Best. Lesbian. Week. Ever. (August 29, 2008)

Indie and LGBT film festivals are abuzz with talk of Steam, a movie that tells the stories of three women whose only connection is that they frequent the steam room of a neighborhood gym. The women, played by Kate Siegel, Ally Sheedy and Ruby Dee, represent different generations coming to terms with new relationships in their lives.

Yes, one of the women, Elizabeth, is a lesbian. But in a groundbreaking casting move, Ally Sheedy does not play her. Not to worry — newcomer Kate Siegel turns in a performance that should earn her a place in the lesbian film highlights reel.

Elizabeth is in her freshman year at Rutgers, trying to find herself apart from her stifling Catholic parents. Fortunately for us, her self-discovery includes meeting Niala, a gorgeous bisexual activist played by East-Indian actress Reshma Shetty, best known from the national tour of Bombay Dreams.

As often happens in coming-out relationships, the sex between Elizabeth and Niala generates as much heat as the aforementioned steam room — and we get to observe a healthy dose of it. Not that Siegel minds. She loves playing a lesbian and is open about being bisexual herself.

“I’ve been in relationships with women,” Siegel told “I self identify as bi.” Best of all, she didn’t offer the information in response to a question; she volunteered it.

How did she like working with Ally Sheedy? Well, let’s just say Siegel is a normal, red-blooded bisexual. “She’s very crush-worthy,” Siegel said.

Indeed she is. And she’s pretty happy about it, too. When the reporter told her that she has the admiration and love of gay women for the work she’s done, especially her role as a strung-out lesbian photographer in High Art, her response was, “That’s a beautiful thing to hear.”

Another beautiful thing to hear is that we’ll be seeing more films like this from FenceSitterFilms, which produced Steam. Bisexual writer/director Kyle Schickner started the company so he could make the kinds of movies we’d like to see more.

“FenceSitterFilms was founded on the belief that films don’t need straight white men as heroes in order to be successful and entertaining.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

— by the linster

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