Movies, a bitchin’ album, paper dolls, and some celebrity comings-out helped our editors get through the making of this issue.
Putting out a magazine is stressful, and people in other fields have sources of stress as well. And, let's face it, living under the current U.S. president provides plenty of stress. But our editors found some great entertainment to help them manage the stress of production, and are happy to share them with you, dear readers. Find them all on the next pages.
Just in time for Halloween are two thrillers. Straight (but queer) actor James Franco stars in The Vaultas a bank manager who unleashes the forces of evil on two badass female thieves. Meanwhile, the gay writer-director of Disturbia and Paranormal Activity, Christopher Landon (who graced our cover back in 1999), is back with Happy Death Day. The film releases October 13, and is a mystery/thriller starring La La Land’s Jessica Rothe (pictured) as a young woman reliving her own murder over and over (think Groundhog Day meets the one good season of Scream Queens).
WNBA All-Star Sue Bird (pictured) came out, telling reporters she’s dating soccer star Megan Rapinoe. Plus, both emo/hip-hop star Lil Peep and pop singer Aaron Carter, brother of Backstreet Boys’ Nick Carter, came out as bi, the latter telling social media followers it has “been weighing on my chest for nearly half of my life. This doesn’t bring me shame, just a weight and burden I have held onto for a long time that I would like lifted off me.”
Mental Health Convo Starters
The biopic My Friend Dahmer isn’t a “serial killer” film but is horrifying nonetheless. Based on the graphic novel by Jeffrey Dahmer’s high school friend, the film offers a disturbing glimpse of the early signs of mental health issues and an indictment of parental neglect and peer manipulation. It also shows that mental illness can be hard to decipher for those who don’t know how to stop it.
Meanwhile, gay writer-director Vincent Sabella’s very intimate, thought-provoking, and moving film Elizabeth Blue follows a woman just released from a psychiatric facility hoping to move forward with life. The fantastic cast includes Anna Schafer in the title role, plus Ryan Vincent and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje. Out September 22, the movie is based on Sabella’s personal experiences with schizophrenia, particularly during a time in his life when all of his medications failed.
The Switch, starring Nyla Rose and creator Amy Fox, is the world’s first transgender half-hour sitcom (now streaming on-demand). Not only are trans characters being played by trans actors, but even better, it’s a wacky, heartwarming show where the joy is in watching Vancouver immigrant Rose (as Sü, pictured) botch the metric system while shopping for hormones, ending up badly in debt, worried about deportation, and trying to pay the bills by moonlighting as a text-messaging dominatrix. (There's a queer eco-terrorist who's more fun than most.) There are plenty of semiwacky characters and plenty of LGBTQ high jinks, but it doesn't feel hackneyed.
Another trans actress, Jen Richards, shines in gay director Adam Keleman’s engaging Easy Living(out September 15), though her role is far too small. The film stars the magnetic and magnificent Caroline Dhavernas (from Hannibal) as Sherry, a door-to-door makeup saleswoman who moves through each day from motivational self-help in her makeup mirror to aimless evenings picking up strangers at bars for aimless but somehow distracting sex in the motel room where she lives. For all her problems — the men who don't love her back, the trouble getting a career foothold, the estranged family, the kid someone else is now raising — Sherry could easily be pegged as a trans woman herself. With Richards as the best friend, in fact, I read the film that way, even though it was never spoken nor likely the intent of Keleman, whose direction engages in a woman's inner life the way few male fimmakers' work does.
Meanwhile, Richards, the star, writer, and producer of the Emmy-nominated series Her Story, is becoming a TV star in her own right. Her casting is keen here, but each scene with her leaves viewers wanting more.
Drag Queens for Kids at Heart
Yep, there’s a RuPaul’s Drag Race Paper Dolls book with 10 punch-out paper dolls of the winners of RuPaul’s Drag Race and the Drag Race All Stars — as well as an assortment of costumes and swag from each of the queens’ collections. Hello, Tyra Sanchez!
Earworm of the Month
Grammy-nominated singer-/songwriter Seth Glier’s new single, “Water on Fire,” is a provocative exploration of “the falsehood between freedom and capitalism,” he says. “We often say ‘What’s good for business is good for the country,’ then ignore the environment, the history, and the people affected.” Inspired by a friend in Oklahoma who’s been dealing with daily earthquakes since his state started aggressively fracking, Glier (pictured) says, “Climate change might be taken a bit more seriously if we started calling it what it actually is, which is violence. Violence against our resources, violence against our species, and violence to our children.” The LGBT ally’s rendition of the decades-old protest song “For What It’s Worth” is as amazing as Buffalo Springfield’s original. Glier is on tour for his album Birds through December.
Watch the King From 'Hamilton' Go Dark
The Netflix series Mindhunter, in which gay actor Jonathan Groff plays an FBI agent studying the minds of serial killers, doesn’t make up for canceling Sense8, but it’s a start.