Well, seeing Diana Ross as MAHOGANY on the big screen at the Castro was a true revelation. Sure, I could write about the sheer horror of witnessing Anthony Perkins (wearing jeans which appear to be tighter than the skin on his skeletal face) stalking Miss Ross with a Nikon …or the modeling montage which inspired a young boy called RuPaul to become a drag superstar or Miss Ross re-creating a psychotic breakdown by stripping and pouring hot wax on her person (we all know that the use of disco music and candle wax is the first sign of mental trouble) — or, I could tell you of how much fun we all had as we watched the car wreck of cinematic madness we now call MAHOGANY — or, how Ostia explained to us outside the Castro Theatre that it is Miss Ross who managed to re-call all the prints of the MAHOGANY DVD because she feared she might look foolish (a bit late for that worry I should think) —- OR, I could write of how Ostia witnessed Miss Ross as a young child demand that ancient posts in a Turkish theatre be moved so she could look even more stunning on stage. Um, I hate to report that Ostia let all of gaydom down when he didn’t even attempt to assist in getting that column moved for Miss Ross. Turkey officials refused to do this for Miss Ross. Ostia confirmed that Miss Ross was not happy. Instead I want to highlight the most important aspect of MAHOGANY. Yes, the costumes. All 50 of which were designed by Diana Ross herself! I will not tell you of Ingrid’s minor breakdown over the discover that the actual Mahogany dress on the poster never existed. But I will let you know that Ingrid and a theater full of gay men all screamed in delight as we witnessed Miss Ross spin round and round in a rainbow delight squealing “Weeeeeeee” as Norman Bates caught every moment with his handy Nikon.

I think these pictures speak for themselves. Diana Ross: Fashion Icon of 1975!
…I thought of drafting a memo to Miss Ross with some advice on how to re-create the magic she generated in 1975 and bitch slap her for denying millions of young fashion designers, gay boys and film scholars of the privilege of viewing her brilliantly bad bit of art by holding those DVD’s ransom. However, as I started to put my fingers to keys it struck me that the creation of such a memo would be wrong. Miss Ross does not make mistakes. She is perfection and if want MAHOGANY on DVD then we need to take back the night and bust down the walls of that warehouse at Paramount and simply grab as many as our greedy little hands can hold. Yes, dear friends — we DO know where we’re going to and we DO like the way life is showing YOU!

As if the excitement of seeing MAHOGANY was not enough, imagine my delight when I saw a mint/original one sheet poster of Barbra’s 1976 masterpiece of cinematic glory we call A STAR IS BORN pinned up in the Castro Theatre lobby!!! For that matter, just imagine the shock experienced by the staff of the Castro and the innocent folks in line for popcorn when I fell to my knees screaming and sobbing! Actually, imagine Alan, Ingrid, Leigh and A trying to pretend that they didn’t know me as I pounded at the glass separating me from the poster! My little gay heart was about to bust! Yes, A STAR IS BORN is to be screened for two magical days shortly after the Ed Wood Film Festival later this month. I advised Castro Theatre Management that I would be needing to the balcony to function as my temp home for the duration of the those two days. I figure it will just be easier to stay there.

But, I see this as such a classic moment of programming for The Castro. I mean, Miss Ross may have designed all of her costumes for MAHOGANY — but Barbra actually just swung open the doors of closet and wore her own clothes in every single frame of A STAR IS BORN. Sure this caused a major nightmare for continuity folks on the set but Barbra wanted to share herself full-on with her public. I think it best that Barbra didn’t design the clothing as it is far more interesting to see what a real diva wears on a daily basis than what she might create if given the budget to do so. My personal fave bit of clothing from Barbra’s closet circa 1976 is the Holly Hobby dress gone bad which she wore without bra and sported the coolest cowboy hat this side of Madonna.

One has to ponder why MAHOGANY was a financial flop and A STAR IS BORN was the third highest grossing film of 1976 (Clint Eastwood actually had the nerve to pull a Dirty Harry on Barbra and out-bested her for the number one spot. And who could forget the cruelty that is known to us as ROCKY which just edged her out of the number two slot.) But I think the reason A STAR IS BORN became a hit and MAHOGANY a flop is due to the sense of fashion. A closet is more fun than a sewing machine. And, isn’t romance with a nude Kris Kristofferson more fun than sex with a nude Anthony Perkins. And, at this point we had not really seen Barbra get down and funky. I mean a sex’d up Barbra or a bitched up Miss Ross? It is a tough call, but I think we are always going to be more curious to see Barbra get it on with a stoned rock star than Miss Ross touch a closet case with a Nikon.

Both films are now cherished camp classics — tho, to me they are both art and the 70’s encaspulated in the purist of the form. A STAR IS BORN and MAHOGANY are like double bong hits of 70’s magic! No, to see these two films is to drink the bongwater of the entire 70’s decade.
Ageless, funky and evergreen…

…but Fight The Power! Break down the walls! Demand your copy of MAHOGANY!

However, fear not — this is on it’s way at year’s end!

March 5, 2006. Uncategorized.


  1. ing replied:

    Ewwww, Anthony Perkins! So very, very Caucasian, so lanky, so spinelessly evil to poor Mahogany, who only dreamed of getting out of the ghetto and featuring her gorgeous designs!

    But Matty, you heartless Matty, you led me to believe that near the end of the movie Miss Ross, as you call her, would get up on stage in her Mahogany Dress and sing. And she did not. Garrrrrgamel! Does Ostia know of your deceptive ways?

    I got all excited about that music idea of yours & made something this very evening. Then I went through yours & noticed we very nearly included the same song. But I’d cut one because there was not enough room for everything. I’m sorry I didn’t think of Barbra (or Tracy’s Theme for that matter) but, well. . .

    Sweet dreams. I’ll listen to the whole thing at work tomorrow.

  2. ginab replied:

    Listening at work, eh. Listening.

    Could I have seen Mahagony on early HBO? I kind of wonder. I also wonder, who said DR was a beauty? Are you screaming? I’d say if she couldn’t sing she wouldn’t be considered…which makes me faint alongside Ing. The reason DR’s even up on that screen is cuz she can sing (and some people say she can sing ‘sort of’).

    I remember Barbara’s fingernails. Wow. I used to look at mine (I was just a kid, and you were too Matty, same age and whatever) and then I would look at Barb’s and think god I am less of a woman.


  3. ing replied:

    I’m a short-fingernail-practical-type, though I love a little polish now and then. But Gina, you don’t think DR is beautiful? I thought she was grossly anorexic, but still, very lovely. And who says she can’t sing!

    Matty, here’s what Tobias Wolff said about writing true stuff:

    Memory is funny. Once you hit a vein the problem is not how to remember but how to control the flow. You let it all come out, but it’s not all significant or interesting so the problem is how to shape this blob of experience into a narrative that gives your past meaning.

    I just found this, but I think he says much more eloquently what I was kind of trying to explain in the car.

    Two more things:

    First, were you aware that the very singer of your very favorite song is Tammy Faye Baker’s neice?

    Next, this might give a whole new meaning to the well-worn phrase, “turn around, bright eyes”. . .

  4. ginab replied:

    hey I noticed funky connectivity with you last eve Matty. I am glad to see you’re up and running, and I would like to read about your employ environs. (I’m surfing the tone here, is all.)

    But my little sisters wonders. Watch out for the wet left from the bubble bursting. A lot of people put DR’s songbird immitations on the second limb to the Supremes. Barry Gordon this and that, about he didn’t get she wouldn’t have. The people? a lot. I don’t really care, except a firm no on beauty. and i don’t care about that superficial bunk.

    What I remember Wolf saying, hearing him say, is that memory is a lie. The lie draws the memory out, unplugs the drain, in a wager for flow or torrents. I love “Powder” (the story/memoir about the dad and the boy driving in the snow). And I love “Firelight”.

    gotta check out my sister’s links then i must run. I’ve been efficient on too large of a scale today and want now only mute peace.

  5. ginab replied:

    Holy friggin’ poop.

  6. Miss Marisol replied:

    I don’t know…wax outfits were very hot in 1975. Pun intended.

  7. Captain Carl Action Figure replied:

    arrr….barbra is like butter….

  8. matt replied:

    Ing & Gina — I think you’re both more beautiful than Miss Ross or Barbra combined! And, yeah, I do think that Miss Ross had a great look in the mid to late 70’s.

    But, I think it cool that the two of you disagree on this point as beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

    Miss Marisol — Yes, my wax outfit circa 75 was all the rage at my elementary school.

    Oh, Gina — I will have to tell you more about my fave gay job in email. I don’t think I should blog about work. All other areas of my life are up for public discussion, tho!

    Captain Carl Action Figure! Hey! Thanks for visiting my site! Yes, Barbra was and remains like pure butta!

  9. Meredith replied:

    All this talk of Miss Ross and Barbra is all well and good but does anyone else want to lick Chris. Who cares if he has the acting ability of wet paste. I don’t want to chit chat. Just a little taste.

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