Monday, July 16, 2018

Love Stories

A few weeks ago I saw the film Call Me By Your Name for the first time. I wasn't expecting to like it—the previews struck me as overly saccharine, and my guess was that one or both lovers would die at the end, as is virtually always the case in romantic dramas. But as it turns out, I loved it. I watched it twice in two days!

One reason I liked it so much was the kissing. Excellent kiss scenes, my friends. Truly excellent. There should be an Academy Award for making out.

But the main reason I liked it—and I had a difficult time articulating this until yesterday—is that Call Me By Your Name did upend the tropes of romantic films. It wasn't a goofy rom-com, nor was it a lovers' tragedy. (Everyone lives!) Instead, the film perfectly captured the breathless infatuation of a summer fling. And the ending was bittersweet—not exactly sad, not exactly happy. Elio and Oliver couldn't stay together past that one summer, but at least they had that one summer, and all was well.

What's more, it's a 1980s gay love story that doesn't end in AIDS DEATH AIDS DEATH! Not that we should stop talking about the AIDS crisis—it's an important part of our history (all of our history, not just queer history), and it deserves attention. But so many movies that feature gay romances end in tragedy. It was wonderful to see one that didn't. Gay people are allowed to have happy relationships, too.

I'm not sure I've ever seen another film that was such a love story, pure and simple. Regardless of the couple's sexuality, most movies that address love seriously tend to end in death, and those that don't end in death tend to be romantic comedies. I enjoy lots of romantic comedies, but they're not the same. Rom-coms are about intrigues and misunderstandings; they're not about love itself.

So now I'm on a quest: does anyone know of other movies that are genuine love stories and are neither tragic nor comedic? Let's just say I'm feeling sentimental these days.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Dance

On Thursday night I went to see my personal Lord and Savior/girlfriend Janelle Monáe perform at The Chicago Theatre. It was everything I wanted it to be. I'm obsessed with her newest album Dirty Computer, and she performed literally every single song on that album, in addition to several bangers from her previous albums. I love that she is essentially Prince/Michael Jackson/David Bowie/Stevie Wonder/James Brown all rolled into one, but better because she is a woman. Though she's popular, she doesn't get as much credit as she deserves, and I'm sure it's because she's female. Case in point: Childish Gambino is a "genius" for one song about the state of America, whereas Janelle Monáe is not, even though she wrote an entire album about the state of America and simultaneously released a 40-minute movie to go with it.* Not that "This Is America" isn't a genius song and video. It's just that Janelle is a genius, too!

Putting aside the genius discussion (she's a genius), I feel it is important to note that THE VAGINA PANTS ARE REAL AND I SAW THEM WITH MY OWN EYES. #blessed

I've never seen The Chicago Theatre so riled up. Initially I was disappointed that they decided to hold the concert there, simply because rows and rows of chairs don't make for good dancing. Fortunately, the entire audience disregarded those chairs and danced anyway. We were all soaked in sweat by the time we left--I didn't know such a large venue could get so hot. It was the best queer anti-Trump dance party in the entire world.

Which brings me to my next point: I really miss dancing. I gave up my legendary, semi-professional, 1960s-style gogo dancing career to move to Vegas and become a writer, and now I live in a third-floor walk-up. I suspect my neighbors wouldn't appreciate me stomping on the squeaky wood floor--I feel pretty bad when I fall over doing yoga. I'm not sure how viable taking a class would be; it sucks to leave my dog home alone all day and then leave her home alone all night again.

But I do miss it. Gogo always made me feel sexy and fun and confident. While I still feel fairly confident, I feel way less sexy and fun these days.

What is the opposite of sexy? A sexless blob? I feel kind of like a sexless blob.

Which isn't to suggest that I'm not strong. I go running all the time. But running is not sexy, nor is it fun. Honestly, it's kind of annoying. I'd give it up if it weren't a quick, efficient, and free way to burn calories.

Any dancers out there? How do you squeeze it in? Do you have to stay up late on weekends? I'm not sure I can do that anymore--I'm a sexless blob of an old lady. Unless you're Janelle Monáe--I'll do anything for Janelle.

*The Childish Gambino vs. Janelle Monáe "genius" discussion is not my original thought. I saw it on Twitter, and no matter how hard I search, I can't seem to find the original Tweet now. My apologies to the smart person whose idea I'm citing.