Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2015-07-29
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


  WINDY CITY TIMES

Knight at the Movies: The Cremaster Cycle; The Tillman Story
by Richard Knight, Jr.
2010-09-01

facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email


Between Matthew Barney's epic, five-part art film The Cremaster Cycle and the epic cover-up that followed the death of football star-turned-soldier Pat Tillman revealed in the riveting documentary The Tillman Story, the display of testosterone in theaters this weekend will be more than a little palpable.

Artist; model; boyfriend of Bjork; and a sexual provocateur with a thing for oral and anal protuberances, biomechanical erotica, confined areas secreted inside gigantic architectural spaces, large breasted women in showgirl drag and sculptures made out of Vaseline-like material, Barney has been the darling of the art world since his arrival on the scene in the early '90s. His appeal to gay men is immediately apparent. In addition to those often sexually tinged artistic proclivities, he's handsome, hunky and often appears in his movies nude or nearly so, with some sort of self-stimulation added to the mix.

The five films that compose The Cremaster Cycle—created between 1994 and 2002 and clocking in at a whopping seven hours—and 2007's hour-long De Lama Lamina ( a collaboration with Brazilian musician Art Lindsay ) include pretty much all of the above. "Cremaster" is the word for the muscle that controls the descent of the testicles and the cycle, taken as a whole, could be interpreted as Barney's artistic exploration of masculinity—or not. Staggering in their metaphorical and visual complexity or numbingly vapidity ( for pretty much the same reasons—depending, one suspects, on the mood of the viewer at any given moment ) , these films are undeniably the work of a unique artistic vision.

The heavy hand of David Lynch, Busby Berkley and the guy that made the late '70s midnight-cult fave Liquid Sky hangs heavy over the first part while Part 2 ( aka "the Gary Gilmore episode" ) features author Norman Mailer, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, two Ford Mustangs parked at a gas station linked by a hive-like blob ( more Vaseline ) , bees and Barney himself engaging in some of that kinky arousal activity.

The real power of Barney's large-scale vision comes to fruition in the third part of the cycle—a mythic, three-hour, two-part film set in New York City ( with stunning location shots from Ireland and Scotland that set up the Celtic mysticism that infuses the film ) . We follow The Entered Apprentice ( Barney again, his skin-tinted pink and sporting a pink tartan kilt ) as he attempts to scale the interior of the Chrysler Building ( while a demolition derby goes on in the lobby ) and the Guggenheim Museum encountering torture and other physical adversities in his attempt.

Part 4, the weakest of the cycle, gives us a motorbike race and Barney as a tap-dancing satyr with a trio of hunky male attendants. Part 5, however, finds Barney back on track, and this film will be nirvana for opera queens. Ursula Andress, gorgeously costumed, is an audience of one for a lavish opera that features Barney, dressed in a harlequin costume, who scales the proscenium arch of a lavish 19th-century opera house in Hungary.

Although your reaction to the individual parts and Barney's artistic excesses will vary ( and be warned, there are some very gross moments sprinkled throughout ) , the contributions of his cinematographer—Peter Strietmann—and especially, his composer, Jonathan Bepler are huge assets. Bepler's score is available separately though—and this is something to note—the distributor of the films has made it clear that, a portion of Cycle 3 aside, none of these films will ever be made available in DVD editions.

The Music Box, 3733 N. Southport, in the year's most courageous film booking ( talk about testosterone ) is playing not only the entire Cremaster Cycle Sept. 3-9 but it's including the Chicago premiere of the aforementioned 2007's De Lama Lamina as well. This features Barney strapped beneath a huge truck engaging in perhaps his most infamous display of biomechanical self-stimulation. ( The film opens with a close up of his flaccid penis becoming erect. ) And yeah—ya gotta see that to believe it. Tickets are $10 for individual films, $24 for the series. See www.musicbox.com for complete screening schedule.

Now we move onto another exercise in bravery—The Tillman Story, the searing, investigative documentary by Amir Bar-Lev. The movie finds the family of the slain war hero going head to head with the Bush regime and not backing down until the relatives got answers about the true nature of his untimely death in Afghanistan.

For reasons that have never been clearly explained, square-jawed, movie star-handsome Pat Tillman turned down a multimillion dollar pro football contract to defend his country after the attacks on 9/11. But whatever the reason, once Tillman made his decision, that was that—no questions asked. Tillman signed up along with one of his brothers and after the media blitz that focused on his decision he dropped out of the news until he was reported killed in action. Almost immediately, as Bar-Lev's film reveals, the Bush White House endeavored to use the death of this all-American jock to its own advantage.

The film lays out how the government, in collusion with the media, attempted to turn Tillman into a propaganda agent for its war on terrorism. The urge to reshape Tillman's life story; to make his actions and words fit the public's mythic perceptions was apparently too tempting. But the family was/is tough and unrelenting ( especially Tillman's mother ) and wanted answers about his death and when push came to shove, the truth of his death from friendly fire was much less heroic than espoused by government and media officials.

While fighting for answers, the list of indignities thrown at Tillman's surviving family members, catalogued by Bar-Lev in the film, is jaw-dropping ( with the military starting by drowning the family in 3,000 pages of documents ) but, ultimately, unsurprising—keeping in mind the boundary lines the Bush administration crossed in its zeal.

Like Pat Tillman himself, apparently, Bar-Lev's movie stubbornly refuses to fit neatly into a box and come up with traditional, rousing solutions. The Tillman Story leaves you feeling frustrated, angered and deeply saddened—by the waste of the life; by the ease that the individual's life was used; by the shortcuts employed to present the guy in simple broad strokes; and most, by the dumb and/or lazy public's quick willingness to fall for the transparently phony-baloney story.

Check out my archived reviews at www.windycitytimes.com or www.knightatthemovies.com . Readers can leave feedback at the latter website.


facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Local film festival celebrates Black LGBT stories 2015-07-29
'Plus One' Web series focuses on lesbian relationships 2015-07-29
Entertainment: Nick Jonas; Caitlyn Jenner; Lucy Lawless; RuPaul 2015-07-28
Dancing About Architecture 2015-07-22
Knight at the Movies: Do I Sound Gay?; Black Alphabet; restored films 2015-07-22
Lesbian director on movie debuting at Black Alphabet festival 2015-07-22
Entertainment: Jennifer Hudson; Lee Daniels; Margaret Cho; Thomas Roberts 2015-07-21
HIV+ musical comedy web series "Merce" premieres 2015-07-17
Cover story: National gathering honors Philadelphia's 1965 protests 2015-07-15
MOVIES David Thorpe: It's okay to sound 'gay' 2015-07-15
Knight at the Movies: Tangerine; Tig; Mr. Holmes; Edith Lake Wilkinson 2015-07-15
Entertainment: Marriage film; 'Million-Dollar Listing'; Ryan Reynolds 2015-07-14
Upcoming: Hall & Oates; Kelly Clarkson; Black Alphabet Film; Book Fair 2015-07-14
Black Alphabet Film Fest expands to 4-day event 2015-07-10
Upcoming: Queer Web screenings; Saints + Sinners; Taste of Chicago 2015-07-07
Entertainment: Ellen DeGeneres; Beyonce; Michael Sam; Dolly Parton 2015-07-07
MOVIES Matt Bomer: Magic Mike star on Channing flattery and indecent gyrations 2015-07-06
Entertainment: Celebs react to marriage news; Jeremy Renner; Spider-Man 2015-07-01
TELEVISION David Oyelowo talks personalities, sexuality in HBO's 'Nightingale' 2015-07-01
Love is Colorful, Make it Blu film series launched 2015-06-30
Knight at the Movies: Let's get serious about Pride 2015-06-24
MOVIES 'Horses' director on lesbian romance, working with animals 2015-06-24
Entertainment: John Barrowman; Dallas Buyers Club; Ellen Page; Downton Abbey 2015-06-23
PEW Center makes $300,000 grant for LGBT 50th Anniversary documentary 2015-06-17
Entertainment: Larry Kramer; Jussie Smollett; Warhol; Kristen Stewart 2015-06-16
Zachary Quinto Joins Foundation for a National AIDS Monument Board 2015-06-12
Knight at the Movies: Pride Month movies 2015-06-10
Upcoming: Takei; Dyke Delicious; Melissa Young at Davenport's; 'Witches' cabaret 2015-06-10
Siskel event spotlights actor Mark Ruffalo 2015-06-10
Screening of Hudson's marriage-equality video draws celebs 2015-06-09
Upcoming: eta to reopen with 'Liberty City'; Internat'l Cultural Fest 2015-06-03
Knight at the Movies: '54' and more 2015-06-03
MOVIES 'The Overnight' director on taboos, uncomfortable moments 2015-06-03
Chicago native helps make others look great 2015-06-03
Upcoming: Pride Fest; Black Alphabet Film Fest; EXPO Chicago; Dance for Life 2015-06-03
TELEVISION The bold standard: Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda 2015-06-02
Entertainment: Julianne Moore; 'Cruel Intentions'; Chris Pratt 2015-06-02
Tambor, Henson win critics' awards 2015-06-01
Israeli filmmaker talks about attitudes toward LGBTQ people 2015-05-27
Gay Black comic has concert film 2015-05-27
 



Copyright © 2015 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.