Archive for the ‘Transgender’ Category

No Straight Lines

February 1, 2023

Outstanding documentary No Straight Lines from PBS’s Independent Lens profiles the past 40 years of Queer Comics from underground to mainstream. Directed by out lesbian filmmaker Vivian Kleinman and based on the book by producer/writer/professor Justin Hall. From PBS,

When Alison Bechdel received a coveted MacArthur Award for her best-selling graphic memoir Fun Home, it heralded the acceptance of LGBTQ+ comics in American culture. From DIY underground comix scene to mainstream acceptance, meet five smart and funny queer comic book artists whose uncensored commentary left no topic untouched and explored art as a tool for social change. Featuring Alison Bechdel, Jennifer Camper, Howard Cruse, Rupert Kinnard, Mary Wings, and other queer comics artists.

The Filmmakers
Vivian Kleiman
Director/Producer Vivian Kleiman is a Peabody Award-winning filmmaker and a Fleishhacker Eureka Fellowship artist. She was the story editor for Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men, and her work with landmark filmmaker Marlon Riggs includes Tongues Untied, among others. She taught at Stanford University’s Graduate Program in Documentary Film.

Justin Hall
Producer Justin Hall edited the Lambda Award-winning, Eisner-nominated No Straight Lines: Four Decades of Queer Comics and created the comics True Travel Tales, Hard to Swallow. Hall is chair of the MFA in Comics Program at California College of the Arts, the first Fulbright Scholar of comics, and has curated international exhibitions of comics art.

Really worth watching. When you worry that we haven’t made progress over the past 50 years, this puts it all into perspective. Yes, we’re facing book bans and all the horror of “Don’t Say Gay” in Florida and other ignorant states, but we will not be shoved back in the closet. These artists remind us all to use the tools at our disposal to fight back and demand a place at the table. Hey DeSantis – Joe McCarthy died over 60 years ago. Your hatred and bigotry are the last gasps of the patriarchy. Watch No Straight Lines and feel the power. 5 out of 5.

No Straight Lines currently streams on PBS.
Listen to Vivian Kleinman interview on Brad Shreve’s Queer We Are podcast.

The Assignment with Audie Cornish

January 23, 2023

NPR’s Audie Cornish hosts a CNN weekly podcast. I came to hear about long COVID and stayed for the OnlyFans piece. Both were very informative. The 30-minute format works well for Cornish. From CNN,

Fiery Twitter threads and endless news notifications never capture the full story. Each week on The Assignment, host Audie Cornish pulls listeners out of their digital echo chambers to hear from the people who live the headlines. From the sex work economy to the battle over what’s taught in classrooms, no topic is off the table. Listen to The Assignment every Thursday.

4 out of 5.
Listen now on CNN, or find the show on your favorite podcast platform.

We’re Here: Season 3, Episodes 5 & 6

January 1, 2023

I watched the final two episodes of We’re Here: Season 3, Florida: Episodes 5 & 6. I was blown away. This show has really found its lane. This season they are clearly using drag as a transformational tool, as a political tool, and as a celebratory tool. This two-part episode is not to be missed. I sobbed through the final 20 minutes of the season finale like nobody’s business. Remarkable use of drag to combat homophobia and transphobia in one of the most fucked up states in our country – Florida. The queens travel to Orlando and help a cis gender straight female high school teacher with a trans daughter, a cis gender women and trans woman who are celebrating 50 years of marriage, a 58 year-old closeted gay man living in The Villages (shudder) near his mother, and a young queer man who is a Pulse Nightclub shooting survivor struggling with PTSD. Each one of these stories is a powerhouse call to arms for all of us to rise up, stand up, shout, vote, educate, and support our LGBTQ family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues. This show really gives me joy. 5 out of 5 for this Season 3 double-dose ender. I will go back and watch the rest, I promise.

We’re Here currently streams on HBO Max..

The Big Gay Donation: Convincing The World Cup Decision Makers to Hold the Event in an LGBTQ+ Friendly Nation From Now On

December 17, 2022

Love, love, love this. From the U.K., and YouTube,

Let’s convince the definitely not corrupt people who run football to host an LGBTQ+ friendly 2030 World Cup – or raise money for a big gay charity instead 🌈 ⬇️ DONATE HERE ⬇️ ⚽   #TheBigGayDonation

LGBTQ Rights in Quatar. From Wikipedia,

Lesbiangaybisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Qatar face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Sexual acts of male homosexuality are illegal in Qatar, with a punishment for all convicts of up to three years in prison and a fine, and for Muslims duly convicted in a court under sharia law the possibility of a judicially sanctioned capital punishment for homosexuality; however, there are no known cases where the death penalty was judicially enforced for homosexuality, though extra-judicial murders of LGBT people are unverified.


November 1, 2022

I finally caught Bros this weekend. I did not go to see it in the theater, but I did support Bros by renting it through Amazon. The price was similar to what I would have spent for 2 tickets. Felt good to support this new gay glass ceiling smasher. Bros is the first LGBTQ rom-com to be produced by a major Hollywood studio. In case you’re reading this years from now, it’s 2022 and yes society should be ashamed. But let’s not dwell on the crooked path to equal rights every minority continues to experience. Instead let’s talk about Bros. I loved it. I know! I was a little scared. I’m not the biggest Billy Eichner fan. I’m angry a lot myself and shout more than a bit – mostly at home – apologies to my best friend whom I live with. So I was worried I may not enjoy the film. Billy’s character Bobby was neurotic and talked a lot and screamed a lot. It also worked for the film. Bros is a perfect rom-com. Bobby meets Aaron played by the dreamy (understatement) Luke Macfarlane. They are polar opposites and both are relationship-phobic. Bobby’s the executive director of the new LGBTQ History Museum opening up in NYC. Aaron’s a lawyer who’s comfortable, if not passionate about his craft. Bobby’s got body issues. Aaron’s a fuck god. The film doesn’t shy away from topics gay men discuss. The sex scenes are natural, funny, and hot. Seriously Bros is a winner. It’s a perfect formulaic rom-com which will hopefully pave the way for bigger studios to make more matter of factly big budget, queer films. It’s silly, it’s campy, it’s sexy, it’s awkward, it’s serious in moments, it’s got a happy ending. It hits all the right notes. Bravo to Billy who co-wrote, executive produced and stars in the film. 4 out of 5 because like most big Hollywood films, it needed a bit of editing.

Bros currently streams on Peacock and is available on disk from your local public library.

12/2022: Bought the Blu-ray of Bros and loved it even more the second time around. It’s silly, stupid, smart as hell, romantic, and sophisticated simultaneously. Billy Eichner should be very proud. A perfect date movie, and a perfect microcosm of the complicated dance it is to be a man who loves men in 21st Century USA. Raising my rating to 5 out of 5.

Reel Charlie Speaks – Episode 4: Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City

September 5, 2022

In Episode 4 of Reel Charlie Speaks, I explore everything Amistead Maupin including a deep dive into his 9-part book series, Tales of the City. Maupin’s book and particularly the Tales series has made a lasting impact on my life and his character of Anna Madrigal is my favorite fictional character of all-time. I also discuss his stand-alone books, the various Tales adaptations and the beautiful legacy Maupin has created with his work.

Click for more Reel Charlie Speaks.
Read more about Armistead Maupin.
Purchase Armistead’s books or find them in your local public library.

NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project

September 1, 2022

Not exactly a media post, but perusing NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project, I imagined many filmmakers and showrunners gaining inspiration to create media projects around these landmarks. Over 400 and counting in NYC. From nyclgbtsites,

Making an invisible history visible

Our groundbreaking work documents historic places connected to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in New York City and tells the often untold story of their influence on American history and culture. Explore the map below, view our curated themes, or browse an index of over 400 sites.

Visit NYCLGBTsites.
Donate to NYCLGBTsites.

Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookshop, NYC

Work in Progress: Season 2

July 31, 2022

Season 2 of the Showtime series, Work in Progress continues the journey of Abby, a fictionalized version of creator Abby McEnany who self-identifies as a fat, queer, dyke. Over two seasons, McEnany has been the first masculine woman to headline a television series. Part of the appeal of Work in Progress stems from Abby’s refusal to sugar coat her life. She’s 46 years old, most recently dated a trans man 20 years younger than her, has suicidal ideation, runs through therapists like some people go through M&M’s, and battles OCD and anxiety as well as depression. Season 2 tackles a mountain of stories in ten 30-minute episodes. It’s brave for Abby and series producer Lilly Wachowski to have taken on so much and during COVID. Let me start out with what didn’t work for me, so I can focus on the positive as I wrap up the review. There was a lot of flashbacks to Abby’s childhood which distracted me. Yes, it’s interesting to see how her life evolved, but I wanted the focus more on the present. There were fantasy elements interjected which I felt might be a result of Wachowski’s influence. And perhaps even COVID? Again, I thought the actual stories were so compelling, I didn’t want to be distracted by fantasies. And speaking of fantasies, the Vincent D’Onofrio fantasies where Abby kisses him twice also felt unnecessary. I realize Abby identifies as bisexual at a certain point in her life, and is open to many genders in her current life, but I don’t know. It reminded me of Rosie O’Donnell obsessing over Tom Cruise during her talk show. Abby’s out out out and the D’Onofrio sequences felt closet-y to me. I know, I know, shatter the binary. I get it. Whatever didn’t work was overshadowed by what did work. The Women’s Music Festival episode just let things happen, no running commentary, no judgements. Just putting it all out there for the viewer to digest and for Abby to learn more about her attractions, especially to the transgender community. The appearance of Abby’s Mom after learning of her neighbor’s mother’s death made me cry it was so well-acted. Wouldn’t most of us love to be cradled by our mothers no matter what decade of life we find ourselves in? The Julia Sweeney/Pat journey also felt extremely powerful to me. There was no neat package, but everyone’s hearts were in the right place. Gave me hope for our future. If only we could destroy social media and go back to actually speaking to each other one-on-one, and taking steps together to heal. COVID coming out of nowhere of course felt completely authentic. The fact that Abby was able to navigate COVID better than most made perfect sense. And the respect given to BLM during COVID also felt perfectly written. Work in Progress has been cancelled after two seasons. It’s the kind of show that requires attention and deep breaths, which can make it difficult to find an audience. I loved it and feel bad it’s been let go. A huge thanks to Abby McEnany, Lilly Wachowski, co-creator Tim Mason, and an incredible supporting cast featuring Celeste Pechous (OMG, the queen!), Karin Anglin, Gerard Neugent, Armand Fields (stunning!), Bruce Jarchow, and Kenny Rasmussen. A truly terrific, heady, intelligent look at the journey one woman takes to find peace and happiness in her world. 4 out of 5 for Work in Progress: Season 2.

Work in Progress currently streams on Showtime and is available on disk from your local public library which is how I binged it.

Places to Find Films for Pride 2022

June 3, 2022

Lots of places to discover new as well as classic LGBTQ films this Pride Month.
Here’s just a sampling,

34th Annual Connecticut LGBTQ Film Festival (in-person and virtual) (14 new feature films, 7 new docs)

NewFest Pride: LGBTQ Film and Media (NYC)

Quad Cinema (NYC) Pride Rewind: Queer Cinematic Landmarks & Breakthroughs – an incredible line-up of classic queer films featuring many Reel Charlie favorites.


Happy Pride Month 2022

June 1, 2022

June marks Pride Month… Gay Pride, LGBTQ Pride, Queer Pride. Whatever you want to call it, our super-sized umbrella of gender and sexuality celebrates and supports all the colors of the rainbow each and every month. In June we come together with our allies to remember those who fought before us, those who fought with us, and those who continue the fight today for full global equal rights. Reel Charlie’s about film and television, so let’s break down a list of queer titles sure to rock your world.

A sampling from my favorite LGBTQ lists:

My Top Favorite Gay Male Films 

The Angelic Conversation
Beautiful Thing
Before I Forget 
BPM (Beats Per Minute)
Gods and Monsters
God’s Own Country
Ha-Buah (The Bubble)
 Am Not Your Negro
Making Montgomery Clift
The Signifyin’ Works of Marlon Riggs
Swan Song
Wojnarowicz: F**k You F*ggot F**ker (d)

f= foreign language d=documentary

All-Time Favorite LGBTQ Films

Bad Education (f)
But I’m a Cheerleader
Go Fish
Hannah Gadsby: Nanette
Happiest Season
How to Survive a Plague (d)
The Killing of Sister George
Paris was a Woman (d)
Rafiki (f)
Reaching for the Moon
The Sticky Fingers of Time
The Watermelon Woman
Women Who Kill

f= foreign language d=documentary

Favorite LGBTQ Television

Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City (PBS)
It’s a Sin
The L Word
The Outs
Queer as Folk

Happy Pride!
What’s your favorite LGBTQueer films or television series?

%d bloggers like this: