“Queen To Play” Plays Well

Queen To Play (Joueuse), a French film starring the beautiful Sandrine Bonnaire and Kevin Kline, directed by Caroline Bottaro, is an hour and 40 minutes of good film, good acting, good direction and a unique idea. One is tipped off that the film is out of the ordinary when you realize that the leading male in the piece is Kevin Kline speaking entirely in perfect French! Not dubbed! Like who knew?

Here is the curious story. A couple from the lower classes, in the South of France, have a teenage daughter going through the usual teenage pains. The female lead is a mother and maid, played by wholesome Sandrine Bonnaire (physically beautiful and hugely talented). Her marriage is getting a bit tiresome, but she is a faithful and concerned wife. She gives her husband an electric chess set for his birthday! This is mystifying, in that her husband has never thought about chess his whole life. The idea for the gift came to her in a moment of inspiration, hoping they could learn the game together and spark their marriage, spending evenings with each other. It turns out badly because he doesn’t have the slightest idea about chess and doesn’t care to pursue it. In fact, he feels offended . She throws the chess set in the garbage. But then she has second thoughts and digs it out. She starts to read the rules of chess… and she gets hooked.

Now how is that for a weird theme for a movie! But the oddness soon gives way to interest when she becomes enamored with the game. She then talks an elderly, educated American widower (played brilliantly by Kevin Kline) to teach her chess. He is living in the South of France to recover from his wife’s death. Kline is gruff and unpleasant. She, the maid, cleans his house once a week. He is an astute chess player. Now, you see where this is going. And does it go? It sounds, perhaps, too goofy, but is played with such skill you can’t help to get caught up!

I won’t tell you more because you‘ll have fun being surprised. But don’t get me wrong. This movie is not a knockabout farce. It’s funny but intriguing, interesting to the end. The moral of the story is that genius can overcome all kind of obstacles. You will walk out on a cloud! The story is cuckoo, but good cuckoo. And its just plain wonderful watching talented artists doing their work.

On my infamous sliding whoopee whistle scale, I give this one 3 whistles, playing at our treasured Camelot Theatre.

BobBob, the Movie Maven

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The Desert Sun published a small story on April 22 about how to handle the Police Department without the now-missing Police Chief David Dominguez. I have some thoughts.

But first, referring to the Warm Sands scandal,let us get the two young men, that are still in hot water, off the hook. They have suffered long enough and all the others involved have been exonerated one way or another. The police and the public have simmered down and would like to focus on other problems.

I have followed this incident carefully and, before we forget all about it, I have come up with a different idea that will most likely enrage many who read this.

Having lived as a teenager in Mexico City, I may view a man like David Dominguez in a different light. Though I’m not sure, I suppose Chief David, is a local Latino and raised in the Catholic tradition. He was, therefore, taught at an early age, that there are limits of sexual activity. We may not agree with it, but there it is.

Therefore, I was touched when Chief David was truly shocked as he observed men having sex outdoors in a well-populated neighborhood of town. Chief David, after all these years of policing, was stunned. His innocence touched my heart.

At this point in his life one might expect that a chief of police would be hardened to a public orgy. But, surprisingly, it took the Chief of Police by surprise as he focused on the bizarre picture. It resulted, in him spitting out a few words that did him in. The words involved , started with “F” (I think) . This was not the response of a jaded cop!

Which brings me to my point. David Dominguez is no longer an innocent. He suddenly is a sophisticated, tough, policeman who now knows how to handle a similar incident in the future. My gut tells me that he’d still be shocked, but would get on with the job.

Dominguez probably doesn’t even want his job back, but I think he should be asked. He’s experienced now, no longer a virgin in reference to ‘gayness.’ And he already knows Palm Springs like the palm of his hand. He is impeccably qualified now, as he also knows the town’s restrictions! Invaluable.

A new chief will be a gamble. It sounds odd, but David Dominguez would be a better candidate than any other, because of his current experience. This is a town that has a prominent gay population that sometimes forgets its manners. Dominguez can now handle it.

I have read the bitter remarks of the accused (and their friends) that have appeared in the newspaper. One shudders at the thought of them reading this. I also understand that it’s gay money that contributes to the police payroll. But still, I think we should leave this unfortunate incident behind us and absorb its lessons on all sides. I vote for the return of the now gay informed police chief.

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Atlas Shrugged-Off

I was caught off-guard the other afternoon going to the Camelot to see “Atlas Shrugged,” the adaptation of Ayn Rand’s book.  Her book remains one of the most successful American books ever written. I was far too young to remember when the book hit the stands (Yeah, sure.  As my mentor, Ken Vincent, would say, “Why should you remember?  After all you saw it when it opened originally in ancient Athens!” Whatever.).

About 20 minutes into the film, I saw a moth fly right out of the movie and into the audience.  I looked more carefully at the screen, and felt that the actors were working well, but their lines were like balloons above their heads (as in the comic strips). Not too believable.  The viewer, however, is quick to grasp the meaning of the film: conspiracy. A conspiracy of the conservatives taking over and screwing the country.  Very timely.

Ayn Rand passed on, by the way, in 1982.  Her other big hit was “The Fountain Head.” And at one point, “Atlas Shrugged” was the best selling book in the country, except for the Bible.

But there is something so odd about the movie.  We see the actors (really good, capable actors) doing their jobs, but all looking like they’re doing a run through …disengaged.  Or, the actors were  performing their scenes out of sequence.                The message of the work  is spooky and, I repeat, one can relate strongly to what’s happening in the political world now, with the rich stealing from the poor.

One wants to cheer for Ayn Rand and her  prophetic book, but this movie is too screwed up.  Better to read, or re-read the novel, or wait for the director to come out of rehab.    No thumbs-up here. Just another shrug.

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Muammar Gawd-Awful

First, this is my impression of Kadafi. He seems to have a streak of madness in his blood. I know it’s ignorant to make sweeping generalizations about this crack pot, but being a Middle-Westerner, I lack finesse.  Kadhafi has some screws loose alright.  So much so that when he shakes his head he sounds like a band of Cuban maracas.

About his name:  As reported by the Desert Sun and the Los Angeles Times, the spelling of his name is varied. It is sometimes spelled ‘Kadafi,’ with a K. Or, as the L.A. Times says, ‘Gadhafi’ (with a G and with or without an ‘h’).  Or the latest, and my favorite, Quadafi (with a ‘Q’ and without an ‘h’.)  Ahhhhh!

Recently, a photo of him was published, wearing a black velvet pill box hat that would have made our ex-first lady, Mrs. Kennedy, drool. Very chic!

Anyway, has Hedda Hopper come back to do his hats?  He probably doesn’t realize it himself, but he is very close to becoming a drag queen.  He even has that drag queen blind delusion that he’s beautiful.

In another recent photo in the paper, he wears a hat that has a high crown in front, with a top and sides of of something resembling a helmet worn by Flash Gordon. Precious!  Not too feminine this time, but definitely lesbian-esque.


He has out-fashioned the 18th Century fop as we know him from French and English theatre of the period.  He only lacks the snuff box.  Apparently he isn’t gay,  though he surely looks like it.  Maybe, he is just a fop.  Still, he should have the family go back through their  blood lines.  I’ll bet there is something evolutionary, something ambiguous in his DNA; something odd that has taken place and handed down.  And then, there are those English Lit books about naughty Arabs doing things, like running the gamut of sex-starved Arab horsemen raping either each other or stray English officers.

I was grateful that we joined a bloc of nations against the present ruler of Libya.. Thank you, Mrs. Clinton, for keeping us from helping out alone and getting stuck like we did in Afghanistan.


Now, forget about what’s-his-name for a minute.  I know how to solve this whole mess in a Libyan minute.  We can effectively win over their troops in a thrice, with some good food and getting them all laid.  Ten to one, they’ll switch their allegiance after one fun weekend  My idea is much cheaper than bombing. To give my idea a bit more class we could offer free shots after the sex part!


(Sing) “How I love the kisses of Kadafi, Ay yi yi, Kadafi … I worship the desert your ancestors discovered oil on (rim shot)!”

Gadafhi’s English educated son has also asked his father to step down.  Maybe he wishes to continue the clan line.  No, no. Keep it out of the family even after all that time at Cambridge.  I wouldn’t mind giving it a whirl, but I’m allergic to camel.  But when it comes to hats, check me out in this: 

Eat your heart out, Moamar. I could out-Kadafi Kadafi anytime.

P.S. Join my contest.    That is, choose what hat should be worn on the effigy of Quadafi in London’s Madame Trussaud’s Wax Museum!  The winner will receive kudos and your name will be spelled correctly!

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Wize Krax

It’s a relief that the placing of a new jail has been “temporarily” postponed by the Riverside County Board of Supervisors. Having the new prison adjacent to Hwy. 111 at Whitewater was a bad choice. The entrance to Whitewater is already plagued with countless windmills. Add a prison and you have something monumentally grotesque.

There was a snippy little story in the paper (on Monday, Apr. 18), that our Mayor personally killed the jail deal for political purposes. Somehow, the writer missed the part about the city losing millions of dollars worth of tourism business by the simple picture of a prison at the gateway to Palm Springs. The rude story smacks of the same bad manners that are characteristic of Fox News and other right wing media trash.

Having said that, I have an idea that is far more rude…and greedy: Palm Springs should welcome the prison within its boundaries, and be the sole beneficiary of all revenue generated by the economic activity around the jail. Or, better yet, how about this: recently, it was announced in the paper that Thousand Palms is being tapped for possible annexation into Cathedral City.

Palm Springs should move fast and snatch up Thousand Palms first. Promise the nervous Thousand Palmers that they’ll be the beneficiaries of all of the wealth the jail “community” generates. Thousand Palms would be the home of the small businesses adjacent to the prison, supplying the needs of the jail’s huge contingent of staff and visitors – think strip malls full of convenience and supply stores, and even a 24 hour restaurant for the many who work all night.

Once the jail is built, to soften the negative impact of a prison that is technically in Palm Springs, the smallest legal sign on the highway could read,

You are now entering…… EAST PALM Springs – Mind the Gap.*

(* ‘Mind the gap” is a popular London phrase that describes a curve with a gap on a subway platform. Brit humor.).

By the time visitors will figure out what it means, they’ll be well past the jail . Or…

We could move the sign that was vandalized at the other gateway to Palm Springs, at Gene Autry Trail and Vsita Chino. It reads, in beautiful mid-century-modern font,

alm prings.”

By the time they figure the P and S are missing, they’ll be half way to Rancho Mirage.


We could open the prison elsewhere. For instance, build the prison in Indian Wells. Build it in the depths of an already gated community, with a desirable aesthetic. Think of it: prison walls made of Italian plaster, covered in vines, topped with marble busts (busts of the Borgias might be appropriate) and fake gates. The denizens of Indian Wells need not even know what is happening. With high walls, and lavish gardens, Indian Wellsians will be very impressed, especially at the size of the mansion that must be behind those walls!

Perhaps these suggestions are too radical. But I say they are no more unthinkable than the initial idea of locating a huge inmate facility at the gateway to desert’s substantial tourist economy.

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An Orgy In Palm Springs

Now that the dust is settling over the recent debacle, when the Palm Spring police rigged a sexual trap for gays in an area of the town known to be a hot spot for them.  Note the careful choice of words.  It’s a delicate situation, ending in the resignation of the Chief of Police and the employment of a battery of lawyers.  Everybody seems to be shocked!  Shocked that there were 20 involved in the scandal (well 22, counting the police). All this during the day and out of doors. All happily exposed!

Yes, the dust is settling. That is, the lawyers paid off and the hands of the police slapped and, no doubt, the neighbors going into therapy.  (At this writing, the arrested still have to register annually that they are sexual predators, which is insufferable and too far from the truth.  It is outrageous, unless, of course, the police do the same to heterosexual nudies that have been arrested throughout the Palm Springs area over the years (our jails wouldn’t accommodate the crowds).

Let’s put this into focus.  The sexual orgy goes back to ancient Greece, Rome and on every continent, through the ages. There is a history of the orgy, made up of hetero- and homo- sexuals, not to mention animals (both cold and warm blooded) through history.  And we’ve all heard of those parties thrown by college fraternities before young people learned to carry their liquor.  When I was a kid, my dad shared that information after a second martini and an elbow in the ribs.  “Har-de-har-har.”  Of course, that was the hetero version.

It has been heard of stories of sudden swarms of men moving sand dunes on Cape Cod, a cluster of men in Central Park, a dozen in a men’s room of a theater in Hollywood, and on a beach in Rio. Lesbians have a history of the orgy too…and so it goes. Farm animals do it, fish do it,  ‘Birds do it, Bee’s do it’ …you know the song. In Palm Springs, the police supplied the bait and got an unplanned surprise!

The trick is, not to get known for it.  We’re talking about the minority of gays and the ninety percent who are not gay in Palm Springs.  All kinds of people want to visit or move to the Valley, including gay and straight families with kids in school, and those people and businesses who may invest in Palm Springs.                Every stream has its whirl pools, but we don’t want Niagara Falls!  Grind your teeth and think of Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood!  No way.


At the risk of sounding like an old prude, lets keep it clean and discreet.   Palm Springs is a beautiful place to live.  And don’t let those arrested be branded.


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What Lies Beneath Those Olive Trees?

Have you been reading the Desert Sun stories regarding the Olive Farm near Indio?  The person(s) running (owning) the farm apparently dislike any kind of visitor, either on the ground or in the air.  The gate to the farm is plastered with ominous legal warnings to that effect.

Yes, the unidentified owners of the Olive Farm (only 10 acres) have fists full of posted signs that legally ban visitors on foot, on wheels and above the property (in order to block the balloon companies which entertain tourists with birds eye views of the Coachella Valley. )

Since the year 2000, the Olive Farm has generated 10 law suits against the balloon owners. (That’s more suits than the Winklevoss twins have against Facebook!)

The more I read about it, the more mystified I become. Each day The Olive Farm becomes less approachable, and my curiosity grows more insatiable.

Just for fun, I have been thinking up reasons why ten acres of olive trees are guarded in this extreme way.

All this secret stuff triggers the imagination.  Mine is whirling. First they say this is an olive farm.  But when you look at a picture, it shows a regiment of trees, and at such a great distance, all things are perfectly placed, not a branch, or a leaf different from the last.  Each row is measured so precisely, it could be fake.  I’ll bet it is!

It could be an enormous photograph, or a gigantic stretched painted canvas, or all paper-mache!  It doesn’t look at all real.  The newspaper quotes the anonymous owner  that this is a private (secret) meeting place for a group of unknown people (aliens?) who demand complete security.

Sooo, who needs all that?     I say it’s a group that is either prying, praying or plotting?  Conniving?  Breaking the law?  Taking over?

What is under that giant canvass of painted olive trees that is too perfect to be real?  A giant secret conference center?  Robots?  Illicit drug labs?  Old men testing new devices for erectile dysfunction? The Koch Brothers (they were in Rancho Mirage recently!)?  Plans to take over the world? A raid on the new Rancho Mirage Public Library to destroy all liberal books? Samali Pirates organizing on the Salton Sea?  A crop of marijuana? Or is it a Mexican drug cartel?  A whorehouse for shepherds? For cougars? I can’t stand not knowing! It surely isn’t olives!  That 8 or 10 rows of trees wouldn’t supply enough olives to garnish the martinis for one afternoon in Indian Wells!

It couldn’t, with all this secrecy, be anything but evil. There are high jinks taking place in the desert!  Who pays all those people guarding it?  I’m gnashing my nails right down to the cuticle.

If you have any clues to what is being hidden beneath those olive branches, please contact Bob Bob Bloggin as noted below.  Clear up this mystery. Make everything splendid again!  At last, we’ll know!  The winner of the best answer will receive lavish praise.

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