Please let the steady, serene gaze of Meryl Streep leave you on an introspective note this 2015. Or just enjoy gazing at her all-around awesomeness. Either way, not a bad way to close out another 365.
Thursday, December 31, 2015
Please let the steady, serene gaze of Meryl Streep leave you on an introspective note this 2015. Or just enjoy gazing at her all-around awesomeness. Either way, not a bad way to close out another 365.
Wednesday, December 30, 2015
Things I can say for certain having seen “Star Wars” twice now.
[Warning: SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOIIIIILERS]
1) Rey just gets better with each viewing.
2) Captain Phasma was tragically underused.
3) Lupita Nyong'o is wonderful as Maz Kanata, but dammit, it would have been incredibly nice to actually see her face.
Tuesday, December 29, 2015
And with one tweet, Rachael Taylor confirmed the portmanteau for all Jessica/Trish shippers out there. Trishica Jones it is! Clearly, they’re already advanced level shipping each other, because Trish is now just outright stealing Jessica’s clothes. Also, be sure to check out my continuing recaps of “Jessica Jones” on AfterEllen.
Monday, December 28, 2015
Chemistry, we are told, is the study of matter and the way it interacts. How the composition of one thing can combine with another thing to form something altogether new. In short, it’s the science of change.
Yet no microscope has yet been invented that can truly understand the chemical reaction that is falling in love. The elusive biology of the human heart, the hungry physics of desire – these remain as inexplicable to us today as they were at the beginning of time. Yet, time and time again, we find ourselves engulfed in the sweet and far too often cruel mystery of our emotions.
But where science fails us, art steps in. And, in those most rare and most special instances, it helps us understand what no equation, no formula, no theorem ever could. “Carol” is one of those moments.
You see this is a film all about chemistry. But not the kind that bubbles up in beakers. Instead it’s a study of the spark of attraction, the smolder of longing, the sear of passion. “Carol” is perhaps the most beautiful ache you will ever experience in the cinema.
Director Todd Haynes and screenwriter Phyllis Nagy (who are both, it should be noted, out artists), have adapted the 1952 lesbian classic “The Price of Salt” by author Patricia Highsmith into something altogether extraordinary. When paired with the exquisite performances by Cate Blanchett (as housewife Carol Aird) and Rooney Mara (as shopgirl Therese Belivet), it becomes something truly transcendent.
This is, quite simply, the lesbian movie we’ve been waiting for.
“Carol” is at once set in a very specific period, early 1950s New York, yet also able to break free from the petty restrictions of space and time. It is Christmas in fastidiously recreated Manhattan and Carol breezes into a department store where Therese is working behind the doll counter.
Carol is impossibly sophisticated in her glamorous mink coat and Therese is dewy with youth in her store-mandated Santa hat. Yet from the moment their eyes meet across the crowded store floor, it’s there – chemistry.
That mutual magnetism drives “Carol” in a way few films allow us to see women in love. While it would be easy to understand why someone, anyone with eyes really, would swoon over the allure of Blanchett’s Carol (her low, measured tone alone is the very definition of ravishing), the story also allows us to see clearly what Carol sees in Therese. It would be too cheap to say it is just the bloom of youth.
In Therese we see a curiosity about the world and a dissatisfaction with the prescribed order of things. Where Blanchett has been made to look like an iconic, cool blond goddess of the silver screen, Mara recalls an unadorned Audrey Hepburn – but with a yearning behind her inquisitive eyes that belies her age.
When Carol absentmindedly, or on purpose, leaves her gloves on Therese’s counter, it sets in motion a slow burn that will consume both women. But fire – with its penchant to destroy – also brings about rebirth. What rises from it is often more magnificent in its resilience and strength.
As the women embark on a road trip together out west over the holiday break, their unspoken courtship continues at a measured – almost unbearable – pace. Carol’s big Packard probably never breaks 50 mph, yet at times your heart will pound as if they’re racing together in a grand prix. Such is the power of the tension, the delicious anticipation, Haynes and company have built between these two.
We hang on every touch, we luxuriate in each glance, we watch them watch each other through windows – so many windows.
On the home front, both women have impatient men waiting for them – for Carol a husband angered and bewildered by their pending divorce (played by Kyle Chandler, the good guy from “Friday Nigh Lights”), for Therese a boyfriend angered and bewildered by her refusal to run off to Europe with him (played by Jake Lacy, the good guy from “Obvious Child”). Carol also has a true and knowing friend, and former lover, to confide in with Abby (played by the always good Sarah Paulson).
Over the course of quiet lunches and aphoristic visits, we – both us watching and the characters on the screen – come to the understanding that these two women simply cannot stay away from each other.
Of course, there is also the understanding that two women who simply cannot stay away from each other in 1950s America is not a thing people comprehend, let alone accept. Yet this is not a film that strives to retell a hushed history of the love that dare not speak its name in the pre-Eisenhower era. Nor is it the sort of standard-issue coming out story we’ve been accustomed to seeing on the screen. Neither woman is shown struggling against her sexuality. In fact the word “lesbian” isn’t even uttered once.
Still, while this is not a film interested in explicitly showcasing a movement or protesting injustices, this is very much a political film. It has to be. The act of showing two women in love, two women in lust (however restrained and tastefully shot) who refuse to apologize for their feelings remains a fundamentally revolutionary act in this world.
So the seriousness with which this film approaches our love, the reverence which it displays for these women’s attraction, the universality which it reflects in their undeniable chemistry – all that matters. The process of expanding people’s minds, opening their hearts through nothing more than moving pictures projected two-stories high – that’s the true art of change.
Friday, December 25, 2015
I find this Classroom Instruments rendition of “All I Want for Christmas” so incredibly joyful, I hope hearing it again fills you wish the same kind of wonder today. Happy whatever you celebrate today, kittens. May your Christmas be truly merry and bright.
Thursday, December 24, 2015
Let me say – with much hope and a full gay agenda –just because it’s Christmas – and at Christmas you tell the truth – to me, “Love Actually” would have been much more perfect if it had kept its original lesbian subplot. Alas, my wasted heart will pine for it until I go watch “Carol” again and remember we don’t need table scraps from the cutting room floor to sustain us anymore. We have full, glorious, Technicolor stories that luxuriate in our love, not push us aside for the hetero leads. Merry Christmas Eve, lesbians. I hope “Carol” opens so very soon in a theater near you.
p.s. My full review is still coming, I promise.
p.p.s. Is telling the truth at Christmas a U.K. thing? Because Americans certainly do not have any traditions around truthfulness and Christmas – quite the opposite. Oh, yes, Aunt Martha, I loved the socks you knitted me.
Wednesday, December 23, 2015
So this, this is Zoie Palmer riding a mechanical bull. Yep, Christmas came early, lesbians. And *low whistle* was Santa ever good to us.
Tuesday, December 22, 2015
Oh, hey. Sorry, the holidays and such. I have family visiting and, well, craziness ensues. But, I was able to get my last Women & Hollywood column for the year. I have picked out the Top 10 Most Memorable TV/Film Moments for Queer Women. Yes, I know, I have probably left your favorite off the list or forgotten something terribly important. I pre-apologize. But please, in the spirit of the season and all of that, enjoy. Or silently seethe at my omission. Whatever makes you feel merry and bright. You can read it here.
Monday, December 21, 2015
Oh, Tina, if only. So My Fake TV/Movie Wife hosted “Saturday Night Live” with her BFF/Imaginary Lesbian Lover over the weekend. And while the show was – as pretty much always – uneven, what was great was these two and their unbreakable chemistry. My favorite skits:
Hillary, Hillary & Sarah:
Tina & Amy’s Dope Squad:
Admittedly, that last recurring skit about terrible acting advice is really dumb. And it was obviously a mini parody of “Carol.” But I will take it because Tina and Amy admit their lesbianism and talk about kissing. Break out the George Jefferson dance, y’all.
Cheers, ladies. Cheers forever.
Friday, December 18, 2015
Here.For.It. Ever since the all-female "Ghostbusters" was announced I've been as thrilled as the misogynistic fanboys have been incensed at its existence. Which is to say as pissed and pouty as they are is as excited and overjoyed as I am. Times three. Now come the four badass character posters for Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon in full Ghostbuster gear. Which means we have another chance to luxuriate in a bath of fresh Male Tears. Suck it, dudes. This movie is gonna be awesome and there's nothing you can do about it but cry. Admit it, you'd call those ladies any day, ghosts or no ghosts. Happy weekend, all.
Thursday, December 17, 2015
Two Tina Fey movies in less than three months? Thank you, universe. So My Fake TV Wife is rapidly becoming my Fake Movie Wife and I am OK with that. Her newest is “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot,” the true-life account of foreign war correspondent Kim Barker. It’s based on her book “The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan” about her time embedded with troops in the Middle East. And, if The New York Times is to be believed, Tina was made for the part. Here is an excerpt from the paper’s 2011 review of the book:
It’s not just that Ms. Barker is adept at dramatizing her own adventures as a reporter — though she develops the chops of a veteran foreign correspondent, she depicts herself as a sort of Tina Fey character, who unexpectedly finds herself addicted to the adrenaline rush of war.See, it was meant to be. See you at the movies, honey.
Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Turns out, this is the “Star Wars” sequel you’re looking for.
It’s been a pretty prodigious week for me in the seeing awesome movies department. On Monday I went to see “Carol” (FINALLY) and yesterday I attended a screening of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” (YAHOO). I want to take my time to truly digest and give you the luxurious “Carol” review you deserve (and since the studio is taking its damn sweet time releasing it to everyone anyway, there is no rush).
So instead let’s discuss that galaxy far, far away. I’ve leave the exuberant pontificating the critics who all posted their finally embargo-free reviews at 12:01 a.m. on the dot this morning. But what we need to talk about is Rey.
You guys, Rey is so important. And Finn is so important. And Poe is so important. This movie feels so fresh and so different, yet still so incredibly familiar. And the reason for that is because instead of continuing to offer us only the narrowly defined white male hero stories, “The Force Awakens” has diversified its cast and its champions to be more reflective of the true world around us. A young woman, a young black man, a young Latino man are all allowed to be our heroes. It seems so simple, yet is often so unattainable by Hollywood standards.
But back to Rey. Here is a “Star Wars” movie that passes the Bechdel Test (though albeit not by a ton). Still I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone, because really this is a movie truly best enjoyed without revealing too many plot points. Still I can’t tell you how pleased I am with Rey and actress Daisy Ridley. I went in without too many expectations and came out wanting an action figure. And that’s part of the joy and hope of this new installment. Because I know I won’t be the only one inspired by her, and the rest of the cast. Little girls, little boys, big girls, big boys, everyone.
Let’s just put it this way, girl, I can’t wait for the next movie.
Tuesday, December 15, 2015
Just a friendly neighborhood reminder that I’m currently recapping “Jessica Jones” over at AfterEllen. Fresh and ready recaps go up on Mondays (every now and then Tuesdays, if it has been one of those weekends). You can find this week’s recap here. Also, this is a friendly neighborhood reminder that Orphan Crack continues to be some of the most clever mashups around. Oh, and Tatiana Maslany wuz robbed by the Golden Globes. But then, you knew that already.
Monday, December 14, 2015
Today is the day. Today is the day I am FINALLY going to go see “Carol.” This weekend was the first rollout of the film past its New York and Los Angeles opening cities. According to reports, the expansion will continue ever so slowly, with more locations not being added until Christmas Day. [You can see a list of U.S. city release dates here and international city release dates here.] The Carol website also has a ticket finder, which isn’t terribly helpful right now if you aren’t in NY, LA or SF. But, hopefully, soon. I will freely admit that I do not understand the reason for this agonizingly slow release schedule, unless it’s just to torture gay ladies across the globe. But I can only keep the faith that the wait will be worth the reward. I’ll let you know soon. Until then, please allow “Invite me around” to become your go-to pick-up line.
E.T.A. Yep, it really happened. It really, really happened.
Friday, December 11, 2015
“Scream Queens” was ridiculous, naturally. Though, as a Ryan Murphy production, it was practically perfect because it didn’t have to make sense, follow a cohesive narrative or adhere to the rules of continuity, gravity or physics. But the one revelation was Billie Lourd. The 23-year-old daughter of Carrie Fisher and granddaughter of Debbie Reynolds is third-generation Hollywood royalty.
What I enjoyed about her Chanel #3 was her dry delivery and obvious lesbian tendencies. But, I will admit, the nostalgia and clear homage to her mom – and Princess Leia – with those earmuffs would have endeared me to her, no matter what. And knowing that she’ll be in the new “Star Wars” movie too, with those hair buns once again, fills the “Star Wars” nerd in me with a certain sentimental joy.
Also, I believe this will be the first time I’ve Weekend Crushed both a mother and her daughter. So there’s that. Happy weekend, all.
Thursday, December 10, 2015
Well, having the symbol of America try to attack Donald Trump was sure fun. But, in case you needed another a stronger palate cleanser from the unbridled hatred and unabashed demagoguery that is the Republican presidential candidate campaigns, please enjoy this video from our gal Hillary.
p.s. Yes, yes, it’s fine if you like Bernie. I like Bernie, too. But I just happen to like Hillary more. Though, clearly, either one would be a vast improvement over any and all of the GOP field.
Wednesday, December 09, 2015
Oh, man. Did I need that. America needed that. So Time released some behind-the-scenes video of Donald Trump trying to pose with a bald eagle. Needless to say, the eagle was having none of it.
This eagle is making America great again.
This eagle is the hero America needs right now.
A grateful nation thanks you for your service, Hero Eagle.
Tuesday, December 08, 2015
Maybe you’re feeling a little down. Maybe you’re tired of the rampant consumerism that has come to typify this so-called season of giving. Maybe you just don’t like the holidays all that much. All of those are perfectly valid ways to feel. So this, this is just a little something to cheer you up. While this is still a commercial and therefore related to our consumerism, it’s also pretty awesome. It comes from the people at GoldieBlox, who have made a name for themselves entertaining and empowering girls. You might remember them from their kick-ass Super Bowl ad last year. Hey, if you’re gonna spend your money for the holidays already on your nieces (or – or, if you more than just a cool lesbian aunt like me – your own kids, or your grandkids, or your friends’ kids, etc.), might as well be with folks like them.
Monday, December 07, 2015
Please, you knew this post was coming. Heck, the moment I knew My Fake TV Wife and Her BFF would be in another movie together, I started writing this post in my head. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, together again in “Sisters.” There is a God and she likes funny, smart, feminist women. And then I started getting excited about the onslaught of publicity these two would no doubt embark on together as the release of their first new film, their first together in seven years, drew near. Man, did these ladies not disappoint.
First, there’s their Glamour cover story. For the article they, quite literally, draw questions from a hat to pose to each other. One of my favorite exchanges – besides when they riff on how a question could come from Instagram (“You can ask a question now on a site where there’s pictures.”) – was a joke about their accomplishments and legendary closeness.
Tina: I would say that one of your greatest accomplishments, Amy Poehler, is that you have so successfully used your art and comedy as a source of positivity in the world, by creating Smart Girls [an online community for girls, encouraging them to be their authentic selves], by making [Leslie in] Parks and Rec not only a positive feminist character but creating a good-hearted worldview within that program.Then there’s also the New York Times feature on them, which describes them as “like ‘Lean In,’ but funny.” In that article Tina references the Bechdel Test by name and generally say really are their awesome and intelligent selves. But of course, because it’s a Monday and because you need this, I’ll focus on some of the funnier stuff.
Amy: Thank you. Please note that as we talk to each other, we’re holding hands and we’re touching feet. We’re very close.
On Amy playing a nurse in “Sisters”:
Amy: So did I do a couple nurse ride-alongs? No. But did I also sew up some people that got hurt on set? Yes. So my point is, I consider myself a registered nurse. I wrote some prescriptions.On Tina’s physical transformation for the movie:
Tina: You trached a couple people.
Tina: It’s not a biopic. But if I say it is, can I have an Oscar? Did you notice that I had a fake nose the whole movie? It was smaller than my real nose — very uncomfortable to wear. A nose corset.On Amy calling Tina by the nickname “Betty”:
Tina: And I would also like for The Times to call me BettyThat last one is particularly funny if you’re a regular NYT reader. Really, you should read both articles in full because, come on, it’s Tina and Amy. Of course, as a person who owns both this…
Amy: Betty the first time and the second time, Mrs. Betty.
…I may be biased.
p.s. You should also most definitely watch the very funny “Sisters – The Farce Awakens” featurette above. In fact, you should probably just go see the whole movie. #youcanseethemboth #andiplanto
Friday, December 04, 2015
So May-December relationships are nothing new. We’re so used to them these days, especially when it comes to rich and famous men, we barely bat an eye. In fact, it’s almost more shocking when a male celebrity marries someone his own age. Like, does that even happen anymore? Rarely.
Here are just a few May-December examples:
Robert Duvall (84) & Luciana Pedraza (43): age gap 41 yearsYet, of course, when an older woman starts a relationship with a younger man she is a cougar. Look out for those cougars, boys. They’ll eat you alive, those cougars will. Case in point, Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher, even though their age difference was a mere 16 years.
Patrick Stewart (75) & Sunny Ozell (36): age gap 39 years
Jeff Goldblum (63) & Emilie Livingston (32): age gap 31 years
Alec Baldwin (57) & Hilaria Baldwin (31): age gap 26 years
Steve Martin (70) & Anne Stringfield (44): age gap 26 years
Michael Douglas (71) & Catherine Zeta-Jones (46): age gap 25 years
Donald Trump (69) & Melania Trump (45): age gap 24 years
Harrison Ford (73) & Calista Flockhart (51): age gap 22 years
The thing that annoys me most, besides the obvious sexism of the older men with younger women are studs and older women with younger men are cougars narrative, is the power imbalance. For most of these men, their wives are far less famous/wealthy/powerful than their female counterparts.
Anyway, my point, and I do have one is that when there isn’t such a blaring power imbalance, I have less of a problem with such relationships, regardless of the sex of either party. Which is a long way to go to simply say mazel tov, Sarah Paulson (40) and Holland Taylor (72). The heart wants what it wants. And if the hearts of two supremely talented and all-together awesome ladies want each other together, all the better. Happy weekend, all.
p.s. Their official portmanteau is Hollah, pass it on. And all credit for it goes to the amazing Heather Hogan, of course.
Thursday, December 03, 2015
If dressing beautiful actresses in tailored menswear, taking photos of them for fancy magazines and putting the gender-bending images on the cover is a trend, I want it to never end. First Kate Winslet, now Lena Headey. I’ve never heard of Jocks & Nerds magazine (it’s from the UK, I believe). But I do want to thank them for this lovely photoshoot (with a hat tip for the fine folks at the Imagine Me & You Fansite for bringing it to my attention).
I think we all need this today, no? In fact, I think we deserve this.
Wednesday, December 02, 2015
No one else has turned ambush performance art and/or screaming into a successful career as well as Billy Eichner. His latest accomplice is the always great and frequently gay acting Julianne Moore. Let me tell you, this video is as awkward as it is an impressive display of Julianne’s acting abilities. I mean, she cries on cue for a baffled tourist. Also, man, does she says “fuck” a lot in her movies. Too bad there wasn’t a line from “Freeheld,” too.
Tuesday, December 01, 2015
Just a quick reminder, kittens. I am recapping the new Netflix series “Jessica Jones” over at AfterEllen weekly. The newest recap, for episode 102, will be up today. If you haven’t already, please check out last week’s recap of the premiere episode here. And on the off chance you haven’t checked out the series yet – or if you have and just can’t get enough – here are the show’s very stylized noir opening credits. They’re pretty much perfect, down to the slinky score which builds to an unraveled crescendo and then crash back down simply.
Monday, November 30, 2015
Hey, guess what, Peggy Peabody was gay more than just that once in 1974. The wonderful Holland Taylor has come out and said in an interview with WNYC that she is in a relationship with a woman. In fact, the 72-year-old actress said that most of her relationships have been with women.
And I quote:
“I’ve been really wrestling with this lately because most of my relationships have been with women and I don’t like talking about them because I don’t like talking about the politics of it all because I’m not political about it. I think we’re ridiculous in this country about it. Ridiculous. And so, it’s awkward because if I talk about relationships in my life or people that have been in my life, or somebody I’ve been seeing for a while or this, that and the other thing, I’d like to be able to just say that, without having to stop and say, ‘so have you come out?’ No, I haven’t come out because I am out. I live out.”So a not out, out person has come out finally officially in yet another nonchalant way. Huzzah. I will freely admit, I didn’t know about Holland. She never dinged my gaydar in any way other than the general, “Gosh, isn’t she an elegant badass” kind of way. Perhaps it was all those years on the dreadful “Two and a Half Men” skewed our readings on her (though, if that show did anything right it was keep Holland and Jane Lynch gainfully employed for a number of years). But then she was on “The L Word” and “D.E.B.S.,” too, so we have only ourselves to blame for not realizing.
And, of course, we’re all very curious about who this lucky woman Holland is dating, who she also admits she has a “very big age difference” with. I have my theories, and Google (and Twitter and Getty Images, et al) pretty much confirm them. Mazel tov to everyone involved, including us because that’s one more for Team Awesomely Gay.
Friday, November 27, 2015
By now many of you have probably already seen this. This video of Adele with the Adeles has been making the rounds for a week now. But I swear I’ve watched it half a dozen times because there is something intrinsically lovely about the whole thing. Same goes for Adele herself, of course. It’s such a delight to have her back, making new music and behind her delightfully cheeky and charming self. Also, if you haven’t already, do watch her sing “Hello” with toy instruments on Jimmy Fallon. Happy weekend, all.
Thursday, November 26, 2015
Happy Thanksgiving, kittens. Get your turkey (or Tofurky, for all you vegetarians) on – just not on you. For reference, please see above. Before you drift off into a blissful food coma, please consider your very important entertainment options when you wake up. I’ve helped you out in my latest Women & Hollywood column with a list of films by 15 Queer Female Filmmakers you can stream right now (including the above). Check them out here. I mean, it’s that or football. You’re welcome.
Wednesday, November 25, 2015
Many of you maybe preparing to go home for the holidays soon. So what a perfect time to break out the Lesbian PSA. Beware, small towns everywhere, we’re coming to show your daughters respect and bond over common interests.
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
If you’re ever feeling down. If you’re ever feeling low. If you’re ever feeling blue. Just remember this one fact. Everyone’s favorite former florist. Not to mention the most ruthless queen in all the land. This righteous goofball. Yes, her:
She got to show the Queen of England the Iron Throne.
Yeah, for real.
Now, isn’t your day so much better now?
Monday, November 23, 2015
So by now you have probably heard how beautiful, rapturous and all-around swoonable the new movie “Carol” is. I mean, come on, we were all already head-over heels in love just based on the trailer. So we waited, and waited, and waited waited waited for Nov. 20 when we were promised its gloriousness. Finally, a good lesbian movie. We deserve this. This is our moment. This is finally our time. But then Nov. 20 came and, damn, it’s not in a theater near me – or probably you. In fact it’s only playing in four theaters and only in New York and Los Angeles.
And, according to my sources, it won’t be expanding out until Dec. 11. Yes, DECEMBER – FREAKING – ELEVEN.
Look, I’m normally a pretty patient person. I mean, we as gay people, waited until June of this year to have our loving unions recognized and validated across our nation. Heck, we’re still waiting for the U.S. government to agree that the very fact of our existence as LGBT people isn’t reason enough or us to be fired. So, see, we’re a supernaturally patient people. But dammit if I don’t want to go all Veruca Salt and stomp my feet while screaming, “I WANT CAROL, I WANT IT NOW!”
Harumpf. This tantrum goes out to every gay lady not living in NY or LA. Stay strong, sisters. Our time will come.
p.s. Well at least all the NY and LA lesbians are taking advantage of their enviable position, since “Carol” apparently boasted the third-biggest opening of 2015 (in terms of theater average).
p.p.s. Looks like my sources where right. Here’s what the Weinstein distribution head said about the film’s rollout.
For now, Carol is staying put in four cinemas. … add “just a few markets in less than 20 theaters by mid-December.” Carol will reach about 100 theaters for Christmas and expand further after Christmas and New Year’s Day.Like I was saying, patience. Until then, here is another stupid gorgeous trailer to tide you over. Le sigh.
Friday, November 20, 2015
Imagine a TV show centered on a female heroine that spares us the spandex. Imagine a TV show centered on a female heroine that effortlessly passes the Bechdel Test. Imagine a TV show centered on a female heroine that hinges almost entirely on the concept of consent. Now just go to Netflix and watch it, because that show is “Jessica Jones.”
Having seen the first half of the season of the new Marvel ex-superhero series I can confirm that it is very good, fairly gay and absolutely terrifying. The terror comes not in the standard issue things-that-go-bump-in-the-night and/or bad-people-who-want-to-watch-the-world-burn kind of way we are used to seeing in movies and television. Global apocalypse is not what Jessica Jones is fighting.
Instead this is a much more personal. The terror is intimate in the way terror often isn’t, and also rather specific and universal for women as a whole. This is the horror of a man, a very bad man, who wants to consume us whole. A man who wants to, and effortlessly can, control us against our will. A stalker to the Nth degree. We’re talking too-close-for-comfort nightmare fuel at its finest.
The whole series drops on Netflix today and you’d better bet I can’t watch to watch the rest of the show. Sure, so far it needs more Carrie-Anne Moss. But what I’ve seen is more than enough to convince me that this is the stuff not only of nightmares, but dream TV. Happy weekend, all.
p.s. I will be recapping the series for AfterEllen, so look for fresh reviews each week starting Monday.
Thursday, November 19, 2015
So my latest column for Women & Hollywood (which I would greatly appreciate if you clicked over and read here) is about the concept of “The Model Gay.” It was sparked by screenwriter Ron Nyswaner’s comments (which he has since apologized for, since that is how our new cycle works) about the representation of the LGBT community in our media and entertainment. At its core is the thought that – out of fear of the bottom line and/or desire to fight back against negative representations – we have de-gayed ourselves in movies and TV to be more palatable to mainstream audiences.
He makes some valid points in his argument, which can be read in full here. But I think the bigger problem is less of one where we – as LGBT creators – censor ourselves from being our most authentic selves. Though, I have no doubt that that happens. But instead one – especially right now – where were the entertainment industry fails to give us fully realized LGBT characters. All too often we are there to check an imaginary box or to fill a diversity quota instead of being there because we’re interesting characters who deserve to be there.
This is not to say our media landscape if bereft of interesting queer characters – quite the contrary. We’ve got “Orange Is the New Black,” “Orphan Black,” “The Fosters,” Transparent” and other shows are doing it right. But still others have no-impact LGBT characters or, worse yet, tired tropes (particularly when talking about the “L,” “B” and “T” in our alphabet soup of otherness). Yes, that means you “Scream Queens,” “Rosewood,” “Empire,” “Bones,” “Gotham,” “Under the Dome,” “Grandfathered,” et al.
In summation, if you write better queer characters, Hollywood, we promise we will watch them.
Wednesday, November 18, 2015
I was not terribly impressed with 2012’s “Snow White and the Huntsman.” Sure, it was a gorgeous thing to look at. But its core was a mess with problematic messaging about the motivation for its central villain and blandly passive heroine. Also, can’t Snow White be the hero of her own story without a Huntsman to rescue her? (Yes, yes, I know original source material blah blah blah.) Still, I can’t help but be a little more excited for its sequel (and, I think, prequel), “The Huntsman: Winter’s War.” Granted, now the central character is full-on said Huntsman. But, goodness, how they’ve upped their awesome ladies quotient. Charlize Theron and Emily Blunt and Jessica Chastain, oh my!
The movie, once again, looks like a visual smorgasbord. And if the trailer is to be believed, we finally have an action movie where the ladies, instead of the dudes, drive the narrative. Plus, I’m just a sucker for anything that had women kicking ass. And you really can’t resist Charlize vamping it up with regal wickedness once more.
Granted, it does look a tad like, “Frozen: Elsa’s Revenge.” The cold never bothered them, anyway. But, you know what, I’ll let it go for the sake of the potential badassery.
My only other complaint: The snow-white cast. Just like it’s seemingly impossible for The Hollywood Reporter to think of a single actress of color to invite to its award-season roundtable, here is yet another Hollywood film with little to no (I think I saw a few black soldiers in there, maybe) diversity. I find it particularly galling in a fantasy film like this where the entire universe it inhabits is divorced from the restraints of reality. That’s not to say more realistic films get a free pass, but fantasies like this are only accountable to one’s imagination. So then to still cast a predominantly all-white is just a failure of creativity. Get it together, Hollywood. The world has always existed in beautiful Technicolor. Now if only your movies did, too.
Tuesday, November 17, 2015
I had the very good fortune to see Cameron Esposito and her fiancée Rhea Butcher together on tour not that long ago. Word of advice, do so immediately – they are capital “F” Funny. Also, they’re very incisive with their humor. Also super gay. So I think it’s super great (and gay) that they are teaming up with Amy Poehler and her Smart Girls for the new webseries She Said. How great is this? How great is it that two smart gay girls are making a series to talk with smart girls about smart subjects that we should all be talking about in the first place? Great, with a capital G.
Also, and I really cannot emphasize this enough, you should really go see Cameron and Rhea out on tour if you haven’t already. I mean, the side mullet alone is worth the price of admission.
Monday, November 16, 2015
The thing about releasing shows all at once for us to binge watch is sometimes – because we’re greedy and watched them so quickly – we forget how much you missed them when they’re over. Or, you know, maybe that’s just me. At least that’s what happened to me and “Transparent.” The series came out well over a year ago (Sept. 26, 2014) and won’t be back for another whole month (Dec. 11, 2015). The length of time between new episodes coupled with the fact that there was so little of it to begin with (10 half hour episodes equates to only five hours of TV total) has made me inadvertently forgetful. Like, oh yeah, I really loved that show. Damn, I miss it.
But watching the first teaser of the new season has it all rushing back to me. The humor, the heartbreak, the dysfunction, the queerness of it all. And, according to reports from my Afterellen co-horts, things will get more of all of the above – especially the queer part. Sarah and Tammy are having a Big Gay Wedding and we’re all invited. Yes, yes, I know I have reservations about Tammy. We all do. But everyone else? Yep, now I remember. I super miss this show.
Friday, November 13, 2015
Just keep squeeing, just squeeing. Look, my love of Pixar and in particular “Finding Nemo” is well documented here. That movie is my go-to happy place. So now that we finally have a trailer for its long-awaited sequel, “Finding Dory,” I am at I-Speak-Whale levels of excitement. Does that make sense? iiiiii dooooooooon’t eeeeeeeeeee-ven caaaaaaaare. Anyway, like I was saying. What makes this news even more exciting is that it will be only the second Pixar movie about a central female heroine (the first was 2012’s “Brave, which was fine but, I think we can all agree not upper-echelon Pixar storytelling.) So, couple that with the fact that the heroine in question is voiced by the Lesbian President of the United States herself, Ellen DeGeneres, and iiiiii aaaaaaam soooooooooo haaaaaaaaaa-ppy. Sorry, slipped into a little Whale again. Happy weekend, all.
Thursday, November 12, 2015
I have never met Peter Lindbergh, but if I ever do I would very much like to shake his hand. It’s not just that the famed fashion photographer is quite good at his job, surely. But more specifically its that he is very, very good at taking pictures of women in suits. You may remember some of his previous work. You know, the time we drooled all over our computer screens thanks to the sight of Cate Blanchett, Emily Blunt and Zhou Xun all impeccably suited up to sell watches. I know right now you’re thinking back and going, “Wait, what watches?” Exactly.
Now Peter Lindbergh has turned his lens to Kate Winslet. She posed for him for L’UOMO Vogue, which is apparently Vogue for Dudes. All I know is that Peter he has made Kate Winslet look kind of like a sexy guido. I mean, look at all those mesh shirts and copious necklaces and loose ties, oh my! Hey, I’m not complaining. In fact I’m deeply, deeply into it. But then I’m deeply, deeply into pretty much everything involving Kate Winslet, as one should be.
p.s. At least two of you sent me links to this photoshoot earlier in the week (Hat tip, sophie drx & DonaMarie for your vigilance and knowing my tastes exactly.)
p.p.s. Did you check out her shoes? Like, what size are those puppies? As a gay woman I’m experiencing a deeply confusing and yet entirely enjoyable feelings regarding the size of a woman dressed as a man’s shoe size and the correlating size of her, um, other attributes.
p.p.s. p.s. Yes, fine, it was rather disappointing of her to say talking about money and the wage gap between men and women in Hollywood is “a bit vulgar.” But maybe that’s just her British shining through. Or perhaps, since dressing as a dude, she no longer experiences a pay gap. Ahem.
Wednesday, November 11, 2015
Since every store in America is already pushing the rampant consumerism of the holidays on us, why not use it to our advantage? (Aside: Hey, idiots, how can there be a war on Christmas when there are already Christmas decorations in basically all the stores in Oct-fucking-ober? Also if your belief system is so fragile it needs to be reinforced on the side of your disposable coffee cup, perhaps you need a better belief system.)
Right, anyway, sorry – went off the rails on a tangent there, didn’t I? My point, and I kind of have one, since we’re already being bombarded 24-7 with messages about what and when and where to buy things, here are a few I’ve seen of late that I have actually rather enjoyed. Each time I see an advertisement not only embrace but celebrate LGBT people I can’t help but smile. Yes, we’re being used to help sell things. But, not that long ago, the thought of using any openly LGBT imagery to try to sell anything was practically unheard of. Heck, the first ad with a same-sex couple didn’t air until 1994. (Thanks, IKEA. I almost forgive you for making me try to figure out those wordless furniture instructions.)
Our friends at IKEA have indeed kept up the good work, as evidenced by their above commercial. Granted, takeout dinner may not be everyone’s idea of a romantic anniversary dinner, but damn if I don’t fully covet the organization level of their sauce packet drawer.
I also got a kick out of this Campbell’s soup ad, which I saw in real-time on TV and delighted me to no end. Nerdy Star Wars-ism, wholesome soup and gay dads? Mmm-mmm good, indeed.
And, finally, this commercial has been floating around for a while. But it still gets me right in the FEELS each time. Shut up, I’m only human.
Bonus points as well for giving one of the moms a super, duper lesbian haircut. Points for accuracy, at the very least.
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
If there are two things I like it’s a zombies and lesbians. Wait, hold up, that probably sounded weird. I did not mean to imply that zombies and lesbians go together. Nor did I means meant to imply that zombies and lesbians are in any way, shape or form related. Or that one had a cause-and-effect relationship to the other, or vice versa. And, to further clarify, I only like my zombies on TV. I like my lesbians on TV and in real life. So, anyway, now that we have that cleared up, back to my original sentiment. For a lover of zombie apocalypse shows and lesbians in general like me, the two came together in an unexpected but very welcome way on “The Walking Dead” this week. (*Adopts Riversong Voice* Spoilers!)
Now we’ve known the character of Tara Chambers (played by actress and Camilla Belle look-alike Alanna Masterson) on “The Walking Dead” is gay since season 4. But, as is often the case on “The Walking Dead,” we only got to see her being gay for a very short time. Her girlfriend Alisha met a quick and unfortunate end because, you know, zombie apocalypse. But now, almost two seasons later, Tara’s dry spell seems to be over.
I’ll admit, I didn’t see it coming. Romance is sort of the last thing you expect when the dead are roaming the Earth. But, hot damn, if it isn’t great to see. To recap for those who don’t watch: The show follows a group of rough-and-tumble survivors led by Rick (a.k.a. the “To Me You Are Perfect” guy from “Love Actually”) during the zombie apocalypse. After a lot of drama, death and dismemberment they have found a seemingly idyllic safe-zone called Alexandria where the residents have largely been untouched by violence and reanimated corpses who now want to eat them. Tara is in Rick’s groups (it’s a long story) and was even in a short coma. She is now awake and has befriended the town’s resident psychiatrist-turned-reluctant trauma doctor, Denise (played by Merritt Wever formerly of “Nurse Jackie”).
In this week’s episode Tara’s encouragement of Denise came to a head, and the latter had a breakthrough in her new role as the resident life safer for the community. So then she thanked Tara – with her lips. Hey, no time like the present when you’re living in the apocalypse, amirite? Make your move now because zombies could easily eat you tomorrow. Here’s hoping for more of these two. And a long, bite-free life span for our new happy couple.
Monday, November 09, 2015
Mondays, kittens. Mondays. I’m still feeling a little blah and under the weather. But my determination to bring you something each and every week day remains as healthy as ever, even if a little tardy sometimes. So here, after a weekend when we finally saw some much needed rain in California, is a little sunshine. Brandi Carlile. was on CBS This Morning on Saturday and, of course, she killed it. As long as she keeps singing I’ll keep proselytizing in her name. Not that she needs my help. But, you know, it makes me feel useful at least.
Friday, November 06, 2015
You’ve made it to another weekend, kittens. So, clearly, that means you should treat yo self. How about a video of Melissa Benoist, a.k.a. Supergirl, playing with puppies? You survived five whole work days. Treat yo self. What about seeing Jennifer Lawrence
totally on purpose accidentally kiss Natalie Dormer? You did not tell any of your co-workers and/or boss to go fuck themselves – probably. Treat yo self. I don’t know about you, but the stupid time change really messed with my sleeping patterns this week so I’ve been tired and rather cranky ever since. But you know what? After treating myself to both these videos (possibly several times in a row), I dunno. I kinda feel better. Happy weekend, all.
(You only need to watch the first 9 seconds of that J-Law/N-Dor kiss video for the good bits. Though if you want to watch it unfold in real time fast forward to 1:52 and then 3:01 to relive the magic in full. Or, you know, just play the whole thing on repeat forever. Whatever works. It’s your treat.)
Thursday, November 05, 2015
So yesterday when I posted about the universal dislike by young’uns and old’uns alike of that infernal “The L Word” opening theme, a surprising number of you on said you actually liked the theme. (OK, it was three people on Twitter – but still, that three people like it is surprising.) So, as a
punishment appeasement to the lovers of all that talking, laughing, loving, breathing, fighting, fucking, crying, drinking, writing, winning, losing, cheating, kissing, thinking and dreaming, here are other shows all set to TLW theme. You asked for it. OK, three of you asked for it. To the rest of you, my apologies in advance.
p.s. Jesus fuck, those credits are long. Like over a full minute long. Maybe if they cut some of that shit down they could have shown more of the women in the midst of longing, loving, lusting instead of just singing about it.
p.p.s. I’d also like to remind people that this, this is actually how “The L Word” actually ended. In actuality.
p.p.p.s. For shits and giggles, here is “The L Word” done “Friends” style. Please also note that the “Friends” theme song is half as long as that damn Betty song.
Wednesday, November 04, 2015
Oh, youth. Or, should I say, youths. So here’s a video making the rounds: “Lesbians Watch ‘The L Word‘ For The First Time.” It should be more accurately titled: “Millennial Lesbians Watch ‘The L Word’ For the First Time,” but it’s from Buzzzfeed so I guess the “Millennial” was implied. Anyway, the one thing I can definitely agree on is how terrible the theme song was. Don’t worry, wee lesbian youth, even us olds know how truly, truly, truly terrible that Betty song was, is and will always be.
Tuesday, November 03, 2015
Exciting news, gay ladies and friends/loved ones/casual acquaintances hoping for more of gay ladies, I’ll be recapping the new Netflix series “Jessica Jones” for AfterEllen this season. I’ve already gone into detail about why the upcoming series based on the Marvel comics should be pretty exciting news to queer ladies, as well as just ladies in general. (i.e. Trinity plays a lesbian, et al). So I’m very much looking forward to the series and hoping for much lesbianing (and bisexualing and sexually fluidity-ing, etc.) The show lands Nov. 20 on Netflix for your binging pleasure, and my recaps will run weekly on AE. So, cracks knuckles, let’s tackle this whole new fandom thing together.
Monday, November 02, 2015
So it’s raining here today, which to explain to all of you not living in California, is very unusual and very welcome. I’m off work today, which also means I get to enjoy it in full while curled up on the couch and binge watching some of my favorite shows. So, in honor of this wonderful rain, here is a taste of one of those favorite shows. Snuggle up to some Naomily love, kittens. Happy Monday.
Saturday, October 31, 2015
Halloween is probably my favorite holiday. This could be because Halloween is also the day before my birthday, so that means candy AND presents. Plus, who can resist the spooky stuff. (Note: spooky and scary are different, I’m not a scary stuff fan – hence my dislike of horror movies.) Right, we’re getting off track. Long story short, Halloween is good. Buffy is good. Halloween plus Buffy is great. Happy Halloween (and birthday) weekend, all.
Thursday, October 29, 2015
After yesterday’s World Full of No casting news about that terrible, terrible gender-reassignment-surgery-as-punishment-revenge-story with two talented actresses who should know way, way better, how about some good news? How about two good newses?
First, Kristen Stewart and Chloe Sevigny are in talks to star in a new psychological thrilled about famed (alleged) murder Lizzie Borden. Chloe would play Lizzie and Kristen would play her family’s live-in maid, Bridget Sullivan, with whom Lizzie also (allegedly) had a romantic relationship. Lesbian love and axe murder? Does it make me a bad person to be extremely excited about this possibility? Probably, but I’ve come to terms with it.
Second, Clea DuVall (who, coincidentally, played Lizzie Borden’s sister in the recent Lifetime miniseries about her), has also recently been cast in a new project. She will join the upcoming USA network series “Brooklyn Animal Control.” I know, I know, you’re having visions of Clea cuddling with rescue puppies and stray kitties right now and your little gay heart is about to explode. Hold up, this is a different kind of animal. Like werevolves. The show is based on a comic by the same name and Clea plays the eldest daughter of her werewolf clan mother and the heir apparent to lead her people. Yep, I’m in. I’m so in.
I’ve come to accept that while I enjoy a good straight (no, not that sort of straight) drama or comedy, I’m most apt to get excited about crime and/or genre shows. And both these projects are right up that alley. See, now doesn’t that soothe away just a little of the rage from that other news? OK, not really. But any good news is welcome addition, at least.
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Uh, so this seems like a bad idea – right? There is a new movie in production called “Tomboy, a Revenger’s Tale” that “centers on an ace assassin who is double-crossed by gangsters and falls into the hands of rogue surgeon known as ‘The Doctor,’ who turns him into a woman. The hitman (now a hitwoman) sets out for revenge…” Now, it’s hard to fully judge given that all we have is a two-sentence synopsis right now, but who read those two sentences and said, “Yes!” in the first place? If I’m reading that right this is a film about a forced gender reassignment surgery and subsequent revenge fantasy. Like I was saying, this seems like a bad idea – right?
But what’s throwing me for the biggest loop about this movie is that it will star Michelle Rodriguez (as the assassin) and Sigourney Weaver (as the surgeon). I KNOW! Two of the female action biggest bad-asses in the world. Under almost any other circumstances I’d be thrilled that these two were going to star opposite one another. But this transgender sex reassignment as punishment that must be avenged hooey is, well, hooey.
GLAAD has already issues a statement saying as much. Why couldn’t this have just been a story about a trans hitwoman? Or a story about a tomboy assasin? Heck, even a revenge story about a wanted (though botched – à la “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”) gender reassignment surgery would have been better. But this? Yeah, this seems like a bad idea. And that ain’t right.
Tuesday, October 27, 2015
Right, fine, so technically they aren’t all wearing tank tops in the above image. But I think, deep down, in spirit they are. Goodness, I had forgotten how much I loved seeing the ladies of the United States Women’s National Team all over the place. So consider this a little refresher for everyone. Plus, you know, who can resist a good tank top – even if only in spirit.
Technically, this is a swimsuit. But, as I always say, a swimsuit is just a tank top that doesn’t know when to stop.
Technically, this is a muscle shirt. But, girl, the boots more than make up for that.
Technically, this is a camisole. But, we all know, a camisole is just a tank top that wants to Netflix and chill.
Technically, this is a vest. But, duh, that makes it even gayer.
Technically, this is just netting. But, please, like you’re complaining.
Technically, this is overalls. But, yeah, overalls.
Christine and the Queens
Technically, this is really a tank top. But, I told you, I am just really into her music right now.