I am thrilled to spread the news that Turtle Hill, Brooklyn - one of my favorites from last year’s film festival circuit – begins an exclusive week-long engagement at Quad Cinema in Manhattan on Friday, May 3.
Saw it in Palm Springs last fall and highly recommend!
Writers/producers Brian W. Seibert and Ricardo Valdez, a couple off-screen, headline the cast as on-screen couple Will and Mateo.
Will and Mateo are throwing a 30th birthday party for Will at their home in Turtle Hill, Brooklyn. When Will’s conservative sister stops by unexpectedly, he is forced to come out to her and face the repercussions.
The party kicks into action as the friends drink, jump in the kiddie pool, break the piñata, and argue about politics, relationships, sex and religion. Another surprise guest arrives exposing truths that threaten Will and Mateo’s relationship.
When the bottles are empty and guests are gone, the couple faces the reality of who they are individuals and where they stand as a couple.
The film, directed by Ryan Gielen, also stars Ariel Bonilla, veteran stage actor Michael Edmund, Rachel Valdati, Maryll Botula and Deirdre MacNamara.
My favorite scene is this: Someone has brought a guy as a guest who happens to be a Log Cabin Republican. Will is having none of it and ends up giving the guy a piece of his mind in a withering takedown so thorough that I wouldn’t have been surprised if the guy changed party affiliations right there and then!
The movie was actually filmed at Brian and Ricardo’s Brooklyn home. Brian told me after the screening in Palm Springs that the movie was inspired by the annual birthday parties he has with their group of friends.
Lance Bass joined The Rubin Report this week, a current events panel show hosted by Dave Rubin, to discuss NBA player Jason Collins coming out.
Lance was very candid, talking about his own experiences coming out, advice for a potential gay member of One Direction, thoughts on religion and homophobia.
Here are some highlights:
On his own experience coming out: “Back then it was a little different. Not many people were coming out. My situation was a little different from Jason’s, I had 24 hours to decide whether I was going to do this article or not, because the magazines were going to write it anyway..”
“Back then it was scary because, one thing, I didn’t want the gay community to be embarrassed by me coming out. I didn’t want everyone to make it a joke.”
Thoughts on a potential gay band member in One Direction “I mean statistically speaking, one probably is [gay]. The market is 100% young women and they fantasize about these [One Direction] guys. Then you have the record labels and everyone grooming you to make sure that you don’t even mention that you have a girlfriend. So screw the fact that you’re going to come out as being gay, it ruins their whole business plan.”
On being in the closet while in NSYNC: I felt like I had four of my best friends careers in my hands. It was a different time. I felt that if anyone found out that it would be the end of the group, everyone would completely make fun of us, and we would no longer make music anymore. Which might have happened.
In part 2 (Video) he talks about the negative comments made about Jason Collins coming out, and keeping religion out of it: “I hate when people just keep on throwing religion into anything, I mean it’s sports. There should be no religion discussion about sports. It’s sports. Why not complain about all the players having sex outside of wedlock?”
Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl says about eight weeks ago, ‘dramatic change’ began as he began to improve. He says he would not be alive today if it were not for medical marijuana which ‘gave me my strength back and my life back.”.
“Here I am going forward! … We’re going to continue to make this world a better place.’
Rosendahl is the city’s first openly gay council member. He did not run for reelection in November. His chief of staff, Mike Bonin, also gay, was elected to succeed him.
Anderson Live! may not be returning for a third season but host Anderson Cooper still managed to snag a second consecutive Emmy nomination for hosting the show.
Anderson will compete against Steve Harvey, Ricki Lake, Dr. Mehmet Oz, and Rachael Ray.
While Ellen DeGeneres did not receive a hosting nod, The Ellen DeGeneres Show was once again nominated in the category of Outstanding Talk Show – Entertainment. Also shut out in the hosting category were the ladies of The View on ABC and The Talk on CBS. But both shows were nominated and will compete against Ellen’s show and Live with Kelly and Michael.
The Jason Collins story has been so huge this week – much bigger than back in 1981 when Martina Navratilova came out as a lesbian.
Ronald Reagan was president, the AIDS crisis was just beginning, and Martina was a new American citizen with two Wimbledon singles titles to her credit.
She was the archrival of America’s tennis sweetheart, Chris Evert, and the crowds cheered vigorously against Martina who would go on to dominate the sport as the number one player from mid-1982 through mid-1987.
Throughout her reign as the world’s best player and as a top four player until her retirement from singles in 1994, Martina never tried to hide who she was. Her female partners rooted for her in the stands and she bravely fought off Evert, Graf and other to accumulate 18 grand slam singles titles including a record nine at Wimbledon.
That she accomplished this in the 80s is remarkable and I think the Collins coming out really makes what Martina did all the more astonishing.
That’s why everyone wanted to get Martina’s take on Collins this week and what his coming out means to the world of sports.
“Now that Jason Collins has come out, he is the proverbial ‘game-changer,’” Martina wrote in a column for Sports Illustrated. “One of the last bastions of homophobia has been challenged. How many LGBT kids, once closeted, are now more likely to pursue a team sport and won’t be scared away by a straight culture?”
She added: “Collins has led the way to freedom. Yes, freedom — because that closet is completely and utterly suffocating. It’s only when you come out that you can breathe properly. It’s only when you come out that you can be exactly who you are. Collins’ action will save lives. This is no exaggeration: Fully one third of suicides among teenagers occur because of their sexuality. Collins will truly affect lives, too. Millions of kids will see that it is OK to be gay. No need for shame, no need for embarrassment, no need for hiding.”
Jane Fonda’s conversation with Coco Peru at the Renberg Theatre on April 20 was a fundraiser for the LA Gay & Lesbian Center.
I wish I could have been there but it was impossible to be there and at the GLAAD Media Awards at the same time!
Fonda credits her friend and Nine to Five co-star Lily Tomlin for getting her to do the event.
In the video below, Fonda talks about working with Harvey Milk to defeat the Briggs Initiative which sought to ban gays and lesbians – and even their supporters – from working in the California public schools.
‘We were friends,’ Fonda told Peru. ‘He was the most wonderful, loveable.’
She added that Milk had a ‘huge generous heart (and) spirit.’
Fonda has agreed to auction off a rare photo, autographed by her, of her and Milk to raise more money for The Center.
It was taken on October 12, 1978 by Roger Ressmeyer in San Francisco at a political rally opposing the Briggs Initiative. Fonda was one of the few celebrities at the time who was willing to campaign for LGBT rights with an openly gay official. Ms. Fonda has generously offered to autograph the photo, personalized for the auction winner.
States Ressmeyer of the photo: “As a young photographer working for Time/Life magazines, it was awe-inspiring to meet with Jane Fonda and take this and other photos at one of her appearances to help make the world a better place. I was friends with Mayor Moscone and Harvey Milk, and simply thrilled to capture this rare moment on film.”
Just had a chat with Chandler Massey about his Emmy nomination for Days of Our Lives and he was as humble and thoughtful as ever.
Chandler (pictured with me last year at a Paley Center event) has been doing superb work as Will Horton on Days for more than two years now and is the reason why I started watching the show in the first place.
His coming out story last year was emotional and gripping and the episode that got him his third Emmy nod was one in which Will kisses another guy for the first time then goes to his grandmother Marlena (Deidre Hall) for a heart-to-heart.
‘Just getting nominated is an honor,’ Chandler told me. ‘It’s really nice, it’s very gratifying and humbling to get this respect from your peers. But I’m not doing it for the awards, I’m doing it for the story and for the character.’
‘The exciting thing about this time is that Freddie is nominated too. That’s a huge bonus.’
That would be Freddie Smith who plays Will’s boyfriend Sonny Kiriakis, a character that had been in the background for too long but has emerged strongly in the past six months.
“I think it’s always getting better – specifically the scenes between Freddie and me,” Chandler says. “We have such an organic rapport between the two of us. The foundation of that is we both know we are working to make the scene as good as it can possibly be. That allows us to really trust each other. The bond only gets stronger between the two of us and the bond between Will and Sonny only gets stronger and deeper.”
The storyline currently has Will’s ex-girlfriend Gabi about a month away from giving birth to their child with her husband, Nick Fallon, an oppressive and homophobic presence.
“My favorite scenes are definitely ahead – the stuff that hasn’t aired yet,” Chandler says. “Will and Gabi will find themselves in an almost sitcom type relationship and it makes for interesting, funny and heartfelt scenes – really good stuff.”
American tennis stars Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish came out this week – as allies against homophobia in sports .
Roddick, who was the top-ranked American tennis player for more than a decade and winner of the 2003 US Open, was among the first to tweet support of the NBA’s Jason Collins after he came out as gay.
Andy then announced that he had joined the group Athlete Ally to fight homophobia in sports.
‘(Monday) was an incredible day for athletes everywhere,’ he said in a statement. ‘Jason Collins’ courage and leadership in coming out reminds me of how important it is for an athlete to be able to be true to him or herself.’
Roddick, who retired last September at the age of 30, added: ‘I want to support every athlete to feel comfortable and confident being themselves and to make sure that all people – players and fans alike – are welcome and included in tennis.’
Fish, who has been sidelined with a heart problem for much of the past year, is also an Athlete Ally and stated: ‘Everybody deserves a shot at playing sports. It shouldn’t matter in the least if that person is gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. Building community through healthy and inclusive activities should be one of the main focuses behind athletics, and that isn’t possible if you exclude LGBT individuals, especially our youth.’
Although no male tennis pro has ever come out during their career, Martina Navratilova came out in 1981 and nearly two decades later, 2006 Wimbledon champion Amelie Mauresmo came out.
Navratilova, a member of the Athlete Ally advisory board, is happy to see the male players voicing support.
‘It’s people like Andy and Mardy who will help pave the way for LGBT athletes in tennis,’ said Navratilova, winner of 18 grand slam singles titles. ‘Though coming out is an intensely personal decision, with each new Athlete Ally that speaks out, an LGBT athlete could feel more comfortable coming out.’
There’s a lot of attention being paid right now to NBA player Jason Collins for coming out as gay.
Among those being interviewed are the handful of major league athletes who came out as gay after their playing days were over and it is still a shockingly low number.
Today’s Morning Man, Billy Bean, is one of the few.
Now 48, handsome Billy came out of the closet in 1999 with a heart-breaking memoir Going the Other Way.
Billy paid a heavy price for being in the closet.
When he was playing for the San Diego Padres, his lover died unexpectedly. Billy could not mourn him for fear of being outed and it took an emotional toll that resulted in his baseball career ending prematurely after 12 years in the major leagues.
In an interview I did with Billy in late 2011, I asked him if he thought a player in one of the major sports would ever come out during his playing career.
Billy said then: ‘It’s going to take maybe just one special guy who can really move that ball forward. We’ll see.’
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.
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.”
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.”
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.