Burroughs Adding Machine

Social justice, arts and politics, life in New York City

So You Want to Write a Novel

“I assume you’ve used a steak knife, right?”

“Of course.”

“Do you think that makes you qualified to perform neurosurgery?”

The use of silence in this video is its crowning achievement. More talking bears here.

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Filed under: books, humor, , ,

Debunking a Talking Tea Party Bear

“Did you know our basic freedoms as Americans are under attack?” says an animated brown bear.

“No I had no idea,” the other animatronic bear says, “I wake up every day and don’t feel my basic freedoms are threatened.”

This video (surely it’s gone viral) is reasoned, hilarious, and slightly disturbing at the same time. I like the reasonable response of the non-Tea Party bear to the crazy bear’s fanaticism.

“Obama is worse than Hitler,” the disturbing computer-generated voice of the Tea Partier warns, about four minutes in. “If we don’t vote the Democrats out of office, we will all be living as slaves to the evil liberal elite intellectuals who hate us and hate our freedoms.”

“I’m sorry you live so out of touch with reality,” the rational bear replies.

Filed under: comedy, homophobia, humor, politics, , , , , ,

My Kid’s Going as Robocop

It’s a relentless news cycle focused on all things Halloween. Longest lines ever at the costume shop! Horror movies with more guts and gore than ever before! And my favorite: best costumes for your dog. American excess and obliviousness at its best.

Still, it amuses me to run across one dad’s detailed account of making a robot costume for his son. And not just any robot, but a mini Robocop. Shot all over the city of Detroit with the assistance of cops, revolving doors, and futuristic locales.

Dad reports:

While we were talking, some Hollywood-type rushed over to take a picture of the kid with his camera phone. “I’m good friends with Peter Weller, the guy who played Robocop on the movie,” he said. “He’s gonna get a kick out of this.” The guy proceeded to e-mail the photo to Weller, so chances are the real Robocop has seen my little Robocop.

Who’s having more fun, father or son?

Filed under: consumerism, culture, family, humor, , , , , , ,

Why “The Kids are All Right” is So Good

1.) Julianne Moore. 2.) An airtight, carefully constructed script. And 3.) the simple fact of representation–an ordinary family that happens to be headed by two women–on the big screen.

A couple friends, my partner, and I joined a sold-out theatre last night for Lisa Chodolenko’s The Kids are All Right. Man, has this movie been gathering momentum (and not in the kitschy NOM way). The Kids are All Right raked in more than a million dollars over the two weeks it’s been in theaters. In Cambridge, where we saw the movie, it was playing on two screens, both sold out. I haven’t been to a theater that crowded since the release of Brokeback Mountain.

There’s obvious parallels between the two movies. Both movies have a gay couple as the focus; both movies boast major movie stars. And though they may seem like indie flicks, The Kids are All Right and Brokeback Mountain manage to also reach for mainstream ambition.

But must mainstream also mean playing into tired old tropes? Stereotypes about lesbians seem particularly jarring in this film by and about gay women (e.g. watching gay porn, over-processing their emotions, transforming from a lesbian to a straight woman by the right man). Though there may be some truth in these stereotypes, portraying them without also questioning them provides fodder for uncritical audiences. When Moore’s character, a lesbian who has two teenage children with her lover, suddenly throws herself at a man, you can’t help but let out a little groan. Why couldn’t she fall for another woman? Why does it seem like all it takes to “cure” the character of her gayness is a handsome man?

Still, for its faults, The Kids are All Right struck a chord for me and my friends. Everyone in the theater, in fact, seemed to laugh (or cringe) as the movie hit all the right notes–comparing marriage to a Russian novel, watching the college-bound daughter awkwardly seduce her crush. Chodolenko takes what’s ordinary in urban gay life (and which many of us take for granter) and uses it to frame her story of an ordinary American family. Good stuff.

Go support this little film that could.

Filed under: film, gay life, humor, , , , , , , , , ,

Colbert Sets the Birds Loose on BP

Vodpod videos no longer available. Stephen Colbert gives BP honcho Tony Hayward a piece of his mind (and muscle), on behalf of the American people. My favorite bit is his nod to Hitchcock’s The Birds.

If only Colbert’s humor could truly alleviate the tragedy of this epic disaster.

Filed under: environmentalism, humor, , , , , , ,

Publications

BIOGRAPHY

RECENT PUBLICATIONS
» "Pinays," AGNI, Spring 2016
» "Dandy," Post Road, Spring 2015
» "Wrestlers," Fifth Wednesday, Spring 2014
» "Babies," Joyland, August 2011
» "Nicolette and Maribel," BostonNow, May 2007
» "The Rice Bowl," Memorious, March 2005
» "The Rules of the Game," Screaming Monkeys: Critiques of Asian American Images (Coffee House Press, June 2003)
» "Deaf Mute," Growing Up Filipino (Philippine American Literary House, April 2003)
» "Good Men ," Genre, April 2003
» "The Foley Artist," Drunken Boat, April 2002
» "Squatters," Take Out: Queer Writing from Asian Pacific America (Asian Am. Writers' Workshop, 2001)
» "Deaf Mute," The North American Review, Jan 2001
» "The First Lady of Our Filipino Nation," The Boston Phoenix, 1999
» "Paper Route," Flyway Literary Review, 1996
» "Brainy Smurf and the Council Bluffs Pride Parade," Generation Q (Alyson, 1996)
August 2019
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https://rsiasoco.wordpress.com/about/

About Me

Ricco Villanueva Siasoco is a Manhattan-based writer and non-profit manager. More

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