Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Here in the Phoenix area we've gotten a little over 4 inches of rain so far this year.  They say that that's almost a full inch more than normal, but truly we really haven't had anything more than a passing evening monsoon in months.  I've got some very ominous clouds passing overhead at the moment and things are windy but I'd be surprised to see anything more than a brief shower from it.  It's more bluster than substance.  That's just the way monsoons work.

A good movie is one the percolates for a few days after you've seen it.  "Inception" did that, but more in a "what the heck did I just see?" kind of way.  It was visually extraordinary, but those of us who go back to see it a second time are mainly doing it just to try to understand what we saw the first time.  Kinda like the Matrix.

"The Kids Are All Right" is one of those movies that stays with you for a while, too, but in a deeper kind of way.  I've been thinking about it today - digesting it, mulling it.  And, I feel like talking about it.

I don't want to give anything away but what I will say is that the trailers make it look light-hearted and funny.  Parts of it are.  But there are also some deeper, painful, emotional aspects that will hit home for some.  Me included.  As I watched this family struggling with the various issues that were percolating I couldn't help but remember back to the turmoil in my own family before things finally ended.

The theater was nearly full which is saying something for the buzz that this indie, limited-release gem is getting (details here).  There was an obviously lesbian couple in front of me in the theater - as soon as the lights went down one gal put her head on the others' shoulder.  It was very cute.

Going to see indie movies is different than going to a mainstream theater.  Even the previews were unique.  One trailer was for "Winter's Bone" which won Best Film at Sundance.  There were others where non-mainstream topics were full of top-shelf names.  Very interesting...

Back to this particular movie.  I've got a few observations to share, or perhaps more accurately I've got some broad topics to discuss that are pertinent to the plot of the movie.

1) Sexuality.  I don't perceive many things in life to be binary and sexuality is no different.  I recognize that there are those who want to draw strict boundaries around straight or gay or bi, but personally I recognize that the connection that crosses the boundary between "friend" and deeper intimacies is more about traits and individuals than it is about body parts.  Sexuality in this particular movie is a bit fluid which may sound odd about a movie featuring a lesbian couple.  But it is that fluidity that is causing a smattering of chatter (which I expect to become louder as more people see it) in the lesbian community - here's a sample.

2) Relationships.  There is no doubt that committed relationships can be/are complicated.  They take work, and it sounds counter-intuitive to recognize that sometimes the longer the relationship the more the "work" involved to keep it going.  I'm a romantic at heart but I'm also a realist.  When someone stops doing their fair share of the "work" one of two things happens - either the other person needs to bear the burden or they need to recognize that it's just done.  That requires communication, and somehow the breakdown in communication here is one of the most painful components of what happens.

There were scenes in this movie that were excruciating for me to watch.  Bad choices.  Short-term fixes that backfire.  Pain.  Betrayal.  Anger.  None of these things were portrayed in the trailer.  But they're all there and they all take a very personal tone.  I remember the crushing pressure of being in my own house when my marriage was dying, when communication came thru tears and yelling and avoidance.  It's difficult to watch things that bring all that back again.  This did.

I realize that it's just a movie.  But sometimes movies have a way of capturing real life better than life itself.  Without giving too much away, I find that the best part of it all is the appreciate the simplest things.  At the end, when one of the characters puts her hand on another character's knee and they hold hands - after everything that has happened that's what it's all about.

3) Family.  The main element here isn't simply the relationship between the two women.  It's the relationship in the entire family.  It's the son feeling the need for a "father figure".  It's the daughter getting ready to move away for college.  It's the complication that this man, the sperm donor, brings into the picture.  It's the fact that this man realizes that he wants to actually be part of this family in a real, tangible way that threatens to actually break the family apart.  And, in the end, it's the way that the family overcomes and endures.

Anyway - as I say it's pretty deep stuff and there's something there for everyone to digest and savor.  Plus, if you believe what you hear, there's already Oscar buzz around the movie.

So - there you go.

As for the situation in Wharton TX where the widow of a fallen firefighter is being challenged that her marriage never happened, the latest twist is that some guy came forward and indicated that Nikki appeared on an episode of Jerry Springer in 1995 (details here), and then twice again after that.  That doesn't have any here or there on what's going to happen but anything associate with Jerry Springer feels icky to me.

Per the article:
Araguz, who was 19 at the time of the incident and received $500 for her appearance on the TV show, called it a mistake.

"Just me being deceptive, appearing at all deceptive, was wrong," she said Tuesday. "It was a big lesson to be honest and upfront."

She said that error does not reflect how she has lived her life since then, insisting she was honest with her first husband of 11 years, whom she later divorced, and made full disclosure about her gender history to Thomas Araguz as well.

"Upfront honesty is the best policy," she said Tuesday. "I never ever did anything like that again. That's not my current character or moral standard."

Araguz said she appeared on four other TV talk shows — two more episodes of Jerry Springer, once on Maury Povich and once on Sally Jessy Raphael — in 1994 and 1995, all focusing on gender issues. Her mother appeared with her on two of the shows.

"I haven't hidden my gender from anybody — hello, I was on five national talk shows. I was not hiding it at all. ... Just because nobody else knew doesn't mean my husband and our close friends did not know."

Other news in the community....

Something that many of us have known for months now is finally becoming public so it's safe to discuss.  Dr. Marci Bowers is planning to move from Trinidad, CO to San Francisco this fall (see article here).  This is the culmination of events that have been ongoing for several years but that's a whole other story.  It looks like Trinidad's claim as the "Sex Change Capital of the World" are numbered.

Here in Arizona we've got bigger news on our plate.  It turns out that a teenage girl who was thought to have been killed in a traffic accident last week is actually still alive and the person that they thought was alive is dead (story here).

Tempe Town Lake, which was actually a dammed segment of a wash, suffered a broken barrier last week which caused the entire "Lake" to empty.  Here are some photos of the Lake - it was absolutely gorgeous.  Now, it's just dry.

People bought million dollar penthouses along the waterfront.  Now? Just a dusty mess...

And, perhaps most significantly - the new Immigration Law (SB1070) is set to go into effect on Thursday.  It's a big, passionate, controversial, topic around here.  The Obama administration sued to prevent it from happening as planned so we'll see what happens between now and then.  As I say - it's a big deal around here....

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