Friday, May 31, 2013

My Weekend Crush

This week I asked The Internet which TV show to watch and The Internet responded, “Orphan Black, you wanker.” And, since you can’t say things that aren’t true on The Internet (for instance, that wanker thing is totally true), I obeyed. Never before (this is only mild hyperbole) have I been so happy I listened to The Internet. I ended up marathoning six episodes in one night. And I only stopped because my idiot brain required a modicum of sleep before rebooting for work the next day. But then the next night I inhaled the remaining three episodes. And now, like you, I am waiting anxiously for the Season 1 finale on Saturday night.

For those of you who have not listened to The Internet, “Orphan Black” is about a woman who discovers she has many clones as part of a vast and vastly creepy scientific conspiracy. The series therefore lives and dies on the skill and style of its star, Tatiana Maslany, who plays multiple characters at multiple times. The 27-year-old Canadian actress is more than up for the task. In fact she transforms so thoroughly from one clone – Sarah, Alison, Cosima and more – to another that were it not for her same face flashing its same toothy smile, you would might be fooled into thinking they were entirely different actresses. She is, to put it simply, damn good.

And so is the show. It plays out more like a thrilling movie than a TV series. Each episode builds deliciously on the next twisting and turning and revealing more and less so it becomes almost impossible to stop because, ZOMG, what happens next? Have I mentioned that one of the clones is gay? Truly, this show has everything. Mad science, crazy intrigue, diabolical murder, insane motives – and there’s also a healthy dollop of sex and a sassy gay best friend. Yes, everything.

If you haven’t been watching you are in luck because you, like me, can get sucked into your own marathon as BBC America airs the entire first season back-to-back starting at noon Saturday, culminating with the season finale at 9 p.m. But, hell, don’t trust me. Trust The Internet. Well, at least for this. Happy weekend, all.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Hold a candle

I, like countless other gays, watched the Liberace glitztravaganza “Behind the Candelabra” over the weekend. Part of it was because who can resist that much rhinestone. And part of it was to see how one of the world’s most famous postmortem gays lived his life in the closet. And, OK, part of it was to see Michael Douglas and Matt Damon kiss. But I found myself having another interesting reaction to the film. This reaction at first may seem contradictory considering yesterday’s post, but – if you really think about it – is actually complimentary.

I wish they’d shown more sex between Douglas and Damon. Most of the sex scenes were the standard-issue kiss followed by the fade-out and finished with the sweaty roll off into crumpled sheets. You know, Movie Sex*. Sure, we saw a bare tush here and lots of man pecs there. But there was no full body shots of them engaged in anything sexual and only one fleeting in flagrante scene that served mostly to as a plot point to highlight how Damon’s Scott started out firmly against drugs only to later descend completely into them courtesy Dr. Startz**. It was, all in all, pretty tame. Though keep in mind this is a film made for HBO – a network currently reveling in the exposure of “Game of Boobs and Butts Thrones.”

So does the double standard remain? In mainstream and mainstream-celebrated films, does lesbian sex and gay male sex get the same treatment? If you compare reports from “Blue is the Warmest Color” and evidence from “Behind the Candelabra,” the answer would still be a hard “No.” Same-sex sex between women is celebrated and same-sex sex between men is still makes folks squeamish. Maybe this is because straight men – who are all too many of the creators and also consumers – also get off on lesbian sex, but shrink from the idea of two fellas getting it on. Also female nudity – gay or straight – has always been more casually accepted than male. Sure, you’ve got your Harvey Keitels and Michael Fassbenders who gave us the full monty. But it’s almost easier to count the actresses who you haven’t seen naked than those have. Le sigh.

It’s about time that cinema – literally and figuratively – nutted up. It’s 2013 and if a critically adored movie can feature “impressive scissoring” by on-screen lesbians then it can also feature impressive love-making for the fellas, too.

* We could talk for weeks about how bad, unrealistic, misleading and often unsexy all Movie Sex is in the first place. But, heavens, who has the time. Fade out.
** I would, however, watch an entire movie of Rob Lowe’s plastic surgeon/nightmare factory Dr. Startz.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A different kinds of Blue

For the first time ever a lesbian drama won the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Over the weekend the three-hour French coming-of-age film “La Vie d’Adèle” (“Blue Is the Warmest Color” for English audiences) won the Palme D’Or, a prize that was preceded by gushing reviews from critics and frequent breathless mention of its 10- to 15-minute graphic sex scene that made the audience stand up and applaud when it was over. Reviewers of the scene in question have, generally speaking, done the literary equivalent of rent a neon sign that read “HOT LESIAN SEX” and turned it on for all to see. My friend Heather had a nice round-up of reviews of Le Scene over at AE yesterday.

To sum them up:
“writhing, moaning erotic hunger,” “fingering, licking, and, as a friend called it, ‘impressive scissoring,’” “undeniably titillating” and “red hot.”

Now, I am no prude. As yesterday’s post might suggest, my sense of humor might run more blue than some and believe you me I like a hot lesbian sex scene as much as the next gay lady. So it’s not the scene so much that has me perplexed, but the focus on the scene. I guess it’s inevitable. Sex sells everything from cars to deodorant, and it’s been a part of the movies since the first images flickered across a screen. So if the sex gets some folks in to see quality drama, maybe it’s worth it. I just wish one didn’t have to be such a selling point to get us to enjoy the other.

Though, to be fair to critics, they didn’t only wag their tongues at the sexysexytimes. Most also praised rich emotional portrayals and dense character journeys in the film (which was based on a graphic novel). And raves have also been handed out to its stars, Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux, who play 15-year-old Adèle and blue-haired art student Emma – two young women who meet and begin an intense relationship. So that alone has me excited for the film to hit American theaters. Though, this being a French movie, I’m ready for inevitable crushing heartbreak. I love you, my French friends, but your movies tend to depress the living crap out of me – but in a good way. Mostly. Just thinking about “The Dreamlife of Angels” makes me eat a whole box of chocolates.

In conclusion: Rich Lesbian Drama + Hot Lesbian Sex = A Whole Lot of People Are Going to Be Going to Reading Subtitles Soon.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Comedy Call

You know how you love all the Jon Stewarts, Stephen Colbert, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Chris Rocks and Louis C.K.s of the world, but sometimes – no matter how funny the boys can be – you just want a really funny lady to make you laugh? Of course you do. That’s why we love the Tina Feys, Amy Poehlers, Wanda Sykes, Melissa McCarthys, et al of the world. Well now add another one. Get ready to get “Inside Amy Schumer.” Comedy Central’s newest sketch show is the perfect antidote to all often too Testosterone soaked humor on the network. There are only so many riffs on dudes getting hit in the junk, exposing their junk in humiliating ways and/or consuming disgusting junk that can be made before you yearn for a more feminine touch.

This is not to say that women must be stereotypically feminine to have this feminine touch. (Or that all dudes revel in junk humor). But I say that because women bring a feminine perspective to humor that is all too often lacking. And that’s what I love about Amy’s new show. While I haven’t loved every single sketch, most of them are refreshing and – most important – hilarious. It’s not that it’s “chick humor” as if there is such a thing. Women can be just as crass and crazy and craven as the fellas – if they want to be. It’s that when most our representation of humor is being given from a male point of view, we’re missing a whole lot of funny. That’s it’s important to get more female comedy writers on shows. And why it’s important to get more female comics in the spotlight. Because more perspectives ultimately means more funny. And isn’t that the whole damn point in the first place?

“Inside Amy Schumer” airs at 10:30 p.m. Tuesday nights on Comedy Central. Set your DVRs ladies, and discerning gentlemen. But don’t take my words for it.

Also, have I mentioned out comic Tog Notaro writes for her show? Yeah, told you you’re definitely going to want to watch.

p.s. More on Tig later. So much more.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Late Development

So on Sunday I did what legions of other pop culture savants did and marathoned “Arrested Development.” No, not the new fourth season just released on Netflix. But the first season. Right, so I’m a little behind. But after catching up on what everyone else was already caught up on 10 years ago, I have to say. Jesus, I hate all the Bluths. I mean, they’re hilarious. But what a horrible, horrible, horrible – have I mentioned horrible? – family. Every single one of them is reprehensible in some way. Every. Single. One. Yes, even Michael – for being the idiot in charge.

Of course, having said that, I watched all 22 episodes of the first season in one day. So, clearly, I didn’t hate it even though I hate the people. Which is curious. Call it the Seinfeld rule. A group of not especially sympathetic characters brought together to do increasingly off-the-wall things can be curiously entertaining. Of course, the fact that it’s whip smart and funny as hell helps. Aztec tombs, blind seeing-eye dogs, one-armed life lesson coaches, Korean adoptees inexcusably named Hello in Korean and Liza Minelli.

Fine, so maybe the Bluths are growing on me. Guess I have two more seasons to catch up on before I can be as excited as all of you were yesterday. But maybe I was the smart one all along. Because I didn’t have to wait seven years to watch season four like the rest of you.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Vacation Vixen: Zoie Palmer

Ever since I began Googling Zoie Palmer some three years ago, this old image of her holding a cat has been one of the first search results to pop up. Oh please, like you don’t do it every other week, too. And I’ve always wondered about the backstory behind the picture. It does not appear to be her own Twitter-famous cat, Clover. Nor does it appear to be from a shoot from some long-ago pet food commercial. Perhaps the photographer just saw two irresistibly cute things and wanted to pose them together. Or, as I like to believe, it was a sign that Zoie was destined to become a lesbian fan favorite. Because, as we all know, we gay ladies love us some action. Meow. Happy weekend, all.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Vacation Vixen: Alison Brie

I do not watch “Mad Men.” Nor do I watch “Community.” But if Internet chatter is to believe Alison Brie is lovely in both. And it’s a lovely Thursday and she is wearing a lovely suit. So, well, there’s that. What, they can’t all be deep. I’m on vacation.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Vacation Vixen: Jennifer Lawrence

Air travel in America is proof the terrorists have won. Just kidding! Mostly. I just want to leave my shoes on in public like a civilized human being, dammit. After a day of travel it’s nice to take joy in the little things. Like sunshine and kittens and Jennifer Lawrence sliding down a banister after the Met Gala. (She’s in the top left hand corner at the 4-second mark. Please also note Marion Cotillard fully appreciating her antics.) Yes, the little things. Never stop being fucking delightful, Jennifer Lawrence, or the terrorists really do win.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Vacation Vixen: Dorothy Gale

I grew up in the Midwest, where tornado season blew in every year with its warning tickers on the TV and sirens across the city. I remember afternoons spent watching cartoons with my “Go Basket” next to me filled with the essentials – my best flashlight, my most beloved book, my favorite stuffed animal. I remember middle-of-the-night runs to the basement where my PJ-clad parents shepherded us – sleepy kids, barking dogs – into the cold safety of the basement. I remember the calm, sickly grey-green the sky always turned before the winds came. And, as I’m writing this, back in my childhood home, there is a tornado watch for the county until 6 a.m. Luckily, while there were touchdowns around my city, one never hit us. And there was never anything the scope of what happened in Oklahoma yesterday. Explain the convergence of high and low atmospheric pressure systems all you want, but it still feels a lot like fury. My thoughts are with all those who lost more than they can bear. Heal from unspeakable grief, rebuild from unbelievable devastation. May you emerged stronger from the storm and find your rainbow again.

p.s. How to help those in Oklahoma.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Vacation Vixen: Toni Morrison

“If you surrendered to the air, you could ride it.”
- Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon

Friday, May 17, 2013

Vacation Vixen: Minnesota

Marriage equality? You betcha. Welcome, lucky No. 12. This week Minnesota made it an even dozen, following the small flurry of states to pass marriage equality this year (high fives, Rhode Island and Delaware!) Sure, there are still 38 to go. But the momentum is unmistakable and our friend inertia knows that bodies in motion tend to stay in motion. So let’s all make like Mary Tyler Moore and throw out proverbial hats into the sky with joy at a more equal world we’re creating today for all of our tomorrows. Also, you gotta love a state with hot dishes and rainbow bridges.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Vacation Vixen: Lucy Liu

Did you know Lucy Liu was, besides being a rather talented actress with rather adorable freckles, a rather impressive abstract artist? Well, now you do. Also, dear Watson, am I ever excited for the two-hour season finale of “Elementary” tonight.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Vacation Vixen: Julie White

Fuck wank bugger shitting arse head and hole. I am so goddammed pissed they canceled “Go On.” I mean, seriously. Did you have that much going for you in the comedy department, NBC? Sure, you wisely renewed “Parks and Recreation” and “Community” (well, depending on how you liked the Dan Harmon-less incarnation). But axing “Go On” just as it had begun to really find its groove and could become something truly great. YOU FUCKING SUCK. I now demand that Julie White’s character Anne be wholesale moved over to another show – any other show. Comedy, drama, crime procedural. Though, to be honest, I’d be happy if the glorious Ms. White got cast in anything decent because that lady is good and need to be on my teevee on the regular. Sigh. Well, we’ll always have the memories. What I am feeling is getting more, but in an angry way.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Vacation Vixen: Angelina Jolie

So much has been written and gossiped and mythologized about Angelina Jolie over the years it’s hard to remember sometimes that she is a real human person leading a real human life. But yesterday, at midnight, when her essay about getting a preventative double mastectomy posted to The New York Times, it was impossible to think of her as anything but human. A real, honest, brave human.

I have known women who decided to have preventative double mastectomies because they carry the so-called breast cancer gene, BRCA1. And I know it is a very difficult, very personal, very courageous choice. Women should never be judged for wanting to control their own bodies or trying to save their own lives. The sad reality is too few women have the option Angelina had. The test for the gene is expensive and the surgery and breast reconstruction afterward even more so, if your health insurance will even allow it. Or if you have health insurance in the first place. But all women should have the opportunity she had. Shouldn’t a smart health care system want to prevent fires before they start instead of only rushing in after we are engulfed in flames?

What Angelina Jolie did was her choice. Though when you hear that having the procedure made her go from having an 87 percent to an under 5 percent chance of developing breast cancer, it seems like a no brainer. Still she did not have to tell the world of her decision, but did so to raise awareness, create change, express solidarity. So much of our body image as women can be wrapped up in our breasts. But our bodies never define us, only describe us – and even that is just the superficial that the eyes can see. We are, all of us, just humans. Humans who want to stay healthy and be around for the people we love and who love us for as long as we can. Even one of the most beautiful, rich, famous women in the world. Only human, also brave.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Vacation Vixen: Brittany S. Pierce

I could use a lot of words (and more than a few cuss words) to tell you how I felt about the season finale of “Glee” last week. Or, as I like to call it, “Goodbye, Heather Morris. Thanks for all the Sweet Lady Kisses and the Amazing Ass Dancing.” But mostly I want to marvel that someone brought in to teach the other actors the “Single Ladies” dance turned into a season regular, series favorite and someone who genuinely mattered in the lives of a lot of people – especially young people finding themselves. Sure, things may not have turned out as we liked or hoped or made any kind of sense given the laws of space and time and quantum physics. And I have long since sold my stock in the S.S. Brittana cruise ship company. But to quote Rayanne Graff, we had a time. And while it may well be over, it’s nice we got to see that weird, beautiful, unexpected unicorn at all in the first place.

p.s. I'll be on vacation for the next two weeks (well, part vacation, part staycation). So I will be posting mostly Vacation Vixens these next 14 days. But, I might pop in a few full posts because I just cannot help my damn self.

Friday, May 10, 2013

My Weekend Crush

One of Mother Nature’s greatest gifts is the ability to change. Evolution is our never-ending pursuit of perfection – the path toward a better, stronger, faster, smarter us. So then it shouldn’t be such a surprise that in the few months we’ve sat and watched as country after country, state after state evolves before our eyes on marriage equality. Uruguay, New Zealand, France. Rhode Island, Delaware and on Monday (fingers crossed) Minnesota. Still this seeming swiftness of our recent progression up the evolutionary ladder of equality (after, it should be noted, far too many years of inaction) is a wonder to behold.

So on this Mother’s Day weekend, when even The New Yorker celebrates two moms on its Mother’s Day cover, let’s give a shout out to all the moms out there. Be they two-mom families or single-mom families or mom-and-dad families, they’re all families. (Two-dad families, don’t worry – you get your day, too. In June.) Good families – whatever shape or size or make-up – all want the same thing. To love and be loved and raise their kids right. (Yes, childless couples – your cats and dogs and assorted other flora and fauna count as kids – I know mine do.) And, of course, let’s not forget the Big Mama herself, Mother Nature. Without her constant, loving nagging (in that supportive, for-own-good mom kind of way) we might never have gotten out of that primordial ooze. Thanks, moms. Happy weekend, all.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Water, water everywhere

Another rushed day, another late post. In all the hustle and bustle and bullshit it is good to breathe deeply and remind yourself “This is water.” Please take 9 minutes to yourself and enjoy David Foster Wallace’s 2005 Kenyon College commencement speech (slightly abridged) and delicately animated.

And, if you haven’t already, pop on by Hyperbole and a Half to see the first post from the always brilliant Allie Brosh in almost two years. It’s about depression and is dark but true and also terribly funny. Which is pretty much life for you.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

The JLaw of Delight

Oh, Jennifer Lawrence. Just when we think you’re the most delightful person in Hollywood you go and delight us some more. At this point she is clearly the entire Internet’s BFF. Be it her effortless relatability or guileless charm, she is – quite simply – the best. She’s the opposite of stand-offish – no emo red carpet glares of this gal. The antithesis of too cool for school – which of course only makes even cooler. Hilarious – but in a dorky way. Be she falling on the Oscar steps or freaking out at being hit on by professional skeazy old guy Jack Nicholson, she is awesomely real.

JLaw Photobombs SJP

Plus, when this gal mugs for the camera, she actually mugs for the camera. Like photobombing Sarah Jessica Parker at the Met Ball Monday night. And then laughing hysterically like we all would when presented with SPJ’s insane fauxhawk headdress. And that, after all, is what we like best about her. She’s like us – sure an incredibly talented, beautiful, famous, rich version of us – but us none the less. Human, and delightfully so. Never change, JLaw. Never ever change.

p.s. I love Marion Cotillard and Lena Dunham’s reactions to the left and right of her during the photobomb.

p.p.s. She also flubbed President Bill Clinton’s name while hosting the GLAAD Awards (fast forward to 3:55). To not love her is surely a sin.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Tank Top Tuesday: Perks Edition

Slowly, so slowly, but surely I am indeed completing my Indiegogo Perks. Would it help if I told you I’m sorry? No. Well, how about if I said I’m sorry with tank tops? Here are the Thank You Perks for the people who pledged at Tank Top level. So, perhaps you should be thanking them as well? These are the tank top dedication subjects you choose. So please accept my endless gratitude for your generosity in the form of two thank top pictures each as a continued apology for my tardiness. Everyone else, please enjoy with my compliments.

Sasha Alexander

Thanks, Lynda!

Sarah Shahi

Thanks, Nedley!

Lauren German

Thanks, Lisa!

Amanda Seyfried

Thanks, Catvix!

Lindsey Shaw

Thanks, @UhHuhDaggr!

Felicia Day

Thanks, Elle M!

Claire Forlani

Thanks, Babs!

Diana Rigg

Thanks, Cindy S!

p.s. Isn’t Diana awesome in Game of Thrones? And those abs?
Answer: Yes, yes to both.

(Please Note: a few of you never responded to my initial perks emails about who you wanted as your tank top dedication. If you would still like to be included in a future Tank Top Tuesday dedication just reply and I’ll get your selection in there as promised.)

Monday, May 06, 2013

Get in loser, we're going robbing

Mindless fun. Mindless fun. Mindless fun. Say it with me, it just feels good. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been replaying this song in my head since the very first ‘Bling Ring” teaser trailer was released, and each subsequent snippet of the film has only a) increased my desire to watch it and b) increased my desire to dance on tabletops while this song plays. The song in question is “Crown on the Ground” by Sleigh Bells. And that electrocrunky opening riff makes me want to do body shots in a sweaty club. Metaphorically though, because both body shots and sweaty clubs tend to be overrated in real life.

The newest “Bling Ring” trailer showcases both Hermione’s spot on SoCal accent and Dana Fairbanks as her lawyer. (Yes, yes – Emma Watson and Erin Daniels, in real life – I know.) And while the mindless fun of robbing from the rich is the initial appeal, something tells me this movie will manage to sneakily slip in some sharp commentary on our strange celebrity culture. Or, you know, whatever. Get in losers, we’re going robbing.

Friday, May 03, 2013

My Weekend Crush

What I like, what I love, is when people defy expectation, assumption and stereotype and assert their right to do as they please and do it well. When people break boneheaded barriers, when people command deserved respect, when people demand to be treated like a rightful equal. When a female gamer puts male online trolls in their place. Like badass Aisha Tyler. The actress/comedian/gamer’s epic takedown of all the haters posted on Facebook last summer has been making the rounds again this week. It started when Tyler started getting endless shit from dudes about hosting the 2012 Ubisoft E3 press conference last June.

Her response to their misogynistic questioning of her gamer cred is magnificent and deserves repeating. Read the whole damn thing here because that much handing jackasses their own asses must be seen for yourself to be truly appreciated. A sampling:

You think you know. You don't know.

I've been a gamer since before you could read.
Since I aced midterms after staying up all night playing Evil Tetris.
Since I became dorm champ at Leisure Suit Larry.
Since I double-wielded on Time Crisis 3 at Fuddrucker's.

I was a voice in not one, but two major video game titles.
I hosted the Reach Beta tutorial.
I was a Gears of War superfan panelist at ComicCon.
I hosted the Ubisoft presser at E3 2012.
I didn't do any of it for the money.
For most I got paid next to nothing, and for some, less than that.

I did it because I love video games.
Because I've dreamt since I was a kid of being in one of the games I love.
How many games have you done voices for?
How many cons have you repped at?
Your buddy's Unreal Tournament garage deathmatch doesn't count.

I go to E3 each year because I love video games.
Because new titles still get me high.
Because I still love getting swag.
Love wearing my gamer pride on my sleeve.
People ask me what console I play.
Motherfucker, ALL of them.

All that, and how cool is her gun?

And that, that’s what I love. When we refuse to accept the “norm.” Be it in gaming or politics or sports. Just because video games are unfortunately often marketed mainly to men and even more unfortunately mainly made by men, does not mean women do not enjoy and kickass at them as well. If we never challenge those assumptions, say this is just the way it has always and will always be, nothing will ever change. So here’s to the badasses out there fighting the good fight. Game on, ladies. Happy weekend, all.

p.s. On a similar norm-defying note, I saw this on a tow truck while driving down the freeway recently and it made me unreasonably happy.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Our Q.U.E.E.N.

I apologize for taking so long to post today. My only excuse is that I was rocking the fuck out to the undefinable fabulosity of Janelle Monáe featuring the unfathomable fierceness of Erykah Badu. Every time Ms. Monáe puts on a suit and tie and opens her mouth I think, sit down Justin Timberlake, our Q.U.E.E.N. is speaking.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

UnfoRettable, that's what she is

Please, treat yo self and watch Retta performing stand up on Jimmy Fallon on Monday night. Also, if you haven’t been watching “Parks & Recreation” this season you have one last chance to redeem yourself on Thursday before the season ends. Peace, love and let’s Barack the choke together.

p.s. You should really be following Retta on the Twitters. For serious. Best delayed live tweets of TV shows ever.