Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A kiss is just a kiss

I really cannot comprehend that another year has come and gone so quickly. It seems like just yesterday we were toasting in this crazy aught of a decade and here we stand at the beginning of its end. But enough reflection. New Year's Eve should be about the new, after all. Still before you can start ringing it in or even singing off-key to that song everyone only knows the first line to, you should really get with the kissing. Yes, the New Year's Eve kiss. Of course, when it comes to the perfect kiss there are countless variations. Here are a few of my favorites. May you find yours tonight. See you in 2009 and more than likely, given the amount of champagne I plan to consume, not until Friday. Happy New Year and big kiss to you, one and all.

The Classic Kiss

Marlene Dietrich and the luckiest woman of 1930 in “Morocco.”

The Rainy-Day Kiss

Helen Shaver and Patricia Charbonneau in “Desert Hearts.” All these years later and it still makes my heart skip a beat.

The Dreamy Kiss

Natasha Lyonne and Clea DuVall in “But I'm a Cheerleader.” It's OK, Natasha, I dream about Clea sometimes, too.

The Falling for You Kiss

Michelle Krusiec and Lynn Chen in “Saving Face.” Clumsy is sexy, which is particularly good news for me.

The Just Hot Kiss

Heather Graham and Jessica Stroup in “Broken.” I haven't seen the rest of the movie; I'm fine with that.

The Long-Time Coming Kiss

Bette and Tina in, oh you know the show.

The “Because” Kiss

Alice and Dana, still the adorablest. I don't even care that that's not a word, so there.

[Lovely top couple via the equally lovely We Are Not the Enemy.]

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Lesbians on a Stake

It’s not even the new year yet and two films are already vying for your campy gay dollar. In one corner, “Bitch Slap.” Oh, kittens, you know “Bitch Slap” what with its boobs kick-ass women, boobs big-ass explosions and boobs teeny-tiny assassin named Hot Pocket. And in the other corner we have “Lesbian Vampire Killers.” Clearly, the producers were going for “Snakes on a Plane” levels of clarity when it came to the name. Yet in that seemingly simple three-word title the thorny issues of grammar and syntax still manage to rear their heads. Are these lesbian vampires who kill? Or are these people who kill lesbian vampires? Turns out it’s the latter, which kind of makes me less excited. And, oddly enough, so does the trailer.

You see, the thing about “Bitch Slap” that has me so excited is that its three super-sexy stars seem to be in on the joke. They are the sheroes. Sure, they wear short skirts and flash ample cleavage, but from all appearances they’re the ones in charge. But with “Lesbian Vampire Killers,” the lesbians are, well, the prey. They are the hunted. They are there to titillate the menfolk but ultimately meet the business end of a very pointy stick. And that is just an entirely different dynamic. Now, I could be wrong. It’s hard to make an accurate assessment from 51-seconds of largely voiceovers and bold-faced fonts. (Side Note: Um, did the “Lesbian Vampire Killers” people have to copy the exact same font as the “Bitch Slap” people? Originality: Fail.)

Taken separately all the parts of “Lesbian Vampire Killers” should bring me joy. Killers? OK, why not. Vampires? Sure, I loved Spike. And lesbians? Thank you, ma’ma, may I have another! Yet it just doesn’t fill me with the same ohmyfuckinggodhowawesomewasthat glee as “Bitch Slap.” Granted, none of its stars have emailed me yet either. So, you know, I can be swayed. But right now when it comes to my campy gay dollar you know where I’m going. Bitch, please.

p.s. Hmm, that exited/excited thing was entirely accidental/Freudian in nature. Must seek couch now.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Slumming it

“Slumdog Millionaire” is many things. A love story. A rag-to-riches fable. A peek into the dichotomous worlds that is India. But most of all it is reminder that a simple story told well is why we go to the movies in the first place. This is the story of “slumdog” Jamal, a Mumbai orphan who has lived on the streets with his older brother Salim since he was 7 who now finds himself one question away from winning 20 million rupees on the Indian version of “Who Wants to Be A Millionaire.” We see Jamal's life story told largely through a series of flashbacks – from witnessing his mother's violent death to conning tourists at the Taj Mahal and searching for his childhood love Latika.

“Slumdog” mixes a classic Dickensian story with the kinetic beauty and brutality of modern-day India. Along the way Jamal is the proverbial Oliver in this twisty tale. Does it make you feel good? Yes. Does it contain scenes of murder, torture, child prostitution and abject poverty. Yes. Do those seem impossible to pull off together? Heck, yes. Yet pull it off it does. And feel good you most definitely will. British director Danny Boyle (“Trainspotting,” “28 Days Later,” “Millions”) and his Indian casting director Loveleen Tandan (whose contribution was so essential she was given co-director credit on the film) have weaved together a piece of pure movie magic – a star-crossed romance with a social conscience that doesn't shy away from the rough stuff but still makes you want to stand up and cheer.

Of course, it doesn't hurt that Jamal's true love is played later in life by the luminous newcomer Freida Pinto. Let me tell you, just Googling her does not do her justice. Lovely reader meenoo sent me a link to her before I'd seen the movie and I thought she was pretty. But, woo doggie, then I saw her on the big screen and now I think she is otherworldly. Her cheekbones are the stuff that close-up cameras dream of. In short, if I could summarize, to wrap things up: go see this movie. Consider it my belated Christmas gift to you – you can thank me later.

Friday, December 26, 2008

My Weekend Crush

Eartha Kitt may have well been the reason the term “sex kitten” was invented. Slinky, sassy and oh-so seductive, Eartha's magnetic appeal was remarkable for its irrefutability. It's not that Eartha wasn't sexy, because, you know – duh. But in 1953, 11 years before the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 finally outlawed racial segregation in America, she teased us with what is still the sexiest Christmas song around: “Santa Baby.” And everyone, everyone, was powerless against her siren song. An accomplished singer, dancer, actress and all-around diva in the most pure and delicious sense of the word, Eartha succeeded through a a mixture of sheer charisma, raw talent and dogged determination (though, feline determination might be more accurate). That she is so indelibly linked with Catwoman after only appearing in three episodes of “Batman” is a testament to her captivating stage presence.

If it wasn't for her unvarnished voicing of the truth at a White House luncheon hosted by Lady Bird Johnson in 1968, she might have been an even bigger star. But instead chastising the government for sending young men to be shot and maimed in a war half-way around the world and sympathizing with those who rebelled in the streets in front of the First Lady and 50 other ladies who lunch got her blacklisted in the States for a decade. Still back she came and triumph she did, again. This woman born on a cotton plantation would not be denied her stardom. How could you deny it? So her passing yesterday on Christmas day, while – of course – terribly sad was also touched with the cosmic kismet of a performer who knows how to make an exit. Thanks for all the purrrfection, Eartha. Happy weekend, all.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry, Merry. Happy, Happy.

Wishing you very Merry Christmas or a happy whatever you believe in. Peace and goodwill to all.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I'll be your harvester of light

Sometimes, in the wee small hours of the morning, I stumble across something that I had no idea existed only seconds before but now cannot imagine living the rest of my life without. It could be a photo. It could be an essay. It could be anything. And last night it was “Winter Song.” I just fell instantly, insanely in love. Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson's voices have a lilting beauty together that transcends space and time. The song is steeped in the sweet sadness that sometimes sets in this season. But it's that gorgeous kind of melancholy you almost wish you could wrap around yourself like a blanket. And then there's the video. Oh kittens, the video.

If your heart doesn't grow three sizes at the sight of little animated Sara and Ingrid together, well, then there's no roast beast (or roast tofurkey, for all my vegetarian friends) for you tomorrow. Plus, if you ignore the separate beds, you can totally read a lesbianish subtext into that video.

The song is part of the wonderful holiday collection “The Hotel Cafe presents...Winter Songs.” The CD includes seasonal originals and classics by female singer-songwriters including Brandi Carlile, KT Tunstall, Fiona Apple, Colbie Caillat and many more. Naturally, I downloaded the whole thing from iTunes immediately. Best yet, a portion of the proceeds go to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, to support breast cancer research. (If you download individual songs, be sure to include the “Auld Lang Syne” medley to still donate.) My only complain: Katy Perry, seriously? I guess there really is no escaping her. Blessedly, there is a “delete” button. And not even Katy can ruin the beauty of all these women's voice making a joyful noise. May the wonder of winter fill your heart with love, peace and light.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

T-Shirt Tuesday

Baby, it's cold outside – even in California. So in lieu of tank tops today how about some awesome T-shirts? They provide a little more warmth while being no less hot. Plus, we all know how much lesbians love their novelty T-shirts. Don't lie; you own at least one, if not many, many, many more. Portia De Rossi and her sparkly declaration of love and defiance of Prop. 8 is, clearly, awesome. [Hat tip, Anna and Stels!] But, of course, Portia is not the only one who can rock a slogan shirt with pride. A few of my favorites.

Leisha HaileyI knew. I own every single Murmurs CD.

Natalie PortmanFine sentiment meets fine film. Also, love the hair.

Penelope CruzI own this shirt, that's why.

Mary-Louise ParkerHoly hotness, Batman!

Shirley MansonMy sentiments exactly.

Zooey DeschanelIf my name was “Zooey” I'd put it on a T-shirt, too.

Tina FeyLike I could resist.

Ms. Snarker's Favorite T-ShirtFuck yeah, it's ladies night.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The other Ellen comes through

Since the election it has been the best of times and the worst of times for GLBT Americans. Being part of the election of the first African-American president? Awesome! Being denied equal rights – from marriage to adoption – from coast to coast? Unacceptable! Being insulted after such civil rights injury by the president-elect's choice of a pastor who believes pedophilia, incest and polygamy are the equivalent to gay marriage to give the invocation at the inauguration? Fucking hell! I swear, if it weren't for people like Rachel Maddow voicing our indignation I'd just be screaming “I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!” out of my window 24/7.

So, clearly, any news that might be construed as good for our community both brings my blood pressure back to somewhat normal levels and gives me hope that in the not-so-distant future we won't have to endure this sort of utter bullshit. Over the weekend that good news came in the form of Ellen Page and the life of Laurel Hester.

Those who watched the Oscars telecast earlier this year might remember the ecstatic Best Short Documentary winners for the film, “Freeheld.” The documentary followed Laurel's struggle after she was diagnosed with terminal cancer to transfer her 25-year police pension to partner Stacie Andree. The two were registered domestic partners but not, of course, legally married. So her New Jersey county freeholders (like a county supervisor, but in Jersey) denied her request. And she fought them, while dying, for her rights. Then a month before she passed away after extensive public outcry and Laurel's own hospital-bed appeals, the freeholders reversed their decision.

So, right, at this point you're probably wondering : Where does Ellen Page come in? Good things indeed come to those who wait. Because Ellen has been attached to the film adaptation of the documentary. The fine gays over at Good As You uncovered the news from director Cynthia Wade herself. Wade has partnered with the producers of “Erin Brockovich” to bring Laurel's story to the screen as a feature film. Ellen would play Laurel's partner, Stacie. Now, Wade admits it could take one to two years to get the script. But even so the news is both exciting and encouraging. And, given that Ellen's lesbian teenage werewolf movie is now off, it'll be a welcome chance to finally see Ellen hug a woman with her legs in friendship.

All kidding and leg hugging aside, a film like this could be invaluable in turning the public tide on gay marriage. Maybe, just maybe, after seeing the struggle these women went through in the face of nothing short of death will make people realize that love is love. The loss of a partner is the loss of a partner. And in the face of such loss, you should at least be secure in the fact that your life's work will go to the person you love, no questions asked. Maybe, just maybe, after seeing this then they'll be as outraged as we are when the Rick Warrens of the world so blithely say that “part of maturity...delayed gratification...character” is reigning in “natural impulses toward the same sex.” So thanks, Ellen. If it weren't for your news I'd be half way to my window to yell some more. Instead, I just want to to hug you with my legs in solidarity.

Friday, December 19, 2008

My Weekend Crush

When Amy Poehler first announced that she was leaving “Saturday Night Live,” she said that it would be “Boyz II Men hard” to say goodbye to her seven years of yesterdays on the show. But bye she said and hard it was when Amy bid adieu last weekend to her fellow Not Ready for Primetime Players. What made Amy such a great fit on SNL was her total willingness to do whatever it took for a laugh. Her tenure at the Weekend Update desk included the first-ever all-female anchor team with the her partner-in-hilarity Tina Fey. Tina was the nerdy girl yin, to Amy's silly girl yang. Smart, energetic and even a little wicked when called for, Amy has a humor that is both physical and uninhibited.

I can't help but giggle at the thought of her hopping along as one-legged (and gassy) model Amber. Her turn as “Project Runway” winner and catchphraseologist Christian Siriano was fierce tranny hotness. I searched in vain for hours trying to find the Weekend Update clips of her taking today's starlets to task for, um, flashing their deforested lady business all over town. To quote her ever-sage advice: “You need hair down there! It’s a backup system for underwear!” Shit, we haven't even talked about the mad brilliance that was her Sarah Palin rap.

Still as sad as I am that I won't see her every weekend anymore, I am heartened by the fact that come April we'll still be able to catch her on TV every week . Amy will star in a new documentary-style sitcom from the producers of “The Office.” If you can't wait that long, catch her now on her girl (as in actual little girls) power online series “Smart Girls at the Party.” During her time on SNL she has helped prove that “funny feminist” is not an oxymoron. So thanks for all the laughs, Amy. Happy weekend, all.

Recap's AE

CLICK FOR THE MINI-CAPSJust a reminder, to dish all about “Top Chef” this season read my mini-caps every Thursday (well, this week it was Friday) at the AfterEllen Blog. Get all of your mmm, Padma, mmm here.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

All the news that's fit to Vogue

Vogue - Rachel Maddow

You know what's sexier than a girl reporter? Well, a woman reporter, naturally. And what's sexier than a woman reporter? Oh, you know where this is going. Hello, Rachel Maddow. America's (nay the world's) favorite lesbian reporter got the Vogue treatment along with her fellow newswomen Katie Couric and Campbell Brown. For a magazine that prides itself on the glorification of human coat racks wearing outlandish-looking and outrageous-costing frocks, these three ladies look damn respectable. In fact, they look fantastic.

Vogue - Katie CouricVogue - Campbell Brown

The mini-profiles on each newswoman are no slouch either. (The full, longer profiles are available in the January issue of Vogue.) For quick reads, the online versions are both informative and nicely-written, with a delightful insight here and there. Like, say, which “The Breakfast Club” character do you think Rachel Maddow was in high school?

“I grew up on a lot of John Hughes movies, so by calling myself a jock I don't want you to think that I was a dick. I was a cross between the jock and the antisocial girl who bit people. The Ally Sheedy character. And who was Judd what's-his-face? The outsider. I wanted to be the outsider so bad. But I was the jock and that bad-hair girl.”

Also, she reads her Twitter feed. Is there no end to her awesome?

The recent election season has truly been an extraordinary one not just for Rachel but for Katie and Campbell alike. These journalists all distinguished themselves not only as smart and capable but uniquely able to reveal the truth and dissect the spin. Amid the endless chatter of the campaign, they were reminders that journalism done well is still an essential part of a healthy democracy. In today's world an infinite stream of information and misinformation is available at our fingertips. So now, more than ever, we need people like Rachel, Katie and Campbell to help us understand what really matters. In fact, I'd argue that without these women and another woman with distinctive eyewear and a last name that rhymes with “gay,” this election could have ended very differently. You go, girl reporters. People may still call it a man's world, but it takes a real woman to report on it.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Pre-Pre-L: Girls in Tight Dresses

Oh, kittens, kittens. Sometimes the heavens open up and drop manna into your lap. And by manna, I mean the girls of “The L Word” in those proverbial tight dresses. While no one is dragging with mustaches just yet, give Max time. The character and group promo pictures for the sixth and final season are in and they're, well, they're kind of crazy. As in crazy hot. But, um, is it just me or do they all kind of look like models for a new TLW cut-out paper doll collection? Granted, I'm not grumbling. Pictures of beautiful women? Yes, Mama Chaiken, may I have another?

[Click any and all to enlarge and don't forget the link love.]

Jennifer BealsBette in a hot dress and a pair of Louboutins? Hold on. I've got something I've got to do...with my hands...for a minute. Though, hey, where is her other arm? Is Tina behind her?

Laurel HollomanTina, while your mini is just long enough so I can't quite see London or France, I can see your tattoo. Does Bette know?

Leisha HaileyNobody move, Alice has been attacked by a 1980s prom dress. Don't frighten the bubble skirt or it'll pull a pair of jelly sandals or a can of Aqua Net from its depth and hurl it at your head.

Kate MoennigOh, thank God, Shane is looking very Shane today again.
That whole dress thing was weirding me out.

Pam GrierAll we are saying, is give Kit some lines. “Baby girl!” doesn't count.

Rachel ShelleyStealing money, going to jail, fleeing from jail, returning from fleeing and buying a lesbian nightclub agrees with you, Helena.
So does fringe.

Rose RollinsDear Tasha. Back that thing up. Love, lesbians everywhere.

Still not everyone got the new paper-doll treatment. (Serious, it's custom-made for naughty Photoshopping.) Poor Max, Phyllis and Jodi had their Season 4 promos recycled and Photoshopped to fit the shoot's black is the new black color scheme. I've put them all together, for the sake of expediency and to prove my Photoshopping point. Though, since no one necessarily wants to see this particular threesome, I've left the naughty bit out.

Mama Chaiken did make sure to include a promo shot of herself – in a tank top no less. Sometimes Ilene makes this shit too easy.

Now, before you throw your dog-eared copies of “Lez Girls” at my head, no – there was no promo of Mia Kirshner yet. This is either a simple oversight or a ridiculously unsubtle bit of foreshadowing. But, given the final group shot has both a sunset in the distance and a pool in the foreground, I'm going to assume that “subtle” is not part of the marketing department's vocabulary.

So, ladies, please enjoy. I'm anxiously awaiting your naughty Photoshop creations. Don't let me down, internets.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Tank Top Tuesday


Oh, Starbuck, Starbuck. You and all your frakking hot tank tops are the reason I know I'm an idiot for still not having caught up on “Battlestar Galactica.” But this promo shot for the final season of BSG did more than make me feel guilty (or make me feel the good kind of sweaty); it made me curious. Have marketers finally discovered the unassailable appeal of a woman in a tank top to sell their movies and shows? Well after researching hundreds upon hundred of posters (yes, hundreds...I do these things for you, kittens, and for the general advancement of knowledge), I've come to the highly-scientific conclusion that not only have they discovered tank tops, they've divided their usage into specific categories. Look for my published dissertation on the topic in the next issue of the prestigious Journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Tank Tops. But for now, here is a preview. [Click any and all to enlarge, in the name of science, obviously.]

The FightersThe LoversThe Two Guns Are Better Than OneThe Leather Is Better Than GunsThe Apocalypse NowThe This Can't End WellThe LenaThe End

Monday, December 15, 2008

She works hard for the money

It's Monday so most of us are reluctantly back at work. But Fake Girlfriend No. 2 Sarah Haskins has been hard at work all along, bringing us great new insights into what Madison Avenue thinks women want in her “Target Women” series. This time, she takes aim at a girl's two best friends: her diamonds and her vampire boyfriend. You can just see Marilyn Monroe singing about them both now, can't you? Now that's really a sparkly vampire.

First, vampire boyfriends. Now, I've never had a vampire boyfriend. I do, however, have a bit of a thing for vampires. Blame “Buffy.” Blame “Lost Boys.” Blame Anne Rice. Don't judge, I was young and impressionable and all my friends were reading her.

But the “Twilight” thing I pretty much totally don't get. Granted, I haven't read the books and am more than a decade outside of their demographic. But doesn't the whole point of the vampire allure boil down to one, stunningly simple three-letter word? You know the one: s-e-x. So, then, having a vampire boyfriend who won't have sex with you is kind of, well, pointless, right? Let Sarah explain it, because I'm flummoxed.

Second, jewelry. But first, another admission. I'm not big on the jewelry either. I own some, sure. But all of it is silver and none of it is diamonds. So, again, perhaps I'm not the best judge. Still, I'm not sure I understand its appeal. Some of it is definitely gorgeous, if not for me. Yet diamonds in particular seem so very boring to me. Is it just that they're expensive or shiny or expensively shiny?

I do, however, love Sarah's coining of the term “jewelry face.” And I considered temporarily promoting her from the Fake Girlfriend No. 2 slot to the Fake Girlfriend No. 1 slot for saying: “Thank you, dad. I am a journalist so I have to go pawn this to pay my rent.” It's funny because it's true.

[Hat tip, Amelia!]

Friday, December 12, 2008

My Weekend Crush

Yesterday, while chatting with friends, the topic of fictional mistresses came up. These are the fictional women who you would be with were they not fictional and/or if you lived in a fictionalized world where they would be with you. And, while thinking of my fictional mistresses, I naturally thought of Camille from “When Night is Falling.” Quite simply, I love her. Québécois Pascale Bussières brought a delicate and rare combination of innocence and sensuality to the role of conservative Christian college professor Camille. The way she says “switcheroo” always makes me melt. She drinks cherry brandy. She says words like “nifty.” Camille, I'd love to see you in the moonlight with your head thrown back and your body on fire. Oh, Petra. Wouldn't we all, wouldn't we all?

Of course, Camille wouldn't have realized any of this without the open, ripe sexiness of Rachel Crawford's Petra. Her juggling dance is poetry told through light and shadows. Together they are lush and tender, beautiful and bold. And, hands down, they gave us one of the most visually stunning, red hot (and red velvet) sex scenes in the history of lesbian cinema. You may, in fact, forget to breathe at some point while watching. This is normal. Your mind will cease to control your body, in the best way possible. If Camille and Petra don't make you want to run away and and join the circus then, well, nothing will. Happy weekend, all.

p.s. This video, you can watch almost anywhere. This video, skip to 3:20 and watch at home. Trust me on the home part.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Words get in the way

On days like these I am, quite simply, superfluous. Really, I have no function here other than as the proverbial matchmaker. I just introduce the two interested parties and let the laws of attraction take over. Because what you are about to see is beyond irresistible. It is beyond delectable. It is beyond mere hotness. So, with that: Internet, Lena. Lena, Internet. Just, you know, be sure to send me a picture of you two at your wedding. What? A matchmaker can't be proud of her work? [Click any to enlarge, and now I'll shut up and let you two kids get acquainted.]

[From Statement magazine via the Imagine Me & You Fansite.]