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Houston Voice, No. 1002, January 7, 2000
File 009
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Houston Voice, No. 1002, January 7, 2000 - File 009. 2000-07-01. University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. December 14, 2017. http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/5155/show/5134.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(2000-07-01). Houston Voice, No. 1002, January 7, 2000 - File 009. Montrose Voice. University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/5155/show/5134

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Houston Voice, No. 1002, January 7, 2000 - File 009, 2000-07-01, Montrose Voice, University of Houston Libraries, accessed December 14, 2017, http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/5155/show/5134.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Houston Voice, No. 1002, January 7, 2000
Contributor
  • Hennie, Matthew A.
Publisher Window Media
Date July 1, 2000
Language English
Subject
  • LGBTQ community
  • LGBTQ people
  • Gay liberation movement
Place
  • Houston, Texas
Genre
  • newspapers
Type
  • Text
Identifier OCLC: 31485329
Rights In Copyright: This item is protected by copyright. Copyright to this resource is held by the creator or current rights holder, and the resource is provided here for educational purposes. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without permission of the copyright owner. Users assume full responsibility for any infringement of copyright or related rights.
Note This item was digitized from materials loaned by the Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM).
Item Description
Title File 009
Transcript VOICES AND ECHOES JANUARY 7, 2000 • HOUSTON VOICE EDITORIAL STAFF Associate Publisher Mike Fleming mike@houstonvoJce.com Editor Matthew A. Hennie editor@houstonvoice.com Production Bethany Bartran - Graphic Designer Mike Swenson - Graphic Designer Contributors Rich Arenschieldt, Kay Y. Dayus, Trayce Diskin. Earl Dittman. OL. Groover, Robert B. Henderson, Gip Plaster, Ella Tyler Photographers Dalton DeHart, Kim Thompson, Terry Sullivan Advertising Sales Richard B. Hayes Ken Burd Office Administrator Marshall Rainwater Classifieds & Directory Carolyn A. Roberts Carolyn White National Advertising Representative Rivendell Marketing Company, Inc. 212-242-6863 Publishers Chris Crain Rick Ellsasser A WindowMedia Publication I Newspaper [ jMews Ld Guild a CHARTER MEMBER GREATER HOUSTON GAY & LESBIAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE Established 1974 as the Montrose Star. 500 Lovett Blvd., Suite 200 Houston, Texas 77006 (713) 529-8490 (800) 729-8490 Fax:(713)529-9531 Contents copyright 1999 Office hours: 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays To submit a letter Letters should be fewer than 400 words. We reserve the right to edit for content and length. We will withhold names upon request, but you must include your name and phone number for verification. Please send mail to Houston Voice. 500 Lovett Blvd., Suite 200, Houston, Texas 77006; fax (713) 529-9531 or e-mail to editor@houston- voice.com. Opinions expressed therein do not reflect those of the Houston Voice. The evolution of the gay stalker (and the gay activist) In "The Talented Mr. Ripley," Matt Damon plays a gay man whose obsession with socialite Dickie Greenleaf (played by Jude Law) inspires a killing spree shocking for its amorality. Among Tom Ripley's victims, after he duplicitously wins his way into high society, are the two wealthy young men with whom he falls in love, a perverted expression of affection if ever there were one. It's not the first time in recent years that Hollywood has offered up a gay stalker for the big screen. In 1992, "Basic Instinct" enraged gay activists, who took issue with Sharon Stone's chilling, seductive portrayal of a man-hating bisexual. That same year, "Silence of the Lambs" featured as its villain a misogynous, effeminate man who collected the skin from dead bodies to create a "dress" for him to wear. A year later, activists took issue with "Six Degrees of Separation," in which rapper/actor Will Smith played a young black man who won his way into white Manhattan society in Ripley-esque fashion by pretending to be Sidney Poitier's son. Although at the time, it wasn't the less- than-flattering portrayal of a gay character in "Six Degrees" that angered the activists so much as it was Smith's highly publicized refusal to do an on-screen male-male kiss for fear it would ruin his career. But at the end of the decade, with gays never more powerful in Hollywood, there hasn't been a peep about the negative image homosexuality portrayed in "Mr. Ripley." And that's a very good thing. As we enter a new decade, Hollywood has happily evolved and so have gay activists, and both are smarter about how to handle homosexuality on the screen, though both still have something to learn. For one thing, "Mr. Ripley" doesn't have the history that would suggest insensitivity toward homosexuality The story is based on a novel by lesbian author Patricia Highsmith, and the adaptation by directory Anthony Minghella actually adds to the homoerotic content. (See story, Page 15) Minghella injected a more overt, 1990s gay sensibility to Ripley's desire for Dickie, which was portrayed less sexually in Highsmith's early '50s original. Even more important, Minghella added a new, completely likable gay character, Peter Smith Kingsley (played by Jack Davenport). That Mr. Ripley finds himself incapable of accepting love says more about his character than the movie's view of homosexuality, and Ripley's cruel treatment of the Kingsley character only puts an exclamation point on the image. Minghella has also been refreshingly open about the tightrope he walked in updating Highsmith's story. "I'm desperate that no one infer a connection between [Ripley's] actions and his sexuality," Minghella told the New York Times. "But it's a sorry state of affairs if you can only write about a homosexual character who behaves well—that's another kind of tyranny, I think." Minghella's point is well-taken, especially in a turn-of-the-century Hollywood more notable for its well-adjusted, if one-dimensional, gay characters in movies like "American Beauty" and "As Good As It (MicwwfWimwT^vetoiwiM Vermont Gets." As Minghella himself puts it so well, the flesh-and-blood Ripley, warts and all, is far more interesting to watch and despite his amorality is at times much more sympathetic. "The minute you try to pull back from what's sensual and erotic, you're losing your nerve, and I just didn't want to shrink away from the romance of it; it's very tender to me," he said. With all the positive role models in Hollywood today, it's a lot easier than it was in 1992 to swallow the gay psychopaths, and it is a more mature gay audience that understands central characters—gay and straight—must be tragically flawed to be worthy of the casting. Low marks for the promo But if Minghella has earned high marks for his intelligent, sensitive update of Highsmith's story, Miramax Films deserves a failing grade for its promotion of "Mr. Ripley." In ubiquitous commercials and film trailers, the studio portrayed the story as a typical boy- girl stalking. The previews had you believe not that Ripley wanted Dickie, but that he wanted to be Dickie, and that included a relationship with his girl Marge (played by Gwyneth Paltrow). A number of film critics even repeated the studio tripe that Damon's character was "bisexual," though there is absolutely no indication of it in the movie. Some movie-goers took the bait and weren't too thrilled with the homoerotic love story they got fed instead. While there's a certain juiceness to the idea that Hollywood is subverting popular culture by luring mainstream audiences to a movie with a gay love story, it's much more likely that Miramax was simply promoting the Christmas movie it wished Minghella had delivered. "The studio would have been thrilled if [Tom's attraction to Dickie] was transmogrified into a love for Marge—he wants the life, so he wants the girl!" Minghella confided to the Times. Perhaps the movie's strong box office performance—"Mr. Ripley" finished number two last week—will embolden studio promoters to be more direct in the future. More honest packaging—and maybe an actual love scene since Damon like Will Smith before him avoids the dreaded male-male kiss—would have made "The Talented Mr. Ripley" a truly evolved portrayal of the gay psychopathic stalker
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