To celebrate the many Pride events taking place across the U.S. this coming weekend, as well as the return of Orphan Black, a show whose queer characters have been consistently praised, today’s On the Beat has an LGBTQ theme. So fetch yourself a rainbow-colored unicorn latte and dive right in.
1. WHAT TO WATCH IF YOU ENJOY TV DRAMA THAT THINKS OUTSIDE THE BOX
Premiering Saturday on BBC America, the fifth season of this acclaimed sci-fi series will sadly be its last. Then again, Orphan Black has built a loyal audience by offering a fresh, inventive, and ethically challenging exploration of human cloning, so it’s hard to blame the show’s producers for calling time while it’s still at its peak. Lead actress Tatiana Maslany deservedly won an Emmy last year for portraying a woman and her multiple clones, including gay scientist Cosima, one of TV’s most compelling LGBTQ characters. This is your last chance to watch her awesome performance (or should that be performances?) unfold.
2. WHAT TO WATCH IF YOU LIKE COMEDY THAT MAKES YOU CRINGE
Directed by Miguel Arteta (Cedar Rapids) from a script by Mike White (School of Rock), this socially-conscious comedy of manners was a hit at January’s Sundance Film Festival. Salma Hayek is brilliant as Beatriz, a humble holistic therapist who crashes a wealthy client’s dinner party, then proceeds to expose a few awkward home truths. John Lithgow, Connie Britton, and Chloë Sevigny all shine in zingy supporting roles, too. Opening in select theaters Friday, Beatriz at Dinner is a witty examination of class, race, and the power of cash in modern-day America.
3. WHOSE EDUCATIONAL AND AMUSING YOUTUBE CHANNEL TO CHECK OUT
London-based Irishman Riyadh Khalaf, 25, is one of the U.K.’s most interesting YouTube stars. Raised by a Catholic mother and Muslim father, Khalaf came out as gay in his teens, and now speaks movingly about his journey towards self-acceptance. He’s currently hosting his own BBC documentary series, Queer Britain, but he still posts regularly on the popular YouTube channel where he honed his voice. Some of Khalaf’s videos are more serious than others, but the best ones offer a frank and informative insight into life as a young LGBTQ person in 2017.
4. WHAT TO WATCH BECAUSE IT STILL FEATURES SOME OF TV’S MOST SURPRISING CHARACTERS
Since it debuted in 2013, Orange Is the New Black has established a reputation for being one of our most progressive shows. Set in a women’s prison in upstate New York, the Netflix hit has given us a diverse array of complex and electrifying female characters, and won awards for its nuanced and sensitive representation of LGBTQ themes. Season four ended with a shocking twist, so expect season five to err on the dark side of comedy-drama when it launches Friday.
5. WHO TO ADD TO YOUR INSTAGRAM FEED FOR DAILY GLITZ AND GLAMOUR
New York City’s Peppermint has been a standout queen on the latest season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, but she made history before she even entered the show’s famous ‘werk room.’ While other trans women have competed on the Emmy-winning reality show, Peppermint is the first to have been fully ‘out’ when she began the competition. Follow her on Instagram for some sickening (that’s a compliment) drag looks and glimpses of the splashy personality that’s made her a Drag Race delight.
6. WHAT TO LISTEN TO BECAUSE IT’S ONE OF THE SUMMER’S BIGGEST POP ALBUMS
It’s difficult to know what to expect from Katy Perry‘s fifth album when it drops this Friday. The provocative singer said in February that lead single “Chained to the Rhythm” was a slice of politically-aware “purposeful pop,” but since then she’s reeled off a pair of frothier tracks with no hifalutin agenda: the sexually suggestive “Bon Appétit” and confrontational “Swish Swish.” She’s no fool, though, so more killer choruses and ear-snagging lyrics should dominate this record — whatever Perry decides to sing about.
7. WHAT TO WATCH IF YOU’RE A SUCKER FOR A CATFIGHT
Premiering tonight on VH1, this new scripted drama series follows the backstage tantrums and power games on a female-led midday talk show. It’s based on the book Satan’s Sisters by former The View host Star Jones, so it’s pretty safe to presume some events may not be entirely fictional. To be honest, if Daytime Divas isn’t a kitsch, campy treat, something’s gone horribly wrong in production. The cast is even led by Ugly Betty‘s Vanessa Williams, an actress who’s already created one of TV’s great gay icons, Wilhelmina Slater.
8. WHICH AWARDS CEREMONY TO TUNE INTO IF YOU HAVE A BIT OF A THING FOR THESPIANS
Theater’s most prestigious awards ceremony always attracts some major talent, but this year’s event is especially star-studded. When it airs live on CBS Sunday night, host Kevin Spacey will be welcoming nominees including Danny DeVito, Nathan Lane, Cate Blanchett, Sally Field, and Patti LuPone. Despite the illustrious guest list, all eyes will likely be on Bette Midler, who’s a hot favorite to take home her first ever Tony for her bravura performance in the Broadway revival of Hello, Dolly!. We’ll be keeping our fingers and (twinkle) toes crossed.
9. WHAT TO ADD TO YOUR PRIDE WEEKEND PLAYLIST IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY
Cult U.S. pop singer Halsey identifies as bisexual, but this is the first time she’s used female pronouns in her music. “She doesn’t look me in the eyes anymore,” Halsey sings on the first verse, before Fifth Harmony’s Lauren Jauregui — who also identifies as bi — joins her for a glorious, melancholy chorus. Catchy, unapologetic and lyrically intriguing, “Strangers” is truly an LGBTQ love song for today.
10. AND FINALLY, WHO TO FOLLOW ON TWITTER BECAUSE HE’S A FREAKIN’ HERO
If you’d like to brighten your feed with some rainbow-colored wisdom, George Takei should be your first port of call. Though his Star Trek role as Mr. Sulu is fondly remembered, the veteran actor is probably best known now for his tireless (and good-humored) LGBTQ activism. Takei, a sprightly 80 years old, likes to track down stupid Twitter questions so he can deliver a witty riposte. When someone tweeted, “Why do gay dudes have that ‘gay tone’?,” he fired back with: “What you call a ‘tone,’ we call a ‘vocabulary.'” Slay, Takei!
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