Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Level playing field

High five, Jason Collins. You’re awesome, you’re inspiring, you’re essential to our continued struggle for full equality. You are not, however, the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. This takes nothing away from your accomplishment and your courage in coming forward and coming out. But there are openly gay active female players on several American sports teams and sports who have blazed a trail and deserve recognition.

When news broke yesterday the headlines I saw were all a variation on “Jason Collins first openly gay active player” and “Jason Collins first active gay player in major sports.” As the day wore on, several modified that headline with an important word: “Male.” Collins, a 34-year-old who was center for the Washington Wizards, is indeed the first active American gay male player in one of the four major American sports teams – basketball, baseball, hockey and football. But active American gay female players exist in basketball and softball – not to mention soccer, tennis, golf and more.

Your Brittney Griner and Sheryl Swoopes (basketball), your Vicky Galindo and your Lauren Lappin (softball), your Megan Rapinoe and your Natasha Kai (soccer), your Martina Navratilova (tennis), your Patty Sheehan (golf). I could go on.

When Griner came out earlier this month as the first professional WNBA player to come out at the start of her career, it was greeted with headlines like, “Female Star Comes Out as Gay, and Sports World Shrugs” and “Brittney Griner coming out is no big deal, and that's a big deal.”

Yet Collins coming out was in continuous discussion on ESPN and across the frontpages of sports sections everywhere. So in case you were wondering, that double standard is alive and very well.

Granted, I understand that there are inherent and significant cultural differences between the perception of gay male athletes and gay female athletes. One could joke that for female athletes being lesbian or bisexual is almost the default assumption. That’s a stretch, of course, but the ugly stereotype is that girl jocks are considered “too manly to be straight” and guy jocks are considered “too manly to be gay.” The cult of machismo continues to smell worse than a locker room on a hot day.

Look, I am not being ungrateful about Collins coming out. Quite the opposite. He could well be the game-changer to open the closet door wider for more to follow. I am thrilled for the positive support coming from everyone from Michelle Obama to Bill Clinton to Kobe Bryant to Steve Nash more. And I am disgusted by the Chris Broussards of the world who fall back on the old bigotry of the past. I would just like it acknowledged that female professional athletes are also part of this conversation, have been blazing a trail and matter when it comes to creating an accepting sports culture for all who want to play. Hive fives all around.

NOTE: Nothing in this post is a denigration of Collins' accomplishment and importance, nor an expression of anything but happiness at his coming out yesterday. I could not be happier about it. What it is is a multifaceted expression of emotions based on the media coverage of his coming out. We, as humans, are capable of feeling multiple things all at once. Like in the late evening on Nov. 4, 2008 when my heart was filled with pride and joy at our nation electing its first African-American president in its history. But on that same night, at the same time, my heart was also filled with sorrow that my fellow California voters deemed my love unworthy of being officially recognized by the state by passing Proposition 8. One does not take away from the other. Saying I am proud of Jason Collins and I wish gay female athletes were given more respect in the media are not mutually exclusive ideas. We can do both.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Do the Swinton

Joy is such an underused emotion. We say we strive for it, but often rebuff its effervescent advances in favor of angst, anger, anxiety, ambition. When we do let it in, it is often unexpected. But it is in that act of being caught off guard, letting down our guard, giving in to joy that makes it so wonderful. I say find your joy wherever you can. And if that joy is the otherworldly presence of all 5-foot-11 of English actress Tilda Swinton dancing with abandon through a theater of 1,500 people to the strains of Barry White’s “You're the First, the Last, My Everything,” then so be it.

What makes this moment so very lovely is the pure joy it brought to the 15th annual EbertFest. It is indeed almost a “spiritual service,” because the event just a couple of weeks after the death of its founder and namesake Roger Ebert. On stage with Tilda is Roger’s wife, Chaz. The impromptu boogie is not only full-body tribute to a great man and film critic, but a celebration of the joy film can bring us. It has made me smile each time I’ve watched, which is going on four and counting. Spread joy wherever, whenever you can. Happy Monday, kittens.

p.s. In other news, I’m pretty sure we can not officially confirm that Tilda is an alien sent from another universe to remind us of the strange beauty of our tiny human lives. From her latest W magazine shoot.

NOTE: I have addressed my serious and complex feelings about all of the actors, directors and the like who have supported Roman Polanski at great length and depth in the past. You can read them here and here and here and here and here. I do not take this issue lightly, nor have I ever shied away from criticizing those who signed the petition in support of him and against his extradition. Sexual assault has never been trivialized on my site and I believe his crime was despicable and deserves punishment. I believe he should serve his jail time. I also believe the art is not the artist, nor does the art absolve the artist. Having written this blog for seven years now, there are certain assumptions I make of readers and our history together. Those who have known and read me for a over the years know that I in fact do not have a short memory on this topic, but a long and complex one.

Friday, April 26, 2013

My Weekend Crush

“Game of Thrones” can be an awful sausagefest sometimes. So many old and young men all jockeying for an iron throne while wielding their big swords. Overcompensation, much? And don’t get me started on all the gratuitous tits and ass – I mean I’m not totally complaining, but come on. Still the series has been able to spring to life some memorable, exciting and unconventional female heroines. Little survivor Arya Stark. Valiant knight Brienne of Tarth. And, thanks to last Sunday’s episode, the biggest badass of them all: Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen, a.k.a. Daenerys Targaryen a.k.a. Khaleesi a.k.a. Mother of Dragons.

Those of us unacquainted with the books could have never guessed that the meek, white-blonde haired girl under her vicious brother’s thumb and married off like a chess piece in a power play would become the most assertive and cunning of them all. Also have I mentioned she has dragons? And she can’t be burned by fire? And will always spare the innocent? And you heard me on the dragons bit, right?

In a scene that I have now watched no fewer than a half dozen times, Daenerys ascends to her rightful place in the pantheon of badass chickens when (SPOILER ALERT: Hurry up and watch it, dude) she bests the misogynistic slave master and commandeers his slave army only to set them free and have 8,000 soldiers march willingly for her into impending battle. Also, there are dragons. In showing no mercy to those who oppress others (all of the slave masters and rulers) while ultimate compassion to those denied free will (the slave army and trainees) she is, quite literally, turns around her own life’s trajectory and comes to a place of just yet unquestionable power. My greatest hope is that is it Daenerys who gets to kill that little evil inbred putz King Joffrey. A dragon is not a slave. Daenerys is not a slave. Women need not be a slave to men’s power games in “Game of Thrones.” Say hello to quite possibly the best mic drop (by way of a whip) in TV history. Dracarys, out. Happy weekend, all.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Ellen Squared

When people you fangirl about fangirl about other people you fangirl about, the result is 100 percent adorable. But the meeting of Kate McKinnon, the woman who impersonated Ellen on “Saturday Night Live,” and Ellen DeGeneres on Ellen’s show yesterday was more than adorable. It was lez-mazing. I mean, come on, just look at Kate’s hardcore fangirling. It makes me love Kate even more. And Ellen. And gay ladies. Also puppies. Wait, I think I’ve gotten off track here. Point being, watch.

If you stop and really think about it, we live in an extraordinary time. This week France became the 14th country to legalize same-sex marriage. And yesterday Rhode Island’s Senate passed marriage equality as well (it still needs to pass the House again, which already approved an earlier version of the bill) and is poised to become the 10th state in the nation to make it official. Just 20 years ago, fuck, 5 years ago – this all seemed so very far away. Sure, we’re not there yet. But culturally we’ve just passed the point where being a homophobic idiot is cool. Sure, there are still bastions of bigotry out there spouting their nonsense. It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t pretty and, heaven knows, it’s not done. Still the sight of the most popular daytime talk show host in America, who is an out lesbian, being lovingly impersonated side-by-side by a SNL cast member, who is an out lesbian, in front of an adoring crowd has to make you stop and smile. Here’s to the pretty, witty and gay in all of us.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Seven-Year Surrender

Seven years and nary an itch. Luckily also no burning. Well, mostly no burning. Today is the seventh – yes, seven fucking years – blogiversary of Dorothy Surrenders. I’ve been writing whatever damn things pop into my head – high art, low art, mediocre art, politics, feminism, tank tops, naked ladies, ladies in suits and pretty much everything and anything pertaining to gay ladies – for seven damn years. I must be nuts.

But, as always, I couldn’t go it without you guys. Well, I probably could – but it would be so much lonelier. Instead, thanks to you, it feels like a little community. A tiny little corner of the series of tubes dedicated to pop culture, gay women and anywhere the two intersect. And I owe you all an enormous thanks. You gals (and discerning guys) are the reason I keep posting day after day after day, even when I’m not quite sure what to write about, even when I’m not quite sure I even feel like writing. Because I love sharing with you. Thank you, and you, and, yes, even you.

A quick update on some housekeeping: Yes, I suck. I am still working on completing the perks. I have no excuse other than life gets busy. But I am going to fulfill all the perks as promised. I have the postcards sitting on my dining room table guilting me every single day. They say, what the hell, Snarker? Why do you suck? Send us out already. And I will. Along with the rest of the remaining perks. Ugh, have I mentioned I suck?

But you guys, you definitely don’t suck. So, please, on this seventh anniversary of me saying, “Hey, I should start a blog,” please accept my continual thanks. To quote Ruth to her Idgie, “This is the best birthday I ever had.” Well, the best seventh blogiversary at the very least. So have a slice of big gay cake. And who feels like skinny dipping?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Tank Top Tuesday: Lost Girl Edition

Lost Girl is over for the season. Long live Lost Girl. For a thorough and comprehensive recap of the finale (which many of you oh-so-patient U.S. viewers finally got to watch last night), check out my episode recap on AfterEllen here.

There’s so much we’ll miss over these long, long, too long, months between the show’s return (late 2013 for Canada, early 2014 for the US – sigh). Bo’s blue and brown eyes. Lauren’s sly downcast smirk. Tamsin’s constant “bitch, please” face. Every single Kenzism. The Boobs O’Clock. So as a grateful shout-out to the Lost Girl costume department for never letting us girls (or those girls) down, an ode to the tank tops of Season 4. Like a snowflake, each one is special in her own way. I’ll refrain from making a joke about catching them on your tongue. Ahem.

Bo’s Greatest Tanks

Tamsin’s Greatest Tanks

Lauren’s Greatest Not-Quite Tanks
(Can you believe Lauren didn’t really wear any tanks? Close enough.)

Kenzi’s Greatest Trucker Tank

Bonus Kitsune Tanks

Because, you know, why not?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Amy does it

In times of emotional stress and communal reflection, I don’t often suggest you turn to celebrities. Nothing beats a good snuggle with your new kitty or own personal Comfort Dog. Hug that someone oh so special oh so tight. But today I recommend you enjoy the generous embrace of one outstanding human being and fierce funny lady Amy Poehler. This past week took a toll on a lot of us, inundated with media and mob reports on would-be, could-be, oops totally wrong coverage of real, live tragic events that unfolded like a real-life crime drama before our eyes. I raised a glass (maybe a couple) to the law enforcement and rest of the helpers for ending it with such professionalism. As a news junkie, I couldn’t help but watch every second. As a human being, I think it’s always best to soften one’s heart in times like these. These aren’t the Tragedy Olympics. No one wins for suffering. Let’s have an incredible week, world.

p.s. If you want to love Amy even more, here are a few more of her short, smart advice videos (shot admirably low-tech and sans makeup) from her Smart Girls at the Party young women’s empowerment series.

On Negativity

On Goodbyes

On Sleep

p.p.s. Then there’s this perfect piece of advice which is, well, perfect: “Girls, if boys say something that’s not funny, you don’t have to laugh.”

p.p.s. Though, when warranted, you are perfectly welcome to laugh your lashes off AT boys. Watch the whole thing, trust me.

Nothing feels better than starting off your Monday with a hearty laugh at the expense of a world renowned sex idiot. America, fuck yeah.

Friday, April 19, 2013

My Weekend Crush

In a week of tragedy, chaos and insanity (seriously, let’s not have another week like that in a long time), let’s end on a high note. We had a nice respite thanks to our friends in New Zealand mid-week. And now we’ll finish off with who will surely be your newest crush: Brittney Griner. Granted, she’s not new to many people – what with her being a record-setting career at Baylor University, her NCAA Champion in 2012 and her status as the No. 1 pick in the WNBA this year. Brittney is the second most leading all-time scorer in women’s college basketball, with 3,283 points, and the best shot blocker in college basketball ever, both for men and women, with 748 blocks. She can also dunk. And, oh yeah, she is gay.

After being selected as the top WNBA draft pick by the Phoenix Mercury on Monday, Brittney sat down with some of her fellow top draftees and spoke to ESPN Wednesday night. And in that interview, she casually, confidently came out publicaly. And you have to believe if she hadn’t attended a staunchly Christian university like Baylor, she would have come out a lot sooner, too. Now, there are and have been other out players in the WNBA, including Seimone Augustus, Sheryl Swoopes and Chamique Holdsclaw. But Brittney is the very first to come out at the very start of her professional career. Before the big money endorsements and jersey sales roll in. And this, this matters. It matters because as much progress as we’ve made toward equality, both in the court of public opinion and real courts, sports remains a sad stronghold of homophobia where few venture out of the locker room closet. The amount of internal (and external, ugh Chris Cullivers of the world) resistance to out gay athletes is still palpable. So coming out in professional sport, it makes a difference. Of course each person who comes out, athlete or not, makes a difference. But there can be only one crush each weekend. And this week it goes to the lady who just dunked her way out of the closet. All that, and she is a snazzy dresser. Love the bowtie. Happy weekend, all.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Kiwi does it

Looks like it’s time to book that trip to New Zealand. Yesterday (well, in our time zone at least) our friends the Kiwis became the 13th country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage. Middle Earth, we salute you. The passage of the country’s marriage equality bill, by a vote in Parliament of 77 to 44, was celebrated by the spontaneous singing in the chamber of the traditional New Zealand love song “Pokarekare Ana” in Maori. If that doesn’t well you up, I feel bad about your poor black heart.

Throughout the song you saw lawmakers and supporters congratulate the bill’s sponsor, out MP Louisa Wall. Also, love the outfit. Her bill amends New Zealand’s marriage act, passed in 1955. I’d like to think if U.S. congressmen and congresswomen passed similarly historic civil rights legislation, they’d break out into a rousing version of “This Land is Your Land.” But those assholes can’t even pass a law that would expand basic background checks to gun shows and internet sales. The lack of political backbone in the face of money and fear mongering is more than just disheartening. It is shameful. But, back to the good news. New Zealand joins Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden and just last week Uruguay to pass full marriage equality. And remember when I was talking about backbone? Here’s New Zealand MP Maurice Williamson displaying his and dispelling pretty much all the arguments against allowing gay men and women to marry. A little humor, some hard facts, a lot of reason. If only that worked everywhere.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Naked Thanks

You know what, we all deserve a treat. So let’s pretend it’s Monday and get with the naked ladies. I know, I know – feminism, objectification, sisterfire, Birkenstocks. But it’s Naya Rivera and Jennifer Morrison and, goddammit, haven’t we been through enough this week? The two actresses, separate halves of possibly two of the most popular ships in the lesbosea, took it all off for Allure’s annual naked issue. The accompanying mini Q&As are pretty inconsequential, so we can’t really even use the whole, “But, really, I was reading it for the articles” excuse. So let’s not even pretend. Thanks ladies, we needed that.

Also, duh, NSFW.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Be a light

Yesterday was a horrible day for Boston, America and anyone who believes in a more peaceful world. Violence and ugliness, for whatever the reason, arise from hate. And hate is the source of nearly all evil in this world. Be kind, be safe. Remember, sometimes tiny humans can be unspeakably cruel. But even more of us can be kind and do beautiful things. Be that light.

p.s. I apologize, but I was not in the mood to discuss fake mayhem when real mayhem was unfolding yesterday. So the "Lost Girl" season finale recap will be one day late. Thank you for your patience.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Lesbian Code

While I spend every free moment today obsessing over what exactly happened and how to exactly to write about last night’s big “Lost Girl” season finale (p.s. Don’t worry, Syfy viewers, you’ll get your show in a week), I thought it might be fun to flash back to a time when same-sex attraction among women wasn’t allowed to be shown on the big screen (and before small screens were in nearly every home yet). During the Production Code era starting in 1934, homosexuality was among the many banned themes from our motion pictures. The Hays code would not allow anything that would supposedly “lower the moral standards of those who see it.” That included showing nudity, profanity, men and women in bed together, sexual relationships between the races, ridicule of the clergy, “lustful kissing” and the sexual perversion of us gays. Of course, sneaky types still managed to slip The Gay onto the screen. But it had to be in the form of a public service film showing the evils of our ways. Like the 1938 film “Sex Madness” which told all about the horrors of syphilis. It managed to slip in warnings about premarital sex and lesbianism as a bonus. Though, I don’t know. Seeing Betty hit on Peggy while talking about going to see a burlesque show together is kinda hilariously hot. Girl’s just trying to get a date. Ain’t no shame in that game.

Friday, April 12, 2013

My Weekend Crush

The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist. Now, I’m not much one for the heaven and hell crowd (see, it worked), but I am one for metaphors. So the devil’s grand trick can be played in numerous, really incalculable ways. And one of those is convincing us the struggle (all of our struggles no matter what –ism or –phobia or combination of –isms or –phobias we fight against) is over. Civil Rights Act passes in 1964, so naturally racism is over. Title IX passes in 1972, so naturally sexism is over. DOMA seems poised to be struck down by the Supreme Court in 2013, so naturally homophobia must be almost over. Etc. etc. So on and so on.

But here’s the thing about progress, we fight and fight for so that by law or by conventional wisdom we may be deemed “equal.” But even afterward, by practice the struggle continues every single day in every single way. Which is why the infuriatingly brilliant essay by author/photographer/producer Deborah Copaken Kogan posted on The Nation (and reposted on Jezebel) this week hit so hard. It’s a brutally honest look at the realities of “post-feminist” culture. Do yourself a favor and take a few minutes to read it here.

The thing about this piece, besides confirming what so many of us feel in so many ways, is that it while her points are specific to women – the sentiment can apply to almost any group that has not truly reached the parity which society superficially perceives them to have reached. Women, racial and ethnic minorities, the disabled, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender people. Any and all people who face the death by 1,000 paper cuts of everyday injustices we are expected to just brush off because, hey, we’re all equal now.

But the thing is, we aren’t. We just aren’t. And we won’t be until we all realize this. Now, as a woman, a gay woman and a minority gay woman, these things naturally weigh heavily on my mind. Yet I in no way want to launch into an Otherness Olympics. It’s why I find it frustrating when people say things like, “Gay is the new black.” Because it isn’t. Black is still black. Gay is still gay. We both have a way to go and shouldn’t make a contest of equality. We should all just realize the dream lives on, and so does the struggle. So let’s work together and fix this shit.

The real enemy, or devil if we’re carrying forward the metaphor, is the assumption that we’re post anything. Post-feminist. Post-gay. Post-race. Post-gender. This is not to say that you cannot aspire for a world where we are post those things or live your life in a way that negates the need for them. It just means as a society – whoooo doggy are we not there yet. We’re so not there that there are ridiculous songs like “Accidental Racist” released for real by mainstream artists who should know way the fuck better. And the Out 50 Power List features only 11 queer women, four people of color and zero trans people. It’s why there were 73 shows on TV last season that employed either no women and/or no people of color as writers. Why a National Medal of Technology and Innovation winning female rocket scientist can have her New York Times obituary lead with talk about her beef stroganoff and being a good wife.

So when people say, “oh, get over it” or, “oh, that’s unnecessary” or, “oh, stop making excuses,’ my blood boils. Because these complaints are nothing of the sort. It’s us demanding our right. Some things just make sense. When you’re hungry, you think about food. When you’re tired, you think about sleep. When you’re underrepresented, you think a lot about representation. You think about it because it matters to you. And you want to be represented fairly. Conversely, it is the inherent privilege of the majority to not have to think about the experience of the minority. But just because it’s your privilege doesn’t make it right.

In a world where everyone expects us to be post everything, it takes (non-gender specific) balls to stand up and call bullshit. One of the best lines of the piece is this, and it can be applied to any and all –isms and –phobias and still hold sadly true:

“This is what sexism does best: it makes you feel crazy for desiring parity and hopeless about ever achieving it.”
We are not crazy. We are not unworthy. We are not equal. But we sure as fuck will keep fighting until we are. Thanks for the pep talk, Deborah. Happy weekend, all.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Where does the Glee go

Tonight’s “Glee” is, well, different. It’s quite something actually. Without giving away any spoilers, it’s strangely classic “Glee.” Not in its subject matter – which is very un Gleeful – but its overall quality. At times the episode shines with a visceral humanness that makes it impossible to not feel real big feelings. And at others it’s that same silly ADD show that uses song and dance to sell us valuable life lessons tied up with a very special episode bow. “Shooting Star” is messy, harrowing, audacious, oh-so topical. And when you’re in the thick of it does it ever work. Because sometimes real life does come crashing down on our daily frivolities to remind us just how delicate our place on this big blue marble in the sky really is. Or maybe I’m just happy that it’s an episode entirely without Finn.

But enough with the heavy. How about something adorable instead? Have you seen this Glee-inspired lesbian marriage proposal? Well, you should.

Just you wait, the Cheerio-style lesbian marriage proposal is next.

UPDATE: Now that the episode has aired, I wanted to add this and why I thought the episode ultimately worked. Interestingly, I think the show’s weaknesses (its occasional ADD, frivolity and silliness) made the school shooting scenario that much more powerful. If this was a dramatic show hell-bent on realism, something like this wouldn’t be as shocking. But on a show like Glee where immaculately coiffed and costumed teens sing and dance in elaborate productions thrown together over lunch period, no one expects reality to come crashing down in such an intense way. Which is kind of like what happens in real school shootings. Something horrible invades mundane life out of nowhere and everything stops, if only for a moment. And then, of course, it is back to the ridiculous. Because, you know, it’s Glee.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

One Lost Time

Season finale says what? No, seriously, what the fuck is happening and how will it all end? Mad scientists! Speciesist leaders! Human terrorists! Crazy mamas! And we haven’t even begun to discuss the Big Lesbian Feelings that were brought up by Tamsin slipping into Bo’s bath and Lauren realizing she’s unwittingly poisoned her (maybe) ex’s ex. Damn, “Lost Girl” – you so crazy. And you haven’t even seen the Canadian preview yet. It’s even more nutty/nail-bitey/lady-fighty.

I don’t know about you, but I think this season has been pretty darn cohesive and pretty freaking exciting. Sure there was the bait-and-switch anti-climax of the Yawning Dawning. But now things are getting, well, good. Sure, it’s a bit of a kitchen sink hodge podge of plot points. Dr. Taft’s megalomania. The Morrigan’s species supremacy. Humans declared terrorists. Bo on the verge of being imprisoned. Tamsin wounded and unconscious. Lauren and Dyson encased in glass. And, oh yeah, Aife is back. p.s. I had to totally look up the actress to make sure the Aife we saw this week was the same Aife we saw in the first season. And, yes, it’s the same actress, Inga Cadranel. She just looks wayyyy different without her makeup.) And we haven’t even started on the whole Wanderer/probably Bo’s dad/the fire-breathing Pegasus thing.

The good news, “Lost Girl” has a whole fourth season to get into/wrap up any loose ends. The bad news, we’ll have to wait all damn summer and fall until we get to see that happen next.

My three biggest hopes for the finale and next season:

1. That Lauren does not go evil. We need more of this in the fourth season.

2. That Tamsin does not die. We need more of this girl in the fourth season.

3. That Vex returns. We need more of this dynamic duo in the fourth season.

As excited as I am to see how this whole crazy enchilada plays out, I’m also sad it’s almost over for another season. But don’t worry, we’ll always have the video of Anna Silk as the world’s most emotionally unstable flight attendant to tide us over. Now that is what I call a tension breaker.

p.s. If you need to catch up, you can read the recap of this week’s episode on AfterEllen.

p.p.S. Despite Syfy’s attempt to ruin my life and delay the airing of the finale until a week after Showcase, I will be posting the recap next Tuesday. So those who want to remain spoiler free until it airs in the U.S. just bookmark it and come back in seven days.

UPDATE: OMG, Lost Girl totally listened and answer my No. 3 request! Thanks, Aussie promo for spilling the beans!

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Fetch me my axe

I’ve been thinking about this trailer for about a week and I can’t decide if I love it or if it’s everything I hate about the world. Probably a combination of the two. The “it” in question is the red-band trailer for the new ensemble comedy “This is the End.” Check it out for yourself and let’s discuss. I’ll make some tea for us. It’ll be nice.

Now, clearly, it stars pretty much every single geek dude antihero/hero working in film and TV today: James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Michael Cera, Jason Segel, Aziz Ansari , Jay Baruchel and Christopher “McLovin” Mintz-Plasse, to name a few. It also features a few notable ladies: Rihanna , Mindy Kaling and Emma Watson wielding an axe.

The celebrities playing their fictional selves angle for an entire movie is novel, but also rather vain. And chummy. And self indulgent. Plus, I highly doubt any of the female characters are more than cameos. Mindy for fantasy geek girl loves geek boy angle. Rihanna for the ass-slap. And Emma for the OMG it’s Hermione of it all. p.s. Remember when Natalie Portman played against type on SNL? Yep, like that.

I guess what bothers me most about it is the dudes just making each other laugh chumminess of it all. Not that some of their dumbass antics didn’t make me chuckle. They guys are funny, you can’t deny it. But you can practically see the “No Girls Allowed” sign hanging over Franco’s front door. Fetch me my axe, that’ll make everything better.

Monday, April 08, 2013


Oh, Anna Kendrick, is there nothing you can’t do? Hold your own with George Clooney. Rise above sparkly vampires. Turn the beat around with your red cups. Charm us with your Tweets. And now master K-pop. Look, I’ll confess to knowing very little about K-pop, except the small energetic snippets I’ve seen and heard. The video features real-life K-pop girl group f(x), which features a mix of South Korean, Chinese, Taiwanese and Asian-American members. What I particularly like about it is these young women and their “foreigness” aren’t the butt of the jokes. It’s Anna’s unfamiliarity and clumsiness that are being laughed at instead. Score one for non-stereotypical Asian representation. Also, who doesn’t love a good diarrhea joke?

p.s. Does short-haired, deep-voiced f(x) member Amber ping anyone else? Just checking.

Friday, April 05, 2013

My Weekend Thumbs Up

As a kid, Siskel & Ebert’s At the Movies helped me fall in love with the movies. As an adult, Roger Ebert helped me fall in love with writing about movies – and really just writing in general. His passing yesterday moved me, and so many others. The loss of someone you didn’t know personally yet who still deeply touched your life is a strange thing. How do you grieve? Why do you grieve? But there I was on a Thursday afternoon, grieving the loss of someone who used words and movies to talk about what the big, unruly journey of life and living.

Through his six decades of working in film criticism, Ebert has accomplished too many things to list. Appropriate bookends for our changing times is the almost equal weight to his Pulitzer Prize and his more than 800,000 Twitter followers given in his obituaries. Criticism has moved en masse from the fine art of being a movie reviewer to the consumer craft of cultural anthropologist. While some may still only know him best as the thumps up, thumbs down guy, in later years when illness took away his ability to speak (and eat or drink) he remained no less a prolific man of words.

His film reviews are the stuff everyone who attempts to enter popular criticism dreams of. Funny, astute, clear. While lots of people like to revel in the takedown mastery of his bad reviews, I prefer to enjoy the joyful generosity of his good reviews. Because it’s when a writer gets to write about something he loves that we see the true depth of his heart. And Ebert, man, he loved the movies. And he loved thinking about the world beyond himself. Whether talking about gay marriage or his wife Chaz or eating or climate change or even Glenn Beck.

His writing on death, which he knew was coming – as it is for us all – though probably faster as cancer took him piece by piece, is particularly poignant. This passage sums up, for me, why I choked back emotion when I heard about Ebert’s passing.
“Kindness” covers all of my political beliefs. No need to spell them out. I believe that if, at the end, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn’t always know this and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.
If you think it’s oxymoronic to describe a critic as kind, then you probably just haven’t read enough Roger Ebert. (p.s. If you haven’t already, read Esquire’s gorgeous 2010 profile of the man. Even more writing to envy, but I digress.) Leave the world a little kinder than when you found it. Enjoy the ride as long as it takes you. His last written words, posted just two days ago:
So on this day of reflection I say again, thank you for going on this journey with me. I'll see you at the movies.
Thanks for loving the movies in particular and life in general. Thumps up, kind sir. Happy weekend, all.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Gender Fuck Swinton: Sleeping Beauty

To Swinton: To be fiercely weird, weirdly fierce, just fierce, also weird. Gotta hand it to Tilda, she keeps it interesting. The latest exploits of The Swinton was to sleep in a glass box in New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Twice in the last month. The exhibit is a reprisal of her 1995 performance art piece “The Maybe,” in which she slept in a glass box.

She will make about a half dozen or more unannounced appearances at the MoMa between now and the end of the year to delight and confound onlookers. I don’t know about you, but if I lived in New York, this would pretty much mirror my exact reaction to this news.

Now, we can argue about the merits of this artistic expression, but why bother? Art exists in the unexplained. The ability to elicit emotions out of thin air using only paint or pixels or music or movement or even just glass, steel, mattress, pillow, linen, water, spectacles and an Oscar-winning actress.

In fact, I tend to think Tilda lives her whole life as an extended piece of performance art. Well, maybe just her hair. And her suits. And, fine, her everything.

And then there’s that crazy mcnuttypants “The Stars (Are Out Tonight)” Tilda did with David Bowie which, a month later, I’m still trying to make heads or tails of. All I know is, Gender Fuck Thursday were made for Tilda Swinton. Or perhaps Tilda Swinton made Gender Fuck Thursdays.

p.s. Anyone have a jet on hand they can fly me from the left coast to the right the next time Swinton decides to make a surprise appearance inside a glass box in NYC? Call me.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Finding Squee

My reaction yesterday morning upon learning Pixar was finally going to make a “Finding Nemo” sequel and it would be called “Finding Dory” and based on Ellen DeGeneres’ forgetful fish. One, scream. Two, check the date to make sure it’s not still April Fool’s Day. Three, scream when I find out it’s not. Four, calm down before screaming again. Five, grab a sleeping bag and get in line.

Fine, so maybe I’m not literally camping out in front of my local cineplex just yet. But figuratively I’m already there. It would not be a stretch to call “Finding Nemo” one of my Top 5 favorite movies of all time. I’ve waxed on (and never off) about my love for this movie and how I carry it with me everywhere in my pocket on my iPhone. These are all just facts. Another fact is this looks to be only the second female-fronted Pixar feature to be officially announced. The first was last summer’s “Brave.” One last fact, it’s the first Pixar feature to be fronted by an out female lesbian lady. Dammit, now I’m screaming and jumping up and down again.

While I collect myself, please enjoy Ellen announcing the big news herself.

Here is the official Pixar release on “Finding Dory.” It comes out Nov. 25, 2015.

Director and Pixar veteran Andrew Stanton takes audiences back to the extraordinary underwater world created in the original film. "There is no Dory without Ellen," said Stanton. "She won the hearts of moviegoers all over the world—not to mention our team here at Pixar. One thing we couldn't stop thinking about was why she was all alone in the ocean on the day she met Marlin. In 'Finding Dory,' she will be reunited with her loved ones, learning a few things about the meaning of family along the way."

According to Stanton, "Finding Dory" takes place about a year after the first film, and features returning favorites Marlin, Nemo and the Tank Gang, among others. Set in part along the California coastline, the story also welcomes a host of new characters, including a few who will prove to be a very important part of Dory's life.

In May it will have been 10 years – a whole damn decade – since “Finding Nemo” was first released. And I am beyond thrilled that another generation of young and young at heart will get a chance to meet Dory and the gang and remember no matter life’s obstacles, the most important thing is to just keep swimming.

I shall repeat Nov. 25, 2015 in the cadence of P. Sherman 42 Wallaby Way as my personal mantra from now until Nov. 25, 2015.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

A Rizzoli by any other name

They’re not exactly, but getting closer, and now we finally have a date for being back! The Gayzzoli returns June 18, in eleven weeks from today, and with it will no doubt come more TGTGT, eye sex and subtext than you can shake a stick at. I’ve always been unabashedly into “Rizzoli & Isles” for the chemistry, and not necessarily the incisive crime solving, such that it is. Ahem. So another season for me is another change to sit back and enjoy the delightful shorthand that Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander have developed together on screen. Now that even Santana Lopez has endorsed the lesbian subtext, it’s safe to say this show could be in almost any format and we’d watch. Well, at least I would.

So with that, please enjoy these “Rizzoli & Isles” alternate universe opening credits. I’d set my DVR for all of these shows. Seriously.

The R & I Words

LLBFF Friends

Rizzoli Warrior Princess

Now if only someone would make an “X-Files” version. The Gayzzoli is out there.

Monday, April 01, 2013

Allies through the ages

OK, last one. Promise. Consider it a spillover from last week to complete the five-day string of all marriage equality talk all the time. It’s also a powerful reminder that history should always champion those with courageous hearts. While our Golden Girls knew that love is love 22 years ago, there were also brave members of congress who knew the same thing 17 years ago. These were the voices who stood up against the Defense of Marriage Act back in 1996. The men and women who refused to use us as a political pawn. The politicians who never used us as a wedge to scare up vote. As we all know, the bill passed overwhelmingly (342-67 in the House; 85-14 in the Senate) before being signed into law by President Bill Clinton. Those who allowed it to become the law of the land have their own consciences to deal with now (though I’m incredibly pleased at the flood of lawmakers who have since flipped their votes). But there were those allies – 81 in all – who saw clearly from the beginning. And we should never forget and always give thanks for their convictions.

p.s. Since some of the Supremes seem to think same-sex marriage is so a newfangled thing to warrant not risking such experimentation, please enjoy this gorgeous photo of an African-American same-sex couple that appeared in Jet magazine back in Oct. 15, 1970. And, you know what, our marriages have been around and documented a lot longer than even that. Since at least the Middle Ages. Though, despite your ass-ertions, Justice Alito, is no historic evidence of iPhones in Byzantine art.