Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Watch me now

I have a secret. I am behind. I’ve only officially been back from vacation one day and – bam – already behind. Again. Always. I had the best intentions during my vacation. I brought DVD sets to get caught up on. I made promises to answer email. I really did have the best intentions. I was going to catch up and then be ready. But instead, I spent most of my time playing with my baby nephew, watching Masterpiece Theatre with my mom and generally laying about doing my best bump on a log impression. (Side note: Should we ever meet, ask to see it. I’m very good.)

So now, kittens, I turn to you. Since I can’t properly prioritize my entertainment consumption on my own, I turn to you to help me decide what to catch up on first. Now the email, that’s just going to be catch as catch can. (Another side note: What the fuck does that even mean? Is catch bad at catching?) But the watching, well, here I know you can help a sister out. Currently in my queue I have:

  • Catching up on the start of “Pretty Little Liars.” The show started while I was on vacation and, um, I’ve already mentioned that my mom likes to watch Miss Marple, right? I can’t decide if I should give it a shot. But it’s sort of shiny and shallow, with secret girl-girl kissing. How bad could it be?
  • Watching “Skins,” like any of it. I have not watched this show, even though I know Naomily is epic. I blame being in America and lazy about watching shows that are not shown regularly on my TV in America. Don’t tell Heather.
  • Finishing “True Blood,” the complete second season box set. I love vampires. I love sexy vampires. I really have no idea why I haven’t found the time yet to get through this season. And, yes, I already saw last week’s big WTFityF moment of the current season. Head sufficiently spun. Ahem.
  • Viewing the “I Can’t Think Straight”/“The World Unseen” DVDs. I won these thanks to your awesome voting prowess. They arrived earlier this month. Every time I want to pop one in to see the ridiculous hotness that is Lisa Ray and Sheetal Sheth, I start to feel guilty because I am so behind on (see above).
  • Rewatching everything in the “Cinema Pride Collection.” Ten super-duper gay films in one box set: The Children’s Hour, La Cage Aux Folles, The Birdcage, My Beautiful Laundrette, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Bent, The Object of My Affection, Boys Don't Cry, Kissing Jessica Stein and Imagine Me & You. As we speak I am fighting off the urge to pop in “Imagine Me & You” and watch the even ridiculouser (whatever, grammar, it’s a word now) hotness that is Lena Headey and Piper Perabo for the 6,001st time. This could be why I am so behind on everything in the first place.

Oh, I also still haven’t watched the second episode of “The Real L Word.” But there’s one instance where I think I’ve prioritized just right. So, tell me what to do. What should I watch first? Go ahead, boss me around. No, not that way. You’ll have to suggest what movie we watch together and buy me dinner for that.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Acid Wash vs. Day Glo

So not to date myself (who am I kidding, I always date myself), but I certainly got a chuckle out of the news that Debbie Gibson and Tiffany were going to star – and fight – in a new SyFy film. The 80s teen pop idols will star in “Mega Python vs. Gatoroid.” No, I am not kidding. Debbie will play “a fanatical animal-rights activist who frees illegally imported exotic snakes from pet stores, sending them into the Everglades, where they grow to mega sizes. Tiffany will play an overzealous park ranger who uses dangerous methods to save endangered alligators.” In the script they get into a fight at a party which ends up in a swamp. Naturally.

Now, children of the 80s like me know that the Debbie or Tiffany question was one of the defining questions of our era. It was the Team Edward or Team Jacob of our time. The way you answered it framed you as this or that kind of person. Well, at least that’s how it played out in my head. I was all Team Debbie. Tiffany sang in malls – malls, people. But Debbie, she shook her love. Totally different.

In my adolescent mind, Debbie was much classier. But then, they both ended up posing naked in Playboy. So, I guess I just further proved the truism that preteen girls should never be arbiters of public taste.

Of course, this is a genius way to settle all real (or imagined) pop culture rivalries. Schlocky sci-fi movies should become our go-to way to once and for all settle the matter of supremacy. Angelina Jolie vs. Jennifer Aniston in “Ultra Fox vs. Mega Friend.” Rosie O’Donnell vs. Elisabeth Hasselbeck in “King Kong vs. Godzilla.” Backstreet Boys vs. *NSync in “Who Are We Kidding, We Both Suck.”

Now, time has a funny way of putting everything in perspective. And these days I think I feel a little more nostalgic for Tiffany’s cheesy 80s ballads than Debbie’s (also, she insists on being called Deborah now, which – girl, come on).”Could’ve Been” was also the first song I ever slow danced to at a school dance. To be honest, I don’t remember the boy. But I remember the girl who sang it.

Though, if I could make one small, crucial suggestion to SyFy before they start filming - please, please, please put them in Day-Glo and acid-wash jeans for their big swamp fight. This is an 80s rivalry, after all. It only seems right.

Monday, June 28, 2010

That’s what friends are for

The one positive thing I can say that “The Real L Word” has done is make me miss “The L Word.” OK, not all of “The L Word” – definitely not the Death of Dana and the No Lifeguard on Duty parts. But the fun days. You know, back when they were all friends. And did silly things. And talked to one another like friends who did silly things. Like this.

Oh, Angela Robinson, please come make a lesbian TV series that has nothing to do with pumps or pants or clams or IFC. At its best, “The L Word” was about a group of friends who actually did all those things in that horrendous theme song that made our ears bleed. It was pure fiction, but could actually feel real. And sometimes, just sometimes, we even saw ourselves.

So in honor of the crazy Pride Weekend I just had (i.e. stringing coherent words together at this moment = hard), here are a few of my favorite friend moments from a show that spawned that other show that only makes me long for that first show even more.

Come back, Alice. Say funny things like “poopy-shit” and “uh-uh” and make us all want to be your best friend again.

Friday, June 25, 2010

My Weekend Pride

Pride Weekend

I love Pride. You’d think I wouldn’t. People. Crowds. Noise. Dancing. Only traumatizing places to pee. But I love it. I love all of it. I love seeing the tacky rainbow crap. I love the non-stop thumpa-thumpa-thumpa music. I love the parade. I love, quite simply, the gays. I’ve been going to prides for more than a dozen years now. Each year is a spectacle. An event. An over the top and ridiculous sweaty carnival of queertasticness. It’s also a reminder that, even if the larger world doesn’t necessarily think the same thing, it’s good to get together with your people and just feel fucking fabulous about yourself. A gal needs to do that sometimes. We all do. So this weekend, that’s exactly what I’m gonna do. Every now and then, even a misanthrope needs to dance her ass off. We’re here, we’re queer, and no one on the planet throws a better party than we do. Happy Pride, all.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Really, Ilene? Really?

Kittens, I’m back! Did you miss me? I sure missed you. But while I was gone something terrible happened. Something really, really terrible.

Did you catch “The Real L Word” on Showtime last Sunday?

Perhaps the greatest oxymoron of our time is the term “reality television.” It exists almost exclusively in a realm devoid of reality. It trades in artifice. It rejoices in the shameless. It is, of course, anything but real. So into that conceit comes “The Real L Word.” We should be trained by now to know that any show with “Real” in the title is no such thing. Be it Housewives or World, it’s an utter sham.

So then the only question left to answer is intent. Is the intent of a show to present as real a portrait of a slice of our complex humanity as possible within the false constraints of television, or is the intent to merely titillate? If you listen to Ilene Chaiken and company, the goal of TRLW is to show real lesbians. But not just any lesbians, The L Word “brand” of lesbians. A lesbian which Mama Chaiken says is defined by “aspiration and culture and popular culture and ambition and affluence in varying degrees.”

What does that mean for those of us playing at home? Well, if you watched (and I rather hope you didn’t, unlike me), you know for sure what this show is not about. This show is not about relating or reflecting. This show has no desire to enlighten or elucidate. This show only hopes to instill two of our deadliest sins in its viewers: lust and envy. Lust because, ZOMG look at these hotties having hot sex. And envy because, ZOMG don’t you wish your lives were like these hotties having the hot sex. Also, did we mention they’re more rich/attractive/successful/fashionable and all-together fuckable than you are? No? Because they totally are.

Who are these women who signed up willingly to find out what happens when lesbians stop being polite and start getting real? I have no idea. What I see is just privilege, posturing, pompousness and pleasure cruising. And then there’s Tracy, who seems oddly nice. What’s that all about? That being said, they could all have untold layers – contemplative inner lives, restless social consciousnesses. But that’s not what the lens shows us, or even wants us to see.

Now, clearly, to have expected deep social commentary from this show is to be a fool. So all we have left is the fantasy. But the show doesn’t even deliver on that. Watching vapid lives play out vapidly is just boring. Off-camera moans and on-camera strap-ons is not pleasure, the guilty kind or otherwise. Porn is at least honest in its purpose.

It is probably unfair – albeit understandable – to expect a higher social conscience from those purporting to portray queer life for the masses. The burden is indeed heavy, but the obstacles we face are still real, still painful, still very much there. Until they aren’t there the double standard will exist: Straight entertainment needs only to entertain; queer entertainment should entertain and educate.

“The Real L Word” manages to fail at both. This isn’t real. This isn’t fun. It’s just deeply shallow. It presents lesbian life as a never-ending night at the club. It asks no larger question than Gucci or Dolce & Gabbana. It thinks we’ll be awed by the “Power of the Clam.” And this, this is what Ilene Chaiken thinks we should all aspire to. These are the kinds of lesbian, the kinds of “stories” she thinks are worth telling in our community.

She is wrong. She could not be more wrong.

In the end, I just don’t care. I don’t care about these women. I don’t care about their lives. I don’t care who they sleep with. I don’t care who they don’t sleep with. I don’t care how much they spend on their wedding. I don’t care if their models aren’t hot enough. I don’t care if they shoot sunshine out of their crotches. I just don’t give a fuck, flying or otherwise.

Though I guess things could be worse. I could be forced to watch the entire series. Now that would be truly terrible.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Vacation Vixen: Queen Latifah

She bought a house with her personal trainer. So that’s what they’re calling it these days.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Friday, June 18, 2010

Vacation Vixen: Michelle Rodriguez


Is it bad that my first thought when I saw this was,“I wonder how many ladies have woken to find her in their kitchen?”

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Vacation Vixen: Nancy McKeon

If you didn’t crush on Jo at some point in your childhood then I question your sexuality.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Vacation Vixen: Padma Lakshmi

No chefbian on “Top Chef” this season. But we’ll always have out (wow, totally Freudian typo) our mmm, Padma, mmm.

UPDATE: What the hell, Tracey mentioned raising her girlfriend's kid on the show last night. Dude, Bravo lied to me. Looks like we have a chefbian after all.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Monday, June 14, 2010

Friday, June 11, 2010

Vacation Vixen: Karen Gillan

I gave Heather endless shit about lusting after young little Karen Gillan. But then I watched the new “Dr. Who.” Um, yeah. Age is just a number, right?

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Vacation Vixen: Dianna Agron & Lea Michele

Well, now they’re just teasing us.

p.s. So, yes, I’m on vacation through June 23. But I promise to fill the time with pretty pictures each day. And if you’re so inclined, you can follow my vacation loafing @dorothysnarker.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Pucker up

They say when it rain it pours, but this is ridiculous. You go days, weeks, months without any good, tasty lesbianish happenings and then – BOOM – a ton of them blow up all at once. We’ve got Sandra Bullock kissing Scarlett Johansson at the MTV Movie Awards for no other reason than it’s hot to kiss Scarlett Johansson. Somewhere Meryl Streep is seething with jealousy. Then we’ve got Ruby Rose and Kim Stolz tweeting what everyone else’s gaydar already told them: Kristen Stewart seems mighty gay. Their tweets were followed by adorable Twitter death threats from Twihard wingnuts who think calling KStew (forevermore affectionately redubbed GayStew) a lesbian is slander. It’s not, kids. Also, vampires aren’t real. And finally we’ve got little Miley Cyrus air kissing a female dancer and then blowing her defense of the act by saying because their lips didn’t touch that she “did nothing wrong.” Once more with feeling: Kissing girls isn’t “wrong” or “bad” or “slanderous.” It’s just awesome. Also, did you know Cybill Shepherd has another lesbian daughter (scroll to the end)? I know! It’s totally pouring. And I’m probably missing something.

So amid this downpour I have only one thing to say: Look, straight (and gayish) ladies who want to publicly (or secretly) make out with other ladies – cool it. I’m going on vacation tomorrow for two weeks. Don’t do all your gay stuff while I’m gone and therefore can’t comment snarkily on it. I don’t want to miss all the ridiculousness. Well, OK, I could do with a little less ridiculous in some cases. I mean, what the hell was that Sandy-ScarJo kiss all about anyway? While I’m not complaining about the act itself (a refresher, girls kissing is always awesome). But I am complaining about the reasoning. For laughs? For the straight boys? For attention? Jezebel has a great rundown of the reasoning for each instant of straight-girl on straight-girl smooching. Sure, this trend of fauxmosexual snogs is good for a giggle and to fuel our most feverish wishful thinking. And ultimately, I don’t think it really hurts us – in a strange way may help normalize the concept. But call me when the real homosexuals show up. What can I say, I like my kisses to count.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Invisible man (and then woman)

You always remember your first. No, not that first. The first film that thoroughly blew your mind. Mine was “Brazil,” the mind fuck from mind-freakilicious director Terry Gilliam. Of course, I was just in grade school and had no idea what the hell was going on. (Yeah, blame my dad who let me watch with him in one of his more questionable parental decisions.) So, and more significantly, the second movie to blow the lid off came almost 10 years later with 1993’s “Orlando.”The movie with Tilda Swinton in a film adaptation of Virginia Woolf bent space, time and gender like no other.

Well now, there just might be another. Rachel Weisz has signed on to star in “Invisible X” as “a man who turns into a woman.” But this isn’t gender bending in the transgender sense, but a “[David] Cronenberg-inspired body horror” film by “Jennifer’s Body” director Karyn Kusama. She described Rachel’s role as “two characters, or essentially two halves of the same character, but she is both male and female.”

If course, the problem is money. The project doesn’t have funding yet and Karyn is working on a rewrite. But Rachel seems committed and I can certainly try to be patient. Because a film about bending gender with Rachel doing the bending is unquestionably worth the wait.

[Hat tip to the always amazing Scribegrrrl!]

Friday, June 04, 2010

My Weekend Crush

I had another crush picked out for this weekend, but then Rue McClanahan passed yesterday and all other crushes were rendered obsolete immediately. Because Rue is a crush for the ages. She was a woman of style and spunk, sophistication and salaciousness who refused to be slut shamed. That, by the way, was a big deal. Women who sleep around on screen have not always been treated kindly, let alone beloved. But as the delightfully desirous, unapologetically amorous Blanche Devereaux you couldn’t help but love Rue. She was the Southern Belle who could ring your bell in the bedroom, and was happy to bellow about it to anyone who would listen. She represented a shamelessly sex-positive image of a woman of a certain age that was practically unheard of – even today.

In real life she embraced the role with the same bravado. She famously wrote in her 2007 memoir, “My First Five Husbands…And the Ones Who Got Away,” about her similarities with Blanche: “People always ask me if I’m like Blanche. And I say, ‘Well, Blanche was an oversexed, self-involved, man-crazy, vain Southern belle from Atlanta—and I’m not from Atlanta!’” She was a staunch supporter of the gay community. In 1971 starred in the gay film “Some of My best Friends Are…” and her last role was on the gay family comedy “Sordid Lives” for Logo. And then there were all those years with The girls. She also championed animal rights and was, by all accounts, just a fantastic lady to have worked with, befriended and just shared the planet with.

Then there were those one-liners:

“I’m tired of lying on my back….did I just say that?”

“Like I’m the only person who’s ever mixed a margarita in a sailor’s mouth!”

“You know how fragile men’s egos are. Do the smallest thing such as scream out the wrong name and they go to pieces.”

“I swear with God as my witness, I will never pick up another man! In a library ... on a Saturday ... unless he’s cute ... and drives a nice car ... Amen.”

Rose: “Is it possible to be in love with two men at the same time?”
Blanche: “Well, let’s set the scene – have we been drinking?”

And, well, there was her love of the Lebanese.

Thank you, Rue. For being fabulous, for being fearless, for being – as always – a friend. Happy weekend, all.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

The five Ws and one Heigl

Katherine Heigl is making my head hurt. No, not just because she has made a series of movies that look, sound and indeed are awful. Don’t get me wrong, that makes my head hurt – but that’s not the main reason my head hurts. The main reason my head hurts is because Katherine Heigl’s big screen career embodies one of life’s most eternal and unanswerable questions: Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

In the actresses’ case the question becomes: Which came first, Katherine Heigl’s inability to pick good movies or Hollywood’s inability to make good romantic comedies? Since her first major big screen starring role in 2007’s “Knocked Up,” Heigl has given us one uninspired romantic comedy after another. “27 Dresses,” “The Ugly Truth,” this week’s “Killers” (which wasn’t screened for critics – always a good sign) and the upcoming “Life As We Know It.” If you think you’ve seen these movies before, and better, you probably have – “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” “Woman of the Year,” “True Lies” and “Baby Boom.”

Now, I have nothing really against Katherine. I appreciated how she had T.R. Knight’s back during the whole “Grey’s Anatomy” gay slur kerfuffle. And I have no problems with her acting abilities or outspokenness. But it’s the kind of movies she is selected – bland, generic, uninspired fare that reinforces the uptight single woman stereotype – that makes me and a lot of other people cranky. We could spend hours, days, weeks pondering the five Ws: who, what, when, where and why did people think these movies were a good idea? Which, of course, leads us back to out original question. Is she making bland, generic, uninspired rom-coms because that is all that is out there for actresses or does her taste in rom-coms just really stink? I would say it’s probably a little of both. Yes, romantic comedies have become rote and formulaic. But, no, Katherine isn’t the only one with a long list of crap rom-coms on her resume. (Hey, Jennifer Lopez! Sup, Jennifer Aniston! Hola, Kate Hudson!)

So what’s a gal who admittedly enjoys a nice, cozy rom-com from time to time to do in the face of a cineplex full of Katherine Heigl movies and their unillustrious ilk? Seek indie fare? Retreat to Netflix? Read a Jane Austen novel? Chicken, egg –who knows. I just know I cannot endure any more “unlikely suitor, high-concept hijinks, unnecessary obstacle, true love, happy ending.”

p.s. This does not, in any way, excuse the men who make crap rom-coms. Yes, Ashton Kutcher, I mean you – put down that Nikon, stop Twittering and start making movies that don’t suck.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Another Anne

OK, so, what is it with the British? They get the posh accents and the afternoon teas and the sophisticated yet secretly smutty lesbian dramas on the BBC. We get Sarah Palin’s Alaskan windsong, Grape Kool-Aid and “The Real L Word.” It’s simply not fair. So my latest envy comes in the form of “The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister.” After “Tipping the Velvet” and “Fingersmith,” the jolly old Beeb has proven that it knows how to dial up the lady loving. Say what you will about those Victorian-era sudsters, they certainly weren’t dull.

Now comes Anne Lister and this time, it’s not just a tall tale from the fertile imagination of Sarah Waters. This is based on a real lesbian’s life. Take that, Ilene Chaiken. Miss Anne Lister was a 19th century landowner and avid ladies’ lady. Hey, those aren’t my words. That’s just paraphrasing from some of the more than 4 million words written in her coded diaries. Sample text: “I love and only love the fairer sex and thus beloved by them in turn, my heart revolts from any love but theirs.” See, avid.

Now, considering we’re still struggling for acceptance in the 21st century, I have a sneaking suspicion that things do not go entirely smoothly for our 19th century heroine. I sense there will be much heartbreak and sobbing on tree limbs amid the delightful bodice ripping. But I am so ready to swoon over the dashing Maxine Peake as Anne.

Just my luck, I’ll be on vacation when “The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister” screens at the San Francisco LGBT Film Festival later this month. But, I may or may not have found myself a copy to watch while I’m on away instead. Hey, I’m nothing if not resourceful. Here’s a taste of the trailer for everyone stateside.

See, lucky British. Of course, you’ve got David Cameron and we’ve got Barack Obama. So for once we’ve have the cooler leader. But, yeah, other than that – totally jealous.

p.s. Damn, I just realized there is one thing the British really suck at – stopping oil spills. Hey, British Petroleum, fix it! Fix it NOW!

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Trench Coat Tuesday

Naomi Watts

So, clearly, it’s a Tuesday. And, yes, Tuesdays are for tank tops. But sometimes a gal needs to mix things up a bit. I figure other articles of clothing should be allowed to stop by every now and then for a visit. Like a timeshare of hotness. So today, the humble tank top makes way for the elegant trench coat. The iconic piece of clothing is as practical as it is promising. That great promise, of course, is simple: That there will be only smooth skin and sin waiting underneath. For example, on Naomi Watts the trench says both a) I’m wearing a jacket in case things get nippy on our car ride and b) I’m wearing nothing underneath to ensure things get nipply after our ride. See, change can be good, or bad – in the someone has been a very, very bad girl sense.

Emily DeschanelMy what nice, um, “Bones” structure you have. I know – groan.

Mariska HargitayIf you get flashed by a cop, who do you call? If it’s Mariska, everyone.

Kate WinsletCold outside, hot everywhere else.

Anna Torv
Anna Torv
Just ignore Joshua Jackson, I do on “Fringe” anyway.

Megan FoxEver since she got canned from “Transformers 3,” I’ve liked her a lot more. A lot.

Jessica CapshawDear Shonda Rhimes: Next year, please consider incorporating a trench coat into next season’s mandatory Calzona make-up sex scenes. Just a thought.

Jodie Foster
Jodie Foster
See, you’ve forgotten all about dumb old tank tops already.