Bombing the Prom

For a while there, 21st century movie adaptations of Broadway musicals were being given the Rob Marshall treatment. Oscar-winner Chicago got the ball rolling. Then it was followed by the dismal Nine and disastrous Into The Woods. Marshall’s next project? The live-action The Little Mermaid. Now Ryan Murphy, who shares Marshall’s initials, as well as his taste for bombast and Meryl Streep, is entering the fray with his big screen version of the Tony-nominated 2018 musical The Prom (Netflix). Murphy’s love of musicals and theatrics can be traced back to his inexplicably popular network TV series Glee. His Emmy-winning 2014 movie adaptation of Larry Kramer’s dramatic play The Normal Heart proved he […]

Making the yuletide gay: an interview with actress Mary Steenburgen

Happiest Season (Hulu), written and directed by out actor Clea Duvall, is one of the queer Christmas movies that are especially popular this holiday season. Lesbian couple Abby (out actor Kristen Stewart) and Harper (Mackenzie Davis) are on their way to spend Christmas with Harper’s family. But there’s a twist, not revealed to Abby until they are almost there; Harper’s not out to her parents, Tipper (Mary Steenburgen) and politician Ted (out actor Victor Garber), or her sisters Jane (Mary Holland) and Sloane, with whom she is extremely competitive. This closeted fact leads to all sorts of wacky shenanigans and a […]

Good as Golding: an interview with actor Henry Golding

In a relatively short period of time, actor and straight ally Henry Golding’s star has ascended, making him one of the most recognizable names and faces on film. Beginning with the double whammy of 2018’s Crazy Rich Asians and A Simple Favor, and continuing with 2019’s Last Christmas and The Gentlemen, Golding is a hot commodity. In addition to these high-profile movies, Golding also ventured into the world of independent features with Monsoon (Strand Releasing), written and directed by gay filmmaker Hong Khaou (2014’s Lilting). In Monsoon, Golding plays Kit, a gay man who left Vietnam for the UK with his parents when he was a young boy. He returns, […]

With friends like these

Halloween 2020 is behind us. However, for some people, especially LGBTQ+ folks, Thanksgiving can be much scarier. Friendsgiving (Saban Films), written and directed by Nicol Paone, renowned for her Elaine Stritch impression  on “The Big Gay Sketch Show” (where she costarred alongside Kate McKinnon), is the latest addition to the turkey day trauma tradition.   Queer Abby (Kat Dennings) and straight Molly (Malin Åkerman) are longtime besties with something in common. Each one is still reeling from a painful breakup. Due to their fragile states, they agreed to have a more intimate Thanksgiving – just the two of them and Molly’s infant […]

Retro-activity

The losses to the entertainment world in 2020, COVID-related and otherwise, have been substantial. Rock and roll pioneer Little Richard died at 87 in May and Fleetwood Mac founder Peter Green died in July at the age of 73. Released 25 years after his breakout debut, Little Richard’s 1972 album The Second Coming (Omnivore), newly reissued with four bonus tracks, manages to honor his roots (“Rockin’ Rockin’ Boogie,” “Mockingbird Sally”) while also fitting into the sonic funk style (“Second Line,” “Nuki Suki”) of the early 1970s. Little Richard, who struggled with both his sexuality and religious upbringing, became a preacher […]

The Poetry Section

Depending on whether you are a glass half full or half empty kind of person, National Poetry Month was either six or so months ago or is coming up in less than six months. Either way, there is much to be savored in that literary genre right now. Edited by Richard Blanco, Caridad Moro, Nikki Moustaki & Elisa Albo, Grabbed: Poets & Writers on Sexual Assault, Empowerment and Healing (Beacon Press, 2020) arrives at a turning point in our history. With a foreword by Joyce Maynard and an afterword by Anita Hill, this substantial anthology includes works by a variety […]

Capital idea: an interview with Kim Roberts, editor of By Broad Potomac’s Shore

As compared to New York, San Francisco or Chicago, Washington DC might not be among the first places the average person thinks of when it comes to poetry. But thanks to queer poet/historian/educator Kim Roberts that is changing. Beginning with her groundbreaking 2018 book A Literary Guide to Washington, DC: Walking in the Footsteps of American Writers from Francis Scott Key to Zora Neale Hurston, Roberts wisely turned our attention to the city’s rich literary history. For her new book, By Broad Potomac’s Shore: Great Poets from the Early Days of the Nation’s Capital (University of Virginia Press, 2020), narrows her expansive focus from all writers to […]

The Boys in the Band is a flashy relic

When Mart Crowley’s The Boys in the Band made its Broadway debut 52 years ago, the world was a very different place, especially for the LGBTQI community … which wasn’t even referred to as the LGBTQI community at the time because in many places being homosexual was still illegal in 1968. When The Boys in the Band opened on Broadway, the Stonewall was just a bar, not an iconic location where the gay rights movement began. So it’s risky mounting this relic of the past again today, on stage (as it was for the 50th anniversary) or on film (with […]

Fall 2020 reading list

Fiction shelf Not meant to be read on an empty stomach, or even if you’re the slightest bit hungry (there’s a lot of cooking and eating!), Memorial (Riverhead, 2020) the debut novel by Bryan Washington (author of the acclaimed 2019 short story collection Lot) introduces us to Benson and Mike, a mixed race (one Black and one Japanese) gay couple negotiating their fragile and strained romantic connection while also trying to maintain relationships with their complicated families. The must-read book of the season. Finding Tulsa (Palm Drive Publishing, 2020), the new novel by Lammy Award-winning novelist and longtime journalist Jim […]

Haute House

It could be said that “Unzipped,” Douglas Keeves’ popular documentary about fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi, started a trend. Since that time, docs detailing the rise of influential couturiers, including Alexander McQueen (2018’s “McQueen”), Halston (2010’s “Ultrasuede” and 2019’s “Halston”), Valentino (2008’s “Valentino: The Last Emperor”), Yves Saint Lauren (2010’s “L’amour fou”) and Vivienne Westwood (“Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist”), have been the rage. David Ebersole and Todd Hughes’ “House of Cardin” (Altered Innocence/Utopia), now available on DVD, about fashion legend Pierre Cardin, ranks among the best on (or off) the rack. What makes this indisputable is that Cardin, who turned 98 […]