Robin Williams will break your heart in Boulevard

A beloved American icon who left us way too soon, it’s hard to watch just about any Robin Williams performance without feeling some sense of loss and sadness. His performance in the melancholy drama Boulevard, one of his last, adds even another layer.

Directed by Dito Montiel from a script by Douglas Soesbe, the film follows Nolan Mack (Williams), a middle-aged man who has worked at the same bank for almost three decades in a life of monotony. He and his wife Joy (Kathy Baker) have embraced their marriage as a convenient and comfortable distraction from facing reality. However one day, what starts as an aimless drive down an unfamiliar street turns into a life-altering decision for Nolan when he meets a troubled young hustler named Leo (Roberto Aguire) on his drive home from visiting his ailing father at a hospital.

Nolan begins to seek Leo out and spend time with him. The relationship is never consummated, but they spend hours talking. As Nolan spends more time with Leo, he finds himself breaking from the confines of his old life and coming to terms with who he really is: a gay man stuck in the closet. The more he awakens to his true self, the stranger he appears to his friends and loves ones – especially his wife. An unavoidable confrontation – one that should have been had ages ago – starts to brew.

Co-starring Bob Odenkirk and Giles Matthey, Boulevard takes an unflinching look at the difficulties of coming out late in life and features a deeply vulnerable performance from Williams worth cherishing. The film also comes from a place of honesty. Screenwriter Douglas Soesbe underwent a similar coming out experience, telling Creative Screenwriting, “I came out very late and with a great deal of guilt. This movie is not about me, but I really understand that character.”

Boulevard is now streaming on Dekkoo. You can watch the trailer below.

Now Available: After Stonewall

In 1969 the police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City’s Greenwich Village, leading to three nights of rioting by the city’s gay community. With this outpouring of courage and unity the Gay Liberation Movement had begun.

After Stonewall, the sequel to the seminal 1984 doc Before Stonewall, chronicles the history of lesbian and gay life from the riots at Stonewall to the end of the twentieth century.

Narrated by Melissa Etheridge, this film captures the hard work, struggles, tragic defeats and exciting victories experienced during this time, and it explores how AIDS dramatically changed the direction of the movement.

The two films, Before & After, tell the remarkable tale of how LGBT people, a heretofore hidden and despised group, became a vibrant and integral part of America’s family, and, indeed, the world community.

Featuring interviews with Dorothy Allison, Michael Bronski, Rita Mae Brown, Barney Frank, Barbara Gittings, Arnie Kantrowitz, Larry Kramer, Craig Lucas, Armistead Maupin, Leslea Newman, Barbara Smith, and many more!

Watch the trailer for After Stonewall below. The film is now available on Dekkoo.

Thoughts on Writhing

HIV is the shadow that seems to lurk behind all gay men. Due to poor sex education in schools that all but ignore homosexual safe-sex practices, a lack of openness with parents in talking about sex to their queer youths, and other various reasons, HIV continues to be prevalent among gay men. According to a study the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ran in 2017, 66% of people with HIV obtained it from male-to-male sexual contact. For the younger generations who didn’t experience the onset of the AIDS epidemic firsthand, there’s often an attitude of “that couldn’t happen to me.” That is, until there’s a scare, and they end up in a doctor’s office waiting for the results of their antibody test.

Reed Alvarado in Writhing

This is the very scenario shown in Writhing, a beautiful short film that mixes contemporary dance and ethereal narrative to convey the agonizing feeling after your finger is pricked. Director and writer, Robert John Torres, has created a stunning and meaningful work of art that perfectly encapsulates the experience many gay men know all too well. The beauty of this film lies in the contrast between Everett (the main character) as he goes in to get the HIV test and the Red Man that twists and writhes in haunting shots that evoke feelings of pain and turmoil.

Keanu Uchida in Writhing

It seems that Torres’ concept of sporadic contemporary dance symbolizes both the gut-churning anticipation of waiting to find out your HIV status and the disease itself. The Red Man is painted head to toe in red and adorned with leather restraints including a mask, juxtaposing HIV and all of the stigma, fear, and tolls it takes on its bearer with the physical act of dancing.

Elizabeth B. Bates and Reed Alvarado in Writhing

For the majority of the short film, we see the dancer in a bed as Everett has quiet moments of fearful contemplation. The Red Man appears more and more as the film continues, the climax of his role appearing when Everett is sharing his fears with the counselor administering the test. It’s at this point when the Red Man is showcased in a strobing double-exposure where he looks as if he’s being tortured. It isn’t until the counselor gives Everett some kind words of support that the red figure is seen outside, dancing with more grace than we’ve previously seen and breaking free from his symbolic ties to the bed.

Writhing - Original Poster Artwork

This short film is a mesmerizing foray into one man’s journey that dips in and out of reality, and we couldn’t recommend it more. You can view Writhing right here on Dekkoo, available for streaming now.

Watch the new gay series Bad Boy… or we’ll give you a spanking

Sort of like The Odd Couple with the fast-paced sensibility of 30 Rock, the brand-new series Bad Boy  – now available on Dekkoo – explores the dynamic between Mack (Tony Harth), a young, dumb-ish “bad boy” with a crazy past, and Scott (Artie O’Daly), a straight-laced man Mack has chosen to adopt as his “Daddy”… much to Scott’s frustration.

Both characters are gay (Artie is in real life; Tony, sadly, is not) and gay themes and undertones are woven into the comedy.  Plus, there is a hell of a twist in store.

After releasing the first episode online, Bad Boy garnered hundreds of thousands of views. With limited resources, the creative team behind the show set out to complete what were clearly in-demand new episodes.

The lead actors originally met doing a play in Los Angeles. Artie, who also directs the series, is a prolific actor who has been on shows such as “Modern Family”, “Silicon Valley”, “The Big Bang Theory” and “General Hospital.” He also co-created the web series Successful People (which you can also watch now on Dekkoo). Tony is a recent arrival to L.A. from the state of Wisconsin and has already appeared in multiple commercials and sketches.  Together, they made Bad Boy, which took on a life of its own. Now they’re chasing it wherever it goes!

The first four short episodes are all available now on Dekkoo.

BadBoy

The Importance of Organic Queerness in Single Record

For Dekkoo viewers who have not yet watched Single Record, watch out! There are some minor spoilers ahead.

Still from Single Record

Single Record is a six-episode documentary-style series that follows an up-and-coming rapper named Aaron Hunter as he navigates the rocky road of the New York music industry. Along with a killer soundtrack, the show’s cast puts on a spectacularly engaging performance that will keep viewers engrossed as they watch Aaron teeter between the brink of stardom and tragedy.

Watching Single Record was refreshing for many reasons. For one, this great show features a nearly all-black cast. This is monumental for queer kids of color who don’t often get to see people who look like them on the screen. It’s no secret that when it comes to queer film and TV, there’s usually a focus on thin, white gays or twinks. But the queer community is so much more diverse than that, and Single Record is a great reminder of the importance of representation.

Still from Single Record

The other reason Single Record stood out for me was its approach to its queer content. The mainstream media has only recently given queer people room to strut their stuff, but their roles in these stories can sometimes come off as forced or cliché. Often, we see queer people playing the token gay best friend or forced into a role where it seems as if the writers all gathered together and said, “You know what would be fun? A gay person!” While roles like these are still important and no doubt make a difference in the fight for representation, they can feel a bit contrived. When this happens, we are given some pretty flat characters that seem less like real people and more like stereotypes. What these characters often lack is an authenticity that seems reserved only for the straight characters. Why is that? Because the straight characters aren’t being constrained to a pre-conceptualized storyline determined by their sexuality.

Still from Single Record

Just like straight people, queer individuals are multifaceted and have a lot more to them than just being queer. But when it comes to roles in mainstream media, it seems like the only screen time queer people get feature the same old story arcs over and over again to the point where it all feels recycled. Single Record, however, is a great antithesis to this vicious circle of tired tropes. In the show, we are first introduced to Aaron as the talented rapper that he is. His queerness doesn’t even come into play until the second episode when he and Harmon share a kiss late night at the studio. And even long after that kiss, the show doesn’t rely on Aaron’s sexuality. Rather, it allows a queer character to navigate the ups and downs of his life as any normal person would.

Still from Single Record

You can see the organic chemistry for yourself right here on Dekkoo. Stream Single Record here!

The gay classic Bedrooms and Hallways comes home to Dekkoo

Released in 1999 (a busy year for gay cinema that included Boys Don’t Cry, Better Than Chocolate, The Talented Mr. Ripley and Trick, among others) Bedrooms and Hallways was writer-director Rose Troche’s long-awaited follow-up to her 1994 indie sensation Go Fish. This film proved a complete departure from her lesbian milestone: a hilarious comedy set in London about the tangled love affairs of a gay man.

Failed romantic Leo (Trainspotting co-star Kevin McKidd) is just hitting thirty. His kitschy roommate Darren (Tom Hollander) only reminds him of what he’s missing, merrily touting Darren’s frequent, illicit meetings with a lusty real estate agent (Hugo Weaving). So with nothing to lose, Leo joins a men’s group to bond with his fellow males and get his mind off romance. However, the latter notion didn’t account for sexy straight Irishman Brendan (James Purefoy). But wait… is Brendan straight? For that matter, is Leo? Life is never as black and white as it seems, especially after Leo and his group go on a drum-thumping, chest-banging camping retreat where a snarl of love triangles and jealousy explodes.

Colorful production design, glossy production values and an energetic ensemble cast (including Simon Callow and Jennifer Ehle) contribute to the lighthearted proceedings, of which Hollander takes the cake. Darren’s snippy dialogue and misinformed sexual antics are a true highlight.

Two decades ago this year, before she became one of the masterminds behind The L Word, Rose Troche rattled the straight/gay/bi boundary lines and shook the sexual tree. The result is a knee-slapping spoof of gay life at the turn of the millennium and the New Age movement, as well as a witty and prescient send-up of any and all rigid notions of sexuality.

Bedrooms and Hallways is now available to stream on Dekkoo.

 

Get Out meets Grindr in The Skin of the Teeth

Get Out meets Grindr in The Skin of the Teeth, a sinister new drama-thriller from writer-director Matthew Wollin, who evokes the feel of a contemporary film noir.

Pascal Arquimedes and Donal Brophy in The Skin of the Teeth

When Josef (Pascal Arquimedes) arrives at John’s (Donal Brophy) apartment for a date, their prickly energy slowly gives way to an unusual and genuine chemistry. But after Josef swallows a pill with unclear effects, the night starts to take a shocking turn.

Chuja Seo in The Skin of the Teeth

Josef is suddenly plunged into a surreal world where he is forced into a literal and figurative interrogation of just who and what he is.

Pascal Arquimedes in The Skin of the Teeth

While evoking the surreal work of David Lynch, this wild new film examines race, sex, love and identity in a mind-bending way – and the lead performance will keep you holding your breath from beginning to end.

Pascal Arquimedes in The Skin of the Teeth

The Skin of the Teeth is now available on Dekkoo. Check out the trailer below.