culture club

What to Watch: A disco witch, an Alaska exclusive and Jake Shears’ latest

All I Want. Boys Noize feat. Jake Shears.

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 Throwback: Beautiful Garbage 20th Anniversary

Goth pop icons Garbage celebrate the big 2-0 of their third—and most overlooked—album. Beautiful Garbage (the title taken from a Hole lyric) finds the group riding high after the success of their seminal sophomore effort, Garbage 2.0. The album continues the group’s experimentation with infusing synth pop and electronica with morose lyrics, and includes the underrated queer-themed singles “Cherry Lips” and “Androgyny.”

Beautiful Garbage got a raw deal upon release back in 2001; the album dropped on October 1, just weeks after the 9/11 attacks ravaged the planet. Garbage’s brand of dark meditative tracks didn’t go over well with a public that wanted to focus on elegy and heroism–hence the rise of Five for Fighting, Maroon 5, and Happy Meal pop music. Ultimately, that’s our loss: Garbage doesn’t get enough credit as one of the most innovative, LGBTQ-affirming groups in recording history. More importantly, it’s just damn fine music. Our favorite track: the smooth, post-grunge feminist anthem “Breaking Up the Girl.”

Available October 1.

The Smooth: Sean The Star Emperor “Witch Disco”

Anyone wishing for a grittier, more self-reflective Todrick Hall-style dance-pop should look no further than this new track by Sean The Star Emperor. “Witch Disco” finds Sean rapping and writhing alongside a sensuous disco beat, while the accompanying video finds him writhing and dancing in a body stocking on the beach. Unlike Todrick Hall’s lyrics, however, which tend to focus more on self-affirming fabulousness, Sean the Star Emperor focuses more on seduction, exuding raw sexuality with each beat. Besides, who here hasn’t wanted to cast a love spell to win over that super hot someone? We suggest dancing naked to this track. Somehow, we have a feeling it might actually work.

Streams on YouTube. Available for purchase Oct. 1.

The Exclusive: Behind the scenes of Alaska’s “Red”

Drag Race icon Alaska offers up this special behind-the-scenes sneak peek of her new video, “Red.” Catch up with the queen working hard for the cameras and talking about her influences on her new album Red for Filth. Alaska prides herself on veering toward a new level of introspection on the album, and this exclusive look at the making of the “Red” video shows just how much the queen wants to push herself as an artist and performer. She has every reason to celebrate: Alaska also recently signed up as a spokesperson for SERV vodka, peddling her own shade of boozy goodness. Call her a performer on the edge—not just in terms of style, but on the brink of ascending to a higher career echelon.

Streams on YouTube. 

The Read: A Quilt for David

Steven Reigns, the Lambda Literary Award-winning poet laureate of West Hollywood, returns with this non-fiction novel, a chronicle of the scandal surrounding an HIV+ dentist in the 1990s. Dr. David Acer practiced dentistry in the small Florida town of Jensen Beach. As his health waned due to AIDS, patients began to publicly accuse Acer of infecting them with HIV. The case became a national headline, and Acer died amid the scandal.

Now Reigns shines a new light on the case, and how public homophobia and panic over AIDS destroyed Acer’s reputation. In an even more enlightening twist, Reigns also asserts that Acer did not infect his patients with HIV. New evidence brings to light their own risk factors, and the ultimate revelation that Acer almost certainly did not infect those that accused him. It’s a haunting reminder of the spectre of homophobia that shamed generations of queer people, and of the need for the LGBTQ world to remain a vigilant one.

Available on Amazon.

The Aching: Boys Noize “+/-” (Polarity)

Iraqi-German electronic artist Boys Noize returns with his new studio album +/- (pronounced like “polarity”), a collection of duets with some of his favorite recording artists. Boys Noize, despite the name, likes to play coy when it comes to his sexuality, though his history of performing in gay clubs and style—well, we can’t rule out the possibility. Regardless, the new album features the standout track “All I Want,” a duet with Jake Shears of the Scissor Sisters. It’s a hypersexual ode to vanity, seduction and the ego boost that comes with both. Given that it’s the best song on the album, that’s good enough for us.

Streams on YouTube.

The Sip: Pomegranate Martini

via Shutterstock

With National Vodka Day coming up this October 4, and with Alaska still seeing red on her new album, we offer up this week’s libation, themed to both occasions. Sweet-tart and potent, it pairs well with any of the new music we’re featuring this week…or just a handsome date.

Mix ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well. Strain into a martini glass and serve.