Alison Bechdel

Dr-Teeth-in-The-Muppets-Bohemian-Rhapsody

Dr. Teeth Covers Ol’ Dirty Bastard and Jeff Goldblum Used to Be Shirtless: Links You Need to See

By

There was always a suspicion that Dr. Teeth — lead singer of Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem, the house band on The Muppets — was just biding his time during his residency on The Muppet Show. With his purple hat and gold tooth, this was clearly a worldly muppet who had been there and done that, and The Muppet Show gig to him was surely just another paycheck. The A.V. Club brought to our attention a new Adam Schleichkorn mash-up that runs with our suspicions of what Dr. Teeth would really like to be doing: covering Ol’ Dirty Bastard.
… Read More

H-is-for-Hawk_2-494436

25 Essential Books About Death and Grief

By

If there’s one thing that every human on this earth has in common, it is that, at some point, we will have to deal with death. And while the contours of grief are different in every case, it is a comfort in a wild epoch to know that there are books out there, nonfiction and fiction, memoirs and beyond, that can provide something like comfort and succor. Here are 25 books that look straight into the face of death and reveal something new about what it’s like to be alive, saddled with that terrible knowledge that, someday, we will… Read More

girls

Girl Canon: 50 Essential Books About the Female Experience

By

Everyone knows that, statistically at least, girls read more than boys. But the classic, canonical growing-up books, at least in American culture, tend to represent the male experience — I’m thinking On the Road, The Catcher in the Rye, everything ever written by Bret Easton Ellis or Michael Chabon — and while these are great books, suitable for boys or girls, the question remains: where are the books for girls to grow up on? Well, they’re definitely out there, if perhaps assigned less often in schools to readers of both genders. And so I propose a Girl Canon, populated by books not necessarily for girls but which investigate, address, or represent the female experience in some essential… Read More

interesting

50 Books Guaranteed to Make You More Interesting

By

Everybody out there could stand to be a little more interesting. Yes, even you, trilingual lion-tamer astrophysicist reader. And you know what makes you more interesting? Books, of course. (You knew it was going to be books, because you’re already a little interesting) But not just any books. Some books have more capacity to raise your interest level than others. Here’s a list of 50 books that will make you smarter, funnier, deeper, and yes, more interesting — at least to some… Read More

Ghost world

25 Essential Graphic Novels

By

Long dismissed as a less serious art form, graphic novels have finally started to gain more mainstream credibility over the last 20 years. There are many, many excellent examples out there, but if you’re looking for a place to start, start here! The world of the graphic novel is one that spans a wide range of authors, artists, styles, and subject matter, and this primer covers all the… Read More

the-bechdel-test

It’s Pointless to Argue Over Whether a Film — or Any Work of Art — Is Feminist

By

Depending on your political orientation, it sounds like a news story from either feminist utopia or authoritarian hell (or, if you’re among those of us lucky enough to live with much ambivalence and cognitive dissonance, both): “Swedish cinemas take aim at gender bias with Bechdel test rating.” I was certainly shocked to hear, last week, that Dykes to Watch Out For and Fun Home creator Alison Bechdel’s gender-based test for films had not only reached Scandinavia, but was affecting cinema policy over there.
… Read More

mailer_cover collage

50 Sublime Coffee Table Books for the True Sophisticate

By

Let’s face it: the coffee table book is not just a book; it’s an item designed to indicate the relative level of sophistication of its owner. It’s a fetish object which ideally turns the sophistication dial up to “high.” Displaying coffee table books is, thus, essentially an invitation to people to judge you. A lot of people go wrong there, in my opinion. So here are 50 books that should be populating your coffee table instead of the latest collection of Vanity Fair‘s photo… Read More

Sean Penn

The Gay Bechdel Test: Why Hollywood Needs to Expand Its Representation of LGBT Characters

By

For years, I’ve enjoyed putting popular films through the Bechdel Test. Named after cartoonist Alison Bechdel, the test was introduced in her long-running comic Dykes to Watch Out For. Named “The Rule,” what became known as the Bechdel Test had three requirements: a film had to feature two named female characters, those characters had to speak to each other, and the subject of conversation had to be about something other than a man. Sounds pretty simple, right? It’s pretty astonishing how many movies fail the pretty easy test — especially in 2013. (A website that keeps track of movie releases and whether they pass the test already lists at least 38 films from 2013; only 21 pass the Bechdel test.) It got me thinking: could there be a similar test about gay characters, and how many movies would actually pass it?
… Read More

hero

10 LGBT-Themed Novels That Every Student Should Read

By

The California Department of Education’s new recommended reading list, which was released last week, is causing some controversy because — gasp! — it includes a handful of books with LGBT themes. Though the list, which contains over 7,800 books, recommends only 32 that fall into the “gay-themed” category, several conservative critics are saying predictably nasty things. Never mind that this list has included books with gay and transgender characters for the past ten years. Between this news and the Supreme Court marriage equality hearings, we figured it was a good time to throw in our two cents: ten novels with LGBT themes that we think every student should read. We tried to suggest a range of books, from classics to YA, but since there are so many and we can’t list them all, add your favorites in the comments.
… Read More