He may be best known as one of the stars of the late, great Queer Eye for the Straight Guy series but Jai Rodriguez has been plenty busy since that Bravo series left the air.
Jai, who appeared as Angel in Rent on Broadway and starred in the recent indie flick Oy Vey! My Son Is Gay!!, has filmed a guest role in the new NBC series Harry’s Law from David E. Kelley and starring Oscar winner Kathy Bates.
I spoke with Jai at last week’s GLAAD at 25 event about his guest role.
“It’s a huge role with two big production numbers,” says Jai, who is also a singer. “I play a singer and actually a transgender woman so it’s pretty phenomenal. Great, nice hefty, dramatic, on the witness stand kind of scenes.”
“It’s the first time I’ve done anything like that,” he added. “I’ve played drag queens before but I’ve never had to change my gender. It was a three-hour ordeal with make-up and hair, wardrobe. It was a big undertaking and I’m thrilled that David would even take on something like this. I used Candis Cayne as my inspiration but I ended up looking a lot like Kim Kardashian!”
I’m so glad I caught Katie Couric’s profile of Glee star Matthew Morrison which aired on CBS Sunday Morning this week.
The two seemed to enjoy a nice rapport and it is so enjoyable that I hope you will watch it yourself (I’ve posted it below).
What I did not know until the other day was that Miss Couric is going to appear in an upcoming episode of Glee!
Matthew spilled some details for CBS News while on the red carpet of last weekend’s Kennedy Center Honors in Washington D.C.
“Very excited to have her on the show,” he gushed about Couric.
He said the CBS Evening News anchor better get her dancing shoes on and teased that he may “do a little dance with her.”
Couric, a self-professed “Gleek,” will play herself, according to Morrison, and will interview Sue Sylvester, played by Jane Lynch. The Glee episode airs on Fox after the Super Bowl on Sunday, February 6, 2011.
At 25, Chris Zylka is just about to hit the bigtime.
The actor has been cast to play Flash Thompson, Peter Parker’s high school nemesis. in Marc Webb’s Spider-Man reboot.
The Thompson character is a football player who gets his kicks picking on “Puny Parker.” But he also happens to be a great admirer of Spider-Man who will be played by Andrew Garfield (Tobey Maguire and all other cast members from the first three films have been replaced).
Chris is a strapping young actor recently co-starred in Gregg Araki’sKaboom and also wrapped David R. Ellis’ untitled 3D shark thriller. He got his start in television roles including the recurring part of Gabe Lammotti on Hannah Montana and the recurring role of Jake Donner on the series 10 Things I Hate About You.
The actor had a brief, but very memorable role in the indie flick The People I’ve Slept With. His character did not have a name that I recall but is listed in the credits as “Mr. Hottie.”
TV Guide Canada got a lot of attention earlier this week when it quoted Modern Family star Ed O’Neill as saying he did not think Jane Lynch should have won the Emmy for her performance as Sue Sylvester on Glee.
Turns out that is not quite what the actor said and TV Guide Canada has now printed a retraction that says in part: “ Our writer did not mean to misrepresent Mr. O’Neill or anyone else involved in the story. He and TV Guide Canada sincerely apologize for this error.”
Here is the actual quote: I’m one of Jane Lynch’s biggest fans. I love Jane Lynch. She is a genius. But at the same time I said ‘Sofia [Vergara]could win’ because … and I’ve only seen Glee a couple of … I’ve only seen Glee once. But I thought Jane’s role is rather one-dimensional. It’s kind of strident. It’s always kind of the same. I’ve seen her be much better. So I thought ‘Sofia’s funnier,’ and I think she is in these two comparative roles. Anyway, Jane won. But I was hoping that Sofia would.”
Earlier today, O’Neill released the following statement to EW: “Last week I spoke to a group of journalists and one quoted me supposedly saying of Jane Lynch, ‘I don’t think she should have gotten the Emmy for that part.’ I never said those words and transcripts of the press conference attest to that fact. Of course I root for my dear friends Sofia Vergara and Julie Bowen (and all of my colleagues on our show) at Emmy time, but I absolutely never said, nor do I believe that Jane — whom I think is an enormous talent — was undeserving of the award. I reached out to her yesterday to ensure she knew I’d been misquoted but I wanted to clear this up publicly as well.”
This multi-talented actor, musician, and Internet sensation spoke to Interviewduring a rare break between filming the show to talk about what playing the role of gay teen Blaine has meant to him.
“Even if Blaine was to get hit by a bus in two episodes, I’m really thankful for the time I’ve been given on the show,” he tells interviewer Kate Mendelson.
The young actor said he had no trepidation about taking on the role of a gay character or concern about being pigeonholed after moving on from Glee.
“Not at all. To be quite honest, that doesn’t take up a huge chunk of what really matters about Blaine. After having gotten to know the show a little bit, I was really excited to see that a character like this—such a strong gay character, especially a young, male, out-and-proud teen—was going to make its way onto network television, much less Fox. This is the first time I’d really seen an out student that was so young and innocent and really struggling with the big ordeal that it is to be an out student at such an early age. When other shows present the gay character thing, it’s typically been in much more adult situations, like gay men living in New York or closeted men who are married and struggling with that ordeal, but never really the core of the journey of defining your sexuality. Blaine offers a beautiful counter to that and makes such a great addition to the many-colored palette that is Glee. So as far as me having any reservations about it, no. I read it being like, this would be so cool, whoever gets to play this, it’s going to be a great thing for an already great show.”
Wow! This dude gives long answers! And good ones!
On the potential for Blaine to have a positive influence Criss says: “Of course, being gay really is an important part of who he is. But Blaine doesn’t really think so—at least in this utopian society that he lives in [LAUGHS], at Dalton Academy, where it’s almost a little too perfect to be anybody or anything. It’s just kind of matter of fact. It’s a really positive thing, and I feel very privileged to be the vessel for that, and I hope it speaks to a lot of people who struggle to find a model for who they are and where they fit in.”
James Franco, the recently named Oscar host, has purchased rights to the new biography, Sal Mineo, by writer Michael Gregg Michaud with plans to write and direct the project, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Mineo is best known for starring with James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause. Franco won a Golden Globe Award for playing Dean in a 2001 TV film and is getting strong Oscar buzz for his current film 127 Hours.
Mineo, who was reported to be bisexual or gay, found it hard to find roles after appearing in such films as Rebel and Exodus which both earned him Academy Award nominations. He also starred in The Gene Krupa Story.
He once said: “One minute it seemed I had more movie offers than I could handle, the next, no one wanted me.”
His last movie role was in 1971′s Escape From the Planet of the Apes although he continued to act on stage (Fortune and Men’s Eyes. and P.S. Your Cat is Dead) and do guest spots on television shows (Columbo, Hawaii Five-O, SWAT).
Mineo’s murder during an attempted robbery in West Hollywood in 1976 has often overshadowed his achievements as an actor. He was just 37 when he died.
According to the Reporter, “Franco optioned the property himself for his Rabbit Bandini shingle as a potential writing-and-directing vehicle. He currently does not plan to star but that could change.”
I hope the project comes to fruition. It would be nice to learn more about Mineo.
One of the best things that ever happened to the Sex and the City franchise is the first time Charlotte got married, she hired a very bossy wedding planner named Anthony Marentino who was a bitch on wheels.
That incredibly uptight bitch, of course, was played to perfection by the hilarious Mario Cantone.
Anthony went on to show his sweet side but was always ready to revert to bitch mode and that’s why we love him. Hopefully there will be a third SATC feature film so we can see more of him.
Whatever happens, Cantone will find plenty of places for his fast-paced and energetic humor which we’ve also seen many times on The View. He’s appeared on numerous shows on Broadway including Assassins, Love! Valour! Compassion!, The Violet Hour and The Tempest.
He also shined in two one-man shows on Broadway: an Evening With Mario Cantone and Laugh Whore – the latter show received a Tony nomination.
Mario, who turns 51 today, has been with domestic partner Jerry Dixon since 1990.
It’s not that well known that the now-retired singer Helen Reddy once recorded an album of holiday songs.
I came across the CD, simply called Christmas, a few years ago and snapped it up. But see that it can be purchased on Amazon.com for under $10.
Miss Reddy has such a good voice for holiday music as you can see in this performance on the late Dana Reeves’ show on Lifetime. Helen sings a really lovely version of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. I’ve included the interview with Dana because it’s nice to see her and she died far too young.
PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) continues to have no trouble getting celebrities to speak out for this cause.
The latest is out singer and actor Lance Bass who gives the lowdown on his rescued pooches Dingo and Foster. In all, he’s had eight rescued animals over the years.
“You know when I was a kid watching ‘Price Is Right,’ I would always hear Bob [Barker] say, ‘Help control the pet population: Get your dogs spayed or neutered,” says Lance. “People are not spaying and neutering like they should be, and there’s just so many dogs that really need a loving home.”
Wouldn’t it be an absolute blast if Barbra Streisand and Donna Summer reunited and belted out their #1 hit Enough is Enough (No More Tears) together on stage?
I’m just floating out the idea because these two legendary singers are going to be in the same room on Feb. 11 when Streisand is honored as the 2011 MusiCares Person of the Year.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, a stellar all-star line-up has been assembled to pay tribute to the great Streisand. It includes: Glee‘s Lea Michele, Matthew Morrison, and Darren Criss; Herbie Hancock, Barry Manilow, Donna Summer, Diana Krall, Tony Bennett, and Stevie Wonder.
The event will be held at the Los Angeles Convention Center and will reportedly conclude with a performance by Streisand who I doubt will want to share the spotlight with Donna on her big night but I think it could be legendary like when she and Neil Diamond sang You Don’t Bring Me Flowers together at the Grammys around 30 years ago.
Streisand is being honored for both her creative accomplishments and her philanthropic work. Proceeds from the tribute will be used to support the work of MusiCares to ensure that musicians and members of the industry have a place to turn in times of financial, medical and personal need.
Just when you thought you’d seen it all, Isabella Rossellini, one of the world’s most beautiful women, turns up on the Sundance Channel swimming in a construction paper sea beside two male dolphin puppets engaging in blowhole sex.
Now, the model, actress, writer, and expert on the sex lives of animals chats with OUT about unusual mating habits, her thoughts on sexuality as she’s gotten older, and what she really thinks of Madonna’s Sex book.
Here are some highlights:
Thoughts on sexuality as she gets older:
“I look at it differently now because I was born in Italy, a Catholic country, where I grew up thinking you should be a virgin at marriage. And now if somebody says, “I’m a virgin and I’m getting married,” I would be a little worried. Maybe she hasn’t had enough experience, like, oh my God, how can she even say that word? How much you can change. I was born in a country where gays were looked as something that had to be re-educated. Maybe they weren’t the most compassionate, they would look at it as a disease, and most radicals had to be thrown in jail. My cousin was gay and he was hiding it and not talking about it and by the time we were 40, I was going out with him and his gay friends. There was an enormous change in my generation. Finally, a feeling that my cousin — he died, unfortunately — that he was great and it was such a waste of time that he had suffered for so many years to keep this a secret. It’s all for the better to be more open.”
On women being objectified:
“I think if I had to choose a period in history to be born in, I would choose this one. It has been the moment when women have been able to express themselves not only as sexual object — that was a given from the beginning — but also, look at me. I’ve been a model, I became an actress, I’m a writer, I’m making my film, I’m becoming a filmmaker. I don’t know that this was allowed a few years ago, when I would have just stayed a beautiful woman. That was it and then they would say, “She used to be beautiful. Life is tough.” Now, I can evolve. I think that’s what this generation allows.”
On Madonna’s Sex book:
I don’t think the book worked, even though the photos were extraordinary and some of them quite memorable. I think there was a little bit of a moralistic sort of “I’ll teach you how to be free!” and that bothered the hell out of me. Because I think if you want to practice abstinence and that makes you happy, you are OK. If you want to be gay, that’s OK. If you want to screw anything that moves, that’s OK. It’s funny to use the word moralistic for that book because people probably don’t put those together, but it was a little bit of “I know better!” and didn’t like that.
Writer-Director-Activist Dustin Lance Black, who won the Academy Award for the screenplay for Milk, is blasting the Human Rights Campaign after it announced this week that it would move its San Francisco Action Center and store into the space that was once Harvey Milk’s camera shop on Castro Street.
In announcing the move on Monday, HRC President Joe Solmonese had said: “It is Harvey Milk’s vision of hope that continues to inspire the work that we do at the Human Rights Campaign. We are the beneficiaries of his groundbreaking activism and are honored to be a part of the future that he envisioned.”
This clearly infuriated Black who has released the following statement: “Harvey Milk spent the last years of his life fighting not only for rights for gays and lesbians across the nation, but also against the idea that the only way to achieve those rights is to lobby the government and financially support so-called ‘straight allies’. Harvey believed the best way to secure our rights was through grassroots action, coalition building and the election of LGBT people to office at all levels of government. He encouraged people to come out of the closet and be vocal about who they were and why they deserved full equality, not partial equality or crumbs. For the HRC leadership, which still advocates a piecemeal, wait-and-see approach to try and co-opt and profit from Harvey’s legacy is an outrage.”
It doesn’t look like Jane Lynch is losing any sleep over Modern Family star Ed O’Neill’s recent comment to TV Guide Canada that she did not deserve to win the Emmy for best supporting actress in a comedy series for her performance as Sue Sylvester on Glee.
Jane’s rep, when reached by E! Online to comment about the diss, thanked columnist Ted Casablanca for his outrage and said via email: “Thanks for being repulsed. But let it go, that’s what we’re doing.”
As I posted earlier this week, O’Neill said the Emmy should have gone to co-star Sofia Vergara who plays his on-screen wife: “I love Jane, honestly I do,” he said. “I’m dying to star in one of Christopher Guest’s movies alongside her, but I don’t think she should have gotten the Emmy for that part. (Sue Sylvester) is just a one-note character.”
You can debate the merits of who should have won all you want but the fact is, it is a very tacky thing to say publicly in my opinion.
Plus, if you watched last night’s episode of Glee with Sue as “The Grinch” and the one two weeks ago with Carol Burnett, you see that skill she has in showing us just glimpse’s of this character’s humanity underneath her imperious veneer.
Okay folks, I am giving you plenty of fair warning to STOP reading this post if you do not want to know anything about what is going to happen with the Teddy and Ian storyline on 90210.
You have been warned so I don’t want to get any of those “Greg! You ruin everything!” messages that inevitably get sent.
So, hasn’t it just been the sweetest thing to see Teddy (Trevor Donovan) admit that he is gay and to no longer be pushing Ian (Kyle Riabko) away. On Monday’s show, he told Ian that while he is not yet ready to go public, he does want to be with him. [See clip HERE].
While the two characters are moving forward in their relationship, we got an inkling that it might not last when Michael Ausiello reported that this casting call went out in November: Casting is underway for the role of Marco, a “hot, super-athletic, openly gay love interest” for Trevor Donovan’s same-sex-lovin’ alter ego. Interested actors MUST be comfortable making out with another dude.
Now Ausiello reports that the role of Marco has been cast with newcomer Freddie Smith who is slated to debut in February.
So what happens to Riabko, the Broadway star of the musicals Spring Awakening and Hair? He is reportedly leaving of his own accord because he wants to make himself available for the looming pilot season.
Maybe the talented Riabko would have wanted to stay on the show longer if he and Donovan had been given more screen time.
I’ve talked to Ed Begley Jr. in the past about his decades of work as an environmentalist. But it was not until we chatted recently at the GLAAD at 25 event in Hollywood that I knew how passionate the actor is about LGBT equality.
Ed, best known for his role as Dr. Victor Ehrlich on St. Elsewhere, currently has a show about green living called Living With Ed with his wife, actress Rachelle Carson, on the Planet Green network.
As the congress decides on whether or not to repeal the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy which prevents gay and lesbians from serving openly, Begley had some things to say about Sen. John McCain who has led the effort to retain the policy.
“He’s on the wring side of this issue in my opinion,” Begley said. “He’s a man who served his country with honor, he’s a war hero. Sadly, he is getting pressure I think from other groups of people and he’s bending to that pressure … I think it’s time to have that kind of change.”
He compares the current battle for LGBT equality to the civil rights movement of the 60s.
“We saw that kind of change in my lifetime in Selma, Alabama, Montgomery, Alabama and parts of the South people had to drink from different drinking fountains and go to different schools,” he said. “It was wrong and a lot of people knew it. And fortunately people stepped up to the plate, Dr. [Martin Luther] King [Jr.] and others stepped up to the plate and they became engaged and change occurred. We’re at that point now too with regards to marriage and serving in the military.”
“You certainly don’t have to be straight to shoot straight,” he added. “People have served in every war in the course of history I would hazard to guess who are gay. To have to serve in secrecy is ridiculous [because] one of the great things about our military is what transparency and openness there is supposed to be. They”re built on ethical behavior and to now have to lie about things. Say what is and continue to serve and I think the majority of the military wants it. The leadership wants it. It’s time.”
This is one event I don’t mind driving out to Glendale to see.
The Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles (GMCLA) will be performing their holiday concert Comfort and Joy. on Saturday, Dec. 18 and Sunday, Dec. 19 at the Alex Theatre.
Broadway legend – and original Dreamgirls star - Sheryl Lee Ralph will grace the stage with the guys on Saturday, December 18th. On Sunday, December 19th, they will be joined by country diva LeAnn Rimes, a two-time Grammy winner.
The chorus pulls out all the stops in its annual holiday musical extravaganza led by guest conductor Tim Seelig in his GMCLA debut. Some 150 choristers, resplendent in holiday finery, do Santa proud with a bundle of beloved seasonal works and the dazzling Twelve Days of Christmas ‘Black-Light Puppet Spectacular.’
Musical highlights range over a broad spectrum of classical and pop selections and include:
Handel’s Comfort Ye, Bruckner’s Ave Maria, the Kenny Loggins anthem Celebrate Me Home, Silver Bells by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans, Mariah Carey’s playful All I Want for Christmas Is You, Mark Riese’s God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen, Mary Sat A-Rockin’ by Greg Gilpin, Pat Ballard’s classic Mr. Santa, the lush Merry Christmas/Christmas Carol by John Williams and Leslie Bricusse, Elves Broadway Christmas complete with dancing elves, and the magical Twelve Days of Christmas.
To get in the GMCLA Holiday mood, you can see them perform on KCET at 10pm or in the Hollywood Christmas Parade on Friday December 17th from 8 – 10pm on KTLA, Channel 5.
Running time is approximately 2 hours with one intermission, and the performance is suitable for all ages. Photo/Video recording by patrons is not allowed. For handicapped seating in an area requiring no stairs to access, please call the Alex Theatre Box Office for information and purchase.
Barbara Walters is famous for making her interview subjects cry and Oprah Winfrey is no exception.
Tomorrow night on ABC, Walters interviews Oprah who is the entire focus of a one-hour special the precedes Barbara’s annual “10 Most Fascinating People” special at 10 p.m.
Oprah sheds tears when talking about her best friend Gayle King.
“She is the mother I never had. She is the sister everybody would want. She is the friend that everybody deserves. I don’t know a better person. I don’t know a better person,” says Oprah.
As tears ran down her face the talk show queen says: “Shoot. I wasn’t going to cry.”
“Why is it making you cry?” asks Walters.
“It’s making me cry because I’m thinking about how much I probably never told her that. Tissue please! I’ve never told her that.”
Barbara then brings up those persistent rumors that the two women are really more than friends.
Oprah, no longer crying, says: “I have said we are not gay enough times. I’m not lesbian. I’m not even kind of lesbian. The reason why it irritates me is because it means somebody must think I’m lying. Why would you hide it? That’s not the way I run my life.”
Chaz Bono is no different from all those Cher fans out there who have missed her on the big screen.
Cher’s new film Burlesque opened two weeks ago and was her first movie since 2003′s Stuck On You, a comedy in which she appeared as a fictionalized version of herself.
Burlesque is a far bigger showcase for the Oscar winning actress and as of Monday, had grossed $27.5 million at the domestic box office.
“I’m really happy that she did another movie,” Chaz told Greg In Hollywood at last week’s GLAAD at 25 event.
Chaz, formerly the female Chastity Bono, made his first public appearances with his mom since transitioning to a male at the film’s premiere and a few days earlier when Cher got her footprints in the cement in front of Hollywood’s famed Grauman’s Chinese Theater.
Said Chaz: “Getting the footprints at Grauman’s was a huge big deal and an honor and I was happy to be there with the rest of the family to share it.”
But Cher is not the only member of the family with a new film.
Becoming Chaz, a documentary about his life, has been chosen for the Sundance Film Festival. Chaz is not only the subject of the film, but also a producer.
“We’re editing it now,” he said. “I’m very excited about it. I think it’s going to hopefully open up people’s heart and minds to what it means to be transgender and I’m really psyched about going to Sundance.”
Here is a LINK to my earlier post talking to Chaz about his mother’s persistent pronoun problem, still referring to Chaz as “she” in interviews.