New York, NY – Tonight the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) and Broadway Impact launched the all-star Broadway premiere of “8”to a packed and enthusiastic audience. The play, which chronicles the historic trial in the federal legal challenge to California’s Proposition 8, was written by AFER Founding Board Member and Academy Award-winning writer Dustin Lance Black and directed by Tony Award-winning actor and director Joe Mantello.
The production is an unprecedented account of the Federal District Court trial in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, the case filed by AFER to overturn Prop. 8, which eliminated the right of gay and lesbian couples to marry in California. Prop. 8 was ruled unconstitutional in August 2010.
The premiere featured an all-star cast including Academy, Tony and four-time Emmy Award nominee Bob Balaban; Emmy and Tony Award winner and two-time Golden Globe Award nominee Ellen Barkin; acclaimed “White Collar” television star Matt Bomer; Emmy Award-winning journalist Campbell Brown; Golden Globe Award winner and four-time Emmy Award nominee Anthony Edwards; Academy and Golden Globe Award winner and Tony nominee Morgan Freeman; Tony Award nominee Jayne Houdyshell; award-winning Broadway, television and film star Cheyenne Jackson; celebrated playwright and gay rights activist Larry Kramer; Academy, Emmy and two-time Golden Globe Award winner Christine Lahti; two-time Academy Award-nominated, multiple Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning, two-time Tony Award-winning actor John Lithgow; Tony Award nominee and Broadway Impact Co-Founder Rory O’Malley; two-time Emmy Award-winning, Academy and multiple Golden Globe-nominated director and actor Rob Reiner; Broadway star Kate Shindle; Emmy Award winner Yeardley Smith; two-time Tony Award winner Stephen Spinella; and Emmy Award winner and three-time Golden Globe Award nominee Bradley Whitford. The cast of “8” also featured Tony Award nominee K. Todd Freeman, Jay Armstrong Johnson, Ken Leung and Ben Rosenfield.
The “8”premiere attracted a sell-out crowd with more than 80 people lined up outside the theatre this morning to snap up the remaining tickets; some camped out overnight. Opinion and political leaders, philanthropists, business leaders and actors turned out to support “8,” including Lieutenant Dan Choi, Chace Crawford, Anna Deavere Smith (Pulitzer Prize winner), Fran Drescher, Adrian Fenty (former Mayor of Washington DC), Celia Keenan-Bolger,Laurene Powell Jobs, Joel Klein (Executive Vice President of News Corporation), Judith Light,Dan Loeb (CEO, Third Point Capital),Sir Deryck Maughan (Partner, Kohlberg, Kravis & Roberts), Stuart Milk, Stephen Pasquale, Christine Quinn (NY City Council Speaker), Rt. Rev. Bishop V. Gene Robinson, Barbara Walters, and Brian Williams.
Black, who penned the Academy Award-winning feature film Milk, based “8” on the actual words of the trial transcripts, first-hand observations of the courtroom drama and interviews with the plaintiffs and their families.
In a real-life twist, today U.S. District Court Chief Judge James Ware ruled that the video recordings of the Prop. 8 trial should be released to the public.
Proceeds from tonight’s reading will go directly to the fight for full federal marriage equality and to support educational efforts toward securing the freedom to marry nationwide.
\White Collar star Matt Bomer discusses with Advocate.com his involvement in Dustin Lance Black’s play, 8, about marriage equality and why it’s important to him.
On why the production is important to him:
It’s sad that in 2011 we even have to discuss the fight for marriage equality in the United States. How can we say that we’re a country that grants liberty and justice for all, and yet denies same-sex couples the right to marry? I feel that the generations to come will view this time period in terms of civil rights for the LGBT community as pretty sad and unnecessary. And I know that in my lifetime, everyone American will have the right to legally marry the person they choose and that it will be recognized federally as well as by the state.
On how he got involved: I was asked to be a part of the project about a month ago, and I immediately said yes before I even read the play. I think Joe Mantello and Lance Black are both incredibly talented; but more importantly, it was to raise money for an incredibly important cause.
Dolores DeFina Hope, singer, philanthropist and wife of comedian Bob Hope, died today at the age of 102 of natural causes.
She was born in Harlem New York in 1909 and died at her home in Toluca Lake California of natural causes. Dolores Reade was singing at the Vogue Club in Manhattan when she was introduced to rising Broadway star Bob Hope.
As he described it, it was “love at first song”. They were married for nearly seventy years. The Hopes moved to California in the late thirties so that Bob could pursue his film and radio careers.
They built a home in Toluca Lake where she lived until her death. Bob and Dolores adopted four children and Dolores became an advocate for adoption, serving on the board of Holy Family Adoption Services in Los Angeles.
Though she accompanied her husband on many of his USO trips to entertain the troops usually closing the show with a touching rendition of “Silent Night” she really had put her singing career on hold to be at his side and to raise their children.
But at the age of eighty-three she revisited a long postponed singing career, recording several albums and performing with Rosemary Clooney in New York at “RAINBOW AND STARS” for several weeks and receiving rave reviews.
Throughout her life Dolores was a gracious hostess and great asset to her world famous husband. She made her last visit to the servicemen and women during “Operation Desert Storm” Performing “White Christmas” from the back of a truck in the middle of the Saudi desert. She was eighty-four at the time.
Dolores Hope has been the Honorary Mayor of Palm Springs five times and named “Woman of the Year” by the Los Angeles Times. She is survived by her children Linda Hope of Toluca Lake, California, William Kelly Hope of Oakland, California, and her grandchildren, Zachary Hope, Miranda Hope, Andrew Hope Lande and great-grandson Kai Smith.
Services are private and burial will be at the Bob Hope Memorial Garden, San Fernando Mission – next to Bob.
Video tapes documenting the Perry v. Brown legal challenge to Proposition 8 will be made available to the public, Federal District Court Judge James Ware ruled today. Proponents of Proposition 8 argued that tapes of the trial, which resulted in a 2010 ruling that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional, should be kept secret.
In today’s ruling, Judge Ware ruled that public access to trials and court records are “foremost among the aspects of the federal judicial system that foster public confidence in the fairness and integrity of the process.” The video recordings will be unsealed on September 30, 2011.
In response to today’s decision, Equality California Executive Director Roland Palencia released the following statement: During the trial, proponents of Prop 8 based their arguments for preserving the amendment on malicious lies and cruel stereotypes about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.
Proposition 8 supporters wanted to keep these tapes secret because they reveal the ugly truth about the extremist motivations behind this and other anti-equality efforts, such as a referendum to overturn the FAIR Education Act, that they try to cloak behind ‘pro-family’ rhetoric.
“The public has the right to know the truth. Today’s ruling is a victory for equality, for transparency and for the fundamental principles of our democracy.”
The most irritating couple in the history of reality television has got to be Alex and Simon McCord.
So no, I’m not too crushed that they have not been asked back to The Real Housewives of New York.
Bravo has now officially confirmed what everyone already knows: McCord, Jill Zarin, Kelly Bensimon and Cindy Barshop have been dropped from the increasingly toxic show.
“Ramona Singer, Sonja Morgan and LuAnn DeLesseps will be returning for season 5 of The Real Housewives of New York City,” a network spokesperson tells PEOPLE. “We’ve had a fabulous run with all the ladies and appreciate them sharing their lives with our viewers. It is a friendly departure among the other ladies and we continue to have on-going discussions with them.”
McCord said via email to People: “Of course Simon and I are sad not to continue with RHONY but it’s a friendly decision and discussions with Bravo are ongoing for other projects.”
I’m really scratching my head over the dumping of Zarin who is a bigger than life character who brings drama and emotion to the series. I’m gonna miss this know-it-all!
Via her Rep, Zarin told People: “Jill is humbled by the extraordinary amount of media interest in her response and looks forward to personally opening up about all of this very soon and announcing some exciting new projects.”
Chord Overstreet will certainly be missed on Glee by me.
But he doesn’t plan to disappear and has already done a guest spot on ABC’s The Middle. The blond with the plump lips will appear on the show’s on Sept. 28 episode as Brick’s idealistic new teacher.
He is pictured here with Neil Flynn’s who plays Brick’s dad Mike.
Let’s hope that Chord will continue to get gigs and continues on the road to stardom. I’d love to see him prove wrong the people who think his decision to depart from Glee rather than accept a reduced role was a mistake.
Brad Pitt is tearing up the publicity circuit for his latest film Moneyball. He could certainly use a hit after his previous film, Tree of Life, bombed at the box office.
But Brad has had such a long and eclectic career that you get the feeling he doesn’t lose a lot of sleep over how many tickets he’s selling.
I admire him for a lot more than his movies. Brad is a staunch supporter of gay marriage and in the new issue of Parade, he talks about that:
“Can you believe that we’re still fighting for equality in America? To be against marriage for everyone is utter discrimination. I feel strongly about that because if equality of marriage doesn’t happen now, the next generation will have to deal with it.
“It is an amazing thing that New York has finally gotten same-sex marriage. But the real problem is that the federal government hides behind states on this issue. It is blatant, ugly bigotry, and the federal government shouldn’t be doing that. You’re denying some Americans the right that all Americans have, to live their lives as they choose.
“What are you so afraid of? That’s my question. Gay people getting married? What is so scary about that? It’s complicated. You grow up in a religion like that and you try to pray the gay away. I feel sadness for people like that. This is where people start short-circuiting—instead of being brave and questioning their beliefs, they are afraid and feel that they have to defend them.
“I don’t mind a world with religion in it. There are some beautiful tenets within all religions. What I get hot about is when they start dictating how other people must live. People suffer because of it. They are spreading misery.
Modern Family won the outstanding comedy Emmy for the second consecutive year. Co-stars Ty Burell and Julie Bowen, who both won in the supporting categories, talked backstage about the show having a positive influence on society’s attitudes about homosexuality with the gay characters of Cam and Mitchell (played by Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Eric Stonestreet) given equal time and treatment as the show’s straight characters.
“It feels very very good to be on a show that seems like it’s slowly changing a lot of minds,” Burrell said. “Eric and Jesse obviously deserve all of the credit for that, along with our amazing showrunners. It’s a great thing to just peripherally go to events or talk to family and have them start to talk about those characters like the same way they talk about the rest of the characters. It’s pretty cool.”
Bowen joked: “As a straight woman and part of a straight couple on the show, I feel marginalized.”
She added: “I’m happy that where it is an issue, we are helping to change minds.”
It was fun tweeting about the Emmys tonight. I have loved covering the show from the red carpet and from backstage in previous years but it’s also so much fun to sip champagne with your friends and dish throughout the proceedings.
I thought Jane Lynch was a wonderful host and even liked her musical opening number (especially when she dropped in on the cast of Mad Men). She also had some great lines such as: “Many people wonder why I’m a lesbian. Ladies and gentleman, the cast of ‘Entourage.’”
After losing the supporting actress Emmy to Julie Bowen, Jane said it hurt and added: “If I didn’t have to host the rest of the show, I’d be home by now eating a big tub of turkey meatballs in the dark.”
She also got a little racy at times: “A lot of people wonder what happens after the show. Clothes come off, and it’s a big sweaty pile. We turn the cameras to the wall and we love.”
It was a GREAT night for ABC’s Modern Family which won outstanding comedy for the second year in a row as well as supporting actor and actress Emmys for Ty Burrell and Julie Bowen and writing and directing Emmys.
They are all so well deserved for a show that does both its straight and gay characters justice.
In accepting the outstanding comedy Emmy, co-creator Steve Levitan shared an anecdote about bumping into a gay couple in Florida who told him: “You’re not just making people, laugh, you’re making them more tolerant.”
“They’re right,” Levitan said. “We are showing the world that there is absolutely nothing wrong with a loving committed relationship between an old man and a hot young woman.”
Man Men, which unfortunately got rid of its gay character of Sal (played by Bryan Batt) during season three, won the outstanding drama award for the fourth straight year.
Charlie Sheen did, as rumored, show up as a presenter and he seemed to look less manic than earlier in the year. He said some make peace comments to his former Two and a Half Men co-workers which seemed more like stop number one a Charlie Sheen redemption tour rather than a sincere kind of thing.
The show, of course, dragged at times, but for the most part was a lot of fun thanks to Miss Lynch and not too many repeat winners. Great to see Margo Martindale, Kyle Chandler, Guy Pearce, Juliana Margulies, Peter Dinklage, Kate Winslet all win and Martin Scorsese too!
I was rooting for Martha Plimpton to win the outstanding actress in a comedy series for her brilliant performance on Raising Hope but was also happy for Melissa McCarthy who won for Mike and Molly. It was a glorious sight when each of the nominees in the category took to the stage when their name was announced then surrounded McCarthy when her name was called and she was crowned like a beauty pageant winner.
Favorite moment of the whole night!
Here is a full list of the Emmy winners:
— Drama Series: “Mad Men,” AMC.
— Actress, Drama Series: Julianna Margulies, “The Good Wife,” CBS.
— Actor, Drama Series: Kyle Chandler, “Friday Night Lights,” DirecTV/NBC.
— Supporting Actor, Drama Series: Peter Dinklage, “Game of Thrones,” HBO.
— Supporting Actress, Drama Series: Margo Martindale, “Justified,” FX.
— Writing, Drama Series: Jason Katims, “Friday Night Lights,” NBC.
— Directing, Drama Series: Martin Scorsese, “Boardwalk Empire,” HBO.
— Comedy Series: “Modern Family,” ABC.
— Actor, Comedy Series: Jim Parsons, “The Big Bang Theory,” CBS.
What’s great about having your own blog is that you can shine a spotlight on just the stars you really, really like at a star-studded affair like the Emmys.
I’m so not into the big fashion show element of these award shows and cringe any time I hear a red carpet interviewer ask, “Who are you wearing?”
It’s all Joan Rivers‘ fault!
Anyway, here are some of my faves on the Emmy red carpet: nominee Chris Colfer, host and nominee Jane Lynch, Glee’s Darren Criss, Glee’s Lea Michele, Ian Somerhalder, nominee Jon Hamm and partner Jennifer Westfeldt, and 2011 Emmy winner Loretta Devine.
Winning the Davis Cup title for Serbia last year was the catalyst for Novak Djokovic to go on to have one of the best seasons any male player has ever had.
But the newly-crowned US Open champion, who also won Wimbledon and the Australian Open this year, was forced to retire from his match against Juan Martin del Potro in the semifinals giving Argentina a insurmountable 3-1 lead.
The back pain that flared up during the US Open final on Monday against Rafael Nadal resulted in Novak not even able to play his first match on Friday.
I feel disappointed to end this tie this way,” Djokovic said later. “My condition was 60 percent of what I had expected.”
Argentina will play Spain away in the final, after Nadal demolished Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-0, 6-2, 6-4 for a 3-1 lead against France in the other semifinal.
I’m not on the red carpet this year but you can be sure that I’m watching the prime-time Emmys.
It’s the red carpet right now and the show begins at 5 p.m.
I’m at a house party with friends and will be making remarks on Twitter throughout the show and updating the blog with the winners.
I’m rooting for out stars Jane Lynch (Glee), Chris Colfer (Glee), Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family) and Alan Cumming (The Good Wife) to win and wish all the luck in the world to Miss Lynch who is this year’s host!
It’s Official! Tony Award-winner Hugh Jackman will return to the New York stage next month in a new one-man show.
Hugh Jackman, Back on Broadway, will play October 25 2011 to January 1 2012 at The Broadhurst Theatre (235 West 44th Street). The official opening night has been set for November 10.
Accompanied by an 18-piece orchestra, Hugh will perform a personal selection of his favorite musical numbers that reflect on the stage and film star’s remarkable life and career, from The Boy from Oz to Hollywood.
“I can’t believe it’s been 7 years since I was singing and dancing on Broadway,” the
Tony winner said in a statement last week. “There is nothing like performing on the Great White Way and I’m so excited to be coming ‘home.’”
The Broadway run will follow recent sold-out runs in San Francisco and Toronto.
Jackman has uniquely balanced a movie and theatre career that has made him a superstar on Broadway as well as at multiplexes around the world. On stage, he won critical kudos and awards for the Australian productions of Sunset Boulevard and Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. In London he caused a sensation in Trevor Nunn’s staging of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! This was followed by a legendary Broadway debut portraying the 1970s singer-songwriter Peter Allen in The Boy From Oz, for which he received the 2004 Tony Award for Best Actor in a musical as well as Drama Desk, Drama League, Outer Critics Circle and Theatre World Awards.
He was the first crush for some of us past the age of 40: He’s Leigh McCloskey who we first saw opposite Brady Bunch alum Eve Pumb in the TV movies Dawn: Portrait of a Teenage Runaway and its sequel Alexander: The Other Side of Dawn.
That was only the beginning for this handsome actor who was classically trained at Julliard. He went on to play Lucy Ewing’s husband, Mitch Cooper, on Dallas and was a cast member on the daytime soaps One Life to Live, General Hospital, The Young and the Restless and Santa Barbara.
He has done guest spots on scores of prime-time series including Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Beverly Hills 90210, and more recently, Bones.
Now 56, Leigh is also an artist, author and teacher. His artwork premiered with the Rolling Stones on their Bigger Bang Tour. He has written, illustrated and published five books of his works, including Tarot ReVisioned, In the Splendor, Adam Reborn & Eve Restored: A Romance in Two Parts, Codex Tor: Winter Solstice-Part One and his Grimoire that was featured with the Rolling Stones.
Had a great time last night at the Long Beach Q Film Festival.
Following a terrific opening night reception at the Long Beach Gay and Lesbian Center, my friends and I took in the new drama Judas Kiss next door at the Art Theatre. I had chatted up the film’s director JP Tepnapa and its writer Carlos Pedraza at the party and their passion and enthusiasm for their movie was apparent and refreshing. What a pair they are and how terrific to see their four-year journey come to fruition.
After the screening, they were presented with the Q Fest outstanding screenplay award.
The film is so well shot with outstanding production values and the cast is headed by the very talented Charlie David whose work, which includes starring in Dante’s Cove and writing Mulligans, I have long been a fan of.
Charlie could not make the festival but I chatted with some of the other cast members including Timo Descamps (pictured, left) who is from Belgium and really makes an excellent and most attractive villain in the film. Also there’s Brent Corrigan who is lovely and sweet as good guy Chris Wachowsky. Brent has made quite a name for himself as a porn actor but is determined to make it in mainstream films. He’s off to a terrific start with Judas Kiss because it showcases him well in a smaller but important role.
My weekend is filled with other commitments so I won’t make it back to Long Beach but do check out the schedule and go to some movies today and tomorrow – including Sunday night’s Hollywood to Dollywood starring those darling Lane twins Larry and Gary.
It seems to me that Nate Berkus has settled in quite nicely into his role as daytime talk show host.
The interior decorator extraordinaire who we got to know on The Oprah Winfrey Show joined the crowded talk show scene a year ago and it has proven to be a great fit.
Today he turns 40 and I hope he’s having a wonderful day.
I love seeing an openly gay man succeed on mainstream television this way and last year, I got to talk to Nate about that.
I want to share what Nate had to say about being a gay man on television.
“I’ve never defined myself by being gay, I’ve defined myself by being me,” he told me. “I’m a son, I’m a brother, I’m an uncle, I’m a gay man. Everybody has lots of different sides to them.”
“But what was really interesting to me was that after I survived the tsunami and lost my partner in 2004, I got so many letter from kids around the country who decided to come out watching what a relationship that they wanted to have for themselves could be like. I was so grateful to Oprah for telling that story not as a gay couple that went through a tragedy but as a couple that went through a tragedy. I do feel a responsibility but it’s not a responsibility because I’m a gay man and on daytime television. It’s a responsibility to the people who are giving me an hour of their day and I want to set the best example that I can.”
One of the best films you’ll this year or any year opened in limited release on Friday and I want to be sure to shine a light on it.
We Were Here, a film by David Weissman, won the audience award for documentary at the Outfest Film Festival this summer and was also featured at Sundance.
It is the first documentary to take a deep and reflective look back at the impact of the AIDS epidemic in San Francisco when it was first identified 30 years ago this year. It explores how the City’s inhabitants were affected by, and responded to the calamitous epidemic.
Reaching beyond San Francisco and the human toll of AIDS itself, it inspirationally speaks to the human capacity of individuals to rise to the occasion, and to the incredible collective power of a community coming together with love, compassion, and determination.
Locally, it is screening at the ArcLight in Hollywood.
“We Were Here” shows that a situation you think you know can be something you haven’t known at all. That is the surprise, and the power, of this unexpected film.
An extraordinarily moving examination of how the AIDS epidemic both devastated and transformed San Francisco’s gay community, this clear-eyed and soulful documentary brings us inside the contagion in a way that is so intimate, so personal, you feel like you’re hearing about these catastrophic events for the first time.
Anyone who has ever seen Thomas Jane’s make-out scene with Vincent D’Onofrio in the film The Velocity of Gary knows that the Hung star is not afraid to take on a gay role.
But he raised a few eyebrows recently when he chatted with Vulture about his series Hung, and said: “I told HBO, the year I end up with a penis in my mouth is the last year of the show.”
Vulture caught up with Jane this week and he was eager to clarify things: “Of course, everything I said was meant in good humor, good fun. You know, I’m a fan of the gay community, just because I’ve grown up in Hollywood around them, I have family members who are gay, really good friends, co-workers, a lot of the writers on Hung are gay, so it’s amusing to think, obviously I would never be able to tell HBO what to do, or the writers how to write the character. But for me, it’s an expression of what I find interesting about the show.”
He points out that his male prostitute character of Ray becomes a conduit for two Midwestern women to express their sexual feelings for each other in one of the episodes, and in one of the other episodes, he dates a transgender woman.
“We deal with a lot of cool stuff, you know, and I’m very proud to say the things I get to say about human sexuality on my show.”
And then there’s this: “I feel very proud of the fact that I still have one of the longest gay kisses in screen history, me and Vincent D’Onofrio, in The Velocity of Gary. I’m sorry for people who don’t know and take anything I say too seriously. Nothing I say should be taken too seriously. But they have that right. Nothing wrong with a little controversy!”
Here’s the kiss:
I Don’t watch much pro football anymore but I do try and watch whenever Tom Brady and the New England Patriots are playing. After missing last year with injury, he is back training with the team in preparation for the upcoming season.
Tom is one of those rare superstars who is not only the best at what he does, but has those movie star looks and the confidence to do modeling-type shots that make us drool. And now that he’s a daddy, it makes him even sexier (He has a son with the beautiful Bridget Moynahan, his former girlfriend).
In his first news conference since an injury in the 2008 opener knocked him out for the rest of the season, Tom said Thursday that the injury allowed him to spend more time with 21-month-old Jack.