Monday, August 20, 2018

Sensual Eating 101

I’ll admit, I stopped watching “Top Chef” a while back. I can’t take all those insane chef egos (particularly the insane dude chef egos). But I have not stopped enjoying looking at Padma Lakshmi. Quite the contrary. So please enjoy along with me as Padma teaches us the art of sensual eating. Now that is a way to start a week. You’re welcome.

Friday, August 17, 2018

My Weekend Crush

Sometimes, despite everything that is happening right now, you realize how lucky we are to be alive at this moment. I feel lucky to have I witnessed Barack Obama’s presidency. Was her perfect? No, no one is perfect. But to be even a small part of that kind of history and greatness, well, like I said – lucky. I feel lucky to have lived through such a sea change for LGBTQ Americans. Are we where we need to be yet? No, far from it. But now in all 50 states we can marry the person we love – so, you know, lucky.

I feel a similar good fortune when I think about Aretha Franklin. My, weren’t we lucky to have been alive during her reign? The Queen of Soul now belongs to the ages. Her majesty the stuff of legends and her voice the echoes of eternity. Because, believe you me, people will be listening to Aretha sing forever.

And, one day, people will ask: “Goodness, what it must have been like to be around when Aretha Franklin was alive?” See, like I was saying – lucky. Rest in power, Queen. Happy weekend, all.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

The Lesbo-less Mrs. Maisel

So, are they gonna go ahead and make Susie a lesbian in Season 2 or what? I really enjoyed the first season of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” It was fun and punchy and very funny. One of the things I’ve enjoyed most (beside Rachel Brosnahan’s everything as Midge) is Alex Borstein’s portrayal of Midge’s manager and obvious lesbian Susie Myerson. Now, there are a lot of things you could probably do to improve the show (chief among them adding more POC to the cast in significant roles and not just “Jazz Musician #2”), but giving Susie more of a backstory and owning up to her unmistakable queerness is right up there. I mean come on, look at Susie. She isn’t a 100-footer, she is a 200-footer. Also this is 1959 America. No woman dressed like back then that who isn’t an out proud gay lady. So, yeah, let’s get happy and witty and gay in Season 2, show.



p.s. Since they’re going to the Catskills there had better be at least one sly, “Nobody puts baby in a corner” reference.

p.p.s. I would also accept a joke about carrying watermelons.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Love, Decency

In these hateful and hurtful times, I think we hunger for decency. For people with integrity. For people who inspire. For people who blazed trails and made a difference. For people who care. For people who are kind. I feel the same way about this new Gilda Radner documentary that I did for Mr. Rogers and his cry-through-the-whole-damn-thing documentary earlier this year. She was such an inspiration to generation of comics and women and women comics and women who aren’t comics but sometimes get off a funny line here and there. Her passing at age 42 from ovarian cancer means we were robbed all those years of her brilliance. And it’s also a reminder that before we do some ridiculous, astronomically expensive boondoggle like create a Space Force, how about we invest in medical research and give every American adequate healthcare? I dunno, just a thought.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Step Into Yourself

Appearance, particularly in the LGBT community, is fraught with meaning and political overtones. What does it mean to visibly present as queer, to be visibly butch or visibly andro or visibly trans. What does it mean to us within the community and to the straight world outside when we are seen, instantly, a certain way. But freedom, true freedom, is the ability to look and act and be however we want – no matter what the rest of the world of our LGBT friends think. Of course, that is the tricky bit. Be yourself is simple to say, hard to do.

Still when you see someone come into themselves, and finally feel completely comfortable in her/his/their own skin – well, that’s such a magnificent feeling and such a beautiful moment.

I love (love, love, loved) Lena Waithe’s thoughtful, powerful explanation for cutting her hair. What could have just been a glib red carpet interview turned into a profound statement of truth and intent.

“I felt like I was holding onto a piece of femininity that would make the world feel comfortable with who I am….

When I cut it I felt so free and so happy and so joyful. And I really stepped into myself. And if people call me a butch or say she is stud or call me sir out in the world, so what. So be it…

I am here with a Prada suit on, not a stitch of makeup and a haircut. I feel like, why can’t I exist in the world in that way?”
Why can’t I exist in the world in that way, indeed.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Cruel, Cruel Summer

In our new political climate every day seems like a month. So, naturally, this summer has seemed particularly long. Here to bring a little joy to all the heat and horror, here is Bananarama singing “Cruel Summer” circa 1984. I absolutely adored Bananarama and played their cassette tape to a nub when I was a kid. Yes, I said cassette tape. Happy Monday, kittens, may it be a good and less infernally long week.

Friday, August 10, 2018

My Weekend Crush

Have you ever wanted to live inside a picture? Like this one? Or this one? Or maybe this one? Well I’m pretty sure life would be amazing in this fanart poster by Instagrammer loubbie.isreal for “Ocean’s 9.” Like, all the lawns are green and everyone recycles and no one agrees with Nazis and Donald Trump had a near death experience choking on his overcooked steak with ketchup and changed his life to become a marine biologist to challenge his lifelong fear of sharks and nobody heard from him ever again. And we all lived happily ever after. Happy weekend, all.

Thursday, August 09, 2018

A Rose By Any Other Bat

A funny thing happens when we get what we’ve been asking for. Sometimes, we’re still not happy. Earlier this week it was announced that Ruby Rose had been cast as Batwoman for a crossover and then stand-alone series about the superhero for The CW. You may recall that casting for the role has looked for an out lesbian actress to play the out lesbian superhero, a.k.a. Kate Kane.

Now, I’m not a Ruby Rose stan. But I’m not a Ruby Rose hater either. I am glad an out actress with some star power has been cast in the role. It might help attract more viewers to a show that will probably have a niche audience, at least to start. And, let’s be honest, her face is undeniably not bad.

Do I have some questions about her acting abilities? Sure. But she also hasn’t been cast in the greatest roles. I actually liked her in “John Wick 2,” though to be fair she does not talk at all in the film – just scowl and make hand gestures. She was OK in “Orange Is the New Black,” but to be fair she was mostly there to look pretty and make Alex Vause jealous.

But I think she could do fine, perhaps well even, as a Batwoman. She has displayed some good physicality in “John Wick 2” and got chewed up by the turbine exceptionally in “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter.” Granted, I am not a Batwoman expert. I know when the modern Batwoman debuted around 2006 as an out lesbian who got kicked out of military school for being gay and now is a street fighter on a mission of social justice. And she has long flowing red hair. But, you know, wigs exist so we’re fine.

This casting has apparently set off a torrent of unhappy gay lady reactions on Twitter and elsewhere. Many centered around her acting skills. Others complaining she was an obvious choice – which is kind of funny because there was a time not so very long ago that there were zero obvious choices when it come to out lesbian actresses. And then some seemed to be mad, I think, that she was too traditionally attractive and therefore dudes (and straight gals) dig her too much.

For what it is worth, Batwoman co-creator Greg Rucka seemed pretty cool with Ruby Rose as Batwoman.

Look, are there other actresses they could have found for the role – certainly. I’ll put in my plug for more diversity, always. But, again, I have no real issue with Ruby Rose. This isn’t Shakespeare; it’s a superhero show. And, as a person, I do not believe Ruby Rose has done anything so heinous to have scorn heaped on her by the community. To my knowledge she hasn’t stolen trans roles or played a white-washed character or dated union-busting tech billionaires or said we need to give Donald Trump a chance or anything similarly morally repugnant. She’s just been in some movies that weren’t possibly the greatest. That’s not a sin, that’s Hollywood.

p.s. While Ruby may have posted (and then promptly deleted) some dumb Instagram comment buried in a thread of comments about Lovato back in 2013 (and outing isn’t good, obviously), they appear to be extremely friendly and very supportive today. So, again, it doesn’t seem an unforgiveable offense. Stupid and thoughtless, maybe. Also, people really read deep into celebrities Insta comments? Who knew.


Wednesday, August 08, 2018

It's Jane's World

Back in 1998, for those among us who can remember that far, it wasn’t a super awesome time to be a gay lady. Ellen’s TV show had just been cancelled. “The L Word” wasn’t a thing yet. Rosie, Portia, Jodie and Wanda weren’t out yet. And AfterEllen (may it R.I.P.) and Autostraddle definitely weren’t things yet. All we had were Melissa and k.d. and Martina. And, for some of us, Jane. You know Jane Wyatt, the bespectacled short-haired, swoopy-banged blonde lesbian who was perpetually bad at dating? Yeah, that Jane.

The syndicated online comic strip “Jane’s World” by Paige Braddock debuted in 1998 and was a favorite and a staple for me back in the day. It was one of my lifelines to lesbianism in those nascent days of finding my community. And it remains an impressive not to mention historic achievement. In 2001 it became the first LGBTQ-themed comic strip to receive national media syndication through Comics.com (now on GoComics.com). You can read fresh “Jane’s World” comics there to this day. Right now. Seriously, go do it.

Now, to commemorate its 20th anniversary, Paige is releasing an anthology retrospective called “Love Letters to Jane's World.” Besides offering a collection of the strips, it also features fan stories and letters about the comic and characters. The book it available starting today at comic stores and Aug. 21 at bookstores and online. Paige, by the way, keeps rather busy between her comic, being the Chief Creative Officer at Charles M. Schulz Creative Associates, and writing a line of graphic novels for kids.

So consider this my own little love letter to “Jane’s World.” I, too, had a crush on Trinity Chelle, like everyone else. And, of course, it doesn’t hurt that Jane’s best friend’s name is Dorothy.

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Monster Mash

Can I share a little secret? I love big, outrageous disaster and monster movies. What can I say, I have a soft spot for the end of the world. The only problem, of course, is with monster movies I tend to root for the monster instead of the humans. Puny humans. Mind you, not all of the monsters, just the ones who are just tragically misunderstood Ă  la King Kong. So I’m not going to lie I’m weirdly excited about this new Godzilla movie, “Godzilla: King of the Monsters.” Not only because of the big monsters and apocalypse thing, but also Millie Bobby Brown (a.k.a. Eleven), Vera Farmiga (a.k.a. the reason I watched “Bates Motel” longer than I should have), Sally Hawkins (a.k.a. the actress who is best know for falling in love with a fish, but lesbians already knew and loved for playing a gay lady in not one but two Sarah Waters adaptations), and Zhang Ziyi (a.k.a. a reminder that Hollywood films have been terrible at hiring and spotlighting Asian actresses). So, anyway, if we make it to 2019 (I mean, at this rate it’s not a given, folks) I am very much looking to eating a whole bunch of popcorn and watching monsters take over the Earth.

Monday, August 06, 2018

Lizzie Borden Took A Lady Lover

Fetch me my axe, ladies, I’ve got some grinding to do. Actually, nix the axe. I’d probably just cut off my own arm. But, I am rather enjoying this new take on the Lizzie Borden story. You know the one – where Lizzie Borden took an axe and gave all those whacks. Except this time Lizzie Borden is Chloe Sevigny and the family’s maid Bridget Sullivan is played by Kristen Stewart. Oh, and did I mention they’re lover? Yeah, it’s like that.

From the trailer the film has a real “Dolores Claiborne” vibe but with an axe instead of an eclipse and with lesbianism instead of mother-daughter estrangement. I don’t know whether this will be any good but already it seems it has to be better than the pretty terrible Lifetime movie “Lizzie Borden Took an Ax.” Because that was truly bad, and not good bad.

May Lizzie and Bridget and their axe live happily ever after and never, ever have to eat pigeon again.

Friday, August 03, 2018

My Weekend Crush

I am almost at “Ocean’s 8” level excited for “The Spy Who Dumped Me.” (Now if they somehow managed to sneak Cate Blanchett into the movie, then I’d be a full 8 on the Excited Gay Lady scale.) Why the excitement you ask? Well, Kate McKinnon, Mila Kunis and Gillian Anderson certainly don’t hurt. As do Kate McKinnon in a tank top and suspenders. Kate McKinnon in a suit and tie. And Gillian Anderson, period.

Plus it has a female director and co-writer in Susanna Fogel. Now gay ladies might remember Susanna as the straight half of the gay lady/straight lady best friends comedy web series “Joni & Susanna” from about 10 years ago. Or, gay ladies will recognize her as the writer and director of “Life Partners,” the about gay lady/straight lady best friends.

But wait, before you can say, “Hey, that seems familiar,” consider the premise of “The Spy Who Dumped Me.” In it a straight lady played by Mila Kunis is dating a dude spy who dumps her so she goes to Europe with her sexually ambiguous BFF played by out actress Kate McKinnon who likes to wear tanks tops and suspenders and/or suits and ties to save the world. Now, I cannot confirm Kate’s character’s sexuality in the film. But The Advocate calls her “Your Lesbian BFF” in the movie. Sooooo.

Now, alas, Fogel told The Advocate that Kate’s character isn’t explicitly queer, but “it’s sort of obvious to most people that she’s not straight-identifying.” Granted, it is disappointing that she didn’t go ahead and make Kate’s BFF character gay. The “everyone knows it anyway, nudge-wink” gets a little old in light of the miniscule representation of LGBTQ people in mainstream films. Just say it. Own it. Embrace it.

I mean, Kate’s all but screaming it in the trailers. But then, I think her fangirl gushing is probably how any woman would respond to being in the presence of Gillian Anderson – lesbian, straight, bi, trans, whathaveyou. I mean, it’s Gillian Anderson as “the BeyoncĂ© of the government.” Respect. Happy getting dumped by a spy weekend, all.


Thursday, August 02, 2018

The (Post-Apocalyptic) Future Is Female

This is the future that lesbians want. No, seriously, when the shit goes down I want these three women coming at it to kick its ass. Also maybe Cate Blanchett and Tessa Thompson – but let’s not get greedy.

Yesterday the first official look at the new “Terminator” film was released and it featured its stars original badass Linda Hamilton back where she should be as Sarah Connor, San Junipero’s wallflower Mackenzie Davis as newly swolle soldier/possible android/what do those markings mean and newcomer Natalia Reyes. The future is female indeed!

Also, is this what the kids today call a Glow Up?



Also also, seriously, what is up with these lines on her body?



Of course, this revelation has caused manbabies to lose their shit. Three women and no men? What is this? Anarchy? Socialism? Impossible because men are the true heroes of the universe, duh? Oh, delicious, delicious angry fanboys.

Now, their ire is ridiculous, as always. Arnold will be back, of course, as The Terminator. And the film also stars Diego Boneta (as Natalia’s character’s brother) and Gabriel Luna (as a Terminator). So that seems like a lot of dudes, so relax dudes, you will be represented. You know, unlike the representation of LGBTQ people, women, people of color and people with disabilities onscreen in Hollywood. (Though, I will note that half of the lead cast appears to be Latinx, which is kind of wonderful for a big budget franchise like this.)

Even more indicative of how bro-tastic this movie will still be – despite its three prominent female leads – is what’s happening behind the camera. T6 will be executive produced by “Terminator” franchise creator James Cameron. It will be directed by “Deadpool” auteur Tim Miller. And it will be written by “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” scribe David Goyer.

So, yeah, relax fellas, you’re extremely well represented in a world struggling to fight against the dystopian robot future of your own making. Please, just let us enjoy all of these ladies in their tank tops and badassery.

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Tea, Cake & Consent

Two things: One, I love Aisha Tyler. She’s just so fantastic. And two, I cannot believe in this age of The Reckoning and #MeToo (buh-bye Les, Harvey, Kevin, Matt, Louis, et al those garbage men) that we still have to explain consent to people. Consent is not hard. With anything else – be it tea or cake – it’s pretty easy to figure out if someone is consenting. But somehow when it comes to sex all of a sudden folks who definitely know better seem baffled. But in the end, it’s as simple as communicating with your partner, listening to what your partner says and never assuming you know what he, she or them want or will allow. Not that hard really. Now, who wants some cake? With tea, only if you want it, obviously.