Ian Thomas Malone

A Connecticut Yogi in King Joffrey's Court

Monthly Archive: June 2020

Wednesday

17

June 2020

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Queen of the Capital

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Pride coverage rolls along! We are thrilled to welcome Josh Davidsburg and Muffy Blake Stephyns, director and star of the new documentary Queen of the Capital, to the show. Queen of the Capital follows Muffy’s campaign to be elected Empress of the Imperial Court of Washington, an organization of drag performers that raise money for charity. Josh and Muffy share plenty of insights from making the film and the history of drag in Washington D.C. One of Ian’s favorites from the Slamdance film festival, Queen of the Capital is definitely one you won’t want to miss.

Queen of the Capital is available on Alamo Drafthouse VOD starting June 20th. https://ondemand.drafthouse.com/film/queen-of-the-capital/. You can also check out the film’s website http://queenofthecapital.com/.

Be sure to follow Muffy and Josh on Twitter @MuffyBStephyns & @jdavidsburg

Cover art by Karolyn Popat

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Tuesday

16

June 2020

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Sam Feder, Director of Disclosure

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Pride coverage continues! Today we are joined by Sam Feder, director of the documentary Disclosure: Trans Lives on Screen, which Ian had the pleasure of seeing at Sundance. Sam talks about the importance of visibility, the challenges of presenting a history in real time, and the responsibility of filmmakers to depict trans people accurately. 

Disclosure premieres on Netflix on June 19th.

You can follow Sam on Twitter @SamFederfilm and Disclosure @Disclosure_Doc

Be sure to check out Ian’s review of Disclosure for FanSided: https://fansided.com/2020/01/28/disclosure-trans-lives-on-screen-sundance-review/

Photo credit: Alex Schmider

 

 

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Monday

15

June 2020

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Legal Analysis of the Supreme Court LGBTQ Ruling

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Big day for LGBTQ rights! The Supreme Court ruled in a 6-3 decision that employers cannot fire LGBTQ workers simply for being gay or transgender. The landmark decision, authored by Trump appointee Justice Neil Gorsuch, represents a major milestone in the fight for LGBTQ equality.

We are delighted to have legal analyst & journalist Colin Kalmbacher on the show to break down the case for us. Colin authored an excellent piece for Law & Crime explaining the importance of the decision. In a brief breaking-news episode, Colin supplies some superb analysis of the significance of today’s ruling.

Be sure to read Colin’s article for a very thorough explainer. https://lawandcrime.com/supreme-court/liberal-and-conservative-justices-in-6-3-decision-agree-that-sexual-orientation-and-gender-identity-are-protected-by-civil-rights-act/

You can follow Colin on Twitter @colinkalmbacher

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Friday

12

June 2020

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Teraj – Singer, Travel Host, & Entertainer

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Our Pride coverage begins! Join host Ian Thomas Malone and special guest Teraj for a fascinating conversation about the protests against police brutality happening across the country and Teraj’s career. Teraj is the host “Gay Travel Today” on Amazon’s Alexa and recently put out his debut album “Defy.” Ian & Teraj also talk about the role of Pride as an outlet for protest.

For more of Teraj, check out his social media and be sure to tune in to “Gay Travel Today.”

Twitter: https://twitter.com/IAmTeraj
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IAmTeraj/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/teraj08/
Alexa Flash Briefing: https://amzn.to/2WMUJ3j
Website: https://www.terajmusic.com/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpHce1qpmSQZ4eGy-c0pXXg

Teraj’s music video for “Let Yourself Soar” that was referenced in the episode can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghhBjpp7YiI

 

We at Estradiol Illusions would like to affirm our support for Black Lives Matter and the movements across the globe. 

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Thursday

11

June 2020

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13 Reasons Why Season 4

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What a mess. Join Ian Thomas Malone as she breaks down 13 Reasons Why’s terrible fourth and final season. From the bad writing, underwhelming narrative, and totally checked out actors who all looked way too old to be in high school, this season was a mess for just about every reason imaginable. Ian also provides a brief overview of the series as a whole and what drew her to it initially.

Be sure to check out Ian’s review of the season for FanSided: https://fansided.com/2020/06/07/13-reasons-season-4-review/

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Tuesday

9

June 2020

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Seahorse Handles Transgender Pregnancy with Grace and Dignity

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It would be nice to live in a world where news like Freddy McConnell’s pregnancy wouldn’t make international headlines, leading to a cascade of unfortunate headlines seeking to sensationalize his person life. McConnell, a British transgender man who gave birth to a son in 2018, is an affable individual who understandably shies away from the kind of cringeworthy tabloid coverage that follows him around. Seahorse: The Dad Who Gave Birth seeks to tell his intimate story.

Director Jeanie Finlay captures extensive footage from McConnell’s entire pregnancy. The film does a great job explaining the unique challenges the process presents to trans men. Being off of hormones for any extended period of time is an incredibly taxing endeavor, something that McConnell handles with grace.

The artificial insemination procedures aren’t very different for trans men as for cisgender women, a reality that Finlay highlights quite well. Seahorse presents a refreshingly sober look at pregnancy, a soft-spoken effort to tone down the rhetoric surrounding transgender issues. Much of the film is pretty mundane stuff, but that’s also kind of the point. McConnell isn’t a radical figure. He’s a man who wants a family.

Seahorse does at times struggle with presenting a narrative. Much of the film’s first act centers around McConnell’s relationship with CJ, a masculine-presenting non-binary person, who was initially supposed to co-parent McConnell’s child. CJ exits the narrative early on, leaving Freddy on his own, though with support from his mother among other people.

At a certain point, Finlay stops trying to organize the steps of McConnell’s pregnancy into a cohesive story. The third act suffers from a few meandering sequences that don’t serve any broader narrative. Mundane might be the point, but it’s gets a bit tedious after a while.

Seahorse would likely have benefited from Finlay taking a broader approach to the subject. A quick Google search shows the especially toxic media environment in the UK toward transgender people. None of this is covered in the film, perhaps a missed opportunity to provide some broader context to the audience.

For his part, McConnell expresses a desire to be away from the media spotlight late in the film, a peculiar position for the subject of a documentary to be in. Finlay keeps some understandable distance toward a subject going through an emotionally taxing journey with minimal external support. It is McConnell’s journey more than than that of pregnant transgender men as a whole, a tricky tightrope that many narratives focused on marginalized groups must walk.

Seahorse is a very good film that handles its sensitive subject material with great care. There is the sense that there is plenty left on the table with regard to the subject matter. Perhaps another documentary with broader intentions to capture transphobia in Britain can expand on these themes, but if Seahorse succeeds in its primary objective, the thought might not be there to make another film on this topic.

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Thursday

4

June 2020

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The Donut King Explores the Origins of a SoCal Institution

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There are plenty of parts of Los Angeles where it’s hard to drive more than five feet without passing a donut shop. SoCal is home to thousands of independent stores selling the iconic American treat. LA’s Cambodian population dominates the donut market, with over 90% market share across the region. The new film The Donut King explores the man who made much of this possible.

The life of Ted Ngoy is a classic example of the American dream. Escaping Cambodia as a young refugee, Ted arrived in SoCal in the mid 70s, seeking a better life for himself and his family. Recognizing the difficulties of raising a large family on a church janitor’s salary, Ted was drawn to the donut trade, which offered high traffic, long operation hours, and good margins.

After a three-month apprenticeship working for the legendary Winchell’s Donuts, Ted went out of his own, opening his own shop. Quickly learning the trade, Ted expanded rapidly through the region, in the process employing hundreds of his Cambodian countrymen. Ted’s deep-fried empire grew so massive that it severely cut into Winchell’s own market share, in the process keeping east-coast leviathan Dunkin Donuts from expanding westward.

Ngoy makes for a compelling subject, a complex man who squandered much of his empire after developing an unhealthy affection for neighboring Las Vegas. He’s very open about his life’s story, giving a personal touch to director Alice Gu’s broader narrative about how the Cambodian population came to dominate the LA donut market. Gu thoroughly unpacks the material, interviewing executives from Winchell’s and Dunkin Donuts to provide a very digestible explainer on all things donuts.

The film’s biggest struggle lies with its runtime. The Donut King almost justifies spending more than ninety minutes on Ngoy and the SoCal donut market, but the film drags pretty hard for a long stretch in the middle. A solid twenty minutes should have been cut to ease the burden on the narrative.

Gu also includes several animated sequences from films and cartoon references donuts. These cutaways help ease the burden on the repetitive landscape for a while, but they grow stale and tiresome as the narrative progresses.. There’s a very good story in The Donut King, but Gu would’ve done well to trim it down a bit.

The Donut King is a touching love letter to an important slice of SoCal culture and a man who lived the American dream. Ngoy has had his ups and downs in life, but he singlehandedly changed the landscape of a vital LA market. Be sure to grab a pink box full of everyone’s favorite treat before watching.

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