It’s hard to believe it took me until last week to finally watch Desert Hearts. And I liked it—total pulp romance fun with a hot little sex scene (though nothing beats Mulholland Drive!). It’s easy to be flippant about it now, of course, but when it was released in 1985 a love story between women was about as likely as Simon Cowell so a big hat’s off to director Donna Deitch.
I actually wish I hadn’t read the book before watching the film as I think I would have enjoyed the film even more if I wasn’t distracted by how different the movie is from the book. And it’s totally different, from names to nuts. I actually don’t think I’ve ever watched an adaptation that bore so little resemblance to the original. And in this case that’s a very good thing.
I disliked the book. I found the characters unrealistic, spewing unlikely philosophical drivel about themselves, relationships, and the landscape. I just didn’t buy any of it. And I threw up in my mouth a little every time the mother/daughter element came up between the two (they also look alike in the book) as well. The movie is entirely different, following the tried and true love story pattern we know and love—an unlikely match, seemingly insurmountable odds, and love conquering all. Sorta. The ending of the movie is much more ambiguous and satisfying than the one in the book, too.
A clip from a cool In the Life interview with the director and one of the stars (Cay):
Since I’ve seen barely half of the films on this lesbian movie list (and can remember half of that) I am going to be paying more attention to the Queer/Art/Film series at IFC. The website isn’t updated yet but from what I remember they have something with Kate Bornstein coming up and a showing of Paris is Burning. After Desert Hearts, I was too knackered to join them for drinks and burgers at Julius’s (Julius’s!) afterwards but I can imagine a sweaty, greasy, artsy fun time was had by all.
Favorite lesbian films? Ones I should be sure to watch?
The Publishing Triangle announced their award winners last week:
The Judy Grahn Award for Lesbian Nonfiction: Barbara Hammer, Hammer! (Feminist Press)
The Randy Shilts Award for Gay Nonfiction: Justin Spring, Secret Historian: The Life and Times of Samuel Steward (Farrar Straus Giroux)
The Audre Lorde Award for Lesbian Poetry: Jen Currin, The Inquisition Yours (Coach House Books)
The Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry: Michael Walsh, The Dirt Riddles (University of Arkansas Press)
The Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction: Katharine Beutner, Alcestis (Soho Press)
The Ferro-Grumley Awards for LGBT Fiction (presented in conjunction with Ferro-Grumley Literary Awards): Michael Sledge, The More I Owe You (Counterpoint Press)
And, an event at the B&N on 86th and Lex in NYC tomorrow, Monday, May 9, at 7pm, not to be missed with my favorite publisher of gay and lesbian literature, Don Weise of Magnus Books:
The Violet Mirror: How LGBT Literature Reflects its Culture: Moderator: Erin McHugh, author of The L Life, The Portable Queer, and many other books. Panelists: Ann Bannon, author of The Beebo Brinker Chronicles; Don Weise, publisher and editor, Magnus Press, formerly Cleis Press, Carroll and Graf, and Alyson Press; Eric Marcus, award-winning author of Making History: The Struggle for Gay and Lesbian Equal Rights, 1945–1990, and many other studies of LGBT life; and Nick Burd, author of The Vast Fields of the Ordinary and other books on gay life for Young Adults. For further information, please contact Erin McHugh, firstname.lastname@example.org.
And in a random Hunger Games note or rather, head-scratcher: Emily Ansara Baines is authoring THE UNOFFICIAL HUNGER GAMES COOKBOOK, a cookbook comprised of recipes from the Hunger Games series. Paleo is all the rage right now but really….
Even though my Lambda Lit challenge has stalled (I’m still deep in the Seven Kingdoms), I am very excited for the Awards ceremony Thursday, May 26 in New York City at the School of Visual Arts Theater: Edward Albee, Val McDermid, Lea DeLaria…and Jim McGreevey. What a room! Click here for more details, to buy tickets, and support Lambda.