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The m word

The m word


The music behind the famed lesbian drama The L Word is an ongoing mix tape.

When the lights dim at the Planet, The L Word's fictional coffeehouse hangout, a bevy of croaky troubadours, white-girl rappers, and Latin sirens arrive to steal the limelight from Bette, Shane, Kit, and the rest of the girls. The disparate sounds of these musicians are painstakingly selected by ezgirl--a.k.a. Elizabeth Ziff--who serves as original music producer for the show.

Ezgirl, also a writer on the show, contributes to The L Word's music in another, even more direct way--her band Betty performs the theme song. And aside from giving props to hot musical trailblazers of a certain age--Heart and the B-52's both appeared last season--Ziff says her ear is perennially tuned to female musicians of all stripes, as well as queer and queer-friendly groups.

Ziff, with help from music supervisor Howard Paar, showcases performers unlikely to appear anywhere else on prime time. Last season's soundtrack included the tune "Unstick" by Bitch, as well as a performance by Peaches. A forthcoming episode features funk-folkster Toshi Reagon, whom Ziff describes as a "big black butch dyke with an amazing voice."

Of the opportunity to introduce lesser-known acts to millions of viewers, Ziff says, "I was definitely one of those kids in seventh grade who made mix tapes for people and really got off on it. This show is like a big version of one of my mix tapes."

Consider L Tunes: Music From and Inspired by The L Word (Twist), a compilation CD released this month, a mix tape from Ziff to you. Much-loved female artists like Fiona Apple, Nina Simone, Tori Amos, and PJ Harvey made the cut, and you're likely to discover a new favorite or two along the way.

New episodes of The L Word air on Showtime every Sunday night at 10 p.m. Eastern/Pacific.

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