Tag Archives: Lesbian

PEI Girls Gone Wild!

My Mom made us watch PBS’s  WonderWorks series when we were growing up.  It was nourishing television.  Classy productions of children’s literature.  Typically airing on Sunday nights, it entertained  without overexciting us and refueled our brains for a week’s worth of school.  I have positive memories of those Sunday nights.  Even if I don’t have the most detailed recollection of each production, I have this vague happiness that accompanies the snapshots in my mind.

One time (I know…’at band camp’), when I was waiting tables at Cafeteria in NYC’s Chelsea neighborhood, Wallace Shawn came in by himself to have some lunch.  Of course I recognized him from a bajillion things, including but not limited to:  The Princess Bride, Clueless, and Uncle Vanya.  But, when I went up to him to refill his coffee, it was for his appearance  as Professor Silverfish in How to Be a Perfect Person in Just Three Days (a WonderWorks production) that I complimented him.  He seemed absolutely tickled by that.  He must get so tired of having people approach him just to shout “Inconceivable!” in his face, that he was pleasantly surprised when I didn’t.  He was very smiley, left a great tip and made sure to say goodbye before he left.  What a nice guy.

Thanks for not mentioning 'the shrieking eels!'

By the way,  I waited on quite a few celebs there.  It was a hugely trendy 24-hour faux diner chic hotspot in a neighborhood with lots of expensive shops and nightclubs,  but the other person I served who was enthusiastically grateful to be recognized was Paul Dinello from Exit 57 and Strangers With Candy.  I don’t mean that to sound like he was desperate.  But, Exit 57 was hugely underappreciated and I think it made him happy for me to go on a bit about how great it was.  And it’s not like I was just buttering him up just to hobnob with famous comedy folk .  Exit 57 was pretty ace.  Again, he was super nice and gave a proper tip.

Thanks for your comedy patronage!

Anyway, back on topic.  WonderWorks was an excellent, excellent family tradition.  I loved ’em all.  But, today’s great thing is the WonderWorks production that I have the greatest recollection of:

137.  Anne of Green Gables

That’s Anne with an ‘e’, if you’re nasty.

Anne of Green Gables and its equally great follow-up Anne of Avonlea, are, seemingly, universally beloved.   Google the titles and you’re drowning in links.  Much like 80’s cartoons, there is a huge fan-base out there…hungry to talk about their love affair with this program of yesteryear and geek it up a bit.  My sister and I loved this one so much that we purchased them on VHS!  If you’re one of the unfortunate few that never saw it growing up, this homemade trailer sums it up pretty well.

That actually made me well up a bit!

At this point, I have to say My sister always held slightly more ownership of the Anne franchise.  Make no mistake…I loved it.  But, as siblings, you need to give each other some breathing room in areas of hobby and fandom.  You don’t want to crowd each other out whilst you’re seeking your individuality and personality.  I was comic books, karate, Cyndi Lauper, and comedy.  She was fine art, Russian culture, Howard Jones, and Anne of Green Gables.  We could appreciate each other’s interests but we’d never cross the line and try to claim them as our own or edge each other out if one of us claimed it before the other.  I think she loved its literate roots, gentile setting, and most of all–how Colleen Dewhurst as stern but fair matriarch Marilla reminded us of our super-loveable Grandmother.  Her name was Mary….Mary—Marilla…not too far of a stretch.  Like Marilla, she too was rarely seen without an apron.

I like your sleeves...they're real big.

Kathryn Hepburn had been considered for the role but couldn’t take it due to other commitments.  (Side note…her great-niece plays Diana Barry).  But, as terrific as I’m sure Hepburn would have been, Colleen Dewhurst was born to play the part of Marilla Cuthbert.  An amazing actress, Dewhurst died far too young, thanks in part to her Christian Scientist beliefs (she refused treatment for cervical cancer).

Anyway, the reasons that Steph, my sister, loved Anne of Green Gables aren’t entirely different from my own.  But, I bet I did get one lasting impression out of the production that never occurred to her.  That would be the strikingly close ‘friendship’ between Diana Barry and the titular heroine Anne Shirley Cuthbert.  They were ‘bosom friends’, you see.  They had the sort of intimate friendship that you only ever see between two girls in either:

A. period pieces

B.  films with a lesbian subject matter

C.  period pieces with lesbian subject matter

Of course, it’s probably only lesbians that ever infer sexuality onto the relationship between Anne and Diana.  But, give us a break.  When I was ten years old there was pretty much zero representation.  I needed to foist that dimension onto them.  And it’s hardly like I was alone in this self-satisfying conclusion.  Witness this excellent recut masterpiece and tell me that you can’t see what I saw:

How awesome is that?  Thank God for YouTube and free time!

Anyway, it’s that video that really reminded me of the delightful memory that is the Anne of Green Gables series.  I think I’ll go hunting on Amazon.  It’ll be erroneously filed in the ‘family’ section instead of the ‘gay/lesbian’ section, but wha-hey.  You can’t win them all.

Now, what of the delightful Megan Follows who played Anne Shirley to slate-cracking perfection?  Well, she still acts.  Every once in a while she’ll crop up in movies or on the teevee.  But, mostly she does theater.   I was lucky enough to catch her at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival when I was in highschool.  What a day that was!  My first real exposure to the works of Shakespeare, it was a beautiful day in Canada, and I was lucky enough to see a minor-celeb in the production.  I actually paid attention to the whole thing!  By the way, sorry if this post reads as a page long diary of ‘famous people that I saw once’.

In 2010 she was in a production of Caryl Churchill’s Cloud 9.–one of my favorite plays ever!  Check out the company-made trailer below… I know it looks bizarre but when the play is done well, it is an inspiring statement on gender politics throughout the ages and it is absolutely hilarious (if you believe those two aspects can co-exist.)

Leave a comment

Filed under Literature, TV

May The Best (Wo)man Win

I’ve had a bit of a vacation from television since the end of the first seasons of “Mad Men” and “Dexter” (though these are old news in The States, Britain has just aired them…alright?). But, the other day, my girlfriend tuned into BBC’s newest celeb competition show “Maestro”. I heard the constant starting and stopping of Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliet” from behind my computer monitor and went in to investigate what the hell she was watching. We’re both hooked now. The premise is this: 8 celebrities (except for Starsky and Hutch’s David Soul, most are unknown to Yankees but treasured in Britain) who all profess to be classical music enthusiasts, try their hands at conducting the London Symphony Orchestra. I love her anyway, but the best thing on this show is number Great Thing:

28. Sue Perkins on BBC2’s “Maestro”

I’m not trying to make a massive feminist statement or anything with my title to this blog entry.  It’s just a fact…there aren’t a lot of female conductors out there.  Google search ‘female conductors’ and you’ll come up with all sorts of articles about how few there are out there and why that might be.  Whatever.  The good news is that so far, the women of “Maestro” are excelling and I think the best of that bunch is Sue.

A bit about Sue.  She was educated at Cambridge and whilst there, performed with their legendary comedy troupe, Footlights. She gave stand-up a go, on a dare and was swiftly approached by Mel Giedroyc who, with Sue in tow, formed the comedy duo Mel and Sue. The two both wrote for the other big British female comedy team, French and Saunders. Since then, she’s been a television and radio commentator and has taken to doing the occasional stand-up spot again. To me, she seems like the closest thing Britain has to Ellen Degeneres. Both are somewhat androgynous but stylish lesbian comics who clearly have sneaker fetishes.





“Maestro”, according to Sue, is not truly a reality show as it doesn’t reflect anything that typically happens in ‘real life’.  It’s more hyper-reality. I think it’s a valid point.  Most people in their daily reality don’t get to win a shot at conducting a world class orchestra.  A shitty orchestra maybe…but never a world class one.  Here’s the BBC website for the program: Maestro

Like most of the contestants–and to be fair, like most of the people in existence–I don’t really understand what a conductor does. I’ve kind’ve assumed that if you’re good enough to play with a symphony orchestra, you’re probably good enough to read the piece of music that’s sitting in front of you. Music sheets already come pre-programmed with time, tempo, and a range of dynamics from piano to forte. Put everyone in a room together, practice it a few times, and you’ll probably sound pretty good. That’s why these people study music for ages, right? So they can do this? Looking at what a conductor does…he just kind of looks like a figurehead to me. An egghead that kind of vogues along to the beat.

We soon learn though, that the symphony really does take its cues from that figurehead. Even though the music sheet might say one thing…if the fearless leader wants it to go faster, louder, softer, slower, zazzier, whatever, he can do that. Take a look at someone doing it wrong-ish and you’ll see what I mean.  This is Peter Snow, a newsreader, giving it a whack:

I’m not the only one who favors Sue. The judges, so far, seem to love her. They also love drum and bass DJ Goldie.  His talent for the stuff is surprising as it seems to come quite naturally to him even though he admits to not being able to read music.. But, there’s an inability for him to accept judge’s criticism gracefully. I hate that. It’s like when Justin Guarini mouthed off to Simon Cowell. An unlikeable action was his ultimate death knell. Sue, on the other hand is self-effacing and goofy as well as talented. A winning trifecta.

Last week’s theme for the competition was ‘the movies’. The producers sent word of their picks for each contestant. Look at her reaction to getting “The Simpsons” theme song. It’s adorably enthusiastic.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

She also does a kickass job with it. Who knew it was such a difficult piece? Danny Elfman is genius.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

As a final thought, I think I prefer the floppy hair Sue but apparently, her mentor has made her pin it back into the pompadour fashion that you just witnessed in the video clip, so that she might engage the orchestra more with better eye contact. Supposedly he’s trying to coax her fashion glasses away as well…  Here’s an enjoyable little editorial that she wrote for The Guardian newspaper that states as much. Guardian Piece Start the petition now…Save Sue’s Glasses!

Leave a comment

Filed under Music, People, TV