Thursday, July 31, 2008

Best. Neckline. Ever.

Look, recent posts notwithstanding, I swear I'm not obsessed. Seriously, I'm not even that into them. Don't get me wrong; I like them. I like them a lot. Heck, they're just inherently likable. But they, for the most part, they don't render me incapable of speech or turn off other large chunks of my cerebral cortex at first sight. That said, Cate Blanchett and her, um, girls are rocking my entire world view. Like boom-shakalakalaka-boom rocking. I've never been so happy about reassessing my priorities in life

Though, is anyone else suddenly, inexplicably, terribly...thirsty?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Bitch, please

What you are about to see is wrong. What you are about to see is very wrong. What you are about to see is very, very wrong. Well, that is, unless you happen to be one of those people who enjoys breasts, nudity, fights, explosions and hot women kissing. With that said, please click play.

OH. MY. GOD. That was awesome, er, I mean wrong. That was incredibly awesome, sorry, I mean terribly sexist. That was totally freaking awesome! Dammit, I mean inexcusably offensive. Shit, who am I kidding? That was fucking genius. That, my friends, was “Bitch Slap.” [Wonderbra snap (in lieu of hat tip), to babsf!]

And, guess what, I haven't even told you the best part. Lucy Lawless and Renee O'Connor appear in cameos as – wait for it, wait for it – nuns! Yes, that's right – Xena and Gabrielle are together again. See what I was saying about genius?

Called a modern-day B-movie exploitation film, “Bitch Slap” comes to us from former producers/directors of “Xena: Warrior Princess” and “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys” (Kevin Sorbo also appears...I'm sensing a trend). They've dubbed it a “feminist, thinking man's, wild and crazy over-the-top exploitation film.” I don't know about all that, but I do know there is a little person who plays a female assassin named “Hot Pocket.”

Look out “Citizen Cane,” you've got serious competition for breast picture of all time. Wait, that came out wrong...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Tank Top Tuesday

Music makes the world go around. Wait, or is it love? Oh, damn, I think it’s actually money. Whatever, close enough. Music can lift us up. It can inspire, transform, enlighten. Heck, it can just make us feel like tapping our toes. And, if we’re really lucky, it’s sung by hotties wearing tank tops. What? Just because music is deep doesn’t mean I can’t be shallow. So with that I give you Tank Top Tuesday: Music Edition. Everyone loves a rock star.
Missy Higgins, “Steer”Did I ever tell you about how I met Missy earlier this year after one of her shows? She was very sweet and very, very pretty. Hey, don't be jealous. Actually, no, totally be jealous. [Hat tip, Ching!]
Brandi Carlile, “Turpentine”Tank, vest, tats, tour with the Indigo Girls. No further comment.
Kaki King, “Playing With Pink Noise”Magic fingers, magic fingers!
Alicia Keyes, “Superwoman”All she needs is a big red “S” on her tank top.
Northern State, “Better Already”It's a bird! It's a plane! It's awesome chicks rapping with rainbows. [Hat tip, Scribegrrrl!]
Rilo Kiley, “The Moneymaker”Yep, porn stars. You’re welcome.
Bebe, “Siempre me quedara”I have no idea what she is saying. Good thing “wet tank top” needs no translation. [Hat tip, Grinmistress!]
L.P., “Good With You/Cling To Me”It's like Shane and Slash had a curly-haired lovechild. What can I say, I'm a sucker for a gal who stops by to say “hi.” Plus, gosh, that “Wasted” song sounds awfully familiar.

Monday, July 28, 2008

We need a shero

Buffy is my hero. For most of you here, no further explanation is needed. It is simply a given. She is your hero, too. But every now and then a little validation doesn’t hurt either. So imagine my pride when last week Buffy the Vampire Slayer was crowned the best superhero of all time. Fuck yeah! Buffy won the RedEye “Best Superhero Tourney.” The free daily publication by the Chicago Tribune regularly runs online tournaments pitting real and fictional characters against each other for virtual bragging rights.

As we loyal followers of the Buffyverse take a moment to gloat, let me tell you exactly how spectacularly gloat-worthy this win actually was. The Buffster not only survived but dominated five rounds of online voting and took on the biggest superheroes in – and I am in no way exaggerating – the universe. She beat out:

Round One – Thor (easy peasy, dude just has a hammer)
Sweet Sixteen – Batman (her first big test, and she kicked bat boy’s butt)
Elite Eight – Silver Surfer (might as well have been Matthew McConaughey, dude surfs for a living)
Final Four – Superman (Man of Steel meet Mr. Pointy)
Title Match – Spider-Man (his claim to fame: stickiness…you do the math)

She beat Spidey 85 percent to 15 percent. Hundreds of thousands of fans voted, and along the way to the title Buffy knocked off three No. 1 seeds (Batman, Superman, Spider-Man). Can anyone say mandate?

What makes her win all the more impressive is that she beat an array of super-MEN along the way. Out of a field of 32 superheroes, she was one of only six women. Make no mistake, that Buffy is a female is a big part of her hero status. She is the subversive choice among the temples to testosterone. Buffy is a small, young, blonde woman. And, dude, she just kicked all the boys’ asses, not to mention assorted women, vampires, demons, sorcerers, ghosts, trolls, robots, reptile boys…you get the picture.

Into every generation a slayer is born. One girl in all the world, a Chosen One. One born with the strength and skill to fight the male-dominated superhero genre, to stop the spread of their sexism and the swell of their misogynistic imagery. She is the Slayer. And she is the best.

Friday, July 25, 2008

My Weekend Crush

Smart women dig Gillian Anderson. She embodies a certain quality we all hope to find in ourselves. She represents an ideal, a kind of gold standard. She is, in short, Special Agent Dana Scully. As a loyal “The X-Files” watcher through all but the last few send-in-the-new-guys seasons, I confess that after I first heard about the new movie my heart did an involuntary pitter-patter at the thought of seeing Anderson pantsuit up again. Scully was everything we don't normally get to see on television. A strong, serious, intelligent, independent, rational and respected female hero who was a true equal to her male partner.

Scully was the eternal skeptic, the perfect foil to Mulder's eager believer. She never once traded on her sexuality instead of her smarts. Sure she got rescued sometimes, but she also did the rescuing right back. Even today, 15 years after Dana Scully first entered our collective conscious, a female character like hers is the exception rather than the rule on television. We have Anderson's portrayal, at once so cerebral and centered but also searching and sensitive, to thank for keeping Scully true through all the twists and turns, conspiracies and cigarette smoking men, aliens and abductions. While I'm still not sure I believe in little green men, I know I believe in her. Happy weekend, all.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

L’ementary news

Showgirls, spin-offs, web series...oh my! Just when I thought I was out, “The L Word” drags me back in. All L has broken loose on the show we love to hate, hate to love. Let's work our way backward to give this insanity some semblance of order, shall we?

First, the Showgirl herself Elizabeth Berkley will join the show for a multi-episode arc as “the straight girl that got away from (Bette) in college.” I think my thoughts on this casting are best summed up by a quote from Elizabeth's own Jessie Spano. “I'm so excited, I'm so excited...I'm so SCARED!”

Though, I'm not going to lie, the possibility of some kind of high kitsch “Flashdance” versus “Showgirls” Beals/Berkley dance-off fills me with inexplicable glee. All of a sudden I feel like Christopher Walken on “Saturday Night Live” with the cow bell. “We need more stripper pole!”

And in older, but no less holy hell news, “The L Word” is dead, long live the The L Word Spin-Off. Showtime brass announced that TLW will live on in spirit after Season 6 as an online crossover show centered around a yet-to-be-named cast member that could, if the executives like it, turn into a full-fledged televised spin-off for the cable channel. Want me to vague that up a little more for ya? So few details, so many lesbians hanging on every single one.

Already folks are petitioning for their favorites (hello, Tibetters, I got your note!) But I have this sneaking suspicion that no matter how much we want it to be one of the original cast members (please let it be Alice, please let it be Alice, please let it be Alice...), the new show will end up focusing on one of the more recent or more peripheral characters – like, say, Jodi or Tasha or Molly or Dylan or, shudder, Papi (all of whom will be back for the final season, by the way). I base this absolutely, positively, 100 percent on nothing more than my gut instinct. But that could also just be the Chinese food I had for dinner gurgling.

So, my chickadees, who should Mama Chaiken choose? And, more importantly, since Elizabeth is already coming do you think there's any way we could also get Gina Gershon as a package deal? Hey, it doesn't hurt to ask.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A friend

I cannot tell you how many hours I spent watching “The Golden Girls" while growing up. I can't tell you because I'm not sure I can count that high. There was a period years ago where that – and “The Wizard of Oz” – was all all my little sister would watch. She watched them 24-hours a day, 7-days a week. I'm sure had she been able to somehow bend the space-time continuum, she'd have happily watched them even more.

So, like it or not, I watched along. And most of the time I liked it. I really, really liked it. Never mind that the women were generations older than me. They were saucy and smart, brash and beyond taking any bullshit. Dorothy, Blanche, Rose and Sophia were like everyone's dream grandmothers, and great-grandmothers. They were the queens of snark before everyone was snarky. And the smallest but the snarkiest was always Sophia.

Later, in college and as an adult, I came to appreciate the Girls on a whole other level. Who among us has not had that conversation with their gay boyfriends about who was which “Girl?” No big surprise, I was always pegged a Dorothy. But it took someone very special to be a Sophia. It took a tiny force of nature. And, to be perfectly honest, no one could ever compare to the amazing Ms. Estelle Getty. The woman could sling the one-liners with the best of them. So the news yesterday of her passing at age 84 left a hole as big as she was tiny in my heart. I'm going to sit down and have a slice of cheesecake in her honor today. Grab a fork and join me around the kitchen table, won't you.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Feed me

Who is hungry? You are, you say. Well, then, you're in luck. Sarah Haskins is back with another meaty topic and this time the meatiness isn't figurative. My imaginary girlfriend favorite iReporter is back to take that all-important motherhood task of feeding one's family. Do it right and your loved ones turns reggae dance party happy. Do it wrong and, well, let Sarah explain. Though, a quick warning: you may want to have your favorite Thai place on speed dial before you press play.

p.s. Yes, I noticed. She is wearing a vest as a top and is smug about being childless. Set gaydar to “stun,” everyone.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Word up

I love words. Duh, I know. I like stringing them together and pulling them apart. I use as many dirty ones as I can get away with. But I tend to not use too many big ones. I shy away from most of those 10-cents and pricier varieties like the wallflower at a dance, always skirting around the edges and looking in with longing. Like many would-be writers before me, I spent the youth I should have been misspending poring over my Merriam-Webster and Roget's each time I found a new word while reading. But the writing I came to specialize in as an adult frowned on those grab-for-a-dictionary words. And being a practical gal by nature, I usually go for the simple and sturdy instead of fancy and foreign.

But that doesn't mean a particularly highfalutin word can't stop me in my tracks now and then. As if I needed more reasons to love Emma Thompson, she had to go out and break out a $1.10-word in her Proust Questionnaire answers for Vanity Fair this month.

Things were going along jovially, with a bit of Emma's trademark wit and good-natured self deprecation. (She called her “dimply thighs” the thing she liked least about her appearance and “cleanliness” the most overrated virtue.). And then, holy Shakespeare, out came the big one.
What is the quality you most like in a man?
Time to break out the Merriam-Webster again:
Uxoriousness: adj.
“excessively fond of or submissive to a wife”

How could you not swoon? How could you not absolutely swoon?

Friday, July 18, 2008

My Weekend Crush

Last weekend Wall•E and Eve, this weekend Cameron. All three, interestingly enough, are Tin Men – machines in search of their hearts. Back away from me with your Psych 101 armchair analysis, lady. I don't have issues. And even if I did I would just bury them deep in the backyard where no one could ever find them. What? It is so healthy. Wait, dammit, what was I talking about again?

You can see why producers picked Summer Glau to play Cameron on “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.” There is something at once smooth and possibly too perfect about her, yet also searching and sensitive. Oh, right, and she can totally kick ass. As a sucker for almost any show featuring strong women, my watching T:SCC is a no-brainer. Heck it's practically a dream come true: Lena and Summer? I've got the vapors.

Sure, the first season had its flaws. But Cameron kept what could have been a one-note role (blast, smash, terminate) into about as layered as a robot can get. If her role as River Tam in the short-lived “Firefly” and its film “Serenity” weren't enough to permanently cement our collective geek-girl crushes on her, her take on Cameron should seal the deal. The bendy doesn't hurt either. Also, dude, she's wearing a tank top and suspenders. Any woman wearing a tank top and suspenders automatically goes to the front of the crush line. Happy weekend, all.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

What a dame

Holy tea and crumpets! Now that's what I call a properly buttered scone. Her majesty Helen Mirren showed off her slammin' bikini body while vacationing in Italy this week. I'm pretty sure when I first saw these pictures all my higher brain function stopped and I was reduced to pointing at the screen and going “Hum-ah-nah, hum-ah-nah, hum-ah-nah...” Now, I can't say entirely for sure because I also blacked out. But when I woke up I was both grinning and drooling. Oh, sorry, did I forget to mention that Helen celebrates her 63rd birthday next week?

[For the love of all that is right and good, click the above picture to enlarge. It would be positively criminal not to.]

Oh, Helen, you've always been the sauciest of minxes. But what is possibly even more impressive than her (enviable/rocking/stomach so flat you could serve flapjacks on it) body is the confidence she shows by getting out there with her bad self in that bright red bikini. Apparently the shots have caused quite a stir in British press. Though, really, we shouldn't be that shocked. Sixty isn't ancient. And Helen has always been sexy. Put that together and it only makes sense that she's sexy at 60. In our overly Botoxed age of silicon and collagen, it's beyond refreshing to see a woman who embraces her age and says, “Damn right, and I look good.” She sure does. All hail the queen!

[Hat tip, Fletcher, Shannon and Marilyn!]

p.s. For those uninitiated, Helen could be considered the queen of getting her kit off. In fact this dame could have an entire Naked Lady Monday in her honor. Wait, now there's an idea...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

How Horrible

Oh Joss, if only you were a woman. Then, I'd wager, you'd be perfect. Still, Mr. Whedon, even as is you're pretty darn close. And now, well, now this. “Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog” Act I came out yesterday. It is so many things. But mostly, it's just fun. So. Very. Fun. And, really, isn't that what this whole crazy Interwebs is supposed to be all about? Quite simply, just the sharing of wonderful things. Well, that and porn. (Just kidding. Porn is bad. Very, very bad. It needs to be punished. Wait...where was I?)

For those unfamiliar, Dr. Horrible (HIMYM's Neil Patrick Harris) is an inept supervillain who dreams of being accepted into the Evil League of Evil on his video blog. His nemesis is the narcissistic superhero Captain Hammer (Firefly's Nathan Fillion) who cares more about his hair than innocent bystanders. They both want the same adorable red-head (Willow Felicia Day, a potential from Buffy Season 7). There Joss goes again, twisting clichéd formulas and making them into something refreshing and new. The bad guy is good. The good guy is bad. Um, did I mention the singing?

Go check it out immediately, if not sooner. Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog also has a blog. Gosh, ain't The Internets meta. (My international friends will need to be a little patient and/orInternational problem fixed, yay! You can also fork over a couple bucks to download the video from iTunes.) Get a taste of it here from the teaser. Yummy, no?

Part II comes out Thursday and the finale Part III comes out Saturday. Move, second hand, move! The wait, it burns!!

I know I was all solidarity now! during the Writers Strike, but if stuff like this is the result I say bring on the picket lines. (Just kidding. Strikes are bad. Very, very bad. They need to be punished. And not in the good porn way. Wait...where was I?)

Go watch! Mwah-ha-ha-ha! Ah-ha-ah-ah! Or something.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Brought to you by the No. 4

Look, I know Steve Jobs nearly played this song to death. And I know even Feist has to be a tad tired of singing it every night. But just try to watch her and her fluffy friends put a new spin on “1234” and not feel like a giggly little kid again. Muppets are adorable. Feist is adorable. Monsters! Penguins! Chickens! The No. 4! Seriously, what’s not to like? The Canadian songstress will appear on the season premiere of the long-running PBS children’s series “Sesame Street” Aug. 11. But, as this leaked clip shows, kiddies aren't the only ones who will love learning to count.

p.s. Poor No. 5, she must feel so left out. There, there, dear. Feist still loves you.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Puttin’ on the Ritz

Nothing classes up a joint like a top hat. It's Monday, heaven only knows how many cups of coffee you've had. Parts of your body (and I'm not saying which parts, I'm classy like that) are still sore from the weekend. So watch these ladies pull something soothing out of their hats for you. Now if only they were all wearing tuxes and tails, too.

Reese WitherspoonNaomi WattsDita Von TeeseNicole KidmanLiv TylerHilary Swank

So, got a favorite? I must admit, no one wears a top hat like Marlene wears a top hat. Le Sigh.

Friday, July 11, 2008

My Weekend Crush

So this is my first couple crush, and it’s a tad unconventional one at that. I know I try to keep things as gay as possible here at Surrenders, but if you’ll allow me I’d like to sneak in a straight-but-not-narrow pair – just this once. Actually, I’m not really sure if they are straight. I don’t think they have any gender at all given that they are – you know – robots. But I saw “Wall•E” last weekend and fell instantly, totally, unabashedly in love. And it’s all thanks to our mechanical lovebirds, Wall•E and Eve.

The film works on so many levels: a romance, an adventure, an eco-warning and a metaphor for the human condition. It’s that last bit that takes “Wall•E” from merely insanely adorable to out-and-out genius. Like the Tin Man before him, Wall•E is every man (or woman) in search of a heart. What Wall•E wants from Eve is so simple – to hold her hand and have it held back. No, I’m not crying. I’ve got something in my eye. I swear. Really.

Bundle in the brilliant animation, limited dialogue, gentle humor and wondrous story and you have a movie that anyone from 5 to 95 could enjoy. The film’s scope is sweet and satisfying, yet not without something important to say. While laughing along with Wall•E and Eve, we see clearly through their outsider eyes the best and worst in all of us. It’s more than a tad bit ironic that a movie about machines might help us find more of our own humanity. Also, good God, they’re cute. Happy weekend, all.

Please Hold

Your Weekend Crush is coming, please stand by...

Wait over. Thank you for your impatient patience.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Tina Fey Thursday

Dear Tina,

Hey, honey. I just wanted to write you a quick note to check in just in case you'd been feeling a tad ignored lately. Let me assure you, you are still my No. 1 gal. You're the tops. You're the best. You're the one.

OK, sure, there might have been other ones, too. It's not that I've been unfaithful, it's just that the world is filled with so many smart, amazing and hilarious women. So, yeah, I've thought about it. And maybe I've even flirted a little. Fine, a lot. I am only human, after all.

Look, it's not like you made things easy for me either. All those other women shamelessly lusting after you. They're practically throwing themselves at your feet. But do you rebuff their worship? Noooooo. Plus, it's not like you've returned any of my calls. Or replied to any of my letters. And, really, was that restraining order absolutely necessary?

But, you know I can't stay mad at you. Not when you give me one of your geeky little grins. All that other stuff just becomes so much water under the bridge when you have a love like ours. I know you only call the cops on me because you care. I want you to know that you have nothing to fear. My eyes may wander, but my heart will never stray. Though, maybe you should keep the glasses on – just in case.

Your always,
Ms. Snarker

p.s. Seriously sweetie, glasses or not, any gal with a badonkadonk like this, well, she's a keeper. My baby's got back. DAY-YUM!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Girl reporter this

If you watch a lot of network news, you probably already know Lara Logan. The 37-year-old South African native is an Emmy, Overseas Press Club and Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. She was recently named Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent at CBS. She has reported for the “CBS Evening News,” “60 Minutes” and “The Early Show.” She has been embedded in the frontlines in Iraq and Afghanistan as a war correspondent almost non-stop since 2001. She is smart, tough, funny and a vocal critic of the press coverage of the war. She is also beautiful.

That last bit tends to get in the way with some folks. Like, say, The Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz. His column yesterday wasn’t about her new promotion. It wasn’t about her perspective on the war. It wasn’t about her many accomplishments. No, instead it was about her sex life. You see, while stationed in Iraq for the last four years, Lara had the audacity to have a personal life. And now, she is unexpectedly pregnant. Her partner and father of her child is a married, but separated, American contractor she met while in Iraq. Alert the press! Quelle scandal! Where are those Scarlet Letters when you need them!

The tabloids latched onto this “story” first. But Kurtz’s column reads more like the National Enquirer than the paper of Woodward and Bernstein. Before he gets to anything more than her cursory job title, I know the names of and circumstances surrounding her last three relationships. First there was her husband, though they had long-ago separated. Then she had an “intense relationship” with another journalist in Baghdad that ended in November. And then her new partner, a federal contractor she had been friends with before.

Kurtz makes sure to assure us that they “plan to get married eventually” and then, only then, does he bother to list any of her actual credentials. His column dissolves further into the kind of tawdry he said/she said ugly divorce trash normally relegated to the pages of supermarket rags. We even get a quote from her partner’s estranged wife who called Lara’s promotion “a slap in the face to everyone who believes in marriage.”

The thing is, would they ever run a story like this on a male correspondent’s personal life? Would the specter of “homewrecker” come up with a male reporter? Would an “unplanned” pregnancy be an issue for a male journalist? Would any of this even be on The Washington Post’s radar if Lara wasn’t beautiful?

I’ve never read any mainstream press coverage of the fact that Keith Olbermann has a 24-year-old live-in girlfriend. He is 49, by the way, which means the age difference between them is older than she is. No mainstream media has had the nerve to poke through Anderson Cooper’s closet to see exactly what he has hiding in there. (My guess, chaps and a harness – who’s your daddy, Coop?) And the sundry details of Bill O’Reilly and his loofah fetish are, well – OK, actually I’m glad those never got more widely publicized. Shudder.

What makes Lara’s story different? Because she is a woman? Because she is unwed and pregnant? Because she is beautiful? What fucking century is this, again?

The only good news out of this is that Lara, clearly, has bigger and more important things on her mind than the salacious selling of her private life. Her appearance last month on The Daily Show showed that she is the kind of woman who has, what my grandma used to call, “a good head on her shoulders.” Sure, my grandma might not like all the cussing, but I fucking love it. I think I might also love her, just a little. OK, a lot.

Seriously, how fantastic is she? So fantastic I’m going to have to start watching CBS News again. No wonder the good ’ol boys media club is up in arms about her. She is smarter than them. She is stronger than them. And she is a hell of a lot sexier than them.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Tank Top Tuesday

I am decidedly not blonde. This isn’t the beginning of a bad blonde joke or any such hair color-based disparagement; it’s just a fact. I’ve also never dated a blonde. Not that I have anything against blondes. Hello, Jodie Foster. Sit a little closer, Kate Winslet. Don’t be shy, Leisha Hailey. I’ve heard that blondes have more fun. Also, gentlemen prefer them. But what I know for sure is that whenever I see blonde locks and tank tops, I automatically think summer. And, gosh, who doesn’t like summer?

Mary McCormack
Naomi WattsKristen BellKristen WiigUma ThurmanKristin ChenowethElisha CuthbertScarlett JohanssonElisabeth RohmPortia de Rossi[Click each to embiggen...hey, no blonde jokes!]