By Jeremy Kinser
Originally published on Advocate.com February 03 2012 5:00 AM ET
10. DVD: What Happens Next
Two men — a closeted 50-something billionaire (As The World Turns’s Jon Lindstrom) and an openly gay 20-something (newcomer Chris Murrah) — meet cute-ish while walking their dogs, then embark on a friendship and eventually a romance following daily conversations on a park bench. Punchy supporting turns from Hot in Cleveland’s Wendy Malick, Smash’s Megan Hilty, and charismatic James Duke Mason, named one of The Advocate’s “40 Under 40” in 2010, help make director Jay Arnold’s gentle rom-com, now on DVD, worth watching.
9. TV: Who Do You Think You Are?
Executive-produced by out All Over the Guy writer-star (and Advocate contributor) Dan Bucatinsky — partner of filmmaker Don Roos — with longtime pal and producing partner Lisa Kudrow, the third season of NBC’s celebrity genealogy documentary series starts February 3 on NBC. We can’t wait to bark up the old family trees of Rashida Jones, Jason Sudeikis, Marisa Tomei, Rob Lowe, Edie Falco, Rita Wilson, Blair Underwood, Helen Hunt, Paula Deen, Reba McEntire, and more.
8. MUSIC: Brandon Anderson, Guitars & Grievances
As "Wake Up," the lead single from his new album Guitars & Grievances, demonstrates, the urgent wail of talented out singer-songwriter Brandon Anderson should make him a hit with fans of other folk-alt musicians such as Tracy Chapman and Tori Amos. The award-winning Anderson's thoughtful lyrics cover topics ranging from social injustice to romance. BrandonAndersonMusic.com
7. DVD: 3
Available on DVD, the latest from Run Lola Run’s Tom Tykwer — his first German-language film in 10 years — is a steamy romantic drama that also pays tribute to classic screwball comedies. A sleek yet fanciful exploration of hipster-y sexual fluidity, the film centers on Hanna and Simon, a 40-something Berlin couple who, unbeknownst to each other, begin affairs and fall in love with the same younger man.
6. DVD: Queen: Days of Our Lives
This utterly compelling and surely definitive documentary reveals the fascinating history of the brilliant and influential (looking at you, Gaga) band Queen and its legendary, flamboyant front man Freddie Mercury, told for the first time by its members. Incorporating new interviews with Brian May and Roger Taylor as well as rare archival footage, the film chronicles Mercury's euphoric high while experiencing sexual freedom at bars like New York's notorious Anvil and his devastatingly premature demise — his gaunt appearance during a final video shoot is particularly heartbreaking. Originally broadcast in two parts on BBC, Days of Our Lives is now available on DVD and Blu-ray and contains bonus features that include previously unseen performances.
5. TV: Absolutely Fabulous
“Job,” the latest of the new series of AbFab specials, is just as raucous as the first, “Identity.” Here, Eddy (Jennifer Saunders) enlists former Spice Girl Emma Bunton and Lulu to help her new client, a famous French film star who wants a singing career, but it's Bubble (the reliably brilliant Jane Horrocks) who comes to the rescue. Watch it on Logo February 6.
4. BOOK: Barbra: A Retrospective
The unparalleled career of Barbra Streisand —from her earliest nightclub performances to her upcoming comedy My Mother's Curse — is chronicled with rare photos and nimble text, offering insight into each of her albums and films, and making a compelling case for Streisand as a style icon to rival even Audrey Hepburn. Allegra Rossi's gorgeously illustrated coffee-table book Barbra: A Retrospective (Sterling Books, $29.95) is indisputable proof that, as she proclaimed more than 40 years ago in Funny Girl, Streisand is still the greatest star.
3. ICON: Madonna
She's back (not that she ever left you) and she's inescapable. Today marks the drop of the bouncy new single "Give Me All Your Luvin'" from MDNA, her first studio album in four years, and its accompanying video. This weekend you definitely need to see W.E., the stylish and typically ballsy film she directed about a dual romance and which boasts an extraordinary performance by Andrea Riseborough as the Duchess of Windsor, when it opens in theaters. And in case you've been cave-dwelling for the past month, you already know that on Sunday M. will perform a 12-minute halftime show during the Academy Awards for straight people, which some refer to as the Super Bowl.
2. TV: Ricky Martin on Glee
He’s sexy and we know it. Mere weeks before he opens as rebellious Che in the hotly anticipated Broadway revival of Evita, superstar entertainer Ricky Martin guests as David Martinez, "the hottest Spanish teacher in
Ohio history," and performs what promises to be a temperature-raising rendition of LMFAO’s cheeky hit “Sexy and I Know It.” Tune in February 7 on Fox.
1. TV: Smash
Prepare to get hooked on NBC’s inventive and very cinematic look at the behind-the-scenes struggle to stage a Broadway musical about Marilyn Monroe — it’s far and away the most riveting new series of the mid-season. The blockbuster also comes with one of TV’s toniest pedigrees in memory. Besides über-producers Steven Spielberg, Craig Zadan, and Neil Meron, there's the crack songwriting team of Marc Shaiman and Scott Whitman, acclaimed writer Theresa Rebeck, renowned theater director Michael Mayer, and the cast includes acting royalty Anjelica Huston, TV icon Debra Messing, plus Broadway's brilliant Christian Borle as Messing's gay writing partner. Wicked's Megan Hilty and American Idol runner-up Katharine McPhee are completely winning as dueling Marilyns, and there's a prestigious guest star lineup that includes Bernadette Peters, Nick Jonas, and Uma Thurman. Smash premieres on NBC February 6.