Arts & Entertainment

In the Arts & Entertainment section, The Advocate brings readers all the latest news on Hollywood, Broadway, and beyond. From New York to Los Angeles, The Advocate shines a spotlight on the stars of the screen who are lending their voices to support the LGBT community, as well as gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals who are moving the cultural needle. Discover A-list interviews, the best gay movies and reviews of theater, music, books and television. Learn how Arts & Entertainment can shape national dialogue and can work to advance equality.

Actress and comedienne Alexandra Wentworth credits Marilyn Manson and an obsession with therapy for inspiring her to create Head Case, the half-hour improv show on which she played Dr. Elizabeth Goode, a Beverly Hills celebrity therapist. The outrageous comedy, which originally ran on Starz from 2007 to 2009, featured guest stars Rosanna Arquette, Jerry Seinfield, Andy Dick, Liz Phair, Tori Spelling, Jeff Goldblum, and Joel Madden, among others. Each played him- or herself as patients to the judgmental and inattentive Dr. Goode, who insulted them, plied them with dreadful advice, and interrupted their sessions to take phone calls or swoon over her smarmy fiancé. We thought it would be fun to put Wentworth on the analyst’s couch.

The Advocate: Why are you obsessed with therapy?
Alexandra Wentworth: I just think it’s fascinating that as human beings we put ourselves in a position where we completely give over the power to somebody else. If a therapist said, “I think you should go to a cemetery and sleep there overnight,” 90% of the people would do it. Also, I’m obsessed with it because I have had so much bad therapy.

Can you give me an example?
I could give you many. Once in Los Angeles I went to see someone fairly new, a homunculus of a woman, very unattractive. And the first thing she said to me was, “I don’t want you to be afraid, but just so you know, you will probably be having sexual dreams and fantasies about me.” And I went, “I’m sorry... what?” She said, “You will probably be having sexual dreams and fantasies about me.” And I said, “I just don’t think so,” and walked out. Another time, I was seeing a therapist, and right in the middle of the session — during a poignant moment — she interrupted me and said, “Where did you get your boots?”


I had a boyfriend years ago whose father was a shrink, and I based [Dr. Goode’s bumbling and always un-booked office mate] Dr. Myron Finkelstein on him. He would come home bummed out because his patients kept jumping off buildings and killing themselves. And he once fell asleep in therapy. Both he and a patient fell asleep during the session.

Did you base Dr. Goode on anyone in particular?
She was a big combo platter of people, a kind of bouillabaisse of various crazy shrinks I’ve known.

December 27 2011 3:05 AM

You can’t really fake that," Mariah Carey said to The Advocate last December, referring to her fondness for creating Christmas music. "I don’t think people who don’t love Christmas could translate that into a great Christmas song." She should know, as the interview coincided with the release of her second collection of holiday songs, Merry Christmas II You. Watch Carey sing her own composition "Oh Santa" below.

December 24 2011 12:44 PM

On the dawn of what may be the next activist Age of Aquarius, it’s important to look back at the roots of our movement to pay tribute to those who sowed the seeds. Charlotte Bunch is one such cultivator, and a new documentary expertly illuminates how the lifelong feminist activist has employed an ethos of passionate politics as her raison d'être, pouring her heart and soul into helping to carve equal pathways for women and LGBT people.

You don’t have to look far to get insight into the imprint that Bunch has made on our collective history and the groundwork she’s laid for shaping our future. Filmmaker Tami Gold’s visual résumé of Bunch’s many touchstones, Passionate Politics: The Life and Work of Charlotte Bunch, the subject’s activism is skillfully interwoven with the very human story of her coming-to-be as central player in the movements that shaped the world in which we live today. The new hour-long documentary traverses the five decades of seemingly tireless efforts by Bunch as she globe-treks to educate and empower women and LGBT people.

“The local and global are always different dimensions of the same struggle,” Bunch says in the film. “I try to change the conditions that are affecting our lives.” Gold’s film follows Bunch as she visits a women’s shelter in Peru; attends a protest following the murder of a butch lesbian in South Africa who was stoned to death just steps from her home; and goes to the United Nations to lobby leaders to protect these minority groups on an international level. The film reveals Bunch’s intimate involvement with the genesis of the feminist and LGBT rights movements and her equally present savvy all around the world.

Bunch was the first female fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, a Washington, D.C., think tank. When she wasn’t taken seriously at Washington roundtables because of her gender, she made what would be the first of many bold moves in her lifetime and started the first official women’s think tank. In arguably the second boldest move of Bunch’s life, she left her husband for one Rita Mae Brown (you may know her as the author of the quintessential lesbian novel Rubyfruit Jungle or the woman who also nudged Martina Navratilova out of the closet) and thus began her life as a lesbian — an identity that would continue to guide and inspire her work.

December 23 2011 4:58 PM


 10. DVD: Make the Yuletide Gay
Out Degrassi star Adamo Ruggerio (above, left) headlines this spirited holiday romp about the mishaps that ensue when a gay college student goes back into the closet while visiting his family over Christmas break. Now on Blu-ray and loaded with new bonus features.


 9. BOOK: Annie Leibovitz, Pilgrimage
The renowned photographer focuses her magnificent lens on objects (artifacts associated with Annie Oakley, Emily Dickinson, and Elvis) and places that hold significance for her, including the homes of Virginia Woolf and Sigmund Freud.


 8. TV: Project Runway All Stars
Fashions may go out of style, but designers never do. Mondo Guerra (pictured) is among 13 past Project Runway competitors who'll return for what promises to be 12 lively episodes, filled with not only difficult challenges but plenty of behind-the-scenes drama. Premieres on Lifetime January 5.

December 23 2011 2:23 PM

Every week, The Advocate's Jami Smith brings you the top 10 tweets from LGBT comedians — and our favorite gay jokes from straight comedians, or just whatever made us laugh. For previous editions of this series, check out the Comedy section. Or follow @gaysayer on Twitter now if you want daily updates.

And now a post from your host:



Number 10:



Number 9:



Number 8:


Number 7:



December 23 2011 4:00 AM

author Marten Weber first read the memoirs of the legendary Italian lothario
Giacomo Casanova, a man whose name is synonymous with seduction, Weber found
himself disgusted at the historical inaccuracies of the books and films that
have since been produced about the guy. “The image of this handsome adventurer
who ‘seduced’ women is a complete fake. He was stupid, untalented, often mean,
selfish, and manipulative. He paid off mothers to have his way with virgin
teenage daughters — he almost exclusively slept with very young girls. He

December 22 2011 8:45 PM

 The Confidence Gap: A Guide to Overcoming Fear and Self-Doubt by Russ Harris
Is a lack of self-confidence keeping you from life’s opportunities? Does the idea of speaking in public, taking on a leadership role, or simply asking someone out to dinner paralyze you? Using the techniques of acceptance and commitment therapy, author Russ Harris offers a surprising alternative to simply getting over your fears. The secret, he says, is transforming your anxieties and negative feelings into a confidence-building tool that actually frees you from the negativity that’s holding you back. Trumpeter, $15.95

December 22 2011 4:00 AM

Our man on the New York theater scene checks out Kim Cattrall, Patti LuPone, Jackie Hoffman, naughty gay boy scouts, and a same-sex kiss for Harry Connick Jr.

December 22 2011 4:00 AM

 If any major television network can be said to be advancing the visibility of transgender people on TV, it would surely be ABC. After all, it’s the first major network to cast an actual transgender actress in a recurring role (Candis Cayne as Carmelita on Dirty Sexy Money) and the first to feature a regular starring character that is trans (Ugly Betty's Alexis Meade, played by nontrans actress Rebecca Romijn). Earlier this year, the network came under fire by religious conservatives as it gallantly stood behind its first transgender competition-show contestant, Dancing With the Stars' Chaz Bono.

All of this explains, in part, why it's so disappointing — for producers, network presidents, LGBT viewers, and nearly every transgender woman in America who reads the blogs — that ABC's new mid-season sitcom Work It is the subject of so much conflict over its perceived anti-trans bias. I say that because in this current scenario, not a single person wins.

First, the basics: Work It could have been a hilarious social commentary on the collective male fear of workplace emasculation, the thesis bandied about by some academics and men's rights groups that men are losing ground to women in the workplace, that men have become the new minority when it comes to career trajectories that have us all achieving the quintessential American dream. It's a theme that's likely got a tiny basis in reality. Though women still don't earn as much as men overall, and women — and sometimes gay men — are still vastly overrepresented in pink-collar jobs, universities are seeing emerging achievement gaps in some fields, in which women are now at least enrolling in programs at much greater numbers than men, for example.

But Work It is not a hilarious social commentary. It's not a hilarious anything. The premise is simple, albeit ripped from the 1980s hit Bosom Buddies (a show that would seem delightfully dated in a post–Chaz Bono world, in which we all know much more about the existence, if not the reality, of transgender people). The show stars two very capable actors — Benjamin Koldyke (who played Alby's gay Mormon lover on Big Love and Robin's boyfriend Don on How I Met Your Mother) and Amaury Nolasco (who played Fernando on Prison Break) — who both deserve much better material.

They're former employees of a Pontiac dealership who have been canned, along with their decidedly sexist male friend, thanks to a flagging economy in St. Louis. After failing to get a job, one overhears of an opening for a pharmaceutical rep, a position for which men aren't hired because, as one insipid female character says, "doctors want to nail them less."

The pharma girl phenom has been pop culture scuttlebutt before; How I Met Your Mother tackled it with a funny storyline in 2010. Which underscores how outdated the show is. One character waxes about the "mancession" and how women will soon rid the world of all but a few men, whom they keep around as sex slaves, but not the kind of sex men like, just "kissing, cuddling, listening," and you can't help but think about how outdated the baseline is here.

So in turn, the men dress up as women and get hired as such, and I'm sure that's where it says in the network's original pitch, "Hilarity ensues." But it doesn’t.

That these men in drag could be hired as women is beyond belief, and the very real danger in pretending they could is that it flies in the face of reality: that actual transgender women have an extremely hard time finding and keeping a job, especially those who have not had a great deal of feminizing surgery. For transgender women, especially those who transitioned after puberty, feminizing surgery costs tens of thousands of dollars and can include foreheadplasty, rhinoplasty, cheek implants, jaw and mandible restructuring, tracheal shaving, chin narrowing, brow lifts, orbital reshaping, electrolysis, breast implants, body sculpting, and liposuction. That doesn't even include what we generally think of as gender-reassignment surgery, or bottom surgery. For many trans women, especially the later in life they transition, the fewer of these procedures they've had, the harder it is for them to pass, and the more frequent it is that they appear to the average non-informed American (i.e., much of the intended audience for Work It) to be mere men in drag.

December 21 2011 12:45 PM