Am I right or am I right?
I hope everyone’s enjoying Pride Weekend out there in the sun. Don’t forget to drink water. Seriously. We’ve all got to do our part in this awful drought, but drink a lot of water.
The Matrix filmmakers, The Wachowski Siblings, were back in our neighborhood shooting for their upcoming Netflix series yesterday. The series includes a diverse cast from all over the world, including a transgender blogger, which may be the connection to Pride.
Though from what we see here it looks like they’re highlighting two cisgender women, so maybe not? I’d hope and assume the Wachowski’s would give a trans role to a trans person. (Correction: Jamie Clayton is trans, thanks, Andy. Did some searching and somehow didn’t find that.) They certainly seem to be willing to work with the communities that in which they’re shooting, Mission Local has an article about production collaborating with CAMP to shoot in Clarion Alley.
Cristiano Valli caught some good shots of them at work during Dykes on Bikes.
Andy Wachowski on set.
Jamie Clayton getting direction from Lana Wachowski.
Jamie Clayton and Freema Agyeman taking a selfie in character.
Lana Wachowski in the zone.
Local legend Amit Gupta reports:
Apparently Netflix is filming or doing a dry run for a shot for a show called Sense8. They’re on 18th and Dearborn and have been there since 10am with cameras, crew, and tons of motorcycles.
Here’s some video:
For more info on the show, which sounds pretty trippy, check out this report.
You guys, Looking season finale! Our first season is over, and everyone you thought would hookup DOES! The show decided to avalanche us with some serious shit in the last few episodes, a reward for those who stuck around.
Patrick and Richie are on the outs, remember? The episode opens with Patrick visiting Richie at work because he isn’t returning his calls, and the reception isn’t warm — he’ll call him when he’s ready. Meanwhile, Patrick’s also dealing with boss Kevin, who won’t stop apologizing for trying to kiss him at the wedding, something Patrick is trying to move past quickly. He got other shit going on, you know?
Agustin and Frank are on the outs, remember? Not much progress has been made since last week; Frank wants Agustin to move out on account of the paying the Thor-like CJ for sex, and the decision seems final. Frank even goes so far as to criticize Agustin’s art, calling his shit the musings of a bored rich kid, telling him if he ever follows through with anything, it’ll be mediocre at best. Daaaaaang. Agustin leaves, decides to go on a bender, he chases some pills with kombucha (hee hee) on BART; Patrick runs into him later kinda lying about outside of Dom’s Portuguese chicken startup’s pop-up night.
Dom and Lynn are on the outs, remember? We see Dom running around getting ready for his big night, nervous Lynn won’t make it. When Bakula finally does happen, we see him with a bearded man, potentially a date. Dom clearly isn’t into it, and Doris knows it. We don’t talk about Doris much in these recaps because, in the words of someone like Doris, I just CAN’T — but in this episode she has her moment, telling Lynn that despite all, Dom is worth it. She’s talking about his brattiness as a business partner, sure, but really she’s talking ROMANCE, you guys.
In the dining room, Patrick and Agustin are catching up about P’s woes, when P gets a call from Kevin to come into work. When he gets there, you guys won’t even believe it: Kevin doesn’t even actually need his help on anything! What ensues is your textbook love (lust?) confession: it takes so much effort not to kiss you, I can’t stop thinking about you, THE WORKS (we’ve all been there). Kev goes in for the kiss and while Patrick is initially hesitant, they obviously end up making out, getting naked, THE WORKS. I would go into more detail but what am I, the writer of gay erotica? Get your rocks off elsewhere, reader, I barely understand how this stuff works.
Back at the Portuguese chicken startup pop-up, Dom pulls Lynn aside and apologizes to him for being a dick, Lynn says there’s no need. Dom tells him he hopes they can continue doing something “more permanent,” Lynn thinks they should end their working relationship, Dom goes in for a kiss. Hey buddy! I think we’re talking ROMANCE, you guys.
Later, we catch up with Patrick on his walk of shame home, where he runs into Richie hoping to talk. What ensues is a heartbreaking speech from Richie, about how he’s working through his pride, about how they’re both sensitive about where he’s from, about how he’s thisclose to falling in love with Patrick but he won’t do it if P isn’t ready. Patrick isn’t ready. Tears fall, and by the way, have you ever watched a show where a relationship was this layered? We’re talking insecurities, class issues, emotional immaturity, and it’s all gives your dumb bouncy ball heart a squeeze and a toss.
The show ends with Patrick coming home to Agustin asleep in front of his laptop watching Golden Girls (we’ve all been there). Patrick sits down, starts watching alongside him, and Thank You For Being a Friend plays us out. We are essentially back where we started, with the boys as roommates.
So that’s it for season 1 of Looking! If this was meant to be a show with interesting, complex characters living in San Francisco, whose stories were interesting regardless of them being gay, then mission accomplished. I am intrigued by how casual it all was; I’m glad we all stuck to it, and I’m glad our city has its own show now. Filming for season 2 begins later this year, so please text a babe if you run into Jonathan Groff in the Mission because I just love the way his eyes light up like a Disney prince and I’d like to see that in person.
Okay, now everyone go catch up on True Detective, you’ve earned it.
Spotted in this episode: Willy’s Barber Shop on 22nd and Bartlett, the front of the Make-Out Room, BART, Punjab Restaurant (again).
The Oscars were on tonight, you guys! The big winners were trans misogyny, triumph over slavery, and how shitty outer space is, which is truly remarkable because tonight’s episode of Looking was about all those things!
Last week, Patrick invited Richie to his sister’s wedding as a sort of condescending romantic gesture, and to convince himself he was okay dating a Latino hairdresser. We see Patrick getting dressed for the wedding while Skyping with waspy mom, visibly stressed ahead of the forthcoming meeting. Richie comes over to meet him, fresh shaven, and they’re on their way via Volvo station wagon borrowed from Dom. The boys hit the GG bridge (hello, gorgeous!), the atmosphere is tense, frazzled, and they pull over to regroup. Richie pulls out some pot to calm Patrick down and he loses it: Richie’s bringing pot to meet his family?! Richie can’t take Patrick anymore and takes off by foot, a true triumph over slavery!
Meanwhile, Agustin is prepping for his stupid sexy art show and, after Patrick and Dom are critical of his photos, decides to pull out of the show. He tells boyfriend Frank as much as they stroll along Ocean Beach and they fight — it seems Frank had to beg to get Agustin a spot in the show and, as Frank goes on, “I fucked a guy on camera so that you can make art!” (we’ve all been there, I guess?). It is soon revealed that Agustin paid CJ to bone Frank, and nobody’s happy — that, plus the growing distance between them motivates Frank to want Agustin to move out of their shared Oakland home. There ain’t nothin but shitty in outer space (the East Bay, duh).
Across town, Dom is getting the shuttered Punjab Restaurant space dolled up for his Portuguese chicken startup’s pop-up night, funded by Lynn. Tensions are high; they have 28 hours to make everything perfect. They get into a fight; Dom is grateful for the dough but doesn’t like Lynn watching over him like “some teenager.” Lynn gets annoyed, he thought he was his partner in… in this… and he storms off. So anyway, this part’s exactly like the Dallas Buyers Club, you should check that movie out.
But back to the wedding! As luck would have it, Kevin the Ricky Gervais boss is at the wedding with his boyfriend John; he’s friends with the groom, and he knows how to tie a bow tie (which Richie does not).
Patrick spends the wedding a bit distraught over his fight with Richie, which all culminates in a conversation with wasp mom outside the venue. “I don’t think you’d like him very much… he’s Mexican first of all, and he doesn’t really have any money,” he tells her. Patrick says she’s the real reason Richie’s not there, because he knows she wouldn’t approve. We all know he’s projecting, which becomes all the more obvious when wasp mom pulls out a pot cookie to cool her nerves, and tells him all of this is on him (GET IT, GIRL).
The episode ends with Patrick running into a drunk Kevin in the bathroom who (gasp!) goes in for a kiss (a snog?), and is pushed away. We all knew it was coming, we saw it a mile away, but even so! What will this mean?
The episode concludes with the wedding winding down, Patrick sitting next to his dad at the end of the night. “Forty grand for this,” says dad, “You’re not gonna want one of these, are ya?”
The last line is funny, yes, but we should consider one important implication, which the show has been touching on as a show about gay men in relationships: we live in a city where the gay community is finally able to get hitched, and therefore the pressure for gays to become serious, settle down, and marry is now present and strong. Patrick is certainly in no place be serious with anyone; he can’t even wear an escapulario without losing his shit, but he’s getting pressure to become part of a unit, from his friends and community. If the white gay struggle in San Francisco is no longer about health, belonging, and self acceptance, is it now about the same boring shit the rest of the city’s white people struggle with? (This is SO interesting, because this exact same question was posed by Dame Judi Dench in Philomena).
So! We have just one episode left in season 1, and it was announced earlier this week that Looking has officially been renewed for a second season, coming in (whoa!) 2015. I’m very much looking forward to a second season, because I have seen the first eight episodes as more of a prequel. I’ve mentioned continuously that the build-up has been slow, and I think it’s purposeful — because Looking has been warming us boring people up to the existence of a very smart show focused entirely on gay men on our TV boxes. Despite the beej scenes, this is mainstream TV, because with the success of this show, we have just slightly nudged the mainstream over a smidge. Just a touch.
Spotted in this episode: Pkok on Haight (between Pierce and Scott), Punjab Restaurant on 24th (between Bryant and York), the Golden Gate Bridge, Fort Funston.
Oh gosh. So these episodes of Looking are no longer boring, but these recaps certainly will be. The pace has picked up and on top of all that we’ve got a whole lot of meaningful silences to dissect and there’s so much to recap and it’s all so, so harrowing.
There’s a few things going on. Dom’s turning 40 and the gang is planning a birthday hang in Dolores Park. Richie is about to meet all of Patrick’s friends, which prompts them to have the “are we boyfriends?” talk that all of us fine boyfriends across the U.S.A. have had at some point. They decide that yes, they are boyfriends, and Richie gives Patrick an escapulario — a religious good luck pendant which I guess is like the gay Catholic version of a promise ring or a BE FR / ST IENDS necklace combo? In any case, Patrick was touched, and accepted.
Meanwhile, Dom is prepping for 40 by hanging out with a couple of old gays and Lynn, hoping to get funding for his Portuguese chicken startup (“The last thing this city needs is another Zuni,” one wise old gay says). Lynn and Dom are business partners in all this, yes, but we’re increasingly getting the feeling that Dom is heading toward wanting more (Bakula happens, you guys).
Over in Oakland, Agustin, who is my least favorite character and gets more and more upsettingly steampunk with each episode, has his panties all in a bunch because his art sucks (surprise!). We learn he’s invited his muse/probable crush CJ (the Thor guy with the bratwurst) to Dom’s bday, so we’re all excited because we all know this means sex!
Okay, so THEN, we’re at Dolores Park for the birthday soiree and EVERYONE is there, so obviously we run into Patrick’s boss Kevin (the hot Ricky Gervais with the ears) and his boyfriend John! Patrick introduces Richie to the pair, but not only fails to utter the word boyfriend but belittles his career as a hairdresser as a “for now” thing and all that.
And then even WORSE, Agustin buys pot truffles and acts like a dick for the rest of the episode (drugs, you guys!). He accuses Patrick of “slumming it” with Richie, that Patrick just has Richie around to prove a point to the rest of them, and makes fun of their gay Catholic boyfriend necklaces. Obviously Richie is right behind him and hears everything — and Agustin tries to apologize to him en Espanol but it’s like so uncomfortably CLASS CONFLICT that everything basically just turned into a John Hughes movie and I need to fan myself off.
Agustin goes to wallow in his misstep with Frank and CJ (whose only line this episode is: “I fuckin’ love Cheetos,” thankfully). They all go home and obviously have a threesome and film it and shit seems to get a little too real between Frank and CJ and Agustin notices and we know Agustin is like 15 minutes away from a full-on breakdown. I’m hoping Agustin gets written off the show and they instead lock CJ in as the character who eats homoerotic snacks 2-3X per episode (outlook: promising!).
Alright. So meanwhile, Dom continues sulking because he’s 40 and, even though he’s been propositioned on Grindr, he goes to hang with Lynn instead (who sent him birthday flowers btw!). They settle in with cartoons and some pot and Lynn suggests they get the Portuguese chicken startup off the ground as a pop-up. Dom goes in for a Lynn kiss and Lynn’s like exqueeze me? and tells him he just wants to be biz partners. Class act, that Lynn.
Back in the Mission, Richie asks Patrick if he’s embarrassed of him, because he has transformed into Molly Ringwald before our eyes. Patrick flashes his best Andrew McCarthy smile and invites Richie to his sister’s wedding to pacify him (“I’ve been slow all my life and that’s over,” he says). We later witness Patrick looking at himself in the mirror, adjusting his gay charm necklace, and I think we know that some of what Agustin said was true. Patrick IS trying to prove something to himself or someone, or both. He wants to be a type of guy, but he may not yet be that type of guy. Oh, Patrick.
Did you know that in the original version of Pretty in Pink, Molly Ringwald and Jon Cryer end up together, but it tested poorly with audiences so they went with the Andrew McCarthy ending instead? They really should have stuck with that first ending, because why you gotta settle for being someone’s tacky pity girlfriend? Basically, Richie needs to find himself a Duckie to love because Patrick is kind of a dick and not ready for any of this. This will all explode before our eyes like a Portuguese chicken startup in the next few episodes, and I’m gonna be the one crossing my arms and shaking my head like a surly abuela.
No, you hang up!
Spotted in this episode: Dolores Park, truffle guy, Muni (probably the 33).
Oh my goodness, you guys, being a gay man in San Francisco is glorious! Our 5th episode of Looking takes us on a 24-hour date with Patrick and Richie as they wander through San Francisco and talk first sexual experiences, coming out stories, and putting Ds in Bs.
The episode (titled “Looking for the Future”) starts off with Patrick waking up at Richie’s place and tip-toeing off to work — but Richie wakes up before he can dine and ditch, and we discover that the pair have spent a few nights together at this point. Patrick finally heads out, only to turn back around less than half a block away to hop back into Richie’s bed. What ensues is a pretty decent sex scene that every mainstream entertainment outlet this week has warned us about with shitty copy like “Get ready to put your game face on to check out Jonathan Groff’s eye-popping O-face!” and such. P got a beej, ok?
The boys head to St. Francis Fountain for breakfast and continue talking; we find out Patrick is tested for STDs regularly, that Richie’s last boyfriend was HIV positive (“I loved him, so what are you gonna do?”), that Patrick loves Goonies. Patrick decides to call in sick to work, and the rest of the day is one big walk and talk and it’s all very Annie Hall (or West Wing?).
We hop on the J-Church (hey buddy!) en route to Golden Gate Park, find out both boys are former fatties, and learn about first sexual experiences. Patrick and Richie head to the Morrison Planetarium at the California Academy of Sciences for more H2H-ing. I am immediately reminded of Dylan and Kelly’s Griffith Observatory planetarium makeout on 90210 (that summer they were cheating on Brenda!), a total Rebel Without a Cause ref aired during the golden age of Bev-Niner. Patrick and Richie are totally not on the same page as me and instead evoke Ross and Rachel’s planetarium makeout on Friends, which made me roll my eyes and go “ugh, gays” (and then I immediately felt bad).
The fellas discuss B-sex, and we learn that Patrick isn’t sure he’s into it. We learn the phrase “bottom shame” (which is now ingrained in my personal lexicon), and discuss things like people immediately picturing a D in your B when you come out. The night ends with Patrick opening up and telling Richie he might be ready to try it all out soon.
Now stay with me here. All this B-sex talk is significant, because this is not a show about struggling with sexuality. The heroes of our story are not 17 years old; they have been out for a while, are comfortable in their gayness, and navigating relationships. This show is taking shit to the next level. Looking rolls its eyes at the two-episode gay character who teaches us about self-discovery and bounces, because Looking is not about teaching straight people how hard it is to be gay. Us frumpy straights are not watching characters whose sexuality defines them, we’re just checking out some gay dudes on the daily and hearing what universal and more niche relationship, class, and cultural issues come up along the way.
Now I know I initially complained that, though I understood Looking was to be a realistic portrayal of gay men in San Francisco, the show wasn’t fabulous enough (yeah, I’m a dick). I stand by that assertion of the first 3 episodes, which really did this show a disservice by not introducing our characters more dynamically and likely losing initial viewers. The difference between episode 1 and episode 5 is that while episode 1 was staring at us with knowing looks and promising they’d fill us in later, episode 5 is both filling us in and saying hey, here’s a really good book you should read. Top shame!
Oh, enough about you. Sing us out, Morrissey.
Spotted in this episode: Richie’s apartment on 24th between Florida and Bryant in between Dreams Hair Salon and Sugarlump Coffee, St. Francis Fountain, the J-Church, Golden Gate Park, a hat tip to the buffalos in the park, the Morrison Planetarium at the California Academy of Sciences, the beach.
I just watched the 4th episode of Looking and Patrick didn’t embarrass himself once, I can hardly believe my eyes! Last week we had a breakthrough, and we decided we should stop being d-bags and start making good decisions, and we are sticking to it. (We are collectively Patrick, and we’re loving it!).
The episode begins: we see Patrick working hard with his big-eared boss Kevin the Brit on a Sunday, prepping for a big presentation while Folsom Street Fair pulsates (gyrates? undulates?) outside their office window. The two are talking relationships, etc., when Kevin gets a call from his LDR boyfriend (long-distance relationship, not Latter Day Raints) and has to take off. Patrick takes this opportunity to meet Agustin, Doris, and ginger friend Hugo at the fair.
At the fair, we learn Agustin is interested in doing an “art piece” with CJ, the Thor-like sex worker gent we met last week, who they run into at the rentboy.com booth (this is actually a site, you guys, and it looks kind of Euro in like the worst way possible). CJ says he’ll do anything for his standard $220/hour rate, and then says a bunch of boring shit about how hot he is while eating a bratwurst (really?!), and we’re all left wiping our brow. This whole exchange is questionable: Agustin is back to doing “art” by deciding to do a “piece” about CJ’s “work”? Sounds pretty “gay” if you ask “me.”
Meanwhile, Dom visits Lynn at his flower shop, which turns out to actually be Urban Flowers on 18th. He invites Lynn to lunch, and they dine at Orphan Andy’s. Dom goes on and on about his Portuguese chicken startup or whatever and I think Lynn gets the picture — Dom wants business advice, connections, etc. — and agrees to see his business proposal. Dom wants to get a move on, because he’s turning 40, and if you don’t have your Portuguese chicken startup by the time you’re 40, you’re fucking NOTHING in in this town.
Okay, but back to Folsom Street Fair, where Agustin eats meat and has to go to Patrick’s office to poop (finally, some poop humor!!!). The whole crew goes over in their leather gear and obviously Kevin comes back at that very moment. The crew bounces and Kevin and Patrick continue on with their work. The flirt sesh picks back up until they discuss ordering dinner, at which point Kevin says “Please, please can we get fried chicken? I’m just not allowed it at home” basically sounding like an insecure Veruca Salt (character, not band), and Patrick is either way turned off by how much this guy evokes a 12-year-old Ricky Gervais (right?) or he’s grossed out by how he’s been made the surrogate fun boyfriend, and decides to pass on dinner. Get your own fun boyfriend, Kevin!!!
Patrick bounces and meets his friends at the Stud, where he sees Richie from Esta Noche (!) across the room. He approaches him, they make amends over the whole cut/uncut thing, and they romantic sexy dance all night. Seriously, I didn’t even know what romantic sexy dancing was until I watched this episode, and now I want to do it every night with a glass of Sauvy B in one romantic sexy hand and a handful of my lover’s hair in my other romantic sexy hand. My goodness!
So this was a filler episode. We had to move a few things forward as we move into something more exciting next week, which is perfectly fine, and which is why we don’t need to think too hard. I’m still starting to really dig this show, but I admit I wish we were privy to a bit more background, I wish we learned more about where each character came from, because a dumb gal like me can only take so many subtleties and unknowns. I won’t conjure Sex and the City dialogue this week, though I will say that I wouldn’t kick a Carrie Bradshaw voice over up in this show out of my bed. Because in a city full of uncertainties, sometimes you need a person’s actual feelings about Folsom Street Fair spelled out for you.
Spotted in this episode: Folsom Street Fair, Urban Flowers next to Philz on 18th, Last Call, The Stud, a passing mention of Rickshaw Stop.
YOU GUYS. The producers of Looking have been hearing our cries! Episode 3 kicks off with a seaman pun that would hold its own in Sex and the City world (where was that show set again?). If my only requirement as a serious television critic is to get a Samantha Jones-inspired pun once in a while, we’re off to a good start.
Here’s why the seaman: the episode begins with Patrick and coworker Owen boarding a docked ship in Alameda to celebrate the launch of a new video game called Naval Destroyer. Patrick meets large-eared Brit Kevin who he hits on unsuccessfully while playing video games, straddling a torpedo. We later discover Kevin could potentially be his new boss. (Note: Does Kevin have kind of a Ricky Gervais-but-hot vibe or am I just racist?)
SAMANTHA: The British are coming, the British are coming! (She’s having sex with a British guy in this one)
Patrick spends the rest of the episode trying to save face and figure out how to get on Kevin’s team while Kevin effs with him a bit (British people are awful!), including telling Patrick he’d been going through his internet history and he should lay off the OK Cupid and Manhunt. Of course, in the end, Patrick decides to take matters into his own hands, designs some bonus shit to show Kevin, only to find out he was going to be picked for the team anyway. Kevin is, nonetheless impressed: “Commitment looks good on you.”
Our other boys? Well, Agustin is fired from his job working for another artist for hating her shitty art. He drowns his sorrows in a piece of cake (READERS: Where?) and meets a cocky, Thor-like sex worker who tells him he’s like sooooo good at sex and makes like sooooo much money. Intrigued, Agustin considers this career path himself.
Meanwhile, our friend Dom with the Tom Selleck mustache decides (in a Bollywood dance class!) that it’s finally time to open his own restaurant, something about Portuguese chicken (fuck your Anglo chicken, Zuni!). We later see him cruising a sauna (SEXY PEOPLE: can you cruise a sauna?), where he befriends Lynn, owner of a floral shop on Castro, an “institution”, and mothereffing Scott Bakula looking not a day over 47 (Note: He’s 59 so way to go, Bak!).
SAMANTHA: I’d like to leap his quantum!
SAMANTHA: I’d like to get behind his candelabra! (She’s having sex with Scott Bakula in both of these)
I liked this episode, you guys. I think the show is starting to get its footing here, and it’s addressing some very San Francisco issues that haven’t much been addressed on TV. Being in your 20s or 30s and ponying up and deciding to do a thing in a city of Peter Pans is something that struck me; it’s difficult to do here vs. in NY or LA, where everyone’s basically just a dick about careers and/or stations in life all the time. “I don’t think either of us are very good at being who we think we are, maybe we should try a little harder,” Patrick says to Agustin. I felt it, dudes.
I am also very interested in the introduction of Lynn, the institution. The relationship between gays over 40ish and younger gays is not something I consider much as a boring straight girl, but I am intrigued: the political vs. liberated, there is a mutual respect but both have gone through different shit and have some unique shit to get over.
And finally, Looking is kind to San Francisco. I can’t tell you how underwhelmed I was by Woody Allen’s San Francisco in Blue Jasmine (BREAKING: Woody Allen hates gay people). Looking features our bars, restaurants, streets, even our public transportation prominently, we are all up in San Francisco and its beautiful views and I dig it.
SAMANTHA: If that’s what they call the San Francisco treat, I’ll take two, honey! (She’s having sex with a San Franciscan in this one)
Spotted in this episode: the Transamerica pyramid, the J-Church, a burrito, Valencia between 16th and 17th, a nonexistent Esta Noche Facebook page, BART, Nellie Street.