Friday, June 24, 2016

My Weekend Holy Shit

Wow. Like holy shit, wow. Well, to all my friends in the U.K., my deep condolences. This Brexit business is fairly horrible and fairly terrifying. So here is Emma Thompson being delightful to remind us all that our British friends really are lovely, despite the dark times that lie ahead. Also, let this be a lesson for us Yanks. If we don't want to crash our economy and succumb to xenophobia, how about we vote for the candidate actually running against Trump, eh? Yeah, I'm with her. Happy weekend, all.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Smiling Pile of Tat

Look, if TV executives aren’t climbing and clawing over each other to get to Tatiana Maslany, then they’re worse than idiots. With “Orphan Black” slated to only go one more season, we have a whole year to come to terms with the fact that is the last we’ll see of Tat playing not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, but a number only limited to the writer’s creativity characters at once. I mean, can you imagine how weird it will be watching her playing just one character? Like, it’s almost a waste of talent. But I have absolutely no doubt whatever she does next, Tatiana will be riveting to watch. I mean, she even goes method on the poop emoji. Now that, that’s acting.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Marvelous Meryl

Today is the 67th birthday of national treasure/accent maestro/delightful human Meryl Streep. So I can’t think of a better way to celebrate than to revel in her mastery of the English language, whatever accent that may take, than to watch her act for five solid minutes. Here’s to many more birthdays and many more accents, Meryl.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Remember All Their Faces

Spoiler Alert: All of the spoilers. Major, earth-shattering, body-shaking spoilers for “Orange Is the New Black” Season 4. If you haven’t finished watching, turn back now. Or don’t. But don’t blame me. I warned you. I really warned you. Last chance. I mean it.

Fuck. Goddamn it. Fuck fuck fuck. They killed Poussey Washington. They really killed Poussey Washington.

“Orange Is the New Black” has always been social commentary masquerading as mass entertainment. It has been unapologetically sneaky in the way it lured unsuspecting viewers (read: white folks) in by pretending to tell the story of a WASPy blond-haired, blue-eyed woman named Piper who finds herself in the fish-out-of-water world of minimum-security prison. But then it has Trojan Horsed these very same viewers with stories about women of color, poor women, queer women, older women – really every type of woman that typically gets ignored by mainstream American television. This has always been the power of this show. It has told the stories we haven’t been told and made us better for them.

So now, this. This. Fuck. Goddamn it. Fuck fuck fuck. This is more than a gut punch. This is more than just heartbreak. This is soul-crushing storytelling. This is the kind of thing you just don’t get over.

I had stayed away from spoilers, as I try to do almost always. Because I believe stories work better that way, when you allow them to unfold unsure of anything but what you hope or dread may happen. So this season truly was a surprise to me. I had heard a few rumblings, a few veiled things. But nothing, nothing prepared me for this.

But then, even if we knew, how could we be ready for this. Fuck. Goddamn it. Fuck fuck fuck. I mean, we were kind of warned. We were told that Jenji Kohan was interested in delving into what was wrong, really wrong, with our prison industrial complex. The inequality. The corruption. The racism. The sexism. The general cruelty. The fact that all-too-often stick low-level drug offenders in jail for years. The fact that all-too-often allow the rich and – let’s face it – the white to skirt serious time. The fact that our prison systems have been turned into a for-profit business where the bottom line depends on turning inmates into dollar signs instead of human beings.

As we’ve been told these stories season after season after season – social commentary masquerading as mass entertainment. And because they’re good at what they’re doing, we’ve also fallen in love with these people. They’re not just inmates. They’re not just caricatures. They’re people. And in some cases, people we love very much.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again and again – I don’t think killing a lesbian or gay or bisexual or transgender character automatically makes a show irredeemably bad. I would never demand a show keep all of its LGBT characters alive for the sake of them simply being alive. And yet. Fuck. Goddamn it. Fuck fuck fuck. And to have it happen this year, this year in particular. This year when we’ve lost so many already. When we’ve made such a point of demanding our stories end in something other than tragedy. This year we’ve finally broken through about the importance of ending the Bury Your Gays trope. This year of all years.

I know why they did it. I get it. I understand. I understand it had to be someone we all cared about. It had to be someone without reproach. It had to be someone whose death would devastate. Then by that metric it had to be Poussey Washington. She was always the smiling heart of this show. She was the good we hope to see in ourselves – kind, loyal, open, hopeful, talented, smart, sweet. So sweet. She was the wonder of discovery and the joy of simply living. Fuck. Goddamn it. Fuck fuck fuck.

And I understand why they chose Bayley. It had to be someone who was not just evil. Not just a racist. Not just a sadist. It had to be someone who was just inept. (Though, and this is important, this is not a justification for his actions – nor a cry for sympathy or leniency.) You see, the broad stoke villains exist still. But to make one of them the killer would have been too easy. It would have shifted focus from a bad system to a bad person. And the problem is this system is fundamentally flawed, period.

Poussey’s death meant something. It was for a reason, a real reason. It was for a cause. This was this show’s definitive statement about Black Lives Matter. She can’t breathe, oh my God, I can’t breathe. So it wasn’t to advance a straight character’s storyline. It wasn’t randomly from a stray bullet. It wasn’t to punish her because she was gay. Yet in other ways it also embodied the some of the most sickening characteristics of the trope. Poussey, finally in love. Poussey, on the cusp of success. Poussey, so thoroughly happy. And then brutally, instantly gone. Fuck. Goddamn it. Fuck fuck fuck.

My stomach ached all that night. I watched a happy movie, just to feel a little better before going to bed. But then I woke up and tossed and turned later that night. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I couldn’t stop thinking about her. I was angry. I was hurt. It still hurts.

So now we are left with this, these shambles. Will I keep watching this show? Yes, I will. Am I furious another queer woman has been killed off on television? Yes, I am. Do I mourn all those lost too soon because of the Dead Lesbian Syndrome? Yes, I do. Shall I keep fighting for our happy endings? Yes, always. Will I ever forget Poussey Washington? No, never. I will never forget Poussey Washington. I don’t think any of us will. And perhaps, in the end, that was the point.

Fuck. Goddamn it. Fuck fuck fuck.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Up for This, Really

Oh, God, I ship it. I ship it so hard. Look, “Games of Thrones” has been an admittedly mixed bag when it comes to empowering stories for a lesbian feminist like myself who is tired of watching the same old patriarchy hootenannies on her television week after week to enjoy. But, this season in particular, the way the women of the seven kingdoms have started to step up and step out has been nothing short of holler-at-your-TV awesome. In fact, after last week I’m pretty sure my sexuality has shifted from “gay,” to “Daenerys saying Dracarys.” But those flirty looks between Dany and Yara? Well, like I said, I ship it. I ship it so hard.

Friday, June 17, 2016

My Weekend Crush

We deserve this. We really do. After this long, infernal week filled with horrors no one should ever have to experience for our community, we deserve this. We deserve a show that celebrates the glorious spectrum of human otherness. The attack in Orlando was, indeed, an attack on LGBT people. And in particular LGBT people of color. It was an act of hate and it was an act of terror. It was fueled by the hate that still festers above and beneath the surface in this country. A hate that forces too many people to live miserably in the closet. A hate that insinuates that the simple act of going to the bathroom could somehow be harmful to children. A hate that thinks being paid to bake a cake for two people in love could be a violation of anyone’s rights. A hate that means in the state of Florida survivors of the deadliest mass shooting in United States history can still be fired the very next day for just being gay. A hate that would strike at the only place some people feel truly able to be themselves. To be free.

Yet somehow by slapping the dreaded “terror” label on this tragedy, the rest of the nation gets to conveniently gloss over those facts. There is no examination of the lingering homophobia that exists both in our attitudes and in our laws. Instead we’re just called on to rally against another other. To funnel our anger and fear into a group conveniently different from ourselves. But, guess what, we did this. This is on us and our laws. And it is up to us to fix it. So, yes, this was an act of hate and an act of terror. But we will not be terrorized. We will be seen. We will live and love and be free. So, what does this have to do with a TV show about a racially diverse, multi-cultural group of young and old lesbian, bisexual, transgender and straight women in prison? Well, for one, I bet the shooter would hate this show down to his despicable core. And for another, it’s going to make a lot of gay ladies – and our queer friends and allies – really happy on a week when we deserve more than a little happiness. We deserve this. Happy weekend all.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Dead Ringer

[Orphan Black Spoilers, sweeties]

So, I don’t know about you, but after last week’s “Orphan Black” ended I spent the next 15 minutes screaming and rewinding the last 30 seconds. And then screaming and rewinding the last 30 seconds. So, yes, Delphine is back. Yes, this show has pulled the most epic Not-So Dead Lesbian (Non-)Trope plot twist ever. Yes, I am so excited and cannot believe there is only one episode left this season. To make up for all the anguish it put all us Cophine fans through, perhaps they can just have those two make out for all 10 episodes next season. What? It only seems fair.

I have – decapitated swans aside – enjoyed the hell out of this season. Sure, there was a tragic lack of Delphine (again – you sneaky, glorious bastards). But it was almost made up for by an abundance of Krystal. Though, I have one suggestion for next season. Can we please get some stylish bullet-proof vests for our gals? Hey, gay ladies on TV can never be too careful.

p.s. So news broke this morning that “Orphan Black” has been renewed for a fifth and final season. So take note, TV executives: Tatiana Maslany will be available in one year. Begin your mad scramble accordingly. Man, it will be so strange seeing her play only one role at a time.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

I scream, we all scream

Hey, is it OK if I just scream for 7 minutes? Yep. That’s exactly where I am, America. Well, Democratic Senator Chris Murphy did for over 14 hours. So, you know, why the hell not?

Tuesday, June 14, 2016


This is so deeply weird and/or possibly Canadian and I love every single second of it. This Twin vs. Twin extravaganza featuring the Quin Sisters and Scott Brothers is, well, I already mentioned it was deeply weird, right? But it is also deeply funny. Like, I laught more each time I watch it funny. Also, I would totally, totally watch a show where Tegan and Sara did home improvement projects. All I wanna get is, a little more subway tile...

p.s. Have I mentioned I’ve actually met both of these sets of twins? Like, for realsies. So, you could say, I’m the link that set these twinsies on their deeply weird collision course. You’re welcome, universe.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Don't Stop the Dancing

I’m not a great dancer. I can be awkward. I can be off beat. I can’t really Whip or Nae Nae. Still, despite my rhythm-challenged nature, one of the first places I felt I really belonged was a gay nightclub. I suspect that’s how it was for many of us LGBT folks. Be it a little hole in the wall bar or sweaty metropolitan dance club, these places help us become ourselves. At times they were like walking into heaven. All of these people, together, dancing. All of these people, together, being exactly who they are. All of these people, together, just gay as hell.

In the wake of the Orlando gay nightclub shootings yesterday, that sense of safety has been shaken. The one place we could feel truly free, to dance to love to kiss to be. Someone else’s hatred gets taken out on innocents once again. As we’ve seen at schools. At colleges. At movie theaters. At churches. No place can shield us from those who wish to do us harm and have easy access to weapons of mass destruction.

Like you, I was glued to the news for parts of yesterday, hoping to make sense of the senseless. What struck me is as soon as the suspected shooter’s religion was revealed, talk abruptly shifted from “hate” to “terrorism.” And once the T-word gets brought up, nothing else seems to matter. But that these were LGBT people, that this was an LGBT club, that matters. That matters deeply.

Say it was a gay club. Say it was a hate crime. Because it was. Could it also have been a home-grown act of terror? Of course. But one does not cancel out the other.

This man can be a homophobe and a lone wolf and a wife beater and all kinds of other terrible things – all at once. He is not indicative of anything except the impotent rage and entitled dissatisfaction that too often bubbles over for these kinds of angry men into horrific violence. In Newton. In Charleston. In Aurora. In Columbine. In too many American cities, time after time.

But now that the T-word has been invoked, there can be no talk of gun control in this country. There can be no questioning why a man who was twice investigated by the FBI can legally purchase his arsenal of death. There can be no reflection on how little we’ve tried to do as a nation to limit our epidemic of gun violence. There can only be fear of the unknown and tweets from ignorant men with designs on the most powerful position in the world.

But now that the T-word has been invoked, there can be no discussion about the continuing discrimination against LGBT people in this country. There can be no pointing out that the politicians who howl that trans people in bathrooms are a public threat are now disingenuously offering up thoughts and prayers. There can be no acknowledgment that too often extremists of all stripes use religion, be it Islam or Christianity, to justify hate. They’re too busy erasing LGBT people as victims in order to ensure we’re all properly scared of some “other” group of marginalized people.

But you can’t erase us from our own tragedy. And you can’t ignore the multi-faceted nature of this crime. It was not an accident that it happened during Pride month.

This is why we celebrate Pride in the first place. This is how we fight the darkness. It’s not about the rainbow tchotchkes or glitter explosions or the go-go dancers. Sure, those things help make it more fabulous. But it’s really about being proud of ourselves, even when no one else was. It’s saying you can’t stamp out our joy with your hatred. It’s about the bravery it still takes to simply exist as a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender person in this world.

So, this Pride, let’s dance our little gay hearts out. Because we can. Because no amount of hatred can ever stop us.