Thursday, May 1, 2008

Who Is Number One?

Original New York cast.

Tuesday evening, b&c and I took the metro into town to see The History Boys at Studio Theater. It was a very good production of a very good play. Studio Theater's site says that it was "re-imagined" by their artistic director, but I don't know exactly how it was changed from the original. I had seen the superior movie version (which, apparently, had most of the cast from the New York production) last year, and aside from some significant (but not fundamental) changes to the beginning and ending, the two seemed very much alike. I thought that the movie was somewhat better cast and did a significantly better job of conveying the tragedy of ordinariness that seemed to me the main point of the movie, but the immediacy of the stage version was compelling. We have seen our share of lackluster plays at Studio, and the problem is usually in the underlying material, so it was good to see them do a really good play.

The play was so well paced and tightly performed that I was very surprised at the end to look at my watch and see that it was 11 pm. The lateness of the hour was partly due to Studio's singular ineptitude at seating the audience. They always start about ten minutes later than they ought because they don't give adequate training or supervision to their volunteer ushers. In any case, we walked back to Dupont Circle and just missed a train, so we had to wait fifteen minutes for the next one and didn't get home until after midnight. The lateness put a bit of a damper on the evening, but the play itself is very worth seeing. I think I may also order the DVD of the movie.

I was watching this video (and some others by the same guy; the password to all of them is 207) last night, and I found it semi-disturbingly erotic. It's clear that (although the maker would like you to think the scene is or at least could be real) the participants are actors, and I would like to think that if it were real, I would find it less or not erotic, but I don't know. What I generally find erotic about this sort of scene is the enjoyment of the submissive, and I think that I'm sensing some of it there, but I don't know whether a truly involuntary exploitation scene would excite me. I hope not, anyway. Some of the other videos by the same guy are less well done, but he always seems to pick submissives who look good and look the part. A lot of them can't really act, but the bad acting may help here, by reinforcing the notion that they're staged.

Can you find ten things wrong with this picture?
I may have succeeded in corrupting b&c. Typically, he spends weekday evenings on the couch in the living room, reading non-fiction. Last night, however, when I got up from the computer, I came into the den, and he was watching a reality show. On the CW network of all places. He told me that the guy on it was hot. He told me it was called Farmer Wants a Wife, and I said, "Oh, like The Bachelor, but down on the farm. How original." I watched the last ten minutes of it with him, but mostly I saw a bunch of early twenty-something bleached blondes having a series of cat fights. The farmer himself is easy on the eyes, but I wonder just how much of a farmer he really is. To me, he looks like a guy who got picked up by a casting director as he was leaving Remington's early so that he could get in another workout at Results. I think reality shows have gotten out of hand, and people are just getting lazy. Even the journalists. This review of FWaW, for example, complains that the bachelor formula is old, but doesn't bother to note that an earlier version of Farmer Wants a Wife aired last year in Australia. I hate it when journalists can't even be bothered to google. I suppose I should support b&c in his descent to lowbrow culture, but a show that focuses so much on the women is usually not for me. (I'd rather watch America's Next Top Model, but only when they run the marathons. I wouldn't want to follow it week to week.) And, really, the farmer's got a great body, but he doesn't even notionally stir my loins. I'd be a lot more likely to watch the show if the farmer was gay and they'd brought in ten twinks to fight over him: just imagine all the chicken jokes. Fortunately, there are better options than FWaW.

For instance. If you want to see a reality show with plenty of hot men and plenty of drama, you want to watch Viva Hollywood, the new VH1 show where six men and six women compete to become the next great Telemundo telenovela star. It's no more real than any other reality show (the bad boy contestant, Vinci, was on an earlier Hills-like reality show about a modeling agency; apparently, you can now have a full career as a reality star), but the boys are, well, whatever the Spanish word for smokin' is.

In other news, I logged onto my online banking site Tuesday morning and saw that I had apparently charged $24.35 while in Beijing last week. I couldn't remember having gone to Beijing, and since I've never been there (that I remember), it seems like it would have made an impression. I wondered whether it was a miscoded online purchase of something else (I couldn't remember anything of that amount, but I buy lots of stuff online), but when I called the bank, they said that the accompanying $0.49 international transaction fee meant that the card number was used in Beijing itself. If I could get to Beijing for $24.84, I'd definitely go, but since I can't, the bank sent me an affidavit to sign to get my account credited and canceled my debit card and issued a new one. I guess I should be more careful about handing my debit card to the people at McDonald's when I buy my Diet Cokes. In any case, Tuesday night, I had bizarre identity-theft-related dreams. In one of them, I was single, and I was in a van with a guy I'd recently begun dating, and I was starting to make out with him (in my dreams, all men kiss well), and the next thing I knew, I had passed out and was coming to in the same van but in an entirely different location (not, alas, Beijing). I was surrounded by strangers who claimed that I was someone else. It was clearly some sort of Prisoner-style conspiracy.

I reckon I've had worse dates, though.


Anonymous said...

A New China Syndrom: Peking identity crisis.

Will said...

There WAS a gay dating reality show, Boy Meets Boy I think it was called, and it had its moments. The subject, James if I remember correctly, was cute and handsome and came with his own straight but not narrow gal-pal he could confide in when the choice just became too much for him. I think there was a massive protest to the network from the Bible Belt and the format was never repeated.

We're seeing History Boys at Boston's Speakeasy Stage on our anniversary later this month. Speakeasy is now our premiere gay-oriented theater in Boston and they invariably do a very good job. We last saw McNally's Some Men there.

The Neighbors Will Hear said...

I saw Boy Meets Boy, and it was dreadful. A third of the guys on it were straight, and James didn't find out until the last episode. It was one of a long series of gay-themed shows that Bravo ran in the time slot either just before or just after Queer Eye. I think Boy Meets Boy was long enough ago that James had some reason to be both shocked and angered by the late-revealed twist. His gal pal was equally, or perhaps more, annoyed. I think now, and especially after the writers' strike, reality TV has been sufficiently debunked that anyone who agrees to participate gets exactly what he or she deserves, but that might not have been the case back then.

Anyway, BMB didn't have enough reality TV drama. Really, a rugged gay leather top farmer and twelve anger twinks is just what you need to get the schadenfreude that all reality TV needs to thrive.

Jason_M said...

Skater boy video is from Dream Boy Bondage ( I'd know those chubby hands anywhere. I'm a little ashamed that I know this, speaking of disturbing. I am pretty certain that it is consensual in the sense the guys sign releases and are paid, but I doubt that they are aware what they are in for. The guy(s) who administer the torture -- let's call it what it is -- seem to have a sense of limits, etc and some of the subjects are acting part of the time. But not all.