Archive for February 2017

PILLOW TALK   Leave a comment

new-pillows-collage

Do you ever give second thoughts to the pillows you sleep on/with?

Due to having COPD, AFIB, etc., my doctor suggested I sleep with my head much higher than the rest of my body so I like firm or extra firm pillows, 2 on each headboard side, and I usually have to get new ones every year so having Allen’s car off I went.

Do you have any preferences when it comes to pillows? Soft? Firm? Medium? How many pillows do you sleep with? How often do you buy new pillows? What do you usually pay for them?

Granted I buy the inexpensive ones—okay, the cheap ones—and I wonder would it pay to buy the more expensive pillows and would they last longer?

Do you even give any second thoughts to pillows?

Posted February 27, 2017 by greatmartin in HOME, LIFE, Uncategorized

“WHEN WE RISE” MUST SEE TV– ON ABC   Leave a comment

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/When_We_Rise

 

When We Rise is an upcoming American docudrama miniseries written by Dustin Lance Black.

When We Rise chronicles the personal and political struggles, set-backs and triumphs of a diverse family of LGBTQ people who helped pioneer an offshoot of the Civil Rights Movement from its turbulent infancy in the 20th century to the once unfathomable successes of today. The period piece tells the history of the modern gay rights movement, starting with the Stonewall riots in 1969.[1]

The series will be eight hours long in seven parts with Gus Van Sant directing the first two-hour part with Dee Rees directing parts two and three, Thomas Schlamme parts four and five, and Black parts six and seven. The series is partially inspired by LGBT activist Cleve Jones‘s memoir When We Rise: My Life in the Movement. Van Sant and Black previously collaborated on Milk, which likewise featured Jones as a major character.

The series will premiere on ABC on February 27, 2017 at 9 p.m. Originally scheduled to air nightly until March 2,[2] the scheduling was later shifted to accommodate live coverage of the address to a joint session of Congress by President Donald Trump on February 28; the first episode remains scheduled to air on February 27, with the remaining three episodes airing from March 1 to March 3.[3]

 TRAILER

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XmDVH4fSbm8&t=35s

 

Posted February 26, 2017 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

MY OSCAR PICKS   Leave a comment

oscar-2017collage

You aren’t going to see many nominations for La La Land as I thought it was a very over-rated film. Sorry but I expect the leads in a musical saluting ‘old’ musicals to be able to sing and dance which neither Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling can do.

I don’t have a good record in picking winners but these are my choices not who I think will win.

Best Movie  Moonlight followed by Fences and Hidden Figures

Best Actor  Viggo Mortensen in Captain Fantastic  certainly the dark horse in this race

Best Actress Isabelle Huppert in Elle  As strong a performance as Charlize Theron in Monster and Jennifer Hudson in Dreamgirls and bowled me over. Until I saw this film I was rooting for  Ruth Negga in Loving

Best Supporting Actor Mahershala Ali in Moonlight followed closely by Lucas Hedges in Manchester by the Sea

Best Supporting Actress  Viola Davis  One of the best ever performances on screen

Best Director Barry Jenkins for Moonlight

Best Animated Feature Moana I didn’t see the other films but this one ‘knocked my socks off’!

Best Original Song How Far I’ll Go written by Lin Manuel Miranda  (Can anyone hum a bar of a La La Song?)  I am rooting for this song because first of all I like it and second I would like Miranda to become the youngest EGOT winner (If you don’t know what that stands for just ask!)

I think the only ‘sure win’ on the above list is Viola Davis but I remember when Lauren Bacall  was a sure thing for The Mirror Has Two Faces and lost to Juliette Binoche for The English Patient!

  • Best Picture *

Moonlight

  • Actor in a Leading Role *

Viggo Mortensen: “Captain Fantastic”

  • Actress in a Leading Role *

Isabelle Huppert:”Elle”

  • Actor In A Supporting Role *

Mahershala Ali: “Moonlight”

  • Actress in a Supporting Role *

Viola Davis: “Fences”

  • Animated Feature Film *

Moana

  • Costume Design *

Jackie

  • Directing *

Moonlight

  • Documentary (Feature) *

13th

  • Original Score *

La La Land

  • Original Song

“How Far I’ll Go”, Moana

  • Visual Effects *

The Jungle Book

  • Writing (Adapted Screenplay) *

Moonlight

  • Writing (Original Screenplay) *

Manchester by the Sea

 

Posted February 25, 2017 by greatmartin in ACADEMY AWARDS, ENTERTAINMENT, MOVIES, Uncategorized

“A UNITED KINGDOM”–A MUST SEE MOVIE   Leave a comment

“A United Kingdom” is based on a true story that took place in the 1940s-1960s in Africa as apartheid was taking hold in that continent. We meet Seretse Khama(David Oyelowo), who is black and future king of Bechuanaland (now called Botswana), where he is studying law in London just after WW2 has ended. At a dance he sees, and meets, Ruth Williams (Rosamund Pike), a white English woman office worker. They start off talking about American jazz and before you know it “A United Kingdom” turns into a love story, but not just any love story, one that changed history not only for a small country but affected the politics of England and politicians. 

The soaring love story, and the acting by Oyelowo and Pike, overtake the politics of race, discrimination and the bureaucrats that undermine the will of the people.

There are many shocking scenes in the movie, some you have seen before that have you shaking your head like seeing separate entrances for blacks and white, and some that are new, like finding a beloved figure in history not quite being who you thought he was. There are also many scenes in the movie that will remind you of what is happening outside of the theatre in your real world.

The screenplay by Guy Hibbert brings into play the power that love can bring to people’s ideals and at the same time shows that true love can give people strength to face anything from rejection by family, threat of exile from one’s country to being shunned by people of their own race.

This is the second picture I have seen by director Amma Asante who, in 2013, introduced to me the beautiful, talented actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw in the film “Belle”. She is now one of those rare directors who films I will go see just because their name is attached to it.

The acting from Oyelowo and Pike to Tom Felton and Jack Davenport representing the British Empire so nastily, to Vusi Kunene and Terry Pheto, Charlotte Hope, Laura Carmichael, Jack Lowden, Nicholas Lyndhurst, Arnold Oceng, among many other supporting players, are all first rate.

“A United Kingdom” is being referred to as a political and romantic drama and though it is a political film bringing events, and people, that may have not been known or remembered such as recent films like “Loving” and “Hidden Figures” to me it is one of the best love stories I have seen in a long time.

I am a sucker for a good love story and whether it is the screenplay, the director or David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pikeso believable as the lovers or a combination of all of them, this is a moving love story that had me in tears more than once.

At the end of the second month of 2017 this is my pick, so far, as best movie of the year! Go see “A United Kingdom”!

“A United Kingdom” Trailer

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pX5vI4osR50

“DISNEY’S THE LITTLE MERMAID”–TOURING COMPANY REVIEW   Leave a comment

In 1837 Hans Christian Anderson wrote a fairy tale about a young mermaid who wanted to become part of the human world and last night at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts the audience, the children, the adults with some kid still in them, all became enchanted with “Disney’s The Little Mermaid” no matter how well they know the story. We were taken under the sea to meet, and get to know, Ariel, the mermaid, her friends and the human being Prince Eric she falls in love with and watch as they become part of each other’s worlds.

The music by Alan Menken with lyrics by the late Howard Ashman in the original songs from the 1989 animated film and Glenn Slater for the additional songs range from a love duet between Prince Eric and Ariel  to Ariel’s wish to be part of Eric’s world in “Part of Your World”.

Whether it is the songs or the costumes by Amy Clark and Mark Koss or the scenic designs by Kenneth Foy, the remarkable lighting by Charlie Morrison and the choreography by John Macinnis and Paul Rubin, it isn’t long before you forget you are in a theatre and are joining Ariel, her family and friends living “Under The Sea”.

The cast from sweet voiced Diana Huey as Ariel to strong voiced Matthew Kacergis as Prince Eric and Steve Blanchard as King Triton, a father enchanted and puzzled by his daughter as most fathers are, and Melvin Abston as Sebastion, more than just comic relief, joins bombastic Jennifer Allen as the wicked sea witch who handles humor as if it is second nature along with a supporting cast bringing creatures below the sea and humans above to life with strong voices and ensemble work they all bring “Disney’s The Little Mermaid” alive on stage.

The book by Doug Wright and direction of Glenn Casale does have a few lagging moments by they are quickly diminished by a song, a dance or just wonder at ‘how did they do that?”

“The Little Mermaid” is filled with laughter, a few tears, a lot of tuneful music and a cast giving their all. It is a show for the whole family.

“The Little Mermaid” runs 2 hours and 25 minutes with a 20 minute intermission and will be at the BCPA until  March 25. Tickets available at browardcenter.org or call 954-462-0222

Definitely a show for the whole family and kids of all ages!

 

Posted February 23, 2017 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, MUSICAL THEATRE, THEATRE, THEATRE REVIEW

WRITING A BOOK   Leave a comment

my-2-books

Writing a book is exhausting but satisfactory way to accomplish what you feel you need to accomplish.

In the mid 1980s I met, was interviewed and eventually quoted quite a bit in an excellent book by George Chauncey called “Gay New York 1890-1940” and which I always recommend to anyone who knows very little about gay life or those who think they know a lot about gay life.

I consider myself an expert in 3 fields: one being MY life, another about weight problems of all sorts and gay life through all my experiences in it for over 65 years. I have observed, seen and participated in gay life in New York, Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, Tennessee—well 49 out of 50 States plus Mexico, Central America, South America, Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, the Caribbean, Canada, etc.

In the past two weeks I have read comments by two people who think they know it all but know nothing. One based her comments on knowing, maybe, 4 gay men, while another who thinks she is an expert on everything really knows very little about gay men, what they think, know and want. Oh yes there is also the one who lives in my complex who is married to a self hating gay alcoholic who enables them to justify why they are together when she doesn’t have a clue.

I have had 8 books published of which 3 dealt with my ‘fat’ before and after and after story (yes, two afters!), 2 which dealt with my 4 live in relationships, one which was a series of essays before I learned what blogs were and the other were books dealing with motivation and/or cookbooks. All were a labor of love and my last two were polished by the great and late LadyeSparks, an editor only a writer can dream of and, justifiably, used her red pen on me!

I, also, wrote and had a play produced which was a big failure and a screenplay of that play which was made and disappeared after the week it opened.

After reading the comments referred to above I decided to write about the gay life I have lived and observed since I came out in 1948 and up to the present day and my involvement physically, mentally, emotionally, politically and what I see are the main differences between the gay youth (anyone under 50!) of today to the gay youth of yesterday, which includes gay ‘marriage’ which I am against the model it is based on and don’t see as the end all, be all, of the gay equal rights fight. I’ll write about gay couples who follow the failing template of nongay marriages and will wind up becoming statistics of failure like they have.

I’ll respond to women who think they know how men—gay or nongay—think about sex, sexuality and women. I’ll write about what it means to be gay in 1948 and in 2017 and how similar it still is and the few, very few, differences that have taken place.

Writing a book is a very disciplined exercise for me including a certain amount of time doing research plus a certain amount of time actually writing and then the, for me, dreaded, rewriting.

There is also the legal aspect because ‘name dropping’ might be involved if I want to be honest, which I do, and I have, in 2 cases, promised not to name names though they and most of their relatives have died—ah, one of the advantages of being old.

Right now the aim is to write a 350-400 page book and, after a little ‘sweet talking’, signing my life away but most of all pleading, to get Nina Pettis of Nina Proofs to take that dreaded red pencil to my pages!

I have given myself a deadline of December 2017 to finish writing the first draft!

Posted February 20, 2017 by greatmartin in BOOKS, WRITING

“TONI ERDMANN”–A MOVIE REVIEW   Leave a comment

The movie poster hails “Toni Erdmann” the funniest German comedy you will ever see while a few critics add ‘3 hour’. What was the last funny German comedy you saw? What was the last 3 hour funny comedy you saw?

At the Gateway Theatre in Fort Lauderdale they have a section where audience members can post cards with what they thought of the movie they just saw and I put “Awful—even worse than “Neruda”—see my review of Tuesday February 7th.

In a running time of 2 hours and 45 minutes I found a total of 6 to7 minutes that got me to smile and in those 6 to 7 minutes, maybe 2 minutes, which were old fashioned slapstick making it seem like a comedy.

The film is primarily a daughter, Ines, played by Sandra Huller, and father, Winifred alias Toni, played by Peter Simonischek, story. The father is a child who never grew up and the daughter a workaholic always wheeling and dealing, a lot on the phone, and having to put up with the sexism of the work place.

Winifred puts on a wild wig and uses false teeth to bring some fun into his daughter’s life whether it is at the workplace where she seems to play along in order to avoid embarrassment or in what little private life she has. The film takes that 2 hour and 45 minutes to show the results.

There are a couple of full frontal/rear male/female scenes with one really generating a good laugh but if you think watching a guy masturbate on a petit-four or another one sitting on whoopee cushion is funny than maybe this movie is for you.

“Toni Erdmann” does have a couple of touching scenes but what film dealing with a father and daughter at odds with each other doesn’t?

It is only the 7th week into the new year and I already have 2 of the worst films on my yearly list.

Movie trailer

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0uwi5EPnpA

Posted February 17, 2017 by greatmartin in FILM REVIEWS, MOVIE REVIEW, MOVIES, Uncategorized

WINTER (FEBRUARY) 2017 IN FORT LAUDERDALE   Leave a comment

(FOR MY FRIENDS UP IN NEW ENGLAND–NOT THAT I AM MENTIONING NAMES!)

While some cities in the Northern United States of America have been having 7-9 days of snow in a row we have been having record high temperatures, one day reaching 90, for weeks now.

Wherever you look there are beautiful flowers blooming outdoors and indoors, boats are cruising along, paddlers are busy going up and down the new river and one has to decide whether it is a pool or beach day.

As the old commercial use to say, “Come on down!”

WINTER

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MI-ohKKQ8OU

Posted February 15, 2017 by greatmartin in FLORIDA, FORT LAUDERDALE, WEATHER

“ELLE”–A MOVIE REVIEW–A MUST SEE   Leave a comment

On December 20 I wrote a review of “Things To Come” a movie starring Isabelle Huppert.   

 In it I said,

“Isabelle Huppert is one of those rare actresses who can be doing one thing while her face shows, expresses, shows deeper  emotions. Huppert is an interesting actress to watch and I am looking forward to seeing her in “Elle”, a much praised with Oscar talk performance, which can only add to her stellar resume.”

I saw “Elle”, for which she was just nominated for an Oscar as Best Actress, deservedly so, and who I will be rooting for on Sunday February 26 on the Oscar telecast. Up to seeing this movie I was hoping Ruth Negga would win for “Loving”. In any case they are more deserving than Emma Stone, who I have nothing against though her performance comes nowhere these two.

Isabelle Huppert plays Michele Leblanc, a video game executive, who, during the first scene of the movie, is brutally attacked and raped by a masked man. While there are flashbacks to this particular act there are also repeat attacks and Michele’s reaction to them seems to change from fear to desire almost as if she was controlling the man and what was happening.

There are many suspects from Patrick (Laurent Lafitte), a married neighbor, to Robert (Christian Berkel), Michele’s lover and whose wife Anne (Anne Consigny) is Michele’s best friend and business partner. There are also some of the men who work for her from one who doesn’t like her and another who follows her around like a puppy. There is also her ex-husband Richard (Charles Berling) not quite as successful as she is.

Along with her various reactions to her attacker Michele also has a 22-23 year old son Vincent (Jonas Bloquet)  who has a girlfriend Josie (Alice Isaac) and thinks he is the father of their child which is, obviously, wrong plus Josie having attitude to both Vincent and Michele. There is Michelle’s mother Irene (Judith Magre) who is very full of herself and has a stroke while in the background is her father who committed a horrendous mass homicide when Michele was a young girl and was in the middle of the surrounding publicity.

While Michelle is pulled in many directions along with trying to find out who her rapist was/is and wanting to control him and the situation Isabelle Huppert commands us, letting us see what she wants us to see, keep us guessing what she may be thinking and feeling but you believe everything she shows you.

Partially a character study and partially a psychological thriller “Elle” is a film with excellent performances, top production values from the soundtrack to the photography with sharp direction and a good screenplay all held together by Isabelle Huppert who, after 100 movies and at the age of 64, shows what the best acting is like!

A definite must see!

Movie Trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NPktWQUQzfQ

Posted February 13, 2017 by greatmartin in FILM REVIEWS, MOVIE REVIEW, MOVIES, Uncategorized

“I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO”–MOVIE REVIEW   Leave a comment


(Disclosure–not full: I met James Baldwin at the 92nd Street YMCA in NYC just after his second book “Giovanna’s Room” was published and he was participating on a panel for what was very rare at that time talking about gay sex, black men and women in the 1950s none of the  3 related to each other. At that time he was friends with Marlon Brando and Wally Cox and I had lived next door to the former and when he saw me he hugged me and asked me to join them for  a bite to eat afterwards. For awhile I became part of their circle though I certainly was on the outer circle!)

With all that said after he went to live in Paris I didn’t see him nor when he came back so I didn’t know too much about his last book that wasn’t finished when he died and Director Raoul Peck decided to make this documentary using Baldwin’s words, and public appearances, to finish the book.

James Baldwin knew Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Junior, and all 4 men, in the 1970s, wrote and spoke about events that took place many decades before and, unaware, all talked about events that are taking place today.

“I Am Not Your Negro” is an in your face look at race relations in our country from day one until today and though it is Oscar nominated it would be better seen on HBO or PBS or showed in classrooms for all ages.

I do hope whoever sees this will be lead to the readings of James Baldwin’s from his “Go Tell It On The Mountain” to “Giovanni’s Room”, “The Fire Next Time”, “Notes Of A Native Son”, “Another Country” just to name a few that will have you entertained, moved, educated and intrigued.

I HATE TO SAY IT BUT IT IS NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE!!

 

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