Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Open Season

Aww, man. Am I going to have to start watching another Ryan Murphy show? Anna Torv and Jennifer Jason Leigh have signed on to play a couple in the Murphy’s new pilot for the HBO series “Open.” Anna Torv playing gay, again? Must…resist….must…oh, fuck it…resistance is futile.

The new “provocative” HBO show is about sex and relationships – make that open relationships. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Torv will play a yoga instructor named Windsor who is in a long-term relationship with Holly (Jennifer), but then meets another woman named Grace and feels an “instant connection.” Grace has not been cast yet, but she’ll be a previously married and straight gynecologist and – duuuude – these jokes just write themselves. Jennifer will play an actress who is “intensely committed to her career.” Read: self-involved.

“Open” will feature multiple characters and explore sexuality, monogamy and, clearly, non-monogamy. “Dexter” executive producer Lauren Gussis co-wrote the pilot with Murphy. Previously Mr. Glee has described it as “an adult show that is very frank in its depiction of sex.” Read: Naked naked naked. I mean, it is HBO, after all.

I’ve always been a fan of Anna, she’s got a that certain something something. That sexy air of capability about her is pretty damn irresistible. Plus Jennifer, well she was in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” and “Single White Female,” so her cult status is unquestionable.

Also, we all remember how delicious it was the last time Anna played gay for the original British series “Mistresses,” right?

And, um, this is what she looks like almost naked.

So…yeah, guess I might be watching another Ryan Murphy show. Damn you, TV gods, for making me want what I hate.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Gravity of the Situation

It’s not too often I get excited about a movie that I’m almost certain will fail the Bechdel Test. But in the new space thriller “Gravity,” I just might be. It’s been another predictable summer of dudes blowing up shit at the box office. Superheroes, soldiers and spectacularly stupid stuff have crammed the theaters. The two movies I was most interested in seeing (“The Bling Ring,” “The Heat”) I missed because I’d rather spend my weekends supporting shows with amazing female casts (“Orange Is the New Black,” “Orphan Black,” “The Fosters”) that are the rule, not the exception. Don’t worry, I’ll catch those movies on Red Box of Netflix or whatever some lazy Sunday afternoon in the future. p.s. I did see “The Conjuring” in the theater which was quite good with an amazing cast and did pass Bechdel’s Test because talking with another woman about a demonic ghost totally counts.

But for now only one trailer has me most mesmerized and ready to perhaps head back into the theater. It’s “Gravity” a lost-in-space drama about two astronauts literally adrift. If you check out the on-screen cast it’s only Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. Like, no kidding, those are the only two characters in this piece. The film is from director Alfonso Cuarón, the man behind “A Little Princess,” “Y Tu Mamá También,” “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” and “Children of Men.” And fucking hell trailer makes it look like your worst nightmare. If it’s possible to feel claustrophobic in the endless expanse of space, these clips do it.

At Comic-Con, Cuarón told the press he got predictably sexist pushback from the industry about having a female lead. Like, why do we even need one? This is a movie about space, chicks don’t need to be in space. A report from Women in Hollywood quotes him as saying:

When I finished the script, there were voices that were saying, 'well, we should change it to a male lead.' Obviously they were not powerful enough voices, because we got away with it. But the sad thing is that there is still that tendency.
You know, of all the genres, women have actually done quite well for themselves in science fiction. Think Ripley in the “Alien” franchise, think Sarah Connor in “Terminator” franchise, think Dana Scully in “The X-Files,” hell, Princess fucking Leia!

So while this movie more than likely will fail Bechdel’s golden rule about having two named female characters who take to one another about something other than a man, I think it will still advance our presence on that final frontier.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Quarterback Rock Star

Anyone here old enough to remember the movie “Quarterback Princess?” Helen Hunt, high school football and big-league sexism. Having not seen it in 30 years, I’m naturally rather fuzzy on the details. But from what I recall from watching it as a kid was it was pretty damn cool. Yes, yes – I know, they had to tack on the “princess” part. Yet 30 years later, the “quarterback” part is still pretty damn rare. But the good news is even though quarterback princesses continue to be the exception instead of the rule when it comes to people’s perfection of football, there are plenty more Tami Maida’s today who can’t wait to put on the pads and hit someone – hard.

Take, for example, Sami Grisafe. She is the quarterback of the world champion USA All-Star Team for the International Federation of American Football. That’s tackle football, people, women’s tackle football. Team USA beat Team Canada to take home the 2013 Women’s IFAF championships earlier this month. This is the second time the women have competed for the championship, the first time was in 2010 when Team USA won the inaugural event (it’s played every three years).

Before the game,QB Grisafe busted out the National Anthem. And before you roll your eyes, she was good – really good. It helps that she also sings professionally. And did I mention she’s an out lesbian lady? Great arm and a great voice and a great big gay? Better bring a helmet, ladies, there could be some pushing and shoving in line to buy her a drink.

p.s. For more on the USA All-Star Team, visit their documentary site The Tackle Girls.

Friday, July 26, 2013

My Weekend Thanks

Hey, guess what. Your postcards are REALLY in the mail. Remember back so long ago it is embarrassing to even mention it when you guys were crazy generous and I was stupid humbled and I also got to buy this shiny new laptop? Well, I finally got the postcard perks in the mail last weekend. Some of you should have received them already and the rest of you (especially all you international kittens) should have them shortly. I apologize, again, profusely for their inexcusable tardiness. Please let me know in the next few weeks if you do not receive your card.

The remainder to the perks, starting with the Weekend Crushes will start posting next week. And the swag folks can expect their goodies soon as well. Slowly, but surely, I am fulfilling all of my promises. I promise. Also, I’m sorry it’s taking so long.

As a thanks for all of your patience and as a continued thanks for coming to my little corner of the internet to everyone, here are some hot ladies being hot. Happy weekend, all.

p.s. If you received your (arrisanal, hand-stamped, ahem) postcard and cannot read my handwriting, feel free to ask for translation. I apoligize for my scribbles, I probably should have been a doctor.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Gender Fuck Thursday: Harlem Edition

It’s fun to think of ourselves as the most progressive generation. The most unconventional. The most authentic. The most original. But history teaches us differently, if we only bother to look. You think you’re a badass genderqueer in 2013? Yeah, meet the out lesbians, drag kings and cross-dressing ladies of the 1920s Harlem Renaissance. Almost 100 years ago they were out of the closet and singing about it. Macklemore ain’t got nothing on Ma Rainey crooning “I went out last night with a crowd of my friends/It must’ve been women, ‘cause I don’t like no men/Wear my clothes just like a fan/Talk to the gals just like any old man” (“Prove It On Me Blues”).

Also, damn, if they didn’t look fine. It’s called a Renaissance for a reason. I mean, really, next time you go to pride and see the sea of women in cargo shorts and skinny jeans, think back to this dapper display. Sometimes they really don’t make them like they used to.

Gladys Bentley

A blues singer in the Harlem Renaissance known for wearing tuxedos and top hats (see above). She headlined gay clubs and lesbian bars, among other venues. She even married her white female lover in Atlantic City. Later during the MCarthy Era she denounced her lesbianism because, you know, fucking McCarthy.

Ethel Waters

A blues and jazz singers, Ethel was one of the first black entertainer to move successfully from the black vaudeville and nightclub circuits to what was called “the white time” – a traditional vaudeville circuit played before white audiences.

Florence Mills

A cabaret singer, dancer and comic, Florence was known as “The Queen of Happiness.” She died at the height of her career at age 32 from an infection from tuberculosis and more than 10,000 people visited the funeral home to pay their respects. Also, she may or may not have invented steampunk.

But seriously, you need to listen to “Prove It On Me Blues” immediately.

Take that, Millennials.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Playing For Keeps

Just so happens two of my favorite songs right now have the verb “keep” in their title. Coincidence, sure. But both are by out gay women. Both deal with matters of the heart. And both are impossible to stop humming. So what the universe calls coincidence, I call a great reason to keep a smile on a Wednesday.

Brandi Carlile, “Keep Your Heart Young”

The video for this delightful ditty was shot on Brandi’s porch using her nephew and nieces as youthful stand-ins and is guaranteed to make you tap your toe. I plan to do just that when I see her for the first time in less than three weeks.

Mary Lambert, “She Keeps Me Warm”

The song based on her irresistible “Same Love” hook (which, admit it, is pretty much your favorite part anyway) is just as sweet as the original, possibly more. You can buy the single now via her site, or July 29 on iTunes.

p.s. According to press reports, Mary was first approached specifically to write the bridge for “Same Love,” which she did and then turned it into a full song of her own.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Orange Is the New Rainbow

I can’t stop thinking about “Orange Is the New Black,” because – duh – it’s awesome. Plus, dude, Laura Prepon. But it’s also because the show is so different from anything on our TV radar right now. And one of those ways is in its brilliant, brilliant diversity.

Some shows feature mostly white casts with one or two tokens thrown in for appearances. Others feature diverse casts, but that diversity is never addressed other than as a pleasant, unspoken rainbow coalition. But “Orange Is the New Black” takes the forced integration of a former NPR-listening, artisanal soap making, Seven Sisters-educated white woman and makes it its guiding principal.

Still this is also so much more than just a fish-out-of-water story. Upper-class white woman who goes to prison faces horrors and hilarity interacting with the diverse prison population. Sure, we see some of that – especially at first. But then Orange peals back the top layer – the stereotypes and the clichés and assumptions – to show us the soft, fragile center of almost everyone underneath. And that, in and of itself, is extraordinary.

Minority characters – and female characters – are far too often a means to an end in storytelling. The sassy best friend. The street-smart co-worker. The hot lust object. They’re not fully realized people, and were never meant to be. “Orange Is the New Black” could have done that with its diverse cast. Miss Claudette is the sage. Taystee is the comic relief. Diaz is the cautionary tale. And while they have those elements to their characters, they’re much more complex than that. It’s that essential humanity that is so often lacking. People of color become a concept, not an actual person. But not here. Here they’re all real and interesting, flawed and so very human.

The key is that these women are the heroes (and villains) of their own stories. They are not just amusing anecdotes meant to add color to the main character’s life. We know this because most of the time Piper isn’t even aware of their histories – how they got there, what’s happening now. Their backstories are just theirs and ours to know and understand. So these women have their own agency, their own agendas, their own struggles, their own triumphs, their own failures. This matters.

I’m so glad we know more about these women. And I want to learn more; I want to learn everything. Think of the character arc of someone like Crazy Eyes, played by the delightful Uzo Aduba. She begins as a joke, a quick scary-lesbians-in-prison punchline complete with unwanted dispersing of bodily fluids. But then, as we get to know her, she develops organically into a Shakespeare-spouting thespian with an unexpected family. So when Piper’s initial descriptions of her as retold by Larry (ugh, Larry) hurts her it hurts us, too. Not just because of the inherent cruelty in her thoughtless words, but because of the ignorance those first impressions convey. We are all more than our first impression, our stereotypes, our preconceived notions of what we should be. We all deserve to be seen as such.

Or take Sophia, glorious Sophia. As played by real-life transgender actress Laverne Cox, she is a powerful reminder that stories, at their best, change how we view the world. You can’t watch Sophia’s story and say you don’t have a better (not complete, by any means, but better) understanding of trans people’s lives and challenges. It’s a performance, among many on the show, Emmy voters would be wise to take note of next summer. Also, I’d love for Sophia to have a relationship next season, preferably with another woman. I mean if we’re asking for favors from the TV gods, why not be thorough?

I’ve found myself thinking about “Orange Is the New Black” long after finishing the series because the series gave me so much to think about. White privilege, racial separatism, cultural elitism. All these issues get thrown into a place they can’t run from each others because literal bars are holding them back. But in the end we don’t feel imprisoned by their experiences, we feel released. Life is so much richer when we’re given stories that treat everyone’s lives as different, important and real.

p.s. Also, fucking hell, are these ladies funny.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Naked Lady Monday: Bodies in Motion Edition

Hey, it’s Monday. But not in that, “I hate Mondays” Garfield kind of way. It’s Monday in that, “I love muscley ladies” kind of way. Yes, kittens, that most wonderful time of year when the ESPN Body Issue comes out is upon us again. And once again we can (respectfully) ogle impossibly fit athletes showcase the results of all that hard work, dedication and squats. Now, most of the images from these shoots I quite enjoy because, well, I don’t think I need to explain the appeal of hot naked ladies. But I will say the photos I enjoy the most each year are the ones that showcase these athletes doing what they do best. Granted, I’m sure they’re not accustomed to doing it naked. But, hey, maybe they do. If I had the body of a Greek god, I’d do everything naked, too.

Sydney Leroux, US Women’s National Team Soccer Player
I want to talk about how impressive her bicycle kick form is, but I can’t because ABS.

Courtney Force, NHRA Funny Car Driver
These cars can go more than 330 mph and use parachutes to slow themselves down. I don’t have a joke, that’s just damn impressive.

Elena Hight, Snowboarder
Explaining the frostbite on her delicate regions to the doctor should be fun.

Daila Ojeda, Rock Climber
Granted, I think I’d rather snowboard naked than rock climb naked.

Marlen Esparza, Boxer
Boxing naked seems terrible, too, but they can’t hit below the belt anyway. So maybe just more distracting than different.

Carly Booth, Professional Golfer
Her tattoo is the Shakespeare quote, “It is not the stars to hold our destiny, But it is ourselves.” I didn’t want you to have to strain your eyes.

Miesha Tate, UFC Bantamweight Contender
I don’t know if jumping is a big part of boxing, but I will accept it as a training exercise.

Swin Cash, WNBA Player
OK, fine, so this pose is a little cheesecake. But, um, there is a basketball.

Tarah Gieger, Motocross Racer
I want to talk about how badass she looks on that bike, but I can’t because THIGHS.

Friday, July 19, 2013

My Weekend Crush

If you tell me you wouldn’t immediately drop your pants if Alex Vause asked you to, I will tell you you are liar-liar pants on fire. Also pants on the floor, because Alex told you to take them off – remember? The strength of the sexual spell Laura Prepon has cast over all of lesbiankind as Alex is impossible to overestimate. Just mention Alex and you’ll get an automatic involuntary moan from almost every gal lady who has watched “Orange Is the New Black.” Mmmmmm, Alex.

Of course, we’ve known Laura for years. The tall red-head (then blonde) from “That 70s Show” with the great voice and dweebie boyfriend. And while we may have liked her before, we certainly love her now. Maybe it’s the black hair. Maybe it’s the been-there, knows-how swagger. Maybe it’s the glasses – definitely it’s the glasses. Sure, Alex isn’t perfect. I mean she worked for an international drug cartel and turned her ex in to the feds. But, hey, we all have our flaws. For instance, I can’t snap with my left hand. You overlook the little things.

What matters is that we know Alex, in her heart of hearts, still loves Piper. Because when you have a connection with someone, it never really goes away. You snap right back into being each other’s little spoons. Also the way Alex adjusts her glasses. Mmmmmm, Alex. Happy weekend, all.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Send in the Clones

Yesterday I said I’d cut a bitch’s tail off if Tatiana Maslany didn’t get at very least one Emmy nomination (multiple would be better – she does play seven different characters as well as assorted mutations of characters pretending to be other characters). Seeing as there are no human tails available for me to lop off today, all I will say is, THINK ABOUT YOUR LIFE, THINK ABOUT YOUR CHOICES, ACADEMY OF TELEVISION ARTS & SCIENCES VOTERS. Tatiana gives them clones, they prove themselves to be clowns. I’m sorry, I’m going to need a bowl or red Jell-O and all the sugar packets in the world to self soothe. Seriously, nothing? It almost feels like we’re in the middle of some kind of international conspiracy masterminded by a shadowy underground organization intent on manipulating human development for its own selfish gain. That or, you know, the Emmys suck.

p.s. I am also mad about the continued “Parks & Rec” snub. So there.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

In Praise of Difficult Women

Fuck off, Don Draper, Walter White, Tony Soprano, et al. The age of the male antihero is over. Sure, you’ve had a good run. And, fuck, look at all those shiny, shiny Emmys. But I’m sick of praising all these Difficult Men. You’re “damaged” and “complex” and “tough” and “violent” and “immoral” and yadda yadda. But your time has come and now it’s our time. Welcome to age of Difficult Women.

Granted, there have always been Difficult Women on TV and in pop culture. But they’re usually the nagging voice to be suffered through by Difficult Men. But not anymore. Now they get their own shows and change to shine. And it’s glorious, just fucking glorious.

There’s been a lot of talk recently about how there will never be successful female antiheroes in the media. How there simply can’t be a female Tony Soprano. And, while I agree it’s a different and difficult road women have to travel than men because of – let’s face it – sexism, that doesn’t mean we aren’t around.

There have been others. Nancy Botwin. Patty Hewes. Jackie Peyton. Beatrix Kiddo. Lisbeth Salander. And now we have three stellar new shows – “Orange Is the New Black,” “Orphan Black” and “The Fall” – all revel in the world of the Difficult Women. These might not be antiheroes in the sense of being hypermasculine men who treat the women in their lives like shit and will resort to any means necessary to succeed up to an including murder. But they are antiheroes in the sense that they aren’t traditionally likable, noble or conciliatory female roles. These are women with full agency – or coming into their own agency by way of a year long-stint in prison – who don’t give a shit about being polite.

Orange’s Piper (a whitebread princess thrown into prison and forced to confront herself and fundamentalist methheads), Orphan’s Sarah (a street kid who is no stranger to the long con who fights against an international clonespiracy with lethal force) and Fall’s Stella (a brilliant detective chasing after a serial killer who has no problem with one-night stands and no interest in making nice) are all antiheroes in their own way. They take the traditional narrative of a female heroine and turn key aspects on their head.

I think one of those key elements of a good female antihero is the pushback. Pushing back against the expected. Against the preconceived notions of what we should be, as heroines. This is more than about physical strength, the easiest way to signify a “strong woman.” This is about allowing women to be fucked up and flawed. Allowing women to exist outside the “chick flick” genre. Allowing women to be their own heroes in unheroic ways. That makes them, in some people’s eyes, difficult. And in my eyes, fucking fantastic.

p.s. I finally figured it out. Taylor Schilling of OITNB looks like Heather Armstrong of Dooce. There, you're welcome.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Orange Is the New Obsession

Over the weekend, like almost every other lesbian, I binge watched “Orange Is the New Black.” I did this because I physically could not stop watching. After seeing just the first episode it became an imperative need to immediately consumer the entire first season. If it hadn’t been for the pesky need to sleep, eat, bathe and make a living I would have watched all 13 episodes in one sitting.

I don’t know what else I can lend to the already rousing chorus of praise for Netflix’s newest offering. The series, about an upper-crust white woman’s immersion into the at times harrowing, at times hilarious world of incarceration in a federal women’s prison is magnificent. Words like “rich,” “complex,” “layered” simply cannot be overused here. From the acting to the writing to the casting it’s practically perfect. The ability to both warm and break one’s heart, sometimes in the same episode – fuck sometimes in the same scene – is one not many shows can master.

But here is a show that is able to lay bare some of the things we try not to talk about in polite society – white privilege, racial separatism, cultural elitism, religious fundamentalism, how to make shower flip-flops out of maxi pads. And it does it all with one of the most diverse casts on televisions. (Yes, I know, some take issue with a show with great diversity being set in a prison – but statistics will show that’s the shitty, shitty truth of our shitty, shitty justice system). I love how almost all of the women get a chance to tell their stories. How they got there, why they got there. Who they were, who they want to be. Nothing in “Orange Is the New Black” smacks of tokenism (well, mustachioed men might have a legitimate gripe – you guys are simply awful in this show).

And we haven’t even gotten to the lesbianism, which believe you me is front and center and glorious. The sexual spectrum, including trans stories, is handled deftly. Again, it’s not done for show, it’s done for authenticity. Sometimes gay women go to prison, sometimes women who had a same-sex relationship 10 years ago go to prison. And sometimes those same women run into their exes from 10 years ago at that same prison. And you thought your ex-relationship was complicated. Amateurs.

Still if none of that manages to convince you this show is indeed worth 13-hours of your life, there’s also the delightful game of “How Do I Know Her?” you can play throughout. Hey, where do I know that prison cook Red from? Fuck, that’s Captain Janeway/Kate Mulgrew! Hm, that hippie yoga instructor’s voice sure sounds familiar. Wait, it’s Evelyn Couch’s friend from the vagina workshop in “Fried Green Tomatoes.” Man, I know I’ve seen that meth mouth Tiffany before. Shit, she was Britney’s BFF in “Crossroads” (I’m told, I proudly have not seen that movie). And there’s also Natasha Lyonne and Lea DeLaria and Laura Prepon. Sweet fancy Moses, there is Laura Prepon and her irresistible, inevitable bespectacled swagger. I’d go to prison just to watch her take her glasses on and off. I mean it.

In conclusion, the sleep deprivation is totally worth it. Orange is better than the new black. It’s your new TV obsession.

p.s. Isn’t Regina Spektor’s theme song “You’ve Got Time“ just fucking perfect? Also, I can’t stop humming it.

p.p.s. SPOILERS SPOILER SPOILERS SPOILERS: Can you believe they ended the season like that? Holy fuckity fuck. But seriously, she is fucked. Or at the very least doing more time. Fuck. Hurry up, Season 2.

p.p.p.s. MORE SPOILERS: I fluctuated for a while between feeling sorry and annoyed for Larry. But then he exploited her experiences for his career, without even asking full permission first, he became insufferable. So, hope your NPR tote is really useful in hell, Larry.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Stop making sense

The world can seem so mean sometimes. A teenager carrying Skittles can get killed by grown man carrying a gun and it gets called justice. A legislature in Texas can ban bringing tampons into a discussion about women’s reproductive health and then vote to close all but 5 abortion clinics in a state of 26 million people. And a young man who by all accounts was unfailing nice and unquestionably talented can die at the age of 31 alone in a hotel room.

While over the years I have had extreme disagreements with the character of Finn Hudson on “Glee,” I never had any reservations about the character of Cory Monteith the person. Those who knew him and worked with him all agree he was a kind and conscientious person who was good to fans and friends alike. So news of his passing Saturday in a Vancouver hotel was shocking. So much potential, gone just like that. His struggles with addiction were well known, but he had been publically fighting the good fight this year.

For a silly show about singing and dancing teenagers, “Glee” at its best manages to transcend and touch on something universal in our hearts. What attracted me to it from the beginning was its ability to open itself up to joy – and pain, and ultimately, understanding. You may not be a 16-year-old gay boy who gets thrown in the dumpster, but now you might know how one feels. You may not be a closeted lesbian cheerleader in love with her best friend, but now you might know how one feels. You may not be a former high school quarterback who worries his glory days were left on the field, but now you might know how one feels. (Though, I still don’t understand how he was allowed to coach Glee during school hours without a fucking teaching credential. But that, like everything else, is on the writers.)

Of all the lessons that “Glee” has tried to teach us in its four years, this may be its cruelest. Life can be short and the world can be mean. Some days it’s hard to keep believing.

Friday, July 12, 2013

My Weekend Crush

You know sometimes after a long, busy, tiring, crazy week it takes a little while before you can settle into your weekend. Like the stress of the past five days hangs over you like a cloud and your shoulders don’t unclench until like Sunday morning and that’s only after your friends force-feed you two mimosas at brunch because, dude, it’s the weekend and you need to totally chillax. Nope, neither do I. Also, who still says chillax? I’m actually amazingly good at leaving the ridiculousness of the week behind me. Call it vestigial last-bell reflex where the my Pavlovian response to the end of the day is to throw my bag in the air and run away screaming “Freeeee!” But in my head. Usually. Anyway, that’s a really long set-up to say, I hope you guys all have a weekend as awesome and carefree as this policewoman’s. This Sydney officer knows how to let loose. (Things get good at the one-minute mark.) Police were there to check out the scene at a youth center fundraiser. And this officer decided to serve, protect and boogie. Screw dancing like no one is watching. Dance like you know everyone is watching and you don’t have a single fuck to give. Happy weekend, all.

p.s. Also, no one call me this weekend. I’m busy mainlining the rest of “Orange Is the New Black.” So good I totally stayed up until 3 a.m. last night watching.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Prison blues (and oranges)

I have a confession to make. A real, honest to goodness confession that may or may not have a direct impact on my lesbian street cred from here on out. Are you ready? OK. I haven’t watched much of the women in prison genre. Gosh, just admitting it makes me feel lighter. I’ve never seen “Chained Heat” or “Caged Fury” or “Girls in Prison” (even though the latter had both Ione Skye and Anne Heche). Nor did I watch “Bad Girls,” despite the repeated berating of my nearest and dearest friends whose pop culture taste I trust absolutely.

In fact I think the only women in prison-genre film I’ve seen is “Stranger Inside,” a 2001 HBO movie offering from out filmmaker Cheryl Dunye. And I watched that just for the lezzy scenes. As I recall, if I can recall a dozen years ago, it was good stuff. Gritty. Hot. Poignant. Hot. Wait, why haven’t I watched more of the women in prison genre?

But now, I have a chance to make up for it. There are not one, but two new series to enjoy with ladies behind bars. The first is “Orange is the New Black,” a new series debuting today on Netflix. From the creator of “Weeds,” the story follows a woman who ends up in prison 10 years after becoming a drug mule for her then girlfriend/international drug trafficker. It’s based on a true story and features bisexual, lesbian and trans women characters. It looks dark and funny and dark and funny some more.

I can’t wait to get home tonight and start watching.

But then there’s also “Wentworth.” The Australian drama and remake of the 80s Aussie soap “Prisoner.” It’s been compared to “Breaking Bad,” which I also don’t watch. But I know people love it. And there’s also lezzy stuff because women’s prison, yo.

Is it just me or does the older woman remind you of prison Martha Stewart. Wait, is that redundant?

I’m not sure my delicate, law-abiding sensibilities can watch two women in prison shows simultaneously. But I do know prison jumpsuits never looked so appealing.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

And on guitar, one cool cat

Hey, remember DeAnne Smith? That funny lesbian who made that funny video about lesbian relationships and hummus and kittens manifested out of love. Well, she’s gone and captured our collective lesbian zeitgeist again by combining a nerdy love song with a ukulele, bowtie, wordplay and kitten. Yes, kitten. So, so much kitten. I feel better about just about everything now. Also, please take your pants off immediately. Just seeing if that would work.

p.s. Sorry of those of you who were disappointed today’s post wasn’t about budgeting strategy to fix America’s infrastructure while carrying on multiple covert wars. Blame the kittens.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

It's Pat (Unlike)

Thank heavens for Pat Robertson. That old windbag of a wingnut who is fond of blaming gays for causing everything from terrorist attacks to earthquakes, tornadoes and possibly a meteor (Need an instant Michael Bay movie? Just add gays!), is at it again. This time, he’s talking about this crazy newfangled thing where someone “switches on likes in Facebooks.” And what if one of those pictures people are switch on the likes for happens to be of a couple of same-sex guys kissing, what should you do? Tell us, Pat, tell us.

Pat: “To me I would punch vomit, not like.” [BIG LAUGH]

See, don’t old-school bigots like that almost make you smile? I mean, that’s some grade school-worthy taunting right there, Pat. Gays make you totally want to barf. Ha ha! Get it? Gross and cooties and yucky. Vomit.

Here’s the thing about decrepit fossils like Pat. They’re our best reminder of how terrible and terribly wrong the other side really is. And, as more and more minds and hearts are opened everyday, they’re their own worst enemy. Despite the best efforts of the Pat Robertsons of the world we’re becoming – both in public opinion and our laws – a more accepting country. Polls show a majority of Americans now support marriage equality. Public figures – actors, politicians, athletes and the like – who use homophobic slurs get roundly criticized and apologize profusely. Granted, we’re nowhere near ending all homophobia and worse yet violence against LGBT community members. But it’s being exposed for what it is. Ugly. Hateful. Ridiculous. Laughable.

Whenever old Pat opens his mouth to say something willfully ignorant and unapologetically hurtful, I think of the little TV station he started in 1977 called the Christian Broadcasting Network. He used it to spout his crazy there on the “700 Club,” and still does contractually (thanks News Corp, another thing you fucked up for us) in the morning, night and wee hours. But today that channel is called ABC Family and not owned by Pat, but Disney (by way first of News Corp. who made the deal to keep airing the “700 Club”). And today that channel has some of – hands down – the most inclusive programming featuring in the past and present some 20 LGBT characters including shows like “Pretty Little Liars,” “The Fosters,” “Secret Life of the American Teenager,” “Switched at Birth,” “Greek” and “Make It or Break It.”

So maybe we should thank old Pat for exposing the world to his stupidity and hate and in doing so making it exactly what he doesn’t want – a better and more equal place for everyone else.

Monday, July 08, 2013

Not another silly love song

Nine months after I first heard this song, and I still get a catch in my throat when it comes on. Nine months after I first heard this song, and the world is a different, more equal place. Nine months after I first heard this song, and it’s finally a Top 20 hit. The slow-burn to wildfire of trajectory of “Same Love” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (featuring the lovely and out Mary Lambert) has mirrored the fight for marriage equality in the past decade. Starts slowly, gains momentum, achieves critical mass, and finally is a bona fide success. Clearly, the single’s timeline was radically condensed compared to marriage equality’s struggle (posted on YouTube on Oct. 2, 2012 and climbed to No. 16 on the Billboard Hot 100 July 3, 2013 versus first state legalizes it in 2004 and Supreme Court declares DOMA unconstitutional in 2013). And, of course, neither had yet made it all the way to their ultimate goal (that being to No. 1 and in all 50 states, respectively). But I sure have high hopes for both. No freedom till we’re equal, damn right, I support it.

Friday, July 05, 2013

My Weekend Crush

For more than a week now we here in the United States have been celebrating our rightful step forward in the march toward equality. But our successes do not mean the end of the fight, either here or elsewhere. To be truly equal we must be equal everywhere. So the blatant, unchecked, institutionalized bigotry happening to the LGBT community in Russia via its own government is appalling. A ban on Pride Parades in Moscow for 100 years. A law banning all “gay propaganda” aimed at minors that essentially criminalizes comparing gay relationships to straight relationships and distributing LGBT rights materials. And just this week a new law banning same-sex couples in foreign countries from adopting Russian children (Russian gays and lesbians couples are already banned from same-sex adoption in their own country). For gays it’s more like “From Russia, with a boot to the neck.”

So into that atmosphere stepped actress Tilda Swinton with a simple, universal act of defiance. Yesterday her agent, Christian Hodell, posted a picture of Tilda on Twitter with a message from her that read simply: “In solidarity. From Russia with love.” And there she is, in front of the Kremlin with a police car behind her, holding up a rainbow flag. Small gesture, big message. Also an illegal gesture that could have gotten her arrested. This kind of bold, open defiance of a clearly unjust series of laws aimed at oppressing one population even further means something. It might now unwrite those laws, or change one single thought in Vladimir Putin’s brutally hard head, but it means we are watching. And, if we could be, we’d all be there with her. Happy weekend, all.

p.s. Yes, I know I’ve crushed on Tilda before. And yes, I know some of you have had problems in the past with other causes Tilda has supported. I’ve addressed those conflicts and just want to celebrate her act of defiance here. OK? OK. Now someone give me a pride flag to wave around.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

America, the beautifully gay

It feels like there’s been an enormous party in the USA for the past week. Since the Supreme Court’s historic rulings, each new milestone in equality has been yet another reason to celebrate (marriage starting again in California, green cards given to same-sex couples, etc.). Hell, it even brought Lady Gaga off the bench (she’s still recovering from hip surgery) to help kick off NYC Pride Weekend festivities. All in all, we’ve got more reasons than ever before to be proud of our country this Fourth of July. Happy birthday, America. Equality looks good on you.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Feel my Glo

When you can’t beat them, make’em laugh. I don’t know why it has taken me so long to discover Gloria Bigelow. But I now want to click-and-pop about her to the whole world. And because it is Wednesday and because you deserve it for making it through half the week, I’ll let you in on my find. Or, if you already knew her and just feel like Color Purpling me about my misfortune of not knowing, feel free.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

All roads lead to lesbianism

While my Pride Month Lesbian Movie Rewind Experience 2013 has ended – finished it off with “Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagement,” appropriately, last week. (You can stream it yourself on Netflix or Wolfe.) But the amusing discoveries from the LMRE 2013 continue. Like, did you know a lot of now-famous faces made some of their very first appearances in lesbian movies? Rewatching some of the recent (and less recent) lesbian cinema classics reveal some very special guest starts before they were very special. A sampling of leztastic cameos:

Emily VanCamp in “Lost & Delirious”
Before she sought her “Revenge,” Emily was Tori’s annoying sister, Allison, who really needs to learn how to knock first.

Jeffrey Tambor in “Desert Hearts”
Before he was the Bluth family patriarch on “Arrested Development,” Jeffrey worked at the ranch Prof. Vivian Bell came to stay during her quickie divorce.

Dale Dickey in “The Incredibly True Adventures of 2 Girls in Love”
Before she was the wolfie grandma of Alcide’s new pack on “True Blood,” Dale was Randy Dean’s coworker at the gas station.

Benedict Cumberbatch in “Tipping the Velvet”
Before he was the all-knowing, all-deducing Sherlock Holmes, Benedict wasn’t able to see or deduce that his so-called girlfriend Nan Austin was a total lezzer.

Rashida Jones in “If These Walls Could Talk 2”
Before she was beautiful tropical fish Ann Perkins on “Parks & Recreation,” Rashida was one of the “unnamed angry feminists” who didn’t want the lesbians to mess up their fight for women’s rights.

Christopher Meloni in “Bound”
Before he was Det. Stabler on “Law & Order,” Chris was the dim-witted son of the mob boss.

Mila Kunis in “Gia
Before she was the imaginary “Black Swan,” Mila was a young Angelina.

Idina Menzel in “Kissing Jessica Stein”
Before she was “Wicked,” Idina was an overly happy bridesmaid.

See all roads (to fame) really do lead back to lesbianism.

Monday, July 01, 2013

One Woman Army

After a weekend of revelry, comes reflection. There’s so much fight left – not just for marriage equality, but for all of the fights. The fight for our basic voting rights (oh, hadn’t you heard, racism is over according to the Supreme Court) and for our right to control our own bodies (oh, hadn’t you heard, men know what’s best for women according to men) continues. But never let it be said that one woman cannot make a difference.

Davis’ epic 12 and a half hour filibuster, and stirring people’s filibuster that followed, was one of the clearest demonstrations of the citizenship’s ability to speak truth to power. The hundreds in the Texas statehouse and hundreds of thousands who stayed up into the wee hours of the night to watch the drama unfold online bore witness to the as one woman, Texas State Senator Wendy Davis. She stood without sitting, eating, drinking, leaning, using the bathroom or anything other than speaking in an effort to kill SB5, a radical anti-abortion bill. The bill would criminalize the procedure after 20 weeks and force all but five of the state’s abortion clinics to close their doors. That’s five clinics for more than 26 million people. So in essence, they all but eliminated women’s access to safe and legal abortions in the second most populous state in the union.

The Republican-led legislature did everything they could to shut her up. So many men deciding if a woman could speak about laws affecting all women’s bodies was exactly the problem. In the end they ruled talking about sonograms during an abortion debate was off-topic as her final warning. This while state after state tries to force women to have invasive sonograms before getting abortions. Off topic, indeed. But the people revolted, first chanting “Let her speak,” and then roaring when with minutes to go they tried to conduct a vote. (Special high five for bad-assery as well for Texas State Senator Leticia Van De Putte, who raced from her father’s funeral to fight for women’s rights). Then after they tried to claim the bill passed, even though the vote completed after the midnight deadline, we knew better because we were watching.

But despite everything Wendy prevailed, we prevailed. Of course the very next day Gov. Rick Perry called another 30-day special session to try to pass the bill again. This is the second special session he has called to pass the bill, at first you don’t succeed and all. Each special session, it should be noted, could cost voters up to $800,000. So for two that’s $1.6 million. Gee, is there anything else more useful taxpayer dollars could be going to? Nah, definitely just legislating women’s bodies.

In doing so, Texas lawmakers showed their profound misunderstanding of the concept of government of the people. Because instead of listening to their constituents’ righteous ire, they dismissed it. The Lt. Gov. called them an “angry mob” and the Governor described it as a “breakdown of decorum and decency.” Meanwhile people who come armed to the teeth with loaded assault rifles to peaceful rallies filled with mothers and children are true patriots. Got it.

To add insult to injury, on Thursday Perry went and explained Wendy Davis’ mistakes in life to her at the National Right to Life conference. Saying as a child of a single mother and teenage mother herself it was “unfortunate that she hasn't learned from her own example.” Oh, thank you, sir – you really do understand the female experience so much more thoroughly than us females.

In the end, the horrendous Texas bill may pass after all. No one can filibuster for 30 days straight. The Republican legislature certainly has more than enough votes to force it through. But what Wendy did, what the people did that night, will not be in vain. vain. It mattered. They may pass this bill, but we are all watching now. And we’re angry. We’re so angry. And we fucking vote.