February 13th, 2014
Animators love to mess with Disney. Love it, love it, love it.
Mostly they love trying to sneak sexual imagery into Disney’s squeaky clean image as a family friendly and trustable production company. I think they may have struck again.
Currently some of you may be seeing an ad running on BTB which links to Disney’s Vinylmation site wherein an image can be selected to send to someone special. What shows up in the ad is two images moving towards each other for a split second before being replace with words.
Below is a screen grab of the images.
The two images are stylized Mickey and Minney Mouse.
American Idol will include gay participants
February 13th, 2014
Not just that they presented participants who were recognizably; that has pretty much been the case from the beginning. Rather, they passed on to the viewers an openly and acknowledged gay candidate.
M.K. Nobilette, a young fresh-faced singer whose vocal style reminds me a bit of K.D. Lang, expressed her concerns about being on the show. “For one thing, I’m obviously gay”.
The judges, Jennifer Lopez, Harry Connick, Jr., and Kieth Urban, then talked a bit about how the world has changed and how they believe that she has the potential, in this changed world, to win the title of American Idol.
In another segment, they advanced a young man with startlingly strong vocals and a gay vibe that even Aunt Thelma’s gaydar couldn’t miss. In addition to being loud and sassy (sorry, but that really is the best word), he challenged JLo to a walk-off, if she’d buy him the heels. He’s the sort of candidate that we’ve seen in the run-ups in the past, but which didn’t have the “image” necessary to taken seriously.
It has frustrated me for years that AI has been reluctant to include any mention of a gay candidate’s orientation. Even Adam Lambert had to reenter a sparkly sequined closet of sorts. But Idol has a large and strong audience in the red states and perhaps they correctly determined that it would not be to a participant’s advantage.
I am glad that they are finally taking the risk.
A teary-eyed Grammys
January 27th, 2014
Even had my pastor at the Hollywood United Methodist Church not told the congregation this morning to watch this year’s Grammy Awards because it would have a moment that would reflect our congregation’s values of equality, I had heard enough in advance to know that there would be a recognition of marriage in the show this year. And indeed, when Macklemore and Ryan Lewis sang Same Love, their marriage equality anthem, I was prepared for couples to exchange rings.
So when Queen Latifah officiated marriage for a variety of couples, with vocals from Madonna, I was prepared for a celebration of love (though I will admit that I was surprised that the first couple shown included my long-time friend Yawie).
Yet even so, I was composed. It was a nice touch, but that song was not even nominated for Record of the Year.
But tears came to my eyes watching Sir Paul McCartney stand and raise his fist in the air to agree with Daft Punk’s spokesman who, in their acceptance speech for the night’s highest honor, gave tribute to Macklemore and Ryan’s message:
You know I just got a message from the robots [Daft Punk's public image] and what they wanted me to say is that as elegant and as classy as the Grammys has ever been is that moment when we saw those wonderful marriages! And same love is as fantastic … and it was the height of fairness and love and the power of love for all people at any time any combination … is what they wanted me to say.
To take their moment in the spotlight to celebrate equality as expressed by someone else’s song was a moment of true generosity and an expression of integrity that few other artists could ever hope to emulate.
Quackers are less of a draw, after controversy
January 16th, 2014
Much to my surprise (and probably that of the A&E executives), Duck Dynasty has not benefitted from weeks of defense by those who malign and demean gay people. (Entertainment Weekly)
Though Duck Dynasty was expected by some to return to its biggest ratings yet after its huge controversy last month, the Louisiana-based reality show returned to lower viewership than its previous two premieres.
Wednesday night’s Duck Dynasty season 5 premiere had 8.5 million viewers. That’s huge for a cable reality show, but down 28 percent from its record-setting fourth season debut in August (11.8 million). It’s also slightly down from the show’s third season premiere in February last year (8.6 million). A&E notes the number up slightly from the fourth season finale on Oct. 23 (though obviously it’s standard to compare premieres to premieres).
What this means is difficult to discern. Perhaps there were more interesting things to distract the show’s core audience. Perhaps the weather played some role.
Or, perhaps, we have reached the point where saying truly vile things about gay people will turn off even an audience that identifies as conservative and Christian. It is possible that there is some segment of Middle America that will not argue with the self-appointed spokesmen or talk to the papers, but for whom the rants of Phil Robertson left a bad taste in their mouths.
And, unless it was an anomaly, this drop in ratings does not bode well for A&E’s revenues. Undoubtedly a number of viewers tuned in to see what the fuss was about and, if they have any taste at all, they won’t stick around. It may be that the quackers have reached their zenith and that it’s all downhill from here.
Video of Belinda Carlisle / Mason visit to Bakersfield
January 13th, 2014
and Part Two
If you live near Bakersfield
January 8th, 2014
… and don’t have plans for the evening, join Belinda Carlisle and her son, James, in a discussion about his coming out process. (Californian)
On some level, Belinda Carlisle always knew her son was gay. As a child he begged not for action figures but Disney princess dresses and then as a young teen, he threw an on-the-floor-kicking-and-screaming tantrum when his parents told him they’d have to postpone taking him to see “Brokeback Mountain,” the acclaimed 2005 film chronicling the love affair of two cowboys.
But there’s knowing and knowing, as the singer-actress would discover several years ago when her son was 14.
Carlisle was the lead singer for the Go-Go’s, an 80′s all-girl band known for such hits as Vacation, We Got the Beat, and Our Lips are Sealed, before going solo and racking up hits including Mad About You, Heaven is a Place on Earth, and I Get Weak.
The message of acceptance and love is much needed in Kern County and lets hope that a familiar voice can bring that message home to those who need it most.
The event is sponsored by PFLAG and hosted by the
5 Real Rd, Bakersfield, California 93309
Doors Open at 6:30
Event at 7:00
I had the opportunity to hear Belinda sing on a cruise I took a few years ago. It was a wonderful show. I still enjoy the Go-Go’s and her solo work when I catch 80′s night at the local video bar.
And the quacking goes on
December 28th, 2013
On one side are those whose argument seems to me to be, “How dare Phil Robertson have vile homophobic opinions? He should not have access to the public airways with opinions like that!” And, yes, his opinions are homophobic. And also racist. And more than a little ignorant.
On the other are those who are screaming about censorship (it’s not) about religious freedom (which does not include the unquestionable right to be on television) and about the horrible horrible homosexuals.
In a nation that values free speech, even odious speech has a right to compete in the marketplace of ideas (right up there with the “ideas” of Honey Boo Boo, Sarah Palin, and Perez Hilton). And in a capitalist economy, television producers can decide what ideas with which they want to be associated.
But this isn’t really much about ideas. I suspect that most of those “supporting Phil” have no idea what he actually said or why it is that gay people are offended. They are just emotionally connecting a fear that in a rapidly changing world, their ability to practice their faith openly may be further curtailed.
And GLAAD and other gay supporters failed in articulating the concerns we had with his speech, missed that part of it was a paraphrase of a scripture, and lost the opportunity to distinguish between religious position and hate speech.
This is little more than a replay of the Chic-fil-A squabble. It’s people supporting “their side”.
The vast majority of pro-gay people really are not looking to silence and censor and ban all of those who are religious, even those who are conservatively religious and have beliefs which include the idea that homosexual acts are sinful. And the vast majority of religious people really do not think that gay people are like terrorists or that homosexuality and bestiality are in any way comparable. It’s just the stupid pointless Culture War.
And now A&E has announced that taping of Duck Dynasty – including Phil Robertson – will resume this spring. And the quacking from ‘family’ activists has resumed with vigor.
But maybe now this whole thing will soon be over.
A ducking stupid controversy
December 22nd, 2013
So if you ask the long-haired wild-bearded Southern hillbilly redneck biker-wannabe Jesus freak from the reality show about long-haired wild-bearded Southern hillbilly redneck biker-wannabe Jesus freaks about gays, it turns out he has long-haired wild-bearded Southern hillbilly redneck biker-wannabe Jesus freak opinions. Who’d a thunk it?
In the past week we’ve added two new equality states to the total, the Ugandan parliament has passed their odious Anti-Homosexuality Bill, and three world leaders have announced that they will not be attending Russia’s Olympics due to its homophobic laws. Anyone care?
Not much. Instead the media and blogosphere is obsessed with Phil Robertson. Does he have free speech rights? Should A&E have fired him? What other things has he said? Will Cracker Barrel carry his merchandise?
I couldn’t ducking care less!
But as this thing doesn’t appear to be going away, here are my two cents. Don’t spend them all at once.
For those of you who have blissfully missed the controversy, Phil Robertson is the patriarch of a family that operates a duck-call manufacturing business and which is the subject of a reality television show called Duck Dynasty. He was a hard drinking, pill popping, bar fighting kind of guy who found Jesus and settled down to hunt ducks and raise a family.
Duck Dynasty is the highest rated show on the A&E Channel.
This year the hype caught up to me so I recorded and watched a few episodes of the show. It’s bilge, reality television at its worst.
Reality television, that genre in which artificially contrived plot lines and scripted scenarios are acted out by ‘non-actors’ who generally use their own names, is pretty light-weight entertainment to begin with. This show, however, takes artifice and banality to all new highs. Not only are the self-promoting family members (this is their third reality show after creating a youtube series) completely artificial roles, but the antics they get up to are absurdly unrealistic. Even their trademark beards used to be shaved after duck season; now they are part of the show’s contract.
The program is supposed to be about Phil Robertson, his wife Miss Kay, three of his four sons Willie, Jase, and Jep, as they live a hunter’s life and run a multi-million dollar business. But very little business appears to get done, or duck-calls made, and we are treated to the family drama of a family without drama. Basically Leave it to Beaver plotlines, but without the charm or the convincing acting.
In one of the episodes I watched, Jase wanted an office so he built one right off the outside door of Willie’s office. In one afternoon. Without anyone noticing. And when Willie found out, he attached a rope to the office and drug it to Miss Kay’s so it could be a goat shed. Supposedly down a public road. Without wheels. And it arrived intact.
In another, the family goes to Hawaii where the drama was whether the family would go along with Willie’s itinerary. Oh, and will Phil sleep all day? I found that last question to be so inspiring that I turned it off, deleted all the episodes, and went to bed.
But the show has a huge following, and I think that is for a simple reason. Most television is designed to appeal to the largest television markets, urban centers. And those who live outside cities seldom find television shows that reflect their lives, issues, and interests.
And this is especially true when it comes to faith. More than 40% of Americans claim to attend church weekly (and at least half of them actually do), but almost no one on television goes. None of the big network lineups seem to have even a passing acquaintance with church attendance and certainly you don’t see anyone praying. In fact, the only shows I can think of in which the family regularly attends church are animations.
So Duck Dynasty with it’s praying, church going, rural living good ol’ boys who spend a lot of time loving and caring for their family has an appeal to people who seem themselves as similar. And having sat through more than a few dreadful gay movies, I can see how something even as craptastic as Duck Dynasty could have the appeal of familiarity to a huge chunk of this country, even if it is an entirely fictitious presentation.
But now there’s a huge huge big dramatic oh my god clutch your pearls controversy. In an interview with GQ Magazine, Phil decided to evangelize.
“We’re Bible-thumpers who just happened to end up on television,” he tells me. “You put in your article that the Robertson family really believes strongly that if the human race loved each other and they loved God, we would just be better off. We ought to just be repentant, turn to God, and let’s get on with it, and everything will turn around.”
What does repentance entail? Well, in Robertson’s worldview, America was a country founded upon Christian values (Thou shalt not kill, etc.), and he believes that the gradual removal of Christian symbolism from public spaces has diluted those founding principles. (He and Si take turns going on about why the Ten Commandments ought to be displayed outside courthouses.) He sees the popularity of Duck Dynasty as a small corrective to all that we have lost.
“Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong,” he says. “Sin becomes fine.”
What, in your mind, is sinful?
“Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men,” he says. Then he paraphrases Corinthians: “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”
And in case that wasn’t enough, he later expounds on his religious conversion.
As far as Phil is concerned, he was literally born again. Old Phil—the guy with the booze and the pills—died a long time ago, and New Phil sees no need to apologize for him: “We never, ever judge someone on who’s going to heaven, hell. That’s the Almighty’s job. We just love ’em, give ’em the good news about Jesus—whether they’re homosexuals, drunks, terrorists. We let God sort ’em out later, you see what I’m saying?”
And he expounded a bit more on what seems to be a real concern of his
“It seems like, to me, a vagina—as a man—would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”
The significant number of gay employees at A&E didn’t much like being thrown in the same category as terrorist or goat aficionados. And that he threw his former drunk self in the mix wasn’t much solace.
So A&E put him on “indefinite suspension”. And the duck hit the fan.
People were furious that a good Christian man could be fired just for saying what the Bible says. Those little parts about terrorist and goat aficionados were irrelevant, this was an attack on free speech and religious freedom.
Conservatives and religious, family, and anti-gay groups squawked and quacked. NOM (having decided that anything anti-gay is now ‘defending marriage’) launched their most successful petition to date, demanding Robertson’s reinstatement and getting more signatures in a few days than either their Dump Starbucks or Dump General Mills efforts did in months.
A&E is continuing to air episodes shot before the kerfuffle and it remains to be seen how long (or if) Robertson’s shooting schedule will be limited to ducks. The family has announced that if he’s banned, they won’t perform.
So that’s the story and now on to the questions.
Is Robertson a bigot?
Yeah, that’s probably a good term. If you think that immorality starts with homosexuality and then spreads to bestiality and terrorism, you aren’t really basing your views on logic, thoughtful discourse, or even the bible.
Is Robertson entitled to spout his nonsense?
Yep. Just like I’m entitled to call him an ignoramus.
Should he have been suspended by A&E?
That’s really up to A&E. If they believed that he offended their employees or that sponsors would pull out or that he had poorly represented the network, then they are entitled to boot his vagina-loving ass.
But, we probably also should be aware that they had to know that the controversy would fire up the crazies and that their ratings are going to go through the roof.
And, as a bonus, now they have a new plotline to write about that isn’t completely and entirely contrived.
Is the show going to downplay religion?
Nope. In fact, Alan Robertson, son number four, joined the cast for their fourth season. Before joining, Alan had been the pastor of a church for 20 years and he sees the show as a way to preach his beliefs.
And with all the new fine Christian people tuning in to see what it’s all about, you can be sure that there will be a strong religious component to keep them coming back.
Is Robertson being attacked for his religious beliefs?
No, he’s being attacked for being an ignorant idiot who thinks that the height of immorality is two people of the same sex falling in love. If your launching point to Jesus is always from the handful of Scripture that can be read to be anti-gay, your issue has little to do with Scripture or with Jesus.
But he would definitely think that is why he’s being attacked.
Can we all just shut the duck up about this nonsense now?
And that’s the way to come out
August 21st, 2013
August 21, 2013
Re: St. Petersburg International Film Festival / “Guest of Honor” Invitation
Dear Ms. Averbakh:
Thank you for your kind invitation. As someone who has enjoyed visiting Russia in the past and can also claim a degree of Russian ancestry, it would make me happy to say yes.
However, as a gay man, I must decline.
I am deeply troubled by the current attitude toward and treatment of gay men and women by the Russian government. The situation is in no way acceptable, and I cannot in good conscience participate in a celebratory occasion hosted by a country where people like myself are being systematically denied their basic right to live and love openly.
Perhaps, when and if circumstances improve, I’ll be free to make a different choice.
Member, The ManKind Project
Miller was the star of Prison Break which ran for four seasons (2005-2009) on Fox.
Welcome out, Darren Young
August 15th, 2013
I’ll admit I know next to nothing about World Wrestling Entertainment, other than it appears to be a choreographed version of wrestling in which bravado, character, and size are very important and a lot of teenage boys seem to enjoy it. So I don’t really know what it means that Fred Rosser (performing under the name Darren Young) came out as gay today. But welcome out Fred/Darren!
Rest in Peace, Karen Black
August 9th, 2013
Karen Black, who appeared in more than 100 movies and was featured in such counterculture favorites as “Easy Rider,” “Five Easy Pieces” and “Nashville,” has died.
Black’s husband, Stephen Eckelberry, says the actress died Thursday from complications from cancer. She was 74.
Regardless of one’s taste in films, there’s a good chance you’ve seen Black in something. And though she won a couple Golden Globes and was nominated for an Academy Award for Five Easy Pieces, she’s mostly remembered for supporting or ensemble roles. (Well, that and starring in low budget flicks).
My favorite performance was the role of Joanne in 1982′s Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean.
Welcome Baby Cambridge
July 22nd, 2013
It’s a boy! Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and husband Prince William on Monday welcomed their first child.
The baby boy was born at 4:24 p.m., weighing 8 pounds, 6 ounces. A name has not yet been announced for the child, who is now third in line to the throne.
“Her Royal Highness and her child are both doing well,” read an official announcement that was placed outside Buckingham Palace.
Welcome, Baby Cambridge. It’s quite a different world than the one your great-grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, entered. And when you gain your throne, should the monarchy continue ’til then, we cannot begin to guess what challenges or triumphs will face you and this world you have just met.
BSB: In a World Like This
July 22nd, 2013
The new Backstreet Boys video In a World Like This
SYTYCD supports equality
May 16th, 2013
Kudos to the judges of So You Think You Can Dance for supporting Jessie Tyler Ferguson’s Tie The Knot charity, which either supports marriage equality or the wearing of bow ties (it’s kinda hard to tell, but I think it’s both).
It’s probably not a huge risk, as the audience for SYTYCD is probably pretty supportive, but it’s appreciated anyway. And as equality becomes ever more stylish and status quo, the easier it is to point out how treating each other with dignity and respect benefits us all, and how barriers and discrimination eventually leave us outside in bitterness wondering why the world rejected our pretenses of superiority.
(Oh, and Brian Brown, I did NOT call you a bigot. That was the voice inside your head)
Welcome out, Clive Davis
February 19th, 2013
Unless your taste is limited to polka, your music has been impacted by Clive Davis. Responsible for finding or cultivating the careers of artists as diverse as Janis Joplin, Miles Davis, Annie Lennox, and Whitney Houston, he has helped shape the sound of half a century.
And, as he reveals in a new biography, he’s bisexual (USAToday)
“After my second marriage failed, I met a man who was also grounded in music. Having only had loving relationships and sexual intimacy with women, I opened myself up to the possibility that I could have that with a male, and found that I could.”
Davis is currently involved with another man (who isn’t in show business), “but I never stopped being attracted to women. Bisexuality is misunderstood; the adage is that you’re either straight or gay or lying, but that’s not my experience. To call me anything other than bisexual would be inaccurate.”
Welcome out, Clive.
January 23rd, 2013
I haven’t been to a football game since college; my hometown, the nation’s second largest, doesn’t have a team. And as I find watching televised sports to be an exercise in frustration, I haven’t much cared about the NFL.
But this year I will be watching the Super Bowl, and not just for the commercials and half time show.
This year I will be cheering on a team, the one that Brendon Ayanbadejo is on. The Baltimore Ravens.
On Sunday night WeHo’s gay sports bar was packed with people wearing blue and purple jerseys. And when the night was over (long after I left) the Ravens had won a place in the SuperBowl.
And that night, a night of exhilaration for the underdog team, Ayanbadejo thought about his personal priorities and reached for his computer. (Times)
He tapped out an email to Brian Ellner, a leading marriage-equality advocate with whom he had worked before, and Michael Skolnik, the political director for Russell Simmons, a hip-hop mogul who has become involved in many issues, including same-sex marriage.
Ayanbadejo wrote: “Is there anything I can do for marriage equality or anti- bullying over the next couple of weeks to harness this Super Bowl media?” The time stamp on the email was 3:40:35 A.M.
Yep. I’m a fan.
Welcome out, Matt Dallas
January 7th, 2013
From 2006 to 2009, Matt Dallas was the lead on Kyle XY, a science-fiction mystery drama on the ABC Family channel. Today he officially came out and, in a tweet, announced the name of his fiancé.
Matt Damon on playing Liberace’s lover
December 14th, 2012
HBO is producing Behind the Candelabra, the story of famed pianist Liberace, starring Michael Douglas. In the role of Scott Thorson, Liberace’s lover, is Matt Damon. Here is what he had to say to Playboy:
PLAYBOY: Are there any kinds of roles you think twice about doing now that you’re a family man?
DAMON: Well, normally I’d say no to nudity, but I just did a lot of it playing the long-term partner of Liberace, Scott Thorson, in Behind the Candelabra. I mean, it’s tastefully done. Steven Soderbergh directed it, and Michael Douglas plays Liberace. But this movie’s not going to be for everyone.
PLAYBOY: A movie about a closeted, larger-than-life TV and Vegas entertainer and his much younger lover, whose plastic surgery he paid for so they could look more alike? Sounds like must-see family viewing to us.
DAMON: These two men were deeply in love and in a real relationship—a marriage—long before there was gay marriage. That’s not an insignificant thing. The script is beautiful and relatable. Their conversations when they’re dressing or undressing or having a spat or getting ready for bed? That’s every marriage. It feels like you’re witnessing something really intimate you would normally see with a man and a woman, but instead it’s two men, which was thrilling. There’s stuff I think will make people uncomfortable. Great. It’s HBO—they can change the channel.
Just cuz sometimes crazy is tied to crazy – AND SOMETIMES NOT
November 27th, 2012
I’m on Two and a Half Men, and I don’t want to be on it. Please stop watching it, and filling your head with filth. People say it’s just entertainment. Do some research on the effects of television and your brain, and I promise you you’ll have a decision to make when it comes to television, especially with what you watch.
I certainly would agree that the show is an inappropriate choice, but that’s because it’s insipid and banal and will rot your brain until is oozes out of your ear and drips on your collar. But as for “filth”, meh.
I also think that if you make millions off of a television about which you think others should not watch, perhaps the “moral” thing to do is to politely resign. And if you think that people should not watch they show, then give back the money they paid you. But that’s just me.
What I find interesting is that Forerunner Church is aligned with and seemingly based on the International House of Prayer. Which was in our commentary just last week.
UPDATE: When this story broke, the Associated Press reported that the video was posted by Forerunner Christian Church in Fremont. Oooops. (WaPo)
NEW YORK (AP) – In a story Nov. 26 about Angus T. Jones, the teenage actor in “Two and a Half Men,” criticizing the show as “filth” in an online video, The Associated Press misidentified the organization that posted the video. It was Forerunner Chronicles in Seale, Ala., not Forerunner Christian Church of Fremont, Calif.
I haven’t found any connection between Forerunner Chronicles and either the Forerunner Christian Church nor the International House of Prayer. So it seems that this particular dose of crazy is sitting out there by itself.
Romney loses “Republican at heart”
October 22nd, 2012
Y’all may have heard of a sweet lil’ girl named Kelly Clarkson. The first winner of American Idol, she turned her moment in the sun into a strong decade long career, giving us such hits as A Moment Like This, Since You Been Gone, Because of You, Walk Away, My Life Would Suck Without You, Mr. Knowitall, and the ubiquitous (What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You) Stronger.
Being a Texas girl, Kelly calls herself “a Republican at heart.” But she told a British tabloid that she just can’t vote for Romney: (Daily Star)
Kelly added: “I’ve been reading online about the debates and I’m probably going to vote for Obama again, even though I’m a Republican at heart.
“I can’t support Romney’s policies as I have a lot of gay friends and I don’t think it’s fair they can’t get married.
“I’m not a hardcore feminist but we can’t be going back to the 50s.