Politics Archive for November, 2008

No on H8, Not Yes to Hate

The news this morning about the fest director of FIND’s LA festival, Rich Raddon, turning up as a “Yes on Prop 8” contributor is forcing those of us on the other side of that vote to seriously ponder our moral lines in the sand. FIND has come out and said a person cannot be fired for their religious beliefs, and they are correct on that, just as the California Musical Theater could not have fired its artistic director, Scott Eckern, for supporting Prop 8. Nonetheless, the gay community does not have to support organizations headed by people known to have voted against equality in marriage. They have the right to say, so long as this person is in your organization, we will not give it our financial support, period. And they will.
And those who argue that supporters of the gay community on this issue have to just accept the will of the majority of California voters on this issue need to take a step back and honestly examine what underlies that argument: You have to ask yourself, quite simply, if you would be making the same argument if that proposition had been targeted at women, or blacks, or any other minority group. If Prop 8 had sought to define marriage as being only between a WHITE man and woman, would your argument still be the same?

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Use a Scalpel, Not an Ax

I’ve been pondering this whole kerfuffle over whether Hollywood should boycott Utah and the Sundance Film Festival over the Mormon church’s financial support of Prop 8. Some have proposed that the Sundance folks move the fest somewhere else for 2009, perhaps Lake Tahoe. Aside from the practical impossibility of relocating a fest the size of Sundance to another location with just over two months to go before the fest, Tahoe sits on the border of California between California and Nevada, and it doesn’t make much sense to me to say, let’s move this fest to the state that just voted 52% in favor of restricting the rights of its gay citizens. Further, Lake Tahoe is located in Placer County, which voted in favor of Prop 8 by almost 60%. Doesn’t make much sense to support gay rights by moving the financial benefits of the Sundance Film Festival to a county that voted that strongly in favor of the proposition, does it?

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Keep Fighting

I went to a screening of Cool Hand Luke last night on the WB lot. I’d never seen the film in a theater before, and the digital restoration was absolutely gorgeous. Watching the film, I was struck (again) by Paul Newman’s remarkable screen presence, and how much of it came not from the genetics that made him beautiful to look at, but from his inner light, the soul that filled him. Cool Hand Luke is one of my favorite Newman films, particularly for the way in which he captures the spirit of this man who’s been beaten down by life, doesn’t see much good in it, and yet still has the ability to change the lives of his fellow prisoners with his spirit and tenacity.
I was very torn being at the screening because a very big part of me had wanted to skip it and go instead to the huge Prop 8 protest in West Hollywood. I’d made plans to go to this screening before I even got to LA, and I had a guest coming who I didn’t want to cancel on at the last minute, but still, no matter how great and rare an opportunity it was to see Cool Hand Luke in a theater, my heart was wishing I was at the protest.

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Not Today

As I was walking down Fairfax this afternoon, I saw a rather heated fight between two youngish guys; one of them had gotten out of the car and was screaming at the guy in the car while kicking a poor, defenseless parking meter. And an older gentlemen who walked by stopped and said, “Hey guys. Obama was elected president yesterday. This isn’t a day for fighting, it’s a day for unity and celebration. Please, not today.” And they actually stopped fighting.
Who knew the power of Obama to help end a fight on the streets of Los Angeles? If only it would be that easy for him to resolve all the many issues he must now face and deal with…

History Made

I feel like I’ve been holding my breath all day and can finally (almost) let it out. Over-the-moon elated about Obama’s victory, but feeling pretty devastated that Prop 8 is passing at the moment. We went to an Obama party at the Hollywood Roosevelt; while I was sad not to be in my hometown for this night with my husband, celebrating this historic moment with good friends made it better. The election results in my home state of Washington are looking great, with Christine Gregoire defeating Republican Dino Rossi 53% to 47%. Kickass. And the assisted suicide bill is passing way better than I’d dared to hope, 58% to 42%. Tomorrow, it’s back to movies here, but tonight, I’m celebrating.
My happiness is tempered by Prop 8 looking like it’s going to pass. My heart goes out to all my gay and lesbian friends, who I know are feeling the pain of that way more than I could even begin to imagine. I’m so, so sorry. We have to keep fighting until equality for all really means equality. Until that day, folks, the work is not done.


Les Misbarack

I thought this was particularly appropriate, given the title of my previous post … love it.

One Day More

One of the best times I’ve had while attending a film festival: Joining a “No on Prop 8” protest that Rotten Tomatoes’ Jen Yamato and I happened to stumble upon while going for coffee in West Hollywood yesterday. Some pics from the protest below.
Also, was terribly sad to hear that Barack Obama’s grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, died today. Very sad that she didn’t live to see him become the first black president, but I believe her spirit will be very much with him as he makes his acceptance speech tomorrow night. One more day, folks.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon