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Lily and Jane team up, ‘Looking’ and ‘Orange’ return while ‘Mad Men’ signs off



television, gay news, Washington Blade
television, gay news, Washington Blade

Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright in ‘House of Cards’ (Photo by David Giesbrecht; courtesy Netflix)

Produced by Ellen DeGeneres, “One Big Happy” stars Elisha Cuthbert as a lesbian who carries her best friend’s (Nick Zano) baby. The show premieres March 17 on NBC at 9:30 p.m.

Empire,” created by Danny Strong and Lee Daniels, who is openly gay, airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on Fox. Taraji P. Henson steals the show as Cookie, the ex-wife of Terrance Howard’s character, a music mogul pitting his three sons, one of whom is gay, against each other for control of the company. The show, which is based partly on Shakespeare’s “King Lear,” is enjoying extremely high ratings and has been renewed for a second season.

The third season of Netflix hit “House of Cards” was released Feb. 27 (all 13 episodes) and continues Frank Underwood’s (Kevin Spacey’s) shady dealings.

Ellie Kemper and Jane Krakowski star in “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” available on Netflix today (March 6). The show, created by Tina Fey, also stars Titus Burgess (D’Fwan, “30 Rock”) as a gay singer working as a Times Square robot.

television, gay news, Washington Blade

A scene from ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.’ (Photo by Eric Liebowitz; courtesy Netflix)

Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda star in “Grace and Frankie,” a new Netflix show about two long-time rivals who come together when their husbands announce they plan to marry each other.

Season four of “Girls” continues on HBO Sundays at 9 p.m. and has been picked up for a fifth season. The season finale will air on March 22.

Looking” airs Sundays at 10 p.m. on HBO. Daniel Franzese (Damien, “Mean Girls”) joined the cast for season two. The show focuses on a group of gay friends living in San Francisco.

Winter is coming in the middle of spring when season five of “Game of Thrones” premieres April 12 at 9 p.m. on HBO. Catch all of the drama, dragons and unexpected deaths of your favorite characters (probably).

“Orange is the New Black” returns to Netflix on June 12. The website’s juggernaut show has been praised for its groundbreaking representation of LBT women of color.

Jonathan Knight of New Kids on the Block and his boyfriend Harley Rodriguez are contestants on Season 26 of “The Amazing Race.” All teams this season are couples, including five teams meeting for the first time on the show as blind dates. One such team is composed of two young men named Bergen and Kurt. The show airs Fridays at 8 p.m. on CBS.

Season 20 of “Dancing with the Stars” premieres March 16 at 8 p.m. Contestants include out athlete Michael Sam, actress Suzanne Somers and soul legend Patti LaBelle, who recently appeared in “American Horror Story: Freak Show.”

Zachary Quinto and Uma Thurman star in “The Slap,” narrated by Victor Garber. Quinto plays a man dealing with the aftermath of slapping someone else’s misbehaved child. The miniseries currently airs Thursdays on NBC at 8 p.m.

Reign” airs on the CW at 9 p.m. on Thursdays. The historical fiction focuses on the early years of Mary, Queen of Scots. It features several intimate scenes between female characters. Caitlin Stasey, a star of the show, describes herself as “mostly gay.”

The Last Man On Earth” premiered last weekend on Fox. The show stars Will Forte searching the country for signs of other living humans after earth’s entire population is wiped out. The cast includes Kristen Schaal and Mary Steenburgen. It airs Sunday nights at 9:30 p.m.

The Walking Dead” airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on AMC. A recent episode of the show featured its first gay male character, Aaron, kissing his boyfriend Eric. The 90-minute season finale will air March 29.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus stars as President Selina Meyer, following her character’s political ascension at the end of the previous season of “Veep.” Season four premieres on HBO April 12 at 10:30 p.m.

Penny Dreadful” returns to Showtime for season two on May 3 at 10 p.m. Season one of the show featured a kiss between star Reeve Carney’s character Dorian Gray (yes, that Dorian Gray) and Josh Hartnett’s character.

Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal” continue to dominate Twitter on Thursday nights on ABC at 8 and 9 p.m., respectively. Both shows feature racially diverse casts and several queer characters, as does “How To Get Away With Murder,” the third Thursday night Shondaland show, which recently ended its first season.

The second half of the final season of “Mad Men” premieres April 5 at 10 p.m. on AMC. Throughout its run, the show has featured several gay characters. The series finale will air May 17.

The sixth season of “Community,” a consistently doomed show with a cult following, will premiere April 17 on Yahoo! Screen, which will fulfill half of fans’ rallying cry of “six seasons and a movie.” Martin Mull and Lesley Ann Warren (“Clue” co-stars) will reunite when they appear as the parents of Gillian Jacobs’s character Britta.

A Netflix Show, “Marvel’s Daredevil,” premieres April 10. The show stars Charlie Cox as the titular blind superhero as well as “True Blood’s” Deborah Ann Woll and PFLAG supporter Rosario Dawson.

television, gay news, Washington Blade

A scene from ‘Marvel’s Daredevil.’ (Photo by Barry Wetcher; courtesy Netflix)



Tragedy and comedy intertwined in witty ‘Quietly Hostile’

Irby’s fourth essay collection addresses pandemic, TV writing career, more



(Book cover image courtesy of Vintage)

‘Quietly Hostile: Essays’
By Samantha Irby
c.2023, Vintage
$17/304 pages

You know from the get-go that “Quietly Hostile,” essayist, television writer and humorist Samantha Irby’s fourth essay collection, is filled to the brim with the author’s mordant wit, cynicism and empathy. Who else but Irby, 43, who has struggled with depression, would write: “This book is dedicated to Zoloft”?

There are zillions of essay collections. But few are as memorable, poignant, funny (sometimes grossly, in a good way) and heart-filled (a term Irby might hate) as “Quietly Hostile”

This long-awaited collection is filled with what Irby would call “good shit”: from hilarious descriptions of her bad dog in doggie day care to bits about, literally, shit, (that will gross you out, but reduce your shame about pooping).

Irby, who is Black and bisexual, grew up in poverty in Evanston, Ill. Her parents died when she was 18 (her mother from multiple sclerosis; her father, who gambled, likely, suffered from post traumatic stress disorder).

At the age of nine, Irby’s mother’s MS went out of remission. While still a child, she was called upon to care for her Mom.

“When I was an actual kid growing up on welfare with a sick mom and expired Tuna Helper from the dollar store, the future and its infinite possibilities stretched before me like a sumptuous buffet I couldn’t afford to go to,” Irby writes.

There is a backdrop of pain, sadness and, sometimes, anger to much of Irby’s humor. But  self-pity and rage don’t consume the book.

Irby, the author of “Meaty,” “We Are Never Meeting in Real Life” and “Wow, No Thank You,” knows that the cliche is true: tragedy and comedy often are often intertwined. 

It’s fun to learn in “Quietly Hostile” that Irby, who was a writer for the popular TV shows “Shrill” and “Tuca & Bertie,” is as much a fan as the rest of us of the TV shows she loves.

In 1998, Irby couldn’t afford cable or HBO. She had to wait to watch the “City” until it came out on VHS. “The show reflected nothing of my life,” she writes, “but provided something of a road map for my future…” she writes.

In a future, she wouldn’t have dreamed of then, she grew up to become a writer on “And Just Like That,” the “Sex and the City” reboot. (She’s a writer on season two of “And Just Like That” which premieres on June 22 on Max.)

Irby was stunned when Michael Patrick King of “And Just Like That” asked her to write for the show. “I was like … Are you allowed to work on a show like this if you only wear nine-dollar T-shirts,” she writes, “and have no idea how many Brooklyns there are.”

 “During my interview,” Irby jokes, “I said, ‘Can I give Carrie diarrhea?’ and I was hired immediately.”

Even ardent “Sex and the City” aficionados may find too much of SATC in “Quietly Hostile.”

No worries: Irby who speaks of herself as being “fat” and “sick” (she has arthritis and Crohn’s disease), riffs on many things in “Quietly Hostile.” Irby turns her sharp wit on everything from what it’s like to run for a public toilet when you have diarrhea to why she’s a David Matthew’s fan girl to her love for (approaching addiction to) Diet Coke to the “last normal day” before the pandemic to the “food fights” that are a part of the most loving marriages.

Grab a Diet Coke (or libation of your choice), tell your bad dog to quit barking and enjoy “Quietly Hostile.”

The Blade may receive commissions from qualifying purchases made via this post.

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Arena’s ‘Exclusion’ is a piece of art about art

Majority Asian production features intelligent performance by Karoline



Karoline brings intelligence and energy to every role they tackle.

Through June 25 
Arena Stage
1101 Sixth St., S.W.

When Asian-American historian Katie’s best-selling book about the racist Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 is optioned for a mini-series by a Hollywood mogul, she couldn’t happier. However, artistic and commercial visions clash and things go awry. This is the premise of Ken Lin’s new comedy “Exclusion” now at Arena Stage. 

Katie is played by Karoline, the mononymously named New York-based actor who brings intelligence and energy to every role they tackle. 

“I’m similar to Katie — honest to a fault, optimistic, both strong and naïve,” says Karoline, 28. “For me, the challenge is watching Katie choose yes or no at every turn. Should she address what’s coming at her with truth or not? Or hide what she’s thinking? My struggle in life has been similar. How do I stay true and at the same time get what I want in a corrupt world.”

When asked to be part of “Exclusion’s” early development, Karoline was unsure: Doing a piece of art about art can be tricky. But they soon changed their mind. 

“The workshop changed my life. I got into the room and it was majority Asian. Seeing Ken [Lin] talk about coming back to theater and about being able to write about Asian people with a play that’s ostensibly a comedy and obviously super personal, drawing from his life and what he’s learned from colleagues.” 

Karoline describes their experience with anti-Asian racism as more microaggressions. “I don’t have people point at me saying ‘you’re a chink.’ It’s been subtler versions of that.”

As a stage actor, they’ve had an activist history, taking complaints of racism to a company’s board, a move that can be contentious. Typically, it’s preferred actors “be grateful, listen and interpret, and not speak up.” 

When a respected mentor later asked Karoline whether they wanted to be an actor or an activist, they didn’t understand why it had to be mutually exclusive. “I was too young to say it could be both. Now it depends on the situation. Maybe both in theater because I have more of a career there. But in TV, I don’t know.”

Karoline was born in Shanghai and grew up in South Texas where they had little exposure to the arts. After graduation from a pre-med magnet high school (with no intention of a career in medicine), they headed off to Harvard on full scholarship: “I showed my family that I can be smart, but I was going to do my own thing.” 

They took a gap year from Harvard to train at Atlantic Acting School, then went to apprentice at Actors Theatre of Louisville. Weeks after moving to New York they were cast as closeted lesbian Bo in Tom Stoppard’s “The Hard Problem” at Lincoln Center Theater.

“I’ve played more than one lesbian in my career,” says Karoline with a chuckle.  In the fall, they can be seen in the entire first season of “Death and Other Details” (Hulu) as a very rich lesbian heiress, a darkly funny role. 

“It seems when you’re Asian, you’re expected to talk about your parents’ accents or dumplings,” they add. “The narrative is vivid and bright. I wanted to do classical theater so my work could speak about everything else. From the start, I was ready to do the work, and hoped to have a long career that included many different things.”

Not long ago, Karoline shed their surname owing to a difficult childhood and a feeling of estrangement from their family. “It’s unusual, especially for Asian Americans, but after some self-healing and thinking, I decided I didn’t need it. Now I feel a lot freer.” 

And there have been other changes in addition to their last name including coming out as queer and sharing their gender identity. This is the first year they’ve only used “they” pronouns. 

“When you’re queer, I believe you’re always queer even if you’re not in a queer relationship. I think of my character like that. In this space and time, Katie’s with a man but that doesn’t mean that’s the whole conversation about this person. 

“For me, playing Katie in ‘Exclusion’ has been a huge vote of confidence. Sometimes it takes someone writing something wonderful and casting you for you to know where you need to be.”

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Out & About

Mayor’s office to host Pride tie-dye party

Guests to make colorful shirts for ‘PEACE. LOVE. REVOLUTION’ theme



(Photo by Prime Look/Bigstock)

The Mayor’s Office for LGBTQ Affairs will host “Love Out Loud: Tie Dye Party for Pride” on Wednesday, June 7 at 5 p.m. at the Frank D. Reeves Center of Municipal Affairs.

The event, hosted along with the DC Center for the LGBT Community and Capital Pride Alliance, will be an afternoon for community and artistry. Guests are encouraged to bring their creativity to make some colorful tie-dye shirts in line with this year’s Pride theme, “PEACE. LOVE. REVOLUTION.”

This event is free to attend and more details are available on Eventbrite

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