In keeping with the theme of love, family, and relationship from my last post, I reached out to some famous friends to see what their thoughts were on the subject.
Singer/songwriter Matt Alber, filmmaker and photographer Bruce LaBruce, actor and musician Daniela Sea (from Showtime's The L Word), TV personality and activist Danny Roberts (from MTV's Real World: New Orleans), drag superstar and electrosleeze pioneer Jackie Beat, composer and singer Holcombe Waller, and "Charlie" Swimwear designer Matthew Zink all weighed in on the same five questions:
1. If you could sum up your concept of "relationships" in one word, what would it be?
2. What is your favorite love song of all time?
3. If you could choose any actor to play you in the movie version of your life, who would it be? What about them is you?
4. How has the relationship between your mother and father influenced your ideas about love and relationships?
5. What three qualities do you look for in a partner?
Here come their answers! (Drum roll please...)
1. I guess it would be "listen." My first answer was "summer sausage," but then I realized that is two words.
2. Hands down, it's gotta be "Never Gonna Give You Up" by Rick Astley, 1) because we have the same birthday, and 2) because I got to sing it with a live band at the Playboy Mansion when I used to make my living as a singer in Los Angeles' top cover band.
3. Ryan Gosling is my first choice, but mostly because of those sweet, dreamy eyes. Of course, if Jake Gyllenhaal is free, please ask his agent if he would consider the role. You can tell them that the "losing his virginity" scene will be a hell of a lot more comfortable than Brokeback.
4. My parents spent the better part of their young adult lives at war with one another. I'm very close with both of them, and they'd agree with that statement. Their relationship was founded on a lot of hope, but also on a lot of control. I think true love means you speak up lovingly when your lover crosses a personal line, and that every conversation comes back to "I want this to work" more than "I want to be right."
5. His masculine playfulness, his handsome face I can't stop staring at, and his chili.
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Over the years, Bruce has been called everything from pornographer to genre genius, but one thing is undeniable: he is authentically himself, and I love that. Watch the trailer for his latest film, L.A. Zombie.
1. "Love," "love," and "love."
2. "Sara Smile" by Hall & Oates.
3. Lindsay Lohan, because she's ginger like me, a brat with criminal tendencies like me, and I think if she played it a bit more feminine than she usually does, she could nail me. Plus, she needs a good comeback role.
4. My parents will have been married 60 years in February, so I guess I've learned about stability and longevity from them.
5. Topness, unrehearsed masculinity, and gentleness.
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1. Unique in each incarnation: on Valentine's Day, "relationship with a lover" comes to mind, of course. But "relationship" is a great word for the interconnectivity of all things. My relationship to the Earth is precious to me, as well as to the animals, to my fellow humans, and to the elements that bring life to the planet. My relationship to my family and to the communities that hold me up gives me joy every day. Each spirit is unique and intertwined; being in relation to all beings in all the universes is a truth that sustains me. This is love.
2. There are some great ones, but I'll go back to my childhood roots, my mom spinning Joni Mitchell on the record player as I swung in the living room hammock: "A Case of You." She sings, "Part of you pours out of me in these lines from time to time." I could be much more avant-garde or punk rock, but honestly, that would most likely take the prize.
3. Would I play me? If not myself, than perhaps Agnes Varda would make the film, and play me and herself? She's my hero.
4. I learned that love can be unconditional and everlasting, however it shifts shape.
5. For me, a good mix of curiosity about the world, kindness, wildness, and a free-spirited soul. A great mind and heart is right up there, as well.
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Danny first appeared as himself on MTV's The Real World and has been an outspoken voice from the LGBT community for over a decade.
1. "Unity." A relationship is a mutually beneficial arrangement where two people uplift each other, encourage each other, and support each other in every way possible. There's no one way or best way of going about this.
2. "All Is Full of Love" by Björk.
3. Jude Law: he plays an amazing brooding cynic.
4. Well, I certainly learned from them that it's give-and-take and that it's important to compromise and give a person room, but at some point you have to put your foot down and bring them back to center, and it's always a two-way road. I also learned that two people can work through a tremendous amount of adversity and continue to love each other.
5. Must be down-to-Earth and centered, must love to continue to explore and learn in life and have a natural sense of curiosity, and must have a sense of humor and never take this short life too seriously.
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Jackie is a star of stage, screen, and sound. Her band Dirty Sanchez might as well have owned the rights to the electroclash movement a few years ago.
2. "How Beautiful You Are" by The Cure.
3. Miss Piggy, for all the obvious reasons.
4. Listen to the song mentioned in the second question and you tell me!
5. Kindness, a sense of humor, and a deep-seated lack of self-esteem.
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Matthew makes the beautiful people more beautiful through swimwear. Check out his new collection.
2. "I Really Got the Feeling" by Dolly Parton.
3. That is a hard question! Maybe Ryan Gosling... I am such a fan of him as an actor. He's so talented and carries himself like a gentlemen. (Perhaps a bit too handsome to play me.)
4. My parents showed me that love is patient and you constantly have to work at it, but it's worth all the hard work.
5. Kindness, intimacy, and passion.
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Holcombe has the voice of an angel. Watch his "Hardliners" video.
1. My definition of an amorous relationship in one word would probably be "grace," both in terms of how it describes elegance and beauty, as well as the sense of mercy and clemency implied. All people should bring beauty and forgiveness into the world around them. In a relationship, this duty is amplified and focused between partners.
2. I have too many favorite love songs to really pick just one, but the first that came to mind is Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne," particularly because of the way it portrays a kind of ambivalent masculine love born in fascination with this mysterious otherly female dream character. It's so fabulous, it's honorifically gay.
3. Well, of course it would be Meryl Streep. I mean, what about Meryl isn't me? That's the question! I would only worry about what Nora Ephron once said about the travails of having been portrayed in film by Meryl Streep: she simply will play you better than you do, and this could be the cause of deep existential anguish for one's own ego. I should be careful what I wish for.
4. Through thick and thin, my parents are deeply committed to each other till death do they part. I've seen them go through things that seem to push the limits of the phrase "for better or for worse," and I think I've internalized that sense of commitment from them. It's not just applied towards romantic partnership; I feel this way about my closest friends. I don't want anything but death to get in the way.
5. Given that I'm partnered, let me share the three things I always tell my single friends that they should be looking for in their prospective dates and potential significant others. The first and most important quality in a person in a relationship is that they want to be in the relationship. This seems so basic, but I've had terrible problems with this in the past -- being with someone (or with people, if they are poly) who profess ambivalence about whether or not they want to be in a relationship -- and I've seen it a lot in my friends' romantic trials. My attitude is that if someone is indicating ambivalence, end it. You can't work through problems if there isn't a reason to, and relationship ambivalence is a deal breaker. It's one thing for another person not to know if they should or shouldn't be in a relationship, but to know that you are ambivalent means the relationship is not good for now. The second quality I recommend is ease. People always say "relationships take work," but they get confused and think that the relationship itself is the problem you have to work to surmount. What's that about? The relationship should be the easy joyful wonderful thing that gets pummeled by the real and unavoidable troubles of being alive. Sure, these can make a relationship hard, if someone is going through a rough patch, but if a relationship is like hard sailing on a smooth and beautiful ocean, ditch it and look for a boat that's easier to be on. Lastly, I highly recommend finding a partner you're in love with who is also in love with you. I actually think this is more rare than people think, but steps 1 and 2 are a good start.
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