Thursday, June 5, 2014

Hedwig--It All Comes Around Like Karma

What's going on here? I'm actually posting for a third time this week! Not sure why I've been so motivated recently, but it works. 
 
Neil Patrick Harris as Hedwig

I'm really looking forward to this weekend. We're going to NYC. That is exciting to be sure, but we have a reason to go. We are going to see Neil Patrick Harris star in Hedwig & the Angry Inch! Yes! On Broadway! Can you believe that this little snip of a musical has actually gone mainstream? Any of you out there who actually read what I say know how much I love Hedwig & also that I hoped that when I showed it to Xing Fu, he'd get it too.  And so, four years later, we're off to see it live. Every year around February, Xing Fu & I watch Hedwig--it is a reminder of the things that bring us together. I'm very happy that we have these special reminders. And so, I am re-printing my original post about The Hedwig Test & I urge everyone to see the movie with John Cameron Mitchell--the original Hedwig--so awesome. And maybe you'll pass the Hedwig test too! "I put on some make-up, turn on the tape deck, I pull the wig down from the shelf..."

  Would You Pass the Hedwig Test




I love the musical/movie Hedwig & the Angry Inch--I know I've written about it a bunch.  I've seen both the musical (directed by my late friend Terry Long (I miss him!!)) and the movie quite a lot.  It is a bit twisted but it is certainly a love story.  But I think I've developed a test (at least, that's what Xing Fu called it way back when).  The test consists of whether or not a person can appreciate the movie & all of its quirks, & complexities; the humor & the pathos.  


Briefly:


Born a boy named Hansel whose life's dream is to find his other half, Hedwig reluctantly submits to a sex change operation in order to marry an American G. I. and get over the Berlin Wall to freedom. The operation is botched, leaving her with the aforementioned 'angry inch'. Finding herself high, dry and divorced in a Kansas trailer park, she pushes on to form a rock band and encounters a lover/protégé in young Tommy Gnosis, who eventually leaves her, steals her songs and becomes a huge rock star.

A bitter yet witty Hedwig with her pan-Slavic band, The Angry Inch, shadows Tommy's stadium tour, performing in near-empty restaurants for bewildered diners and a few die-hard fans. Through a collage of songs, flashbacks and animation, Hedwig tells her life story while on a tour of chain strip-mall seafood restaurants, trying to capitalize on her tabloid celebrity as the supposed ex-lover of famed rock star, Tommy Gnosis. Somewhere between the crab cakes and the cramped motel rooms, between the anguish and the acid-wash, she pursues her dreams and discovers the origin of love.



There are a lot of references to Aristophanes' speech in Plato's Symposium.  Most specifically in the song the Origin of Love.  My last post was an excerpt from that song.  The movie/musical is full of references to mythology, Christianity, etc., and how aspects of Hedwig's story mirror these ideas.  Additionally, many of the songs also reflect the concept of opposites & contradiction--like I said, there's a lot there.  Also a wonderful homage to glam rock, a la David Bowie androgyny.  I recommend it highly--if you can pass the test that is.

So, early on, I suggested to Xing Fu that we watch this film--in my mind, if a guy can appreciate all the levels, the humor & a little bit of discomfort (transgenders anyone?), then he & I will probably have a lot to talk about in the future.  Not that this is a prime indicator of the success of a possible relationship with a guy, but if he's open-minded, & gets it...well, he gets beyond my 50 first date screening pretty quickly.  Mebbe even closer to prince versus frog status....


I think I've created a monster.  Xing Fu absolutely got it--I knew he would, of course!   And he references the movie often as well.  Passed with flying colors!


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