“Birdman” is perplexing, confusing, and amazing. I was vaguely conflicted on it while watching, and I’m a little stunned afterwards. I wasn’t entirely sure what to think, but I think I’m gonna come down on the side of “this is effing brilliant.”
It certainly is hilarious, bizarre, dark, disturbing and inspired. The thing that sticks with me the most is how different it is from Iñárritu’s other work. I loved “21 Grams” and hated the similarly structured “Babel” with all my heart.
“Birdman” is almost the polar opposite of Iñárritu’s “Death Trilogy” (“Amores Perros,” “21 Grams” and “Babel”structure), and I’m pretty sure it’s flat-out goddamn brilliant. Whatever it is, it’s bloody provocative. This is one of those Best Pic noms that leaves me damned glad I pay attention to what the Academy thinks, despite all its sins.
My brain is a little damaged by “Birdman,” but I think when the dust clears I’m going to call it sui generis and all that pompous shit, and say it’s one of the most important films ever made. I dunno. For now, I’m just gonna stare wide-eyed at an empty screen for a while.
“Selma” is as amazing as I was hoping it would be, but didn’t believe it could be. It could and it is. I can’t believe Lee Daniels almost directed this movie. It would have been vapid. Ava DuVernay’s treatment is not perfect, but it is damned good. It felt like a tour of how to make a good script into a great film. It’s credulous at times, but there’s no way to do this without getting credulous. Its predictable sequences are overshadowed by moments of rare beauty and power.
As for the subject matter, maybe no film can ever do it justice, but I’ll settle for this one. It’s pretty amazing.
Every US Citizen should be expected to see this film. Civil rights aren’t magic. People fought for them… and pig douchebags fought against them.
The message of “Whiplash”: 1) Geniuses get to abuse you. 2) Self-appointed geniuses get to abuse you. 3) Self-appointed geniuses at finding geniuses ESPECIALLY get to abuse you if they suspect you of being a genius but haven’t decided yet. (Oh, also, they can abuse everyone else, did I mention that part?) 4) You should thank them for abusing you because you might be a genius and if you are, they’re doing the world a favor by abusing you bcz BIRD!!!!!!! 5) Don’t take care of yourself; commit felonies and incur severe physical injury because some unbalanced yahoo thinks you’re a genius. 6) Vern Schillinger got paroled; now he’s a bandleader.
Wanna know something? When you search “Frank Zappa on Miami Vice,” You Tube starts showing you some weird-ass shit. Here is a young Mr. Zappa on the Steve Allen Show in 1963, playing music on a bicycle. No, not “playing music while riding a bicycle,” but actually playing music on a bicycle. The way Einstürzende Neubauten would later play music on the side of a bridge, etc. Or the way John Cage played music on prepared piano. Zappa’s is weirder.
I should probably warn you that it’s also excruciatingly boring, as the Steve Allen Show tended to be. Watching variety TV from those days is a little like spending time with an assortment of your dullest friends and some interesting ones who have been drugged into a stupor.
Interestingly, both the announcer and Steve pronounce Frank Zappa’s name “Zoppa,” rhymes with “Papa.”
I guess that in 1963, being of Sicilian descent probably meant you got your name mispronounced all the time. (I’m looking at you, Michael Corleone.)
Perhaps this contributed to the title of Zappa’s legendary unreleased four-disc set for Warner Bros, “Läther” (pronounced “leather”). Yeah… or not.
Here is Frank Zappa dealing “weasel dust” on Miami Vice. He looks roughly as high as Henry Hill toward the end of “Goodfellas,” but way less stressed-out. And why should he be stressed out? He’s Frank Zappa.
Herein, Mr. Zappa attempts to settle accounts with “Burnett, a two-bit player trying to get into the weasel dust industry.” Hilarity ensues, and naturally, things end as all Miami Vice scenes should. No, that’s not a spoiler… they ALL end that way, as I recall.
Zappa, by the way, did not do drugs, and did not really approve of them, but strenuously opposed the War on Drugs on political grounds.
From this clip, however, I’d say he must have been a method actor. This guy has definitely been snorting “weasel dust.”
Thanks to Dangerous Minds for conjuring this strange echo from my misspent youth.
Stories of O includes one of my favorite stories I’ve ever written, “Butterfly’s Kiss.” The tale originally appeared in another Cleis Press anthology, Rubber Sex, edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel (also known as 2013′s Lust in Latex) and was a finalist for the John Preston Award in Short Fiction from the National Leather Association. I’m extremely proud of it.
There’s kind of a complicated story about this story and how I came to write it. Writing fiction is often about linguistic texture for me. For the opening of “Butterfly’s Kiss,” I indulged in one of those techniques that often gets writers like me called “difficult.” The opening paragraphs are written in second person narration as the reader is led through entry to an underground fetish club:
Over the open doorway, red curtain shrouding the inside, there’s a sign but no words, just a stylized spider… Under that there’s a cat in a derby, always a derby, impeccable, his mug impassive underneath, eyes watching as you approach. His name is Regentine, or more commonly Reg, but don’t call him that unless he introduces himself, which he’s not going to…
Walk up to Reg and say your name, either first and last or scene name. He’ll give you a look like he just scraped you off his shoe. He’ll fish in the pocket of his waistcoat, pull out a reporter’s notebook.
He’ll find your name, because you won’t be there if you’re not on the list.
He’ll check your ID, maybe pat you down, take your double saw, jerk his thumb at the red curtain. At that point you’ll either come to your senses and go home, watch made-for-Skinemax softcore and relax with your thoughts, or you’ll hit the darkness like a lush hitting bottom. If you’ve gotten this far, like I did, you’re going to hit bottom anyway, and the only question is if you’re going to get up again. So walk, my friend, and let me tell you what happens, if you’re me and this is last night, Walpurgisnacht, the day the music died.
Why did I do that? No reason at all. And every reason. It felt right, probably because I was describing an intensely personal experience.
No, it didn’t happen like it does in the story. How could it? Real life is not anywhere near as tidy as fiction, and you never get to write it in second person. But the story grew from a very real experience and very intense experience I once had.
The encounter was indeed with more than one person, and for the record it was considerably more than two. It was also with a piece of bondage equipment I’d never seen before. Known as a vacuum bed, it essentially consisted of a person-sized latex envelope and an airtight frame attached to a vacuum cleaner. A naked person gets in the envelope and all the air is sucked out of it. In the model I used, I breathed through a gag with a tube in it and found myself completely enclosed in latex in a way that feels completely bizarre and thoroughly unforgettable (to me, at least). The gag permitted me to breathe regularly, but it felt a little like breathing with a diving mask, so it took some getting used to. The device in the picture below (from www.Stockroom.com) and at the link (which is NSFW, by the way) does not have the same gag/breathing tube attachment as the model that I used, but it’s functionally very similar.
This thing was seriously amazing. It looked like some device set up to produce a cool photo-op for Marquis magazine or Secret. And, yes, if you’re into latex, naked humans do look pretty cool when turned into, visually speaking, rubber dolls. But this isn’t just a latex-fetishist’s dream. I did originally write the story for Rachel’s Rubber Sex, but the experience from within is far more intense than indulging the obsession with latex or rubber. It’s total encasement, total immobilization. It feels like you’re being crushed from every direction, with a virtually uniform pressure. I would not recommend it for someone prone to claustrophobia.
While one is thus immobilized, other people in your immediate vicinity have pretty much unlimited access to one’s latex-sheathed body. Fingers feel somewhat different than they would on naked flesh, but not as different as you might think. Sensation generated by physical motion — vibration for instance — seem largely unaltered. Except that you can’t really move. As with many forms of bondage, the lack of the usual somatic feedback (perspective, balance, unimpeded movement) seems to accentuate all other sensations. It was seriously cool, and remains one of the most interesting and intense experiences of my life.
Think back to the first time you came so hard you cried out. The first time you surrendered fully and spiraled into euphoria, every inch of your body consumed by pleasure. You didn’t care who heard your gasping, open-mouthed cries of passion—all you could focus on was the ecstasy. That’s what you’ll find in this collection—tale after tale of characters lost in the bliss of orgasmic perfection your mind (and especially your body) won’t soon forget.