Monday, May 31, 2021

Music Monday: It's Pride Again

Happy almost Pride Month, my fellow Alphabet Mafia members! Yes, it’s that time of year again when everything gets a rainbow and everyone is gay – sorta kinda still not really. While the pandemic cancelled all of our plans last year, this year the annual celebration of LGBTQ pride appears back on, again sorta kinda. And so of course returns the debate about what Pride should be about in the first place. Is it Rainbow Capitalism while dancing on the Deutsche bank float? Should it leave out the kink to be more mainstream and family friendly? Do we let uniformed cops march?

For me, and I think a lot of other folks under the Big Gay Umbrella, it’s personal. I can tell you in the 20+ years I’ve been celebrating Pride, I have seen it change and evolve greatly. Two of the biggest changes have been corporations slapping rainbows on everything and straight people showing up in droves.

Now we’ve talked about corporate pride before, and what it means to LGBTQ equality. While I appreciate the embrace of queer people and the realization that supporting us is profitable, never forget that corporations aren’t your friend. They only care about money, and accepting queer people is just good business these days. And that’s that. You can still enjoy and appreciate it, just know its roots are in dollars and not equality.

As for straight people showing up at Pride, well, that’s also complicated. Over the years I’ve noted many (many, many, many many) more straight folks using Pride as another reason to party. Like, you’ve already appropriated St. Patrick’s Day and Cinco de Mayo and SantaCon. Can’t we have this one thing? While I always encourage straight allies to openly support LGBTQ causes (particularly with their voices and their dollars), perhaps less taking up physical space at Pride would be nice. I really don’t need to look over and see straight couples making out in the middle of the Dyke March. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, just read the room straight people. Read the room.

While I tend to be a crowd adverse person (especially since the pandemic, hello low-key agoraphobia), I have always loved looking out during Pride and seeing the absolute sea of LGBTQ people. Many of us have searched so long and so hard to find our chosen families, to see ourselves en masse matters. And I love to see it all, from the go-go dancers in short-shorts to the BDSM crowd in their leather and the lady who always wears tassels and propellers her boobs the entire march. And the families. And the political activists. And the gays just trying to hook up. And the lesbian couples who U-Hauled too fast. And the newbies. And the elders. Yes to all of that.

Because that’s the glory of Pride, at least for me. Yes, it absolutely started as a riot. Yes, it should always be political. Yes, it should continue to be a statement of beauty and diversity of LGBTQ existence. The truth is our work is far from over. The Equality Act is stalled in the Senate. Trans rights are being assaulted every single day in state legislatures across this country. Yet we can fight and dance and sip cocktails and demand out civil rights all at the same time because we contain multitudes.

The thing about being LGBTQ in America is that we emphatically aren’t all the same. And that’s the point. But the vast majority of us likely have all been told (by people we love, strangers, and/or society) that we don’t matter. That we are somehow bad or wrong or weird or undeserving. Pride should always continue to be a repudiation of that. Be yourself. Be proud of yourself. Because still so much of society would rather we simply not. This year celebrate how you want because that’s what Pride should be about.

And, if the straights really want to help, maybe they can pony up the cash for those disgusting $50 cocktails for all their queer friends. Now that’s allyship I can get behind. (And, you know, calling your Senators and telling them to pass the Equality Act already.) Happy (almost pride) Monday, kittens.

Friday, May 28, 2021

My Weekend Crush

Sinead O’Connor exists among the most vindicated people in pop culture history. Reading the fascinating New York Times profile of Sinead from earlier this month I was reminded of why I have always loved her as an artist. She is unabashedly herself. And she knows what she wants, even if what she wants has changed through the years. May we all change and grow and embrace those changes and take no shit and live how we want to fucking live. Like, yeah, buy uncomfortable chairs if you don’t want guests to stay long. And, yeah, the Catholic Church has truly been a real enemy over the centuries and no one should be afraid to say that. And, yeah, Sinead O’Connor still has one of the most complexly beautiful voices and refreshingly righteous attitudes in all of music. And, yeah, I hope through everything she is happy. At least, if nothing else, she remains unapologetically herself. (Like, peep her posts in the profile comments section, which are just so wonderfully human.) Nothing compares to her, always and forever. Happy weekend, all.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Drink Your Milkshake

Fuck. And. YES! The trailer for “Gunpoweder Milkshake,” the movie I plan to watch no matter what because HELLO, is finally out. I don’t think I need to say much more than Lena Headey, Karen Gillan, Angela Bassett, Michelle Yeoh and Carla Gugino. The trailer makes it out to be a bit like if the Birds of Prey decided to let their inner John Wicks out while trying to Kill Bill. Heck, if this wasn’t coming to Netflix in July I’d happily go see this in an actual real theater with other humans. Yeah, that’s how much I am definitely watching “Gunpowder Milkshake.”

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Words & Such

Whew, well guess I was more tired from last weekend than I thought. We had (fully vaccinated) friends stay over for a few days, our first official inside visitors since the pandemic started 15 months ago. It was a test run to see if we remember how to socialize. And, we kind of did. Watching Cate Blanchett use alternately big words and possibly made up words is a reminder that socializing is hard for everyone. And while we may not all get to look like Cate in a suit, we can use words that defuffle our friends for everyone’s amusement.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Eternal Flames

I know absolutely nothing about the Marvel Comics series “The Eternals.” I’ve never read them, but I sure hope they’re good because I’m rooting for “Eternals” to be something special. Newly minted “Nomadland” Oscar winner Chloé Zhao’s first foray into big budget blockbusters, it’s about a race of immortals and stars Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek and Gemma Chan. So, you know, sold. Again, I have no idea if this will be great or even good. But I do like seeing Angelina wiled a sword (mystical as it appears) again. Action Jolie is, admittedly, a favorite. So, thoughts? Anyone read the comics? Are we in for anything even remotely gay, because it looks like these immortals are super straight. But a gal can keep dreaming.

Monday, May 24, 2021

Music Monday: Girls5Eva Edition

Remember when I told you “Girls5Eva” is great ans you should watch and then you should continue to watch through the credits because of the amazing original songs during the end credits of each episode? Well here is Sara Bareilles singing “I'm Afraid (Dawn's Song Of Fears)”/Your New Favorite Song.

Friday, May 21, 2021

My Weekend Crush

Last Friday I got a press release about Gillian Anderson joining a new TV show and they attached this head shot and I literally could not work properly the rest of the day. Like, HOW RUDE? What gave you the right? How is anyone supposed to get any work done after seeing that? Anyway, so obviously I am showing it to you. Not to be cruel, but because it is Friday and you deserve to slow down and reward yourself after a long week working through late stage capitalism. So if Gillian Anderson’s flawless face isn’t enough to make you appreciate what really matters, nothing will. Work, as always, is way overrated anyway. Happy weekend, all.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Gender Fuck Thursday: Lady Killer Edition

Look, I could watch Blake Lively make a martini in a tuxedo for basically ever. So, naturally, I will totally watch her play a 1950s housewife who is secretly a contract killer. Blake will star and produce and Diablo Cody will write the film adaptation of the Dark Horse comic by the same name. You’ll remember Diablo from “Juno” and the still underrated “Jennifer’s Body.” I have not read any of “Lady Killer,” but I’m all for housewives becoming deadly assassins – for our entertainment. Also, it’s a good excuse to post Blake Lively making a martini in a tuxedo.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

90sGirlsGroups5Eva

If you are a product of the 90s like me, you should turn on Peacock right now and find the show “Girls5Eva.” The Peacock series is a pitch perfect (See what I did there? I’m so sorry, I’m tired.) send-up of the all-too-often superficial girl power of so many of mass-produced female acts of that day.

The series stars Sara Bareilles, Busy Philipps, Renée Elise Goldsberry and Paula Pell as ex-members of the girl group Girls5Eva. You know the sort, groups formed from an open call at an inland Florida strip mall. This show harmonizes silly fun and pointed smarts while satirizing the co-opted feminine empowerment of the era. Plus, holy shit, their songs are amazing. I mean it, one of the great joys of the series is the new song that plays over the end credits each episode.

We inhaled this series in two nights, only because we made ourselves stop half way through to make the season last longer. Plus, it’s got The Gay. Real-life lesbian comic and longtime “Saturday Night Live” writer Pell plays Gloria, the group’s closeted/unrealized lesbian. As adult Gloria her performance is somehow both comedically over-the-top yet utterly relatable, which is no small feat. Like, instead of just laughing at her romantic mishaps, I’m genuinely rooting for Gloria to find the happiness she deserves.

My only criticism, which I hope and think might be a temporary one, is that the show somehow decided to [Spoler Alert: Key plot point ahead and all that, jump ahead to the last paragraph] kill off the one Asian members of the group, Ashley (played briefly and in hologram by Ashley Park). But I think/hope that infinity pool accident was just a long-con ruse, right?

Right, have I convinced you to watch this show yet? Because if you still love all the sugary delicious girl pop of the 90s, while abhorring the messages all the mandatory baring of midriffs and underage exploitation of the time this show was written just for you. I mentioned my Fake TV/Film Wife Tina Fey produced this too, right? Anyway, *sings at an unnecessarily high note while holding an imaginary earpiece* watch.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Ellen's Next Chapter?

I thought at first I’d have a lot to say about Ellen’s announcement she’s ending her daytime talkshow with this its upcoming 19th season. But then a lot of smart women said a lot of smart stuff already. So I’ll keep it short-ish. My feelings about Ellen are, inevitably, tinged with nostalgia. But her career is a reminder that if our heroes don’t evolve along with us, we’re under no obligation to keep actively worshipping them. I’m not an Ellen hater per se. I recognize the incalculable good she did by coming out and mainstreaming acceptance of LGBTQ people. None of that should be forgotten. She helped change the world.

But, we’re all human. And good humans change because the world keeps changing and we should too. Ellen continued to believe her brand of non-nuanced niceness is the answer. She had made unquestioning kindness her brand. But just being nice won’t fix people who believe trans people should not be allowed to exist freely. And just being nice isn’t going to cause white supremacists to change suddenly their hearts. (Not to mention the reports of Ellen’s perhaps less than niceness in real life, and her show’s terribly toxic workplace. Weaponizing niceness to become obscenely rich and wrap oneself in unimaginable privilege while doing seemingly little to help those most currently vulnerable is, uh, not a good look.)

Still, like I was saying, we’re all human. We needed Ellen, and she came through for us at a time when only a handful of celebrities were actively out. She was the lesbian next-door, safe and non-threatening. Her likability and perceived kindness were ridiculously good PR for the mainstreaming of (let’s be honest, white-) gay acceptance back in the late ‘90s. And still she suffered for it, taking a few years to find her way back out of the wilderness after her sitcom got unceremoniously cancelled. Her return to and domination of an industry that once chewed her up and spit her out took courage and strength.

We all have struggles, and hopefully we all learn and continue to expand our minds and our hearts as we get older. That’s the whole wiser part, right? Heroes are only human too, and sometimes they might forget to look back and learn from their own struggles. Sometimes they continue to do the same thing that first made them revolutionary, but now just makes them rich. Then, yeah, it’s probably time to close that particular chapter.

But I truly hope Ellen has another chapter in her, one where her niceness (and wealth it helped her accumulate) can be used to continue the legacy she has already left of opening doors. True kindness is showing the most kindness to those who have experienced the least – not those who have gotten plenty already.

Well, shit, seems like I had at least a little to say anyway. Our icons are always complicated. The best take every opportunity to add to their legacies. I sincerely hope Ellen does just that.

Monday, May 17, 2021

Music Monday: Country Roads Edition

So I watched the first episode of “Clarice,” and have not watched more – despite being initially excited to see Clarice Starling return to my screen. The grim yet perdicatbale nature of the first episode, plus its hard lean into the era’s sexism (not like we don’t have sexism now, but you know) made me less excited. Like, how many times do we have to watch capable women prove themselves? (But, also, hi Dyson.) Like, maybe you can watch too many Murder Shows? But I really, really like the version of “Take Me Home, Country Roads” that Brandi Carlile recorded for the show. Like a lot a lot. Like give me all the haunting covers of formerly cheerful songs sung by one of the best live performers out there who also happens to be super, duper gay. And, who knows, maybe you all will tell me I should get over my misgivings with “Clarice” and give it another shot. Like, obviously, I still love a good Murder Show so… Happy Monday, kittens.

Friday, May 14, 2021

My Weekend Crush

Like if you didn’t have even a little crush on Clea DuVall as Graham are you even a gay lady? (Kidding, of course, different strokes for different queers and all that). But, seriously, as a wee lesbian figuring her shit out in the late 90s, Clea was CLEA. “The Faculty,” “Girl, Interrupted” and of course “But I’m a Cheerleader.” Honestly I think so many queer women loved Clea from the start because they knew, just knew, she was one of us. Even if you were still fine-tuning your gaydar, she set off the alarm bells. So it’s been immensely satisfying to see her both embrace her queerness, continue her acting career and become a talented and successful writer-director. Say what you will about the coming out plot of “Happiest Season,” but it was a skillful rom-com that makes lesbian storylines accessible to a wider audience. So naturally, I’m thrilled to see Clea has teamed with Tegan & Sara to adapt their memoir “High School” into a TV series for Amazon’s IMDbTV. For real, how gay is that - in the best way possible? Also little Baby Dyke Snarker would have had a heart attack if she knew Graham would some day show up at award shows wearing tuxedos and looking like this. It gets better, indeed. Happy weekend, all.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Gender Fuck Thursday: Rainbow Plaza

Sometimes you just need to look at some pictures of Aubrey Plaza in a suit. Like a lot of suits. Like a lot of suits in a lot of colors. Like a lot of suits in rainbow colors. Like, all of the pictures.

And, yes, I know she announced last week that she got married to her longtime boyfriend. But, you know, a gal can still look.

There, now isn’t that better?

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Nuns Gone Wild

From a movie I am 100% seeing no matter what to a movie I don’t exactly know how to feel about past fact that the guy who directed “Basic Instinct,” “Showgirls” and “Starship Troopers” making a whole movie about horny lesbian nuns in a 17th Century Italian convent (but, they all appear to speak French so there’s that, too). Granted, in recent years Paul Verhoeven has helmed quality work by the likes of Isabelle Huppert in “Elle.” So now he is working with Charlotte Rampling, so you know not too shabby.

“Benedetta” is apparently based on a true story about a 17th Century Catholic nun and mystic who had a relationship with another nun in their Italian convent. That, naturally, translates to boobs - lots of boobs - in the trailer. And crucifiction. And burning at the stake. I’m not too keen on that bit, as queer trauma doesn’t have to be the only stories that get told about us. But, hey, I like boobs too. So, who knows.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

My Milkshake Brings All the Girls

You know when you just look at a cast and say, damn, I don’t care if it’s good or not. I am going to watch the shit out of that. And that’s exactly how I feel about “Gunpowder Milkshake.” The new action thriller about an organization of elite female assassins stars Karen Gillan, Lena Headey, Angela Bassett, Michelle Yeoh and Carla Gugino. Oh and I guess maybe some dudes, like Paul Giamatti or whatever. But, yeah. That cast, ladies, THAT CAST. Netflix won the U.S. rights to the movie, which means I’m going to be very happy on my couch in the not-too-distant future. And, a sequel is apparently already in the works, according to Deadline. As with the planned follow-up for “The Old Guard,” a lady could get positively used to seeing all these amazing women starring in their own action flicks. And casting Luce the Florist and Amy Pond as mother-daughter? Yes, and thank you.
Also, the behind-the-scenes photos on female-fronted action films are so much better than the dude ones. Like, could you see the cast of “The Expendables” doing this? Carry on, ladies, carry on.

Monday, May 10, 2021

Music Monday: Naya Edition

Scrolling through my camera roll recently, I came upon a slew of photos from the 2011 GLAAD Media Awards in San Francisco. Hard to believe it’ll be 10 years ago this week when I actually got – if only ever so briefly – to meet and interview Naya Rivera. This year will have a lot of terrible milestones like that to remember, including what will be the first anniversary of her tragic passing last summer. It still seems hardly real that someone so talented, so filled with life, so special is gone. But it’s also good to remember that there really was a time when it felt so fun and free to be part of the S.S. Brittana. “Valerie” remains one of Naya’s signature performances. And, well, any queer gal could write a whole dissertation on that like come-here finger wag Santana gives Brittany. Happy Monday, kittens.

Friday, May 07, 2021

My Weekend Crush

After the last 15 months we’ve had, it just feels nice – not to mention noteworthy – to share good news. And when a talented queer artist gets married to another lady, well, in my book that’s great news. So hearty congratulations go to lesbian comedian Hannah Gadsby and her new wife, producer Jenney Shamash. That is definitely a good reason to enjoy a celebratory ice cream.

It’s also a reminder of how new this legal right truly is for most of us in the LGBTQ+ community. This June will mark the sixth anniversary of marriage equality becoming the law of the land in the United States. Our Australian friends passed marriage equality a couple years later, in 2017. As grateful as we are for voters and politicians affirming our equality, it’s total rubbish that people are allowed to vote on our rights in the first damn place. Otherwise, mazel tov! Here’s to love, marriage, funny women and ice cream. Happy weekend, all.

Thursday, May 06, 2021

Know Your Pride

I know we’re still a month out from Pride. And, again, it’s going to look and feel very different this year as we’re still — yes, still — in this damn pandemic. (Also, if you haven’t already, GO GET VACCINATED. It’s safe, it’s free, it’s available to anyone age 16-and-up in America. And, hopefully, we ship vaccines to rest of the world soon because viruses respect no borders. Like, please, help India now.)

But I can’t help to feel a little excited for our LGBTQ+ Rainbow Mafia as June approaches. I know we likely still won’t see the parades and the floats. But, honestly, the festivities were never supposed to be about the excess. They were about being unapologetically ourselves and believing in our worth when no one else would.

So I’m kind of excited to watch the new “Pride” documentary by FX on Hulu later this month. It’s a reminder that the first Pride was a fucking riot. When the times call for them, indeed, riots are needed. As anti-trans bills sweep through Republican-led states, let’s not forget the fight that got us where we are today. We’re only as free and as equal as those most unfairly persecuted in our society. True progress must be intersectional. And we’ll only appreciate how far we’ve come if we understand how hard we’ve fought to get here.

“Being told that you’re a piece of shit and not believing it is a form of resistance.” Yeah, it sure the fuck is. So be proud, a whole month early. We all deserve it.

Wednesday, May 05, 2021

Gay Gal

Every now and then you hear a story description and you go, huh, wonder if that’s any good/gay? Well, that’s my exact current state when it comes to the news that Gal Gadot and her production company will adapt a “queer sci-fi” movie. Based on the novel “Meet Me in Another Life,” the story as Deadline describes it “centers on a man and woman who must unravel why they continue to meet in different versions of reality—a genre-bending, thrilling and imaginative exploration of the infinite forms of love and how choices can change everything.”

So, if I’m hearing this right, it’s a little “Orlando” crossed maybe with “Cloud Atlas.” Which sounds intriguing indeed. And different lives certainly set up the possibility for queer storylines and all this talk of gender-bending certainly speaks of non-binary relationships. My question is, how will it play out? And, not to be blunt, but exactly how gay is it?

I have not read the book, which just came out late last month. So if you have, clue a lesbian blogging community member in? Exactly how excited should I be getting that Gal will star in the leading role here? Are we talking Kate McKinnon accidentally rows herself onto Themyscira excited?

Tuesday, May 04, 2021

Forever Olympia

I’ve watched “Moonstruck” no fewer than half a dozen times through this pandemic. And each time, each time, it’s perfect. One of the greatest romantic comedies of all time — and indeed one of the great American movies of all time — it owes no small part of its greatness to Olympia Dukakis’s world-weary wryness as the matriarch of the Castorini clan. Almost everything she says in that film is quotable and, again, delivered perfectly. The way she says, “What you don't know about women is a lot,” well, you felt that one in your bones.

But then, Olympia did that with every movie she touched. “Steel Magnolias” was my sister’s favorite movie growing up and it’s not an exaggeration to say I’ve probably walked past a screen playing it about 100 times. Sometimes, randomly, I’ll just say “Take a whack at Ouiser!” out of the blue when the mood strikes. Everything Olympia did was that memorable.

And, lest we forget, she’s been a friend and ally to the LGBTQ community since before it was cool to be a friend an ally to the LGBTQ community. She took on the role of eccentric San Francisco landlord and transgender matriach of her chosen queer family Anna Madrigal in “Tales from the City” starting in 1993 and through all of its various further incarnations over the decades including the 2019 revival for Netflix. And she starred as half a longtime lesbian couple in “Cloudburst” with Brenda Fricker. (In fact, you can watch it now, for free, on Tubi.)

She’s also a reminder that success can strike at any age. Hers came after making her so-called “breakthrough” at age 56 in “Moonstruck.” If in the end all we leave is the work, kindness and wisdom we can impart on those still on this crazy blue marble, then Olympia will be with us forever. I know I’ll watch her performances for the rest of my life, and enjoy them as if anew each time. Rest in Peace, legend.

Monday, May 03, 2021

Music Monday: It's Britney's May, Bitch

I love me some Britney Spears. Full stop. No explanations needed. Zero apologies. Given the pervasiveness of that Justin Timberlake’s “It’s Gonna Be May” meme at this time of year, with the help of some smart ladies on The Series of Tubes, I saw we reclaim the start of May for more deserving parties. Here’s to a “Piece of May” May instead. And, while we’re at it, Free Britney.

Also extremely acceptable would be “Let May Take You on an Escapade” May. Seriously, why are we even still talking about Justin when Janet and Britney are right there.