Thursday, November 08, 2007

After Elton: Breakthrough Black and Latino Roles on the Big Screen

A few days ago one of my favorite bloggers, Rod McCullom - who writes for The Advocate and blogs at Rod2.0 and at The Huffington Post - contacted me to ask if I'd like to comment on Latino gay roles in American film for Logo Online's After Elton. I immediately said yes but then panicked when I actually didn't remember that many representations of Latino gay life in films produced in the United States.

As a result I sent a long and rambling stream-of-consciousness answer (always an iffy proposition because you just don't know what will be quoted). Good thing though! The article has been posted online and I think I can breathe easier. You can make up your own mind at "Breakthrough Black and Latino [Gay] Roles on the Big Screen" (After Elton, Sept. 7, 2007).

Consider this, then, the After Elton extra (or stuff that didn't make the final cut):

El Blabbeador on Hank Azaria in The Birdcage: "I mean, take the Hank Azaria gay Latino bimbo character out of The Birdcage and not much would be missed. The movie, though, would probably still be just as bad" (writer Johnny Diaz makes almost the same point in the article).

El Blabbeador on Epitafios and Testosterone (that's actor Julio Chávez pictured above as ex-detective Renzo Márquez in Epitafios): "Then again you still have the case of productions such as the HBO Latino miniseries from Argentina, Epitafios - filmed more like a movie than a television show - that still portray gays as unhinged psychotic cross-dressing serial killers. Ugh. And the less said about the ludicrous cross-country lovers revenge flick Testosterone, also filmed in Argentina, the better."

El Blabbeador on the film version of Love! Valor! Compassion!: "As much as I like some of Terrence McNally's work, there's something that has always immediately turned me off about storylines where the Latino gay character just serves as the object of lust and conflict of a bunch of white gay men. I'm sure it represents certain milieus in some gay circles, but my idea of entertainment is not going to see a film where a gay Latino character is simply objectified based on the character's ethnicity."

El Blabbeador on I Like It Like That: "A personal favorite remains a little seen film depicting the life of a Puerto Rican family in the Bronx called I Like It Like That. Even though the character in question is not a gay man but a transgender woman, it still remains one of the best movies about Latino life in the United States that explores issues of sexuality and gender from a Latino perspective."

El Blabbeador on the future: "Right now I have my eye on 'Elliot Loves' which is currently in production and apparently tells the story of a gay Dominican kid growing up on the streets of Washington Heights - it's being produced by a production company owned by gay actors Chad Allen and Robert Gant - and directed by a Dominican director."

Like Epitafios, I also touched on television series like My So Called Life with Wilson Cruz and Noah's Ark. But the focus was specifically on films so there you go.

An aside, thanks to Rod for calling Blabbeando "The top destination for Latino gay and lesbian news from the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean" in the piece. Not sure if we are quite that but it always is good to know that the blog is appreciated (he has more here).


emanuel said...

Dude, you ARE the top destination for Latino gay and lesbian news! And I absolutely LOVE "I Like It Like That"! Jesse Borrego was the keynote speaker for an event I was asked to perform at down in San Antonio and all I could talk about was Alexis. He must've thought I was simply insane.

Luis Jerez said...

If you got called for the piece by the people of LOGO, that should convince you YOU are somehow the best place for LGBT latino news on the web, so yes, I guess you can brag about it. Now about the Elliot Loves film. Good to know, to be on the lookout. I just hope it doesn't fall into clichés such as being kicked out by dad, bullied by friends, and making it in the big city in the arts and entertainment industry. But nevermind, it is just me lately, I am a bit picky on gay themed films.

Un saludo.