Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Unsnubbed

You know what I get a lot of emails saying? “You should write more about [insert beautiful, talented woman’s name here].” People are always asking me to write about their favorite actresses, singers, shows, athletes, authors, younameit. I don’t mind this at all. I’m just one person and, clearly, I am not omnipotent to even the tiniest degree. So I like being alerted to folks I may be shamefully ignoring. That said, there are certain people I purposely ignore, without the slightest hint of shame. Though I actually don’t get too many requests for those people. Not too many Kardashian fans read my blog it seems – imagine that. So here then is a round-up of some of my most frequently requested blog snubs (or just woefully underrepresented ladies), my reason for their previous snubbing and my heartfelt apologies.

Stana KaticI don’t watch “Castle.” And that’s the one and only reason why. Because, seriously, that bone structure – yum.

Crystal ChappellI don’t watch daytime soaps. And I don’t watch online soaps either. Jesus, I can’t even get through my DVR queue of nighttime shows.

Laura Sánchez & Marian AguileraI don’t speak Spanish. And my need-to-watch list of English-language shows is already ridiculous. Otherwise PepSi all the way.

Anna SilkI don’t know why I waited to write about “Lost Girl.” And I have even watched all the Bo & Lauren bits on YouTube, some multiple times. Those two together? Dead sexy.

Paget BrewsterI don’t have a good reason, again. And I’ve been watching this show for years. But I’m not sure how much longer I can hang now that she and AJ Cook are gone. Plus that new girl? Words cannot express how much I loathe her father-daughter vibe with Joe Mantegna. LOATHE.

So, kittens, who else have I missed? Who needs to bloglight shined on her? Remember, check the tags. I actually have written about a shockingly large number of ladies. It’s almost like it’s my jobs.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Good Detective

Kalinda, Kalinda, Kalinda. She has been a naughty girl, hasn’t she? I’m not a regular “The Good Wife” watcher, this I freely admit. But I have caught it on occasion and I do try to keep up with the exploits of my favorite international woman of mystery/baseball bat wielder/sexy boot strutter, Kalinda Sharma. News came earlier this week that Kalinda may be headed for a brief flirtation with a female nurse (played by former “Women’s Murder Club” and Angie Harmon co-star Aubrey Dollar). So, then, by my informal count that would be three lady conquests on her books so far. That’s not Shane speed, but it’s not bad either.

Kalinda’s private life has been just that, private on purpose. She’s secretive to a fault and the guessing game was a bit of the fun at first. Is she, isn’t she? She controlled its release like a slow-drip coffee filter. Of course now with recent developments, it looks like information is threatening to foam out like an overactive espresso machine instead. (Yes, I realize I’m taking this coffee metaphor too far. It’s early. I need some.) Granted this current Big-shell (See what I did there? No, seriously, I need coffee) has nothing to do with her past same-sexual relations. But I do like that the series doesn’t seem to be just dropping Kalinda’s complex sexuality now that new meaty subplot has arisen. From my limited exposure, the show seems to be doing a good job portraying her bisexuality as not just something titillating to draw in ratings. Nor are her relationships props to attract male attention. Sure, she’s also using them for information, silence, whathaveyou. But she kind of uses everyone for information, silence, whathaveyou. So they’re consistent.

And, heavens, is it sexy. Archie Panjabi can wear the hell out of stiletto leather boot. She’s a mix of restraint and aggression, all carefully controlled bold moves. Yum. Whether it’s the big-time FBI lady Lana or broken-hearted ex Donna, her chemistry is pretty potent with female co-stars. And, again, by “potent” I mean “sexy as hell.”

Kalinda, Kalinda, Kalinda. How come I never get job offers that last one?

p.s. Though, here’s a tip. If you’re YouTubing for more of the lovely Ms. Panjabi kissing the ladies, don’t make my mistake and watch her full appearance in the British series “Personal Affairs.” Yes, she has an affair with a woman. But don’t get sucked into the whole story like I did last night, causing me to need coffee. Spoiler Alert: Things don’t end well. Just watch the kiss and call it a day. Trust me.
p.p.s. Did you notice the blonde with her arms crossed? Yeah, that’s our Frankie. All roads, fictitious or otherwise, really do lead to Rome. And by “Rome,” of course, I mean “lesbianism.”

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sucker Princess

Oh, “Sucker Punch.” How you’re still disappointing me days later. It wasn’t just that it was bad, which it was. It’s that it had so much potential to be awesome, which it wasn’t. Girl power isn’t just a girl with a gun. Girl power is giving women the power to control their own destinies, to decide their own fates, to carve out their own places in the world. All that lovely talent and whiz-bang CGI wizardry and what you’re left with is an ugly mess that manages to be as unsexy as it is unfun. How do you make two hours of hot girls in tiny skirts kicking ass boring? Like I said, disappointing.

But you know what’s not disappointing? “Sucker Punch” and Disney Princess mash-ups. Certainly the Disney damsels too often represent their own set of gender stereotypes and problematic perpetuations. But they never wallowed as much in their unapologetic misogyny as Zack Snyder’s little porn fetish rape fantasy. Plus, their villains were way, way better. Steampunk zombies have nothing on Ursula the Sea Witch.

You don’t know how much I wish I had seen this movie instead.

Monday, March 28, 2011

SGALGG: Sucker Punch Edition

As counterintuitive as this may sound, there are considerably better ways to spend a Saturday night than with five hot girls in tiny shirts kicking ass. So, yeah, “Sucker Punch” is not a good movie. It’s a bad movie. And not good bad, but bad bad. It’s like they gave a 14-year-old videogame addict $82 million dollars and told him to go make the movie of his dreams. Except they told him he wasn’t allowed to show nudity or sex. So he made up for it with more samurais and more robots and more dragons and more zombie German soldiers. Oh, and a lot of threats of rape. Sigh. Also thanks to all the slo-mo CGI green screenery, I never noticed how short Emily is. She’s a good head shorter than all her co-stars. She’s practically elfin. Has anyone checked her ears?

Of course, none of this complaining about the film is meant in any way to disparage the movie’s lovely leading ladies. Emily Browning, Abbie Cornish, Jena Malone, Vanessa Hudgens, Jamie Chung and Carla Gugino are very lovely. In fact, I think I might have enjoyed the film more on mute, just to gaze at their loveliness and forget the huge fucking mess around them. Still, I am grateful to the movie for bringing these delightful women together, and giving them the opportunity to do their best Straight Gals Acting Like Gay Gals renditions at the film’s premiere last week. In short, save the 10 bucks and just enjoy the eye candy here. You can always make your own popcorn at home.

Carla & EmilySqueeze a little tighter, darling. It’s working.

Emily & VanessaSo that’s why she broke up with Zac.

Abbie & EmilySignature short-girl second base move. Trust me, I’m short.

Emma Roberts, Emily & some girl who went for itHey, you’ve got to take your shots when you see them.

Vanessa & JenaNo, wait, clearly this is why she broke up with Zac.

Jamie & AbbieWhatever Abbie is doing, Jamie likes it.

Abbie & CarlaSomewhere Ryan Phillippe is seething.

Malin Akerman & CarlaHer ex-costars keep coming back for more snuggle time.

CarlaAnd now we know why.

Read my full “Sucker Punch” review on AfterEllen.

Friday, March 25, 2011

My Weekend Crush

This isn’t a crush on any one person, because – truth be told – Elizabeth Taylor was my de facto Weekend Crush this week, and then some. So instead today my affections fall to a happy circumstance. I’m talking about those instances when universes collide at the intersection of Gay and Gayer. What I love in the course of doing what I do – whatever the hell that is – is when I organically tumble on two lesbian worlds colliding. Like when Shay Mitchell tweeted Naya Rivera, and then mentioned she’d like Emily Fields and Santana Lopez to date. God, the visuals in my head. So yesterday, in the course of researching a post on Kate Walsh’s new lesbian role the indie drama “Angels Crest,” I stumbled across a clip of her in the never-heard-of-it indie drama “Inside Out” from 2005. It brought about a whole new set of visuals, but not in my head. The only set-up I will give you is that it’s NSFW. Headphones, people, headphones.

Right, two things. 1) Told you about the headphones. And 2) Is that Emily Fields’ mom?! Yes, ladies and lesbians, that is Kate Walsh and Nia Peeples full-on in flagrante. Holy lesbian universes colliding, Batman. “Private Practice” Dr. Addison Montgomery and “Pretty Little Liars” Mrs. “I’m happy your girlfriend got shipped to Juvie Camp” Fields are going at it. Loudly. Really loudly. So, of course, I sent the link to friends and then the rest of the known universe because something this good must be shared to be appreciated. And then the cosmos sent back this. The only set-up I will give you for this is it’s a drama in three parts.

[Click each to embiggen. All credit goes to my genius friend Heather Hogan.]

Oh, universe. Sometimes I curse you. Sometimes you exasperate me with your cruelty and randomness, misery and loneliness. But other times I lay offerings at your shrine of delightful coincidences and the fact that you can bring the smoking celestial bodies of actresses we love from separate lesbian galaxies together in new and extraordinary ways. Let’s call it the Big LesBang Theory. Happy weekend, all.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Our Elizabeth

That Elizabeth Taylor was beautiful was never in dispute, she simply was. Her reigning title as The Most Beautiful Woman in the World alone would be enough to send her into the pantheon of our brightest stars. She was, of course, ferociously talented to boot. “A Place in the Sun.” “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.” “Suddenly, Last Summer.” “BUtterfield 8.” “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.” These films have been seared into the cinematic canon, in no small part by Elizabeth’s white hot performances. But beauty and talent, perhaps even nearing Elizabeth’s levels, is nothing too terribly unusual in Hollywood. We expect at least one, if not both, from our celebrities.

What made Elizabeth Taylor so special then was not just her violet eyes, her two Oscars or even her very public private life. It was what she did with her fame and how she used it when it mattered most. Many of you are too young to remember, and others remember too well, but back in the early 1980s AIDS was fear. It was the boogey man and the Grim Reaper and – to some particularly unenlightened – God’s mighty vengeance all rolled up in one. I was still quite young when AIDS was first diagnosed in 1981, but I remember as it unfolded throughout my childhood. People thought you could get it from a handshake or a toilet, a hug or a water fountain. But not Elizabeth. She saw her friends dying, and instead of running she embraced them. Before the President of the United States ever uttered the words, she was shouting to anyone who would listen and often those who wouldn’t. To have such a glamorous star of her stature stand up when others wouldn’t was immeasurable. Of course, there were others, but few in the same stratosphere.

In September 1985 she helped establish the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amFAR) and over the years she raised more than $100 million in the fight against the disease. It was that same month during a press conference that then President Ronald Reagan first uttered the word AIDS in a public. Reagan had planned to release a statement to quell the panic about AIDS being spread to schoolchildren that same year. But a White House lawyer, a young future Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, advised him against it. He wrote in a memo: “I would not like to see the president reassuring the public on this point. ... We should assume that AIDS can be transmitted through casual or routine contact until it's demonstrated that it definitely cannot be.” Some chose fear, Elizabeth chose courage.

It took the President two more years to give his first major address on AIDS, at the College of Physicians in Philadelphia in April. By that time 40,000 people had died of the disease. And then a month later he gave his much more well-known and infamous speech on the subject during the keynote address at amFAR. That, too, only happened because Elizabeth wrote him personally asking him to speak. It turned out, sadly, to be a disaster with lawyers and White House staff second-guessing doctors and facts. But that’s not for want of Elizabeth’s efforts. Today, amFAR remains one of the leading international organizations in the fight against AIDS and HIV. And until her passing yesterday at age 79, Elizabeth remained a fierce ally in the fight against AIDS and in support of the LGBT community. She was an icon for the world, but in a way we kind of felt like she was ours.

Beauty fades. Talent slows. But compassion, compassion can change the world. Thank you for caring, Elizabeth. A star for the ages now belongs to them.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The wolf shall dwell with the lamb

I know that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb, but this is ridiculous. Why is Amanda Seyfried posing with so many barnyard animals in Elle magazine? What is happening? Is this some high fashion version of Animal Farm? I hope she’s not allergic. Does anyone have Zyrtec? I think it’s just supposed to be quite literally a representation of spring. But it’s kind of weirding me out. Like I’m getting a strange Silence of the Lambs feel. Is she going to eat any of those animals? Someone call PETA. I have so many questions that do not involve what the photo editor no doubt intended, which was, “Aw, look at the cute baby animals.”

On a somewhat unrelated note, I recently watched “Jennifer’s Body” for the first time. I’m not really a horror film person (and by “not really” I mean “I’m a big wuss”) so it took me a while. But I have to say, it was OK. I mean, there were some problematic plot points. But it didn’t seem like a 40-something percent Tomatoes Meter movie. But then, I’m prone to like films with female leads, even when one of them is a flesh-eating demon.

Though what surprised me most about the film (though, I guess from a crass marketing perspective it is gold) was the intense relationship between Needy and Jennifer. Of course, I’d seen The Kiss (which, come on, hot). But what was more interesting was Jennifer’s real connection to Needy. While non-demonified, it seemed Needy (hello, her name) was the more dependent in the friendship, but AS (After Sacrifice) Jennifer is really the one clinging to whatever they had. And (Spoilers: Jesus, do I need them for a two-year-old movie?) once that tie is broken completely she sort of gives up. Yes, there were the unfortunate “teenage girls are evil” overtones. But there’s a pretty fascinating feminist film theory paper in there somewhere. Also, Megan Fox looks good in tight jeans. What? I’m human.

And while we’re on the topic of Amanda Seyfried, can I just say she’s a surprisingly good singer. I’m totally ashamed to admit that I haven’t seen “Mamma Mia!” yet, which makes absolutely no sense because I love ABBA, Meryl Streep and beautiful Greek islands. But I haven’t. And so I missed out on her singing. But having caught a couple of the clips on YouTube, you can’t really tell because the songs are produced to a polish. But when you hear her acoustic? Wow. She has a nice timber to her voice. It’s lovely, sexy, lovely some more. And she plays guitar – that’s a weakness of mine. Like, did you know she wrote this song for the “Dear John” soundtrack, which is probably the only good thing to come out of a Tatum Channing collaboration?

I know I was ragging on some other actor-singers last week (cough, still J-LO, cough), but Amanda can go off and record a record whenever she wants. She just released a cover of Sam the Sham & The Pharoahs’ “L’il Red Riding Hood,” which in turn is possibly the only good thing to come out of that critically lambasted fairy tale.

Seriously, she made the languidly lecherous vibe of this dirty ditty sound slyly seductive. And watching her sing the praises of full lips. Yes, please. See, Elle magazine, you posed Amanda with the wrong animals. That girl is a wolf.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Lez Lemon

You know when people say they kid because they care? That’s my Tina Fey. While she sadly hasn’t yet qualified for her Honorary Hot Plate (or the real deal Toast Oven either, but I keep hoping), my Fake TV Wife did pick up a GLAAD Media Award for “30 Rock” over the weekend. The show won the Outstanding Individual Episode (in a series without a regular LGBT character) for the episode “Klaus & Greta.” p.s. Man, that’s a long award title to have engraved on a plaque. The honor was a lovely one for a show that has been accepting and open to the LGBT community on screen and off screen.

For those familiar with the show (which should be all of you – casting an evil eye at anyone watching “The Mentalist” or “Private Practice.” That’s why Tivo was invented, people), it’s had a long and stories history of making lesbian jokes. In the third episode of the very first season, Liz Lemon’s boss Jack Donaghy mistakes her for a lesbian and sets her up on a date with ADA Alex Cabot, I mean, Stephanie March. It was handled with humor and sensitivity, and made for many, many happy nights dreaming about Tina and Stephanie making flower beds out of old railroad ties and, um, other stuff. I have that episode downloaded on my iPhone. I rewatch it almost every single time I fly.

Since then the show has continued to make jokes about Liz Lemon’s lesbian tendencies. Not that she’s an actual lesbian, which she isn’t, but that she kind of looks and/or acts like one. And I’m sure all the joking could raise an eyebrow or two about poking fun at the dowdy lesbian stereotype. But, again, you have to consider the source. This isn’t Rush Limbaugh talking about “lesbian spearchuckers.” This is Tina Fey who thanked her staff’s gay/lesbian partners in her Emmy acceptance speech and supported gay marriage in her Mark Twain Prize acceptance speech and says on her show “just because I think gay dudes should be allowed to adopt kids and we should all have hybrid cars doesn't mean I don’t love America.”

Also, in case you hadn’t noticed, “30 Rock” takes pot shots at everyone. EVERYONE. Republicans, Democrats, Hipsters, Spinsters, Actors, Writers, African Americans, Hillbillies, Feminists, Chauvinists, Slobs, Overachievers, Gays, Lesbians, Transvestites, Straights, Canadians, NBC, Comcast, Doctors, Beeper Salesmen, Handsome People, Ugly People, Cat People and the fact that everyone you’ve ever met who is named Tina is a “real bitch.” Seriously, everyone.

As she said in her GLAAD acceptance speech:

“I want to thank everyone at GLAAD for having such a keen self of humor because jokes are tricky things. And so much of what makes the difference between a joke being offensive and being funny is the context it is in and the intention behind it. I so I want to on behalf of everyone at ‘30 Rock’ thank everyone at GLAAD for recognizing that from Liz Lemon’s bi-curious shoes to Jenna Maroney’s heterosexual transvestite boyfriend to Will Arnett’s ongoing semi-erotic business rivalry with Alec Baldwin, thank you for recognizing that the show has nothing but respect and admiration for the lesbian, gay and transgendered community. And I hope you will stick with us through next week’s episode where Jack Donaghy buys a struggling cable network called Twinks.”

Check out AfterEllen later today for a full run-down of Tina’s GLAAD Media Awards appearance. You get to learn who is on her Fake TV Wife lists. (Hint: I’m spinning with Wonder and approval.)

And with that, a celebration of Lez Lemon’s gayest moments. Remember, you can’t be gay for one person. Unless you’re a lady, and you meet Tina.

Bi-Curious Shoes

An Adorable Little Lesbian

Your Gay Mom

I Love America

Lesbian Mario Brothers

Lesbian Clown Shirts

A Lady Like to Keep Her Blazer On

Let’s Go Lez

Lesbian Yellow Sour Fruit
Kissing Salma Hayek

And with that you know Tina totally gets us. Because when presented with a once-in-a-lifetime shot at making out with Salma Hayek, she took it. High five, girl! Hey, even a Fake TV Wife gets a freebie list.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Naked Lady Monday: Bees Knees

The knee gets so little credit in the human anatomy. They’re knobby or knocked, and occasionally we’ve been known to go weak at them. But what they really are, when placed correctly with its constant companion the thigh, is a mighty protector of a lady’s virtue. Or, looking at it from another angle, an obstacle to overcome when seeking to passionately plunder said virtue. Still, whether clutched or crossed, the humble knee should be appreciated for its ability to spark our interest and stoke the imagination. And, of course, a swift knee to almost any other part of the anatomy has the ability to render another person immediately immobile. So, bottom line, knees – respect.

Cate BlanchettJust in case her knees weren’t modest enough, she’s got a full-body hose backup.

Angelina JolieBed head is almost always an instant knee weakener.

Kate HudsonWhen the humble knee is not enough, a book will help in a pinch. But, just make sure it’s a hardcover. A trade paperback won’t cover squat.

Marion CotillardIt probably would have just been easier to button her coat. Easier, but not more enjoyable.

Anna FrielGod, I miss “Pushing Daisies.”

Serena WilliamsI’ve seen how she fills out her tennis uniforms; there’s no way one knee would have sufficed.

Naomi WattsWorks backwards, too.

Lea MicheleWhen the “Glee” kids are doing it, you know it’s a trend.

Olivia WildeOver the weekend I caught a “House” rerun and then rewatched “When Night is Falling.” Let me tell you, that made for some very, very acrobatic dreams involving the lovely Ms. Wilde. Hello, wobbly knees.

Friday, March 18, 2011

My Weekend Crush

With the casting of Katniss Everdeen finally done, my mind naturally drifts to other great female heroines. The literary canon is filled with them, from Anne Shirley to Elizabeth Bennett and Jo March to Jayne Eyre. And then there’s the littlest one of all, Jean Louise “Scout” Finch. The tomboy in overalls, with her scraped knees and mussed hair. The 6-year-old “To Kill a Mockingbird” narrator is a lot of things – courageous, feisty, loyal. She is also filled with curiosity and compassion, two of the best traits a human being can have. And of course intelligent, which is never a bad quality. But without compassion, it can be a cruel gift. Through Scout’s eyes, we find our own compassion. We’re there, standing on the porch, walking in Boo’s shoes. Before the Civil Rights Act, before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, before laws hit the books against discrimination based on race, sex, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation and you name it, Scout knew there was just one kind of folks. Folks. Sometimes, we need reminding that to be a girl in this world is quite a thing. Sometimes, the littlest show us the most. Happy weekend, all.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

All of these lines across my face

Usually when actresses also sing, I cringe. Do they really have enough talent to stretch across the multi-hyphenate actress-singer? And usually the answer is a resounding no. Some are just exceptionally mediocre at both (cough, J-Lo, cough). Others try admirably with mixed results. (Oh, Gwyneth, I loved “Landslide,” but you’re no Loretta Lynn.) But then there are those who deserve the hyphen and then some. In fact, they’ve got too much talent for a simple hyphen to contain. They’re your Judy Garlands. Your Barbra Streisands. Your Kristin Chenoweths. And then, there is our Sara Ramirez. Heavens, that girl can sing. Like, really, really, really sing. Of course, you knew this already since she got her start on Broadway. She went to Juilliard School. And there’s always that Tony on her mantel in case you still don’t believe.

So it’s only for the sheer power of Sara’s voice that I plan to watch the very special “Grey’s Anatomy” musical episode March 31. I’m not a Grey’s watcher (though no disrespect to those who do – sexy people in scrubs are all good). But I do enjoy the Callie and Arizona coupling and I’ve kept an eye on what’s happening with their impending bundle of joy. The previews for the musical episode look crazy emotional and then there’s Callie ominously singing through the hallways.

Wild guess, but I think something bad happens.

To promote the musical episode, and as a generous gift to the universe, Sara sang a song from the episode at The Grove earlier this week. It was live, unedited, unAuto-Tuned. And it was perfect – flaws and all. She apparently did two takes. I rather prefer the first, especially when her voice breaks.

Though, as a public service, here is the second take shot up close. You know, just in case you want to count Sara’s pores. Those are some gorgeous pores.

I love Brandi Carlile’s music anyway. But to hear the unbridled sexy that is Sara put so much emotion into what is ostensibly a big lesbian anthem is pretty otherworldly.

OK, “Grey’s Anatomy.” I’m in. Bring on the melodrama. Just let Sara sing.

p.s. How do I get this job? I’d apply more than a little gloss to those lips.

[Photo via weltintoweeds Flickr]

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

You're a loser, baby

The thing about being a geek is you don’t know how to be popular. You’re a geek, how could you? So if all of a sudden you do become popular, things are bound to go awry. And no, I did not learn this from every teen movie in the 80s where a nerdy boy bought the affection of a popular girl only to have disastrous results follow. OK, that’s a lie, I got all of that from “Can’t Buy Me Love.” But I do have my own certified geek credentials. In high school, and this is a true story, I was floored when it was announced over the PA system that I’d been voted onto Winter Court. What? Me? I’m the shy, nerdy kid who never cuts class and always takes copious notes. But then I learned it was the one formal court voted on my teachers instead of students. So, there you go. Geek.

All this is a long and windy way of saying that “Glee” is that geek. “Glee” is the misfit who became popular overnight and then couldn’t handle her shit. It started as the outsider, the scrappy underdog with a heart full of dreams and a face full of Slushee. But then something happened. It became a hit. It was the star athlete and homecoming queen and beloved valedictorian all rolled up into one. Sitting at the cool kids table all of a sudden does things to you. Your head swells. Your personality changes. So then came big egos and bigger production numbers. More instead of better. You got standalone episodes about Brittany Spears and Lady Gaga and Madonna. And that’s all fine and good for some fun. Heck, I sung along. But they didn’t actually move the story along, unless learning that all the Glee Club members have similar fever dreams about Britney when under sedation.

But these last two episodes. Wow. They’ve actually moved the story forward and developed the characters and allowed coherent narratives to develop. Wait, am I watching the right show? Quinn telling Rachel that Finn is not her future? That made sense. Blaine realizing how special Kurt was? That made sense. Santana being hurt and confused by Brittany’s refusal? That made sense. The Glee kids finding inspiration in Sue’s bullying to write their own song. Even that made sense. This is what “Glee” should be and is about. The misfits who find strength in each other. The cruelty that can come when you are different. The never-ending struggle to feel special. This is what made me fall in love with “Glee.” OK, that and the dancing.

And, dammit, how catchy is “Loser Like Me?” So damn catchy. And it’s everything the show stands for. Getting pushed down, but getting back up. Fine, it was also tinged with a healthy dose of the Revenge of the Nerds. See you when you wash my car? Ouch. Also, I can’t in good grammatical conscience approve of the "I can only be who I are” line. But, that aside, all of the original songs from “Hell to the No” (snort!) and “Trouty Mouth” (snort squared!) were great fun. Sure, those lyrics were silly – but intentionally so. Perhaps this is what “Glee” needed all along. To tap into its own emotions instead of lip syncing someone else’s experience. In finding its voice, Glee also finally found its footing.

p.s. Speaking of Brittana (stop trying to make Santittany happen, Fox), pop over to AfterEllen later today for some juicy spoilers. If Brittany just looking at Santana makes her forget her locker combination, you know there’s more to come. That look, kittens. That look.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Pitch imperfect

Auto-Tune is the Photoshop of music. Just as the perennial picture perfector is ruining our perceptions of beauty, reality and basic human anatomy, Auto-Tune is dismantling our expectations of music. It’s turning the human voice an unrecognizable mishmash of synthesized wails and moans. The voice isn’t a uniform instrument with perfect pitch. It doesn’t modulate mid note. In fact, it’s those very breaks and imperfections that Auto-Tune covers up that can make music so memorable. Instead, Auto-Tune makes it inherently forgettable. We shouldn’t treat voices like disposable instruments, easily interchanged with each other. Imagine Auto-Tuning Billie Holiday? The exquisite grate and slur of her voice makes it sublime. She makes us feel those rough edges, and they take us someplace that a computerized high C never could.

And the thing that’s most infuriating is that many singers don’t even need it. Just as fashion industry overcorrect the already impossibly beautiful (See: Kate Winslet), the music industry is overcorrecting the already impossibly good singers. Yesterday Jezebel pointed out that up-and-coming pop starlet (and out bisexual lady) Jessie J can actually sing. And she can. I saw her on “Saturday Night Live” and thought she was OK. But seeing her in this subway video is even more impressive (partly because the song choice is better).

Now compare that to her Auto-Tuned hit “Do It Like a Dude.”

Um, what? Are those the same singers? Why strip away that voice and turn it into a collection of electronic pops and whistles? Digitally enhanced is an oxymoron in this case, and many others.

Even some of the most egregious of the current crop of Auto-Tunites simply don’t need the digital enhancement. Like, and stay with me here, Ke$ha. Yes, Ke$ha. She of the Jack Daniels toothpaste. She of the perpetually smeared eyeliner. She of the “Get Sleazy Tour.” (Get Sleazy? Nice. Aspirational.) I have a strange soft spot for Ke$ha, which I have previously admitted much to my continual shame. It’s not her persona, which is intentionally awful. It’s that I think her songs are ridiculously catchy and almost whimsical. It’s like gummy ear worm candy. And whenever I feel particularly ashamed of singing along in my car, I unearth this video of a pre-fame, pre-sleazy Ke$ha.

Dammit, Ke-Dollar Sign- Ha can really sing. Like really, really sing.

Singing is a talent, not a digital experiment. Auto-Tune has made one of our most divine abilities into a boring exercise in perfection. Billie is what the human voice sounds like. This is heartbreak and triumph and our shared humanity. This is music. This is how we know we’re still better than the machines.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Crop me Kate

Usually, there’s not too much one can say about a new haircut. Either it’s good or it’s bad. Either it’s “That looks terrific” or it’s “Don’t worry, darling, it’ll grow out.” But sometimes, just sometimes, a haircut can render you speechless. As in, your hair. It’s…wow. Now, there was absolutely nothing wrong with Kate Winslet’s hair before. It was all blond and lovely and long and luscious (when it wasn’t red and lovely and long and luscious – remember when it was ever so briefly a ginger?) But now, it’s all, wow. Ms. Winslet debuted her new crop in the new UK Vogue. Booking a ticket to London, flying 13 hours, finding a magazine standing, buying UK Vogue and then flying back 13 hours just so I could have my own copy would be too much, right?

Now, we could quibble about the color. I’m not really a white platinum kind of gal. But the lovely architectural shape of it and the fact that it’s ever so slightly butch (you know, compared to her old cut) makes me happy for the invention of scissors. Granted, I’m not a fan of Vogue’s continual over Photoshopping of already ridiculously beautiful women (come on, can we give these women skin tones and textures actually found in nature, please?) Also, is it just me or did the Photoshopper make her look too much like Gwen Stefani here? I’m just a girl, who looks like another girl, in the world?

Still, today I just want to talk about the hair. Now, it looks like Kate pulled back from the platinum already. She was at an event earlier this month with her regular blond back. Which, after going nearly white, seems difficult. Which now makes me confused. Was the hair coloring all Photoshop, too?

She also doesn’t seem to be styling it with quite the same, shall we say, flourish. But just knowing that she could, well, that makes all the difference. Like I was saying, wow.