Culture Club

What to Watch: Alaska’s comedy drag, a murder mystery throwback, and gay country anthem

The Alaska Thunderf*ck Extra Special Comedy Special.

Whatever your entertainment needs, we got your back (and hopefully your mind) with Queerty’s weekly “Culture Club” column with some of the highlights of new releases, streaming shows, classics worth revisiting, and what to drink while you watch.

The Giggle: The Alaska Thunderf*ck Extra Special Comedy Special

Fixture of drag Alaska makes a bid for her next hyphenate with this ultra-unique comedy special. The Extra Special Comedy Special combines a lipsync battle with documentary-style behind-the-scenes asides and Alaska’s own brand of performance art/stand-up into an innovative hybrid film which finds the Drag Race alum in top form. Throughout the film, Alaska shares her thoughts on drag, acting, comedy and the evolution of the queer community with other popular performers including Jackie Beat, Margaret Cho and Sherry Vine. As for the comedy itself, the titular queen shows no fear in attempting a work of anti-comedy; that is, jokes so bad, so deliberately unfunny, they become downright hilarious, particularly with Ms. Thunderf*ck’s deadpan delivery. Fans of Alaska, Drag Race and esoteric comedy will swoon. If nothing else, the special proves that Alaska is far more than just a drag queen; rather, she’s a consummate and interesting performer.

Streams on OUTTv April 15.

The Mystery: Cruel Summer

This Freeform mystery series debuts this week, following a group of 1990s high school students amid a crisis. When the popular girl Kate (Oliva Holt) goes missing, suspicion falls on the nerdish, Kate-wannabe Janette (Chiara Aurelia) for her disappearance. As with any good thriller, there’s more to this mystery than it may first seem, especially as Janette tries to deflect blame, and as more of Kate’s backstory comes to light. A queer audience should connect with one of the characters outed over the course of the series (we’ll not reveal who here…it’s a surprise) as well as the presence of Blake Lee, the openly gay actor hereto known as an adorable half of the couple in The Christmas Set-Up. Add to that a healthy dose of 90s music and nostalgia, and Cruel Summer might just become the sleeper hit of the spring.

Debuts on Freeform April 20.

The Snack: Chopped 420

No doubt many of you, dear readers, already have plans in place to celebrate this April 20, everybody’s favorite cannabis-related holiday. Anyone needing a bit of themed entertainment—or just something to cure the munchies—should check out the new cooking show Chopped 420. Five contestants compete to create different food items using ganja as a base, among them Drag Race alum Laganja Estranja, making a bid for stardom outside the drag stage…and a $10,000 prize. It’s a fine way to celebrate a little 4/20, come up with a few recipe ideas for that next date, or just watch to see who takes home the prize when the smoke clears (see what we did there?).

Streams on the Food Network on April 20.

The Drama: The Incredible 25th Year of Mitzi Bearclaw

Queer, Native American actress Morningstar Angeline headlines this drama about a young woman torn between her hometown and her dreams of becoming a fashion designer. When Mitzi must return to her small-town reservation to care for her sick mother, she must face relationships unresolved, past rivalries and her mother’s ongoing disapproval. Apart from its portrait of Native American life and reservation culture—which does make for compelling viewing—Mitzi Bearclaw follows the usual “return to small-town” comedy-drama beats. That may make the film somewhat predictable in its plotting, though Angeline has natural appeal and camera presence. That, coupled with beautiful photography of the Canadian landscapes, make us recommend it as worth a watch.

Available on VOD and DVD April 20.

The Croon: Kameron Ross “If I Could Go Back”

Gay, country crooner and America’s Got Talent alum Kameron Ross drops his latest single this week, a rock-infused country tune that pays homage to small-town love. If the lyrics offer any clue, for Ross that means opining for doughnuts, quiet streets, and maybe just a few more minutes with a handsome friend. For us, it also has a certain bittersweet reminder—so many queer people flee small towns to avoid becoming the next victim of a hate crime. If only the people could be as welcoming as the warm glow of the porch light.

Streams on YouTube April 16.

The Spin: Lawrence Rothman “Thrash The West” (feat. Amanda Shires)

Genderqueer singer Lawrence Rothman also drops a new track this week, the first off their forthcoming album. “Thrash The West” finds Rothman confronting childhood trauma and channeling the baritone ballads of Leonard Cohen, Johnny Cash, The Smiths and their sometime collaborator, Courtney Love. For us, that would offer enough of a hook, though Rothman’s pensive lyrics—melancholy as they are—have a certain allure. Rarely does a folk ballad cut this deep, or this queer.

Streams on YouTube.

The Shameless Plug: The Q Agenda

Queerty’s fugliest (and only) Entertainment Editor makes his appearance on the Season Finale of The Q Agenda this week. We join hosts Enrique Sapene, Victor Ramos, Juliana Joel and Lianna Carrera to discuss the importance of queer media, life with Queerty and the future of LGBTQ entertainment. It’s fun, trust us.

Streams April 15 on LATN at 8:30pm ET/ 9pm PT, and on the LATN YouTube channel.

The Sip: The Liquid 420

In honor of every stoner’s favorite date, we’ve selected this fruity and very green cocktail as this week’s libation. Recalling a melon-flavored pina colada, it’s also a fine way to welcome in the spring heat. And we mean heat in every sense of the word.

  • 1/2 ounce  spiced rum
  • 1/2 ounce Blue Curacao liqueur
  • 1/2 ounce coconut rum
  • 1/2 ounce melon liqueur
  • 12 ounce pineapple juice
  • 1 splash sweet and sour mix

Mix ingredients over ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake well and serve.