TALKIN’ ABOUT MY GENERATION

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I do believe it was Douglas Coupland who coined the term that has come to represent folks of my generation.

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Generation X is made up of individuals born between 1965-1976. I was born in November of 1966. I’m always a bit worried when people are stereo-typed into groups with shared characteristics. Not to sound too much the hippie, I do think each of us is unique. While there are certain truths to be found in stereotypes — I think it best to avoid thinking that way.

Never the less, I was thinking about movies that really grab me at some level beyond just the personal — but the shared experience as well. Of course, THE BREAKFAST CLUB comes to mind, but that film has the silly pot scene and a sugar-coated-feel-good-ending that I do not believe ever exists in high school life.

So, my thoughts drifted to REALITY BITES.

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This is an intelligent movie for the mainstream that did touch me and others with whom I was friends at the time of the release. The problem with this one was that I could never buy the idea that Ms. Ryder’s character would really walk away from Mr. Stiller’s character and jump for the slacker dude from high school. It didn’t seem in her make-up as presented to me as a viewer. It almost ruins the movie for me — this somehow forced happy ending.

But, then I thought of two film and recently re-watched both of them. When both of these movies came out they blew my mind. I can remember watching each of them with friends and thinking, “Yeah! This is so close to what it all feels like sometimes.” …Tho, both border on the surreal edge of humor and honesty — there is so much truth, confusion, apathy and anger to be found that the unreal aspects of the low budgets makes them seem almost as real as my reality. …At the time they came out, anyway.

The first film I’m thinking of is SLACKER.

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There is a great deal of brilliance in the idea of following some 20-somethings in a college town walk from one idea and situation to another. I watched this movie when it came to Boston in 1991 with a pal and we were both awestruck at the time. It was as if we knew or had seen each character in the movie. And, at the time, even related to some of them. Pop culturally, the film touches on almost all the topics that “my generation” seemed (at the time) to have an almost shared obsession. From anarchy to lack of purpose to the chance to see a Madonna papsmear — the movie seemed to touch it all.

Upon watching it almost 17 years later, I still found the movie incredibly entertaining and innovation-on-a-shoe-string-budget endearing. And, I had to laugh at the absurdity that I ever “related” to these characters. However, I did. And, on some level I still remember those angst feelings I had as I left college and entered The Real World. …lost, pissed-off, bored but far too lazy to do anything beyond think and discuss those feelings.

The other film is one that I think might have been a shared or collective feeling among my fellow Gay Gen X’ers of the early 90’s.

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I actually saw this movie in between memorial services for friends I had lost to complications due to AIDS.  I am sure any member of the gay community at the time it came out found themselves in a similar situation. This was really the only time in my life that I found the need to protest and push for change. I was a member of ACT-UP and QUEER NATION for a while. Tho, in the end, I found that the focus of QUEER NATION was too “in-your-face” for me. I remember drawing a line at a Gay Pride Parade when one of the leaders of our team wanted me to carry a giant poster of two male porn stars engaging in oral sex. I walked away. For me, that was too much to put on public display at a parade where several friends would be bringing their children.

But, this film really grab’d me hard.

A very low-fi comedy on one level and a very angry sort of gay manifesto of the time. I can remember that we all applauded when the characters discussed the idea of slipping in The White House and injecting The President and Vice President with the HIV virus — and that we would have a cure in a matter of weeks.

Watching this film now, I was surprised to discover how death obesessed and hopeless the movie drives. Of course, thinking back to that era I was listening to a lot of Dead Can Dance, NIN, Smiths and Bauhaus.  My memory is of an exciting time filled with sexual adventures and new found freedom. …But, when I really stand back and think of it — so much of my mid 20’s were filled with fear and sadness. AIDS was all around. I can remember having long discussions with friends, would-be-tricks, couselors and strangers about “safer” sex and negotiating between what that meant. And, I remember having to force myself to go to funeral/memorial after another. Important to go, but I remember watching as other friends just stopped going to them at all.

And, I remember finding the ending of Araki’s irresponsible movie so very touching. Now, as I watch that ending I find it so very sad — and powerful.

Sort of like John Waters drinks a bit of Jim Jones Kool Aid.

…maybe there is a bit of that idealogy floating about the heads of my generation. Soured on history and econonmics — but optimistic in an almost Brady Bunch-cartoon way. There is hope, but a considerable amount of burnt-out sarcasm pushing against it all the while.

…Generation X.

February 26, 2009. Tags: , , , , , . Uncategorized. 2 comments.

MATTY PALM!!! (coming soon)

(You see it all started when Little Bagel needed an operation and we had already drained all of our resources for the other treatments. And, after both the bank and Ing turned us down for a loan to send Little Bagel to Australia for the rare operation — well, I had no choice but to go to the Tenderloin and seek employment to earn some quick change! No! I’m not a man-whore! I’m not! …but I was told I have the best palm in all of San Francisco! I’m telling you they line up for blocks! At first I was a bit intimidated by the whole scene, but quickly made life long friends at the club!)

In case you’re wondering I saw the new film IRINA PALM in which Marianne Faithfull must go to unusual lengths to raise money to save her ill grandson. Once I got past the shock of seeing Marianne Faithfull playing a frumpy grandma — I rather enjoyed the film! Of course, one would only expect Marianne to be good at this sort of job — even old and with the crazy ass sad hair-do and clothing! Tho, I felt it resolved itself a bit too simply and romantically — I really did enjoy the movie.

But, I must say it is hard to see my idols age. Tho, it happens to all of us! Marianne is doing it with grace (!) and in full R-rated glory! (hole, that is!) I do suggest a viewing if it is playing in your city! Those of you in the UK must have already had the chance last year! Why did none of you not tell me about it?!?!? Here is the preview which will explain a bit:

Still, it is upsetting to see that Ms. Faithfull went from this:

To This: Oh, well.

Today I decided to set my magical iPod to “shuffle” mode. This can be a bit worrying, but after a hand wanking grandma movie I figured I was up to the challenge! And, this is what my iPod told me as I walked Market Street!

“Baba O’Riley” by The Who
“Keeping You Alive” by The Gossip
“Trampled Under Foot” by Led Zeppelin
“Younglam” by Darling Kandie
“Accidents Never Happen” by Blondie
“I See A Different You” by Koop
“Clock” by Stephane Pompugnac
“Fucking on the Dance Floor” by Dirty Sanchez
“Do The Bambi” by Stereo Total
“Woke Up New” by The Mountain Goats

…all great songs. Well, the red light at my station just went on. We all know what that means!!!

Gotta run!
kisses from just east of GayTown,
matty (palm)

April 14, 2008. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , . Uncategorized. 16 comments.