News and Opinions

Sean Penn and Penelope Cruz Wins Oscars in Queer roles

Written by sayoni on . Posted in Entertainment

Sean Penn was awarded the Best Actor award for playing gay politician Harvey Milk in San Francisco, in the hit movie Milk. (Read the review for Milk here) And Penelope Cruz was given Best Supporting Actress for playing a bisexual artist in Vicky Cristina Barcelona.

We extend our congratulations to both artistes for winning these prestigious awards, and for lending visibility to our community. The other awardees can be found here.

Updates: The acceptance speech by Dustin Lance Black (the screenwriter for Milk) was completely censored by Mediacorp in Singapore, by STAR in Malaysia, and so was Sean Penn’s, partly. Watch the full acceptance speeches here and here, which we consider highly inspiring and touching.

We consider these acts of censorship both insulting and highly ironic – as the TV networks are propagating the very hate and ignorance the two artistes were trying to dispel.

Apparently, all references to Milk were also cut from the Indian broadcast – which is also highly ironic given an Indian film (Slumdog Millionaire) enjoyed center-stage in Hollywood for the first time, transcending the traditional discrimination against foreign films, and overcame racial and language boundaries to win 8 Oscars in a country it was not made in.

Review: The L Word Season 6 Premiere

Written by AnJ on . Posted in Entertainment

There are a few great mysteries in this world. Are there aliens out there? Does God exist? How were the pyramids built? But the greatest mystery of all, to me, is still why in the world I continue watching The L Word (and Grey’s Anatomy, but I’ve resolved to give no more airtime on this website to that particular show). As a heads-up to all our readers: a (slightly edited) first episode is available on the Official L Word podcast, free and legal for download.

If you have continued watching the show for 5 seasons, you are probably one of those people who just keep trudging along, hoping and praying that one day, miraculously, the sun is going to shine through the clouds and the show is going to get better. Well, I wouldn’t start holding my breath anytime soon – because if the premiere is anything to go by, the next seven episodes are going to be long and torturous.

So we open the show with cops on the scene, and who do we see as the detective, but Lucy Lawless, aka Xena the Warrior Princess. I have it on the best authority that I had a coronary right then, because, for crying out loud, it is Lucy Lawless, aka, hotness personified, aka butch-rape fantasy, aka my get-out-of-jail-card.

After I got a bypass and stitched my weakened heart back up, came the second (non)shocker of the episode: Dead Jenny. At this point, I swear I could hear angels singing “Hallelujah!”, and birds chirping, and the sky seemed so much bluer. Seriously. I’ve been wishing for Jenny to die for 5 seasons, and I thought I finally got it.

Review: Milk

Written by (Guest Writers) on . Posted in Entertainment

Occasionally a trickle of gay films makes it through the censors and the distribution channels. We had the love stories. Brokeback Mountain. Imagine Me and You. Then there were the shows that featured famous people, among them last year’s Indignation fundraiser, Wilde. Now there is Milk, a intelligent biopic that is deeply entwined with the gay movement.

To put the premise in a nutshell, Milk is the real-life story of the first openly gay man who took political office in the US, Harvey Milk. He ran for office three times, was finally voted city supervisor on his fourth try, and only a year later, had an untimely death at the hands of another supervisor. Gus Van Sant tells the story of this man in personal and political terms, tracking his career and recreating his love life, taking some dramatic liberties with the latter while remaining outwardly faithful to the former.

So that I can get this out of the way first — I think Milk succeeds through its sincerity, its contemporaneity, the political relevance of a buoyant civil rights movement, brilliant acting from Sean Penn and the supporting cast, and a lot of effort and talent put into the production otherwise.

Review: I Can’t Think Straight

Written by Indu on . Posted in Entertainment

I watched I Can’t Think Straight with high hopes and anticipation. The trailer was certainly enticing, and so was the possibility of watching Lisa Ray (whom I was drooling over, since her role in Water) in some girl-on-girl action.


I have to say, I wasn’t too disappointed. I Can’t Think Straight is precisely the kind of movie we need more – the ones that involve non-white people and happy endings, the lead characters being an Arab Christian (*gasp*, yes they exist) and a Muslim Indian (born and bred in Britain). It can quite easily be called a cross between Imagine Me and You, and Runaway Bride, with a Bend it Like Beckham-ish flavour. The plot is entirely predictable to a fault, and nothing really surprises the average viewer. But I am not complaining, because for years, I’ve been complaining that we do not have enough happy ending gay movies.

Lisa Ray and Sheetal Sheth are reasonably good actresses – though there are no Oscar-worthy moments, they are entirely believable in the chemistry between them. After all, one look from Lisa Ray’s smouldering green eyes could turn the straightest girl gay. The sex scenes between them are definitely hot – and as a plus, we get two of them!

The writing is average, and laugh-at-loud funny at many points – however, I am not sure whether it is due to the writing or direction, but at some times, the movie is just simply clunky. It might have something to do with the fact that this was a print-to-screen transference, where the fluidity of the script was lost on the cutting room floor.

Overall, the movie sends a very positive message. A friend of mine, while watching it, complained that there wasn’t enough character-development and building up of the chemistry, but I disagree. After all, it is TV. Harry and Sally didn’t spend months dating and talking before they got together (that we saw on TV), and neither did Ian and Maggie (they decided to get married after their first kiss, for god’s sake). The film does not win points for realism. In real life, the coming out to a Indian Muslim family, or an Arab Christian family for that matter, would be met by a hell of a lot more problems and backlash. But this is entirely fine in my opinion, because I am sure Harry and Sally did not live happily ever together anyway.

It is most definitely worth watching if you can get your hands on it.

We thank Regent Releasing for allowing us access to a screener of the movie for review purposes.

The Grey Area

Written by Indu on . Posted in Entertainment


So we all had high hopes. We all stayed glued to our screens, crying with joy about the best thing that ever happened to network television lesbian representation: Callie and Erica on Grey’s Anatomy.

But it was not to be. Season 5 started airing in September, and though yes, I have been too busy to give updates on the sexciting happenings on Grey’s [let's just drop the pretense we care about Meredith or Cristina or Bailey], I have been following the series along with that other show, Heroes [until the plotline started completely irritating me and I decided to give up].

Callie and Erica did eventually get it on after their hot kiss at the end of Season 4 – for detailed recaps on what happened, check AfterEllen. After the traditional gay panic, the even more traditional lets-take-it-slow dating which ended up in a fast beeline to the bed, Erica figuring out she is soooo gay, Callie figuring out she is bisexual, not lesbian by testing theories with Sloane… it all ended in a big what in the name of Sappho when Erica simply walked away from Callie over a silly argument over who got Denny’s heart and Grey Areas.

Devoted fans knew a week before the episode was released, that Brooke Smiths, who plays Erica was fired by ABC for some reason. No one knows why in the name of Sappho’s U-haul this happened, and why Brooke Smiths had to be fired, instead of them just breaking up and keeping the character of Erica on the show. Even GLAAD is taking Shonda’s side on this, and they are blaming it all on bad chemistry.

Pfft. It would be a little more believable had we not been hearing rumours that Melissa George was coming to the show as a bisexual intern, but that was quickly thrown in the can about the same time as Brooke Smiths was fired.

And here I was, so happy, so proud, that network television was going where no man (or woman) had gone before, in rather bravely portraying queer characters [remember last season? Remember the hot gay soldier kiss? Remember Joe the bartender? What happened to him anyway, after becoming a twin daddy?]. And here it is, all broken. *sobs*

Many queer folks who were already long-time fans of Grey’s, or those who jumped on the wagon after Callica [ie, the shipper term for Callie and Erica] have taken to boycotting the show. Jump off the wagon all you want, I’m riding this to the end to see what happens to Callie, at least. And not just because Sara Ramirez is hot [that gigawatt smile and the curves and the boobs... need I say more?]. And ABC, I love you, I love most of your other productions, but since you decided to stop giving us airtime, I will have to do the same for you on this space which was generously given to you, on the dime of the people who pay for the hosting of Sayoni.

Goodbye, Callica… we’ll miss you!

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