Thursday, February 24, 2011


On Sunday David and I saw Gregg Araki's effervescent, eye-candy-colored 'Kaboom,' a genre-meshing cross between a fever dream and an exotic, gay, root beer float.
Equal parts campus sex farce, film noir, and apocalyptic sci-fi freakout, says the NYT and I agree. A self-indulgent delight, rather than a mess, but don't take my word for it. Watch the preview.

To express the depth of my appreciation for Gregg Araki I must harken back to when I was growing up in the 70s, gay people were largely invisible in popular culture, when increased my sense of isolation and strangeness as a teen.

It was a very big deal when I came home from my first year at Vassar, and my Mom took me to see the 1978 French film 'La Cage Aux Folles' in a Great Neck art house. For the first time, I saw positive gay characters front and center on screen.

The novelty of this did not wear off in the 80s and early 90s as I gratefully consumed 'Victor Victoria,' 'My Beautiful Launderette,' 'Parting Glances,' 'Longtime Companion' and others. But nothing prepared me for the edgy, sexy, giddy, subversive work of Gregg Araki.

I will never forget seeing, with my then-boyfriend Andres, his 1992 masterpiece 'The Living End,' a road movie about a nerdy film student and hunky drifter, both diagnosed HIV positive, whose paths collide in a reckless joyride after the hunk kills a homophobic police officer. Suddenly, it was no longer mainstream Hollywood throwing us a few crumbs; we were taking our filmic fate in our own hands...

Two high points of Araki's terrific oeuvre. First, the aforementioned 'Living End':

Then, his most mature and brilliant film to date, 2005's 'Mysterious Skin:'

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