By Brandon Voss
Originally published on Advocate.com July 29 2011 12:45 PM ET
10. THEATER: The HoMo'Nique Show
RuPaul's Drag Race alum Stacy Layne Matthews, the jewel of Back Swamp, N.C., debuts her live talk show parody July 29 through July 31 at New York’s Laurie Beechman Theatre. Matthews channels Oscar winner Mo'Nique as host of a low-budget gabfest on G.E.T. — the fictional Gay Entertainment Television — with guest stars like Colton Ford, Amanda Lepore, and Michael Musto. For tickets, visit spincyclenyc.com.
9. DVD: Heartbeats (Les Amours Imaginaires)
Gay writer-director Xavier Dolan’s visually striking and wickedly relatable French-language follow-up to I Killed My Mother stars a 21-year-old Dolan as Francis, a Montreal hipster who falls for the same guy — Niels Schneider’s cherubic Nicolas — as a girlfriend, unraveling their lives as they determine if Nico likes “tits or cocks.” In an unforgettable scene, Francis desperately sniffs Nico’s dirty shirt as he masturbates.
8. DVD: The Fish Child (El Niño Pez)
A follow-up to XXY, her award-winning film about intersexuality, Lucía Puenzo’s sensual 2009 Spanish-language thriller — adapted from her 2004 novel — stars XXY’s Inés Efron as Lala, a teen who has a forbidden love affair with Guayi (Mariela Vitale), her affluent Buenos Aires family’s 20-year-old Paraguayan maid. Javier Bardem’s brother Carlos costars as the couple’s accomplice in an escape that goes horribly awry.
7. ART: 15 Minutes: Homage To Andy Warhol
Released August 2 to coincide with Warhol’s birthday on August 6, Legacy debuts a box set based on the artistry of 18 of Warhol’s colleagues and disciples, each represented by amazing silkscreen prints with eclectic audio components. Curated and produced by conceptualist Jeff Gordon with painter Path Soong, the set — available exclusively at fifteenminutesonline.com — comes in $600 standard and $20,000 deluxe versions.
6. TV: The Lady with 700 Cats
Though she prefers not to be called a crazy cat lady, the saintly Lynea Lattanzio runs California's largest cat sanctuary and adoption center, a no-cage and no-kill haven that welcomes abandoned kitties on a daily basis and includes a “retirement home” for elderly felines. As a gay bonus, this wacky yet inspirational documentary special, which premieres July 30 on Nat Geo WILD, is narrated by Glee star and cat-owner Jane Lynch.
5. THEATER: The Book of Merman
Hot off The Loose Chanteuse and the underrated off-Broadway flop Lucky Guy, Varla Jean Merman — the beloved drag creation of Jeffery Roberson — brings her latest solo act to the Art House in Provincetown, Mass., August 4 through September 17. Sponsored by Manhunt and Fleet Naturals, the divine Miss Merman’s raunchy live memoir features Tom Judson (gay porn star Gus Mattox) on piano. For tickets, visit ptownarthouse.com.
4. BOOK: Patchwork, Dan Loughry
Available July 31, Loughry’s frank and funny debut novel explores the effects of the AIDS crisis on an extended Midwestern family. After his partner’s death in the late ’80s, Sal, an HIV-positive florist, escapes to L.A., where new meds and new love await. Like the NAMES Project Quilt, where our characters begin their journey of healing, Loughry weaves a tale of grief and hope with results that are colorful, moving, and unforgettable.
3. FILM: The Smurfs
Out July 29, Hollywood’s latest big-budget expression of ’80s nostalgia stars Neil Patrick Harris as a New Yorker who helps save a displaced mini blue man group. You know Katy Perry voices Smurfette, but listen for Alan Cumming as Gutsy Smurf and The Daily Show’s John Oliver as fancy, flower-wearing Vanity Smurf, a good candidate for The A-List: Smurf Village. Also look for Tim Gunn’s Tim Gunn impersonation as an assistant.
2. MUSIC: Rabbits on the Run, Vanessa Carlton
Inspired by Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time and Richard Adams’s Watership Down — don’t ask, just enjoy — Carlton’s latest album is her first release since 2007’s Heroes & Thieves. Now 30, Carlton, who came out as bisexual last summer, sounds dreamier than ever thanks to her old-school use of analog tape on highlights like lead single “Carousel,” which features a children’s choir, and “I Don’t Want to Be a Bride.”
1. MUSIC: Same Something Different, Jake Walden
After 2008’s Alive and Screaming, which was all about heartbreak, out L.A.-based singer-songwriter Walden rebounds with a passionate new album — completely funded by fan support — that celebrates love, hope, and self-acceptance. Also adept at exorcising personal demons, Walden wraps his warm, raspy vocals around an anthemic rerecording of old fave “We Are Not Broken” and a stellar cover of Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You.”