Like Chauncey Gardiner, I like to watch. I allude not to voyeurism (though who could knock it) but rather the very act of watching things — movies, theatre, TV. It’s the most fun you can have not moving.
So I watch the film Not Since You
. I am intrigued because it is directed by Jeff Stephenson, a Canadian boy who made a documentary about me called Bellini’s Drive
in 1998. Not Since You
is about a group of straight friends reuniting at a wedding in Georgia. They fight, they flirt, they revisit past wounds. It stars Kathleen Robertson, who gay audiences know from Beverly Hills 90210
and from the Gus Van Sant–directed TV series Boss
. “Independent films can often be gimmicky, where every character’s a drug-addicted prostitute,” Robertson says. “Not Since You
is the antithesis of that.” To me, it seems like a smaller, warmer Big Chill
If drug-addicted prostitutes are your cup of broth, then consider the documentary Inside Lara Roxx
, a look at an HIV-positive female pornstar from Quebec. Of course, she’s a mess. Lara got HIV doing a double anal cream pie, possibly the highest-risk activity on earth. “I want to destigmatize HIV,” Lara tells me. “Being HIV-positive doesn’t make you more disgusting than somebody with cancer.”
The film’s director, Mia Donovan, spent seven years filming Lara, and to say she has captured some harrowing ups and downs is an understatement. It’s clear that Mia believes women in the sex industry deserve better. For instance, in a world where men will jerk off to the Sears catalogue, would using condoms on screen really cost straight porn its audience? Mia’s next documentary sounds just as fascinating: a portrait of her stepbrother, who was deprogrammed from a religious cult. As for Lara, she’s moved on to a career in tech support.
Watching television has always been the laziest pleasure, and nothing makes me feel lazier than Four Weddings Canada
on Slice TV, Wednesdays at 10pm. On the show, four brides-to-be rate each others’ weddings on the food, the venue, the overall experience and the dress. The winner gets a dream honeymoon. I enjoy the fact that the ladies in question are not face-lifted monsters like they might be on an Americanized version. The most curious thing about the show is the relative absence of grooms. Not interviewed or profiled, they seem to be just another accessory or component, like the ring or the gown or confetti.
Series producer Marnie Sugarman says the production set out to “connect with every wedding planner, every banquet hall, every florist and bridal boutique.” From there, the producers assembled teams of four brides for every episode. Why, I ask her, is being a bride such a big deal for women? “It starts so young, when little girls start playing princesses who get married to princes, and they get an idea in their mind of how they want their own wedding to be,” Sugarman says. “So they say, ‘Maybe I’ll get married one day, and what will I wear?’” Again, the gown is more important than the groom. Of the 52 weddings the show features, only one is a gay couple, and they are dykes. But let’s be honest: what could be gayer than a show about brides judging each other?
Finally, there’s the theatre, where I will soon be able to watch such musicals as Caroline, or Change
; In the Heights
; and Rob Ford: The Opera
. Yes, you read that correctly. It seems Mayor Ubu has inspired serious musicians to new heights. It will be performed only once, on Sunday, Jan 22 at 2:30pm in U of T’s MacMillan Theatre. Librettist Michael Patrick Albano claims that it “jumps joyously into the no-holds-barred ring of the ridiculous.” Save me a seat, please. I love to watch.