Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Proud L Words

Start Pride with “The L Word” and end Pride with “The L Word.” Now that’s what I call the ultimate Gay Lady bookends for June. The full trailer for the new season of “The L Word: Generation Q” has arrived and it’s filled with tons of Lesbian Drama and many big Queer Choices, per usual. Like that Gigi (Alice’s current girlfriend’s ex-wife, because queer ladies and their exes, amirite?) is making out with Bette (ex-wife of Tina who now looks to engaged to Rosie freaking O’Donnell). Or that Shane is making at very least eyes at a married lady. And the humbling fact that Angelica is old enough to make out with anyone (but yay for her and Jordi). All in all, I feel ready and excited to have these total hot messes back in my life. Happy Last Day of Pride, kittens.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Watch a Kajillion Times

On this, the penultimate day of Pride Month, I’m here to recommend an undiscovered gem of a movie. I posted about the trailer last August, when I wondered if it contained anything even remotely queer. Well, kittens, the answer is yes. The movie from offbeat filmmaker Miranda July (if you ever saw “You Me and Everyone We know,” you’ll know exactly what I mean by offbeat) is as offbeat as you would suspect. It stars Evan Rachel Wood (doing her best Elizabeth Holmes voice), Gina Rodriguez (who, goodness, can she fill out a simple T-shirt pair of jeans) and a nearly unrecognizable Debra Winger (I really did pause the trailer to make sure that was here). It’s hard to explain what this movie (essentially about a family of low-level grifters and the stranger who enters their lives) is truly about other than to say it’s about family dysfunction and finally finding the tenderness you need. Go into it without expectations and just enjoy its unhurried unfurling. It’s streaming right now on HBO Max. Did I mention Evan & Gina have great chemistry? Because, yeah, they do.

If you’ve watched the movie, watch the clip below. If you have not watched the movie, DO NOT WATCH THE CLIP BELOW. It’s basically the entire end of the movie. But goodness, did I rewatch the heck out of it after finishing the movie. Hello.

Monday, June 28, 2021

Music Matters: The Girls Edition

As a dutiful lesbian, I actually saw The Girls sing this at the Fillmore back in 2016. This isn’t the same night (they’re wearing different shirts). But each of the many (many) time I’ve seen them live I’ve reveled in the joy that is a room full of queer women (and their friends) singing the same songs at the top of their lungs. So get out your own map in these waning days of Pride and make the most of whatever comes your way. Happy Monday, kittens.

Friday, June 25, 2021

Vacation Vixen: Kate & Tina

Yes, I know, Tina isn’t technically a Gay. But she is my Fake TV/Movie Wife and hugging certified Gay Kate McKinnon. So, you know, I’m gonna give it a pass. Because when two great things look great together, don’t fight it. Happy vacation weekend, all.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Vacation Vixen: Jodie & Alexandra

I know paparazzi shots aren’t cool. But something about the incredibly lesbian aesthetic of seeing Jodie Foster and her wife Alexandra Hedison walking around New York City late last month just makes me smile. Like they’re so obviously gay and comfortable with themselves and each other. And they’re both annoyed at the interloper in an endearingly grumpy dyke way. From strolling around together without a care to wearing pajamas to big fancy Zoom award nights, I’m just happy they’ve come to this point. And, you know, sorry for the intrusion, ladies.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Vacation Vixen: Samira & Lauren

I guess it’s queer couples week here because next up is Samira Wiley and Lauren Morelli. The married couple had big news to celebrate this April, as they welcomed their first child – a baby girl named George Elizabeth. Mazel tov to the happy new moms. No, I’m still not over Poussey, but at least these ladies are still going strong despite the pandemic and, well *waves arms at everything*.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Vacation Vixen: Sarah & Holland

Looking back, do you know I didn’t have a single Vacation Vixen in 2020? Like, what a year not to take some fucking time off. I mean, I obviously it wasn’t a year to go jet setting. But still. Also my short break this April was bereavement leave, not a vacation. So, yeah, I guess that means I’m long overdue for a damn vacation. This week I’m giving myself a little time and the first more than one-night stay away in, well, too damn long. I’m going with vaccinated friends for a well-deserved getaway where we plan to drink wine and soak in a hot tub and just be our gay ass selves to the fullest on what would ordinarily be our Pride Weekend. But, as I never leave you high and dry, I get ready for a full week’s worth of queer women Vacation Vixens to fill the void starting with Sarah Paulson and Holland Taylor. I hope these two never beak up and continue Carol-and-Therese-ing themselves into our little gay hearts forever. See you in the flip side, kittens (and Sarah and Holland’s puppy).

Monday, June 21, 2021

Music Monday: Hayley Edition

Would it even be Pride Month if lesbian pop princess Hayley Kiyoko/Lesbian Jesus didn’t put out another cinematic queer music video featuring her kissing another lady? Like each one of her mini movie videos are gorgeous little gay romances and I can’t even begin to imagine how reaffirming it must feel to see those as a tween or teen or queer person coming out really at any age really. Get your Pride on and get your girl and ride off into that sunset, ladies. Happy Monday, kittens.

Friday, June 18, 2021

My Weekend Crush

Jean Smart has always been great, we’ve just forgotten to notice for too long. If you’ve watched “Hacks” or “Mare of Easttown” or “Watchmen” or “Fargo” recently you were jolted out of your fog and remembered, immediately, how great she has always been. Like, I knew back in her “Designing Women” days as she played up her role as loveable-if-naive Charlene Frazier (basically the group’s much taller Rose).

She has worked steadily since her six seasons on “Designing Women” ended in 1991. But she’s only recently gotten the acclaim she has deserved all along for her work. In part, I think it’s because she can chameleon herself so well into roles. She was ditzy Charlene for so many. But underneath has always been a sharp, incisive talent able to become whatever she needs to be in the moment.

Whether she’s playing the matriarch to a crime family (“Fargo”) or a FBI Agent Laurie Blake (“Watchmen”) or Kate Winslet’s long-suffering caustic mother (“Mare of Easttown”) or a comedy legend fighting the sunsetting of her career (“Hacks”) she makes you believe. And, truly, that’s all you can ask from an actor. That their performance engrosses you so much you almost forget who they are.

Her most recent work, the HBO Max series “Hacks,” in particular showcases her in a way that cannot be ignored. While she has been an always excellent supporting star, giving her a start turn at 69 is inspired and so well deserved. She fully inhabits the complicated loneliness of success, ambition, privilege and passion as female comedy icon Deborah Vance.

(Not to mention the show’s other star, Hannah Einbinder, plays a bisexual up-and-coming comedy writer. And they may or may not kiss at some point on screen which I will say no more about but yeah it happens. Also Hannah is also an out bisexual in real life, and the daughter of SNL great Laraine Newman — yes, really.)

After a steady career these last 30 years after leaving “Designing Women,” Jean most definitely deserves all the “Jean Smartaissance” talk. Like, if she doesn’t start next year off with an Emmy or two, then what even is the point?

Also, did you know that Jean married her “Designing Women” co-star Richard Gilliland (who actually played Annie Potts character Mary Jo’s boyfriend) in 1987 and they were together until his death earlier this spring? Oh, and here’s one last bit of fascinating Jean Smart trivia. She is a direct descendent of Dorcas Hoar, one of the last women convicted of witchcraft (but whose life was spared) during the Salem witch trials during the late 17th Century.

Yes, Jean Smart is a direct descendent of the witches they could not burn. I guess that truly explains it all. Happy weekend, all.

P.s. “Hacks” is as excellent as everyone has said, even if I’m miffed at them for the very obvious, self-destructive “twist” at the end which *yawn* we all saw coming. But there will be a second season to make up for it, so on with the show.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Gender Fuck Thursday: Villanelle's Accents

Some Thursdays you just need to watch Villanelle/Jodie Comer strut around in a beautiful pin-stripe suit while impeccable running through four accents in under a minute just to impress Eve/Sandra Oh. And that Thursday is today.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

So Much Gay Fear

Is it progress for us to be terrorized over and over again in horror films? Let’s find out. The trailer for the “Fear Street” movie trilogy (yes, three of them all ready to go) was released and it definitely looks like it has queer female couples in various states of distress through time. Now, I’m not a big horror person — the world is violent and scary enough as is. But, I am interested to see how the queer storylines play out. While it’s seemingly clever to have the same town terrorized over-and-over again through history, doesn’t each film look basically like reruns of other well-known horror tropes? Like we’ve got summer camp killers and witch trial hauntings and on-trend 90s nostalgia. Anyway, someone summarize how the gays fare for me once this comes out so I don’t have to watch from behind my pillow.

p.s. In six-degrees of playing queer separation, one of the only truly identifiable leads from the films, “Community” star Gillian Jacobs, was in the lesbian buddy/straight buddy best friend dramedy “Life Partners.” But as the straight buddy. So, you know, there is still time for that ceremonial toaster oven if this movie pans out. We shall see.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Ma Belle, Ma Threesome

Well, this certainly looks interesting. “Ma Belle, My Beauty” is the story of a polyamourous love triangle set in sun-dappled South of France. Yeah, I know, there’s a dude. I have no idea how it all ends or what viewers will be left with at the end. But I am certainly game to give the film about a married husband and wife who have their female third return to their lives after a two-year absence. The film is the first feature from Marion Hill, a Vietnamese-French-English filmmaker who describes her work as “devoted to narratives and visuals of queer femininity and femme power.” So, you know, thumbs up to that. Look, I’m a sucker for beautiful foreign settings and (duh) beautiful women. And this film has that baked right into the title.

Monday, June 14, 2021

Music Monday: Sleater-Kinney Edition

Any queer gal alive in the late 90s, early 00s can likely fall down an endless memory hole with the mere mention of Sleater-Kinney. With everything 90s being back (hello, The Linda Lindas, you adorably awesome feminist scamps), it only seems right that some of the O.G.s are staking their claim again on the musical landscape. But since the departure of drummer Janet Weiss from the band in 2019, it’s been an adjustment to the new duo Sleater-Kinney of Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein. So it only seems appropriate that “Worry With You” is an anthem to new and possibly messy relationships. I don’t know what’s in those little blue bottles, but it seems to be working – for better or for worse. Happy Monday, kittens.

Friday, June 11, 2021

My Weekend Crush

I didn’t grow up with “Blues Clues,” and my niece and nephews are too old to watch now. So basically all I know about the Nickelodeon show is that the original popular kiddie show host left abruptly a few years into the show’s run because, in part, he didn’t really want to be a popular kiddie show host for the rest of his life. So, you know, understandable. Apparently the show was rebooted on Nick in 2019 and now it’s surely about to get a lot of the MAGA/Christian Right/Wingnuttery Wing people pearl clutching because they dared to create a fun virtual Pride parade song for children featuring “RuPaul's Drag Race Season” contestant Nina West. Oh no, how will children handle the radical notion that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, non-binary, pansexual and asexual people exist in this world? WHO WILL PROTECT THE CHILDREN?!? (Unless, of course, that child needs health insurance, or a free school lunch, or food stamps, or childcare, or protection from gun violence, or…)

Honestly, if you’re a parent and you don’t explain LGBTQ people to your children you’re not really doing a great job as a parent. Because we exist, as much as these people would rather we didn’t. Part of being a parent should be explaining that humanity comes in all different shapes and sizes and races and ethnicities and sexualities. But somehow whenever it comes to LGBTQ+ people, telling children we exist is “indoctrination” or “communism.” (Yes, really, communism.) Like, sure, tell children an imaginary fairy breaks into their homes and steals their teeth in exchange for money in the dead of the night, but acknowledging a cartoon transgender beaver is TOO MUCH. It’s so endlessly tiresome. Anyway, enjoy this fun, upbeat and inclusive song. Kids should be told LGBTQ+ people exist, period. Also, you know this song is a bop. Like, we know how to celebrate because for centuries the world has tried to stop us from doing just that. Happy Weekend, all you glorious queers.

p.s. Honestly, the only thing I don’t understand about the song is why the numbers don’t coincide with the animated animals. They’re not going by fives and sevens, right? Did I forget how to count during the pandemic. Or is this like Queer Standard Time where we make our own rules because the world won’t let us play by theirs?

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Army of Tig

So, sadly predictably, “Army of the Dead” was not very good. Like, only a man who recut a superhero movie into a four-hour opus would think he could pull off a zombie heist movie with authentic pathos. Instead, basically, a bunch of folks died needless graphic deaths because ... money? Yeah, basically. But the one thing I did enjoy about the film — and honestly it was a purposeful afterthought at best — was the casting of Tig Notaro as the crew’s helicopter pilot.

The out comic wasn’t originally part of the movie. She came on board later after the film had finished shooting, when they had to recast the role of comic Chris D’Elia who was originally tapped to play the role of the pilot. But after filming was done, D’Elia’s history of sexually pursuing underage girls got him the Kevin Spacey treatment. Like, whoops, we cast a gross sex monster. Our bad. Let’s pretend this never happened, eh?

As much as I am all for recasting disgusting sexual predators and zapping them out of pop culture, how boring was that casting choice in the first place? Like, you take this zombie movie with a somewhat diverse cast and then pick the most uninspired and uninspiring straight white man for its main comic relief role? That’s just lazy casting, folks. But you put someone like Tig in the role and automatically it’s more interesting. So it’s the proverbial win-win, you don’t go for the obvious/lazy choice who also happens to be a major sex pest and instead hire an out actor who cleans up so well she basically looks like a lesbian Tom Cruise.

But, again, I really can’t recommend this movie. Unless, of course, you want to see how well they did green screening Tig into the picture. Yes, all her scenes were shot against a green screen. In fact, she only interacted on set with one of the movie’s other actors, Ana de la Reguera. I think they did a pretty good job of editing the gross dude out and Tig in. But then, even if they’d used a cardboard cut-out of Tig instead of that D’Elia, it would have been a vast improvement.

Wednesday, June 09, 2021

The Soft Butch Detective

I started “Mare of Easttown” a little late, binging most of the season and then watching the last two episodes in real time. I really don’t have a great excuse for why I didn’t start promptly, other than that it’s been a long 15 months and I’m not perfect – OK. I’M NOT PERFECT. Kidding! (I obviously am perfect.) Kidding, but for real this time. Anyway. Back to Mare and her Easttown. Honestly the show was custom-made for me. A veteran lady detective who is Very Good at her job. A twisty-turny case. A lot of weird accents. A significant queer female character (that, bonus points & spoilers … does not die!) All that plus Kate Winslet. Come on, I have no idea why I waited. And it is also the second consecutive Certifiable Soft Butch™ role of Kate’s career (after “Ammonite,” the lesbian rocks/spoilers…sitting on Kate Winslet’s face movie). Besides all the Wawa subs, the best thing about the series was the space it gave its lead female performers to just act the shit out of everything. Kate, Jean Smart, Julianne Nicholson and Angourie Rice brought despair, grit, frailty and humanity to their roles. They were a pleasure to watch, even if Easttown does not entirely seem like a pleasure to live in.

Plus, it gives us another opportunity to see that other Kate, Kate McKinnon, do what she does best. I really, really enjoyed “Mare of Easttown,” and if I’m being perfectly honest with myself I would totally also watch “Murder Durder.”

Tuesday, June 08, 2021

Second Feel

I watched the first season of “Feel Good” when it came out in basically one sitting at the start of the pandemic. And while I liked it, I wasn’t really in the right mood to fully appreciate the lives of these complicated, messy, occasionally unlikable and often frustrating queer people. Yes, yes – I know no one wants to watch happy perfect people (queer or otherwise). But all last year I leaned hard into comforting stories (think “Schitt’s Creek,” “Great British Baking Show” et al) because of how uncomforting everything in the world felt.

So as much as I thought the semi-autobiographical story of queer comic Mae Martin’s life/love/recovery/relapse/gender identity was well done, I just wasn’t in the right place to truly appreciate it. Now, after the Orange Stain is out of the White House and the pandemic is (sorta, kinda) coming under control, I feel I might be in a better headspace to enjoy another helping of Mae & their Complicated (Big C) Life. So, thoughts on the first second? Excited for the second? I mean, obviously, any show with Lisa Kudrow deserves a second chance – or basically all the chances.

Monday, June 07, 2021

Music Mondays: The Linda Lindas

Fuck – and I mean this most sincerely – Yeah! It took me longer than it should have to finally watch The Linda Lindas and their viral hit “Racist, Sexist Boy” (live from the LA Library). But now that it has I have it an “It’s Pride Again” stuck in my head on an endless loop. As someone who actually lived through the Riot grrrl era, I am so incredibly pleased (and perhaps a little proud) that the next generation has chosen to continue to embrace the feminist punk perspective and aesthetic (I see that Bikini Kill T-shirt, I certainly do). It’s one of the vestiges of the 90s I’m actually glad are back, unlike acid wash mom jeans. I’m also glad it’s becoming more inclusive and more diverse. The more the merrier when it comes to smashing the patriarchy (and guitars). So rock on, The Linda Lindas with your new record deal. Racist, sexist boys everywhere can fuck – and I mean this most sincerely – right off.

Friday, June 04, 2021

My Weekend Crush

As we finish up this first week of Pride, let us pay homage to The Most Lesbian Show Ever “The L Word” (I mean, it’s in the damn name and all) and its revival “TLW: Generation Q.” The series finished shooting its second season last week (just in time for Pride, how considerate). And I have a lot of capital F Feelings about seeing the cast back together again. If last year’s anticipation was about seeing what the new series was all about, this years is about seeing the continuation of the lives of these (albeit) fictional queer women whose stories I have invested literal years of my own life into. Mostly, I’m just glad there’s still space on major platforms for our lives, and those of our fellow LGBTQ folks, to be show on television. Representation always matters. And the new season will bring old favorites (Helena Peabody, as I live and breathe) and new nemeses (Rosie is pretty brilliant/obvious casting) and new icons (Vanessa Williams was great in a too brief stint on “Girls5Eva” so let’s give her a lot more to do here people, she deserves it). Sure, it’s not perfect and it’s never been perfect. But you always remember your first lesbian show. So now the wait until August 8 for it all to begin again. Also, how did I not know Jacqueline Toboni/Finley and Kassandra Clementi were a thing? Like, did I miss the memo? Here’s to the continual overt queering of the cast. Remember when Leisha was the only out one? Yeah, me too. Happy Big Lesbian Weekend, all.

p.s. If the first teaser trailer for the second season is any indication, plenty of fighting, fucking, crying, drinking will be happening. As it should be.

Thursday, June 03, 2021

A New Hunger

In an effort to keep the first week of Pride as queer as possible (AQAP for future reference) here at Surrenders, here’s some more good gay news. Remember when I said Angela Robinson had inked a production deal with Warner Brothers? Well the first fruits of that appear to be ripening as Angela is in talks to direct a remake of “The Hunger.” Yes, that “The Hunger.” The movie that started the whole sexy lesbian vampires thing. The movie with Catherine Deneuve and Susan Sarandon and David Bowie (because why not also have David Bowie).

I’m excited about this movie for a few reasons including but not limited to that Angela is a talented director (“D.E.B.S.” remains campy fun and you know it), she knows her way around a lesbian vampire (hello, “True Blood” much), and this means I can watch “The Hunger” without my residual distaste for all things Susan Sarandon (no, ma’am, Trump and Clinton were emphatically NOT exactly the same). I’m always a sucker for a lesbian vampire, no matter how bad the movie (and, kittens, “The Hunger” was not good), so I hope this movie can give us the lesbian vampirism we deserve. Or at least a chance for me to watch the O.G. lesbian vampire movie concept without she whose name will not be spoken again. What? If immortal lesbian vampires can be a thing I can hold a grudge for five years and counting no problem.

Wednesday, June 02, 2021

Sex & The Sara

Look, I was always going to watch the “Sex and the City” revival because I watched the originals and may or may not have hosted a cosmopolitan-soaked premiere party in the past and even perhaps snuck some vodka into the first movie screening and also my wife knows basically every episode by heart. Yes, I know its’ super straight and super white and super ladies of a certain income level and all that jazz. I know. But, again, the heart wants what it wants – in television and in love.

But now I’m super thrilled that the new revival will at least have one bona fide queer person of color in the cast. Sara Ramirez, who identifies as bisexual and non-binary, has joined the cast as “Che Diaz (they/them), a nonbinary, queer stand-up comedian who hosts a podcast on which Carrie is regularly featured.” The Hollywood Reporter also called their character a “big presence with a big heart whose outrageous sense of humor and progressive, human overview of gender roles has made them and their podcast very popular.”

So, basically, it sounds like Sara’s Che is the replacement for Kim Cattrall’s Samantha. The feud between Kim and series star Sarah Jessica Parker is far from secret, but props to Kim for requesting (and apparently having said request granted) that whoever be cast to replace her character be more inclusive than the lily-white original series cast. As for its queer female representation over the years, it’s been mostly Very Special Episode territory. Remember when Carrie kissed Alanis Morissette and Miranda kiss a random lesbian on the elevator and Charlotte dressed as a Drag King and Samantha dated a lady for a few episodes? Let’s hope for more authentic queerness in the new series. I mean, we’ve all come a long way since SATC premiered back in 1998. Heck, both Sara and Cynthia were perceived as straight back then. So grab a cocktail and let’s see what happens.

Tuesday, June 01, 2021

Show Your Pride

HAPPY PRIDE, KITTENS. Yes, it’s back. Pride has returned and for all the understandable grumbling about the corporatization and straightification of Pride Month, let’s not forget what it’s really all about. Looking good on the back of a Dykes on Bikes motorcycle. Or the HRC or GLAAD float. KIDDING! Honestly, I don’t even know how many years it’s been since I went to the actual parade, let alone made it up early enough to see the Dykes on Bikes. Still for all our complaining about Pride, I do actually love it - or at least the sentiment of it if not the exact in-the-moment experience. So, let’s reminisce. Favorite Pride memories? Like can you believe it’s been 16 years since Dana, Alice & Shane abandoned Dana’s little brother with Jenny only to have him realize his own sexuality and have the best Pride ever? Break out the rainbow tchotchkes, fellow queers, this month is OURS.