10. DVD: Won’t Back Down on Blu-ray and DVD
Some months a film like Won’t Back Down is as close to a lesbian film as you get: In it, Maggie Gyllenhaal is a single mom who thinks her daughter’s elementary school sucks. Viola Davis, a concerned teacher who wants her own son to have a good education, agrees. So they team up to improve the school and the attitudes of the people teaching there. It’s a movie, like a feminist Stand and Deliver, about feisty and embattled women who persevere through activism and, often, sheer willpower. Plus, Rosie Perez and Holly Hunter costar. Avaliable on Amazon.
9. BOOK: Twelve Views from the Distance by Mutsuo Takahashi
From one of the foremost poets in contemporary Japan comes this entrancing memoir that traces a boy’s childhood and its intersection with the rise of the Japanese empire and World War II. In 12 chapters that revisit critical points in his boyhood, Takahashi re-creates the lost world that was the setting for his beginnings as a gay man and poet. From University of Minnesota Press. Available on Amazon.
8. MUSIC: Otep: Hydra
This L.A.-based "nu-metal" quartet is fronted by Otep Shamaya, a fierce lesbian and outspoken LGBT advocate. Otep releases its sixth and final album, Hydra, on Tuesday. A tour is planned, so you'll have one last chance to see the band in action.
7. EVENT: Lady Starlight at the Viper Room
This Sunday, Los Angelenos will get a chance to see the infamous Lady Starlight live, twice. Starlight, the multitalented DJ, style icon, and performance artist (she’s Lady Gaga’s cultural guru), will headline her own DJ set at the Viper Room following her opening performance for Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Ball at Staples Center in Los Angeles. At her own concert she’ll be joined by Dirty Pearls, DJ David, Junius Frey, Sarai Knowledge, and Pillow Theory, promising a strange and memorable musical experience from the artist whose interpretive performances and vast collection of classic hard rock and heavy-metal vinyl are legendary.
6. THEATER: My First Lady
Two leading lights of LGBT theater, playwright David Koteles and director Jason Jacobs, collaborators on the GLAAD Award-nominated The Bald Diva, team up again for My First Lady, in which Martha Washington, Abigail Adams, Dolley Madison (pictured above), and Thomas Jefferson’s daughters meet for a White House tea party that quickly escalates into a battle over race, class, and gender in early America. The play, which opens tonight, is part of the New York–based Metropolitan Playhouse’s Founders Festival, featuring eight new works inspired by the writings of the nation’s founding fathers and mothers and continuing through January 27.
5. MUSIC: Michael Van London: American Blood & Guts
This out musician, who fronted the Bombs and the Black Beverly Heels, released his new EP, American Blood & Guts, on Friday. Produced by Brad Cook, who's worked with the Foo Fighters and Ben Harper, the five-track set features songs used in Chris Colfer's screenwriting debut, Struck by Lightning. Watch a fan-made video of Van London's "Feel Love" below: