Every May 22 is “Harvey Milk Day” which commemorates the birthday of the late activist’s birthday.
Harvey Milk’s story, message and legacy are globally celebrated on his birthday to give hope and inspire disenfranchised communities.
He was the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in California as a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
Milk fought hard against discrimination – including Proposition 6, a ballot initiative that would have made firing gay teachers—and any public school employees who supported gay rights—mandatory. It lost by a million votes. As a supervisor, Milk was responsible for passing a stringent gay rights ordinance for the city but just 11 months into his term, he and Mayor George Moscone were murdered at City Hall by former Supervisor Dan White.
Milk was just 48 years old and had been a gay rights activist for less than a decade. There was so much still ahead.
Dustin Lance Black wrote and directed the film Virginia which opened in select theaters in Los Angeles and New York last Friday.
He talks about the film in a new interview with The Advocate. Here is a portion of the interview about the play 8 which he wrote based on the transcripts from the trial which successfully challenged California’s Proposition 8.
The Los Angeles production of 8in March was a huge success. How much money has the show raised for AFER so far?
One million dollars in New York and 2.5 in L.A so 3.5 million dollars all together. If you go to 8theplay.com, you can see where it’s being produced around the country. I gave that away. My poor lawyers! It’s royalty-free. It’s now just an educational outreach tool. We’ll see what the state of the case is in six months and if we go to the Supreme Court with it, we may do it again as a fundraiser. For now I think it’s time to educate the country on why this case is so historic.
I understand there’s a film adaptation in the works with Rob Reiner directing. What can you reveal about it?
Thankfully, there was some studio interest and through Rob Reiner’s company Castle Rock so we’re creating a film version of 8. It will have to be more personal. The play is built for a theater audience, who has to be patient listening to the legal arguments that unfold. With a film audience I think it’s important to personalize it more. It will still have all the legal arguments, but I want to delve more into our plaintiffs’ lives. They’re pretty remarkable. The more you get to know them the more unlikely their romance and the more lovely they seem. Rob and I went up Easter weekend and interviewed Chris and Sandy, the two lesbian plaintiffs for two days. I already loved them but after spending two entire days with them hearing their stories, I fell desperately in love with them. I’m very excited to bring their story to the big screen.
My thanks to my pal Lorna Harris for putting this handsome fellow on my radar.
He’s Jimmy Jean-Louis, best known for his role as The Haitian on the NBC television series Heroes.
He starred opposite Monique on Phatz Girls and has also had roles in the films Diary of a Tired Black Man. His most recent role is in the French TV film Toussaint Louverture – L’envol de l’Aigle.
Jimmy had moved to Paris at a young age to pursue modeling and his is early roles were in French musical theater and television commercials.
After the 2010 Haiti earthquake, Jimmy went to search for his parents and found that a house he had grown up in collapsed, killing several of his relatives.
He is the founder of Hollywood Unites for Haiti, a non-profit charitable aid organization whose original mission was to provide sports and cultural education to underprivileged youth on the island.The group mobilized for disaster relief after the earthquake.
Dharun Ravi could have been sentenced to spend 10 years in prison today but instead will be behind bars for just 30 days.
The former Rutgers student was convicted in March of spying on his roommate, Tyler Clementi, as he had an encounter with another man with a webcam then discussing it on discussed on Twitter with other students.
Clementi, jumped to his death off of the George Washington Bridge.
The judge scolded Ravi before handing down the sentence: ‘I heard this jury say, ‘guilty’ 288 times–24 questions, 12 jurors. That’s the multiplication. I haven’t heard you apologize once.’
Last month we had the North Carolina pastor who suggested effeminate kids be “punched” by their parents and now there’s this preacher – from the same state – who actually said the following during his May 13 sermon:
“I figured a way to get rid of all the lesbians and queers. Build a great, big, large fence — 150 or 100 mile long — put all the lesbians in there… Do the same thing for the queers and the homosexuals and have that fence electrified so they can’t get out… And you know what, in a few years, they’ll die.”
His name is Charles L. Worley and he is pastor of Providence Road Baptist Church in Maiden, North Carolina.
Wanda Sykes was late arriving to the An Evening With Women benefit in Beverly Hills on Saturday because she spilled red wine on her blouse.
Then when she took the stage to perform some stand-up, she was jokingly irritated by everything from the smoke machine to the interpreter for the hearing impaired audience members.
Then the band scheduled to go on after her was tuning up behind the curtain of the International Ballroom of the Beverly Hilton Hotel while Sykes was on stage and she got really irritated – and it was no joke.
‘That really pissed me off!’ she said at one point after an expletive-laden tirade that included her walking behind the curtain to confront the band face-to-face.
‘You think I’m playing?’ she asked the band. ‘That’s wrong. … You know what? I’m gonna go punch somebody in the face.’
Once she got back on track, Sykes praised President Barack Obama for endorsing gay marriage and joked that opponents of marriage equality ‘act as if it’s mandatory’ to marry the same sex.
‘I’m so proud of President Obama,’ she said. ‘I knew he was going to get there.”
The event sold out for the first time and raised more than $450,000 for services for women and girls provided by the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center. Executive Director Lorri L. Jean told the crowd that more there are more than 10,000 client visits to The Center each month from women and girls.
‘This is one of my favorite evenings of the year. A room full of gorgeous, wonderful women – and the men who love them,’ Jean said. ‘Some of you might be surprised to learn that The Center provides more services to girls and women than any LGBT organization, bar none. Every single month, the LA Gay and Lesbian Center welcomes 10,000 client visits from girls and women. The depth and the breadth of our services – many of which are life-saving – is unparallelled.’
In addition to the Sykes comedy routine, entertainment included musical sets by Courtney Love, Aimee Mann, Gina Gershon and Linda Perry with the all-star band Camp Freddy. Tattoo celebrity Kat Von D also performed one song in what was billed as her performance debut.
Roseanne Barr jumped onto the stage at the end of the show to dance alongside Love as she performed. Among the other celebrities in attendance: actress Sara Gilbert whose girlfriend, Linda Perry, is the driving force behind the event; four-time Olympic gold medalist Greg Louganis; singer Carnie Wilson; and television personality Jane Velez-Mitchell.
(I’ll share my interviews with Greg and Jane later this week – they are terrific!)
‘It wasn’t like this when we first started,’ Perry told me before the night’s festivities began. “I was on my knees begging for people. It’s fun because right now, we have people calling saying, ‘Can I get a ticket still?’ That’s what you want to be – you want to be the hot ticket. It’s a hot ticket for an LGBT event.’
Perry explained why she is so passionate about the fundraiser which she has helped to grow exponentially in recent years by attracting top-tier talent to perform. In past years, such stars as Cyndi Lauper, Christina Aguilera and Sarah Silverman have performed.
‘They needed support and I wanted to be somebody who came in and supported them,’ Linda said. ‘We all need support. I had some friends and I’m very driven. I felt like I am going to dedicated myself to it and do that best that I can do.’
‘There’s so many things that need to be done,’ she added. ‘The Center, the fact that they provide health care, legal assistance, taking kids off the street and helping senior citizens, it’s just endless what they do. What I’d love for this to do is for it to become like a McDonald’s chain where it’s all over the place. This is just for LA. This is the easiest. Being gay in LA is a hell of a lot easier than being gay in Utah or Missouri.’
This year’s event marked the first time Perry attended with Gilbert, her girlfriend of less than a year. Photographers clamored for photos of the couple together as they walked down the red carpet.
‘It’s great,’ she said after Gilbert ducked off the red carpet to enter the VIP party. ‘We weren’t together then but I wanted her here last year. She couldn’t make it.’
Gilbert participated in one of the evening funniest videos involving Perry a live auctioning off her 1983 customized Harley Davidson Fat Boy with black sparkle custom paint. It sold for $30,000 with Perry herself bidding to win the bike back but dropping out at the $15,000 mark.
Sykes wasn’t just one of the evening’s headliners, she was also a big bidder at the live auction plunking down $20,000 for a tattoo by Kat Von D.
‘What the f***? I just spent $20,000 for a rainbow,’ the comedienne joked. Maybe I should pump it up and get like a dolphin jumping over the rainbow.’
In addition to the Kat Von D tattoo and Perry’s motorcycle, other big-ticket items also auctioned off during the event were a Celine Dion concert in Las Vegas with backstage passes sold for $7,000 and a dream Italian vacation in Tuscany fetched a whopping $17,000.
Kudos to Perry and L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center Board of Directors Co-chair LuAnn Boylan who teamed up for some truly hilarious videos about the live auction items and shared a wonderful chemistry up there on the stage.
They should go on the road together!
I took all of the photos you see on this post so they are not the best but I did want to share with you memories of the event as I experienced them. My thanks to my pal, Jim Key (pictured with me) for inviting me to sit with him at a prime table where I was able to get some half-decent shots of the performances!
PHOTO IDs: 1. Wanda Sykes 2. Linda Perry and Sarah Gilbert 3. Lorri L. Jean and Courtney Love 4. Aimee Mann 5. Gina Gershon 6.Linda Perry and LuAnn Boylan 7. Courtney Love 8. Greg Louganis 9. Jane Velez-Mitchell 10. Carnie Wilson 12. Greg Hernandez and Jim Key.
Rafael Nadal beat arch-rival Novak Djokovic earlier today to win the Italian Open and reclaim the number two ranking in men’s tennis.
Nadal, 25, won the tournament in Rome for the sixth time. It is the 49th title of his illustrious career and clearly establishes him as the favorite heading into next week’s French Open where he will be trying to win his seventh title.
Djokovic has now lost to Nadal twice this year after defeating the Spaniard seven straight times including in the finals of the 2011 US Open and Wimbledon and the 2012 Australian Open.
Nadal had dropped to number three in the rankings behind Roger Federer when he lost early at last week’s Madrid Open which Federer won. But Djokovic beat Federer in the semifinals of Rome before losing to Nadal 7-5, 6-3.
Djokovic is still firmly number one but he has not been the dominant force so far in 2012 as he was a year earlier when he opened the season with a 43-match winning streak. The loss to Nadal was his fourth of the year.
So Will Smith was doing red carpet interviews during the recent Moscow premiere of Men in Black 3 when a Ukrainian reporter named Vitalii Sediuk tried to greet the actor with more than a question – he tried to greet him with a kiss!
Smith wasn’t having any of it. He pushed Sediuk away and asked: ‘What the hell is your problem, buddy?’ Then he gave Sediuk a light backhanded slap on the face. When he got to the next media outlet, Smith explained: ‘He tried to kiss me on the mouth! He’s lucky I didn’t sucker punch him.’
Okay Will, so the guy tried to kiss you. No need for violence.
– It’s clear Smith does not like to kiss men on the mouth since his kissing scene with Michael Anthony Hall in Six Degrees of Separation was more of a camera trick than a kiss. In fact, I don’t think the two actors ever touched lips.
– Sediuk should be banned from red carpets. It’s a completely unprofessional thing to do. You wish Smith had more of a sense of humor about it but he should not have been put in that position in the first place.
Robin Gibb, one of the members of the Bee Gees, has died at 62.
He was battling cancer.
Gibb is the second musical icon from the disco era to die in the past four days with Donna Summer passing away on Thursday.
The only surviving member of the three Bee Gees is brother Barry, 65.
Robin’s twin brother, Maurice, died in 2003 from a twisted bowel. And younger brother Andy Gibb — who was not part of the group — died at 30 from a heart infection.
The Bee Gees had such hits as How Do You Mend a Broken Heart, To Love Somebody, Holiday, Jive Talkin, Words, Nights on Broadway, You Should Be Dancing and Fanny (Be Tender With My Love) before the group skyrocketed to new heights with the 1977 release of Saturday Night Fever.
The Fever soundtrack featured such classic hits at How Deep Is Your Love, Night Fever, and Stayin’ Alive.
Here is the group performing their 1979 hit Too Much Heaven from their Spirits Having Flown album:
I chatted with Greg Louganis at last night’s A Night With Women at the Beverly Hilton Hotel and will be sharing that conversation with you in a few days.
As you can see from the photo I snapped of Greg on the red carpet (see below), he still looks mighty handsome and fit at 52.
But let’s just drool a little bit over the younger Louganis in all his Olympic glory.
That physique! That face! Those eyes!
Greg is the greatest US diver in history who won two gold medals at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles then two more at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul. His first medal, a silver, came when he was still a high school student at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal.
Dustin Lance Black had a chat with AfterElton.com about his new film Virginia which he wrote and directed.
It opens in New York and Los Angeles this weekend.
But I want to focus on the part of the interview where Lance talks about President Barack Obama’s support last week of same sex marriage.
On those who say Obama’s endorsement was a political calculation:
“I think it is a little bit cynical because it’s not a clear slam-dunk politically, but I do think it had come to a head. I think politically there is no more waiting. He’s starting to look behind the Dick Cheneys, the Laura Bushes, the Ken Mehlmans, the Ted Olsons and everyone around him seemed to be coming out for equality, so I actually give him more credit than that. I think it was the right thing to do, and I think it was very brave of him. And listen, this is coming from the guy who two weeks ago was suggesting that perhaps we just withhold our votes from any candidate who doesn’t have a full equality stance. I got a lot of heat for that. I’m not one to pull my punches when it comes to this.
In this case, my hat’s off to him. I think it was brave. I think probably the most important thing to note about the timing is it happened the day after North Carolina. I was getting Facebook messages and emails from young people who had been fighting in that campaign and they were so despondent. I could hear in their emails the crushed self-esteem, the feeling of being less than, all the things we felt in California in 2008. I know all too well the thoughts that flash through some young LGBT people’s heads when they feel defeat like that, and I think the President’s message the very next day was a real lifesaver.”
If he were to be able to chat with Obama, he would say: “I’m a pushy little…[laughs] I’ll certainly say thank you and say ‘I’m looking forward to your efforts with ENDA [Employment Non-Discrimination Act]’ because I do believe there are people who do not feel comfortable coming out in their hometowns because of the fear of losing their house and their job. We cannot change public opinion in the Red States if we don’t have people coming out and telling their stories.
It’s one of the biggest pieces…without ENDA it just empowers the bullies. So I’ll say I look forward to his work on that, and I do know he’s dedicated to that. I’ll push a little. I’ll say thank you… and then I’ll present the next thing I would love for him to focus on.”
It’s not known if the Superman movie franchise will continue with or without Brandon Routh as the Man of Steel. But whatever happens, the handsome star of 2007′s Superman Returns has a bright career ahead of him.
It’s just been announced that Brandon, who turns 30 next month, will appear in several episodes of the NBC series Chuck when it returns early next year. He will play Shaw, a spy who takes control as the new leader of Operation Bartwoski, becoming a mentor to Chuck and a rival in his affections for Sarah.
I thought Brandon was wonderful as Superman/Clark Kent (and looked damned good in the suit!) but my favorite movie role of his so far was as a gay man in a relationship with Justin Long’s character in the terrific comedy Zack and Miri Make A Porno.
I got to interview Brandon last year when his film Lie to Me was opening the Newport Beach Film Festival. When he called me, his voice sounded a little rough and he quickly explained that he had a cold. Then, before I could stop myself, I made a lame Superman joke and advised him to “drink lots of fluids and stay away from Kryptonite!”
Before Superman Returns, Brandon was simply a working actor looking for his big break. Landing the lead in a summer blockbuster that grossed more than $200 million domestically can change your career – and your life – pretty darn quick.
“To some extent, I rolled with it,” he said. “I’m pretty calm most of the time by nature. It is certainly a lot of exposure and takes getting used to. What takes the most getting used to is when that goes away a little bit and going back to real life. My life contains both of these scenarios. There’s a time to be in the spotlight and out of it. It’s balancing those parts of life and now I have the opportunity as well to do some great work and prove to people that I can do many other things.”
Raven Symone has been famous since she was a very little kid.
Remember her on the final seasons of The Cosby Show?
Her fame has only grown with such successes as That’s So Raven and The Cheetah Girls.
But the 26-year-old actress, currently starring on Broadway in Sister Act, has made clear that she wants some parts of her life to remain private.
There have been tabloid reports that she is in a lesbian relationship and it’s not something that she cares to confirm or deny at this point.
But she’s not running from the speculation either. She has taken to Twitter to address all of the buzz:
My sexual orientation is mine, and the person I’m dating to know,’ she tweeted. ‘I’m not one for a public display of my life.’
Symone added: ‘… That is my right as a human being whether straight or gay To tell or not to tell as long as I’m not harming anyone. … I am a light being made from love. And my career is the only thing I would like to put on display, not my personal life. Kisses!’