Category Archives: TV

Costumes

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I was this guy. Cool, I know.

My favorite Halloween costume was a sea monster. Actually, I was Sigmund from the TV show Sigmund and the Sea Monsters. It was a costume that came in a box, probably from Kmart or some other discount store. My mom taped crepe paper streamers in different shades of green to the body of the costume to give it an authentic sea monster feel.

I was in second or third grade and really into the show. I even had a Sigmund and the Sea Monsters lunch pail. I know. I was so cool.

I don’t remember many other Halloween costumes.

I think my first costume was a lamb. Not too far from the black sheep I turned out to be.

I was a witch one year with a black wig with streaks of white and long black plastic fingernails.

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Just when you thought I couldn’t get any cooler. And yes, that is a mullet.

In college, I was usually some weird androgynous superhero. I always started with a cape because who doesn’t want to rock a cape. And added face paint. Colored hairspray. Suspenders. I was like the love child of Superman and Elton John and the members of Kiss. With some Phantom of the Opera thrown in for good luck.

One year, I bought a blue and gray fedora in a thrift shop in town and designed some weird old man costume around it. The costume was a dud, but I liked wearing the hat.

These days, I’m not so big on dressing up. When you feel like you’ve been wearing a costume for the better part of three decades, Halloween dress-up loses its luster. If I had to dress up, I’d probably toss on a Phillies jersey and cap and call it a day. Maybe add some eyeblack if I was really trying.

Most mornings, I smile when I get dressed. I slip on a pair of jeans or cargo shorts, a pair of boxer briefs, a T-shirt with or without another shirt underneath depending on the weather. I don’t worry about “appropriate” or the difference between boy clothes and girl clothes. Instead, I focus on wearing clothes that make me feel good. Happy. Clothes that make me feel like me.

And I say a quick thanks to the person who runs the joint. Thanks for getting me here to this place where I can finally wear the clothes I want all day, every day. It was worth the wait.

Other fun Halloween facts:

  • I don’t have a favorite candy, although I usually eat everyone’s Whoppers and Almond Joys. (No one here likes coconut or malt flavoring. Losers.)
  • We used to live in Battle Creek, Michigan, which is the home of Kellogg’s cereal. Many of our neighbors handed out mini boxes of cereal instead of candy, which my brother would refuse with a polite “no thank you.”

* * *

Your turn. Favorite Halloween costume? Favorite candy?

 

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Librarians

Sorry I’ve been away for such a long time, folks.

Been busy … being a librarian!

imagesgx2muoa9Like Barbara Gordon in the old Batman TV show. Librarian by day, superhero by night. Biff! Pow!

Shhhh!

See how I did that. I told you I was a librarian.

I built my library today. That’s right. One day. A library. Talk about butch.

You can see pictures here:

It’s a Little Free Library (check out the website here). Basically, it operates on a take a book, leave a book philosophy. You can search the site to find Little Free Libraries near you.

* * *

imagesl0bkx87uSpeaking of libraries, have you ever heard of that show The Librarians? I was all pumped. I mean, what could be better. I imagined a bunch of librarians wearing over-sized glasses with their dark hair in those sexy librarian buns. Library patrons would approach the desk and ask questions about books. And the librarians would pause and perhaps peruse the card catalog and then point them in the right direction. “I think you want The Brothers Karamazov,” they would say. Or, “Try Slaughterhouse-Five, that’s my favorite Vonnegut book.” This is a show I would watch.

But The Librarians is not that show. The books are magic. And there’s some sort of time travel involved. And the librarians do not have big glasses or sexy hair. Some are even dudes. I thought this was America. So disappointed.

What to watch?

images[1]We have nothing to watch. Nothing, I tell you, nothing, even though we have cable television with a bunch of premium channels, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and three Redboxes located less than two miles from our house.

There haven’t been any new episodes of Modern Family. We’re all caught up with Orange Is the New Black, Girls, Transparent, Jessica Jones, Master of None, Unbreakable Kimmie Schmidt, Broad City, The Walking Dead. I think there’s a new season of Orphan Black out, but last I checked it wasn’t available for streaming through Amazon.

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Washed up celebrity horse with depression and addiction issues. What’s not to love?

I binged watched three seasons of Bojack Horseman one weekend without W because I thought she detested shows with talking animals. That’s what she had said, anyway. Turns out she meant live action shows and not cartoons.

“Like Look Who’s Talking,” she tried to explain.

“That had a talking baby in it,” I said. “And it was hilarious.”

She made her angry face.

“You mean like Babe,” I said, trying to help. “Our mother called us all the same,” I said in my best pig voice. “How could you not like Babe?

More angry face.

We have been trying to pick a new show.

“What about The Sopranos,” W asks.

“That seems so old. I don’t know that I can get into it.”

She forces a stream of hot air through her mouth like a tea kettle. This is the sound of exasperation.

She’s already named a bunch of shows: House of Cards, Homeland, Breaking Bad, Dexter. She ends up watching them herself because they don’t interest me. I am difficult. Impossible. I am glad I’m not married to myself.

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See, everyone loves a skinny tie.

I suggest Mad Men because, well, skinny ties.

“You don’t want to watch The Sopranos because it’s too old, but you want to watch Mad Men?

So. Much. Angry. Face.

Our youngest suggests Haven.

“What’s that?” I ask.

“It’s based on the Stephen King book The Colorado Kid,” he says.

“I liked that book.”

“Yeah, the people in the town have supernatural powers,” he says.

“Um. No. I don’t like that supernatural stuff.”

“You liked Stranger Things!” W says way too loud.

“Yeah, but that had Winona Ryder and Eggo waffles.”

* * *

What did you watch this summer?

Me and Xena: Warrior Princess

Xena: Warrior PrincessToday is Xena’s 20th anniversary.

A big ayiyiyiyiyi Xena battle cry to all of my Flannel Files followers on this very special occasion.

I’ve been reading the Xena posts and tweets on social media, and I must say it’s taken me back in time.  Not to ancient mythological Greece when Xena roamed the countryside thwarting evildoers with the help of Gabrielle, her trusty sidekick.  But the late 1990s when I was struggling with my sexuality.

The first time I watched Xena: Warrior Princess, I was hooked.  There was something about the show, something I couldn’t explain that left me wanting more Xena all the time.

Let’s be honest.  The Warrior Princess came with an extra helping of cheese.  The bright orange kind that comes in a can and is spread with a knife.

But I was transfixed.

Lucy LawlessWhen I finally admitted that I was attracted to women, I told myself that was it.  I mean, Lucy Lawless is gorgeous.  Why not watch a television show that features a beautiful woman, even if it’s campier than a weenie roast and ghost stories told around a fire?

Here’s the thing that took me a long time to realize.  I never wanted to be with Lucy Lawless.  I wanted to be Lucy Lawless.  Or, more accurately, Xena.

It was her special blend of girl power that I craved.

That I’ve always craved.

Wonder WomanIn the 1970’s, it was Charlie’s Angels and Wonder Woman and Jaime Sommers, TV’s Bionic Woman.

But those women had nothing on Xena.  With her sword and her chakram, her leather, her armor and a hot blonde by her side.  Xena was badass.

I think about the name of the show — Xena: Warrior Princess.

And I think that was always the attraction for me.

Warrior.  Princess.

Not that I’ve ever been a princess or wanted to be one.  (Makes gagging gesture with fingers and open mouth.)

It’s that blend of masculine and feminine that I find so appealing, that magical combination that I live.

There’s always been a lot of Xena: Warrior Princess inside me.

I just never realized it until I started watching the show.

If you’re really into Xena, you can read my Xena sword story here.

* * *

What about you?  Xena fan?  Yea or nay?

Butched

I was watching TV today while folding the laundry.  That’s when I saw a promo for a new show.

Butched.

Genius, I thought.

I didn’t even have to watch the clip to know what it was all about.

Lea DeLariaThe show would be hosted by a famous butch.  Someone like Lea DeLaria.

Every week, a random person would be “butched,” or given a butch makeover.  This would involve cargo shorts, a T-shirt or polo shirt, new sneakers, maybe a baseball cap or even a tattoo.

Because everyone knows butches have more fun.

There would be instructions on how to give the butch nod, what beverage to order with lunch (beer), what beverage to order with dinner (beer), how to walk with a swagger, tie a Windsor knot, sing along to Melissa Etheridge songs in the car, open a jar of pickles without showing effort and respond to “can I help you, sir?”

And then I realized the show was actually called Botched.  And it was about fixing plastic surgery mishaps.

Nevermind.

* * *

But if there was a show called Butched, what would it be about?

Stuck and unstuck

Sometimes I get stuck.  Not literally stuck like in a turnstile or a revolving door.  Help.  Stuck.  Can’t pass through.

Or actually stuck while trying on a gold glitter tube top.  (I apologize in advance for the image.)  Aaaaaaah!  Aaaaaaah!  Aaaaaaah!  Butch!  Stuck!  In!  Tube!  Top!

But stuck nonetheless.

Other people never seem to have this problem.  They seem to have it all together.

When I get stuck, I do all sorts of things except try to get myself unstuck.

Some things I might do instead of unsticking myself:

  • Work.
  • Read.
  • Nap.
  • Check my Twitter feed.  Every five minutes.
  • Cook.
  • Eat.
  • Play with cats.
  • Watch marathons of Total Divas.
  • Daydream that I am a little known Kardashian.  Butch Kardashian.

When I am stuck:

This is how I feel when I'm stuck

The only way I know how to get unstuck is to do the thing I’m stuck at.  And that’s the thing I really don’t want to do.

Things I’d rather do than do the stuck thing:

  • Eat hot sauce.
  • Work.
  • Clean.
  • Give a speech.  At a Republican convention.
  • Listen to country and western music.
  • Dance to the song It’s Raining Men.
  • Read 50 Shades of Gray for non-comedic purposes.

So, after I’ve done everything else that I can think of, I’ll do the stuck thing.

First, of course, I’ll make a horrible face and make things seem worse than they really are.  I’m a drama butch, after all.

Butch Smiley Face

Then I’ll do the stuck thing.

At first taking lots of breaks to do important things like load one glass in the dishwasher, organize paperclips and clean cat hair from out of computer keyboard.

And then going back to doing the stuck thing.

Before I know it, my hair is not on fire.  I am not shrieking.

I am just doing the unstuck thing.

I am unstuck.

xx

When all is right in my world, this is what it looks like.

* * *

What do you when you’re stuck?  How do you get unstuck?

All caught up in The L Word

The L WordW and I are just emerging from a fugue-like state brought on by binge watching six seasons of The L Word.  That’s 78 episodes if you’re counting along at home.

W had been scanning through the offerings on Netflix and stumbled upon the series.  And there we were watching Jenny Schecter being accosted by Marina Ferrer in a bathroom somewhere in California.

Skinny white girl.

One word.  Shane.

There was no stopping us once we got started.  We couldn’t get enough Bette, Tina, Alice and of course, Shane.  Swoon.

Now, I have to get back to my real life and stop pretending I’m a famous writer who hangs out in Los Angeles’ coolest coffee shop by day and attends only the hippest and hottest Girl/Grrrl parties by night.  (Please tell me all nine seasons of The Facts of Life are NOT on Netflix.  Just the thought is so tempting.)

We had watched The L Word when it first ran on Showtime.  Flash forward ten years, and here’s what stuck out this time around:

* Wow, what a groundbreaking show.  The L Word certainly was ahead of its time.  It paved the way for Girls and Orange Is the New Black.

* Are there no butch women in L.A.?  I used to think Shane was kinda butch.  She’s not.  Like Papi says upon meeting the legendary Shane: “You’re just a skinny white girl.”  So true.

* I always wanted to be Shane.  Or maybe Shane’s wingwoman.  You know, me and Shane hanging out, picking up the ladies.  This time around, I realized Shane is kinda a jerk.

* And what’s up with Shane’s hairstyling skills?  It’s tousling of hair.  That’s what it is.  Tousling.  Of hair.

Ivan, you rock.

Ivan, you rock.

* Ivan Aycock.  I want to be Ivan Aycock.

* Can you spell infidelity?  So much cheating.  Keep it in your pants, ladies.

* Jenny Schecter is actually interesting and likable in the first few seasons.  Whether you like her or hate her, there is no The L Word without her.

Max, you deserved better.

Max, you deserved better.

* Really, couldn’t you have been a little more sensitive toward the transitioning Max?  Max, I’ll be your friend.  We’ll go to a sports bar, drink some beer and eat some wings.  Forget those high femmes.  Call me.  And really Part 2: Did you have to make Max pregnant?  Really?

* What a total waste of Xena: Warrior Princess.  Um, you couldn’t find a better role for Lucy Lawless than some hack detective?  Other ideas: L.L. has an affair with Bette.  Or Xena herself chops off Jenny’s head with her sword, places it on a stake in front of The Planet and runs off with Alice.  No one saw that coming.  Discuss.

* * *

Ok, y’all remember The L Word. Why don’t we play Marry, Kill, Screw.  I’ll go first ’cause it’s my blog.

Marry — Tina because she seems the most normal.  Ands she’s cute.  Except when she’s with Henry.  She’s hideous then. (W votes for Tasha because she’s into all that officer/gentleman stuff.)

Kill — Everyone is going to say Jenny.  And, in a twist of irony, Jenny dies in the series finale. So, I’ll go with someone else.  I’ll go with Dylan because she is uber-annoying.  And she doesn’t deserve Helena, the British bombshell.  (W goes with Jenny.  She is wearing her “Kill Jenny Schecter” T-shirt as I type.)

Screw — Helena.  (W says Latino hottie Carmen.  She loves Carmen.  You have no idea.)

 

To write or not to write

I feel like I’ve hit a wall.

My flannel is wrinkled.

The spikes in my hair are flat.

I don’t want to write any more.  At least not right now.  Not today.  That’s for sure.

I am more content watching TV shows and movies or reading books.  Allowing words and images to wash over me instead of coaxing or forcing them out from that tricky place that’s part heart, part soul.

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Movie poster of my life.

Part of me says it’s not ok.  Writers write.  If I’m not writing, I’m not a writer.

The other part says take a break.  Even if I’m not writing, I’m storing words and thoughts for future use.

Here’s some of what I’ve been watching and reading:

Sons of Anarchy — W started watching this biker drama.  I read somewhere that SOA is based on Hamlet and that got this English major’s juices flowing.  So, yeah, it’s well written and well acted, and I like trying to figure out the parallels to the Shakespearean tragedy.  There’s a couple of minor lesbian storylines, but this one is all about the boys and their bikes.  Look for cameos from Stephen King, 70s hottie Adrienne Barbeau and Jimmy Smits.  And appearances by Venus Van Dam, the show’s transgender character.

Women of Will — Speaking of Shakespeare, I saw this play at a local Shakespeare festival last weekend.  Really, it’s part play, part lecture.  Master Shakespearean actor Tina Packer deconstructs the Bard’s most famous female characters with the help of fellow actor Nigel Gore.  Is it wrong that I was hoping for a sexy scene between perchance Lady Macbeth and Queen Gertrude?  Here’s the question I asked myself right before the show began: How do I relate any of this to my writing?  Five minutes in, Packer was riffing on the role of gender in Shakespeare and how Will’s female characters changed as his perceptions about women evolved.  Gender.  Can we ever get a break?

The Guilt Trip — In this cheesy comedy, Seth Rogen takes a cross-country road trip with his over-involved Mom, played by Barbra Streisand.  There are some genuine laughs, but I especially enjoyed the running gag of this mother-son duo listening to the audio version of Jeffrey Eugenides’ Middlesex throughout the trip.  Because gender.  There it is again.

xx

She’s hot!

Lucy — Scarlett Johansson plays a young woman exposed to a synthetic drug that allows her to access 100 percent of her brain and develop cool superhero-like powers.  “She’s hot!” W blurted out at the beginning of the movie, allowing all of us to read her thought bubble.  It was some kind of auto-Johansson response.  No doubt ScarJo is a looker with those blue eyes and blonde locks.  But I was hoping for something a little campier.  In the end though, what’s not to like about a beautiful babe kicking ass.

Bad Words — Jason Bateman finds a loophole in a spelling bee competition and creates a scene as he takes out the school-age competitors one by one.  I like when Bateman plays assholes.  See Juno.  Oh, and words.  There were lots of big words.  And a scene with boobs.

A Most Wanted Man — Philip Seymour Hoffman plays a German spy in this John le Carre thriller.  It’s Seymour Hoffman’s last starring role.  As the credits rolled, W and I just looked at each other.  Sigh.  How sad.

The Best Nonrequired American Reading 2013 — Short stories, lists, poems, cartoons, all in one book.  An eclectic collection.  I read this every year.

* * *

What about you?  What are you watching/reading this summer?

Orange Is the New Black: Savor or devour?

Today is the day.  June 6.  Season 2 of Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black is available.  All 13 episodes.

“How many episodes are we going to watch tonight?” W asked this morning.

“One.  Maybe,” I replied.

Of course, I’m itching to find out what’s happened to Piper and crew.

But I already don’t want it to be over.

You know she wants me.

You know she wants me.

That’s how much I love Orange Is the New Black.  It’s funny, it’s poignant, it’s got lesbians and Laura Prepon in those black glasses.  Damn.

Besides, it’s the only show out there that can reference Pablo Neruda and female ejaculation in the same episode.  That Jenji Kohan is a genius.

xx

The world may never know.  Wink.

So, binge or save?  It reminds me of a cherry Tootsie Pop and the eternal question of “How many licks?”  (Of course it does, Middle-age Butch.  You know you wanted to say that.)

We’ll start with episode one tonight.  It’s called “Thirsty Bird.”  I’ll make cheese steaks and tater tots for dinner, because it’s Friday night.  It’ll be an event.

Maybe we’ll watch an episode Saturday night and one on Sunday night.

All bets are off after that.

Because it’s a show that revolves around lesbians.  Butch lesbians and crazy lesbians.  College graduate lesbians and sexy lesbians.  Bad lesbians and bad-ass lesbians.

You know you can’t stop at just one.

* * *

Are you watching OITNB tonight?  Will you binge watch or spread ’em out?

Inside the Actors Studio

Inside the Actors StudioI’m a big fan of Inside the Actors Studio.  It’s something that I discovered recently, so I’ve only seen episodes that have aired in the past few years.

As a movie buff, I like learning the behind-the-scenes stories from big-time actors in iconic roles like Hilary Swank in Million Dollar Baby and Brad Pitt in Thelma and Louise.

Plus, I like hearing about  what people are thinking when they are engaged in the creative process.  It’s like finishing a really great book and finding a final chapter in which the author explains the how and why of his writing process for that particular work.  Bonus.  Stephen King has been known to do this.

I also like trying to connect with the artist as a person and finding a link within myself to the art.  It’s the if-she-can-do-it-so-can-I frame of mind that encourages me to push forward with my own work.

Inside the Actors Studio just celebrated its 250th episode with a two-hour retrospective special.  If you’re familiar with the show, you know that host James Lipton asks each guest the same 10 questions at the conclusion of every interview.

I thought I’d tip my hat to the show by taking a shot at those 10 questions:

1. What is your favorite word?  juxtaposition

2. What is your least favorite word?  hate

3. What turns you on?  a woman in tall black leather boots

4. What turns you off?  ignorance

5. What sound do you love?  heavy rain when I am safe inside my house  

6. What sound do you hate?  yelling

7. What is your favorite curse word?  god dammit

8. What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?  English professor

9. What profession would you not like to do?  grade school teacher  

10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?  You tried really hard.

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How about you?  Share some of your answers here.