It’s Pride month and even with coronavirus concerns and protests in the streets for black lives, the gay community marches on, joining in the call for equality. Most pride events this year have moved to virtual events (see our Pride guide here) but On Demand and streaming TV services are joining along with cable and network television Pride programming too. Here’s our picks. (Click links for airing schedules).
Voss Digital Drag On Demand
Voss Events, the team behind the official RuPaul’s Drag Race tour Werq the World, has on-demand events during Pride month in June you don’t want to miss. Lady Bunny In Cuntagious, premiered on June 5 and is currently available by VOD. “Demented drag diva Lady Bunny shamelessly interrupts your isolation in an attempt to give what may be your last laugh before the apocalypse,” reads the description of the event.
This Saturday, June 13, Violet Chachki Presents Digital Follies premieres. To celebrate her birthday in style, drag superstar Violet Chachki is promising a full live stage show with brand new production performances, special guests and show stopping fashions. Tickets are available online and sales benefit those affected by COVID-19. Though it’s post-Pride month, we also recommend Pride Castle, in which eight queens are released from months of isolation to celebrate pride in a castle. The latter benefits The National Black Justice Coalition, an organization dedicated to empowerment of the black LGBT+ community. Fans can also check out Voss Events’ two Werq the World Live Streams from earlier this year now available on demand as well. vossevents.com/digital
OUTLOUD: Raising Voices
Los Angeles event producers JJ/LA announced that the Pride artist showcase Outloud, which was planned to debut at the now-canceled South by Southwest (SXSW) Festival, has been reimagined as a digital concert series beginning May 26 called OUTLOUD: Raising Voices.
The 10-episode, 5-week concert series is being billed as a celebration of queer and allied artists that includes Betty Who, Kesha, Grayson Chance and Candis Cayne. Each episode will also support local Pride organizations. The digital series will be available exclusively on Facebook, where episodes will drop twice weekly on Tuesdays and Wednesday at 5 p.m. PST. facebook.com/OfficiallyOUTLOUD.
Host and actor Dyllón Burnside (from FX’s Pose) goes on a journey across the South in Prideland. The six-episode short-form series launched in May on PBS Voices, a new documentary-focused YouTube Channel by PBS Digital Studios. A one-hour companion special, also hosted by Burnside, premieres on June 12 at 9 p.m. on PBS, PBS.org and the PBS Video App. pbs.org/show/prideland/
Visible: Out On Television
Visible is a 5-episode documentary that investigates the history and importance of LGBTQ visibility on TV. Combining archival footage with interviews, the docuseries is narrated by Janet Mock, Margaret Cho, Asia Kate Dillon, Neil Patrick Harris and Lena Waithe. Each hour-long episode explores topics like homophobia, the evolution of the LGBTQ character and coming out in the television industry (Apple TV Plus). tv.apple.com/us/show/visible-out-on-television/.
A new comedy series created and co-executive produced by Lena Waithe, Twenties follows three twenty-somethings: LGBTQ screenwriter Hattie (Jonica T. Gibbs) and her two straight girlfriends Marie (Christina Elmore) and Nia (Gabrielle Graham) as they navigate the limits of “diversity, equity and inclusion” in Los Angeles (BET Now). bet.com/shows/twenties.html
See the interview with its star Jonica T. Gibbs here.
Everything’s Gonna Be Okay
Everything is a comedy about Nicholas (Josh Thomas), a neurotic LGBT twenty-something-year-old from Australia who is in Los Angeles visiting his dad and teenage half-sisters, one of whom is on the autism spectrum. When Nicholas’ trip is extended due to his father’s untimely death, he ends moving in and starting a whole new life (Freeform and Hulu). freeform.go.com/shows/everythings-gonna-be-okay
The crime drama Hightown follows a Provincetown woman’s journey to sobriety, overshadowed by an unfolding murder investigation. Jackie Quiñones (Monica Raymund), an LGBTQ National Marine Fisheries Service agent, has her life thrown into disarray when she discovers a body on the beach, an apparent casualty of Cape Cod’s opioid epidemic. To deal with the trauma, Jackie takes the first steps toward sobriety, until she becomes convinced it’s up to her to solve the murder (Starz). starz.com/us/en/series/57463/
A new reality competition, and one of HBO Max’s first original series, Legendary pulls directly from the underground ballroom community. Voguing teams (aka “houses”) compete in balls as they showcase sickening fashion, dance moves and lip-syncs in order to achieve “legendary” status. It’s pretty incredible that this underground culture, the same one featured in the famous documentary Paris Is Burning and the same one that inspired Madonna’s mega-hit “Vogue,” is now a “mainstream” television show offering a grand prize of $100,000. The cast includes MC Dashaun Wesley and DJ MikeQ as well as celebrity judges Law Roach, Jameela Jamil, Leiomy Maldonado and Megan Thee Stallion, all of whom are extremely well-versed in ball culture. The show is entertaining as hell and does all the right things to pay respect to the community it’s spotlighting (HBO Max). hbomax.com/series/urn:hbo:series
An emotional docuseries that’s basically a reality show version of the ’90s film To Wong Foo: Thanks For Everything! Julie Newmar: three drag queens (two of whom are queens of color) make a splash in a small and simple American town and help liberate it. In each of the six episodes, former RuPaul’s Drag Race contestants Bob the Drag Queen, Eureka O’Hara and Shangela Laquifa Wadley help prepare their newest local “drag daughters” by teaching them how to step outside of their comfort zones for a one-night only drag performance. The episodes can be real tearjerkers so watch out, but the show brilliantly spotlights how the LGBTQ community is everywhere, whether we’re visible or not, and seeing these small town folk create a safe space for us, with the help of some drag fairies, is really incredible to watch (HBO). Full L.A. Weekly review here.
LGBTQ Disney and Pixar fans finally get their wishes granted in the form of Pixar’s short film Out, which features the studio’s first LGBTQ main character. The nine-minute short was one of seven films in the studio’s SparkShorts program, which aims to “discover new storytellers, explore new storytelling techniques and experiment with new production workflows,” according to Pixar president Jim Morris. In the film, main character Greg is preparing to move into the city with his boyfriend, Manuel, but is struggling with coming out as gay to his parents, who have paid a surprise visit to help him pack. As the official logline says, “With some help from his precocious pup, and a little bit of magic, Greg might learn that he has nothing to hide” (Disney Plus). https://www.disneyplus.com
Ryan Murphy’s Netflix Originals
If you’ve already binged the hit Hollywood, a what if set during the Golden Age of Hollywood with many LGBTQ characters and themes (read LA Weekly’s review here), then have no fear because more Murphy content is available (or on the way). There’s the brilliant documentary Circus of Books about the LA gay porn shop (see our interview with filmmaker Rachel Mason from April). Also, hit series The Politician starring Ben Platt has its second season premiere on June 19, which promises not only more outrageousness but also more Judith Light and Bette Midler (Netflix).
USA and Syfy Partner With GLAAD
In celebration of National Pride Month, USA Network and Syfy are partnering with the LGBTQ non-profit GLAAD for a multi-platform campaign including Pride-themed marathons, custom short-form videos, fan testimonials, PSAs, all-new podcast episodes and a variety of fresh editorial.
On USA, marathons of classic shows will be wrapped with custom content featuring actor BD Wong. The networks will also partner with GLAAD on a variety of virtual talent-driven events and social initiatives that will be announced throughout June. More info here.
World of Wonder
Of course we couldn’t leave out World of Wonder, the creator and production team behind RuPaul’s Drag Race. Speaking of which, the current controversial season 12 just ended, and can be found streaming on VH1.com or available for purchase at most digital retailers. The same goes for the four-episode Secret Celebrity RuPaul’s Drag Race which just finished airing last month, and the current fifth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars, which premiered June 5. If you’re craving more queeny charisma check out the WOW Presents Plus app. Some of the newest content includes Michelle Visage’s new BBC Three show How’s Your Head, Hun?, the web series promised to the Drag Race UK season one winner, The Vivienne Takes On Hollywood, and season two of the behind the scenes docuseries Werq The World, which just premiered last week. wowpresentsplus.com/
No explanation needed beyond our interview with series creator and star Dan Levy from April, but if you haven’t yet watched this show full of depth and endless humor, then you’re truly missing out. The series just ended, and you can currently catch seasons 1-5 on Netflix and season 6 streaming on Pop TV. poptv.com/schittscreek.
See L.A. Weekly‘s interview with star Karamo Brown here.