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ErOddity(s) -- Noun, plural: An odd person or trait intending to arouse sexual desire.
ErOddity(s) is billed as “a mystery anthology that goes where The Twilight Zone never dared.” In the film, writer-director Steven Vasquez invites viewers to enter a world of the odd, the unexpected, the supernatural -- and yes, even the tantalizing -- where dreams can come true, but so can nightmares. Produced by Babaloo Studios, this compendium of four stories is a homoerotic cross between Tales from the Crypt and The Night Gallery -- only with a bit more action and full-frontal nudity.
Watch the trailer here.
Everything is kept completely soft-core, and most of what you think you see happens enticingly right out of frame. Likewise, any erotic edge is blunted by the sometimes-shocking endings, leaving a sense of creepiness running throughout each featurette -- kind of like the feeling one would get after having sexual relations in a graveyard.
Vasquez keeps the audience eager to discover what happens next. He even throws in a few girls to keep things just off-center enough to accentuate the ghoulish goings-on. (“Hey,” one character surprises us at one point, “at 18, boys will be boys -- getting their kicks wherever they can!”)
The special effects are impressive, and the orchestrations also keep this one a step above your standard gay indie thriller. Several original songs by Trevor Page are featured, including the hard-driving, jivey anthem “Dancing on the Edge,” which will really stay with you..
Cory Tyndall serves as our host through these voyeuristic ventures into the bizarre. Tyndall, who is also the film’s associate producer, is less the sepulchral Crypt Keeper type than a younger, better-looking version of Rod Serling. He has the right amount of naughty charm to keep us tuned in, even if his line-readings do at times seem a bit … well, read. (Oddly, even this adds to the disjointed, otherworldly feel of the pieces.)
His co-star, Brandon Rife, fares slightly better in the acting department, and he, too, has those wholesome “all-American” good looks. As for the rest of the cast members, they are all young and cute, and each (more or less) has sufficient dramatic ability to make us willing to suspend our disbelief for the requisite 20 minutes (the average length of each episode). Many cast members appear in more than one installment.
Both Tyndall and Rife star in the first piece, titled “Forever Mine.” Rife plays a confused lad seeking a love that will last him a lifetime -- and he takes action to guarantee it. Right from the start, you know his relationship with his brother, played by Tyndall isn’t the healthiest. When Tyndall tries to put an end to the incestuous liaison once and for all, Rife is dismayed to his breaking point. “You shouldn’t have stopped,” he says desperately. “You’re all I have.” The stark and startling way he solves his problem starts the rest of the film with a bang.
The next segment, called “A Mind of Their Own,” is perhaps the most intriguing. Poet Edgar Allan Poe once wrote, “All we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.” Could the same be said for an adolescent’s spicy libidinal fantasy? This time Rife appears as Aaron, a young man who suspects his boyfriend’s eye has wandered. Then one night, he spies the boyfriend sneaking into the closet, where he takes out a mysterious box.
“I thought I’d do a little investigation,” he narrates. “I thought I’d have a look inside this secret box for myself.” What he finds leads him to his own forgotten past and challenges his assumptions of the present.
“Our next account is a Christmas story,” proclaims Tyndall, again emerging to introduce “Unsolved Christmas” -- the third segment, which is the longest, most developed and the funniest. “Holiday time in sunny Southern California -- but it’s not all merry, I’m sorry to warn you,” he cautions. Then he presents Edward Gutierrez as a fresh-faced peeping tom who peeks in on boys or girls -- he doesn’t discriminate. The last thing this dude needs is a camera, yet that’s exactly what his folks give him. At times, this story almost plays like a spoof of a cheesy porno, but we’re reminded that it’s always good to have a hobby -- just make sure it’s one that keeps you out of trouble instead of getting you into it.
Finally, in “The Way to a Man’s Heart,” an abused young lover gets his revenge from beyond the grave. “It’s a peaceful day in this long-forgotten cemetery,” Tyndall begins, joining the action only long enough to provide the set-up. “A few yards away lies the body of 18-year-old Thomas Riley, hastily buried in a large packing crate one year ago today.” In this last tale of the macabre, the old saying “The way to a man‘s heart is through his stomach” has several less figurative and more grisly meanings.
Rife returns in this segment and demonstrates a fine vulnerability as the wronged partner who returns from the other side on the anniversary of his untimely expulsion into the after-world. Addison Graham co-stars as his arrogant, cold-hearted, yet incredibly good-looking thug of a boyfriend. Alderic Vitale is featured as the couple’s guilt-ridden friend, through whose eyes the plot unfolds, along with Heather Page Cohn as his girlfriend.
In many ways, “ErOddity(s)” is reminiscent of those irresistibly lurid dime-store horror comics so prevalent in the ’70s and ’80s (provided that you bought them from your local adult establishment). It’s a perfect bag of treats for when you’re up for some after-dark tricks, when things that stir in the night aren’t necessarily of a spectral nature. ErOddity(s) is available on DVD and VOD from TLA Releasing at TLA Video or at Erodditys, which also offers more information about the film."
Contemporary artists Anne Imhof, Eliza Douglas and composer Billy Bultheel released a new single ‘Dark Times’, the first track taken from their upcoming SEX - comprised primarily of refigurations of songs composed for Imhof's art show of the same name, which was exhibited in Chicago in 2019.
A hyperbolic anti-anthem of the times we live in, ‘Dark Times’ lyrically references poet Bertolt Brecht’s famous poem written for Walter Benjamin titled Motto to the ‘Svendborg Poems’. The song manifests itself as a ballad in which Eliza Douglas’ captivating voice recites Brecht’s haunting lines to the classically composed melody.
The 'Dark Times' video was shot by Lola Raban-Oliva and Jean-René Étienne and edited by Joji Koyama, under the artistic direction of Eliza Douglas. Douglas is an acclaimed artist who has held solo exhibitions at Air de Paris, Paris, Jewish Museum, New York and Schinkel Pavillon, Berlin, among others, a well as having collaborated with artists including Hercules and Love Affair, Antony and the Johnsons and Devendra Banhart, alongside being Anne Imhof’s closest collaborator. Together, the pair have been working together since 2016, with Douglas composing and performing music for Imhof’s performances in this time.
Billy Bultheel is a composer and performance-maker based in Berlin and Brussels. His practice combines heavy electronics with medieval and baroque polyphony. From 2012-2019 Bultheel has been developing musical aspects of Imhof's performances, movies and installations and composed music for Imhof's pieces alongside with Eliza Douglas and Imhof herself. Billy Bultheel has a BA in music from the Royal Conservatory of The Netherlands and an MA in Choreography and Performance at the Justus-Liebig University, Germany.
Anne Imhof's SEX began as an art show
SEX was composed during the formation of Imhof’s art show of the same name. Exhibitions of SEX are immersive, atmospheric events, creating environments inhabited by groups of collaborators. During the day, visitors are able to explore Imhof’s installation of paintings, sculptures and architectural interventions for free. Then in the ticketed evening events, the spaces will come alive with music, lights and live performances. The evening performances contain strobe lighting and explicit content.
Adrian Searle described the evening shows at the Tate Modern thus:
I am left with a head full of images. A man thrashes at his own shadow with a bullwhip, the rhythmic echo of whip against wall a metronomic ricochet through the space. A waltz, set to a heartbeat pulse, becomes a wrestling match, or a tender embrace as the couple slowly falls on to a mat. A procession passes through, bodies lifted by their companions. Carrying becomes caring. Or are they being led to an auto-da-fé? A man looks down at the milling audience from a high gantry, as though he were on a balcony, watching the street below.
Adrian Searle, on SEX as staged at The Tate Modern
Anne Imhof, Douglas and Bultheel, reworked the songs from how they appeared in the show, the result is a compelling record that acts as an accompaniment to the SEX performances, as well as standing alone as a progressive collection of contemporary compositions.
Check out the video for 'SEX" here:
Anne Imhof, Eliza Douglas, Billy Bultheel — Vivaldi youtu.be
Amazon Prime Video HAS announced the upcoming four-part docuseries Always Jane, which follows transgender teenager Jane Noury and her family as she nears graduation and prepares to leave the nest in a true coming-of-age story.
This intimate and unguarded look at the Nourys reveals a family with unconditional love that shines through as they tackle obstacles head-on so that Jane can live authentically. Navigating deeply personal and challenging issues, the Noury family’s uplifting humor and kindness is always present, revealing the transformative power of acceptance, support, and love. All four episodes of the Amazon Original series Always Jane will premiere on Prime Video on Friday, November 12, in more than 240 countries and territories worldwide.
Always Jane | Official Trailer | Prime Video youtu.be
ALWAYS JANE, AN UPLIFTING LOOK AT LIFE OF A TRANS TEEN
“Always Jane is a revealing look at one family’s uplifting and heartfelt journey, anchored by Jane’s incredible candor and wit about her life thus far,” said Vernon Sanders, co-head of television, Amazon Studios. “We know Jane’s triumphant story and her extraordinary family will resonate with our Prime Video viewers.”https://79377cd0921407aea62b909d0bb981ba.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
“We have been afforded the opportunity with Always Jane to offer a rare look at one family’s journey to acceptance. The Nourys are hilarious, honest, and raw in their commitment to love, and support one another no matter what. It is a joy to watch [and] it’s been our privilege to share their story,” said director Jonathan C. Hyde.
FOR JANE NOURY, FAMILY ACCEPTANCE WAS EVERYTHING
“I see Always Jane as a love story. Love stories always have hopes, dreams, and heartache, but best of all—a happily ever after. My family has always abundantly showered my sisters and I with love and acceptance, and that made all the difference in the world for my transition. My genuine hope is that a family who may be struggling with acceptance is inspired to open their hearts and embrace their very own story of love upon viewing Always Jane,” said Jane Noury.
Jane, who is actively pursuing a career in modeling and acting and recently appeared in Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty Vol. 3 fashion show, is currently enrolled in college as a film major. The docuseries, which includes footage intimately captured by Jane herself, reveals Jane’s passion and gift for visual storytelling. https://79377cd0921407aea62b909d0bb981ba.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
Always Jane is a production of Amazon Studios, Mutt Film, and Union Editorial. Jonathan C. Hyde directed the series and also served as executive producer with James Haygood and Michael Raimondi. Mutt Film’s Beth George and Shannon Lords-Houghton and Jane Noury also served as executive producers, while Katherine LeBlond served as producer.
Prime Video is just one of many shopping and entertainment benefits included with a Prime membership, along with fast, free shipping on millions of Prime-eligible items at Amazon.com, unlimited photo storage, exclusive deals and discounts, and access to ad-free music and Kindle ebooks. To sign up or start a 30-day free trial of Prime, visit: amazon.com/prime.
ABOUT ALWAYS JANE
Jane Noury lives with her family in rural New Jersey, and like any teenager, must balance friends, family, and school. While today’s political and social climate may not seem like the easiest time for a transgender teenager to grow up, you haven’t met her family, the Nourys. They wear their hearts on their sleeves and find irreverent humor in daily life, while Jane sets her sights on life beyond her family.
ABOUT MUTT FILM
Mutt Film started in 2016 with the idea of taking a multidisciplinary approach to film production. Mutt brings high production quality to both long form and short form content. Mutt prides itself on creating content around social issues and promoting eco responsibility in the film industry. As a WBENC-certified female-owned business, Mutt strives to promote equality and diversity in the workplace.
You can’t run from love,
you can’t run from pain;
you can’t find yourself when you
run away .
The lyrics of the opening song encapsulate the basic premise of the haunting, poignant film Beautiful Something from writer-director Joseph Graham.
This theme is repeated as the various intertwining storylines are introduced.
The film follows the lives of four very different gay men on their interlocking searches for love, identity and human connection in the City of Brotherly Love. The action takes place in one dusk-to-dawn stretch.
After waiting for years for the film to be shot, completed and released, Graham says the whole experience has been deeply gratifying.
“The fact that, after 10 years of work, this picture is finally off to seek its fortune is beyond amazing for me,” he says.
Graham’s script has great depth, and he skillfully plays emotionally intimate scenes against the more raucously sexual ones. Yes, there are a few semi-explicit (soft-core with fleeting bits of full-frontal nudity) moments, but each informs and serves the larger plot.
Beautiful Something (2015) - Official Trailer youtu.be
Matthew Boyd’s brilliant and evocative cinematography gives the film a terrific moody, after-dark quality. You can practically feel the freezing Philadelphia night. Graham credits his cinematic role models — filmmakers David Lynch, David Cronenberg and David Byrne — as inspiration to create such a pervasively taciturn and moody atmosphere.
The film is divided primarily into four chapters, and each one follows the four main characters through (and beyond) when their various encounters intersect.
The first is devoted to Brian, a poet, played by Brian Sheppard.
“Joseph gave me [and all of us"> a lot of freedom to create our characters,” Sheppard said. “I was lucky enough to get in on the initial reading, so I got to see the script evolve quite a bit. Joe would call me weekly, and we would chat about it, and if I felt something was too long or short or clunky, I had the freedom to suggest changes. It was always, ‘how do you feel?’ and ‘what would you like to do here?’”
Finding the humor in the scene helped prevent his character from being perceived as too needy or neurotic a person for audiences to identify with.
“I’m not a heartthrob,” Sheppard says. “I have to bring something else to the screen, so I had to use my own rhythm and speed … humor and range.”
Early in the filming, Sheppard set a rule for himself: Do not allow his character to live in just one mood.
“Every little moment had a new meaning and different energy,” he said. “Brian was constantly changing and sensitive, so every moment had to affect him deeply enough to drive him to the next.”
One night, when Brian is bored, restless and suffering from writer’s block, he decides to blow the last of his publisher’s advance by escaping to the local gay dive bar. He preps himself for the evening ahead with push-ups and sit-ups and rehearses his best lines. Once at the bar, he quickly gets picked up by a cute trick named Chris, who is uncertain of his sexuality.
The emptiness of the experience reveals just how needy and insecure Brian is and how his lack of creative inspiration is merely a symptom of this. In time, we learn that his real problem involves his unrequited love for his “straight” ex-roommate Dan, and Brian pays him a surprise late-night visit.
The two had previously fooled around a little, but it turned out to be nothing more than a passing curiosity on Dan’s part.
“I was so happy,” Brian remembers. “It was killer sex all night long, and then we just talked – the light was just coming through the window pane. I told you that my favorite thing to do was to be kissed — and do you remember what you did? You kissed me. … It was amazing — soul to soul!”
Now he desperately wants to know why it had to stop. Dan tells Brian that being with him meant a lot, but that he likes girls.
Brian feels abandoned by this rejection.
The second storyline involves Jim, a boyish, hard-bodied model and aspiring actor who’s serving as a muse for his older, more successful artist-boyfriend Drew, whom he lives with. Jim has his share of emotional baggage and he isn’t afraid of having drama and histrionics in his life. He has grown to resent Drew’s unrelenting gravitational pull and the controlling nature of their relationship.
Jim decides that a move to New York City might be the best option to realize his acting ambitions and release him from Drew’s mercurial grip.
This leads him to attempt one-night stands with Brian, as well as Bob, an older, wealthier, alcoholic talent agent. Thus, Jim connects the four main characters, with unexpected consequences.
Bob is the most seasoned and cynical of the four. Despite his outward aimlessness, he usually gets whatever (and whomever) he targets when venturing into the city’s gay enclaves. Trouble is, it’s never the one he’s aching to find. Spending his lonely late nights cruising in a white stretch limousine, he simply pulls up beside the local hustlers and beckons them over by rolling down the window.
When one asks whether he has any “party supplies,” Bob responds tiredly: “I’m a drunk, son. I don’t do nothin’ else,” then tells the driver to move on. He is the most bittersweet and melancholy of the four, wearing a lifetime of disappointment like a designer overcoat. Vainly pursuing a fantasy of youthful, masculine (meaning heterosexual) perfection, on this night it leads him to Jim.
“We’ll drink like men and cruise in style — the envy of everyone around us,” Bob drawls in his attempt to tantalize the handsome lad. Back at his swanky apartment, we learn that Bob, too, is nursing a broken heart, and it’s decades old. Jim reminds him of his lost love.
“Your generation has got it made,” Bob dolefully tells him. “Holding hands in public … you take that for granted. It didn’t always used to be that way.”
Eventually Jim reveals the truth about himself — that he’s not the straight boy Bob wanted to see him as and that he already has someone despite their immediate relationship problems.
“You’ll know more the next time you fall in love,” Bob advises him.
“So it gets easier?” the younger man asks.
“No — not at all!” he’s told. “It just gets a lot more … complicated.”
Realizing that sometimes you have to wander in order to come home again, Jim says goodbye to Bob and goes back to Drew’s welcoming arms.
Director Graham explains: “I am utterly fascinated by age and by generations — and growing older as a gay man. How the generations view each other – and what age or youth does to us, how we experience it and how we respond to it.”
He himself has been involved in a serious long-term relationship with a man several decades older and counts every day as a growing experience.
“My husband – 20 years my senior – fascinates me (and we’re about to celebrate our 20th anniversary!). I hope we were able to communicate something about this fascination in the film. Colman Domingo, who plays Drew, called it a ‘conversation between the generations.’ I like that.”
The movie also perceptively speaks to gay individuals who haven’t yet felt the dividends of all the recent progress the LGBT community has made.
So exactly how many Brians, Jims, Drews and Bobs are out there? Graham understands that the answer is probably far more than the popular media might indicate. Most of us are sure to find some reflection of ourselves in these brilliantly drawn characters.
“My inspiration for each of these guys was myself,” the director says. “In my 20s, I was Jim – and I was Brian. Now I’m Drew. I’ve met many Bobs — even one in a white limo when I was sitting on a bench!”
Sheppard interjects: “I think social media and dating apps often keep real connections from happening. It keeps the personal aspect of love and the search for it out of arm’s reach. People become too replaceable. ... It’s like people-shopping.”
Which character does real-life Brian consider himself to be more comparable to?
“Oh, I’m Brian … 100 percent,” he says with a laugh. He found the poetry by Richard Siken was inspirational as he prepared to portray a poet on screen.
“It was like a good fuel for my fire” he says, “but I think I identified with the character and the need for love in so many ways that looking for outside inspiration beyond this wasn’t as necessary.”
He said he also identifies with the way Jim is drawn to Shakespeare. “I feel like Jim and Brian are two sides of the same person,” he said.
“Beautiful Something is about love and the search for love and artistic fire,” Sheppard concludes. “I don’t even like to label it an LGBT film as that actively removes it from the mainstream – and isn’t that separation what we are trying to end? We are all in it together. I think the character of Brian would fully agree.”
Graham was happy to report that the entire cast of Beautiful Something was honored with a collective Best Actor award from Reeling: the Chicago International LGBTQ+ Film Festival. “This was the first time in its history that the festival granted the award to an entire ensemble and not a single performer!” he said.
Watch the film on Vimeo here: