As planned, last night I drove up to NYC to go see 300 with the New York boys of Leather.
[You: Hey, I didn't hear about that...
Me: Well that's cuz you're not an associate member, Bunky! Go here right now, sign up, give up your $25 (you get a patch and a pin!) and get in on the action!]
It was a great night all around. Let me just say this: the boys provided fresh baked chocolate chip cookies. I shit you not.
Traffic was not too bad on the drive up, and Li'l' Ol' Weehawken Street had an open parking space for me. I jumped in a cab and headed up to the Loew's on 34th Street. boys were lingering on the sidewalk, including Ray who had apparently taken it upon himself to organize the outing. Other boys showed up in dribs and drabs, there were eleven in our group in all, and I was just basking in all that sweet boy energy.
We got our tickets and made our way up all those escalators--I think our theater was on the 43rd floor--grabbed some popcorn, and settled in.
300 is breathtaking. Such a great movie. I can't believe that beeeyatch at the Times and I saw the same movie. I thought it was just transporting. The cinematography was great. It's a film with a palette: black, gold, and red. The look of every frame was beautiful. And the fighting was sublime choreography. I think it's the first movie I've seen where I wasn't aware of the CGI being CGI.
Yeah yeah yeah. There were undercurrents of Hoe-Moe-Phoe-bia. (The enemy Persians are depicted as sort of androgynous, fey clubkids--Xerxes reminded me of Kevin Aviance; and the Spartans' allies the Athenians are derisively described as "philosophers and boy-lovers.") But none of that bothered me too much. And I'm a Hoe-Moe.
As y'all probably know, the movie describes how three hundred Spartans faced the army of the mighty Persian god-king Xerxes at the battle of Thermopylae.
One thing that did interest me though: Is 300 a Henry V for our time?
What do I mean by that?
Henry V is one of Shakespeare's plays that is rarely performed. It describes the former gadabout Prince Hal, now King Henry V, leading the English to do battle with the French. Joan of Arc is a character, although since she was on the Wrong Side, she's depicted as listening to whispering devils and not Sts. Mary and Margaret. And it includes the St. Crispin's Day speech: "Once more into the breach, dear friends, once more into the breach, till we fill up these trenches with our English dead." It's an unabashedly militaristic play, hence the reason why it's rarely performed. However, during World War II, it was almost always on the stage in London.
Similarly, 300 is wildly militaristic. The Persians, of course, came from the land that we now call Iran. And it even has the Spartan Queen going before the legislature and calling for a troop surge. (If we see Laura Bush addressing a joint session of Congress, it can only mean that Carl Rove has seen 300.)
But again, the militarism of the movie didn't bother me all that much.
In fact, I kinda got off on it.
It presents Sparta as the warrior culture it was. The weak and deformed were abandoned, the boys were raised to be soldiers, the girls were raised to be wives of soldiers. The Spartans, I believe, invented the barracks, the idea that you want all your men who are going to go to battle together to be sleeping together. (Maybe not Sleeping Together, but at least sleeping together.) So it was homoerotic in that dark sense, as the worship of the masculine and the deprecation of the feminine. The virtues celebrated were strength, courage, fortitude, honor, and brotherhood. And where in the world today do we get to see those celebrated?
I could swear someone spiked my Coca-Cola with testosterone, because I was flying on that stuff when I got out of there.
I loved this movie. Every minute of it.
Afterwards, I and most of the boys jumped on the subway and headed down to Pieces on Christopher Street. Tuesday is karaoke night.
I know I know I know.
Are there things I dread more?
When we walked in, a young woman on stage was warbling away to something or other and I wasn't sure how much I was gonna be able to take. but then, this blond guy got up there and sang really well. And then the smokin hot bearded boy who I think was the doorman totally rocked out. And overall, the level of talent was pretty good, putting the Rainbow Mountain Lodge to shame. Not like that's difficult. After the duet of "Summer Love" from Grease, when I was enthusiastically bellowing out "Tell me more, tell me more, did you get very far?", I was pretty much a goner. And it was big fun to see a room crowded with people who were so completely unbridled in their enthusiasm. (Although I guess the alcohol helped a lot there, huh?)
The boys decided to come up with a battle cry, which in the movie, was the Spartans' version of "Wonder Twin powers: Activate!!!" Or, like my own dear softball team, where we all put our hands in and shout "Ba-a-a-a-alllll-(slowly build to crescendo)-BREAKERS!!!"
I support that! The New York boys of Leather should have a battle cry. And spankings. A battle cry and spankings all 'round. Cuz good boys get spanked, too.
At 1 a.m., I bid the boys a fond farewell and made my way back to my jeep, then headed home through the nighttime New Jersey highways. I slept in this morning, not crawling out of bed until eleven. And what greets me but a warm summer day!
So enough of the blogging, I'm headed to Starbucks in Doylestown to smoke cigars and enjoy an iced quad venti one pump vanilla latté.
Go tell the Spartans!