Friday, May 29, 2009

My Weekend Crush

I realize, looking back at my posts this week, I’ve been in a rather black and white mood. Perhaps it’s the stress of moving or the nostalgia of finding remnants from one’s past. Either way, it’s made me a little monochromatic. But this weekend, I will bathe in the delicious Technicolor waterfall that is “Pushing Daisies.” The series kicks off its final three episodes Saturday night, so it will be a bittersweet exercise. But I plan to put on a brave face and indulge one last time in the cotton-candy ephemera that is this show. As I’ve said before, the denizens of The Pie Hole simply make me happy, like eating ice cream and petting puppies and spotting rainbows on a sunny day happy. This Seussian fantasy for grown-ups will live on to its fans as a glorious moment when whimsy met intrigue and got wrapped up in a quirky blanket of adorability. That this show got cancelled too soon is a given. That it got made in the first place is possibly the biggest fairy tale ever. Watch at 10 p.m. the next three Saturdays on ABC. Oh, Olive Snook, I think I’ll miss you most of all. Happy weekend, all.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Gender Fuck Thursday

Oh, kittens, kittens. Look what madness you have wrought. Another day dedicated to the singular pursuit of The Hot. You asked for it, and now you've got it. Gender Fuck Thursday is here. I've officially added it to the Surrenders vernacular, just for you. Now don't expect it every week, but just like Tank Top Tuesday it will pop up when you need it most. We’re here, we’re queer and we love a woman in a suit. Or a tank top (like Linda “Double Your Pleasure” Evangelista, above). Or anything else that fucks with the traditionally feminine. Mmmm, tasty tasty androgyny.

Evangeline LillyBeyoncéCate BlanchettDita Von TeeseScarlett JohanssonDita & ScarlettOh, that's why they needed the cigarettes.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A more perfect union

History will shame the California Supreme Court’s support of marriage inequality. Of course, being on the side of history is cold comfort in the harsh reality of injustice today. The wait for progress at times seems unbearable. But it is coming. There will be setbacks and roadblocks; it will be slow and uneven. We must demand it at every turn and fight for it with all we have. But progress is coming, it always does.

The jumble of a ruling by the state’s highest court yesterday only serves to highlight the inherent inequality of banning gay marriage. In essence, the court created three classes of citizen in California. Gays who got married when it was legal. Gays who aren’t allowed to get married now that it’s illegal again. Straights who can get married anytime they damn well please. It makes no sense and yet there it is. Hello, separate, but in no way equal.

I am thrilled for the 18,000 couples who get to stay married. To be forcibly divorced by the government seems cruel beyond the realm of unusual. But if good timing is all that matters between “I do” and “I don’t” in the eyes of the state, how is this fair? Justice is supposed to be blind, not arbitrary.

I guess what always seems so simultaneously absurd and enraging about this “fight” is that it is about marriage in the first place. While we may have our personal problems with the institution, its origins and intent, I think we can probably all agree that its best it should always be about love. No piece of paper can ever invalidate the human heart. No judge can ever gavel away affection. So we continue, as we always have, to make our own families and follow our own rules. As we continue toward that more perfect union, we know that our unions are perfect and no different than anyone else’s. And, one day, California and the rest of America will know it, too.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A look back in wonder

So as those of you who’ve been following my exercise in personal archeology known as moving have probably figured out by now that I am a fucking pack rat. I keep all sorts of things all kinds of long past their usefulness date. Good for nostalgia, bad for sanity. But today, instead of culling the past, how about we revel in it? So let’s get into our wayback machines and enjoy these snapshots from another era. Starlets of today, take note.

Julie AndrewsCirca 1957, in “Cinderella.”

Elizabeth TaylorCirca 1956, on the set of “Giant.”

Grace Kelly & Audrey HepburnCirca 1956, backstage at the Oscars.

Greta GarboCirca 1926, posing at USC.

Marilyn MonroeCirca I have no idea, but ohmygod those glasses.

Frida KahloCirca any year, any time, any place – just stunning.

Monday, May 25, 2009

When NLM mets SGALGG

Paris Match: Monica Bellucci and Sophie Marceau

So, Monica Bellucci and Sophie Marceau are starring together in the new film “Ne Te Retourne Pas” (Don’t Look Back) which premiered at Cannes last weekend. It’s a psychological thriller that sees Sophie’s character morph, quite literally, into Monica’s character. This apparently caused both women great mental distress. Which is in turn where the movie loses me. Hello, if I suddenly looked like Sophie Marceau or Monica Bellucci I think I might feel like I’d won the lottery. But, potato, potato. Perhaps the best thing about the movie so far is that it affords us the opportunity to ogle the extra special when Naked Lady Monday mets Straight Gals Acting Like Gay Gals action between Monica and Sophie. I mean, what better way to illustrate a European goddess version of Freaky Friday than to have its two stars get naked and hug? [Hat tip, Elisabeth for the magazine scans and Eletta and Bénédicte for the heads up!]

Is it me, or does Monica look a little, um, possessive? Though, I guess, can you blame her?

Friday, May 22, 2009

My Weekend Crush

As a lifelong Star Wars fan, I have to say the new Star Trek movie was pretty wow. Action-packed yet still engaging, it was a fitting addition to the canon unlike certain Star Wars movies (die, “Phantom Menace,” die!) that come to mind. Still, one of the things I always liked about Star Trek was its purposely diverse cast. Call it what you will, but that Star Trek was populated by black and Asian crew members, as well as aliens and Scotty, always seemed cool to me. Way to represent, final frontier. Sure, I’d like more; I always want more. But we are thankful for what we get. And I’ve also always been particularly thankful for Uhura. First of all, kickass name (Swahili for “freedom”). Kickass crazy earpiece-thingamajiger. And in general just a kickass character.

From the lovely Nichelle Nichols to the also lovely Zoë Saldana, Uhura has been portrayed with strength and integrity throughout the series. I mean, how can you not love a woman who, when told by a swashbuckling Sulu (in the original series), “I’ll protect you fair maiden!” responds with a categorical, “Sorry, neither.” Fuck yeah, Uhura. And in the film, she is no less fascinating. Confident, capable and crazy in love with someone supposedly incapable of showing emotion. Oh, girl, I feel you. Representation is one of those things we don’t always like to talk about. It can make for uncomfortable dinnertime conversation with one side yelling whitewash and the other screaming quota. But its impact on the at-long-last represented parties is immeasurable. So thanks for boldly going where no man or woman or space creature has gone before, Uhura. Live long and prosper, and happy weekend, all.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

False Idol

I don’t watch American Idol. I’ve never been big on karaoke and I’m even less a fan of manufactured excitement and public humiliation. I am, however, a fan of talent. Adam Lambert is talented. Sure, that Kris guy is talented, too. And he seems awfully nice. But Adam is a star. You can’t quantify what that means, other than to say that once you see him you probably will never forget him. I can’t say the same for that Kris guy. This is, of course, a very long way of saying that the wrong guy won last night. We all know this. It can’t be refuted. But instead of wanting to scream at my TV or throw a shoe or curse into the darkness mad (because, again, I am totally not that invested in this unholy phenomena responsible for the Ryan Seacrestification of the universe), I am just deflated.

You see, we – all of us gays and queers and misfits and weirdos – thought America was finally ready. We were ready for a gay idol. Everyone was calling him the one to beat. He was the one to beat. It was going to happen. We were so close. Then, then that nice unthreatening, boring Kris guy won. And all of us gays and queers and misfits and weirdos sighed and said, “Not again.” But, once again, America dissapoints us. For all the strides we make and the comfort we feel in our homes, offices, places of worship and ultimately own skin, it still means something when the wider world looks at us and says, “Hey, kid, you’re OK.” So, when instead of giving us the pat on the head we get the cold shoulder, it hurts. It frustrates. It mystifies. I’m not saying The Gay is the only reason Adam lost. You can never underestimate a tween’s love for a boring boy. (Zac Efron, anyone?) Still when that Kris guy won, I feel like The Gays (along with anyone with ears, taste and common sense) took it the worst. Because even if Adam isn’t really gay (cough, he is, cough), or doesn’t ultimately call himself gay (cough, he will, cough), he is gay to America. And that’s what matters. The glam, the guyliner, the gayness. It was all just too much for people who like their world (and boys) nice, unthreatening, boring.

So, again, we wait. We wait for the pat, the nod, the thumbs up on everything from marriage to service in the military to who has the right to record some god-awful song. We know, no matter what they say, we’re better than that. And now at least we won’t have to pretend to like “No Boundaries.” Consider yourself a winner, Adam Lambert. Because you are one, you big fabulous homo, you.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Filled with...

I cannot think of a more appropriately-named show on TV right now than “Glee.” To say it filled me with the aforementioned would be an understatement. It made me want to clap my hands and jump up and down and sing out loud to Journey in a crowded room. Funny, mean, touching, fabulous. Come on, it has show tunes AND Jane Lynch. If that’s not super gay (in the very, very good way) then I don’t know what is.

Now, I wasn’t in show choir in high school. I lacked both the ability to sing and move my hands in unison. But lots of my friends were in the club and I distinctly remember the shiny costumes and the enthusiastic performances. But the great thing about “Glee” is that it isn’t really a shiny, sequined high school musical wannabe. It’s about embracing the cheesiness and acknowledging the cruelty. High school is mean, it always has been. But it can also be filled with inexplicable joy. Kind of like “Glee.”

Roll your eyes all you want, hipsters, but there is an energy, eagerness and earnestness to those jazz hands that is impossible to resist. At its heart, it’s about the oddballs, the misfits, the dreamers. Gay kid? Yep, he’s there. Beyonce wannabe? Yep, she’s there. Stuttering Asian punk? Yep. Wheelchair-bound guitarist? Yep. Quarterback who wants to sing? Yep. Myspace superstar in her own mind with two dads? Oh, girl, she is so there. All that and an upcoming cameo by Kristin Chenoweth and I feel like doing that jumping up and down, clapping and signing Journey thing again. Still not convinced? Well, let Jane explain it to you. I mean, who can say no to Jane?

My only real disappointment is that I have to wait all damn summer to see any new episodes. It won’t return until the fall. Now that, that’s cruel. That’s even more cruel than high school.

p.s. If you missed it, the episode will stream all summer at

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tank Top Tuesday

Pouring a little out for our canceled home girls today. As thrilled as I am with the networks’ decisions to renew some of my most beloved shows, I sing a mournful little song for the ones who didn’t make it. “Pushing Daisies,” “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles,” “Life,” “Samantha Who?” All these shows featured great female leads and their absence makes the TV landscape a little (well, a lot) less interesting. By comparison, Brad Garrett’s seriously unfunny supposed comedy “’Til Death” just got renewed for a fourth (yes, FOURTH) season. Oh, and it’s going to be the Friday-night lead-in for “Dollhouse.” Screw pouring out the liquor; I think I need to drink it instead. A lot of it. Oh well, maybe our dearly departing ladies in tank tops will soothe my pain.

[Click any and all to enlarge]

Summer GlauSarah ShahiKristin ChenowethAnna FrielChristina ApplegateLena Headey

p.s. TV gods, give these women new shows, pronto.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Good, TV, good

Every so often, the TV gods smile down upon us mere mortals. This weekend was one of those every so-s. “Dollhouse” reactivated. “Chuck” saved. Add those to the earlier renewal of “Fringe” and you have that most-rare of Hollywood occurrences: a group of television executives deciding interesting TV is more important than low ratings. Certainly, this gesture of good will from the almighty rules of the idiot box did not come without sacrifice. “Pushing Daisies.” “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.” Still I guess given the unexpected benevolence they showed this weekend we should be happy no small animals or virgins were hurt in the process. Though, seriously, anything that keeps this kind of television coming back week after week deserves some kind of offering in respect. I’d totally be willing to push Glenn Beck or Bill O’Reilly into a volcano as a token of my appreciation. Say the word, TV gods, say the word.


Sarah Sizzles, I melt.


Way to beat the network into submission.


She kissed a girl, I liked it.

Friday, May 15, 2009

My Weekend Crush

When I was a kid, only a handful of other kids in my school looked like me. And, growing up in the Midwest, the numbers never rose much higher. So I was just used to going to the movies or watching TV and seeing no one who looked like me staring back. That was just how things were. Then, while still in gradeschool, “The Karate Kid, Part II” came out. I make no apologies for the rampant stereotypes the film perpetuated. The concept of honor. The Far East exoticism. That all Asians know karate. That we would ever condone the use of cheesy Peter Cetera music. But I didn’t care about any of that. I cared that Tamlyn Tomita kind of looked like me. And there she was with her amazing hair and her almond eyes playing Ralph Macchio's love interest Kumiko for everyone to see.

After the movie came out, a schoolmate told me I looked like “that girl from Karate Kid” and I’m not sure if my feet touched the ground for the rest of the day I was so proud. We actually don’t, not really. She’s Japanese; I’m Korean. We don’t all look alike, you know. But she was beautiful and Asian and the star of a major motion picture. That was enough for me. Through the years, it has always given me an inexplicable thrill each time I’ve seen her in another role, from “The Joy Luck Club” to “The Day After Tomorrow” to a guest spot this season on “The Mentalist.” And, yesterday, while writing about Disney’s first-ever black princess film, “The Princess and the Frog,” it finally dawned on me why. Whether we admit it or not, we all need role models who reflect our realities back to us larger than life. Tamlyn did that for me, all those years ago. She made me feel a little less alone in a world that looked nothing like what I saw in the mirror each day. Also, seriously, how awesome was her hair? Happy weekend, all.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Gender Fuck Thursday

Mmmm, tasty, tasty androgyny. I’ve always been a sucker for a lady in a suit. The blending of the traditionally masculine and the wonderfully feminine is just, well, yum. And the blurrier the lines (hello, Tilda Swinton, come sit closer to me) often the better. But it’s more than just the look; it’s also the swagger. Thumbs in pockets. Shoulders squared. Jaw set. How quickly can that lead to jacket on floor? Shirt crumpled. Skin sweaty… Wait…where was I? Oh, yeah. Fuck yeah, gender fuck. [Click any and all to enlarge.]

Natalie PortmanSigourney WeaverKate BeckinsaleAlicia KeysSamantha RonsonKelly ClarksonAlicia Silverstone

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Trailer treasure

So, last week I got all up in Hollywood’s grill for serving us a tapioca-like paste of bland, banal and basically bullshit romantic comedies. As Sarah Haskins will gladly tell you, all it takes is one “unlikely suitor, high-concept hijinks, unnecessary obstacle, true love, happy ending” to ruin a perfectly good tub of popcorn. But just to show that I’m not a chick who hates all flicks, today I’ve decided to serve up a little cinematic yin to last week’s yucky yang. Here are some romantic comedies that seem both romantic and comedic. Oh truth in advertising, how I’ve missed you. See you at the Cineplex, ladies. [Totally click HD on all of these.]

Away We Go
The trailer feels a bit like “Garden State” for the thirtysomething set. And the cast? Maya Rudolph, Allison Janney, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Melanie Lynskey and Catherine O’Hara. Now that is how you properly butter my popcorn, Hollywood.

The Timer
Anya! Anya! Anya! The criminally funny Emma Caulfield (who in case you haven’t clued in yet was Anya on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) looks fantastic in this Timex meets true love story. Though, thank God those things don’t actually exist because it would be yet another electronic device I’d have to show my mother how to make stop blinking 12:00.

Paper Heart
A cute, geeky, glasses-wearing Asian-American leading actress? Say no more, I’m already there.

Julie & Julia
Fine, so this isn’t a romantic comedy per se. And, sure, I’ve already slopped sugar all over this trailer. But it’s got women and food and to me that’s a love story for the ages.

Bonus: Where the Wild Things Are
I know you've already seen it, but watch it again. Love is wild. God, I can’t wait.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Going Gaga

I know she’s been hot for months and months now, but Lady Gaga’s astronomical success these days makes me happy in pretty much all the right places. First, her songs are pure dance candy. They are strobe lights and disco balls and fuck-me heels all synched up to a beat so irresistible even your lawn ornaments want to get up from their grassy perches and Just goddamn Dance. But what really makes me happy about Lady Gaga is that she is so very gay. Not gay as in big old flannel-wearing lesbian gay (not that there’s anything wrong with that; hello, me, circa 1993-97). But gay as in a gay sensibility. Make no mistake, her music is for The Gays. That the straights like it too, well, it’s proof there may be hope for them after all. And, best of all, she knows it, too.

As she told MTV News last week:
“The turning point for me was the gay community. I’ve got so many gay fans and they’re so loyal to me and they really lifted me up. They’ll always stand by me and I’ll always stand by them. It’s not an easy thing to create a fanbase. ... Being invited to play [the San Francisco Pride rally], that was a real turning point for me as an artist.”

I remember last summer I was following the first Logo NewNowNext Awards proceedings with a somewhat vested interest (cough, I still can’t believe you guys voted for me, cough). And they kept talking about this Lady Gaga who would be there. It was her first TV performance and wish I could shut my playboy mouth, but I couldn’t because my jaw hit the floor. What is this ridiculous, crazy, addictive, super gay fabulosity?

Lady Gaga is fun, the pure and unadulterated kind. Her concerts are equal parts dance extravaganza and performance art. Girlfriend turns it out. Oh, and she can actually sing. Lip sync that, Britney. The Gaga makes herself a moving target, one-upping even Madonna in continual reinvention. Yesterday unitards, today bubbles, tomorrow tea cups, and next week – shit, I don’t know, giant inflatable clown shoes? Also, she seems chronically allergic to pants. Not that I’m complaining.

Still, aways underneath it all runs and undercurrent of the outsider. Sure, she’s hotter than a red hot p-p-p-poker right now. But at her core she’s still a misfit, a bit of a weirdo. And that, that’s what else makes her so gay. Oh, that and the fact that she says her hit “Poker Face” is about bisexuality and in the video for “Love Game” she macks on a female cop. Like I was saying, so gay. Heck, she may even help turn that phrase into the compliment it should have been all along.

p.s. If you can’t wait to go gaga over Gaga on Ellen today, you can check out her performance now. Whatever you do, watch until the end. That hug is so gay. See, it’s already working.