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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.
Hockney‘s “Man in Shower in Beverly Hills,” 1964.
Hockney‘s “Man in Shower in Beverly Hills,” 1964.
VISUAL ART

01/ DAVID HOCKNEY

New York‘s Metropolitan Museum of Art takes an exuberant look back at 30 years of work by the great, gay British artist and famous L.A. transplant, now 80 and still painting. The exhibit spans everything from early abstract works to the shimmering, sun-drenched (and sweetly homoerotic) swimming pool paintings that made him famous to his later forays into Cubism right up to his recent color-soaked landscapes. It also includes his famous “double portraits,” including 1971‘s “Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy.” “He, at a very young age, was expressing themes of queerness and difference and displaying them very proudly in his work,” says curator Ian Alteveer. It‘s all here to be savored. Through Feb. 25; metmuseum.org

 

 

The cast of The Chi.
The cast of The Chi.

TELEVISION

02/ THE CHI

Lena Waithe, the first black woman to win a TVwriting Emmy (for Aziz Ansari‘s Master of None), is also queer. Now Showtime is debuting her drama about the intertwined lives of a group of working-class black folk on Chicago‘s volatile South Side, where Waite grew up. It‘s not clear yet if the show will feature LGBT characters but it seems like a possibility. After all, on Master of None, Waithe played Ansari‘s sidekick Denise, who came out to her mom, played by the legendary Angela Bassett. With a cast that includes Alex Hibbert, who played the boyhood version of Chiron in the Oscar-winning Moonlight, plus Jason Mitchell (Straight Outta Compton) and Yolonda Ross (The Get Down, Treme), The Chi promises to be one of 2018‘s most exciting new TV dramas. Premiered Jan. 7; show.com/the-chi

THEATER

03/ THE BOYS IN THE BAND

Mart Crowley‘s polarizing yet seminal 1968 stage drama about one fateful night among a group of gay male friends is about to get a 50th anniversary Broadway revival. Produced by TV wiz Ryan Murphy and directed by theater vet Joe Mantello, it‘ll star a cast of openly gay A-listers including Jim Parsons (Big Bang Theory), Andrew Rannells (Girls), Zachary Quinto (Star Trek, American Horror Story) and Matt Bomer (Chuck, The Normal Heart). Perhaps no gay play divides audiences like Crowley‘s zinger-packed fest of bitchiness and melodrama amid life in the pre-Stonewall closet. Some call it a relic of gay self-loathing; others call it a hilarious and moving testimony to gay friendship back in darker days. How will this much-anticipated revival spin it? Previews start April 30 at the Booth Theater; telecharge.com; broadway.com

THE HOUSE OF IMPOSSIBLE BEAUTIES

FICTION

04/ THE HOUSE OF IMPOSSIBLE BEAUTIES

If any LGBTQ documentary were ripe for a novelization or fan fiction, it would be Paris Is Burning, the 1990 cult masterpiece that unveiled the world of Harlem‘s gay drag voguing competitions— and introduced viewers to a real-life cast of characters (most now deceased, sadly) living out their sequined, strutting dreams against a backdrop of racism, poverty and societal rejection. This debut novel by Iowa Writers Workshop grad Joseph Cassara focuses in on the Latin characters of the film‘s House of Xtravaganza, imagining their inner lives with heaps of comedy, fierceness and heartbreak. As the 1980s wear on, even AIDS is unable to break the bonds of family that help keep Cassara‘s heroines, in the film‘s immortal terms, “legendary.” Feb. 6; harpercollins.com

TELEVISION

05/ THE ASSASSINATION OF GIANNI VERSACE: AMERICAN CRIME STORY

In 2016, Ryan Murphy riveted us to FX with his American Crime Story TV series, based on the trial of O.J. Simpson. This year, the series returns, based on Maureen Orth‘s book Vulgar Favors, on the 1997 Miami Beach murder of openly gay superdesigner Gianni Versace at the hands of gay grifter and serial killer Andrew Cunanan. Edgar Ramírez (Zero Dark Thirty) plays Versace, while Darren Criss plays Cunanan, Penélope Cruz plays the designer‘s eminently mimicable sister Donatella and Ricky Martin plays his longtime boyfriend. The trailer, in which the sound of gunshots from the Versace mansion unleashes a torrent of doves into the air, suggests that Murphy won‘t hold back. He‘s been doling out smart, sexy dramas (like last year‘s Feud) for several seasons. Jan. 17 premiere; fxnetworks.com

WHEN THEY CALL YOU A TERRORIST: A BLACK LIVES MATTER MEMOIR

NON-FICTION

06/ WHEN THEY CALL YOU A TERRORIST: A BLACK LIVES MATTER MEMOIR

In recent years, the Movement for Black Lives (also known as Black Lives Matter, or BLM) has become synonymous with the fight against police brutality and criminal injustice toward African Americans. Many don‘t know, however, that two of the movement‘s three female thirtysomething founders identify as queer. One of them is Patrisse Khan-Cullors (see interview on page 19), who, in this book (cowritten with longtime author and activist asha bandele), tells her own story of being forced out of her L.A. home at 16 for being queer. She also tells of the events—including the 2012 murder of Trayvon Martin—that led to the start of BLM, and the incredible backlash and misrepresentation the movement has faced since its inception. “I have lived my life between the twin terrors of poverty and the police,” Khan- Cullors writes in the book‘s opening pages. And that‘s just the beginning of a journey that readers will find transformative. Jan. 16; read.macmillan.com

TELEVISION

07/ RU PAUL'S DRAG RACE, SEASON X

Yes, queens, that‘s right! The Logo-turned-VH1 competition series that put towering drag legend RuPaul back on the map and has turned a new generation of queer (and even non-queer) teens and millennials onto the venerable gay traditions of drag and camp— and onto LGBTQ rights and understanding in general—is a decade old. Grab hold of your wig. This 10th anniversary season promises plenty of candy-colored surprises, like (perhaps) a circus theme and (another show favorite) the return of a queen from a prior season for another chance at the crown. “Now more than ever,” Ru said of the upcoming season, “we rely on the power of love, laughter and creativity to combat fear and darkness.” Can we get an amen? March; logotv.com

MUSIC

08/ FISCHERSPOONER

Casey Spooner and Warren Fischer, the gay duo that defined the “electroclash” dance sound of the late 1990s and early 2000s, are back with Sir, their first album in nearly a decade. Produced partly by R.E.M.‘s Michael Stipe (who was briefly lovers with Spooner in the 1980s and himself came out as queer back in 1994), the album promises to be, in Spooner‘s words, an “aggressive homosexual” electronic soundscape. Seems so, based on its first two releases, “Have Fun Tonight” in which a gay man urges his lover, secure in their polyamory, to go out and seek thrills without him and “Togetherness,” an ambient groove aided by haunting vocals from Caroline Polachek of the Brooklyn-based indie outfit Chairlift. Feb. 16; fischerspooner.com

FICTION

09/ HEARTLAND

You likely won‘t read another novel this year quite like this debut from Cuban-American lesbian playwright, author and activist Ana Simo. In a scary yet oddly funny post-apocalyptic America that evokes Margaret Atwood‘s The Handmaid‘s Tale, there‘s mass starvation in The Heartland and an ISIS-like group on the brink of taking over. Against this backdrop, Simo‘s Latina writer heroine decides that she must murder Mercy McCabe, the cunning art dealer who did her wrong in love. Meanwhile, her childhood friend Rafael Cohen has become a government eugenicist and inventor of New Racialism—a mixed-race breeding program designed to eliminate racial divisions. Already earning comparisons to the work of Eileen Myles and Junot Díaz, Heartland is a genre-busting breakout book that mixes elements of telenovela, pulp noir and dystopia. Jan. 16; restlessbook.com/bookstore/heartland