By Brandon Voss
Originally published on Advocate.com April 01 2011 5:45 AM ET
10. FILM: An Affirmative Act
Now in select theaters, this Lifetime-y courtroom drama has an interesting premise: A lesbian couple is arrested for fraud after one poses as a man so that they can marry and adopt a child. Written by author-attorney Ken Del Vecchio and directed by lesbian newcomer Jana Mattioli, it’s not a great film — the melodramatic dialogue and over-the-top acting are often laughable — but it’s an admirable infomercial for marriage equality.
9. TV: Glamour Belles
Premiering April 6 on Lifetime, this hilarious new workplace docuseries goes behind the seams with the colorfully besequined employees and customers of Joann’s Gowns, a nationally renowned small-town pageant dress shop in Union City, Tenn. When little princesses and overbearing parents come in to pick out the greatest gown to win their pageant crown, expect lots of sassy witticisms from Jared, the flamboyant store manager.
8. DVD: The Owls
Written and directed by The Watermelon Woman’s Cheryl Dunye of the Parliament Film Collective, this tense drama sifts through the wreckage of a fictional lesbian rock band called the Screech. Anchored by naturalistic performances from a largely queer cast who also chime in as themselves, the film, which ambitiously blurs narrative and documentary styles, details deadly discord between a “baby dyke” and “owls” — older, wiser lesbians.
7. EVENT: The Black Swan Experience
Just out on DVD, the Oscar-winning psychological thriller gets the Rocky Horror treatment with interactive midnight screenings Saturday, April 2, in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco — all hosted by top local drag queens like RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant Manila Luzon in NYC and Drew Droege as Chloë Sevigny in L.A. Download a free pass at IWasPerfect.com and dress as your favorite Black Swan diva.
6. TV: Tori & Dean: sTORIbook Weddings
Debuting April 6 on Oxygen, the latest World of Wonder–produced reality series follows Tori Spelling and hubby Dean McDermott as they plan weddings with wild and wacky themes. No same-sex nuptials this season, but Tori’s close gay friend James McGowan is the pair’s right-hand man. An art director and interior designer who also appeared on Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood, McGowan lives in L.A. with his partner, Steven Corfe.
5. TV: Saturday Night Live
Less than a week after lending his repertoire to the American Idol finalists — and after announcing his plans to meet with Britain’s Tory prime minister David Cameron to discuss the growing rate of HIV and threatened cuts in support — Elton John appears on SNL for the first time since 1982 as both host and musical guest April 2. If he can just pull a Betty White and win an Emmy, the new dad will earn the coveted EGOT status!
4. THEATER: Company
“I could understand a person ... if he happened to be gay.” How I Met Your Mother’s Neil Patrick Harris stars as bewildered bachelor Bobby in the New York Philharmonic’s concert presentation of Stephen Sondheim’s 1970 musical classic. Directed by Lonny Price, this semi-staged production, which runs April 7-9 at Avery Fisher Hall, also stars Jon Cryer, Stephen Colbert, Martha Plimpton, Patti LuPone, and Christina Hendricks.
3. BOOK: I’m Walking as Straight as I Can, Geri Jewell
In her funny, unflinchingly honest new memoir, Geri Jewell shares her many inspiring experiences as a comic with cerebral palsy who became the first disabled person to appear in a recurring TV role when she played Cousin Geri on The Facts of Life in the ’80s. Her struggle to accept herself as a lesbian is also fascinating, but her surprisingly dishy anecdotes about costars Lisa Whelchel and Charlotte Rae are the real gems here.
2. DVD: I Love You Phillip Morris
Based on a true story and shamefully overlooked during awards season, this exhilarating same-sex rom-com stars a very convincing Jim Carrey as flamboyant, charismatic con artist Steven Russell opposite Ewan McGregor as the prisoner in whom he finds a soul mate. Best of all, this raunchy love story, which is out April 5 on DVD, doesn’t pull its gay punches, whether it’s jaw-dropping sex scenes or lines like “I’m gonna be a big fag!”
1. MUSIC: Dendrophile, Justin Vivian Bond
Out April 5, Mx. Bond’s debut solo album — named for someone titillated by nature — begins with lyrics by late gay poet Essex Hemphill: “In America I place my ring on your cock where it belongs.” A few months after announcing a new name and gender identity, the former Kiki and Herb chanteuse continues a frank exploration of sexuality on this urgently intimate collection of sensually cerebral covers and original songs to be savored.