Palette Magazine

What's New in Gaming, Movies and Music

By Gregg Shapiro

How do you keep yourself busy on your downtime? Whether you'd rather opt for Academy Award-nominated films, music that'll make you dance or the most successful launch in gaming company EA's history, you'll find options to spare here.

Based on the true story of gay Enigma code cracker Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch), The Imitation Game received eight Oscar nominations (including one for Cumberbatch and co-star Keira Knightley), as well as a GLAAD Media Awards nomination. Turing was relegated to being a secret hero of World War II for his code breaking work that helped defeat the Germans. In the film, he is arrested in 1951, following an unfortunate interaction with a gay hustler. Unaware of his contributions to the war effort, Turing is interrogated by a police detective. Flashbacks — which lay out his story, including the invention of his “universal machine” — serve to provide essential background into how Turing became the man he was. The Imitation Game ranks as one the best biopics of 2014, with first-rate performances from the talented cast. Accept no imitations; make it your mission to see The Imitation Game.

Homage (Membran), out in March, is the exact right name for Jimmy Somerville’s new solo album of original tunes. With his trademark falsetto in full effect, Somerville, former front-man of legendary queer Brit bands such as Bronski Beat (whose music could be heard in the acclaimed gay-themed 2014 film Pride) and The Communards, has long had a propensity for dance music. On the reverent Homage, he pays tribute to disco culture. From the (live) strings on “Some Wonder” (recalling the Love Unlimited Orchestra’s “Love’s Theme”) to the vintage Giorgio Moroder vibe on the sultry strut of “The Core” and the exuberant energy of “Travesty,” Somerville knows his stuff. Don’t be surprised if you hear selections from Homage, such as the hip-shaker “Strong Enough” and the luminous “Bright Thing” and “Lights Are Shining,” as well as the hand-clapper “This Hand” and brassy “Taken Away” at tea dances and house parties throughout the year.

Nominated for a Special Recognition honor by GLAAD Media Awards, Dragon Age: Inquisition (BioWare/Electronic Arts) had the distinction of being the most successful launch in gaming company EA’s history when it was released in 2014. Now a full franchise with novelizations and more related products, Inquisition began as video game Dragon Age: Origins in 2009.

Cinematic in scope, Dragon Age: Inquisition contains multiple LGBT storylines, including queer romances, sex scenes (with nudity) and a prominent, plot-oriented trans character all inhabiting this Xbox game universe. Appealing aspects include the open world and epic storyline and the way that little choices — as well as major decisions — can change everything. Dragon Age: Inquisition is populated by humans, elves, dwarves, giants, dragons, rogues and warriors, some who wield swords, labryses, shields, armor and a variety of weaponry. Players are transported to a multitude of locations to carry out their assorted deeds, which includes a whole host of dangers and threats. With characters dressed (and undressed) in an array of “period” attire and topped off with hairstyles to match, it is details such as these that have the potential to attract people who might otherwise avoid video gaming altogether.