In the five years since Dustin Lance Black won the Academy Award for his Milk screenplay, he’s been a highly effective leader in the fight for LGBT equality and he’s spoken at over 40 major universities including Harvard’s Kennedy School, Penn, UCLA, and USC.
Last year he was also given the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Community College League of California.
But there’s a guy named Anthony Fellow, president of the board of Pasadena City College, who thinks that having Black be a graduation speaker could somehow give the school ‘a bad name.’
Photos of Black and an ex-boyfriend having sex that were leaked online back in 2009.
It’s ancient news and Black was clearly the victim in the incident as the photos were lifted from the ex’s computer by people hoping to cash in on Black’s newfound fame.
Black has written an open letter to the students he had planned to address at graduation. I’m written a story about it over at Gay Star News with excerpts from it – see it HERE.
After writing about him for several months now, it was so nice to finally meet Guy Wilson face-to-face last Saturday night at the GLAAD Media Awards.
I found him to be very smart, thoughtful and articulate during our chat in the red carpet and hope to talk to him more down the road.
It’s been more than three months since Guy stepped into the role of Will Horton on Days of Our Lives. He replaced Greg In Hollywood fave Chandler Massey who had been an absolute triumph in the role with a pair of Emmys to show for it.
I am not only a fan of Chandler’s acting ability, but fond of him as a person.
Still, I was open to Guy taking over the role from day one because, frankly, what choice did I or anyone else have? Not everyone was. I got some of the most sick and twisted anti-Guy emails and comments about it from people who can only be described as a special kind of crazy.
With the Will and Sonny wedding over, Guy seems to made the role his own. His chemistry with Freddie Smith is solid and their kisses and love scenes are pretty steamy.
‘We both have our favorite brand of breath mint and we use a little chapstick,’ Guy says. ‘We have a good time with it. Freddie Smith is a very good looking guy. I could be doing a lot worse with the love scenes. It’s good.’
While he had his detractors at first, Guy feels plenty of fan support now: ‘It touches me on a very personal level. I’m just grateful to be here, to be a part of it.’
Okay, this is just a little appetizer to the interview with Guy which I have posted over at Gay Star News. He talks about the atmosphere on the set the day of the Will and Sonny wedding and what it means to him to be a part of the first same-sex daytime wedding between two men.
This week’s episode was called Tested and it’s another all New York affair featuring some of my faves: Blaine and Kurt and Sam. Here is a trio of numbers – including one with the magnificent Mercedes singing one of my all-time favorite songs I Want To Know What Love Is.
I was very excited to hear from writer-director Dane Whitlock today whose productions Are You There God? It’s Me, Karen Carpenter and Prairie-oke! are two shows I enjoyed tremendously in LA in recent years.
He’s got a new show called I Totally Know What You Did Last (Donna) Summer which debuts on May 2 at the Cavern Theatre in Silver Lake, that terrific venue downstairs at Casita del Campo restaurant.
Dane tells me the show is a parody of the Scream/I Know What You Did Last Summer franchises set to a Donna Summer soundtrack.
I love it already!
It’s got the same cast of actors that have been in his last two show including the brilliant Drew Droege who plays a riff on the Courteney Cox in Scream character – “Windy Storms.” He will be singing up a storm with such songs as She Works Hard for the Money and On the Radio.
With all the progress in recent years in the fight for LGBT equality, watching the trailer just now for the upcoming film Burning Blue made me feel upset and sad.
It just took me back to a time, not so long ago, when so many of us had to hide who we are in order not to lose things important to us.
In the case of this film, which hits theaters and video on demand on June 6, that thing is the US Navy where, until Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was dismantled in 2011, you could be discharged for being gay.
Burning Blue is about a close-knit squadron of male Navy pilots whose ties begin to splinter after a series of fatal accidents. As a government agent digs to uncover the cause of the accidents, two of the pilots engage in an affair which is exposed and a scandal ensues.
The cast is quite attractive as you will see in the trailer below. It includes Trent Ford, Morgan Spector, Rob Mayes, William Lee Scott, Cotter Smith, Michael Cumpsty, Michael Sirow, Mark Doherty, Chris Chalk, Tracy Weiler, Gwynneth Bensen, Jordan Dean, Johnny Hopkins, Haviland Morris, Karolina Muller, Dylan Rafferty Brown and Tammy Blanchard.
Somehow, I don’t think this will be the end of it but here goes:
A day after TMZ reported a reconciliation between Johnny Weir and Victor Voronov, the figure skater’s estranged husband is saying they are still split up.
‘The divorce is 100 percent still happening,’ Voronov tells US Weekly.
Then he adds an allegation that had not previously been hurled: ‘Johnny’s meddling mother was definitely the source of the breakdown of our marriage.’
The couple, married in December 2011, were reported by TMZ to have reconciled and drawn up a lengthy list ‘post-nup’ agreement that includes such things as STD tests every six months and a no sexting rule.
In a statement to Access Hollywood on Tuesday (15 April), Weir denied the report and said in a statement: ‘I had hope and Victor and I were talking about reconciliation, but it was for naught.’
TMZ has not retracted its reports.
Weir announced the split last month on Twitter. Voronov responded by saying he was blindsided by the split.
What followed were various emergency court filings, a restraining order and a scene at their New Jersey home last month that involved police, tears and the family dog.
In watching this, all I can say is ‘Boy, Neil Patrick Harris sure is thin!’
In this Good Morning America piece, NPH shares that he lost nearly 20 pounds to play the title role in Broadway’s Hedwig and the Angry Inch. It then takes nearly two hours for him to transform into a transgender punk rock singer.
It’s been more than two years since Sean Maher came out publicly as a gay man.
Today, the former Firefly star turns 39 and I hope he has a very happy day.
Sean is set to be part of the cast on the second season of the web series Eastsiders which I wrote about yesterday.
When I met Sean at the LA Gay and Lesbian Center gala in November 2011, he was such a sweet guy and still seemed so moved by all the love that had come his way since coming out.
‘I am still hearing from people who were inspired by my story and came out to their parents,’ he told me. ‘I’ve also been getting some old-fashioned fan mail from people that brought me to tears – their stories so inspire me.’
‘It was 14 years that I sort of had this layer of fear on me so it does feel different to kind to kind of shed all of this past baggage,’ he also said. ‘This part of my life that was so huge that I didn’t feel comfortable enough to share for fear of my career being destroyed.’
Maher and his partner, Paul, have been together for more than a decade and are raising two children. He is so committed to his family that he took two years off from acting to be a full-time dad.
His career was launched in a big way in 1999 when he was cast in the title role of the FOX series Ryan Caulfield: Year One. He followed that up with a recurring role on Party of Five and was a cast member of the short-lived series The $treet.
Since returning to full-time acting in 2009, Maher has done guest spots on such shows as Arrow, The Mentalist, Human Target and Drop Dead Diva, was a regular on the ABC Family series Make it or Break It and on the short-lived NBC drama Playboy Club in which he played a closeted gay man.
He also starred in the independent film version of Much Ado About Nothing.
Less than a year later, Steve came out publicly in a deeply personal column. It took us into the compartmentalized world that a lot of men feel they must live in in order to have the life they want.
In a new interview with Out Magazine, Kornacki reflects on being out after spending nearly 15 years suppressing a core part of his identity.
“The biggest revelation has been just how much of a non-issue this is to just about everyone else,” he says. “It used to be that when I was around people, I was constantly on guard not to say or do anything that would make them suspect I was gay. It was a little scary to realize just how ingrained in me that kind of deception was. It’s a pretty big relief not to think like that anymore, and now I understand what I just couldn’t believe for all those years: that it really isn’t a big deal.”
Johnny Weir and husband Victor Voronov have apparently called off what was shaping up to be a very ugly divorce.
The couple, married in December 2011, have reportedly reconciled and drawn up a lengthy list ‘post-nup’ agreement that includes such things as STD tests every six months and a no sexting rule, according to TMZ.
Neither Johnny of Victor, who are usually quite active on Twitter, have publicly confirmed or denied a reconciliation.
‘I’m hoping for privacy right now as I prepare to observe a holiday and spend time w my family,’ Victor tweeted on Monday.
Earlier today, he posted a nature photo with the tweet: ‘Spring is coming. Time for new beginnings.’
Johnny tweeted this afternoon without explanation: ‘So anyway, sticks and stones may break my bones, but fools will never change me.’
The two-time Olympian in figure skating announced the split last month on Twitter and Victor responded by saying he was blindsided by the split. He also revealed that he had only just learned that Weir had filed for divorce from him months earlier.
What followed were various emergency court filings, a restraining order and a scene at their New Jersey home last month that involved police, tears and the family dog.
Victor had obtained a restraining order against Johnny who he alleged attacked him on March 5 by biting him on the arm and throwing jewelry and a wooden Russian doll at him.
Victor had also filed a police report against Johnny last summer alleging another biting incident.
Weir had obtained a judge’s order allowing him into the couple’s apartment for 30 minutes to collect his belongings accompanied by police officers. This included the collecting of their dog, a Japanese Chin named Tema.
We all know that Robin Roberts has been on ABC’s Good Morning America since 1995 and shared with viewers her battles with breast cancer and myelodysplastic syndrome.
She kind of felt like family.
But it was not until last December that she shared with the world that she is a lesbian and in a long-term relationship.
Robin was widely applauded for her decision to finally go public but there were also those critics who felt she had waited much too long given her high-profile and the battle for LGBT equal rights on the front burner.
She has no apologies.
‘News flash: Some people like their anonymity.’ she says in a new interview with Good Housekeeping.
Being in people’s living rooms for nearly two decades on GMA isn’t exactly anonymity but okay.
‘This is what’s right for me,’ Robin says. ‘Love is love, and I’m grateful to have that. Sometimes there’s a stigma attached to how people view you if you’re living a certain way. But I don’t care — you gotta live your life.’
‘You gotta find what happiness is and what it means for you, and you can’t get caught up in what someone is saying about you on Twitter,’ she adds. ‘You don’t go through a year like I did (surviving myelodysplastic syndrome) to not be happy and not make your own choices.’
Ellen, who finished second on the list last year, moved up a spot based in the Oscars which were the highest rated Academy Awards telecast in a decade and resulted in the temporary crashing of Twitter due to the host’s all-star selfie.
Ellen also set a new 10-year ratings record for her daytime talk show last month.
Apple CEO Tim Cook dropped to second place and is followed by MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, US Senator Tammy Baldwin, and journalist Glenn Greenwald who gained fame for interviewing whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Also in the top 10: Glee creator Ryan Murphy, Neil Patrick Harris, Bravo personality Andy Cohen, football player Michael Sam and Good Morning America host Robin Roberts.
Sam and Roberts came out publicly in recent months and are making their debut on the list.
Other Power 50 names: CNN’s Anderson Cooper (14), Glee star Jane Lynch (20) CNN’s Don Lemon (27), Oscar nominee Ellen Page (29), TMZ founder Harvey Levin (34), Oscar winner Dustin Lance Black (38), Grammy winner Frank Ocean (42) and RuPaul (49).
Well Greg In Hollywood, there’s always next year. I have a feeling I was probably number 51 and just missed the cut.
This handsome guy is Jonathan Bennett who is best known for playing Aaron Samuels in the 2004 film Mean Girls.
He also was in Cheaper by the Dozen 2 with Hilary Duff and Lovewrecked with Amanda Bynes.
But Jonathan, 32, has not only starred opposite former teen queens. He also had roles on Veronica Mars and All My Children and done guest spots on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Deception, Smallville.
He also found work in direct-to-DVD flicks of well-known franchises including The Dukes of Hazzard: The Beginning, in which he played Bo Duke and in National Lampoon’s Van Wilder: Freshman Year.
I’m not sure what going on with Jonathan’s personal life but if you do a simple Google search, there are all kinds of stories of him previously being linked to Matt Dallas who came out publicly last year.
Jonathan has not publicly confirmed or denied those reports.
Kicked off day 2 of the TCM Classic Film Festival with a noon screening of the documentary Grey Gardens.
Had seen the excellent movie with Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore but to see the real-life Edies (Edith Bouvier Beale and Edith ‘Little Edie’ Bouvier Beale) in action was something else.
The Beales are the aunt and cousin of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and lived their eccentric lives in a filthy, decaying mansion in East Hampton crawling with cats and had racoons in the attic that Little Edie fed each day.
One of Grey Garden’s directors, Albert Maysles, was on hand to introduce the film and to do a Q&A after.
He told us ‘it was love at first sight’ when he met the pair. “I’m really, really glad you got to know there people – it’s all them.”
“We thought we would live in the house (during six weeks of filming) until we arrived there – we couldn’t take it. The smell was so pervasive.”
Maysles said that after he showed the finished 1975 documentary to mother and daughter, the younger Beale got up and said proclaimed it ‘a classic.’ As Big Edie was close to death years later she said: “There’s nothing more to say – it’s all in the film.’
In 2010, the film was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the United States National Film Registry as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.
BONUS VIDEO: A 2007 interview with Albert Maysles …
The TCM Classic Film Festival ended on Sunday and it was a day that will go down as one of the greatest of my moviegoing life.
I just don’t know how anything will ever top this day: saw Gone With the Wind and The Wizard of Oz on the big screen for the first time and to top it all off, it was at the historic Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.
Gone With The Wind was in a fantastic digital print and there is so much to be gained by seeing the movie on the big screen. Vivien Leigh could not have been more gorgeous and her performance is one of the greatest of any actress in any movie – ever.
I also gained tremendous respect for Hattie McDaniel’s performance as Mammy and now understand perfectly why she won the supporting actress Oscar over Olivia de Havilland.
The scene as she walks Melanie up the staircase telling her about Bonnie Blue’s death probably sealed the award for her but she is first-rate throughout.
As for The Wizard of Oz. I know it forward and backward from all those years on TV but to see it on the big screen and as a new 3D print, it was an amazing experience. The 3D only enhances the movie, it does not detract. It especially enhances Margaret Hamilton’s scenes at the Wicked Witch of the West who is never scarier – or greener.
For me, the performances of Hamilton and of Bert Lahr are especially good and can be appreciated all the more theatrically. Judy Garland is, of course, aces throughout. It’s astounding what she was able to achieve so young.
So that was Sunday and it was perfect.
But the festival runs four days so there’s more. I saw nine films in all and would have seen more except for having to leave early Saturday to cover the GLAAD Media Awards in Beverly Hills. On that day, I saw Mr. Deeds Goes to Town for the first time on any screen and fell in love with Gary Cooper all the more and became an instant fan of Jean Arthur whose work I was not really familiar with. And there was Lionel Stander as Cooper’s sidekick in a gem of a performance. I had only known him as Max from Hart to Hart!
On opening day Thursday, I covered the red carpet for the gala screening of Oklahoma! and thought I’d see that but made a last minute decision to go over to Chinese Theatre #1 and see Whatever Happened to Baby Jane. Seen it many times but on the big screen, Bette Davis’s performance is even more extraordinary. so funny, so tragic. How did she not win an Oscar for this? Anne Bancroft won that year for The Miracle Worker – Bette was robbed just as she was for All About Eve.
One woman who did win an Oscar and deserved to was Olivia de Havilland for The Heiress which I also saw on opening night. Have never seen the film on big screen or small so this was quite a treat. Montgomery Clift is even more beautiful in this, his third film, than he was in A Place in the Sun.
Friday was jammed with four films and would have been five if I had not required some sleep!
Then headed over to see My Sister Eileen starring Rosalind Russell who is just a hoot as a writer who moves from a small town in Ohio to New York City with her actress sister (Janet Blair) and they encounter all sorts of madcap adventures after moving into a studio apartment in Greenwich Village.
Russell received the first of four Oscar nominations for her performance and later starred on Broadway in a musical version of the story called Wonderful Town and won a Tony Award.
Her son, Carl Lance Brissen, attended the screening and said how His Girl Friday opposite close friend Cary Grant and Eileen were a major influence on his mother’s career.
“She found a path forward in her career playing strong women,” he said.
After Eileen, I made it over to Grauman’s to see Double Indemnity which is another classic I had never seen – at least that I recall. Sometimes you see these movies as a kid on television or have seen so many clips you think you’ve seen it.
All I can say is wow!
Fred MacMurray is the real revelation for me here. I knew him from My Three Sons, not as this completely hot insurance salesman who commits murder. And Barbara Stanwyck is delicious too. Loved it!
My fourth and final film on Friday was The Innocents starring Deborah Kerr which reminded me in some ways of The Others which starred Nicole Kidman.
This kind of psychological horror is not my favorite genre but I was spellbound by Miss Kerr throughout even if I’m not sure why she kisses the little boy.
So that’s a wrap for TCM Classic Film Festival 2014 which in just five short years has become this hugely successful monster of an event. I’ve gone each and every year and it is always such a joy to be around these particular audiences who know so much about film, are so passionate and appreciative of what is up there on the screen and who is responsible for it being up there.
And thank goodness for the presence of TCM Channel host Robert Osborne who is a real rock star at this event. He walks onto a stage and you’d think it was The Beatles!