Monday, June 05, 2023

Music Monday: Labour Party

Well, you liked that last TikTok feminist banger. How about another? “Labour” by British singer-songwriter Paris Paloma is another toe-tapping, fist-raising number that makes women and anyone who regularly has to deal with men (particularly cishet men) cheer. You gotta feel for straight women in particular. Like, these kinds of dudes are the reason you know sexual orientation is not a choice. Because who would choose a willfully unhelpful, lazily oblivious and/or flat-out misogynistic partner who expects the women in their lives to perform all the domestic and emotional labor? Though if it is a choice, hey straight girls, hey. (Kidding, I’m way too old for that mess.) Happy Monday, kittens.

Friday, June 02, 2023

My Weekend Crush

Do you believe in miracles? (Not on ice, I’m not that gay — though I am that old…) The miracle in question is the third season renewal of one of my favorite shows. After the wonderful season two finale last weekend, I had resigned myself to that being the end (given HBO Max new Max’s slash/burn ways). But, thanks to Big Gay TV Gods, it was given another season. As I was saying, miraculous.

Now, I’ve sung the praises of “Somebody Somewhere” since its first season became my sleeper show of the year. It’s so rare to encounter a series with such a big heart that showcases small town life nearly perfectly. Set in its star Bridget Everett’s real-life hometown of Manhattan, Kansas, this unassuming series finds its joy, pain and everything in between in the entirely ordinary.

Yet focusing on the everyday doesn’t make it mundane — far from it. And it’s a reminder that good storytelling doesn’t need crazy concepts or special effects to still be deeply affecting. The world of Sam, her gay best friend Joel, sister Tricia and the rest may seem small from the outside. But the process of supporting your family, making new friends and just living your life is always, infinitely complex. And it’s in those moments, “Somebody Somewhere” triumphs in its loveliness.

I cannot overstate what an ABSOLUTE PLEASURE this show is to watch. Honestly, I can’t think of a single reason not to watch this show. If you like flawed yet deeply relatable characters (I mean, who amongst us isn’t one?), watch this show. If you like show choir, watch this show. If you like the Will & Grace dynamic without an annoying Just Jack, watch this show. If you like fully integrated queer and trans characters who are not treated like Very Special Episode additions, watch this show. If you like earnest discussions of christianity and spirituality, watch this show. If you like earnest, funny-as-hell Midwestern people, WATCH THIS SHOW.

Honestly, I think that’s what I love most about “Somebody Somewhere” — its midwestern soul. I mean, even the name is unassuming. Yeah, this is a show about somebody somewhere but it could really be anybody anywhere. Because it’s really about life, it’s messiness, and how we each find our happiness amid the quiet mayhem of simply existing.

Typically, depictions of small town life fall heavily on the rural rube stereotypes — just a bunch of backwoods hillbillies doing hillbilly shit or whatever. Or they’re fish-out-of-water comedies à la “Schitt’s Creek,” where the big city sophisticates learn from the podunk townsfolk. But “Somebody Somewhere” doesn’t have time for that nonsense. Instead of filling the screen with prenaturally precious or impossibly charming characters, these somebodies feel like they 100% could be your next door neighbors — if only you take the time to get to know them.

And, in its own understated way, this show is also radical. I mean (SPOILERS FOR THE SEASON FINALE), the show ends with a trans wedding. If that’s not a radical act, then you haven’t been reading the news lately. The best stories about our chosen families have often been queer stories, and “Somebody Somewhere” is no exception. While Sam is straight, she is surrounded by queer characters who feel very of the moment and their location. If you’ve ever lived in a conservative area, you’ll instinctively understand the push-pull it takes to be out in that environment. Us Blue State gays (or transplanted Blue State gays like me) are largely preaching to the choir. But Kansas gays? Yeah, that’s where it matters the most.

I can’t wait for another season of this show. I can’t wait to spend more time with these people. I want as many people as possible to meet them and fall in love with these lovely and genuinely genuine people. Happy Weekend, all.

Thursday, June 01, 2023

Happy Pride

The thing the bigots will never understand is that pride is never about the party. Yeah, we party. We have a parade. We dress up. And we dance. Oh, how we dance. But pride, pride is always a revolution. Pride is a fight. Pride is a statement. Pride is about saying, “I’m here! I’m queer! Get used to it!” to the universe, and looking fabulous while doing it. Pride is finding your joy, your people and, yes, your pride in yourself.

Perhaps one of the most inspired things queer people have done (besides being our inspiring selves, that is) is choosing the word “Pride” for our celebration. We are proud of ourselves, and we should be. We’re magnificent survivors, and not an era has gone by were we haven’t made immeasurable cultural contributions. The small-minded hatemongers can’t change that – try as they might. I think, truly, that’s what drives them mad the most. That so-called freaks like us could be proud of their differences, and embrace differences in others. How boring if we were all the same. How dull to demand total conformity when the universe offers endless multitudes.

So in this year, when LGBTQ+ rights are under attack and trans people are being erased from public life, let us use this June to walk through our lives with purpose. I never thought the same tired (and of course deeply untrue) pedophile, groomer smears would resurface in our national discourse. Silly me, I thought we were past that shit. But I guess our visibility and the wider world’s increasing acceptance and inclusion of us homosexual and transgender weirdos was just too threatening. Or maybe they’re just out of ideas. The wave of anti-LGBTQ+ and specifically anti-trans laws has hit Satanic-panic level hysteria among Red State Statehouses.

But instead of backing down (hey, Bud Light and Target – go fuck yourself with your fair-weather Rainbow Capitalism), we should be even louder this pride. March longer. Dance harder. Stand taller. Be prouder. We’re proud because we’re a part of this world, and the world in turn is better from all the beautiful, beautiful color we bring with us. The sky looks better with rainbows, and the world does too. Happy Pride, kittens.

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Happy (Two) Hump(s) Day

Look, I’m just a simple queer lady blogger. And when a nice pair of boobs floats my way, well, I’m not mad about it. Especially if they’re as an empowered and impressive and impeccable a set as Janelle Monae has. Indeed, the superstar has entered their Naked Era, and I’m extremely not mad about it. Yes, I know I already wrote about their super gay new music video. But, uh, then they posed for the cover of Rolling Stone. Again, I’m just a simple country blogger. So I am powerless to resist such magnificence.

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

What a Doll

Fine, OK. I had a Barbie. One. I had ONE Barbie. And one Ken – the kind eternally in the swim trunks. But I was always more of an action figure girlie and/or “tomboy” as they called us back then or future gay as I call my past self now. So, I didn’t really know what to expect from the Barbie movie. I knew I liked Greta Gerwig’s work. And I knew the cast was ridiculously stacked. And I knew it would be some kind of send-up.

But “Closer to Fine,” Crazy Seer Lesbian Barbie Kate McKinnon, and Birkenstocks? Yeah, more like, “Portrait of Plastic Lady on Fire” – >amirite? But, seriously, this looks all sorts of fun and funny and feminist (I mean, the bad guys are literally trying to keep a woman in a box! They’re practically Republican congressmen!) Come on, Barbie, let’s go to the movies.

Monday, May 29, 2023

Music Monday: Tina, Just Tina

Please, you thought I’d let the magnificent Tina freaking Turner pass with only one post? Pshah. Soak it in, because we won’t soon see another performer like her for a while. Honestly, we most likely never will. At least not in our lifetimes. Also, she is 70 in this performance. 7-0. Age means whatever we will it to. Thanks again, Tina. Like I said – simply, always, eternally The Best. Happy Monday, kittens.

Friday, May 26, 2023

My Weekend Crush

So, that’s what it feels like when a force of nature passes. Tina Turner was so many, many things. Peerless performer. Searing singer. Dancing diva. Inspirational icon. Stirring survivor. But in the end she was just the one and only Tina Turner. I was lucky enough to find her on her own terms, when she released her so-called comeback album “Private Dancer” in 1984. I was, of course, too young to be listening to all that. (Hello, “dancer for money, I'll do what you want me to do…”) But then, the other thing Tina Turner always was was sexy. So endlessly sexy, regardless of age, space and time. While I of course heard some of her earlier hits, it was once she became the Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll that I truly fell in love.

So much ink rightful ink has already been spilled trying to explain what made Tina Turner so great. She remains perhaps the most dynamic entertainers of our lifetime. Yeah, there’s James Brown. But Tina Turner did it all – and in heels. Sure, there’s Prince, too. But he only sometimes did it in heels. It seems like a cruel cosmic joke that someone with such pure, raw kinetic energy should suddenly be gone. As if someday lightning may cease to exist.

Of course what else drew us to Tina Turner, besides her magnetic onstage persona, was the deeply personal hurt she had overcome. By being one of the very first celebrities to speak openly about surviving domestic violence, Tina Turner helped change the world. She shed light on the once taboo, hush-hush shame loop of intimate partner violence. And she was proof that you could get out and thrive, despite the worst efforts of small, violent, failed men like her ex-husband.

Having read about and watched her documentaries, including the 2021 doc “Tina,” it’s evident that she remained deeply traumatized by her abuse. Which, honestly, who wouldn’t be? To have the same questions, and the same horrible man, brought up in every interview and every conversation – that’s no way to heal. That she became a symbol of something she wanted to desperately forget remains one of the bittersweet truths of her life. So, yeah, I get it why she fled this country. I mean, I want to flee now. But, you know, different circumstances.

Which is another one of the revelations of Tina Turner. She spent the majority of her adult life – and certainly the majority since her skyrocketing solo success – in Europe. Since 1994 she had been a resident of Switzerland with her second (and younger, get it girl) husband. In Europe and Australia and Brazil she found equally adoring fans. The sun does not revolve around America, Americans. The world is bigger and wider and more beautiful than our small bubbles. So it only seems fitting a talent as momentous as Tina Turner should share herself completely with every last corner of it.

When she divorced her first husband, all Tina Turner took with her was her name. Now, no one could ever forget it. Simply, always, eternally The Best. Thank you for everything, Queen. Happy weekend, all.

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Gender Fuck Thursday: THEE Sisters Edition

If you don’t know The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, well, you truly haven’t been blessed yet. I first found out about the group it seemed like the moment I moved to California over two decades ago. They went hand-in-hand with learning about the queer community in San Francisco, the Bay Area and this Golden State. They struck me, and still strike me, as the ultimate San Francisco charity. Flamboyant. Irreverent. Deeply important.

The non-profit raises funds for LGBTQ+ people and others in need, and has done so since its founding in 1979. The group was critical during the AIDS crisis of the 80s and 90s. They've been a leader behind Pride and other events. And, generally, these Sisters just do good works while raising awareness and looking funky fabulous. They’re part of the essential fabric of Queer California, period.

So last week when the Dodgers disinvited them from their Pride Night celebration and revoked their Community Hero Award, well, that was some bad shit. It also shows the limitations of Rainbow Capitalism. The major league team’s willingness to throw out a group it said it supported because of some minor conservative grousings (Marco Rubio, go home this isn’t Florida you dummy) is telling. Just as telling is the immediate reaction from Pride LA (which rightly pulled out of the event in solidarity with the Sisters because they know what’s up) and the inevitable backtracking by the Dodgers (who have now reinvited the Sisters). I also enjoyed the Anaheim Angels righteous trolling, but maybe that’s because I’m no Dodgers fan (Go, Giants! Or A’s! I’m happily poly when it comes to sportsball.)

The event is now back on with all parties invited and attending. But this is a reminder that the fights we thought we’d already won aren’t nearly as over as we think they are. I thought the days of conservatives clutching their pearls about men (and other queer, trans folks) with beards dressing as nuns was well behind us. But here we are, fighting the same fights. No, we’re not groomers. No, we’re not pedophiles. No, we aren’t going to sexually assault you in the bathroom. You’re thinking about men. Straight white men, in particular — you know, if we’re being statistically accurate about things. Anyway, as I was saying.

When your support doesn’t come from genuine convictions, it can easily bend and break when political winds seemingly change. But if you really believe that the Sisters and queer advocacy and charity organizations are doing good works, you honor them. And it doesn’t matter what a weasely little senator for 3,000 miles away or idiots who like to shoot up cases of Bud Light say about it. Because that’s what’s right. And amen to that, Sisters.

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Banned in the USA

America, America. What the actual fuck are you doing? Book banning is not a new atrocity. But it’s turning out to be an unfortunately persistent one. And, lately, an increasingly frequent one. While some neoliberals can’t stop wringing their hands in the pages of the NYT about the so-called scourge of cancel culture on college campuses, they remain demonstratively silent about real canceling happening in our culture.

So as Florida Gov. DeSantis preps today to announce his presidential run (I know, gross), know that his state has just BANNED the poem read at President Joe Biden’s inauguration in 2021 from an elementary school in Miami-Dade County. Poet Amanda Gorman’s beautiful words of hope and democracy were banned because of one parent’s objection, which is a thing that now happens in Florida, The U.S.A. So, as voters gear up to mark their ballots, think hard about what Making America Florida (like, I cannot shudder hard enough) really means.

Books. Banned. Abortion. Banned. Drag. Banned. Saying Gay. Banned. Teaching about race. Banned. Trans health care, youth sports, bathroom access and general existence. Banned.

Now, guns on the other hand? Well, Florida Man signed an open carry law and the state is already Stand Your Ground heaven.

Look, everyone who loves guns more than books, LGBTQ+ people, drag queens, people of color, reproductive health care and the accurate teaching of history is welcome to have the Sunshine State. Everyone else, let’s help start a great migration to states that don’t have fascist wannabe presidential contenders doing everything in their power to make life worse for the rest of us. Climate change is gonna turn that state into an archipelago (if it's lucky...) soon enough.

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

That's a (Mat)Lock

Oh no, I really am getting old. I think I might watch the new “Matlock” reboot. I know, I know. Watching that show about the simple country lawyer used go hand-in-hand with AARP membership. But, hear me out – what if that simple country lawyer was a lady instead of Andy Griffith? And what if that lady was Kathy Bates? And what if the reboot played against the stereotypical portrayal of the doddering, invisible older woman? Fine, I’m still old.

p.s. Also I’m all for Kathy Bates sexually harassing Jason Ritter in the cast, or as I like to call him Mr. Melanie Lynskey.

p.p.s. My immediate affection for this show may also have something to do with my eternal affection for Kathy Bates’s Southern accent, circa “Fried Green Tomatoes.” Towanda!

Monday, May 22, 2023

Music Monday

One of the things I like is when song I know from TikTok start charting in the real world. (Well, realer – and hopefully slightly less algorithmically manipulated.) For a while now one of the songs on my feed signaling the righteous-est of indignations has been CHINCHILLA’s “Little Girl Gone.” (If you know it, it starts with the “Run little girl, run little girl, run!”) The nature of these musical memes is you only get a snippet. But having sought out the whole thing it’s just as righteous with a healthy dose of patriarchy smashing violence. TikTok really has changed how folks discover music. London-based indie artist CHINCHILLA (not to be confused with the small, pet rodents) self-released her music. And now she’s got a Billboard streaming charts hit. Happy patriarchy smashing Monday, kittens.

Saturday, May 20, 2023

My Weekend (T-Shirt) Crush

When you get the very last Jenifer Prince Pride Edition T-Shirt at your local Target. Hope you’re having a great weekend, all.

p.s. If you're interested, I post the occasional photo of my life over at Instagram. If you're into that sort of thing.

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Becoming Highsmith

Mark me down as intrigued, again, but in a gayer way. So Shailene Woodley, Cara Delevigne and Noémie Merlant will co-star in a biopic of queer novelist extraordinaire Patricia Highsmith of “The Talented Mr. Ripley” and “The Price of Salt” (you know, “Carol”) fame. Now, I love Noémie from “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” and “Tar,” of course. And I have varying degrees of affection for Cara and Shailene (like, not to get all in my 2016 feelings, but she was pretty anti-Hillary and dated Aaron “immunized” Rodgers forever so…).

Shailene will play Highsmith, and Cara and Noémie will play women she has relationships with. According to Deadline, the film will be fashioned like a horror movie which, what? Per Deadline:

“Titled The Murderous Miss Highsmith, the film will reimagine the author’s life as a horror movie, focusing on the formative period just before she wrote her most celebrated work, The Talented Mr. Ripley, which was partly inspired by her doomed relationships with two women.”
OK, well, I’m always here for more and better representation of LGBTQ+ people and queer women in particular (look, you have to root for the home team). The film is being produced by indie standouts Killer Films and be co-produced by queer indie producer extraordinaire Christine Vachon (of “Go Fish,” “Boys Don’t Cry,” “Carol” and many other great and very queer films fame). So I will definitely be watching. I’m still not sure about the horror angle, but as long as it’s super gay I will allow it. True of movies and, honestly, much of life. If it’s super gay, I’ll allow it.

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Poor One Out

Mark me down as intrigued. I had not heard a peep about this movie before hitting play on the trailer for “Poor Things” and now I’m rather pleased I went in totally unprepared. If you’d like to take this moment to watch this under 50-second teaser equally unprepared, by all means please do and I will be here when you get back from your short trip. *whistles off key* Right, so intrigued, right?

It’s like Dr. Frankenstein meets gothic Pushing Daisies meets acid trip Wes Anderson. But this time Frankenstein’s monster is Emma Stone and the skies all look like the most beautiful snow cones you’ve ever seen. I have not read more about the plot because, clearly, this is an aesthetic endeavor with, if filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos’s past work is to be a guide, very sharp elbows. Lanthimos was behind my favorite film of 2018, “The Favourite.”

While that movie also had Emma Stone, I’m not as optimistic for lesbian overtones (or even undertones) in his latest work. But I do like to see Emma play against type. I like the absurdist chaos and magical weirdness of the trailer, and, well, who doesn’t root for Frankenstein’s Emma’s monster to slap the shit out of every man she sees? That’s the whole plot, and you can’t convince me otherwise.