Succession: Season 4 – The Final Season

May 31, 2023

Well, well, well (in my best Beverly Leslie imitation)… Succession is done. To start, I want to remind readers a 4 out of 5 means I loved it. A 5 out of 5 means I want to own it. This final season of the despicable Roy family had me on pins and needles. I had no idea how it was going to end. Such a freaking roller coaster. Truly the worst of our contemporary American culture. Every character on the show screwed and got screwed and I definitely don’t mean that in a good way. Amazing performances from Brian Cox, Jeremy Strong, Sarah Snook, Kieran Culkin, and Alan Ruck as the Roy children, Nicholas Braun as the nephew – Cousin Greg, with Matthew Macfadyen and Justine Lupe as the spouses. Rounding out the stellar cast is uber-fabulous character actor J. Smith-Cameron, Dagmara Domińczyk, Arian Moayed, David Rasche, and Alexander Skarsgard as the disgusting Musk character. So sleazy. Must have had a blast playing him. Lots of confusion with what I call the “Bro-business speech.” Very difficult for many people to follow. A combination of business/tech talk and cis straight white male bro talk. Pathetic and probably highly accurate. Interesting stories including siblings launch a rival bid against Logan, Nan (guest star Cherry Jones) gets an offer she can’t refuse from the kids, Logan screws them over big time, Logan continues to keep the GoJo sale solvent, Connor and Willa get married, Roman fires Gerri, a gigantic spoiler alert happens, Shiv has some life-changing news, from this point on two episodes consist of a day in the life of the series, something rarely seen, Shiv and Tom are on-again/off-again, the presidential election happens, no one’s happy with the outcome except for Roman, street protests ensue the day after the election, the board has to vote on the GoJo deal, and all three sibs show up at their mother Caroline’s place in Barbados. Greg ends up being the smartest person in Season 4, and all three of the siblings crash hard after the vote. Bye bye disgusting billionaires.

Succession: Season 1: 4 out of 5
Succession: Season 2: 4 out of 5
Succession: Season 3: 4 out of 5
Succession: Season 4: 4 out of 5
Overall series score: 4 out of 5

Favorite Music: Disco

May 29, 2023

Some of you may have realized I haven’t been posting non-stop reviews lately. I also haven’t been able to read much (books are my other passion). Dennis and I are still grieving the loss of our dear dog Daisy. It will be 7 weeks on Wednesday. It’s not all the time, but it is still every day. It’s a testament to how much we loved her and how much her quiet little personality merged into our lives. The pack is everything. We just miss her. So I’ve been giving myself a break and publishing things that grab my attention.

This past week, we spent a few days in the Hudson Valley, one of my favorite places in the world with five of my favorite people. Kingston, NY the town I lived in for 6 years after NYC has grown a bit since COVID. There’s a bunch of new stores in the Stockade area of town. One in particular Magic Hill – Mercantile welcomed us with disco music. I unzipped by hoodie and flashed my t-shirt to the young man working the counter. My tee-shirt said Long Live Disco, a design by me, sold on Red Bubble. He loved the shirt and after he determined I was an OG disco lover, asked me my favorite disco song. I was stumped. I could remember a few, but shouldn’t I have this on the tip of my tongue?

So long story long, today I pulled out my trusty reference book, The Disco Files, 1973 – 1978 by Vince Aletti. It lists the top songs played at various clubs in the U.S. each week during the time period. That coupled with my trusty if not always quick to recall memory helped me conjure up a list fairly quickly.

Reel Charlie’s 22 favorite disco songs in order of importance, starting with my favorite tune:

You Know How to Love Me by Phyllis Hyman (1979)
This Time by Jackie Moore (1979)
Lost in Music by Sister Sledge (1979)
Cherchez La Femme by Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band (1976)
Last Dance by Donna Summer (1978)
Vertigo/Relight my Fire by Dan Hartman (1979)
Menergy by Sylvester (1981)
Come to Me by France Joli (1979)
Good Times by Chic (1978)
Got to Be Real by Cheryl Lynn (1978)
Shame by Evelyn “Champagne” King (1977)
Native New Yorker by Odyssey (1977)
The Boss by Diana Ross (1979)
Souvenirs by Voyage (1978)
I Can’t Stand the Rain by Eruption (1977)
Bourgie Bourgie by Ashford & Simpson (1977)
Do or Die by Grace Jones (1978)
Disco Inferno by The Trammps (1976)
If My Friends Could See Me Now by Linda Clifford (1978)
Boogie Oogie Oogie by A Taste of Honey (1978)
Let’s Start the Music by Bohannon (1981)

Honorable Mention to a song I probably would have heard at The Loft if I was 10 years older:
The Love I Lost by Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes (featuring Teddy Pendergrass (1973)

I created a playlist on Spotify of all these amazing songs.
This post was so much fun to create.

Wanda Sykes: I’m An Entertainer

May 27, 2023

Wanda Sykes’ stand-up keeps getting better and better. The newest Netflix special, I’m An Entertainer strikes gold. Sykes is at her best skewering herself, her family, COVID, white supremacy, racism, homophobia, transphobia, bathrooms, gynecologists, and so many other deadly serious and laugh out loud moments. I laughed nearly non-stop. There was a lull somewhere at the 3/4 mark. Not in a bad way, just a chance to catch my breath until the laughter began again through to the finale. 4 out of 5 for this incredible comedian who dares to speak her truth.

Inside RuPaul’s Fabulous Beverly Hills Mansion | Open Door | Architectural Digest

May 25, 2023

I’ve had one or two encounters with RuPaul over the decades. First time was in Atlanta during the 1980’s. He was homeless and couch surfing. My boyfriend Joe Greenwood at the time who became my first LTR (husband pre-marriage equality) was roommates with one of my favorite people in the world and a dear friend, Rosser Shymanski. Rosser came home very late one night. I woke up for work the next morning and RuPaul was fast asleep on their couch. Watch this AD on YouTube and imagine what’s going on in Ru’s head as he takes you on a tour of his mansion. So much fun and such a sweet guy. Stay until the end for his positive message on drag:

What Are You Watching? Late May 2023

May 23, 2023

I am currently in the middle of three outstanding television seasons. All three are dropping shows weekly which of course is the antithesis of binge watching. But I kind of like having to wait in-between as the tension builds. My three must-sees for late May 2023 are:

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel – This show has been a favorite of our household since it began in 2017. Midge’s story showcases the quest for women’s equality. And the fashion is unreal, it’s so amazing. So sorry to see it end.
Somebody Somewhere – Sam’s a 40-somthing who never quite made it. She struggles not having the relationship, the house, the career. Her story mirrors so many of my own struggles I can’t help but cheer her on. Add Joel and Fred to the mix – a gay man and a trans man and you’ve got one fantastic queer show. I’m so excited this is only season 2.
Succession – the Roy family isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. I have enjoyed watching them struggle and fail. I know they have billions behind them, but I watched it and not so secretly hope they lose everything. Will be glad when this one’s over. It’s incredible, but painful to watch. After the series finale, we should have a revolution and figure out how to take back all this money. For real.

Maisel’s on Prime.
Somebody’s on Max.
Succession’s on Max.

Queer Librarian Fired in Florida

May 21, 2023

Two of my favorite things in the world are being a librarian and going to Wilton Manors in Florida.

From The Education of Ron DeSantis (U.S. News),

Three weeks before graduation, on May 1, as students streamed in and out of the campus library at Florida’s New College in Sarasota beginning to cram for end-of-semester exams and scour its archives and research material to bolster independent projects and theses, the interim provost called one of the head librarians into a conference room and terminated her employment.

Helene Gold, who was the associate dean of academic engagement for the library and had been working at New College for nearly five years, was given two hours to pack up her office and vacate the campus.

“Who fires a librarian three weeks before the end of the semester?” she asks. “I provide leadership to create an effective library program, to teach research, to support students, and suddenly this is no longer a priority? And to do it three weeks before the end of the semester is either incredibly cruel or incredibly ill-conceived.”

But Gold’s dramatic departure was not an administrative mishandling. In fact, it was the next step in a grander strategic plan – and the latest in a series of brash and controversial decisions handed down by the newly installed conservative majority on the board of trustees tasked by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, the likely 2024 presidential candidate, with remaking the public honors college in his vision.

And it’s looking more and more likely that DeSantis will officially begin selling that conservative vision to Americans in the coming days.

Read the full article on U.S. News. Shits getting real people. Vote like our lives depend on it. You better be damn well sure Helene Gold and her loved ones will be.

 

Favorite Television Series Update

May 19, 2023

After two years, I finally updated my Favorite Television Series list. Included in the mix are:

Abbott Elementary
And Just Like That
As We See It
The Gilded Age
A League of Their Own
Manhunt
Somebody Somewhere
Sort Of
Total Control
Unbelievable
The Wisting

Click on the link to check out the entire list of favorites. I might have to get more cut throat and pare this list down a bit in the future. It’s gotten pretty large. Meanwhile, there’s no excuse not to find something amazing to watch or watch again! Happy binging.

Sex and the City: Favorite Episodes

May 19, 2023

All the new content on TV each day, each week, each month, and still I find myself slipping into the comfort of older favorite shows. Case in point, I decided to watch a few older episodes of Sex and the City before the new season of And Just Like That premieres. Strolling through Season 4, I realized two of my favorite episodes stand the test of time:

  1. First up there’s The Real Me (S4 E2). Carrie gets asked to be in a fashion show for charity. Professional models paired with well-known NY-ers. Carrie’s there and so is Ed Koch, NYC’s first gay mayor. Too bad he wasn’t out and proud. Margaret Cho and Alan Cumming guest star. Carrie’s runway premiere is disasterous until she gets up, dusts herself off, and go out a winner. To top off this perfect scene, Carrie walks to Cheryl Lynn’s Got To Be Real, one of the all-time greatest disco songs. In addition Samantha has nudes taken of her. Since I’m a Carrie/Samantha hybrid, I adore this episode.
  2. Next up – All That Glitters (S4 E14). The girls go to a gay nightclub. Was this Sex and the City‘s attempt to entice some of the Queer as Folk fans to double dip? A very young Murray Bartlett (Looking, Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City, The White Lotus, and Welcome to Chippendales) plays a shoe importer who becomes Carrie’s new GBF, much to Stanford’s dismay.

Do you have favorite TV shows that are your go-to comfort food when nothing else seems to satisfy? Click here for Reel Charlie’s favorite TV – a list that’s just been updated for 2023..

Sex and the City currently streams on Max.

Carrie recovers on the runway.

 

A young and dreamy Murray Bartlett on Sex and the City.

Call Me Kate

May 15, 2023

I was so looking forward to the Katherine Hepburn documentary, Call Me Kate. Unfortunately the film didn’t reveal any new material. Kate’s nephew was interviewed throughout. The man seemed to have no interest in digging into her private life. Instead he was content repeating the same Hollywood stories which have been circulating forever. In particular, he claimed there was no truth to the rumor she was a lesbian other than comments from people about her dirty finger nails and desire to wear “dungarees.” WTF? The nephew seems pathetically out of date in this 2023 world. Of course she doesn’t have to be lesbian or bisexual in order for her to be a LGBTQ icon. It just felt like to me, there were one too many white straight men claiming her for themselves with no interest in taking a deeper dive. 2 out of 5. Next.

Call Me Kate currently streams on Netflix.

80 For Brady

May 13, 2023

How else can I follow up a dear friend’s book launch and my interview on a podcast with anything other than a silly, ridiculous, farce featuring a fierce cast of senior women including Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Rita Moreno and the youngster Sally Field. 80 For Brady is exactly what you would imagine – stupidly funny and predictable, often using remarkable actors in throwaway scenes. And apparently there’s the bad idea of using Tom Brady for anything. I have no idea what that means because I don’t watch football, but according to some of my work colleagues, it’s bad. My takeaway was the brutality of the sport and the insanity of the fans’ love for all things football. Why does American love football better than football, err soccer? Because it matches our love for violence and guns. But seriously, this movie has nothing to do with politics. It’s just a fun film about four old broads who love football and the men who play it. Lily’s Lily, Jane’s CGI-ed to the max for her vampy role, Rita’s always dancing, and Sally plays the pragmatist. Lots of fun. Nothing earth-shattering and you definitely won’t remember this film for years to come. But if you want a stupid comedy you will laugh out loud a few times, then 80 For Brady‘s the right choice for you. 3 out of 5.


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