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Wednesday Morning Man: Diego Boneta!

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http://img.poptower.com/pic-37516/diego-boneta.jpg?d=600If you haven’t hear of 20-year-old Diego Boneta yet, that may chance once the musical Rock of Ages hits theaters next year.

But fans of the TV series Pretty Little Liars and 90210 are already familiar with this young actor from Mexico City. He has recurring roles in both shows during their most recent seasons as Alex Santiago and Javier Luna, respectively.

He also had a role in the recent TV movie Mean Girls 2.

His IMDB bio states: Diego began his career at the age of 12 through his participation in a children’s singing reality show in Mexico. When passing to the finals, he was chosen to be a part of his first television production as Ricardo in Alegrijes y Rebujos which also had a musical group attached to the project. The musical group was nominated for the Best Children’s Group in the Latin Grammys in 2004.

For his next project, he was chosen as the lead for Mision SOS where he played Chrisitian. Here too he formed part of the musical group. Immediately finishing this series in 2005, he joined the famed Mexican teen series – Rebelde. He launched his first solo album through EMI Music and toured with Rebelde’s musical group, RBD, throughout Latin America, Europe and the U.S.A. as a solo artist. Thanks to his popularity, he was asked to record the CD in Portuguese and sold over 100,000 copies in Brazil alone. His first musical production won him MTV Latin America Best New Artist Nomination in 2006. In 2008 he was the executive producer of his second musical production – Diego Indigo. Diego wrote 9 of the 11 songs in this album and it received gold status within the month of its release.

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Chris Evans on the cover of GQ! Female reporter who profiles him reveals getting drunk at his b-day party

http://img.perezhilton.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/chris-evans-gq-cover__oPt.jpgI’ve been a Chris Evans fan ever since seeing him in Cellular and wondering, “Where has this guy been all my life?”
My fandom has only grown through his appearances in the Fantastic Four movies and a series of smaller movies. And let’s not forget that his brother is the equally hot actor Scott Evans of One Life to Live fame.
Now Chris, who turned 30 this month, is poised for superstardom as the lead in the summer action flick Captain America: The First Avenger.
When you’re as good looking as Chris and you have a summer flick due out, you end up on a lot of magazine covers (just ask Ryan Reynolds and Bradley Cooper!)
The GQ cover story is interesting and entertaining as the reporter, Edith Zimmerman, gets swept up in the actor’s world and utterly charmed as he flirts with her (touches her knee, holds hands etc.) during an interview in an Irish pub. She then attends his birthday bash later that night and gets so drunk that she has to spend the night in his guest room.
Obviously this is no way for a journalist to conduct themselves during an interview but I admire Edith for being so honest about it in the article. As she’s caught up in Chris’s spell, she constantly wonders what is real and what is for the article and shows her own humanness to us through her writing.
Here is a LINK to the piece.
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Fran Drescher’s new TV Land sitcom, based on her life being married to a gay man, debuts Wednesday!

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http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-ulWb6M54OMM/Tew5QmChDNI/AAAAAAAAHqY/I_4pVQKdnZA/s1600/happily-divorced-1.jpgI’m not so sure what’s so funny about being married to a closeted gay guy for a buncha years but it looks like we’re about to find out!

Fran Drescher, who I still love watching in reruns of The Nanny, returns to series television tomorrow night in TV Land’s Happily Divorced.

This time around, Fran plays a Los Angeles florist who discovers that her realtor husband of 18 years (John Michael Higgins) is gay. She struggles with navigating the new parameters of their relationship while re-entering the dating pool. Another twist is that the husband continues to live with her due to their economic situation!

The supporting cast also includes Tichina Arnold, Robert Walden and the great Rita Moreno.

The series is a scripted comedic re-envisioning of Fran’s real life relationship.  She learned that her husband was gay after 18 years of marriage in real life.  They got a divorce, remained friends, and then re-started their dating careers…while still living together.

The series premieres Wednesday, June 15 at 10:30 p.m. immediately following the season premiere of Hot In Cleveland.

Happily Divorced
Tags: Free Full Episodes,Classic Video Clips,TV Land Schedule

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AIDS LifeCycle: 2,350 riders complete 545-mile trek to from San Francisco to LA and raise $13 million-plus

My apologies for being a few days late on this. I really want to celebrate and shine a spotlight on the 2,350 bicyclists and 600 volunteer “roadies” who participated in the AIDS/LifeCycle and raised a record $13 million-plus for the HIV/AIDS services of the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center and San Francisco AIDS Foundation.

The seven-day, 545-mile bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles began on June 5th, the exact 30th anniversary of the first reported cases of AIDS. Riders came from nearly every state and 11 countries.

The closing ceremonies took place on Saturday and I’m sharing a few of the terrific photos that journalist Karen Ocamb has posted on her LGBT POV blog. Karen was one of the embedded reporters who went along on the journey and her perspective is something you must read. [The two smaller photos below are by Stephen Busken, one of the other embedded reporters]

Karen writes: In 1994, before the advent of life-saving AIDS medications, LA Gay & Lesbian Center CEO Lorri Jean and her team came up with a signature event to raise money for critically needed HIV/AIDS services.

Jean said of this year’s event: “I’m enormously proud that AIDS/LifeCycle has set a new fundraising record of more than $13 million. Even though the economy is still stagnant, the riders and roadies of the ride rallied like never before, both to support vital HIV/AIDS-related services and to raise awareness about this continued epidemic. Three decades after our nation’s fight against AIDS began, we are still fighting to vanquish this horrible disease—and everyone in the wonderful AIDS/LifeCycle community shares a commitment to make a difference in that fight.”

Emmy winner Jane Lynch was among the speakers during the closing ceremony and here is video of her remarks courtesy of another embedded journalist, Nick Vivion, of the site Unicornbooty which I have just discovered and suddenly cannot live without!

Celebrity trainers Cara Castronuova (The Biggest Loser) and Scott Herman (The Real World: Brooklyn) joined the AIDS/LifeCycle community this year, sharing their messages of healthy living and spreading the word that HIV/AIDS still needs our urgent attention as we enter the fourth decade of fighting the disease.

Thirty years ago this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued its first report about the disease then known as Gay-Related Immune Deficiency (GRID) and later known as AIDS. The report detailed the case studies of five gay men in Los Angeles; by the time it was published, two of the five men had died. Since the earliest days of the epidemic, both the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center and the Foundation have taken a leadership role in fighting HIV/AIDS. Today, both organizations remain at the forefront of efforts to reduce new HIV infections and ensure access to proper medical care for everyone who needs it.

“AIDS/LifeCycle 10, with its historic participation and fundraising, is a powerful reminder that our community still cares deeply about ending HIV/AIDS,” says San Francisco AIDS Foundation CEO Neil Giuliano. “This week we saw acts of heroism, both big and small, from our thousands of riders and volunteers ‘roadies’. Thirty years into HIV/AIDS, we are more confident that ever that we will be able to break the back of the epidemic in our lifetime.”

Today, 1.1 million Americans are living with HIV—the highest number in the history of this decades-long crisis. More than 1 in 10 of those live in California. And 1 in 5 of those living with HIV don’t know it. Gay and black communities are especially hard hit. New HIV infections among gay and bisexual men in the United States are on the rise—the only risk group for whom this is the case—and a 2010 CDC study found that a shocking 20% of gay and bisexual men in 21 U.S. cities are HIV-positive.

For more information, go to www.aidslifecycle.org.

Lunch Break Video: Relive the Neil Patrick Harris rap that closed the Tony Awards on Sunday

http://cdn02.okcdn.okmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Neil_Patrick_Harris_June13news-300x244.jpgNeil Patrick Harris was so very good as host of The Tonys that I am still in awe of what he was able to pull off.

Yesterday, I featured his opening number and his face-off with Hugh Jackman. He also sang lead during a cast performance of Side by Side from Company and managed to keep the show moving along for three hours with with his talent and charm.

Then he wrapped things up with this brilliant closing, a rap of all that had gone on in the previous three hours. I don’t know how he does it but I’m so glad that he does!

Tracy Morgan says in new interview: “The truth is if I had a gay son, I would love him just as much as if he was straight.”

http://extratv.warnerbros.com/images/news/0128/Tracy-Morgan.jpgI know the blog has been heavy on Tracy Morgan in recent days so I actually held this post back a day.

When someone does something like Tracy did – joked that he would stab his son to death if he found he was gay – it’s always hard to know if the apologies that follow the uproar are sincere or more about saving a career. You wonder why a grown person, a highly-paid professional, would be so insensitive in the first place.

Anyway, Morgan has now opened up to Russell Simmons on the hip-pop news website, GlobalGrind. Here are some excerpts:

I guess the reason I am successful is because I am so unfiltered. And sometimes as a result I say really stupid shit. The truth is if I had a gay son, I would love him just as much as if he was straight … I might have to try to love even more because I know of the difficulty that he would have in society.

Of all the sicknesses, there is probably none more abusive than homophobia. My heart is committed to giving everyone the same rights that I deserve for myself. I don’t care if you love the same sex as long as you have the ability to love someone. Also, you should have the right no matter who you are to protect and serve our country. I am deeply sorry for the comments I made. What I am most sad about is the comments I made about kids and bullying. I would never want any young person to think that I wasn’t on their side and if any young person thinks they can bully a young gay kid, come see me at 30 Rock. On the corner, I would be happy to meet you. Or Brooklyn if you can’t make it into Manhattan.

When all of this set in, I realized how hurtful my words were. Not asking anyone to feel sorry for me or pity me, but I definitely don’t want or need people to defend me. In my heart, I know that the words I used are indefensible. I appreciate the love from my friends and fans, but I was wrong. Period. Now, I just gotta think of some funny shit, not some shit that gets me knocked upside my head.

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Tuesday Morning Man: Trey Parker!

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If you watched the Tony Awards on Sunday night, then you saw plenty of this guy.
He’s Trey Parker, the creator of South Park (with Matt Stone) whose Broadway show The Book of Mormon won NINE Tonys including best musical, best book of a musical, best directing and best score.
Trey is 41 and each time he made his way to the podium at the Beacon Theater, my crush on him grew deeper.
He’s also won four Emmys for his work on South Park which is now in its 15th season.

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Judith Light, Anika Noni Rose, Joel Grey and others talk about Tracy Morgan on the Tony Awards red carpet

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Tracy Morgan post-homophbic rant image rehab tour begins with plans to work with GLAAD

http://static.reelmovienews.com/files/tracy-morgan-picture.jpgTracy Morgan has been under fire since last week when a homophobic rant he had during a comedy routine in Tennessee was made public via Facebook by a member of the audience.

If you’ve been reading Greg In Hollywood in recent days, then you know that he has been publicly scolded by 30 Rock co-star Tina Fey, actresses Wanda Sykes and Nia Vardalos, and actors George Takei and Cheyenne Jackson, among others.

The controversy has swelled to such a degree that you wonder what impact it might have on Morgan’s career. He is taking some big steps toward rehabilitating his battered image.

GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios and staff members spoke with Morgan today and announced that this week in New York City, the actor-comediane will meet with LGBT teens from the Ali Forney Center who were shunned or left homeless by their parents as well parents who lost their children to anti-LGBT hate crimes including Elke Kennedy.

In his act, Morgan had said he would stap his son to death if he were to find out he was gay.

GLAAD said that next week, Morgan will return to Tennessee with GLAAD to meet with those offended by his remarks and make a public statement about how he supports LGBT people. He will film a PSA as part of GLAAD’s upcoming ‘Amplify Your Voice’ PSA campaign.

Morgan said in a statement: “I know how bad bullying can hurt. I was bullied when I was a kid. I’m sorry for what I said. I didn’t mean it. I never want to use my comedy to hurt anyone. My family knew what it was like to feel different. My brother was disabled and I lost my father to AIDS in 1987. My dad wasn’t gay but I also learned about homophobia then because of how people treated people who were sick with that. Parents should support and love their kids no matter what. Gay people deserve the same right to be happy in this country as everyone else. Our laws should support that. I hope that my fans gay, straight, whatever forgive and I hope my family forgives me for this.”

http://www.efworld.org/images/monthly/2009/9_09news/jarrett-barrios-2.jpgGLAAD’s Barrios said in a statement:”By not only apologizing, but sending a message of support for gay and transgender people, Tracy will help many realize that no one should be treated differently or subjected to violence. It is so important that Americans hear from allies like him as well as gay and transgender youth shunned by their families and parents who have lost their only children to anti-gay violence. We look forward to working with him on spreading this message to Americans.”

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My recap of the LifeWorks Live Out Loud event honoring Mike C. Manning and Zach Wahls

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Mike Manning and Greg Hernandez

It’s become a tradition that on the first night of LA Pride, the LA Gay & Lesbian Center’s LifeWorks Mentoring program throws its annual cocktail party and silent auction and honors LGBT activists for their contributions.

This year’s event was held for the first time on the backlot of Paramount Studios and I think this was the best location yet for what has become one of my favorite events of the year.
Mike C. Manning of The Real World: DC fame was presented with LifeWorks Courage Award for his dedication to the youth development and mentoring program.
We chatted before he was presented with his award by NCIS star Pauley Perrette.
LifeWorks is so impactful so I’m honored that they chose me of all people to receive the award,” Mike said. “It’s amazing. I was floored. I was just happy to get involved with them. They do so much for LGBT youth which is a group that I think is under-represented with LGBT equal rights groups. They are an untapped resource. They are the future of our activism, the future advocates for equal rights and not enough is done to hone that.”
Because of his visibility from The Real World, Mike hears from a lot of young people.
“I have kids come up to me or get emails and letters and they tell me their stories – good stories and bad stories – so the fact that I can impact their lives like that and help them be who they are and in turn help other people, it’s a gift.”
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The evening’s other honoree was the remarkable Zach Wahls, a 19-year-old student at the University of Iowa who became a YouTube phenomenon when he addressed the Iowa State Legislature in support of his two moms and of gay marriage.
We spoke before he got his award. I wanted to know how his life has changed since the video of him speaking so eloquently and lovingly about his family went viral.
“I was not expecting that and if I had been expecting it I’m not sure I would have done it,” he admitted. “It was entirely unexpected. The speech was on a Monday night and Wednesday was the day it took off. I remember sitting in my apartment shaking because of all this pressure and attention and my life was all of a sudden under a microscope and that was not something I’d ever experienced or asked for. It was scary. But at the same time, I knew I had the chance to maybe change the conversation a little bit – for awhile anyway. You either choke or you don’t and I did my best not to.”
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He’s since been working with Lambda Legal and One Iowa to protect marriage equality.

“The fights not over,” he said. “Once you’ve secured marriage equality, you have to work your ass off to protect it because the fight’s not over until the other side stops fighting.”
Zach is going to be a part-time student next fall so he can focus on speaking and writing.
“I think the next year-and-a-half is going to be a real pivotal time for this struggle,” he said. “We’re finally starting to see, on a national level, that a majority of Americans support full marriage equality but you also have a lot of candidates on the Republican side all campaigning on this ‘return to family values’ which seems kind of silly to me. the fact of the matter is, increasing marriage rights seems like the best way to increase family values.”
Scott Lowell and Michelle Clunie
Greg Louganis and Michael Ferrera
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Susan Olson

David Moretti

Erin Murphy
Other than the honorees, among those at Saturday’s star-studded event were Dustin Lance Black, Greg Berlanti, Geri Jewell, Pauley Perrette, Greg Louganis, Jack Mackenroth (Project Runway), Susan Olson (Brady Bunch), Erin Murphy (Bewitched), Charlene Tilton (Dallas), David Moretti (The Lair), Queer as Folk alums Michelle Clunie and Scott Lowell, Doug Spearman (Noah’s Arc) and the reigning Mr. Gay USA Michael Holtz.

LifeWorks Executive Director Michael Ferrera (pictured with Louganis) and Lorri Jean, CEO of the LA Gay and Lesbian Center, also addressed the crowd talking about this terrific program.

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Black presented the award to Wahls and before the presentation, I wanted to get the Oscar winners thoughts on the LifeWorks program which honored him two years ago.

“We keep saying it gets better and to come out and embrace who you are once you get past the bullying or whatever is going on in school,” Lance said. “It’s one thing to say it but you have to make sure that those kids have a place to go so it does get better, so that we’re fulfilling that promise. This is one of those programs that does help it get better.”

Below is Zach Wahls addressing the Iowa legislature:

Larry Kramer’s “The Normal Heart” wins Tony Award for best revival of a play and he makes moving speech

Post image for TONYS: The Normal Heart: Tony Winner Larry Kramer's Historic SpeechLast week marked the 30th anniversary of the first diagnosed cases of AIDS so it is an ideal time to look back at the early days of the epidemic.

Larry Kramer was there and he wrote a play about that frightening time called The Normal Heart which is currently on Broadway.

Last night his great work won for Best Revival of a Play and the playwright took the stage with the producers and had some memorable words for the gay community:

“To gay people everywhere, whom I love so dearly, The Normal Heart is our history. I could not have written it had not so many needlessly died. Learn from it and carry on the fight. Let them know that we are a very special people, an exceptional people, and that, our day will come.”

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Out actor John Benjamin Hickey wins Tony Award for featured actor in a play for “The Normal Heart”

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I’ve been a big fan of John Benjamin Hickey ever since he starred in the late, great ABC comedy It’s All Relative as one half of a gay couple. (His husband was played by Christopher Sieber!).

So how great to see this busy actor (he’s currently co-starring on TV’s The Big C) win the Tony Award last night for best featured actor in a play for her performance in The Normal Heart. He plays Felix Turner,whose battle with AIDS is the central emotional event in Larry Kramer’s play.

He said being in the play “has been the greatest privilege and proudest moment in my career” and paid tribute to Kramer who he called “the great badass of the American theater.”

Here is a backstage interview the actor did last night:

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Video: See Tony host Neil Patrick Harris sing “Broadway’s Not Just For Gays Anymore”

http://cdn.sheknows.com/articles/2011/06/neil-patrick-harris-tony-awards.jpgNeil Patrick Harris was a confident, energetic and well, brilliant host of last night’s Tony Awards.

He kicked things off with this terrific opening number, Broadway’s Not Just for Gays Anymore.

It was a real tour de force for NPH who even poked fun of Angela Lansbury (“Are those things real?”). He had some help from famous audience members including Stephen Colbert, Bobby Cannavale and Brooke Shields who kept messing up her lines and finally just grabbed a sheet of paper with her lines.

I loved it!

http://assets.nydailynews.com/img/2011/06/14/alg_hugh_jackman_neil_patrick_harris.jpgBONUS VIDEO: NPH and former host Hugh Jackman had a hilarious face-off. I say it’s a toss-up over who is the host with the most. Both are multi-talented, gorgeous and charismatic.

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Monday Morning Man: Reeve Carney!

Reeve Carney Actor Reeve Carney attends a photocall following a performance of "Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark" at the Foxwoods Theatre on January 4, 2011 in New York City.Enjoyed watching Reeve Carney, star of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, perform on the Tony Awards last night.
The troubled musical will have its “official” opening next week with Carney as the character of Peter Parker/Spider-Man.
He’s 28 and was brought up in a musical family where he learned to play the piano before he took his first steps.
Reeve is lead singer of the band Carney which released their debut album Mr. Green Vol. 1 last year.
Of his Spider-Man role, he told Broadway.com last year: “I wouldn’t have been drawn to this had I not already had a lot of this character’s aspects within myself. I’m always trying to please everybody and I’m a bit of an efficiency junkie, which is why I relate to the struggle between Spider-Man and Peter Parker.”
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Tony Awards Arrivals: NPH w/David Burtka! Patti LuPone! John Benjamin Hickey! Judith Light & more!

The 2011 Tony Awards were so entertaining and much of the credit goes to host Neil Patrick Harris who was so brilliant that I predict another Emmy Award for this mega-talent.

I’ll have plenty of Tony-related posts later today and tomorrow but first I want to share some of the arrivals photos of my favorite stars starting with NPH and his love David Burtka. Are they a handsome couple or WHAT?

Then we have out actor John Benjamin Hickey who won the Tony tonight for best featured actor in a play for his performance in The Normal Heart; Tony nominee Tony Sheldon (Priscilla Queen of the Desert) brought his aunt as his date. Do you recognize her? I sure do! She’s pop legend Helen Reddy who appeared on Broadway in the mid-90s in Blood Brothers (I saw her in the musical on London’s West End in 1997!).

And how could I not include an arrival photo of my queen, the great Patti LuPone who was nominated for her performance in the musical Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. Patti didn’t end up winning a third Tony (she has awards for Evita and Gypsy) but she was on stage with the cast of Company for the number Side by Side.

Also pictured: Ellen Barkin, winner of the outstanding featured actress in a play Tony for The Normal Heart; Out actor Joe Mantello - a nominee for The Normal Heart; dreamboat presenter Harry Connick Jr.; nominee Judith Light and presenters Tyne Daly and hunky Patrick Wilson.

2010 Tony Awards Red Carpet – John Benjamin Hickey
2010 Tony Awards Red Carpet – Tony Sheldon - Helen Reddy
2010 Tony Awards Red Carpet – Patti LuPone
2010 Tony Awards Red Carpet – Ellen Barkin
2010 Tony Awards Red Carpet – Joe Mantello
2010 Tony Awards Red Carpet – Harry Connick Jr.
Judith Light<br> (© Tristan Fuge)
Tyne Daly<br> (© Tristan Fuge)
Patrick Wilson<br> (© Tristan Fuge)
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My LA Pride Parade recap: Johnny Weir a proud grand marshal; Margaret Cho proud of LGBT community

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As I drove from Silverlake to West Hollywood this morning to the 41st annual LA Pride Parade, it began to drizzle. I was wearing shorts, didn’t bother to bring a jacket and began to fret that Mother Nature was going to rain on our parade.

But by the time I got to the pre-parade press conference at the intersection of Santa Monica Boulevard and Crescent Heights, the skies had brightened a bit and I knew we were in for a good time!
Attorney Gloria Allred, a parade regular who this year rode the route flanked by a posse of “Glorias,” first appeared before the press with her client, California corrections officer Andrew Johnson.
Johnson had complained very publicly that his department would not allow him to attend LA Pride in uniform. But once Allred got on the case, much publicity ensued. The department ended up reversing its decision and allowed Johnson to wear his uniform.
The furor over comedian Tracy Morgan’s recent homophobic rant during a stand-up act was on the minds of some of those involved in the parade – especially his remark that he would stab his son to death if he were to find out he was gay.
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Rodney Scott, President of Christopher Street West, the organization that organizes LA Pride, grew emotional when he talked about it. He stood next to a 16-year-old gay male and said tearfully: “Can you imagine him coming home, telling his parents that he is gay, and his father stabbing him?”

He added: “Tracy, you owe this entire community an apology. To make a statement that you would stab your own child. It’s not acceptable.”
Margaret Cho
When it was her turn at the mic, parade honoree Margaret Cho also talked about Morgan’s hurtful words: “We see how much homophobia pervades our culture with all of the things that have happened in the past week. What I’m so proud of is our community coming together and demanding an apology which came very, very quickly. Very earnestly and honestly and I think it’s so powerful. Our community does not stand still anymore. We act right away. I am so proud that we do that and I’m so proud to be here. This is such a beautiful celebration of who we are.”

I spotted parade honoree Andy Cohen standing near Margaret and thought he might have a few words for us.

But the Bravo executive and host of What Happens Live wasn’t feeling very chatty.
Andy Cohen
He merely gave us a wave when he was introduced as LA Pride’s person of the year. Guess Andy was saving his voice for those Real Housewives reunion specials!

But Grand marshal Johnny Weir, whose hair and outfit were quite a stunning sight (“My mom picked out my outfit today.”), was in the mood to talk and I was struck by how very proud the Olympic skater was to be there.

“I’m so, so honored to be here and privileged to be the grand marshal,” Johnny said. “It’s an incredible, incredible experience. I’m here representing my community and so many beautiful people that I’m proud of. I’m here representing my family for supporting me the entire way through my youth, my career as an Olympian no matter what.”
Johnny Weir
“[I'm] representing our brothers and sisters all over the world – and even in America – who are still discriminated against, still don’t have equal rights as Americans. I’m here with love for everybody. I’m so, so proud.”
Well said Johnny!
So, here are some snapshots I took during the parade including LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Miss Allred and her assorted Glorias, a hunky sheriff’s deputy, a hot guy with the Mickey’s float, a cutie pie promoting From Hollywood to Dollywood and me with friend and fellow journalist James Mills who was also covering the parade.
Had a great time and can’t wait until next year!

Antonio Villaraigosa

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James Mills and Greg Hernandez

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Nia Vardalos blasts Tracy Morgan: “I would like to apologize to our entire gay and lesbian community that this hate still exists.”

Nia Vardalos, star of such films as My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Connie & Carla and My Life in Ruins, has a huge gay following.
And boy, she sure sticks up for the LGBT community in a column she has written for Huffington Post about Tracy Morgan’s homophobic tirade during a recent stand-up performance and she really lets the 30 Rock star have it.
Here it is in its entirety:

I don’t know Tracy Morgan.

I don’t work for NBC.

I’m not a lesbian.

Or a gay man.

So, it would seem there isn’t a reason for me to give much thought to his damaging words.

Except, one.

Enough is enough.

I would like to apologize to our entire gay and lesbian community that this hate still exists. I’m sorry someone can stand on a stage, spew violent, hateful words and images, then issue an apology, be described as not-really-like-that by his employers and co-workers, and go back to work.

Sure, we got the statements. Right away, people who know him issued words explaining his behavior and saying he’s actually not really like that.

Oh.

So, that’s it? We get a few statements from the people who work with him, and we all forget about it?

Not this time.

I want more. And, I respectfully request more. Much more.

When does the hate against our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters, end?

http://static.reelmovienews.com/files/tracy-morgan-picture.jpg Sure, a writer or comedian riffing, working out material, often goes to strange and dark places. Editing is discouraged, because part of the journey is surprise and discovery. But what we discovered about Tracy Morgan is deeply disturbing.

He is homophobic.

His employers now know this about him. And, I don’t think he should simply be vilified and shunned. Nor, just apologized for. I am optimistic wonderful Tina Fey and the brilliant writers won’t just reference it on the show in a cute and sweet way, thus dealing with the incident with a wink and a nod. I hope NBC does more than issue a statement.

What I’m yearning for is simple: we’ve discovered Tracy Morgan has a problem, and now he needs help. There must be some result, more than a few apologies. Maybe this is a way to open the dialogue. Maybe sensitivity training. It happened. Let’s address it and learn from it.

Or, is it now a question of a hate crime and a consequence?

When Isaiah Washington reportedly uttered homophobic slurs on Grey’s Anatomy, he was fired. Perhaps, because he said it at work? Maybe he created an unsafe working environment, and was therefore asked to leave.

So, are we to assume Tracy Morgan has never expressed his innermost feelings about gay and lesbian people at work? Really? Ever? I wonder if his co-workers feel safe and at ease. The problem is, we’ve all seen it: this sort of joke is usually greeted with a laugh. Even an uncomfortable one, to ease the tension, is condoning the message.

There are reports that while some were angry, many people in the audience that evening, laughed.

That offends me. And, worries me. We live in an unsafe world. There are children and adults who go to school and work every day, knowing there are people who feel the same way as Tracy Morgan. They now know there was an audience who did not stand up and walk out when a man talked about stabbing his son if that child revealed himself to be gay. Stabbing. His son.

I feel sorry for Tracy Morgan. He revealed something about his feelings that show a deep fear. I hope he gets treatment for his problem. Thanks to the Internet, his words will be out there forever.

So, it happened. What do we do now? How this issue is dealt with will reveal a lot about our society and our ever-evolving levels of tolerance and acceptance of our gay and lesbian community.

As I said earlier, I am hopeful, I am optimistic.

But, it’s time for this hate to end.

FILE UNDER: Controversy

Showtune Sunday: Super-Sized Tony Awards Edition with LuPone, Merman, Hugh Jackman and more!

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/.a/6a00d8341c630a53ef015432ecdc33970c-300wiWell, it’s tonight!

If you are reading this blog, chances are excellent that at 8 p.m., you will have your television on CBS and be settling in to watch The Tony Awards.

Since the awards, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, is taking place during Gay Pride weekend in LA, it is simply the gayest day of the year for me.

To get you in the mood for the festivities, I’ve compiled a handful of performances from Tony Award telecasts past featuring some of my favorite Tony telecast performances from years gone by featuring Jennifer Holliday, Patti LuPone, Hugh Jackman, Ethel Merman, Cheyenne Jackson [in shorts!] the original cast of Rent and a terrific medley from the 1986 show featuring the likes of Bea Arthur, Nell Carter, Ann Rienking and Sandy Duncan.

Enjoy!







FILE UNDER: Showtune Sunday

Screenwriter/activist Dustin Lance Black chats w/Greg In Hollywood about Tracy Morgan controversy

Dustin Lance BlackSaw Oscar winner Dustin Lance Black at Saturday’s LifeWorks Live Out Loud party [see full report on the event later today] and wondered what this always outspoken and articulate guy thought about the furor surrounding Tracy Morgan’s homophobic rant during a comedy routine.
“He’s apologized at this point,” said Lance. “You know, these things are learning experiences. I think as long as we react strongly and let them know that it is not appropriate and that they do apologize that we are using it as learning experiences. We’re saying, ‘Hey, you can’t do this and this is why.’ If the apology happens, I think it’s good. It’s helpful.”
Lance, whose Academy Award came in 2009 for the screenplay he wrote for Milk, also wrote the upcoming film J. Edgar which was directed by Clint Eastwood and stars Leonardo DiCaprio.
J. Edgar hits theaters the first week in October and he’s still finishing the film What’s Wrong With Virginia which he wrote and directed. It stars Jennifer Connelly, Ed Harris and Emma Roberts.
FILE UNDER: Controversy

“Star Trek” icon George Takei’s thoughts on Tracy Morgan: “He’s a sad, strange man.”

http://www.examiner.com/images/blog/EXID11279/images/takei.jpgAs you can see from the number of blogs posts in the past few days, Tracy Morgan’s homophobic and violent remarks during a stand-up routine have really struck a nerve.

While some have defended his right to free speech, others like Tina Fey, Wanda Sykes and Cheyenne Jackson have been highly critical.

Here’s what openly gay Star Trek icon George Takei thinks:

“When I first learned of it, my blood started boiling,” he told  TheWrap.  “But then, the more I read it over, you know, he’s a sad, strange man. He’s an African-American who has been subjected to bigotry and hate before, and for him to be perpetuating that, he must be an insecure guy.

“It’s really kind of sad to see that and to talk about violence — kill his own son if he turned out to be gay. (joking) His father should be very careful: He might be the next victim of a killing rampage because he gave him the name ‘Tracy.’ It’s a very lacy kind of thing, poor guy. Maybe that contributed to his insecurity and hence his homophobia.”

FILE UNDER: Uncategorized