Why can’t film and theatre cope with gay characters?
Words: John Binnie
rune. Alan Parker's 1980 moyie responsible for popularising leg-warmers. curly hair and would-be-stars flocking to drama school auditions. was also instrumental in truthfully depicting a gay teenager. 22 years ago. it was a big deal to have a gay character (Montgomery) at the centre of a movie. and as performed by Paul McCrane. he was the most sorted character in the whole cast. Sensitiye. intelligent. a loner apart for his special friendship with the unglarnorous l)oris. he also penned two of the most beautiful tracks in the movie. ‘ls lt OK If I (‘all You Mine'." and ‘I)ogs In The Yard.’ Of course the TV offshoot in the [980s couldn't contain all the characters and gay Montgomery had to be
excised. llis sexuality was remoyed. so the character
became dull and could neyer match the spirit of Leroy. (‘hico or eyen Professor Shorofsky.
Don‘t go to Fame. the touring West lind musical. expecting the movie's score e or indeed gay Montgomery. Instead there's a bland. unfamiliar score until the final number. and poor Montgomery: what a dilemma he faces! Presumed to be gay by everyone in act one. after the interyal he shows his true colours by bee )ming straight. l‘ormulaic and deriy'atiye. with no chance for subtlety. the character's sexuality is merely a plot deyice. lt's instlting. presuming the audience can‘t cope with a fully-ﬂedged. sexual. gay character. Appeal to the lowest denominator and sacrifice character credibility. that's what the producers of this stage musical haye done. and in the process they reyeal a strong anti-gay intent. Amid the stage show. rent the yideo instead.
Rtrssell ('rowe. playing real—life maths genius John l'th'hc‘s Nash Jr. in A Beautiful Mind. suffers a similar act
A Beautiful Mind subjects John Forbes Nash Jr to hetero-washing
producers reveal a strong anti- gay intent
of hetero-washing. llardly surprising since the director is Ron Howard (responsible for I’m .-lm/ slit-try and Rurrsmrr) who specialises in making the least contentious moyies possible. It‘s a pity because (‘rowe has proyed himself one of the great chameleon-like actors. capable of looking fetching in a skirt in (Hm/ruler or as a l950s policeman in Ll ('orr/ir/r'rrrr'ul. .\'ot forgetting he is also ideal gay fantasy material. especially with his early performance as the gay son in The Sum ()jt 's.
In the biography of .\'ash on which the llltHlL‘xl Beautiful .llr'rrr/ is based. the scientists gay affairs and his arrest for cottaging are well documented. lloward’s film ctrts all such references. and instead we haye a
plodding. simplistic study of a
schi/ophrenic being sayed by the loye of
a good wife.
In the mid-I‘lb’th. lltrgh Whiternore in his play (on stage and TV) Breaking The ('m/r’. starring Derek Jacobi. ptrt the gayness of Alan Turing. the linigma code-breaker. at the heart of the drama. lixploring the connection between de- coding and the way gay men are conditioned from childhood into leading a duplicitous life. his play was truthful. passionate and raw. and took us into the mind of a troubled genius. In other words it did all the things .-l li’r'rrrrtr/ir/ .llrm/ so obyiotrsly fails to and deseryes to be laughed off the ()scar' ceremonies.
(iootl on the gay American actiyist groups who haye picketed screenings of .l Beau/(fir! .llrrrrl. llollywood should be stopped from hetero-washing gay liyes any longer.
rtsr rvm. PRIDE 2002
Various venues, 14-22 Jun
This year. Pride Scotland rs prornrsrng an event that Will be brgger. beite.r and 07.)“? flamboyant than ever before. Thrs if? the ezrrfrest taat the organrsat ons tor Prrde have ever been started and according to Stuart l-lammond. festival director. ‘rt's corng to be a great week wrtl" a we)! attended march and a fabulous eyent'.
There will be a week of events around
Scotland starting rn Dundee on 1". June.
then E<lllll)t."§}ll. Aberdeen. lrwerness. Strrlrng and Dumtrres. reachrng a freri/:ed finale on Saturday 92 June rn Glasgow. This will rnvolve a march. rally and a Rar'ibow Party In The Park at Glasgow Green Thrs rs also where the fabulous exotic and downright camp Prrscrlla Performing Pride Bus wrll stop after its neck of travellurg round the
corr'try mt“ a t)()tfl."y and art exl‘rlrtron.
The party at Glasgow Green intends to be on a grand scale wrth countless marguees creatrng a Pride Village rn \NlliCll they hope to house dance. cabaret. diversity and men and women's tents as well as a fun larr, mud wrestlrng. a bouncy castle and a buckrng bronco. Other proposed events are the comedy nrghts rn both Glasgow and Edinburgh. Pride King and Queen cornpetrtron. the l GBT trlrn lestrval at Gl'l' and (XJA. the eyer' popular Prrde cerlrdh and a ()ru/ l)oon The Clyde Wr' Pride on the Waverley.
Wrth all these events and an expected attendarice of to 20.000. the organrsatron rs contrnrrally looking for volunteers who can grve therr trrne. cornrnrtrnent and support as well as for sponsors to help wrth costs. It you are interested. contact l’nde Scotland rn rts new ottrces on 0141 bin} .1340 or ernarl |lll()’("‘[)tl(l(?f§(i()llitll(l.(I().lll\.
Pride drums up some support Another way to be rr‘volxed -:; by puttrng your artist.c flair to good use and desagnrng a neu'.’ l’nde 730:" logo. Send your entry on a sheet or ‘.'.'hr'.e A-‘s paper to Pride Scotland. ‘lil lernr::eton litl'ltlilltlfi. lempletor‘. Street. (‘rtasgotzz (3-10 l[)/\. ll‘.e\.'.r;r"rer backstage passer; for Me rug .la‘v ‘.'."'.:-r-.,-
you can run shoulders (L'le schn‘oo.‘e ‘31th the soon to be confrrnred celebs.
(la!) Eng. I.J.rtlr‘- l lanrrlto"
Steve Retson I.(}B‘I‘ ('entr'e. l l l)ixon Street. 221 7203. 5.30 8.30pm. l-‘ree. Weekly. (lay men's sexual health ittly‘lsot‘y' seryice. Strspended until 'l‘hu 2| Mar due to refurbishment. ('ontact 2ll 8(i()l for appointments.
Lesbian Health Clinic Sandyford Initiatixe. Sauchiehall Street. 2| 1 (3700. 5.30 Split. l’ree. Weekly. llealth adyice. T.F.I. Bi-G-Les Youth Group L(il3'l' ('entr'e. ll Dixon Street. 22l 7203. 4 Split. Free. Weekly. .-\n open meeting for l,( ili'l‘ under 25. Glasgow G00 Badminton ('rarnes llall. Knightswood Secondary School. ()0 Knightswood Road. 954 2404. 7 0.30pm. Weekly.
Glasgow G00 Swimmers (‘onlact (34‘) 5890. 7.30 ()pm. Weekly. lnforrnal sw imrning session.
LIPS (ilasgow Women's Library. l0‘) 'I‘rongate. 552 8345/7539. 2 4pm. liree. Thu 14 Mar. l‘or'tnightly'. Support for lesbians and bisexual women under 25.
Revolver Bar First Birthday Reyolyet‘ Bar. oa John Street. 553 2456. 5pm. liree. Thu 14 Mar. Brendan and Jon kick off the celebrations with guests Sheboom.
T.F.I. Bi-G-Les Youth Group Drop In l.(;lt'l‘ (‘c-rrrr'e. ll l)i.\on Street. 22l 7203. 4 Spin. l‘r'ee. Weekly. l‘or l.( iB'l' under 25.
The Bad Puppy v Mrs Magoo Reyoly'er' Bar. ()1! John Street. 553 2456. 8pm lam. l’ree. l'i‘i l5 Mar. Birthday celebrations continue with a night of classic indie \ soul 'n' funk.
LIPS (ilasgow Women‘s Library. l0‘) 'l‘rongate. 552 8345/7530. 2 4pm. Free. Sat lo Mar. Fortnightly. Project supporting lesbians and bisexual women under 25.
Sagitario (it-"1'. Rose Street. 332 .S’l2.\'. 5.45pm. £3.75 £4.75 (£2 £3.50). Sat 23 Mar. Story of the friendship and search for romance shared by diyorced painter. Rosa. and her gay confidante Jaime through the city scape of Madrid.
£200 Birthday QUiZ Rexolyer Bar. oa John Street. 55.3 245(3. 4pm. l’ree. Sat lo Mar. The lirst birthday frolics roll on with a bumper £200 pri/e up for grabs.
Sunday Night at the Revolver Palladium Reyoly er liar. (ia John Street. 553 2450. 7pm. l-‘ree. Sun l7 Mar. .\ night of music. comedy and cheap St l’atr'ick's l)ay (itrinness rounds off the birthday celebrations.
Holistic Healing Group LUB'I‘ ('entre. l I l)i\on Street. 22l 7203. 7.30 l0pm. l-‘ree. Weekly. (‘oritact 423 052 for more information.
Bi-G-Les Youth Group rcrrr ('entr‘e. ll Dixon Street. 22l 7203. 7 I0pm. l‘r‘ee. Weekly. :\n open meeting for l (ill'f under 25.
'.: .-- r‘~.':.r'c" .‘ THE LIST 75