Monday, November 21, 2005

Set Phasers To "Faaaaa-bulous!"

As some of you have probably heard by now, George Takei, the Asian contingent of the crew of the original Star Trek TV show, better known as “Mr. Sulu” by the masses, has finally come out of the closet, and admitted to being a homosexual.

Now, to anyone who is ANY kind of trekkie, this revelation is not the earth shattering expose that some of the tabloids in the past week have made it out to be. I mean, was there ANYONE out there who didn’t realize Sulu was gay? The man displayed so many stereotypically gay personality traits that I don’t think it would be insulting to say that this revelation didn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone. Who’s the next big celebrity that will shock us by coming out of the closet...... Richard Simmons? My God, the scandal!!!

But I digress. This blog entry really has nothing to do with George Takei’s sexual orientation. I say, more power to him. Live long and prosper and all that.

The sudden news attention surrounding Mr. Sulu got myself and B.E. Earl talking the other day, about an incident between myself and Mr. Takei about 15 years ago. Upon talking about the incident again, we thought our loyal Slyde-Bloggers would find this a pretty funny yarn.
Before I begin, I need to stress again that this took place about 15 years ago. I was probably about 22 or so. Believe me, I stake no claim now that I am anything close to mature, but if you knew me back then, you’d think I was Obi-Wan Kenobi now. Let’s just preface this little story by saying that, although I am not ashamed of my less-than-mature outlook on life, I’m not so proud of it that I plan to put it on my resume, either.

Anyway, the year was about 1993 or so, and Earl, myself, and a group of friends all decided to attend I-CON. I-CON, for all you non-geeky Long Islanders, is L.I.’s biggest yearly science fiction convention. Nerds from all over convene every April to buy sci-fi merchandise, watch sci-fi movies, listen to sci-fi guests, and find other ways of embarrassing themselves with their dorkiness. I fully admit to taking part in such endeavors in my youth from time to time…..
Anyway, at some point I needed use the restroom, so I found the “Little Tribbles” room and entered one of the stalls. While inside the stall, I heard some people enter, discussing what sounded like a movie script, when suddenly I heard that distinctive deep voice that all Trekkies know so well. There was no doubt in my mind that Mr. Sulu had just walked into the bathroom. Apparently, Mr. Takei was scheduled to be a guest speaker at the convention.

Amazed, I kept listening to their conversation. I heard the other people leave the restroom, and then I thought I heard Mr. Sulu walk up to one of the urinals against the far wall, taking care of nature.

A strange thought occurred to me: There was a person of some celebrity status, in a state of semi-nakedness, in my near vicinity. Of course I came to the obvious conclusion: This was a rare opportunity to see a movie star’s private parts!

Now, I have to stop the story at this point for a quick aside. I do NOT, in any shape of form, play on the same team as our esteemed Mr. Sulu. On the contrary, I have such a weakness for the fairer sex, that it has gotten me into more trouble in past years than I could care to admit.
But the fact remained, that less than 10 feet from me was a famous Willy. I had once heard a story of a person who was in a hotel in Detroit on a business trip, who walked down the hall one night to see David Lee Roth naked in an open hotel room. I remember it being a very funny story, and I decided I wanted a famous naked story for myself. So, off I went to get my own story….

I exited the stall, and quickly ran up to the urinal next to Mr. Takei. He glanced at me briefly, then went about his business.

It was at this time I stole a quick look at Mr. Sulu’s personal phaser.

I am not going to degrade the top-notch integrity and standards of SLYDESBLOG with any details (hey, if you want details, stalk him in a bathroom yourself!). But let’s just say, I got my look.

Afterwards, my friends and I all had a good laugh about it. We even decided to attend Mr. Takei’s lecture. The lecture hall was large, seating a few hundred people. Nerds and Klingons from all over the Long Island area were in that room at the time. People who base their lives on Star Trek and view Mr. Sulu as their own personal god. And here my friends and I sat, a couple of wise-asses having way too much fun with this whole scene.

To our credit, we actually managed to be good for most of the dissertation. At one point, George tells the crowd that he is in the process of writing his autobiography.

At that point, a pimply-faced kid holding a light-saber stood up and asked, “Could you tell us what the name of your book will be called?”

To which Mr. Takei responded: “I haven’t come up with a name for my book yet. What I am doing is looking over all the great pieces of memorabilia I have in my attic at my home. I dust off one of these pieces of memorabilia I have up there, then I write a story about it. I’ve been writing a whole chapter for every memento I find up there. And I have a BIG attic, so there will be a lot of stories. But I haven’t come up with a name for my autobiography yet.”
At this point, the 22 year old Me could no longer resist and yelled out, “Why don’t you call your book, “Big Attic, Small Penis”?

Well, my friends and I got a good laugh out of that one. At least until we looked up to find Mr. Sulu, as well as the army of Uber-Geeks around us, looking at me with faces aghast like I just flipped-off Queen Elizabeth.

Well, the faces on the crowd around us, as well as that of George Takei, got us laughing even harder. Cut to 2 minutes later when we got dragged out of the convention center by security.

Man that was a funny day.

Please note that this story has no real point, except to show how immature I can be, especially since, 15 years later now, I still think it’s funny as Hell.

Live Long and Prosper, George Takei.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Anticip...p…p...p...ation

By B.E. Earl

Hey Kids! Earl here again with my most anticipated films of the upcoming Holiday Season. It’s been a while since I’ve been this excited about the late studio (both big and small) releases. Okay…it hasn’t been a while, thanks to Peter Jackson and his incredible “Lord of the Rings” trilogy that was an absolute gift for movie lovers for three straight years. However, the sheer weight of potentially great films that are just around the corner makes this season one that will most likely finally get the film industry out of the doldrums that they have been experiencing of late. Yeah…I’m not very happy with the “most likely finally” part of that last sentence either. Let’s move on, shall we?

Holiday season means “blockbuster” for very many movie fans, and this season doesn’t appear likely to disappoint. With guaranteed hits in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, King Kong, and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the big studios executives are already spending their Christmas bonuses. There is also a blockbuster novel or two that have been transformed to the silver screen such as Memoirs of a Geisha (with an all Asian cast) from Rob Marshall, and long-time Broadway successes like Rent and The Producers that are sure to succeed. Aside from these, the following list of films are those that I would most want to plunk down my $9.50 for:

· Get Rich or Die Tryin’ – I know, I know. A biopic of 50 Cent seems to be a bit out of my taste when it comes to movies, but this one is directed by Irish auteur Jim Sheriden (My Left Foot, In the Name of the Father). He looks to add some weight to this story of a street kid who sets asides his drug-dealing ways to become a rap star.

· Walk the Line – I’ve gotten a late start on my fascination with the Man in Black, but this looks to be an awesome portrayal of life and times of Johnny Cash as played by a spot-on Joaquin Phoenix. Both Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon (as June Carter Cash) do all their own singing, so this could even be a step-up in Oscar-worthy performances from Jamie Foxx in last year’s Ray.

· The Ice Harvest – Directed by Harold Ramis and including the talents of John Cusack, Billy Bob Thornton, Randy Quaid (why is his face so big?) and Connie Nielsen, this looks to be the hit that we Cusack fans have been waiting some number of years for. Or maybe not.

· Aeon Flux – Just to see Charlize Theron jumping around barely dressed while shooting guns. Nice!

· Brokeback Mountain – Just kidding. I saw a seemingly endless trailer for this hunk ‘o junk the other day and I thought I was going to pass out in my popcorn. Gay cowboys? Well, Slyde might like it.

· The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada – Tommy Lee Jones’ directorial debut, this film is about a Texas rancher intent on avenging the murder of a Mexican friend. Jones also stars, and it just has that feel about it that could make it a big winner come Oscar time. It has already cleaned up at Cannes winning the writing award (for Guillermo Arriaga) and the acting prize for Jones. I can’t wait for this one.

· Hostel – A good old Horror yarn about three American tourists whose stay in an Eastern European hostel goes horribly wrong. Quentin Tarantino is the executive producer (no guarantee) and Eli Roth of Cabin Fever fame directs.

· The New World – This one has all the trappings of a massive box office bomb. Lavish costume period piece starring Colin Farrell and directed by genius director. It’s not Alexander by Oliver Stone, but it could be. Terence Malick, who looks to rebound from the poor critical and commercial success of The Thin Red Line, directs this tale of the violent colonization of the Americas. If he can make this even half as good as Badlands, then it will be well worth seeing.

There are a few others in the mix that look to be exciting, but those are the ones that I am most eager to see on the big screen. I was going to include Big Momma’s House 2, but since that doesn’t come out until late January I thought it might not be appropriate to include it with a Holiday Season round up. Maybe when we talk about 2006’s Oscar races. Maybe.