Thursday, August 13, 2009

"Sometimes I Wonder..." Where the Heck Creativity Has Gone?

(This is an encore post of Uncle Paulie's World since it seems very timely!)

Okay...NOW I know that the world is really ending--at least the creative world as we've known it! Earlier today, I had the misfortune of seeing a copy of the press kit for the new FAME movie. Have you heard about this? Are they serious? A remake of FAME? How is that possible? I don't even want to hear that Irene Cara is appearing in the new movie. I want to remember her how she was. What else could they possibly tell us about these characters? I want to continue to fantasize about the paths they took without having someone shove contrived crap down my throat, and I DON'T want to see the whole "next generation" of fame performers because that type of thing has been run into the ground. Shhh! Did you hear that? It's the sound of "dull" and "uninteresting" coming out to do a tapdance! How can a filmmaker be so bold as to think that he or she could recreate any of the characters, storylines or the New York City that many of us remember--the gritty New York. It was the Pre-Disney New York, when you could see a prostitute pee in a cup in Times Square (True story! Me, my classmates and the Milford Plaza. The year was 1986 and I was 16 and living in Texas. I had NEVER seen such a thing in my life.).

Not only did seeing the prostitute pee in that cup change my life, but so did FAME. I've never been so moved by a film in my life. I didn't know it at the time, but I was able to see elements of my future self up there on the screen. I saw myself in so many of those characters. Back then, my closeted homo-ness in my suburban Texas world, filled with my OCD need to have the latest Broadway cast album and sing show tunes all the time, as well as my insistence that I, too, would "live forever," would all be validated by this film. What kid with talent didn't want to be up on top of one of those cabs hoofing away to the beat? I didn't even like to dance for Heaven's sake!

When I was in high school, I went so far as to to write a letter to Anne Meara (Ben Stiller's mother, for those of you who are too young to remember) to let her know how much her performance of Sherwood meant to me. I still have the autographed picture that she sent me along with a sweet note. Imagine the irony, when at age 32, I ended up in the same benefit concert with her and her husband, Jerry Stiller of Seinfeld fame, at NYC's Off-Broadway John Houseman Theatre. Stuff like that in the Universe is cyclical and beautiful. FAME remakes are not!

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