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Lunch Break Video: A wonderful interview with the late, great Dixie Carter of “Designing Women”

Came across this gem of an interview with the late, great Dixie Carter that I want to share with you.

I love it because it’s a wonderful conversation on InnerVIEWS with Ernie Manouse. It’s unhurried and not about soundbites.

Dixie sat down with Ernie in 2008, two years before her death, discusses what it means to be a Southerner, her memories of meeting her husband Hal Holbrook, and the impact that the series Designing Women had on her life and her career.

Brendan Fehr tries to clear up what he said about playing gay: “I’m not the most eloquent person in the world”


Brendan Fehr, currently one of the stars of NBC’s The Late Shift, annoyed plenty of folks last month after giving an interview about playing a gay doctor on the series.

He said, among other things, that he was ‘uncomfortable’ kissing male co-star Luke Macfarlane who plays his boyfriend. He also said: ‘To play a homosexual on network television, what are the risks? There’s a whole bunch of them. What are the rewards? Not as many.’

Fehr tries to explain himself in anew interview with The Backlot.

Here are some excerpts:

‘So I think I got in a lot of trouble about the risks and the rewards. It was always going to be a reward for me in terms of what I was able to accomplish with it and what I wanted to do. But the risks were obviously in terms of other fans out there. I’ve got a big female [fan] base to a certain degree. Would some people not really want to see me in that role? With the Midwest where people watch TV, would they kind of reject me as an actor in that role? I think those were the risks I was talking about.’

Interview Fallout: ‘Everything I said in that interview I could have made it clearer and more eloquent. I’m not the most eloquent person in the world. I’m kind of a meat and potatoes type of guy. I hope people have enough common sense to figure out what kind of person I am and to give me the benefit of the doubt when it could go either way.I do stand by everything [and] I was just being realistic about all the possible things.’

On his portrayal: ‘I don’t play him gay, I play him human. Do I get to do some gay stuff? Yes, of course. But it’s like he’s a human being. I play the emotions. I play what he feels. I think that’s the most important part and that’s why I love him because he’s a really specific character. He stands out for me on this show. There are still risks because he is such a great character. Because I am representing something, which is a little bit foreign to me, which makes it exciting. But I don’t want to cater to just the LGBT community. I want people who don’t like homosexuals to begrudgingly go ‘you know, I guess the gay kid’s all right.’ You know what I mean? I want them to be sitting there in Nebraska on their couch going ‘I like the gay one.’

FILE UNDER: Controversy

Billy Bean returns to Major League Baseball as sport’s first first Ambassador for Inclusion

Billy Bean’s Major League Baseball career was cut short because of the stress and anguish caused by his being a closeted gay man and trying to keep that secret from his teammates.

During his eight-year career, Billy played for the Detroit Tigers, for the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the San Diego Padres.

It was announced before last night’s All-Star game that Billy, now 50, has been made the league’s first Ambassador for Inclusion.

Billy will provide guidance and training related to efforts to support those in the LGBT community throughout the organization including both major and minor league clubs.

‘I don’t want to change baseball. I don’t want players to feel uncomfortable,’ he says.

‘I don’t want them to think that we’re trying to force them to say or do or act or be something they’re not. It’s just a matter of whoever it affects, they are role models. Especially now, it’s an instant world. With the way everyone’s on Twitter. Just to be more cautious and understanding and maybe once they’re exposed to the resources, they’ll think differently.’

FILE UNDER: Sports

Zachary Quinto to play James Franco’s ex

Zachary Quinto is gay and James Franco often plays gay so it will be interesting to see these two talented young actors in a movie together with both in gay roles.

They will appear with Emma Roberts in the drama Michael about an anti-gay pastor who was once gay himself, according to a report in Variety.

Quinto, whose most famous film role is that of Spock in the current Star Trek movie franchise, will play the former boyfriend of Franco’s character.

The script for the film is based on My Ex-Gay Friend, a New York Times Magazine article by Benoit Denizet-Lewis about Michael Glatze, a Christian minister from Wyoming who before he rejecting his homosexuality, had founded a gay youth magazine.

Franco’s previous gay roles have included playing Sean Penn’s boyfriend in Milk and Allen Ginsberg in Howl.

Justin Kelly will direct. Gus van Sant is the executive producer,

FILE UNDER: Out Stars

Wednesday Morning Man: Ivan Hernandez!

I’ve been under the weather for a few days but in denial about it until going to see the doc and being ordered to rest for 48 hours unless I want to get really sick.

So when I’m confined, I do things like jump onto Hulu and watch episodes of Devious Maids which I had never seen before.

That’s how I discovered Ivan Hernandez who plays Javier Mendoza on the show.

The recurring role on the Lifetime network series is a huge break for the handsome young actor who had previously done guest spots on The Good Wife, The Following and Gossip Girl.

But television has not been where Ivan has had his greatest success. He has appeared in a series of Off-Broadway shows including Yank, Romantic Poetry, The Fantasticks and The Most Happy Fella.

FILE UNDER: Morning Men: 2014

Late Night Videos: See Idina Menzel sings the National Anthem and “Forever Young” at All-Star Game

John Travolta wasn’t on hand to mangle her name during the introduction bit Idina Menzel was, as usual, perfection at tonight’s Major League Baseball All-Star Game where she performed the Star Spangled Banner and Bob Dylan’s classic Forever Young – one of my all-time favorite songs.

Enjoy!!!

FILE UNDER: Videos

Steve Grand: ‘Every time I write a song, I feel like I’ve patched up another tear in my soul’

Steve Grand posted this on Facebook over the weekend and I want to share it because it’s really raw and gives us some insight into this All-American Boy:

Music continues to save me. Every time I write a song, I feel like I’ve patched up another tear in my soul. It seems to be the only way to release myself from the weight I carry with me constantly. Don’t ever leave your passion, and it will never leave you.

My life is in a constant state of chaos. Things change so fast I never get to adjust to anything. There is so much uncertainty and it’s unsettling. And no one is here to guide me because it’s me, and heaven forbid I do ANYTHING normal or ordinary. I need these sparse moments of stillness to keep going.

My sleep schedule hasn’t been much of a schedule at all. I’ve stayed awake through the early hours of the morning just writing and writing. I love these moments where all of the noise in my life goes silent, and the words flow so naturally, because they are so honest. I hear my soul more clearly than ever and I can’t get the words out fast enough. These moments of pure connectivity, with no noise and no interference, are the moments I live for. I’m not thinking about anything: not whether these words will be on the record, or if anyone will think it’s any good. or if it’s commercial enough for radio. I’m just writing to give my soul it’s chance to dance and shine and be heard and embraced, and heal itself in the process.

I don’t know if this is my morning or my night. I’m just glad that right now, I really don’t care.

FILE UNDER: Music

Lunch Break Videos: Celebrating Linda Ronstadt’s 68th birthday with some of her signature tunes

If I’m short on time, it’s not a good idea for me to go exploring YouTube in search of Linda Ronstadt videos to post because I end up spending a good hour watching all kinds of gems then trying to narrow it down to three or so.

On the occasion of this great singer’s 68th birthday, I’ve settled on this trio of performances – the first of which is one of her early big hits called Long Long Time which in my teen years, I played again and again when I fell in unrequited love with a straight boy.

Yeah, really, would be there on the floor of the living room, giant headphones on, and wallow.

Anyway, enough about me! This is about Linda and the other two videos I selected are her huge 1977 hit Blue Bayou and her appearance with Smokey Robinson that includes What’s New and a duet with Smokey on Ooh Baby Baby.

Enjoy!


Becoming engaged required a lot of secret planning by out actors Michael Arden and Andy Mientus

I had a gab yesterday afternoon with actor Michael Arden, currently a regular on TV’s Anger Management, and he shared with me the most charming story of how he recently became engaged to actor Andy Mientus of Smash fame.

Mientus is appearing on Broadway in the 2014 revival of Les Misérables and when he had a break, the currently bi-coastal couple made plans to meet up in England for a holiday.

They then each hatched a plan to propose marriage to each other without the other knowing.

‘I guess we were both were ready,’ Arden told me. ‘We know that we’re both sure about it – we both wanted it.”

Arden had designed a scavenger hunt while the two were in Somerset with all kinds of clues that would lead to a chapel where he would propose.

When Arden went to get the key to the chapel and met Mientus back at their room. Before he could begin the scavenger hunt, Mientus asked to take a look at a YouTube video where he suddenly appears on the screen and pops the big question.

Then several of their close friends appeared on the screen and began telling Arden why he should say yes.

He didn’t need much convincing and say yes right away. He then explained that he too had planned an elaborate proposal.

‘You couldn’t make it up,’ Arden says, ‘it’s like a Noel Coward play.’

The couple plan to be married in the fall of 2015.

FILE UNDER: Romance

Michael Urie: “When I first started Ugly Betty in 2006, things were very different. I was encouraged to stay in the closet”

Michael Urie has returned to Los Angeles for a run of his smash Off-Broadway play Buyer and Cellar at the Mark Taper Forum.

Urie has had no shortage of work since coming out publicly as a gay man during the middle of the four-year run of ABC’s Ugly Betty in which he played conniving Marc St. James, the assistant to diva magazine editor Wilhelmina Slater (Vanessa Williams).

But back in 2006, when he began on Ugly Betty, the actor says he was encouraged to stay in the closet.

‘This was before Neil Patrick Harris had come out,’ he tells Frontiers Magazine. ‘Even though I was playing an openly gay character, we thought we might want to keep the mystery of what I do behind closed doors.’

The fears proved to be unfounded and he came out publicly in 2009 by referring to himself as ‘a member of the LGBT community’ on his website.

‘… For me, coming out only added to my career,’ Urie says. ‘It might not be good for everyone, but I have gotten to play so many wonderful roles. If at any point decide not to play gay characters anymore. I would work a lot less. To me, it’s way better to have jobs and get great parts. I got to do [gay roles] in The Tempermentals and Angels in America and now Buyer and Cellar.’

He also played gay in the CBS sitcom Partners which lasted less than one season and again opposite Queer as Folk alum Randy Harrison in the new film Such Good People.

‘Unfortunately, I think coming out is still something actors known for certain kind of roles to think about. Audiences sometimes have a better suspension of disbelief than people making the casting decisions do , though I can’t blame them for not taking big risks.

Will & Grace, Ugly Betty and Modern Family have helped the progress the gay rights movement, and those wouldn’t have been possible without gay people in show business.’

FILE UNDER: Out Stars

Tuesday Morning Man: Ashley Parker Angel!

Okay, I’ll just admit this right up front: Until spotting of his shirtless selfies on my Facebook feed yesterday, I had not heard of Ashley Parker Angel.

But his selfie – and several others like it – certainly got me in the mood to do a little research.

Ashley rose to fame with the boyband O-Town and he’s now 32.

The group was not formed in somebody’s garage.

It was formed in 2000 through the old ABC series Making the Band, which tracked the formation of a pop music group. Ashley, then a teenager, was plucked from tens of thousands of other auditionees and survived each stage of the selection process to become one of the “final five” members of the new vocal group O-Town.

The show followed the band for two more seasons as they achieved tremendous success with such hits as Liquid Dreams and All or Nothing. Their second album was not a success and by 2003, the band was dropped by their record label.

Ashley launched a solo career and his first album Soundtrack to Your Life debuted at #5 on the Billboard charts. The next year he was a hit on Broadway in the musical Hairspray as teen heartthrob Link Larkin.


FILE UNDER: Morning Men: 2014

Days of Our Lives: Sami tells a disbelieving Sonny and Will that EJ and Abigail were having an affair

The wrath of Sami is in full swing.

She’s being so over-the-top that you feel anything but sorry for her.

Will figures out that Sami is behind getting EJ arrested and had Abigail in the wedding just to torture her.

Eric is trying to talk some sense into his twisted twin.

FILE UNDER: Days of Our Lives

Outfest 2014: Jonathan Groff reveals during “Looking” panel that he’s not so different from TV character

It was nice to see during an Outfest panel on Saturday that the cast of HBO’s Looking seem to be thick as thieves and had a very charmed experience shooting the show’s first season in San Francisco.

Let’s hope this carries over onto season 2 even if Jonathan Groff jokes that he’s already a diva.

There are some obvious differences between the actors and the characters they play. Murray Bartlett, for example, is Australian but onscreen alter-ego is not. Frankie J. Alvarez is straight but his character of Augustin most certainly is not.

Then there is Groff who plays a gay video-game developer named Patrick.

‘The character felt close to me than anything I had ever worked on before,’ Groff said during a panel discussion about the show.

So what do he and Patrick have in common besides the fact that they are both gay?

Says Groff: ‘The struggle trying to figure out where he fits in the gay community and I have felt that myself. What does it mean to be gay? How gay am I? Does my voice sound gay?’

Groff may be a Tony Award nominee for the musical Spring Awakening and sings in Frozen – the highest grossing animated movie of all time – but that’s one are where he wants he and Patrick to not be alike.

‘I love to sing but I’m so excited that I don’t sing on the the show,’ he said. ‘I feel Patrick would be a horrendous singer.’

Groff, Bartlett, Alvarez were joined on the panel by the hilarious Lauren Weedman (she’s as funny off screen as her character of Doris is on the show) as well as director Andrew Haigh and creator Michael Lannan.

Bartlett and Weedman, who in the show are roommates and best friends, appear to enjoy the same easy chemistry in real life as they do on screen.

”The relationship between a gay man and a female best friend, it was a relationship I guess I was familiar with,’ Bartlett said.

Added Weedman: ‘It was a very comfortable environment for all of us I think – we were immediately besties.’

The show has been renewed for a second season of 10 episodes – two more than the eight produced during the first season which premiered last January.

The cast made clear that they have no idea what is in store for their characters during the San Francisco-based show’s upcoming season since they have not yet begun filming or even received scripts.

But Groff knows one thing for sure: ‘I think Patrick has a lot to learn.’

FILE UNDER: Television

Life of Robbie Rogers inspires TV series

Love this news and I hope it all pans out and gets on the air.

The story of Robbie Rogers, the first openly gay player in the history of the Major Soccer League (MSL), has inspired a television comedy show.

Neil Meron and Craig Zadan – the openly gay producers of the last two Academy Awards telecasts and next year’s as well – will develop and produce the series based on Rogers’ experiences, according to Deadline Hollywood.

‘Very excited and fortunate to be working with so many great people on this project!’ Rogers tweeted today.

Rogers, 27, came out publicly in February 2013 through a heartfelt online post published shortly after he retired from professional soccer.

After widespread support, he decided to return to the game and was signed by the MLS’s Los Angeles Galaxy.

Meron and Zadan are two of the busiest producers in all of show business. Last week, their productions earned a total of 18 Emmy nominations including eight for the Oscars telecast, four for the Bonnie & Clyde miniseries, four for Sound Of Music LIVE! and two for a TV movie about Anna Nicole Smith.

FILE UNDER: Sports

Archie to be killed saving gay friend

I grew up reading Archie Comics and loving them. It would have been amazing for me if the gay character of Kevin Keller had been a part of the Riverdale storyline back then but better now than never!

In this week’s issue of Life With Archie, our hero Archie Andrews gets shot to death by an assassin’s bullet while saving the life of Kevin who has become a senator fighting for tougher gun control laws.

Keller, a military veteran, is the first gay character in the comic book franchise about the students of Riverdale High. The Life With Archie series focuses on the characters of Archie Andrews, Veronica Lodge, Betty Cooper, Jughead Jones and Reggie Mantle as adults.

In the issue out Wednesday (16 July), Keller is pushing for stronger gun control laws in his role as a newly elected senator.

Archie publisher and co-CEO Jon Goldwater tells the Associated Press that the goal with the issue was ‘to do something that was impactful that would really resonate with the world and bring home just how important Archie is to everyone.

‘That’s how we came up with the storyline of saving Kevin. He could have saved Betty. He could have saved Veronica. We get that, but metaphorically, by saving Kevin, a new Riverdale is born.’

Goldwater adds: ‘The way in which Archie dies is everything that you would expect of Archie. He dies heroically. He dies selflessly. He dies in the manner that epitomizes not only the best of Riverdale but the best of all of us. It’s what Archie has come to represent over the past almost 75 years.’

FILE UNDER: This & That

Happy Birthday to Jane Lynch!

I’m not sure how the character of Sue Sylvester will be incorporated into the last 13 episodes of Glee next season but however it happens, I’m sure Jane Lynch will make the absolute most of it.

Jane has inhabited one of the nastiest but funniest characters in all of television for five seasons now and given her just enough humanity (in small glimpses of course) to allow us to put up with her endless insults to just about everybody – especially adorable Will Schuester (played by adorable Matthew Morrison).

In celebration of Jane’s 54th birthday today, below is a compilation of her season one insults and the tribute by castmates to Jane at last December’s Trevor Live event.

FILE UNDER: Birthdays

Monday Model Morning Man: Norbi Novak!

Happy Monday everyone!

I’m going shamelessly beefcake (imagine that) every Monday for the rest of the summer with Male Model Monday.

Let’s kick off the series with this ridiculously attractive guy named Norbi Novak.

Norbi lives in New York and here is a LINK to his Facebook page if you want to see more – and I know you do!

FILE UNDER: Morning Men: 2014

Happy Birthday to Robert Gant!

Robert Gant, who appeared on The Young and the Restless on Friday, is celebrating his 46th birthday today.

He posted a quote from Mark Twain on his Twitter account: “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”

When you are as handsome and talented as Robert, I think it would indeed matter a bit less!

FILE UNDER: Birthdays

Cast of “Looking” bring star power to Outfest

I’ll be posting a story tomorrow about all that was said during Saturday’s Outfest panel for HBO’s Looking.

Just wanted to post some of the photos I snapped of cast members Jonathan Groff, Frankie J. Alvarez, Murray Bartlett and Lauren Weedman.

They really do seem like a tight group that truly enjoys working with each other and Weedman is even funnier than her character – she had the crowd in stitches. She’s a brilliant comic.

The good news is that season 2 will have 10 episodes and all seem excited and eager to get back to work in San Francisco.

FILE UNDER: Television

Aussie Olympic swimmer Ian Thorpe can finally say: “I’m comfortable saying I’m a gay man”

Ian Thorpe is a two-time Olympian and a nine-time Olympic medalist.

He’s also gay.

That is no longer speculation or rumor – he’s confirmed it himself.

It’s hard enough telling the world that you are gay but no doubt even harder after you’ve denied it for years.

In his memoir, This Is Me, published in 2012, Thorpe addressed his depression, which dates to his teens, and denied longstanding rumors that he was gay, writing that he dated only women and hoped to marry and have children.

Here’s some of what he said in an interview that’s just aired with Sir Michael Parkinson: “I’m not straight. And this is only something that very recently, we’re talking in the past two weeks, I’ve been comfortable telling the closest people around me exactly that.”

“What happened was I felt the lie had become so big that I didn’t want people to question my integrity. And, you know, a little bit of ego comes into this. I didn’t want people to question that… have I lied about everything?”

“I’m comfortable saying I’m a gay man. And I don’t want young people to feel the same way that I did. You can grow up, you can be comfortable and you can be gay.I was concerned about the reaction from my family, my friends. I’m pleased to say that in telling them, and especially my parents, they told me that they love me and they support me. And for young people out there, know that that’s usually what the answer is.”

FILE UNDER: Coming Out, Sports