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The Hot Sheet

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Harry Potter is officially all grown up, gay actor Dan Butler falls in love with Karl Rove, and the Gay Men's Chorus of San Francisco pays tribute to Joan Baez.

Get your headphones on...

- Sidetrackedby Hercules & Love Affair (Renaissance): Surpassing the shocking depth of Rufus Wainright's voice and approaching the sassy voodoo of Nina Simone's, the ethereal, haunting sounds produced by queer artist Antony Hegarty's mouth have enchanted the world ever since his sophomore album I Am a Bird Now won the coveted Mercury Prize and propelled the underground musician into the popular consciousness. After collaborating with everyone from Bjork to Marc Almond, Hegarty took a sharp left turn from the gorgeous slow-paced ballads he's known for by teaming up in 2008 with DJ Andy Butler to establish Hercules & Love Affair, a decidedly disco outfit that produced some of the best dance songs of last year. While we wait with bated breath for the group's sophomore album, they've thrown us a bone in the form of Sidetracked , a mixed DJ set showing off the group's diverse tastes and providing the perfect mix for the summer's best dance parties. The band even throws a sparkling new song of their own into the mix, teasingly titled "I Can't Wait." Neither can we!

-Horehoundby The Dead Weather (Third Man): When it comes to balls-out rock, there's no doubt that this has been the decade of Jack White. At a time when most rockers danced the night away with indulgent synthesizers or dipped into the freak folk Jacuzzi, White has remained steadfast in his dedication to gritty, straightforward rock and roll. From the White Stripes' stripped-down garage blues rhythm to the Raconteurs' rollicking classic rock flair to producing a Loretta Lynn album and working with legends across the spectrum (Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, Beck, to name a few), the Jack White brand has remained clearly identifiable without stagnating in predictable repetition. On his latest project, the Dead Weather, White collaborates with members of the Kills and Queens of the Stone Age to create the lo-fi love child of his powerful Appalachian blues-rock roots and bandmate Allison Lohman's penchant for noisy shoe-gaze. Discarding his famous guitar for a spot behind the drum set, White proves once again his versatility and ingenuity with a surprising new record that doesn't fail to impress.

- Tune In, Turn Up, Sing Outby San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus : It seems like every major city has an official chorus of gay men these days, but the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus is the institution that started it all. Established 30 years ago, the group held its first public performance at the memorial for assassinated legend Harvey Milk. They were the sonic personification of hope and optimism on that occasion and throughout the rocky road that lay ahead through the AIDS epidemic and Reagan-era political mores, inspiring countless gay men across the globe to take up the choral tradition and strengthen their community through song. Their latest release, Tune In, Turn Up, Sing Out, is a whimsical journey through 1960s nostalgia, ranging from the pop sounds of the Beach Boys' "I Get Around" to the psychedelic strains of the 5th Dimension's "Aquarius." Featuring contributions from queer '60s cover band the Whoa Nellies and Joan Baez herself (sounding amazing, naturally), the album fuses camp with class, remembering the carefree days of free love along with the earth-shifting political changes of the day, even fitting in an ode to the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. Far out!

Check for show times...

- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: The latest adventures in the saga of three wizard-children. Except now they're adults and the franchise owners are scrambling to wrap this up before they all turn 30. Favorite part of the posters and bus stop ads is the PG rating explanation of "mild sensuality," which means that someone gets an erection he has to cover with his Spells & Potions textbook as he walks between classes.

- (500) Days of Summer: This romantic comedy is so indie that not only does it star Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon Levitt, but the title begins with a set of tentatively meaningful parentheses, calling into question traditional ideas about time and place and, yes, human affection itself. That sounds deep, right? Hang on, it'll sound even better when I put on this Iron & Wine CD.

Get cozy on the couch...

- Karl Rove, I Love You: Gay actor Dan Butler ( Frasier ) stars as himself in this mockumentary about what happens when a performer falls in love with the character he's portraying -- and, worse still, when that character happens to be right-wing hatchet man Karl Rove. This provocative comedy's DVD release features deleted scenes and cast and crew commentary.

- She Likes Girls 4: Lesbians ranging from party girls to gang-bangers to librarians pop up in this compilation of eight acclaimed shorts, including award winners Gaybash, No Bikini, and Pitstop.By Hook or By Crook star Silas Howard appears in the road-trip saga Don't Mess With Texas.

- Menage: This racy French comedy features Michel Blanc and Miou-Miou as an everyday couple who find themselves getting seduced into a life of crime -- and much more -- by perverse polyamorous burglar Gerard Depardieu. Controversial in its day, the bisexual (and, eventually, cross-dressing) hijinks were hilariously ahead of their time when the film originally opened in 1986.

- The Towering Inferno (Blu-ray): This classic 1970s disaster movie features an all-star cast (Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, Faye Dunaway, William Holden, Fred Astaire...even O.J. Simpson) trapped in a glass skyscraper that's just caught fire. The new Blu-ray release features a ton of extras (commentaries, promotional materials, featurettes) that no self-respecting fan of campy catastrophe will want to be without.

- Third Watch - The Complete Second Season: OK, to be fair, this now cancelled cop/firefighter/paramedics drama probably wouldn't be getting much attention anymore were it not for the star presence of hunky Eddie Cibrian, who became a household name when LeAnn Rimes allegedly wrecked his home. Still, it's a gritty drama that's worth checking out. After all, who can resist a man in uniform?

Get these tickets...

- Last Summer in Bluefish Cove (Seattle) : Woman Seeking Theatre , a company founded in New York by Christine Mosere, opens its first Seattle production, a revival of Jane Chambers's 1980 play Last Summer at Bluefish Cove , at Hugo House, July 16-August 1. In it, a lesbian rejected by her blood family makes her own family and they spend a romantic, tragic summer at the beach.

- Monstrosity (New York): Lesbian playwright and self-confessed fantasy geek Lucy Thurber unleashes an ambitious three-act, three-hour-long epic about singing teenage fascists, a female hero, and dark, disturbing doings in a quasi-military summer camp. Lear de Bessonet directs a cast of 51, including a 30-strong teen army, for 12 performances only at the Connelly Theatre in New York's East Village. Closes July 19.

- My Fabulous Sex Life (Washington, D.C.) : Brett Stansell's play tells the story of one gay man's sexual adventures in D.C. Funny, dangerous, obscene -- and not told from the point of view of a repentant adulterous member of Congress. It's presented July 9-23 as part of the Capital Fringe Festival .

Head to the bookstore...

- Unite and Conquer by Kyrsten Sinema : Arizona congresswoman Sinema writes the go-to how-to guide on building coalitions for social and political change. It's a call to close the smoke-filled back rooms of the political arena in favor of compromise, conversation, and progress to create positive results that include the self-interest of all without compromising the collective.

Sinema's book comes at a time in America's political climate when the nation is fighting to reclaim its morality. Unite and Conquer reminds readers that they're all in the same game.

- The Others by Seba Al-Herz : Al-Herz's tome features truly revolutionary prose -- meaning it's considered likely to start a revolution in the Saudi Arabia where this pseudonym operates in a highly oppressed, underground lesbian culture. Her characters bring a conflicted voice to people barely believed to exist. They question their sexuality as many do, and the effect is universal. But the answer could mean life or death.

- Hos, Hookers, Call Girls, and Rent Boys edited by David Henry Sterry and R.J. Martin Jr. : This guilty-taboo anthology brings dark alleys and sexy parties to the printed page. Edited by Sterry and Martin, the collection features memoir, journalism, essays, and testimony that holds the sex industry up and examines it from all sides and opinions. The prose quickens heartbeats and explores the emotional range of the dirty and sometimes expensive deed.

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