Sunday, July 20, 2014

This Blog Post Is So Takei

          Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know who George Takei is.  But you may only know him as Sulu from “Star Trek”.  Or as Hiro’s father in “Heroes”. Or as that guy on Facebook that posts outrageously funny stuff all the time.  And he’s all of those things.  But did you know he lived for years in a Japanese American internment camp?  Or that he was on the board of directors of the Southern California Rapid Transit District--who helped initiate the Los Angeles subway system?  Or that he’s become an indelible part of "The Howard Stern Show"? 

          Well, it’s all true.  And more.  And more is what you get in “To Be Takei”, the fun and fascinating new documentary about the irrepressible Mr. Takei and his life:  a life that provides lessons in bravery, optimism, humor and heart.   Director Jennifer M. Kroot and co-director and editor Bill Werner have put together a swift, witty and extraordinarily well-wrought film that reveals the admirable eloquence and diplomacy as well as the outrageous and bawdy audacity that is George Takei.

          The film’s center is George’s life with his husband Brad, both at home and on the road, since Brad takes on the role of manager, personal assistant and wrangler.   The two have been together for decades and the strength of their bond is clear from the start.  They have shared in the joy of their long-awaited wedding, the grief of the loss of their mothers as well as countless other life experiences that virtually all couples face throughout their journey on earth.

         But surrounding this is the wondrous whirlwind of change that has pushed Takei through his life and, at times, caused Takei to push back with an indomitable force all his own.  His childhood years in internment camps may have prepared him for facing producers who saw his race as a cliché and bigots who saw his orientation as a blight.  His years in the civic world may have helped prepare him to be the great diplomat he has become, speaking for civil rights.  And who knows what honed his wicked sense of humor that he skillfully and regularly uses to amuse and lambast on Facebook and elsewhere.

          One brilliant example of the later came when he offered his name up during a recent proposed law to make saying the word “gay” in public schools a crime. (Mr. Takei proposed that, if they couldn’t say “gay”, they could “Just say ‘Takei”.)   But it’s clear that “To Be Takei” is to be so much more:  it is to be fearless, to be optimistic, to do what you can, to be truthful and—above all else—to be fabulous!   And the film “To Be Takei” is, much like the man, all of those things.

More about the movie:

More about George Takei: