Archive for the ‘Decade: 1980's’ Category

Reel Charlie Speaks – Episode 9: Making Love

February 11, 2023

Reel Charlie Speaks is an LGBTQ podcast spin-off of Reel Charlie. Each month I select a classic queer film, television series, or creator. I talk about how the subject spoke to me when I first discovered it years ago, and how its stood the test of time.

In episode 9 of Reel Charlie Speaks, I explore the classic 1982 gay male film, Making Love. I discuss plot, homophobia, and fallout, and finally ask that age old Reel Charlie Speaks question, does this movie stand the test of time?

Listen to the podcast at
or find it on your favorite podcast platform.


October 13, 2022

First time watching Xanadu. I know – shocking. Right? Losing Olivia Newton-John this year bummed me out. She lived to be just shy of her 74th birthday. The second concert I ever went to was ONJ. I loved her country crossover albums of the early 70’s. I truly loved her pop albums of the mid-70’s. As we all know, she blew up from Grease. Xanadu was supposed to be her musical bookend. Boy did it fall flat. 29% liked it on Rotten Tomatoes. The most jarring problem with Xanadu is that the songs were played like a club. Even if Olivia sang the song, often they wouldn’t have her lip sync because her film partner wasn’t singing the male role. Awkward. So her character’s roller skating with Michael Beck (her love interest) while she and Cliff Richard sing away on the speakers. WTF? This is not a musical. And speaking of WTF, what the fuck was Gene Kelly thinking? Did he want one last hurrah? Did he think he could bring the 40’s musical into the 80’s? Michael Beck, was generic and certainly not memorable. The entire film is one big mess. On the plus side, the costuming was great – very New Wave/Punk in certain scenes. I think hiring Electric Light Orchestra was a huge mistake. Whatever style of music they fall into, it’s not pop ballads, and it’s not New Wave roller skating music. Poor Olivia. She sure didn’t strike gold a second time after Grease. 2 out of 5. Next.

Xanadu currently streams on various platforms for a rental fee or on disk from your local public library.
Read The Guardian’s review of Xanadu at 40: a mesmerisingly messy musical failure.
Read all about Olivia Newton-John.

Queer Writers of Crime Book Recommendation #6

August 7, 2022

For August 2022 I am honored to review a classic gay male, historical fiction, spy thriller: Christopher Bram’s Hold Tight (1988). Thanks to my dear friends Mark Owen and Neil Theise, and their amazing NYC dinner parties, I have had the pleasure of dining with Chris and his husband Draper Shreve over the years. I love Chris’s writing so much. Hold Tight is my favorite of his fiction and I am thrilled to bring it to Queer Writers of Crime podcast.

Ep: 140 Philip typically recommends mysteries but this month he makes a switch to a suspense and thriller novel that involves spies, Nazis, a male brothel, and southern prejudice.

Podcast Website:

Merchant Ivory Restorations: August 2022 Quad Cinema, NYC

July 29, 2022

There’s five Wednesdays in August 2022 and the Quad Cinema in NYC features a different restored Merchant Ivory film each week. From the Quad,

From the Vault: Cohen Film Collection

Every Wednesday in August — Gorgeous restorations of Merchant Ivory films!

New 4K digital restorations of Howards End, The Bostonians, and more.

Up first is one of my all-time Merchant Ivory favorites and definitely my top favorite films of all-time, Howards End. From the Quad,

One of Merchant Ivory’s undisputed masterpieces, this adaptation of E.M. Forster’s classic 1910 novel is a saga of class relations and changing times in Edwardian England. Margaret Schlegel (Emma Thompson) and her sister Helen (Helena Bonham Carter) become involved with two couples: a wealthy, conservative industrialist (Anthony Hopkins) and his wife (Vanessa Redgrave), and a working-class man (Samuel West) and his mistress (Niccola Duffett). The interwoven fates and misfortunes of these three families and the diverging trajectories of the two sisters’ lives are connected to the ownership of Howards End, a beloved country home. A compelling, brilliantly acted study of one woman’s struggle to maintain her ideals and integrity in the face of Edwardian society’s moribund conformist values. A Cohen Film Collection release 4K restoration!

Check out the Quad’s website for more information.

Reel Charlie Speaks – Episode 2: HIV AIDS Films

July 25, 2022

It took two months instead of one, but I am publishing the second Reel Charlie Speaks podcast. In Reel Charlie Speaks, I focus on a classic piece of work and discuss what it meant to me when I first discovered it and how it has stood the test of time. Today I reflect upon six HIV AIDS films from my list of the best HIV AIDS Films I’ve compiled over the years.

Read Reel Charlie film reviews on each of the titles discussed in this episode:
Adventures of Felix (currently not streaming in the U.S.)
Before I Forget (currently not streaming in the U.S.)
Blue (streaming on Kanopy)
How to Survive a Plague (streaming on Amazon Prime and SlingTV)
Parting Glances (streaming on Plex, Amazon Prime, and Philo)
Zero Patience (streaming on The Criterion Channel)

See the full list of Reel Charlie’s HIV AIDS films.

Philip Bahr marching in ACT-UP demo. Kennebunkport, Maine. September 1, 1991. Screen grab from the film How to Survive a Plague

Coming up:
August 2022: Coming Out
September 2022: Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City


Visible: Out on Television

March 26, 2022

Finally able to watch the outstanding and important 5-part docu-series, Visible: Out on Television about LGBTQ representation in television. Not to sound all smarty pants, but even I learned a number of new facts. From the 50’s to 2020 (when it was released), Visible: Out on Television packs a powerful punch with episodes devoted to:

Episode 1: The Dark Ages – 50’s and 60’s
Episode 2: Television as a Tool – 70’s and 80’s
Episode 3: The Epidemic: 80’s and 90’s
Episode 4: Breakthroughs: late 90’s forward
Episode 5: The New Guard

Love, love, love this outstanding and necessary look at the journey television has taken depicting LGBTQ people and our communities. Bravo to Executive Producers Wilson Cruz, Wanda Sykes, Jessica Hargrave, and Ryan White for making this happen. 5 out of 5. Must-see and a fascinating look at the history of television and the queer community. Stands tall on the shoulders of Vito Russo’s work.

Visible: Out on Television currently streams on Apple TV+.

A Golden Girls Christmas

December 11, 2021

If you’re hankering (my original post had the typo “hunkering” which I think is hysterical) for a Golden Girls kind of holiday, you could go over to Red Bubble and buy some holiday-themed merch. My favorite is from AleMogolloArt Shop. I splurged on the fleece throw for my bed you see in the attached photo. Love it! Socks me into the mood every day. Makes me smile no matter what. If you’d rather focus on some less commercial aspects of the holiday you can go to Hulu and watch the two holiday-themed episodes which are sure to warm your heart and tickle your funny bone. In Season 2, the girls’ plans to return to their respective families for Christmas gets side-tracked by an incident at Rose’s grief counseling center. In Season 5, the girls forgo expensive gifts for each other and end up volunteering at Rose’s church. Both episodes are filled with laughter and good cheer.

Season 2: Episode 11 (‘Twas the Night Before Christmas)
Season 5: Episode 12 (Have Yourself a Very Little Christmas)

The Golden Girls continues to stream on Hulu. When oh when will the Blu-ray boxed set be released? Anyone? Meanwhile, have yourself a Golden Christmas.

Holiday DVDs display 2021

November 25, 2021

I know, I know. It’s Thanksgiving and a happy USA Thanksgiving to you too! I already leap frogged into the Christmas season and this year, I am using my DVD collection as part of my Christmas display in the house. I was told that was very librarian of me. Each cubby I leave enough room to display something – usually a boxed set since they stand up on their own best. For the next five weeks, I get to be reminded of all my great holiday films on disk.

Featured films:

La Bûche
White Christmas (65th Anniversary Edition)
Un conte de Noël (A Christmas Tale)
Pee-Wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special
Make the Yuletide Gay
Joyeux Noël (Merry Christmas)
Christmas in Connecticut
White Christmas (Blu-ray)

Decorating the House for Christmas 2021

November 23, 2021

This year, I decorated early. We had great friends Nina & Joe, and David for dinner last Saturday. I normally decorate on Black Friday, but I decided to bump it up – since I was on staycation last week – and surprise my guests with a Winter Wonderland dinner party. This year I invited the French language to permeate my living room as I decorated the house to Un conte de Noël (A Christmas Tale). The next day, I put up the tree and decorated it to Pee-Wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special, and White Christmas. Everything’s gorgeous, saturated red and green in the Blu-ray version of White Christmas. Gotta love these holiday traditions. What holiday films are you planning to enjoy this year?







And here are some pics of the finished decorating…









The Signifyin’ Works of Marlon Riggs: Tongues Untied

July 29, 2021

Up next in my exploration of Criterion’s boxed set of Marlon Riggs canon, Tongues Untied takes an unapologetic deep dive into the revolutionary act of black men loving each other. This gorgeous 1989 documentary features poet Essex Hemphill’s work. Riggs dares to ask the question how black, gay men choose between one or the other identity. Riggs says they can’t. Each must exist in tandem with the other.

Light years ahead of its time, Tongues Untied dares to create a conversation on intersectionality between the black community and the gay community. What does it mean to be black and gay? In particular, what does it mean to be feared and hated as a black man in white culture and to be hated and scorned as a gay man in black culture? Where do black, gay men find community? How do they deal with the oppressive and exhaustive bigotry and hatred from both communities? Black, gay men continue to face these prejudices today, 32 years after Riggs created this masterful documentary. An intelligent, passionate, necessary conversation. 5 out 5. A must-see.

Tongues Untied and The Signifyin’ Works of Marlon Riggs currently streams on The Criterion Channel, are available on Blu-ray from Criterion or free on disk from your local public library.

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