This week's can't-miss, female-centric entertainment highlights includes Rachel Maddow talking back (of course), Lili Taylor as a lady cop on Almost Human, Amanda Seyfriend getting naked, a quartet of hot singing sister, the best place to buy vibrators in Silcon Valley, and the return of a legendary lesbian band.
10. Theater: Rachel Maddow at Public Forum Drama Club
Hot wonk alert! Esteemed lesbian pundit Rachel Maddow joins actress Elizabeth Marvel in a reading and discussion of Tony Kushner’s play Only We Who Guard the Mystery Shall Be Unhappy Sunday at 7 p.m. at Joe’s Pub, part of New York City’s Public Theater. Kushner’s 2003 play portrays Laura Bush reading a passage from Dostoyevsky to Iraqi children who were killed in American air strikes. Afterwards, the cast will discuss the morality of U.S. foreign policy and the extent to which we share responsibility for our leaders’ actions. — Trudy Ring
9. Music: Allegoria by Sapphire Slows
Tokyo-based Sapphire Slows won fans with her EP of distinctive electronica music, True Breath, and now she’s releasing her first full-length album, Allegoria, which drops Tuesday on the Not Not Fun label and is streaming now at Dazed Digital. Fader magazine says her music “moves with the rushing rhythms of a city, like so many neon lights and unfamiliar faces blurring past” and we couldn't have said it any better. She will also be performing Saturday at Human Resources in Los Angeles’s Chinatown and Sunday on KChung Radio in L.A. if you're lucky enough to be in that part of the country. —TR
8. TV: Almost Human
Based on all the testosterone-laden commercials for Fox’s futuristic new buddy cop (i.e. bromance) TV series, Almost Human, you may think there’s nothing there for lesbian viewers. You are wrong. First, it’s created and produced by J.J. Abrams (creator of Fringe and Alias, so you know he can create strong women characters) and it co-stars Minka Kelly as a (coincidentally hot) human cop. Even better: Lili Taylor plays the very cool police captain, Sandra Maldonado, a role that was originally planned for a man. She’s tough, smart, and emotional, something that women on the force are apparently allowed to be in the year 2048. She show debuts Sunday Nov. 17. — Diane Anderson-Minshall
7. Blu-ray: Lovelace
Linda Lovelace won fame in the 1970s with the porn film Deep Throat, but behind the scenes her life was marked by abuse and betrayal. Amanda Seyfried plays Lovelace in this biopic by gay producers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, which is out Tuesday on DVD and Blu-ray. Peter Sarsgaard portrays her violent husband, and the cast also includes Chloë Sevigny, Sharon Stone, James Franco, Hank Azaria, Wes Bentley, Bobby Cannavale, and Eric Roberts. Bonus features include an in-depth feature on the making of the movie. And, in case you missed it, Seyfriend (who played bisexual in Chloe) gets naked in this one. — TR
6. Video: Ke$ha's Haunted Vagina
Whether Ke$ha’s vagina is actually haunted, as she posited this week on MTV, we’ll never know. But we’d sure like to find out, which is why we’ve embarked on the all-access tour with America’s most lovable lush. (If you missed it: the pop singer played with a ghost meter only to proclaim "either my vagina is haunted or I'm pregnant with a ghost baby.") Just a week after Malaysian authorities cancelled her concert over religious fears, MTV has begun airing the second half of its behind-the-scenes look at Ke$ha’s personal and professional life in the docu-series Ke$ha: My Crazy Beautiful Life. The hit show, returning to MTV for a second season, follows the multi-platinum bisexual recording artist and her inner circle as she travels the world on her Get $leazy tour. Sharing the spotlight this season with friends and family, Ke$ha is hoping to drop some jaws as she swims with sharks, talks even more shit about her ex, and pretty much just behaves like Ke$ha. This very classic clip explains it all. Ke$ha: My Crazy Beautiful Life airs Wednesday nights at 10:30 p.m. ET (9:30 CT) on MTV. — Michael Regula
5. Biz: There's Now a Great Placce to Buy Vibrators in Silicon Valley
Good Vibrations, the trusted, queer-owned and sex-positive retailer is taking on Silicon Valley with a new store — the brand's seventh — in Palo Alto, Calif. The San Francisco-based company has been making ladies moan for more than 36 years with quality sex toys, accurate health information (usually delivered by a queer woman), and an unabashed pleasure in uncovering pleasure. Good Vibrations — under the direction lesbian chief operations officer Jackie Strano — is taking over the West coast by offering great toys and a wide array of girl-pleasing workshops and seminars that run the gamut and welcome all orientations and identities; November's workshops include Allison Moon on How to Drive a Vulva, Hot Sex co-author Jamye Waxman with Penis Pleasings, and a signature seminar from Strap-On Jo (also known as Jo Whole). Find a full listing of workshops and events on both coasts on the Good Vibes website. — Sunnivie Brydum
4. Music: Parkington Sister's New Song, "In the Pines"
From the lonely opening strains of violin in the new Parkington Sisters newest song, “In the Pines,” it’s clear something is amiss. There’s a mysterious woman, a cold wind, a no good husband, a severed head. It’s haunting and melodic and creepy in the best kind of way. The murder ballad "In the Pines" (which some also call "Black Girl" and "Where Did You Sleep Last Night") is a Southern Appalachian folk song dating back to the mid-1800s and it’s been recorded by everyone from Ma Rainey to Grateful Dead, Dolly Parton, Dee Dee Ramone, Nirvana, and Lead Belly. Dare we say Parkington Sisters may just have released one of the best versions yet?
"We often write pretty dark songs so naturally we were drawn to the haunting beauty of Lead Belly and Nirvana's variations of this old folk murder ballad,” notes one of the Sisters. “We recorded our version live in a pitch black basement, adding a spooky feel to an already hair-raising song." Take a listen here. And if you love it, check out their new EP Inside My Head. I can’t wait for their full-length album, out in 2014. —DAM
3. Film: The New Black
The New Black, an award-winning documentary that examines race and LGBT issues, opens November 1 in Los Angeles. Directed by Yoruba Richen and produced by legendary lesbian filmmaker Yvonne Welbon, the film explores how the African-American community is responding to the accelerating LGBT rights movement. In the church, in the street, and at the kitchen table, The New Black takes viewers directly into the conversation of race, politics, and homophobia in America, with special attention to the campaign to gain marriage equality in the state of Maryland. The New Black, which won the Audience Award at AFI Docs, Philadelphia QFest, and the Frameline Film Festival, will screen exclusively at the Laemmle Music Hall Theatre, 9036 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills, Calif. Watch the trailer below. — Daniel Reynolds
2. DVD: Passion
Rom-com queen Rachel McAdams shows a different side when she joins The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’s Noomi Rapace in this sexy thriller in which they play cutthroat ad women, from acclaimed director Brian De Palma. The film promises “teasing sexual interplay between the two women,” and critic Peter Sobczynski calls it “a sexy stunner” that “plays like a master class in the art of generating suspense.” Even if it's not as hot as a lesbian-made De Palma-esque thriller could be, it's still Noomi Rapace, who is our kind of badass. Drops Tuesday on DVD and Blu-ray. — TR
1. Music: Luscious Jackson Returns
There was a period of time in the 1990s when you couldn’t go a day without hearing Luscious Jackson’s smash hit, “Naked Eye.” The band graced the cover of both major lesbian magazines at the time and had legions of queer girl fans, but even more compelling were the celebrity rockers — like Debbie Harry — who showed up uninvited at their packed concerts. Drummer Kate Schellenbach, who was drummer for the Beastie Boys before joining the band, reached Joan Jett levels of adoration among gay girls and her famous relationship with The Breeders’ Josepine Wiggs landed the duo on the cover of The Advocate in 1997). Fans were crushed when the band broke up, or it now appears, took an 11-year hiatus, coming back together two years ago to work on their new album on their own label, City Song. Magic Hour, out Nov. 5, is the all-female band’s fourth album and their first full-length offering since Electric Honey came out in 1997 (one of the songs on it skyrocketed to fame after appearing on Buffy the Vampire Slayer). Magic Hour features Shellenbach and two of the three original founders Jill Cunniff (still a fine songwriter and lead vocalist) and kick-ass guitarist Gabby Glaser doing the kind of music only they can do and I’m sure their older fans — many of us, ahem, now in middle age — will be competing with teens to get the album download first. — DAM