10. THEATER: 34th Marathon of One-Act Plays The latest installment of this perennial festival offers 16 new plays, including works by big names such as John Patrick Shanley and Murray Schisgal as well as not-yet-famous playwrights ready to be discovered. One that’s said to be of particular LGBT interest is Curmudgeons in Love by Joshua Conkel. The fest opened this week and continues through June 30 at New York City’s Ensemble Studio Theatre. For information on individual plays and their performance dates, click here.
9. BOOK: Straight People: A Spotter's Guide to the Fascinating World of Heterosexuals Jeffery Self, the author of 50 Shades of Gay, offers another humorous parody — this time not of a best-selling novel, but along the lines of a bird-watching guide. Straight People: A Spotter's Guide to the Fascinating World of Heterosexuals gently pokes fun at the "Heterosexual Male and Female" and promises readers a hilarious dialogue. The fond examination includes questions and answers about "serious" topics such as the heterosexual habitat, feeding habits, culture, and migration patterns. In addition to being an author, Self is an actor who has appeared on Desperate Housewives, 90210, and Hot in Cleveland, and as Liz Lemon’s gay cousin on 30 Rock, so he knows comedy well. This tongue-in-cheek guide examines "the varied species and subspecies of the sexual majority" with a generous helping of wit that's bound to amuse. Among the highlights: "Ten Ways to Tell if He’s Gay or European," suggesting you look at who he follows on Twitter. “Keira Knightley? European. Kyra Sedgwick? Gay.” (Running Press, $13)
8. MUSIC: Clairy Browne and the Bangin' Rackettes Anyone longing for the sultry sound of '60s doo-wop with a seriously queer edge has got to get their hands on the debut album from nine-piece band Clairy Browne and the Bangin' Rackettes. The Australian outfit features out lead singer Browne as the group's vivacious centerpiece, backed up by a baritone sax, guitar, bass, keyboard, drums, and three bouffant-wearing babes known as the Rackettes. The group's energetic sound channels jazz, heart-wrenching doo-wop, and classic soul, offering a distinctly modern take on several influential genres. The group's debut album, Baby Caught the Bus, dropped this week, grabbing listeners and taking them on an emotional ride through sonic peaks and valleys, guided by Browne's smoky, powerful pipes and her band's perfect accompaniment. Browne's first single off the album, "Love Letter," brilliantly encapsulates the group's funky, soulful energy, while infusing the track with a healthy dose of sexuality and longing. This is perfect getting-ready-to-go-out music. Check out the frenetic video for "Love Letter" below, and download the full album here.
7. DVD: This Girl Is Badass The English release of director Petchtai Wongkamlao’s Thai action-comedy film This Girl is Badass jump-kicks its way onto DVD and Blu-ray Tuesday. The film stars the new action queen of Asia, JeeJa Yanin, as Jackkalen, a young bike messenger whose martial arts skills are put to the test when she is hired to transport smuggled goods for a group of gangsters. Featuring 20 minutes of additional fight-scene footage, the North American release of this film is a must for any fan of the genre.
6. FILM/EVENT: "A Divine Sunday" Raises Funds for Trevor Project The world was most famously introduced to larger-than-life drag superstar Divine when she burst onto the screen and stole the show in John Waters's Pink Flamingos, and she brought a spark to other Waters camp classics like Mondo Trasho, Polyester, and Hairspray. Known as Harris Glenn Milstead out of drag, the Minnesota-born actor created a legend and defined a genre as the vivacious, buxom Divine. Film buffs, LGBT folks, and their friends and allies will gather for "A Divine Sunday" to wrap up the Out Twin Cities Film Festival at the St. Anthony Main Theatre in Minneapolis, with a special double feature of award-winning director Jeffrey Schwarz's documentaries I Am Divine and Vito. Tickets are $50, and all proceeds go toward the suicide prevention work of the Trevor Project. Get more details here, and watch the trailer for I Am Divine below.
5. BOOK: The S-Word You'll either love or hate Chelsea Pitcher's debut young adult novel, The S-Word, so polarizing is the disjointed narrative style and relentless pace. We're in the "love it" camp, in part because Pitcher explores the deeply relevant issues of slut shaming, teen suicide, bullying, and sexuality from the dual perspective of the journals of a dead girl (who was labeled a slut after a unfortunate encounter, was bullied, and then committed suicide) and her somewhat culpable best friend. It's poignant and heartbreaking but also a page-turner, an issue book wrapped up in a mystery thriller that'll make teens (and young adults especially) think long and hard. The S-Word is the perfect addition to a canon of work around issues that affect LGBT teens greatly, including the film Bully and the It Gets Better Project. (Simon & Schuster, $8) See the book trailer here.
4. ART: “Maurice Sendak: 50 Years, 50 Works, 50 Reasons” This exhibit honors the late, great gay author-illustrator on the 50th anniversary of the publication of Where the Wild Things Are. It features 50 pieces of original art Sendak created for the book, along with 50 statements from a variety of celebrities on what Sendak’s work means to them. Among the contributors are President Obama, Tony Kushner, Stephen Colbert, Michael Bloomberg, and Tom Hanks. Now through July 7 at the Walt Disney Family Museum, San Francisco.
3. FILM: We Steal Secrets: The Story Of WikiLeaks Oscar-winning documentarian Alex Gibney takes a sharp look at the wild world of Julian Assange's WikiLeaks and the involvement of detained gay soldier Bradley Manning (pictured above). Opening today in limited release.
2. TV: Arrested Development, Season 4 Fans of boy fights, flamers, and never-nudes are thrilled that Netflix has managed to save our Bluths, releasing a new season of the comedy about the hilariously dysfunctional Southern California family. Portia de Rossi, Jason Bateman, Jessica Walter, Will Arnett, Jeffrey Tambor, and the rest will be back in the 15 episodes available for viewing beginning Sunday. So kick back with a frozen banana and enjoy! Also, if you’re in SoCal and just can’t get enough AD, check out the fan art show “I Just Blue Myself” Saturday evening at Great Over Good, a gallery in Santa Ana. Actor Justin Grant Wade (Steve Holt!) is scheduled to be there.
1. TV: Behind the Candelabra We almost can't believe it's finally here — after years of casting, recasting, shopping around for a deal, and arguing in the press, the Liberace movie Behind the Candelabra is finally premiering on HBO this Sunday. Michael Douglas plays the flamboyant piano virtuoso, while Matt Damon plays Scott Thorson, Liberace's younger lover, while Rob Lowe, Debbie Reynolds, Dan Akroyd, Scott Bakula, and Cheyenne Jackson get to play along as Stephen Soderbergh directs the whole thing. While the subject matter is sparkly, campy, and well, gay on the surface, it's also an adequate look at the complexities of being gay only a couple of decades ago.