Friday, July 31, 2009

My Weekend Crush

In any relationship, there is always the star. The one whose name comes first, whose personality fills the room, whose presence leaves the more lasting impression. But while the quieter partner may be lose out in first impressions, she should never be counted out. For without the yang, the yin cannot make a whole. Without Laurel Holloman, there is no Bette and Tina. There is no center. There is no whole. Bette without Tina to ground her is a one-note character – all power and desire, no heart and consequences. She needs Tina, and we need Laurel.

Of course, Laurel is more than just Tina. She first stole my heart – as I’m sure she did yours – as the adorable Randy Dean. She was the scruffy little butch we all wish we met in high school, or aspired to be. In “The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls in Love,” Laurel was awkward yet determined, goofy yet heroic. Anytime I want a guaranteed giggle, I cue the film up to Randy reading “Leaves of Grass” and replay her delightfully adolescent repeating of the word “crotch.” She so inhabited that role that years later when I encounter her again on my TV, this time in “Angel,” I almost didn’t recognize her.

So then, when we met again in that show about the letter between K and M, I didn’t know what to expect. What we got was strength, smarts, sweetness and, sure, sometimes a neck-bulging screamfest. It’s not easy being the quiet one. But it’s the quiet ones who always surprise you. Happy weekend, all.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Show me your muscles

Dara Torres & her abs

So, we all already knew that girls' sports were awesome. But now, according to the New York Times, girls' sports are actually lucrative. Suck it, Major League. Though, in all seriousness, anyone who has ever been to a girls' or women's sporting event can tell you that the heart these competitors play with is equal, if not greater than, any competitor in men's sports. This is because, for the most part, they aren't playing for glory or future fame or big shoe endorsements. They're playing for the unadulterated, uncomplicated, uncompromised love of the game. So, yeah, girls' sports are awesome. And the women these girl athletes grow into, sweet holy hell, they're hot.

Dara Torres I focus on her abs so much I forget she has killer arm cleavage.

Detroit ShockI'd better see him wear this during one of his pick-up games.

Serena WilliamsThose arms make me want to be a better woman.

Jelena JankovicThese too.

Natasha KaiWanna see ‘Tasha get a tattoo? Course you do.

Blanca VlasicOh my, the bendy.

Lolo JonesI think she might possibly be perfect, tiny trip and all.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Bust a move

Oh, joy. Oh, happiness. Oh, GLEE! Good news Gleeks, your favorite group of singing misfits will return a week sooner than planned, on Sept. 9. This means only 42 more days until the all-singing, all-dancing, all-snarking fabulosity that is “Glee” returns to our televisions. It’s been a while since a program made me this unabashedly giddy with delight. I think the last one bordering on that was “Pushing Daisies.” And before that, probably “Wonderfalls.”

So what it is about “Glee” that hits my happy place? (No, not that happy place. That’s the “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” trailer) It’s clearly not just the singing. If that was the case I’d be watching Daniela Sea Zac Efron croon about shooting baskets and receiving naughty emails from Vanessa Hudgens. It’s the bite – the sharp, stinging bite that made the first episode such a wondrous thing to behold. Also Jane Lynch. Sweet fancy Moses, let there be more Jane Lynch.

Fox has released a new clip, and it is fan-fucking-tastic. In it, Mercedes (the divatastic Amber Riley) covers Jazmine Sullivan’s “Bust Your Windows” and reveals a doomed love for the club’s resident gay boy, Kurt (Chris Colfer). Cock your shoulder and flex your attitude. Then press play. [If YouTube pulls this non-geoblocked clip, I’ll repost the official Hulu version.]

Besides just kicking all around ass (also, hello bikini-clad cheerleader backup dancers), this clip tells us that not all the numbers in the “Glee” universe will be relegated to the club’s performances. Neat! If any show can make breaking into spontaneous song smoking instead of silly, it’s this one. I replayed that clip three times in a row and it improved my mood tenfold.

So, are you ready? OK! Give me a “G!” Give me a “L!” Give me an “E!” Give me another “E!” What’s that spell? Hell fucking yeah, that’s what it spells.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tank Top Tuesday

I realize now I probably committed an unacceptable, unconscionable, unforgiveable crime against tank tops yesterday with my initial photo choice. Is there an apology big enough to atone for that sin? Can my sense of sexy be redeemed? Seriously, what the fuck was I thinking? I cannot answer these questions. I can, however, grovel at the feet of Teh Hot and ask humbly for its forgiveness. I think Halle Berry is a good start. As for the rest of my mea culpa, it goes a little something like this.

Angelina JoliePadma LakshmiPortia de RossiSandra BullockJenny ShimizuTricia Helfer, Lucy Lawless, Grace ParkLaura SánchezI haven’t seen “Los hombres de Paco” yet. Clearly, I am an idiot.

So, is all forgiven? Well, can I at least stop sleeping on the couch?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Sometimes they come back

Over the weekend at the big ladies-with-laptops BlogHer conference, we saw The Return of Chaiken. Yes, Ilene was back. She was talking. She was sorry. And by sorry she meant, “Go see my movie.” As reported on Twitter by Trish (our intrepid AfterEllen Blog Headmistress), Mama C addressed both a) the fans’ reactions b) those “The L Word: The Movie” rumors.

First, her mea culpa:
“I made a foolish mistake saying didn’t care what viewers wanted in the stories. Learned a lot from engaging with community.”

And all the lesbians in the room say, “DUH!”

Then, her humdinger:

“When we make ‘The L Word’ movie, we will say who killed Jenny. Movie is in scripting process.”

When. Not if. WHEN. Seems that was her plan all along – string ’em along to get a spinoff movie made. I knew it, I fucking knew it. Of course, this strategy comes with a very real risk. When she finally decides to tell us who killed Jenny, will we still care?

Do I care who killed Jenny at this point? Not really. I mean, it’s just not one of those great, haunting unanswered cinematic questions. Like, what did Bill Murray say to Scarlett Johansson at the end of “Lost in Translation?” What was in that briefcase in “Pulp Fiction?” Or, seriously, what the fuck was that all about, “Mulholland Dr.?”

But will I still go see the movie? Who am I kidding, I’m totally going. The siren song of Jennifer Beals’ ass in a perfectly-tailored power suit is just too strong. If I can make it through six sanity-sapping seasons, I can certainly make it through two hours of whatever crazy Chaiken can throws up there now. Plus, I own a flask. Two even.

The Puppetmaster

I guess what irks me most is even though Ilene says she is sorry for being all “Ney-ner, ney-ner, it’s my show so suck it!” about the storylines, I still feel manipulated. Artists don’t have to justify their art. She doesn’t owe us anything, but she owes her stories everything. She owes them truth and consistency. And all too often that’s just not what they received.

Look, I will forever be grateful to Ilene for creating this amazing universe and bringing together even more amazing women to inhabit it. But such is the great conundrum for GLBT viewers everywhere. We are unquestionably grateful and thrilled when any artist chooses to tell our stories. But that doesn’t mean, sometimes, we can’t wish those stories were better. Or made sense. Or didn’t make you want to throw any and all heavy objects within arm’s reach at your television.

Though I guess the one good thing about a movie version is that no matter what happens, we’ll at least get a nice big tub of popcorn out of the whole experience. So, are you in? And, most important, butter or no butter?

Friday, July 24, 2009

My Weekend Crush

Sure, there are the doe eyes and the milky skin. The multi-watt smile and the flowing raven tresses. But what I like most about Anne Hathaway is that she seems complete. No, not in that hokey Jerry Maguire way of completing each other. It’s that no part of her life seems particularly out of sync – nothing needs to be fixed or fretted over. OK, she has made some questionable boyfriend choices, but that just makes us love her more. She is human, after all. What she has done throughout her career is steadily build a reputation based not on her partying or panty-flashing, diva demands or distracting drama, but on talent, smarts, hard-work and mutual respect. She has done it all while remaining refreshingly friendly with fans, accessible without being an open book and just amiably herself. In Hollywood, that’s as close to a fairy tale as you can get. Now, thanks to “Twelfth Night,” we know she doesn’t just have to play the princess. Happy weekend, all.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Gender Fuck Thursday

I don’t know why, perhaps it was researching the great Greta last week, but I’ve been in a retro mood lately. Last Thursday we had The Original Gender Fuck Fatale, Marlene Dietrich. But Marlene wasn’t the only lady back in the day who could mess with what is masculine. Let’s face it, women in suits and menswear are hot now, then and forever. Another look back, in wonder.

Josephine BakerAmelia Earhart(Young) Joan CrawfordClara BowCarole LombardLauren BacallKatharine HepburnGreta Garbo

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I like the way you move

Ugh, it’s been a bit of a week. And to top it all off, last night my internet and phone both went out for hours (oh, the joy of Comast). But they’re both back, at least for now. So I’ve decided that I’m going to let Emma Watson kiss it and make it all better. What? She is 19 now. Stop judging me! And because it has really, really been that kind of a week, I’ve decided that still images just aren’t enough today. So with that, it’s alive! Alive!

Emma Watson

Gosh, that does feel better.

Elizabeth Mitchell

Oh to have her look at me like that, just once.

Agent Sarah Walker

More like Agent Sarah Crawler!

Joan Holloway

Inappropriate workplace thoughts in 5, 4, 3, 2…

Rachel Maddow

The adorkability, it burns!

Ahhh, much better. Something about watching hot, smart, funny, hot women over and over and over and over and over. What? I’m sorry, was I talking? I think I got a little hypnotized there for a second. It’s just something about watching hot, smart, funny, hot women over and over and over and over…

Note: I know the cutehotadorablehotfunnyhot is irresistible, but if you want to share please save and upload instead of hotlink. Thanks.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

What happens in Top Chef...

Chefbians, chefbians, everywhere chefbians. Top Chef is back, flavor lovers. And it’s bringing two chefbians, one Padma and more tattooed gals than you can shake a ladle at. I’m not kidding, there is some serious ink happening this season. (Yes, I cropped Toby Young out of that top picture. But, yes, he will be back. And, no, I’m not pleased about it.) Now before we get to the painted ladies, we need to get to the gay ladies. On “Top Chef: Las Vegas” we’ve got two: [Click any, all to embiggen]

Bay Area chef Preeti Mistry, 33Seattle chef Ashley Merriman, 32

Well, they sure weren’t making it hard on our gaydar this season. I think I could have spotted them blindfolded from 30,000 feet. Faux hawks, copious tattoos, bed head. It’s all there.

But, interestingly, the lesbians aren’t the most extreme ink bearers this season. No, that distinction lies with two apparently straight contestants: Philly-based chef Jennifer Zavala [left] and Baltimore-based chef Jesse Sandlin [right]. A full-on neck tattoo and dramatic décolletage decoration? Whoa.

Rounding out Team Rainbow on the fella’s side is Ash Fulk, a 29-year-old New York-based chef. The tie is, apparently, the giveaway there.

But, I rather thought these two guys might be covert Team Rainbow members. A jaunty scarf and a bear beard? Puh-lease.

The scarf dude is French so, well, that explains that. Chef Bear still has some explaining to do.

The rest of the ladies, ranked in order of gayness [starting top left]: Robin Leventhal, Laurine Wickett, Eve Aronoff and Jennifer Carroll:

Now my other big take-away from the new Sin City edition was this little nugget from the press release:

Some of the top names in food, movies and entertainment including Wolfgang Puck, Todd English, Natalie Portman, Daniel Boulud, Penn & Teller, Hubert Keller, Laurent Tourondel, Tim Love, Michelle Bernstein, Tyler Florence, Charlie Palmer, Paul Bartolotta, Nigella Lawson, Jerome Bocuse and Thomas Keller.

Dear whatever deity you believe or don’t believe in wherever he or she or nothing may reside, Padma Lakshmi and Nigella Lawson are going to be in the same room eating food and, if history is any indication, licking it off their fingers/spoons/whatever other lucky inanimate object may be nearby. That thud you heard was me passing out.

Natalie and Padma in the same room is all kinds of awesome, too. But I’ve never looked at Natalie and thought, “Now there’s a big eater.” Nigella, on the other hand, wrote the book on food porn. “Top Chef: Las Vegas” premieres Aug. 19 on Bravo. I’ll be there, bib at the ready.

p.s. Did you know Padma is working on her own sitcom? No, I’m not kidding. No, really, I’m not kidding. Check the date. It’s not even close to April 1.

Monday, July 20, 2009


Bang. Sorry, didn’t mean to scare you. It’s just the best way I knew how to greet Monday. Now, before we begin, I’d like to note that I in no way condone violence. I don’t own guns. I’ve never shot a gun. And I’m all for gun control. Suck it, NRA. Having said that, there is also something unspeakably sexy about a woman with a gun – like our gal Mariska. We’re going to ignore old Sigmund and all his talk of willy envy. Balderdash. This is just about power, and power has nothing inherently to do with willies. So there. What can I say, I’m a sucker for a gal with steely determination and killer aim – especially when she is not pointed at me. Happiness is a warm gun, being held by a hot lady.

Elizabeth MitchellAnna TorvYvonne StrahovskiSarah ShahiKeira KnightleySummer GlauLena HeadeyEva MendesPam GrierJodie Foster