Tag: Play

Carolina reviews We Play Ourselves by Jen Silverman – The Lesbrary

Susan reviews The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics by Olivia

We Play Ourselves by Jen Silverman

Jen Silverman’s debut, We Play Ourselves, satirizes the contemporary art scene through the eyes of Cass, an embittered former drama wunderkind turned hapless millennial, as she uncovers the secrets behind an up-and-coming feminist documentary. However, behind that beautiful cover and biting wit, We Play Ourselves fails to balance criticism and nuance, and falls prey to the very structures that it pokes fun at.

After being #cancelled in the fray of a viral scandal and Off-Broadway flop, 30-something playwright Cass retreats to the sleepy suburbs of LA to stay with her friend and his on-the-rocks boyfriend. After a listless lull at the house, Cass is approached by a prominent filmmaker, Caroline, whose new project, a subversive, feminist Fight Club starring a feral pack of teenage girls, draws Cass in. After meeting the cast and starting the project, Cass begins to recognize that Caroline’s draw towards these girls crosses the line between muse and manipulator, and must reckon with her place at the heart of an exploitative art piece.

Silverman is an incredibly talented author, whose word choice is always sharp and necessary, and whose sentences string together in poignant prose. She brilliantly constructs the mindset of someone trying to rebuild themselves once they’re stripped to their most vulnerable state. Cass is an unlikable narrator: she’s catty, unempathetic and pretentious. However, your eyes are glued to her every move, and hungry for her backstory. I also found Silverman’s comparison of the limitations of artistic mediums incredibly interesting: theatre is a completely different animal than film, as this juxtaposition is made clear by the alternative perspectives in New York and Los Angeles.

We Play Ourselves takes major media buzzwords, and cultural revolutions, such as the MeToo Movement, conversations of media inclusion and representation and cancel culture, and breaks them down to their core through her sardonic wit. However, this satire can be read as tokenizing or dismissive to real life issues. For example, Cass’s nemesis, Tara-Jean Slater, is a self-proclaimed “turned asexual” after being assaulted by her uncle as a child, who then channels her trauma in a best-selling play and up-coming Netflix show, starring Cate Blanchett and Morgan Freeman as different iterations of her uncle. It’s quite obvious that Silverman is poking fun of the use of big celebrity names to sell products, but it instead comes across as acephobic and ignorant of the real trauma and mental health issues faced by CSA survivors, as Cass is “jealous” of Tara’s “selling point” as a CSA survivor.

This facetiousness is present throught the novel: Silverman pokes fun at tokenism by criticizing Caroline’s “diverse” film with only two non-white leads, but is guilty of the same crime, as no other non-white characters are present in the narrative. Caroline also fetishizes queer women, as she forces BB, the lesbian teenage girl, to fake a coming out to Cass, the only queer person on the film set, in order to garner attention from LGBT movie audiences. However, BB and Cass’s relationship is awkward and forced, contrived by BB’s crush on Cass, and the uncomfortable age gap between the two characters. The film storyline is extremely fraught with these problematic elements, and does little to reckon with them: I much preferred the New York theatre scenes to the Los Angeles film scenes, and would have preferred a narrative without the film aspect. We Play Ourselves is a narrative journey through the lens of a disillusioned young adult in the pretentious art scene, but does little to critique the issues at its core.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an advance copy

Warnings: homophobia, substance abuse, cheating, violence, racism, sexual assault, child abuse, disordered eating

Ben Whishaw and James D’Arcy play star-crossed lovers in a movie unlike any other / Queerty

Ben Whishaw and James D’Arcy play star-crossed lovers in a

Welcome to Screen Gems, our weekend dive into queer and queer-adjacent titles of the past that deserve a watch or a re-watch.

The Unparalleled: Cloud Atlas

Audiences didn’t know what to think of this 2012 opus, directed by transgender auteurs Lily & Lana Wachowski, as well as their frequent collaborator Tom Tykwer (director of Run Lola Run). A movie that cast actors in multiple roles across the racial and gender spectrum? Six different stories set in six different time periods in six different genres? What kind of movie does that?

The answer is, a magnificent one. The format of Cloud Atlas makes it difficult to summarize. In the 1840s, an American doctor (Jim Sturgess) develops a relationship with an enslaved man (David Gyasi) and becomes an ardent abolitionist. In the 1930s, a gay composer (Ben Whishaw) pens a quintet as an ode to his boyfriend (James D’Arcy), only to have it stolen by another composer. In the 1970s, the composer’s lover helps an investigative reporter (Halle Berry) expose eco-terrorism. In the present, an aging author (Jim Broadbent) involuntarily committed to a nursing home plots his escape. In the distant future, an anti-totalitarian rebel (Sturgess, again) kidnaps a cloned fast-food worker (Doona Bae). In the even more distant future, a tribesman (Tom Hanks) guides a scientist (Berry, again) to an abandoned communication station in hopes of escaping a dying Earth.

You got all that?

Understanding the plot (or plots) of Cloud Atlas does very little in the way of explaining the film itself, or its deeper meaning. The film meditates on how lives interconnect over time, and posits that true love guides us toward one another in lifetime after lifetime. Some critics have charged that the film is racist, which is simply not true: the film actually argues that gender, race and sexuality have no real meaning by using its cast in multiple roles regardless of race or gender. Casting Doona Bae as a white woman, Susan Sarandon as a man, or Hugo Weaving as a woman simply underlines the point that while our souls can take many physical forms, something deeper and intangible connects us. Cloud Atlas makes the radical statement that love is love, and moreover, love will save us all in the end. It’s a film unlike any other ever made–one that explores the fluidity of sexuality and gender–and a thrilling cinematic experience.

Streams on Tubi, iTunes, YouTube & VUDU.


Oscar-winner Mary Steenburgen of ‘Happiest Season’ wants to play our mom in a movie / Queerty

Oscar-winner Mary Steenburgen of ‘Happiest Season’ wants to play our

Happiest Season

Yes, our mom loves Mary Steenburgen.

But then, who doesn’t? The classy, Oscar-winning actress has one of the longest resumes of any actor working today, having appeared in such films as Back to the Future Part III, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Philadelphia, Nixon and Parenthood, among many others.

For that matter, how could anyone not love Alison Brie, the versatile star equally at home as a series regular on the drama Mad Men as well as the sitcom Community?

We landed time to chat with the two ladies about their latest outing, the queer-themed holiday comedy Happiest Season. It arrives on Hulu November 25.

Happiest Season casts Kristen Stewart as Abby, the doting girlfriend of Harper (Mackenzie Davis). When the two decide to get engaged, Harper invites Abby to spend the Christmas holidays with her family. There’s just one problem: Harper isn’t out to her perfectionist family. Things get even more awkward when Harper’s Dad (Victor Garber) announces some new political ambitions, while her mom (Steenburgen) plots to reunite Harper with her high school boyfriend. The situation also gets tense when Harper clashes with Sloane (Brie), her hyper-competitive sister. By the time Abby’s best friend John (Dan Levy) and her secret high school girlfriend (Aubrey Plaza) arrive on the scene, is there any hope of preventing holiday chaos?  Mary Holland and Ana Gasteyer also star, while openly gay actress/writer/director Clea DuVall helms the project.

Chatting with the two actresses also gave us the opportunity to mention our mom’s love of Ms. Steenburgen. Don’t begrudge us. Happiest Season streams on Hulu November 25.


Video Editor: David Beerman

Schitt’s Creek star Noah Reid didn’t want to play Patrick ‘a certain way’

Schitt's Creek Noah Reid

Patrick and David’s relationship on Schitt’s Creek melted the hearts of fans across the world (Screenshot/Netflix)

Schitt’s Creek star Noah Reid has said he “never felt the need” to play gay character Patrick “a certain way”.

Reid collectively melted the hearts of queer people across the world with his portrayal of David Rose’s love interest Patrick in Schitt’s Creek, the comedy that took the world by storm when it landed on Netflix.

Reflecting on his time on the show, which ended in April after a six-season run, Reid – who is straight – said he never tried to play the character a certain way based on his sexuality.

When asked what he thinks of the ongoing debate around straight actors playing gay characters, Reid told the Irish Independent: “I agree with it on many scores. I also feel like Patrick is just a guy who’s attracted to another guy.”

Schitt’s Creek star Noah Reid didn’t want to play gay character Patrick ‘a certain way’ based on his sexuality.

He added: “I never felt the need to play Patrick a certain way based on his sexuality – I sort of approached him as if he were me and he was attracted to somebody.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Reid reflected on his memorable acoustic performance of Tina Turner’s “The Best” in the series, saying it “opened up a door to a music career” that he previously didn’t know was possible.

“Dan [Levy] had written that song into the episode, and I think the line was, ‘Patrick performers a surprisingly beautiful version of Tina Turner’s ‘The Best’, which was a lot to process.

“At the table read, I went up to Dan and said, ‘OK, so you’re going to make me sing, huh?’ and he was like, ‘Yeah, and this song is actually quite important to me, so don’t f**k it up.’”

I never felt the need to play Patrick a certain way based on his sexuality – I sort of approached him as if he were me and he was attracted to somebody.

Reid also admitted that he was “nervous” joining Schitt’s Creek in 2017, when the show already had an established fanbase.

“I was certainly nervous about showing up to an established show,” he said.

“Catherine [O’Hara] and Eugene [Levy] are these giants in Canadian comedy – and all over the world – but for us, we’re well aware that they’re at the absolute height.

“I was just really blown away by their generosity and welcoming nature. They made it real easy for me to step into that show and feel like I was part of it.

“There was a wonderful interpersonal vibe on that set that you don’t come across all the time, and I think that’s down to Eugene and Catherine approaching it like the genuine people they are.

“Nobody could flex any ego if they weren’t flexing any ego, so there just wasn’t any, really, on set.”

Supernova star doesn’t know if straight actors should play gay

Colin Firth

Colin Firth at the “Supernova” premiere in London on October 11, 2020 (Tim P Whitby/Getty/BFI)

Colin Firth has declined to weigh in on whether straight actors should be able to play gay roles, admitting it’s something he’s given “a lot of thought”.

Firth plays a gay man in his upcoming film Supernova, a tearjerker about a couple who embark on a road trip as one of them grapples with dementia. He also took on a gay role in in 2010’s A Single Man.

The actor was questioned on whether it was right for him to do so in an interview for December’s issue of Attitude, but said he remained undecided.

“I don’t have a final position on this,” he replied. “I think the question is still alive. It’s something I take really seriously, and I gave it a lot of thought before doing this.”

He continued: “Whenever I take on anything, I think it’s an insufferable presumption. I don’t really feel I have the right to play the character. That’s always the starting point. What do I know about this person’s life?

“How can I presume to set foot in this person’s lived experience, let alone try to represent it?”

His Supernova co-star Stanley Tucci, who also played a gay character in The Devil Wears Prada, added: “For so many years, gay men and women have had to hide their homosexuality in showbusiness to get the roles they wanted – that’s the problem here.

“Anybody should be able to play any role that they want to play – that’s the whole point of acting.”

Unfortunately, the question of whether straight actors should play gay characters is likely to remain an issue while access to film roles continues to be unequal across the board.

A recent GLAAD report found that although representation of white gay men is constantly improving in major studio films, representation of other queer people is dismal, and trans and non-binary characters were found to be non-existent in major studio releases from 2019.

An analysis of 118 films across eight major studios found that only 22 (18.6 per cent) included an LGBT+ character, and only nine gave LGBT+ characters more than 10 minutes of screen time.

When those few roles are given to straight actors rather than LGBT+ ones, it throws up an additional barrier to queer people being able to tell their own stories on the big screen.

8 Sex Toys Perfect for Temperature Play

8 Sex Toys Perfect for Temperature Play

Sponsored by Eve’s Toys

As the hottest, haziest days of summer roll through the northern hemisphere, your AC may already be struggling to keep up with your sex drive. Whether you’re getting sweaty solo or have a partner in quarantine you can’t keep your hands off no matter how hot it gets, it’s a good time to bring some cool sensations to the hottest and heaviest parts of your life. That’s why all the toys highlighted here are perfect for temperature play, for a variety of types of sensations and bods. Never tried temperature play before? It’s easy, safe, and can be supremely sexy; with some sweet sweet discounts throughout this post, there’s never been a better time to try bringing some chill into the bedroom.

Visit Eve’s Toys and enter code AUTO at checkout for 50% off one item & free shipping on orders over $20 in the US. (Note: Some items are only eligible for free shipping and a partial discount. These items are noted in the post.) 100% satisfaction guarantee.

50% Discount

A clear transparent glass dildo with a bulb on one end and a slight hook at the other

If you love G-spot stimulation and have always been curious about glass toys, the Fantasy G is a beautiful place to start — the angled tip is perfect for the G-spot sensations of your dreams, and the smooth, beautifully weighted feel of glass makes it that much better. One of the most exciting and indescribable feelings of glass is feeling it heat up along with you or your activity partner’s bod, and what an affordable and gorgeous way to experience it!

Buy the Glass Fantasy G

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A stainless steel dildo curved in a slight S shape with a large round bulb on one end and three graduated bulbs in a row on the other

You may have heard us wax rhapsodic about the nJoy Pure Wand before, and for good reason; our reviewer noted that it gave them “the longest most mind blowing orgasm I can remember,” and “I would probably pay double. Or triple. Actually, it’s hard to say just how much I would pay to keep having my world rocked.” It was definitely on our fan favorite shopping guide, as well as our guide to the all-time best sex queer sex toys, duh. But you may know less about its cousin, the Fun Wand! It has the same perfect weight and curve for G- or P-spot stimulation as the Pure Wand, as well as three graduated bulbs to double triple your pleasure. Toss it in the freezer or a bowl of icewater for a deliciously cool pick-me-up!

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A straight blue glass dildo with a tapered tip on one end and a rounded bulb on the other

The best and worst thing about dildos is finding the perfect shape — for you, for your partner, for Tuesdays, for that one position where she hangs off the edge of the bed; it goes on. The Chrystalino offers two different bulbous ends; one gently tapered, and one more spherical, with a straight rigid body to let you angle it however you please while it functions as either a wand or anal plug. Oh, and it’s made of shatter-resistant borosilicate glass that will give you all the body-safe temperature play your heart could desire for years to come.

Buy the Chrystalino Treasure

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A glass dildo with a slight curve in the shaft and a rounded bulb on the end; a thin line of glass spirals around the outside of the shaft.

If you’ve ever enjoyed the sensation of ribbed condoms, I have great news for you about the Twisted Crystal dildo; the swirling glass textures combined with the generously shaped tip mean you can feel things you’ve only dreamed of; dip the bodysafe borosilicate glass into some cooled (or warmed!) water for a temperature shift and this gently curved gem can send you right back to the Garden of Eden (get it?).

Buy the Twisted Crystal Dildo

30% Discount

Three bottles of Uberlube, a translucent liquid in a clear glass container with a pump top

A prince(ss) among lubes, Uberlube is reliable, silky, long-lasting, and perfect in almost every way: the fact that it’s silicone-based means it can’t be used in direct contact with silicone toys or prosthetics. But hark, a veritable midsummer night’s dream: all the toys recommended here for temp play are borosilicate or stainless steel (minus the Scarlet Couture balls below), and an absolute dream to use with Uberlube; you’re free and clear to slip ‘n slide the night away. While you’re at the freezer, pop the bottle of lube in there for a few minutes, too, for a delightfully shivery sensation later. And if you wake the next morning with some record-breaking high-humidity sex hair, our NSFW consultant Carolyn loves to remind folks that Uberlube makes a great makeshift hair product for smoothing out flyaways.

Buy Uberlube

50% Discount

An array of small stainless steel nipple rings with an opening in ring to be worn or removed, and a single steel ball dangling on the hooped ring

People who always wanted septum piercings but instead bought a removable one they could take on and off before seeing their parents for the weekend and ALSO love nipple stimulation will want to run not walk to grab these nipple rings! Totally removable, they can be worn to titillate you or a partner, to bring in some light nipple sensation during other play, AND can be popped in the freezer or warm water to bring the heat up or down in the bedroom.

Buy Nipple Rings

10% Discount

A shining stainless steel butt plug, with a wide looped handle on the end and a tapered bulb for insertion

One could argue that there is no more perfect plug, full stop, than this nJoy; certainly our reviewer felt this way, and said that the Pure Plug made them sound like “one of those people just discovering their clits for the first time.” If the smooth, sensual weight of stainless steel already does it for you, you’ll probably also love being thrilled & chilled by adding some temperature play to the mix.

Buy the nJoy Pure Plug

50% Discount

A pair of opaque glass balls nestled one next to the other in a silicone housing, which includes a loop at the end for removal.

When Cardi said “I do a kegel when it’s inside,” she wasn’t talking about these insertable glass spheres in a smooth silicone harness designed for kegel stimulation, but you could be! These can be used throughout the day for a sexy slow burn of engaging your Kegel muscles, and the glass spheres offer lots of options for temperature sensations, from warming to help address any soreness to tossing them in the freezer for “a playful shock to the system.”

Buy the Scarlet Couture Glass Duo Balls

Visit Eve’s Toys and enter code AUTO at checkout for 50% off one item & free shipping on orders over $20 in the US. (Note: Some items are only eligible for free shipping and a partial discount. These items are noted in the post.) 100% satisfaction guarantee.