Tuesday, January 26, 2021

When Women Rise

Look, we just lived through four years of Trump. So forgive me if I think an entire week’s worth of celebration is warranted at the End of Trump, Beginning of President Biden/Vice President Kamala Harris. It still doesn’t feel real, truly. It hasn’t really sunk in yet that we don’t need to wake up every day wondering what horrors one manifestly unfit man and all his Republican enablers will unleash on us.

Because of that seismic relief we all feel (like, Donald fucking Trump really had control of our entire nuclear arsenal for four years, guys), the history and importance of our new administration got a little overshadowed. But it matters that women, girls, Black Americans and South-Asian Americans can now see themselves reflected in the vice presidency for the first time in our nation’s 245-year history. And if you don’t think it matters, well you’ve never watched someone see their horizons broaden before their eyes as they see themselves represented for the first time. It’s beautiful, and it codifies the simple truth that representation matters. May we continue to break barriers and glass ceiling and make America represent all its people equally.

Monday, January 25, 2021

Music Monday: Firework Edition

Granted, I’ve had issues with Katy Perry in the past-past because “I Kissed a Girl” remains an endlessly dumb if also endlessly catchy song. But, you can’t deny the over-the-top spectacle of her singing “Firework” set against the backdrop of actual fireworks amid the solemn monuments of our nation’s capital. Like, dang, that was a show. And because I’m still basking in the afterglow, here’s another look. Happy Monday, kittens. Yeah, Joe Biden really is president.

Friday, January 22, 2021

My Weekend Crush

Yes, everyone is talking about National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman’s inaugural poem, “The Hill We Climb.” The 22-year-old poetry phenom is getting a lot of praise, and rightfully so. Her words were so clear, so powerful, so right. I’ve listed in full three times now, and I think it captures this perilous moment, and feather-light and feather-fragile hope we feel. The determination to do better. But, you don’t need to hear my words. Just listen to hers. Happy first weekend in Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’s America, all.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

A New America

We did it, Joe. We did it. The Age of Trump is over, finally. Today is the first morning in four years we, as Americans, can wake up without the looming dread of whatever fresh hell one morally corrupt man could unleash on us and the world. He is not president anymore. May he never be allowed to hold public office ever again, and may his monstrous failure follow him the rest of his days.

And now, we turn our attention to the work ahead. Even the most rosy-eyed Biden supporter wouldn’t say everything is fine now. We have so much work to do, clearly. But I do believe President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are willing to put in that work.

But yesterday wasn’t about that. (Even though President Biden signed 17 executive orders that started us on the absolute right path.) Yesterday was about removing the orange stain that has been on our country, and rejoicing that people who actually care about the American people are back in charge.

Through these long, horrible four years the act of joy for marginalized groups has been in and of itself an act of resistance. Yesterday was a day for joy. A day for change. A day for history. And, yes, even a day for some fun.

So let’s enjoy the little things. Like how good all the women at the inauguration looked stunning in their jewel tones. And how great it felt to see history happening before our very eyes. A very good thing happened yesterday, and we should all take a moment to relax our shoulders and unclench our jaws. Yeah, we got shit to do. But I for one slept a whole lot better last night.

So, here is an assemblage of largely unimportant, but totally fun – because remember fun? – observations that I had about the inauguration.

1. When Kamala Harris/Straight Bette Porter is Vice President, we shall wear purple.

2. Hillary Clinton looked amazing and happy and that alone makes it a pretty good day in America.

3. Michelle Obama looked... Well, you have eyes. Use them to enjoy.

4. I look forward to an administration where the biggest scandal is whether Lady Gaga went too Hunger Games with her outfit.

5. Having Madam Vice President’s young great-nieces be part of the ceremony was wonderful. I am so tired of moronic Large Adult Sons vying for their father’s nonexistent love. Bring on the future.

6. Yes, after all the official ceremonies were over, you were not alone in “researching” Ella Emhoff and Maisy Biden. Respectfully, obviously. Always respectfully.

7. The President’s daughter Ashley Biden was blatantly pandering to get into Gender Fuck Thursday. Guess what, pandering works!

8. This is so simple, but it’s just so damn nice to see two people in the White House who love each other again. And, you know, also give a damn about their fellow Americans who aren’t billionaires of convicted tax frauds. These are decent people, and may we begin to be a decent country.

So, what were your favorite moments? Sure, it was weird when an ageless J-Lo asking the purposely small assemblage of elderly lawmakers, family and dignitaries to “Get loud!” And, don’t worry, we’ll talk more about Amanda Gorman later.

Hope you had a happy Joe Biden is President and Kamala Harris is Vice President Day, kittens. We have endured four years of constant horror. We survived, while 400,000 did not. Now, let’s roll up our sleeves. We’ve got an America to fix.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Today.

I consider today the true start to 2021. Sure, we may technically be 20 days into this New Year. But we have not been able to shed the ugly shackles of 2020 – and indeed the last four years – until today. At noon D.C. time, Donald Trump becomes just another rich asshole yelling at his television, but this time without a Twitter account. He will no longer be president, and that in and of itself makes the world just a little better.

I’m not naïve enough to think Joe Biden’s inauguration will fix everything automatically. President Biden and Vice President Harris are competent and compassionate leaders, but they are not magicians. Still at least now we can begin the work. I hope these last four years have held a mirror up to ourselves as a country. We can no longer pretend not to see the hatred, the willful consumption of misinformation, the lack of empathy and the denial of basic facts that has consumed the psyche of nearly half our neighbors. Yeah, 74 million people voted for four more years. But 81 million people said, fuck no – never again.

We must hold the people, and the Republican Party, accountable for how far we’ve fallen in just four years. And we must vow to hold every future administration, from Biden-Harris and every woman and man who comes after to a higher standard that cannot be hijacked by partisanship. We need to actually help the people who need help. And listen to science. And fully enfranchise more people. And unpack the courts. And grant LGBTQ people full equality. And so on, and so forth.

All that, and we haven’t even touched on the history we’re about to witness. Kamala D. Harris, first of her name and first female Vice President of the United States of America, first Black Vice President of the United States of America, first Indian-American Vice President of the United States of America. Damn, that’s exciting – and not just because I get to write Vice President Straight Bette Porter for the next four years.

But first, we have to make it to noon today. Happy Biden-Harris Inauguration Day & Last Day of Trump, kittens. We made it.

Monday, January 18, 2021

Music Monday: Change Edition

Thought we could all use a moment of grace before the start of this week. After four years of unmitigated chaos, destruction, lies, more lies, so many lies, corruption and hatred, a change is gonna come – soon. Very soon. So let Jennifer Hudson soothe you with her rendition of Sam Cooke’s powerful “A Change Is Gonna Come” from last year’s virtual Democratic National Convention. Two days, kittens, two days.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

My Weekend Crush

Well, if all goes as planned with 20,000 U.S. National Guard troops there to ensure that it does, this will be the very last weekend we have to endure Donald Trump as president. I am not foolish or naive enough to think the world will be all rainbows and kittens starting January 20. I know there is so much work to do, so much hurt to fix, so many to be held accountable, and so much damage to heal. But, at least now we can start. May the forces that brought this monstrous orange stain of a human being to power (that’d be you, mainstream Republican Party) never be allowed to wash his hateful, fetid stink off themselves. The times are a changing, but our fight for equality and fairness is far from over. Happy last weekend of Trump, all.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

So Not Nice, We Impeached Him Twice

Just gonna drop this here for no reason whatsoever. No reason at all. Anyway, gonna be fun telling future generations, “Yes, he really was that fucking evil we had to impeach his racist, fascist ass twice. And I’d do it again!”

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

That's Agent Starling to You

Well, damn, I think I have a new crime show to watch. I had forgotten they were making a “Silence of the Lambs” sequel-of-sorts for TV. But here it is, all ready to scare the bejesus out of us. The new series picks up sixth months after the events of “Silence of the Lambs” and follows Clarice Starling as she continues her fledgling career with the FBI.

I’m not familiar with Aussie actress Rebecca Breeds. But in the trailer her Jodie Foster is, mmm, fine. It lacks the deep tones, but then there’s only one Jodie Foster. But I’m more excited to see Devyn A. Tyler playing fellow FBI agent and Clarice’s “Silence” academy BFF/maybe more Ardelia Mapp.

First, bringing Agent Mapp in as a series regular brings needed and welcome diversity to the show. They have promised to make her more than just the Black Best Friend, so let’s hope they really do. And second, I always liked Clarice and Ardelia’s friendship in the film. It was truly one of the only non-terrifying parts of the movie. And I can’t be the only one who got a very ‘90s era, uh yeah, she’s my “roommate” vibe from those two.

Details about the show I have read call them best friends again. But if they’re “just friends,” why does it appear Clarice is at Ardelia’s house quite early in the morning when she is still in a robe and drinking coffee?

The show also will have to thread the “Silence” needle because of a bizarre copyright split that also splits use of the characters from the film. You can either use the character of Hannibal Lecter or you can use the character of Clarice Starling, you can’t use them both together apparently. That’s why “Hannibal” never mentioned Clarice. That’s a pretty big leap, given how Clarice was going to have to live knowing Lecter was still out there and eating well – so to speak. But, honestly, I’d rather have Clarice than that liver and Chianti lover anyway.

I have no idea whether the show will be any good. I haven’t seen any reviews yet. It looks pretty gruesome, and to be honest after the past year and the year these first 13 days of 2021 have felt like, I don’t know how much horror I can handle. But, for Clarice, at least I’ll try.

p.s. Don’t think I missed Kris Holden-Ried/Dyson in there as what I think might be some sort of Big Bad metaphorical wolf.

p.p.s. I feel like a show about chasing monsters feels right for this moment, and in particuar this day. After all, we’ve got a monster of our own to vanquish today.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

What the Vogue Is This?

Look, you know I love strong women in suits. Like, I REALLY STRONG LOVE WOMEN IN SUITS. But, and this is very painful but, I do not in any way shape or form love the new February cover of Vogue with incoming Vice President Kamala Harris in a suit. The print edition cover hit the Series of Tubes over the weekend and let me just say, queer women and anyone with eyes should be mad. How mad?

THIS MAD!

What is this utter bullshit? This looks like it was taken for middle school picture day. It does not look like a picture that honors the first woman and first woman of color to be elected vice president in the history of the United States of America.

It’s awkward. It’s informal. It’s awful. The pink draping. The crease in her shirt. Her hands. The lighting. Her expression. THAT DAMN SUIT.

Now, take a look instead at the digital cover.

Same photographer, same editor and set designer. But so much more dignity. Yes, it’s still pretty basic and nowhere near as glamorous as so many of its other covers. But at least I don’t want to hurl it into the sun by comparison.

But I don’t necessarily blame the photographer or team behind the shoot. Instead, I blame Vogue management. According to reports, the blue suit photo is the cover Madam Vice President and photo team had agreed on to be the print cover. Indeed, it’s the digital cover for February. But the keepsake edition, the one everyone will see in grocery stores, it’s that other cringe-worthy photo. And lesbians aren’t the only ones complaining about the cover, not by a long shot.

I know this is might seem small ball – given everything that’s on fire right in our government – to complain about a fashion magazine cover right now. But the history that is about to be made cannot be understated. So anything that doesn’t properly honor the importance of this moment just feels disrespectful.

This is also not the first time Vogue has badly bungled a cover shoot featuring prominent Black women. In short, Vogue is very, very bad at this. And Vice President Straight Bette Porter deserved so, so, so much better.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Sweet Georgia

You know, I think in the heat of last week’s failed Insurrection of Weenies, we didn’t get to properly celebrate what it really means that we flipped the Senate. Those two new senators from Georgia mean we are about to have Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Vice President Straight Bette Porter will break all ties and the Democrats can actually get shit done. And they’d better.

We need to restore the Voting Rights Act, pass the Equality Act, reform the courts, make DC a state, complete the ERA, fix goddamn healthcare, pass anticorruption laws, save the freaking planet and end this fucking pandemic. SO. MANY. THINGS.

Think about it, for the first time in America, LGBTQ people will be granted full civil rights and non-discrimination protection. Yeah, we’ll have to contend with SCOTUS down the line. But this, this is a big fucking deal. This is kind of everything.

It always boggles my mind when people say Democrats and Republicans are all the same. Now, as I’ve said many times before, Democrats aren’t perfect. But Democrats (by and large) want all those things, and Republicans just don’t. In fact, they’ve stopped many of them from happening already as House bills go to die on Mitch’s desk. Taking power away from one of the most vile, obstructionist politicians in modern American history is an unequivocal win.

Thanks to Georgia, we now have a shot – a real shot – to make things better. All we need to do is have the courage to push a bold, sweeping agenda. Move fast, help people. Damn, that’s exciting.

In celebration, please enjoy Julia Sugarbaker proving why don’t mess with a Sugarbaker woman – or Georgia. Buh-bye, Mitch. The lights went out on you in Georgia. Now let’s get to work.

p.s. And, yes, the House should absolutely, positively impeach Trump again. And this time the Senate better remove him and keep him from running for public office ever again.

Thursday, January 07, 2021

My Weekend Crushed Coup

Fuck, I’m mad. After four year (really five since all this utter bullshit started June 16, 2015 with the golden elevator descent into infamy) of norm shattering, rule breaking, crony profiteering, copious hatemongering, endless scapegoating, and flat-out lying from Trump, it has come to this. The President of the United States instigated a coup to overturn the election. While I was not surprised at the storming of the Capitol by Trump’s deplorables (the MAGA cultists, the Proud idiots, the clearly overcompensating militiamen, the QAnon nutjobs, the other conspiracy wackadoodles, the millionaire cronies and so many white supremacists – though I feel like that last one’s just an overarching theme), I was surprised by how easily this confederacy of dunces was able to lay siege to the heart of American democracy.

We all watched live on television as they smashed through doors, broke windows, looted and pillaged lawmakers offices, stole from Nancy Pelosi’s desk, broke into the Senate and House chambers and generally wilded out in the hallowed halls of the United States government with the greatest of ease.

There’s so much to unpack about what happened. Trump’s despicable incitement of his deluded mob. Trump telling these violent rioters, “We love you. You’re very special.” The 8 Republican senators and 139 GOP representatives (which is more than double the number of GOP reps who voted NO, by the way) who proved Republicans are more than happy to throw out lawfully decided election results to install their own god-king. And then of course the Capitol Police’s utter failure.

So let’s start with that. How could police let this happen? How could they be so unprepared? How could they treat this mob with such relative kid gloves? The answer, as with so much wrong with America, is white privilege. Law enforcement looked at the group and, let’s be honest, saw themselves. I mean heavily armed white men who all voted for Trump? It’s like ultimate example of the Spider-Man pointing at Spider-Man meme.

Think I’m kidding? In 2016, a poll found that 84% of active police officers planned to vote for Trump. Then in 2020, Trump earned police union support across the country including the endorsement of the nation’s largest, the Fraternal Order of Police. Heck, cops actually love Trump more than their fellow white men – comparably, 64% of white men voted for Trump last election. (And no, not all cops, but the system itself is clearly broken.) So, yeah, Spider-Man memes all around.

Compare and contrast with what we saw all summer with the Black Lives Matter protests. Riot gear. Tear gas. Rubber bullets. Flash bombs. Military rifles. Fucking tanks. We watched officers bash in heads, shoot out eyes, douse pepper spray, throw people to the ground, snatch them up in unmarked vans and even run them over. Is this your law and order?

But when a group of angry white men show up? Whoa whoa whoa, hold on. They’re just airing their grievances. They’re just exercising their right to protest, and ransack our halls of government. We’ll even help! Let me hold your hand on these steps. Let me give you directions to Senator Schumer’s office. Wait, let me take a selfie.

There’s no doubt if the people who stormed the Capitol had been Black or any other POCs, dead bodies would be strewn across the rotunda. You know that’s true. You know it in your damn bones. And that, that’s the ugly truth about America. We’ve never stopped being a racist country, with bigotry baked into so many of our essential institutions.

It’s also proof positive that, when police want to, they can exercise extraordinary restraint. I mean, just some 50 arrests on a day when thousands rioted in the Capitol? Give me a fucking break, I’ve seen the Capitol Police drag peaceful protestors out of their wheelchairs. More than 200 peaceful protestors who did not try to overthrow the government were arrested during the Kavanaugh hearing alone. But sell some loose cigarettes or carry a toy gun with the wrong skin color and it’s judge, jury and executioner in a matter of seconds. Like, if you still don’t understand why Black Lives Matter matters after what we saw happen at the Capitol, I don’t know what to say.

In the end, perhaps the Trump era will put to bed the old canard that, “This is not who we are.” This is who we are. This is America, and has been America and if we don’t fight like hell to change it will continue to be America. I mean, 74 million people just voted for four more years of exactly this. I don’t know how to fix that. All these calls for reconciliation and finding middle ground with the other side? How can you reconcile with someone who doesn’t believe the ground even exists? The problems in America go beyond mere party preference or policy differences.

The problem is we live in entirely separate universes. One group of us believes in reality, and the other group does not or is willing to exploit those who do not for their own craven purposes (like I didn’t think you could find more punchable faces than Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham, but Josh Hawley is certainly giving it the old “Did I mention I went to Stanford and Yale”-try.)

I know Democrats aren’t perfect. We do dumb shit and make bad calls and can be frustrating beyond belief sometimes. But we don’t think the press is the enemy of the people, we generally believe in science, and we for the most part try to traffic in the real world.

But the MAGA cult? They refuse truth. So how do you fix that? How do you make people turn of Fox and OANN and Newsmax , leave their social media silos and stop listening to all these bad-faith actors? How do you bring us all back to one set of facts? How do you make people believe in reality when they are bound and determined not to?

I don’t know, but I’ve never felt more hopeless about half of America. And after Wednesday’s disgraceful, disgusting display, I’ve never been angrier. There must be consequences. Trump can’t have 12 more days in office. Trump can’t have one more day in office. He is a grave danger to this country and the world.

This is man who was deemed too crazy to operate his own Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts, yet somehow still has complete access to the nuclear codes. This is a man who lives for vengeance. A man who is corrupt to his core. A man who cares only about himself. And unless we do something he has 12 days to do whatever he wants including but obviously not limited to pardoning his damn self.

If there are no consequences for Trump and his vile enablers this will happen again. This will happen again, and the next wannabe fascist will be smarter. The next wannabe fascist will actually succeed. Democracy isn’t self perpetuating. Democracy is hard work.

I’m sick of inaction and complacency. I’m mad as hell, and we’re not gonna take this anymore. Impeach that motherfucker again. Do it now. End this national nightmare. And, while we’re at it, make Biden’s inauguration a damn Zoom (there’s still a fucking pandemic, people) and then let’s get to work. There’s so much to do.

The one bit of greatly overshadowed good news of this week is that we won back the Senate. Senator Warnock and Senator Ossof mean Joe and Kamala might actually be able to get some shit done. Now we all have to make sure they do. Let’s make this country better. Now is our chance. Happy weekend, all.

She's Got Grace

When Ann Reinking died last month, one of the many irreplaceable greats to leave us in that oh-so monstrous of years, it brought back some very specific childhood memories. While I’ve always liked (if not loved) musicals, I’m by no means a theater buff. But I certainly knew Ann. And I knew Ann because of “Annie.” That musical was 100% in my wheelhouse as a kid. I listened to that soundtrack on endless repeat. And I’m sure I watched the movie every time it aired on TV. My poor parents.

One of the things I loved most about Annie was Ann Reinking as Grace Farrell, Daddy Warbucks’s impossibly elegant and beautiful personal assistant. Now I was young when I got into Annie, and had no idea about my sexuality at that age. But I knew there was something about her. I loved her Grace. She was so stylish and danced like a dream. I mean, any lady who rescues an orphan and her dog is automatic queer woman bait.

Looking back, clearly, her portrayal of Grace appears to have been an unrealized root of sorts. It is definitely one of the reasons I love women in suits. This grey suit with its matching tie and smart hat? Come on!

So, here’s a belated tribute to Ann, whose resume of course was packed with greatness well beyond her “Annie” role (actors, dancer, choreographer, Tony winner and all that jazz, ahem). We got Ann, and it was a thing of beauty to watch. Thank you for making an indelible impression on my young gay heart.

Wednesday, January 06, 2021

Sledgehammer Time

So, um, I guess I’m an inspo blogger now? But, honestly, who wouldn’t be inspired by seeing Allison Janney sporting a stunning red evening gown paired with construction boots and a sledgehammer? It’s a very specific aesthetic, to be sure. But one I think queer women can universally agree deserves our utmost respect, unwavering admiration and loudest wolf whistle. Again, respectfully.

Tuesday, January 05, 2021

And a Charlize New Year

I’m not really the kind of person who puts much stock in vision boards or inner dreamscaping and such. But if I were such a person I would spend an inordinate amount of time pinning scenes from Charlize Theron action movies to my board. She has had – and this is not hyperbole in any way – the best consecutive, non-franchise/sequel-based run of action movies of any actor in modern history. “Mad Max: Fury Road” (2015), “Atomic Blonde” (2017), and “The Old Guard” (2020). That is the holy trinity of quality Charlize Theron action movies. And her kicking dudes asses all over the world and into futuristic apocalyptic hellspace while kissing girls is exactly the energy I want to bring with me into 2021.

p.s. Get out there and VOTE FOR OSSOFF & WARNOCK, GEORGIA. This is our one chance to go all Furiosa/Lorraine/Andy on Mitch's ass, America.

Monday, January 04, 2021

Music Monday: When Harry Met Phoebe

Hard to argue there’s a better sentiment than “Treat People With Kindness” to start out this new year. And while, as always, Surrenders is all about the ladies, I am never opposed to highlighting the deserving menfolk amongst us – deserving being the key word here. And as much as I’m no longer in any loops when it comes to today’s hearttrobs, I know Harry Styles is what I think is universally considered a good egg. And, if nothing else, his refusal to conform to whatever beyond retrograde ideal of a manly man is to Right-Wingers continued chagrin makes him A-OK in my book. Plus, like how can you not appreciate him hot-shoeing with Phoebe Waller-Bridge in matching white tuxedo fancy dress in what can only be appropriately described the unbridled and joyous bisexual/pansexual/gender-fluid/anyone-with-eyes fantasy dance sequence of our collective dreams? Happy first Monday of 2021, kittens.

Friday, January 01, 2021

My New Year's Crush

We made it. We made it to 2021. Does changing the year on the calendar fix anything automatically? Duh, of course not. But the symbolism (and, you know, reality) of the year we all just lived through cannot be lost on us. We lived through some fucking trauma. And more than 330,000 did not make it to this moment. So please time to enjoy this day, and all those to come. If you haven’t had a chance to see “Ammonite” yet, I still believe it’s worth it. For all its intentionally grim silences, there was still beauty amid its gray, hard stone surface. Today, float like Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan through this ocean of a world. Claim your joy this year, you’ve earned it. Happy weekend and 2021, all.