As cooped up as we've been all year, it's easy to feel like you've watched everything your streaming services have to offer. And who knows? Maybe you've gotten close. But somehow, I did it: I found new things to watch. Here's a lineup of LGBTQ+ content highlights along with other entertainment options for however you want to spend the rest of this quarantine.
1. Catch a Show While Honoring Queer Literary Achievement
While it's a sad reality that LGBTQ+ bookstores aren't as common as they used to be, with the Lammys around, there's no excuse not to be caught up on our community's latest and greatest books. Since the 33rd annual Lambda Literary Awards are virtual this year, you'll get to add more must-reads to your list while joining in on the fun of seeing presenters like Ryan O'Connell of Netflix's "Special" and bestselling bisexual author R.O. Kwon honor LGBTQ+ writers from around the world. And why not stay and see headliner Meshell Ndegeocello perform, too? "What better way to kick off Pride than the Lammys?" Sue Landers, the executive director of Lambda Literary, tells Between The Lines. "It's the single largest celebration of LGBTQ books, and with the ceremony streaming this year — across the globe and for free — you're bound to meet some of your favorite writers and hang out with the biggest book lovers of the LGBTQ community."
The 33rd annual Lammys are scheduled from 7 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 1. Register for this free event on eventbrite.com.
2. See Rufus Do Judy for the First Time in Five Years
In celebration of what would have been Judy Garland's 99th birthday, double Grammy Award-nominated artist Rufus Wainwright will perform a virtual concert tribute to celebrate the gay icon's body of work. And, if this wasn't exciting enough for the theater gays, double Academy Award-winning actress Renée Zellweger — who won one of those Oscars for her performance as Judy in the biopic "Judy" — will join Wainwright with a four-piece band. But wait, it gets gayer: Since this is the first complete performance of the "Rufus Does Judy" show in five years, Wainwright's longtime friend and gay fashion icon Michael Kors has collaborated on a unique T-shirt commemorating the event.
The event will premiere at 8 p.m. Thursday, June 10. Tickets for "Rufus Does Judy at Capitol Studios" are available now exclusively via rufuswainwright.veeps.com and are priced at $30 (advance) and $35 (day of show).
3. Join a Lesbian Book Club
Let's face it, we all said we would read more because we were sheltering in place during COVID-19. But, instead, Netflix got the best of us. Now, you can catch up on all those books you never read — and maybe some you learned of at the Lammys — through the (currently virtual) LezRead. It's a book club for queer women hosted by the Jim Toy Community Center. Organizer Kerene Moore said that, besides the books, the club was how she learned about LGBTQ+ culture. "Lezread has met virtually throughout the COVID-19 pandemic," she tells Between The Lines. "We love books and the steady respite they provide in today's world. Though we read a variety of books, we primarily focus on adult fiction and graphic novels with queer women characters. We welcome new members to share in upcoming Zoom meetings."
Email [email protected] to join the private Facebook group, and visit a2lezread.tumblr.com for more information.
4. Get Inside Madonna's Grooves with a Critically Acclaimed Podcast
A rabid Madonna fan, like most of us, Edward Russell loved diving into the stories behind the queen of pop's most iconic hits. But he took it a step further when he got the idea for a podcast. That's when "Inside the Groove" was born, and it wasn't long before his stories about Madge's hits like "Music" and "Hung Up" earned him a nomination for a Canadian Podcast Award alongside heavy-hitters like "The Bald and the Beautiful" and "My Brother, My Brother and Me," all the while earning glowing reviews from The New York Times. Now, Russell is gearing up for the podcast's third season, and his (blond) ambition means he's only getting started. "‚ÄòYou can dance‚Ä¶ for inspiration' — that's how Madonna opens her hit song ‚ÄòInto The Groove.' But what are the inspirations of a girl born in the late 1950s just outside of Motor City in Detroit?" says Russell. "Through Motown, glam rock, soul and disco, in a special upcoming episode this season, we'll not only look at the songs a young Madonna heard on the radio but also show how they were referenced in her own music in later years."
Tune into "Inside The Groove" here: insidethegroove.co.uk.
5. Take a Bathroom Break with "Stalled"
Big or small, the bathrooms at gay nightclubs are wild, mysterious places. You never know who (or what) you'll run into. In the case of "Stalled," a new queer web comedy series from art collective Gal Pals Present, they managed to fit the whole show's cast and crew into a Brooklyn nightclub. The story features Jordan (played by Teddy Qin), a 19-year-old who scams their way into becoming a bathroom attendant armed with no customer service skills and a desire for human connection. Written by Lia Hagen and directed by Marley Jean Fernandes, "Stalled," much like real life, is about the unexpected — you just never know who will walk through that bathroom door.
"Set in the cramped bathroom of a newly reopened gay nightclub, Stalled is an teasing tribute to the queer spaces that connect our community. Jordan's job as a bathroom attendant involves a lot of shitty customers and ill-mannered drag queens, but the relationships they build are stronger than the smell from the toilets," Hagen says.
The first episode was released on May 24. Catch the trailer on the Gal Pals Present YouTube channel.