Friday, December 20, 2002

The Other* speaks...

I had a really interesting conversation the other night about straight people playing gays and vice versa. I made a comparison to it being a bit like blackface. That didn't go over too well, but I still think the analogy holds. In both, the actual characteristics of the other are eschewed for amusing exaggerations. Ree's reply was that exaggeration was an effective comedic tool. She's quite right of course.
My rebuttal was that having straight people play gays suggests two things:
1) They couldn't find any actual gay actors for the portrayal.
2) The actuality of being gay -- having real gay characters -- isn't as important/interesting as the gross exagerrations. This is essentially bigoted. I particularly find this idea offensive because it's at the top of a slipperly slope that leads to Nowhere Fun, like the idea that the other aren't real people.

I think everyone in #sinister went along with this much. Well, most everybody.

Then we got into the discussion about the opposite, gays playing straights. I think this is completely different, because of the majority/minority issues. I mean, not that it doesn't happen. It's just not comedy when it does.
It's not ipso facto demeaning when it happens. I think, you don't have to do anything special to play a straight character, but you have to do something to be a gay character. Straight is the norm.

We wound up talking about performance technique, a fiddly thing at best, how being a gay character is bad acting but a character who is gay is good acting. I think I was trying to communicate that in Stanislavski's techhique, you're trying to reproduce an entire pyschology, and that (only is rare cases) is that pyschology dominated by one single trait. I'm not sure that came across.

(The problem with this, of course, is that even Stanislavski's technique is defined by some convention. But then again, all art period is.)

Anyway, who would have thought that Will and Grace would have given rise to such a interesting conversation?

I was going to go see The Two Towers last night, but Carl was sick and I was broke. It's just as well, as I haven't finished the book.
For that matter, I'm also reading Bored of the Rings, the Harvard Lampoon parody of Lord of the Rings (it's funny) and about 150 pages into Queen of the Damned. And at work, I'm reading through MacBeth on my breaks.

I didn't mention it, as I haven't mentioned my date last week at all, but I found a great indie book store called the Regulator on Ninth Street in Durham. I almost bought the Miserable Mill, my next Lemony Snicket book, there.
By the way Laura, a new Indie book store opened in Chapel Hill last week, Chapel Hill Books. It's a member of Book Sense. I checked tonight. Update your map accordingly.

I've also seen Star Trek: Nemesis and Die Another Day. Reviews will likely follow tomorrow, especially if Carl is too sick to go out. (Preview: Star Trek was okay, okay for a ST film, I suppose. The Bond flick was horrible. Too many needless references to the series' past, big clunky ones, and the fencing was icky.)

My friend Phil, the world traveller, is going to Kyrgyzistan. He may get me a hat. I'll have to put out for it, but THAT'S OKAY, as I have lusted in my heart for such a hat for several months.

Word of the day: Furlong -- 660 feet, 220 yards, 1/8 of a mile. From the word for the length if a furrow, or the length of a plowed field. Very useful for those reading Lordof the Rings, as it is mentioned all the time.

Dr Who of the Day: The Keeper of Traken, part 1. I quite liked the design for this story, all swirly medieval, and use of rich, dark colour and farics like velvets and velours. It's just inside the John Nathan-Turner re-thinking of the series, when uniforms replace costumes. Design, though, is great and quite a change from the panto-like atmosphere of the late seventies (This is the 1980 series). It's a studio-bound piece, so they garden scenes are a little disappointing.
The story is interesting enough. Not great but okay: amusing if not enthralling. Denis Carey is in it, though, quite good as the decrepit eponymous Keeper, and Anthony Ainley's Tremas is really warm and sparkling and likeable. Tom Baker is (of course) quite good as well, with his insanity a little more restrained (I like that, discipline is good for the actor) and reasonable.
It's clear that an era is over, though, and probably the show's greatest one.
To his credit J N-T made the show his own in a trice.

Yeah, my summing up comment is this, as it slides into Peter Davison era: "Not great, but okay."

Reason Laura Llew rocks: Commando raids for chruch pews. Man, if the Major did that, I'd be ALL ABOUT some church.

*Check out the link here from Ms Minx' page. That explain all.

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