The new season of “Queer Eye” is streaming now, with the Fab Five — Antoni Porowski, Bobby Berk, Jonathan Van Ness, Karamo Brown, and Tan France — In a new locale. New Orleans is the setting for season seven, with the first episode set in a fraternity house that definitely needs a makeover.
The performers all enjoyed the new city.
“Filming in New Orleans is amazing,” Berk said. “It’s one of the most unique cities in America, in the world, architecturally, culturally food wise, people.”
Berk said the program continually shows audiences that love, compassion and connection are what the world needs.
“It’s what they are yearning to see,” he said. “There is such negativity in the world, and we can show people that no matter where you are from, what culture, what political affiliation, you can all come together and help each other.”
According to France, the five have a conversation with the producers every season to say they want to evolve and do more than they did last time.
“We never want to be a caricature of ourselves,” he said. “We all push ourselves to offer something new each season. We have the same categories but that doesn’t mean you can’t do something new.”
Whenever Porowski feels in a rut, he leans into the personal questions the show presents.
“There are always stories to tell; we just have to do the digging,” he said.
Being executive producers this year for the first time was a lot of fun for the five, Berk said.
In the new Netflix series, “The Ultimatum: Queer Love,” five new couples consisting of women and nonbinary people are facing an important junction in their relationship: while one partner is ready to get married, the other isn’t quite there. An ultimatum is issued, and over the span of the series some get married, some split, and others find new mates. According to host JoAnna Garcia Swisher, some of the contestants made some startling discoveries about themselves.
“I got an opportunity day one to meet them as they came and I stepped away and there was so much that went on,” she said. “I met them later at different moments, and the stakes were higher, the emotions were stronger. Some were cruising through it and others were having some personal journeys that I thought were compelling and interesting.”
Contestant Vanessa Papa says someone slid into her Instagram account and suggested the show to her. At the time, she and Vander Boger were a very public lesbian couple, in what Papa calls a wonderful relation.
“But there was this lingering,” Papa said. “This experience was weirdly perfect for us. It felt too serendipitous to pass up on, but throwing your personal life and emotions and intimate moments [on TV] is a risk for everyone involved.”
Most reality projects such as this one deal with men, so the cast found it refreshing to see a series full of women and nonbinary individuals.
“I find queer representation is amazing in all aspects,” Papa said. “You don’t see a lot of that on dating shows and if you do it’s typically one bisexual (person) there or two and maybe they’ll fall in love. In reality, just because this person is bisexual and so is this person doesn’t mean they are each other’s type.”
When Netflix asked Swisher about hosting, she jumped right in.
“Even though I was there for it, I tore through it [when I watched it later] and binged up,” she said.
After a successful festival run, the film, “Concerned Citizen” is now out theatrically and on streaming. Directed and written by Idan Haguel, it’s about a liberal gay man who plants a tree outside his house in an effort to improve the neighborhood. The deed leads to an act of violence and some self-discovery. It’s a personal project for Haguel, who moved into South Tel Aviv, where the idea for the film began to bubble up. After two years in the new location, he started writing the script.
Haguel describes the film as a “white guilt trip dark comedy about gentrification.” It’s a complex film with many themes. Ben (Shlomi Bertonov) is in a relationship with Raz (Ariel Wolf) and has an identity crisis, making some discoveries about himself morally and politically.
“You can say it’s about the bourgeois life of gay couples in Tel Aviv and their heteronormative lifestyles,” the director said. “You can say it’s about racism in Israeli society or hidden racism in liberal leftist people. The major theme is about this guy who doesn’t want to be a racist.”
As he was putting his cast together, he thought it would be nice to have a real-life couple in the film. Bertonov and Wolf fit that bill. Haguel was watching films such as “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” and “Eyes Wide Shut” and the idea came up. “The intensity between those couples and in Woody Allen films are not couples who are sweet to each other. You have a sense that there is an intimacy between the actors here that is ready made.”“Concerned Citizen” is now available on Apple and Amazon
“Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” Season 7 and “The Ultimatum: Queer Love” are now streaming on Netflix.