Friday, May 04, 2007

Hitting guys in the groin (again), trying to pass out and some films

I just woke up (it's after 1 p.m.) from a dream where I was leading a protest at a private school where only men were allowed into certain fundraiser days (I owned the coffee shop at the school). I was leading the charge down the manicured driveway at all the elitist men yelling “Hit them in the groin” while I proceeded to do this. The condescending male principal went down with a twitchy face and after I had downed about four or five guys the rest of the fathers stopped moving toward the school. “I love the groin” I shouted (presumably to whichever freedom fighters had joined behind me), “they may be bigger, but it is like men have a gigantic OFF switch” and charged down the hill at the remaining fathers because they were no longer coming up towards me. Then in real life the phone rang. It was Linda checking up on me. Alas. So, there seems to be something a little off with my body; and maybe some unresolved issues in my mind (As I don’t want to scare off EVERY male reader of this blog, but wow, was I having fun!).

I did a medical test this week over two days in which my heart doctor told me to “try to pass out as many times as you can.” I passed out/fainted once a day until the day they covered me with sensors for heart rhythm and then didn’t pass out once for the next two days no matter what stupid thing I did (including going for a 5K wheel and then going up Beacon Hill without stopping in my chair). It is kind of like a doctor asking you to try and drink until you fall down as much as you can over two days – it is going to wipe you out for the two days....and a bit longer. I did find out some interesting info though: 1) In the chair, my heart rate stays below 185 (my maximum heart rate) even when charging up a hill. 2) In three minutes of light to moderate fencing footwork (on my feet, using my legs), I was sweating like no tomorrow and my heart rate was at 204. After a minutes rest I went for another 90 seconds and my heart rate was 224. After seven minutes rest my pressure was 165/135 (WAY too high) and my heart rate was still 155 (it wasn’t going down). So, going up giant hill in the wheelchair may make me sleep for a LONG time, but it won’t kill me; fencing or running probably will.

I watched the Celluloid Closet this week about the history of gays in film. I enjoyed it, particularly finding out that Ben Hur, one of the very few films our ultra conservative church would show or allow people to watch had an overt gay love affair between the two main characters. The script writers and director had this three hour film which was basically “Guy is friends with guy but now hates him.” Writer Gore Vidal suggested that Ben Hur and the Roman Messala be teen lovers and then when Ben Hur returns, Messala wants to return to being lovers but Ben Hur does not, and the love/hate comes from that. The head of the film sort of flipped with a “This is Ben Hur! Ben Hur: A Tale of the Christ!” But since no one else had a better idea they went with it but only told the actor playing Messala, not Charlton Heston. So while Messala is intertwining arms to have a drink and telling Ben Hur how fantastic he looks, Heston is the typical “straight friend” who sort of plows on with the conversation with a puzzled look on his face. Wonderful!

I was sad however to find that the voices for the lesbian depiction in film were two straight women (Whoopie and Susan Sarandon) who have had on screen lesbian kisses. Both immediately start saying how the kiss wasn’t really about attraction but about a sort of love between these women that transcends attraction (kinda of the “we’re not gay, we are just girls bonding together”). Where was Jolie in Gia, a woman who at least has had relationships with women on and off film? Come on, two women kiss in a film but are NOT attracted to each other? Sigh. And that was the voice of on screen lesbians in film. So I was a little disappointed with that since I DO tend to kiss people I am attracted to (unlike heterosexuals I guess). It would be interesting if they did another version of the Celluloid Closet for say a 15 year anniversary and a 25 year anniversary – to update the films (though certain ones like Gia and Victor/Victoria were missing – due to studio consent I assumed). It would also be nice to include Asian film, which often have no problem showing gay, lesbian or transgendered characters, like the Hong Kong action film So Close about a female thief and a female detective assigned to catch her; they fall in love during their chases/encounters so it is an action and a “tragic love” story.

This was brought back to mind when I later watched Tom-Yum-Goong, the Thai sequel to Ong Bak (I think this film it is called The Protector in the North America). I watched the Thai version, as the film has all the subtly of a Rocky film but for Thai culture. Elephants are sacred; the King is sacred so when an elephant dedicated to the Monarch is stolen to be EATEN by a Vietnamese gang, you don’t need to know who the villain is. Of course, since so many Australians annually to Thailand to party and do naughty things, in the film, the evil gang flee to Australia so our Thai hero must pursue them and redeem Thai virtue. What made this film unique was that the US owners of the film decided to cut almost 30 minutes of the original film and give it a new “American” soundtrack. Most of the cuts were cultural; either having to do with the police or with Madame Rose. Madame Rose is a sort of Lady McBeth, who having dedicated her life to her crime family is constantly passed over and insulted because she is a transsexual. At one dinner, the head of the family makes some pretty harsh insults at her in front of outsiders (calling her an “it” and “worm”) and tells her to get back to her restaurant which is all she will manage in the family. So she starts her poisoning campaign (particularly when they plan to pass her over and appoint a 13 year old boy as the new head of the family because...he’s male). The character was played by Xing Jing, the first transsexual to transition in China. In the US release much of her scenes (including her plans to ascend as Queen over the gangs) is cut out, as well as all references to her as a transitioned female. I am not sure if it because she is the most sympathetic of the “baddies” or simply some editorial policy that Americans just can’t “get it” regarding transsexual/transgender individuals except as comedies ala Mrs. Doubtfire (which looking at the comments on IMB about “wow, that Thai lady is a Thai dude” might be right: Xing Jing is a transitioned female actress from CHINA – I know, I know, “they all look alike” – who also played in the Korea film Resurrection of the Little Match Girl) For me it was interesting to listen to the commentary because in one scene the Thai hero actually is sorta violent with a woman, disarming her (1 woman to about 200 guys attacking the hero). But in Thai culture, men don’t touch women. In the commentary they talked about having to find a female who looked Vietnamese (so I guess that is okay). Also even though the hero knocks Madame Rose off a helicopter, we are shown in a later scene that she is still alive (Thai guy killing a woman.....big no no!) – that scene was cut in the US version (as Americans like to see the villains DEAD, blown up, dismembered, whatever). So if you want to watch a THAI film, get the thai version of this, but if all you want is "bad guys, good guy, things blow up" you are far better off getting the American film The Marine which will deliver exactly what you need (I was too testosterone impared to appreciate a film where beefed up all Marine dives out of something blowing up once every 10 minutes for an entire film - even when his wife is drowning...he is off, diving out of something blowing up.)

Uh, that’s it, I guess I better be off doing something while it is still daylight. My new chair comes in a week (I hope). And I hope to get some more blogging done this week since I don’t have medical tests (that I know about). In my defence, it really is hard to try and pass out and blog at the same time – blogging is not known as a “high impact” sport.


Wiccachicky said...

I saw a really fun gay comedy in the genre of those old screwball comedies -- Puccini for Beginners. You should check it out.

GayProf said...

I use The Celluloid Closet in one of my classes. I am sad, though, that it is becoming very dated. Also, I don't like Susie Bright's segments.

As for the dream, I love those type of detailed experiences. Usually, though, I wake up exhausted from them.

I am also assuming that you won't try to disable me via my off switch should we ever meet in public.

Daniel, the Guy in the Desert said...

The Kissing- I never realized that kissing was a totally nonsexual thing for heteros. That's what I've been getting wrong. So then, I should be making out with straight guys a lot more, right?
You have amazing dreams.
Ong Bak- I would totally love to see this in the Thai version. Probably most American audiences are expecting a martial arts movie. I, of course, would enjoy seeing some Kung Fu Trannies. Maybe some Fake Purse Ninjas, as well.

kathz said...

Have you come across Pawel Pawlikowski's film, My Summer of Love? I've been teaching it on a course about class in literature. I'd be interested in your comments. Not primarily a gay film, I think (I know nothing of the sexuality of director or actors) but a film that centres on a love affair between two complex young women. It's only the second film by the director who uses wonderful camera techniques and presents people as complex and flawed. It leads to some good discussion among students.