This weekend, two great films focusing on LGBT youth come out in theaters. The first, Freak Show, directed by Trudie Styler, tells the tale of a bullied gender-nonconforming youth, Billy Bloom (Alex Lawther), who decides to run for homecoming queen in a conservative Southern school. The film also boasts actors Abigail Breslin, Laverne Cox, and Bette Midler, who plays Billy's mother.
The second, Saturday Church, is a musical directed by Damon Cardadis, which follows a 14-year-old (Luke Kain) navigating his gender identity and battling anti-LGBT religious attitudes within his NYC family. It includes a wealth of transgender talent, including pioneer Kate Bornstein as well as Indya Moore and MJ Rodriguez, who are set to appear in the new Ryan Murphy series Pose.
They're both worth watching. See the trailers below.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service
Martin Luther King Jr. Day should be more than just a day off work. Honor the late civil rights leader by participating in the Day of Service. Scores of organizations have posted calls for volunteers to do meaningful work. Find one near you at NationalService.gov/MLK.
Troye Sivan, "My My My"
No, this isn't Troye's cover of the Justin Timberlake and co. classic. The out Australian artist has a hot new bop with this tune, which features an unabashedly gay video; Troye vamps and vogues inside an abandoned warehouse, which thirsty boys cruise in the corners. The vid also gets queer points for looking like an homage to Janet Jackson's icon "Pleasure Principle" video. "My My My" is on Troye's forthcoming spring album, but can be downloaded now.
The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
Will the second season of American Crime Story live up to its acclaimed first, The People v. O.J. Simpson? A recent screening of The Assassination of Gianni Versace at NeueHouse Hollywood showed that the new anthology series from Ryan Murphy just might. The gripping series is seen through the eyes of Andrew Cunanan (Darren Criss), the serial killer who, in a case that captivated the world, shot the famous designer (Édgar Ramírez). The story shows the bloody aftermath, of how Versace's partner Antonio D'Amico (Ricky Martin) and sister Donatella (Penelope Cruz, excellent) cope with the killing. But flashbacks also show how Versace and Cunanan first met, while exploring the taboos surrounding gay love and culture. Watch it January 17 on FX.
Jussie Smollett's "Freedom"
Out Empire star Jussie Smollett has taken his recording career outside the world of the hit series and kicked off the new year by releasing his solo single “Freedom” off of his upcoming album Sum of My Music (out on March 2). Now, the touching video is out and it stars The Color Purple powerhouse Cynthia Erivo and Tika Sumpter (Bessie, Gossip Girl, Southside with You) as a loving couple navigating daily life.
"This video is about love," Smollett said in an interview with Complex. "I wanted to show two people doing the everyday things that every single couple does. I see nothing but beauty through the eyes of these characters we've created. I hope everyone else does as well. Love is freedom. Freedom is love. Enjoy!"
The Pride of DC: The Art of LGBTQ Inclusion
Celebrate LGBT superheroes at the panel “The Pride of DC: The Art of LGBTQ Inclusion” Saturday at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. Participants will include gay Hollywood titan Greg Berlanti, executive producer of Arrow, Black Lightning, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, The Flash, Supergirl, the upcoming Titans, and the animated Freedom Fighters: The Ray, the first series with a gay superhero as its lead character; Russell Tovey, voice star of that show; and DC Comics writers Marguerite Bennett (Batwoman), Steve Orlando (Midnighter and Apollo) and Mark Russell (Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles). The New York Times’ George Gustines will moderate. The event starts at 2 p.m.; reserve tickets here.
Filmmaker Paul Oremland (24/7, Like It Is) takes a personal and candid journey by digging deep into his own past. Oremland’s latest film, 100 Men, sets him on a journey to track down some of the memorable men he’s met through sexual encounters. In the process, he finds himself exploring four decades of changing attitudes around homosexuality. Told in first-person, the film isn’t just about sex, but rather a narrative exploring 40 years of social change and process leading up to the progress toward equality we see today — through the prism of Oremland’s past. 100 Men has been an official selection at Outfest in Los Angeles, Frameline in San Francisco, and NewFest in New York City. The film arrives on digital platforms and DVD on January 16. Check out the clip below.