Pop Culture Fix: “Swarm” Built Billie Eilish’s Queer Cult Leader a Real Compound

Well and happy Wednesday to you! I have made you one (1) Pop Culture Fix to celebrate making it to midweek!

+ The internet simply cannot stop talking about Swarm, which Shelli reviewed from SXSW a few weeks ago. One of the weirder things I’ve heard about this movie — which I obviously cannot watch because I am a big baby about fake blood — is that Billie Eilish is a queer cult leader in it. Now, IndieWire is talking about how they built her a real cult compound! “[It was the most] creative build that we had on this show, actually,” production designer Sara K White said of Eilish’s lair. “Originally, the scene was scripted to take place in a different location that we ended up not being able to find. So in order to come up with a space that these women could be together in this heightened environment, I worked a lot with our director and the writers to come up with the idea of the sweat lodge, and that was an amazing process.” Amazing/terrifying: same/same. Also, FYI, Billie’s cult was inspired by a real cult.

+ Wizards of Waverly Place showrunner says “it’s obvious” that Selena Gomez’s character was bisexual.

+ Flaming Ears, a cult object of underground queer cinema receives a welcome, if barebones, release.

+ Warrior Nun creator asks fans to keep fighting for the canceled Netflix show.

+ Meet Megan Thee Stallion in custom-sculpted bodywear-maker.

+ Speaking of Megan Thee Stallion, is anime next on her world domination tour?

+ The infinite gay joy of boygenius.

+ Titanique’s Rosé Will Host Queer Extravaganza All Aboard!, benefitting the ACLU’s Drag Defense Fund.

+ In Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, Michelle Rodriguez’s barbarian is a queer fantasy.

+ This isn’t gay, but also: isn’t it? Nintendo releases ten minutes of new gameplay from The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.

+ The White Lotus season three will be set in Thailand.

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Heather Hogan

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior editor who lives in New York City with her wife, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Twitter and Instagram.

Heather has written 1718 articles for us.


  1. Tangentially related Radio Lab just posted an episode called Alone. It’s about Bikepacking, i.e. backpacking but on a bike; specifically ultra endurance bikepack racing. They played some of the interview with great ultra cyclist Lael Wilcox & her wife photojournalist Rue Kaladyte. It’s a good listen about a lesbian champion(she has a lot of records) in a lesser-known sport. https://www.radiolab.org/episodes/alone-enough

  2. speaking as a super-not-objective-die-hard-fan: please go watch flaming ears if you can!!
    it is so many things that almost everything else is not
    and you will very likely be richer for it
    so happy and glad that you have been covering the rerelease heather and drew :)

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