My 5: Cameron Esposito Picks Her Top Queer Movies for Every Taste (Exclusive)
By Emily Krauser
Queery is more than a podcast for Cameron Esposito -- it's a way of life.
If you've ever seen the 36-year-old comedian perform live, tuned into her and wife Rhea Butcher's Seeso show, Take My Wife, or listened to her podcasts (Esposito and Butcher also host a weekly show, Put Your Hands Together, at Los Angeles' UCB Theater, which is recorded for a podcast of the same name), it's obvious that Esposito loves chronicling queer culture.
"Queer people are from and continue to live everywhere in this country, born into or raised within every type of family," she explains to ET. "We are your neighbors, co-workers and loved ones, but we are also ourselves. So often queer folks are approached as other, but for me and other queer folks, we experience the world through queerness. We have a culture and shared experience."
Though her stand-up comedy is already focused on lesbianism and day-to-day life with her wife and friends, Esposito started Queery last August to dig deeper into her community and bring the LGBTQ+ fight for equality to the forefront through intellectual discussions and compelling stories.
"The queer community is experiencing the fastest civil rights movement of all time. Marriage equality didn’t fix things, but the shift in civil rights protections for LGBTQ+ folks in the last two decades has been huge," says Esposito, whose goal it is to create a safer and more inclusive space for the community. "Of course, we are also experiencing some backsliding under the current administration. We almost have these microgenerations going on, where every five to 10 years we've fought a different fight. From the AIDS epidemic to anti-trans bathroom bills, we've dealt with so much, and we are a truly diverse family, part of every demographic. I wanted to try to record in-group conversations between myself and other members of the community because we have the means to preserve this moment in time and better know our history."
Since Esposito is a self-described "true expert when it comes to queer cinema" (not that we expected anything less), we tasked her with picking five queer movies that can suit anyone's tastes. She eschewed the ones she assumed the masses had seen, like Moonlight, Call Me by Your Name, Carol,Tangerine and Love, Simonfor a few lesser-known films that she says will help "round out your education."
For the History Buff: Paris Is Burning
"This doc about the New York drag ball scene in the 1980s will break your heart, lift your spirits and give you a true sense of the folks who gave us the freedom and culture we have today, especially if you are under the misconception that queerness or transness is rooted in whiteness. And spoiler: people of color have always been leading the charge and creating space for community. Beyond queer culture, watch Paris Is Burning to get some perspective on the origin of voguing and 'yas queen.'"
For the Lovers: Weekend
"Perhaps you're familiar with Andrew Haigh's HBO series, Looking,which helped cement stardom for Jonathan Groff and led us all to Groff's amazing work starring in Netflix's Mindhunter, but if you missed Haigh's 2011 film, Weekend, and you're in the mood to really feel something for once in your life, Weekend is the movie for you. It's honestly one of the most romantic movies I've ever seen, and it's beautifully acted. Perfect for date night or a post-breakup sobfest."
For the True Indie Fan: Go Fish
"Sure, The L Word writer, director and co-executive producer Rose Troche gave us lesbians talking, laughing, loving, breathing and fighting, but if you want to see a much artier side of Troche's work, Go Fish is for you. Co-written and starring then-partner Guinevere Turner, this '90s indie flick is all the things we look for in a movie today: intersectional, real, raw and inclusive of many types of queer identity. The movie also made history as the first film sold to a distributor during the Sundance Film Festival. Watch it and you'll see why."
For Those Coming of Age and Coming Out: Pariah and But I'm a Cheerleader
"I couldn't pick between these two films, which have very different tones, and I don't need to -- watch them both!" Before her film, Mudbound, director Dee Rees made Pariah. It's sweet and painful and features excellent dramatic performances by Adepero Oduye and Kim Wayans. But I'm a Cheerleader is a comedy and a lot lighter, but it still packs an emotional punch. Watch to see the first onscreen collaboration between Clea DuVall, Natasha Lyonne and Melanie Lynskey, then add a third movie to your evening and see that cast reconnect in DuVall's 2016 directorial debut, The Intervention."
For the Whole Family: Saving Face
"If I had to pick just one movie that helped me when I was coming out, it'd be Saving Face. Set within the context of a close, traditional Chinese-American family, this is the movie I modeled when coming out to my close, traditional Italian-American family. Director Alice Wu is a software engineer by trade, took screenwriting classes outside of work and gave herself five years to try and get this movie made. I will always be grateful that she did."
Queery is available on Stitcher, iTunes or wherever you listen to podcasts.