What’s constantly amazing to me, my delicious bumbles and bees and flowers and trees, is the way that just as queer life reaches an apex in the summertime with an array of beach and tea dances and streetside cruising and short shorts, every company that was so very urgent to show off their queer wares in June suddenly falls … silent. Here I am in my tiny gay swimwear, lounging on a sparkly unicorn floatie eating a sprinkle donut under the approving gaze of my queer ancestors, in obvious need of a good beach book or gay playlist, right? But from the pink capitalist world, I hear nada. Luckily for us all, I have some good stuff I’ve been saving up for Gay Sloth month (which comes after Pride and before Rage on the Gay Agenda Calendar). Let us dig in.
Dungeons and Drag Queens
As a junior-ranger nerd who absolutely turned into a full-fledged one, the very idea that D&D would someday be a drag pursuit truly pleases me at least as much as I am bewildered by it. So here’s a sentence I can now say: there is a video series of, I shit you not, Alaska Thunderfuck, Bob The Drag Queen, Jujubee and Monét X Change playing Dungeons and Dragons and it is called Dungeons and Drag Queens and it is a lot of fun. The atmosphere is casual, the cracks and quips and sharp, and because none of the queens are particularly well-versed in how D&D works, it serves as sort of a loose queer comedy hour with a side order of intro D&D.
You can get the full series on Dropout.tv, which also has some other comedy gems like the not-strictly-gay-but-also-I-would-take-Sam-Reich-for-our-team Game Changer, a game show with a different premise or puzzle every week (you can also find episodes on YouTube). And if you’re a big TTRPG fan and looking for some new role-playing games with queerness and gender fluidity baked right in, there’s the new Witches of Midnight from Balsamic Games, which is a queer tarot-based game that rewards players for optimism and co-operation—their Kickstarter ends in a couple of days, but the game will be playable right away and it looks good as hell.
Feel Something, Make Something, Caitlin Metz
As longtime readers are doubtless aware, I am a person with a lot of feelings, and in the recent years my gross total number of feelings has only grown as I have become aware of more and more things happening in the world, and I have fewer and fewer outlets to do anything with them (thanks for nothing, COVID). Clearly I am not the only one because non-binary cutie pie and feelings maven Caitlin Metz has made us a whole book, Feel Something, Make Something, to help turn our feeeeeeeelings into art, thereby serving up a double-dip of column goals. There’s also a live course that starts Aug. 1 (but goes indefinitely, looks like) if you want a more hand-holdy version on the same theme. But overall, Feel Something, Make Something might be the nudge you need to stop thinking about someday starting an artistic practice of whatever kind and start doing it. It’s this kind of “today, after lunch, with whatever’s in your desk, why wait?” attitude that makes the book such a slam-dunk for me, and the gentle talking through of hard feelings is the cherry on top.
Rodeo Clown, Nora Kelly Band
Especially considering the current nonsense surrounding Jason Aldean and his new little song, described by historian Michael Harriot as “a lynching carol,” about how he and his friends will absolutely shoot you, I thought it would be the right moment for some queer country jams instead. Montreal queer alt-country Nora Kelly Band has a new full-length album, Rodeo Clown, featuring all the twang and banjo a homo could hope for, but instead of threatening your life, it’s celebrating it. The album doesn’t drop until Aug. 25, but several of the videos are out and oh, what fun it is to ride, including “Lay Down Girll” as well as this cowboy-alien-UFO track “Roswell” that’s so weird, but also a lot of fun.
Heartthrobert’s gay science on TikTok
While was I highlighting some serious science in the last column with our fave lesbian volcanologist, I also ran across comic Rob Anderson’s Heartthrobert and his Gay Science series, which gives “scientific” explanations for such gay phenomena as “Christmas Gay and Lesbians” and “Queer People Getting the Blame”—one of my favourites. Something about his pseudoscience diagrams and absolutely deadpan delivery of Gay Science concepts like the lesbian squall or the secret queer census just tickles my funny bone. From the douche bulb used as a pipette to the rainbow of test tubes to the rhinestone-spangled safety goggles, Anderson’s dedication to the bit is very pleasing. He also critiques the plot points of family movies, children’s books and, recently, episodes of the exhaustingly preachy evangelical ’90s television show, 7th Heaven, in the classic MST3K style. I just cannot recommend that you take a sip of your beverage while you watch.
From Queer to Asian to Publication, Aaron Chan, C.A. Tanaka and Catherine Lewis
I’m pretty excited about this queer Asian literary event, presented at Massy Books, especially to see C.A. Tanaka (author of Baby Drag Queen, a book I really enjoyed and have recommended to any number of queer teens since). Though I’m not as familiar with femme poet Catherine Lewis or memoirist Aaron Chan, I find I really enjoy these kinds of conversations, when people who share some culture or history get to talk amongst themselves/ourselves about their take on topics of the day—feeling freed from the responsibility to Represent My People always makes me feel more ready to lean in, to explore nuance, to disagree and even to sometimes allow myself the strange pleasure of being cranky in public. I haven’t seen many events like this that centre all Asian and queer writers, so I’m excited for those who can attend in Vancouver on Aug. 18 from 6 to 8 p.m. PDT.
And now, sweet friends, I am back to my floatie and my iced coffee and my leisurely afternoon (not really, I am reading for my life over here, but it’s a nice idea, isn’t it?). I hope you’re having leisure though, actual coffees in actual pools with actual unicorns bearing you aloft, with your hopes and optimism and any remaining amount of glitter keeping you happy through the night and into the morning. As usual, if you’re making something new and queer, send me an email or a DM. I love to hear your news.