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Entries in The Wire (4)

Friday
Nov232018

Posterized: Michael B Jordan

by Nathaniel R

Photographed by Kayla Reefer for The New York TimesAny list of the newest generation of exciting movie stars would have to include Michael Bakari Jordan (aka Michael B Jordan), and presumably way up top. The Jersey-raised actor, started young on television as a teen actor with acclaimed work on The Wire. With a name so reminiscent of a superstar in another field, it felt like a dare; How could he be that big for the movies? When he hit his mid 20s, though, the movies came calling to make good on the pop culture connotations of that name. It's been a match made in heaven thus far.

All that said he's been strangely absent from our movie screens since proving his film-carrying charisma so thoroughly with the one-two punch of Fruitvale Station and Creed. But then came 2018 to prove to us that he'd been hard at work all along but movies have their own temperamental calendars and sometimes they all get bunched up together. Four movies arrived in quick succession, one of them likely to be the biggest hit he'll ever have. He's already an Emmy nominee for producing the TV movie Fahrenheit 451 earlier this year, but the Oscar nomination has to date eluded him. Will that change with the Black Panther campaign? We don't yet know though we definitely hope so since it's his second, not his first, nomination worthy role; Oscar was sleeping on that whole Creed success back in 2015, a movie that was wildly better than it had any right to be given its provenance.

How many of his Michael B Jordan's key movies and TV shows have you seen? The posters are after the jump.

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Wednesday
Nov112015

HBO’s LGBT History: Sex on TV

Manuel is working his way through all the LGBT-themed HBO productions.

Last week we had a ball spending time with Big and Little Edie at Grey Gardens. This week, I wanted to do something a little different so I picked out six key gay sex scenes from HBO’s TV history to talk about the network’s unabashed attempts at indulging its audiences in rather raunchy scenarios.

HBO, untethered to the whims of the FCC and its attendant parochialism, has often flaunted its ability to depict sex openly. From its Real Sex docs to Game of Thrones, this has been a great selling point for the network: “It’s not TV, it’s HBO… and that means we can get away with some serious nudity, guys!” Thus, while LGBT representation on network television was often chided for closeting actual sex (think Will & Grace, Ellen), HBO was able to offer titillating scenes that openly addressed and even represented sex as an integral part of these character’s lives.

In an era where every other American Horror Story episode will offer plenty of skintastic gay sex, and where network dramas like Empire and How to Get Away with Murder have been giving us hot and heavy scenes that keep pushing what’s allowed on prime time, some of these scenes may look quaint, but it is undeniable that they definitely paved the way for the embarrassment of riches we are now confronted with. Lots of NSFW goodies ahead!

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Wednesday
Aug262015

HBO’s LGBT History: The Wire, Carnivàle & The Sopranos

Manuel is working his way through all the LGBT-themed HBO productions.

Last week we talked about the towering achievement that was Angels in America, and reading everyone’s pieces about the Mike Nichols/Tony Kushner miniseries for last week’s Hit Me With Your Best Shot was a treat. Angels was the clearest example yet of HBO’s commitment complex, fully fleshed-out (mostly male, yes) LGBT characters. It wasn’t, of course, as we have seen these past few months, out of character. Indeed, by looking at three testosterone-driven TV series we’ll see how by the mid-2000s HBO had all but become a one-stop shop for fully-realized LGBT characters.

Continuing what we did when we revisited Six Feet Under, I figured we’d focus on one episode per series, both as a way to focus the discussion but also as a way of making it accessible to fellow newbies. That said, I’m eager to hear from die-hard fans of any of these shows.

The Wire - “Old Cases” (June 23, 2002)

It was through compiling this very very long list of 100 Queer Characters of Color in TV and Film, that I came to learn of Omar Little and detective Shakima Greggs. Yes, I know, I know, The Wire is supposed to be brilliant but I’ve yet to sit down through its 60 episode run. Much in the same vein as Oz, The Sopranos and other early HBO dramas, The Wire takes it upon itself to not only present engaging narratives to hook viewers, but it does so while also speaking of the larger socio-economic ills that afflict contemporary America. Centered on the drug scene in Baltimore through the eyes of law enforcement and drug dealers, the show constantly asks us to question the larger systemic issues that riddle Baltimore’s projects.

more on all three shows after the jump...

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Wednesday
Apr302014

Hot Docs '14: Actress

[Amir, our Canadian correspondent, is reporting from The Hot Docs Film Festival, the biggest documentary festival in North America currently underway in Toronto.] 

Where does an act end for a performer? What happens if the persona seeps in so deep that the performer can never shake it off? Can an actress adopt the traits of the characters she once embodied so deeply that she permanently remains in their skin? How far can passion for the craft take an artist? These are all questions that Robert Greene’s intelligent, artfully constructed documentary, Actress, poses to the audience in the first few minutes.  

The subject, Brandy Burre, played the part of Theresa D’Agostino, a recurring character over a 15-episode arc in the third and fourth seasons of The Wire. She was never a star, but her future seemed bright, having taken a prominent role in one of television’s best reviewed series...

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