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Why are gay men drawn to divas like Cher, Liza, Bette, Barbra, Diana and others?
DonnaSummerBarbraStreisand-Enoug-1.jpg Donna Summer &  Barbara Streisand - Enough Is Enough image by kjv31,0.jpgSo often, I will have met a guy for the first time and – if he’s roughly my age – it will turn out that we grew up listening to Diana Ross, Cher, Bette Midler or Barbra Streisand.
We also worship Elizabeth Taylor and Bette Midler and boy, do we love Lucy (Lucille Ball). And then there is the whole tennis diva gr0up led by the quartet of Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert and Steffi Graf.

It has happened time and time and time again and I love it each time it does but have not given much thought about why. I just chalked it up to good taste and figured something about all of them being strong women had something to do with it.
Well, somebody posed the question recently to columnist Brett Hartinger and I found his answer to be so enlightening. Here is part of it:

Gay men were traditionally very marginalized and oppressed – generally by straight men and the institutions they controlled. There were very, very few out gay men to identify with in entertainment, and we were reluctant to openly identify with our oppressors, so we were drawn to another group of outsiders: women.

But not just any women. Interestingly, we had no interest in demure, quietly-accept-the-status-quo female icons like Donna Reed, Doris Day, or the Virgin Mary (except in an ironic, camp way).

No, we were drawn to women who seemed to want to shake things up: women who seemed to be overcoming the odds of being the the wrong race (Diana, Aretha, Chita, Lena, Eartha), or having a big nose (Barbra, Cher, Bette Midler), or dealing with some kind of addiction (Judy, Liza, Janis), or just the general sense that men were out to abuse or dismiss them, mostly because they couldn’t conform to or wouldn’t play by the rules other men had made up (Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Lucille Ball, Marlene Dietrich, Elizabeth Taylor, Billie Jean King, and, well, all of the women listed above).

Even if it was sometimes subconscious, these women were demanding, through sheer force of their considerable talent and willpower, a reexamination of social mores.

And there was a subversiveness in how they went about it – a cheeky, wink-wink-nod-nod attitude that went over the head of many straight viewers. Through their choices of songs and roles, these divas could communicate one thing to their gay audiences, while still being conventional enough to find “mainstream” success.

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Tuesday Morning Man: Mark Ruffalo! Edward Norton dropped out of the upcoming all-star superhero film The Avengers, there was wide speculation ab0ut who would step into the role of The Hulk and his alter-ego Bruce Banner.

The answer came at Comic-com this weekend: Mark Ruffalo!

Mark, currently starring in the word of mouth hit The Kids are All Right, has always been able to segue effortlessly between big studio commercial films (Shutter Island, Zodiac, 13 Going on 30, All the Kings Men and Just Like Heaven) to more art house fare (We Don’t Live Here Anymore, Apartment 12, My Life Without Me and You Can Count on Me).

And no matter what the budget or the genre, Mark is always reliably good and believable.

The 42 year old actor has endured some personal hardships along the way including the shooting death of his brother Scott in 2008. Six years earlier, Mark was diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma, a type of brain tumor. The benign tumor was surgically removed but the actor was left with facial paralysis for a time from which he has since fully recovered.

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Luke Snyder tries to help boyfriend Dr. Reid Oliver with his bedside manner on “As the World Turns”

Talk about elevating ridiculous material, Eric Sheffer Stevens and Van Hansis do wonders on today’s As the World Turns. They (and their viewers) are saddled with this ridiculous “make Reid be nice to people” storyline so he can be named chief of staff of the hospital.

We don’t get to see Luke and Reid together for a week and this is what we get? Good grief! The writers are trying to make their gay couple boring just as they did to Luke and Noah. But Stevens is such a good actor that he at least makes it fun and he takes Hansis right there with him.

Kudos to the actors. Boo to the writers.

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Why it’s fun – and inspiring – being Facebook friends with “Real World: Brooklyn” alum Scott Herman

Even before he was a member of the cast of Real World: Brooklyn, Scott Herman worked damned hard on his body.

But the MTV show put this buff beauty on the radar for a lot of folks and more than 20,000 of them now follow him on Facebook – including me!

Scott regularly posts workout videos and scores of appealing photos in an effort to inspire folks to workout with him. He has succeeded in amassing  into a loyal following called the “Hermanation”

I met Scott at the GLAAD Media Awards in LA in April and he said: “I want to be as real as possible. When I was growing up, my dad always taught me to respect people and to listen. The opportunity that I have is to change people’s lives.”

I wondered if Scott ever wanted to let himself go for a week, break out the potato chips and curl up on the sofa: “I have this thing that goes off in my head like if I don’t work out or eat correctly for like a day or two, I go crazy. I have to go for a run or I have to do something. It’s a sickness, it really is.

Below is one of Scott’s workouts as well as some pics from the Facebook page. Enjoy!


Dame Elizabeth Taylor is not at all thrilled with anyone portraying her and Richard Burton in a film Taylor has had an extraordinary life.

There have been eight marriages, four children, grandchildren, two acting Oscars, 50-plus movies, a wildly successful perfume business, recipient of the US Congressional Medal of Freedom, the AFI Life Achievement Award, the Academy Award for humanitarian work, the Kennedy Center Honors and being named a Dame of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II.

But this movie star and AIDS activist wants you to know that she’s not through yet and doesn’t want anyone playing her in a biopic of her extraordinary life with the late Richard Burton which is the focus of a new book and a recent Vanity Fair cover.

“Hold your horses world,” Miss Taylor tweeted recently. “I’ve been hearing all kinds of rumours about someone being cast to play me in a film about Richard and myself. … No one is going to play Elizabeth Taylor, but Elizabeth Taylor herself. … Not at least until I’m dead, and at the moment I’m having too much fun being alive…and I plan on staying that way. Happiness to all.”


GLAAD Hancock Park “Chef Invasion” event was star-studded and absolutely delicious!

Darryl Stephens and Jensen Atwood by you.

Carolyn Hennesy by you.

Susan Fenniger by you.

Brad Rowe by you.

Okay, twist my arm.

GLAAD invited me to attend its annual “Chef Invasion” benefit Sunday afternoon at the beautiful Hancock Park estate of Tim Corrigan. I love this home and wonder if Tim would notice if I took up residence in a backyard guest house for about a year or so. General Hospital star Carolyn Hennesy also liked the place as she inspected the art hanging out the walls before  heading out to her party and said to her husband: “Mr. Corrigan and I are going to have to have a talk!”

I’m not sure if Tim was even present this year but how generous of him to make his beautiful home available once again for this fun event.

The party was outside in the expansive garden/pool area where chefs Elizabeth Falkner (owner/partner, Citizen Cake, San Francisco) and Mark Peel (executive chef/owner, The Tar-Pit, Los Angeles and The Point, Culver City) squared off in a cooking challenge.

Playing hosts were chef Susan Feniger (executive chef/owner, Street, Los Angeles and, of course, one of the Two Hot Tamales!) and chef Paul McCullough (Next Food Network Star).

The chefs had 20 minutes to whip up a meal and it had to include cherries. Elizabeth prepared a breaded pork loin with a cherry relish for the pork while Mark made ice cream with a cherry sauce.

The celebrity judges were Noah’s Arc stars Jensen Atwood (Wade) and Darryl Stephens (Noah) as well as actress Jessica Collins who appears in the current ABC series Scoundrels.

The gorgeous trio of Jensen, Darryl and Jessica tasted the dishes and proclaimed the winner to be  … Elizabeth!!!

But the real winners were everyone in attendance which included actor Brad Rowe (Billy’s Hollywood Screen Kiss, Shelter), former GLAAD President Neil Giuliano and Jon Barrett, editor of The Advocate.

The drinks flowed (most included POM Wonderful) and the food available at various tasting stations was from restaurants Bastide, Cream by Crystal, Dominick’s/Little Dom’s, The Foundry on Melrose and Paul’s Kitchen and was to die for. There were oysters from Dominicks that made my day as they were cooked on the grill and seasoned with garlic, butter, smoked paprika, fresh oregano, parmasean cheese.

Eric Greenspan, chef at The Foundry served up a grilled cheese on raisin bread. It was made with Taleggio cheese and also included tomato and arugula and some kind of apricot flavor and Eric told me it is: “quite possibly the best sandwich in America.”

Bastide chef Joseph Mahon made made a couple of delicious dishes: pork rillettes with pickled cherry and toasted cashews and chillled corn soup with orange poached shrimp and curry oil. Campanile served eggplant puree with Pecorino cheese on crostini.

In addition to the food stations, there were servers walking around with trays of appetizers and there were these Salmon treats that, if I were wearing pants with an elastic waist, I might have eaten a dozen of them. They were the perfect combination of salmon, cheese (not sure what kind) and fresh cherry inside a little dumpling like pastry.

But hey, did not spend the entire time stuffing my face. Stay tuned for interviews with Brad Rowe, Jenson Atwood and Darryl Stephens!

P1030525 by you.

Jensen Atwood by you.

Susan Fenniger by you.

P1030518 by you.P1030521 by you.


Video: Adam Lambert talks about life on tour

Adam Lambert has been thrilling his fans all summer long on his Glam Nation tour which hits the Pacific Ampitheater in Orange County for two nights this week during the Orange County Fair.

During his recent concerts in the San Francisco area, Adam did this interview and admitted that despite the name of his tour, it ain’t all glamor: “Living on a bus is kind of roughing it in a way. You have to fall asleep while the bus is moving, and it’s rough … there’s potholes. It doesn’t bode well for a good dream. There’ll be a lot of times where I’ll wake up and be like ‘what the heck?’. It takes a lot of getting used to.”


Elton John defies boycott of Arizona: “I still play in California, and as a gay man I have no legal rights whatsoever” gotta hand it to Elton John. At the age of 63, he pretty much does what he wants, says what he feels and does not care who he ticks off in the process.

I suppose he’s earned it!

So what has the Rocket Man, who performed at Rush Limbaugh’s wedding recently, done now? He performed a sold-out concert at Tucson Arena, defying a boycott by other acts over Arizona’s controversial SB 1070 immigration law.

Here’s what Elton had to say to any would-be critics: “We are all very pleased to be playing in Arizona. I have read that some of the artists won’t come here. They are (expletive)wits! Let’s face it: I still play in California, and as a gay man I have no legal rights whatsoever. So what’s the (expletive) with these people?”

Source: Arizona Daily Star

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Meryl Monday: Miss Streep recites “To an athlete dying young” at Denys funeral in “Out of Africa” I saw Out of Africa for the first and only time, I was a college student.

I remember being absolutely transfixed by the film and my experience of watching it was so perfect. It was near the beginning of my now decades-long stretch as a Meryl Streep groupie.

Who knew that there was still so much to come?

Miss Streep and Robert Redford were such a dazzling pair. She played a Danish author and baroness named Karen Blixen who moves with her husband to Africa to start a coffee plantation. The marriage is not a good one [hubby is a bug cheater!] and Karen eventually falls in love with noted hunter and adventurer Denys Finch-Hatton [Redford]. She begins to want more from him than the simple friendship/relationship they have and pushes marriage, but Denys still wants his freedom.

Denys is killed in a plane crash and this scene takes place at his funeral.

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Monday Morning Man: Marc Elliott! Eastenders character of Syed Masood finally accepted his sexuality and began a life with hunky Christian.

Just look into those beautiful brown eyes of Marc Elliot and you can see why Christian (John Partridge) put up with so much!

The 30-year-old actor is described as being half “Anglo-Indian” and half Scottish and comes from Stratford-upon-Avon. He was educated at a private boys boarding school (Warwick School) and got his first screen role in the 2004 film Mile High. Television roles including Holby Hill and The Bill.

He was cast on Eastenders just last year and won the 2010 British Soap Award for Best Newcomer.

Of playing a gay man on the soap, Marc says it plays an “incredibly important part” because “In so many cultures being gay is still something swept under the carpet.” He has admitted that the storyline has caused a lot of “cat-calling” when he is seen in public and there is a “huge amount of negativity.”

But that has not stopped him from continuing to turn in stellar work.

MarcElliottnewboyinEastenders1.jpg Marc Elliott image by mouse_m

John Partridge and Marc Elliott Photograph

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Weekend Box Office: Lesbian family drama “The Kids Are All Right” is gathering steam movie stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Angelina Jolie ruled at the box office this weekend with Inception and Salt, respectively.
But a movie that cost a lot less to make is gathering steam and it’s a drama about a lesbian couple (Annette Bening and Julianne Moore) whose lives are turned upside down when their two kids track down their sperm donor daddy (Mark Ruffalo).
The film expanded from 28 theaters to 201 on Friday and grossed an estimated $2.6 million over the three days. That may sound small compared to the $43.5 million grossed by Salt but the real success is in the per theater total. Kids grossed an average of $13,174 on each screen it played which was higher than any other movie.
This positions the movie well as it further expands and positive word of mouth buzz continues. To date. Kids has grossed $4.9 million. It had a production budget of $4 million so its a sure bet to be in the black soon!
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A Gerald McCullouch correction, with photos!


I just realized that I spelled the last name of last Thursday’s Morning Man, Gerald McCullouch, incorrectly!

Sorry Gerald!

It’s been fixed and just to make myself feel better about this terrible error, I have added a few new photos of the sexy star of BearCity which recently screened at Outfest.


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Enrique Iglesias will fulfill his World Cup vow but wonders: “Can you really get arrested for skiing naked?” don’t know about you, but I’d like Enrigue Iglesias to stop talking and start skiing – naked!

The sexy singer promised he’d water ski naked if Spain won the World Cup. Well, they did!

Even though he has yet to fulfill his promise, Enrique tells that he has every intention of doing so: “I need to get my Brazilian wax before I do it. … Actually, I’m just waiting for a day off. A bet’s a bet.”

He added: “I used to do it in high school, so what’s the big deal?”

There have been rumors that the police [along with throngs of paparazzi no doubt!] will be patrolling for a fully-exposed Iglesias. He plans avoiding them by choosing a dark night to take the plunge in the Biscayne Bay.

“I never got arrested in high school for doing it,” he said while also wondering, “Can you really get arrested for skiing naked?”

Well, I think it’s about time we find out!


Showtune Sunday: Hugh Jackman sings “Not the Boy Next Door” from his Tony winning role in “The Boy From Oz” there nothing Hugh Jackman can’t do?

He’s damn good at the superhero thing as we’ve seen in the X-Men movies, can make flawed movies like Australia actually enjoyable and when he takes off his shirt, straight women and gay men nearly faint.

But of all he’s done, Hugh’s greatest triumph has got to be his Tony-winning performance in the musical The Boy From Oz.

He channeled the late Peter Allen and was simply dazzling as you can see in the above clip of him singing Not the Boy Next Door. Then below, you can see Peter accept the Tony Award.

A true talent.

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Morning Man Classic: Burt Reynolds!*k3-LcgbMy7RQULDgb-XwS6IgUplBFguiHugtMJHsB0f3hG5QgnObob0ifzCWX63JZg3SYWrKwavFUPdA1wU/shark_burt_reynolds.jpg Reynolds, king of the box office in the 70s, did a well-reviewed guest spot on USA network’s Burn Notice this week and it’s good to see the 74-year-old actor still in the game.

During his hey-day in the 70s and early 80s when he starred in a string of popular movies including Smokey and the Bandit, Hooper, The End, The Cannonball Run, Semi-Tough, The Longest Yard and scored in acclaimed dramas like Deliverance and Starting Over, there was no bigger star in the world – and none sexier!

He was also involved in long-term relationships with Dinah Shore then Sally Field in the 70s and dated Tammy Wynette and Chris Evert for a time.

But by the time of 1982′s Stroker Ace, Burt’s box office appeal began to wane and he had a string of bombs. Married by this time to Loni Anderson, he found more success in television first as B.L. Stryker on ABC then as the star of the CBS sitcom Evening Shade for which he won an Emmy.

But when he split from Anderson, it was ugly and Burt came off very badly in the publicity war between the two.

Another comeback was needed and he found it in his Golden Globe winning performance in 1997′s Boogie Nights which also earned Burt his first Academy Award nomination.

No longer under pressure to bring big box office, Burt works a lot in projects both big and small, good and bad. Among the standouts are Mystery, Alaska and Without a Paddle. I also thought he was a hoot as Boss Hogg in the 2005 feature film version of The Dukes of Hazzard.

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Today is sweet Kristin Chenoweth’s 42nd birthday! know that saying ‘Good things happen to good people?’

Well, that must be why so many good things keep happening to Kristin Chenoweth who so eloquently and beautifully stood up for her Broadway co-star Sean Hayes when a bonehead Newsweek writer wrote that the openly gay actor was not believable as Kristin’s love interest in Promises, Promises.

Kristin, nominated for an Emmy this year for her guest stint on Glee, won the Emmy last year for the late, great Pushing Daisies. She also won the Tony Award for her performance in You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown and was nominated for her role as Glinda the good witch in the original Broadway production of Wicked.

Now, you may think I gush a lot about celebs I’ve met but the truth is, I only write of the positive experiences and not so much about the negative ones. Those will be in the book! But I can honestly tell you that one of the nicest stars I’ve ever met is Kristin Chenoweth. The first time was at an awards show I don’t recall several years back and she was happy to not only tell me her name, but to spell it twice for me. I vaguely recalled her from The West Wing, totally unaware of her Broadway stature.

The second time was a few years back at the DGA Awards and we had a nice chat and she melted when I told her how amazing she had been on the Kennedy Center Honors show a few months earlier. I was so blown away by her and even more so when she shared that she had performed sick with some kind of respiratory illness.

What a trouper!

Anyway, happy birthday to sweet and talented Kristin who proves that nice girls do not finish last.

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Annual GLAAD TV Report: MTV leads cable networks while USA, TBS and A&E all fail on LGBT visibility

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) has released its fourth annual report charting LGBT visibility on television – both broadcast and cable and the results are, as always, both encouraging and discouraging.

Yesterday, I shared with you the broadcast network rankings and today, the focus is shifted to cable. [Here is a LINK to the full GLAAD Report.]


MTV got the only “excellent” ranking of any cable or broadcast network. Here’s why: The reality series Making His Band featured transgender contestant Jalia Simms who became a shining example for the transgender community; The Real World: Washington D.C. featured two bisexual roommates: Mike Manning (pictured) and Emily Schromm; The Real World: Cancun featured gay roommate Derrick and bisexuals Emilee and Aiilya; On Randy Jackson Presents: America’s Best Dance Crew, the dance crew Vogue Evolution has four gay members and Leiomy Maldonado was the first a transgender competitor; Paris Hilton’s My New BFF featured a gay male contestant who won the competition; and True Life: I’m Changing My Sex featured a transgender man and a transgender woman.

GOOD:***** ABC Family: The college drama Greek not only continued to feature gay fraternity brother Calvin, but he also began dating another gay fraternity brother named Grant. They don’t stay together in the end but Calvin helps Grant understand the importance of coming out of the closet.

The Secret Life of the American Teenager introduced the gay character of Griffin who comes out to best friend Ashley in the first episode in which he is introduced. Love it! Meanwhile, the now-canceled  10 Things I Hate About You featured a recurring character, lesbian student Mandela and her  girlfriend, Baby, who are voted the cutest couple in a yearbook survey. Also featured in the first season was
Cameron’s friend Michael, who comes out to Cameron. Cameron, a straight student, is often mistaken to be gay.***** Showtime got a ranking of “Good” despite the cancellation of The L Word which greatly reduced its lesbian programming. The United States of Tara continued to shine a spotlight on Tara’s gay teen son who begins dating his best friend. The show also features the family’s gay neighbors Ted and Hany.

The dramedy Nurse Jackie starring Edie Falco featured the title character’s best friend who is a gay nurse named Mo-Mo De La Cruz  but he was gone after season one. Gay nurse Thor is still on the show as well as the bisexual Dr. O’Hara. On Weeds, the character of Celia (the brilliant Elizabeth Perkins) experimented with a lesbian relationship but it is her daughter, Isabelle, who is a lesbian.***** HBO received a “Good” ranking on the strength of several regular gay characters such as Lafayette Reynolds on True Blood, the relationship between Alby and Dale on Big Love, Ari’s gay assistant Lloyd was promoted to agent on Entourage and the network also aired the documentary A Family is a Family is a Family: A Rosie O’Donnell Celebration.

***** TNT’s ranking of  “Good” was no doubt boosted by the arrival of Southland from NBC. The show features gay LAPD police office John Cooper while the now-canceled legal drama Raising the Bar featured gay law clerk Charlie Sagansky. The Closer has the recurring gay character of Dr. Morales while Men of a Certain Age has the recurring lesbian character of Maria.

***** Lifetime is the network that used to be tagged “television for women” but gay men always felt right at home here. They still do thanks to the network’s acquisition of Project Runway which features gay mentor Tim Gunn, gay judge Michael Kors and several gay contestants.

ADEQUATE:***** FX: Dr. Liz Cruz remained a presence in the sixth season of Nip/Tuck but GLAAD was troubled by the show’s two episodes focusing on a transgender patient who had reassignment surgery reversed then re-performed then re-reversed. It painted transgender people as indecisive. I’m also personally disappointed in the show for not having the two hot docs ride off into the sunset together (or at least down Sunset Boulevard!) since they are so clearly in love with each other.

Meanwhile, Rescue Me badly handled its episode about Franco’s girlfriend who is rumored to be lesbian. The lesbians are portrayed as aggressive and threatening toward men and there is also a thinly-veiled suggestion of violence toward women.


*** USA: White Collar could have had a much higher ranking had lesbian FBI agent Diana Lansing not disappeared after the pilot and did not reappear until the season finale. She will, however, be a regular this season. The series stars Matthew Bomer, of course, but his character is not gay and the actor does not discuss his personal life these days.

***** TBS: It’s only gay representation was a variety special hosted by Ellen DeGeneres!

***** A&E: Mad Men had a fascinating gay character of Sal on (played by out actor Bryan Batt) but, frustratingly, he was written off. What was left was Kirstie Alley’s reality series Big Life in which she hired a gay assistant.

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Out British actor John Partridge is 39 today!’s best known for his role as Christian Clarke on the long-running BBC soap Eastenders and like Christian, actor John Partridge is a proudly out gay man. He lives with his partner, actor Jon Tsouras, in London and the couple plans to marry.

His on-screen love life has also heated up with Christian finally beginning a life with Syed (Marc Elliot) after a long period of tumult.

John was born in Manchester, England, and trained at the Royal Ballet Lower School. John left college at 17 to tour the UK to tour with the original touring production of Cats. He has also appeared in productions of Grease, Tommy, Rent, Miss Saigon, Starlight Express and Taboo.

The actor was voted “sexiest male” at last year’s Inside Soap Awards. No surprise there!

I hope he’s having a very happy birthday today!!!

FILE UNDER: Birthdays

Happy birthday to “True Blood” star Anna Paquin!

Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer at the 'True Blood' Panel. July  24, 2010Anna Paquin and other cast members of HBO’s True Blood drew one of the biggest crowds at the Comic.Com convention in San Diego yesterday.
Today, the Oscar-winning actress (The Piano) and Golden Globe winner for True Blood, celebrates her 28th birthday.
She’s so young and yet has accomplished so much.
Engaged to co-star Stephen Moyer, the actress has been a staunch supporter of LGBT equality and earlier this year, went public with the fact that she herself is bisexual.

Anna made the announcement in a Public Service Announcement video promoting the Give a Damn campaign, which features celebrities speaking out for equality.

“I’m Anna Paquin. I’m bisexual and I give a damn,” she says in the PSA.

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“Sex and the City” Saturday: Anthony and Charlotte have a very frank discussion about “S-E-X”

Just love the friendship between Charlotte (Kristin Davis) and Anthony (Mario Cantone).

He is so direct that it’s the perfect counter to her prissiness as we see in this scene where Charlotte tells Anthony that she has had sex with her divorce lawyer, Harry.

At this pointy, Charlotte thinks it’s just about sex but we all know it turns out to be so much more than that.

FILE UNDER: Sex and the City