Obscurity Knocks

Earnest, empathetic, industrious, unpretentious, gay Virgo in Milwaukee with a great life, amazing friends, and a wonderful family.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Nice photo of lifeguards at Bradford Beach from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Photo of Andy Roddick's shaved head

Very nice.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sixteen Candles

One of my favorite 1980s movies is "Sixteen Candles," written and directed by the late and great John Hughes. I was only 10 when the film was released in early 1984, and, unfortunately, I didn't see it in the theater. I did see it on VHS in about 1985, and loved it from first viewing. What's not to love? Molly Ringwald stars as Samantha Baker playing the redheaded, freckle-faced, well-meaning 16 year-old that countless teenage girls and gay guys could relate to. Anthony Michael Hall is Ted aka The Geek, a spastic, earnest, and endearing freshman. And, of course, there's Michael Schoeffling as Jake Ryan, the paragon of dreamy guys. Jake is handsome, kind, thoughtful, and considerate. Did I mention that he's smoking hot? Everything a girl or gay guy could ask for in a man. And then some. Like many girls and gay guys of the 80s, Jake Ryan represented the ideal boyfriend for me. I'll admit it, he still does. It's hard to believe that the reclusive Michael Schoeffling will turn 50 later this year. Schoeffling is evidently a furniture craftsman in an Aidan Shaw-esque way.
This article from the "Washington Post," "Real Men Can't Hold a Match to Jake Ryan of Sixteen Candles" by Hank Stuever written in 2004 says it all.
I was definitely influenced by Hughes and the Jake Ryan ideal. After searching for many years for my own Jake Ryan, my first long-term boyfriend was a guy named Jake who I dated from 2001 to 2004. Unfortunately, this Jake was no Jake Ryan. I can now accept that an actual Jake Ryan type of guy probably doesn't exist, but I still believe in a world where that's possible. How could I not?

Sense and Sensibility

Having seen "The Jane Austen Book Club" movie, I decided that I needed to read or re-read all six of Jane Austen's novels. I read "Sense and Sensibility" soon after seeing the Emma Thompson/Kate Winslet movie version of the novel in 1996. But that was more than 14 years ago, so I read it a second time, hopefully this time with more sense than I had back in 1996. There's no need to recount the plot since it is so well known. Most people, me included, can relate to aspects of both Elinor and Marianne Dashwood's personalities. The fun, of course, is seeing Elinor become more comfortable with and able to express her feelings (she gains sensibility), and Marianne to restrain her opinions and passions (she gains sense). I thought that Elinor and Colonel Brandon were better suited than Colonel Brandon and Marianne, although I can see why Austen has things turn out the way that they do. I was also perplexed by the scene where Mr. Willoughby confesses everything to Elinor while Marianne is ill. Willoughby's confession didn't make me have any sympathy for him; it may have even diminished any positive feelings that I did have for him. Perhaps that scene is meant to demonstrate that Elinor has emotion more than trying to create sympathy for Willoughby. Regardless, I have no positive feelings whatsoever for Willoughby. I love the cast of characters that Austen creates, especially Mrs. Jennings and the Steele sisters. A great book, for sure.
9 of 10.

Candy Everybody Wants

After reading his memoir, I next read "Candy Everybody Wants," a work of fiction, by Josh Kilmer-Purcell. I enjoyed this book much more than "I Am Not Myself These Days." "Candy" was a delightful, campy summer read that had me laughing out loud at numerous points along the way. The book tells the story of Jayson Blocher, a gay teenager in 1980s Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, who yearns for fame, and his improbable journey to New York and Los Angeles in pursuit of stardom. Kilmer-Purcell is four years older than me, but the 80s pop culture references were amazing. As a frustrated star-in-waiting in Wisconsin, Jayson writes and directs his own soap opera, "Dallasty!" which is a great send-up of the 80s classic nighttime soaps. There were many hilarious moments in the book, everything from Jayson's mother Toni's art projects to her lesbian lover Franck, to his romance with a former child star, to his friendship with Helen Lawson. As someone who read "Valley of the Dolls" with a book club in the late 90s, I loved all of the Helen Lawson references. The moral of the story seems to be akin to "The Mary Tyler Moore Show": that your family can be more than your biological relatives and that even though your family might be crazy, love is all around. Great fun.

9 of 10.

I Am Not Myself These Days

I recent read "I Am Not Myself These Days" by Josh Kilmer-Purcell, a memoir about his life in the 1990s living in New York. By day, he worked in advertising. By night, he was Aqua, a drag queen who had clear breasts with a goldfish swimming in each one. Kilmer-Purcell drank huge amounts of alcohol in these years. It was interesting to learn about the process involved in Josh becoming Aqua - all of the makeup, grooming, clothing, wigs, etc., that were involved. The memoir is also about Josh's relationship with Jack, a male escort who was addicted to crack cocaine. As you might expect, the combination of drag and a drug addict boyfriend make for some interesting stories. Kilmer-Purcell is most effective at dialogue, and many of the conversations he recounts in the book are fascinating. I also enjoyed the book since Kilmer-Purcell grew up in Oconomowic, Wisconsin, just a bit west of Milwaukee, so we're both gay Wisconsinites. The book showed me that my life in the 90s was way, way more square, vanilla, and boring than his, but I wouldn't trade places with him for anything. An effective memoir, although I've never been a huge fan of movies or books with lots of illegal drug use.

6 of 10.

Andy Roddick

Nice to hear that Andy Roddick shaved his head. Let's hope that it gives him what he needs to win another major at the US Open. It would be great to see Andy win his secnod major.