By Jeremy Kinser
Originally published on Advocate.com February 11 2012 4:42 AM ET
10. DVD: Anonymous
Was Bill Shakespeare just an illiterate front for Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford? That’s the premise for this Elizabethan-era conspiracy theory thriller, which marks a change of pace for out director Roland Emmerich, noted for his end-of-the-world blockbusters like Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow. It’s glossy entertainment, and Vanessa Redgrave is a hoot as a spirited Queen Elizabeth, a role she shares with her daughter Nip/Tuck's Joely Richardson.
9. EVENT: A More Perfect Union: Stories of Prejudice and Power
Tony Award-winning performer Nathan Lane hosts an evening during which five storytellers, including Milk's Oscar winner-activist Dustin Lance Black and The Help's Octavia Spencer, will each share a personal tale of having faced bigotry or discrimination. The goal is to show the power of storytelling can promote greater tolerance and acceptance and the storytellers will explain how the bad experience ultimately had an impact on his/her identity. John Legend will perform at a party following the event at L.A.'s PDC February 15. CharactersUnite.com
8. DVD: A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas
Replacing the quest for White Castle burgers with the hunt for the perfect Christmas tree, John Cho and Kal Penn’s stoner-slacker comedy franchise returns for a merrily messy third installment, now on DVD, with power couple Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka as sexually fictionalized versions of themselves. The totally excellent adventure’s highlights — pun intended — include a Claymation hallucination and a big musical number led by Harris.
7. EVENT: The Invincible Project
Xelle, the plus-size girl group with the witty moniker and which features RuPaul's Drag Race vet Mimi Imfurst, will use "Invincible," the catchy third single from the band's album Queens, to raise awareness about bullying and harassment. Proceeds from sales of the single will benefit the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network. If you're in New York, stop by Industry bar for the splashy release party February 14, the same day it's available for downloading on iTunes. XELLEMusic.com, Blog.GLSEN.org
6. DVD: Spork
Gay filmmaker J.B. Ghuman Jr.’s wonderfully weird feature debut, which is now available on DVD, is a shameless tonal mishmash that pays homage to ’80s fashions, ’90s party jams, and beloved teen movie clichés. The terrific Savannah Stehlin stars as young hermaphrodite “Spork,” an awkward misfit and mean-girl magnet who, recalling Dawn in Welcome to the Dollhouse, proves that every problem can be solved with a hot dance-off.
5. Music: Goldfrapp, The Singles
Ooh la la, bisexual front woman Alison Goldfrapp's lush, whispery vocals highlight a dozen of her electronic duo's signature hits, including "Number One" and "Strict Machine." Also included are two new tunes, "Yellow Halo" and the gorgeous electro-ballad "Melancholy Sky."
4.TV: 100 Greatest Women in Music
The media-fueled rivalry between Madonna and Gaga will surely be stoked as music network VH1 honors the most notable female musicians of the past two decades, and rabid fans of Janet and Whitney will likely root for their favorite. Tori Amos, Gloria Estefan, and Macy Gray are among the entertainers who offer commentary on the countdown on this five-night special. Premieres February 13 on VH1. Vote for your favorite here.
3. FILM: Private Romeo
Iambic pentameter never sounded so sexy as when delivered by Matt Doyle and Seth Numrich (both accomplished Broadway actors) while shaving in a locker room in this modern-day military high school-set gay reboot of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Director-writer Alan Brown mixes contemporary asides with the revered text, tosses in YouTube videos, social networking, and lip synching, and gets committed performances from his charismatic leads as star-crossed young lovers who are also soldiers-in-training.
2. BOOK: Full Service, Scotty Bowers
Scotty Bowers, one of the underground legends in Hollywood's shadowy history, finally ends decades of discretion to tell his story — and it's a doozy. Blurbs from esteemed authors Gore Vidal and John Rechy lend credibility to Full Service (Grove Press, $25), in which the pansexual Bowers astonishingly recalls setting up same-sex trysts for filmland icons such as Katharine Hepburn, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, his own threesome romance with reputed couple Cary Grant and Randolph Scott, a passionate evening with an unstable Vivien Leigh, and verifies rumors that J. Edgar Hoover was a cross-dresser. Whether or not you believe him, it's the juiciest memoir in ages.
TV: The Loving Story
Filmmaker Nancy Buirski uses never-before-seen footage, photos, and present-day interviews to create an utterly fascinating, bittersweet documentary about Mildred and Richard Loving, a mixed-race couple who were legally married in Washington, D.C., in 1958 but were arrested in their home state of Virginia and convicted of the felony crime of miscegenation. Buirski wisely leaves it to viewers to draw parallels to today’s battle to legalize gay marriage in the U.S., but they're unmistakable. Premieres on HBO February 14.