Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Vive la Mariska!

Has anyone done this yet? No? Yes? Well, either way, it had to be done. Vive la Mariska! Please enjoy the rest of your Tuesday.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Megan + Graham 4EVA

My heart, my But I’m a Cheerleader heart. Natasha Lyonne and Clea DuVall continue to make me believe Megan and Graham made it. After all these years, it’s fun to dream those two crazy kids are still together and making super cheesy cheers together. But what we do know is Nataha and Clea made it as friend all these years. Late last week, Natasha posted a series of tweets on Clea’s birthday. She has been posting for the last couple weeks about filming “Fresno” with Judy Greer and But I’m a Cheerleader director Jamie Babbit. And then Clea showed up to hang out or possibly be part of the production. Fingers crossed for the latter. Also, they were shooting in a sex shop. Yet still managed to look adorable. Like here. And here. And here. And again here. Yeah, admit it. Your heart skipped a little beat. Siiiiiigh. Go on without me. I’ll just be rewatching But I’m a Cheerleader for the millionth time, +1.

Friday, September 26, 2014

My Weekend Crush

The latest True Detective Season 2 casting rumor is that Rachel McAdams and Taylor Kitsch might be rounding out the cast, joining already announced Colin Farrell and Vince Vaughn. I love me some Regina George, but still – no, thank you. Instead, imagine if Tiny Detective was a reality instead. Finally, a TV series that speaks to me on a deep, personal level as a short woman in America. Actually, I’d watch the hell out of any show with Ellen Page and Kate Mara even if it didn’t so poignantly tackle the vertically challenged. Now, fetch me at step ladder. Happy weekend, all.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

I Can See Clearly Now

I’m going to admit something embarrassing. It took me much longer than it should have to get the not-so hidden wordplay within the “Transparent” title. (p.s. It’s “Trans” and “Parent,” in case you’re dense like me. But you’re not. So feel free to laugh.) And now I’m going to admit something else, after watching the “Transparent” trailer about a month ago it took until this last weekend to watch the (totally free) pilot episode on Amazon Instant. Yes, I know. I already said I was dense.

Now that I’ve owned up to my own stupidity, let’s talk about this really smart show. Sure, I’ve only just seen the one episode. But already you can tell this is a sharp, funny and simply lovely new series. I’m pretty sure this is one of my favorite new show of the season, if not several seasons. And, again, I’ve only seen just the one episode.

The series (which is on Amazon which, I know, weird) comes from Jill Soloway whose past work includes “Six Feet Under” and “United States of Tara.” And while Jill isn’t gay, she has a lesbian sister and has featured nuanced lesbian and bisexual storylines in a lot of her work. She shows an effortless understanding of the fluidity inherent in the gender spectrum as well as an innate understanding of the discomfort that can cause to those accustomed to strictly this or that.

What “Transparent” does expertly is invite us into the life of Maura (formerly Mort) as she comes out to her adult children and make us feel like we’ve been casually watching them for ages. They don’t seem like strangers, but people we’ve met and perhaps had brunch with over the years. We understand them instantly in a distant way that recognizes there are edges and dark corners they’ve hidden from you all along. As a pre-transition Mort tells his youngest daughter, “Boy, it is so hard when someone sees something you do not want them to see.”

We could talk at length about the very talented cast: Jeffrey Tambor as transitioning Mort/Maura, Amy Landecker (who is a dead ringer for Amy Brenneman) as rich stay-at-home mom Sarah, Gaby Hoffmann (who is on a streak after being so great in “Girl”) as unfocused youngest daughter Ally and Jay Duplass as music industry hipster Josh (who like to date his clientele, the younger the better). They’re all excellent. And if you haven’t already, make sure you have a mirror ready when you realize butch uber dyke Tammy is Jan from “The Office” actress Melora Hardin. The mirror is to see how far your jaw drops, by the way.

Amazon will release the entire first season on Friday. And already I can’t wait to spend my weekend with these people. Sure, they’re messy and imperfect, selfish and at times unable to see what is so clearly in front of them. But then, aren’t we all.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

True Dudebro

Oh look, they’ve cast True Detective Season 2 and its…zzzzzz. Oh, sorry. Dozed off there. Because it was two utterly uninteresting straight white men and I could not muster enough of an iota of interest to stay conscious. Fine, it’s and Colin Farrell and Vince Vaughn…zzzzz. Oops, lapsed into an apathy coma again.

There are only a handful of actors I can think of that I want to watch less in a serious “prestige” drama than Vince Vaughn. Maybe Rob Schneider? Or Justin Bieber? Vince’s screen persona is the physical manifestation of Dudebro Culture, a perpetual manchild whose emotional depth is as complex as a chest bump. But, by all means, cast him in a series that has already been heavily criticized for its machismo and misogyny.

Look, it’s not a crime to cast two white straight men as the leads in a high-profile series. But it’s boring. And it’s another missed opportunity to make the world a little less boring. (For reference, please see yesterday’s post.) But HBO with all its power and prestige, has decided that Colin and Vince are deserving of such a platform. (p.s. Yes, I know there might be one or two other leads cast who may or may not be a person of color or a female person. Or maybe a POC or woman will be the victim because we’ve never, ever seen that happen before on television ever.) I guess what irks me most is how many other actors deserve a chance to be great, but are simply never afforded the opportunity because we’re too busy giving second chances to boring straight white men.

Yawn. In the end, casting news like this reminds me that the echo chamber of pop culture loves to congratulate itself of rewarding the unextraordinary. Give me a “Top of the Lake.” Give me “The Fall.” Hell, give me “Sleepy Hallow” and “Elementary.” Anything that isn’t just an endless array of interchangeable guys. Because, dude, zzzzzzz.

p.s. Ray Velcoro is a terrible name. But no worse than Rust Cohle, so I don’t know why I would expect more.

p.p.s. I would watch the hell out of Bert and Ernie in True Detective Season 2, because we all know they’re not straight.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

No Country for Angry Black Women Stereotypes

If you love talking about television like I love talking about television, you probably have heard the furor around The New York Times TV critic Alessandra Stanley’s profile of TV megaproducer Shonda Rhimes that was published online late last week. In short, the article, which was a backhanded way of promoting the new ShondaLand series “How To Get Away With Murder,” became a backhanded slap at all black women. It rightfully made black women – and pretty much any rational thinking person – very angry. Why?

Well, this was the lede:

When Shonda Rhimes writes her autobiography, it should be called “How to Get Away With Being an Angry Black Woman.”
It didn’t get much better from there. She discusses how Rhimes likes to showcase “powerful, intimidating black woman” characters. And how her new series star Viola Davis is “less classically beautiful” than other stars. She explains that ultimately Shonda took Viola’s character (and her other black female characters) and “recast it in her own image.” Though, small problem, Shonda isn’t even the creator or writer of “How to Get Away With Murder.” Ooof.

Nothing like reducing an incredibly talented and prolific television creator and producer to that ugly, old stereotype of the “Angry Black Woman.”

Naturally, there was a lot of deserved outrage about this. Like here. And here. Also here.

So much furor was caused that the NYT Public Editor Margaret Sullivan waded into the fray and took her own rightful slap at Alessandra’s piece saying “it delivered that message in a condescending way that was – at best – astonishingly tone-deaf and out of touch.”

Not to be outdone, Alessandra responded back by proving her tone-deaf, out of touchness by saying in the same post:
“….I so often write arch, provocative ledes that are then undercut or mitigated by the paragraphs that follow.”
Guys! It’s not that she is racist. It’s that WE DIDN’T GET HER ARCHNESS. Duh!

You might think that this is a lot of meta, inside baseball talk about the media. But what it really is is a serious discussion about race and television. And it’s a pointed look at how our media institutions value an entire institution. Because it seems to me that in order to be even a somewhat passable television critic, one must first actually like television. You don’t have to love everything on television, clearly. Because, holy shit, is there a lot of crap.

But you do need to, as a medium, appreciate and respect its potential and power. At very least, you need to actually watch it. But The New York Times, our paper of record, seems to hate television. Why else would it have gainfully employed arguably America’s Worst TV Critic since 2003.

This isn’t just one terrible article and tone-deaf mistake from a TV critic. Everyone makes mistakes. This is a TV critic who has proven for over a decade she is terrible and tone deaf. At this point, her mistakes are legend.

Who can forget that hit comedy “All About Raymond,” right? And who doesn’t fondly remember that segment she wrote about that DID NOT EVEN AIR on the day of Ann Curry’s departure from “Today,” eh? And I sure know I love Stephen Colbert and his “trustiness,” don’t you? (Yes, more irony, the women whose writing defines “truthiness” didn’t even get that right.)

When about revered newsman Walter Cronkite died her obituary for him contained not one, not two, not three but SEVEN FUCKING ERRORS. That’s the way it isn’t, in Alessandra’s world.

Read Gawker’s continuing archives on her terribleness for a good laugh/cry depending on how you’re feeling.

Hell, Margaret Sullivan isn’t even the first NYT Public Editor to take her to task. Two Public Editors ago, then ombudsman Clark Hoyt called her “a television critic with a history of errors” when writing about the Cronkite debacle.

But guess what, SHE IS STILL EMPLOYED.

I don’t watch any of Shonda Rhimes’ shows regularly anymore. But it’s not for lack of quality (it has more to do with time and ability to follow soapy storylines in a timely fashion). Yet I admire the hell out of her for bringing such rich casts and stories to out televisions. She has created wonderful roles and opportunities for people of color and created meaningful and thought-provoking LGBT storylines.

I was lucky enough to briefly interview Shonda at the GLAAD Awards a couple years ago and what I noticed about her in our very short time together wasn’t anything even close to anger. It never even crossed my mind. What I did notice was how smart she was and how, as an interviewer, my main goal was to keep up and not sound stupid.

The kicker of Sullivan’s post on the matter is perhaps the most telling of all:
“The Times has a number of high-ranked editors and prominent writers who are people of color, but it’s troubling that among 20 critics, not one is black and only one is a person of color.”
And that, my friends, is exactly why the world is better place thanks to ShondaLand. This is no country for Angry Black Women stereotypes. We need more Shondas and less Alessandra’s in the world to make it a stronger, smarter, more inclusive place. I have no idea how this woman gets away with being the America’s Worst TV Critic. But let it be known, we are not listening anymore.

p.s For some lovely uplift, please check out our friend Lesley’s post at The Hollywood Reporter where she asked 30 of Shonda’s stars to describe her in three words. Hint: None of the words are “Angry Black Woman.”

p.p.s. I took that photo of Shonda on the 2012 GLAAD Media Awards in San Francisco. Me. But the excellent side eye. Yeah, that’s all Shonda.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Accio Feminism

Don’t you like it when someone you thought would grow up nicely does just that? Emma Watson, a.k.a. Hermione Granger, was named a UN Women's Goodwill Ambassador earlier this year. And this weekend she helped launch the HeForShe Campaign for gender equality. Hermione Emma spoke at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on feminism and gender equality. It’s a rather stirring speech, and proof positive that sometimes you can tell from a very, very early age when someone is just a good egg. That Harry Potter girl, she’s definitely one of them.

Friday, September 19, 2014

My Weekend Crush

Sometimes I fall in love with songs ridiculously late. I have no one buy myself to blame, obviously. This is partly because my new song consumption consists of what I hear on the radio driving to and from work and/or getting groceries, mostly. The other part is because of my cranky resistance at watching music vides online – isn’t that what MTV should be for? But now, four months after it was released, I’ve finally watched the video for Sia’s “Chandelier.” I loved the song at first listen, but kind of forgot about it. But for whatever reason it has been coming on a lot on my drives again – or maybe I’ve just been taking more road trips. And I finally took the time to watch the video. Holy shit. And then I watched her live performance (complete with tiny dancer) on Ellen from earlier this year. Holy shiiittt. Now I feel doubly terrible for ignoring this song for so long. Stupid, stupid me. I should have known better, since my love for Sia’s work (and Sia’s weirdness) is already well documented. Long story short, I may be the last member on the late bus, but I will happily give credit where credit is due. Sia’s “Chandelier” is amazing. But then, you already knew that months and months and months ago. Happy weekend, all.

p.s. “Chandelier” is, indeed, amazing. But trying to sing along with “Chandelier” in the car proves how un-amazing a singer you really are. Them notes? They’re hard. Damn hard.

p.p.s. OMG, you guys, thanks to this video I can now sing “Chandelier” no problem. Even Sia loves it. I haven’t laughed so hard at something I am not sure I was supposed to laugh at in a long time. AHM GOHNA SWEEN FRAHNA CHEHNDOLEE! FRAHNA CHEHNDOLEE!!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Orange Mash

It’s been a video kind of week. What can I say, sometimes words fail me. And if a picture is worth 1,000 words, moving pictures are worth what? I don’t know, please don’t make me do the math. Just enjoy this “Orange Is the New Black” and “Golden Girls” mash-up you never knew your heart wanted.

p.s. As an added bonus, here is the “Orange Is the New Black” meets “Grey’s Anatomy” character mash-up that Ellen Pompeo posted yesterday you also never knew your heart wanted. Callie Torres as Alex Vause. Yes, 1,000-times, yes.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Aloha, Laughter

I love to laugh! Ha ha ha ha! Loud and long and clear! Sometimes you just need one of those loud and long and clear laughs. And I’ve always remembered Ellen (circa her early, floppy haired talk show days) trying out the Hawaii Chair as one of those great loud, long, clear kind of laughs. It’s Wednesday, you deserve this.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Greasing Palms

I am very excited about this photo of dirty hands. Why am I excited about this photo of dirty hands? For one, they are Ellen Page’s hands. Anything to do with Ellen Page is pretty exciting - duh. And, two, it’s because it’s Ellen Page’s dirty hands from her first day of mechanic lessons for the film “Freeheld.” Ellen tweeted out this picture yesterday afternoon and it made me squeal just a little. But in a totally professional way, like one does at her desk at work. *Looks around to make sure no one noticed*

If you’ve been around here, or The Internet, or any current affairs-reading lesbians for a while you know “Freeheld” is the true-life story of a lesbian couple who fought against their local county government to have the terminally ill partner’s pension benefits go to her surviving partner. Their life was turned into an award-winning documentary short of the same name. “Freeheld” won the Best Documentary Short Oscar in 2007.

Back in 2008, Page first signed on to the film. Yes, that’s six years ago. SIX YEARS AGO. Which is, like, 20 years in Hollywood terms. And as a gay lady obsessed with pop culture, it feels like 100 years ago since I began writing about this project. I’m not even joking. But thank God that tiny Canadian was persistent because those dirty hands mean it is finally, finally really happening.

As announced earlier this year, Julianne Moore has come on board to play Laurel Hester, a veteran New Jersey police detective. Page will play her domestic partner Stacie Andree, an auto mechanic. When she became ill in 2005, Laurel, a 25-year veteran of the police department, petitioned her local county government (called Freeholders, I dunno – government is weird) to pass her pension to her registered domestic partner. Big surprise, the all-male, all-Republican freeholders voted against allowing her to assign Stacie as her benefactor. But the couple kept fighting and rallied public support. (Spoiler Alert: Then, after an impassioned deathbed video from Laurel asking them to reconsider, the freeholders revered the decision. She passed 18 days later.)

The film will also star Steve Carell (replacing Zach Galifianakis, which makes me happy because, man, I was not a “Hangover” fan) as a gay rights advocate who helps the couple.

Right, so back to those dirty hands. I can’t think of a better symbol to show the hard-work and passion it took – both Laurel and Stacie in real life and Ellen and the filmmakers behind the project – to make this happen. Also, props to Ellen for going deep method with her acting.

p.s. If you haven’t watched the original “Freeheld” trailer, you should. It still makes me tear up at my desk all these years later. *Looks around to make sure no one noticed, again*

Monday, September 15, 2014

Yes, Yet

Is there anything more joyful than a woman in an impeccably tailored tuxedo dancing and singing with puppets? Wait, don’t answer. Just watch. And may the power of yet start your week off just right.

Friday, September 12, 2014

My Weekend (Gay) Crush

So today, in the weekly The AfterEllen Huddle, we were posed the question, “Why are you glad to be gay (or however you identify)?” I hope you get a chance to read all of the writers’ responses, because they are interesting and telling and at times quite moving. I wanted to share mine here as well. Because it was a question I never knew that I wanted to answer until it was finally asked. Happy weekend, all.

When I was in grade school, the coolest thing was to sit on the back of the bus on the ride home and make fun of the other kids. I wasn’t cool, but I wanted to be. One week, everyone in the back of the bus decided it was cool to call this one girl – who was awkward and scruffy and different in ways grade schoolers despise – names. The only one that stands out to me all these years later is “witch.” Don’t ask me why, I really can’t recall. But, remember, I wasn’t cool – I just wanted to be. So I called her witch with them one bus ride home. It was a mean and terrible thing to do. And I regret it to this day. But I wanted to be cool, and cruelty seemed the fastest way there.

Years later, when I began to realize my own difference, the urge to hide the “not one of us”-ness of my very existence grew to an unmanageable din. I won’t be cool, I won’t be liked. I’ll be the witch at the back of the bus.

But learning to accept and own and honor that very differentness that is inherent in every single gay person is the reason I am most glad to be gay. For those who fit effortlessly into the back-of-the-bus crowd, coming to the realization that coolness or sameness or whatever-ness you hold dear doesn’t really matter often comes more slowly – if at all.

Being gay has afforded me a front-row seat to what otherness means in America. (So has being a minority, being a woman, et al – as it does for anyone outside the descriptors of the pre-prescribed societal norms.) But what it really has done is make me a kinder, more open person. It has made me realize for all of our so-called differences we are actually all terribly the same. We are just tiny humans spinning around the sun on this crazy blue marble for a ridiculously short period of time. So, really, what’s the use of being cruel?

Being gay also means I get to kiss girls. Which is awesome. So there’s that, too.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Coming up Rosie

I don’t watch “The View,” but I am certainly happy Rosie is coming back to “The View.” I haven’t always been the biggest fan of Ms. O’Donnell’s (mostly just the stupid, needless feuds and occasional insensitivity), but I have always appreciated her passion and also she was Doris Murphy, third base. But I think time has helped Rosie gain perspective and wisdom and should make for a very interesting View-ing. Plus, it never hurts to have another out gay woman front and center.

What I like about Rosie, particularly this Rosie who has returned from the edge of emotional daytime talk brinksmanship, is that she is unapologetically direct and unwaveringly honest. The lady speaks her mind – and her mind alone, not some rote points laid out for her by whatever agenda she supports – and there’s precious little of that enough as it is. In America, we love a good second act (though in Rosie’s case this might be third or fourth at this point). We can’t help ourselves, we cheer for the hard-earned comeback. So I hope Rosie brings it. Actually, I already know she will. Also, girl, looking good on that Variety magazine cover.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Oh my God, Becky

Greetings and buttutations. Here is just a little silliness for your hump day. Ellen still twerks better than I can. Also, love the shorts.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Welcome to the freak show

As much as Ryan Murphy drives me absofuckinglutely nuts, I look forward to his freakfuckingtastic “American Horror Story” each year. Part of its appeal is its one-shot nature every of season. Murphy’s famously short attention span tends to doom his shows past their first season. (cough, Glee, cough) But by completely changing the setting, the plot and the characters it keeps things fresh. But the smartest thing by far is keeping the same very, very talented female cast. Jessica Lange, Sarah Paulson, Kathy Bates Angela Bassett. It’s hard to find a more talented collection of ladies on one show than that. This year’s carnival theme is rich with possibilities, and already we’ll have double the fun with Sarah and triple the fun with Angela (oh yeah, I noticed the extra girl in there). So bring on the freaks.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Vacation Vixen: Rizzles

I rather enjoyed this summer season. I mean, not the finale – which came with its now-requisite totally unsurprising cliffhanger wherein Jane risks her life to save someone else. (Must be Tuesday!) But I thought the crimes were (a tad) more interesting and the stories were (a tad) more believable. And, yes, there was the ever-present chemistry, which is and will always be why I watch. Yes, Jack is terrible and we are all very glad he has landed another TV show. (Nothing against Enver, but he has zero chemistry with Sasha. ZERO.) Now that my vacation is (almost) over I’ll have the very late Subtext Recap for the finale up today (or early tomorrow – depending how much work I get done on the plane) over at AfterEllen. Thanks for watching another season of the Gayzzoli with me. And thanks for being patient. Cheers, Rizzles Gals. See you again in February when Jane (gasp) survives.

Friday, September 05, 2014

Vacation Vixen: Lana Parrilla

I haven’t watched “Once Upon a Time” in forever. Hook me up, Swan Queen Fandom. What have I missed – well, besides Lana Parrilla looking like sex on a settee?

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Vacation Vixen: Gillian Anderson

I’m not even kidding, when is “The Fall” coming back? I seriously cannot wait to see Gillian Anderson on my teevee again. Also, only mildly related because it involves a British crime show with a strong female lead, has anyone watched “Happy Valley?” Looking for new things to watch as my vacation continues.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Vacation Vixen: Samira Wiley

You guys, you guys. I so owe you an Inmate Profile character recap of Poussey. I’ve been dying to write hers (and Morello’s, if we’re being honest), but I have just haven’t had the time to do her justce. I don’t want to half ass it because the awesome human being and all around heartthrob that is Samira Wiley deserves nothing less.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Vacation Vixen: Jodie & Alex (with bonus Bennett)

Sometimes I still can’t get my mind around the fact that Jodie Foster is a married woman. And married to Alexandra Hedison. Seriously, it’s like Six Degrees of Lesbian Separation. Anyway, here’s a photo of the happy couple (with bonus actual physical contact) posing with Matt McGorry at the Emmys last month. I’m trying to think what Jodie and Alex (does she go by Alex? I’m going to call her Alex because we’re all lesbians here) would want Bennett to sneak into Litchfield for them in his leg*. Probably some nice single malt whisky and some lotion would be my guess. It puts the lotion… Oh, you know where this is going.

* I know, I know. It’s a fake fake leg.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Vacation Vixen: Jennifer Lawrence

To the fucknut who hacked Jennifer Lawrence (and other famous women’s) phone and stole TOTALLY PERSONAL, TOTALLY PRIVATE photos and then posted them all over the Internet: Fuck you, you worthless excuse for a fucking human being. We live in such a fucked up world sometimes. If you wouldn’t go to Jennifer Lawrence’s house and peep in her window to see her in a TOTALLY PERSONAL, TOTALLY PRIVATE setting, then you shouldn’t be looking at these stolen photos online either. I happened upon some accidentally after landing from a long flight yesterday and felt so fucking gross. I’m mad that I saw what little I saw. And fuck this shit about “they shouldn’t have taken naked pictures in the first place…” All women, yes - even famous women, are allowed to do whatever they want with their bodies consensually. What is not allowed is for someone else to do whatever they want with said bodies nonconsensually. What is wrong with people? Anyway. Sorry, didn’t mean to start off my vacation with so much swearing. But, a little righteous anger is a good way to clear out the cobwebs. Keep your head up, Jennifer. You (and the other women whose photos were flat-out stolen) did nothing wrong. I join you in one-fingered solidarity against that fucknut hacker thief who did everything wrong. Fuck you, dude. Seriously. FUCK YOU.

EDIT: I would like to reiterate that NO MATTER how good she looks and NO MATTER how dumb/smart you may/may not think it is to take naked pictures on your phone, stealing someone’s TOTALLY PERSONAL, TOTALLY PRIVATE images is a FUCKING CRIME. This is not about prudishness. This is not about her actions. This is about a CRIMINAL who violated another human being’s basic rights. Period.