If “A Woke Lesbian Spice World for 2019″ is how you’d describe your ideal TV show, you need to try BARBELLE on Canada’s streaming KINDAtv. We asked series creators and stars Karen Knox and Gwenlyn Cumyn nine questions about the show some have described as “a pop star glitter infused feminist battle cry for women in the entertainment industry,” and here’s what they had to say.
1. Imagine I’ve never heard of BARBELLE before. What’s most important for me to know about where it came from and what it is?
We like to refer to the series as the Gay Soap Opera of your dreams with good jokes. It revolves around a band called BARBELLE, made up of Alice O’Hara and Veronica Vale. Veronica is the definition of “extra,” suffering from an ex-it-girl complex, and Alice is her very talented, self righteous, vegan-ous musician ex-girlfriend. Their popularity as a band has only skyrocketed since news of their breakup went public. The first season came out a little over a year ago, and you can watch in on the YouTube channel KINDAtv as well as streaming platforms Revry, Amazon Prime and BellFibe. Season Two is a hot, magic mess of drama and music, and you can binge it all RIGHT NOW!
2. At what point did the show get picked up by KINDAtv?
We had already made a pilot almost a year before season one came out, and that’s what we were able to show to KINDAtv in order to get them on board. After that we ran an Indiegogo campaign so we could make the whole show! We always felt like KINDAtv would be the perfect home for the show. Gwenlyn had appeared on the channel before, so the audience was familiar with her, and thematically BARBELLE jived really well with content the channel has been making for years.
3. What is it like to create a show with a queer cast and have it distributed through a channel dedicated to LGBTQ+ representation?
LGBTQ+ audiences are really good at finding great content and spreading the word, but it’s wonderful to be able to put BARBELLE right on a channel already dedicated to quality representation. No searching required! While we were certainly inspired by the content KINDAtv has been making for a while now, they also allowed us to tell the story we wanted to tell, without interfering at all.
4. What are some other programs, and who are some other creators, you appreciate for their contributions to excellence in LGBTQ+ representation?
Lena Waithe is always doing incredible work and is endless hashtag goals for us. There are other amazing Canadian series that you can watch right now, like the Montreal-based Féminin/Féminin, and Kaitlyn Alexander’s Couple-ish.
5. What elements of the second season of BARBELLE do you think our geeky readers would especially enjoy?
Ummmm… well, no spoilers, and we certainly don’t want to get sued, but there might be a sneaky Harry Potter reference, and our signature magical realism should be fun for certain fantasy lovers!
6. Fill-in the blank: If you love BLANK, you’ll love BARBELLE.
If you love Spice World, you’ll love BARBELLE.
7. Will there be a season three?
Currently there are no plans for a season three, but we always like to leave the door open! If anyone can put us in touch with Mrs. Netflix that would be amaaaaazing.
8. Have you got any other work coming out soon?
Yes! We’re currently developing a new, short-form comedy series called Slo Pitch, about a highly competitive, mostly queer, beer league slo-pitch team, so keep your eyes out for that! We should be hitting production in the late summer/fall, and for now you can follow us on Instagram at @slopitchseries.
9. What else have you done that we should check out?
You can check out Gwenlyn on another KINDAtv show, All For One, (a gender-bent “Three Musketeers”), and Karen’s award-winning short film is available to watch as part of the National Screen Institute Short Film Festival at https://www.nsi-canada.ca/film-festival/
Watch BARBELLE on KINDAtv here: https://www.youtube.com/user/VervegirlMagazine/
Follow BARBELLE, Karen Knox and Gwenlyn Cumyn on Instagram: