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My interview with ‘Moonlight’ star Trevante Rhodes

Moonlight star Trevante Rhodes was a dazzling presence when he walked into a crowded back room at The Pikey in Hollywood over the weekend.

He was at the popular Sunset Boulevard bar and eatery to accept several awards from the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association for the film.

I’m a member of this 175-member group and we also voted him the winner of our Rising Star of the Year.

Before the proceedings were underway, The 27-year-old actor chatted with me about how much his life has changed since Moonlight was released last October in the US.

‘It’s been just the most amazing life moments,’ he said. ‘Getting an opportunity to be a part of something that I love, that other people are loving – and it’s widespread. I’m kind of afraid of what life is going to be after. That’s how amazing this moment is.’

Rhodes is being recognized more in public now as the film becomes more widely seen.

‘Everywhere I go now it’s amazing,’ he said. ‘It’s unique because it’s so much love. I’m really low-key and like to fly under the radar so I always have hoodies and stuff on but it’s for something that I love so it’s incredible.’

Moonlight chronicles the life of a young black man from childhood to adulthood as he struggles to find his place in the world while growing up in a rough neighborhood of Miami.

Rhodes plays the character as an adult coming to terms with his sexuality and with his mother who is a recovering drug addict.

Rhodes ‘absolutely’ knew the script by director Barry Jenkins was amazing the moment he read it.

‘It was the best script I’d ever read. I’d never read anything like that – so vibrant,’ he said.

‘It spoke to me in a way that I’d never felt before. This was just something that made me want to be. I felt that in reading the script I could embody this person like nothing else.’

Moonlight has been nominated for eight Academy Awards. It won Best Picture-Drama at last month’s Golden Globe Awards and last Sunday (19 February) won the prestigious Writers Guild of America Award for screenplay.

While the musical La La Land has been touted as the favorite to take home the Best Picture prize at the Oscars on Sunday, Rhodes is hoping for some more Moonlight glory.

‘I want it to win because I think that would just further the ideology of everybody in life right now – that would show us what we really are. It’s a kind of film that we haven’t seen done before.’

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Happy 30th birthday to Ellen Page!

This wonderful, smart, talented, articulate and passionate young woman is only 30? What an amazing, accomplished life so far. Ellen Page bravely came out publicly three years ago (see video above) and she has become such an important activist since then. In that speech she said: ‘Maybe I can make a difference.’ She has. Her series Gaycation has exposed us to the lives and the cultures of LGBT people around the world. No doubt there is so much ahead for this tremendous person.

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Tuesday Morning Man: Kelley Johnson!

I don’t watch Bravo’s Below Deck but this guy makes me want to start. He’s 29-year-old Kelley Johnson and his real-life story is pretty interesting. He was in the Marine Corps and was part of the operation that helped rescue Captain Phillips (played by Tom Hanks in the film of the same year). Here is his Twitter description: ‘LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE . Living the salt life in south Florida! Marine Veteran.’

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Bette Davis on Joan Crawford: ‘There were never two opposed actresses working together in the world’

This just popped up on video suggestions on YouTube. With Feud: Bette and Joan about to premiere on FX, it is fascinating to get Bette Davis’ thoughts on her Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? co-star Joan Crawford. She actually praises her rival. ‘There were never two opposed actresses working together in the world. Just totally different people and systems. But I will say this of Miss Crawford: She is a professional, she is always on time, she knows her lines … I have great respect for her as a professional – that she is. And I wish I were half as beautiful, that I will say for her.’ Then, of course, she adds: ‘Now if you want to meet me privately sometime (she laughs) … we’ll meet you outside.’ Not sure when this Q&A took place or where but I’m guessing its the late 60s or early 70s.

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Congratulations to British race car driver Danny Watts for coming out publicly as a gay man

It’s always a great day when someone in the public eye decides on their own to come out publicly. British race car driver Danny Watts retired after the 2016 season and opened up to Daily Sports Car about his decision. Here is an excerpt: Q. You also kicked off a new phase of your life by going public about your homosexuality. What led you to take that decision?

A. Now I’ve finished driving it has made it a lot easier to come out of the closet. It’s been hard living two separate lives, as motor racing is very macho. It wasn’t the right time when I was competing, as there was always the worry of sponsors and the team not being LGBT friendly. Aside from that, having hid it for ages, which has been depressing, lonely and tiresome, something inside said, “Right, if you’re going to be happy, then you need to get this massive weight off your shoulders. So do the right thing, and be brave, so you can live life in a happier and stress-free way.” Thinking of the best way of coming out was a difficult decision. I could have kept it quiet, not said anything and carried as normal, or just put [my] cards on the table so everyone knows and get ready for the reactions… but at least it kind of won’t be an ongoing saga of explaining to every Tom, Dick and Harry. So the latter is what I decided was best.

I told the people closest to me first, obviously, and as I expected they were shocked but supportive of my decision.

Q. Looking back, do you think you could have gone public while you were still racing?

A. I think the biggest reason why I didn’t do it sooner is the fact that you don’t know if the sponsors are going to be accepting of it and that could affect getting drives as well as affecting spirit within a team environment and whether relationships would be made awkward to the detriment of the squad. I have to say, it’s been terrifying getting to this stage and not the best feeling in the world. I’ve struggled to sleep with sheer worry about people’s thoughts and how they will now see me. But longer term, once the initial horror has passed, I hope people will be accepting and cool with it, and I can carry on doing what I really enjoy doing the most, which is coaching drivers and trying to maximise their potential. I’m aware and understand that some people are going to take it in a less positive way, so I guess that’s fair enough and I’ll see who my mates and friends really are.

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Celeb Instagram: Nico Tortorella! Andy Cohen & Ricky Martin! John Barrowman! Dustin Lance Black!

monday. @roguemagazine @foxhunter @saradinkin @melissaadelaide #niconiconico

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Check out my Town Hall with @ricky_martin all day on @radioandysxm. Ricky goes deep about music, love, being gay and meeting his fiancé on Instagram!

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Thanks #Portland for such a great weekend you know I love coming to visit. Love the city. My cold is getting better, I think the Voodoo Doughnut helped. See you in June JB

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It's nearly time to premier the whole 8 hours of When We Rise here in San Francisco I'm incredibly proud of this one and can't wait for everyone to see it! #WhenWeRise #ABC (Starts on 27th FEB on ABC) @dlanceblack

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My chat with Noah Galvin of ‘The Real O’Neals’ about the bisexual joke controversy

The Real O’Neals star Noah Galvin is defending his show which is under fire for a recent bisexual joke.

In last week’s episode, Galvin’s gay teenage character Kenny O’Neal compared being bisexual to having ‘webbed toes’ or ‘money problems.’

Galvin, 24, points out that Kenny still has a lot to learn.

‘I think that it’s important to know that these writers … they’re writing an authentic teenager who is still learning and evolving and has never met a bisexual person in his life,’ Galvin told me at the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association’s annual Winners Toast in Los Angeles on Saturday.

After the episode aired, bisexual actress Sara Ramirez took to Twitter to say she was ‘truly disheartened and disappointed’ by the writing of the joke.

Ramirez had worked for the same network, ABC, for 10 years playing bisexual doctor Callie Torres on Grey’s Anatomy.

Ramirez also tweeted to ABC and the show: ‘Own it, address it, clarify it, empower our #Queer #Bisexual youth & community w/accurate positive reflections.’

The actress directed people to a Change.org petition titled End Biphobia and Bi-erasure on The Real O’Neals which has received more than 1,200 signatures so far.

The Real O’Neals is currently in its second season. While not a ratings powerhouse, the show has a loyal following and a chance at a third season.

Galvin says he hopes the controversy will not ‘discredit the good we’ve done for so many kids who write to me daily about how we’ve helped them come out. Or if coming out is not possible for them for us to at least be an escape for them. I think it’s an important, awesome thing that we’re doing – I hope people don’t discredit that.’

The openly gay actor added: ‘I completely realize the crazy, crazy, large responsibility that we have as a show and all the good that we’re doing.’

FILE UNDER: Bisexual, Controversy

WATCH: Riverdale’s gay teen Kevin Keller shares secret sexy kiss at drive-in with local gang member

Riverdale is off to a really sexy start on The CW and cute gay teen Kevin Keller is in the thick of the action.

In last week’s episode, Kevin (Casey Cott) hooked up passionately with Joaquin (Rob Raco) at the drive-in.

Joaquin is a member of the local gang the Southside Serpents and his group is being disruptive during the movie.

Kevin tries to quiet them and is confronted by Joaquin at the snack bar.

Kevin is ready to binge on junk food because he sees his recent hook-up – hottie football player Moose (Cody Kearsley) – making out with a girl.

Next thing we know, Kevin is binging on Joaquin. These two make-out furiously against a chain-linked fence and it is all kinds of hot.

Joaquin has Kevin’s phone number now so looks like we haven’t seen the last of this bad boy.

Kevin is first openly gay character in the history of the Archie Comics franchise.

He was introduced in 2012 to the longtime franchise which takes place in the fictional town of Riverdale and includes such familiar characters as Reggie, Veronica, Jughead, Betty and, of course, Archie.

The new TV series takes a subversive look at the familiar characters and the darker side of what is going on beneath the wholesome Riverdale image.

FILE UNDER: Television

Lunch Break Video: Tom Daley’s shirtless home workout with Danielle Peazer

If you think I’m posting this video just because Olympic diver Tom Daley is shirtless in it you would be correct! But there’s also some good tips in the video. The always cute and charming Tom does the ‘Total Bodyweight Workout’ with Danielle Peazer and it’s something you can do at home. If anyone tries it, let me know what you think. I’m bored with my current workout routine.

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Happy 28th birthday to Jack Falahee!

Thanks for the birthday present Shonda, Betsy, Pete and Bill! And thanks for letting me be a part of the Shondaland family (even with this mustache).

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Snapped! Colton Hayes and new boyfriend in bed!

It's not every day that someone comes into your life & makes you want to be a better man. I feel so blessed to be by your side @jeffleatham #WhatMoviesAreMadeOf

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Monday Morning Man: Peter Alexander!

NBC News national correspondent Peter Alexander did something last week that a lot of people applauded: he fact checked President Donald Trump to his face at The White House.

He corrected Trump who was claiming to have achieved the largest Electoral College victory since Ronald Reagan. He had not and Alexander told him so. The the veteran newsman asked Trump: ‘Why should Americans trust you?”

Peter, 40, has been with the network since 2004. He’s a busy guy whose reports appear across all platforms of NBC News, including NBC Nightly News, Today, Meet the Press, Dateline NBC, MSNBC and NBCNews.com.

His job with the network has taken him all around the world including Afghanistan, the Galapagos Islands, Gaza, Israel, Laos and Mexico.

In addition to his news responsibilities, Peter has also worked as an NBC Sports host, and covered both the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games.

FILE UNDER: Morning Men (2017)

Celeb Instagram: Goreski in bed! Gio & Tommy shop! Laverne Cox inspired! Lea DeLaria belts!

New bed. New mug. New dog (Theo). New glasses. I am in love with all of them.Glasses by @garrettleight Theo adopted from @pawworks Mug from @missclaudia24 Bed gift of @beautyrest . . . . #adoptdontshop #pupsofinsta #sundaze #getyourbeautyrest #prouddad

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We're goofy. And get excited in the health isles at grocery stores. So excited that we take a selfie.

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It's #blackhistorymonth and I am so grateful that @cbswatchmag asked me to talk about some of my big inspirations. Of course I talk about #LeontynePrice who turned 90 February 10 among others. Check out this video And if you missed @doubtcbs last week you can watch it now online. Link in my bio and here: http://www.cbs.com/shows/doubt/video/ Tell all your friends and family to watch.

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Back in the studio bitches #sexiestmanalive

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Showtune Sunday: The glorious Normas of ‘Sunset Boulevard’ perform ‘With One Look’

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Morning Man Classic: David Oliver!

I’ve made myself sad all over again by doing this post – sad over the loss of such a young, talented man to AIDS 25 years ago. He’s actor David Oliver who was a huge crush of mine in the late 80s when he was one of the stars of NBC’s A Year in the Life. The 1987-88 show was terrific and started as a miniseries in 1986. And since it was so good and so grown-up, it only lasted one damned season. Playing David’s wife on the show was, get this, Sarah Jessica Parker. The two clearly remained friends as they attended events together even after the show ended. He began his acting career in 1982 and from 1983 to 1985, he played the role of Perry Hutchins on the daytime soap opera Another World. David was only 30 when he died in November 1992. He was survived by his parents, stepfather, seven siblings, and his partner, Terry Houlihan. Shortly before his death, he had a role in the play Elegies staged at the Canon Theater in Beverly Hills.

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Celeb Instagram: Laverne Cox meets Gavin Grimm; Gus Kenworthy in China; Dustin Lance Black’s rainbow connection

Look who I met tonight #GavinGrimm. This young man is so smart and is doing a great service to his country and trans people everywhere going to the #SupremeCourt #SCOTUS March 28. #StandwithGavin #transisbeautiful #TransRightsAreHumanRights

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Hanging out at the Great Wall. The one in China, not the fictitious Mexican one that Trump won't shut up about.

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hopeful

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Snapped! Zachary Quinto heading west with no wallet!

westward bound. did anyone find my wallet at the party last night?

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FILE UNDER: Snapped!

Dame Julie Andrews pays a visit to Stephen Colbert!

What a legend! What a career Dame Julie Andrews has had from early television (Cinderella) to Broadway (My Fair Lady, Camelot) to many classic films (Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Victor/Victoria). And now she’s got a cute new show on Netflix called Julie’s Green Room. She has a charming interview with Stephen Colbert here and I loved every minute of it. You will too.

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Nope, Rosie O’Donnell won’t be playing Trump advisor Steve Bannon on ‘Saturday Night Live’

Rosie O’Donnell as Steve Bannon on Saturday Night Live probably would have really ignited a Donald Trump tweet storm.

But the former talk show host and longtime Trump critic says it’s not going to happen.

Fresh off the heels of Melissa McCarthy’s instantly classic parody of White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on last week’s show, it was suggested on Twitter that O’Donnell portray Trump’s controversial chief strategist Bannon on a future episode.

‘Available – if called I will serve’ O’Donnell tweeted back earlier this month.

A photoshop of O’Donnell as Bannon then made the rounds and created a buzz. But O’Donnell tells TMZ that’s as far as things went.

‘That was the whole impression, the photoshop. That was it from start to finish.’ She added: ‘I’m also not in the cast so there’s that.’

O’Donnell had taken to Twitter after the suggestion was first floated to make clear she has not been officially approached to play Bannon.

‘No – that’s an alternate fact – someone tweeted it as an idea – after Melissa was so brilliant … just a funny idea.’

If it had happened, it would have been another chapter in a long-running feud between Trump and O’Donnell.

It dates back more than a decade when O’Donnell made a mockery of Trump on ABC’s The View for his handling of an incident involving the Miss Universe pageant which he owns.

During the first Republican presidential debate in August 2015, moderator Megyn Kelly asked Trump about his various insults aimed at women over the years.

‘You’ve called women you don’t like fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals,’ Kelly began before being interrupted by Trump who said: ‘Only Rosie O’Donnell.’

FILE UNDER: Comedy

Celeb Instagram: Jack, Karen & Will! Nyle DiMarco! Adam Lambert and Chrissy Metz! Charlie Carver!

Hanging with these beautiful people today for the #WillAndGrace photo shoot. @meganomullally #ericmccormack

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W @chrissymetz on @bravowwhl w @bravoandy (shirt:@burberry)

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Today's the day! #FistFight in theaters now :)

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