Thursday, November 30, 2017

When Vita Met Virginia

Hey, remember when I wrote about that trio of lesbian films with high-profile casts coming to a movie screen near (well, I hope near) you? Well, they’re really happening. While we may all still reeling from The Great Spit Debate of the fall, another film has revealed a far less controversial first impression.

The new film “Vita & Virginia,” starring Elizabeth Debicki as Viginia Woolf and Gemma Arterton as Vita Sackville West, looks to be a beautiful period and luxurious (or at very least luxuriating) piece from its first production still.

Set in the literary world of the 1920s, it chronicles the relationship between the two women. The film is described as a “timeless love story, told in a contemporary style, about two women who smashed through social barriers to find solace in their forbidden connection.”

I don’t know what else they will be smashing, ahem, but I certainly hope it is not this lovely vintage ride.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Who Run The L

So I guess we should talk about this new “The L Word” reboot showrunner news. As we already knew, The Chaiken will executive produce but would not have time to return as showrunner. So a search ensued and the lesbian powers that be picked filmmaker and actress Marja-Lewis Ryan. If you’ve ever seen the indie film “The Four-Faced Liar” (and, given every gay woman’s proclivity toward watching every lesbian movie ever – even the very, very, cough, “Bar Girls,” cough, bad ones – you probably have) you will know her work. Her IMDB page is a little sparse since her 2010 film debut. But that is about to change with big things besides her TLW gig coming up. She wrote and directed a movie with “Broad City” star Abbi Jacobson and that other Franco Dave Franco called “6 Balloons” coming to Netflix soon. And she has been tapped to write the screenplay for the gender-swapped “Splash” remake starring Channing Tatum as a merman.

So what can we expect from her revival of “The L Word?” Hard to say. I recall liking “The Four-Faced Liar” well enough. Though, to be perfectly honest, I can’t remember it all that well. My only concern is that her body of work so far has not been, shall we say, diverse. Like all her stars have been white. Like very, extremely white.

Considering diversity, and or its lack thereof, has been one of the continued dings on “The L Word” it’s an interesting choice. To be honest I would have loved to see Angela Robinson take the helm. Or maybe they could have stolen Dee Rees away from film.

Still Ryan said in a statement that she was, “beyond excited for the opportunity to usher in the next generation of diverse queer people. I couldn’t imagine a better time to make this show.”

So that’s encouraging. Thoughts, feelings? And, for real, do you remember “The Four-Faced Liar” better that I do?

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Fostering the Future

We haven’t crushed on Jodie Foster in a while. Which is, you know, a shame. After all she was my very first Weekend Crush. Granted, she is a happily married lady now. And, yes, there is still the bit about her very problematic past support of Mel Gibson. But, as this year has made abundantly clear, nobody’s perfect. (Though, goodness, wouldn’t it be nice if more men were perhaps not horrible sex monsters?)

Sigh. Anyway, here are some very lovely photos from the UK Harper’s Bazaar of a very smart actress who I still respect despite her whatever her perceived personal blind spots may be. (Again, seriously, that dude does not deserve this kind of devotion – also please don’t do another Roman Polanski movie again, please.)

Damn, if that woman doesn’t wears a jacket well.

Monday, November 27, 2017

A Wonder Woman

In my continued attempt to start each week with Not Awful News (which, of course, is so much better than so-called Fake News), here is a little slice of inspiration. This viral Twitter post got me looking into the life of silver screen legend Hedy Lamarr, who would have turned 103 earlier this month. The actress was widely considered one of the most beautiful women in the world during her heyday from the 1930s to 1950s. She starred as Delilah in Cecil B. DeMille’s famed “Samson and Delilah” and numerous other hits. But what you probably don’t know (other than the fact that her first name is actually Hedwig), is that she was also a talented inventor and self-taught scientist.

In fact, in 1942 during World War II Hedy along with composer George Antheil invented a “Secret Communication System” to help guide torpedoes that is widely considered to be a precursor to the wireless spread spectrum technology of today that includes Bluetooth, GPS, cell service and wifi. I know, right?

The Navy didn’t apply her work during WWII, but in the 1960s it rediscovered her patent and started applying the technology for military purposes. Decades later, in 1997, her contributions to the field were honored with an Electronic Frontier Foundation Pioneer Award.

It’s like the phrase “not just another pretty face” was made for her. Wait, scratch that, it’s like the phrase “not just another pretty face” was made for all women because our society continues to judge us based on our appearance as if we’re just objects to be ogled while men do the important work, but surprise we have brains that work and ideas that can change the world if only you will take us seriously and listen instead of imagining us naked for one goddamn second. And with that, happy Monday, kittens.

Friday, November 24, 2017

My Weekend Crush

As you all are abundantly aware, I’m all about the ladies here at Surrenders. But that doesn’t mean I’m opposed to the occasional cool dude here or there. And right now one of the coolest is Ezra Miller, a.k.a. The Flash. The actor came out as queer in 2012 and has been a unique voice in Hollywood ever since. So imagine my delight at this interview Ezra and Gal Gadot, done while promoting their new “Justice League” movie. I mean, how can you beat the awesome of The Internet’s favorite boycrush and girlcrush, respectively, being awesome together? You can’t. And, kittens, things get so, so good at the 2:04 mark. Trust me, it’ll make your whole and entire everything. Happy, misogynists and sexists, your wrath upon this world is over weekend, all.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Catesgiving

Happy Thanksgiving! Today I am thankful for, among other things, this photo of Cate Blanchett in a suit. Eat, drink and enjoy this very special Gender Fuck Thursday suit edition, kittens.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Champagne or Cot

I know, I know – I already wrote about the big Very Softball Coming Out episode of “Fresh Off the Boat” last week. But, kittens, it really needs to be seen to be truly appreciated. Plus it is almost a holiday here and I wanted to send you into your long weekends with the warm fuzzies. Here is the coming out experience we all wish we had. C29, baby!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Real Hockey Moms

Hey, remember when that crazy lady from Alaska who thought she could be one heartbeat away from the presidency kept bragging about how she was a “hockey mom?” Well how about we erase those terrible memories with two real hockey moms instead.

Last week Julie Chu and Caroline Ouellette, the former captains of the United States and Canadian women’s hockey teams, respectively, introduced their newborn daughter to the world. Liv Chu-Ouellette was born on Nov. 5 and the two hockey stars couldn’t look happier in their announcement post on Instagram. Say it with me, awwwww.

Yes, the world is a crazy crazy place – particularly now, but you’d better believe these moms are going to hard check anyone who even thinks of hurting their beautiful bundle of joy. Now if only we could all have our own real personal hockey moms the world would be a much better place.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Saving Maura Pfefferman

Recast Maura Pfefferman with a trans actress.
Recast Maura Pfefferman with a trans actress.
Recast Maura Pfefferman with a trans actress.
Recast Maura Pfefferman with a trans actress.
Recast Maura Pfefferman with a trans actress.

And, once more, for the people in the back - recast Maura Pfefferman with a trans actress.

p.s. I have a lot more to say about this in a guest column for The Hollywood Reporter you can read right here.

Friday, November 17, 2017

My Weekend Crush

As I have mentioned before, “Madame Secretary” is one of those show I only watch when I fly home to visit my mom. It is not that there is anything intrinsically wrong with the show (hello, Madame Leoni). But I just did not have a compelling enough reason to add it to my repertoire. Until, perhaps now. You will no doubt recall late last month when the Sara Ramirez picture that made all lesbians go “HOT DAMN” was released. Well now we can see it in motion. Yeah, fine, I am setting my DVR for this Sunday. Happy weekend, all.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Gender Fuck Thursday

Look, admittedly we live in confusing times. Men can’t seem to figure out when it is and isn’t appropriate to masturbate in front of terrified/revolted women. A 14-year-old girl is a perfectly good dating prospect if you’re a white Republican would-be senator. And the president calls hostile world leaders with access to nuclear weapons “short and fat” because of course he does. But one thing there should be no confusion on is that Hope Hicks in a tuxedo is not a good thing. Granted, Hope Hicks in a tuxedo is empirically not a terrible thing. It fits her nicely and I always approve of women in what has been traditionally considered menswear, always. But, alas, she is a woman in a tuxedo who works in service of an evil toddler who treats women, POC, LGBTQ people, Muslims, immigrants and anyone who isn’t a rich white man like absolute shit. So yeah, Hope Hicks in a tuxedo is not a good thing. But do you know what there should also be no confusion about? Allison Janney in a tuxedo is a very, very, very (very, very, very) good thing. In these confusing times cling to what we hold most dear. Thank you, Allison. We all needed that.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Amazonian Fail

If you every wondered if it matters who gets to tell stories, look no further than the new costumes for the Amazons. You remember the Amazons, right? Fierce warriors of Themyscira who are tasked with defending the world against the evils of man. They ride horses and shoot arrows and swing from ropes and kick all of the ass. Remember? And to do that they need sensible yet attractive battle armor, right? Right.

Well, not anymore.

Say goodbye metal breastplates and hello leather bikinis in the new “Justice League” movie. Now we’re not talking about their lounging around Paradise Island clothes here, which in the “Wonder Women” film also tended to be leather and midriff heavy. At least makes some sense given the Mediterranean locale. We are talking about what the Amazons actually wearing into battle with their swords and their bows blazing. Can you spot the difference above in “Wonder Woman” at left and in “Justice League” at right?

Here maybe it helps if I tell you who was behind the Amazons.

On your left: director Patty Jenkins and costume designer designed by Lindy Hemming. On the right: director Zack Snyder and costume designer Michael Wilkinson.

Like I was saying, it matters who gets to tell stories.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Lesbian Off the Boat

I’ve talked about “Fresh Off the Boat” a little here. Namely, it’s a wonderful show and Constance Wu deserves all of the Emmys. All of this is true, and then this season the show went and added my favorite thing ever: A sustained lesbian storyline.

Earlier this season Nicole, the teenage daughter next door to the Huang family, came out to Eddie (the Huang’s eldest son and de facto show narrator).

I was wondering if it would be a one-off or just a recurring joke. But instead the series decided to explore it further and had the Very Special Coming Out episode last week. And it was sweet, it was so sweet. There was softball and Melissa Etheridge and guitar-playing wiccans who love to camp.

The series creator is out lesbian Nahnatchka Khan, whose previous credits include “Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23” and “American Dad!” But don’t just watch because of that or because it’s one of the only show on broadcast television with such abundant Asian American representation. Watch (it airs tonight, hint hint) because it is, hands down, very funny. And now, also, quite gay.

Monday, November 13, 2017

A Reckoning

This seemingly endless parade of Bad Men being finally exposed is a reckoning. After thousands and thousands of years living under the patriarchy, perhaps women have at long last had enough. Perhaps women have, at long last, decided they cannot stomach the subjugation one second longer. Perhaps women have, at long last, decided men – yes all men, not just the abusers and the assaulters – must aknowledge this awfulness once and for all.

What the Weinstein story broke was a dam that supported the status quo of abuse, assault, harassment and horrible behavior of Bad Men. We seemingly allowed this abuse because said men were rich, powerful, important, brilliant, et al. But, truth be told, men don’t need to be any of those things to get away with abusing women (and other men, because both women and men fall victim to toxic masculinity). They just needed to be men. And for women (and, again, other men) the price of existence in this society was absorbing the daily indignities, humiliations, objectifications and abuses that they doled out. That’s show business. That’s [insert work field here]. That’s just life. Suck it up. Deal with it.

I don’t know what the ultimate outcome of this unveiling of the awfulness of far too many men will be. Will we move forward as a society in a way that treats women as more than just sexual objects or secondary life forms? The cynical part of my brain says any purge this successful will be met with a backlash twice as ferocious. The status quo hates to be threatened.

But in other ways I am encouraged. Over the weekend Ellen Page wrote a searing post on Facebook about her own experiences with homophobia and harassment in Hollywood at the hands of serial harasser and all-around asshole Brett Ratner and others. She also apologizes for her past work with Woody Allen and calls it “the biggest regret of my career.” The remarkable piece also takes note of her own privilege in the industry, as a rich, successful white actress. We are hearing these and believing so many of these stories now because the women who are telling them have power. Many of them are incredibly famous and highly acclaimed actresses. But think of the truly countless number of stories women whose names we don’t already know have to tell about these men. The waitresses. The assistants. The clerks. The service workers. Poor women. Women of color. Queer women. The truly voiceless.

If the most famous women in the world didn’t feel comfortable speaking out until now, think of all the other women who still live in fear. We all have to work harder to create a world that believes women. And we have to end the stigma associated with sexual abuse and assault that assumes women were somehow asking for it by simply existing.

This takes standing up for what is right and using our power to lift up other women and root out Bad Men. Also over the weekend we saw this start as it was revealed that Gal Gadot, a.k.a. Wonder Woman herself, will only sign up for the sequel if Ratner and his production company are out. You see, when Warner Bros. signed her as Wonder Woman they did so for three films: “Batman vs. Superman,” the standalone “Wonder Woman” movie and the upcoming “Justice League.” Unlike most male superhero franchise stars they failed to sign her up for a stand-alone sequel to “Wonder Woman,” for reasons one can only assume have to do with her double X chromosomes.

So now what is she doing with the considerable clout she has earned by her massive success as Diana of Themyscira? Using it to make the playing field more fair and remove a stain on the industry. How truly super. Then maybe, just maybe, the time of the Brett Ratners and Harvey Weinsteins and Louis C.K.s of the world will truly be over.

p.s. While Hollywood does a long overdue house cleaning, it would be nice if politicians would read the fucking room. How much courage does it take to denounce a man who had sexual relations with a 14-year-old girl and other teenagers as a 32-year-old man? None, it takes no courage. It just takes being a decent human being. While they have long lost the so-called moral high road, if the Republicans elect Roy Moore next month they truly stand for nothing but clinging to power. And, yeah, I know – don’t get me started on that fucking repugnant pussy grabber in the White House. The reckoning can’t come soon enough.

Friday, November 10, 2017

My Weekend Rage On

It’s been a hell of a year. Take Uma’s measured yet clearly furious response to the recent revelations of serial sexual harassment, abuse and assault within the entertainment – not to mention basically every other – industry and apply it to all your unassuaged anger at the world these last 365 days. Better yet, take her Krazy 88s scene from “Kill Bill,” and consider it our collective literal and figurative response. Rage more weekend, all.

Thursday, November 09, 2017

ValkAzons Unite

Dear Movie Goddesses:

Please make a movie where the Amazons from “Wonder Woman” and the Valkyrie from “Thor: Ragnarok” team up and save the world from all enemies foreign and intergalactic. Picture it, two legendary bands of female warriors from ancient myth bound by destiny to fight evil now side-by-side. It’s a can’t miss blockbuster and every gay lady I know has already purchased 10 tickets in her head.

Your respectfully,
Ms. Snarker

But, for real, can we talk about how much I loved Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie in the new, fun Thor film? (Also, it doesn’t hurt that it also has Cate Blanchett evil vamping it up in skin-tight latex.) Tessa has wonderful swagger in the film. In short, she’s a true badass and I want her to call me immediately.

Now the character of Valkyrie is canonically bisexual in the comics. Unfortunately in the film you have to do some serious reading between the lines to suss out her sexuality. But there is one scene, where it seems her fellow Valkyrie/girlfriend takes a sword for her and she responds with anguish, that hints at queerness. There’s also her general badassness, which I always read as queerness. But hey, I’m biased that way.

The scene also interestingly mirrors a scene in “Wonder Woman” where General Antiope takes a bullet and her right-hand-woman/fellow Amazon comes running up in anguish.

Anyway. What I’m trying to say is the mash-up Valkyrie/Amazon movie is a no-brainer and also super, duper queer. So make it so, movie goddesses, make it so.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

What a Difference a Year Makes

I approach today with no small amount of dread. Today, the one-year anniversary of the 2016 presidential election. Today, the one-year anniversary of the most egregious electoral outcome in modern American history. Today, the one-year anniversary of the dream of seeing a 240-year-old barrier finally broken denied. Today, the one-year anniversary of Hillary Clinton not becoming the President of the United States of America.

When I look back at the hope, the optimism and the belief in a better America I had at the start of Nov. 8, 2016 versus the start of Election Day 2017 and, well. Let’s just go to the meme:

I remember, so vividly, the pride I felt going into the polling place to cast my ballot for history and Hillary. I remember the relief I felt at not having to see or care about Donald Fucking Trump anymore. And I still have nightmares remembering how it all, slowly but surely, went to shit.

It’s hard for me to read things I wrote before Nov. 8, 2016. There’s a hopefulness that hurts and a naïveté about the simmering resentfulness and flat-out ugliness of so many American voters that is still devastating. I believed in an America that does not exist.

But here’s the thing about this big, often unwieldy and too often unworthy American experiment – as many times as it breaks our hearts, if we pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off and try even harder the next time we almost always find a way (however painfully slowly) forward.

And for proof, I give you Nov. 7, 2017. It was, quite possibly, the first good night for this democracy in 364 days. Democrats win the governorships in Virginia and New Jersey. Democrats poised to flip the Virginia legislature from red to blue. Virginia Democrat Danica Roem beat a virulently anti-LGBT Republican incumbent to become the first out transgender person elected to a state legislature in the United States. Virginia Democratic candidate Chris Hurst, whose TV reporter girlfriend was shot to death live on television, ran on a gun-control platform and beat an incumbent Republican. Lest we think all the good news is out of Virginia, in Minneapolis Democrat Andrea Jenkins became the first out transgender woman of color elected to public office in the U.S.

I could go on and on because it was really that good of a night.

But all I really want to say is to take the rage and disappointment and despair and fear you felt on the night of Nov. 8, 2016 and channel it into work. Channel it into action. Channel it into votes. And on Nov. 6, 2018 let’s have an even better night.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Mind Torv

Kittens, I am kind of disappointed in you. Why did none of you tell me Anna Torv was in “Mindhunter?” And why did no one tell me Anna Torv was (you should really stop reading if you don’t want to be spoiled about a slow-reveal plot point – I mean it, this is your last chance) a lesbian in “Mindhunter?” I feel like the whole thing was an epic fail of the usually reliable Big Lesbian Phone Tree.

I’ve been a fan of Anna Torv for almost 10 years. I first started watching her in “Fringe” and then was delighted to realize she also had a very memorable arc on the original U.K. series “Mistresses” (very, very memorable). And then she kind of went away and I almost forgot about her almost. And then this where I rediscover her on Netflix’s new beginnings of serial killer profiling FBI series “Mindhunter.”

What I’ve always liked about Anna is the unshakeable competence she projects. She just seemed so capable. Like you knew she meant business and was not to be fucked with. Also, she looks freaking amazing in a well-tailored dress shirt. What I’ve also liked is how totally OK she is with making out with ladies on screen.

Like, say, on “Fringe” in a Weird Science-y kind of way with a Mila Kunis-lookalike.

And on “Mistresses,” in an OMG-unbutton-those-buttons kind of way with Shelley Conn.

After binging the entire season of “Mindhunter” over the weekend I can highly recommend it to anyone who likes crime dramas, psychological thrillers and loosely historical period pieces (the period in question being the 1970s). It’s essentially like watching the origin story of “Criminal Minds.”

Unfortunately the series’ only deeper delve into Torv’s character, Dr. Wendy Carr, is relegated to one episode (No. 6, to be exact) where it is revealed that she is a closeted lesbian. We also get a few minutes of screentime with her girlfriend and fellow professor, played by the inimitable Lena Olin. Then, poof, it’s back to the boys.

Since “Mindhunter” has already been renewed for a second season we can only hope the show allows its one prominent female character to have as much of a rich on-screen internal life as all the men. Or, at very least, they’ll tell us what is going on with that mysterious laundry cat.

So, thoughts? Have you watched? But, seriously, whose job was it to call me on the Big Lesbian Phone Tree?

p.s. Apologies to Waffles who, indeed, did give me a heads up a while back about the gay lady action in Mindhunter. If only I had listened sooner.

Monday, November 06, 2017

Greet Me Like One Of Your Gals

This is how Gal Gadot greets short women. I am a short woman. Ergo, I need to meet Gal Gadot. I mean, that’s just math. Have a good, math-based Monday, all.

Friday, November 03, 2017

My Weekend Crush

Winona Ryder at the premiere of “The Commitments” in 1991. Winona Ryder at the premiere of “Paterson” in 2016. Twenty-five years later, same T-shirt and still the coolest girl in the room. I look forward to finally being able to binge “Stranger Things” Season 2 this weekend. Happy Winona weekend, all.

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Happy Holtzoween

Happy Holtzoween! Look, I know Halloween is over, but there is always time for a little more Ghostbusting. Plus yesterday was my birthday and I can Holtzoween if I want to. Here are the best 38 seconds of “Ghostbusters,” which was actually filled with many, many, many enjoyable seconds (strung into minutes, string into 2 hours and 14 minutes). After all, ghost slaying is good any day of the week.

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Birthday Wanker

Hey, it’s my birthday. Here’s one of my favorite clips (and all lesbians’ favorite clips) from “Imagine Me & You.” I’m still waiting for that “You’re A Wanker No. 9” T-shirt.