Tag: show

“The Girls” and “The Boys” Show the Power of Lifetime Friendships Across Difference

Mombian - Sustenance for Lesbian Moms Since 2005

One of my favorite LGBTQ-inclusive picture books from the past few years has largely flown under the radar here in the U.S., so I’m mentioning it again just as a follow-up book comes out. The first book looks at the power of female friendships as it follows the intertwined stories of four girls from childhood into adulthood; the second follows four boys and gives us insight into not only male friendships, but also societal pressures around masculinity. There are queer characters in both, along with a message of unconditional allyship.

The Girls, by Lauren Ace and illustrated by Jenny Løvlie (Rodale Kids), introduces us to four girls, “as different as they were the same” and “the best of friends.” The girls differ not only because of their racial identities (one is Black, one South Asian, and two White), but also because of their interests and personalities: one is adventuresome, one practical, one a performer, and one full of ideas. Nevertheless, they shared “Secrets, dreams, worries and schemes.” While sometimes a joke went too far, “They knew how to say sorry and learned something from every falling out.” Even as they matured and changed, they supported each other through hardships and celebrated each other’s successes in school and beyond. The softly cheerful illustrations and spare text show this playing out as the girls experience romantic breakups, career moves, and starting families of their own.

The Girls

On one page we see all four friends marching together in a Pride parade and we read that they “always took pride in their friendship.” It’s not even clear from this image which, if any of them, are queer or just allies, but on a later page we see Sasha, the Black girl, in a relationship with another woman. There’s no big coming out moment, though; the girls just naturally support each other in their romantic relationships as in so much else. After so many children’s books in which the non-queer characters tease or don’t understand the queer character, it feels like a breath of fresh air to see this image of active support by the friends, where their support isn’t even a question. We also see Sasha, who was always ready with a Band-Aid when someone fell out of a tree, later becoming a doctor; she is more than just her queer identity.

The Girls won the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize in the Illustrated Books category in 2019, and it’s easy to see why. It’s sweet and thoughtful without being cloying, offering a view of female friendship through life’s ups and downs that feels both true and hopeful. (It beat out Julián is a Mermaid for the Waterstones prize; I’m not going to debate the relative merits of each book, since I like them both; I point this out merely to offer some idea of just how good The Girls is, since I’m guessing my readers (who are mostly in the U.S.) may be more familiar with the much-lauded Julián.)

The Boys (Caterpillar Books/Little Tiger) similarly follows the lives of four children—boys this time—with very different interests and racial identities. The story isn’t a mere gender-swapping of the same narrative, though; as Ace said in an interview at The Bookseller, she “drew on works about toxic masculinity” to show how messages about masculinity might have impacted her male characters and their relationships. We watch the boys in childhood as they became friends and “were a team,” then drifted apart as they developed separate interests and sometimes competed against each other. “For a little while the boys enjoyed standing out on their own,” we read. Yet “without the others, each of the boys soon felt as though he had been swept out to sea…. The boys knew they had to be able to talk about their feelings… but it wasn’t easy.”

The Boys - Lauren Ace

Eventually, though, they “learned to be patient and kind with one another again,” even as each charted his own path. The boys, now men, are there to lift each other up when one is sad; we see three of them comforting the fourth upon the death of a pet. We also see one of the men marrying and starting his own family with another man; the other three friends have active parts in his wedding as we read, “And although their lives had taken them to different places, the men came back together to share their happiest times.” A final scene shows them all playing together at the seashore with their own children.

This is a lovely and perfectly understated examination of masculinity and friendship. As in The Girls, their support for the one who is queer is unquestioned and unremarkable (which actually makes it rather remarkable). In addition, one boy is the son of Sasha and her spouse from The Girls; this isn’t stressed, but careful readers will recognize the moms in one scene.

Both books also offer something else rarely found in books featuring LGBTQ children: a glimpse of a positive future as an adult. The queer characters grow up to have careers and families just like the others. Not that all queer people should feel pressure to have families; but it’s good to see this portrayed as a possible path. Similarly, while we shouldn’t turn a blind eye to the obstacles that LGBTQ people (and marginalized people generally) may face in education and employment, not every story has to be one of struggle and oppression.

With insightful and inspiring looks at lifelong friendships across many kinds of difference, these stories should be valued by queer and non-queer readers alike.

The Girls, originally published in the U.K., is available in the U.S. through Amazon, Bookshop, and other online (and offline) retailers The Boys is unfortunately not directly available in the U.S., though it may be bought from the U.K. via Amazon.co.uk or Book Depository (with free worldwide delivery). My sources tell me that the U.S. publisher of The Girls, Random House Children’s Books (which owns the Rodale Kids imprint), has not yet picked up The Boys for U.S. publication. If you’d like to see it sold directly in the U.S. (so it can more easily reach readers here), drop them a note: you can find them on Twitter or Instagram.

(As an Amazon Associate and as a Bookshop Affiliate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

Russell Tovey fell ‘desperately in love’ with a ‘much older actor’ while filming early TV show

Russell Tovey on Section 28 and being 'slightly envious' of younger queers

Russell Tovey. (David Levenson/Getty Images)

Russell Tovey has revealed that he fell “desperately in love” with a “much older actor” while filming an early television series.

The gay actor opened up about coming to terms with his sexuality and his first major crush in an interview with Attitude magazine.

“I was doing a TV show and I was desperately in love with this much older actor and had such a crush on him, and I didn’t think anyone knew,” Tovey said.

“I thought I was hiding it very well, but I wasn’t. This older actress took me for a walk along the beach where it was filming and explained to me that I might be gay.

“She said, ‘If you are, that’s great; if you’re not, that’s fine. But you might be.’ It felt like, oh, that’s an option. That is something I can possibly be. That’s what those feelings I’m having are.”

Russell Tovey felt ‘lost’ as a younger gay man

Tovey continued: “It’s confusing because you’re living in a world where you’re being told there’s nowhere you can look to understand, what are my feelings?

The only place I’ve experienced some sort of homophobia was once at a Soho House festival.

“You feel lost and at that age, to have someone put their hand out and go, ‘Come here. This is just me giving a bit of advice.’ It stayed with me forever and changed everything.”

Russell Tovey Attitude magazine
Russell Tovey graces the cover of the latest issue of Attitude magazine.

Elsewhere in the interview, Tovey opened up about a bizarre homophobic experience he had at a Soho House festival.

The Years and Years star said: “The only place I’ve experienced some sort of homophobia was once at a Soho House festival.

“Me and my friend Matt Kennard, who is actually straight, were at the bar getting drinks and somebody says, ‘Come on, gay boys, hurry up, gay boys.’ We ended up having a scrap with the guy. It was just like, ‘Excuse me? What the f**k is going on? This is f**king Soho House, of all places!’ It was so preposterous and bizarre.

“It was so odd. Homophobia is so odd. It’s just so odd,” he said.

The May issue of Attitude magazine is out now.

Pop Culture Fix: A New Star-Crossed Queer Love Vampire Show Is on the Way at Netflix

Pop Culture Fix: A New Star-Crossed Queer Love Vampire Show

Whomst among us has a recommendation for a favorite sleep mask? Your friendly neighborhood soft butch is in the market for one! She also made you this Wednesday Pop Culture Fix.

+ Netflix’s new YA vampire series, First Kill, has a tagline that looks like something out of a fanfic I would click on immediately. Sarah Catherine Hook and Imani Lewis are headlining.

In it, when it’s time for teenage vampire Juliette (Hook) to make her first kill so she can take her place among a powerful vampire family, she sets her sights on a new girl in town named Calliope (Lewis). But much to Juliette’s surprise, Calliope is a vampire hunter, from a family of celebrated slayers. Both find that the other won’t be so easy to kill and, unfortunately, way too easy to fall for…

+ Niecy Nash chatted with Ellen about her “hersband” and how her daughter helped her try to find a label to fit her.

+ Riverdale actor Lili Reinhart is challenging bisexual sterotypes with her latest tweets.

+ Ruby Rose says she’d be happy to guest star in the Arrowverse.

+ Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon includes a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it trans milestone.

+ Angela Robinson has inked a big overall deal with Warner Bros.

+ CBS has already renewed Queen Latifah’s Equalizer for a second season.

+ Chloe Bennet, Dove Cameron, and Yana Perrault are the live-action Powerpuff Girls.

+ The Prom‘s Caitlin Kinnunen and Bella Ortiz will play “millennial nun leads” in a new CW series.

+ Josie Totah says making Moxie made her feel less alone.

+ Lena Waithe partners with Def Jam to start up Hillman Grad Records.

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Heather Hogan

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior writer who lives in New York City with her partner, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She’s a member of the Television Critics Association, the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Heather has written 1109 articles for us.

Silence of the Lambs show Clarice casts transgender activist Jen Richards

Trans actor Jen Richards in front of a blue background at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival

Jen Richards of ‘Disclosure: Trans Lives on Screen’ attends the IMDb Studio at Acura Festival Village on location at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival on 27 January 2020 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Rich Polk/Getty Images for IMDb)

CBS’ Silence of the Lambs adaptation Clarice has cast transgender actor, writer and activist Jen Richards to play a character who will discuss the “complicated legacy” of Buffalo Bill. 

Richards will portray a transgender woman who talks with the titular character about Buffalo Bill, a serial killer who appeared in the 1991 Silence of the Lambs film. 

The producers of the Silence of the Lambs TV adaptation said Richards was first recommended by GLAAD’s director of transgender representation Nick Adams to consult on the show, but now she will also appear on the screen.

During a virtual premiere event for Clarice on Monday (1 February), Richards said her character intersects with Clarice and explains Buffalo Bill’s legacy.

“All I can say is that the character intersects with Clarice’s storyline in a way that her trans-ness isn’t central to her storyline, but her identity as a transgender woman prompts her to discuss with Clarice the complicated legacy of Buffalo Bill,” Richards said.

She initially thought she would help the writers and producers “craft the character and make sure some younger, prettier trans actress had a good experience on set”. But then she ended up cast in the role itself. 

Buffalo Bill in Silence of the Lambs.
Buffalo Bill in Silence of the Lambs. (Orion)

Silence of the Lambs‘ Buffalo Bill left a scar on the trans community

Richards said she was interested in creating discussions about Buffalo Bill, who was played by Ted Levine in the film, specifically because of how he had been a negative representation for the transgender community. 

Jame Gumb, known as “Buffalo Bill”, is a serial killer who murders overweight women and skins them so he can make a “woman suit” for himself. Both the film and novel of the same name depict Gumb as having signs of gender dysphoria. Gumb wants to become a woman and created a “woman suit” for himself to complete his “transformation”. 

Though, it’s never explicit in the novel or book that Gumb is transgender. 

“Right prior to my coming out as trans, I started to delicately tell a few friends and colleagues I was thinking about transitioning,” Richards said. “Kind of treading water to see if I could do it successfully, and one looked at me and said, ‘Do you mean like Buffalo Bill?’”

Richards said she was “crestfallen” that this woman had “no other image to counter” what trans-ness was, just this “incredibly monstrous person who literally steals the female form and tries to embody it”.

“It was really complicated to try and overcome that first perception of other people,” she said.

Not reducing trans character into a stereotype

Richards said she was thrilled that Clarice’s writing team wanted to “address the complicated, horrible legacy in a way that didn’t reduce it to that one issue” and feature a “trans character that was part of the story but didn’t reduce it to a stereotype”.

The series takes place a year after FBI agent Clarice Starling, played by Rebecca Breeds, caught Buffalo Bill. Starling then has to deal with the trauma in the wake of the complicated case and encountering cannibal Hannibal Lector. 

Clarice also stars Kal Penn, Nick Shadow, Lucca de Oliveira and Michael Cudlitz. It will debut on 11 February.

PinkNews has a free iOS app which will keep you up-to-date with all the latest news, features, interviews and exclusives. You can download it here.

Cops show up at Kellyanne Conway’s house following disturbing videos of alleged child abuse / Queerty

Cops show up at Kellyanne Conway’s house following disturbing videos

Kellyanne Conway‘s year is off to a pretty rocky start.

Not only did her husband purportedly walk out on her, but she’s been accused of child abuse by her daughter, Claudia, and now she might be under police investigation.

Last week, 16-year-old Claudia posted a series of disturbing TikTok videos accusing her mother of physical and verbal abuse.

Related: WATCH: Claudia Conway films Kellyanne’s alleged child abuse for all to see

One of the videos shows Kellyanne calling Claudia an “ungrateful bitch” and saying, “You’re never gonna record another f*cking thing in your life! It’s going in for a forensic analysis!”

In another one, a fearful Claudia tells followers “there’s nothing that can really be done” about the situation, saying she’s tried “everything” and that she’s “probably going to get in a lot of trouble for this.”

24 hours after the videos hit social media, the cops showed up at Kellyanne’s front doorstep.

OK! reports:

A member of the Alpine Police Department tells OK! that officers responded to Conway’s home at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 20, in response to a “juvenile matter,” and that this matter is now under investigation.

No further details were given as per law, which shields juvenile records from public view. OK! was able to learn, however, that it was a third party who reported the incident, and not the juvenile in question. Police would not reveal, however, who was under investigation.

Claudia later posted a video of an officer visiting their home and her mother telling him her daughter was just “upset” because she had a “tough call with her school” and that they are considering going to family therapy.

The video has since been removed from Claudia’s TikTok page, although it can still be viewed on TMZ.

It’s unclear what exactly is going on inside Kellyanne’s home, but it’s clearly a very unhealthy and toxic situation.

Graham Gremore is the Features Editor and a Staff Writer at Queerty. Follow him on Twitter @grahamgremore.

American Gods star reveals how show inspired her to come out as bisexual

American Gods

Yetide Badaki plays the goddess Bilquis in American Gods (Paul Butterfield/FilmMagic/Getty)

American Gods actor Yetide Badaki has revealed how her role on the show helped her feel comfortable enough to come out as bisexual.

The Nigerian-born American stars in the Neil Gaiman fantasy series as Bilquis, the legendary Queen of Sheba and ancient goddess of love.

Interviewed by Digital Spy ahead of the third series, Badaki spoke of how the “empowering” role helped her find the freedom to be open about her own sexuality.

“I feel like this show is always willing to have these conversations, and always willing to open it up,” she said. “I’ve experienced personally how that kind of open discourse allows for personal freedom.

“I came out as bisexual last year. I would say it’s very much thanks to this show, and the discussions they’re having.”

As she approached the role Badaki found a sense of symbiosis with her character and often found herself asking: “What would Bilquis do?” The discussions she had as she explored this question helped her to “own” her sexuality.

“I was so happy to be having conversations about sexual empowerment and sex positivity, because I think there is so much that goes on in the silence, in the darkness. That’s where things go in the cracks,” she mused.

“But when we are able to own our own sexuality, and actually have conversations around it, that becomes something that’s healthier for everybody involved. I always say that regression comes from repression.

“When you’re actually able to face whatever it is, that’s when growth and evolution can occur. So that’s been something that I’m very proud to be a part of.”

She hinted at what’s to come from season three of American Gods, promising viewers will see “more than one side” to Bilquis – and even a major fight scene.

“I love that we are cementing this idea that love is not passive. It’s not just something that rolls over,” she said. “There is a lot of fire behind love, and there’s a lot of passion behind love. And that love does work to move things forward.”

American Gods season 3 airs on Starz in the US, and on Amazon Prime Video in the UK.

I Love and Hate Netflix’s New Ballet Show

I Love and Hate Netflix's New Ballet Show

Warning: There are technically some spoilers ahead for the first season of Tiny Pretty Things.

Netflix’s new Tiny Pretty Things is a dazzling dance of contradictions — for better or worse. On the better side of things, there’s the paradox that bleeds from the show’s core: the simultaneous beauty and terror of ballet. And Tiny Pretty Things rather poignantly and uncomfortably focuses on the terror to great effect. Ballet breaks bones. One dancer self-sutures her foot with superglue like it’s nothing. Another risks everything to dance on an injured foot. Because ballet demands everything of the body right now, obfuscates the future to the point that these young artist-athlete hybrids seem caught in the present, striving for greatness in a system that reminds them they are ever-replaceable. A system that both rewards conformation and demands distinction.

Then, on the worse side of its contradictions, there are narrative dissonances like the fact that there are several fully realized queer characters (mostly men) and yet we’re eventually expected to sympathize with a character who hurls a gay slur out of his mouth so effortlessly that it seems certain that it’s part of his regular lexicon. The writing often misses the mark because it doesn’t even seem to know what mark it’s trying to hit. It’s sloppy in its depiction of eating disorders; inconsistent in its depiction of abusive power dynamics; surface-level in its grapplings with identity.

Billed as Black Swan meets Pretty Little Liars (but lacking the cogent performances of the former and the camp of the latter), Tiny Pretty Things plunges into the secrets and horrors of the Archer School, an elite ballet boarding school in Chicago that is upended by one of its top students — Cassie Shore — plunging over the side of the school’s roof and landing in a coma. It’s the perfect murder mystery in the sense that Cassie isn’t so much a sacrificial lamb as a sacrificial wolf. She was hated by her fellow students. And so everyone’s got a motive, and everyone’s lying to cover their own asses even though they don’t really know who it is that they’re protecting. Tiny Pretty Things is quite successful at keeping the answers to its central mystery shrouded so that the characters and viewers are all dancing in the dark for much of it.

Our entry point into Archer is Neveah Stroyer, a dancer initially rejected by the school but then swiftly accepted when Cassie’s slot opens up. She’s the new girl, and she’s put through the usual ringer of high school conflict at first, sized up and cut down by the mean girl who swooped in to fill the power vacuum left by Cassie, Bette Whitlaw. But it also quickly becomes clear that Neveah is being used, paraded around as a diversity acceptance to distract from Archer’s roof scandal. That’s only the beginning of the ugly things the school’s director Madame DuBois is willing to commit to maintain Archer’s reputation.

As in actual ballet, the character’s internal underpinnings are often explored externally in dream sequences. Most episodes have more than one, and they touch on the characters’ deepest desires but also the traumas that have shaped them. Tiny Pretty Things doesn’t fully commit to the psychological horror genre, but it’s compelling in these sequences despite the very on-the-nose symbolism.

The ensemble is collectively more mesmerizing when it comes to dancing versus acting, and the script often doesn’t do them any favor, stuffing awkward turns of phrase and clichés in their mouths. Clocking in at well over 50 minutes each, the episodes are overlong and it’s hard not to notice the parts that could be cleaved into something tighter.

But there’s also a lot that does work about the show, which is compulsively watchable particularly because it maintains a strong sense of suspense and foreboding. When the true horrors of DuBois and Archer’s history come to light, the show kicks into high gear. These students do awful things to each other in the name of ambition and rising to the top, but the real threat comes not from the in-fighting but from the people in power. After all, that cutthroat mentality is stoked by the adults. The mere notion of “patrons of the arts” takes on a whole new horrific meaning over the course of the show. Abusive men want to control these young people, want access to their bodies. Throughout the show, the dancers’ bodies are the site of their art and excellence but also sites of violence. The show’s real horrors aren’t seen in those violent dream sequences but rather in the real world.

Bette Whitlaw does bad things, but she’s rather explicitly encouraged to do them by her mother, who isn’t a provider of love and support so much as a provider of percocet and impossible pressure. Bette is constantly reminded of the excellence of her sister, the darling Archer alum Delia. June Park — a student who seems to be cursed to be a dancer who is technically good but not good enough — similarly behaves at her worst when she feels the pressure of pleasing her actual mother or the mother that presides over them all: Madame DuBois. So many of these students seem to believe that their lives have been written for them, set in stone, and they struggle to break free of those expectations. The Whitlaw family dynamics make for some of the best written but also most disturbing parts of the show. Bette will never be Delia. Bette will do anything to be Delia. But Delia’s also on her way out. No one stays the darling for long in ballet.

Tiny Pretty Things reveals over and over that abuse of power runs rampant in ballet and boarding schools in general. But it’s difficult to reconcile the show’s commentary on the rampant problem of teachers and adults having sex and relationships with minors with its simultaneous romanticizing of such situations. In one of its more poignant moments, a gay ballet master explains that he can’t show favoritism or even any semblance of friendliness to any students — especially young boys — because he already faces the homophobia of others expecting him to be a creep. But the show hardly brings that level of nuance to its portrayal of the adults who do cross lines with the students.

The relationship between DuBois and one of the students, in particular, falters. It’s one of those instances where I’m not convinced the writers know what mark they’re trying to hit, so it easily misses. DeBois was shaped by the violent system she upholds, and she’s admittedly a compelling villain in her casual cruelty and positioning of her students as bodies to be exploited. She’s only one half of the two-headed monster that breathes fire in Archer. There’s also Ramon Costa, resident manipulative choreographer in the vein of Vincent Cassle’s Thomas in Black Swan. Tiny Pretty Things plays with tropes of the ballet drama subgenre when it comes to some of its stocktypes. This rendering of Ramon as the “tortured male genius” — as he would no doubt call himself — as erratic, manipulative, and overly sensitive to criticism is sharp and effective, an efficient exposé that a controlling choreographer isn’t just a headache but a full-on physical and mental threat.

Speaking of ballet tropes though, Tiny Pretty Things is less effective in its attempts to do the whole Poor Girl With Tragic Backstory Arrives at Rigid Academy To Shake Things Up schtick — precisely because it does feel more like a schtick and less like a meaningful narrative for Neveah, who often feels like a flattened character even though the whole point of her is that she’s supposed to be more complicated than the narrative DuBois foists upon her. But does the show ever truly afford her that complexity and autonomy? I don’t think so, even when there are compelling bits to latch onto in her narrative, like the divergent ways she and her brother have responded to grief and trauma.

Tiny Pretty Things often stumbles through its attempts to comment on race and identity against the backdrop of ballet. Sure, there’s a gutting realness to the fact that Nabil Limyadi’s classmates think he’s a psycho merely because he has an accent and doesn’t smile a lot. But when the show tries to mine conflict from the fact that Caleb Wick wrongfully hates Nabil because he associates Nabil’s Muslim faith with the death of his American soldier father, the results are, unsurprisingly, putrid. The show similarly seems disinterested in really engaging with the racism DuBois displays toward Neveah and her family. It’s like the show is saying, yes, these institutions have a history of racism, but we’re not really going to touch that too much.

And then there’s this frustrating contradiction: In one storyline, the cops are the bad guys, but at the center of the narrative is a “good” cop who perhaps we’re meant to be tricked into thinking is a complicated hero and not a glorified villain because in this version of this oft-told tale of mythical hero cops, she’s a lesbian. Tiny Pretty Things gives Isabel Cruz a tragic backstory as motive: Her wife killed herself, and now Cruz won’t stop at anything to solve the mystery of attempted murder on Cassie because she feels called by the whistles of justice and salvation. A cop with a dead wife searching for redemption and justice? Yeah, I’ve seen that one before. And I hate when queerness is used as a weak attempt to disguise bad tropes as something different and original.

Cruz over and over again uses excessive force, manipulates the teens into getting answers, makes bad assumptions about motive. She shows up at the school constantly, seeming every bit like yet another dangerous adult in these teens’ lives even though the show doesn’t treat her as such. I think the dead wife is supposed to make us think she’s doing the wrong things for the right reasons. This is made even more frustrating by the fact that the book upon which the show is based had a main lesbian character who was one of the students but was erased from the story in the show.

Okay, so I’ve seemingly written a lot of words about a show that I find a lot of faults in. But the stuff I do like about the show, I like quite a lot. There’s something very alluring about the mere premise that the students’ lives are the real dark, twisted ballet — not the self-indulgent drivel that Costa cooks up called Ripper, a tone-deaf ballet about Jack the Ripper. In what I saw as a shoutout to the movie Center Stage — a very important entry in the ballet drama canon — the students end up going to the club to blow off some steam, but the similarities to the sequence in the 2000 film end there, because in Tiny Pretty Things’s version, the students end up beating the shit out of a group of homophobic assholes in the alleyway. It’s silly and fun but also a reminder that the skills these dancers have can be both beautiful and violent. That’s when Tiny Pretty Things is at its finest.

I feel like I might both love and hate Tiny Pretty Things, which makes me feel a lot like its characters, who destroy their best friends one minute and then hold them close the next, who take turns loving and hating each other. Those seismic shifts in the characters’ allegiances are as fun as they are frustrating. On the one hand, being a teenager is full of extremes and changes, and all those are heightened here by the competitive area of ballet and the suffocation of boarding school. On the other hand, it sometimes seems like the characters on this show suffer short-term memory loss, behaving in one scene as if they’ve completely forgotten what they did in the one before it. Your enjoyment of the show will probably hinge on your tolerance for those chaotic shifts. The way I see it, that’s what ballet has done to them. Forced them to live so urgently and demandingly in the present that they struggle to see backward or forward. Then again, maybe it’s just lazy writing.

Filming for Ryan Murphy’s newest show halted over Covid-19 / Queerty

Filming for Ryan Murphy’s newest show halted over Covid-19 /

Tom Cruise confirmed an obvious fact this week: COVID is no joke on film sets, or any workplace that requires people to be in close physical proximity.

Now just a month after shooting started, production for the upcoming Ryan Murphy series Impeachment: American Crime Story has been halted after members of the cast and crew tested positive for the virus.

Though names were not disclosed, or an exact number, TMZ reports it’s “multiple” people. No date has been scheduled to resume filming.

Last month, series lead Sarah Paulson showed off the first look at her character transformation in the third installment of the ACS anthology.

As with the first two seasons of the show, American Crime Story will retell a lurid scandal from American history. This new season recalls the Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky scandal from the late 1990s. Paulson plays Linda Tripp, a friend and coworker of Monica Lewinsky who leaked word to the press that Lewinsky was engaged in an affair with then-President Clinton.

The series uses Jeffrey Toobin’s book A Vast Conspiracy: The Real Story of the Sex Scandal That Nearly Brought Down a President as its basis. Toobin suffered his own sex scandal this fall when he was seen pleasuring himself during a Zoom chat between New Yorker magazine staff and WNYC radio.

Along with Paulson, Impeachment will feature queer actress Beanie Feldstein as Monica Lewinsky, Clive Owen as Bill Clinton, Annaleigh Ashford as Paula Jones, Anthony Green as Al Gore and Betty Gilpin as Ann Coulter.

We wish everyone a safe and speedy recovery.

Come Vibe with Me: Show Your homies You Care

Come Vibe with Me: Show Your homies You Care

A photo of a bouquet of lavender flowers and a white carnation. In the background is a mirror that shows the reflection of other plants and records in a sunlit apartment
These flowers will always remind me of the sweetest Blue Moon.

I lost my voice a bit last week and I couldn’t be more grateful for the reason why. Last Saturday I gave away care kits to celebrate the blue moon to Black women, femmes and non-binary babes in my community.

The kits were filled with things that I love that bring me peace, protection, and joy. Plants, beautiful floral bouquets, skincare products, candles, herbs and so much more. I wanted to give them away to spread tangible joy and love to those who are often expected to do all the work, take all the pain, and expect nothing in return. I wanted to show that I care and on top of all that — I selfishly wanted to be around my own people.

I wanted to safely share myself, give my love and just have a few cute, quick kikis with a bunch of random niggas like I normally would be. It’s great to have a diverse crew of homies but it is also completely ok to want to be around people with whom you have an unspoken understanding.

You know when your party starts and even though all your friends are perpetually late you still worry no one is going to come? That was me, filled with nerves and talking myself off the ledge behind my mask and then it happened. The minute the last rose was tied to the gate behind me a bunch of beautiful black babes came down the Chicago alley where the table was set up, the sunlight soaking them through the trees and Solange serving as the soundtrack to their struts.

I was soaked in Blackness and loved every minute of it. As they picked their bags I would laugh and shriek loudly with some, I would cry as I heard some of their stories of missing community, I social distance bopped with others when a song came on that called for shimmy — it was glorious.

The importance of community and taking care of my own is something I was taught by my parents as a kid. They reminded me to always do it from the heart, it will be obvious if you’re doing it for clout or something more. When the day was over and my voice was gone, I clicked through my IG stories and cried. In giving from my heart, the universe paid me back tenfold and gave me sweet memories that will get me through 2020 and last long after.

In the words of my favorite digital space Ethel’s Club — care for your homies.

If you’re able to be around your own, I hope you don’t take that community for granted. Make dinner together, scream and laugh with each other during your next streaming binge, bask in each other’s greatness, and appreciate the safe space you are for each other.

Happy Sunday bbs,

Shelli Nicole

Y’all Come Look at This

I, and my millennial-aged dollars, love YA books and Rachel Charlene Lewis over at BITCH has 9 for me to read this November.

Ancestral magick is real and Krista White introduces us to a few Black witches who are sharing their magickal practice online to help us tap in.

Che Scott-Heron writes about the critiques against Black Americans who chose not to vote during this election.

Youtuber, Influencer and all-around babe, Shalom Black walks us through her skincare routine which zooms in on skin concerns like scars and dark spots.

Earlier this week them launched a new ongoing series with Eva Reign entitled In Bloom. The series highlighting all that it means to be Black and trans in today’s America.

Letitia Wright, John Boyega, and Director Steve McQueen look stunning in the latest issue of The Hollywood Reporter and they are discussing McQueens’ anthology about Black, British life, Small Axe.

Our Black and Bougie (sometimes problematic) favs from TV/Film get an analysis from Karis Pierre over on gal-dem.

A still of FKA Twigs with braided red tinged hair standing behind a wall revealing only half of her face. The Still is from her music video "Sad Day"

Sad Day

I’ve been a fan of FKA Twigs since she made the short with Spike Jonze that made me want to give Apple even more money than I already have.

I came across the short for her single “Sad Day” while clicking around on Hulu. In the short, directed by Hiro Murai, who I’m familiar with from Atlanta on FX, her late-night visit to a Chinese takeaway spot takes us on a beautifully dope six-minute adventure.

Watch the short here

This week we have a dream support hotline for Black dreamers all through the diaspora, an opportunity to support a much-needed Black queer travel guide, and not one but TWO coat drives to support. A few other things are on this week’s bulletin board too so click through and share!

Click images to enlarge.

When folks came to pick up their care kits from me last weekend, and were chatting and dancing while waiting in line, I looked at them and missed community more than ever before. This week’s playlist is filled with “I Miss You’s’” — there’s an “I miss you to taking over aux cords in cars and playing songs that no one asked for,” an “I miss you to turning a 4 AM bar into Black girl karaoke,” and an “I miss you to happily singing loud and off-key with a group of my homies.” I miss you… see you soon?

Welcome to the Horrible Pick Up Like show, I’m your host, GF, and this is a first item of this episode: : actuallesbians

Welcome to the Horrible Pick Up Like show, I'm your

A place for discussions for and by cis and trans lesbians, bisexual girls, chicks who like chicks, bi-curious folks, dykes, butches, femmes, girls who kiss girls, birls, bois, aces, LGBT allies, and anyone else interested! Our subreddit is named r/actuallesbians because r/lesbians is not really for or by lesbians–it was meant to be a joke. We’re not a militant or exclusive group, so feel free to join up!