Gay for no pay: 10 things to watch for free on CBC Gem to celebrate Pride
From Hannah Gadsby to Schitt's Creek, we got the gay goods right here
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.
While I am certainly one to vouch for LGBTQ-related viewing all year round, Pride Month seems just as good a time as any to alert you to some of the great queer content streaming on-demand — for free! — on CBC Gem, including a few brand new titles being added this month. A mix of movies and TV, narratives and documentaries, feature-length and short form, here are 10 options that stood out in particular (though there are also many more where that came from, and they'll still be there after June 30th), in alphabetical order:
Breakfast With Scot
This very sweet 2007 comedy stars Tom Cavanagh as a closeted gay retired hockey player who, along with his sports lawyer partner (Ben Shenkman), unexpectedly become legal guardians to Scot (Noah Bernett), a proudly femme young boy who teaches his adoptive parents a few things about loving themselves. Directed by Laurie Lynd, the film notably gained press attention when it came out because the NHL and the Toronto Maple Leafs both fully approved the use of their logos in the film, making Breakfast With Scot the first LGBTQ-themed film to be endorsed by a professional sports league. Watch it here.
Canada's a Drag
Obviously just a little biased here, but this CBC Arts original series (co-produced, admittedly, by yours truly) — which as of now features 21 episodes over 2 seasons — showcases "the true North strong and fierce" with short documentaries about drag performers across the country. Watch it here.
The Gospel According To André
Streaming beginning June 15th, this truly fabulous documentary shines a much deserved spotlight on iconic American fashion journalist André Leon Talley. Director Kate Novack takes us on a journey from Leon's roots growing up in the Jim Crow South to how he became one of the world's most influential tastemakers (among so many other things, he was the editor-at-large at Vogue from 1998 to 2013). Check back to CBC Gem on June 15th to watch.
Ottawa-born Pat Mills writes, directs and stars in this all around delightful dark comedy that deserves to be well on its way to cult classic status by now. A highlight from the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival, Guidance stars Mills as a closeted, alcohol former child actor who — in the midst of a skin cancer diagnosis — fakes his way into a job as a high school guidance counsellor. Hilarious and quite moving, you can watch it right here.
Hannah Gadsby's Nakedy Nudes and Oz
Before there was Nanette, there were Nakedy Nudes and Oz — two separate series Hannah Gadsby created before her breakout Netflix special. CBC Gem will begin streaming both of them June 7th, offering us all a great Gadsbyian double feature. The former finds Gasby unraveling "the apparently simple practice of recreating the nude human form," while the latter finds her travelling across Australia "to debunk the myths of the Australian identity as defined by their art canon." Check back to CBC Gem after June 7th to watch them both in their entirety.
I Killed My Mother (J'ai Tue Ma Mere)
As Xavier Dolan begins to make his way through the film festival rounds with his already-acclaimed eighth feature film Matthias & Maxime, revisit the film that started it all 10 years ago (to the day — the film was released in Canadian theatres on June 5th, 2009). CBC Gem is streaming Dolan's debut I Killed My Mother (J'ai Tue Ma Mere), which he wrote, directed, edited and starred in...when he was only 19 years old. Deconstructing the relationship between a gay teenage boy (Dolan) and his mother (Anne Dorval), the crackling film holds up incredibly well. Watch it here.
My Prairie Home
The tremendous talents of Albertan trans singer/songwriter Rae Spoon are given a beautiful showcase in Chelsea McMullan's 2013 documentary My Prairie Home. The film follows Spoon on a concert tour via a Greyhound bus through the Canadian prairies where they grew up, mixing songs and storytelling to explore Spoon's thoughts on gender identity, faith and the challenges of their conservative family. Watch it here beginning June 7th.
Take Me To Prom
Fresh off its world premiere at this spring's Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, Andrew Moir's intimate and thoughtful documentary Take Me To Prom follows seven LGBTQ Canadians ranging from 17 to 88 years old as they discuss their experiences going to the prom. Watch it here.
Pretty much inarguably the most internationally popular Canadian TV series in some time, Schitt's Creek is also among our queerest, with the heart of its latest (and penultimate!) season the continuing romance between David (Dan Levy) and Patrick (Noah Reid). Watch it here.
Check out everything playing on CBC Gem here.