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Hot Sheet: Week of July 5

Hot Sheet: Week of July 5


When you get back from that big 4th of July barbecue, unwind with Sacha Baron Cohen's Bruno and your favorite B-movie-mocking, basic cable robots.

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- Bruno: Watch the straight comic satirize homophobia. Or pander to it. Your call. But one thing we can probably all agree on is that the most shocking thing he did in this movie was wax his entire body. Because have you seen Sacha Baron Cohen in real life? Second only to Robin "Missing Link" Williams. Kelly Clarkson's name got yelled a lot, you just know.

- I Love You, Beth Cooper: Take The Truth About Cats and Dogs, cross it with Pretty in Pink , reverse the genders and remove Michael Cera from what you thought might be the starring role and you have another teen fantasy about being loved for who you are instead of your hotness. Unfortunately, everyone still knows that the geek only gets the hottie after founding Microsoft.

- Humpday: (Pictured) Two straight male friends decide that it would be really "daring" to have sex with each other on camera for an alternative amateur porn contest. Then they talk each other to death trying to back out of it. That this movie opens the same week as Bruno will be all the fuel Bill O'Reilly needs to declare that the entire world is turning gay.

- Blood, The Last Vampire: A female vampire gets hired by the government to hunt demons in a boarding school in post-WWII Japan. Cue the explosions, flying martial arts, leaping sword fights and digital monsters running across tree-tops. If only gay pride parades were that exciting.

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- Next Fall (pictured), through July 11: This new play by actor-turned-playwright Geoffrey Nauffts got great reviews when it opened for a brief run, so the show's been extended for two more weeks, through July 11, at the Peter Sharp Theater in New York City. It's a very emotional, very romantic comedy perfectly pitched for the post-Prop. 8 moment, about the love affair between a hunky devout Christian (Patrick Heusinger) and a hypochondriac atheist (Patrick Breen).

- HOT! Festival at Dixon Place, July 1 and Fresh Fruit Festival, July 9: July is the month for queer theater festivals in New York City! Dixon Place, the stalwart off-off-Broadway space for emerging art and artists that started out in director Ellie Covan's living room on the Bowery, recently moved into new digs and hosts the 18th annual HOT! Festival, celebrating "theater, dance, music, performance art, puppetry, literature, and homoeroticism for the whole family." See the return of Kenny Mellman's Say Seaboy, You Sissyboy and a special one-night-only concert version of the Big Art Group's The Imitation (July 2) starring three downtown icons (Justin Bond, Theo Kogan, and Sean Pierce). Check out new work by Dynasty Handbag ( Escape From the Family Home, Parts I and II , July 15), Nao Bustamente and Tara Mateik ( Silver and Gold/Mean With Missing Parts, July 5), Ari Gold ( Untitled: The Making of a Gay Pop Star, July 6), and the legendary Penny Arcade ( Old Queen, a tribute to the gay men who raised her, July 9-17). Meanwhile, the Fresh Fruit Festival spreads out all over downtown from July 9 to 27 with an array of new work, including plays by Manuel Igrejas, Joe Norton, and Steve Willis (whose Passing Ceremonies looks especially intriguing -- it's a dialogue in paradise between queer Harlem renaissance writer Richard Bruce Nugent and gay poet Essex Hemphill).

- Stunning, extended through July 11: Gay playwright David Adjmi's Stunning, one of the first offerings in Lincoln Center Theater's new LCT3 project developing new work by emerging playwrights, has been extended through July 11 at the Duke on 42nd Street in New York. Set in the milieu in which Adjmi grew up -- Brooklyn's Syrian-Jewish community -- the play focuses on teenage Lily (Cristin Milioti), who is newly married to a wealthy brutal older man (Danny Mastrogiorgio) but falls under the spell of Blanche (Charlayne Woodard), an African-American whom Lily's husband hired as a housekeeper but who also turns out to be a lesbian queer-theory academic trying to pay the bills. That last character is a pretty far-fetched construct, but Woodard's performance goes a long way toward making her riveting to watch.

Derek Ringold

- Gay Powered: Now and Thenat Highway s , July 10-11: Veteran monologist Michael Kearns curated this evening of solo performances surveying gay life from Greenwich Village in the late 1960s (John W. McLaughlin's Stonewall Rapture ) to West Hollywood in the 21st century ( Derek Ringold 's take on the No on Prop. 8 campaign, So Hard ). At Highways Performance Space in Santa Monica, Calif.

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- Le Jupon Rouge: (Pictured) This classic French lesbian drama deals with three women of differing ages caught in a passionate love triangle. The extraordinary cast includes Alida Valli ( The Third Man, Hitchcock's The Paradine Case ), Marie-Christine Barrault ( Cousin, Cousine; Stardust Memories ), and Guillemette Groban.

- My Super 8 Season ( Ma Saison Super 8 ): Many films have been made about the societal upheavals in France during the May 1968 riots, but few have looked at the burgeoning queer political movement of that era. This sexy and provocative drama follows a young student and his on-again, off-again affair with a factory worker over the course of the 1960s and '70s and explores the flowering and dying of their political idealism. A must-see.

- Mystery Science Theater 3000: XV: : This 15th collection of the hilarious talk-back-at-the-screen cable comedy series features four cinematic stinkers -- The Robot vs. the Aztec Mummy, The Girl in Lovers' Lane, Racket Girls, and Zombie Nightmare -- along with special features that include interviews with the stars of the latter. ( Lovers' Lane features a great running gag in which character Bix Dugan is constantly referred to as "Big Stupid.").

- El Radioby Chris Garneau (Absolutely Kosher Records): From his delicate, subdued vocals, you'd never suspect that Chris Garneau has a background in musical theater. The indie pop ballad-maker's decision to pursue his solo career full time lead him to drop out of Spring Awakening just before the show hit Broadway -- but it's hard to imagine the graceful Garneau belting out "The Bitch of Living" six night a week. While Broadway's gregarious nature may not be the perfect fit for Garneau's peaceful introspection, the singer feels perfectly at home on his sophomore album, El Radio . Adding jubilant brass sections to the foundation of pop piano brilliance that landed him on the soundtrack to Grey's Anatomy , his new record sounds like the musical love-child of Jeff Buckley and Sufjan Stevens. The openly gay singer-songwriter has mined deeper emotional depths on this go around, soaring into comedic effervescence on tracks like the whimsical "No More Pirates," and plunging into nakedly personal melancholy with lullabies about the transient nature of our existence. Garneau's subtle approach pays off in droves as he accesses feelings and moods that remain out of reach for his more overstated, American Idol -friendly contemporaries -- you'll find few falsettos here, thankfully. Check out the video for "Relief" from Garneau's first album, Music For Tourists .

- LP by Discovery : With one album under their belt, Vampire Weekend has firmly established themselves as a mainstay of indie rock, emerging out of nowhere to become one of the most beloved bands of fun-loving hipsters everywhere. That band's keyboardist/producer, Rostam Batmanglij, has now teamed up with Ra Ra Riot singer Wes Miles to create a side project that's decidedly poppy, supplanting guitar strums for electronic bliss on Discovery's LP . Destined to become fused with the very notion of summer, LP is awash in sunlight and surf, soaking in birdsongs and the proverbial digital hum of a thousand crickets. Appropriating Top 40 devices and turning the Wall of Sound up to 11, Discovery's debut is an oversaturated pastiche of pop brilliance, perhaps best personified by the Jackson 5-on-salvia cover of "I Want You Back" a dew-dripping elegy to slow-mo autotune madness. Watch out, Lady Gaga and T-Pain -- a couple of nerdy New York indie kids have cracked your pop code!

- Greatest Hits by Fritz Helder & The Phantoms : When pop music takes on the fashion world directly, the results are often disastrous. From Right Said Fred to Heidi Montag's doomed attempts at relevance, it's hard to take songs about couture clothing seriously. But Fritz Helder & The Phantoms have tackled the taboo and torn down the iron curtain separating pop lyrics and the glamorous world of designer clothes. There's no pussyfooting around the subject in The Phantoms' musical lexicon: their hit club single is "Lagerfeld Lady," and one of the album's best tracks, "You Ain't Vogue," is a sassy tribute to Anna Wintour. Through eye-popping photo shoots and spectacular live performances at "Gay Bash" (a truly outrageous series of parties in their hometown of Toronto), the band has embedded fashion in their very existence. Coupled with the indomitable presence of their over-the-top frontman Fritz Helder, the band's funky, edgy personal style elevates the already irresistible music into a tongue-in-cheek celebration of glamour in all its forms.

- In Living Coverby Jay Brannan (Great Depression Records): Steamy folk singer Jay Brannan broke into the biz three years ago with a role in John Cameron Mitchell's meditation on sex, Shortbus, playing irresistible interloper Ceth (pronounced "Seth"), an aspiring singer-songwriter who ends up in a series of acrobatic positions during an awkward three-way. Taking advantage of the recognition garnered from that memorable role, Brannan decided to focus on his real life music career and took his tunes directly to the people with the help of YouTube. Playing guitar and singing in one-take shots recorded on his webcam, Brannan's videos quickly found a devoted following that led to the release of his first full-length, Goddamned , a lively album that hit #1 on the iTunes Folk Chart. His follow-up, In Living Cover , feeds fans' appetites with a collection of covers, including favorites from his YouTube page like Bob Dylan's "Blowin in the Wind." Ani Difranco, Joni Mitchell, and The Verve Pipe all get the Brannan treatment, but the highlight of the album is easily his take on "Zombie" by The Cranberries, which strips down the original and instills it with the beauty of Brannan's unique vocals. The record's seven delicious covers are bookended by two originals including the aptly titled "Beautifully," the first song Brannan ever wrote and undoubtedly one of the best.

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