In this week’s episode of the Geeks OUT Podcast, Kevin is joined by Kyle-Steven Porter as they discuss Nintendo’s new fitness game/attachments, the Ring Fit Adventure and Ring-Con controller, the new trailer for Hulu’s Castle Rock based on Stephen King’s books, and celebrate Rupaul and all the queer winners at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards in This Week in Queer.
In this week’s episode of the Geeks OUT Podcast, Kevin and Eric Green as they discuss Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep and IT Chapter 2, the new trailer for the Black Christmas reboot, and why a Young Avengers comic from 7 years ago is creating “controversy” in Brazil in This Week in Queer.
KEVIN: New trailer for Doctor Sleep ERIC: Joker wins top award at Venice Film Festival
DOWN AND NERDY
KEVIN:IT Chapter 2, Steven Universe: The Movie, Titans, House of X, Something is Killing the Children ERIC: Sabrina, Dark Crystal, Alice Isn’t Dead, The Two Princes
Pokemon Go loving friend Mick came out not too long ago, and I got the idea to
make him a list of my personal “gay canon” of films and TV (with a few books
thrown in for good measure). I sent him
this list on the occasion of this past weekend’s Pride celebration in his
hometown of Manchester, England.
Philadelphia (1993)—It may play as outdated now,
but Jonathan Demme’s drama, the first studio movie about AIDS, is a significant
time capsule and features a terrific Oscar winning performance by Tom Hanks as
a gay lawyer who sues his firm for firing him when they learn he has the
disease. Denzel Washington is equally
strong as the initially homophobic lawyer who represents him on the case, and
it’s a compelling and undeniably affecting tear jerker. The soundtrack, featuring Bruce Springsteen’s
award winning ballad “Streets of Philadelphia” as well as Neil Young, Peter
Gabriel, and the Indigo Girls, is also terrific.
Tales of the City (1993-2019)—Armistead Maupin’s saga
of the lives and loves of straight and queer San Franciscans isn’t just one of
my favorite gay series, it’s one of my favorite things, period. The original 70s-set miniseries brilliantly
captured the excitement and uncertainty of living on your own for the first
time, as Mary Anne Singleton (a terrific Laura Linney) moves into a magical
apartment complex lorded over by sage transgender landlady Anna Madrigal
(Olympia Dukakis, sublime) and becomes fast friends with adorably wide-eyed
Michael “Mouse” Tolliver and acerbic, frizzy haired omnisexual Mona, who
memorably melts down in a board meeting with a snooty client by bellowing “crotch,
crotch, CROTCH!!!!” The three original
series—Tales, More Tales, and Further
Tales—possess an irresistible mixture of soapy shenanigans and genuine
heart. Later, un-filmed books in the
series included Babycakes, the first
work of fiction to address AIDS, Significant
Others, Sure of You, Michael Tolliver Lives, and Mary Anne in Autumn. All are worth
reading, and this year’s Tales of the
City, while not a direct adaptation of any of them, incorporates elements
and characters while perfectly updating the franchise for the 21st
century. (Just try not to think about
how Linney and the other returning players are nowhere near old enough to have
aged forty years since the originals.)
The newest installment pays particular care to the trans characters,
including casting trans actress Jen Richards as a young Ana Madrigal in a captivating
The Broken Hearts Club (2000)—A friend once mocked this
film, written and directed by future TV mega producer Greg Berlanti, as the
story of a young man who becomes enmeshed in a world of shallow West Hollywood
gayness. There’s some truth to that, but
Broken Hearts Club is still an
entertaining, occasionally affecting, and trailblazing comedy about the lives
and loves of a group of gay friends.
There’s an inspired bit of casting with TV Superman Dean Cain as a
man-eating lothario, plus lots of retroactive recognition with Timothy
Olyphant, Justin Theroux, Zach Braff, and Billy Porter in the mix. John Mahoney shines as the mother hen of this
squabbling but ultimately loving and supportive group.
Queer As Folk (2000-2005)—Let me start by admitting
I never watched the British original—set in Manchester, appropriately
enough—and have heard it’s great, and maybe superior. But QAF,
as fans in the know called it, was an endearing if occasionally dopey and
maddening soap opera that portrays “boys becoming men” in that well known
American gay capitol… Pittsburgh. The
whole cast is great, but Peter Paige is transcendent as unapologetically queeny
Emmett, and Robert Gant is charming and extremely sexy as HIV positive professor
Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001)—John Cameron Mitchell directs and stars in this brilliant, intensely cinematic rock musical about a “little wisp of a girlie boy” who escapes East Germany via a botched sex change operation for the promise of a better life in America. Abandoned by his would be sugar daddy, Hedwig falls in love with Tommy, a teenage Jesus freak, then winds up stalking him across the country when Tommy gets famous off the songs they co-created and embarks on a national tour. The songs are terrific, the performances are outstanding, and one liners abound in this sardonically funny, moving film. It’s considered somewhat problematic in these more enlightened times, but I think its genuine heart and innovation outweigh any such concerns. Mitchell has gone on record stating he doesn’t consider it a representation of the transgender experience, a sentiment with which many would agree.
Angels in America (2003)—Mike Nichols’s made for HBO
adaptation of Tony Kushner’s epic “Gay Fantasia on National Themes” puts most
feature films to shame for sheer ambition and cinematic art. An indomitable cast led by Al Pacino and
Meryl Streep breathe life into this elaborate work of magical realism, which
dramatizes the anguish and inspiration of the AIDS crisis and a particular
moment in queer Manhattan. It’s a really
extraordinary and engrossing production.
Related: I’ve always wanted to see the two part play live. Maybe you’ll
get the chance sometime.
Brokeback Mountain (2005)—Ang Lee’s heartbreaking
shoulda-been Best Picture is certainly depressing, but it’s a sublimely crafted
and essential film in queer cinema history.
Heath Ledger was rightly praised for his tormented ranch hand Ennis Del
Mar, but the entire cast is first rate, including Jake Gyllenhaal as his lover
Jack Twist (swoon), and Michelle Williams and Anne Hathaway as their
long-suffering wives. The cinematography
and Oscar winning music are excellent, too.
Related: Annie Proulx’s gorgeous short story.
The L Word (2004-2009)—The trailblazing saga of
the lives and loves of lesbians—and occasional straight women and trans folk—in
very glamorous Los Angeles could be all over the place, but it was never boring
and often moving. A strong, almost
entirely female cast (many writers, directors, and crew members were women as
well) portrayed women’s struggles with sex, relationships, monogamy, family,
and, um, the high stakes world of lesbian poker (?!). There were some missteps—the cynical and
unnecessary killing off of a beloved character, iffy trans storylines—but this
was still an addicting and often rewarding series. The L Word: Generation Q , a “woke” revival with original cast
members Jennifer Beals, Leisha Hailey, and Katherine Moennig (my favorite
character, womanizer with a heart of gold Shane) is coming in December, so cram
Milk (2008)—One of the best biopics ever
made, Gus Van Sant’s dramatization of the brief career of America’s first
openly gay elected official is perfect in every aspect. The performances are uniformly excellent:
Sean Penn rightly won an Oscar as Harvey Milk, a darkly compelling Josh Brolin
plays troubled assassin Dan White, and a luminous Emile Hirsch brings sass to
budding activist Cleve Jones. The film
makes great use of San Francisco locations and balances character with
story. Despite a tragic ending, it
remains buoyantly hopeful and inspiring.
Related: Randy Shilts’ book The
Mayor of Castro Street and Cleve Jones’ memoirs Stitching a Revolution and When
Call Me By Your Name (2017)—There was backlash and
criticism of the age disparity in this celebrated gay romance, but the beauty
and eroticism of Luca Guadagnino’s film is undeniable. Timothy Chalamet is sexy and utterly
convincing as the teen who finds himself inextricably drawn to Armie Hammer’s
hunky grad student one sumptuous summer in Northern Italy. Dad Michael Stuhlbarg’s speech to his
heartbroken son is one for the ages, and Sufjan Stevens’ songs, as well as a
needle drop of the Psychedelic Furs’ “Love My Way,” provide the perfect
Pose (2018-Present) — I consider this the
best thing Ryan Murphy has ever done. He
and creative partner Brad Falchuk were smart in teaming up with Steven Canals to
offer an authentic point of view on the world of Ballroom culture. Pose applies
somewhat formulaic, crowd pleasing tropes to characters that have never before
been the center of a narrative. The
record-breaking number of trans, queer, and people of color in the cast make
this a show that finally centers non-whites in the LGBT community. The series also serves as a history lesson,
especially as it delves into the devastating AIDS epidemic and dramatizes
real-life incidents like a “die-in” at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Related: the
coming of age musical Saturday Church,
co-starring Pose’s MJ Rodriguez and
In this week’s episode of the Geeks OUT Podcast, Kevin is joined by the VP of Geeks OUT, Steve Gianaca as they discuss Marvel continuing to tease a gay character in Eternals, the new Steven Universe movie trailer, and celebrate Linda Hamilton in the new Terminator: Dark Fate trailer for our Strong Female Character of the Week.
Trans Girls Hit the Town is a potent and amusing comic about an evening between a transitioned transgender woman, Winnie, and a more recently transitioned woman, Chloe. The sensitive portrayal of how the introspective Chloe navigates her evening is thoughtful. The story shows her anxiety, in a distinct character-driven manner, with frustration regarding how she deals with being in public spaces: a train, a restaurant, a bar, the street. She never knows if the next person she meets will be polite, or think she is an abomination. She encounters about equal parts of both.
Personal anecdote time. The narrative reminds me of a similar experience I had the night Sasha Velour won Drag Race. I attended a gay bar, saw her win, and then needed to go to a straight social space for a birthday party. I was bedecked in a glittery necklace, about a dozen rainbow bracelets, and a black shirt with “Sashay Away” in pink glitter on it. I was high on Sasha’s triumph, I didn’t even think about what I was doing, and where I was going. Feeling completely out of place like a big gay thumb, I was surprised to find the one out queer-identified person in the party approach me to say he liked my look. Trans Girls Hit the Town is a smart risograph comic that will resonate with every queer individual who has entered a heterocentric bar, and is relieved to be joined by someone with a shared experience.
There is a moment where our two protagonists enter a similar large space, as one says, where “there is no place to hide.” In this work, Emma Jayne finds a place of comfort for her main character in a one-person bathroom. But, the evening starts with her on public transit feeling aware of her gender dysphora, and being stared down by a stranger. Or, perhaps that’s just her perception of the circumstance. She does not feel comfortable in herself, much less cute. The discomfort is present from the start, but intensifies when the two go to this bar together. The perspective is from Chloe the whole time, wearing a crystal necklace around her neck and a modest dress, she wants so badly to pass. She is impressed by Winnie’s confidence. All she wants is to derive a little part of that. The fear of being identified as trans, or “clocked,” is prevalent throughout. It’s a sincere recounting of a young woman feeling herself through an uncomfortable social situation, though she wants so badly to succeed. We are put firmly in her shoes.
Upsettingly, she takes her frustration on Winnie. Just
trying to take her friend for a safe night out, she awakes unexpected anger
from Chloe, which is recovered. This comic is relatable for anyone experiencing
social anxiety. More specifically, it speaks to suffering the gender dysphora
that is experienced through being newly transitioned.
All that having been said there are humorous highlights.
There is an ongoing thread connecting their conversations to the X-Men. Winnie
compares strength to that of Wolverine’s, and the ladies play the arcade game
“Z-Peeps,” having a dispute over who gets to pay Dazzler. The best gag happens
when they leave the restaurant where they start their night. As they prepare to
pay the bill, the man at the register says, “Anything else I get for you
tonight, gentlemen?” with a look of scorn. The total comes to $22.05. They
leave a tip of -$22.05, and sign the bill “fuck you <3.” It’s also
refreshing to have to look up terms I am unfamiliar with. I can say this is
likely to be the only comic to motivate you to look up “muffing” and “Rose of
Versailles mace.” I’ll leave it to you to look them up, but I love that they
name the mascot of trans sex “Mark Muffalo.”
Please buy Emma Jayne’s comic in hard copy here. You can also find it in a name-your-own-price digital edition here.
In this week’s super-sized episode of the Geeks OUT Podcast, Kevin is joined by Anthony Hargraves, as they discuss some of their favorite moments from Flame Con, review the announcements from D23 Expo (Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk, etc…) & celebrate Disney Channel’s new Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur as our Strong Female Character of the Week.
We here at Geeks OUT want you, the reader, to know more about who we are. To help with that, we’ve started interviewing members of our board so you know what makes us tick. Here’s our first interview!
Who are you and what do you do for Geeks OUT? I’m Steve Gianaca. I’m the Vice President of Geeks OUT and current chair of Flame Con. How did you first get involved? I found Geeks OUT while visiting PAX East in Boston almost 6 years ago. I found out they were local to NYC and emailed to get involved. I had a “small world” moment when my coworker emailed me at home shortly afterward. I thought there was a work emergency, but it turned out my coworker of two years in NYC was actually the founder of the non-profit I found in Boston, Geeks OUT. I’ve been involved ever since. What makes you geek out? So much! I love comics, fantasy and sci-fi of course, but my biggest nerd-hobby is gaming. Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, Kingdom Hearts, Pokemon, Pikmin, Mortal Kombat, Katamari… the list goes on and on and on. What fictional character had the most inspirational story arc to you and why? Tohru Honda from Fruits Baskets comes to mind. In a world where others may intimidate you, the strength to compete can be found in kindness, compassion and growth. What book/tv show/comic/etc are you enjoying now? I’m currently diving down the rabbit hole and playing the original Dragon Quest games before 11 comes out on Switch. What are your favorite geeky past times? My yearly sojourn to PAX East is one of my favorite palette-cleansers from the stresses of life. What’s Something underrated you think could use a shout out? Local gamer meetups! I personally love the low-key atmosphere at Rockbar in NYC every Saturday from 3-9. Who do you ship? Axel and Roxas from Kingdom Hearts. Or Luxord and anyone Luxord is currently talking to, from Kingdom Hearts. He’s too swarthy for his own good. What fictional setting would you most want to live in? Send me to the Pokemon world please! Who would your bff be? In the pokemon world? I’d love a clique with Cynthia and Wallace. What was your introduction to geekdom? When I was in preschool, my older brother would sometimes setup my dad’s ancient and barely-working Intellivision. It was my first exposure to video games, quickly followed by the NES and Gameboy.
We hope you dug this interview and hope to see a bunch of you at Flame Con this weekend!
In this week’s super sized episode of the Geeks OUT Podcast, Kevin and Lynaé DePriest preview some of the things they’re looking forward to seeing at Flame Con this year, discuss their 90’s nostalgia with the new trailer for The Addams Family, and celebrate the trans storyline in Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling in This Week in Queer.
FLAME CON BIG OPENING
KEVIN: Panel: We’re Here, But Not Just Queer Performance: Spellbound Strings, Panfandom (Queer &) Workshop: Cosplay for Beginners Demo: Xbox Adaptive Controller Special Guest: Tana Ford, DJ Kirkland Vendor: Astonishing Queer Tales, Jennie Wood, Doable Guys LYNAÉ: Panel: Leveraging Labels Performance: Bonfire, Cosplay Contest Workshop: Take Pride: Create Your Own Flag Demo: Intro to Smash Bros. Special Guest: Food 4 Thot Vendor: Night Owl Designs
DOWN AND NERDY
KEVIN:Detective Pikachu, Two Sentence Horror Stories, Young Justice, Super Mario U Deluxe LYNAÉ: Rocko’s Modern Life, American Ninja Warrior
In this week’s episode of the Geeks OUT Podcast, Kevin is joined by Jon Herzog, as they discuss Aquaman (formerly Aqualad) finding queer love in the ocean deep on Young Justice: Outsiders, check out the teaser trailer for the Are You Afraid of the Dark revival, and celebrate Gal Gadot playing Hedy Lamarr as our Strong Female Character of the Week.
Fortunate Beasts opens with a brief passage set seven years in the future before cutting back to the aftermath of Letters for Lucardo. When Lucardo confronts his father about sending Ed away, things quickly escalate. The ensuing fight pulls back the curtain a little bit more on the true nature of Lucardo’s family and the Night Court. Lucardo ignores his father’s warnings and immediately begins searching for Ed. It isn’t long before Ed’s quiet new life is disrupted. Lucardo then brings Ed back to the Night Court in the most boisterous and public way possible, setting the stage for a showdown with his father.
One of my favorite this about this series is how the sex is a natural part of the story. It really goes against the grain of puritanical notions about sex that are embedded in our society. Heikkila is also particularly adept at including some delightfully awkward and funny moments that make the sex scenes feel really lived in. If you were to take away the erotic scenes, you would still be left with a touching story. But that story would be missing a pivotal part of what drives the relationship between these two men.
Fortunate Beasts is a more than worthy follow up to its predecessor. It added even more emotional depth to the characters, revealed more about the world of the Night Court, and left me really excited for the third book in the series. Both books are available now through the Iron Circus store.
Shipping and discount codes are added at checkout.