Friday, February 26, 2010

My Weekend Crush

Olympic Figure Skating

Yes, another post about women’s figure skating. Don’t worry, this only happens once every four years. So if impossibly graceful young women with iron wills and knives on their shoes bore you, go get a sandwich and come back Monday. Who knows, maybe there’ll be naked ladies again. But back to the ice, where last night was witness to – in my most humble of opinions – the most fucking amazing women’s figure skating finals I’ve ever seen.

This is why I watch the Olympics. Not just for the ice skating, per se (though, as I’ve said before, I do love it so). No, I love to see athletes reach their potential, do their best and truly enjoy their moment. I cannot recall ever seeing a more well skated final round from all the medal contenders. Not ever. None of the women in the last group fell. Very few made errors, and small ones at that. All shone in some way. Almost all were radiantly happy with their performance. Even the disappointed silver winner landed not one but two – two – triple axels in her program. And those plucky teenage Americans didn’t medal, but still showed their mettle. Hello, history, the ladies on Vancouver are calling.

And then, of course, there was Kim Yu-Na, the flawless golden queen of figure skating who carried an entire country’s expectations on her willowy shoulders, and Joannie Rochette, the adopted daughter of these games who battled through excruciating loss for a triumphant bronze. Damn, it’s almost like it was scripted. Bigger damn, I can’t believe the Olympics are almost over. Happy weekend, all.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

“C’est pour toi, Maman”

Women’s figure skating is why I fell in love with the Winter Olympics in the first place, all those years ago. While I was too young for the Dorothy Hamill hoopla (or, blessedly, the haircut), I distinctively remember the power and, let’s face it, sexuality of Katarina Witt. Then, as a teenager, came the Asian sensations. My heart stopped at the great Kristi Yamaguchi versus Midori Ito duel. My heart still hurts for Michelle Kwan. I identified immediately with these tiny dynamos. Sure, I lacked their grace and strength and dedication, but at least they looked more like me than Nancy Kerrigan (or, blessedly, Tonya Harding).

These Olympics again feature some great Asian skaters, none more so than South Korean Kim Yu-Na – the skater so famous she had to flee her country to train in peace. But the heart of the competition, and perhaps these games, beats and breaks with Joannie Rochette. By now, everyone knows the story. The Canadian skater took to the ice only two days after her mother died suddenly and unexpectedly of a heart attack after arriving in Vancouver to cheer on her daughter.

You could see the emotion, the pain, the tension in her face before her short program began. I held my breath. The announcers fell silent. And then it was just her and the ice. To say she skated well would be trite. She skated transcendently – her performance came from a place occupied only by muscle memory, pure grit and a mother’s love. And then after two minutes and 50 seconds of strength came the tears.

We have all had that moment – though probably never on so grand a stage or when it meant so much – that feeling of holding the world together and then finally letting it all go. I lost my father five years ago, also suddenly and unexpectedly, and I cannot imagine doing anything as beautifully as Joannie did Tuesday night so soon afterwards. While some might question why she would go on to skate after such a tragic loss, I understand it intrinsically. It is the one thing she understands. The one thing that makes sense. The one thing she knows she can do even though nothing else will never be the same. She had to.

But that she had to is one thing, that she did it so spectacularly is another. The Olympics have always been a microcosm our human condition played out over a fortnight. It is all of our dreams and life’s work distilled to that second when the starter’s gun fires. It’s your moment. Win or lose, what I think each athlete hopes for it to do her best. That is what makes it so universal. We all have dreams, we all work hard. We don’t all get rewarded at the end of the day with a gold medal or a Wheaties box. But we all try.

So now, on the day of the women’s free skate, I hold my breath again. My entire body aches for Joannie to do well. But even if she falters, if the understandable and unimaginable pressure gets to her, she will have already won. It’s not a victory for precious metal, but something much more precious. Love.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Find a happy place

In case you hadn’t noticed, I loveGlee.” Fun, fabulous and so fucking gay, the show has almost everything I love. Singing, dancing, snarking. Jane Lynch, jazz hands, gay cheerleaders. That’s just quality television, right there. One of the other things I love about “Glee” is how it has become such a massive cultural phenomena. It’s cool to love this show. Hell, even President Barack Obama has jumped on the bandwagon and invited the cast to sing at the White House for the annual Easter Egg Roll.

Yay, Gleeks! We’ve arrived! Right? Um, right, sort of. For all the show’s success, it also represents a fundamental dichotomy in our culture. While the larger world is perfectly happy to laugh along with us, they’re still not completely comfortable making us equal. We’re allowed into their living rooms for an hour each week, but we’re not allowed to live totally free every hour of every day.

Even this White House invite, while fantastic, typifies our struggle. Pres. Obama supports and is pursuing the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, but does not support full marriage equality. One step forward, one step still stuck in the mud. Granted, that one step forward is a big one. I don’t recall any open invites to tea from W.

Though, as impatient as we are, the “Glee” movement might just be a sign that better days ahead. Because, instead of breeding contempt, familiarity in this case could breed acceptance. Polls have shown over and over again that younger generations are more comfortable and committed to gay rights. The future, it seems is bright – there’s just that tricky matter of getting there, and quickly. The song remains the same: Don’t stop believin’.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Total Lezzy

Awww shucks, you guys, you’ve done it again. Thanks to you, I’m up for another Lezzy Award for 2009 Best Lesbian Entertainment/ Lesbian Culture Blog. The Lezzys (started in 2008 as the Lesbian Blog of the Year Award) are handed out annually by The Lesbian Lifestyle. Those of you’ve who’ve hung around here long enough might recall that I’ve been lucky enough to win the last two years (2007 Lesbian Blog of the Year & 2008 Best Entertainment/Overall Lesbian Blog of the Year honors).

This year the awards will be handed out in 11 categories. They are:
  • Best Lesbian Entertainment/Lesbian Culture Blog
  • Best Lesbian Humor Blog
  • Best Lesbian Parenting Blog
  • Best Lesbian Engagement/Wedding Blog (new for 2009)
  • Best Lesbian Feminist/Political Blog
  • Best Lesbian Personal Blog
  • Best Lesbian “Out later in life” Blog (new for 2009)
  • Best Lesbian Sex/Short Story/Erotica Blog
  • Best Lesbian Podcast
  • Best New Lesbian Blog (new for 2009)
  • Lesbian Blog Lifetime Achievement Award (new for 2009)

Also nominated in my category are Autostraddle and Fit for a Femme. The former is the glossy girl-on-girl culture chronicles of Riese and her homosexy staff (not to mention their intern army of, like, zillions). The latter is the chronicles of the daily fashion choices of, you guessed it, a Femme. Both are fabulous, both are formidable.

So many well-known and equally great blogs are up for awards in other categories this year that instead of picking and choosing, I’m just going to go straight (but not in that way) ticket and promote fellow Team AfterEllen nominees. For Humor, Grace the Spot. For Parenting, Mombian. For Lifetime Achievement, the mother ship, AfterEllen.

Now, onto the mushy stuff. Since I started this blog in 2006, I’ve been continually humbled by all of your support, encouragement and generosity. Clearly, I don’t write this site for awards (though, let’s not lie, who doesn’t like to win things). Instead I write it because a) sleep is for suckers and b) if I couldn’t write my head would explode and c) you’ve made it such a wonderful place to keep coming back to. People grouse all the time, and rightfully so, about what passes for discourse online these days. But I feel forever fortunate that together, we’ve been able to carve out a space that is overwhelmingly civil, respectful and engaged. I never take that for granted, ever.

OK, OK. I’ve put away my Kleenex. This is, after all, a competition. So here comes the nitty gritty:

  1. Voting is now open.
  2. You can vote once every 24 hours.
  3. For your vote to count you have to click the link in your confirmation email.
  4. Voting ends at 11:59 p.m. EDT March 1 (technically 12:00 a.m. March 2, but people always get confused about which midnight that means and I don’t think that 1 minute will make or break anyone).

So, vote early and vote often, like an old-school Chicago politician. As fantastic as it would be to win again, what I’m most pleased about is that The Lesbian Lifestyle (and its founded Kelly, aka goldstardyke) keeps running these awards to recognize the wonderful diversity and depth of gay women on the web.

But, just to show you I do have some competitive spirit (I sucked at sports, this is my only shot), I’m going to sweeten the pot by running a contest. If you forward me a copy of your confirmation email, you’ll be entered in a contest to win either the complete season five DVD of “Weeds” or a review copy of the Indigo Girls double CD, “Poseidon and the Bitter Bug.” See:

The more you vote, the more times you are entered. And don’t worry, you don’t even have to vote for me to be eligible (confirmation emails don’t show who you voted for, so I’ll never know). Yes, I’ll even send it overseas out of my own pocket if someone abroad gets picked. Win or lose, that’s a thank you from me to you. Oh, and just to show how really, really competitive I am, this is also a thank you from me to you. Enjoy.

Mary-Louise Parker
Mary Louise Parker

Olivia Wilde
Olivia Wilde

Rosario Dawson
Rosario Dawson

Rachel Weisz
Rachel Weisz

To truly be appreciated, that last one really needs to move.

(once every 24 hours, and don’t forget to click those email links).

Monday, February 22, 2010

Dr. Wonder-ful

Jaye Tyler is back! Sort of. Fine, still maybe only in my head. But Caroline Dhavernas, the artist formerly known as Jaye Tyler, is definitely back. The former “Wonderfalls” star (and my forever crush), has been cast as one of the leads in “Grey’s Anatomy” creator Shonda Rhimes’ newest medical drama. Yes, Wonderfallers, wrap your head around Jaye playing a doctor. I mean, I’ve thought about playing doctor with her quite a bit, but that’s different – different in a good way.

I’ve expressed my extreme, eternal love for all things “Wonderfalls” before here (and, yes, I still have the smooshed-face wax lion). I have the box set. I have the “I Surrender to Destiny” hoodie. And sometimes, when I’m feeling blue, I play the bouncy theme song and dream about inanimate objects talking to me.

Now, my conundrum is that I don’t really watch “Grey’s Anatomy” or any Shonda Rhimes productions, for that matter. I’m just not huge with the navel gazing (the lesbian couple gazing, however, is much appreciated). Also, another medical drama, Shonda? Are you going for a medical drama hat trick? This drama, called “Off the Map,” follows three American doctors who move to the jungles of South America to work at a free clinic.

Caroline will play Lily who, according to TV Guide, is a young doctor who heads to the jungle to escape tragedy. Awww, sad Jaye Tyler? Joining her will be Manny (played by “Without a Trace” alum Enrique Murciano), an “egotistical plastic surgeon,” and Meena (not cast yet), “an infectious disease specialist with a shadowy past.”

I can see the love triangle already. But maybe, just maybe, Shonda will remember the rabid devotion Calzona (and previously Callica) fans have lavished on Grey’s and make it an unexpected love triangle. Like, say, Lily lost her longtime college girlfriend in a tragic field hockey accident and then flees to South America where she is comforted by Meena. Meanwhile Meena, who has had a series of relationships with men that never felt quite right (or lasted very long), finds herself unexpectedly attracted to both Manny and Lily. Things get sweaty. Mosquito netting gets tangled. Lots of tank tops are worn. Boom – I’ve just written your first season for you, Shonda. You’re welcome.

Friday, February 19, 2010

My Weekend Crush

If you’ve watched sports even a little, you’ll know Mary Carillo. Fans of women’s tennis and the Olympics like me know her so well she seems like an old friend. When her rich, resonant voice comes on, you know you’re going to hear something smart or funny or perceptive or probably all three. I’ve been following her for years as she provides tennis commentary (she famously coined the term “Big Babe Tennis”) and have always admired how even in such a male-dominated field as sportscasting she is never shy about sharing her opinion. It helps that she unquestionably knows her stuff. She is the total antithesis of your stereotypical broadcasting bimbo.

These games mark her 10th Olympics and her presence is at once refreshing and relaxing. NBC has used her primarily for color pieces during primetime (um, polar bears NBC, seriously?) and to anchor the late night show. I’d gladly watch her over Bob Costa’s sporty Dick Clark acts any day. (p.s. Ease up on the Just for Men, Bob.) And, look, it doesn’t hurt that she has a capable, casual style (read: pantsuits and minimal makeup) that appeals intrinsically to us gay ladies. And then there is her close friendship with Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova. (Hey, stop poking me in the ribs. I’ve heard those rumors, too.) In short, I can’t think of anyone I’d rather kick back and watch some sports with than Mary. Keep enjoying the Olympics, ladies. Happy weekend, all.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Gender Fuck Thursday

Christina Hendricks

Gosh you know what we haven’t done in a while? A nice long, slow gender fuck. But you know how I like to keep things classy around here, right? So how about we do it in black and white. Yeah, just like that. Some things you don’t need to over think. Or, more accurately, images like above of Christina Hendricks in a dress shirt and tie make it difficult for me to think.

Charlize Theron
Nicole Kidman
Nicole Kidman

Drew Barrymore
Eva Green
Eva Green

Filippa Hamilton
Cate Blanchett
Cate Blanchett

Christy Turlington, Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista
Kristen Wiig
Kristen Wiig

In case that last image looks familiar, it should. That’s Yves Saint Laurent’s iconic Le Smoking tuxedo.

Le Smoking 1

Now, If only they’d used this NSFW (Alert: NSFW!) pose instead. Next time, next time.

Le Smoking 2

So, was it good for you?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Strike a pose, there's nothing to it

Of course I saw Tina on the cover of Vogue, of course. And of course she gave a great, funny interview to go along with the cover story, of course. And, of course, I am going to post about both, OF COURSE. If you didn’t know this then it’s like you don’t know me at all.

Now, the thing about this Vogue cover, beautiful and windswept as it is, is that they airbrushed out Tina’s scar. It’s a little hard to tell what with the heavy backlighting and general shading on the left side of her face. But if you know her face like I do, you know that there should be at least some hint of that scar running below her lip and up to her left cheek. But, alas, any imperfection – as integral as it might be – cannot be tolerated on the cover of Vogue. Same goes for wrinkles, body fat and any sign of average human anatomy. Deep, unsurprised yet still disappointed, sigh.

Now I know some of you just don’t feel the Fey-naticism like I do – and I respect that (also, more for me!) But you have to at very least respect the inner geek that Tina brings to even the bible of fashion. She talks about wearing a colonial-lady Halloween costume as an everyday outfit (“It was the Bicentennial! People were excited!”), the unfortunate training school haircuts her mom took her to as a gradeschooler (“apparently they cut my hair by folding my head in half and trying to cut out a heart.”) and how her Greek heritage limits her styling options (“knockers up and tight skirts. Somehow it's better”). Also, did you know she coined the phrase “mom jeans?” The more you know.

Also, you really should read the section where she critiques her own past award show red carpet looks. She mentions boob tape, lady parts and having a big can. Hell, just read the whole thing.

And, while you’re at it, be reminded why Tina is one of the best late-night couch sitters in the business. My favorite line: “Yeah, I’m almost 40 and I wore a romper today.”

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tank Top Tuesday (Plus): Olympic Edition

Do you know how incredibly hard it is to find pictures of Winter Olympic athletes in tank tops? Really, really , really fricking hard. You know why? Because it’s the Winter Olympics. Think layers. Think parkas. Think boots. Think hats, scarves, goggles, mittens. Sheesh. But I found as many as I could and threw in a few non-tank tops because, um, have I mentioned how hard it is to find Winter Olympic athletes in tank tops? Though, there’s something to be said for the delicious surprise of unwrapping all those layers to find what lies beneath. It’s like Christmas morning, with muscles.

Jenn Heil, Canada, mogulsMarit Bjørgen, Norway, cross country skiingShannon Bahrke, USA, mogulsChemmy Alcott, Great Britain, downhill skiingMellisa Hollingsworth, Canada, skeletonKim Yu-na, South Korea, figure skatingGretchen Bleiler, USA, halfpipe snowboardingJulie Chu, USA, hockeyHannah Kearney, USA, mogulsShelley Rudman, Great Britain, skeletonIreen Wüst, Netherlands, speed skatingAnni Friesinger, Germany, speed skatingLindsey Vonn, USA, downhill skiingThanks for your suggestions, everyone. Happy Olympics, indeed.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Naked Lady (Holiday) Monday


Today is a holiday in the United States – something about a bunch of dead presidents. So what better day to bring you the Not Safe for Work deliciousness that is Anna Torv as nature – and Esquire magazine – intended. (My apologies non-US folks, perhaps you can sneak a peek while the boss’ back is turned.) I’ve long enjoyed the capable, matter-of-fact, natural beauty that defines Anna. But I must sheepishly admit that I stopped watching Fringe this season. While I enjoy a good unexplained phenomena as much as the next gal, I let the show go because Thursday night is just too insane for me to handle. There are six other nights of the week, TV executives, stop putting all the good shows on one of them. But now, now I feel like I’ve made a terrible, terrible mistake. I also feel like I’ve made a terrible, terrible mistake by living in a climate that never requires the use of long johns. In short, these photos fill me with regret, among several other emotions that are considerably more NSFW. Ahem.


What can I say? Thank heavens for dead presidents.