Tuesday, April 27, 2010

NYT: Anti-Gay Prop Sigs; HBO Trashed;
15-Hour Fassbinder Film

So I'm a little late in getting around to reading the lead editorial in Saturday's New York Times, The Court and Free Speech, but it's never too late to call attention to the paper endorsing full electoral transparency, in a case before the Supreme Court related to gay Americans:

The court has two more important free speech cases coming up. One raises the question of whether people have a right to keep their identities secret if they signed a petition to put a referendum against same-sex marriage on the ballot. Putting an initiative on the ballot is an important governmental act, and we hope the court does not decide that there is a right to do so anonymously.

In other homosexual news of note in the increasingly Gay Lady, openly gay actor Leslie Jordan was profiled recently, and shot his Southern mouth off about the nasty fights he had a cable giant:

In 2008 HBO canceled the show ["12 Miles of Bad Road] after six episodes were shot but before any were broadcast, a result for which Mr. Jordan blames his controversial character — a hustler-chasing gay man named Kenny Kingman — and the conservative attitudes of HBO executives.

“I thought, ‘Why can’t you have a gay character that likes hustlers?’ ” Mr. Jordan said. “I stood in that room with HBO and said: ‘What is the problem? Just because he’s not muscle-bound and adopting a Chinese baby?’ ”

One last bit of recent gay-related content from the Times, this time about the great film director and dead-before-his-time bad-boy Rainer Werner Fassbinder, and the running time of one of his masterpieces. A review about a 1973 movie he made for West German TV that recently premiered at MoMA said:

And perhaps the most prophetic aspect of this film ["World on a Wire'] is that, like Fassbinder’s 18-hour “Berlin Alexanderplatz,” it demonstrates how thoroughly and uncompromisingly cinematic television can be.

I saw all of the restored version, with the epilogue, when it was shown over four Thursday evenings in 2008 at the SF MoMA, and can say all the critical accolades bestowed on it over the years is justified. Well worth the time invested for this cineaste, but the Times made a mistake.

The film is only fifteen-and-half-hours long, not 18-hours as claimed by the critic A.O. Scott, who himself, in a 2007 rave of the restored "Berlin Alexanderplatz" starting to travel the film archive circuit, made mention of the correct running time.

Even at 15-plus hours, the time just flies by watching Fassbinder's account of German hustlers and low-lifes before the outbreak of WWII, and if you ever get the chance to watch the film, be prepared for an amazing film.

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