Friday, July 31, 2015

My Weekend Crush

Sometimes I forget how much I love Kate Winslet. Like I really, really, really, really love her. Still, again, sometimes she slips my mind. Perhaps it’s because she has been in a series of smaller movies (well, besides the “Divergent” franchise) which I haven’t seen in the last few years. And perhaps it is because despite being an enormous movie star she tends to keep out of the public eye. Whatever the reason, every time we do get a rare glimpse of her letting her true personality come out I fall in love all over again. She’s just such a cheeky delight.

So this weekend my advice to you is to give yourself a treat and watch her episode of “Running Wild With Bear Grylls.” IN his new series the noted British adventurer, survivalist and drinker of water off elephant poo takes celebrities on an intense two-day trek through the wilderness. Kate’s episode aired week and I cannot recommend it highly enough as a guaranteed mood lifter. It is available at or Hulu and probably innumerable other places of slightly more dubious legality. But however you find it do yourself a favor and enjoy. I can’t give away my favorite bits, lest it spoils the joy of discovering them yourself. But the above clip has already widely circulated. And it is just a small taste of what you can expect. Happy weekend, all.

p.s. In case you’re now hooked on the series, Bear will run wild with Michelle Rodriguez in two weeks. Hello.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Throwback Thursday

So am I doing this Throwback Thursday thing right? Sorta? How about pictures of celebrities when they were just wee little celebrities? I mean look at wee little Jodie Foster, circa 1884. Sweet merciful Zeus, that hair. Stars – they were once younger, just like us. Granted, some celebrities don’t get older – but that’s another story altogether. Anyway, here are a bunch of our favorite famous folks back in the day. TBT, as the kids say.

Glenn Close & Jennifer Beals, circa 1985
Eighties hair is the gift that keeps on giving.

Queen Latifah, Ingrid Casares & k.d. lang, circa 1990
What I wouldn’t give to have been a big lesbian fly on the wall here.

Natalie Portman, circa 1990
Who would have thought this cute face would grow up to be driven mad by ballet, pick feathers out of her back and have really hot lesbian sex with Mila Kunis. Wait, never mind – I totally see it.

Gillian Anderson, circa 1996
Imagine, just 20 years ago it was perfectly acceptable to wear your bathrobe to the Golden Globes.

Jill Hennessy & Angie Harmon, circa 2000
It’s a “Law & Order” ADA Off and we’re all winners.

Ellen Page & Anna Paquin, circa 2006
Aw, look at them. Before we knew they were both totally queer ladies.

Jennifer Larence & Selma Blair, circa 2008
Four years before Katniss, JLaw proves she was always a huge ham sandwich.

Jodie Foster & Kristen Stewart, circa 2002
People said the casting of K-Stew as Jodie’s daughter was uncanny…

Jodie Foster & Kristen Stewart, circa 1981 & 2000
…Yeah, I don’t see it… KIDDING, obviously.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Sweeps Lesbianism Redux

You must remember this. A lesbian kiss is just a kiss. A very special lesbian episode is just a thing to make us sigh. The fundamental things apply, that they won’t stay gay as time goes by.

Ah, yes, Lesbian Kiss Episodes. So many shows have had them. So many shows will no doubt continue to have them – though hopefully with less frequency and sensationalism. Though it’s funny how lesbianism so often seems to break out around Sweeps Week. Must be something about the cycles of the moon.

So now Vulture has handily compiled this video of Lesbian Kiss Episodes. I have to say, it makes me oddly nostalgic.

And, I will actually argue that some of these kisses were actually slightly more than just solely ratings stunts. I mean, sure, the ratings didn’t hurt. But there was actual bravery involved in 1991 when CJ and Abby shared a kiss on “L.A. Law,” because it was also primetime TV’s first-ever female same-sex kiss. Ever.

And the Roseanne kiss was also historic because, while still a one-off, the episode had more to do with homophobia and to show that lesbians – real ones – were actually everywhere. Even in middle America.

Also, as much as I am loathe to defend “The O.C.,” Alex (Olivia Wilde) and Marissa (Mischa Barton) actually kissed a whole bunch of times. And they had an actual relationship, which lasted about two months, with sex and everything. Sure it was short-lived and ended disappointingly for all of its lesbian and bisexual fans, but it wasn’t a just one-off.

So there you have it. So many random lesbian kisses. Which Very Special Lesbian Kiss is your favorite? You know you have one, fess up.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Storyline D.O.A.

Why did Senior Criminalist Susie Chang have to die? Good question, strange question. It’s a question I asked loudly two weeks ago in my recap when the episode first aired. A question we were all basically guessing at wildly for the whole week after it happened…until. Until the actress herself Tina Huang addressed it in an interview with Talk Nerdy With Us last week. So, how was this decision made? Did the actress want out? Had she booked another project? Was Was it anything other than a creative decision by the writers to kill of yet another – albeit this time for less sadly mandatory reasons – longtime character from this series?

So here is Tina’s answer to whether she knew about Susie’s death going into Season 6:

“I actually did. Jan and everybody at TNT handled it so professionally. I knew pretty early on but of course I didn’t want to spoil it for the fans and that was a really difficult secret to keep under wraps. The Susie character is such a fun lovable character that Jan Nash (the show runner) is very, very sensitive about. She called me and we were all really upset to see this character go. At the same time I think the story opens the world up to interesting story lines for the other characters to go through that grieving process. I knew pretty early on. The writers and directors of the episode called me and we all spoke privately.”
So, there you have it. It was a creative choice by the writers. Siiiiigh.

Writers have every right to write whatever stories they want. But the decision by a show built largely on cast chemistry to kill off another recurring, and – may I also say – beloved, character kind of baffles me. Yes, I get this is could be some big arc they want to have about grieving. But, dude, we already did that – and in very real, very sad life with Det. Barry Frost. So unless her death is part of a larger mystery that becomes a overarching plot this season, I just don’t get it.

Also, if her death was so integral to this season, why in the very next episode afterward, was there not one single, solitary mention of her, her passing or her absence from the crime lab? Hey, this person we supposedly like, respect and see every day in the office was murdered. Let’s all eat zeppole and ignore it!

Maybe they’ll get back to it this week. The writing staff was actually extremely sensitive and respectful in its handling of Lee Thompson Young’s unexpected death last season. But, then again, that makes me wonder why they want to revisit such a similarly emotional storyline. We’ve seen these people grieve – and for horrible real reasons. Why do it to us again?

The other thing about this decision that really drives me nuts is its essential halves the show’s diversity. Now we only have poor Nina Holiday to carry the torch. And – whether intentionally or not – they’ve basically added a white male while taking away a woman of color from the cast. Now the addition of Kent Drake to the crime lab smacks of a replacement for Susie Chang. And, as an Asian-American woman myself, I hate to see another character like Susie go. There are so few of us already. Why not give us our own (living) storylines instead of making our deaths catalysts for storylines in other (white) characters?

Like I was saying, siiiigh. Who knows, maybe it’ll all pay out fine. But for now, I’m left wondering what possible “interesting story lines” could be opened by these developments that seem worth this loss.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Last Girl

Oh, yes. Oh, no. No, but also yes. Yes, but also no. It’s the beginning of the for-real end of “Lost Girl.” I can’t really express my feelings. I’m excited to see how this story ends. I’m so sad this story had to end. So sad. Still not over it. But, alas, chin up. We soldier on. And we’ll analyze on as well with the very first new trailer for the final episodes. So let’s dive right in with six off-the-cuff reactions to the new footage.

1) The last eight episodes all take part in a discotheque?

2) Who knew Greek gods wore Vera Bradley?

3) Imma miss that overuse of eyeliner, I really am.

4) If Dyson gets to meet dad, Lauren better, too. Or, wait, maybe not – all things considered.


6) Is that Elektra?

7) Bo + Kenzi + Big Grassy Field = Guaranteed Epicness.

p.s. Don’t worry, I totally realize all that Lauren and Tamsin footage is old. Sneaky, sneaky, Showcase.

Friday, July 24, 2015

My Weekend Crush

So I know by now – as a good gay lady – you’ve heard the good news about this rumored “Xena: Warrior Princess” reboot. Cue an “Ayiyiyiyiyiyi!” war cry of joy. While Lucy Lawless herself has weighed in to say it’s more wishful thinking than done deal, it’s still something to dream about. And it’s worth getting our hopes up to hear that original series producers Rob Tapert and Sam Raimi are in on the very, very, very (very, very, very) early stages of some sort of reboot. Also, Lucy has already expressed interest in reprising her character. Time for an even louder “Ayiyiyiyiyiyi!” war cry of joy.

But here’s the part about these very (very, very, very) initial talks for a reboot that troubles me. It has been described as a “modern reboot.” On it’s face that isn’t terribly troubling, until you think about what “modern” reboot really means. Either a) Xena won’t be set in ancient times with the Greek gods and whatnot, or – and much more likely – b) Xena won’t be played by Lucy Lawless, but a more “modern” (code for “younger”) actress.

Look, I get the need to appeal to new generations of fans and all that. I really do. But I also think if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. And there’s nothing broken about Lucy. At 47 she is still plenty primed to play a warrior princess. Yet, by Hollywood standards for women, not so much. Yet at 67 Arnold Schwarzenegger is still considered plenty spry enough to reprise his role as the Terminator. And at 61 Sylvester Stallone is still considered plenty buff enough to play Rambo. Heck, even her male co-stars from the series around the same age – and even older – are still getting major starring roles in film and TV (57-year-old Bruce Campbell in the new “Ash vs. Evil,” 43-year-old Karl Urban in the “Star Trek” franchise, “Almost Human,” “Dredd,” “The Loft”).

Please allow Xena herself to respond to that kind of sexist bullshit.

All these arguments go for the return of Renee O'Connor, as well. Oh, don’t worry, I’d never forget about Gabrielle.

Look, like any respectable lesbian with a television set, I’ve watched my fair share of Xena episodes. I can’t say I’ve seen them all (or loved them all), but I have caught enough to have a true appreciation for all its campy, woman-powery, crazy-pantys glory. The key, always, to this show was it did not take itself too seriously, but it never underestimated the talent (and charisma) of its stars. So it took a special star like Lucy to bring it all together.

And, of course, there was all that glorious nudge-nudge, wink-wink lesbian subtext. So. Much. Subtext. The one modern reboot to the series I would appreciate is a transformation from subtext to maintext. While Ellen’s “Yep, I’m Gay” heard around the world happened during the show’s run, there were no other shows featuring lesbian leading characters. Xena went off the air three years before “The L Word” even started. But now, it’s a whole different time and a far more accepting society. So that kind of modernity, yeah, I’d love to see that. Not that I didn’t appreciate all the recurring “fish” jokes. Happy weekend, all.

p.s. Yes, I’m aware Xena died, or whatever, at the end of the series. Like that ever stopped a fictional character from coming back ever.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Same Love

If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time you know I get really, really, really excited about a few things. Tina Fey. Tank tops. Pretty ladies. And the “Freeheld” movie. Last fall I got excited about a picture of some dirty hands. Dirty hands! Then earlier this year Lionsgate won a fevered bidding war to release the long-in-the-coming feature film based on the Oscar-winning documentary short of the same name. According to The Hollywood Reporter they beat out Focus Features, Sony Pictures Classics and Netflix in the based on a “12-minute sizzle reel.”

Ever since then we’ve been waiting – rather impatiently – for the official trailer to be released. Hey, this thing has been kicking around since 2008. We’re allowed to get a little pushy at this point. I’ve waxed on already about the potential for this film. This could, at long last, be the lesbian mainstream crossover film we’ve been waiting for.

So now it’s finally here – courtesy an exclusive premier on Buzzfeed – and we can judge for ourselves.

So how about that sizzle? You can head on over to Women & Hollywood today for my more thorough analysis of the trailer. The only question is how many hankies this movie will take to get through. (I say 3 to 6.) They’re certainly playing up the inspirational message (complete with uplifting soundtrack). And while there might be a tendency to see this sort of story as quaint, given the recent US Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality, it’s as important now as ever to recognize what it took to get here.

It took the bravery of people like Laurel and Stacie to get here. It took people refusing to allow the world to treat their love as different to get here. And it will take the continued hard work, passion and dedication of everyone to ensure all of our rights.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

What Doesn't Tig Us Makes Us Stronger

So if you’re wondering what you should stream on Netflix (we all know you’ve already watched all the lesbian movies – even the ones with subtitles) you should definitely head over to the documentary section. Because there you’ll find “Tig,” the new doc about out comic Tig Notaro. Now, I have a full review over at Women & Hollywood (yep, I’m still writing for them – you can read some other past posts here, here, here and so on if so inclined).

But one of the things I’d like to expound on is how nonchalantly Tig’s sexuality is handled in the film. And, if you think about it, that’s fairly remarkable for a documentary about an out gay person. No drawn-out discussion of her coming out. No tortured discussion of her grappling with her sexual orientation. It’s just a statement of fact and then we move on to the things almost everyone deals with in life – finding love, wanting kids, dealing with mortality. It’s so refreshing, it really is.

As for the rest of the movie, it’s an intimate look at how someone rises from the ashes of what has to be the hardest year of her life. Yet it also has a light touch despite the tragedy that befell its subject. And, actually, it’s a sly love story. I won’t ruin it for you, but I will recommend it to you.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Fresno or Bust

Finally, it’s Fresno. The trailer for the new Jamie Babbit film “Addicted to Fresno” (formerly just “Fresno”) is finally here and it looks delightfully kooky. This tale of two sisters (played by Natasha Lyonne and Judy Greer) who work as hotel maids in Fresno and accidentally kill a guest is a dream reunion project for “But I’m a Cheerleader” fans. It brings director Jamie and actress Natasha back together with fellow “Cheerleader” alum Clea DuVall, while also bringing in “Parks & Recreation” vet Aubrey Plaza and SNL superstar(!) Molly Shannon among many others. Also, there are a lot of dildos. Like, a lot.

Anyway, in chronological order, my Top 5 moments from the trailer.

1) Aubrey looking lustily at Natasha.
The thirst is real.

2) Clea. Clea. Clea.
Did I mention Clea?

3) Dicks in a box.

4) Molly’s hair.
So wrong it’s right. Well, almost.

5) Natasha and Judy actually look like they could be sisters.
Like, for real.

So, are you excited yet? Also Jamie’s wife, “Portlandia” writer Karey Dornetto, wrote the script. So, yeah, get excited.

p.s. More things to get excited about? It was announced yesterday that Clea is about to helm her directorial debut for a script she also wrote. The project reteams her with Natasha (yassss) as well as Melanie Lynskey (“Heavenly Creatures,” and that Charlie Sheen show we won’t mention), Cobie Smulders (“How I Met Your Mother,” all those “Avengers” movies), Alia Shawkat (“Arrested Development,” “Whip It”) and more. They aren’t releasing the plot, which is kind of weird, but I sure hope it’s something gay. What? You are hoping it, too.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Country Strong

I’m not really a country gal. While I grew up in the Midwest and had plenty opportunity to get my twang on, I gravitated more toward indie rock. But I have enjoyed from time to time some of classics – Johnny to Willie, Patsy to Loretta. And what I’ve particularly liked through the years is the unmistakably strains of strong women standing up for themselves and taking absolutely no shit. Kitty Wells’ “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky-Tonk Angels,” Jeannie C. Riley’s “Harper Valley P.T.A.,” Dolly Parton’s “Just Because I’m a Woman,” Loretta Lynn’s “The Pill,” Martina McBride’s “Independence Day,” Dixie Chick’s “Goodbye Earl,” and so many more.

As a non-regular listener of popular country, I realize I’m about six months behind on Maddie & Tae’s “Girl in a Country Song.” But it’s never too late for a good, old-fashioned jolt of lyrical feminism. And, of course, it’s true. One grows ever so weary from the continued and relentless objectification, belittlement and worse of women in all genres of music – very much including country.

And, if like me, you don’t really listen to contemporary country music regularly you might not have realized the very recent controversy around playing women artists on the radio. In May a national radio consultant said in a major trade magazine that he cautioned stations from playing too many female artists. Like, he flat-out said that. And I quote: “If you want to make ratings in country radio, take females out.”

Instead he said female artists should be played sparingly like the decorative “tomatoes” in the predominantly male artist “salad.” I AM NOT EVEN MAKING THAT UP. Yes, I checked the calendar again, it’s actually 2015 and professional men are actually still saying stupid-ass shit like this.

But don’t worry, female artists like Maddie & Tae have already shot his sexist theory to smithereens with stone-cold results. In December their “Girl in a Country Song” hit No. 1 on the Billboard Country Airplay charts. So suck on them tomatoes, boys.

So today I extend my appreciation and admiration to those country music women out there fighting against The Man. And it’s also another excuse to post something about the continually delightful Kacey Musgrave, who just so happened to stop by NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert series on the day the Supreme Court legalized marriage equality across the nation. Yee-fucking-Haw.

Friday, July 17, 2015

My Weekend Crush

Please, like a trailer for the new Tina Fey and Amy Poehler movie would come out and I wouldn’t totally crush on it. Aw, man, I just love it every single times these two ladies get together. Like, who doesn’t enjoy watching two best friends doing what they do best? Sure, this film written by longtime SNL writer Paula Pell looks a tad like a gender-flip on the age-regression comedies like “Old School.” But, come on, how often do two women get to headline a high profile comedy together? Not bloody often. (p.s. Duuuudettes, how excited are you about having four women headline the new “Ghostbusters.” Each new shot from the set makes me practically giddy.) But, clearly, I digress. My point, and I sort of have one, is that this movie looks funny and my love for Tina and Amy continues to grow unabated. Happy weekend, all.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Orphan Crack

And in this moment, we are all Litchfield. Damn, you know how you can get sucked into those YouTube mashup rabbit holes where the further you go the better and weirder it gets? Well, welcome to Orphan Crack. I have no idea who this crazy editing genius named Pepa is, but I know she makes a mean crossover video.

Like, seriously.

No, but I mean it.

Yeah, told ya so.

Yep, like I was saying. Have fun with that rabbit hole.

p.s. Oh, oh, have you seen the real show’s new official blooper reel. Yeah, you are never getting off YouTube now.

p.p.s. AN EMMY NOMINATION FOR TATIANA MASLANY?!? I don’t know what to do with all the pent-up rage I normally store to unleash on the Academy this time of year. Group clone club dance off?

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Stars, they're just like oops

Just a reminder, in case you were having a shitty Wednesday, that Jennifer Lawrence continues to be a goddamn national treasure.

p.s. Yep, she has been hilarious since the start. Even back in 2012 when I compiled this video and people were still like, who is this Katniss girl?

p.p.s. Duuuude, how much do you love the new Hunger Games: Rhythm Nation teaser trailer?

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

"Proof" of Life

Anytime Jennifer Beals is on my television is a reason to rejoice. Yet, for whatever reason, it took me a month to finally get around to watching her new TNT series, “Proof.” While initially I had practically begged (not practically, I straight-up begged) that it be paired with “Rizzoli & Isles” on Tuesday nights, I realize I made a terrible mistake. Because of my recapping schedule I have little time to focus on any other show, especially on the same night. So, anyway, excuses excuses excuses.

The good news is I finally did find the time and the better news is I am happy I did. Not only is it lovely to see Jennifer back on screen on the regular, it’s an interesting premise. I mean, who isn’t curious about the search for life – or lack thereof – after death? It’s a big question show with a familiar formula. So it’s really a sneaky way of meshing a serialized melodrama with a case-of-the-week procedural.

But what really makes it work, of course, is Jennifer. Her no-nonsense, no-niceties Dr. Carolyn Tyler is a brilliant but prickly cardiothoracic surgeon. In “Proof” she’s a slightly less cranky Dr. House mixed with a slightly less skeptical Special Agent Scully. But it’s her realness that provides the needed backbone for a show that delves into ghosts, mediums and white lights.

I will say I could do with a tad more skepticism. So far from the cases we’ve seen they all seem legitimately otherworldly. Which is fine, if this show wants to all supernatural all the time. But to keep the healthy sense of disbelief alive long enough to keep us from going full “Ghost Whisperer,” it would be nice if a few of these near-death experiences turned out to be duds. I mean, they can’t answer The Big Question in the first season, right?

Another thing that makes me question the show’s long-game is the setup for this afterlife quest. It’s all being bankrolled by an obvious Steve Jobs doppelgänger tech billionaire played by Matthew Modine, who also happens to have terminal cancer. Let me repeat that last part: terminal cancer. Good thing he can afford the best doctors in the world or this could be a very short season.

Still, all these quibbles are minor compared to the how good it feels to see Jennifer back doing what she does best – being smart, kickass and in command on our televisions.

So, have you checked it out? Thoughts? Does it have you going toward the light? (The light here, obviously, is Jennifer Beals. Duh.)

Monday, July 13, 2015

Naked Lady Monday: Body Issue Edition

Please, you knew this was coming. I can honestly say that I read ESPN magazine for the pictures. Granted, I only “read” it for those pictures once a year. But when I do “read” it I read it cover to cover. Fine, that’s a bit of a lie. I don’t “read” the guy articles. But *low whistle* do I ever “read” the lady ones. What can I say, I am a reader.

Ali Krieger, soccer

Brittney Griner, basketball

Aly Raisman, gymnastics

Paige Selenski, field hockey

Amanda Bingson, hammer

Sadena Parks, golf

Dallas Friday, wakeboarding

Natalie Coughlin, swimmer

Khatuna Lorig, archery

Leticia Bufoni, skateboarding

Bonus Behind, ahem, the Scenes Kriegs