what kind of girl is she?- a collection of duets and trios sung by females
take me or leave me - rent // best friend - the wild party // what kind of girl is she? - [title of show] // perfect strangers - the mystery of edwin drood // impossible - cinderella // if momma was married - gypsy // i do miracles - kiss of the spider woman // statues and stories - the light in the piazza // you love who you love- bonnie and clyde // we’re not done - bring it on: the musical // candy store - heathers: the musical // caitlyn and haley - edges // fran and janie - is there life after high school? // maybe (next to normal) - next to normal // unsuspecting hearts- carrie: the musical // dogfight - dogfight // what the fuck now, lizzie?- lizzie // i will never leave you - side show // flying away - fun home //
The stories of LGBT people can be important teachable moments in our nation’s ongoing struggle for equality, but the issue is that awards groups like the Oscars only tend to recognize a single story—in which queer people are being sacrificed for our sins.
“From Kiss Of The Spider Woman to Boys Don’t Cry, the Academy Awards have a fetishistic relationship with queer misery and struggle. The Oscars like seeing queer bodies broken and begging for humanity, rather than fully human and already deserving of our respect. “
But Carol doesn’t swoon with death; instead, it leaves us with hope. Carol’s final shot is as unforgettable as anything I’ve seen this year, simply because it feels like something I’ve been waiting for decades to see: Queer people falling passionately in love, without having to apologize for their happiness. What makes stories like the romance portrayed in Carol isn’t the ecstasy of queer agony but that that there were real women like Carol Aird and Therese Belivet. The simple act of loving someone and being loved in return might not win Oscars, but these everyday acts of courage made an entire generation of LGBT victories possible. Carol and Therese didn’t have to die for their lives to have purpose; they were meaningful because they lived.
The first time I wrote about Lana Del Rey, in a column, a few months back, I said I was pleased that when she invoked the name “Lolita,” she actually seemed to be talking about something like the character in the novel, and not whatever strange mincing porny thing people use that name to refer to today.
Now, having heard her song “Lolita,” I would like to apologize and mostly retract that.
I wrote a review of her album for Vulture, findable here. I suppose the bullet points are as follows: It’s a so-so moody pop record that stumbles around a bit, and there are things about Del Rey’s attempt to pull off a persona that are campily interesting and/or poignant, and a lot of it reminds me of Showgirls. I have many more thoughts and feelings about related topic,* but I’m sure there’s more than enough to read about this artist at the moment, so I’ll save the bulk of them for another time.
Except for one thing. One novel I really adore is Manuel Puig’s Kiss of the Spider Woman. It’s about two prisoners, in Argentina, sharing a cell: Molina’s there because he’s gay, and accused of corrupting a minor; Valentin’s there because he’s a leftist revolutionary. Through most of the novel, Molina is recounting to Valentin, from memory, the plots of films he loves. He has a keen memory for the sensual, glamorous, swooning side of them.
One of the films he recounts is, essentially, a Nazi propaganda thriller, and he describes the things in it the way the film sees them – at some point, he’s describing all the beautiful, masculine German soldiers marching through Paris. This annoys Valentin, who challenges him on it. And Molina’s answer, as I remember it, is to just let the issue pass for a moment, and appreciate the type of beauty that this film, right or wrong, is trying to offer at that moment.
And that issue, the thing that’s contested between them at that moment, has more to do with “camp” than laughing at things because you think they’re bad – to me, camp is always about seeing some overblown proposition of what beauty is, and knowing that the fundamentals behind it, the belief system it grew out of, is defunct or rotten or collapsed. It’s like a touchingly grand expression of a belief that has no worthwhile purchase on the world.
killer women - badass ladies (and murderesses) of musical theatre
ten little indians - bloody bloody andrew jackson // tiger, tiger - the apple tree // helena’s confession - the mystery of edwin drood // spread a little sunshine - pippin // dead girl walking - heathers: the musical // kesa - see what i wanna see // pulled - the addams family // cell block tango - chicago // bitch / slut / liar / whore - the toxic avenger // dead girl walking (reprise) - heathers: the musical // worst pies in london - sweeney todd: the demon barber of fleet street // kiss of the spider woman - kiss of the spider woman // rosa’s confession - the mystery of edwin drood // your fault/last midnight - into the woods // the ballad of sara berry - 35mm: a musical exhibition
A new Criterion release prompts us to explore the boundary-pushing gay romances of 1985:
Johnny licks Omar’s neck. He’s got some blue paint on his face from decorating the front of the launderette. The two men stand in front of the building, which Omar manages. Johnny’s friends, a batch of rabidly racist skinheads, stand awkwardly nearby. Yet Johnny doesn’t care. The chemistry between the two seems to be guarded by a blissful force field, magically keeping the bitter cold of Thatcherite antisociety at bay. In its place there are only frisky smiles.
There may be nothing more plainly erotic in all of ’80s cinema than this moment, one of the subtle crowning achievements of recent Criterion Collection additionMy Beautiful Laundrette. Johnny is played by Daniel Day-Lewis, making his first starring role in a feature film and perhaps at his most beautiful. Omar is played by Gordon Warnecke, making his film debut. Directed by Stephen Frears with a script by Hanif Kureishi, it’s one of the classics of British independent cinema in the wake of Thatcher.
the neon frights on broadway - a halloween playlist filled with creepy showtunes that’ll give you some terrible thrills
prelude / the ballad of sweeney todd - sweeney todd // why are all the d’ysquiths dying? - a gentleman’s guide to love and murder // evil woman - xanadu // spooky mormon hell dream - the book of mormon // a freak like me needs company - spider-man: turn off the dark // it’s a dangerous game - jekyll and hyde // kiss of the spider woman - kiss of the spider woman // carrie - carrie // when you’re an addams - the addams family // suppertime - little shop of horrors // evil is hot - the toxic avenger // the time warp - the rocky horror picture show // crazytown - 35mm: a musical exhibition // dead girl walking (reprise) - heathers: the musical // why are all these heads off? - lizzie // when lily came - darling // ruination - we foxes // your fault / last midnight - into the woods // no good deed - wicked // the ballad of sara berry - 35mm: a musical exhibition //
TODAY IN THEATRE HISTORY: In 1993, John Kander, Fred Ebb and Terrence McNally work their magic on Kiss of the Spider Woman, based on Manuel Puig’s novel about two men confined in a prison cell. Harold Prince directs Chita Rivera, Brent Carver and Anthony Crivello in the production that lasts 906 performances at the Broadhurst Theatre. It will go on to win seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical
time stood still - songs about time, countdowns, moments, and snapshots
stop time - 35mm: a musical exhibition // another day - rent // time stood still - women on the verge of a nervous breakdown // coffee’s on - murder ballad // here right now - ghost the musical // this time - now.here.this. // the world inside a frame - the bridges of madison county // countdown - the burnt part boys // 911! emergency! - bare: a pop opera // it’s been a year - lift // ten minutes ago - cinderella // suspended in time - xanadu // 30/90 - tick, tick… boom! // it won’t be long now - in the heights // time - a new brain // time and music - a new brain // the day after that - kiss of the spider woman // when it ends - the wild party // no time at all - pippin // say it to me now - once // when the sun goes down - in the heights // just another day - next to normal // one second and a million miles - the bridges of madison county