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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Great Gifts: DVDs for the Holidays
2011-12-07

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Queer as Folk: The Complete U.K. Collection

DVD from Acorn Media

The U.S./Canada/Showtime version of Queer as Folk is often compared to the more groundbreaking, edgy U.K. partner—you can make your own comparisons now that this new collection is available. I would recommend both versions for different reasons. I think even though there were some problems when the show hopped the pond, it was still an important show. Of course I am a huge fan of Sharon Gless, as mom to Michael (Hal Sparks), but I think the show was enjoyable for what it was. The U.K. version, which had a much shorter run (it ran 1999-2000), was even more controversial and bolder. Aidan Gillen (The Wire, Identity) stars as an unrepentant rake wreaking havoc in Manchester's gay scene in this series created and written by BAFTA and Hugo Award-winner Russell T Davies (Doctor Who, Torchwood, The Grand) and co-starring Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy, Children of Men). The 3-disc set includes all of Series 1 and 2, along with 131 minutes of previously unavailable bonus materials, including deleted and extended scenes with commentary, behind-the-scenes interviews, a 20-page booklet by the series' creator, and more ($49.99, www.AcornOnline.com ).

Torchwood: The Complete Original UK Series

(DVD and Blu-ray), from BBC

If you have a fan of Torchwood in your friend circle, this 14-disc collection is the gift that will keep on giving. Queer as Folk's Russell T Davies is co-executive producer (along with Julie Gardner) and co-writer (along with Chris Chibnall), so there is lots of queer content to enjoy, most important the bisexual shenanigans of gay actor John Barrowman in the lead. While obsessed fans quibble about plots and certain scenes, I am just a simple fan who loves to escape into the sci-fi world of Torchwood, a group of people outside of the reach of any authorities, who investigate the unknown in the world—and the universe. More grounded on planet earth than Dr. Who, this is a really fun detour into an alternate universe. Co-stars Eve Myles and Burn Gorman, among others. Includes 10 hours of extras.

The Green

DVD from Wolfe Video

This is the story of a gay man who moves to the countryside and has his life turned upside down by a false accusation. The Green was written by Paul Marcarelli, known for as Verizon's "Can You Hear Me Now" pitchman. The Green stars Cheyenne Jackson (30 Rock, United 93), Jason Butler Harner (John Adams); Emmy Award-winner Julia Ormond and Illeana Douglas

Trigger

DVD from Wolfe Video

This film stars avant-garde actress Tracy Wright (Highway 61, This Movie is Broken) in her final performance before her tragic death from cancer, and Molly Parker (TV's Deadwood) as two rockers who reunite 10 years after their band's dramatic breakup. Nominated for four GENIE Awards, including Best Actress nominations for both leads, Trigger received a Special Citation from the Toronto Film Critic's Association for Director Bruce McDonald and was selected as one of the Toronto International Film Fest's Top Ten films for 2010.

Take It Or Leave It

a 2-disc tribute to The Runaways

This is a music CD thrown in for good gift-giving measure, especially to your rock-loving friends. The Runaways (Cherie Currie, Joan Jett, Lita Ford, Sandy West, Jackie Fox, Vicki Blue) were a groundbreaking rock band, and they helped to change the image of women in rock. There are 36 tracks on the two CDs, including classics "Cherry Bomb," "Queens Of Noise" and "Born To Be Bad." While most of the songs are tribute songs by other artists, the collection also includes Cherie Currie's remake of "American Nights," and "Dirty Magazines," the last recording made by drummer Sandy West with her band Blue Fox. Those on the CDs include The Donnas, Shonen Knife, The Adolescents, The Dandy Warhols, Richard Barone (of The Bongos), Derwood Andrews (of Generation X), Toilet Boys, Care Bears On Fire (with Earl Slick of David Bowie/New York Dolls), Kittie, Starz, David Johansen (of New York Dolls) and Kathleen Hanna (of Bikini Kill/Le Tigre) and Peaches, (whose collaboration was produced by Ad Rock of the Beastie Boys) as well as members of Frehley's Comet, Monster Magnet, The Fastbacks, The Cucumbers, The Doughboys and Cousin Oliver from The Brady Bunch, Robbie Rist.


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