Beanie Feldstein’s ‘Funny Girl’ arrives to mixed reviews

Plus, the buzz on “Fire Island,” Janelle Monáe and the latest lovable “Jeopardy!” champion

You know what they say: when one Drag Race door closes, an All Stars window opens. The queer pop culture behemoth franchise’s 14th season concluded this week with the crowning of a new winner and All Stars 7 is right around the corner. But we’ve got a few weeks to wait until RuPaul and his dolls grace our screens once again. And in the meantime, the rest of the queer and trans pop culture new cycle continues to churn.

Every week in “The Buzz,” we catch you up on the hot, the happening and the whos of queer and trans pop culture. This week we’ve got the dish on everything from Beanie Feldstein’s turn in Funny Girl to steamy movie trailers and another historic Jeopardy! run. 

Here’s what you missed this week in queer and trans pop culture.

→ After decades of waiting, the Funny Girl revival hit Broadway this week. 

Fans of the openly queer Beanie Feldstein’s standout performance in 2019’s Booksmart were waiting with baited breath to see how the rising star would take on one of the most iconic roles of all time. The hype only grew with the revival’s official opening set for the 80th birthday of the original Fanny, Barbra Streisand.

The result of all that hype? Unfortunately, mixed reviews. Some critics praised Feldstein’s comedic chops and acting in capturing the funny part of the funny girl that is Fanny Brice. But the monumental task of living up to Barbra’s voice left something to be desired.

“You root for her to raise the roof, but she only bumps against it a little. Her voice, though solid and sweet and clear, is not well suited to the music, and you feel her working as hard as she can to power through the gap. But working hard at what should be naturally extraordinary is not in Fanny’s DNA,” Jesse Green wrote in the New York Times

“While, for instance, you believed outright that Streisand was a star, with Feldstein, your foremost belief is that she believes she’s a star,” Peter Marks wrote in the Washington Post. “It’s a distinction with a difference, in that, with this latest Fanny Brice, that powerhouse illusion at times requires more co-operative effort from the audience.”

It turns out following up Barbra (the BARBRA!) might be harder than it looks. At least queer millennials will always have the Glee version to fall back on.

 

→ Speaking of Lea Michele, the longtime Glee star (whose name has been associated with a potential Funny Girl reboot for years) made very different headlines this week for, well, this.

I honestly have no comment.

→ The first trailer for Joel Kim Booster and Bowen Yang’s Pride and Prejudice-inspired film, Fire Island, is here. Abs, romance, queer friendship and Margaret Cho? Sign us up!

→ Speaking of Booster and Yang, the pair were featured in Buds Digest’s 4/20 issue.

→ Janelle Monáe has confirmed she’s non-binary. The singer (and writer!) has spoken openly about existing outside of the gender binary for years, but, in an interview with Jada Pinkett Smith on “Red Table Talk” this week, straight up said the words “non-binary” to describe herself.

“I’m non-binary, so I just don’t see myself as a woman, solely,” Monáe said. “I feel all of my energy. I feel like God is so much bigger than the ‘he’ or the ‘she.’ If I am from God, I am everything. I am everything, but I will always, always stand with women. I will always stand with Black women. But I just see everything beyond the binary.”

In an interview with the L.A. Times also published last week, Monáe also confirmed their pronouns.

“My pronouns are free-ass motherf***** and they/them, her/she,” she said. 

→ The new Doctor Strange movie will not show in Saudi theatres, reportedly due to the film’s inclusion of the lesbian superhero America Chavez. 

→ The new Matt Bomer-led series Fellow Travelers was just greenlit at Showtime. The queer love story and political thriller follows two men who meet in McCarthy-era Washington. The series is adapted from the novel of the same name by Thomas Mallon.

→ A Canadian lesbian is the latest repeat Jeopardy! champion the entire internet’s rooting for. Mattea Roach (who, by the way is only 23) has won 14 consecutive games, currently the eighth-longest streak in the show’s history. It’s the longest ever for a Canadian contestant, and has qualified her for the Tournament of Champions later this year, where she’ll face off alongside fellow queer fan favourite Amy Schneider. 

→ Netflix’s new sweet gay teen romance Heartstopper also features a trans girl in a major role! Yasmin Finney plays Elle, a close friend of one of the main characters. 

Portrait of a Lady on Fire hive rise up! Lesbian French director Céline Sciamma is back with Petite Maman, a new film about childhood, motherhood and connection. 

“I do believe that film is a kind of time travel. Editing is a form of the sculpting of time and this film is officially dealing with that and offering itself as a sculpture of time,” Sciamma told Them in an interview this week. 

The Wachowski sisters are auctioning off film memorabilia in support of trans youth. 

So if you’ve ever dreamed of owning a prop tampon box from Sense8, this is your chance!

Senior editor Mel Woods is an English-speaking Vancouver-based writer and audio producer and a former associate editor with HuffPost Canada. A proud prairie queer and ranch dressing expert, their work has also appeared in Vice, Slate, the Tyee, the CBC, the Globe and Mail and the Walrus.

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