culture club

What to Watch: Our latest crooner crush plus a ‘Golden’ resurgence starring Betty White

The Golden Palace

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

The Stream: No Straight Lines

This documentary found a cult following on the festival circuit, and now finally comes home for the rest of the world to enjoy. No Straight Lines traces the history of LGBTQ comics, and for anyone unfamiliar with it—or who takes Batwoman, Hulkling, Northstar, Poison Ivy, Wiccan, etc. for granted—it is a shadowy one indeed. Director Vivian Kleiman uncovers the earliest days of queer comics, when anything even remotely LGBTQ-related had to publish underground and sell alongside pornography. That changed with the rise of queer liberation and queer creators, many of whom appear on-camera here to share their own stories of penning content for a niche audience or bringing the aforementioned queer characters into the mainstream. It’s a candid and colorful look at the daring creators who helped change a medium, and a story of artistic—and queer—triumph.

Streams on VOD January 14.

The Quickie: Audible

A reader tipped us off to this short film, which has landed on this year’s shortlist for an Academy Award nomination. Audible follows the football team for the Maryland School for the Deaf, and for anyone wondering, yes, that means the entire team is deaf. They’re also damn good, seldom losing a game as they push toward the playoffs. For star player Amaree McKenstry-Hall, winning holds a deeply personal meaning: he lost his best friend Teddy to suicide after Teddy transferred to a school for the hearing and faced harassment for being gay. In its slim runtime, Audible touches on issues of disability, sexuality, social class and gender, and profiles the luminous spirits of its young protagonists with stirring power. Photographed in a hypnotic, almost surreal style, we found ourselves mesmerized by the story and moved by the strength of its young characters.

Streams on Netflix.

The Resurgent: The Golden Palace

In the wake of Betty White’s passing, this mostly forgotten Golden Girls spinoff has suddenly found an audience on Hulu.

To recap: The Golden Palace ran for one season on CBS in 1992 following the series finale of The Golden Girls. This retooled version of the show—which featured many of the same creative minds and familiar music—found Rose (Betty White), Blanche (Rue McClanahan) and Sophia (Estelle Getty) selling the house and buying a Miami hotel. Hilarity, of course, ensued as the ladies clashed with the hotel manager (a very young Don Cheadle) and zany chef (Cheech Marin).

The show doesn’t quite have all of the Golden Girls charm, but some of the magic still shines through, courtesy of enthusiastic performances by its leading ladies along with Marin and Cheadle. Broader, racier and a bit more tired than its predecessor, we recommend giving the show a look for a bit more Golden goodness.

Streams on Hulu.

The Sensual: Ryland James “I Give Everything”

Gay siren Ryland James drops his newest single this week, and go figure, it’s a ballad about loving someone too much. On that level, we really have to applaud him: songs (and indeed, musicians) seldom have the maturity to concede that sometimes falling hard for someone has unintended consequences… including a loss of identity. James’ high pop vocals recall the pinched belting of Bruno Mars, and truth be told, we find James’ styling far more appealing. Ditto his music, which has a distinctive, homoerotic edge.

Streams on YouTube.

The ICYMI: Eternals

The superhero team featuring Marvel’s first openly gay couple arrives on Disney+ this week for your viewing pleasure. Eternals follows a group of immortal aliens assigned to defend Earth from alien monsters by an even bigger alien. At 156 minutes, it definitely feels like a movie made to watch at home. Director Chloe Zhao photographs her cast and settings with breathtaking beauty, and each actor gives an all-in committed performance, no matter how silly the material. This isn’t Marvel’s strongest outing, nor is it the studio’s worst. Still, Zhao’s visuals and a terrific cast give us enough reason to recommend it.

Streams on Disney+

The Sip: Poison Ivy

via Shutterstock

Honoring one of our favorite LGBTQ characters from the pages of DC Comics–and who cameos in No Straight Lines–we lift this savory libation as this week’s cocktail pick. Intoxicating as the bisexual supervillainess that inspired it, we strongly recommend pairing it with The Golden Palace. Trust us on this one.

  • 2 oz of Vodka
  • 3/4 oz of Lime Juice
  • 3/4 oz of simple syrup
  • 1/4 oz of absinthe
  • 4 leaf of basil

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

Note: Portions of this article appeared in previous stories on Queerty.