Burroughs Adding Machine

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

The Boys of Glee

Happy Thanksgiving Eve (or, as I sometimes say if I’m in a particularly sour mood, Happy National Day of Mourning). For the break, I’ve been indulging in TV, and it’s been heartening to watch glee of late; they’ve toned down the celebrity tributes to Britney Spears and Rocky Horror (though I did love reminiscing about midnight showings of Rocky at the Omaha shopping mall).

This week’s story of Kurt’s anti-gay bullying–and his support network of family and Glee Club members–was timely and entertaining. Where it could have taken a wrong turn into after-school special zone, glee creator Ryan Murphy managed to bring to the fictional story a sense of community responsibility. Hell, even Sue Sylvester stuck up for the bullied teen.

Seems like Season Two is turning out to be focused on Kurt. Next week, after his transfer to the private boys’ school Dalton Academy, he participates in a version of “Hey Soul Sister” with his gay mentor, played by Darren Criss. Looking forward to it. My dirty little secret: I’ll probably always be a sucker for everything musical theater.

Filed under: entertainment, music, television, , , , , , , , ,

Oprah’s Audience Loses It (Again)

I don’t know how to rectify my antipathy towards Oprah with my adoration for the woman. Her pseudo-spiritual, self-help, consumer-is-king unapologetic-ness wears on me. But she has done amazing things for the publishing industry, so she ain’t all bad.

Yesterday her favorite things schtick reached an apex. I can’t help but crack up at her audience’s reaction to the announcement that they would receive the biggest and best of Oprah’s Favorite Things.

Reminds me of Sarah Palin and Tina Fey’s impression of Palin; in my mind, I can’t separate Oprah’s real audience crying, hugging, and pentecostal zeal from the Saturday Night Live skit in which her audience member’s head explodes from excitement.

Filed under: comedy, consumerism, pop culture, television, , , , , , , , ,

Carrey to Letterman: “It is Ok to Be Gay”

Jim Carrey won’t play into homophobia.

On the Late Show last Friday, Letterman asked Carrey about playing gay. Carrey is unwilling to crack jokes at the expense of gay folks, however.

Asked Dave: “And, in terms of a leading man, a heterosexual playing a homosexual, do homosexuals say ‘well, that shouldn’t have been a homosexual’ or do you worry about your image as a heterosexual leading man playing a homosexual?”

Replied Carrey: “Boy, we haven’t grown at all, have we? We haven’t grown at all…. We’re still children in the schoolyard. Honestly. No offense Dave, for god’s sakes, have you ever seen a gay man? Are there gay people in Indiana? Is it ok to be gay there, is what I’m asking. There’s not a policy against gay people there or here?”

It’s heartening to see a major Hollywood actor acting as an ally and standing up for mainstream acceptance of gays and lesbians. All before breaking into a rendition of A-ha’s classic, “Take on Me.”

Filed under: film, gay rights, homophobia, television, , , , ,

Chase Scene Gone Awry

If you missed this scene from Community, college students Jeff and Annie pursue a shady professor in a hilarious chase scene that mocks your typical Hollywood film. The setting: a gigantic blanket fort. The conflict: professor protecting fake course. Background music: epic, orchestral, heavy on the strings and percussion. The action only gets more absurd, and hilarious, from there.

Happy Friday.

Filed under: television, , , , , ,

Banksy Critiques The Simpsons

Powerhouse political artist/activist Banksy reimagined the iconic intro to The Simpsons last night. The clip starts innocuously enough, the idiot bullies lopping the head off a Springfield statue and rodents running across the landscape.

However, at the end of the intro, when Homer is pushed through the Simpsons’ garage into the family room, the ordinary tableau of the animated family in front of the TV abruptly shifts to a dark critique of commercialization: animators pushing out animated stills, factory-like; Simpsons dolls stuffed with rat guts; and a deflated unicorn (absurd and heartbreaking at the same time) being abused by a worker producing empty entertainment.

Nice to see that the creators of The Simpsons are once unafraid to critique the structures they work within.

Filed under: culture, entertainment, pop culture, television, , , , ,

Writing

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)
February 2017
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Ricco Villanueva Siasoco is a Manhattan-based writer and non-profit manager. More

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