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Por SouverDJ

LiberaceIt’s finally a new year. And hey, I started it off on the right foot, giving it my all on the floor to the tune of “Lights On” by Katy B and Ms. Dynamite, which, as we have already said at PlayGround, is one of the biggest hits of recent times. Although I’m sure that many of you had imagined me in some spiritual retreat doing some naked yoga or a little gay Tantric massage , which is so in fashion around the world. We have even reached the point when (we’re talking about Naked Power Yoga) they’re putting out DVD’s to teach it (with music included) and what seems to be a calendar with—what, the best positions? I don’t know, but it sounds to me like a trick to distract, just another way to get to what people are really interested in, which is rubbing up against each other (of course, in this case paying at the register first). Anyway, that’s what there is.

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Having said that, let’s get down to business. For those of us who are more Atari than Xbox, as Cee-Lo Green would say, I would recommend a stay in Berlin, for example. And not to have fun with the flock of modern folk arriving there from all over the world, which is what happens there at New Year’s and every other day of the year (mind you, I also like the idea, as long as they don’t overload me with so much art and creation; in Berlin, if you’re looking for somebody who isn’t an artist, you’d better look again), but rather to visit one of the exhibits of the season: “Genet, Hommage Zum 100. Geburtstag.” Even if you don’t speak German, you will have been able to guess what it’s about: it’s a spectacular celebration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Jean Genet. It seems that the French writer is in fashion (again): remember that last month, right here, we mentioned the album by Etienne Daho and Jeanne Moreau on which Moreau recited one of his works. Well, like we were saying, at the Schwules Museum, which is also preparing for its 25th anniversary, the exhibit deals with the works of Genet and their meaning within the context of gay history and literature. It is a good way to understand how he could rise from the underworld (Genet was born the son of a prostitute, and he spent his youth surrounded by robberies, jail and male prostitutes) to come to rub elbows with luminaries such as Picasso, Sartre, Cocteau and Giacometti. The exhibit ends up, of course, focused on the feverish film version of “Querelle” that Fassbinder made in 1982. Don’t miss it, you will find it there until the 7th March.

Are you surprised by a kick-off with so much culture? Don’t worry, we’ll take care of that quickly. Let’s go to the movies

The Girls are Alright

2010 has left us one of the films with the most normalising portrayal of the GLBT scene lately. And I’m not referring to “Burlesque”, even if it is like a family with Cher, Xtina and so on, but rather to Lisa Chodolenko’s “The Kids Are All Right”. The filmmaking, who in 1998 already made a lesbian classic starring Ally Sheedy (“High Art”), is back with a pleasant, and (as I said earlier) normalising melodrama. The family of couple Annette Bening and Julianne Moore is just this, a family, with its ups and downs and imperfections. Their two children, conceived through artificial insemination by the same donor, want to meet theirfather and find themselves with Mark Ruffalo. And what a pleasure to meet a father like that, may I add. And of course, with the appearance of this disturbing element, everything is shaken up: the couple and the entire family. But like I said, have no fear, it’s a fun film, with award-winning performances. It won the Teddy at the last Berlin festival and was nominated for Golden Globes, so you can expect something more at the Oscars, especially for Bening; these simple stories of not-so-conventional families are nice if they are done well, with good actors (another film from the same crop was “Cyrus”, another example of how a simple story of 40+ love with a bothersome child can do well on-screen).

Meanwhile, in the UK –so that you can tell that we’re starting the year off fighting– the film version of a theatre piece against homophobic bullying, “Fit”, has just come out. The result is a pleasant, spunky mixture of “Skins” and “Glee”. If you want to be moved, you know what to do, head for the box office and pay the piper.

{youtube width="100%" height=273"}_mtG2GR_lf4{/youtube}The coming year looks very promising as far as films go. One of the titles that I am most looking forward to is “Thor”, a film version of the legendary Marvel comic, directed, surprisingly, by... Kenneth Branagh! We’ll just have to see what he does with this material, and let’s hope that he doesn’t just do a dynastic drama between Thor (we’re already drooling over the star, Elsa Pataky’s new husband, Chris Hemsworth, hammer in hand, and in 3D, honestly) and his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins), and that it will be entertaining. Besides that, Natalie Portman is in it, in the midst of her comeback: awards and nominations for the craziness of “Black Swan”, controversial for her near nudity in “Your Highness”, and, to top it off, a favourite for star-watchers, thanks to her pregnancy (Penélope Cruz, you’re not news anymore, did you know?).

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What promises (the most) in terms of fireworks, anyway, is “Sucker Punch”. Let’s see: Zach Snyder, the director of “300” and “Watchmen”, now brings us an explosive, fantastic cocktail in which we find five female stars (among them Emily Browning and Vanessa Hudgens, all grown up and completely over “High School Musical”), an insane asylum, samurais, dragons, bordellos, World War I and lots and lots of weapons. I’m sure you’ve heard of it, it’s been described as “Alice in Wonderland with machine guns.” Let them eat cake!

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But if you want to know the truth, the project that catches my eye the most for 2011 comes from Steven Soderbergh, who is announcing his retirement from directing –for a lack of ideas, he says– after filming three more stories, among them, “Liberace”, a biopic of most kitsch artist, pianist, and entertainer in history. The museum in his honour ( Liberace Museum, in Las Vegas) closed its doors last October, and was a must-see for those wishing to recall the aesthetic nonsense and uncontrolled excess that this man offered with his work. Let’s hope that this collection of objects studded with rhinestones and sequins can be seen in other places. What I don’t know is what the eighty-something-year-old volunteers who ran the museum will do with all that free time now. Going back to the film itself, it might start shooting in May, depending on the health of Michael Douglas, who will play Walter Liberace if he recovers from his throat cancer, and it sounds very promising. Douglas singing at the piano in the role of Liberace? This I have to see! Matt Damon will be Scott Thorson, who was his 24-year-old bodyguard-chauffeur (and “alleged” boyfriend; Liberace spent his entire life in the closet). We should point out that Damon is 40 already, but with that angelical face he can still go for those post-adolescent roles, the lucky dog. When Liberace split up with Thorson, the latter sued him for an astronomical sum and part of his assets, which forced Liberace to come out of the closet all at once –I don’t know if that outing was really a surprise to anyone, to tell the truth. This entire story was written by Thorson in a testimonial book, fantastically and appropriately titled “Behind the Candelabra: My Life with Liberace”). {youtube width="100%" height=273"}dioRwB4RvrQ{/youtube} The 90’s... and Whatever are BackThey say the 90’s are back. And shamelessly, too. The sound of the beginning of that decade is coming back without any hesitation. Sam Sparro, the success of his first work already a ways back in time, is now presenting “Pink Cloud”, a song that seems to come from Club 69’s already-classic “Adults Only”, a Peter Rauhofer diva-house project from… 1994! Very, very queer retro-90’s house, which Sparro calls an “art-project”, garnished with a video in which you almost can’t even hear him (I’m not going to make a joke and say here that it’s Sam Sparro’s best so far for exactly this reason). Strike a pose!

{youtube width="100%" height=273"}vi-niQizUZU{/youtube} Someone else who was more promising commercially was Duffy. After her debut was such a hit and she got together with another Welsh figure (rugby player Mike Phillips, who is really fine and half a metre taller than she is; together they form one of the couples most dearly loved by the British people-watching press), she put out her second album and hardly anybody noticed. For the moment, “Endlessly” –which is the name of the poor thing’s album– looks like a flop, as well as her collaboration with Albert Hammond (the father, the one from “It Never Rains in Southern California”), the work’s producer. Even though the first single, “Well, Well, Well”, is powerful and fantastic, with that C+C Music Factory sound (the 90’s, again) and Duffy’s exaggeratedly nasal voice. (Yes, I also thought she was saying “Whale, Whale, Whale”). One notices the hand of Stuart Price quite a bit, producer of four songs on the album, and for the better (“Lovestruck” and “Keeping my Baby” are some of the best from “Endlessly”). I suppose that this year some ballad will come out as a single to see if it improves sales.

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And if we’re talking about the 90’s of course we also have to mention Hercules And Love Affair, whose second album is ripe for the picking. They don’t just recall the 90’s, it really seems like they’re living in the 90’s. Especially Kim Ann Fox, who offered us “Creature” just before the end of the year, a slice of house that seemed like it was released 20 years ago. In fact, the song came out with her name, but Andy Butler, the head of Hercules, is also behind it, so it’s no surprise that “My House”, the advance single from the complete album, follows in its steps starting with the title itself, a real declaration of intentions. So let’s see what they have to offer in long format and how “Blue Songs”, which will be out at the end of the month, sounds.

Let’s finish off the musical section with the new great white hope of the somewhat-adult-oriented panorama: Rumer. At the age of 31, it’s not that she’s a newcomer, but she has been working at it (she’s done everything: waitress, cleaning lady, even a popcorn seller, while she was trying her luck with different bands) until she was discovered and came into contact with Burt Bacharach, who wanted to meet her as soon as he heard her, and who gave her his first unreleased song in five years to sing. Even Elton John has called Rumer to perform with him. When you listen to her, it’s as if Karen Carpenter has come back to life, although at times she sounds like is Norah Jones. In “Seasons of my Soul” atmospheric songs rule, with perfect arrangements, with lyrics somewhere between sentimental and sensual, precisely the kind that –like they joke in The Guardian– don’t upset anybody... except Duffy, who is seeing it all eating up a piece of her pie. At Christmas, she put out another treat, “Rumer Sings Bacharach at Christmas”, so get ready, because Rumer is on a roll, and in 2011 we’ll be hearing more about her.

{youtube width="100%" height=273"}jvYUfwMBCrU{/youtube} I Have a Fabulous Life

Coming to television: on the Logo channel, while you are waiting for the start of the 3rd season of my adored “RuPaul’s Drag Race”, the channel’s greatest success, which is already starting up its engines (very appropriately said, I might add), they have delighted us with “The A List-New York”. This reality series, which is highly addictive, focuses on the life (in front of the cameras, so it’s a little fake, but we expected that from the beginning) of six members of New York’s gay elite. The famous Reichen Kehmkuhl –he won “The Amazing Race”, my favourite contest of all time, along with his then-boyfriend, which made him into a pseudo-celebrity– is the star. Now Reichen designs jewellery and is starting out as an actor. He is also the centre of the group in the reality show, and around him, we have his current boyfriend, the Brazilian Rodiney Santiago (model, bisexual, and with little gay experience; I don’t know whether to believe it); Austin Armacost, ex-boyfriend of Marc Jacobs and also a model (and to make things even more exciting, he was also once involved with Reichen); muscle-man Mike Ruiz, fashion photographer; Ryan Nickulas, tremendous hair stylist to the famous; and Derek Lloyd (“I live in Chelsea and I have a fabulous life” is his motto, so you can just imagine), a modelling agent, addicted to suntan sprays. The series, as you will imagine, is about their adventures in NYC, their parties, their encounters with the famous (Kelly Rowland, Amanda Lepore, Vanessa Williams) and the squabbles among them. What is memorable are the digs that they make at each other right in the middle of the opening of Reichen’s work, the gay version of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”, real nonsense. The guilty pleasure of the season, as you can see.

Another surprise is the Sundance Channel airing of another docu-reality show, this time more serious and less pretentious: “Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys,” focused on the lives of a few fag hags and their gay BFF’s, four strange pairs of friends. There is everything from one who is still a virgin and has never even gone to a gay club in his life, to someone who has just married his boyfriend and whose female friend is afraid of being shut out of his life. It’s a real dramedy in which the most curious thing consists of following the daily lives of these women who love to be gay-gurus, so to speak.

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And if I started out this column stating that naked yoga and Tantra didn’t entirely convince me, I’m going to end it by saying that I prefer the chocolate fight proposed by Broken Social Scene in their new –and very gay– video clip, “Texico Bitches”. Enjoy. I’ll let you go, as I’m going to slather myself with chocolate, like a slice of bread.

{youtube width="100%" height=273"}MTfNTzuJTJU{/youtube} In Berlin, if you’re looking for somebody who isn’t an artist, you’d better look again.

Katy B  Ms. DynamiteKaty B Ms. Dynamite

Querelle  GenetQuerelle de Fassbinder

“se realiza un recorrido por la obra de Genet y su significado en el contexto de la historia y la literatura del colectivo gay”

The Kids Are Alright The Kids Are Alright

“La familia formada por Annette Bening y Julianne Moore es eso, una familia, con sus altibajos y sus imperfecciones”

Fit MovieFit the movie.“Fit es la adaptación cinematográfica de una pieza teatral contra el bullying homófobo”

Chris Hemsworth es Thor

“Thor, versión cinematográfica del cómic de la mítica Marvel y dirigida sorprendentemente por... ¡Kenneth Branagh!”

Sucker PunchSucker Punch

LiberaceLiberace

“Todo depende de la salud de Michael Douglas, que encarnaría a Walter Liberace, si se recupera de su cáncer de garganta”

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