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2013 Tony Award Nominations: The gays and straight LGBT allies well represented this year

Plenty of gays and gay friendly folks scored Tony Award nominations today – sorry I’m just now getting around to writing about it but it’s been a busy day!

First of all, I’m thrilled to see that AIDS activist and The Normal Heart playwright Larry Kramer will be presented with the Isabelle Stevenson Award.

This is an award given to a theater artist who has “made a substantial contribution of volunteered time and effort on behalf of one or more humanitarian, social service, or charitable organizations, regardless of whether such organizations relate to the theater.”

Harvey Fierstein, David Hyde Pierce and Nathan Lane, all previous Tony winners – and openly gay – were all nominated for Tony Awards on Tuesday.

Lane and Hyde Pierce are competing against each other for Best Actor in a Play for The Nance and Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, respectively. Their competition consists of Tom Hanks for Lucky Guy, Tracy Letts for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Tom Sturridge for Orphans.

Fierstein’s nod came in the category of Best Book of a Musical for Kinky Boots which earned a leading 13 nominations in all including one for prominent LGBT ally Cyndi Lauper for best original score.

Kinky Boots, also nominated for best musical, tells the story of a shoe manufacturer who revitalizes his business by catering to drag performers.

Another well-known straight ally to the LGBT community nominated was Judith Light in the featured actress in a play category for her performance in The Assembled Party.

After a 30-plus years television career that included two Daytime Emmys for One Life to Live, eight seasons starring in Who’s the Boss and four years as a cast member on Ugly Betty, Light has been taking Broadway by storm in recent years.

She won a Tony last year as featured actress for Other Desert Cities and was nominated in the category in 2011 for Lombardi.

Here is a LINK to the full list on Tony nominees. The awards will be handed out on June 9.

FILE UNDER: Awards

Ellen Degeneres to NBA’s Jason Collins: “When I see you, I’m going to hug your knees so hard”


As only she can, Ellen DeGeneres mixes humor with heart as she congratulates NBA player Jason Collins for coming out publicly as a gay man.

“That is a very brave man,” DeGeneres tells her audience.

She knows a thing or two about being brave herself!

FILE UNDER: Daytime TV

See Jason Collins interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos [Updated]

Jason Collins continues to be a big story. Geez, you would think a male professional athlete in one of the big four team sports had never came out before!

It may have been Sports Illustrated that got the exclusive but it was ABC’s George Stephanopoulos who got the first sit-down interview with the NBA player who made history this week by telling the world that he is gay.

‘It’s incredible,’ Collins told Stephanopoulos of the public reaction. ‘You just try to live an honest, genuine life and next thing you know you have the president calling you. … He was incredibly supportive and he was proud of me. And said that this not only affected my life, but others. And he really stressed the importance of that. That it– it– yes, I did this– you know, to affect, you know, change in my life, but that it affects other people– going forward. And — I was aware of that going in — but just — the response has been incredible.”

Full transcript can be seen HERE.


Have not had a chance to watch this yet but wanted to post it right away.

FILE UNDER: Sports

Days of Our Lives: Sami and Sonny make a great team as they sneak into Nick’s room

You are in for such a treat with today’s Days of Our Lives scenes which really are a showcase the comedic talents of Freddie Smith (Sonny) and Allison Sweeney (Sami) who make a terrific team it turns out.

They are in Nick’s room looking for the flash drive and Nick returns! But Sonny comes up with a brilliant plan while he and Sami are hiding in the closet.

Anyway, he’s so successful that Will ends up planting this kiss on him later in the episode – and who could blame him.

My favorite Sonny line of this episode: “It’s not your baby you son of a bitch.”

Enjoy!

FILE UNDER: Days of Our Lives

Lunch Break Video: Robbie Rogers on “Nightline”


Robbie Rogers was schedule to be profiled on ABC’s Nightline a few weeks back but the piece got bumped because of coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing.

The coming out of the NBA’s Jason Collins made the timing of this piece even more timely and it was aired last night.

We see Robbie reuniting with his family in Huntington Beach for the first time since coming out. His mom is heartbreaking – her main concern was the pain her son had to endure keeping this secret, carrying the burden of being gay – and closeted.

FILE UNDER: Sports

President Barack Obama weighs in on NBA’s Jason Collins: “I told him I couldn’t be prouder”

This is just extraordinary what is happening.

The story of an NBA player coming out as gay while still active in the league is big enough. But the reaction to it is what I feel is most fascinating.

I can’t help but think of the young gays out there, especially the ones around 12 or 13. This all has to make them feel less alone and that’s why it’s so important that gay people come out – when they are ready – and that straight allies publicly voice their support.

Anyway, one of those straight allies, President Barack Obama, spoke about the NBA’s Jason Collins at the end of a White House press conference today.

“I had a chance to talk to him yesterday. He seems like a terrific young man. I told him I couldn’t be prouder. One of the extraordinary measures of progress that we’ve seen in this country has been the recognition that the LGBT community deserves full equality, not just partial equality, not just tolerance, but a recognition that they’re fully part of the American family.”

He also said: “I think, a lot of young people out there who are gay or lesbian who are struggling with these issues, to see a role model like that who is unafraid, I think this is a great thing. And I think Americans should be proud that this is just one more step in this ongoing recognition that we treat everybody fairly and everybody’s part of a family and we judge people on the basis of their character and their performance and not their sexual orientation. I’m very proud of him.”

Here’s the video:

FILE UNDER: Sports

“Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me” gets a distributor

This is s-weet news!

Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me, a ferocious, funny and poignant portrait of the one-of-a-kind Broadway legend as she reaches her 87th year, is going to be released in theaters.

The documentary by Chiemi Karasawa debuted last week at the Tribeca Film Festival and Variety reports that Sundance Selects has acquired the movie for theatrical distribution in the US and Canada.

“It’s wonderful being almost 87,” Stritch says in the film with her trademark deadpan delivery, “You can get away with just about anything.”

She also says: “I’ve got a certain amount of fame. I’ve got money. I wish I could fuckin’ drive, then I’d really be a menace.”

Anyone who saw Elaine Stritch at Liberty knows they are in for a real entertaining and interesting time as they watch her be both irascible and vulnerable.

“She is not ashamed to present herself at any stage in her life as she is and be honest about what she’s going through,” Karasawa tells Huffington Post. “When you see someone that’s that liberated, it inspires the same thing in you. I think that’s why she has so many fans, because they wish that she was the person on their shoulder giving them courage and the strength to do and say what they feel.”

FILE UNDER: Icons

On “Gwissues,” Greg Louganis talks about competing in 1988 Olympics six months after being diagnosed HIV positive

Olympic gold medalist Greg Louganis is the guest on the current episode of the Howard Bragman hosted interview show Gwissues.

Greg talks about the ABC series Splash on which he is the diving mentor.

But Howard also talked to him about how he found out he was HIV-positive just six months before the 1988 Summer Olympics in South Korea.

He won two gold medals (he also won two gold at the 1984 Olympics and a silver at the 1976 Olympics) in 1988 while taking the drug AZT which was one of the only early drugs available to help combat AIDS.

Greg points out that in 1988, had his HIV status been known, he would not have been allowed into South Korea to compete.

He says now of his setbacks and triumphs: “I don’t really look at myself as a victim or a survivor. … They were tools for me to learn and grow.”

FILE UNDER: Sports, Web Shows

John Barrowman eyes Stephen Amell in “Arrow”


You can’t really blame John Barrowman for not being able to take his eyes off of hunky Arrow star Stephen Amell.

But in John’s defense, he’s acting here – playing a role.

Nice work of you can get it!

It’s so nice to see John, best known for the UK series Torchwood, having success in a US series at last (I, of course, remember him in Titans and Central Park West more than a decade ago!).

He plays Malcolm Merlyn on Arrow, the nemesis of Oliver Queen (Amell).

Barrowman joked to The Backlot.com: “I’m required in my contract at some point, during the whole season, that Stephen be naked around me on camera. (Executive Producer) Andrew [Kreisberg,  actually said to me, he said, ‘I’m giving you this scene.’"

Barrowman then describes the filming of the scene: "He’s totally shirtless. I do this whole thing where I stalk him around him. It’s beautifully filmed. There’s a whole rotation with the cameras and then the other camera’s going in and out from both sides and then we have a crane that comes down and swoops up. It’s shot like a movie but I was talking to him the whole time. At one point, I get up to him, and I say some dialogue to him and he’s looking at me, and there’s this intense look and then I tweaked his nipple. I said, ‘You can’t do anything, can you?’ Then I went…[cups his hands as one would cup a crotch] and he went ‘No!!’ [laughs] Yeah, we had a good time.”

John is very naughty, and that’s why we love him!

FILE UNDER: Guy Candy

Tuesday Morning Man: Redaric Williams!

My daytime soap dance card is pretty filled with Days of Our Lives and now One Life to Live online but I may have to check out a few episodes of The Young and the Restless if it means I get to see some of today’s hunky Morning Man.

He’s Redaric Williams who joined the cast of the CBS soap last December in the role of Tyler Michaelson.

‘I [liked] the fact that he was a street-smart guy,’ he tells CBS.com of his his soap alter-ego. ‘He came up with a street mentality, [which] gives him a well-rounded aspect. I can kind of go different places with the character. There’s a lot of freedom with his personality. [There’s not] one set direction. You don’t know what he is going to do. He’s a real live wire.’


FILE UNDER: Morning Men - 2013

Jason Collins thankful for outpouring of support

Except for the two hours I spent watching the Tom Cruise sci-fi flick Oblivion this evening, I’ve been completely absorbed in the story of NBA player Jason Collins coming out as gay.

The timing was right for someone to do this and Jason has stepped forward.

I’ve read some obnoxious anti-gay things on Twitter and elsewhere but mostly, the reaction has been amazingly positive from President Obama calling Jason today and Kobe Bryant quickly tweeting his support.

Collins is grateful.

“All the support I have received today is truly inspirational,’ he wrote in a tweet this evening. ‘I knew that I was choosing the road less traveled but I’m not walking it alone.’

Collins shocked the sports world by coming out publicly in a first-person essay in Sports Illustrated magazine. He is the first active male player in one of the four major team sports in the US to ever come out during his playing career.

Tweeted the NBA player: ‘Thank you to everyone who has reached out to me thru email, texts, calls, tweets, letters, and every other form of communication.’

Collins will appear on ABC’s Good Morning America Tuesday to discuss his history-making decision to come out.

FILE UNDER: Sports

Flashback Video: When baseball’s Billy Bean came out and was interviewed by Diane Sawyer in 1999

Tomorrow morning, the NBA’s Jason Collins will be interviewed by George Stephanopulos on ABC’s Good Morning America. This will be a must-see interview. We know Jason’s story via his Sports Illustrated cover story but it will be nice to hear his reaction to the outpouring of support – and comments from a few idiots.

So let’s rewind 14 years ago and revisit the story of Billy Bean, the former Major League Baseball player who came out publicly in 1999.

Here is his interview with Diane Sawyer on 20-20.

I remember watching it while at the gym in Long Beach and there I was on the precor machine, weeping.

FILE UNDER: Sports

Days of Our Lives: Will, Sonny, EJ, Sami and Lucas put their plan against Nick into action

It is on!

I just love all of this scheming going on in Salem right now.

Sami and EJ have teamed with Lucas, Will and Sonny in a master plan to bring Nick down!

I’m not sure if any of it will work out but it’s a hoot watching it all unfold.

Enjoy!

FILE UNDER: Days of Our Lives

See Tuc Watkins and his twins Curtis and Catchen!


Is this adorable or what?

Tuc Watkins appeared on Marie Osmond’s talk show (it was taped last week) and made his first public comments about being a gay man.

He also showed this photo of his twins Curtis and Catchen.

Tuc told Marie that he signed up for a “Bringing Home Multiples” class at the Pump Station in Los Angeles. He was asked on the phone asked, “Will you be bringing your wife?”

He replied: “Nope, I’m a single gay dude. I’m doing this by myself.”

The woman on the phone then said: “Oh honey, you’re going to need a lot of help. I’m putting you in front row.”

FILE UNDER: Uncategorized

Move over Pat Robertson, it seems ESPN sportswriter Chris Broussard is new expert on bible and gays


Really? This really just happened on ESPN not Fox News or The 700 Club?

An ESPN magazine writer named Chris Broussard weighed in on the historic coming out of NBA player Jason Collins and called him a sinner. Read more over at Gay Star News.

FILE UNDER: Controversy, Sports

Snapped! Sherlock Holmes-esque NPH & Burtka

Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka attended a friend’s mystery-themed wedding over the weekend and looked mighty Sherlock Holmes-esque.

I think a mustache obscures David’s very cute face so I hope he never grows one!

FILE UNDER: Snapped!

Bill and Chelsea Clinton’s supportive words for NBA player Jason Collins who’s came out publicly as gay

Hard to keep up with all of the reaction this morning to NBA player Jason Collins announcement that he is gay in an essay written for Sports Illustrated.

But I want to quickly share with you a tweet from his former Stanford classmate Chelsea Clinton: “Very proud of my friend Jason Collins for having the strength & courage to be the first openly gay player in the NBA.”

Her father Bill Clinton, of course, had a lot more to say and released this statement: “I have known Jason Collins since he was Chelsea’s classmate and friend at Stanford. Jason’s announcement today is an important moment for professional sports and in the history of the LGBT community. It is also the straightforward statement of a good man who wants no more than what so many of us seek: to be able to be who we are; to do our work; to build families and to contribute to our communities.”

“For so many members of the LGBT community, these simple goals remain elusive. I hope that everyone, particularly Jason’s colleagues in the NBA, the media and his many fans extend to him their support and the respect he has earned,”

FILE UNDER: Sports

Celeb Tweets: Martina, Kobe, Bill Clinton and others react to NBA player Jason Collins coming out

Robbie Rogers Robbie Rogers ‏@robbierogers I feel a movement coming.
Martina Navratilova Martina Navratilova ‏@Martina Well done Jason Collins- you are a brave man. And a big man at that:) 1981 was the year for me- 2013 is the year for you:)
Martina Navratilova Martina Navratilova ‏@Martina It’s not easy to come out when one is still active- shouldn’t be an issue, but it is. That’s why so many don’t do it till after.

Kobe Bryant Kobe BryantVerified account ‏@kobebryant Proud of @jasoncollins34. Don’t suffocate who u r because of the ignorance of others #courage #support #mambaarmystandup #BYOU

Garrett Temple Garrett Temple ‏@GTemp14 Much respect to my teammate @jasoncollins34 for being #real

Ben Cohen Ben Cohen ‏@RugbyBenCohen Congrats and its Great to see NBA player Jason Collins comes out as gay, first active athlete in the USA big leagues!!! @StandUpFdn
Chris Kluwe Chris Kluwe ‏@ChrisWarcraft Big kudos to @JasonCollins34. Living proof that your sexuality has nothing to do with your athletic ability
John Amaechi OBE @JohnAmaechi Congratulations to Jason – society couldn’t hope for a more eloquent & positive role model: buff.ly/10OvOMd
Bill Clinton Bill Clinton ‏@billclinton I’m proud to call Jason Collins a friend.
Dwayne Johnson Dwayne Johnson ‏@TheRock Being real & authentic is very powerful. Well done Jason Collins for having the courage to take a monumental step forward. #LiveReal
Ellen DeGeneres Ellen DeGeneres ‏@TheEllenShow @NBA center @JasonCollins34 is the 1st out player on a US major league team. I’m overwhelmed by your bravery, Jason, & sending so much love.
Ricky Martin Ricky Martin ‏@ricky_martin I don’t know you personally @jasoncollins but… CONGRATULATIONS buddy! You are a brave man! I’m very bappy for you! #NBA #proud.
Rosie O'Donnell Rosie O’Donnell ‏@Rosie Thank you Jason Collins – for being the first one – knocking down doors !!!
Bette Midler Bette Midler ‏@BetteMidler NBA’s @JASONCOLLINS becomes first athlete of a major sport to announce he’s gay. What a brave, strong person he is to do so. Bravo.
Kathy Griffin Kathy Griffin ‏@kathygriffin Hey @JasonCollins34 Inspired by your courage and leadership.
Chely Wright Chely Wright ‏@chelywright Way to go!! @jasoncollins34 Really inspired by your courage! Xo c

Billie Jean King @BillieJKing  am thrilled @JasonCollins34 was able to come out on his own terms and, as he put it, is ready to continue the conversation. This is a day of celebration for the LGBT community and for all of us. I look forward to the day when the news of anyone coming out, is a non-issue and once we reach that point we will know we have arrived.

GeorgeStephanopoulos GeorgeStephanopoulos ‏@GStephanopoulos Jason Collins makes history. En route to LA for first interview. What should I ask?
Mardy Fish Mardy Fish ‏@MardyFish Good for you @jasoncollins34. Proud to call you my friend. Good luck with everything!
FILE UNDER: Celeb Tweets

History is made: NBA center Jason Collins comes out as gay: “I’m happy to start the conversation”

This has never happened before in a major professional US team sport: an active player has come out as openly gay.

Congratulations to NBA center Jason Collins for being that player – for being courageous and for making history.

He is on the cover of Sports Illustrated and says in part: I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay.

I didn’t set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am, I’m happy to start the conversation. I wish I wasn’t the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, “I’m different.” If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I’m raising my hand…

Collins’s essay takes us through his decision as well as reaction from family members and close friends. “I realized I needed to go public when Massachusetts congressman Joe Kennedy, my old roommate at Stanford, told me he had just marched in Boston’s 2012 Gay Pride Parade.  I’m seldom jealous of others, but hearing what Joe had done filled me with envy,” Collins explains. “I want to do the right thing and not hide anymore. I want to march for tolerance, acceptance and understanding. I want to take a stand and say, “me, too.”

Also from the piece: “The strain of hiding my sexuality became almost unbearable in March, when the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments for and against same-sex marriage. Less than three miles from my apartment, nine jurists argued about my happiness and my future. Here was my chance to be heard and I couldn’t say a thing. I didn’t want to answer questions and draw attention to myself. Not while I was still playing.”

Collins’s decision to go public causes his family trepidation. “My maternal grandmother was apprehensive about my plans to come out publicly,” he says. “She grew up in rural Louisiana and witnessed the horrors of segregation. During the civil rights movement she saw great bravery play out amid the ugliest side of humanity. She worries that I am opening myself u up to prejudice and hatred. I explained to her that in a way, my coming out is preemptive. I shouldn’t have to live under the threat of being outed. The announcement should be mine to make, not TMZ’s.”

I’ll be having more reaction here and over at Gay Star News later today.

Here’s a quote from GLAAD to get us started: “‘Courage’ and ‘inspiration’ are words that get thrown around a lot in sports, but Jason Collins has given both ideas a brand new context,” said Aaron McQuade, head of GLAAD’s sports program. “We hope that his future team will welcome him, and that fans of the NBA and sports in general will applaud him. We know that the NBA will proudly support him, and that countless young LGBT Athletes now have a new hero.”

FILE UNDER: Sports

Monday Morning Man: Matt Targett!

Matthew Targett is a 27-year-old Australian sprint freestyle and butterfly swimmer who is so handsome he could also be a model.

Oh,wait! He is also a model! Well, that just makes perfect sense!

In what was only his second international meet, at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China, Matthew captured a silver medal in the 4×100m medley and a bronze in the 4×100m freestyle relay. He also finished 7th in the individual 100m Freestyle.

Four years later at The Olympics in London, the Australian team won the bronze medal the Men’s 4×100 Medley. Matthew swam the butterfly leg of the event.

In 2012, Matthew launched his career as a male model, signing with Melbourne editorial agency Chadwick Models.

I’d say that’s a mighty fine career move!

FILE UNDER: Morning Men - 2013