THE KILLOUGH CHRONICLES
by James Killough
In a mild twist of fate, I auditioned for a role on an HBO series yesterday. This is no early Meryl Streep character that is going to require me hours of dialogue training to nail an East Prussian accent. I doubt I’ll have to insist that all crew members call me by my character’s name so that my precarious Method balance is maintained. If I get the role, and it is a real long shot that I will, I would basically be playing me.
James Killough's new headshot, which will launch a sneak attack on HBO. Photo: Sebastian Artz.
I’m sure there are hundreds of actors out there who can play a middle-aged Ghey from the West Village, which is what this is. And I’m sure we all sound alike in the end; these are lines I would actually say. I really felt this dialogue was written with me in mind, which is why I keep my hopes up, even though as someone who habitually sits on the deciding side of the casting couch I know better.
What concerns me is the script describes my character as wearing a kimono. Maybe the writer is savvy enough to know that I would indeed wear a man’s antique shibori resist-dyed kimono in a heartbeat, but I think she might have something more flamboyant in mind. And therein lies the challenge.
I mentioned to my associate Tyler that I was concerned they probably wanted an old-school extravaganza Ghey, the kind who, as I’ve mentioned in a previous post, is coming back in vogue thanks to that little Nellie in Glee. Tyler encouragingly replied, “Nah, you’ll be like the transvestite Liev Schreiber played in Taking Woodstock. He looked totally out of place in a dress, but it was really funny.” I twisted my ankle the other day stepping out of Tyler’s Ford Explorer, so the thought of slipping into a dress and heels isn’t very appealing right now. But trying to convince the costume department to outfit me in an antique men’s shibori resist-dyed kimono rather than Haute Golden Girls Nightwear is an exciting challenge. Continue reading
by James Killough
Never one to be terribly quick on the uptake, I needed time to think about Tom Ford’s “five easy lessons in how to be a modern gentleman” from Another Magazine, which went surprising viral, namely because of the silliness of the fifth lesson about flip-flops and shorts in the city. Ford is described in Another as a “fashion powerhouse, film mogul and old school romantic.” I have decided that the second descriptor, “film mogul,” is tongue-in-cheek, although knowing the fashion press as well as I do, whoever wrote that is either sucking up to Ford or actually believes that because Ford’s one and only film was so well styled and shot it has somehow propelled the designer to the top of the film business.
Too close to home: Colin Firth looks into the blue eyes of a dirty blonde half his age in "A Single Man." I wouldn't date a kid in a pink angora sweater, though. A lime-green hoodie, yes.
I was pleasantly surprised by A Single Man. No, pleasantly is too mild and a cliché. I was staggered by how good it was. Everyone in the Biz had been following Ford’s misadventures trying to get it made with not a small amount of schadenfreude. How dareth the designing fagelah wander into our rarified climes?
I know both the film business and the fashion world intimately, and there is no question as to which is the more difficult to succeed in. Fashion people are continuously astounded at how long it takes to make a feature film: nine years on average, no matter who you are. Even the humblest designer working in some storefront in Williamsburg would have churned out at least eighteen collections by then. What needs to be taken into account is production on one entire collection costs less than a single day’s shoot on an indie feature film. Continue reading
THE KILLOUGH CHRONICLES | REVIEWS
by James Killough
Book of Mormon is all the rage. Every so often a musical opens that all of New York is rapturous about, but none that I would agree are actually rapture-worthy. I haven’t seen this production, nor have I listened to one note of a single song, yet I give it two thumbs and two large toes up. I wasn’t interested in Rent, although the Trey Stone and Matt Parker send up in Team America — I laughed so hard I farted during “Everybody has AIDS” — is one of my top ten favorite comedies of all time. I liked The Producers in the original 1968 movie with Zero Mostel and almost zero music; I watched half of the recent film version of the musical before I was overcome by homo self-loathing with the way Gheys were portrayed in that retarded, cliché-infested musical number about Gheys. But I would probably never tire of Book of Mormon.
The "Keep It Gay" sequence from "The Producers," film version. Barf. This is everything I detest about musicals summed up in one picture. As the drag queens used to say back in the 80s, "it's so tired, honey." Never even got out of bed for me.
Aside from the fact that Trey Stone and Matt Parker and I have the same raunchy, compassionately irreverent approach to “sensitive” issues…. Well, that’s it, actually. That’s the entirety of my affinity with them. There is no “aside.” The guys are genius, they deserve their success, may some of it float this way.
My evil twin Andrew Sullivan said after seeing Book of Mormon, “Religion is both insane and necessary at the same time.” At first I re-dubbed him my twit twin Andrew Sullivan until I had a good think about this statement. Continue reading
Very aptly, I am the son of a Mad Man. In the 60s and 70s, my father was with one of the larger ad agencies that are referred to from time to time in the dialogue of Mad Men. He accepted a position to head up the Italian operations of that agency, the purview of which was expanded over time, but we the family were based in Rome while he traveled around. The real reason we were there is probably because the US was afraid to lose Italy and France to the communists during the 70s, so we sent some of our “businessmen” over there to help bolster the interests of democracy. If I were in a pitch meeting and had to do a mash up of references to describe Dad, it would be Mad Men meets The Good Shepherd.
If Dad has a quibble with the authenticity of "Mad Men," my only problem with "The Good Shepherd" is the women in my world just didn't look like that, which means it was eerily real.
I won’t delve too much into The Good Shepherd aspect because much of it is conjecture, albeit conjecture based on high probability. Dad has expressed a desire in this last chapter of his life to tell me his story, and I would like him to feel free to do so without fearing that it’s going to end up in a blog side by side with some willfully salacious anecdote that involves sodomy, haute couture and Class A drugs. Suffice it to say, there is a reason the period we lived in Rome is referred to as the anni di piombo, “the years of lead,” referring to the flying bullets and the bombings that seemed to be a part of our daily lives. After we left in ’79, things calmed down in Italy considerably. Hopefully that was just a coincidence. Continue reading
Ask any red-blooded baboon: as repressed as the Victorians were, the bustle was a flagrant invitation to do nasty things from behind.
I miss the Victorian Era. It’s not just that I miss the high-waisted trousers and the frock coats, and the prospect of reading Dickens serialized in the paper every week. I am probably one of the few men in the modern era who can say he had two frock coats hanging in his closet at one point, made for me by my tailor in Delhi to my amateur designer’s specifications, based on yet another Yohji Yamamoto frock coat I brought in for him to copy. It’s not that thinking about the Victorian Era makes me miss when I had hair, either, which I usually wore long and curly on top and shortish on the sides, with my sideburns always down to my jawline. No, the real reason I miss the Victorian Era most is because had I lived then I would have been straight.
As every gay man knows, while inwardly guffawing at those misguided conservative poodles who incessantly yip that ours is a “lifestyle choice,” only an extreme masochist with a major reactionary streak would ever choose to be gay over being straight. Most of us believe we would make great straight men. We’d be wonderful fathers, we would seriously pay attention to our woman’s appearance, we’d never even tire of clothes shopping with her.
The reason a Ghey like me would have been straight back then is I would likely have gotten married, had kids, and nobody would have been the wiser. My wife would have been so repressed and confined by the rigid corset of social mores that she wouldn’t have admitted even to herself that I wasn’t banging her, much less to anyone else. She would have ignored the stable full of handsome young stable hands, who would have walked funny after I’d spent an afternoon “grooming my horse.” In the unlikely event of a complaint from her, I would have just yanked a lace in the back of her dress like a yo-yo string and she would have passed right out on the parlor floor like a rag doll, after being cut off from what little air she was getting to begin with.
The Victorian Era was basically when Western culture turned Japanese for a hundred years. It was graceful, fraught with fascinating social intricacies and niceties, but was, all kidding aside, clearly a real pain in the ass. Continue reading
We’ve gotten to the bottom of Gwyneth Paltrow’s recent appearances on Glee. I draw your attention to this little item in Nikki Finke’s Deadline.com, in which show creator Ryan Murphy outs Gwyneth for who she truly is to him. For those too lazy to click, I refer you to the following quotation:
“Gwyneth is sort of the muse of the show,” Murphy said. “She’s somebody who I write on the weekends and say, ‘What do you think about this for an episode even if you’re not in it?’ She has opinions. She’s great.”
Like in "Avatar," "How to Train Your Dragon," and "Eragon," where the dragon chooses the rider who will fly her, a Fag Hag chooses her Ghey and they bond for life.
Murphy is hiding behind subtleties that many creative Gheys might not see themselves, which is why Dr. Killough is here to explain. He uses the word “muse.” But a muse is distant, an inspiration, someone the artist aspires to commune with, a siren who unblocks the creative flow just by being there. Gwyneth is the muse transformed, the mermaid wrenched willingly from the sea and forced to walk on land. She has become Murphy’s Fag Hag.
Apparently she has been this since they worked together on Running With Scissors, Murphy’s decidedly unfunny adaptation of Augusten Burrough’s exceedingly funny memoir. He should have gone with archly flip for RWS’s tone, not with sincerity and contrition. I’m sure he knows that now with the tone he established in Glee, which would have served RWS better.
A true muse is someone like my creative partner, Rain Li, who basically ignores you, making you desire his or her company and the inspiration that it gives you all the more. Rain and I hardly ever speak on the phone; I’m lucky to get a text-based Skype session once a quarter, during which she types one line every ten minutes until I just give up at 2 a.m. I won’t hear from her for months, but then a single “You aw-right, dahling?” in that mockney Beijing accent and my entire career path becomes clear to me. That’s a muse. Continue reading
Praise the Lord. I have seen Johnny Depp’s apotheosis and it is named Rango. It’s like he’s pulled together all of his work since Edward Scissorhands into one masterpiece symphony in the form of an animated feature. It all makes sense now. Rango tips its mottled cowboy hat to Ed Wood, to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, but most of all, intentionally or not, to Jim Jarmusch’s Dead Man, the last Jarmusch film I truly enjoyed, as opposed to feeling flattened by enervation.
I don't know why they kept calling Rango a lizard when he was in fact a chameleon. I know, chameleons are lizards, but lizards makes them sound so pedestrian. Maybe the studios felt that American audiences would be too tempted to pronounce the "ch."
If you haven’t heard by now, Rango is truly trippy, brilliantly written, gorgeously animated, superbly voiced, and I have serious doubts it will ever make its real cost back. If the studio reported a budget of $135 million, it’s bound to be much more than that. Rango is basically an art film with a big Hollywood finish, which you really don’t mind because the whole journey is so jaw-droppingly audacious and bizarre. It’s certainly the first time I’ve ever been sexually attracted to a rattlesnake.
One hot motherfucker. If you ignore the fact he is voiced by Bill Nighy, this is the sexiest cartoon character since the Beast in "Beauty and the Beast."
According to my personal lexicon, a spineless dick is what I call a good friend who won’t go into overdraft to loan me more money. According to the Guardian, the scientific community is all a-flutter over the discovery that we men have shed the DNA responsible for allowing us to have spines in our penises like other mammals. The dickhead creationists will probably cite this lack of penile backbone as incontrovertible proof that we were actually created by God, not descended from apes through evolution. I say to them, Verily, thou shouldst have more faith in science than fruitloops juju mumbo jumbo, for hath not science replaced the penile backbone with Viagra? Is Pfizer not therefore divine?
Speaking of spineless dicks, I cannot resist reposting this image with a new caption:
Radical feminist poet and playwright Mama Muamah Gaddafi, author of “For Bedouin Girls, Who Have Considered Homicide When the Sand Dunes Are Too Ruff,” shows her followers that you don’t have to wear trousers to behave like a man.
I was right about the atrocities, they’re trickling out already: apparently Mama Gaddafi has swept out the dungeon and has been sharpening her knives and waxing the rack. Some BBC journalists she had a stab at are reporting widespread torture by Mama’s minions. Where does evil like that come from, do you suppose? I’ve been watching Lady Gaga’s new video over and over for the answers, but her creation myth is just as bat-shit loony as anyone else’s.
The best thing about these blogs is I sit here tinkling away at the keyboard some evenings — and you’d think I was high as a kite the way they come out, but I’m not, haven’t even had a drink since New Years — grinning like Liberace rolling on E while he plays the Turkish March for the blue-rinse brigade in Vegas. Sometimes I will write something that catches me completely unaware and I snort and Coke Zero goes through my nose and onto the keyboard.
It’s not Spanking Galliano that gets me going these days, that’s sort of sad in a twisted way, and it’s certainly not the Satanic Natalie Portman. It’s Mama Gaddafi from the House of Gaddafi. I’m feeling a need to repost that image from an earlier blog with the caption:
Still furious about his exclusion from the seminal documentary on black drag queens,"Paris Is Burning," Mama Gaddafi from the House of Gaddafi vogues Pan-Arab Tyrant Realness while Our Fearful Leader tries not to giggle, lest Miss Thing bomb a United jumbo this time, now that Pan Am has gone out of business.
Whaddaya know, it turns out I was prescient about Natalie Portman. There I am trying to lure readers with silly, lurid post titles like Natalie Portman Carrying Satan’s Child, and the next thing you know, Repube presidential candidate Mike Huckabee is jumping on my bandwagon and attacking her, too. The difference is, he’s serious.
Natalie Portman rules in hell. Let's face it, the Black Swan was so much cooler than the White, who deserved what she got, that simpering ninny. I bet there will be moments when Nats looks at her bf like this when she's giving birth.
Or Huckabee was serious until he back-pedaled and then said he was glad that Nats was marrying her boyfriend, as if the impending marriage made it all okay and legitimized the pregnancy and the relationship and crap-wallah-wallah-crap. Okay, Mike, let’s forget for a minute how offensive that comment is to the underclass ten percent (at least) of this nation who can only legally marry their fag hags. Actually, let’s not forget. Cleverer political commentators than I can poke more accurate holes in you and your idiocies. I just need to underscore how outrageous this whole marriage thing is, period. Why don’t we simply ban the whole institution, already, there’s bound to be something unconstitutional about it.