – has been denied his place in the pantheon of Hollywood Royalty.



It’s not as if Cheeta’s non-human status could have been a mitigating factor – heaven knows Ryan Seacrest has a Star on that sparkling path and he’s two chromosomes away from plywood –



- and I doubt that the chimp’s rather conservative politics (he is, like so many of the lower primates, a Republican) had anything to do with it. And given that Hugh Jackman, John Stamos and the Village People –



- the bloody VILLAGE PEOPLE!! – are getting Stars this year; obviously taste has NOTHING to do with it.

No, I am afraid there’s only one explanation; we all know what it is, and I am loathe to even write the word, but….there it is. The horrible truth.

RACISM.

Just because someone doesn’t happen to fit into the narrowly defined category of HUMAN, does this make him any less an actor? My lord, they’re giving a Star to Robert Downey Jr. for heaven’s sake!!



Granted, his marvelous work in "IRON MAN" is possibly the most remarkable resurrection since Lazarus, but can he swing from a vine, laugh on cue or fall over on his haunches with nothing more than a wink from Johnny Weissmuller as his motivation?



I think not.

Ah well. There’s always next year. In the meanwhile, my furry friend is enjoying the phenomenal weather we’ve been having here in our desert paradise-



by relaxing in his air conditioned quarters and working on his paintings, nonplussed by all of the foolishness going on around him.



I’ve been trying to do the same, of course; with “season” officially over, temperatures averaging in the hundred-and-oh-my-god farenheit, and all of the “snowbird” riff raff having fled in their gas guzzling Winnebagos or suddenly not-so-discounted airplane seats -



- at long last I can arise early in the day and return to my pursuit of La Muse.



(A side note: the recent escalation of gas prices has prompted several of the local airlines to raise their fares considerably; a situation which has caused a great deal of concern in the travel industry. One of the most amusing national news stories stated in breathless indignation that if things continued as they are, air travel would no longer be something the “average person” could afford, once again becoming exclusive to the business traveler and “the rich”.



As if this is a bad thing?

Frankly, I’m looking forward to the day when the “average person”, this Airborne Trash who have made flying such a dreadful experience over the last twenty deregulated years, get the hell out of the skies and get back on the bus where they belong!



Honestly, are these sweatpants-wearing buffoons so close to STARVATION that they must bring enough garlic-laden fast food onboard the plane to keep their fat gullets stuffed for the ENTIRE ninety minute trip from Codswallow, Atlanta to Birdcrap, Arkansas?



From the looks of some of them, they could skip a few hundred meals and not even feel a twinge…)

Now to return to the matter at hand, let me be clear about this: I ADORE my friends and family, but to be honest with you I am seriously considering buying up the surrounding houses in my neighborhood as hospitality suites in order to get some work done here at 801.



While my childhood in Canada gives me a vivid understanding as to why anyone would flee the place at the first invitation-



- I’ve got two scripts, a novel and several articles due and if I have to make one more run to the Rite Aid for sunblock or hemorroid crème to help my ex-patriated houseguests make it through to the supper hour, I am going to have my own little insurgence right here at the house.



Even my houseboy Panton –



- who, frankly, falls into the category of unwanted houseguest himself sometimes, being utterly unemployable anywhere but within these walls given that his command of the English language makes Jackie Chan sound like a Rhodes Scholar - is threatening to quit if one more person shows up with sixteen suitcases full of “gift with purchase” beachwear and wants to know “what’s fun to do in town?”

Somehow between all of this, I did manage to squeeze in a few moments of chit chat with Miss Angie Dickinson-



- at this year’s PALM SPRINGS FILM NOIR FESTIVAL -



- held at our local “Camelot Theater”, which is possibly my favorite movie house in the whole state of California because they treat you like an adult and allow you to enjoy a cocktail while you endure the nonsense which passes as “art films” these days.

(Certainly, the world is a challenging place and cinema can help us understand it, but frankly the only way I’m going to make it through yet another out-of-focus-lesbian-directed-independently-financed-against-the-white-male-patriarchy-controlled-child-soldiers-in-Darfur-forcing-Chinese-girls-to-make-cheap-denim-trousers-in-Uruguayan-sweat-shops-secretly-providing-sex-slavery-to-the-Phillipines-and-oh-god-how-we-hate-America piece of celluloid diarrhea is with a good stiff Martini.)



However at this year’s Film Noir Fest (the founder of which, Arthur Lyons, sadly passed away a month prior to the 8th annual event, leaving his wonderful wife Barbara behind to keep it going full steam ahead)-



- we were treated to nothing but good ol’ fashioned, two-fisted, hard-boiled cinema, the way they USED to make ‘em in Hollywood. Great stories, terrific characters and the kind of knife edged duo-chromatic photography which reminds one that color film is, in the end, nothing but a lie our hearts tell us. You want the truth, baby, fine….but it only comes in black and white.



If only this had been the case with M. Night Shyamalan’s horrendous “The Happening”-



- a movie so truly awful that the constant yammering of the senile codger in the theater seat next to me was actually a relief! First of all, to put Mark Wahlberg in a movie and have him remain fully dressed is, in my opinion, an utter waste of both film and flesh.



Secondly – KILLER TREES?



C’mon M., “Sixth Sense” was good, but you know as well as I do you just ripped it off from Rod Serling’s old “Twilight Zone” and you’ve been dining off that particular bit of robbery ever since; don’t you feel even a tiny twinge of guilt by hustling your backers with each subsequent movie?



Stop already! You’re rich! Hang out with your kids, do charity work, travel…anything but become Philadelphia’s answer to Uwe ("In The Name of the King, Bloodrayne, et al...") Boll!



Speaking of Mark Wahlberg, I suppose it was only a matter of time before the next Hot Boy In Underpants (Celebrity Edition) arose in our national consciousness and spread himself across the supermarket checkout magazines in order to distract Les Femmes du Marche from the high price of kumquats.



(It is interesting to note that the recent economic downturn may end up being the best thing to happen to American health since Viagra; the exact socio-economic demographic in the most need of exercise are now unable to afford gasoline and have thus taken to walking. Recent news reports howl about the high cost of "essential food items" like cheese, meat and instant animal shaped macaroni meals without once commenting that perhaps our obese brethren would be better served spending their ducats on fruits, vegetables or somewhat more realistic hair coloring.)

The most recent Bulge To Remember belongs to one-time “Saved By The Bell” actor Mario Lopez -



- now much better known for his butt-baring performance on that TV show about plastic surgery – no, not Desperate Housewives.



It appears La Lopez is doing the “sit and grin” circuit in aid of a new book he has “written”, a collection of dubious twaddle demonstrating how with just a few situps and a diet of boiled newsprint, one can have the kind of body porn stars are made of.



Needless to say, calling this soft core saddle rubbing material a “book” is stretching things somewhat, but if Karl Rove can manage to squeeze his hooves onto a laptop keyboard and spew enough verbal feces together to warrant publication, I guess even ex-kidcom stars deserve a book deal.



It does give one pause, though, especially when perfectly good tomes like my dear friend Michael Rowe’s (aka “The Duchess of Milton”) “Other Men’s Sons” are available for purchase instead.



The Duchess recently won the coveted Randy Shilts Award –



- for the still placenta-damp amongst you, Shilts’ journalistic endeavors around the AIDS crisis of the early 80’s (you remember AIDS of course; it was that disease which should have gone the way of mullet hair styles and Michael Jackson Jackets but in managing to team up with the Christian Right, The Low Self Esteem Follies AND some battery acid/rat poison cocktail called Crystal Meth has managed to last longer than Cher’s last farewell tour….) and the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell hogwash of American Military Policy have yet to be equaled – and snagged not one but TWO nominations for the slightly prestigious Lambda Literary prize, sort of the gay ghetto version of a Danielle Steele Award – if such a thing were to exist and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it did…



Frankly, in spite of his being able to spend the evening surrounded by some rather lower consonant celebrities - which, for the Duchess, still qualifies as a Big Night Out - I’m glad he didn’t win the Lambda. His book, a true labor of love, deserves better than to be marginalized in the Gay Studies Outback of Barnes and Noble next to copies of "Your Lube and You", dog-eared beyond recognition by the pawings of closet cases and high school boys too embarrassed to actually buy the damn thing, and the final story “My Life As A Girl” makes people like me want to hang up our Macbooks. Go to Amazon and order it. You’ll be glad you did.



Besides, a spike in sales might make him feel better. Not that he’s the complaining type, mind you; while he was here visiting last month for a bit of wound licking, he managed to keep a stiff upper lip with the help of several strong gin and tonics around Frank Sinatra’s bar, but as one of his oldest friends I could sense that deep down he was an artist in pain.



I know this because late at night, when he thought everyone here at 801 was asleep, I could have sworn I heard him outside howling in anguish at the loss of the trophy which surely should have been his.

Although now that I think about it, maybe it wasn’t him.



Maybe Cheeta really wanted that Star after all….