Allan Carr: A Spectacle to Behold

DATELINE: Carr-buncle


Can’t Stop the Hype!

It’s been 20 years since the grand poobah of film, TV, and stage producers has left the spotlight. And, boy, was Allan Carr a hog for the media.

The Fabulous Allan Carr is a misnomer. He was not the stuff of fables, nor legends and myths. He was an obese gay man with a knack for self-indulging and making fun for friends and audiences.

One supposes that such a life is enough to satisfy most people. Yet, Carr seemed a cuddly little buddha, but was more like a cactus version of Jekyll and Hyde. When the good times rolled, he was your pal.

He started out as a talent coordinator for Hugh Hefner’s late night TV show in the late 1950s, where he made the acquaintance of old and new Hollywood.

Carr produced Grease, Grease II, La Cage aux Folles, as well as stinkeroos like Can’t Stop the Music. He could do good stuff with all the bravura of Carmen Miranda and Chiquita.

He was a nightmare when failure knocked on his door, and his all-boy parties in Beverly Hills gave way to funeral processions when the AIDS crisis started taking all the twinks. A generation was decimated, and the Village People went into eclipse.

Carr was mostly voyeur, and he escaped infection from HIV. He lived life on his terms, caftans and moo-moo blouses to hide a multitude of rolls.

Born out of Middle America, he became a cocaine-motivated doyen of Hollywood and Broadway. He should have been nicer to the people going up the ladder because they remembered him when he started down the ladder.

His last years were sad, beleaguered with kidney problems and bone cancer. Every party became a line on his face, and in the end he was about as reclusive as an extrovert might never consider.



Looking Askance: Queer as Folk & Village People Aside

DATELINE: Calling Mr. Goodbar


HBO offers many new shows this season, including a new gay series called Looking. Episodes of this series are mercifully short. The buzz term for the show is “Find Something Real.”  Yes, on HBO.

If attention deficit disorder is the new norm, then shows like this know their audience all too well. They cannot sustain a full hour of drama queens.

Featuring a cast of unknown actors about to make a splash, the setting is San Francisco where all the young men are waiting for the Big One—and we don’t mean the next earthquake.

Central casting seems stymied in the past. Our first reaction to these young men, living in quiet desperation, is that they are versions of the Village People relocated to the other coast.

Has young gay America not evolved at all since Boys in the Band?  Based only one the first episode, featuring an aborted encounter in the woods, pickups on the subway, and office threesomes, we feel that Queer as Folk has come back with better production values and a setting that is at least familiar.

Life in Pittsburgh had to be depressing for gay men in Queer as Folk. Life is San Francisco has to be nirvana in the pastry shop with all the goodies behind the notions counter.

We don’t see much call for character development or fate for the principals. If you are a waiter for seven years and are growing long in the tooth, it may be a sign of things to come.

The show already seems like it has hit a dead end, and that is after thirty minutes. What will an hour bring? We won’t be looking long enough to tell you.