Ask the Flying Monkey! (September 16, 2009)

Have a question about gay male entertainment? Send it to aftereltonflyingmonkey@yahoo.com! (Please include your city and state and/or country.)

Q: Does Lucy Lawless regret that they killed Xena? – Craig, Norfolk, VA

A: In fact, she does. In “A Friend in Need,” the two-part Xena: Warrior Princess series finale back in 2001, Xena allows herself to be killed, so she can become a ghost and fight a spiritual being. Later, after Gabrielle finds a way to bring Xena back to life, the Warrior-Princess heroically chooses to stay dead in order to make amends for past sins. The series ends with Gabrielle, a full-fledged warrior at last, carrying on Xena’s legacy.

Gabrielle bids farewell to Xena

But as I’m sure you know, Craig, fans were livid – both at the death itself and over the way she died, which included, um, decapitation.

“At the time, we thought that was a really strong choice,” Lawless told me recently. “I laughed when I heard she got her head cut off. It was such a strong choice — I’m perverse like that.”

But since then, Lawless has had a big change of heart.

“I think it really hurt the fans,” she says. “I wish we hadn’t done it, actually. It’s all like telling a bad placed joke, or laughing at some other group’s expense. You’re like, ‘Come on, it’s funny!’ But then it’s like, ‘But it really hurts people.’ And finally the penny drops and you go, ‘Oh. That’s why it’s not funny, because somebody is in pain.’”

Incidentally, two things struck me about my interview with Lucy. First, she’s as beautiful in person as she is on TV, but second, she’s absolutely nothing like Xena. The truth is, she’s the opposite of serious – very cheeky and irreverent, almost impish.

I’m told she’s previously compared herself to her alter-ego "Meg" on the show, and I’m not sure that’s too far off!

Q: Did Olivia Newton-John ever see the Broadway version of her musical Xanadu? What was her reaction? And was her missing boyfriend ever found? – Reid, Florida

A: “I was there opening night,” she told AfterElton.com last year. I loved it, I thought it was wonderful.”

Olivia Newton-John in 2007 with Cheyenne Jackson at
Xanadu’s Broadway Opening Night Gala

What did she think of the now-camp-classic movie at the time of its 1980 release?

“I was embarrassed by it,” she admits. “I love the music, but the script wasn’t very good, it was not well-received upon release, but people enjoyed it and it attained a different kind of status after that. Now I think it’s a hoot, and I got to dance with Gene Kelly. How amazing is that?!”

Next page! Olivia’s vanishing boyfriend resurfaces, and the word on Robert Gant’s Personal Affairs.

As for her missing boyfriend, Patrick McDermott, Woman’s Day magazine found him just last month,
living in a Mexican village with his hair dyed black. Apparently, he faked his
own death in order to avoid child support payments. Newton-John has since
married someone else – a good call, it seems.

Newton-John in 2005 with then boyfriend Patrick McDermott

Q: I recently saw a fantastic British
show called Personal Affairs, with a
cast that included the chiselled features of Robert Gant.
Will there be another season? – Gilmore, Australia

A: I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Robert tells me there’s nothing
planned so far.

Robert Gant as Rock Van Gelder in Personal Affairs

Q: I recently came across a bunch of
artwork from an artist named David Kawena which featured a large portion of
Disney’s male heroes in underwear poses. I was immediately impressed,
because unlike so much artwork that is out there that is either graphic or
extremely sexual, these works were done in a tasteful way. Can you tell
us anything about the actual artist, and does he have plans for more artwork in
the same line? — DisneyPrinceFan, New Hampshire


Artwork by David Kanewa

A: Does anyone else think it’s beyond ironic that I was able to track down
Robert Gant, Olivia Newton-John, and Lucy fricking Lawless, but unable to get
in touch with a guy who draws Disney princes in their underwear?

It’s true. It seems that David (which is a pseudonym, taken from the name of
a character in Lilo & Stitch) doesn’t
keep a dedicated website, and doesn’t like to reveal anything about his
personal information.

“The more popular I get, the more I see it as a must to have my personal
life on a low profile,” he told Disneylicious.

Next page! Will Turner in his tighty whities and Antonio Sabato Jr.’s alternate cut.

Still, in the same interview, he explained how his collection came about. “When
I started the first drawing in this collection [of Hercules], I was just playing
around with an old idea of mine, of seeing some Disney characters as ’real’ but
not 3D rendered. I always loved pushing the envelope with my art, especially to
the point when people can no longer tell it it’s a drawing or a picture … At
first I thought of drawing Herc dressed up like in the film, but I felt like it
still needed more change to it, a newer look and feel, so the black underwear
came into the picture! Even before I finished it, I already knew that is going
to be a collection!”


Artwork by David Kanewa

Will there be more artwork? “As long as there are Disney heroes left out
there, the collection will not be finished! I’m saying that hoping that the
Disney Studios will keep on bringing us all more new brilliant movies and
heroes … I can’t wait to get to the point where I’ll have Prince Naveen,
from the upcoming The Princess and the Frog
added to my collection!”

The question he doesn’t answer that I would have asked is: What’s been the
reaction from the Disney legal department — and is that part of the reason for
the pseudonym and the low profile?

More of David Kawena’s work can be found here.

Q: I’ve noticed that some movies
marketed to the gay community subsequently have
their gay content removed and are resold under different names and covers to
the "mainstream" DVD market. Examples of this are Deadly Skies
(gay version) which appeared as Force of
Impact
(straight version) or Tides of War (gay version) which appeared as USS Poseidon
(straight version). Is this a common practice? Or are these films just B-movie
exceptions where the producer is trying to squeeze as much money as possible
from a production? – Stuart, Walden, NY

A: Wow, good eye!

Of course, movie studios edit their movies for different audiences all the
time: movies shown on television are edited for profanity, gore and sex, and
movies shown on airplanes sometimes have airplane crashes edited out (in
addition to their profanity, gore, and sex). Decades ago, Hollywood
even sometimes edited movies like The
Pirate
to avoid “offending” Southern audiences with the presence of, well,
black people.

And according to AfterElton.com’s resident film buff Alonso Duralde, studios
have long reused sets and even film footage in other movies.

But with Deadly Skies/Force of Impact,
which starred Antonio Sabato Jr., and Tides
of War/USS Poseidon
, the producers seem to have gone much further. They literally
shot scenes for two completely different versions of the movie involving the
same characters: one with a gay love story between two men (and mild gay sex
scenes) and one with a straight love story between one of the men and a third
female character.

The scenes at right were cut when Deadly Skies
was released as
Force of Impact

The GLBT network here! TV apparently paid part of the production costs in
order to get the rights to the “gay” versions. And to their credit, it enabled
them to produce some of the first gay genre movies ever made; Deadly Skies is about a meteor crashing
into the earth.

I can’t say definitively these are the first filmmakers to ever do something like this,
but I can say, hey, they definitely deserve points for ingenuity.

But is movie-making really that simple? Is a love story or a character arc
something you can create just by inserting an additional scene or two? What about
the idea that every scene in a movie should inform everything else?

Not surprisingly, Deadly Skies,
the only one of these movies I’ve seen, was unwatchable.

Next page! Where are all the gay teens and thinking twice about a Chick-fil-A sandwich.

Q: I’m sure the flying monkey gets
tired of eating bananas, just like the rest of us, and occasionally wants to
partake of a nice juicy deep-fried chicken sandwich.
The only problem is, I’ve read some old articles online that show that my
favorite non-cow-focused fast food joint,
Chick-Fil-A, has been linked to Focus on the Family.
I don’t approve of mainstream corporations promoting a religious agenda. So
should all GLBT people (and monkeys) just flip them the bird? – David, Houston, TX

A: Yup! Chick-fil-A, which is privately owned by a man named Samuel Truett
Cathy, has a long and notorious relationship with the religious right. The
company is currently one of the country’s biggest corporate sponsors of
far-right Christian political activism. They have a long and close association
with Focus on the Family and the National Bible Week organization.

In short, it’s hard to imagine a worse place for a gay person to satisfy his
or her craving for chicken-like food product.

And for the record, the Flying Monkey does not eat fried chicken – but he
does bite off the fingers of gay and bisexual guys who dare to eat at Chick-fil-A!

Q: It seems like all the gay guys are
twenty five and older. Are there any younger men who are out? — Jason

A: You mean actors? It’s true, there aren’t many. Then again, a lot of young
actors haven’t really been famous long enough to have an opportunity to come
out. Others might have only recently found fame and might be wary of rocking
the boat.

Still, there’s One Life to Live’s
Nicholas Rodriguez and Scott Evans, A
Chorus Line
’s Nick Adams, Spring
Awakening
’s Gideon Glick, and Degrassi
High
’s Adamo Ruggiero. Depressingly, except for Nick Adams, all of these
actors are most well-known for playing gay characters.

But assuming you don’t mean
actors, GLSEN estimates (based on their annual surveys of members) that the
average age of coming out these days is about 16-17 – and other research
suggests that kids are coming out at increasingly younger ages, sometimes even
in middle school.

Next page! Steamy gay foreign film suggestions, and the scoop on Dark Blue’s Logan Marshall Green.

Q: I was just browsing through the 50 Best Gay Movies list formed in 2008, and I was wondering if there were any other foreign gay-themed movies that are not represented on list that are worth watching. Well, anything with English translations anyway. Not exactly a multiple language speaker here. — Mikey, Toronto, Ontario

A: The Monkey is a fan of three foreign coming-of-age films: the 1994 French film Wild Reeds (Les roseaux sauvages), the 2000 French film Come Undone (Presque rien), and the 2000 Spanish film Nico and Dani (Krámpack). And just two nights ago, I saw a terrific Swedish film that I absoutely loved, Patrik, Age 1.5 (I reviewed it yesterday).

For the record, Come Undone is a little, uh, steamy.

Incidentally, check out the results of our 2009 poll! But sadly, there are even fewer foreign films than the year before.

Q: What do you know about Logan Marshall-Green? He’s hotter than hot in his role on Dark Blue. — Mark, Hayward, CA

A: I know he’s 32 years old, smokes, has a twin brother named Taylor, and is, in fact, hotter than hot.

Logan Marshall-Green in Dark Blue

It’s too bad you missed his 2005 performance in Swimming in the Shallows, in which he played a shark (complete with a Speedo and a strap-on dorsal fin) in love with a human man.

He’s not gay – he used to date Anna Paquin and now dates Marisa Tomei – but he told AfterElton.com’s own Michael Portantiere that “one of my father figures when I was growing up was gay and many of my friends are."

Q: I get pretty much all of my gay news from AfterElton.com, but I was wondering if you know of any sites that are devoted strictly to gay cinema, past, present & future? – Mercer, Chicago, IL

A: Not only are there no such websites, there are no other websites, period! Do you understand? None! We’re it! This is the only website you should ever visit! (And if you’re tempted to cheat on us, we have ways of telling!)

No, I’m not possessive, why do you ask?

Okay, okay, I’m willing to discuss the possibility of an “open” relationship. But don’t ask me for suggestions! You’ll have to rely on my readers, in the comment section.

Have a question about gay male entertainment? Send it to aftereltonflyingmonkey@yahoo.com! (Please include your city and state and/or country.)