State I Mind


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I chose a strange time in my life to start watching Gilmore Girls. On the one hand, I could identify with the puckish and cherubic Rory in that we were both less intelligent than we claim to be and also that we lived and went to school in Connecticut. On the other, I hate Connecticut. I assure you, I don’t attend university in Connecticut for anything the state has to offer like its weird obsession with WASPs, nor for the Wi-Fi signal in my dorm room that struggles to get a strong connection not unlike my escapades on Grindr. I attend for the wonderful people I have met, the generous and kind faculty that bestows their wisdom in one ear and out the other, and the infrequent times they have churros. Continue reading


I Like It Gruff: On Discovering the Jagged Perfection of Billy Hough


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houghAt the time of this writing, my relationship with the musical virtuosity of Billy Hough is limited to three experiences. But I think you only need one in order to understand the strange, affecting power he has. But you’ll want to experience it as much, as frequently as possible. I saw him three nights in a row: first, at Scream Along with Billy Hough at the Grotta Bar, a gathering or event of sorts wherein he and his bassist Sue cover an album, which they have done for ten years; and twice at the Porchside Bar at the Gifford House, where he is the resident piano man, taking requests from patrons, covering pretty much anything you could want. And then wrapping it with barbed wire.  Continue reading

If This Room Could Talk


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If Big Brother were listening outside of His dorm room door, he would probably hear very odd sounds coming from it. Not the sounds of ecstasy from a hookup, but, more often than not, really passionate, carnal sex. And the interjection of a sound of disgust. But He’s not having that sex. It’s probably coming from some art film He’s watching and, were Big Brother to peek into a non-existent keyhole, he’d find Him, donned in sweatpants sitting at my desk, arms folded, looking at the screen with complete contempt. The people making love not only got to be wanted and desired, they got to have those drives fulfilled, even fictionally. Continue reading

38 Things More Interesting Than Listening to Me Complain About My Broken Heart


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Recently, I had my heart broken. You’ve probably heard about it, thanks to my best selling novella, several blog posts, a poem, a television pilot, an Off-Broadway stage adaptation, and $30 worth of overcharges from text messages sent to you. But don’t worry, my broken heart is boring to me too. And, not unlike watching Boyhood at half speed, having to hear about the various tumultuous things in my personal life is mind numbing, probably allowing the thought of wanting to stab yourself in the face with a fork briefly skirt across your mind. Tiring. Exhausting. But if dealing and listening with me is tiring to you, I can assure you it’s as tiring, if not moreso, to be me. So here is a list of things that are more interesting and/or more fun than listening to me complain about my broken heart and eating ice cream.

  1. listening to a speech by Sarah Palin
  2. a chess tournament
  3. the world series of poker
  4. Olympic curling
  5. CNN’s coverage of The Republican National Convention
  6. Werner Herzog eating his shoe
  7. Werner Herzog reading Fifty Shades of Grey
  8. a Bela Tarr marathon
  9. a film by James Franco
  10. a novel by James Franco
  11. a poem by James Franco
  12. a class taught by James Franco
  13. Win Ben Stein’s Money
  14. listening to me talk about Xavier Dolan forever
  15. Andy Warhol’s Empire
  16. reading Infinite Jest one page a day
  17. reading Ulysses backwards
  18. eating lasagna with me
  19. watching the Glee porn parody
  20. reading Lost theories
  21. talking to 9/11 truthers
  22. talking to Obama truthers
  23. watching paint dry
  24. going to the gym with a box of fries, reading an issue of FilmComment, and watching your friends work out
  25. learning Latin
  26. saving Latin
  27. pushing Jack off the floating plank of wood
  28. reading The Stand
  29. playing Madonna’s cover of “American Pie” on a 24 hour loop
  30. listening to people say that Don Draper is a bad person
  31. The Godfather
  32. also, the novel.
  33. Apple key note speeches
  34. using PhotoShop blindfolded
  35. listening to the audiobook version of Proust’s In Search of Lost Time
  36. “Don’t Be Tardy to the Party”
  37. that gay porn movie where the twink watches The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
  38. an endless game of Monopoly

So, you have my sincere apologies if you’ve had to hear me whine and moan. But now at least you have some things to think about while I blather on at you.

On a Little Outrage


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I have felt very mixed about being angry lately. I’m already a pretty tumultuous person to deal with when it comes to certain issues, though try as often as I can to remain tempered and egalitarian. People won’t make racist jokes around me, and they won’t make homophobic jokes around me, and they are disinclined to say sexist things around me. On the one hand, good. On the other hand, it insinuates that do it around other people, and not me, in case I get “outraged”, so to speak.

Outrage is a funny thing. On the one hand, with the recent Trevor Noah thing and other events like it, I feel like it’s a little bit overblown. But then I think about the other times I’ve been annoyed at something that has offended me or My People, as it were. And I step back. People often have the same reactions, thinking that my annoyance at a particular thing, is overblown, because it’s often not detrimental to their well-being or even concerning to them. Who are they to silence me? If it matters to me, why should they be annoyed at my annoyance? Conversely, who am I to get annoyed at others’ reactions?

So, perhaps I do think that there are things that seem like mountains made out of molehills. At the same time, I don’t think it’s really my place to try to quash that person’s voice. We have every right to be annoyed, or even be outraged at, things. But I think it’s also important that we just take a moment when we see something that angers us, breathe, and think. Why are we angry? What does this mean to us?

I don’t really think “Outrage Culture” is a thing, personally. We’ve always been angry. We now just have the tool to express it. And, with most things, it’s a double edged sword.

So, I think we should think about our own reactions, but also don’t be inclined to yell at someone who is angry, regardless of whether it affects you or not. I think these sorts of reactions are important to understanding ourselves and the world around us. And I think that’s worth thinking about.

6 Tips on How to Get Laid at a Film Festival


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Journalists might be the worst people ever at a fest, but we are also usually the most sexually repressed. Film Festivals, whether you’re at Sundance, Cannes, New York, Berlin, Venice, etc., are sort of like the Olympic Village, in as much as people wish it were like the Olympic Village. All these relatively attractive writers with varying degrees of scoliosis and carpal tunnel trapped together in the same proximity for long stretches of time in a dark theater. So, if you’re interested in making your festival experience memorable, apart from the movies, by way of doing your own version of Don’t Look Now or, if you’re into that, Salo, here are some tips on how to score at a film fest. Continue reading

9 Questions You Get When You Tell People You’re a Film Critic


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I’ve been writing on the internet about movies for a very long time, and you can tell because my scoliosis, sour temper, and carpal tunnel make it seem like I’m in my mid-sixties. Seven years is a long time in the online world, as any formerly suited and coiffed internet CEO from the dot com boom will tell you. (They might actually look at you, all haggard, their bank account drained from the numerous therapists they’ve gone through, and tell you that three months in real time is seven years in Dot Com Time.) When I tell friends, peers, acquaintances, enemies, and lawyers that I’m a freelance film critic, they immediately ask numerous questions, because nothing is more interesting than a teenager who sits on his ass all day and writes about the most popular form of entertainment in the world. With all of my varied and eclectic experiences (I have sat in many a Starbucks to write), I thought I might make a handy guide for any other internet writing movie dwellers. Here are some questions you might get and how to respond to them.

Continue reading

Brief Encounters: Redux


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(Author’s Note: This is an updated version of an essay I wrote earlier this year. And with this, I also announce that my terrible blog Grindrhouse is pretty much done.)

I came out as bisexual in October (at the ripe age of nineteen and on Coming Out Day, or as I like to call it, Escape From Tomorrow Day) and by that time I was already a cynical bastard, so I assumed that my ability to find love and affection had gone out the window a decade ago. Because my “Gaydar” is so poor (it ends up being, more often than not, wishful thinking), I decided to download Grindr, the ostensibly gay dating application. This is technically a misnomer, as one is as likely to find someone to actually date on the app as one is likely to bump into Albert Einstein on the streets of Manhattan. Next week.

I am an occasional user of the application (ha), yes, and my experience has thus far been fruitful. There are some things I love about it, honestly. The culture, the experience, the glaringly bright design of the user interface, the sense of self-loathing and guilt. I have decided to list what my favorite things are about the Grindr Experience. Continue reading

Renewing Your Gay Card


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Good afternoon, Mr. Elliot,

It was brought to my attention that you would like to renew both your straight and gay cards this year? Now while that is certainly all fine and good, may I recommend merely renewing your gay card, where you will be upgraded to the Gold Level? It says here that you grew up listening to musicals and know the words to “The Ladies Who Lunch” in your sleep. With the Gold Level Gay Card, you will get exclusive benefits like the occasional hookup in West Hollywood, someone throwing shade at you for no particular reason, lots of women clamoring for your advice on fashion, and reserved tickets for the next two Meryl Streep movies.

However, due to the fact that your Bronze Level Straight Card is still active, you’re unable to upgrade your Gay Card just yet. It seems that you haven’t been utilizing your Straight Card to its fullest extent or taking advantage of its benefits. You have yet to go to a strip club and slide the card down a dancer’s crack – wait, it looks like you did that with your Gay Card. Anyways, you have not bought any guns, football gear, first person shooters, or Macklemore albums. You did, however, use the card to buy a copy of Cabaret, but your payment was declined.

It also looks like you are eligible to upgrade to the Platinum Gay Card, as it shows that you have thrown an Oscar Party more than three times. With that, you will get exclusive rewards like having twinks scoff at you because you’re not thin enough, the occasional dose of self-loathing due a tempestuous relationship with your mother, cynicism due to the lack of any real queer narrative in mainstream media, a free copy of the Funny Girl original cast album, a DVD of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, a dating app that doesn’t crash, and the LOGO channel (premium cable charges still apply).

If you upgrade your gay card now, we’ll throw in a meet and greet with Cher. (If Cher is unavailable, we will arrange for you to meet Chad Michaels instead.)

The great thing about the Platinum Level Gay Card is that if you find someone else that also has one, you can receive extra points back from your dignity lost at that gay club you went to that Bryan Singer frequents.

And given that having the Platinum Level Gay Card will be significantly more affordable than having both cards, it will give you an opportunity to concentrate on what really matters in life: making sure Ryan Murphy stops making things.


Francis Russo


Queer Credits