Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Burning Down the Patriarchy, But Funny

As we are all simultaneously somehow incredibly stressed and and yet also somehow incredibly bored (I mean, if you’re lucky enough to like me have been working in your home for the last 3+ months every.single.day.), I cannot recommend a brain shaker like “Douglas” highly enough. It is the perfect way to end this Pride Month.

Tasmanian comic Hannah Gadsby took the formidable task of following up her surprise hit Netflix special “Nanette” – which was all about reclaiming one’s trauma and not allowing it be used as a commodity – and turned it into another both funny, pointed, uncompromising and entirely not here for patriarchy’s bullshit special called “Douglas.”

The show is almost too clever for its own good, especially in its story structure and expectation setting. But it further proves how simple it can be to surprise people when you just tell them the truth.

You should know going in that Gadsby tells you everything she’s going to joke about right away. I am not kidding, she offers a full syllabus before she even actually starts the special. It’s an outline which at first you think there’s no way she can pull off, yet she does in such a smart way you feel like you’re being given insight into one of the more fascinating and entertaining brains around.

What I think I find most enjoyable about Gadsby’s comedy is how she is so good at pointing out things that are patently absurd about society yet we somehow accept without thinking. “Douglas” will make you think. I watched it twice, and both internally and (loudly) externally yelled, “Yes!” at my screen numerous times each time.

Plus, as a closet art history lover, her knowledge on the subject always delights - as does her insistence that common sense should dictate that misogyny and the patriarchy are ridiculous, beyond harmful and must be dismantled at all costs.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Music Monday: Pose Edition

For the last Music Monday of Pride Month, how about a little love? Sorry, that’s not accurate. How about A LOT of love. Billy Porter and the cast of “Pose” give us this delightful ode to self-love which is just a joy to watch amid so much continued misery. Coronavirus (which is real, even if you don’t believe in it) isn’t going anywhere and in fact getting worse across the country. Racism (which is real, even if you don’t believe in it) remains engrained across our society and its institutions. But you know what? Joy is also real, even if you don’t believe you know how to feel it anymore. And in these full-tilt bananas times when we are facing unprecedented and intertwined crises (including but not limited to an ongoing global pandemic, a subsequent economic recession, a historic movement against four centuries of racism, a unabashedly racist and corrupt government and a fucking Orange Stain in the White House), joy for marginalized groups remains an act of resistance. So joy it up, fellow queers. Let the LGBTQ rainbow wash some joy over you. Love yourself, you deserve it. Happy last Monday of Pride, kittens.

Friday, June 26, 2020

My Weekend Crush

Damn. Just damn. I’ve watched the video for “March March” by The Chicks (because there ain’t no more Dixie) at least half a dozen times. And each time it gives me chills. And each time it makes me cry. Each time. It’s the names at the end. The names, the names. The endless flashing of humanity cut short by the indelible scar of racism that for 400 years has plagued this country and continues unchecked systematically in every aspect of our lives from policing to education to health care to our political process. My God, those names. Each a life. Each gone because America has never dealt with its racist foundation.

I’ve made no secret about my admiration of The Chicks (yes, really, they changed their name because that’s what good humans do - they grow and evolve). They’ve always been outspoken and brash and unashamed to say how ashamed they were of that previously shitty Republican President from Texas. And you know they’re mortified by the monster we have now. The video doesn’t contain a single still of the faces of the country trio. Instead it shows the power of us, the people. And, just as powerful, it shows our joy. The joy of a righteous struggle. Make no mistake what we are going through right now, what we are fighting for in the streets, it is the most righteous cause humanity can champion. Nothing is more important than equality, the right to be seen and treated as fully human. Plus, the song slaps. Like for real. Have a safe, healthy and righteous weekend, all.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Lady K-Stew

Well this is genuinely interesting casting. Kristen Stewart is going to play Princess Diana in a new film about the beloved late British monarch’s decision to leave Prince Charles and depart from her royal ascension to Queen. Given Kristen’s experience living in the glare of the paparazzi, where her every move has been followed since “Twilight” made her mega superstar, you can see how she could relate. Both women turned her back on what was expected – for Diane it was the monarchy, for Kristen it was a continued career filled with big-budget box office blockbusters. So, who knows, could be interesting. And if K-Stew brings some of her queer swagger to the role, all the better. But, hey, it’s gotta be better than kissing a sparkly vampire for a living, right?

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Not Going Back Again

Sometimes, it’s good to just listen. Like really listen. Really, really listen. And then think. Really, really think. And then do everything you can to change this world. Because the one we have, well, it’s not great. And it hasn’t been great. There aren’t any good ‘ol days to go back to again. But we can try to build a better world. Because if we don’t believe one is possible, where we can all be equal, what is the point?

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Lizzo, Redux

Kittens, 2020 is grinding us all down to nubs. Please take a little joy and rewatch Lizzo’s Tiny Desk concert from last year. I do whenever I need a pick-me up. And, goodness, do we need it. Life, the universe and dipshit hateful people who don’t give a shit about other people (and especially other people not of the same skin color) – like, cough, cough, our “president” make everything even worse. But, like I was saying, at least there’s Lizzo. I hope that makes up for the late post, and just a little bit of this infernal world.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Music Monday

Every time I remember that Dolores O'Riordan is gone, I feel a little melancholy. But then I hear Dolores O'Riordan sing again and it fades to gorgeous melancholy. Since we’ve been talking 'bout protest songs, “Zombie” remains one of the all-time bangers. I mean, they can’t all be acoustic guitars sing-alongs.

I had the distinct privilege of seeing The Cranberries at the height of their popularity. Sorry, was that not gloaty enough? I had the distinct privilege of having front-row seats to see The Cranberries during the height of their popularity. I don’t know how we got those seats, we were nerdy students and certainly didn’t know anyone who could get us the VIP hookup. I think we just were in line early and somehow scored them. Plus it was the ‘90s. People couldn’t game the Internet ticketing system as easily back then.

Anyway, back to my point. Before her death in 2018, the band had reunited. And one of their stops was to NPR’s Tiny Desk, producers of some of my absolute favorite online concert series to watch – in spite of how tiny ass the desk may be. Thought I’d let this week start with us “Linger”-ing with Dolores and The Cranberries. Fine, “Zombie” sounds great on acoustic guitar too. But no one can truly sing-along with Dolores. That beautiful, singular wail. Happy Monday, kittens.

Friday, June 19, 2020

My Weekend Lemon

Please, my Fake TV/Movies Wife Tina Fey returns to “30 Rock” for a special episode and I’m not gonna write about it? So this week it was announced that the original cast of the acclaimed NBC series would reunite for a special, social-distanced special called “One More 30 Rock” to air July 17. The Very Special Self-Quarantine Episode will also serve as the upfronts presentation for NBCUniversal’s programming. Returning for the V.S.S.Q.E. are Tina as Liz Lemon, Alec Baldwin as Jack Donaghy, Tracy Morgan as Tracy Jordan, Jane Krakowski as Jenna Maroney, Jack McBraye as Kenneth the Page and others making special appearances. Like April’s V.S.S.Q.E. reunion of the cast of “Parks & Rec,” the new “30 Rock” will feature the actors reprising their roles in all new stories. They’ll also apparently be plugging NBC and its various other networks’ new seasons. So the NBC show about a show on NBC is going to promote new shows coming to NBC. That’s some high-level meta corporate vertical integration right there. Oh, capitalism, you never quit do you? Whatever, as long as Liz still wears bi-curios shoes, I’m totally in. Happy safe, healthy and righteous weekend, all.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Bout a Revolution

One more music post for good measure this week. And then, I promise, I’ll write actual words. But I also believe Tracy Chapman’s “Talkin’ Bout a Revolution” just fits this moment. And Chapman, despite or precisely because of her reluctance to bask in the limelight, remains one of my favorite singer-songwriters of all time. The elegance of this sparse song. How she can draw a picture so simply, yet so powerfully. It rings through time with an eternal message. Well, seems I found some words after all.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020


It’s been an incredibly busy week here at Surrenders Central. So apologies for today’s late post. Let’s keep the good vibes going with my second-favorite disco-era hit of all time. This is actually the only song I’ve ever karaoked to. So, you know, there’s that. Keep on surviving, kittens.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Got To Let It Show

Fuck it, it’s Pride and we’re gonna party if we want to. Sure all the parades are canceled this year (and rightfully so, hello COVID-19 is still real and still here), but we can still celebrate in spirit. So let’s keep the joy going with the unofficial official anthem of Pride Month everywhere. Please allow the incomparable Miss Ross to serenade us – since this week’s Music Monday was dedicated to higher (SCOTUS, baby) pursuits. I’ve never danced in short-shorts on a Pride float in real life, but in my heart, I’m totally doing it right now.

Monday, June 15, 2020

SCOTUS says LGBTQ Rights

It had been so long since we’ve had good news that I almost forgot what it feels like. But today, today we got good news. Real, unadulterated, bona fide good news. Because today the Supreme Court of the United States of America ruled that LGBTQ people cannot legally be fired from work for simply being LGBTQ anymore. The highest court in the land agreed that Title VII, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, codified LGBTQ rights in America. In short, we won. We can’t be fired for being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender in this country anymore. WE WON.

Seems crazy, but up until now in the year 2020 in literally most states (29 to be exact) you could still be legally fired for being LGBTQ in America.

That all changes with this ruling. The 6-3 ruling comes from one of that Orange Stain in the White House’s own right-wing SCOTUS nominees Neil Gorsuch and agreed upon by George W. Bush’s conservative Chief Justice John Roberts – so there’s no way to spin this as liberal judges run amok.

Granted, LGBTQ people still have a ways to go to achieve full equality. This ruling covers employment discrimination. SCOTUS’s landmark 2015 ruling covered our right to marriage. But we still face legal discrimination in public accommodation, housing and other parts of public life.

Those issues could be addressed by the Democratic-led House passed The Equality Act, which is languishing on Mitch McConnell’s desk as we speak. But the GOP-led Senate refuses to vote on it because Republicans still oppose basic equal rights for LGBTQ people, period. (Think I’m kidding, see all the frantic hand-wringing from conservative “thought leaders” - hello, oxymoron – about today’s SCOTUS decision. No, seriously, go check it out – it’s delicious.)

The only bittersweet part of today’s news (well, other than it taking 20 years into the 21st Century to achieve) is that transgender plaintiff Aimee Stephens and and gay plaintiff Donald Zarda – two of three plaintiffs in cases that SCOTUS considered in this decision along with Gerald Bostock – passed away before the ruling was revealed. And in Amy's case, just a month ago, so she will never be able to see how she helped to change the course of the world for the better. But her name, as the others, will never be forgotten.

Today’s ruling is a reminder that change can happen. Progress is possible. Five years ago LGBTQ people couldn’t get married in all 50 states. Yesterday LGBTQ people weren’t protected from getting fired in all 50 states. Today we can.

We need to keep pushing, keep fighting, keep protesting. For LGBTQ rights. For Black Lives Matter. For the Me Too movement. For all marginalized groups and people in this country to feel they have an equal place at the table. Not special, not separate – but equal.

So take today to celebrate. Soak in what it feels like to become a more fully realized and equal citizen of this country. Remember, joy is an act of resistance. Today we won. We earned this joy. Then let’s rededicate ourselves to ensuring full equal rights for all people from the LGBTQ community to the BIPOC community to those with disabilities and other marginalized peoples. History is on our side. May it come quickly and fully to everyone else who deserves equality in America. Happy Pride, indeed.

Friday, June 12, 2020

My Weekend Crush

Well, now isn’t this sweet? Pixar has released its first animated project featuring a gay main character. If you have Disney+, then you should definitely check out the adorable short “Out.” It marks the animation studio’s first official gay leads (so, clearly, no those Wishful Thinking Gay Moms in “Finding Dory” don’t count). And, well, it’s sweet. And there is a dog. And it is just in time for Pride Month. Bottom line it made me laugh and smile and tear up but finally in a good way, and well anything that does that these days is a definite win. Now, more LGBTQ content, please Pixar and Disney. We’re ready for more of our stories to be told. We’ve been ready for a while. Happy safe, healthy and righteous weekend, all.

p.s. Be sure to watch through the end credits for a sweet little bonus.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Gender Fuck Thursday: Anna May Wong Edition

How about another delightful Pride Month delight? Here is a little Gender Fuck Thursday Glamour from Chinese-American trailblazer and under-appreciated Hollywood icon Anna May Wong. Considered the first Chinese-American movie star, Wong’s career spanned silent film to the golden age of cinema, television and beyond. She’s having a bit of a moment now as Michelle Krusiec (of “Saving Face” fame and lesbian adoration) plays her in Ryan Murphy’s Netflix series “Hollywood.” I haven’t been watching, so I have no idea if the show addresses Wong’s same-sex attractions. The actress is rumored to have had affairs with other Hollywood greats like Marlene Dietrich (who she also starred with in the 1932 hit “Shanghai Express.”) Well, if true that just confirms that both actresses apparently had excellent taste in women. Again, I don’t know if that’s true, but I do know Wong looks damn handsome in a full tux and top hat. Damn handsome indeed.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

We The People Protest

The world is a lot right now. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and want to block it all out. But in some ways I feel more hopeful than I have in quite some time. I mean, granted, we’re in the midst of converging and intertwining crises on an unprecedented scale. But in certain ways this unprecedentedness is good.

No, not in the Trump The Dictator way or the ongoing deadly global pandemic way, but in the way that in so many places across America (and, truly, the world) we’re having clear-eyed and impassioned conversations about race. We’re having clear-eyed and impassioned conversations about systematic injustice. And we’re having clear-eyed and impassioned conversations about how to implement big, complicated and necessary structural change.

We are living with systems that do not work equally for everyone. From our health care system to our education system to our criminal justice system to our political system – we know we have massive problems. Yet the inertia of the status quo, willful ignorance by others and violent backlash from those who profit most from keeping our current power structures exactly as is continues to stop us from changing them.

Of course there have been protests and movements and activism and marches before. Yet seeing how people have taken to the streets en masse like this feels like a lifetime defining event in many ways. People are recognizing inequality and demanding change in towns large, small and even teeny-tiny across all 50 states. And we must.

The truth is Black America can’t solve our disgraceful national legacy of racism alone. And it’s not Black people’s responsibility to make white people less racist. White people need to do the work. White people need to educate themselves. White people need to feel that same injustice and rage and sorrow and exhaustion that Black, indigenous, other people of color and marginalized people feel every single day. And they need to commit to working even harder to ending this learned behavior of racism.

The thing is, change is possible. Look at the strides we’ve made in the LGBTQ community not just in our lifetimes, but in the last five years. It wasn’t until June 26, 2015 that queer people across this country could marry legally in all 50 states. Just three years before that Joe Biden, yes that Joe Biden, became the first presidential or vice presidential candidate from a major party to fully endorse marriage equality. This has all happened within the last decade. Granted, we still have a long, long way to go. But, again, change is possible.

We need to acknowledge that we have lived with unacceptable systematic issues in our police departments across this country since their inception. Today our police departments are too militarized and not trained adequately in de-escalation or implicit bias. They’re also too homogenized both in gender, race and political thought. And to be completely honest, they’re wildly ineffective despite the billions of dollars poured into the system nationally.

This is not a slam on all of the people in law enforcement. Many, many good people do work in this system. This is a slam on the system they are forced to work in. And an effort to make their work more meaningful and impactful. According to the most recent full FBI crime statistics from 2018, police departments across the country only clear 45.5 percent of violent crimes and 17.6 percent of property crimes.

So when someone on your Facebook feed screams, “But what about rape! Home burglary! Stolen vehicles!” tell them the FBI says only 33.4 percent of rapes, 13.9 percent of burglaries, and 13.8 percent of vehicle thefts are cleared anyway. Sure, better than nothing. But those aren’t exactly stats to crow about. We can do better, but obviously not if we just keep doing the same things over and over and expecting different results. So changing to a more effective system will actually help the good people both do their jobs and fulfill the actual mission of protecting and serving.

Here’s the thing, we ask too much of our police departments, period. Police shouldn’t be dealing with the mentally ill, but they are the ones called out whenever a mentally ill person is having a crisis. Police shouldn’t be dealing with the homeless, yet they are the ones called out when someone considers a homeless person a problem. Police shouldn’t be dealing with domestic violence (which is not to say domestic abusers shouldn’t face consequences, they absolutely should), but they’re the ones called out to handle domestic abuse despite not having the training or resources to deal with these issues in a way that actually solves them or effectively improves the lives of the abused.

What America is talking about in regards to its law enforcement system is indeed radical, but not in the scary way Fox News wants you to hear the word. It’s radical in that we’re attempting to tackle what has previously been seen as an intractable issue and saying, yes, we can do something about this. Yes, we can make this better.

Will we do something about this? Will we make it better? So much of the entrenched power structure of this country does not want to see that happen, from that Orange Stain in the White House on down. But we can if the people who have historically benefited most from our unfair systems join in and decide they will not allow their privilege to hurt others anymore. And the encouraging thing is throughout our history, many have from abolitionists to white allies in the 1960s Civil Rights movement to white and non-Black allies in the Black Lives Matter movement today. Be inspired by that, take strength from that. We’re the change we want to see. Keep protesting, it’s working.

Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Author, Heal Thy Words

With everything happening in the world (An Incomplete Recap: ongoing global pandemic, massive economic downturn, wildly corrupt and morally bankrupt administration with fascist authoritarian tendencies, righteous civil unrest against systematic police brutality and racism – and, yes, all of these are connected), you’d think a formerly universally beloved children’s author who has made legit a billion dollars by telling kids that friendship, bravery and magic can defeat any evil would have better things to do with her time. But amidst all of this, Harry Potter scribe J.K. Rowling has decided the most pressing thing to speak out against right now is *checks notes* trans people. Wait, I can’t be reading that right? Nope, sorry, I am reading that 100 percent correctly. J.K. has come to the defense of TERFs right now at this particularly striking moment of history. I mean, I guess we should have seen this coming. She also came to the defense of Johnny Depp, of all people.

I don’t know if something happens when you become so rich that literally no law, no government, no authority can change the comfort of your life (I mean that would explain why every tech billionaire appears to be nothing more than a high-functioning psychopath), but damn has J.K. been on consistently on The Wrong Train of late.

Her TERF defense came as a series of tweets from this past weekend where she appears to have taken offense to the phrase “people who menstruate” in an article headline about COVID-19’s impact on access to menstrual health resources.

Now this is not the first time J.K has let her TERF flag fly. In December 2019 she showed her true colors in what only the most charitable reading could be considered TERF-adjacent tweet showing support for a U.K. researcher who lost her job for being transphobic and saying that people cannot change their biological sex.

So here she is, again, stepping up to the plate for the wrong side of history and needlessly not to mention cruelly picking a fight with hands-down some of the most vulnerable members of the LGBTQ community. A trans or non-binary person being able to live her, his or their best life does not diminish my ability to live my best life as an out lesbian cis woman. Cis queer or straight women and trans/non-binary people are not enemies. We are, and should only ever be allies. Oppression is not a competition. Equality is not a race. In fact, it’s not achieved until every single person crosses the finish line.

I’m sorry to see that someone I once respected has decided her duty is to punch down, instead of up. Author, heal thyself. Accio, empathy.

p.s. If you feel like coming here and spouting some “TERF is a slur” nonsense, I will delete your comment because it’s my blog and that hateful bullshit can fuck off forever.

Monday, June 08, 2020

Music Monday

Whether you’re working 9-to-five at home or back in the office or at your essential workplace, there are so many universal truths about that working life – especially for women. So to further indulge the Dolly Parton vibe I’ve been feeling throughout all of this – and to honor the fact that the research she has funded is yielding some very promising results in the fight against COID-19 – here’s some more of my country favorite. Happy Monday, kittens.

Friday, June 05, 2020

My Weekend Crush

We’ve all been giving our cable and streaming services a workout during these – as what every single commercial on TV keeps telling us are – unprecedented times. Now, more than ever – as every one of these damn ads keep reminding us – we are looking for distraction from our sad realities. If only for a little while. So, again, to celebrate the start of Pride Month please enjoy all of the queer media I’ve enjoyed through all of this. Perhaps in at least what we’re watching we can be – again as they can’t stop saying in these ridiculous ads – all in this together.

“The Half of It,” Netflix

The long (long, long, long, long, long) awaited cinematic follow-up for “Saving Face” director Alice Wu debuted while most of us were all still safely sheltering in place. This is a sweet teen story of sticking out and sticking up for our true selves grows on you with each watch. It’s a very solid if at times achingly earnest look at teenage love from a viewpoint so rarely seen in mainstream cinema. While the story has some tonal issues – it can veer from almost campy teen satire to sincere spiritual philosopher in a flash – it’s innate sweetness wins out in the end. And I am always going to relate to a story about a nerdy Asian-American girl who realizes she is gay while living in small-town America. Always.

“Vita & Virginia,” Hulu

This stylish retelling of the love story between writers Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackfield-West plays more thirsty than romantic. While there is admirable chemistry between its stars Elizabeth Debicki (as Virginia) and Gemma Arterton (as Vita) – I mean at least the ladies have The Look down – the passionate story can get tripped up in its own theatrical telling. There’s some style over substance happening, for sure. But at least Elizabeth and Gemma know how to telegraph their desire – and flat-out lust – for each other effortlessly. In fact it’s these looks that are the films strongest suit. And, while this may make me sound like an old fogey shaking my fist at those kids on the lawn, I was also put off by the film’s insistane that this period drama should be set to a relentless EDM beat. I was not expecting this literary longing to be set to techno, but here we are.

“Never Have I Ever,” Netflix

Yes, I know, another teen comedy. But this sweet (I know, another sweet thing, but I’m gravitating toward sweet stuff – OK?) comedy series from Mindy Kaling is another example of why our diversity is our strength. The show centers around a 15-year-old Indian-American teen girl dealing with the sudden death of her father, the cultural pressures from her family, and normal teenage dramas. But instead of being just another teen show, it’s a very funny and very smart and very refreshing take on the universal horror of being a teenager in America. Plus, there’s a lesbian storyline which I wish there was more of, but then I always wish there was more gay stuff. Always.

“Tommy,” CBS

So, I’ve decided “Tommy” was trying to be the “West Wing” of police shows. The series about the first female police chief for the city of Los Angeles, played by Edie Falco, who also happens to be a lesbian wants to make liberal folks feel good about law enforcement – like what Aaron Sorkin’s hit drama did for politics. It was admirably acted, though its emotional arcs were uneven. And, not to sound like a broken record, but there needed to be way, way more gay stuff.

So, what LGBTQ stuff have you been watching? Share, kittens, because we’re stronger united – as every corporation won't stop telling us. Happy safe and healthy weekend, all.

Thursday, June 04, 2020

Becoming Eve

See, I told you it was bananas. Spoilers ahead, obviously. What an interesting, unpredictable, at times wildly uneven, at times wildly ambitious and always wildly interesting ride we had with this season of “Killing Eve.” I also think it’s safe to say the subtext of Eve and Villanelle’s attraction and dare-I-say love for one another has become firmly maintext. There’s no question, these two are in a relationship that neither knows how to fully process or how to fully quit. Call it love, call it obsession, call it mutual understanding. But Eve and Villanelle are intertwined in ways neither are willing to walk away from despite everything that has happened.

What I found most riveting about Season 3 was the yin-yanging Eve & Villanelle's humanity. As Villanelle grows more empathetic (for a psychopath), Eve becomes more psychotic (the look in her eyes as she crushed Dasha). Villanelle realizes she doesn’t want to kill people anymore and Eve realizes she can kill people. Like it was a JOURNEY this season. And it ends like one of the great romances, our heroines standing apart yet still together on a bridge.

As queer watchers of this show, seeing the subtext become canon in ways beyond just sex was satisfying. (I mean, don’t get me wrong - I’d like to see some sex too.) I realize it could have left some straight viewers confused, but to us gay gals we’ve read all the signs. So then to see Eve and Villanelle slow dance in that retro music hall was something out of a classic movie. Well, until Eve had to go kill that other assassin who insisted on wearing sensible clothes with good range of motion.

When they spot that elderly couple serenely dancing beside them and Eve asks, “Do you want to be like that?” and Eve replies, “Not anymore.… We’d never make it that long. We’d consume each other before we got old.” HELLO. Way to U-Haul each other’s entire relationship before it’s even started, Eve. And “consume?” So gay. So, so gay.

Yet you can see the growth, like when Eve tells Villanelle, “When I try to think of my future, I just see your face over and over again.” Because instead of consuming her, Villanelle releases her. She gives her the option to leave her and never turn around. Yet neither can truly take it.

The scene brings to mind the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, also used brilliantly in “Portrait of a Lady on Fire.” They’ve each been granted what they thought they wanted, yet they cannot follow their own rules. They must look back. I’ve watched that scene quite a few times (you know, along with the slow dancing), and each time it’s thrilling to see two actresses of Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer’s quality say so much without saying anything. I mean, damn.

That clever Phoebe Waller-Bridge and her successors gave us another love story when we were expecting an espionage assassin thriller.

I think what I’ve always loved about this show (besides the brilliant acting and gorgeous outfits and stunning European locales) is that I really have no fucking idea where the story is going. I mean, I understand its basic narrative arcs and how Eve and Villanelle can’t quit each other. But what exactly will happen? No clue. I had no idea Caroline would kill Paul (I mean, he was a slimeball who deserved it, but still). I have no idea if Konstantin can be believed (well, actually, no - he can’t). I have no idea what’s next for Eve and Villanelle (a cozy flat in Central London with a great view?)

Granted, the season left many threads both hanging an unpulled. Like poor, poor Gemma Whelan (who you no doubt know and love as Yara of “Game of Thrones” and Marian on “Gentleman Jack”) was given precious little to do but whine and look concerned. But, to be honest, this show has always slacked when it came to secondary characters. In fact it has barely bothered to develop or keep them around between seasons - except for Kenny which, well, you know.

And then there’s the Konstantin question. Did he kill Kenny? (Signs point to yes.) Did he steal that $6 million from the 12? (Signs continue to point to yes.) Did he kill Dasha? (I rewound several times to see how, but it feels implied.) Why would Caroline spare him? (Look, it’s hard to kill an ex, OK.)

In the end, I think “Killing Eve” is about what happens when two people who can see things in each other that no one else can finally find one another. It’s not always healthy, it’s not always pretty, often it’s dangerous. Next season I would like to see the writers fully commit to Eve and Villanelle’s relationship. What started out as cat-and-mouse is now two wolves who have somehow found one another.The show is always most electric when it allows their dynamic to play out. May we watch their dance, slow or fast or awkward or beautiful, continue.

Wednesday, June 03, 2020

America Can't Breathe

This is America. A nation that has racism built into the very fabric of its foundation. A nation that declared that “all men are created equal” while enslaving an entire race. A nation that has never come to terms with its ugly history. A nation that allows its white citizens to profit from the inherent privilege of their skin color every day. A nation that makes its Black citizens teach their children how to survive cop encounters from early childhood.

We are all witnessing the unraveling of the facade of America. Electing a pathologically narcissistic ex-reality TV show host with a storied history of racism, corruption and sexual harassment as president can do that to a country. Yet for so many, particularly people of color and indigenous people, the shiny veneer of “land of the free, home of the brave” has always been a lie. So, after centuries of inequality and state-sanctioned death, people are angry. People have a right to be angry. Anger is America’s one true language. Anger is the way we’ve always gotten results.

All those angry people protesting last month and taking over state capitols with long guns for the “right” to go to hair salons and shopping malls in the middle of a global pandemic? That sure got results. Today we’re basically open with only the flimsiest of restrictions despite an ongoing health crisis and nonexistent federal testing/tracing program. Oh and The Boston Tea Party? It was in fact not a party, but a protest and ensuing riot that resulted in the willful destruction of about $1 million of private property. Today we honor them as patriots. See. Anger works. But only for some people.

So right now, with images of unrest coming from around the nation, we’re once again given a choice. Where do we put our anger? Are we going to be outraged that a white police officer used his knee to pin an unarmed Black man to the ground by his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds - all the while this man was pleading that he couldn’t breathe and then kept it there another three minutes past any signs of life - while three other officers assisted? Or are we gonna be mad that a Macy’s got looted? Are we going to be mad that this scenario - an unarmed or legally armed black person is killed by police without the benefit of the doubt (not to mention a free Burger King lunch) reserved for white actual killers - keeps happening over and over again? Or are we going to be mad that a Target got spray painted? Are we finally all going to agree that Black Lives Matter, and George Floyd’s life mattered, or do allow the Derek Chauvin’s of this world to continue to kill with impunity? These shouldn’t be hard questions.

Yes, people shouldn’t destroy property. Yes, sometimes righteous anger hurts the very communities most hurt by injustice. Yes, violence begets more violence. But if you’re more upset that a shop had a window smashed than a Black person was killed by a police officer for no reason (last time I checked, allegedly paying for cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 bill does not come with the death sentence), your priorities are, let me be perfectly blunt, wrong.

Sure peaceful protest makes people more comfortable. But too often we prize civility over justice. Cue some meme about Dr. Martin Luther King your racist uncle shared on Facebook. But, uh, they shot MLK dead where he stood on that motel balcony. So I guess that’s not really the right way to protest for Black America either.

More recently Black Americans and their allies tried peacefully protesting police brutality by silently taking a knee at sports games. And that wasn’t good either. In fact our so-called Vice President was so “disgusted” by that peaceful and non-violent display he walked out of one of those sports games in a pre-planned huff (and cost taxpayers $325,000 for good measure).

And, let us not forget, Pride started as a riot. Pride started as a protest against long-standing police brutality. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer folks rose up and said they wouldn’t be beaten, arrested, harassed and worse simply for existing anymore. So some queen picked up that brick at Stonewall.

People can only take so much, can only see the same patterns over and over, can only experience the same anguish and inequality for so long before the anger manifests itself. Now the question is will the rest of America listen and learn from that anger, or will smash it into submission? I fear with this morally bankrupt wannabe strongman in the White House, we will only see more pain and more suffering. But, if we let it, we could be better.

The problems with police in America are not new, and we should not be surprised by them. Yes, police work is hard and dangerous and important. Genuinely bad people exist in this world, who only want to cause harm and destruction. And if we’re lucky the police protect us from them.

I do not believe all police officers are bad people or people in law enforcement are all racist. So far from it. But too often the system that trains, supports and protects them is bad, and also racist. Too often the system that shields bad officers and demands silence from good ones is bad, and also racist. No other institution, aside from our military, has by its very nature has been granted the right to take human life whenever it deems necessary. Yet police departments across the country are able to use that awesome power largely unchecked, without significant citizen oversight.

Look, I get it. Not all police. Just like not all men, just like not all white people, etc. etc. blah blah. I know it’s hard to work in a field that is both glorified (please, like every other show in America is a cop show) and vilified. But try not to take it personally when protests come to your town - and I hope they will. Because this anger, if we allow it, will make your profession better and more just as a whole. And isn’t that the whole damn point?

What we need is to reform our police system across this country. We need to screen better for white supremacists and other authoritarian tendencies in recruits. We need to prioritize peaceful resolutions over quick, forceful arrests. We need to provide extensive training on racial bias, both explicit and systematic.

We also need to train police departments in de-escalation instead of militarization. In America we’ve all been left to our own devices to make face masks out of old T-shirts during a global pandemic. But every police department across the country has access to head-to-toe full-body riot gear and armored vehicles? I don’t begrudge these officers their safety. But where was the riot gear when all those white people with big guns were marching about? Oh, right, they never bothered to put it on. So, it seems, they know how to de-escalate for some people. And funny how those some people always end up being the same kind of people.

This is America. We are angry. May we learn from this anger, grow and change. We have never been that more perfect union. But we have to keep trying.

Tuesday, June 02, 2020

Tank Top Tuesday: Quarantine Fighter Edition

Since it’s Pride Month and you deserve nice things, here is a Very Special Tank Top Tuesday: Quarantine Fighter Edition. We’ve all been fighting the good fight staying home and wearing masks when we can't. As a reward we get to pick which of these badass ladies in tank tops is the best Quarantine Fighter to represent us best during these challenging/stressful/frightening/enraging times. Inspired by Charlize Theron returning to her Action Mode with bonus Short-Hair Mode in “The Old Guard” (not to mention that bitchin' Boss Bitch Battle) here are some more female action stars showing us how it’s done. Now all there is left is to choose wisely. Who is your True Quarantine Fighter?

Charlize Theron

Mackenzie Davis

Tessa Thompson

Alicia Vikander

Emily Blunt

Evangeline Lilly

Gal Gadot

Maggie Q

Margot Robbie

Brie Larson

p.s. Who are we kidding? We’re all Brie. Now, pass the cookies.

Monday, June 01, 2020

Music Monday: Rainbow Edition

Well, we made it to June. I cannot tell if time seems to be moving faster now or slower, it certainly doesn’t seem to all be moving at the same time – if that makes any sense. Does anything make any sense anymore? Sorry, where was I? Right, so it is June which – of course – is traditionally Pride Month. But pride celebrations have basically all been cancelled because, well, you know. *waves arms gayly at the whole damn world* So instead, we must find our inner rainbows. And this song, well this song makes me feel rainbows around my heart. We used this cover by Ingrid Michaelson (an obvious favorite) of “Over the Rainbow” as entrance song at our wedding. So, it will always fill me with sunshine, lollipops and rainbows (another song we used in our ceremony). So please enjoy this little slice of my heart with hopes that June will be a better month for our nation and this world. We sure could use that other side of the rainbow. Happy Monday, kittens.