I’m no fan of Donald Trump for the way he threw gay people under the bus during his silly flirtation with running for president last year.
This three-time married man decided that on gay marriage, ‘I just don’t feel good about it, I don’t feel right about it.’
So I was surprised that a gay married man like George Takei, an outspoken and eloquent spokesman for LGBT equality, would agree to be on Trump’s Celebrity Apprentice show.
Well, at least George is using his participation in part to help change Trump’s mind on the issue.
He told reporters during a conference call this week that the two have scheduled a lunch next month to talk it over.
‘I want to listen to his views and respond specifically to his concerns,’ Takei said. ‘The sense I get in my bones is that he’s a decent, sophisticated guy. I’m sure he knows many people who are gay or lesbian. My position is that the core of any good marriage is love and commitment.’
‘I’m looking forward to the lunch,’ he added. ‘I really was serious. I think Mr. Trump is a decent, fair-minded guy, and I think we can have a very good discussion.’
Responded Trump, who was also on the conference call: ‘You would be the perfect guy to teach me. You have a deal.’
You can bet cameras will be there for the whole thing.
I will forever respect and admire Australia’s Matthew Mitcham for being the only athlete competing in the 2008 Summer Olympics in China to have the guts to be openly gay.
The only one.
So it was sweet justice that this courageous young man went on to win the Gold Medal in the 10 meter platform.
“I don’t think I would have done the Olympics without coming out because I think I would have been lying to my country by omission, by not presenting all of me,”Matthew said in a 2009 interview. “I’m proud of who I am and I wanted everyone to know who they were going for, who they were cheering for, I wanted them to know exactly who I was and not find out later and feel like there may have been deceit. I would feel like I was deceiving if I wasn’t totally honest.”
Sorry about the late start today but plenty of fresh posts will be coming your way.
Let’s start with today’s Morning Man, country singer Luke Bryan.
What a cutie!
I spotted him in the new issue of People and thought he’d be perfect for us to drool over a little bit.
Luke is 35, grew up in Georgia, and his full name is Thomas Luther Bryan.
He signed with Capitol Records in 2007 and released his first album I’ll Stay Me. He has followed that up with the albums Doin My Thing and Tailgates & Tanlines. He’s had three number one singles so far: Rain is a Good, Someone Else Calling You Baby, and Country Girl (Shake it for Me).
BD Wong has made a terrific living as the voice of reason trying to help screwed-up people make sense of themselves on some very successful television shows.
Wong played Father Ray Makada on HBO’s Oz for six seasons and Dr. George Huang for 11 seasons on NBC’s Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and returns to series television tonight on NBC’s new drama Awake.
On Awake, he plays Dr. John Lee, a psychiatrist who is trying to help series lead Jason Isaacs figure out which of his alternate realities is his real life.
‘I was taught early on in my acting training that being an actor relied a great deal on being a good listening,’ Wong says. ‘If you could really learn how to listen then you could really be a better actor and I think I really took that to heart.’
‘I like to think of myself as a person as someone who listens well to my friends and family in situations where it really counts,’ he adds. ‘I hope that’s what I’m accessing when I’m playing these parts. It may be indicative that I’m somewhat successful that I keep getting asked to do this listening thing.’
As if having a cast that includes George Clooney, Matt Bomer, Kevin Bacon, Jane Lynch and Matthew Morrison wasn’t already star-studded enough, Brad Pitt has been added to the cast of the benefit reading of the play 8 taking place Saturday in Los Angeles.
The play based on the transcripts of the trial which led to an appeals court striking down California’s Proposition 8 last month. Pitt will play the part of US District Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker who found Proposition 8 unconstitutional after presiding over the historic twelve-day public trial.
Pitt’s Oceans Eleven buddy and recent fellow Oscar nominee Clooney had previously been announced in the role of plaintiffs’ lead co-counsel David Boies. The other plaintiff’s co-counsel, Theodore Olson, is being played by Martin Sheen.
True blue Meryl Streep fans know that one of the great star’s first movie roles was a small part in the movie Julia which starred Jane Fonda and Vanessa Redgrave.
Streep later publicly thanked Fonda for her encouragement during the shooting of that 1977 film and for spreading the word around Hollywood about this terrific young actress with a bright future.
So Fonda, a two-time Oscar winner herself for Klute and Coming Home, was thrilled to see Streep win her third Academy Award on Sunday as she watched the ceremony from the Vanity Fair party (she is pictured, above, at the party with son Troy Garity).
The evening was really fun Highlights for me: the biggie for me was Meryl’s winning. I stood up and cheered and wasn’t the only on. I adore Viola [Davis]…as a human and as an actor but Meryl—that performance! Breathtaking…besides the fact that she’s given about a dozen Oscar-worthy performances since “Sophie’s Choice.” I can tell you that as an actor, she (and Annette Benning) raise the bar and inspire me to go farther, reach higher. I also loved Billy Crystal and a whole lot else about the show.
What a wonderful night at the theater earlier this week.
Caught the opening night performance of Monty Python’s Spamalot which kicked off a one-week engagement at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood.
I invited my journalist pal Mariel Garza as my guest and she was the perfect choice because she really knows her Monty Python and was able to appreciate the show at an entirely different level than I was.
And I enjoyed this hilarious telling of the legendary tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table plenty!
We had terrific seats, just two rows behind Jane Lynch who was accompanied by her wife Lara Embry and their young daughter.
I’ve interviewed Jane many times but had never mentioned to her that I saw her perform in The Real Live Brady Bunch at a theater in Westwood back in 1992 (She played Carol Brady).
She got a kick out of that and said she was looking forward to a rare night out at the theater with her family.
“We don’t go to plays a lot,” Jane said. “My daughter loves plays so we’re thrilled to be here tonight. I used to do a lot of sketch comedy here in LA for free.”
Inside the theater, we were two seats away from me was Dancing With the Stars pro Louis Van Amstel. Since the new cast was just announced that morning, I asked Louis which celebrity he had been paired with and was surprised to find out that he would not be participating. I wanted to find out more but the show was about to start.
Before the lights went down, I spotted Olympic great Greg Louganis on the other side of our row, actor Chris MacDonald in the row in front of us and actress Beverly DeAngelo who came over to greet Jane Lynch.
I spent some time covering the red carpet before the show and enjoyed chatting with the great JoAnne Worley (pictured, left) who told me she had just finished filming a guest spot on ABC’s The Middle.
JoAnne, a terrific live performer best known for her years on Laugh In, is always a fun guest star. When I spotted actress Lea Thompson on the red carpet a short time later, I thought about when JoAnne guest starred on Lea’s Caroline in the City sitcom in a hilarious episode involving a celebrity sandwich.
Members of the Spamalot cast also did a quick appearance on the red carpet. The cast was led by Arthur Rowan as King Arthur, Brittany Woodrow as The Lady in the Lake as well as cast members Michael J. Berry, Adam Grabau, Jacob L. Smith, Kasidy Devlin, Thomas DeMarcus, James David Larson and Joe Beuerlein who all have multiple roles in the production.
Lending some old-fashioned movie star glamour to the proceedings was the always impeccable Anne Jeffries who, believe it or not, is 89 years old.
She was a Broadway star in the late 40s and early 50s then starred in the TV comedy series Topper in the mid-50s. She later had a recurring role on Falcon Crest and played socialite Amanda Barrington for many years on General Hospital.
I’ll tell you, Miss Jeffries should give lessons in how to handle yourself like a star to a lot of today’s younger actresses – starting with Lindsay Lohan.
It was also great to see the multi-talented Sam Harris on the red carpet.
I had not seen Sam in awhile and could not help but notice that he was looking quite slim! He told me he has lost 25 pounds! And he was gorgeous before!
Sam is a Broadway veteran who first came to fame as the winner of the original Star Search competition in the early 80s. He’s also BFFs with Liza Minnelli.
I did a nice little interview with Sam that I will share down the road.
Anyway, Mariel and I had the most terrific time at the show, had our picture taken on the red carpet on our way out and sang all the way to the car.
Outstanding new interview with George Clooney over at Advocate.com by Brandon Voss who asks the Oscar-winning superstar all the questions we want answered.
Here are some highlights:
When did you decide to get involved in the fight for marriage equality?
It’s always been this albatross that stood out to me as the final leg of the civil rights movement. It really came to a head during the 2004 elections, when it was used as a wedge issue, and it was a very effective tool to keep the Republicans in office and to avoid talking about other issues. Well before Prop. 8, I’ve made the point that every time we’ve stood against equality, we’ve been on the wrong side of history. It’s the same kind of argument they made when they didn’t want blacks to serve in the military, or when they didn’t want blacks to marry whites. One day the marriage equality fight will look as archaic as George Wallace standing on the University of Alabama steps keeping James Hood from attending college because he was black. People will be embarrassed to have been on the wrong side. So it’s encouraging to know that this too will seem like such a silly argument to our next generation. There are even a lot of young conservatives today for whom marriage equality isn’t an issue. It always takes government an extra generation to catch up to the people.
The gay rumor has followed you for years.
I think it’s funny, but the last thing you’ll ever see me do is jump up and down, saying, “These are lies!” That would be unfair and unkind to my good friends in the gay community. I’m not going to let anyone make it seem like being gay is a bad thing. My private life is private, and I’m very happy in it. Who does it hurt if someone thinks I’m gay? I’ll be long dead and there will still be people who say I was gay. I don’t give a shit.
Is it safe to say that you and Brad [Pitt] have a bromance against which all other bromances must be measured?
[Laughs] I do think we’ve set the bar very high. People think Brad and I hang out all the time, but the truth is that we see each other very rarely, maybe a couple times a year. I’ve had great fun spending time with my friend again over the awards season. Not only do I enjoy him as a person and respect his talent, but I also love what he does in the world. I can’t speak highly enough about how hard he works at making the world better. I’m very proud to call him my friend.
You had to figure that our Will Horton could not stay mad at his mom forever.
After being prodded by her mother, Marlena, Sami tries to put aside her own problems – and total self-absorption – to try and connect with her son.
‘You’re my son and Will Horton, I am not going to lose you,” Sami says as the two meet for coffee in the town square. “I just want to be your mom again.”
Will is skeptical: “The past 6 months, all of our conversations have been about you. So why the sudden interest?”
Replies Sami: “I know you think you hate me right now… You are dealing with something that has nothing to do with me and you felt completely alone. … I promise I will help you in any way that I can. I will listen, I will have your back.”
Will’s walls begin to come down and through some tears he tells Sami: “I am kind of messed up..,I’m confused. I have these feelings that I can’t get rid of. Basically my life kind of sucks right now.”
As his mothers grabs his hand, Will tells her that he feels like he’s in one of those dreams where you are driving going down a steep hill and brakes give out.
She tells him: “You can handle it. You are so strong, I know you can get through anything. I totally believe in you.”
Sami is making progress but then she slips back into self-absorption and Will immediately senses the shift. He pulls away.
“It’s always about you,” he tells her. “You want so bad to look like the pefect mother, the perfect wife. That’s why you screw everything up because you havre no energy left to actually do it.”
Will just looks so sad at the end of the episode, you just wanna give the poor kid a hug.
Last week’s winter finale of Glee was a deeply dramatic one as former bully Dave Karofsky (Max Adler) gets bullied himself.
Karofsky, who is coming to terms with being gay, once bullied Kurt (Chris Colfer) so badly that Kurt switched schools for awhile.
But the big, strong football player was unable to endure such bullying himself and tried to kill himself.
Kurt visits him in the hospital and tries to help him realize that life is worth living.
I talked about the episode and its impact with several Glee cast members who attended opening night of Monty Python’s Spamalot in Hollywood on Tuesday.
Jane Lynch is proud of the show’s writers for their willingness to tackle tough issues of the day.
‘I love what they are doing – they are being bold,’ Lynch said. ‘That’s what I love about [creator and producer] Ryan Murphy. He says, ‘Oh, this is going on? We need to address this.’ That’s what I love about him and what I love about our show.’
Iqbal Teba plays Principal Figgins on the show and supports telling some of the darker stories: ‘There are kids who are dealing with things like this every day. Back in the day, most people wouldn’t even want to discuss it. So now, we actually have a show that’s watched by millions and millions of people all over the world and it will start a conversation. And that’s what you need.’
Theba said he knows these kinds if episodes are resonating with young viewers who can benefit from them the most: ‘I see them almost every day when you go out and I see the reaction. They love it. It’s just a joy to be on a show like that.’
Josh Sussman plays newspaper editor Jacob Ben Isreal on the show and said he was deeply moved by the Karofsky episode and hopes others were too.
‘In the news that past couple of years, there’s been so many tragic stories of gay kids who committed suicide and were in the closet,’ he said. ‘This really dealt with that story having a football jock who is very closeted and very tormented with very intolerant parents.’
‘When he’s outed, he deals with the bullies at school then he goes home to his Facebook page where there’s all sorts of cyber bullying. I think the show showed that killing yourself isn’t the answer. It’s so great that the show is really going into those storylines. It’s so topical right now.’
He was a member of The Monkees from 1965-71. The pop-rock group was formed expressly for a TV show of the same name and Jones sang lead on the band’s big hits Daydream Believer and I Wanna Be Free.
After the TV series went off the air, the group disbanded. Jones continued to perform solo and later joining with fellow-Monkee Micky Dolenz and songwriters Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart as a short-lived group called Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart. He has also toured throughout the years with other members as various incarnations of the Monkees.
Before The Monkees were created, Davy was already a stage star. He played the Artful Dodger in the West End production of Oliver! The show then moved to Broadway and he was nominated for a Tony Award.
Below is a memorable scene from when Davy guest-starred on an episode of The Brady Bunch and was paid a visit in the recording studio by the president of The Davy Jones Fan Club: Marcia Brady!
Let’s just get this straight: I have not been a big fan of Star Jones in the past.
I’m not sure I’m a big fan of hers now.
But I do think she is coming off more authentic in her recent television appearances than ever before.
I also think Barbara Walters handled Star’s recent return visit to The View horribly [read about that HERE] – so horribly that it made me think a little less of Barbara who has long been a hero of mine for all of her groundbreaking accomplishments in television news – and for all those dishy celebrity specials!
Star waded into friendlier television territory on The Wendy Williams Show this week and took the high road saying that Babs and Co. do not owe her an apology. But she does say she would not want to return to the show as a panelist and is quite happy with her regular gig on The Today Show.
Star’s book, Satan’s Sisters is also going to be made into a television movie. It’s about a group of women who co-host a talk show! Gee, wonder who THAT could be about. She wants Diana Ross to play the Barbara Walters-ish character. It would be fun but she’ll never get her. Ross is a fantastic actress – Oscar nominated for Lady Sings the Blues and Golden Globe nominated for Out of Darkness - but she has not made a film since 1999′s Double Platinum and does not seem in a rush to make another.
After winning the Academy Award for his performance as a gay man in Beginners, Christopher Plummer celebrated at the Governors Ball with his wife and friends then called it a night.
‘I’m too old to go and do the town,’ the 82-year-old actor told Ellen DeGeneres in an interview this week. ‘I’m too old to roll in at 10 a.m. like I used to.’
But he’s not too old to sip a little champagne with the talk show host who surprised Plummer with a bottle of bubbly during their interview which aired Tuesday but was taped the morning after Sunday’s Oscars.
Below is the video. You can also read more about the interview over at Gay Star News.
It’s hard to believe that this ageless Broadway legend turned 64 years young today.
Bernadette Peters is so sexy and talented and she has a Broadway resume that is beyond compare including the recent revivals of Follies and A Little Night Music for which she got raves. Her other stage triumphs includes Sunday in the Park With George, Annie Get Your Gun (Tony win), Gypsy, Song and Dance (Tony win), Into the Woods and Mack & Mabel among others.
She’s also a beloved gay icon who I had the thrill of interviewing in the fall of 2008. I asked her why the gays have loved her for so much for so long.
“I always say they have great taste,” she joked. “They just recognize when something is going on, they recognize truth. Growing up feeling like an outsider, their souls and emotions are more developed. They have an ultra-sensitivity and that’s why they love show business.”
Here is one of my favorite Bernadette performances ever: Her belting out Rose’s Turn at The Tony Awards: