The Level Ground Guide to Summer Entertainment


Summer is here, and with it, a whole flood of movies, music, TV and more! We've asked the whole Level Ground Collective for their input on the summer entertainment to pay attention to, and here's what they said.

april 10: Fascism: a warning, by madeleine albright

"This book is exciting because of its relevance. Hard-right autocratic leaning men are ruling all over the world, including the USA and the first woman to be our nation’s chief diplomat is giving us examples of fascism and warnings about how to prevent its rise. I find it fascinating that we are at this point in our nation’s history, and that our nation is particularly set up to fail in the fight against fascism. We’re an individualistic society, but democracy requires community and putting the needs of others into consideration. Our isolated news sources, and untrustworthy social media accounts set us up to cheer for the fascist that looks and sounds most like us, so I’m interested to see what Albright brings to the conversation." - Jarell Wilson, SKEW staff writer

april 25: Handmaid's tale season 2 on hulu

"Handmaid’s Tale feels like required both because of it’s near direct allusions to today’s political landscape and in it’s sometimes ‘painful to watch’ method of storytelling. The first season is visually stunning with incredible performances to match. I am waiting with nervous excitement in hopes that the second season delivers on the same level of quality." - Chelsea Halligan, Level Ground co-founder

may 18: book club

"Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Mary Steenburgen and Candice Bergen sharing the screen and getting naughty after reading 50 Shades of Grey in their book club? This movie sounds like a gay man's dream come to life, and I'm so ready for it." - Donald Scherschligt, SKEW editor in chief

June (date tba): Sleepless, at the dorothy chandler pavilion

LA County Museum of Art and a handful of contemporary artists and musicians take over the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion a few times a year to throw an all-night party and the next one, complete with performance artists and VR headsets in the restrooms (according to a reliable source), promises to be a pretty amazing experience I'm looking forward to the overload of artist inspiration!" - Leslie Foster, Level Ground 2016-17 artist-in-residence

June 1: American animals

“I didn’t get to see either of these films I've recommended on this list when I was at Sundance with Making It Queer, but both have had continued hype since their premieres. I’m a huge Guy Ritchie fan so I’m excited to see how his inspiration influences American Animals." - Chelsea

June 1: head-on, by neko case

"Whether it’s her solo career, her work with The New Pornographers, or her countless other musical contributions, Neko Case is always challenging and invigorating. The preview video for Hell-On features Case covered in snakes, calmly singing, “God is not a contract or a guy/ God is an unspecified tide” over a slow piano. We’ve been waiting 5 years for a new solo album and this is already worth the wait." - Ashleigh Hill, SKEW managing editor

June 3: Pose on fx

"I'll admit that I'm obsessed with everything Ryan Murphy touches. He's one of TV's most successful directors, but I really believe his greatest skill lies in casting. From the scenery-shredding bite of Jessica Lange in American Horror Story to the terrifying eccentricities of Darren Criss as serial killer Andrew Cunanan in The Assassination of Gianni Versace, Murphy has built a stable of actors who consistently bring top performances in the roles he gives them. With Pose, a new drama set in the drag ball scene of 1980s New York, Murphy cast a record number of trans actors as series regulars, and I'm dying to see the results." - Donald

June 4: dietland

"Sarai Walker’s 2015 book by the same name is a Third Wave Feminist’s Beauty Myth/Riot grrrl fiction mash up that was really begging to be made into a TV series. Plus, casting Julianna Margulies as the main character Plum’s boss, Kitty is perfect. The book is an adequate commentary on women, weight loss, and fashion but the story is cinematic and AMC-worthy for sure." - Ashleigh

June 6: On The Run II

"I’m excited for anything Beyoncé does, because Beyoncé is the greatest entertainer. Everything she touches turns as gold as her locks. And Jay-Z is nice too sometimes, when he isn’t lying and cheating and ruining Beyoncé’s life and embarrassing his children." - Jarell

June 8: Ocean's 8

"Finally, we’re getting an all-woman addition to the Ocean’s franchise, and I have watched the trailer no less than 14 times. Today. I’m obsessed with Mindy Kaling’s current career trajectory and will watch anything featuring Sarah Paulson or Rihanna. Who doesn’t love a good Sandra Bullock-run jewel heist?" - Ashleigh

June 8: Won't You Be My Neighbor?

"This Mister Rogers documentary premiered at Sundance, and it's a portrait of a Protestant saint, if there ever were such a thing. It's a vital reminder of his influence on generations of viewers and what we've lost with his passing." - Ryan Parker, host of Making It Queer


June 8: Sense8 Finale on Netflix

"When Sense8 debuted on Netflix in 2015, it blew me away, not just for the inventive storytelling but for its incredible and unabashed portrayal of queerness. I guess I wasn't the only one; when it was cancelled last year, there was such a massive outpouring of support that Netflix brought it back for a finale film. While I'm still sad the show was cancelled, I'm really glad that I get to properly say goodbye to a group of characters I've come to deeply love." - Leslie

June 15: Incredibles 2

"Honestly this sequel is a decade overdue, but I’m glad it’s finally here. Pixar is filled with great storytellers, but stories they shy away from are stories that center the stereotypical mom, dad, and 2.5 kids model. The Incredibles is one of the only Disney-Pixar families that is made up of this model and the way they portray this family is fascinating. They’re animated differently than most Pixar characters, they’re all more aged. Even Violet has bags under her eyes, Dash’s eyes are more dark, and Jack Jack is the only member of the family that seems capable of exhibiting joy, which I think speaks to the writerss' own thoughts about family. The sequel will show us more of their views on family and I can’t wait." - Jarell

June 22: under the silver lake

"Writer-director David Robert Mitchell's breakout film It Follows was one of 2014's best horror films, an elliptical arthouse movie centered around a twisted sexual allegory. Under The Silver Lake to lean further into the sly sense of humor and paranoid undercurrents present in It Follows. l love when I have no clue what I'm getting into with a movie, and Under The Silver Lake seems to provide just that kind of experience." - Donald

June 22: First Reformed

"This is director Paul Schrader's latest film, and the first film he set out to be a transcendental film (a genre he coined) that also has some commercial appeal. It boasts two strong performances from Ethan Hawke and Cedric Kyles (a.k.a. Cedric the Entertainer) as ministers, and they prove to be some of the best in the genre." - Ryan

July 4: the first purge

"OK, sure, I suppose you can dismiss the Purge movies as trashy, inconsequential horror flicks, but you can't dismiss the sheer audacity of a film franchise that used the tagline 'Keep America Great'–a blatant and devilish spin on Trump's presidential campaign slogan–to advertise 2016's Purge: Election Year. If there's one thing that's improved under Trump's presidency, it's this movie series, and I'm totally okay with that." - Donald Scherschligt

July 6: Palo Santo, by Years & Years

"Years & Years is the gay electro-pop band you need in your life. Now. I wrote for SKEW's April issue about their stunning new single 'Sanctify,' and I'm certain the rest of the album will be just as beautiful." - Donald

July 6: Sorry to Bother You

"I'm not exactly sure what Boots Riley's debut film is about, but the trailer is an amazing mash of surreal, absurdist magical realism and I am so ready to dive in. Boots is an incredibly talented musician and artist who has been dreaming of creating this film for a very long time, so I can't wait to see what he's got in store." - Leslie

July 19: Hop-Con 6.0

"Nerd alert! I'm always looking forward to Hop-Con, the one-night beer festival that Stone Brewing hosts the night before Comic Con in San Diego." - Ryan

July 27: blindspotting

"Another Sundance flick with sustained buzz. From what I hear, Blindspotting is an incredibly important story for how our country talks about race. So I can’t wait to see both!” - Chelsea

August 4: Little Man, Little Man

"James Baldwin's only children's book is getting a re-issue this summer and I can't wait! The book is a powerful celebration of self esteem and Black identity." - Leslie


August 10: blackkklansman

"Spike Lee's teamed up with Get Out writer and director Jordan Peele for his latest film, which has been in the works for over two years. Starring John David Washington (the son of one Denzel Washington) and Adam Driver, the film is based on the intense true story of two Colorado police officers in 1979 who infiltrated their local KKK group to prevent it from taking over their city. There's no trailer yet, but Spike Lee's films are always darkly humorous and extremely thought-provoking. With a source material this good and a brilliant team behind him, I'm excited to see how this turns out." - Donald