SAT., JULY 26, 2003
You don’t have to be gay to love Grease (the musical, not the lubricant … and not the island either … if you’re spelling-challenged), but it sure makes the explanation a whole lot easier – especially if you’re a man. If John Travolta’s tough-guy antics as Vinnie Barbarino on Welcome Back, Kotter were a tough sell to the testosterone set, his performance as Danny in Grease relegated him to the Isle of Sensitive Men until he rescued himself nearly 20 years later by debraining a kid in the back seat of Samuel L. Jackson’s car in Pulp Fiction. The debraining was a mistake, yes, but an exceptionally macho one worthy of a couple of roles involving green-and-black face paint and a bayonet clenched between the teeth. Unfortunately, Travolta wasted that juice making the abominable L. Ron Hubbard flick Battlefield Earth, which was notable only for the fact that it allowed him to wear higher platforms than he sported in Saturday Night Fever. Unquestionably, the shoes Johnny feels most comfortable in are dancing ones, and the Holy Trinity of Travolta will always be Saturday Night Fever, Urban Cowboy, and Grease. Among the three, Grease is the most timeless (in a very period way) and most beloved – not because Travolta actually sings while he dances, but because the whole movie is dripping with camp, costumes, and color – arguably the last great musical until their recent, flashy resurgence in the early years of the third millennium. Grease also has a wicked catchy soundtrack; frenetic, bubbly choreography; and a plot rehashed countless times all the way back to the ancient … well … uh … Greeks. All of this makes Grease (the musical, not the isle) the perfect centerpiece for an Austin Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival fundraiser – so perfect, in fact that this Saturday aGLIFF, along with Project Transitions, will be hosting the fourth annual Grease Sing-Along at the Paramount Theatre. Put on your poodle skirt or leather jacket, and join a full house of hand jiving, sock hopping, hopelessly devoted Grease fans as they belt out tune after tune. Who cares, it’s not like John was spot-on himself, eh? And, if you can’t even remember the words, this special screening has subtitles, and Grease is the word.