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  • February, 2021

Time for some ‘Watermelon,’ and one of the best queer movies ever

Welcome to Screen Gems, our weekend dive into queer and queer-adjacent titles of the past that deserve a watch or a rewatch.

The Groundbreaker: The Watermelon Woman

Strange how Cheryl Dunye, one of the great lesbian filmmakers of our time, has had such a low-profile career. After a series of short and experimental films, Dunye arrived on the New Queer Cinema scene with her rom-com/drama The Watermelon Woman, which combined scripted and documentary film techniques into a meta-narrative that walks the line between reality and fantasy.

The film stars Dunye as Cheryl, an alternate-reality version of herself: a black lesbian film enthusiast. While doing research on classic films of the 03s and 40s, Dunye becomes fascinated by an actress billed only as “The Watermelon Woman” (an unfortunate real-life practice for African-American actresses, who had to adopt caricature-like stage names rather than use their own). Cheryl becomes obsessed with learning more about the woman, particularly after she discovers that the actress in question was also a lesbian. Meanwhile, Cheryl also begins a flirtation with the beautiful Diana (Guinevere Turner), a leggy, brainy beauty with a passion for film of her own.

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The Watermelon Woman uses its unusual format to comment on everything from queer dating to historical erasure to racism and homophobia. Dunye closes the film with a title card revealing that the story of the film is fiction by necessity: sometimes, thanks to the erasure of queer history, we have to imagine our own. It’s also not hard to see the wide-ranging influence of the film in contemporary LGBTQ artists such as Lee Daniels, John Cameron Mitchell, Mark Christopher, Todd Haynes, and, in particular, Lena Waithe. That Dunye has only made one feature film since The Watermelon Woman is our loss.

Quirky, funny, and inspiring, we offer it up as both an overlooked LGBTQ romantic comedy, and an inspiration: even when we must fill in the gaps of our own history with fiction, we can still find truth.

Streams on Showtime, Amazon, YouTube & Hulu.

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Mr. Potato Head Is Going Gender Neutral, Sort Of

The toy line will now be called simply “Potato Head,” though Hasbro said the Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head characters will live on in some form.

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NSFW Lesbosexy Sunday Is Calling All Size Queers

Max Madame and Q

When it comes to dildos, how big is too big? Also: what Venus in Pisces means for your love life, keeping an ex’s nudes, and more.

The post NSFW Lesbosexy Sunday Is Calling All Size Queers appeared first on Autostraddle.

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Imagine Dragons’ Dan Reynolds donates childhood home worth $1 million to LGBT+ youth charity

Dan Reynolds, professional tall man and Imagine Dragons singer, has donated his childhood home worth $1 million for it to become an LGBT+ youth centre. As part of LGBT+ advocacy group Encircle’s ‘$8 Million, Eight Houses’ campaign, the 34-year-old reflected on the difficulties queer youth face. Reynolds,…

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Come Vibe with Me: Simple Sunday Goodbyes

Image shows black woman in bed with tattoos on her arm with 3 different textured blankets surrounding her.

This final “Come Vibe With Me” is full of sweet goodbyes and chill thank you’s. Also, Megan Thee Stallion meets Mean Girls, hella love for Chloe X Halle and a request for Angel Haze to stare at me forever.

The post Come Vibe with Me: Simple Sunday Goodbyes appeared first on Autostraddle.

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Twitter Users Can't Help But Dish About Mr. Potato Head's Name Change

“Somewhere Tucker Carlson just learned he’s going to have to talk about Mr. Potato Head tonight,” one Twitter user joked.

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Ava Max Looks To A Post-Pandemic Future With Her Euphoric New Video

“My Head & My Heart” also gives the rising pop star a chance to go full-on dance diva. “I feel like we need to boost our moods,” she said.

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Ghana’s president Nana Akufo-Addo vows to never legalise marriage equality

Amid a blistering international outcry over the country’s treatment of LGBT+ citizens, Ghana‘s president has vowed to never legalise marriage equality in a devastating by expected blow. In breaking his days-long silence, Nana Akufo-Addo sought to stress that queer rights will not budge an inch anytime soon…

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New Anti-LGBTQ+ Coalition Calls Equality Act a Threat to Children

Penny Young Nance

The Promise to America’s Children has many far-right groups and activists as supporters, including Penny Young Nance (pictured) of Concerned Women for America.

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A newly-out gay man investigates the disappearance of his sister in ‘Blackbird’

Welcome to Screen Gems, our weekend dive into queer and queer-adjacent titles of the past that deserve a watch or a re-watch.

The Winged: Blackbird

Noah’s Arc creator Patrik-Ian Polk followed up his delightful romance The Skinny with this drama adapted from the Larry Duplechan novel. Blackbird tells the story of Randy (Julian Walker), a gay teenager growing up in a very religious household in a small Mississippi town. As he struggles to reconcile his faith with his sexuality–not to mention his authoritarian parents (played by Mo’Nique and Isaiah Washington…the latter’s bit of casting is ironic, we know). To make matters worse, Randy’s sister vanished years before, and he must struggle with the guilt of losing her, as well as the constant question of her fate.

As with so much of Polk’s work, Blackbird relishes in frank, gay sexuality and uses a mix of humor and drama to keep the plot moving. It also suffers from the same problems as much of his work: a story that gets a bit too didactic in places, sexual fantasies that at times seem at odds with the rest of the plot, and budget limitations that make the seams show.

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But Walker gives a compelling lead performance, and Washington and Mo’Nique both have considerable dramatic chops to anchor the story. The main thrust of the story–a religious teen trying to reconcile his faith with his sexuality–rings true, and is a subject still underexplored in other queer films. Sincere and inspired, if a bit uneven, we suggest giving Blackbird a chance.

Streams on Amazon, YouTube & VUDU.

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