Happy Birthday, Saul Bass

Today’s Google Doodle is a tribute to Saul Bass – and it’s a pretty good doodle!

But check out Mr. Bass’ stunning opening sequence from North by Northwest. It’s really quite amazing and as fresh and exhilarating today as it was over 50 years ago when the film was released. And let’s not forget that Mr. Bass’ work was truly revolutionary. Per the Wikipedia:

Before the advent of Bass’s title sequences in the 1950s, titles were generally static, separate from the movie, and it was common for them to be projected onto the cinema curtains, the curtains only being raised right before the first scene of the movie.

8 Seconds of Cinematic Perfection

So good. The dismissive nail filing, the deadpan facial expression, the weary surveillance of the room, the sigh and finally – the line.

Also, I aspire to do exactly this upon my arrival anywhere – including my own apartment.

More Like the Seventh or Eighth Element

Leeloo Dallas, multi-MULTI-pass. Also, if you’re going to wear an after-five get-up, you need to wear some after-five shoes… For shame.

leeloo

from FAIL blog

“Well… I have no notes.”

I’m not much of an Entertainment Weekly reader, what with being an insufferable snob and having a higher-than-9th-grade reading level and all. But this cover made my mouth go dry with delight.

liberace

And here’s some good stuff from the article in EW:

As for their sex scenes together (and trust us, the movie has plenty), Damon and Douglas both say that shooting a moment of passion is always awkward, no matter who’s involved. “The scene where I’m behind him and going at him, we did that in one take,” recalls Damon, laughing. “We do it. Cut. There’s a long pause. And then you just hear Steven go, ‘Well… I have no notes.’”

I am soooo going to use that line…

Also, who has HBO? And what time should I come by?

from Towleroad

How to Survive a Plague

Fascinating. Inspiring. Heartbreaking. Amazing. And, for me personally, a searing tribute to the men and women who are quite literally responsible for my being alive today. (And, just to digress a bit, yes, I am distinctly aware that these men and women are generally white and middle- or upper-middle-class. Am I complaining? N0 – but it’s quite difficult not to notice, particularly given that, today, new HIV infections in the U.S. disproportionately affect African-Americans and Latinos. Oh, and as long as I’m digressing, my title for this post originally had a typo and was Hot to Survive a Plague – which is kinda funny enough to have left as-is, but then kinda not so much. Is there a limit to how long a parenthetical phrase can be? I’m sure there is and I’ve violated said limit long ago. Ah, shit – I suck at writing. OK, not really. Well, I mean I do, but I just refer to it as my “style.” Also, I am not so hot. But enough about me…) This film is available on Netflix streaming. Watch it now. It is excellent.

plague

I suppose I’ve established a level of comfort with being HIV+… Certainly, anytime I meet a fellow with with whom I may be physically intimate, I let him know that I’m poz (that is, I’m neither “clean” nor “disease-free” – such charming terminology we gays have! Ugh). This is not particularly burdensome, given the paucity of my intimate encounters (not attempting to elicit sympathy – just sayin’…). And I’m OK with discussing it in a general sense, though I’m not exactly shouting it from the rooftops. This is due more to my discomfort with sharing genuinely personal components of my life than it is with HIV itself. Or so I tell myself.

The fact is, having HIV remains somehow different than being diabetic or having cancer or multiple sclerosis or just about any other disease. While I certainly don’t want to become some bore, constantly talking about my medical condition, I think my reticence in talking about it on the regular serves to reinforce my own internalized view that I am indeed somehow a lesser person because I am HIV+. As much as I hate to admit it, I do regard my status as a negative (no pun intended) thing – and this is certainly (and depressingly) reinforced by many in the gay “community” here in SF. By this I mean that my being upfront and very candid about my status is, for many (I would even venture “most”) single gay men I meet, a dealbreaker – despite shared interests, mutual attraction or any of the other number of things that might lead to a date or a series of dates or even an ongoing relationship. My HIV status defines me above all else – and not favorably.

So, will my writing about this in a decidedly public (though not especially widely-read) forum help me get more comfortable with this component of myself? I have no idea – but I suppose it’s my own small way of recognizing that “Silence = Death” has a meaning that is both literal and figurative.

And don’t get me wrong. I am extraordinarily aware of how lucky I am to be not just alive but healthy and with my medical conditional extremely well-managed. I live in SF, where I have access to some of the best HIV care on the planet; the side-effects from my meds are tolerable; I have health insurance; I have a supportive family and friends; I have a reasonably secure job and income; and I have the skills and perseverance necessary to navigate my medical care, treatment and insurance coverage. But, still – you know, what with dukkha and all – it can feel like a tough row to hoe.

Yes, Please

Teaser trailer for Star Trek: Into Darkness. While the clip is decidedly lacking in Zachary-Quinto-as-Spock hotness, I do also like me some Chris Pine. I wonder if Kirk and Spock finally make out in this one…

Also, Benedict Cumberbatch – Benedict Cumberbatch! Yes, I believe I will see the hell out of this movie.

House of Cards

First of all, if you haven’t already, watch the original BBC version of House of Cards (along with the two sequels), which follows the behind-the-scenes political scheming of deliciously amoral MP Francis Urqhart. It is marvelous (and available on Netflix streaming).

Secondly, here’s the just-released trailer for the American version, streaming on Netflix Feb 1, in one of their first serious forays into original programming. One never knows, but this preview leads me to believe it is going to be excellent. And, given the substantial structural differences between English and American politics (not to mention journalism), this remake will likely deliver plenty of twists and turns even for those of us already well-familiar the lead character’s career trajectory. Oh, and Kevin Spacey. Sure, sometimes he chews the scenery – but I think that may be exactly what we’ll want from this flick.