Following the recent news of Laurie Simmons impersonating Marilyn in My Art, another movie referencing MM hits screens online and in limited theatrical release in the US today. Freak Show, a comedy about Billy, a trangender teen (played by Alex Lawther), is the directorial debut of Trudie Styler – who you may know better as the wife of rock star Sting.
“Encouraged in adolescence by his bosomy, vodka-swigging, self-indulgent mother (a small but rich performance by Bette Midler), Billy (Alex Lawther) quotes Oscar Wilde and drifts easily into the kind of swishy son for whom his disillusioned father slowly abandons hope. Delighted when his parents split, Billy and his mom become soul mates for seven glorious years, but when she disappears one day into rehab hell, the boy confiscates her gowns, shoes and gaudy makeup, and moves with his father (Larry Pine) from Darien to a fresh hell of his own in a hostile red state where he shows up on the first day of high school dressed like Marilyn Monroe.”
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes gets a one-off ‘singalong‘ screening at London’s Southbank on Monday, March 20, as part of the BFI Flare LGBT Film Festival, with further showings in April. And for those outside the capital, Blondes will also be screened at selected Picturehouse cinemas nationwide next month.
“Curated by Charles L. Ross, the free exhibit features fan memorabilia from the private collection of Wilton Manors resident Ed Witkowski.
‘When Marilyn Monroe died in 1962 I was 14 years old,’ Witkowski said. ‘Marilyn Monroe was a woman who had ultimate sex appeal. I really did not know what sex appeal was at that age, but I felt it as a young teenage boy coming-of-age.’
According to the exhibit, Monroe was ahead of her time on LGBT issues, and many gay men related to her struggles with insecurity and finding acceptance.
‘I really think it’s because she was vulnerable and talked about her life. She talked about how she struggled and that made her different. Gay people felt different and misunderstood,’ said Ross, chief curator at Stonewall. He remembers, as a teenager in Pennsylvania, when news of her death broke over the radio.
The exhibit marks a departure for the gallery, which has generally focused on people who are LGBT.
‘This is so different because there are so many people who had an interest in Marilyn Monroe and still have an interest in Marilyn Monroe,’ Ross said. ‘It won’t be just for the LGBT community. Straight men and women would go too.'”
“Let’s revisit this film to see what it has to say about gender. Or, just come have fun. Let’s explore how the film speaks to poverty, kink, notions of play, disguise versus transformation, problems of sexual difference, subversion, parody, censorship, stereotypes, white appropriation of jazz music and the entire history of cross-dressing on screen. Or, just come have fun. Come dressed in your best “Marilyn”. Or, just come have fun. In the heat of August we offer a social, low-pressure and casual evening.”