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Gay Iconography: Does 'Sex and the City' Stand the Test of Time?

Sex-and-the-City-2-Photo

Earlier this week, I joined a group of gay journalists in a roundtable interview of Madonna. While awaiting our time with the Queen of Pop, we chatted over wine and snacks about a variety of topics, including our thoughts on the album, HBO’s Looking and RuPaul’s Drag Race. The conversation picked up though when a certain television show came up.

Perhaps we need a corollary to Godwin’s Law (which posits that any online debate that goes on long enough will eventually invoke Hitler or Nazis). Maybe any conversation between pop-culturally savvy gay men will invariably reference Sex and the City at some point. Once the topic was broached among our group, references flew across the table, including episode numbers, titles, guest stars and storylines.

It’s the kind of show that feels embedded in the DNA of a large swath of the gay community. In its seemingly perpetual airings in syndication, the show certainly shows its age, but the impact of its six seasons (and maybe one of the movies) is still worth discussing today. Driven largely by gay creative forces Darren Starr and Michael Patrick King, the show not only brought openly gay characters to a mainstream series, but it embodied a sort of fabulous, urban lifestyle that spoke to the independent, creative spirit that permeates a wide, cross section of the gay community. Even its central protagonists — with their frank sexuality, over-the-top styles and witty retorts — feel like they’re ripped straight from Drag Race.

Still, the show’s portrayal of actual gay characters was far from revolutionary. The mostly sexless sidekicks, Stanford Blatch (Willie Garson) and Anthony Marentino (Mario Cantone), are quintessentially shallow representations. The show also clumsily tackled topics of bisexuality and trans characters. (And that’s nothing to say about the lack of racial diversity, rampant consumerism and class privilege that made the show feel continuously more out-of-touch the longer it went on.)

Flaws and all, the series still holds a special place in many hearts, so let’s revisit some classic clips, AFTER THE JUMP

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Anna Wintour and Sarah Jessica Parker Go 'Fashion Police' on Male Celebs at the Met Gala: VIDEO

Vogue

On Late Night with Seth Meyers, Sarah Jessica Parker and Anna Wintour gave a twist to the expected critique of women's fashion at the annual Met Gala by putting the test instead to some of the men on hand, who were instructed to wear white tie and tails.

Watch as Tom Brady, Jake Gyllenhaal, Kanye West, Benedict Cumberbatch, Bradley Cooper, and others endure the icy consideration of the Vogue editrix.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

(via paper)

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Sarah Jessica Parker Answers 73 Questions In Five Minutes, Adorably: VIDEO

SJP

Do you love Sarah Jessica Parker? You'll probably fall for her even harder after watching Vogue's infectiously fun new video in which an interviewer asks the actress 73 questions in just over five minutes. Even better, SJP leads the the crew around one level of her beautiful New York brownstone.

Enjoy the questionnaire, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Sarah Jessica Parker and Blythe Danner Open Off Broadway In ‘The Commons of Pensacola’: REVIEW

Commons 3

BY NAVEEN KUMAR

Amanda Peet’s playwriting debut The Commons of Pensacola, about the wife and daughters of a Bernie Madoff type criminal, opened Off Broadway November 21st in a Manhattan Theatre Club Production directed by Artistic Director Lynne Meadow at New York City Center Stage I. Starring Blythe Danner as the willfully unknowing wife and Sarah Jessica Parker as her somewhat anchorless daughter, Peet’s play looks at the fallout of an infamous scandal on the culprit’s family.

Commons 4Since losing nearly everything, Judith (Ms. Danner) has relocated to a small condo in Pensacola, where her daughter Becca (Ms. Parker) and Becca’s younger boyfriend Gabe (Michael Stahl-David) arrive to spend Thanksgiving—though not without something of an ulterior motive. A struggling actress who babysits for her agent’s kids, Becca has decided to team up with Gabe to produce a project meant to give her family’s side of events a public hearing, provided Judith agrees to participate.

For reasons unknown at the start, Becca’s sister Ali (Ali Marsh), cut off communication with their mother shortly after the family scandal broke. Ali’s sassy (and foulmouthed) teenage daughter Lizzy (Zoe Levin) flies down to Florida to spend the holiday with Judith and Becca without telling her mother. Though Lizzy, of course, isn’t the only one keeping secrets.

Peet's story unfolds with sufficient intrigue—sexual and financial, but familial above all—to keep the drama interesting and engaging, if not wholly original and always unpredictable. Though its subject is by now familiar territory, the play provides enough dramatic fodder for its stars to demonstrate their command of the stage.

Commons 1This is particularly true of Ms. Parker, making her return to New York theatre after nearly a decade of dominating the city’s portrayal onscreen. While it may be tough to buy that a woman of Parker’s not uncertain glamour could be struggling to get noticed in Hollywood, her performance as Becca is both assured and emotionally refined. Her signature qualities as a performer—a certain innate vulnerability, and warm, sometimes goofy charm—are in fine form and a pleasure to see on stage.

These are in many ways Ms. Danner’s signature qualities as well, and the two make a well-matched mother-daughter pair. Commons marks something of a reunion for the two, having first performed together in this same theatre in A.R. Gurney’s Sylvia in 1995. As the wife of a man who deceived and ruined many (including herself), Danner toes a delicate balance—between rolling with the indignities of aging (including a proportionately large number of fart jokes in the play’s swift 80 minutes), and holding on to her own dignity with a sharp wit. 

Commons 2Others in the cast, including Nilaja Sun as Judith’s attentive maid, deliver fine supporting performances throughout. But it’s when the commotion clears leaving mother and daughter alone to face each other that the play delivers its most powerful moments. In startling emotional outbursts and silent exchanges of intimacy, Becca and Judith ultimately reveal their most guarded truths to stirring results. 

Recent theatre features...
Follow Naveen Kumar on Twitter: @Mr_NaveenKumar (photos: joan marcus)

Have Dinner with Carrie Bradshaw and Obama: VIDEO

Parker

Sarah Jessica Parker debuted in a new campaign ad during last night's MTV Movie Awards plugging a chance for dinner at her house with the President and Michelle Obama.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Says Parker in the spot: "The guy who ended the war in Iraq, the guy who says you should be able to marry anyone you want, the guy who created four million new jobs. That guy – President Obama – and his wife Michelle are coming to my house for dinner on June 14th."

Also hosting the dinner? Vogue editor Anna Wintour, who appeared in a similar spot last week.

The RNC is blasting the ads:

"There couldn't be a better demonstration of this president's misplaced priorities than a glitzy fundraising video release on the same day that marked more unemployed Americans," RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement.

The national group released a web video on Monday that played the Wintour video alongside economic figures, including the unemployment rate among women, Hispanics, African Americans and young people.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Movies: Run To "Drive", Keep Ryan Gosling Working

Drive-canneskiss
 Ryan Gosling Plants One On His "Drive" Director. As Well He Should.

GuestbloggerNATHANIEL ROGERS
...would live in the movie theater but for the poor internet reception. He blogs daily at the Film Experience. Follow him on Twitter @nathanielr.

 
YOUR FEATURE PRESENTATION
Dear Readers,

Go see DRIVE this weekend. It's the only sensible decision.

Sincerely, Nathaniel

You're just going to have to trust me on this one because I'd also urge you not to read any reviews before plunking down the cash. Yeah, I'm bossy. It's better to know nothing about Drive beforehand. The movie won't even give you its protagonists name (he's simply 'the driver' or 'the kid') so don't go digging for info you don't need. I will always be grateful that I saw it "cold". After you've seen it, you'll want to read the reviews anyway. Drive, which erases any lingering doubts (were there any?) that Ryan Gosling is the most exciting young movie star on this side of the Atlantic, also won the best director prize at the Cannes Film Festival for Nicolas Winding Refn. He's already hinting at another movie with Gosling and after Drive they'd be crazy not to bottle lightning twice.

Ryan-drives Drive is just one of those movies, the kind that unfold with such individuality and confidence and sense of possibility that you can almost imagine the celluloid standing up and strutting right past you, knowing full well you're going to turn and look. Yeah, I'm hot shit, it might say, if it weren't so obviously the strong and silent type.

ALSO OPENING

James Marsden tries to fill Dustin Hoffman's shoes in the remake of 70s classic STRAW DOGS co-starring Alexander Skarsgård. Some critics are mad that the new version predictably dumps the smarter meatier elements and subtext for standard thrills but at least Roger Ebert likes it; THE LION KING returns to the big screen for just two weeks in 3-D and they say it's just beautifully retro-fitted. But all moviegoers must ask themselves this question before purchasing a ticket "Can I sleep at night if I continue to enable Hollywood's 3D addiction?"; Two buzzy horny foreign films, Germany's "3" about a straight couple that both fall in love with the same man (from Run Lola Run director Tom Tykwer) and Norway's Oscar submission HAPPY HAPPY a marital sex comedy are opening on both coasts;

Finally... SJP is back! (Not that she ever goes away). MORE AFTER THE JUMP...

Sjp-snoring

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