I’m not much into fashion (clearly!) but I really respect and appreciate how open Tim has been in recent years about his harrowing struggles as a teen with depression and being gay.
He told Terry Gross of NPR last year: “I want anyone listening and hearing the story about my troubled adolescence, I hope it was clear that I didn’t come out of this alone. I mean, life is a big collaboration, and when you’re tackling something that’s painful and troubling and is causing you such desperate grief, that you think life’s not worth living, you need to reach out. Reach out before then, actually.
“Reach out to people whom you trust, people who will reach back and offer you some solace and some guidance, because it doesn’t happen alone. And if I had been just left on my own, well, I wouldn’t be here. I simply wouldn’t be. And I’m glad I’m here, and there’s not a single day I don’t thank my lucky stars and say I’m the luckiest guy alive.
“And I will also say that I wouldn’t take back that pain and that anguish for anything, because it’s helped formed who I am and it’s helped me appreciate the joyous moments of life, of which there are many.”
We don’t yet know who is going to play Dorothy – and Diana Ross is really too old this time – but we now know that Queen Latifah has been cast as The Wizard and Mary J. Blige as the Wicked Witch in NBC’s production of The WizLive!
The join the previously announced Stephanie Mills — who played Dorothy in the original Broadway production of The Wiz — will portray Auntie Em.
Mills was passed over for the 1978 film version of The Wiz in favor of Diana Ross who was 34 at the time. They changed the character from school girl to young school teacher.
Wouldn’t Miss Ross be perfect for the good witch role portrayed by Lena Horne in the film?
The Wiz Live will air on NBC on December 3 and will be executive produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron.
Just got a note from publicist extraordinaire Harlan Boll that due to overwhelming popularity, the LGBT History exhibit Real to Reel at the Hollywood Museum has been extended through September.
I mised the opening last month but plan to pay a visit because networks, studios and personalities have been submitting additional items for loan that are now part of the exhibit.
Some of these additions include: personal photos from Caitlyn Jenner; the cane Oscar winner Joel Grey used in the film Cabaret; a photo and favorite scarf from the Paul Lynde estate; costume/gowns worn by Patrick Swayze, John Leguizamo, Wesley Snipes in the film Too Wong Fu, Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar; and costume and jewelry worn by Maura Pfefferman (portrayed by Jeffrey Tambor) on Amazon’s Transparent and during opening credits.
The Hollywood Museum in the historic Max Factor Building, located in the heart of Hollywood, just steps from the Hollywood Walk of Fame. More information HERE.
I’m friends with Greg Louganis and his husband Johnny Chaillot-Louganis on Facebook and have been enjoying the photos Johnny has been posting during an extraordinary several days for this dynamic pair.
Over the weekend, Greg was among the Olympic legends who took part in the opening ceremonies at LA Coliseum for Special Olympics and earlier tonight, the pair were in New York City at HBO Studios for the premiere of Back on Board: Greg Louganis the new documentary about Louganis.
1. Olympic legends walking in to the Coliseum 2. Louganis with actor Colin Farrell 3. Five-time Olympic Medalist Louganis gets limber with two-time Olympic medalist Michelle Kwan and five-time Olympic Gold Medalist Nadia Comăneci 4. Louganis is greeted by Maria Shriver whose mother Eunice Kennedy Shriver founded the competition 5. Louganis with 18-time Olympic Gold Medalist Michael Phelps 6. Greg Louganis and Johnny Chaillot-Louganis at Back on Board premiere 7. Louganis is joined at premiere by legendary LGBT activist Larry Kramer.
Anne Hathaway was best known for Disney’s The Princess Diaries when casting was taking place for the tragic gay love story Brokeback Mountain.
The actress says in the current issue of Out Magazine that she was contacted for the role of Alma, the character married to Heath Ledger’s closeted character. But upon reading the script, Hathaway only had eyes for the role of rodeo queen Lureen who marries Jake Gyllenhaal’s character, also a closeted gay man.
‘I read the script, and was, of course, blown away by it, but I remember thinking, “Alma’s not my part – I’m Lureen,”‘ Hathaway says in an article marking the film’s 10th anniversary.
‘It’s not dissimilar to the feeling of meeting someone that will become very important to you on some soul level. It had that same magnetic pull that I feel for certain very important people. And like all of those wonderful feelings, it made me hot, it made me flush, it made my blood pound.’
The role of Alma eventually went to Michelle Williams who earned an Oscar nomination for her performance. Ledger and Gyllenhaal also earned Oscar nods and although Hathaway did not, the film helped her break free from any Disney typecasting.
She was filming Princess Diaries 2 on the Universal Lot where she met with director Ang Lee during her lunch break.
‘We were shooting the coronation part of the movie, so I was dressed a ball gown, wearing this big hairpiece that was way over the top, but also worked for a rodeo queen, so it was fine. I just put on my jeans and a plaid flannel shirt, and drove across the lot in a golf cart with my big princess hair. I remember being very, very calm, which is unusual for me under any circumstances, especially at 21. I just felt so centered and focused, and in way like a predator: I knew what I wanted.
‘People were struggling to see me as anything other than a Disney princess at the time, so to get the endorsement from Ang made me realize that maybe I could take this a bit further. It made me think for the first time that I could be a legit artist.’
But the actress told a fib when Lee asked her during the audition if she could ride a horse.
‘My parents have given me a lot of gifts in my life, and one of them is: If you’re ever asked if you can do anything, say yes. You can learn anything in two weeks if you’re motivated enough. So I’d never been on a horse, and I replied, “Oh yeah, I’m a really good rider.” So I knew I had to learn to ride, and I got really, really, really good.’
Hathaway would leave her Disney past behind and earn a best actress Oscar nomination for Rachel Getting Married then win the Academy Award for supporting actress three years later for her performance in the musical Les Miserables.
Now 32, she ranks Brokeback Mountain as a milestone event in her career and in the culture.
‘The four of us were taken out to this restaurant in Calgary by the producers, and I remember sitting there and looking at beautiful Heath, and Jake, and Michelle, and it hit me that we were all under 25. It’s funny how recent it was, but at the time we were very far away from this burgeoning humanist moment that we’re having now with gay rights.
‘And it felt like a very big and important step—a statement about love, about the need for love, about the consequences of limiting people. And I was just so blown away that these four 25-year-old kids could bring this to life, especially the three of them.’
The heavily-hyped premiere of I Am Cait didn’t set any records but it gave cable channel E! Entertainment its third-highest audience of the year.
The reality series chronicling the new life of Caitlyn Jenner premiered on Sunday to an audience of 2.7 million viewers. Only the channel’s Academy Awards red carpet special and the special About Bruce have had higher ratings.
I Am Cait featured appearances by stepdaughter Kim Kardashian and her husband Kanye West and Jenner’s younger daughter Kylie.
But the emotional highlight was a group therapy session with Jenner’s 88-year-old mother, Esther, and two sisters.
I’m a huge fan of Esther Jenner and hope we will see her in future episodes.
The series is set to run for eight episodes this summer and is a key part of the 1976 Olympic champion’s carefully orchestrated re-introduction to the world.
As Bruce, Jenner sat down for a two-hour interview with Diane Sawyer of ABC News which drew 17 million viewers to the broadcast network. ABC also aired the ESPY Awards (8 million viewers) where Jenner was honored and made a memorable and widely-praised speech.
Tom Cruise was on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon last night and guest and host faced off in an intense lip sync-off to songs like The Weeknd’s Can’t Feel My Face and the Righteous Brothers’ You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling.
Tom is out promoting the heck out of his latest Mission Impossible movie – the fifth in the series – which I know will fare better at the box office than his last summer release, the under-appreciated Edge of Tomorrow.
BONUS VIDEO: Tom also talked to Jimmy about his Mission Impossible stunts:
This stupendously sexy Spanish actor is Miguel Ángel Silvestre and he is currently sizzling as Lito Rodriguez on the Netflix series Sense8.
The show is about a group of people around the world are suddenly linked mentally, and must find a way to survive being hunted by those who see them as a threat to the world’s order.
His character is a closeted soap star who’s finally forced to open up to the strangers inside his head. The very first scene Miguel shot for the series was a wild romp featuring three different partners of various genders.
“It was my first work in the United States—in a cock sock, kissing all these people at the same time,” he told OUT earlier this year.
The 33-year-old actor also recently appeared in the films known I’m So Excited! and Velvet.
Miguel is a former tennis player who retired due an injury.
Here are some highlights: ‘I’m aware that, when I wear that kind of swimwear, there is potential for some of the blogs to pick it up, and most of the time I’m not looking for all that kind of attention specifically so it probably does, to some degree, factor in to my decision to wear briefs, but at the end of the day, I still have to live my life and sometimes just do what I want without worrying about what other people may say.’
To critics of his revealing fashion choices: ‘I try not to pay too much attention. At some point in life it’s important to realize that no matter what you do, people are going to have something to say about it so you may as well do/wear what makes you happy. I’ve seen a small number of gay men criticize my choice of swimwear for being immodest and ‘stereotypically gay.’ People are entitled to feel however they feel, but again, I wear what I wear for me and not for them; because it makes me feel good. I’m not looking for everyone’s approval all of the time. There is a time and place for modesty, but, for me at least, a hot summer day in Chicago, on a boat with a bunch of other gay dudes is not one of them. And frankly I don’t care what some may consider to be a gay stereotype or not, and anyone using that as some kind of jab is probably grappling with their own internalized homophobia. I wear what makes me happy.’
It’s been nearly 17 years since college student Matthew Shepard was abducted and tortured by two men, before being left to die – tied to a fence – near the town of Laramie, Wyoming.
He later died in the hospital from the severe head injuries that he had suffered. He was just 21.
His attackers were arrested and eventually sentenced to two-consecutive life sentences each for one of the most notorious hate crimes in U.S. history.
The wonderful documentary. Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine, explores his life and tragic death and makes its television debut on Logo tonight after spending more than a year winning multiple awards on the international film festival circuit.
I watched it earlier this year and not only was I deeply moved, I realized that this film was introducing is to Matt in a way that we had not seen him before. Many of his friends from different periods of his life are interviewed and previous home movies and never-before-seen photos are featured. There are also excerpts from his journals chronicling difficult periods in his life and how at the time of his death, he was finally in a good place.
The film was directed by Shepard’s high school friend Michele Josue who had the full cooperation of his parents, Dennis and Judy Shepard.
‘Judy entrusted me with a small box of all their home movies, his letters and own words and writings provide ‘a really amazing through line across the whole film where you can really hear Matt’s voice ‘and he can tell his story in his way, with his words,’ Josue told me when we sat down for a chat earlier this year.
Dennis Shepard joined us for the interview.
‘We knew that what she would give us would be a pretty honest portrayal and was even better than we expected,’ he said. ‘We trusted her implicitly.’
The Shepards saw the film for the first time at a screening in Amsterdam and were learning for the first time what was in their son’s journals which they had not been able to bring themselves to open.
‘To see that he was so prolific and he was so in depth with his thoughts and feelings was a real sad and proud moment at the same time to see and read those,’ Dennis Shepard said. ‘All his letters and stuff, we’d never opened them. We’ didn’t have the courage to go through it and bring that heartache up again. But we didn’t want to throw them away because we’d be throwing away Matt. So we put them away. So this was the perfect opportunity to let the world know more about him through his own writings.
‘We were shocked about the journaling and we were also shocked that he was afraid to come out to us after we had tried to be so open. I think it was just the culture around Wyoming and around the world. I think the hardest thing the first time was just to see him again and hear his voice and see his smile and then, he’s gone.’
For the father, being interviewed in the film and helping to promote it has brought up many emotions.
‘It was nice to think about those things again and to think about the good times that we had. And some of the stresses and struggles that he had at the same time. You think about the guilt that you have because you weren’t there to help him in some of those struggles. … You feel the guilt that you weren’t there when he was out there in that field by himself, that’s the thing that really bothers me. Was he asking for dad to come take care of him like he used to?’
It’s clear that no many how many years pass, the loss is ever present.
‘You never make progress, you’re always mourning,’ the father said. ‘You always have that hole. You don’t have the same joy when it comes to mother’s Day and Father’s Day and birthdays and Christmas. You always have that little bit of mourning that you’re doing and grieving. But you have to go on with your life. You can’t just shelter up in the corner. Matt wouldn’t have wanted that and I refuse to do it because then the bad guys win.’
The family created The Matthew Shepard Foundation shortly after their son’s death and worked tirelessly for more than a decade to get federal hate crimes legislation passed.
Dennis and Judy Shepard, married for 42 years, have also traveled to 18 counties in recent years for the US State Department to talk about equal rights and bullying and discrimination.
‘We were forced into (activism),’ Dennis Shepard said. ‘We didn’t know anything about the gay issues. Matt was our son, that’s all we knew. We didn’t know that he’d have to fear for his life, that he couldn’t get a job if he was gay, we didn’t know any of these issues. It just really upset us to find this out – all these kids with no chance to succeed because they are considered different. That is just not right.’
By the time Josue came to them with her film proposal, they knew it was the right time and that his close high school friend was the right person to see it through.
‘When Matt died I was already in film school and interested in telling stories,’ she said. ‘I was watching our friend Matt become something else – this very enormous icon for the gay community but one that was tied to this horrific violence. So that was also very heartbreaking for me in addition to the way he was attacked and I thought as his friend and as a filmmaker, it was my duty to share with the world Matt’s story in an honest, sensitive way in which it deserved to be told.
‘It honestly took many, many years to gain enough courage and professional experience to feel comfortable. It was the first time I had lost a friend and it was a lot to kind of deal with.’
In 2009, Judy Shepard’s book The Meaning of Matthew: My Son’s Murder in Laramie, and a World Transformed was released and later that year, the United States Congress passed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act which was signed into law by President Barack Obama.
It was around that that time Josue felt ready to begin working on the film.
‘I think myself and a lot of his close friends, collectively, kind of came to a point where we felt strong enough to do this. Judy’s book came out in 2009 and we were just kind of using that as inspiration really. She put it all out there in the book in a very bold, courageous way – in an honest way – and we just wanted to follow suit.’
At a lunch that year, Judy Shepard gave her blessing and filming began in 2010 on and off for two years. Two Kickstarter crowd-funding campaigns were needed to cover costs and $100,000 was raised.
Josue said she had to fight the perception that people felt they had seen Matt’s story already and that it was ‘old news and that there wasn’t anything new that they would gain from watching it.’
But once audiences started seeing the film, that changed.
‘People were responding and wanting to learn more about Matt’s story and being effected still,’ she said.
Dennis Shepard is very pleased with the finished product.
‘This is an honest, factual portrayal of Matt with his highs and very low lows,’ the father said. ‘For people to understand that you can have these very low lows but you can come back out of those. You just have to keep fighting and he was on his way and he did not give up.
‘He was not this perfect child, he was far from perfect – he was a pain in the butt to his father. But at the same time he was so caring and so loving to his family and his friends that it just made for a well-rounded individual with flaws and good points. They give the honest facts about Matt, about the community and how Matt affected and influenced his friends at that time and even up to today. It’s pretty incredible the impact that he’s had.’
If I ever meet Esther Jenner, I know I’m going to want to give her a big hug.
She made me cry tonight while watching the premiere of I Am Cait.
The 88-year-old mother of Caitlyn Jenner had so much to say as she worked to process all that is happening to her child in front of the world’s eyes.
I was so moved by her determination to understand – to do the work necessary – and her total acceptance. It seems clear that she is just so happy to finally know her child, to know why the 1976 Olympic Champion had been so distant from her, and to be able to spend time with this authentic person who is no longer bottled up and hiding.
‘I was so proud of Bruce when he stood on that podium receiving that gold medal in Montreal. I had tears and the American flag was going up in the middle and I thought that I could never be more proud of him,” Esther said on the show. “And you know, I was wrong. Because I am more proud of him for the courage that he has shown. I love him with all my heart and I certainly love her with all my heart.”
Caitlyn knows she’s one of the lucky ones in terms of family acceptance.
“The tremendous amount of support I’ve gotten has been overwhelming, but you also have to realize it’s not this way for everybody,” she told viewers. “There are so many people that have struggled with family, who struggle with friends, who struggle with ridicule or not having financial resources.”
Sure, there was a visit from Kim Kardashian and Kanye West that was about little more than Kim going through Caitlyn closet – again – but the show is pretty terrific.
I’m so happy to report that Liza Minnelli is back!
Three months after completing rehab for substance abuse, Liza with a Z gave her first public performance Friday at the IP Casino Resort & Spa in Biloxi, Mississippi. It was also her first concert since completing back surgery in September.
“There’s no performer like Liza,” says her longtime accompanist Billy Stritch, who’s worked with her since 1991. “It’s so great to be back on the road with her. Every night onstage with her is a thrill.”
Friday night’s appearance in Biloxi kicked off the first of a number of concerts she’ll do this year.
Here are performances representing each decade of 69-year-old Liza’s career dating back to the 1960s.