Friday, June 11, 2021

My Weekend Crush

I didn’t grow up with “Blues Clues,” and my niece and nephews are too old to watch now. So basically all I know about the Nickelodeon show is that the original popular kiddie show host left abruptly a few years into the show’s run because, in part, he didn’t really want to be a popular kiddie show host for the rest of his life. So, you know, understandable. Apparently the show was rebooted on Nick in 2019 and now it’s surely about to get a lot of the MAGA/Christian Right/Wingnuttery Wing people pearl clutching because they dared to create a fun virtual Pride parade song for children featuring “RuPaul's Drag Race Season” contestant Nina West. Oh no, how will children handle the radical notion that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, non-binary, pansexual and asexual people exist in this world? WHO WILL PROTECT THE CHILDREN?!? (Unless, of course, that child needs health insurance, or a free school lunch, or food stamps, or childcare, or protection from gun violence, or…)

Honestly, if you’re a parent and you don’t explain LGBTQ people to your children you’re not really doing a great job as a parent. Because we exist, as much as these people would rather we didn’t. Part of being a parent should be explaining that humanity comes in all different shapes and sizes and races and ethnicities and sexualities. But somehow whenever it comes to LGBTQ+ people, telling children we exist is “indoctrination” or “communism.” (Yes, really, communism.) Like, sure, tell children an imaginary fairy breaks into their homes and steals their teeth in exchange for money in the dead of the night, but acknowledging a cartoon transgender beaver is TOO MUCH. It’s so endlessly tiresome. Anyway, enjoy this fun, upbeat and inclusive song. Kids should be told LGBTQ+ people exist, period. Also, you know this song is a bop. Like, we know how to celebrate because for centuries the world has tried to stop us from doing just that. Happy Weekend, all you glorious queers.

p.s. Honestly, the only thing I don’t understand about the song is why the numbers don’t coincide with the animated animals. They’re not going by fives and sevens, right? Did I forget how to count during the pandemic. Or is this like Queer Standard Time where we make our own rules because the world won’t let us play by theirs?

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Army of Tig

So, sadly predictably, “Army of the Dead” was not very good. Like, only a man who recut a superhero movie into a four-hour opus would think he could pull off a zombie heist movie with authentic pathos. Instead, basically, a bunch of folks died needless graphic deaths because ... money? Yeah, basically. But the one thing I did enjoy about the film — and honestly it was a purposeful afterthought at best — was the casting of Tig Notaro as the crew’s helicopter pilot.

The out comic wasn’t originally part of the movie. She came on board later after the film had finished shooting, when they had to recast the role of comic Chris D’Elia who was originally tapped to play the role of the pilot. But after filming was done, D’Elia’s history of sexually pursuing underage girls got him the Kevin Spacey treatment. Like, whoops, we cast a gross sex monster. Our bad. Let’s pretend this never happened, eh?

As much as I am all for recasting disgusting sexual predators and zapping them out of pop culture, how boring was that casting choice in the first place? Like, you take this zombie movie with a somewhat diverse cast and then pick the most uninspired and uninspiring straight white man for its main comic relief role? That’s just lazy casting, folks. But you put someone like Tig in the role and automatically it’s more interesting. So it’s the proverbial win-win, you don’t go for the obvious/lazy choice who also happens to be a major sex pest and instead hire an out actor who cleans up so well she basically looks like a lesbian Tom Cruise.

But, again, I really can’t recommend this movie. Unless, of course, you want to see how well they did green screening Tig into the picture. Yes, all her scenes were shot against a green screen. In fact, she only interacted on set with one of the movie’s other actors, Ana de la Reguera. I think they did a pretty good job of editing the gross dude out and Tig in. But then, even if they’d used a cardboard cut-out of Tig instead of that D’Elia, it would have been a vast improvement.

Wednesday, June 09, 2021

The Soft Butch Detective

I started “Mare of Easttown” a little late, binging most of the season and then watching the last two episodes in real time. I really don’t have a great excuse for why I didn’t start promptly, other than that it’s been a long 15 months and I’m not perfect – OK. I’M NOT PERFECT. Kidding! (I obviously am perfect.) Kidding, but for real this time. Anyway. Back to Mare and her Easttown. Honestly the show was custom-made for me. A veteran lady detective who is Very Good at her job. A twisty-turny case. A lot of weird accents. A significant queer female character (that, bonus points & spoilers … does not die!) All that plus Kate Winslet. Come on, I have no idea why I waited. And it is also the second consecutive Certifiable Soft Butch™ role of Kate’s career (after “Ammonite,” the lesbian rocks/spoilers…sitting on Kate Winslet’s face movie). Besides all the Wawa subs, the best thing about the series was the space it gave its lead female performers to just act the shit out of everything. Kate, Jean Smart, Julianne Nicholson and Angourie Rice brought despair, grit, frailty and humanity to their roles. They were a pleasure to watch, even if Easttown does not entirely seem like a pleasure to live in.

Plus, it gives us another opportunity to see that other Kate, Kate McKinnon, do what she does best. I really, really enjoyed “Mare of Easttown,” and if I’m being perfectly honest with myself I would totally also watch “Murder Durder.”

Tuesday, June 08, 2021

Second Feel

I watched the first season of “Feel Good” when it came out in basically one sitting at the start of the pandemic. And while I liked it, I wasn’t really in the right mood to fully appreciate the lives of these complicated, messy, occasionally unlikable and often frustrating queer people. Yes, yes – I know no one wants to watch happy perfect people (queer or otherwise). But all last year I leaned hard into comforting stories (think “Schitt’s Creek,” “Great British Baking Show” et al) because of how uncomforting everything in the world felt.

So as much as I thought the semi-autobiographical story of queer comic Mae Martin’s life/love/recovery/relapse/gender identity was well done, I just wasn’t in the right place to truly appreciate it. Now, after the Orange Stain is out of the White House and the pandemic is (sorta, kinda) coming under control, I feel I might be in a better headspace to enjoy another helping of Mae & their Complicated (Big C) Life. So, thoughts on the first second? Excited for the second? I mean, obviously, any show with Lisa Kudrow deserves a second chance – or basically all the chances.

Monday, June 07, 2021

Music Mondays: The Linda Lindas

Fuck – and I mean this most sincerely – Yeah! It took me longer than it should have to finally watch The Linda Lindas and their viral hit “Racist, Sexist Boy” (live from the LA Library). But now that it has I have it an “It’s Pride Again” stuck in my head on an endless loop. As someone who actually lived through the Riot grrrl era, I am so incredibly pleased (and perhaps a little proud) that the next generation has chosen to continue to embrace the feminist punk perspective and aesthetic (I see that Bikini Kill T-shirt, I certainly do). It’s one of the vestiges of the 90s I’m actually glad are back, unlike acid wash mom jeans. I’m also glad it’s becoming more inclusive and more diverse. The more the merrier when it comes to smashing the patriarchy (and guitars). So rock on, The Linda Lindas with your new record deal. Racist, sexist boys everywhere can fuck – and I mean this most sincerely – right off.

Friday, June 04, 2021

My Weekend Crush

As we finish up this first week of Pride, let us pay homage to The Most Lesbian Show Ever “The L Word” (I mean, it’s in the damn name and all) and its revival “TLW: Generation Q.” The series finished shooting its second season last week (just in time for Pride, how considerate). And I have a lot of capital F Feelings about seeing the cast back together again. If last year’s anticipation was about seeing what the new series was all about, this years is about seeing the continuation of the lives of these (albeit) fictional queer women whose stories I have invested literal years of my own life into. Mostly, I’m just glad there’s still space on major platforms for our lives, and those of our fellow LGBTQ folks, to be show on television. Representation always matters. And the new season will bring old favorites (Helena Peabody, as I live and breathe) and new nemeses (Rosie is pretty brilliant/obvious casting) and new icons (Vanessa Williams was great in a too brief stint on “Girls5Eva” so let’s give her a lot more to do here people, she deserves it). Sure, it’s not perfect and it’s never been perfect. But you always remember your first lesbian show. So now the wait until August 8 for it all to begin again. Also, how did I not know Jacqueline Toboni/Finley and Kassandra Clementi were a thing? Like, did I miss the memo? Here’s to the continual overt queering of the cast. Remember when Leisha was the only out one? Yeah, me too. Happy Big Lesbian Weekend, all.

p.s. If the first teaser trailer for the second season is any indication, plenty of fighting, fucking, crying, drinking will be happening. As it should be.

Thursday, June 03, 2021

A New Hunger

In an effort to keep the first week of Pride as queer as possible (AQAP for future reference) here at Surrenders, here’s some more good gay news. Remember when I said Angela Robinson had inked a production deal with Warner Brothers? Well the first fruits of that appear to be ripening as Angela is in talks to direct a remake of “The Hunger.” Yes, that “The Hunger.” The movie that started the whole sexy lesbian vampires thing. The movie with Catherine Deneuve and Susan Sarandon and David Bowie (because why not also have David Bowie).

I’m excited about this movie for a few reasons including but not limited to that Angela is a talented director (“D.E.B.S.” remains campy fun and you know it), she knows her way around a lesbian vampire (hello, “True Blood” much), and this means I can watch “The Hunger” without my residual distaste for all things Susan Sarandon (no, ma’am, Trump and Clinton were emphatically NOT exactly the same). I’m always a sucker for a lesbian vampire, no matter how bad the movie (and, kittens, “The Hunger” was not good), so I hope this movie can give us the lesbian vampirism we deserve. Or at least a chance for me to watch the O.G. lesbian vampire movie concept without she whose name will not be spoken again. What? If immortal lesbian vampires can be a thing I can hold a grudge for five years and counting no problem.

Wednesday, June 02, 2021

Sex & The Sara

Look, I was always going to watch the “Sex and the City” revival because I watched the originals and may or may not have hosted a cosmopolitan-soaked premiere party in the past and even perhaps snuck some vodka into the first movie screening and also my wife knows basically every episode by heart. Yes, I know its’ super straight and super white and super ladies of a certain income level and all that jazz. I know. But, again, the heart wants what it wants – in television and in love.

But now I’m super thrilled that the new revival will at least have one bona fide queer person of color in the cast. Sara Ramirez, who identifies as bisexual and non-binary, has joined the cast as “Che Diaz (they/them), a nonbinary, queer stand-up comedian who hosts a podcast on which Carrie is regularly featured.” The Hollywood Reporter also called their character a “big presence with a big heart whose outrageous sense of humor and progressive, human overview of gender roles has made them and their podcast very popular.”

So, basically, it sounds like Sara’s Che is the replacement for Kim Cattrall’s Samantha. The feud between Kim and series star Sarah Jessica Parker is far from secret, but props to Kim for requesting (and apparently having said request granted) that whoever be cast to replace her character be more inclusive than the lily-white original series cast. As for its queer female representation over the years, it’s been mostly Very Special Episode territory. Remember when Carrie kissed Alanis Morissette and Miranda kiss a random lesbian on the elevator and Charlotte dressed as a Drag King and Samantha dated a lady for a few episodes? Let’s hope for more authentic queerness in the new series. I mean, we’ve all come a long way since SATC premiered back in 1998. Heck, both Sara and Cynthia were perceived as straight back then. So grab a cocktail and let’s see what happens.

Tuesday, June 01, 2021

Show Your Pride

HAPPY PRIDE, KITTENS. Yes, it’s back. Pride has returned and for all the understandable grumbling about the corporatization and straightification of Pride Month, let’s not forget what it’s really all about. Looking good on the back of a Dykes on Bikes motorcycle. Or the HRC or GLAAD float. KIDDING! Honestly, I don’t even know how many years it’s been since I went to the actual parade, let alone made it up early enough to see the Dykes on Bikes. Still for all our complaining about Pride, I do actually love it - or at least the sentiment of it if not the exact in-the-moment experience. So, let’s reminisce. Favorite Pride memories? Like can you believe it’s been 16 years since Dana, Alice & Shane abandoned Dana’s little brother with Jenny only to have him realize his own sexuality and have the best Pride ever? Break out the rainbow tchotchkes, fellow queers, this month is OURS.

Monday, May 31, 2021

Music Monday: It's Pride Again

Happy almost Pride Month, my fellow Alphabet Mafia members! Yes, it’s that time of year again when everything gets a rainbow and everyone is gay – sorta kinda still not really. While the pandemic cancelled all of our plans last year, this year the annual celebration of LGBTQ pride appears back on, again sorta kinda. And so of course returns the debate about what Pride should be about in the first place. Is it Rainbow Capitalism while dancing on the Deutsche bank float? Should it leave out the kink to be more mainstream and family friendly? Do we let uniformed cops march?

For me, and I think a lot of other folks under the Big Gay Umbrella, it’s personal. I can tell you in the 20+ years I’ve been celebrating Pride, I have seen it change and evolve greatly. Two of the biggest changes have been corporations slapping rainbows on everything and straight people showing up in droves.

Now we’ve talked about corporate pride before, and what it means to LGBTQ equality. While I appreciate the embrace of queer people and the realization that supporting us is profitable, never forget that corporations aren’t your friend. They only care about money, and accepting queer people is just good business these days. And that’s that. You can still enjoy and appreciate it, just know its roots are in dollars and not equality.

As for straight people showing up at Pride, well, that’s also complicated. Over the years I’ve noted many (many, many, many many) more straight folks using Pride as another reason to party. Like, you’ve already appropriated St. Patrick’s Day and Cinco de Mayo and SantaCon. Can’t we have this one thing? While I always encourage straight allies to openly support LGBTQ causes (particularly with their voices and their dollars), perhaps less taking up physical space at Pride would be nice. I really don’t need to look over and see straight couples making out in the middle of the Dyke March. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, just read the room straight people. Read the room.

While I tend to be a crowd adverse person (especially since the pandemic, hello low-key agoraphobia), I have always loved looking out during Pride and seeing the absolute sea of LGBTQ people. Many of us have searched so long and so hard to find our chosen families, to see ourselves en masse matters. And I love to see it all, from the go-go dancers in short-shorts to the BDSM crowd in their leather and the lady who always wears tassels and propellers her boobs the entire march. And the families. And the political activists. And the gays just trying to hook up. And the lesbian couples who U-Hauled too fast. And the newbies. And the elders. Yes to all of that.

Because that’s the glory of Pride, at least for me. Yes, it absolutely started as a riot. Yes, it should always be political. Yes, it should continue to be a statement of beauty and diversity of LGBTQ existence. The truth is our work is far from over. The Equality Act is stalled in the Senate. Trans rights are being assaulted every single day in state legislatures across this country. Yet we can fight and dance and sip cocktails and demand out civil rights all at the same time because we contain multitudes.

The thing about being LGBTQ in America is that we emphatically aren’t all the same. And that’s the point. But the vast majority of us likely have all been told (by people we love, strangers, and/or society) that we don’t matter. That we are somehow bad or wrong or weird or undeserving. Pride should always continue to be a repudiation of that. Be yourself. Be proud of yourself. Because still so much of society would rather we simply not. This year celebrate how you want because that’s what Pride should be about.

And, if the straights really want to help, maybe they can pony up the cash for those disgusting $50 cocktails for all their queer friends. Now that’s allyship I can get behind. (And, you know, calling your Senators and telling them to pass the Equality Act already.) Happy (almost pride) Monday, kittens.

Friday, May 28, 2021

My Weekend Crush

Sinead O’Connor exists among the most vindicated people in pop culture history. Reading the fascinating New York Times profile of Sinead from earlier this month I was reminded of why I have always loved her as an artist. She is unabashedly herself. And she knows what she wants, even if what she wants has changed through the years. May we all change and grow and embrace those changes and take no shit and live how we want to fucking live. Like, yeah, buy uncomfortable chairs if you don’t want guests to stay long. And, yeah, the Catholic Church has truly been a real enemy over the centuries and no one should be afraid to say that. And, yeah, Sinead O’Connor still has one of the most complexly beautiful voices and refreshingly righteous attitudes in all of music. And, yeah, I hope through everything she is happy. At least, if nothing else, she remains unapologetically herself. (Like, peep her posts in the profile comments section, which are just so wonderfully human.) Nothing compares to her, always and forever. Happy weekend, all.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Drink Your Milkshake

Fuck. And. YES! The trailer for “Gunpoweder Milkshake,” the movie I plan to watch no matter what because HELLO, is finally out. I don’t think I need to say much more than Lena Headey, Karen Gillan, Angela Bassett, Michelle Yeoh and Carla Gugino. The trailer makes it out to be a bit like if the Birds of Prey decided to let their inner John Wicks out while trying to Kill Bill. Heck, if this wasn’t coming to Netflix in July I’d happily go see this in an actual real theater with other humans. Yeah, that’s how much I am definitely watching “Gunpowder Milkshake.”

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Words & Such

Whew, well guess I was more tired from last weekend than I thought. We had (fully vaccinated) friends stay over for a few days, our first official inside visitors since the pandemic started 15 months ago. It was a test run to see if we remember how to socialize. And, we kind of did. Watching Cate Blanchett use alternately big words and possibly made up words is a reminder that socializing is hard for everyone. And while we may not all get to look like Cate in a suit, we can use words that defuffle our friends for everyone’s amusement.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Eternal Flames

I know absolutely nothing about the Marvel Comics series “The Eternals.” I’ve never read them, but I sure hope they’re good because I’m rooting for “Eternals” to be something special. Newly minted “Nomadland” Oscar winner Chloé Zhao’s first foray into big budget blockbusters, it’s about a race of immortals and stars Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek and Gemma Chan. So, you know, sold. Again, I have no idea if this will be great or even good. But I do like seeing Angelina wiled a sword (mystical as it appears) again. Action Jolie is, admittedly, a favorite. So, thoughts? Anyone read the comics? Are we in for anything even remotely gay, because it looks like these immortals are super straight. But a gal can keep dreaming.