My editor at Gay Star News,Tris Reid-Smith, had a nice, in-depth conversation with Martina Navratilova recently that has just been posted on the site.
I think the world of Martina while I didn’t love all those times she beat Chrissie Evert at Wimbledon, I have always appreciated her candor and her intelligence on whatever topic she is asked about.
Why can’t more public figures be as courageous as Martina?
Anyway, here is some of what she had to say about athletes coming out of the closet, something Martina did more than 30 years ago.
“The sports world is very archaic, and particularly the team sports but I think the athletes are just too paranoid about coming out and I think if they did they would realize it was ok.
You know homophobia is easy to do when it’s generic but it’s very difficult when it’s specific. It is easy for a player to make jokes about fags or whatever but if one of the team is an out gay player, they are not going to be making those jokes. And so I think if the athletes came out it would all change.”
‘I have always said the biggest thing we can do to advance the cause is to come out. If just a few would come out while they are still players, the floodgates would open.’
Back on Board is a feature-length independent documentary in progress about Greg Louganis.
As a high school student, Greg won a silver medal in diving at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal. Then eight years later in Los Angeles, he won two gold medals.
But it is his performance in the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul that made him an Olympic diving legend. He hit his head on the diving board during the springboard preliminaries, required stitches, but still managed to come back and win gold medals in that event and in the platform diving.
It was six years later that Louganis came out publicly as a gay man and acknowledged that he had found out he was HIV positive shortly before competing in Seoul.
‘We will be shooting with Greg in London in August during the Olympic Games and for a few more months this fall,’ producers state on a Kickstarter page they have launched to raise funds to complete the film.
‘This is a film with a message of hope and against-the-odds courage,’ they state. ‘It is a story that will inspire all those who see it.’
They are looking to get the support of Louganis fans, documentary film aficionados, divers, athletes, and members of the LGBT community.
‘We are confident that Louganis’ legacy will become even more powerful as this film travels throughout the world affecting the lives of the next generation,’ they state. ‘Louganis’ life has touched, and been touched, by so many of today’s important social issues; LGBT issues; HIV/AIDS; bullying; the housing crisis; dyslexia; adoption; depression; and domestic violence, to name a few.’
Filmmakers need to raise $50,000 to finish shooting and ultimately need to raise over $300,000 to complete the film.
For the second time in three days, a Palin has appeared here at the TV Critics Association Summer Press Tour.
The other day, Todd Palin was here with the NBC show Stars Earn Stripes (Sarah Palin showed up at the evening’s cocktail reception) and this morning, it was Bristol Palin center stage at the Beverly Hilton Hotel as part of the session for Dancing With the Stars: All Stars.
She was asked about her feelings about gay people.
‘I like gays,’ Palin insisted. ‘I’m not a homophobic. Just because I’m for traditional marriage.’
To read more about her remarks, see my story over at Gay Star News.
Let’s mark the occasion by shining a spotlight on US water polo star Tony Azevedo who will be looking to improve upon the silver medal the American team won in 2008.
Tony, a graduate of Stanford University, is 30 years old and is considered to be one of the best American water polo players in recent memory. He is the current captain of the US National Men’s Water Polo Team.
He was born is Rio de Janeiro but his family moved to the US just a month later. He grew up in Long Beach, CA where his father was coach of the Long Beach State University water polo team. Tony, however, attended Stanford University where he led the school to two NCAA championships. This will be his fourth Olympics after competing in Sydney in 2000, Athens in 2004 and Beijing in 2008.
Kathy Griffin’s weekly talk show was deemed by guest Jane Fonda as ‘the weirdest show I’ve ever done in my life’ and had another guest, Anderson Cooper, saying on the air: ‘Bitch, what the f– are you doing?’
Bravo announced on Thursday (26 July) that the fun on Kathy will continue for a second season.
‘Look, I don’t know what the hell’s gonna happen in season two of Kathy. I’m still sore from season one,’ Griffin said in a statement. ‘It’s kind of like ‘not Martha Stewart‘ meets ‘not at all Ellen’ meets a lot of negative energy.’
‘Last season I had every one on my couch from Jane Fonda to Chelsea Handler to Anderson Cooper to my dog walker,’ she added. ‘Just sit back and laugh. I’ll do all the embarrassing stuff.’
The renewal is the latest chapter in Griffin’s long-running relationship with Bravo where her reality series, My Life on the D-List, ran for six seasons and won two Emmys. She has since starred in a series of one-hour comedy specials for the network including Kathy Griffin: Seaman 1st Class which premiered Thursday. She was recently nominated for another Emmy for her special Kathy Griffin: Tired Hooker.
Bravo Media President Frances Berwick says ‘Bravo’s relationship with Kathy Griffin has outlasted Katie and Tom’s, Ashton and Demi’s. While we won’t be couch jumping, we continue to be in awe of her quick wit, rude humor and spot-on analysis of pop culture and celebrity happenings.
The show’s first season was heavy on gay topics and gay guests including Cooper and Lance Bass.
‘Honey, you are my demographic,’ Griffin told Gay Star News during a conference call back in April. ‘The struggle on this show is to get one f***ing heterosexual [viewer]. This show is basically straight bashing at this point. We are very, very LGBTQI-friendly. We talk about those issues. … My tentacles have been reaching into the community for a long time.’
It’s safe to say that Chris Colfer is making a practice of getting things right the first time.
The openly gay star, set to begin filming his fourth season on Glee soon, landed the role of Kurt Hummel on the FOX hit less than two years out of high school and earned an Emmy nomination in the first season.
Then the first screenplay he ever wrote, Struck by Lightning, was made into an independent film in which he also stars. It played to a sold out crowd as it closed LA’s Outfest Film Festival last Sunday.
And finally, there is his first book, a children’s title called The Land of Stories which will make its debut on the New York Times best seller list in the number one spot.
The author tweeted the news himself on Thursday: ‘#TheLandOfStories is debuting at #1 on the New York Times Best Seller’s list!!! Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine this. Thank you!!!’
The book tells the tale of twins Alex and Conner. Through the mysterious powers of a cherished book of stories, they leave their world behind and find themselves in a foreign land full of wonder and magic where they come face-to-face with the fairy tale characters they grew up reading about.
A New York Times book critic predicted that the book ‘will hit big with its combination of earnestness and playful poise.’
As the top seed in the men’s Olympic tennis tournament and the defending gold medalist in doubles, Roger Federer would seem to be a logical choice to carry the flag for Switzerland during tomorrow’s opening ceremonies at the Olympic Games.
But Federer, who had carried the flag during opening ceremonies in 2004 and 2008, thought it was somebody else’s turn.
I never expected it, in the first place, when I started playing tennis that I would ever carry the flag into the Olympic Stadium for an Olympic Games,” Federer said at a packed news conference in London on Thursday. “So for me that was a surprise and a huge honor in my life to be able to represent Switzerland…. I felt like maybe I could enter the history books by doing it a third time.
“It would have been amazing. And there’s no denying that I would have loved to do it. I just felt it was important to give someone else a chance, particularly in Switzerland. We do believe other people should also have chances. That’s why I told Swiss Olympic [officials] I think they should choose someone else.
“They then chose my [doubles] partner Stan Wawrinka, and I think it’s a great, great honor for him. Because I could not have won Olympic gold without him.”
Todrick Hall was a semifinalist on season nine of American Idol and since then, he has been creative in getting himself out there on his own terms with his own videos that have been going viral.
In the latest, he takes on the classic Cinderella story and rewrites it as a pro-gay marriage morality tale.
Appearing with him are Lance Bass who is cast as “The Artist Formerly Known As Prince Charming.” Janice Dickinson plays Todrick’s evil stepmother, RuPaul’s Drag Race alums Willam and Shangela portray his mean-girl stepsisters, and pop stars Kimberly Cole and Aubrey O’Day perform at the midnight ball as “Aladdin’s” Jasmine and Alice In Wonderland.
In a last-minute decision, I attended opening night of Chico’s Angels 3: Chicas in Chains, the latest chapter in the popular drag parody of Charlie’s Angels.
It was a hoot!
What a treat to be seated with the lovely Thea Gill of Queer as Folk and Dante’s Cove fame and next to her was the brilliant Leslie Jordan who we all know and love from Will & Grace, Sordid Lives and the recent feature film The Help. Then in the row in front of us was Jai Rodriguez, the former Queer Eye cast member who is a cast member on the new sitcom Malibu Country.
But let’s face it, the real stars in this situation are Kay Sedia, Chita Parol and Frieda Laye who are celebrating their 9th year together on the Los Angeles stage.
Their latest two hour musical-comedy play is as good or better than previous ones.
In their latest caper, a high school streetwalker is killed in a string of murders. Chico’s Angels are hired to go undercover to find a witness at a local prep school. But the Angels don’t realize they’ve gotten so deep in the case that they end up in jail.
There are elements of the famous “Angels in Chains” episode from season one of Charlie’s Angels and the comic timing of this trio has been perfected over the years. They know what they are doing, know how to get a laugh, and know when to reign themselves back in.
They are simply sensational, each in their own way.
In addition to being so funny, they can also sing and dance and we get to see some of that in this show.
Kay Sedia’s rendition of Hopelessly Deported for You (a parody of Hopelessly Devoted to You from Grease) is sheer brilliance.
The show runs through Aug. 12 at the Cavern Club Theater and there are still some tickets available for Thursday and Sunday shows. But act fast because they do sell out. Here is a LINK for tickets and more information.
I’ve already seen (and loved) Peter Mac as Judy Garland twice in his French Market Showroom in West Hollywood.
But tonight will be the first time I will have experienced this brilliant performer channeling Liza Minnelli for an entire show.
I. Can’t. Wait.
Peter has become such a sensation at the French Market that he is now performing four times a week. The current line-up is Peter Mac in Liza Minnelli LIVE in Concert at 8 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays then Get Happy! – A 90th Birthday Celebration
starring Peter Mac as Judy Garland Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 6 p.m.
I love the intimate showroom and the fact that you can have a nice dinner before/during the show and have a glass of wine or two with an audience that appreciates these two legends as much as you do.
Peter is such a pro and I really appreciated the fact that at my invitation, he showed up as Judy at the monthly mixer of the LA chapter of the National Gay and Lesbian Journalists Association. He charmed us, told stories, and even sang a little bit of Over the Rainbow.
And Peter has continued to perform as his partner, D.j. Schaefer, has had some serious health problems that he is now recovering from. D.j. sometimes appears at French Market as Bea Arthur and is fabulous.
Chandler Massey is stepping out of the world of Salem on NBC’s Days of Our Lives to do a small role in a new film Jesus In Cowboy Boots.
Nope, Chandler does not play Jesus.
The Emmy winner plays Angelo who is described as “an athletic golden-haired boy of about 16.”
The film, written and being directed by William Carey, is a coming-of-age dramedy about a young woman (Amanda Michalka) who can’t get attention from her mother (Alicia Silverstone) and turns to an imaginary friend called The Cowboy (Billy Burke).
Angelo is a cute local boy who has attracted Vallie Sue’s rapt attention, and when she badly needs a lift to Oklahoma City, he shows up to give her a lift on his motorcycle.
Kellan Lutz, best known for playing Emmett Cullen in the Twilight Saga film series, is next set to play a secretly straight man living in a world where homosexuality is the norm.
In Love is All You Need?, Lutz will play is an aspiring journalist who falls in love with a female star quarterback. Their relationship is initially kept secret but they are eventually outed and become the targets of bullies.
According to The HollywoodReporter, actress Camilla Belle is in final negotiations to play the female lead.
The feature is to be an expanded version of a short film by Kim Rocco Shields who co-wrote the screenplay for the film with David Tillman.
Lutz has long been known to embrace his many gay fans.
‘I’m proud to have those fans, and their support means a lot to me,’ he told The Advocate last year. ‘I don’t want just girls coming to my movies; I want guys to come too.’
Last night, I attended the premiere of Chico’s Angels 3: Chicas in Chains and laughed so hard my face hurt.
This drag parody of Charlie’s Angels is celebrating its ninth anniversary with Kay Sedia, Chita Patrol and Frieda Laye in fine form!
And also in very fine form was today’s Morning Man: Ross Willett!
Ross has two roles in the stage production, one which requires him to be shirtless part of the time and to display dancing pecs.
We enjoyed that tremendously.
Ross is 28 and from Arkansas. He moved to LA to pursue acting and modeling.
Here is his bio that I’ve lifted verbatim from his website:
I spent most of my formative years pretending to be He-Man, Ninja Turtles, Thundercats and countless other superheroes. I then played video games to expand my concepts of creativity. It also helped with hand eye coordination, which I hear is important. Heck, some might say I was spoiled but I would say that it was the foundation that created pure, unrefined awesome.
I then went to the University of Arkansas where, ironically, I failed my first acting class. Apparently attendance was mandatory. Anyway, I then transferred to Arkansas State University where I attended an acting class to replace my previous failing grade. Turns out I actually liked it once I managed to show up to class. I somehow graduated and was off to the big city! Hollywood, land of the stars.
So now I am in Hollywood! I currently have been writing, producing and starring in my own material, including sketches and shorts, with my partner Noah Baron in our production company, Just Another Production Productions. Also, you may have seen me on an episode of SCRUBS, “My Manhood”, and a commercial for COMCAST.
Sherman Hemsley, who we will forever remember as TV’s George Jefferson, died yesterday at the age of 74. He played the role for two seasons on All in the Family as a thorn in Archie Biunker’s side then for 11 seasons opposite Isabelle Sanford on CBS’s The Jeffersons. Hemsley also starred for five seasons on NBC’s Amen and guest starred on many shows including reprising the role of George Jefferson last year on Tyler Perry’s House of Payne.
I have read several obits on Hemsley and found it odd, and irritating, that so many of them ended with the words: ‘he had no wife and no children.’
He was known to be intensely private so I don’t know if he was straight or gay but that line just puts us all in the same box.
In her role as communications officer Lt. Uhura aboard the USS Enterprise in the original Star Trek television series and feature films, Nichelle Nichols was a pioneer of sorts for women in space – at least fictionally.
Sally Ride, who died this week of pancreatic cancer, was the real deal as the first US woman in space. It was not widely known until her death that she was a lesbian who is survived by her female partner of 27 years.
Nichols has taken to Twitter to pay tribute to Ride who the actress knew through her involvement with National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
Sally Ride — my heart aches right now. Sally was one of my first and biggest achievements. She once thanked me for my recruitment efforts while under contract to NASA, saying “If it hadn’t been for you I might not be here.” Sally carved out her own place in history as the first American woman in space, but she was much more than that. She was a symbol for all of the little girls that needed to see what was achievable if you worked hard and studied hard. Sally was a physicist and had a love for the Sciences – a field of study that we should all encourage young people to follow.
Many people have said that I was their inspiration, something that fills my heart with joy every time that I hear it. When NASA asked me to help them find the first qualified women and minorities to join the then all-male-all-white astronaut corp, I did so with great enthusiasm. One of the first that my company was able to reach was a beautiful, young, brilliant woman named Sally Ride. She not only joined the astronaut corps – she revolutionized it by blazing the trail that so many female astronauts followed. She became MY inspiration to continue to search to find the next Sally Ride, or Dr. Mae Jemison. I know that right now there’s a little Sally or Mae out there, reading about what Sally achieved in her life, and deciding that Mars sounds like a great place to visit……..Dream On! Sally will lead the way!
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke at this week’s International AIDS Conference and reflected on the AIDS Memorial Quilt which she said for a quarter-century ‘has been a source of solace and comfort for people around the world, a visible way to honor and remember, to mourn husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, partners and friends.’
‘I well remember the moment in 1996 when Bill and I went to the National Mall to see the quilt for ourselves,’ she said. ‘I had sent word ahead that I wanted to know where the names of friends I had lost were placed so that I could be sure to find them. When we saw how enormous the quilt was covering acres of ground, stretching from the Capitol building to the Washington Monument, it was devastating.’
Clinton pointed out that 1996 was the last time the quilt could be displayed all at once because too many people kept dying and it simply got too big.
‘We want to bring about that moment when we stop adding names, when we can come to a gathering like this one and not talk about the fight against AIDS, but instead commemorate the birth of a generation that is free of AIDS.’ she said.
The entire Chick-fil-A story just gets more and more strange.
In what could be seen as a ‘you can’t quit, you’re fired’ scenario, the fast food chain on Tuesday said that as of last week, it was ‘voluntarily recalling’ Jim Henson Creature Shop Puppets Kids Meals toys due to ‘a possible safety issue.’
News of the recall surfaced a day after The Jim Henson Company said it was severing their partnership with the chain because of Chick-fil-A’s stance against gay marriage.
Chick-fil-A says on signs placed in its restaurants: ‘Please be advised that there have not been any cases in which a child has actually been injured, however, there have been some reports of children getting their fingers stuck in the holes of the puppets.’
Jim Henson CEO Lisa Henson is personally a strong supporter of gay marriage and had directed the company to donate the payment they received from Chick-fil-A to the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
‘The Jim Henson Company has celebrated and embraced diversity and inclusiveness for over fifty years and we have notified Chick-fil-A that we do not wish to partner with them on any future endeavors,’ the company said in a statement this week.
Chick-fil-A’s Chief Operating Officer COO Dan Cathy caused a stir last week when he said in an interview with the Baptist Press this week that the company is opposed to gay marriage. It had donated nearly $2 million to anti-gay groups in 2010 through its charitable arm called WinShape. It also gave more than $2 million to anti-gay groups between 2003 and 2009.
Grant Gustin, the young actor who played a gay student on Glee last student who tried to steal Blaine (Darren Criss) from Kurt (Chris Colfer), tweeted his disgust with the chain: “I’m officially done with Chick-fil-A. Your food is not good enough to take from a bunch of ass holes.”
There was also this tweet from the one and only Cher:
It was a very full day at the TV Critics Association Summer Press Tour Tuesday as NBC previewed some of its new falls shows and introduced us to cast members and other participants.
After a day of panels for such shows as The New Normal, Chicago Fire, Guys With Kids, Revolution, Animal Practice, Ready for Love and Stars Earn Stripes, the network hosted a cocktail party down by the pool of the Beverly Hilton Hotel.
I grabbed some sushi then began to schmooze and cruise for news.
Saw a group of people next near a table of desserts and saw one of them was Todd Palin, one of the participants in Stars Earn Stripes. He would be one of the “stars” it appears. Then I noticed standing next to him was a woman who looked kind of familiar – it was Tina Fey!
Okay, it was Sarah Palin.
I snapped a few pics and thought it was ironic that she was cheerfully answering some questions from reporters who are part of the “lamestream media.”
The Wrap reports that Palin was asked whether the shooting in Colorado should affect gun policy. She said: “The bad guys, the criminals, don’t follow laws and restricting more of America’s freedoms when it comes to self-defense isn’t the answer. Not when you consider what the reality is. Bad guys don’t follow laws.”
Anyway, my main goal was to get in a word or two with Andrew Rannells from The New Normal but he and co-star Justin Bartha were locked into a series of pre-arranged one-on-ones with various folks (I snapped a photo of them chatting with my friend Jim Halterman of AfterElton.com).
Of course, I had to snap a photo of gorgeous Nick Lachey who as he enjoyed a beer with Tom Stroup. Both are a part of Stars Earn Stripes.
This handsome guy is Chris Brooks, an alternate for the men’s gymnastics team at the Summer Olympics in London which begin on Friday.
Chris is 25 and from Houston, Texas. He attended the University of Oklahoma and was a member of the Oklahoma Sooners gymnastics team from 2005-2009. The team were national champions in 2008. He was a multi-year, multi-event All American, and in 2009 was captain of the Sooners Men’s Gymnastics team.
After Medical Series ended its seven year run on 1976, Chad starred in the miniseries Centennial and starred in the short-lived series McKenna and Hagen and had recurring roles on Murder, She Wrote and Melrose Place.
More recently, Chad guest-starred in an episode of Castle and on the terrific but now canceled CBS series Cold Case. It was the memorable 2006 episode Forever Blue. and he portrayed a closeted gay police officer.