BACK IN BLACK (PANTIES) EDITION
Welcome, readers. I’m Mike De Luca and this is ON THE SLATE. This is where we talk about what’s hot, what’s not, what’s overrated, what’s underrated, what’s awful, what’s awesome…well, you know, we met at that “Dark Knight Rises” sex party. I went as Selena Kyle and was dressed in a black leather cat suit, with an added codpiece. I saw you in the corner and said, “I want to bring Gotham to its knees”, and, being as you were dressed as Gotham, you got down and…Wait, that wasn’t you? That wasn’t you who said, “I want you to crush the soul of Gotham, and by Gotham I mean my…” Shit. I need to quit drinking. It was probably that large Russian who went as Bane. He had great facial piping (and you know what that means). Anyway, welcome! One week we might talk about why Peter Jackson’s higher frame rate projection experiment with “The Hobbit” is just a rip-off of Douglas Trumbull’s advances with Showscan, or offer up unfiltered commentary on my days as a parasite in “Prometheus” (Noomi and I are real close – yeah, I got up in that). But, before we begin, there are three things you need to know – #1 – This is ON THE SLATE with Mike De Luca. #2 – I am not producing the upcoming adaptation of “Fifty Shades of Grey” (though I lived it, back when I was up and coming). #3 – I am very much into leather. Now that we are better acquainted, we can begin….
Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise. One of the few people for whom the phrase, “You’re being audited” is a good thing.
“I’m being audited? Hooray!”
But I kid Tom Cruise. My big question, though, is, with his personal troubles, and two sci-fi epics back-to-back (Joseph Kosinski’s “Oblivion” and Doug Liman’s “All You Need Is Kill”), will Cruise be available for an “MI5” outing? And will he bring with him a proper script this time? I have been thinking a perhaps a bit too much about Cruise’s troubles, lately, especially late last night, as I was sliding down the hall of my home, dressed in my favorite black thong panties, to the tune of Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock ‘N Roll”.
Anyway, here’s my advice for Tom: Get out there. Go hang off the side of a building. Date someone taller. (No, John Travolta doesn’t count.)
“Tom Cruise? I’d hit that!”
Just kidding, Travolta. You know “From Paris with Love” is my shit.
In conclusion, Tom Cruise, you have to remember to get there faster and take it slow. Of course, that last time I took it slow was in a public restroom (George Michael, you bitch). Next!
Who is simple and easy? “Forrest Gump”. (Don’t ask how I know this.) Moving on…
Harrison Ford, at the age of 70, is going into porn. His porn name? Han Solo. Just kidding. Next!
No, that is not the sound of “a love that cuts straight right through the heart”, what you’re hearing is the sound of a million theater majors orgasming at the same time. Yes, John Cameron Mitchell is mounting a sequel to his 1998 cult off-Broadway production (and 2001 film) “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”.
The original (for those not in the know or wearing women’s underwear, like yours truly) the show and film told the story of Hansel, an East German “slip of a girly boy” who falls for an American GI. In order to marry him, Hansel takes his mother’s name, Hedwig, and has a (botched) sex change operation, leaving “her” with the fleshy mound that makes the show/film’s title. After her marriage fails, she forms a rock band comprised of Korean-born Army wives and becomes the babysitter of a teenage Army brat named Tommy Speck, becoming involved with him, writing glam rock songs for him, and dubbing him “Tommy Gnosis”. Gnosis leaves a heartbroken Hedwig and becomes a success with her songs. Performing in a cheesy chain of seafood restaurants, with her band “The Angry Inch”, Hedwig tells her story onstage to others.
Yes, it’s all rather fabulous. The show and film have inspired legions of fans to dress up and attend screenings in a way not seen since “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”.
In 2001, the film received quite a few awards, including the Best Director and Audience Awards at the Sundance Film Festival and Best Directorial Debut from the National Board of Review, the Gotham Awards, and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. It also led to other acclaimed directorial efforts from Mitchell – 2006’s sex comedy-drama “Shortbus”, and the 2010 drama “Rabbit Hole”.
And, now, like George Lucas and many others before him, Mitchell is going back to the well, and he is taking musical collaborator Stephen Trask with him. He is putting the final touches on the sequel’s first draft and will be recreating the role of Hedwig on September 16th at a special performance at this year’s Afterglow Festival in Provincetown.
Said Mitchell of the new Hedwig’s new incarnation, “We spend so much of our early lives trying to figure out who we really are. And we spend the rest of our lives preparing ourselves to let it go.”
Sounds like something Buckaroo Banzai would say. Cavaliers, much respect. Moving on…
Now, we move to a more somber note. On July 22, we lost a great artist by the name of Frank R. Pierson. The films he wrote and directed showed a true empathy for the disenfranchised, for the reviled, for the lost, and the marginalized. With his screenplay for “Cool Hand Luke”, Pierson made us feel the hell experienced by convicts in Southern prison work camps. With his screenplay for 1975’s Sidney Lumet classic “Dog Day Afternoon”, we felt the panic and horror of a married closeted bisexual man in ‘70s New York, as he sweats his way through a botched robbery/hostage crisis in the New York heat. The character, Sonny (Al Pacino) wants money to pay for the sex change operation of his lover Leon (Chris Sarandon). In lesser hands, in prior decades, Sonny would have been reviled as a degenerate, a man beyond our sympathy and understanding. Instead, we feel the tension, the pain of this nervy little loser of a man, and on some level, understand him and want him to survive.
Pierson’s passion for the marginalized and the spat-upon would hit its stride toward the end of Pierson’s life, when he directed 2003’s “Soldier’s Girl”, the tragic true story of a Calpernia Adams, a Nashville transgender woman, who falls in love with a soldier named Barry Winchell. Their relationship is met with cruelty and bigotry from Winchell’s fellow recruits, resulting in the young private’s death in 1998. Again, those shunned and reviled are treated like real flesh and blood human beings, with compassion, with tenderness and feeling, which is what Pierson was all about.
He is survived by his wife and two children.
But let’s not leave on such a dour note. So….
Here is a picture of Michael Douglas as Liberace. Touch his candelabra. You know you want to.
Miguel Aguilar/Pacific Coast News
This is ON THE SLATE signing off until next week, reminding you that if it seems the Queen is grabbing Daniel Craig’s ass on television, she probably is.
Your big baller-shot caller,