Tag Archives: Iowa

Friday, June 30, 2017

‘Freak Show’ tackles cliché with ‘trans-visionary’ grace (featuring Bette Midler)

Daily Californian THURSDAY, JUNE 29, 2017 ‘Freak Show’ tackles cliché with ‘trans-visionary’ grace BY SOPHIE-MARIE PRIME 2017-02-09_2-39-50 Editor’s Note: The arts and entertainment department is adjusting its grading scale from a letter-grade system to a numeric score out of 5. This change is intended to increase accuracy and consistency between reviews. Director Trudie Styler described “Freak Show” as a “story of resistance” — and that’s right on the mark. Adapted from the James St. James novel of the same name, the film follows queer teen Billy Bloom (Alex Lawther of “The Imitation Game” fame). Lawther’s performance is spell-binding and genuine — Billy is radiant in extravagant costumes and possesses unapologetic confidence to boot. The film is fast-paced, moving quickly from Billy’s upbringing with his glamorous mother (Bette Midler) to moving in with his estranged father (Larry Pine), who lives in a conservative town that is not only incompatible with Billy’s lifestyle, but also actively rejects him. After facing abjection and violence in his daily life, Billy decides to join the race for homecoming queen against an Ivanka-Trump-esque Lynette (Abigail Breslin). Lynette is laughably hateable — but her comical ignorance does not diminish the threat she and other students pose to queer safety and equality. She faces off against Laverne Cox, portraying a television journalist, who (of course) is having none of Breslin’s queerphobia. The film overthrows the tropes of typical high school films: gym class snafus, cliques of outcasts and athletes and ignorant bullies. We see characters who are sympathetic but too fearful of being socially ostracized by association to stand up for Billy (or even elect him homecoming queen). The narrative interpellates the social caste system of typical high school films in order to subvert the generic tropes by giving us characters that refuse that system altogether: namely Billy and the “shadow people” — kids at the social margins of their conservative private high school. “Freak Show” is an uplifting story, with clearly intentional set and costume design that reflect queer pride as much as the script does. The film even mirrors some scenes from historically queer cinema, including “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” Author St. James and director Styler were both present at the film’s North American debut in the historic Castro Theatre. St. James noted that Billy’s experiences — particularly those from the first half of the film — were based on his own life in high school. He celebrated Lawther’s performance and noted that Billy’s pursuit of the homecoming queen title was a projection of who St. James wishes he could be. Billy publicly declares himself a “trans-visionary” and a “gender obliviator” as he struts in glitter-laden gowns and makeup done to perfection. At one point in the film, Billy’s friend Flip (Ian Nelson) suggests that he tone down his femininity as a means of staying safe, going stealth. The film does well to recognize from the beginning that this can be a measure of safety for some folks and a harmful one for others. Billy’s persistent resistance, as well as his unending creativity, make him a visionary — a heroic icon that will be both influential and memorable.
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Thursday, June 15, 2017

1985 – Bette Midler – Soph Jokes – Mud Will Be Flung Tonight

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Monday, May 15, 2017

2012 – Bette Midler’s Meeting Memorable with Lucille Ball

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Monday, March 13, 2017

BetteBack June 7, 1974: Is Bette Midler Feuding With Producers Of Her New Movie?

Eau Claire Leader Telegram June 7, 1974 Bette Midler as The Divine Miss M 1973 Gay Icon Q: Is Bette Midler already feuding with the producers of her first film? Doesn”t she prefer being a movie star to starring in a Turkish bath?’ Mrs. Lila S., Des Moines, Iowa. A: It isn’t Miss Midler, who introduced entertainment at the Continental Baths (an all-m ale bathhouse in NY City), who is steaming. It’s her manager, Aaron Russo, who’s hot under the collar. He says Miss M. only appears in ‘The Divine Mr. J .’ for about IO minutes, for which, he claims she was paid only $250. He also alleges that the picture has been kept in the can for several years perhaps till Bette achieved star stature. Russo also points out that the 5-foot-l offbeat singer – actress actually made her movie debut playing the mini – mini role of a missionary’s wife in ‘Hawaii.’

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  • Fat Stuff – The Continental Baths – Bette Midler – 1971 | BootLeg Betty
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    Thursday, December 22, 2016

    At The 1998 Ethel Merman Benefit On Broadway:

    At The 1998 Ethel Merman Benefit On Broadway: “I SURE am glad that I am here for the Gay Men’s Health Crisis instead of down in Washington at the straight men’s health crisis…mental health, that is.” (Toledo Blade, Feb 4, 1998) Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, indoor
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    Monday, February 8, 2016

    Miss M’s Cultural Corner: Joseph Heller’s ‘Catch 22’

    Daily Kos Bette Midler tweets 50-year-old quote by Joseph Heller that sums up GOP candidate By Leslie Salzillo Monday Feb 08, 2016 · 1:30 PM CST
    Bette Midler recently tweeted about a quote she found which compared GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump to a characterization out of the American classic novel Catch 22. The book was written by Joseph Heller over fifty years ago.
    “…Catch-22 remains “a cornerstone of American literature and one of the funniest—and most celebrated—books of all time.”
    Some folks can see Republican lawmaker Ted Cruz and other GOP extremists in Heller’s words below. In any case, the critically acclaimed author who passed away in 1999 seemed to describe the worst of some in the Republican Party—on their best days. See what you think. Spot on, n’est pas? Here is Midler’s tweet followed by the quote. With Credit CX5WDMdWYAAZzkw

    “It was miraculous. It was almost no trick at all, he saw, to turn vice into virtue and slander into truth, impotence into abstinence, arrogance into humility, plunder into philanthropy, thievery into honor, blasphemy into wisdom, brutality into patriotism, and sadism into justice. Anybody could do it; it required no brains at all. It merely required no character.” — Joseph Heller, Catch 22 ...  Read More

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    Friday, July 10, 2015

    “I enjoy music – of just any kind…

    6-2-2015 3-15-46 PM “I enjoy music – of just any kind. I can see value in just any musical endeavour, y’know. And my influences stretch wayback. I was brought up on 40s music – stuff we had around the house, like the Andrews Sisters, Boswell Sisters, Bing Crosby and all these people. And Patti Page – I have a long history of Patti Page. “Then when rock n’ roll came along, I got in with the roots of rock music – rhythm n’ blues and race music. I’d like to get through all kinds of music in my career. I’d like to present a show that would set people’s heads swimming with all the different styles.” (Musical Express, 1973)
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