Welcome to The Birdcage, your weekly round-up of queer celeb news, gossip and entertainment. I'm Stephanie, a certified* celebrity and pop culture guru, and I'm here to tell you the who's who and what's what of everything going on with all our favourite LGBTQIA+ celebs.
Hello all, and welcome, to our very first edition of The Birdcage, covering all things LGBTQIA+ in the pop culture world, from movies, music, and TV news, to straight up celeb goss. I'm your host, Stephanie, and I live for pop culture. That's all you really need to know, so let's get right to it.
After what feels like a literal 84-year wait, Frank Ocean finally dropped his sophomore album Blonde, and the Ocean's floodgates are OPEN, fam.
As well as Blonde, Frank also dropped a visual album called Endless, and the luckiest of Ocean's #blessed fanbase also managed to pick up a copy of Blonde's accompanying magazine, titled Boys Don't Cry, which features a poem entitled "Boyfriend", an absolute must-read.
I'm lowkey sobbing. He also shared a list of his favourite films, and people are all like "OMG OF COURSE FRANK HAS GREAT TASTE IN MOVIES" but in my humble opinion, no favourite films list is correct unless it has Titanic on it, soooo...
Before we move on, let's also take a moment to discuss the fact that the uncut version of Endless is reportedly 140 HOURS long. That's literally (and in this very rare case, I actually mean literally, rather than figuratively) almost six days. Franky, baby, ILY but that is excessive AF and I'm really glad you chopped it back.
Tegan and Sara released a music video for their new track "Fade Out", which doubles as a behind-the-scenes look at Clea DuVall's directorial debut The Intervention.
Released via Rolling Stone, Sara Quin said that she "played a rough idea of [the song]" for Clea [DuVall] and she really liked it.” From there, Sara says that she "tried to imagine Melanie Lynskey’s character and the misguided attempt to fix other people’s lives when she herself was headed for a fadeout in her own relationship and rewrote the lyrics.”
And while we're on the topic of The Intervention, Clea DuVall did an interview with Jezebel this week, where she talks about normalising the representation of queer people on the big screen, saying:
"A lot of my friends are straight. And when it’s a bunch of couples, it’s a bunch of straight couples, and then me and my girlfriend. But it’s not a thing. It’s not like, Ugh. The gays are here. You know? It’s just, we’re all friends and it’s normal. I think that as much as there are more LGBTQ characters represented on television, it is still a lot of times a thing. Attention is called to it. It is, on some level, about that. And I wanted it to not be a thing. I don’t see that as much, the normalising of it onscreen."
You can read the rest of the interview here.
UK hip-hop artist MKEK responded to a fan wondering about his sexuality in an incredibly succinct acronym:
'Nuff said, TBH.
At the time, producers denied sampling any Sleigh Bells tracks, and said that Demi herself wasn't involved in the production of the song.
Fast forward to this week and Sleigh Bells have slapped Miss Demetria with a lawsuit, saying that "the combination of the hand claps and bass drum, structured as 3 quarter beats and a rest, with the bass drum providing a counter-rhythm to the hand claps, is at least substantially similar in both works.” So basically "you jacked our shit".
More than that, though, the band is claiming that “signal decay and other sonic signatures in each of the songs are comprised of and contain virtually identical content, and analyses of the two songs reveal that they are, at least in part, substantially similar, virtually identical, or identical.”
Sleigh Bells be like...
And rounding up our music news for the week, Adele offered to sing at a gay couple's wedding for free. What a queen.
This week we're welcoming Bella Thorne to our LGBTQIA+ community, as the actress came out as bisexual on Twitter earlier this week. After uploading photos of herself kissing her brother's ex-girlfriend (messy AF, but let me tell you that I LIVE FOR THIS KIND OF DRAMA and Bella's just made it onto my "celebrities to watch for drama" list), a fan tweeted her, asking the Disney star if she's bi. She responded:
She then followed it up with a sweet message to the fans who tweeted her love and support after she came out.
Now, despite the fact that I listen to the incredible Who? Weekly podcast every week, which references Bella on the reg, I cannot tell you what she's famous for. As soon as I figure it out, I'll let you know, k?
Echoing her sentiments from her Elle magazine interview earlier this year, Kristen Stewart told the New York Times that she felt uncomfortable with Hollywood's depiction of her relationship with Robert Pattinson.
Saying that the media turned the Twilight lovebirds' romance into a "product", K-Stew said that eventually their relationship felt like it was "not real life".
“People wanted me and Rob to be together so badly that our relationship was made into a product,” she said, adding that “it wasn’t real life anymore."
"That was gross to me," she said. "It’s not that I want to hide who I am or hide anything I’m doing in my life. It’s that I don’t want to become a part of a story for entertainment value.”
In the interview, Kristen also gushes about her girlfriend Alicia Cargile, saying "look how cute she is. I love her so much," and opens up about her struggle with “debilitating physical anxiety" in her early 20s. Read the full piece here.
Transparent actress Alexandra Billings penned an open letter for HuffPo in response to Bette Midler's transphobic Caitlyn Jenner tweet, saying that while she thinks Bette is "glorious and magnificent" she also needs to "rethink" what she puts out into the universe. She writes:
"I cannot take my Transness off, Ms. Midler, and it has taken me 54 years of survival through centuries of violence and suicides, to finally make friends with my past. And I will not be the butt of your jokes simply because you cannot take the time to write from a place of truth, instead of a place of fear."
You can read the powerful letter in its entirety here.
Cher spoke about her love for her LGBTQIA+ fans while on the Hillary Clinton campaign trial in Miami this week.
"One day my mother brought home these two guys and I thought, 'oh, God, these guys are so much fun—why are they different?' Hairdressers," she Cher-ed. "And I loved them so much. We went to Palm Springs and it was one of the greatest weekends of my life and I was 9 and I could tell then... that we were destined to be together."
"I've had many, many, many ups and downs in my career and through it all, you guys never left," she finished. Watch the videos below:
Here is an inexplicable video of Jodie Foster and Priyanka Chopra doing what I think is supposed to be a dramatic reading of Britney Spears' lyrics, except that it appears that Priyanka misunderstood the assignment and heard: "Priyanka, sing 'Toxic', okay?" instead???
I genuinely have no idea how or why this video came to exist in the world, but it's a great way for me to aggressively shoehorn in my own agenda, which is to say that Brit Brit's new album Glory is her best since 2007's Blackout and you should literally all go buy it, it's out now and you can thank me later.
Troye Sivan is on the cover of V Magazine, serving LOOKS:
Bb-blue eyes talks about what it was like to grow up gay in WA and his plans for his upcoming tour in the US. He tells the mag he wants to “ask the crowd to bring a warm piece of clothing, which we can then donate to an LGBTQ homeless shelter in that city," adding: "I want a show where everyone can come and hang out and help each other out and know it’s a safe space.” You can read the rest of the interview here.
Cara Delevingne is raising awareness for cancer, and look, if your initial reaction is to think something along the lines of "mmm, because cancer is a disease that literally no one has heard of, guess I'd better get to researching!", then same. BUT, it's legit I promise.
The Lady Garden campaign (hence the flower in the image below) is all about encouraging women to speak more openly about female cancers, because apparently a third of us are too embarrassed to discuss our vaginas with friends, or even our doctors. So, ladies, here is Cara, encouraging you to have a chat about all the weird things going on in your underwear.
From the casting couch
In casting news, we have Ellen Page, who's just been cast in Mercy, a romance that stars Kate Mara as the titular character. Ellen plays Lucy, a girl who's father is on death row. She falls in love with Kate's character, Mercy, but it is #complicated because they're on opposite sides of a political cause. Mercy will be directed by Israeli filmmaker Tali Shalom Ezer, with filming set to begin in in September.
Queen Sarah Paulson has signed up for a new show brought to you by yep, you guessed it, Ryan Murphy. She's set to star in Feud, which is literally a show about celebrity feuds, IE, our new favourite show. The first season will focus on the 1962 feud between Whatever Happened To Baby Jane co-stars Joan Crawford and Bette Davis. Sarah will be playing Oscar-winner Geraldine Page, with Susan Sarandon playing Davis, and Jessica Lange playing Crawford. Look, this sounds great and all, but someone let me know when they're doing a full season dedicated to Paris vs. Nicole, yeah?
Sarah is also in talks to join the cast of Ocean's Eight, which would see her onscreen with Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Rihanna, Helena Bonham Carter, Mindy Kaling, and Awkwafina, which maybe sounds like the most incredible cast of all time...and Anne Hathaway. Look, she has an Oscar, she doesn't need me to like her, she's fine.
On the small screen
Of course, the biggest news of the week has to be the casting of the ~gay Bachelor~, Finding Prince Charming.
This looks like a shitshow and I cannot wait to settle into a bottle of wine and enjoy every single moment. You can read more about each of the contestants here, too.
Oh and also, this has me SCREAMING AT MY DESK. Please know that any future mentions of Lance Bass in The Birdcage will be as "Lass Bass".
Everyone's talking about Netflix's new darling The Get Down, and Jaden Smith has been making headlines for sharing an on-screen same-sex smooch with co-star Noah Le Gros. The Baz Luhrmann series follows six teen artists in 1970's New York City and chronicles the birth of punk, disco and hip-hop. Watch the clip, set to Christina Aguilera's new track "Telepathy", below:
And the trailer for season two of Gaycation has landed, visiting India, the Ukraine, and America's south.
On the big screen
First things first, if you've heard rumours about the "lesbian Brokeback Mountain" starring Margot Robbie and Emma Watson, know that they are just that - rumours. But hey, we can dream, right?
Instead, we've got the trailer for Moonlight, a story of one man's journey to accept himself and his sexuality, told in three parts, from childhood, to adolescence, to adulthood. It stars Trevante Rhodes, along with Alex Hibbert and Ashton Sanders, playing the lead role of Chiron.
We also have the trailer for First Girl I Loved, which looks... ominous? After getting good reviews at Sundance, it's hitting theatres in the States in mid-October.
And for all the Drag Race fans out there, we have the trailer for Hurricane Bianca, starring Bianca Del Rio, winner of season six. The crowdfunded film co-stars Rachel Dratch, Alan Cumming, Margaret Cho and RuPaul, and is about a teacher who gets fired for being gay, and then gets his job back by applying in drag! Mrs. Doubtfire teas! Check out the trailer below.
Your weekly watch on SBS On Demand
While we're waiting for Moonlight and First Girl I Loved, let's watch Patrik Age 1.5, a Swedish comedy about a gay couple, Goran and Sven, who have it all: the picture-perfect relationship, the house in the 'burbs, the whole she-bang. They're super excited to adopt their baby Patrik, aged 1.5, except, Oops! He's actually a 15-year-old homophobe.