A Year In Everything: Owen Myers

These are the LGBTQ movies, television shows, and music videos that made my 2016 better.

December 20, 2016
A Year In Everything: Owen Myers

I always thought that the most exciting queer cinema had already happened. As a college student, I threw myself into discovering LGBTQ films from the past, from ‘60s Japanese oddities and Derek Jarman's queer Brit punk, to the radical work of ‘90s ‘New Queer Cinema’ directors like Isaac Julien and Gregg Araki. I even signed up for evening classes to learn German as a way to better understand the work of auteurs Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Rosa Von Praunheim. In the process, I began to feel that modern day films didn’t measure up. I’d loved Brokeback Mountain as a teenager, but I started to wonder whether Hollywood had done its gay narrative a disservice by casting two cis straight male leads.

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Ten years later, our rightfully increasingly attuned sense of identity politics means that things are slowly getting better — crucially, at a mainstream as well at an indie level. Webseries and shortform music videos have enabled new voices to reach a wide audience, in addition to arthouse movies and cable TV. This year there’s been less need to look to the past for exciting and diverse LGBTQ representation. When I watch the following pieces of work I know that the best isn’t in the past, but is yet to come.

Spa Night
A Year In Everything: Owen Myers Strand Releasing

Andrew Ahn’s beautiful film shows a young Korean man in L.A. trying to reconcile his sexuality with the cultural mores of his traditional family. Not the first coming of age film I’ve seen set at the sauna — that was the 1975 musical romp Saturday Night at the Baths — but perhaps the most quietly powerful.

Shea Diamond, “I Am Her”
A Year In Everything: Owen Myers Courtesy Shea Diamond

A bluesy, belting anthem of defiance, written as “a statement to a world that said I shouldn’t exist.” Black trans lives matter.

Her Story
A Year In Everything: Owen Myers herstoryshow.com

When I get home from work and my brain’s still buzzing, webseries are often as far as my attention span stretches. This one’s a Laverne Cox/Janet Mock-endorsed six-parter about transwomen’s everyday lives, dating, and friendship. Feels refreshingly real (credit that to the trans cast and crew). Should have won the Emmy.

Moonlight
A Year In Everything: Owen Myers A24

It’s as good as everyone says, and the three actors who play lead character Chiron throughout his life are the only reason I’m checking red carpet pictures this year.

serpentwithfeet, “four ethers”
A Year In Everything: Owen Myers YouTube

I’d been waiting for Josiah Wise’s debut Tri Angle Records release to drop for months, and boy did he deliver. “four ethers” is a song about pain and anguish, but with directors Timothy Saccenti & Alvin Cruz’s elemental rendering, watching the video feels like his emotional release can move mountains.

American Crime, Season 2
A Year In Everything: Owen Myers ABC

This tightly-wound season stayed with me all year. It opens with the allegation of male rape at an elite school, and unpacks the complexities of male teen sexuality over 10 episodes with an intensity that doesn't let up.

Transparent, "The Open Road"
A Year In Everything: Owen Myers Amazon

Trace Lysette’s performance broke my heart in this stand-alone with series regular Jay Duplass. She described the two-hander as “boy meets girl,” but there’s more weight here than that; the episode explores what dating actually means for her character Shea, a HIV-positive trans woman.

Any time Christine and the Queens performed live

And made me feel like I could do her dance moves, too.

The Outs, Season 2
A Year In Everything: Owen Myers Vimeo

I’m from London, but Adam Selman’s show about gay guys trying to navigate work, friendship, and dating in N.Y.C., felt realer than any British series this year. Maybe because it nailed the kind of easygoing realism that Andrew Haigh’s movies have.

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Kiddy Smile, “Let A Bitch Know”

Fell in love with this guy after his storming DJ set at a FADER show this summer. In this video the electronic artist travels to the Parisian inner-city banlieus with a crew of vogue dancers to take back the tough streets where he was raised.

Closet Monster
A Year In Everything: Owen Myers

I went into this one blind at London’s LGBTQ film festival, Flare, and didn’t regret it. It’s a tripped-out coming of age tale which veers from past to present, has Isabella Rosselini voicing a hamster, and has a lingering Hedwig-like strangeness throughout.

From The Collection:

LISTMANIA 2016
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A Year In Everything: Owen Myers