Roswell, New Mexico, Lady Gaga, and other queer quarantine recommendations from Matt Ortile
From Lady Gaga bops to the sexy aliens of 'Roswell, New Mexico,'this is queer content perfect for quarantine.
In his new book, The Groom Will Keep His Name, Matt Ortile revels in the intersections of his life. He uses his full life as a queer person of color from the Philippines to break down myths, inform people about the histories of the marginalized groups he's a part of, and entertain.
Ortile showcases his passion for pop culture throughout his collection of essays, so for Pride Month we asked him to recommendation queer content perfect for quarantine.
Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nosrat
"I've been dipping in and out of Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nosrat. It's just so good. I have learned to salt my chicken overnight and they're in the fridge right now, so I'm very excited to make lunch. She writes so wonderfully. Samin is another one of those folks who gives you fantastic information and breaks it down into to clear, lucid way and approachable way, too. She writes as if she's writing to a friend. So every time I look at Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, it's as if I was texting me and saying, ‘hey, how do I braise?’"
Roswell, New Mexico
“It is hot aliens in the middle of the desert, many of whom are – at least the best characters are these bisexual aliens. It's really interesting writing, I thought there were really great plot twists that were executed wonderfully. Also, it's just so nice to see people together in a small community and that's tight knit where everybody's in each other's business, which of course, propels the drama. But now it just feels like a fantasy. The queer couples on the show are fantastic. It's a lot of yearning. It just really makes me feel things and I think that's the least that we can hope for right now is to feel things.” (Available on Netflix)
The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai
“The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai is fantastic. I haven't read this recently, but it's just so good.”
The novel is about the AIDS crisis that bounced between the 1985 and a future time, 30 years later, where two different characters live in times with very different understandings of what the condition is.
“It's wonderfully done. The characters are the best and the worst gay men. It's interesting because Rebecca Makkai is cis white woman writing about this moment in time, which is, you know – but everybody had a way to relate to that crisis. I think it shows the after effects of that era played out, too, for everybody. We're kind of in that moment, in that we're before moment, as we speak. We're in the middle of the pandemic and I'd be curious to see what book comes out where it's both in the moment and then reflects on what comes after once you've seen what comes.”
Based on a play by Paul Rudnick, Jeffrey centers on a gay man who is terrified of AIDS and has sworn off sex. Steven Weber stars as the titular character and Michael T. Weiss plays the man he falls for, who is HIV positive.
“Jeffrey is so afraid of contracting it and once he meets this guy who is HIV positive – and he really likes him – the fear then becomes what happens when your lover, who is HIV positive, dies. It's such a huge amount of loss and grief that you're experiencing and that ultimately becomes the fear that kind of – that’s the villain for Jeffrey in the movie. It's a fantastic movie because there are so many fantastic supporting characters in it, like Christine Baranski in like a five-minute scene, Patrick Stewart throughout the movie, Nathan Lane, Kathy Najimy, Debra Monk as his mom. It's just perfect white queer shit and I eat it up. It's a really, really wonderfully done film.” (Available for VOD rental)
“My family's going through some tough stuff right now and what I've kind of just been leaning into is Gaga pop. I've been looping 'Rain on Me' and 'Stupid Love' just because I just needed some pure joy and to bop around and dance and allow myself to feel that way because the rest of the day it's not joy. So, 'Rain On Me.'”