Arts·Queeries

From The L Word to Almodovar to Batwoman, 19 reasons to be excited for a flamin' fall

This past summer might seem hard to top when it comes to versatile queer excellence, but this preview suggests otherwise.

Hot Girl Summer might be over, but the queer excellence isn't cooling down

Clockwise from top left: The Inheritance, Pain and Glory, Tegan and Sara, The L Word: Generation Q, Batwoman and Matthias & Maxime. (Courtesy)

Queeries is a weekly column by CBC Arts producer Peter Knegt that queries LGBTQ art, culture and/or identity through a personal lens. It won the 2019 Digital Publishing Award for best digital column in Canada.

As 2019 heads into its home stretch, LGBTQ folks will continue to make the argument that one of the few silver linings to this year has been what a remarkable one it's been for rainbow representation. Though this past summer might seem hard to top when it comes to versatile queer excellence, a preview of 19 of the reasons to be excited for its seasonal successor suggests otherwise...

Batwoman

The "Arrowverse" is about to get a lot more queer when Batwoman debuts this Sunday, October 6 on Showcase in Canada and the CW in the U.S. Starring Australian actress and model Ruby Rose as the titular vigilante, the Vancouver-shot series (which has been getting good reviews) is TV's first to feature an openly gay superhero in the lead role (though notably, the "Arrowverse" does already have a significant amount of LGBTQ characters, including Canada's own Ben Lewis as William Clayton). 

Buddies in Bad Times' 41st Season

Nick Green and Andrea Scott are teaming on Every Day She Rose. (Tanja-Tiziana )

The world's largest and longest-running queer theatre company will waltz into middle age this fall with lots of exciting productions (and brand new renovated gender-neutral bathrooms featuring shiny gold floors!), including Antoinette Nwandu's Pass Over (October 22-November 10), the fourth edition of 2-Spirit Cabaret (November 16) and Andrea Scott and Nick Green's Every Day She Rose (November 23-December 8). Learn more about Buddies' storied history leading into this season here.

Find Me

Hopefully the season's second-most important impeachment will be found in the pages of Find Me, André Aciman's intensely anticipated sequel to his 2007 novel Call Me By Your Name. Released on October 29, Find Me fills us in on what Elio (played by Timothée Chalamet in the film adapation) and Oliver (Armie Hammer) have been up to, and gives Luca Guadagnino a possible plot for the cinematic sequel he's already suggested he'll make. (Also fun: the audiobook will be read by Michael Sthulbarg, who so perfectly portrayed Elio's father in the film.)

Hey, I'm Just Like You and High School

Canadian queer icons Tegan and Sara have already double downed on their offerings to us this season, with the twins releasing their memoir High School just days before their ninth album Hey, I'm Just Like You, which consists of rerecorded songs they wrote as teenagers. Collectively that's enough T&S to keep us busy the entire season, and we should be ever so grateful for that.

I Hope We Choose Love: A Trans Girl's Notes from the End of the World

Toronto-based writer, performance artist and community healer Kai Cheng Thom is back with the follow-up to her 2016 novel Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars: A Dangerous Trans Girl's Confabulous Memoir and 2017 poetry book a place called No Homeland. Vivek Shraya calls the essay collection "both an invocation of and invitation to love — with intention — as a way to repair, rebuild and reimagine new worlds." Out now via Arsenal Pulp Press, I Hope We Can Choose Love is a must-add to your fall reading lists.

I Promise

Speaking of fall reading, another Arsenal Pulp Press release offers kids the remarkable combined talents of Catherine Hernandez and Syrus Marcus Ware as the respective author and illustrator of I Promise. Released October 1st, the book "showcases the many shapes, sizes, and colours that families come in, emphasizing that every queer family starts with the sacred promise to love a child" and makes a perfect gift for any expecting folks.

The Inheritance

Already heralded by The Telegraph as "perhaps the most important American play of this century," it seems like it might be in your best interest to head to New York City and catch Matthew Lopez's The Inheritance — which opens on Broadway November 17th (with previews already running). An intergenerational examination of gay culture in 2019, the play seems poised to find Angels in America-level status in the queer theatre canon. And if you can't make it to Broadway, buy a copy of the script (it was my summer read highlight by far).

The L Word: Generation Q

Jennifer Beals in The L Word. (Showtime)

The somewhat diminishing state of reboot culture looks like it might get the queer jolt it needs this December when The L Word returns as the revamped Generation Q. And fear not, that doesn't mean the original generation aren't there too. Bette (Jennifer Beals), Shane (Katherine Moennig) and Alice (Leisha Hailey) join a cast of newcomers as the series appropriately updates its locale to Silver Lake for an eight-episode lesbian extravaganza. 

LGBTQ film festivals across Canada

While Toronto and Vancouver may have already seen their 2019 LGBTQ film festivals come and go, most of Canada's major cities still have them to look forward to this fall. Queer cinephiles in Winnipeg (Reel Pride, October 15-20), Ottawa (Inside Out, October 24-27), Edmonton (Rainbow Visions, November 7-10) and Montreal (Image & Nation, November 21-December 1) should all definitely mark their calendars.

Matthias & Maxime

Quebec's very own Xavier Dolan is back in theatres this October with his eighth feature film, Matthias & Maxime. It also happens to be one of his best. Starring Gabriel D'Almeida Freitas alongside Dolan himself as the titular Matthias and Maxime, the film centres on a lifelong friendship that's tested when sexual feelings arise. Perhaps the most gentle and introspective film in Dolan's decade-long career, it hits theatres across Canada on October 9th.

Modern Love

Andrew Scott (aka Fleabag's hot priest, who — if you didn't know — plays for our team in real life) is one of over a dozen folks (others include Anne Hathaway, Tina Fey, Dev Patel and Catherine Keener) starring in Amazon's new romantic comedy anthology series Modern Love, which adapts the weekly column published by the New York Times. In Scott's episode, he plays one half of a gay couple (alongside Brandon Kyle Goodman) adopting a baby from a homeless woman (Olivia Cooke). For fans of Scott or rom-coms in general, October 18th should be a treat. 

Naked Heart

The largest LGBTQ literary film festival in the world returns for a fifth edition this fall in Toronto. The lineup of readings, workshops, performances, panels and discussions has yet to be announced, but check back here in the coming weeks and clear off November 22-24 in your schedule.

Pain and Glory

Queer cinematic legend Pedro Almodóvar returns to theatres this October with his semi-autobiographical Pain and Glory, which was rightfully heralded as a career high when it screened at festivals like Cannes and TIFF earlier this year (I saw it at the latter and wholeheartedly agree). Starring longtime Almodóvar muse Antonio Banderas — who will hopefully get his first Oscar nomination for the role — as essentially a version of the filmmaker himself, it's a poignant and ultimately heart-wrenching meditation on reconciling your past with your present.

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Another masterful queer cinematic import, this column already called Céline Sciamma's Portrait of a Lady on Fire the best LGBTQ film of 2019 last month. Audiences can decide for themselves in December when the film — a love story between two women set in 1770s France — gets released in theatres.

Queer Eye: We're in Japan!

The Queer Eye cast in Japan with Kiko Mizuhara. (Netflix)

It's exactly as it sounds. After already blessing us with a new season of Queer Eye this past July, the fab five head to Japan for a special four-episode mini season that will be released on Netflix on November 1st. And it's all but certainly to be subarashī.

Rebent Sinner

Vancouver writer and performer (and CBC Arts-designated Superqueero) Ivan Coyote is taking on "the patriarchy and the political, as well as the intimate and the personal" in their new collection of stories. Publisher Arsenal Pulp Press says, "These stories span 30 years of tackling TERFs, legislators, and bathroom police, sure, but there is joy and pleasure and triumph to be found here too, as Ivan pays homage to personal heroes like the late Leslie Feinberg while gently guiding younger trans folk to prove to themselves that there is a way out of the darkness." You can enjoy all the stories for yourself now as Rebent Sinner just hit shelves October 1st.

RuPaul's Drag Race UK

The international drag takeover continues October 3rd as RuPaul Charles and Michelle Visage head across the pond to join the incomparable likes of Graham Norton and Alan Carr as the panel judging the first RuPaul's Drag Race UK. A Canadian edition is following suit in 2020, but in the meantime you can cheer on Canadian born and raised Crystal on Drag Race UK.

Work in Progress

Last but absolutely not least: Chicago improv veteran Abby McEnany is getting her own Showtime series Work in Progress, and this is the official synopsis: "Abby is a 45-year-old self-identified fat, queer dyke whose misfortune and despair unexpectedly lead her to a vibrantly transformative relationship." Airing after The L Word: Generation Q beginning December 8, representation of queer women on television might never quite be the same after the fall of 2019.

About the Author

Peter Knegt has worked for CBC Arts since 2016, writing the LGBTQ-culture column Queeries (winner of the 2019 Digital Publishing Award for best digital column in Canada) and playing integral roles in the launch and production of series The Filmmakers and Canada's a Drag. Beyond CBC, Knegt is also a stand-up comedian, the filmmaker of numerous short films and the author of the book About Canada: Queer Rights. You can follow him on Instagram and Twitter with the same obvious handle: @peterknegt.