Monday, February 20, 2023

Call Her Heroic (Ava and C.I.)

CALL ME ANNE.  Anne Heche passed away August 11th of last year.  And, no surprise, the reaction to her death was as full of lies and hate as the coverage of her life often was.  For those of us who knew her, it was very upsetting no matter how predictable.  Last month, Anne had the last word with the publication of CALL ME ANNE.


Call Me Anne by [Anne Heche]


It's what you'd expect from Anne if you knew her -- not if you feared her, if you knew her.  We'll come back to it.  Anne shares events of her life and the message that you can live in truth and you can be free.  It was the message of her life.  


Not a lot of people live in truth.  Ethan Hawke, for example, lives in lies and continues lies.  


What in the world motivated that fourth-rung actor to make a 'documentary' at this late date on Paul Newman and fail to note any of the many affairs that Paul had with men?  THE LAST MOVIE STARS was just more garbage and more dishonesty.  In 2022, Paul had been dead for 14 years but his many affairs with men -- Anthony Perkins, Brandon de Wilde, Sal Mineo, Casey Donovan and many others -- have to be denied?  Exactly who benefits from garbage passed off as a 'documentary'?

Ethan and his whole trashy family have lived in lies for years and years -- don't pull at the string or you'll be taken back to a national day of mourning.  Where ever one finds lies and deceptions, you tend for find a member of Ethan's family.

Unlike Ethan, Anne didn't live in lies.  

Her thank-you for that was to be attacked constantly.


Anne was part of  a very famous nineties couple with Ellen DeGeneres.  They got together right as Ellen was preparing to come out and have her TV character come out on ELLEN as Anne's career was reaching a new high with the impending release of VOLCANO -- a film she starred in with Tommy Lee Jones.  


In the book, she writes:

It was Thursday.  I had asked Ellen to join me for lunch in the suite they had set aside for me so she could rest after her hugely successful coming out episode had just been taped and would air the following week.

The VOLCANO premier was to be Friday, the very next night.  When I entered the room, the first thing I saw was four "suits" standing, arms crossed staring intently at me, as I walked father in, and could see: Ellen, sitting in an armchair.  There was a heavy silence and the thickest air I had ever walked into.  "What's going on?" I asked.

As far as I remembered, I had only invited Ellen to join me.  I leaned in to kiss her and was met with pure resistance, as she looked me in the eye and told me I should listen.  I straddled the arm of her chair and grabbed her hand, watching intently as the suits shifted, wondering who would speak first.  As I held the hand of the woman who had just been featured on the cover of TIME magazine for her bravery, the first of our time to stand against all odds, for the right to be open about who you love, one of the suits said, "You can't take Ellen to the VOLCANO premiere tomorrow night, Anne."

To which I replied, "What are you talking about?!" 

Ellen pleaded with me to understand that they were right.  Now was my moment.  She had warned me this would happen.  "You can't risk it," Ellen said.  Then she assured me, with all the love in her heart, that it was okay.  We had plenty of time.  There was talk of how little we knew of each other, how recently it had been since we met.

"Would you be telling me this if my date was George Clooney?" I asked the suits.

The first time you experience discrimination in the eyes of the people who represent you is the moment you decide who you are as an artist.  I had already decided who I was as a person, but I hadn't been confronted as an artist until this moment.  

I looked at Ellen.  She looked at me, consoling, as if to say, "It's okay.  Do this.  We'll deal with your conundrum over it when it's over. I'll be waiting for you at home."

"You're fired," was all I could think to say to the suits.  "Get the f**k out of here!"

There's not one moment that has defined my life more than that one.  Anne, the artist, Anne, the daughter of a man who had hidden his sexuality -- we're all the same person.  I had no idea how much that one decision would impact my life and what I gave up for that decision.

I also had no idea that it gave so many people the green light to come out of the closet.  I am often asked if I regret that moment.  I do not.

That's a defining moment.

It's a defining moment for Anne Heche and it's a defining moment for the 90s.

Know how THE NEW YORK TIMES -- so-called paper of record -- covered it? Bernard Weinraub 'reported' the above as:

Even before she revealed her relationship with Ms. DeGeneres, Ms. Heche called attention to herself by dismissing her longtime agent, Doug Robinson, of the Endeavor Agency, and her managers, Keith Addis and Nick Wechsler, last week.

That would be Mr. Amy Pascal.  Worth noting, since our other feature is on Roseanne whose career was destroyed by a Tweet, Amy lost her job as the head of SONY by writing 'racially insensitive' e-mails -- e-mails mocking African-Americans (she also expressed sexism in the e-mails but everyone looked the other way on that).  Minutes later, she's getting Academy Award nominations.  Let's not pretend that Hollywood gives a damn about racism -- Amy's proof that they don't.

And let's not pretend that 'foreign correspondent' Bernard knew a damn thing about anything except what his wife Amy told him to print and the people she provided him with. 

THE NEW YORK TIMES did a hit job on Anne.  They didn't bother to get a quote from her but Bernard was happy to talk to the fired and to present Anne in a bad light.

"Called attention to herself."

When Bernard dies, let's hope Amy gets treated the way Glenn Close is at the end of DANGEROUS LIAISONS.

A lot of people work to lie.  

You really have to wonder why?

Why, for example, all these years after Christopher Reeve death, are we still not supposed to acknowledge the two month affair he had with male porn star Casey Donovan?  Or, for that matter, him getting cast in a play over Casey (and Christopher keeping the role despite being replaced onstage on opening night by his understudy immediately after uttering his first line) because deeply closeted lesbian Katharine Hepburn didn't want Casey in A MATTER OF GRAVITY?

Oh, that's right.  We're not supposed to talk about Hepburn and all of her many affairs with women.  She died in 2003 yet we're still not allowed to tell the truth.  Scotty Bowers and Liz Smith talked about it and we're still supposed to pretend it was just a rumor. 

Anne didn't play those games.  

She was out front with who she was.  She changed history because of it. 

And she was far kinder than either of us.  That kindness comes across in her book, the sweet soul that she had.

Which is why we were bothered by the rumors, after the car accident she never recovered from,  that Ellen was avoiding the topic of Anne because she was afraid what the upcoming book would reveal of her?  A mutual friend told us Ellen felt conflicted because if she said something meaningful and then Anne savaged her in the book, people would think what she wrote about Ellen was true.


Ellen never really knew Anne because Ellen's never been able to look beyond herself.  Poor Portia.  

No, Anne didn't savage her in the book.  Nor was that the type of person Anne was.  She tried to see the best in all situations -- what could she learn from them.  And that's what she imparts in CALL ME ANNE.  Maybe people will remember that and not the lies that she was high on various drugs when she had the car accident.

Remember that?

And all the hate hurled at her over it.  


That was the story of her life in so many ways.  It started on ANOTHER WORLD with some viewers convinced she was evil Vicky Love and not sweet Marley.  It continued in Los Angeles, where she stood up for herself (against a director who wanted her to finger his wife, against Oliver Stone, against Harvey Weinstein, etc).  

We can't imagine the world today without Anne.  Ellen's coming out?  

Not as joyful without Anne.

Without Anne, you've got a woman pleading for the world to understand that she's gay, apologizing for it to Oprah and to Diane Sawyer and anyone who'll listen.

Anne?  She wasn't apologizing.  And she was hot -- in her career and in her body.  Ellen's coming out works because of Anne.  Without Anne, she's Louie Anderson with a sad, sad life.  "Oh, look at her, the lonely gay woman.  Don't hate her, kids, she's all alone."

Instead, she comes out and she and Anne are a power couple, all over the place, including meeting President Bill Clinton.  As a couple, they pulled the nation forward. 

And some people like to divide the moment -- like the website AFTER ELLEN, for example.  Not AFTER ELLEN AND ANN because that would require too much honesty and even AFTER ELLEN likes to portray the isolated individual.  


Doing so allows members of Congress who are hate merchants to make statements about how there has never in history been gay marriage.  


Ruby Dandridge (Dorothy's mother) had a long relationship with Geneva Williams.  Entertainer Gladys Bentley is said to have married another woman in 1931 (in New Jersey).  Emperor Nero married two men -- once as the bride, once as the groom.

Why does it matter?

In 2012, Joe Biden, then Vice-President of the United States, appeared on NBC's MEET THE PRESS:

Who do you love? Who do you love and will you be loyal to the person you love? And that’s what people are finding out what all marriages at their root are about. Whether they are marriages of lesbians or gay men or heterosexuals... I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women and heterosexual men marrying women are entitled to the same exact rights... I think Will & Grace probably did more to educate the American public than almost anything anybody has done so far. People fear that is different and now they’re beginning to understand.


WILL & GRACE did allow people who thought they'd never known anyone who was LGBTQ+ to see relatable people.  


And Anne allowed Ellen to have a happy ending -- in spite of ABC axing ELLEN.  


We're told that various people can't come out because it would destroy their careers.  We don't believe that.  But, okay, fine, stay in your closets if you have to.  What's the reason for keeping someone closeted after they've died?


THE NEW YORK TIMES supports enshrining the dead in a closeted tomb.  Of course, they do.  They have to.   Mel Gussow reviewed or 'reviewed' plays and based his opinions on who he slept with -- if, he slept with an actor in the play before the play (especially if he paid for sex), he panned the play.  Gussow wasn't alone at THE TIMES and to this day we're all supposed to pretend that this well known john to countless men was straight.  It goes to the paper's image.

We don't give a s**t.  The image -- the false image -- needs to be dismantled for truth.  Even if you did nothing in life to help equality, in death your truths can help others.  Your truths can explode the lies of right-wing hate merchants who want to pretend that there is no historical truth to LGBTQ+ persons.  Your truths can provide reality to the ignored history.


As CALL ME ANNE makes clear, Anne Heche always lived in her truth.  As life made clear, even in her final days, Anne had to take hate from people.  She was so much better than the times she lived in.

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