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This Week in Queer Entertainment (4/5/08 – 10/5/08)
Articles - Entertainment
Written by Indu   
Monday, 12 May 2008 00:00

Image Copyright of Sayoni

This is a new segment on our blog, where we will be covering bits and pieces of visibility of queer community, especially queer women, in the media – books, TV shows, movies, theater, celebrities, you name it.

Grey’s Anatomy

So the last we spoke about this, Callie and Erica were hanging out every single day, sipping wine and being Best Friends Forever, or rather in Addison’s words, “a very happy couple”. Two episodes have passed since then, and the storyline has been taken to a new dimension. Addison came back on the previous episode “S4E13 – Pieces of My Heart”, with a new and improved Gaydar, and asks Callie whether she was “speaking the Vagina Monologues”, making her blush and stammer and laugh and explain how much she loves penis (that never stopped anyone from loving pussy, okay?). In an effort to prove her heterosexuality, she starts having marathon sex with Dr Sloan, who, as of this week, is officially known as The Whore.

This week, on “S4E14 – The Becoming”, after avoiding Erica the entire day, Callie finally admits to her what is going on, and tell her what Addison said. The two laugh at first as if it is completely ridiculous, but then it turns into a grimace, when they realise that maybe there is a grain of truth to it. Where is this going? No idea.

ABC also gave us a great gay goodie this week, completely blowing family-friendly into the water. They addressed the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell problem, by having a gay soldier who was in the hospital for a tumour, trying to keep his relationship with his fellow soldier a secret. The great thing about it? They actually KISSED on screen – a full-on, on-the-lips-with-tongue-and-passion-kiss that lasted for more than 10 seconds, probably making their own mark on network television history. The soldier died from the tumour anyway (or rather, the experimental surgery that was part of the clinical trial he was in), but that gave us the opportunity to see the father and boyfriend find some sort of brief unity over a person they both loved.

A Shot at Love With Tila Tequila II

On the third episode of Tila, they combined Survivor and Fear Factor into one show, and the girls won both challenges, AGAIN, landing a crushing blow to the collective egos of malekind. Lisa is on a winning streak after being told to step it up and open up, and she did just that… I am starting to like her too.

The boys on Tila are annoying me so badly, I can’t even root for any of them. This assessment is not biased in any way, being bisexual myself – even Kristy, the resident bisexual contestant was much more annoyed than the rest, almost getting into a fight with Jay.

The maturity level of the boys are about the level of 15-year old boys (whom I am generally allergic to). Even Kyle, the only boy on the cast for whom I would throw down, decided to participate in the big panty raid that Chad, The World’s Most Immature Man, initiated. Jay and Chad, the dynamic duo, even annoy the other guys by heckling and making inappropriate remarks. I really want to meet whoever did the auditions – either they were drunk at the time, or so few men showed up, that the cream of the crop is so un-creamy that it is just water.

This week, Dominic, V, Ryan and Lauryn got eliminated. Dominic, for a very good reason, that he doesn’t believe bisexuality or lesbianism is real. The rest are just not connecting with Tila. I don’t understand why Jay and Chad are not going home yet – it will kill me if either of them make it all the way to the Top Five. I doubt it though – Tila likes nice, sensitive men, not testosterone-laden, homophobic idiots like Chad.

If you wish to contribute to this column, please email pleinelune@sayoni.com with your commentary/news piece in less than 300 words. Please note the criteria is that it has to be current media. For overseas TV shows, it has to be quite soon after it has been aired in their home country, and not when they air locally.

 
Gay’s Anatomy
Articles - Entertainment
Written by Indu   
Thursday, 01 May 2008 00:00

Season 4 of Grey’s Anatomy returned with Episode 12 right before Lost did. I thought they ended the season with episode 11 due to the writer’s strike, but turns out they are just carrying on.

Warning: If you have not watched the first three seasons, there will be major spoilers ahead!

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Season 3 precipitated the downhill-slide of Grey’s Anatomy, and broke viewers’ hearts by spinning off Addison into Private Practice, which meant she left the show. Season 4 completed the degeneration with the campiness, bad bad writing, stretched cliches and metaphors, and most of all, puzzling romances (think O’Mizzie, aka George and Izzie).

So, the return meant there was some fair amount of salvaging to be done, and even from my critical point of view, Episode 12 was a good baby-step in the right direction. Meredith FINALLY got a therapist (which should have happened 2 seasons go), Meredith and Derek are staying broken, and she is being an adult about it for a change. Izzie and George are also staying broken (thank god) but Izzie is being a McMoron. Cristina is being… Cristina.

I would not have blogged about it, except for a small inkling that I picked up, between Hahn and Callie, who are doing a “we are great friends and hanging out every single night”. But what else am I supposed to take them lounging around in Callie’s apartment (or rather the one Cristina and her share), dressed in their little black dresses and sipping wine, and having a really good time?

I was hoping for four seasons that there would be a queer romance on the show between two main characters (besides Joe and Walter, fringe characters), and I hope this is where it is going. In case you think I am dreaming things up, a popular Grey’s Anatomy podcast, the McPodcast said exactly the same thing when I listened to them later with this idea in mind. Part of it was accentuated by the fact that Brooke Smith, the actress who plays Dr. Erika Hahn has said that she is open to the idea if her character is queer. No comment from Sara Remirez, who plays Dr. Callie Torres so far.

If that’s where it is headed, I hope they do a good job of it, and not pull a fly-by lesbian romance for the sake of ratings. Like that other show, The OC. Or Ally McBeal. Or One Tree Hill.

I have a little more faith in Shonda in this respect of this, though, because of the way gay characters have been handled so far on Grey’s Anatomy, with respect and tolerance. In fact, they won a GLAAD award for S3E07 “Where The Boys Are”, for a simultaneous portrayal of Joe and Walter as a stable loving gay couple (compared to all the straight couples in shambles), and a lesbian MTF with her wife, who was coping with the fact that her husband was going to turn into a girl. Not to mention the way they took a clear stance against Isaiah Washington’s “faggot” slur. There have been other gay and lesbian couples portrayed positively/neutrally as well, and this combined with the fact that Grey’s has had the most racially diverse cast (they cast people by talent, not physical characteristics or race), raises my respect level for them quite a bit.

If this goes where I think it is going, watch out for updates!

 
Review: A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila
Articles - Entertainment
Tuesday, 29 April 2008 00:00

A Shot At Love With Tila Tequila is a MTV reality dating show, with a twist: the bachelorette is a bisexual woman, and 16 guys and 16 girls will be competing for her heart. Now, normally, I don’t watch reality TV trash. And I watch dating show trash even less, and MTV trash takes the place at the bottom of the ladder. But I was introduced to it by a friend, and in a couple of episodes, I was hooked already. How could I miss a program like this, a pioneer in the visibility of lesbian, and more importantly, bisexual women?

Tila Tequila, the bachelorette of Vietnamese descent, whose real name is Tila Nguyen [now you see why she changed her name to something so much more porny], is an undeniably beautiful, sexy woman. Her beauty can be fully appreciated in all the various outfits she appears in the show, all of which she does justice [except that awful dress made of metal sheets she wore in the first episode]. She is a very picky, often unforgiving person with regards to her suitors, complete with a free-spirited, sometimes child-like personality.

The suitors are a good-looking bunch, that is to be expected, with the producers only picking people who look fairly good on camera. Some of the men seriously did look like male models. But what was pleasantly surprising was that the women were absolutely gorgeous too, and these were real lesbian women, not the fake ones in porn or on The L Word. Even the butch/andro women were good-looking, in my opinion. So, anyone who claims that The L Word is unrealistic because “the women are all thin and pretty”… please look at the line-up in Tila.

The show itself is as dramatic as you can get. Maybe more dramatic than The L Word. The men push each other into the water, the women try to tear each other’s hair apart, one lesbian tries to use her sex appeal to get rid of the men, people threaten to leave… you name it. More than once, I’ve had to wonder how scripted it is, because it seems so unrealistic, that all the drama that does not happen on camera on straight dating shows happen on this show. Or maybe the producers deliberately threw in some unstable personalities. Or maybe they were “encouraged” to do so. Who knows – what I do know that it makes for a lot of entertainment for me, in front of the computer screen.

One major problem I had with the show is how they chose to approach bisexuality. They pitted girls against guys, and it was fairly obvious from the elimination each week that the producers instructed Tila to keep an equal 1:1 ratio of girls and guys as far as possible. Which really isn’t how it should work… this is a game of love after all, and the girls and guys are equal competitors. Most of the “challenges” in the show, which they had to win in order to win “alone time” with Tila, were organised along girl-guy lines, which did really make me want to hit the stop button.1 Bisexuality isn’t about whether it is a girl or a guy, but whether the person is right for you. Tila herself made a lot of “I like girls for this, but I like guys for that” remarks, which made me roll my very bisexual eyes, and kept saying she had to figure out whether she really liked girls or guys. The suitors made similar remarks too. And the very next moment, she would justify herself saying she was bisexual, and was attracted to both guys and girls, and that no one understood her.

Only in the end, I think, she finally understood it wasn’t about choosing between the sexes. At least one person has gained enlightenment. One down, rest of the world to go.

Rating:


A Shot At Love with Tila Tequila – Full Episodes
A Shot At Love with Tila Tequila – MTV Homepage

From this part onwards, I’ll be talking about what actually did happen on the show, including the ending, so if you do not want spoilers, do not read ahead.

In the end, Tila chose Bobby over Dani. Surprise surprise. I actually did see it coming 5 episodes ago, when Tila started being so affectionate of Bobby.

I thought Brandi actually stood a pretty good chance of making it to the final three, but the final three happened to be Amanda, Dani and Bobby. Amanda got eliminated in the second last round, even though “she had really beautiful blonde hair, and it would be just crazy to eliminate [her]” [in Amanda's words]. I don’t even know why Amanda made it that far. Ryan got eliminated before Amanda – I don’t know why he made it that far either. After all, this is A Shot At Love with Tila Tequila, not A Shot at Love with Pleinelune Perry.

Brandi (left) and Vanessa (right)

The reason Brandi did not make it was entirely her own fault, as she got in a fight with Vanessa the Queen of the Bitches, or rather Vanessa attacked her when Tila did not choose her, and then Brandi freaked out and ran away. She tried to come back, but Tila did not allow her – and you wonder why I say Tila is unforgiving. Vanessa also tried to flirt with Bobby and make him violate the “No hookups” rule, made up lies about Brandi, and pretty much proved she did not deserve to be on the show.

Domenico

Domenico, everyone’s favourite Italian boy, got eliminated before Ryan. Domenico is, by far, my favorite character, for more reasons than his absolutely endearing Italian accent. He says the best things ever – “Homophobia, it is like when men are afraid of each other! It is like a disease!” and “There is this girl with so much love to give that she chooses to give it to girls and guys”. The contestants actually cried when Domenico left the show, which should tell you something.

The most scandalous things happen on Tila – in the early episodes, after they all moved in together on the same bed, Steven and Rebecca were rumoured to have hooked up under the sheets. But even with the grainy camera footage, no one knows for sure. Rebecca got the boot, Steven didn’t. But he did eventually, much later, for being a typical man, and groping and trying to kiss Tila disrespectfully.

Dani

Coming back to the final episode, the moment when Tila chose Bobby, I felt really sad for poor Dani, the sweetest and cutest person in the world. It was actually very surprising that Dani made it to the final two, because Tila typically dates lipstick lesbians, and in the beginning, it just didn’t seem like Dani had much quality time with Tila. But once she started stepping up her game, it was clear what a sweetie she was, and Tila did really like her. Dani shouldn’t worry though, because now that she is famous, girls are lining up outside the door for her.

Tila and Bobby

As for Bobby, he is really cute, and I can see why Tila finds his rural youthful innocence, and his occasional clumsiness endearing. And I guess it does help he got into accidents more than once, and was beaten up by Ashley. So, note to all the boys out there (I doubt any are reading this blog): you want to win a girl’s heart, make sure you are cute, and get into accidents. Nothing too major though, and make sure you don’t injure any vital organs you are going to need, when you do win her heart.

Good luck to Tila and Bobby. Something tells me they are going to need it.

 

  1. What did surprise me was that the girls consistently won most of the challenges, which were rather physical. [back]
Last Updated on Sunday, 31 January 2010 19:11
 
Artbortion
Articles - Entertainment
Written by Indu   
Wednesday, 23 April 2008 00:00

Shvarts in her Studio

Or when abortion becomes art.

Beginning next Tuesday, Shvarts will be displaying her senior art project, a documentation of a nine-month process during which she artificially inseminated herself 'as often as possible' while periodically taking abortifacient drugs to induce miscarriages. Her exhibition will feature video recordings of these forced miscarriages as well as preserved collections of the blood from the process. [Read the full article]

Shocked? Disgusted? Fascinated? Whatever your reaction is, you are probably not alone – thousands of people in Yale and in the bloggosphere have been actively voicing their views on Shvarts’ “artwork”. I put those in quotation marks, because like the (badly written) “artwork” Jodie chooses to display at the end of Season 5 of The L Word, this didn’t really make all that sense to me. But then, I was never a fan of abstract art.

The creator explains her artwork further in another news article.

It creates an ambiguity that isolates the locus of ontology to an act of readership. An intentional ambiguity pervades both the act and the objects I produced in relation to it. The performance exists only as I chose to represent it. For me, the most poignant aspect of this representation- the part most meaningful in terms of its political agenda (and, incidentally, the aspect that has not been discussed thus far)- is the impossibility of accurately identifying the resulting blood. Because the miscarriages coincide with the expected date of menstruation (the 28th day of my cycle), it remains ambiguous whether the there was ever a fertilized ovum or not. The reality of the pregnancy, both for myself and for the audience, is a matter of reading.

…..

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 February 2010 16:12
 
Starhub Fined $10,000 for Lesbian Kissing Scene (Singapore)
Articles - Entertainment
Written by sayoni   
Friday, 18 April 2008 00:00

We at Sayoni are appalled by this decision, which we consider not only a slap in the face of the gay community, but also yet another example of contravening freedom of speech.

The video in question can be viewed here. We invite the viewers to judge whether the content was graphic enough to invite the fine.

Newreport from TODAYonline.

The Media Development Authority has fined StarHub Cable Vision $10,000 for airing a commercial that depicted “lesbian kissing scenes”.

The MDA posted a statement yesterday on its website about the cable operator’s breach of TV advertising guidelines, “which disallows advertisements that condone homosexuality”.

The commercial, which aired over two days in November on MTV’s Mandarin-language channel, was to promote a song by pop singer Olivia Yan.

Her music video from the album Silly Child featured two scenes of herself and Taiwanese actress Pei Lin in a “passionate embrace”, as described last November in the Taipei Times.

The portrayal of a lesbian in a music video was supposedly a first for Taiwan, the paper reported.

According to the MDA, in the commercial, “romanticised scenes of two girls kissing were shown and it portrayed the relationship as acceptable”.

The MDA had consulted the Advisory Committee for Chinese Programmes, which concurred that the commercial had “promoted lesbianism as acceptable and romantic, especially when shown together with the lyrics featured”.

The MDA said it had taken into account the “severity” of the breach and that the commercial was aired on a youth-oriented TV channel, as well as SCV’s explanation on the matter before deciding “a financial penalty was warranted”.

StarHub expressed disappointment at the authority’s decision to impose a fine but said it would follow broadcasting rules. “We understand the authority’s concern, and will continue to work closely with our regional and international content partners to ensure that the local broadcasting guidelines are fully adhered to,” said StarHub spokesperson Caitlin Fua.

 
Review: The L Word Season 5 Part 2
Articles - Entertainment
Written by Indu   
Sunday, 06 April 2008 00:00

Warning: MAJOR spoilers below, revealing almost the entire plot. Read Part 1 if you want a spoiler-free review of the season.

I kinda HAVE to start with Bette and Tina, because, really, they are the reason The L Word still has a fanbase. From the very beginning that they appeared on screen, they’ve been iconic of the long-term lesbian relationship, even when we know that they are doomed from the second Dana remarks, “You guys have the best relationship ever!” So yes, most predictably, they kinda get back together in this season – you knew it was coming. But the way they got back together is so classically lesbian – Bette cheats on Jodi with Tina, and suddenly, the couple who’ve slept together for 7 years is having hot illicit sex in elevators. Bette (Jennifer Beals) and Tina (Laurel Holloman), have possibly the best on-screen romantic AND sexy chemistry ever, even though both of them are married women with kids (and Jennifer is straight. Sadly.). I like the fact that they didn’t have sex and immediately decide to get back together – which would be entirely unrealistic. Instead, the affair stretches out for some time, and even after Bette and Jodi break up, upon Jodi discovering her infidelity, they don’t immediately get into a relationship, and prefer to take their time in working issues out. Tina is no longer a submissive little housewife, and in some ways, I am glad they had this break, because it gave them, especially Tina, space to achieve their own independence, symbolised by when Tina was leading Bette onto the dance-floor in the season finale.

 

Sorry, Jodi. We love you, but you and Bette are really not hot together. At all. And especially not when you dress alike. But I do hope you can go make nice with Amy instead.

Speaking of nice, guess who is not? Jenny(Mia Kirschner) started the season with a most credible imitation of Paris Hilton and got progressively worse. Until she fell in love with Nikki, who plays “Jesse” in Lez Girls. Talk about narcissism. Then all of a sudden, it is like Jenny grew a heart (maybe you can teach the Tinman how to do that, Jenny!) First of all, I have to say, the Jenny and Nikki romance is perhaps the most unhot, and irritating one around. Not that I buy Jenny can fall in love with anyone except herself. The two of them behave like 12-year adolescent girls – really, giggling like a maniac and putting a strap-on on your forehead during sex is just… not sexy. Nikki says, “I totally LURVE her!”, as if Jenny were a soft toy or a favourite flavour of ice-cream, and simultaneously checks out Shane. Well done. And of course, she has to get drunk and have sex with Shane on a railing1 at the end of the season.

Nikki isn’t the only foil for Jenny, however. She meets Adele Chaning (an all-too-obvious All About Eve reference), a geeky quiet little girl who seems more than happy to do Jenny’s every bidding. However, she is slowly revealed to be a deviously cunning changeling, who eventually betrays Jenny and takes over the directing of Lez Girls. Because, the writers either like referencing way too much, or they aren’t able to come up with original plots, and they have to steal from 50s movies.

 

That isn’t the only subplot where creativity is on the drain. Kit (Pam Grier) has picked up the comic slack this season, but entirely by accident. What else can I say about a person who stands around going “Girrrl! GRRRRLLLL!!! Oh girl!!!! Baby gurrlll!!!!” all-the-freaking-time? Because, apparently the robbers not only took her money, but her entire vocabulary. And her common sense too, because what does she do when she is in danger of losing The Planet to Dawn Denbo and her Lover Cindy? She takes out her handy gun and tries to do a Foxy Brown, except, she doesn’t pull it out from her afro.2

 

Speaking of Dawn Denbo, can I just take a minute to gush about Elizabeth Keener? She was absolutely awesome in the role of Dawn Denbo, or rather Don Denbo, going by Episode 509. And she’s hot. Pleaaasse bring her back, because it is not worth watching without her.

 

You know who else it is not worth watching without? Alice (Leisha Hailey) and Tasha (Rose Rollins). They are so freaking cute together. This season, it was the whole Tasha-on-trial-for-homosexual-conduct subplot, and Alice’s parallel rise to fame precipitated by her outing a famous basketball player.3

 

Alice showing off her pumps on The Look (an obvious parody of The View). Because apparently there isn’t enough meta in this show.

I absolutely LOVED the way the trial ended, though perhaps a tad unrealistic. It was very A Officer and a Gentleman, when Tasha picked up Alice and swung her around.

 

And you know what? I don’t care – I was so freaking happy that they had a happy ending to this. Until fashion designer Clea came into the picture. Why? WHY? In the first place, I do not understand why anyone would want to cheat on Tasha with Clea (Melanie Lynskey), or why Alice is attracted to Clea at all. I do not understand why, on The L Word, every relationship has to end with someone cheating on someone, or meeting someone else. At least Alice resisted the temptation – thank you, Leisha, for showing we lesbians do have some amount of self-control.

 

And can I just say, Alice’s fashion sucks, especially when paired with Clea. In the words of my friend – is she wearing her RGS pinafore? Or maybe she is wearing one of Clea’s lame-ass creations.

Self-control is something someone should have taught Shane (Katherine Moennig) eons ago. At least, enough self-control not to have sex with the real estate agent in the house you and your girlfriend are planning to lease. While she is still in the house. *slaps forehead* After going through a series of drama with women, and precipitating the whole Dawn-Denbo-against-The-L-Word-Gang-clash (It’s on! It’s so on!) by sleeping with Lover Cindy, and actually trying to swear off sex for a while4, Shane meets Molly, a “straight” girl who just happens to be Phyllis’ daughter.

Molly is not like the 5000 other girls who immediately fall for Shane – at least at first. Shane and Molly strike up something (yawn!), but the chief problem between them isn’t Molly’s sexuality. It is the plan and incontrovertible truth that Shane is an uneducated hairdresser who can’t keep it in her pants long enough to take a pee-break, and Molly is a smart to-be law student5. Shane sabotages the relationship by flirting with a girl after hearing what Phyllis has to say about their relationship,6 and of course, like I said before, decides to screw up her life further by screwing the maybe-ex of her best friend, Jenny. Actually I am not so sure this makes much sense. Shane, while being a Lothario, has always shown enough sense not to screw up her friendships, and she does not sleep with people in the circle of friends, because they are pretty much her family. And Jenny has pretty much been the only person in the world who thinks Shane is remotely human. So maybe this what is supposed to make all this even more dramatic.

There really isn’t that much to say about Helena. She went to jail for two seconds, fell in love with her hot cellmate, came back out, eloped away to Tahaa, and came back and bought over Dawn Denbo. She has become really kick-ass, however, and is no longer interested in money or luxury comforts. Maybe Peggy Peabody’s impromptu life-lesson worked after all. Except it has backfired on poor Peggy, who is now just begging Helena to be her sole beneficiary. (Peggy, if you really cannot find anyone, I volunteer to be your beneficiary.)

Check back for a Best of the Season!

 

 

  1. I was expecting Shane to push Nikki off the railing when Jenny walked in on them [back]
  2. On the sidenote, I really wish the producers had done that, because the whole plotline is so freaking ridiculous as it is, and you might as well go all the way to make it funny. [back]
  3. Oh, can I just say this is perhaps the most unrealistic subplot?In real life, she would be slapped with a breach of non-disclosure suit, on top of a defamation suit. [back]
  4. This, by the way, was Katherine Moennig at her best. During her no-sex period, Shane actually talked more than 2 words at a time, started eating food, working out, even playing on her Nintendo DS, and being generally hilarious with the way she was trying to stay away from women. [back]
  5. And I don’t believe for a second that she is going to be a public defender. Giv her three months, and she will be singing praises about tax law [back]
  6. By the way, I agree with every single thing Phyllis said to Shane. I would not want my daughter to be dating Shane either. [back]
 
Review: The L Word Season 5 Part 1
Articles - Entertainment
Written by Indu   
Friday, 28 March 2008 00:00

The first part is a spoiler-free review of the season. All potential spoilers are left as footnotes. Check back for Part 2 of the review, where I actually talk about the plot, and a Best of the Season!

For dedicated fans of The L Word, it has been five topsy-turvy seasons. It is actually quite amazing the show has lasted this long, and until it was announced that it was going to be renewed for a final season 6, most fans thought this was going to be the final one.

Apparently, so did the producers, because the season was actually fairly happy for a change. At least, when I was watching certain episodes, it felt like they were trying to wrap up all the plotlines and give us a happy ending. Which is precisely why I wanted the show to end at five seasons, because I know for sure that if the show goes on any longer, the couples I really really really want to stay together1, will definitely break up . The season finale was once again, weirdly written, because it felt like they had changed the ending last-minute, having gotten the show renewed.

The L Word is not known for its brilliant, tightly-woven together writing, maybe because Lost took all the writers in the industry who were capable of producing an actual plot. But it did surprise me at points by some amount of continuity, and of course, let me down the next by completely forgetting other parts. It was true to life at some points, and at some others, made me say “That would never happen” (as Tina and Jenny did at the beginning episodes).

As for our beloved characters… Shane is still, in Molly’s words, a “Fonz”, Bette is still the world’s biggest cheater (but we love her despite that), Tina has become kick-ass, and *gasp* likeable (and it really has nothing to do with her coming “back to the fold”), Alice is just as cute as ever but it seems she is having problems with her moral compass, Helena just rocks even more than ever (especially post-prison), Jenny went from Crazy Lady/Paris Hilton to Heartbroken Maybe-Sane Lady, and Kit just keeps saying “Girl!” and trying to (unsuccessfully) relive her Jackie Brown days.

The making of Lez Girls figures majorly in this season, and every episode begins with a reference or a scene from the making of the film. While it was funny, I couldn’t help but feel that the writers were running out of material, so they decided to fill in the space with the inside jokes2 from the past four seasons, and meta. Lots and lots of meta. Because, you know, meta is sooo fascinating, even after the 20th time you’ve used it, and you keep inserting what happened on the real set into the fake set. And of course, how can you forget narcissism, narcissism and meta go together like basil and salmon on the this show. You know, because Jenny hooking up with her french-made clone Claude wasn’t enough.3.

Overall, it is still quite watchable, and has improved dramatically from the season premiere, the main salvaging point being that people were actually happy. (Even if you don’t watch any of the episodes, watch Episode 8, which makes the entire season worth it.)

Rating:

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  1. Hint: Not Jenny and Nikki [back]
  2. Like the off-camera tiff between Nikki and Begogna, who are playing “Jesse” and “Karina” respectively [back]
  3. She just HAS to get together with the person who is playing her in the movie, Nikki, and fake Shane tries to sleep with real Shane [back]
 
Tale of Two Deaths
Articles - Entertainment
Written by Indu   
Monday, 28 January 2008 00:00

On a boring bus-ride home, I was just musing that last week was the week to die.

I am not being morbid, really – at that time on TVMobile, the un-switch-off-able source of entertainment that subjects you to the terrible soap operas whether you want it or not, they were splashing news about Suharto’s death. Not that no one saw it coming, because I’ll bet you they were working on the eulogy and the news-report the minute Suharto was committed to the hospital.

And of course, a week ago, Heath Ledger was found dead on the floor of his SoHo of a drug overdose. Heath Ledger, as we all know, was the handsome hunk who played the gay cowboy on Brokeback Mountain, and did a wonderful job of it. While his young and sudden death is tragic, it is not something I particularly cared about, Brokeback or no Brokeback, until this.

Fred Phelps and his merry gang of fundamentalists from the Westboro Baptist Church have decided that the best way to get themselves splashed all over the news is to protest poor Ledger’s funeral – just because he played a gay cowboy. This is the group that got themselves famous by protesting the funerals of random dead (and straight) soldiers, because they believed they were killed because God was angry with America for “supporting homosexuals”.

Okay, after reading that last sentence again, suddenly protesting Heath’s funeral doesn’t seem so far-fetched a thing to do, compared to what they have already done. At the risk of plagiarising Grey’s Anatomy… Seriously? Seriously?! How does protesting at funerals help further your cause anywhere? Even if you believe that Heath was wrong in his support of homosexuals, which you are absolutely free to believe in, protesting funerals is just wrong.

Suharto’s death elicited mixed reactions from people. While it is not nice to speak ill of the dead, the fact remains that Suharto’s regime was rife with human rights violations, despite whatever MM Lee said about him. I still don’t have much sympathy for him, dead or alive, and definitely do not agree with whatever he did. But that does not mean I would protest at his funeral. Evil, neutral or good – the family and friends deserve that space to grieve over the dead – because ultimately, we are all human. Suharo might have been a [insert expletif], but he is not inhuman, and deserves to die with dignity. His family, whether they were party to his politics or not, deserves the funeral to let go of him, with dignity and respect.

So why is it that poor Heath’s funeral is going to be violated by sign-carrying fundamentalists?

 
The L Word Season 5 Premiere
Articles - Entertainment
Written by Indu   
Saturday, 12 January 2008 00:00

The much-anticipated premiere of Season 5 of The L Word, for which we were teased by two scintillating trailers, was utterly underwhelming. The opening was nothing like that of the previous season, which left me hanging for each and every episode. Part of the problem was that Season 4 ended on a flat note, with not many cliff-hangers or teasers. There wasn’t much the writers could pick up on, and expand further.

Warning: Spoiler Alert. Do not read further if you do not want spoilers!

Rating:

Sayoni leafSayoni leaf

Related links:

Sayoni: The L Word Season 4 Review Part 1, Part 2 and Best of the Season

The episode opened with Helena in prison, for having stole Katherine’s money at the end of last season. Who is Katherine? Just a little rich bitch who Helena hooked up with after being financially cut off by her mummy dearest. She won’t tell her friends where the money is – like that is going to help with not eating the horrible, torturous, prison food she can’t even swallow.

Thats not the only torturous thing on the show: The writers have decided to continue torturing us with Bette and Tina, with that sexy, topless-and-floating-on-the-pool scene. Tina is still hung up on Bette, and can’t seem to take her eyes off her even in a crowd of hot lesbians. Bette and Jodi are still in love, still fighting a lot in a way that proves how incompatible they are, and having completely boring make-up sex. How does anyone make a BDSM scene like that so utterly unsexy? Though this is supposed to be a compelling love triangle, I have a feeling I know exactly what is going to happen.

Jodi and Bette are utterly unsexy, but Alice and Tasha make up for it. Tasha magically came back after being deported off to Iraq, after an entire episode of Alice moping about watching rallies on TV. They are still as cute as ever, and this is one couple I hope will stay together forever. And probably will, as soon as Tasha quits her job, or the US Army changes their Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell policy [I think we all know which one will happen first]. According to Lesbiatopia, Tasha is going to be charged with homosexual conduct this season. The L Word tries very hard to address social issues, and explore discrimination in every season – most of the attempts fall flat or are direly miswritten. So I hope they do this one right. After all, it might be their final season.

Speaking of final seasons, Season 4 was supposed to be Max’s final one. But he/she is still on the show. Don’t ask me why – if it were upto me, I would have fired Max after season 3 and hired Dani Campbell instead. At the very least, she looks better. And I hope she acts better too, because Daniela Sea puts wooden-face Ben Affleck to shame. I acknowledge that transsexual issues need to be addressed, and I can see that they are trying… but did they not do a casting call before Daniela was cast? Or was she the sole applicant?

Phyllis Kroll feels the same way I do about sole applicants, apparently – don’t take the first and only one who comes your way. She is thinking of “playing the field”, though she is having earth-shattering sex with Joyce Wischnia. Why do I get the feeling when Joyce finds out, she’s going to sue for conversion or breach of constructive trust, having paid for the “coming-out” party she threw Phyllis?

Talking about breach of trust, Shane pulls a major one this season. At the end of last season, we saw Shane and Paige wanting to move in. They are searching for a house now, and in a most typically Shane way, she fucks the real estate agent IN the house they were going to rent, and to add insult to injury, in the room Gerard was supposed to have – and Paige walks in on them doing it, when about to show her son his room. Seriously, how does anyone, even the ones with no conscience, do that? If she really wanted to have sex, couldn’t she at least wait a few hours and get a budget hotel room miles away, and lock the door securely? She does get her comeuppance though – because in the supposedly most dramatic moment of the show, someone burns her Wax parlour down. I felt absolutely no sympathy for Shane, because, there is only so long someone can go around acting like a 17-year old boy and getting away with it. I am so over 4 seasons of Shane sleeping around – it was novel at first, but now it is just boring.

And she is not the only person I’m completely over – Jenny is back and doing a perfect Paris Hilton with her newfound wealth and fame. Though how the writers turned her drifting out to sea into a “cruise”, is quite beyond me. In season 3, Jenny accused Max of becoming a monster – seems like the monster decided to hop out of Max’s body and inhabit Jenny’s. If she were any more annoying and bitchy, I’d have to punch something. And it seems she is going to be directing Lez Girls – how someone with absolutely no filming experience is supposed to direct a movie is beyond me, but of course, it is explained away by the fact that a rich old man with a thing for Jenny is taking over the financing of the films. I couldn’t be in more sympathy of Tina, who has to deal with Jenny’s over-inflated ego. Though I absolutely loathe the current Jenny – as if I ever liked Jenny in the first place, I have to say her turn-around into Miss Bitch is completely realistic. Jenny has no EQ, lives in her own world, and was probably Carrie at her high school prom, minus the pig’s blood. So the minute she got power, she abused it indiscriminately, even on her friends. Someone predicted that Shane and Jenny were going to get together – thought I don’t see the chemistry between them, I am devoutly wishing that they do, because the two of them deserve each other.

All in all, the entire episode failed my expectations grossly – if I were not a dedicated fan, I would not even bother to watch the rest of the season. But I am, hence I stick through to the painful end, in the hopes and prayers that it gets better.

 
Lee Low Tar
Articles - Entertainment
Written by sayoni   
Monday, 01 October 2007 00:00

Foreword by Yawning Bread

This is the “tall tale” that Ng Yi-Sheng was planning to relate on Sunday 5 August, at the planned event “Tall Tales and Short Stories” during the Indignation Gay Pride Season 2007.

The Media Development Authority (MDA) deemed such an event an arts performance, and insisted that the organisers obtain an arts event licence.

Yi-Sheng, who had planned something a little more spontaneous, then had to put down his story in words. As he told me,

“I had no inclination to write it in letter form until MDA demanded a licence application. My irritation with them imposing this system on us put pressure on me to create something *worth* their attention. And while I knew they’d probably ban it (as they did your photos), I was also completely aware that this was part of the game; that their action of covering their backsides by banning something they’re uncomfortable with (though for no specific reason) would backfire in the end, through enhanced public interest in a text that suggests that they’re gerontophilic paranoiacs.

“In short, I am not the victim here. They are.”

* * * * *

On 1 August 2007, MDA rejected Yi-Sheng’s text. He was not allowed to read it at the event. The MDA gave a one-line reason in their letter:

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 February 2010 16:04
 
A review of Hitting (On) Women (Singapore)
Articles - Entertainment
Wednesday, 15 August 2007 00:00

I admit I was one of those people who were present at the Theatre Idols reading earlier this year. So the play wasn’t new to me. But this version was, and despite some unexpected directorial choices, I enjoyed and appreciated its art. Now, Hitting (On) Women is one of those things you just have to experience for yourself in whatever form. At the reading I remember being stung with shock as each revelation rolled in. The very foundations of the story became rather unstable, which was tremendous fun. Watching the reading was helpful as I was able to put both renditions beside each other and let different emotions shine in the interplay. This version, although less subtle in some ways, did illuminate certain aspects by carving them in stark relief. It was a very physical, tangible performance, and that helped to bring out the power of its words.

What particularly amazed me was how incredibly intense it was. Hitting is a play that really lives in the characters, and it works well when viewed as a character-driven story. That’s not to say that the plot is lacking, for this highly psychological play has layers and takes us on a ride into the human psyche. As truths unravel, the innocent theatregoer may unwittingly find their own covers peeling back. At the same time, we never really know the characters, and chances are that every member of the audience will see the big picture in a different light.

This is where the acting plays a part. Janice Koh does a fabulous job of portraying the lead character’s inner life, and Serene Chen’s performance winds over and around it, albeit in a rather loud way, providing a foil for the woman’s desperation. I cannot imagine what it takes for these two actors to go through this performance after performance; it must be draining, although such a feat is expected of a professional. Watching them act it out, I (who only have a nodding acquaintance with the stage) realised that this is the power of live theatre. The rest of the cast provide solid dramatic and comic support as well. Admiration and appreciation aside, I suppose that criticism can be levelled at the choice of making Karen a butch character, thus rehashing some unfortunate stereotypes. The possible interracial relationship was also ellided for some reason.

The lighting and the set were commendable in creating an introspective world. I was glad to be seeing characters and scenes in the flesh, as it were. On the other hand, I missed the minimalistic setting of the reading that left more to the imagination. Back then, the bareness meant that I was hearing voices echoing back and forth in the imaginative space of my own head, and I felt that I could temporarily share in the internal world of the lead character in a claustrophobic inner space. For that reason, the horror may have been greater, magnified by virtue of its internalisation. Perhaps because I have seen a similar scene on the near-empty stage, it was a delight to see the contours gaining definition in this rendition.

Something my mind has insisted on hanging onto through both performances has been the idea of how the past doesn’t go away. This probably coalesces in the image of the childlike woman atop huge furniture being alternately shy, coy, wistful, and angry. It is the picture of a woman, grown up and grown away, but partially stunted inside by experiences she can never entirely leave behind. I thought I saw, just below the surface, a plethora of emotion from a younger version of the self, emotions more genuine for having come from a place of innocence. Something in this dynamic resonated with me. When she said a line about people never really changing, I felt a momentary sympathetic desperation that rose, and, clenching, subsided. Halfway through the play, I wondered if anyone could not feel the strange lure and odd safety of that terrifying cliff. How one exorcises the past… I think that’s important.

Other imprints I carried away: Abstraction, pain, the sensation of being lost; subjectivity, and madness in the midst of subjectivity.

Back to the event, there was a little surprise at the end when roses mixed with undergarments and a stray chrysanthemum somehow found their way– I mean, were thrown, onto the stage courtesy of Jean and the Sayoni folk. The cast seemed entertained. Then there was a Q&A, with very astute questions being produced by the audience, such as the one directed at Serene Chen’s “swagger” when very few butch lesbians do so, as someone claimed. It was a pretty eventful matinee, and hopefully a thoughtful one for all concerned.

Hitting (On) Women by Ovidia Yu
DATES & TIME
10 – 19 August 2007
8pm daily plus 3pm on Sat & Sun
No performance on Mon

VENUE The Room Upstairs @ 42 Waterloo Street
TICKET PRICES Sat-Sun, 3pm: $30 Tue-Thu & Sun, 8pm: $35 Fri & Sat, 8pm: $40
Free Seating Free Seating Available from SISTIC

 
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