Friday, May 20, 2005

who doesn't want to read a blog post about gender? ok, how bout one about mullets?

In writing my paper about Elizabeth Bishop's uniquely gendered characters in her book North & South (man-mirror and man-moth), I've become aware of gender in a new way. Then I saw the doc film American Mullet, and I have a whole new appreciation for the haircut that is the butt of so many jokes. But it's perhaps the only truly genderless haircut. And it's never been appropriated by the mainstream, and likely never will be, which keeps it vital in the cultures that have embraced it--working class America, Latino Americans, Native Americans, lesbians, etc. There's something admirable in a haircut that both rebuffs and toys with the "professional" aesthetic.

Speaking of said aesthetic, I once had a job interview at a business establishment that had a strict dress code--lists of acceptable fabrics, no more than two earrings per ear, no unnatural haircolors, no visibly distracting tattoos, etc--and surprisingly enough, despite my overage on ear holes and my penchant for corduroy (unacceptable fabric for women), they offered me the job anyway. And I turned it down, because I have principles dammit.

Moral of the story: if you want to grow a mullet (or insert any personal style/aesthetic choice here), rock it.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

a man, a plan, a canal: panama

I went to see the most recent Todd Solondz movie last night, Palindromes. I was prepared to feel intensely uncomfortable for approximately 90 minutes, and I was not disappointed. The film raises a lot of questions about why people have children, what it means to be moral, and what identity even means. And it's really effing funny.

This morning I read some of the reviews for it, and was rather surprised to find that the majority of the reviews were very negative. "Misanthrope" was the term thrown around a lot, a film with no happy moments to hang onto, etc. Do I have some smug sense of superiority (rhetorical question!), or are these people just not getting it? Is there something wrong with creating art that intentionally makes people uneasy? Does creating an uncomfortable reality = bad filmmaking? The nature of film is often to exaggerate reality: exaggerated happiness (see: romantic comedies), exaggerated violence (see: quentin tarantino). Why's exaggerated awkwardness getting the bad rap?

So I wholeheartedly endorse the film. Moreover, I wholeheartedly endorse the Castro Theatre. I saw a total of three films there this week (Palindromes and the double feature of the Kill Bill films). They've got grandeur, they've got an organist, they've got nutritional yeast for the popcorn. Amen.