Friday, April 30, 2010
Of course she wasn’t really gone, she just stopped being the flavor of the month. But she never stopped being talented or gorgeous. In fact, over the years her beauty has deepened. And again, in true British fashion, she has let time ripen her instead of fought it needle and scalpel. Those lines are earned, they speak of past loves and lessons learned. Experience, my friends, is sexy. It means you know things, have seen things, are good at things. One of those things is flirting with Eve Best on “Nurse Jackie.” The scene from this week’s episode crackled with delicious sexual tension. See, she’s still got it. Happy weekend, all.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
But I think I’m really getting ahead of myself here. In the past week Jezebel has lovingly paid homage to and interviewed the female director of “Just One of the Guys,” the 80s teen girl-in-drag comedy. Slyly subversive yet steadfastly silly, the story followed a pretty student reporter who thinks she is being passed over for boys, so then dresses like one to prove her point. I loved this movie. Part of it was that it was played on a seemingly unending loop on HBO. As a pre-internet kid, I found out about the birds and bees, in large part, from our family’s pirated HBO signal. Let me tell you, learning about The Gay from premium cable can make for many, many confused years.
But that’s why a movie like “Just One of the Guys” meant so much to me, even though my full realization would come years later. It fucked with gender while acknowledging gender inequality and engendered my continual confusion of Ralph Macchio with a dapper butch girl.
As an aspiring writer (yes, even back then), I sympathized intrinsically with Terry’s predicament. The injustice! The sexism! As an aspiring gay (but, again, it took me forever to figure it out), I was unmistakably drawn to Joyce Hyser more in drag. Not because she looked like a boy, but because she looked like a really cute girl in boys’ clothing.
Which brings me back to the boob flash. Holy shit, the boob flash. Teen movies have never been shy about their lusty intentions and love of the jiggle. So a little skin is almost always to be expected. But the unexpectedly feminist narrative behind “Just One of the Boys” makes the scene so very powerful and so entirely unforgettable. In fact, at this moment, when declaring her femininity and love all at once, it almost seems a radical act. Also, damn, those are some really nice breasts. [Again, NSFW – but you know you can’t resist.]
p.s. Don’t even get me started about the Sherilyn Fenn and the sock scene down the pants scene. We could be here for days.
p.p.s. Joyce Hyser, call me. And bring the tux.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Of course, time will tell if all this teasing is just that, a tease. That Brittany and Santana have slept together is established. If we’ll ever see it, well, that’s entirely another.
Heather Morris (Brittany, or Ms. Dolphins Are Just Gay Sharks if you’re nasty), had some less than encouraging thoughts on the subject when she spoke with The Advocate:
On the big tease:
I’m with you because I’m always anticipating getting a script that’s going to be about our love story line, but I don’t think I ever will. Brittany and Santana are just best friends, and you know how sometimes best friends tickle each others’ arms and hold pinkies?
On if we’ll ever see Brittana makeout:
I don’t think so. I asked Ryan about that and he said there was no way. He said that since we’re a prime-time television show, he didn’t want to do that.
On the Brittany-Santana relationship:
It’s like Brittany’s a lost puppy dog and Santana’s her owner, so she follows Santana around and does whatever she tells her to do because she doesn’t know how to do things for herself. Naya and I have talked about their relationship, and we do think Brittany’s just dumb and crazy about Santana, like, “I’m her best friend and I love her so much!”
No way? Really, Ryan Murphy? Really? It’s not like broadcast television never shows women making out. In fact, around November and May it seems almost every female character comes down with a severe case of the Sapphicitis. But, whatever. It’s your show. Grumble.
That disappointment aside, what interests me most is Heather’s take on the Brittana dynamic. It’s that puppy dog love where you just want to touch and hold and possibly shag with your best friend constantly. Because, honey, that’s not how all best friends act – just pretty much the gay ones.
So keep on holding those pinkies, Brittana. And keep on leaning on your other’s shoulders. We know it’s real. So there.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
I mean, how I’m not sure if you caught it but the preview stresses that these are REAL! LIVE! LESBIANS! No, really, real lesbians – real ones. We swear, they’re real. Look, they even kiss girls. On camera. REAL! But then they pick possibly the least real place on the planet (no offense, L.A., but you know it’s true) to set their show. To wit, almost every cast member – except for
Papi Rose – is in this business we call show. So, yeah, just like every other lesbian you know.
But while the behind-the-scenes preview is one thing, the cast bios on the Showtime website are quite another. What aspiring romance novelist wrote this stuff? “Tracy is every girl's dream…” “Jill is the girl all the guys want, but only one girl has.” “But Rose is altar-skittish and may be too wild to be tamed by one flame.” Now that’s some “Sweet Valley High”-worthy writing right there.
Also, when the preview wasn’t emphasizing its realness, it was pumping up its drama. Did you know there’ll be drama? Girls, together, lesbian girls, tattoos – DRA-MAAAAA! But then what would you expect from the true story of six lesbians who live in Los Angeles and have their lives taped for Showtime to find out what happens when lesbians stop being polite and start getting real.
Other interesting statement from the promo:
1. “This has never been done before.”
Um, yes it has. “Curl Girls.” “Gimme Sugar.” Yeah, it really has.
2. “I have faith that the show will really accurately portray who we are and want to celebrate us.”
Wait, you saw “The L Word,” right? I mean, especially that last season – the one with the dead girl in the pool. Celebrate!
3. “I could be fucked.”
So could we all, so could we all.
The only really good thing about promo is it never mentioned Mama Chaiken by name. But they did mentioned it’s “from the creator of ‘The L Word’” twice, so that pretty much negates any semblance of humility. In the end, I’m just don’t feel like I need to see the lives of a bunch of pretty, well-heeled, finely polished L.A. lesbians to in any way validate, illuminate or elucidate my life. Will I watch to see cute girls kissing? Maybe. What can I say, my deeply shallow side sometimes wrests control of the remote away from my dorky PBS side. But both sides insist we fast forward through the drama.
p.s. I know this is probably a terrible thing to say and she is undoubtedly a lovely person, but Nikki (the non-tattooed blonde one) looks like she wants to EAT OUR SOULS. Seriously, she wants to suck them out of our eye sockets and spread them on toast. Toast which she will then feed her dog because, come on, that woman hasn’t eaten a carb since the Clinton administration.
Monday, April 26, 2010
To be a fly on that wall. I realized, while studiously pouring over the photo, that all of the assembled actresses have played gay except, I believe, Gwyneth Paltrow (though she cross-dressed in “Shakespeare in Love,” for what that’s worth). So that knowledge makes the pairing even more delicious.
How are we supposed to process all the gorgeous in this picture?
In this picture Gwyneth is working hard to make amends for not having played gay before.
This picture is a perfect example of how a T-Shirt should be worn. Seriously, take notes.
I can’t wait to see her kiss Annette Bening, even if this picture makes Julianne looks like a lost waif in a wind tunnel.
And finally, this picture just makes me want to hug Penelope for bringing this much pretty together in one place. Also, for not wearing pants.
If I must see red this Monday, this is truly the best possible way.
Friday, April 23, 2010
There are several reasons for this, but mostly it’s that I am an intensely private person. I was a very shy child, grew into pretty shy teenager and have spent my adult life – through chosen profession and personal work – trying to overcome the inclination. But, believe me, it’s hardwired. Still simple aversion to the spotlight isn’t the only reason. I think when you don’t know what the author looks like, it make you focus more on the words. Now, this could be good or bad depending on the quality of the words. But visuals are so powerful, they make it easy to project personality and prejudge. And finally, I stay anonymous because everyone loves a mystery. Using one’s imagination is hot.
But, in the interest of further disclosure, here are five true things about me that you may (though more than likely may not) have known:
1. I am Asian-American (but then, I’ve mentioned that before).
2. I have long hair. No, really long. OK, not Crystal Gayle long, but long.
3. I wear at least four pieces of jewelry every day: Three earrings and a silver ring I’ve had since high school.
4. I never wear dresses. The last time was to a friend’s wedding – we are no longer close.
5. I have pointy ears. Not Spock pointy, just friendly woodland elf pointy.
So there you have it – a little more about me, your humble host. As always, these kinds of milestones make me stop and reflect. I’ve spent the same amount of time writing this blog as I did in college. Man, you’d think I’d get a diploma or at the very least a bronzed beer bong or something. But, in all seriousness, it still boggles my little mind to think that what started as a whim four years ago has grown into this. I am continually and eternally thankful that you come back day after day and share your stories and humor and disagreements and joy with me. So, thank you. Thank you for reading. Thank you for emailing. Thank you for following me on Twitter. Four more years? We’ll see. But it has been my great pleasure to have you along with me for the last four.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Since you shared with me, it only seems fair that I share with you. So how about some more SGALGG goodness, with a little GGALGG gayness thrown in for good measure.
Frances McDormand & Tilda Swinton
If this was a movie it would be the best acted lesbian movie of all time. Think about it, Hollywood.*
Naomi Watts & Scarlett JohanssonThis one would be pretty well acted, too. Just don’t let anyone get sucked into a blue box that’s a portal to an alternate reality that has darkly lit rooms with rich red curtains and Laura Harring.
Emily Deschanel & friendsI think, as the kids today say, UNF.
Zoe Saldana & Sigourney WeaverIf Sigourney has a thing about breasts, she should explore those feelings with Zoe instead of lashing out at our gal Kathryn Bigelow.
Amy Adams & Zooey DeschanelAccording to Esquire, Zooey is the woman most women want to sleep with. I think Amy agrees.
Olivia Wilde & some lucky SOB
That woman is so close she can probably smell Olivia’s perfume.
I hate her.
*UPDATE: OK, OK, here is the skinny on Tilda and Frances. The photos is indeed a candid. They’re talking (very closely) at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival premiere of “Burn After Reading.” You can see a progression of them together here.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
I mean, how else am I supposed to feel when she tells the Daily Mail that she is “a bit of a fundamentalist about all that size zero stuff” and that the only way to combat the ultra-thin mindset is to:
“Put on weight and say F*** off. Demand bigger sizes. Go into places where you can’t get a 38D bra and say, ‘I want a 38D bra and give me one. If you can’t, I am never coming here again.”
See, don’t you just want to hug her for like five solid minutes? Also, who else could look this radiant while walking a pig?
Well, consider this a virtual, cross-Atlantic hug. A few of my favorite moments on the incomparable Ms. Thompson.
Channeling her inner Daytonian for Ellen in 1998
Channeling her inner exotic dancer on Ellen in 2006
Told you every day could use a little more Emma.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Missy PeregrymI’m not sure if this is really a tank top. Close enough.
Lisa EdelsteinGod, imagine if the “House” writers had created Cuteen instead of Huddy or, yawn,
Lady drummers are hot. Always, always hot.
Hooray for Bollywood.
Malin AkermanI still haven’t seen “Watchmen.” Now I feel doubly bad about this.
Kelly HuI think being able to do this with your leg is illegal in 18 states.
Jena MaloneSomething for the younger folks, since I still vividly remember her playing the child-version of Jodie Foster in “Contact.” But she is 25 now so, you know, daaamn.
Zoe SaldanaTank? Check. Tats? Check. Piercings? Check. Gun? Check. Do you not even care what this movie is about as long as you can see Zoe in her tank with tats, piercings and a big-ass gun? Check.
Monday, April 19, 2010
Religion is not a topic I talk about with any authority or frequency. I grew up in a liberal household, science was our champion. Church happened sometimes at Christmas, but basically just for the music as midnight mass. I don’t believe you need religion to teach you right from wrong, but I understand the inclination to feel faith in something larger than yourself. It’s the application of faith by some that bothers me so. They use it as a weapon to deny, denigrate and dominate others. And I have a big, big problem with that.
So to see someone who has so clearly thought long and hard about what it means to be a person of a faith in a faith that does not necessarily have faith in her is both fascinating and inspiring. Jennifer has sold a million albums, won a Dove award and has been nominated for a Grammy. Apparently there had always been rumors throughout her career that she was a lesbian. But then in 2002 she left music, for seven years. And now she is back with interviews in The Advocate and Christianity Today (that’s not a combo you see every day, eh?), where she comes out and talks about her long-term relationship with her girlfriend. [Also, look for her interview in the coming days with Heather Hogan at AfterEllen.com.]
Having heard her new album, “Letting Go” (available May 11), I can tell you that it is very gay. Not Katy Perry gay, but gay-gay. There is nothing coquettish or teasing about her words. They are straight-forward, open. They speak of a love that is finally now speaking its name. They’re freeing. They’re lovely. Have I mentioned that they’re so very gay?
For those unfamiliar with her work, she sounds a bit like a younger Melissa Etheridge. She is also a Kansas gal with a big booming voice, deep in that way that tends to weaken gay gals’ knees. She is a classic singer-songwriter type who would fit seamlessly into a Lilith Fair lineup, which she just so happens to be doing this summer. Her new album is not explicitly Christian, though that is very firmly her background and her fanbase. So for her to come out is – to get all Joe Biden on the situation – a Big Fucking Deal.
And now we wait and see how it all turns out. I have to say, I’m not too optimistic that everyone will embrace her. I went to find her music on YouTube and the first video that came up was titled “Jennifer Knapp symbolizes hell-bound Christianity.” It went on to explain how there is no such thing as a gay Christian. You know, kind of like a unicorn – a gay unicorn. P.S. Don’t read the comments on some of her videos. They’ll just make your head explode. At times it seems that the chasm between us and those who think we are abominations will never be bridged. It only grows deeper and darker. The will is just not there, at least from their side. But perhaps people who loved Jennifer then will realize that she is the same Jennifer now. Just happier. Honest. Loved.
Still even if those who once flocked to her now turn their backs, she should certainly find a warm and welcoming home among her gay fans – the old ones and what I suspect will be many more new ones. I think that she will discover that we, too, are a faithful lot. Once we love you, we’ll love you forever. And your cat. Hey, we’re being honest here.
A few live sampling:
See what I was saying? She is so gay. So gay.
Friday, April 16, 2010
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Of course, that’s not how idolizations work. In an idolization you put someone on a pedestal, worship them with holy chants and sacrificial offerings and then – as Newton and his apple demand – send them crashing back to earth for the crime, real or imaginary, of displeasing the gods. Tina has been on that pedestal for quite a while, so the backlash was inevitable.
But some are surprised by the source – namely, young feminists.
I, for one, am not all that surprised. To be honest, I thought it would have started ages ago. But ever since Tina’s “Saturday Night Live” hosting gig last weekend the vitriol has risen sharply among some of her most vocal feminist detractors.
The issue, it seems, is her frequent mocking of single women (i.e. the Liz Lemons of the world). And, to be more specific, the number of her SNL sketches that were about sad, pathetic and/or evil single ladies. Witness: the Brownie Husband lady, the slutty golf commentator lady, the creepy crushing on Justin Bieber teacher lady, the 9-inch hooker with a heart of gold lady and the Bombshell McGee (I really can’t bring myself to say “lady” after her name, sorry).
The criticism has been swift and unforgiving:
Sady Doyle at Feministe:
“It seems kind of weird, actually, that someone with so many thoughts on All the Single Ladies (“If you were likable, he would have put a ring on it” — Tina Fey’s Feminism) hasn’t apparently been single since the Clinton administration. But, then again, it’s really not. The women Tina Fey defends tend to have something in common with her. The women she makes fun of tend to have obvious differences. Which is the whole point: Feminism is for women, but Tina Fey’s Feminism seems like it’s for… Tina Fey.”
Jessica Grose at DoubleX:
“…(I)t has come to the point where the pathetic single woman trope is such a constant refrain in Tina Fey's work that one has to wonder what she’s really trying to say.”
Amanda Marcotte of Pandagon:
“When I hear a married woman rant about the evils of sluts out there, I tend to wonder who her husband’s been dicking.”
So much for the solidarity of sisterhood. Isn’t that exactly the kind of behavior we abhor in our own critics? Knee-jerk name calling. We get nowhere when the response to someone calling us bitter single bitches is for us to yell back that they’re smug married cheaters.
Now, I will whole-heartedly agree that Tina’s SNL episode was spotty. It’s always spotty these days. But it had three genuinely funny bits: the opening monologue, Brownie Husband and Sarah Palin Network. That’s more than most Saturdays. Granted, the 9-inch-hooker skit was patently unfunny. It was puzzling and ridiculous. And the show obviously had no faith in it either because it was the last sketch before the goodbye wave, typically the place where funny has already gone to die and is now starting to smell.
And I’ve already detailed my disappointment in her Bombshell bashing without equal time going after the other party involved – namely the philandering husband. Why bag on someone who “looks like a dirtbag’s notebook” and not the dirtbag, too?
But to say that Tina Fey has a problem with single women after those sketches is pretty preposterous. Lest we forget, Sarah Palin is super-duper married and that was the best and meanest skit.
The real criticism that should be leveled at Tina’s SNL stint is that only one sketch paired her with another female cast member. And that sketch, where she played a mom with an unusually clingy daughter, was primarily about the daughter. The writers, it seems, didn’t think two women could be funny at the same time.
The serpent eating its own tail argument that inevitably arises in these kinds of criticisms is that women shouldn’t bash other women. But to say as a monolithic group that females can’t criticize other females is as silly as expecting an entertainer to be a feminist savior. Instead of handing out bad feminist cards, how about we focus on the people who don’t believe in feminism at all.
Let’s be perfectly honest, women who flock to married sports stars and married celebrity husbands are fair game in the mocking department. These are both very bad life choices. Are there a myriad of external societal and economic forces feeding into a woman’s decision to go that route? Sure. But surely we can also call a spade a spade without it being a larger commentary on womankind. Some women do dumb, terrible things. We can make fun of them for it; it’s OK.
Part of this is just the nature of the Internet. Something makes you mad. You type furiously. You hit send. Other people read it, they get mad, they type furiously, they hit send. Deeper reflection and time to cool off is in no way correlated to the ability to press the submit button. Sometimes anger becomes a meme.
The bigger problem, I fear, is with expectation. We demand perfection from our idols and when they fail to meet our impossible standards, we toss them aside. Much the same thing is happening with President Obama among progressives. We are disappointed in some of his decisions and disillusioned by some of his actions. But baby and the bathwater, people. If we keep building people up only to tear them down when our every expectation is not met, what will we have left? Tina Fey has never claimed to be a feminist icon. She is a funny lady who considers herself a feminist. But her real job is to make us laugh.
Rebecca Traister at Salon.com’s Broadsheet blog has a particularly thoughtful take on the Fey-minism fallout. She concludes her post (though really, read the whole thing) saying:
“Feminist comedy cannot always take as its targets the Jesse Jameses and the Richard Nixons of the world. Women also have to be able to mock -- sometimes harshly, sometimes sexually, sometimes intellectually -- the Sarah Palins and the Bombshell McGees, to laugh at our single selves, at our high-achieving selves, at our professional selves and our maternal and sexual and idealistic selves, or we will quickly re-earn a reputation for humorlessness. We can't expect to escape all the mean jokes, or the mean girls. And we can't lay the blame for the often ruthless nature of equal-opportunity mockery at the feet of a woman who never promised to do anything but entertain us.”
As an unmarried, college-educated, food-obsessed, self-deprecating, klutzy nerd I find her tweaking of unmarried, college-educated, food-obsessed, self-deprecating, klutzy nerds hilarious.
My criteria for her work is therefore quite simple: Was it funny? Was it smart?
A hero doesn’t have to be perfect. Most of them aren’t. Thomas Jefferson slept with his slaves. FDR had multiple mistresses. Einstein was awful to his wife. Dr. Martin Luther King plagiarized parts of his doctoral dissertation. These facts do not diminish their accomplishments. They are just part of what it means to be human – we kind of suck sometimes.
The older I get, the more I understand that life is filled with gray area and endless compromise. Youth is the domain of black and white. I can see the other side, if still vehemently disagree, of almost any argument. Well, except for Glenn Beck. There is no reason for Glenn Beck.
The continual critique of feminism and feminists (and let’s go ahead and roll lesbians into that group, too) is that they lack a sense of humor. Our PC culture – which I completely understand and for the most part try to adhere to – demands that we create a buffer zone to protect feeling, egos, psyches and toes. But that’s not how comedy works. Perfect people are not funny. Flaws are funny. Foibles are funny. Fucking idiots are funny.
Certainly, I’m not suggesting that all the women who are criticizing Tina just “lighten up.” That’s the infuriating retort always thrown at women when we fail to laugh at society’s latest date rape joke or dumb slut joke or fat bitch joke. What we need to do is set realistic expectations. I expect a lot from President Obama, because he is the President of the United States . Have I given up on him? No. Do I want him to so better? Yes.
I expect Tina Fey to be funny and smart. Are all her jokes funny and smart? No. Do I still think she is funnier and smarter than almost every other female entertainer working today? Hell yes.
Of course, all this should have been prefaced by the fact that I am deeply, deeply biased. No one talks shit about my Tina. I am Liz Lemon, hear me roar.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
But I am all sorts of excited for her new USA series “Covert Affairs.” Granted, not the best title. What, was “Secret Stuff” already taken? But I am always and forever a sucker for 1) Women who can kick ass. 2) Women in suits. 3) Women who can kick ass in suits. And this trailer delivered on all three counts.
OK, a couple other quick observations. First, does Piper simply not age? How is this possible? Second, Action Piper is new and I like her. She can stay. Third, honey, don’t button that button. No, really, don’t.
So, what do you think? Pair this up with Sarah Shahi’s new USA series “Facing Kate” and that is what I call a must-see double feature. This Piper might just be Pied after all.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
I do not understand people who hate “Glee.” Now, I don’t begrudge their hatred. Hate away, this is a free country (even if we do now finally all get health care). I just don’t understand the inclination to hatred. Now, I could understand if you were a bible thumper or homo hater. But if you’re neither, what is it? Is it just the camp? Is it the breaking randomly into perfectly studio-produced song? Is it a debilitating fear of track suits? I really want to know.
Granted, I will happily admit that the series is not perfect. Some episodes are uneven, some characters uninspired. I despised the fake pregnancy storyline, just like everyone else. But otherwise the show delivers on something that is entirely welcome on primetime broadcast television: a super gay point of view. Not everyone on “Glee” is gay, of course. But it has two out stars (Jane Lynch and Chris Colfer), it has three to five gay characters (Kurt, Rachel’s dads and – fingers crossed we see more of them – Britanna). It has singing, dancing, jazz hands, snarkiness, pop culture zingers, cheerleaders, love, betrayal, drama, Madonna songs, Lady Gaga songs, crazy costumes, JANE FUCKING LYNCH. Come on. Super duper, duper, duper gay.
Are things in danger of getting over-hyped? Sure. Everything cool gets uncool. Everything hot gets overheated. But I for one am just enjoying the moment, surfing the zeitgeist and happy that something at once so silly and surprisingly sharp is back on my TV. In short, it makes me smile.
As Jane told USA Today:
“(Glee) tapped into part of us that lives in the shadows, that we don’t let people see, that’s wanting to lift our voice in song and make a joyful noise.”
Bring it on tonight, Glee.
p.s. To the anonymous commenter in my first Brittana post who scolded us saying “you people are ridiculous” because we were just misinterpreting the whole Santana/Brittany “Sex is not dating” exchange, please refer to Naya Rivera’s Maxim interview where she says, and I quote:
The whole relationship between Santana and her sidekick, Brittany, is hilarious. In the last episode before we went to break, I said, “Sex is not dating,” and Brittany says, “If it were, Santana and I would be dating.” I asked director, Brad Falchuk, “Are we doing this because she doesn’t know what sex means, or did we in fact hook up?” He said, “Oh, no, you hooked up!” I was like, “OK!”
So, um, yeah, suck it. Like I was saying, super duper, duper, duper, duper, duper gay.
p.p.s. Oh, and I almost forgot. This B-roll from the set gets really interesting and really touchy-feely around the 1:30 mark. Make you go hmmm about all of those Lea and Dianna’s SGALGG-y moments. I’m just saying.
I’m not even sure there are enough “dupers” anymore.
UPDATE: This. End of argument.