January 2007 Archives

Welcome, Phyllis!

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Last week, the character of Phyllis Kroll was added to The L Word. I'm really happy about this new character for a number of reasons. I think it's fantastic that the series is including older women as cast members and showing them to be active, sexual beings.

Phyllis is in her 50s and has enjoyed a long conventional married life when she begins to reconsider her sexual orientation. I don't know what is true today, but when I first came out, it was definitely more common for women to come out after having married than before. Coming out in one's teens was not a typical experience back then, and I sometimes wonder how much things have changed. In any case, I think Phyllis's narrative is an important one to include on the show.

While it's unusual for television to promote older women as sex objects (there are exceptions, of course, like BSG's Mary McDonnell), I don't think it's unusual in terms of lesbian sexuality. In my experience, lesbians have tended to be more flexible than the mainstream about what constitutes female beauty. It's nice to see that reflected with the inclusion of attractive older characters like Peggy Peabody and now Phyllis.

But the best thing about Phyllis, in my opinion, is the casting. Cybill Shepherd's great with goofball humor, and I love her past work, including two (!) Martha Stewart TV-movies that I absolutely howled at, and her sitcom, Cybill, which dealt with a variety of women's issues. Plus anyone who dated Elvis is just inherently cool.

But my most positive associations with Cybill Shepherd stem from her willingness to participate in the 1993 March on Washington for gay and lesbian rights at a time when things were not so rosy for gays and lesbians. I was at that march and I remember the lift that it gave people to see a Hollywood celebrity in the streets with us. I will never forget it. In the complicated playbook of my affections, if an actor who plays gay gets 10 points for bravery, an actor willing to march with gays gets about 1000.

You can hear Cybill Shepherd talk about her activism for gay and lesbian and women's causes on this week's L Word podcast.

Enraptured

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Three's decisive hand[No Spoilers] Why, yes, I did enjoy "The Rapture," which also happened to be Lucy Lawless's last appearance on Battlestar Galactica. Thank you for asking. But I'm not going to say too much about it, as I've noticed some griping among timeshifting TV-watchers regarding spoilers in bloggers's posts.

I'm not crazy about BSG's new time slot. It took the Cute Little Red-Headed Girlfriend and I about 25 minutes to decide what shows (BSG, Rome, The L Word, Masterpiece Theater) we were going to watch real time and what we were going to record. But thanks to my shiny new DVD recorder, the Pioneer DVR-640H-S, it took me less than 5 minutes to set everything up once our decisions were made.

I have to rave for a minute about this DVD recorder. I got it because my VCR was not quite dead yet but acting up a lot. I thought to myself, "Am I really going to buy myself another VCR?" Obviously, the answer was no. So I went over to the AVS Forum to check out what people were saying about various machines. My main criteria was "must play nice with DirecTV." But this lovely tech also has many, many tricksy things you can with it. If you're in the market for a DVD recorder, it's worth taking a look at.

Your Questions

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For years, I didn't pay that much attention to what people were searching for when they came to my site. That's because, for the most part, it was rather predictable. People were looking for "sex comics" and that's how they found my site. In time the searches became more particular, but they were essentially variations on the original: "lesbian comics," "nude comics" and "veronica nude comics" were all very popular search queries.

Now, however, there is a lot more variety, and for the first time I'm finding a lot of natural language queries in the search requests that lead to In Sequence. Often I feel a sense of sadness well up inside me when I see these unanswered questions in my search queries list--it's like hearing a cry in the wilderness. So I thought I'd put some of these queries before my readers, in the hopes that someone might have the answers readily available. Please reply in the comments if you know:

Query: What qualities are gay millionaires looking for in boy toys?
Anyone?

Query: Zombie sightings in east los angeles?
I'd like to know myself.

Query: If you've been locked alive inside a coffin can you get out if it's behind a wall?
I think this one might be urgent.

Now one that I can answer.

Query: Favorite Smiths lyrics?
That's a tough choice. It's also difficult to consider the lyrics apart from the Smiths's lovely guitar, but I think I'd choose That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore.

The Devil Honors Movies

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A commanding look from Miranda Priestly"I am not watching one more time!" I vowed to those in the room. "It's over! I'm done with it! They have so jumped the shark for me!"
My outburst came moments after the marathon watching last year's Academy Awards show with the Cute Little Red Headed Girlfriend, Joe, and the Sister. I was pissed over Brokeback Mountain's losses, which I attributed to homophobia. I was expecting my pals to join me in my righteous anger, but instead I was faced with smiles and soft chuckles. I was confused.
"Don't you agree with me?!" I asked.
"Yes, we agree with you," the Girlfriend said jovially. "It's just that you say this every year."
"No. I mean it this time!"
Okay, so let's just say I meant it for several months. Until the Academy announced that Ellen DeGeneres would be hosting the awards in 2007, and I came to terms with the inevitable.
But I'm going to need help getting through it. So this year, inspired by the annual State of the Union Address Drinking Game, I'm going to devise my own Academy Awards Drinking Game. Every time I hear a reference to piracy, copyright or DRM technologies, I'm taking a drink.
This year, I think I'll be pulling for The Devil Wear Prada. It's a hard choice between Helen Mirren and Meryl Streep, but you know, I just loved that moment when Miranda Priestly commands Andrea to get down on the carpet and hike up that ugly skirt immediately.
Wait, it didn't happen that way? Actually I went looking for Miranda/Andrea fan fiction and found some at a Russian livejournal site. I thought I had explored the outer reaches of slash fan fiction before, but until you've used Google's BETA Russian language translator to read a femslash story, I don't think you can really say that you've explored all that the genre has to offer.

Xena DS: Touching is Good

Mockup for Xena DS gameContinuing with my prior Xena in games post, I created this mockup of a Xena DS game. I also tried to use the online celebrity Mii generator to make a Lucy Lawless or Xena Mii but it doesn't work too well for women. On the bright side, the DS slogan "Touching is good" seems eminently suited to Xena. Amazon Warriors come out to play!

Notes to Readers Old and New

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Edit: I have been able to restore all my archives to their proper location since reading this post. The links below have been changed to link to the new and proper location and old or out-of-date links have been removed.

Note to new readers:
From my stats page, I can see how many hits I'm getting, what pages people are reading, and how long readers are staying on my site. And I'm very flattered that so many of you are choosing to read deeply into the archives.

Unfortunately, a big chunk of posts from 2006 is missing (for boring technical reasons you don't want to know about) and I haven't managed to import them into this current version of my blog, with its boring, icky design that I absolutely cannot stand.

There isn't a quick way to change my design or import my old posts, but you can access these "missing" posts, which I still have up under my old design. A caution: you only navigate in a limited number of ways on these pages, and the search function does not work.

The way to reach my missing archives, should you wish to, is to go to the first one, from February 2006, and click the orange link above the post to the right of the word "Home" until you get to the last one in October 2006.

To make reading a bit less laborious, I've grouped some of these missing links into a few categories, a "best of," if you will.

Xenaverse-related:


Posts I liked or that proved popular:

If you do choose to read all the way through, you'll notice I was on several podcasts last year. Unfortunately, I regret to inform that those episodes of the late, great Beppepodcast are no longer readily available, as my friend Joe took them all down because he's a big drama queen like that.

If you're looking for a good lesbian podcast, I recommend listening to Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters or fat bloated Jewish lesbian Madge Weinstein at Yeast Radio. Not coincidentally, I've been an audio commenter on both shows, inquiring about the Canadian beaver population on Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters and ranting about the pope on Yeast Radio/Sirius.

Note to long-time readers:
I know. It's a bit much, isn't it? Just think of it as Xenaweek here at In Sequence. But I know some of you long-time readers are comics fans, and probably watch Battlestar Galactica, and some of you are gay men, and kinda identify with Gabrielle, and some of you are horror fans, and you dig Bruce Campbell. It's all just one big fandom in a way.

By the way, any of you out there a big MySQL wiz and can help me restore my old posts to my database? I'm sure I've got *something* I could give you in exchange for your time.

I want my Wiichakram

Mockup of a Wii controller inside a chakramAnd also my Wiisword and Wiistaff. Shortly before the 2007 Xena convention, there was a discussion on one of the forums about Xena and gaming. Someone suggested that it would be a great idea to set up a LAN at the convention for attendees to play a Xena video game. That would be great, if only there was a multiplayer game for one of the current generation of networked consoles or the computer.

I mean, damn, can you imagine how cool it would be to hear your fellow members of Clan Alti hail you over an Xbox 360 Live headset? "It's on, bitches!" Plus, if the game was open enough, we could kill Joxer over and over and over again.

I bought the Xena: Warrior Princess game for the original PlayStation. I can also remember watching a demo for a Xena game--I think for the Nintendo 64--at one of the cons several years ago. At the time, my fellow female convention goers didn't seem that into it, but times have changed.

Lesbian partners playing video gamesWomen, including lesbians, are embracing video games more. On the L Word, we've seen scenes of Shane and Alice playing video games together. In the illustration shown here from the Outsiders current issue (#44), a lesbian superhero couple can be seen enjoying some quality time with their PS2.

Now it's time for video games to catch up. The games industry has a craptacular history when it comes to addressing the female market. One of the biggest signs of indifference, in my view, is the unwillingness to make a female player character option standard for most games. How hard would it be, for example, for EA to make all-women versions of their sports titles?

Raising my sights a little higher, I'd like to see a Billie Jean King tennis game. And cross-platform, multiplayer Xena games in time for next year's con.

ROC the house down

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Renee dances on stage at the Lucy concertAlthough I've been writing the past few days about Lucy Lawless, I don't want to give my many new Xenite visitors the impression that I am not into Renee O'Connor. I am very into the ROC, and I loved it when she took the stage to dance at Lucy's concert, as shown in this photo from the evening.
To prove it, if I can follow-up on my previous post and continue another Internet meme, here is a list of some of the top things my girlfriend and I have argued bitterly about:

  • Who is more responsible for carrying the subtext on Xena: Warrior Princess, Lucy or Renee?

  • Who is the greater genius of the Beatles, John Lennon or Paul McCartney?

  • Who represents the highest authority in the known universe, Judy Garland or Barbra Streisand?

I'm not going to offer an opinion on any of these, the truly important questions of our time, lest I start the mother of all domestic disputes. (Sometimes just saying the name "Paul McCartney" with a certain inflection can cause the room to snap with tension in our household.) The point I'm trying to make is that we live with some very passionate feelings for Renee.

Lucy in Concert Wallpaper for Geeks

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Lucy pwns1280x1064(138kb)
Right click to download. Click here for the meme.

I'm on a vicious comedown, ladies

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I feel like an addict and I look like one tooThe post-Lucy Lawless concert comedown is an ugly thing. After you've digested all you can on AUSXIP and the other usual hangouts, what else is there?

I've tried distracting myself to no avail. I have no idea what the first episode of season two Rome was about. People in robes passed back and forth, words were spoken...even watching episode two of the L Word was of limited use...perhaps Lucy should appear on the L Word...yeah, when's that gonna happen?

Last night, I tried digesting an episode of Bad Girls, thinking that could jolt me. Nada. It's still all about Lucy. I need me a Lucy patch right about now. Christie, pull yourself together, girl, and get that interview with Lucy and Renee up there.

Lucy Lawless in Concert

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Reaction to LucyI like to think of myself as a tough dyke, I admit it. A bit intimidating. A bit of a bruiser. All the more reason to be stunned at the effect Lucy Lawless had on me and a crowd of women like me when she took the stage at the Roxy. I felt like a wound-up toddler--overstimulated, whimpering, incapable of rational speech, at times almost on the verge of tears.

The Cute-Little-Red-Headed-Girlfriend and I got in line for the show roughly an hour before the doors opened. L.A. is experiencing some uncharacteristically cold weather, so we shivered in line in the low-30s air until we started to go numb. During my punk teen years, when busting into music clubs was weekly sport, I had once broken into the back of the Roxy when I couldn't get in by the front door. With the weather so cold, it was tempting to try it again.

While in line, I recognized a fellow blogger from her live-blogging of the Xena Con earlier in the day. I introduced myself and we chatted: she was covering the event for AfterEllen.com, so check out her report there when it goes up, as well as the great concert coverage on her site, Dogged Blog.

Lucy in command on stageMC Kat Crimins and comic Tig Nataro did a great job warming up the audience and set a conversational tone for the evening. Portions of the concert were like a traditional rock or pop concert, but there were often chatty interludes and long intros that reflected the tight relationship Lucy has with her fans.

Dogged Blog reports that there were some problems with the sound initially. Since I was in the mosh pit about two rows back from the stage, it wasn't something I noticed, since there's a "wall of sound" effect when you're standing that close. However, I did feel that throughout the night I heard aspects of Lucy's voice that I'd never heard before, both in the higher and lower registers. If this is the beginning of a music career, it's exciting to imagine what's to come.

Speaking of coming, as soon as Lucy hit that stage in her leather chaps, I felt a tight grip on my arm that just seemed to get tighter and squeeze harder with each refrain. It was my girlfriend, twisting my arm with excitement. As I watched Lucy grip the microphone and belt out one of her original songs, "Down on My Knees," I could feel the girlfriend start to sway next to me as she moaned in my ear "the hands, the hands" (she's obsessed with Lucy's well-endowed mitts, which she lovingly calls "her Frankenhands").

I'd heard one of Lucy's originals songs at another event, but this time around both of her original pieces really impressed me with how catchy they sounded. Even with an audience that's positively disposed towards a performer, it can be hard to get them to connect with a song they're not that familiar with. So I was surprised at how much I dug Lucy's rendition of the New Zealand pop song, "Maxine," a fact I can only attribute to her abilities as a singer.

Lucy shakes that thing in a white miniIn contrast, on well-known tunes that are easy to get wrong, like "Don't Let Me Down" and "Piece of My Heart," Lucy's performance was so strong that the audience went completely apeshit. It was full-on insanity. Lucy also had a great rapport with her band and her back-up singers (the two women were also very sexy). During a costume change, one of the back-ups, Sharlotte Gibson, came forward to do a very rockin' performance of an original song.

The back-up singers also appeared to be having fun with the audience. I really liked it when Lucy stripped off her top shirt, revealing a tank underneath and threw it at one of her back-up singers. In the spirit of Lucy worship that permeated the evening, the female singer held the sweaty garment to her face and inhaled deeply and joyously before throwing it backstage. (I yelled at her to throw it to me, but alas, no.)

There was good news from the concert, as well as some bad. Lucy is going to be appearing on Curb Your Enthusiasm (yay!). On the downside, Lucy's appearance at the Dinah Shore Weekend, which was originally supposed to be on Saturday, has been moved to Friday and she's only been asked to do three songs, not a full set. (Private to organizers: Are you crazy? Fix it, fix it now.)

Don't forget, you can still get tickets for tonight.

Concert photos appearing on this page are all Copyright 2007 Gregg DeGuire / lucylawless.info. Thanks to Mary D. for letting me use them here. For tons more photos and other reports, check out Mary's site. For more coverage of Lucy on In Sequence, do a search for "Lucy" or "Xena." She's all over the place.

The Cute Little Red-Headed Girlfriend and I have tickets to see Lucy Lawless in concert at the Roxy this weekend. After her appearance on Celebrity Duets, Lucy decided to launch a singing career. Although the Saturday show is sold out, if you're in the L.A. area you can still get tickets for the Sunday night show.

Blurry close-up of Lucy's chestOf course, the CLRHG and I have seen Lucy sing before, at previous Xena conventions (number twelve is being held this weekend), and at gay pride. We also went to see Lucy when she appeared at Girl Bar at The Factory in West Hollywood. For various reasons, I never wrote up the event for this blog, but I thought I'd make up for it now.

A friend of ours came in from out of town for the Factory show. Well, actually she came in from out of the country. The show was set to start at midnight, and on the day of the concert I came down with the most evil virus thingy. So I put my digital camera in their hands, hoping they would bring back some good pictures, and settled in for the night with my fever.

Lucy sings against a psychedlic backgroundThe pictures they brought back told a strange story of their evening. It seemed to go something like this: blurry lesbian go-go dancer, blurry lesbian go-go dancer, back of some chick's head, empty space, blurry photos of Lucy cropped in interesting ways. The best of the bunch are shown here. I've named them "Torso Close-up" and "Lucy on the Stage with Acid." Perhaps you can see why I'm eager to expereince the concert in person this time, rather than by proxy.

Female fan having a meltdownThe Cute Little Red-Headed Girlfriend is a bit intimidated at the prospect of being that close to a singing, possibly gyrating Lucy for a long period of time. She told me she was afraid she'd get so excited she would just start screaming nonstop like the girls in A Hard Day's Night. I had to concur with her that this would be an embarrassing state to be in. I hope she can hold it together.

In terms of my own reaction, I've been thinking I might emulate Tom Jones's fans and toss my panties with a housekey attached onto the stage. Over Christmas, I made note of the many useful tutorials available on how to wrap presents in cloth, thinking that could help me present my gift of a housekey in the most tidy fashion. Better than clipping it with a safety pin, I think. (I should not have linked to Tom Jones's site. Now I cannot get the song "She's A Lady" out of my head.)

If you want a preview of the show, there's a number of reheasal videos available at the Official Lucy Lawless Fan Site. I particularly recommend part 5, which has Lucy covering Melissa Etheridge's "Like the Way I Do." There's also a Roxy Countdown page over at MySpace, and ongoing coverage at Mary D.'s concert subsite.

Supposedly the playlist hasn't been finalized, but there's been mention of a possible Pretenders cover. I can tell you right now that if Lucy sings "Brass in Pocket" I think that will be grounds for my losing it. As most people know, there is a fine line between pleasure and pain and that song may be sliding over the side of exquisite pleasure into the unbearable agony of unrequitable lesbian lust. In other words, look for me screaming my head off a la A Hard Day's Night.

If you're at Lucy's show on Saturday, look for me and the Cute Little Red-Headed Girlfriend, don't forget to look for us and say "hey." We should be easy to spot in the crowd--we'll be the two dykes up in front.

Robot Love

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Three and Six gaze at each other
I only started watching Battlestar Galactica in season three, once Lucy Lawless became a regular guest star. I don't know why I didn't watch from the beginning, since I usually love science fiction. I suppose my initial reaction must have been a hold over from how Star Trek: Enterprise ended. As the last outing of the grand old Star Trek series limped off the screen, a part of me just wanted to say goodbye to all that. It was as if my brain was saying, "Do not toy with my affections again, you science fiction series! Do not tease me with your skin tight space suits, your hauntingly beautiful women named after numbers."

Anyway, I started watching Battlestar Galactica and although it was difficult to get my bearings, I became hooked all the same. I've heard a few of the rumors and rumblings about big things that might happen in the next few episodes--I do hope the series and my favorite characters manage to hang on til next year. And although she hasn't been asked to return yet, I'd love to see Lucy Lawless in the resurrection tank in season four.

Renee Meet Bette, Bette, Rene

Bette Porter raises a glass I've written before on In Sequence about my love for the character Bette Porter on The L Word. Now, as The L Word cranks up for a new season, I thought I would mention the parallels I've noticed between Bette Porter and Renee Montoya, one of the lesbian characters in the DC comics series 52.

Bette and Renee are both lesbians, racial minorities and professionals. Circumstantially, they're both going through what could generously be called "a career transition." Bette Porter recently took time out to care for her father during his last days (Incidentally, I thought Jennifer Beals deserved an Emmy for that). Renee Montoya, in issue #33, was doing caretaking for The Question in what appear to be his final days.

Next, there's the lawbreaking connection. When last we saw Bette, she was making a beeline for the border with her baby in tow, having kidnapped the little tyke from her ex, Tina. Renee, on the other hand, recently killed a suicide bomber while following a vigilante-like course.

Renee Montoya sharing mattress with friend Rene and Bette also share similar coping techniques. In the screenshot above, Bette is seen skulking in a bar before pouncing on an attractive young woman, whom she takes back to her hotel room. There follows a very hot scene--in which Jennifer Beals's outstanding upper arms are shown to great avantage--featuring Bette peeling the bra off her newfound friend from behind. The next morning we find Bette sulking in a chair, staring at the unclothed woman in her bed as she contemplates her actions of the previous night.

Compare this with Renee's stress management routine in 52 issue #18. Ridden with guilt after taking out a female suicide bomber, Renee is said to be "coping in her usual way." We see Renee, naked against dusky purple sheets, a dark-haired nymphette at her side. On the following page (she has to get dressed in a hurry when Black Adam, Isis and The Question burst suddenly into the room, just when she's "getting some"), Renee grips the neck of what looks like a beer bottle. Later, The Question refers to Renee's "week-long benders with the prettiest lass" in the city.

Clearly, Bette and Renee could enjoy a night out on the town together. I like the way the "old school" lesbian and "new school" lesbian ways are blended together in these two characters. You have the old school drinking-and-womanizing to block out the pain; then there's the new school nonmonogamy-as-personal-empowerment and underwear-by-Victoria's-Secret bits mixed in as well.

Tina, you are dead to me

The Cast of the L Word with Tina's face Xed outA shiver of anticipation rushes through me knowing that The L Word Season Four is about to start. Sure, there were some problems with Season Three, but time has passed and now all is forgiven. Well, maybe not all. Tina.

Many L Word fans were upset about the death of Dana at the end of last year. Although I will miss the character, I didn't have a problem with her death from a story perspective. Dana's demise from breast cancer freaked me out enough to get me in to the doctor for a mammogram after going for four years without one. That's what the story was supposed to do, so I'm not going to quarrel with it. Lesbians are known to be negligent about their health needs, and if it takes a beloved character's death to get the point across, it seems like a small price to pay.

While some fans grieved at Dana's passing, others were exasperated that the character Max lived on. In the show, Max, a transgendered character, is transitioning from a female body to a male one. I thought last season's plotline was ambitious but a bit too complex. It reminded me of when gay storylines were first appearing on television and they would include long, explanatory speeches to get viewers up to speed on the subject of homosexuality so that a drama could take place.

The image above is one of the new downloads available from the Showtime site. I'm looking forward to checking out the new cast members this Sunday.

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