Friday, February 20, 2009

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's ... Milkman!

"Steve [Beery] was dressed as Robin from the Batman comics, so the supervisor introduced himself by tossing out an effectively hokey line—'Hop on my back, Boy Wonder, and I’ll fly you to Gotham City.'"

So writes Armistead Maupin in the moving introduction to a new book about the late, great Harvey Milk, as excerpted in this TowleRoad blogpost.

In related developments, I'm a little surprised and very much disappointed that Gus Van Sant's extraordinary HM biopic hasn't yet met a bigger splash in the culture at large--I was fully expecting it to be as big a hit among hets and younguns as Brokeback Mountain before it, but that doesn't appear to be the case. (One of my thirtysomething coworkers the other day asked me, in all earnestness, "Why is that movie called 'Milk,' anyway?") My personal reaction to the film was closer to admiration than transformation; it didn't change my life, but only because my life was already changed--as in politicized--years ago. Even so, I think Milk is the most honest portrayal of activism I've ever seen, capturing both the tedium of day-to-day organizing (all those bulk mailings to stuff!) and the occasional hot sex one encounters along the way (all those bulk males to stuff!).

I know it's supposed to be Slumdog's year, but I'll have my fingers crossed for Van Sant, Sean Penn, screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, and their very fine movie come Sunday night.

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