Friday, November 28, 2014

My Weekend Holiday

Ack! I am sorry. It is a holiday weekend here in the states, and a holiday built around the eating of mass quantities of food and then passing out on the couch. As you can see, I have no been very productive. But, I have eaten a lot of turkey. So, I think it is a fair trade. So please forgive my errant posting due to my holiday food coma haze and enjoy the ladies of SNL explain what it means to be a true Backhome Baller. Happy holiday weekend, all.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Rose is a Regan

Sometimes, as I’ve said many (many, many, many, may) times before, I can be slow. Sometimes, it takes five episodes before I realize the hot red-head in “Jane the Virgin” is the hot brunette from “Legend of the Seeker.” Now, in my defense, I never actually watched “Legend of the Seeker.” But, as a lesbian lady on the Internet, I have seen a gazillion fanvids and femslash gifs of the show for Bridget’s Kahlan and Tabrett Bethell’s Cara. So I feel like I know the really important bits already. (i.e. Hot ladies. Leather. Hair flipping. Swords. Gender-nonspecific kissing. Slow-mo everything. Etc.)

Still, I was slower than slow to realize that this person…

…is also this person:

This person…

…is also this person.


…is this.

And so…


I also just realized she was Rebecca in “White Collar.” What? Jesus, I would make a terrible eye witness. Change your hair color and I’m totally bamboozled.

Oh, and “Jane the Virgin” needs to get back to Luisa and Rose’s relationship STAT.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Serve and Protect

Here is what I believe. Police officers should be allowed to protect themselves and others with everything up to an including lethal force. Here is what I also believe. Police officers should use extreme caution and ultimate prudence in using lethal force. It should always be a last resort, always. Because there is no do over from dead.

I believe most police do just that, and risk their lives daily to uphold the law. But I also believe there are some who do not exercise nearly enough caution or prudence. And people who should not die do die because of that. And, again, there is no do over from dead.

Lethal force should not be used because an unarmed black teenager stole some Swisher Sweets. It should not be because an unarmed black teenager mouthed off to a cop. And it should not be because an unarmed black teenager grappled with that cop.

Should Mike Brown have done those things? No, probably not. But are those things are worth giving Mike Brown a death sentence? No, definitely not.

The question here is how and when and why lethal force is used. And the question is who gets the benefit of the doubt in this country. Is it an unarmed black teenager walking in the middle of the street? Is it the white sports fans setting shit on fire after they win a football game? Is it a bunch of white college students mad their favorite coach got fired? Or the white tea party militia dressed in combat gear with rifles pointed directly at federal law enforcement? There’s a theme here, if only I could put my finger on it.

People will point at the protesters and the small percentage with violent tendencies and say, see, this is what happens. See, this is why force is necessary. See, this is why they’re dangerous. They’ll use it as justification for their worst assumptions about people different than them. But what they don’t see is the reason. The anger, the hopelessness that is deeply embedded after enduring years, decades, centuries of assumptions made just like that. Does that excuse the lawlessness? No. But it puts it in context. Those scoffing at the reactions fail to see the chicken-and-egg conundrum in those stereotypes.

Reading Darren Wilson’s grand jury testimony about how he felt threatened – which I do not doubt he did – conjures up age-old racist tropes about thugs and brutes. He may not be aware he has them, but read his own words and they are there. I mean, at one point he even said, “it looks like a demon.” A demon. He also compared Mike Brown, who is 6’4, as much bigger than him like “Hulk Hogan.” Darren Wilson, it should be noted, is also 6’4. The question again is why, why he was so scared of this unarmed black teenager.

In the end I’m left with a deep sadness at the way we value lives, particularly those of minorities, in this country. An unarmed black teenager is dead, and no one will be held accountable for it. I hope all the reaction and protest and righteous anger about the grand jury decision in Ferguson leads to greatest understanding. That it will make us examine those assumptions and reevaluate what it takes to take a life. But my fear is that it will only continue to drive us further apart.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Off a Cliff

Trigger Warning: Sexual assault and rape culture discussion follows.

What do we value more than women’s [fill in the blank]? Sadly, in our culture the blank in question has far too many options. Opinions. Bodies. Lives. Of late, our cultural discourse has turned to what we value above women’s accusations in regards to rape. The catalyst for this discussion has been the resurfaced and renewed allegations of sexual assault by once revered comedy icon Bill Cosby.

No one needs any introduction of who Bill Cosby is. We named ugly sweaters after him and ate Jell-O because of him and felt a little better about race relations in 80s America because of him. He was Cliff Huxtable and everyone loved Cliff Huxtable.

But the man is always so much more complex than the myth. At this point, I’ve honestly lost track of the number of women who have come forward to share their all-too similar stories of unwanted sexual encounters with this man. Yet we clung to the myth until their chorus of accusations became an impossible-to-ignore din.

For decades, his positive public persona was more important than the women who dare to crack its highly polished veneer with the truth.

I’ve mused over the difference between the art and the artist more times than I wish I had to here in the past. Powerful men getting a pass on past misdeeds against women is a sad theme in our society. Roman Polanski. Woody Allen. Terry Richardson.

These men all still have careers and work with respected colleagues and companies because we choose to believe their reputations over women’s voices.

The he/said (or whatever configuration) of sexual assault is almost always weighed against the victim. The shame and the disbelief are the burdens the victim alone must carry. What was she wearing? What did she do? Why didn’t she go to police? The question is almost always why she didn’t do something. It is very rarely why didn’t he not rape her.

It’s the strangest thing, how we think about rape accusations. If I walked out of a building declaring I was robbed, people would gasp and help me call the cops. But if I walk about of a building and declared I was raped, well, is there proof? Were charges filed? Was he convicted? Did he go to jail?

As such, the evolution of public perception of Bill Cosby has been grimly fascinating to watch. The truth is these rape allegations are nothing new. They’ve been around for decades. But until the last few weeks, they’ve only been badgering whispers around the dark edges of what everyone assumed was a great man. They never took hold because of who was accusing him. A bunch of unknown women? Pshaw.

No, we didn’t pay attention until a male comic, Hannibal Buress, dared to utter the allegations out loud. And a clip of his talking about Cosby’s rape accusations went viral. Oh, wait, now a man said it? Hold on. And then, things went even farther still after a famous woman, Janice Dickinson, added her accusation into the chorus. Well, OK, this is a female celebrity – guess we can’t blow her off like the others. Netflix hold his comedy special. NBC cancels his show. TV Land pulls his reruns.

The simple fact is one woman’s voice was not enough. Nor were two. Nor were three. Nor were fourteen.

But what we have to ask ourselves, what we must change, is why. Why wasn’t it enough? Because we value so many other things – fame, entitlement, power, respect, male voices – more than women’s accusations. And until that changes the Woody and Roman and Terry and Bills of the world will keep getting away with it.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Good Cat

Isn’t it good when good projects go to good people? It’s just so…good. Out comic book artist Cat Staggs has been doing good work for a good long time now. Overuse of the word good? Shhhh, I’ve only just begun. She is currently an artist for DC Comics, and has created really good covers for everything from Smallville to Vampire Diaries and Star Wars titles. But now, in even more good news, she is doing to cover art for a new series of “Orphan Black” comics. Yes, ORPHAN BLACK COMICS.

She did all eight covers for Orphan Black Issue #1. Three of the eight have been released and, guys, they’re so good.

[Click to embiggen]

Speaking of good things, did you catch Cat and her wife Amanda Deibert in that Target ad? Ack, so much good it’s making my face hurt from the smiling.

Awwww. Good, right?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Throwing It All Away

Still not over this preview. Not even a little bit. I could watch Dr. Lauren Lewis hurl that throwing star on an infinite loop. In fact, I think I will.

p.s. For a more verbose breakdown of the first full preview for Season 5, check out my post from AfterEllen this week.

p.p.s. I think the fact that they show Dyson/Bo action, but no Doccubus action is actually a good thing. Bait and switch, amirite? Or, you know, wishful thinking.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Falling Hard

Oh, show. What are you doing to us, show? Remember wayyyy back this summer when that little rumor that Gillian Anderson’s DSI Gibson and Archie Panjabi’s Dr. Reed Smith would have a “sexual encounter” on the new season of “The Fall.” Then the good doctor checks out Stella’s nail length in the premiere, a clear sign of lesbian flirting. And now this new promo image from episode 3 has set those rumors on fire. As in, oh hey look, there’s a fire in my pants. Gosh, those two look awfully cozy. Someone tell me their shipper name immediately, if not sooner.

This cheeky reply from Gillian about the possibility of Stella’s bisexuality doesn’t hurt either.

Right, sorry, regain composure. Act like an adult. Be professional. They’re probably just discussing very serious and important police-related matters. In each other’s pants.

Whoops, sorry. Slipped up again. On a related note, I’d like it ever so much if you took the time to check out my recaps of “The Fall” over at AfterEllen. The first one posted yesterday and you can expect them Mondays throughout the season. I know, I know – tough gig staring at Gillian Anderson’s face for hours on end.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Ask a Lesbian

It’s Monday. Sorry about that, that bit is outside of my control. What I can control is how you start your Monday. I think a lesbian answering questions from straight folks is a great way to start. Especially if those answers are equal parts funny and true. Please enjoy Cameron Esposito’s Ask a Lesbian series for Buzzfeed.

p.s. She is not wrong about the side mullet thing. Or vests. 

p.p.s. Not that I have a side mullet. Just that it reads Tegan & Sara-level gay.

Friday, November 14, 2014

My Weekend Crush

The most extraordinary thing about the Jane of “Jane the Virgin” isn’t that she is a virgin. Sure, her chasteness is the gimmick that gets us into the irony of her pregnancy. But the real thing that makes Jane unique is her honesty. Jane is the most honest character on television right now. And much of the humor and complications come not from lies – like on so many other shows – but from simply telling the truth. It’s a neat trick for a show that is essentially a very smart take on a telenovela.

Much of the show’s greatness also comes from Gina Rodriguez’s portrayal of Jane. She is earnest and charming and empathetic and goofy. She feels like a real girl you’d meet and probably like. Except, again, she is probably more honest and open than most. None of it would work if Gina wasn’t so darn likeable. But she is, she really is.

Not to say there isn’t a healthy dose of scheming and backstabbing in “Jane the Virgin.” But the various scrapes and predicaments Jane gets into are because of the less than honest actions of others. Speaking of, have I mentioned that there’s a hot lesbian affair on this show? Really, you should be watching this show. Happy weekend, all.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Falling for the Girl

*Siren Blares* *Lights Flash* Sorry, I get a little excited sometimes when my gaydar gets pinged. Too much? NEVER ENOUGH. In the course of researching the new season of the BBC Two series “The Fall” (starting today in the UK, lucky UK), I came across the new character PC Hagstrom played by Irish actress Kelly Gough. I don’t want to tell you your business, but, yeah. Siren, lights, PING.

Now comes the disclaimer where I tell you I have absolutely no idea whether this new police constable character is a lesbian or now. But her folded arms, slicked hair, hands in belt, general aura all reads G-A-Y. My most sincere hope is that this new PC Hagstrom is a love interest for Niamh McGrady’s returning character PC Ferrington. Her adorable ginger constable needs some loving.

If you’re looking for a less flaily preview of the new season, please check out AfterEllen later today. Needless to say, I’m pretty excited. Not just because of femslash I’ve made up based on two promo photos, but also because this series is very good and very smart. Even though it’s about a man who kills women, it’s also about women navigating (and kicking ass) in a male-dominated world.

And there isn’t an actress working today who is aging more exquisitely than Gillian Anderson. I mean it, I think the aliens did take her because there’s no other reason she should be even more talented and more beautiful with each passing year.

p.s. I will be recapping this season of “The Fall” over at AfterEllen as well. Such hard work screencapping Gillian. Much toil.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Out, bright spot, out!

You deserve this today. I mean it. You’ve earned it. You’ve earned two gorgeous magazine covers featuring two talented out gay women. You deserve Ellen Page in that Marlene Dietrich tux. You deserve Samira Wiley in those Josephine Baker pearls. You deserve it all.

The actresses are among four covers for this year’s annual Out 100 list. (Their male counterparts are Zachary Quinto and Sam Smith.) The images are beautiful, naturally. But I was even more interested in the small interviews with each woman. Ellen, again, eloquently describes her feeling of responsibility and relief she felt coming out. And then there’s this gem about the lesbian trend canard:

“Even if it did become a trend, who cares, right? Let being yourself become a trend.”

Samira’s interview is equally interesting, but for different reasons. For one, it’s another non-coming out coming out. It never directly mentions her sexuality, but it does mention her girlfriend/OITNB writer Lauren Morelli. And it also talks about her upbringing being raised in a family filled with acceptance and faith. Isn’t it sad when that’s the exception and not the norm. As she says:

“I feel like oftentimes in the church people get caught up in literal translations of the Bible. But that’s not the home I grew up in. I was just taught that love is the most powerful thing. And being able to see that and see my parents on the forefront of that made such a big impact on my life.”

See, I told you you deserved this.

p.s. In case you feel you deserve more there are also nice photos/items on Evan Rachel Wood, Ariel Schrag and Angel Haze among others in this year’s list.

p.p.s. Oh, and do not forget to click both the pictures to embiggen them. You really, really deserve that.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Criminally Funny

Some actors you just wish well. Whether you like the show they happen to be on or not, you root for them. Paget Brewster is one of those actors. I’ve watched “Criminal Minds” on and off over the years – though thanks to the power of rerun marathons I’m pretty sure at this point I’ve seen every single episode. And I’ve always enjoyed the Paget season the most (we shall not talk of the abomination that was the Ashley Seaver Season – shudder). But now that she has left the Special Agents ranks once more (and this time likely for good), I was wondering where she might land. And yesterday I found out, she is joining “Community” for its sixth season. The former NBC-turned-Yahoo show will return in early 2015 with Paget as “Francesca ‘Frankie’ Dart, a consultant brought in to help shape up the school.” If you are among the people scratching your head wondering why that lady cop from the serial killer show is on a sitcom, scratch no more. Paget got her TV start on “Friends,” and has subsequently brought the laughs on shows like “Huff,” “Andy Richter Controls the Universe” and three very funny, very drunk episodes of “Drunk History.” (Seriously, Google them.) Bottom line, lady is funny.

So in celebration of this wonderful news, please enjoy Paget reading a REAL-LIFE dirty love letter from James Joyce to his wife, Nora. I cannot overemphasize how incredibly DIRTY these love letters from 1909 truly are. Like, for real, wear headphones. This is NSFW defined. Yeah, that’s right, the dude who wrote “Ulysses” just put all your naughty sexts to absolute SHAME.

[If the video is geoblocked, try this link, international friends.]

Monday, November 10, 2014

Come and Get Lost

I still, STILL, can’t believe it’s ending. But with each new promo I get reminded: The end is near. Sigh. I fluctuate between extreme excitement and extreme sadness the closer we get to “Lost Girl” season 5. Excitement because, hot damn, a new season of “Lost Girl.” Sadness because, say it ain’t so, the last season of “”Lost Girl.” But I don’t have to tell you. You know exactly how I feel.

p.s. The continued adorability of the entire cast helps ease the pain...a little.

Friday, November 07, 2014

My Weekend Crush

I’ve really enjoyed all things Lorde since she burst on the scene all untamed hair and weird hand dances last year. And I’ve continued to enjoy her through her BFF-dome with Taylor Swift and continued weird hand dancing. And I really, really enjoy her new song “Yellow Flicker Beat” for the soundtrack of “he Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1.” Like, really, really. The video, I am happy to report, does not disappoint either. I particularly enjoy (and commend) whoever got into a pompadour of sorts. Impressive. Also, love the sly “The Shining” shout out in that ballroom scene pose. Happy weekend, all.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

In Otter News

After yet another highly disheartening (and confusing – vote for weed, vote for minimum wage increases, vote for Republicans?) midterm elections I think we could all use a palate cleanser. I’ve been doing my best deep breathing techniques to come to terms with the fact that the guy who wrote “The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future” will now be in charge of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. So I have brought out the big guns today to change the tone. Desperate times call for desperate measures and all. The simple fact is there’s nothing, absolutely nothing at all in this world cuter than a baby sea otter. So feel better, America. Things this adorable still exist, despite who runs Congress.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Who is afraid of the Big Bad Boo?

Among one of the many, many, many reasons I love “Orange Is the New Black” is its contribution to the resurgence of Lea DeLaria. Some of us still remember her as the first out comic to appear on a late-night talk show (back the first time Arsenio Hall had a talk show). Everyone else just knows her as Big Boo. TV and film hasn’t quite figured out what to do with butch lesbians, other than make them the obligatory punchline. Too often they’ve woefully underrepresented. Other times they’re poorly portrayed. (For reference, please see yesterday’s post about Tammy.) So good for Lea. Because for the past 20-plus years she has been an unapologetically, unmistakably butch voice amid all the on-screen lipstick. Also, it’s a rare treat to see her yell down a homophobic street preacher on the subway. Nobody fuck with Big Boo. Well, unless they love peanut butter. Ahem.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Tammy Time

Transparent” is a very, very good TV show. If you haven’t watched it yet or haven’t felt compelled to kick in for an Amazon Prime account to be able to watch it yet, you should. Plus, it’s almost the holiday season and you know that free two-day shipping that comes with the account will come in handy for that friend who got you a present you weren’t expecting and now you have to reciprocate with something last minute, dammit. (Or, not, there are other ways – cough, nudge, cough – to watch, too. I’ve heard.)

Series creator Jill Soloway has a gift for cutting us an intimate slice of familial dysfunction and making us want to stay and devour the whole messy pie – preferably in one sitting. This story of a trans parent of three adult children transitioning from Mort to Maura is sharply drawn and instantly engaging. Like Lisa Cholodenko, Soloway has a way of immediately inserting us into a specific lifestyle and making it feel completely lived in. Here the lives of the members of an affluent Jewish family in Southern California are laid bare, in ways that expose their flaws with the poignancy and humor that ultimately universal to most families.

It’s hard to overstate how good this show really is. It’s fantastic and fascinating. I made myself stop watching the day I started so I could make it last longer. That good.

And for us gay ladies the show is brimming over with rich, complicated female queer characters from Maura to eldest daughter Sarah and youngest daughter best friend Syd. It’s almost perfect. But then, there’s the reason for the almost.

Tammy. Sarah’s girlfriend – the lady she was L.U.G. for in college and left her husband for after college – is by far the most thinly drawn character on the series. This isn’t really Melora Hardin’s fault. (Side note: I totally didn’t recognize her at first as Jan from The Office. See what wonders a little short hair and swagger can have?) She is just given so very little to work with. It’s like they ran out of character development and just said, “Act like someone who cares more about the furniture than people’s feelings.”

Granted, there’s only so much time in a half hour series with only 10 episodes and this show isn’t skimpy on the characters. So, fine, Tammy gets the short shrift. Since the series has been renewed for a second season we can only hope this means we’ll see another side of Tammy in the future. Or any side of Tammy that isn’t all smirks and smarm. I mean, not that I mind a little of the smarm. She can flash those sunglasses at me anytime.

Monday, November 03, 2014

T-Swizzle and Shake

OK, Taylor. OK. You win. You totally win. Your reign of unabashed likeability continues unabated. “1989” is a fun, I admit it. It makes me hum along at my desk. Despite her penchant for doing the most White Girl Things possible (bad dancing, shiny rompers, high hotpants, more bad dancing), Taylor has perfected her public persona. She has grown into what seems like a genuine young woman – and that is not easy to do under the blare of our constant criticism of female celebrities, particular young female celebrities. She dates too much. She’s not feminist enough. She’s not edgy enough. But, you know, shake it off. She has gone out of her way to befriend an unexpected assortment of other young female celebrities (from Lorde to Lena Dunham). So you know what, I do not have a problem with her and I’m tired of policing everyone else’s everything. “1989” is fun, I admit it. Now, off to dance to “New Romantics” in my chair. Again.

Taylor Swift - New Romantics

p.s. Anyone who canoodles Tegan and Sara on stage is clearly not all bad. Not even half bad.

p.p.s. In case you were wondering, T-Swizzle also says “you can want who you want, boys and boys and girls and girls.” So there is that.