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Fall Preview

Find Your State

Know the laws in your state that protect LGBT people and people living with HIV.

The TV, films, books, music and more you can't miss this season.

DOCUMENTARY

01/ THE DEATH AND LIFE OF MARSHA P. JOHNSON

From Oscar-nominated documentarian David France (the AIDS epic How to Survive a Plague) comes this much-anticipated, footage-rich investigation into the remarkable legacy—and unsolved 1992 demise—of transgender pioneer Johnson, who in 1970 New York founded, with fellow trans icon Sylvia Rivera, the world’s first trans-rights group, STAR (Street Transvestites Action Revolutionaries). Johnson, a self-described “street queen,” had played a pivotal role in the prior year’s Stonewall riots, and for decades after inspired the New York and global queer community with her fierce and fabulous activism. In this film, her old friend and fellow trans activist Victoria Cruz attempts to clarify the real circumstances surrounding Johnson’s mysterious death. Netflix, October 20

MEMOIR

02/ LOGICAL FAMILY

Armistead Maupin takes a nonfictional turn with this memoir of his transformation from a conservative, segregationist southerner to the liberal, openly gay writer of Tales of the City, his beloved serial saga of gay, straight and trans characters in freewheeling 1970s San Francisco. Along the way we learn about his efforts to please his military-loving father by doing a stint in Vietnam and about his relationships with those who became part of his “logical” (versus biological) family, including Rock Hudson (with whom he was “buddies with occasional benefits”), Christopher Ishwerwood and Laura Linney, who starred in the TV version of his famous books. HarperCollins, $27.99, October 3

 

DOCUMENTARY

03/ STRONG ISLAND

African-American transgender filmmaker Yance Ford, former series producer for PBS’ POV showcase, has captivated the documentary world with this meditative work. It explores how Ford’s own Long Island family was devastated with grief in 1992 when an unarmed sibling was shot dead by a white man whom an all-white jury found guilty of no crimes. But Ford also delves back deeper into the family’s Jim Crow roots and the uneasy prosperity the clan finds in a black enclave of Long Island until tragedy and injustice strike. Dubbed “a cinematic memoir” with “a subjective and engrossing style” by Variety, the film won plaudits at the Sundance and Berlin film festivals and recently got Ford named one of “The 8 Best Trans Directors Working Today” by Indiewire. Danny Glover and Laura Poitras are executive producers. Netflix, September 15

MUSIC

04/ OMNION

Finally! The first album in three years from ginger musclebear Andy Butler’s longrunning avant-house-disco outfit Hercules and Love Affair (which introduced many to the haunting voice of Antony Hegarty, who now goes by Anohni). This time around, there’s a mesmerizing title track featuring the ethereal-voiced Sharon Van Etten, plus the hard-techno “Controller,” with vocals by Faris Badwan of the group The Horrors. “The new album is a lot about spirituality,” Butler told The Fader. That’s not surprising for a project that often has set brooding themes to propulsive electronica beats: Hercules’ last album, The Feast of the Broken Heart, featured “I Try To Talk To You,” vocalist John Grant’s reflection on being diagnosed with HIV. Sept 1

MEMOIR

05/ AFTERGLOW

In recent years, the veteran underground East Village poet Eileen Myles has won long-deserved national acclaim for her funny, strange work about everything from wild lesbian romance to downtown New York life in the 1980s and 90s. Two years ago, she enjoyed the success of I Must Be Living Twice, a magnum opus of her work. Now she’s back with this experimental, comical and deeply moving account of her 16-year romance with Rosie—no, not a woman, but her beloved pit bull—and the emptiness that followed Rosie’s 2006 death. Anyone with a longtime animal companion—but perhaps queer people especially—will relish in this literary journey with a writer the New Yorker has called “a kick-ass counter-cultural icon.” Grove Press, September 12, $24

 

TELEVISION

06/ WILL AND GRACE

Yes, that’s right. The 1998-2006 NBC sitcom that former veep Joe Biden said “probably did more to educate the American public” about gay issues than anything else is coming back for a new 12-episode season with all the original characters (Will, Grace, and those lovably shady clowns Jack and Karen) intact. The creators have said that the show will be set in our present moment, 11 years after it left off. Only problem is that the show actually left off in about 2026, years after Will and Grace had grown estranged, only to find out that their kids had met and fallen in love in college, bringing them back together. Discovering how they’ll unwind that should be interesting. More seriously, Will and Grace presented an all white, gentrified version of LGBT life that much of pop culture has moved on from. Will the show reflect or ignore the changes since? Tune in September 28 to find out.

FILM

07/ CALL ME BY YOUR NAME

This is the erotic and poignant gay film everyone is talking about. It’s Italian director Luca Guadagnino’s (I Am Love, A Bigger Splash) adaption of queer novelist André Aciman’s tale of summer love between a teenage American boy and his father’s hot doctoral assistant (played by Social Network stud Armie Hammer) in early 1980s Italy. A darling at the Sundance and Berlin film festivals, the film boasts James Ivory as a cowriter, with music by gay indie prince Sufjan Stevens, making it yet queerer—even if Guadagnino has had to defend his decision to cast straight actors in the leads. That hasn’t stopped early viewers from calling it one of the sexiest and most moving gay romances they’ve ever seen—including a rather infamous “peach scene” taken straight (or not-so straight) from the book. November 24

THEATER

08/ TORCH SONG

One of the most important gay plays of all time enjoys its 35th anniversary revival at New York’s Second Stage Theater this fall, with the iconic Harvey Fierstein, who won both a playwriting and an acting Tony for the work, editing his original text and shortening the title from 1982’s Torch Song Trilogy. Michael Urie (Ugly Betty) will take on Fierstein’s role as Arnold Beckoff, a gay drag queen in stormy relationships with both his bisexual closeted lover and his fiery Jewish mother, played by Mercedes Ruehl. The play made Fierstein famous and gave rise to Jon Lovitz’s hilarious SNL impression of him. (“If I were a gay bee, would you be attracted to me?”)

VISUAL ARTS

09/ GENERAL IDEA

Ever seen artist Robert Indiana’s famous “LOVE” logo refashioned as “AIDS”? That was the work of General Idea, a pioneering queer art trio formed in Toronto in 1969 which went on to stage faux beauty pageants and make the poodle their design mascot. The troika, made up of AA Bronson, Felix Partz and Jorge Zontal, took on the AIDS era with work that turned elements of the epidemic, such as pills, into graphic icons. Bronson, 71, is the group’s sole survivor; Partz and Zontal both died of AIDS in 1994. This fall, New York will see the first solo showing of their work in years—including the “AIDS” logo, which “went viral” globally. “It’s amazing to think they anticipated Internet culture,” says Hrag Vartanian of the hot art blog Hyperallergic. Mitchell-Innes & Nash, 1018 Madison Ave, New York, NY, November 30-January 13

FILM

10/ WOMEN WHO KILL

A favorite at last year’s Tribeca Film Festival, the debut feature from Ingrid Jungermann (who previously has made satirical shorts about Brooklyn lesbian/ queer life) is a super-deadpan, Manhattan Murder Mystery-style tale of two exgirlfriends who do a locally popular true-crime podcast about famous women murderers. “Hottest female serial killer ever?” they muse drily. “That’s a tough call.” But in classic suspense-satire fashion, the irreverence takes a creepy turn when one of them starts dating a, um, murderously sexy newcomer in their lives. Find out why Indiewire called Women Who Kill “the best lesbian horrorcomedy.” Hulu, iTunes and Amazon.