Thursday, May 30, 2019

night of a thousand judys

Here is an extremely lovely image by the artist Bats Langley.

This piece and many others by other visual artists will be part of an auction at Justin Sayre's Night of a Thousand Judys: A Benefit Performance for The Ali Forney Center which will be held this Saturday, June 1st.

Ticket info here.

about The Ali Forney Center

The Ali Forney Center is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive agency dedicated to LGBTQ homeless youths—assisting nearly 1,400 youths per year through a 24-hour Drop-In Center which provides over 65,000 meals annually, medical and mental health services through an on-site clinic, and a scattered site housing program. AFC’s goal is to provide them with the support and services they need to escape the streets and begin to live healthy and independent lives. For more information on The Ali Forney Center, visit

Friday, May 24, 2019

darling mary

My poem "Darling Mary," which appeared in audio form on the lovely podcast Other People's Flowers.

Darling Mary

-after Julie Christie

The world relief billboard peeled
for my lips—medallion neck-
lace, brushed over Dankworth’s
with lilting jazz. My story begins
as Mary staring out in a stable scene.
I want to feel not so terribly Chelsea
out of the phone booth swinging
handbag, polka dot scarf, binoculars.
I toss my fur to the bed, kicking off
my kitten heels into the white shag.
To get by, to turn heads, I have to be
frightfully lean, smoking Kent’s
inside another glass condo up
in polluted haze. I carry Revelation
luggage and cablegrams. I want to be
The Happiest Girl in the World. I am only
a face on a billboard. Let me stew here.
Once, from the nativity, I pulled out
Mary and felt the hard ridges
of her blue robe—I wanted to be her,
blond and all wrapped up, nothing to
touch me but myself and dust,
a lone wolf in permanent prayer.

-Jeffery Berg

Thursday, May 23, 2019

meep revisits the indies of the '80s

For my generation, it seems that we remember the 90s as the ultimate decade for indie films, but there were so many in the 80s, some like Dirty Dancing and Heathers, that became pop hits and VHS staple that we forget that they were actually indies to begin with! Meep revisits this decade alongside Daniel Archer on the Retro Movie Love Podcast!


Music video for Madonna's "Crave," featuring Swae Lee, my fave of her singles released so far.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

the souvenir

There's an on-the-nose moment in Joanna Hogg's The Souvenir where the protagonist graduate film student Julie (Honor Swinton Bryne) dissects the fragmented nature of Hitchcock's shower sequence and the lingering shot of Janet Leigh's body afterwards. The Souvenir, a hazy account of Julie's new studies in film interlaced with her relationship with a troubled gent Anthony (Tom Burke), is fragmented in of itself. The film chooses to withhold information and takes visual and sonic leaps: shots of Christmasy London, with strewn lights twinkling and Chrissie Hynde's plantive vocal wailing away on The Pretenders' "2,000 Miles," suddenly cut-off. "Sometimes in a dream / you appear," is one of the lyrics to that song--apt to Hogg's film, which feels like pieces of memory stitched together, often in closed interiors (Julie's apartment, the tight bedroom--with its amusingly drawn line between the couple in bed, the film studies warehouse, the editing rooms, a railway car). When the film chooses to breathe outside--we see two memorable shots in particular--a line of trees and high, grayish blue sky (a visual motif) and the bucolic, rambling fields of a country estate. The muted, pastel-ish palette of Jean-Honoré Fragonard's titular painting, which is referenced directly in the picture, is integral in Julie's posh, hushed settings.

Though the aloofness, the fuzziness, the slow pace, the repetitious nature and the frustrating aspects of Julie and Anthony's relationship can be trying, it's undeniable that Hogg has crafted a finely-tuned, dreamy story of a woman from privileged means coming into her own. As a counterpoint, Julie's mother Rosalind (the always distinctive Tilda Swinton) in her pristine, perfectly costumed get-ups (breakout work by Grace Snell) seems similarly stifled and inexpressive--watch her try to voice her concerns in a dinner scene, and you feel all the build-up of her character's thoughts trying to be set free--it's a fantastic moment. Julie seems to be trying to carve out a different path for herself and later, Rosalind seems inspired by Julie to place some of her energies elsewhere as well. Even though Rosalind is a small character in theory and Anthony is a much bigger, parading prescence, I ultimately felt that the story emerged most effectively as a mother and daughter tale--what they hide and reveal to one another and what is understood. ***1/2

-Jeffery Berg

Wednesday, May 8, 2019