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QDoc moview (P)reviews – ‘Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls’

Topp Twins characters Ken & Ken

Why does it take really cool things forever to be on US radars? We’ve certainly been missing the boat by not recognizing the amazing comedic and musical genius of lesbian New Zealanders the Topp Twins. Hopefully the release of their new documentary, Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls, screening this Sunday at 7pm as part of QDoc, will remedy that. Because this is my favorite film of the fest.

The dynamic duo of Jools and Lynda are also taking their act on the open US road with shows here in Portland on Tuesday at the Mission Theater (1624 NW Glisan). A mix of sketch comedy, yodeling and folk music the Topp Twins have been beloved in their home country for decades as well as outspoken leaders in gay rights. Even though they have never shied away from their stances nor their personal sexualities, a diverse country of farmers both more and less gay-friendly have embraced the folksters unlike any other act.

Untouchable Girls chronicles their lives as ranchers, musicians and activists and blends hilarious interviews with their alter egos with serious topics such as Jools’ battle with cancer, coming out to their parents and a nation, and the real love both have for their respective partners.

At 52-years-old and touting obscure references, butch style and much bawdier and riskier acts than fluffly statestide lesbians like Ellen (after a stint in the New Zealand army the twins now quip that their military service taught them to “…meet interesting people and learn how to kill them”) you wouldn’t think the sisters would be that popular. You’d be wrong. As one of their comedian colleagues notes, “…on paper yodeling lesbian twins should be commercial death…but they work.” And you’re just as likely to see gruff Kiwi farmers in their audience as card-carrying lesbians.

In fact, a favorite among men, and my favorite set of characters as well, are Ken & Ken, a sheep farmer and TV sportscaster who seem to be stars in and of themselves. The film explains that blokes want to meet these dudes all the time, nearly disavowing the real life women behind the characters. This is made all the easier as Ken Moller (the farmer) is in love with Camp Mother, another of the twins’ characters.

In a world where activist lesbos with acoustic guitars are often ridiculed, the Topp Twins use humor to their advantage. Genuinely good-natured, these Kiwi cowgirls make absolutely no apologies for their beliefs and sexuality, but at the same time appeal to a wide audience. An audience that will soon include the northern hemisphere. Because, as Jools Topp has said, “Sometimes getting people to laugh is the most political thing you can do”.

Check out a trailer for the film below.

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