November 25, 2005


Are all the reviews of RENT this skunk? An excerpt from the San Diego GAY AND LESBIAN TIMES review:

"With all the broad, Liza-like theatrics, forced cheer and eagerness to elongate every note, it plays like a special, AIDS-themed edition of “American Idol” written by Andrew Lloyd Weber."

OUCH! Full review here:


This sounds so awful that I WANT to see it! The next SHOWGIRLS, perhaps? I never saw the play. The ads featuring that drag queen in that Santa Claus suit alway screamed INAUTHENTIC!, and though I'm not a junkie prostitute with AIDS (I no longer hook), I was a thoroughbred East Village artsy-fartsy transvestite bum for 10 years and I never saw ANY drag gravitate toward Santa-ish looks, especially not with candy-striped hose and wrong platforms. I was glad to see that Wilson Heredias (the queen) doesn't do Santa in the ad, but someone said she puts it on at some point in the film. Is there an explanation for this? She's so poor that a Santa coat is the closest she can get to a dress? Or she's a club kid? I hate to fixate on that one outfit and poison an entire play and movie, but it's kind of like seeing a film set in the 1890's with a heroine in a Farrah Fawcett mane. It just kind of makes you think they didn't get anything else right, either.

Someone wrote this in and they have a point:

Anonymous said...

" Interesting review but whilst Rent is far from the perfect vision I had in mind - I thought the role of Angel was played beautifully by Wilson Jermaine Heredia, and Angel wears what she finds in the street, not what some dressmaker spent weeks on. I don't know why he singles this santa flaw out....most of the scenes were filmed in San Francisco, as it resembled the old NY more than the East Village does today."

"He?" I prefer "shim" or "herm" or just plain "it". Well, not that plain!

Honey, Angel may played his part beautifully, but I don't think it's unusual for another drag queen to focus on what another drag queen is wearing, especially if it doesn't ring true for what a drag in any situation would wear as it's male. Drags tend to shun male attire and don't really love being called "he", either! And I was ASKING readers "Why the Santa look?" Now I know. I guess there is an explanation for it. But it seemed to hint that the production was off. It still does actually, cuz I just don't--well, I'll just have to see it. (But wait! I need to save that $10.75 for ma dressmaker who's been working for weeks on a gorgeous new Santa/hooker outfit for me! Actually, after turkey day, it's the additional yardage requireded that's become so prohibitively expensive.)

I wanted to post your comments to give a contrasting viewpoint. In fact, I am not a fan of most musicals. West Side Story, Gypsy, Oliver, Grease and Dreamgirls I love, but "hip" subject matter can seem very contrived when it's subjects are constantly bursting into song, and those songs are corny as hell. But I'll admit that I am not partial to most musicals or gangsta rap, so maybe I should avoid reviewing either. Especially since I've never seen stage or film version of RENT. But I have heard awful snippetsof the tunes sung on morning shows which didn't exactly prod me to rush out and buy overpriced tix.) Besides, original RENT star Daphne Ruben-Vega and I have the same colorist so there's a little loyalty involved cuz she ain't in it!

I will agree with you wholeheartely on one point: the East Village ain't the bohemian paradise it used to be. Fancy boites with velvet ropes now line Avenue C as Sex and the City wannabes stroll by in designer duds! But for those of us who lived and worked in the East Village--maybe not as drug-addicted hookers but often close to it--ie: no one would pay us!-- when it WAS gritty, RENT rang about as true as Rosie O'Donnell's TABOO, which was another big budget Broadway take on a rarified underground scene.


I did enjoy Sarah Silverman in JESUS IS MAGIC. I can't get over how pretty she is! All those face close-ups and it doesn't look as if she even curls her lashes, much less wears mascara! (Or wears multiple pairs of fakes one the way some hags are forced to do...) I'm not the biggest fan of stand-up, but she pushes buttons and "goes there" with racial, AIDS and holocaust humor--oops, am I supposed to capitalize Holocaust? I don't want to demean it by making it start with a lower-case letter! That would be anti-semitic! I mean anti-Semitic!

It's basically a film of her stand-up act, but she breaks away with musical numbers which start on stage but turn into music videos which enable her not only to break the monotony of the "I'm a comic staning up here in jeans and t-shirt", but also show off wigs and lashes and make-up and her singing and songwriting. I can imagine several of these numbers becoming drag lip-synch classics, though there were a few that I did not get at all. In one she reminisces about entertaining for her dying granny and she's suddenly serenading some oldsters in a nursing home with one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel with some outrageously funny refrain like "You're gonna die soon." Her humor is intentionally wrong--her character sizes up situations incorrectly with hilarious results. I always like that type of character in the lead. Like Nell Carter (R.I.P.) on GIMME A BREAK or Madame on MADAME'S PLACE. They were always the firs to falsely accuse someone, draw the wrong conclusion, etc. Sarah's of this school but more generation X. But then again, who ISN'T more generation X than Nell Carter and Madame?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting review but whilst Rent is far from the perfect vision I had in mind - I thought the role of Angel was played beautifully by Wilson Jermaine Heredia, and Angel wears what she finds in the street, not what some dressmaker spent weeks on. I don't know why he singles this santa flaw out....most of the scenes were filmed in San Francisco, as it resembled the old NY more than the East Village does today.

12:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bunny, once again you're absolutely right! "Rent" sucks! You KNOW if the writer hadn't died so tragically that this show would've come and gone without a whisper. Cheesey songs, fake "edginess," and now the original cast starring in the movie are waaaaayyyyyy too old to be portraying the same characters they did 10 years ago.

8:56 AM  
Blogger Lady Bunny said...

Rusqueena--you are the one that's right! I didn't wanna mention their advanced ages cuz I'm not exactly "short in the tooth" maself!! But fake "edginess" is the worst! That's why I murder an infant daily just to keep my game tight!

10:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

rent a wreck! boy did i want my money back after seeing this thud. i love movie musicals, but this film is soooo flat. i was expecting it to be bad, but i thought it would be sooo bad it would be good, in a campy showgirls like way. Rent can't even achieve those heights.

8:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I haven't seen rent - I refuse to after hearing some songs from the soundtrack.

however, the filming that took place in my and many neighbourhoods around SF really livened things up for a while, but the fake snow was a bitch to get off a fire escape.

"Jesus is magic" is probably the best thing I've seen in about two years.

Bunny, wanna help me plan my b/day party in NY this september? It'll be great and all "gifts" will be to amfAR :)

11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, so Rent sucked for the first 15 minutes... but that Queen is pretty! He, as a man, just has a natural beauty to his face. And stole every scene, to me, anyway. Without the wig but with the makeup, he's got that "middle-aged black woman" look. Fab.

1:24 AM  
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