Sunday, November 21, 2004

The Man Who Opened It Up

It's Saturday night (Nov 20), and I just saw Kinsey, that makes two awesome movies in as many nights. What an intelligent, well-written, well-acted, and well-directed treatment of a compelling topic. Liam Neeson and Laura Linney (below left), as Alfred Kinsey and his wife, give riveting and complex performances that span decades convincingly. The age spots and wrinkles only made me love these two characters more. I love older and average looking faces on screen - they're so expressive and deep. Not that I am immune to the charms of the beautiful Peter Saarsgard, who radiates quiet intensity as Kinsey's assistant (and briefly lover) Clyde Martin. Top far left, the real Kinsey with collaborators Martin and Wardell Pomeroy, from a photo tour on the Kinsey Institute's excellent website.

Many today don't realize the total silence about sexuality that reigned in the US just 60 years ago, with the turmoil, insecurity, and isolation that implied for countless millions. Luckily I had progressive parents - Kinsey's two tomes (above right) rested prominently on our bookshelves. While they were too scientific, clinical, and imposing for 10-year old Aaron to read, their presence nonetheless were emblematic to me of enlightenment dawning.Alas, my early teenage consciousness couldn't make the connection between that enlightened attitude and the powerful and confusing feelings churning inside me about other boys. Nor did the annual TV report on the fledgling gay parade, with its exotic drag queens, make much of a connection. I know it's a cliché, but what a difference for the current generation to have role models.

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