November 23, 2005

Rent: Not Paying Dues

Fascinating article in Slate about a writer whose early 90s novel seems to have been the inspiration (along with La Boheme) for the musical Rent (now a major motion picture blah blah blah). The author--Sarah Schulman--really got used, it seems--her novel was partially autobiographical and her part was really downplayed when the author of Rent took a hold of it. The article contains a terrific interview with her about the state of the theater, gay/lesbian culture, and intellectual property rights.

I'm probably one of those "bourgeois bohemians" David Brooks talks about, so I'm actually really quite excited about seeing the film version of Rent, despite the bad reviews it's been getting.

rent rosario dawson and random dude


  1. Anonymous10:57 PM

    You gotta read the LA Times review. The absolutely savaged Rent. The closing pagagraphs are especially brutal:

    "Is it fair, or even seemly, to expect even a modicum of authenticity or cool from a Hollywood adaptation of a Broadway musical? Probably not. But this constant corporate exhumation and trotting around of counterculture's corpse — it's not fun anymore.

    "You know what would be fun? If Columbus had turned the story inside out and made the rapacious developers and marauding executives the heroes of the story. Why not? To the victor goes the official version, etc. At least that might have rung true.

    'Plus, I have a great title for it. They could have called it "Own."",0,4796820.story?coll=cl-home-more-channels

  2. hahaha. yeah. do you think if it had been made 5 years ago, or three even, it could have been salvaged? I think it simply is not progressive/transgressive any more, which is sort of what Sarah Schulman said.

  3. Psuedonym3:41 AM

    It was shot in San Fran and the fake New York looks real fake. I do, however, think that it is transgressive in a way that the musical wasn't - it's playing at the local cineplex in your Red town in your Red state. It will be viewed by many people for whom a transexual (or even perhaps a homeless person) is not an everyday sight. Of course there is the danger that such viewers will treat this as little more than ethnographic entertainment - something to point and stare at - a freak show. In fact, now that I think about it, this film will just confirm for alot of people that they were right in hating a place like New York (except, of course, for the excellent Olive Garden in Times Square). They will shrug it off as more evidence of moral decline and wickedness and pray for more guns and less gays. Am I treating a group of people stereotypically? Yes, but I don't care anymore.