The Room Where It Happens
I just want to say that my main celebrity crush is Jen Richards and I know it’s unprofessional to say you have a celebrity crush but every time I write about Jen Richards without revealing to you that she is my celebrity crush I feel like I am not being completely honest with you and so I’m just going to go ahead and get it out there. Jen Richards is my celebrity crush and has been ever since I moderated a panel she was on at A-Camp this spring and that doesn’t mean I can’t be even-handed when reviewing or critiquing every perfect thing she creates, okay?
For example, the best episodes in Nashville‘s history, which Jen will star in this coming season when the show moves to CMT. She’s CMT’s first out trans actress! She’ll play a “tough but understanding physical therapist” named Allyson who helps a main character “through one of their most difficult challenges.”
It’s very easy to see how Her Story led to her role on Nashville. While the web series didn’t win the Emmy on Sunday night, its success is going to literally open doors into casting offices and writers rooms for trans actresses and writers, especially Jen Richards and Angelica Ross.
(Mey always teases me for calling Jen Richards “Jen,” like I’m on a first-name basis with her, but now that my crush is out in the open, I feel okay about it.)
Also, while we’re talking about growing trans representation and opening doors, Fast Company interviewed Laverne Cox about her upcoming role in the Rocky Horror remake and led with this headline: Laverne Cox: “I Just Wanted To Get In The Room,” which, of course, echos what so many trans actors and trans writers have been saying for years. You’re not going to find trans women with A-list cred to play trans women in big budget movies if you don’t let trans women in the door to audition for small TV roles that lead to big TV roles, like everyone else. It’s a very good interview, I think, because it covers so many of Laverne’s upcoming projects, her career so far, and it’s not afraid to talk about her activism.
I remember having a conversation years ago with my brother about this. I’m political anyway, so the question was: Do I speak up, do I speak out? [There had never been] a conversation in the mainstream media that challenged the ways in which trans stories were told. I wanted to change that, to create space for myself as a full, multi-dimensional human being, and hopefully give other trans people space to do that as well. A lot of it is just about seeing a need and speaking out, ’cause somebody’s gotta do it. It’s a civic responsibility.
Also, this is the most brilliant answer to “What inspires you?” Laverne: “I love excellence.”
Being on the red carpet at the Emmys is a huge deal. Not only does having your name attached to “Emmy-nominated” make people pay attention, but when you’re there, in person, looking oh so gorgeous, people are forced to pay attention. If you want to find out how to do Angelica Ross’ glamorous ponytail, Fashion Bomb Daily’s got you covered, for example. Just these subtle acts of celebrating trans women in everyday life helps conquer the bullshit GOP scapegoating and horrific trans storylines on our TV.
+ Sue and Mel are leaving Great British Bake Off when it goes to Channel 4. I can’t talk about it.
+ Some queer things won some Creative Arts Emmys: Moira Demos and Laura Ricciardi for Making a Murderer. Transparent for production design. Jessica Jones for theme music. ‘Til It Happens To You from The Hunting Ground for Best Song. The Wiz Live! for costumes. Also, Amy Poehler finally won an Emmy. And The People vs. O.J. Simpson cleaned up, which bodes well for Ms. Sarah Paulson.
+ Heather Matarazzo — who you probably remember most from The Princess Diaries, but who I will always remember as the person who led to the greatest Jenny Schecter meltdown of all time — has a new film in the works. It’s called Stuck.
+ While the New York Times is worried about the white men under siege on this fall’s new TV shows, WaPo is more concerned with the lack of visibility for disabled people.
+ Storm Reid is going to be the lead in Ava DuVernay’s adaptation of A Wrinkle In Time. It’s very exciting to see so many people of color associated with and cast in this project. In addition to Reid, Mindy Kaling and Oprah are two of the three heads of Madeleine L’Engle’s trinity-style endgame wizard.
Variety‘s Maureen Ryan, who has done outstanding work calling for diversity on TV in recent years, is really excited about 2017 TV.
These five programs all take on matters of race, sex, class, sexual orientation and other charged topics, but within the context of personal tales that have a hand-crafted, artisanal feel. Their tones, settings and worldviews vary, but we may have to officially retire our notions about comedy that “punches up” or “punches down.” These shows find a ton of fruitful dramatic and comedic potential in every direction. The artfully handled, unpredictable collisions are so often what make these shows outstanding.
+ Here are some names associated with a short film about a fashion line? I think? Carrie Brownstein (director), Natasha Lyonne (model/actor), Rowan Blanchard (model/actor). AdWeek says it’s a “brilliantly creepy short film about internet fandom.” So, commercial?
Queer Folks, Out and About
+ El Sanchez made Yahoo!’s list of 4 Latinx comedians you should know, and if you’ve ever seen them at A-Camp, you’ll totally agree Yahoo!’s summary of their stand-up:
I recently saw Sanchez perform at The Bell House and it was the first time I didn’t want an opening act to leave the stage. (sorry, Hari) I’m pretty sure everyone else agreed with me because Kondabolu threatened to fire Sanchez when he noticed how much the audience loved them.