The ESPYs were in town this week and we got to see how well athletes like the NFL’s David Anderson clean up!
David is a 27-year-old wide receiver for the Houston Texans. I’d never heard of him before but have discovered that he is from Westlake Village, CA and played for Colorado State before being drafted by Houson in 2006.
One of his claims to fame is doing the Conan O’Brien string dance after a touchdown (see video below). Nice hip action!
When I arrived at the DGA Theatre last night for the screening of Weekend, I was told there was absolutely no press tickets available and that the movie was a complete sellout.
I was crestfallen and stood at the counter asking for a supervisor when I bumped into the publicists for the film who just happened to have ONE spare ticket. I got it! Feeling much better, I sauntered into a pre-party where the film’s British director, Andrew Haigh, was among those in attendance.
Since it was a sellout crowd, I wondered how he was feeling at that very moment.
“I find it exciting and yet I’m a little bit nervous at the same time,” said Haigh (pictured, left). “It’s a good pressure. I’m just hoping people can understand the accents!”
The director acknowledged that winning the audience award at South By Southwest earlier this year helps in situations like this: “You feel even more at ease knowing the audience is predominantly gay.”
The audience’s expectations were set pretty high when in introducing the film, Outfest Director of Programming Kim Yutani said: “I really think Weekend sets a new standard for LGBT cinema and independent film in general.”
She wasn’t overstating. This outstanding drama was easily the best movie I’ve seen at Outfest this year. Believe me, awards will be won. It features breakout performances by Tom Cullen and Chris New who seem so natural and so inhabit their roles that you feel like you are eavesdropping on them most of the time.
Weekend follows Russell (Cullen) who, after randomly picking up an artist Glen (New) at a nightclub on a Friday night, unexpectedly spends most of the next 48 hours with him in bedrooms and bars, telling stories and having sex. As they spend more time together, sharing snippets of their lives, they begin to reveal the things that hold them back as much as push them forward and develop a deep connection that could resonate throughout their lives.
Glen gets most of the funny lines including his description of coming out to his parents when he was 16: “I told them nature or nurture it’s your fault so get over it!”
And boy is he opinionated saying that the gays in Britain don’t fight for gay rights because they’re “too busy on Grindr or having their asses to do anything.”
While Glen seems confident, he acknowledges over the weekend that he is trying to “redraw” himself but is struggling because “everyone keeps hiding my pencil.”
After the screening, Outfest Executive Director Kirsten Schaffer conducted an extended Q&A with Haigh and the film’s producer Tristian Goligher.
We learned that the film was shot in Nottingham in 17 days in sequence and that one of the leads is gay in real life and the other is not. We were not told which one! [I will have a post tomorrow on Haigh's thoughts about casting straight actors in gay roles].
Haigh, whose film Greek Pete previously screened at Outfest, not only wrote and directed Weekend, but he also edited it and he is a superb editor.
He spent three years writing a film that he feels is different from anything else out there: “I’d seen so many gay-themed films that didn’t reflect how I felt about being gay. [He wanted the movie] to feel as realistic as possible, as authentic as possible. … I wrote it hoping it would seem like it was improvised.”
The characters in the film share many deep secrets during a night of drinking and drugs and Haigh used that as a device for a simple reason: “You just open up more, are more honest, and say things you normally wouldn’t say.”
I’ll keep you posted on the distribution plans for Weekend because you really must see it!
Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill that will fairly and accurately portray the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights movement and the historic contributions of the diverse LGBT community in the teaching of social science in school.
The Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, and Respectful (FAIR) Education Act (SB 48) was authored by Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and co-sponsored by Equality California and Gay-Straight Alliance Network.
According to Equality California, in schools where the contributions of the LGBT community are included in educational instruction, bullying declined by over half and LGBT students were more likely to feel they have an opportunity to make positive contributions at school.
“Today marks a monumental victory for the LGBT civil rights movement as the contributions of diverse LGBT community will no longer be erased from history,” said Equality California Executive Director Roland Palencia. “Thanks to the FAIR Education Act, California students, particularly LGBT youth, will find new hope and inspiration and experience a more welcoming learning environment that will embrace them.”
Said Leno in a statement: “Today we are making history in California by ensuring that our textbooks and instructional materials no longer exclude the contributions of LGBT Americans. Denying LGBT people their rightful place in history gives our young people an inaccurate and incomplete view of the world around them. I am pleased Governor Brown signed the FAIR Education Act and I thank him for recognizing that the LGBT community, its accomplishments and its ongoing efforts for first-class citizenship are important components of California’s history.”
I’m promoting the event because I am the new president of the Los Angeles chapter of NLGJA and want to see a big turnout!
Steven, lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, is a syndicated writer on LGBT manners for The Huffington Post, Yahoo! Shine, LOGO, and the “Q” Syndicate. The same-sex wedding expert for The New York Times, he has also written for The Advocate, The Los Angeles Times, Salon, The Daily Beast, and Out.com. His previous books include The Essential Book of Gay Manners & Etiquette and When Someone You Know Has AIDS.
After the signing (at about 8:30 p.m.), NLGJA-LA is hosting Steven and our current executive director Michael Tune at an after-party at Red Rock Bar and Eatery (8782 Sunset Blvd).
No, it’s not a gay bar but it’s a cool spot and it is literally yards away from Book Soup which is at 8818 West Sunset Blvd.
Please join us at the signing and/or at the after-party!
When it comes to career longevity, it’s hard to beat Betty White. The 89-year-old television legend was nominated earlier today for an Emmy Award for best supporting actress in a comedy series.
The nod for her role of Elsa on the TV Land sitcom Hot in Cleveland is her 18th nomination for a prime-time Emmy and 20th overall when you count her Daytime Emmy honors. She has won six Emmys already and has a strong shot for a seventh considering her nomination is so well-earned and she won the SAG Award earlier this year.
“I’m still in shock,” Betty told the Los Angeles Times this morning. “I’m so thrilled I can’t see straight!”
Her first Emmy nomination came back in 1951 for her sitcom Life With Elizabeth. She went on to win two awards as Sue Ann Nivens on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, one as Rose Nyland on The Golden Girls, one for a guest spot on The John Larroquette Show and one for hosting Saturday Night Live. She also won a Daytime Emmy in 1983 for hosting the game show Just Men!
“I’m going to be 90 in January and to get this thrill now, I can’t be coy about it,” Betty said. “Cloris [Leachman] is still way ahead of me, though.”
That is true.
Her fellow Mary Tyler Moore Show alum was also Emmy nominated today for her performance in the FOX sitcom Raising Hope. Although Leachman is in every episode, she somehow qualified in the guest actress category. The 85-year-old actress has won nine Emmys and has now been nominated a total of 23 times!
Entertainment Weekly chatted with Chris Colfer this morning after he received word that he has once again been nominated for an Emmy.
“There were rumors that I might get nominated again, but I was thinking I wouldn’t,” he said. ”It was a surprise. I think there is so much anxiety that comes with awards show and nominations and I was focusing on all the bad. The category is so so tough, so selective, that I didn’t think I get another nomination.”
Chris also commented for the first time on the just-reported news that he will not be a regular on the series beyond its upcoming third season.
“It was bound to happen sooner or later,” Colfer said. ” I would love to pull a Farrah Fawcett from Charlie’s Angels and come back every 10th episode. I’d be the obnoxious recurring star!”
Farrah was only a series regular on season one of that classic 70s show but returned for a total of six episodes during seasons three and four.
Becoming Chaz, the documentary that chronicles the transition from female to male of the only child of Cher and the late Sonny Bono, earned an Emmy nomination this morning for outstanding nonfiction special.
The documentary premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, screened over the weekend at Outfest and has been airing on OWN. It is a film by Outfest 2011 Lifetime Achievement honorees Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato and subject Chaz Bono is also nominated as a producer.
Becoming Chaz will compete against Jaws: The Inside Story, His Way, Stand Up to Cancer and Gettysburg.
Meanwhile, two-time Emmy winner Kathy Griffin is once again a nominee for the sixth and final season of her reality series Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D List. You root for her to win just to hear what she’ll say in the acceptance speech! But she’ll have to beat Antiques Roadshow, Hoarders, Mythbusters, Undercover Boss, and Deadliest Catch.
Also, three gay faves compete in the outstanding variety, music or comedy special category: Bette Midler is up for The Showgirl Must Go On, Carrie Fisher for Wishful Drinking and Lady Gaga for The Monster Ball Tour: At Madison Square Garden. Rounding out the category are The Kennedy Center Honors and The Pee Wee Herman Show on Broadway.
Jane Lynch will not only be hosting the Emmy Awards in September, she will also be vying for her second consecutive trophy for her portrayal of Sue Sylvester on Glee.
The out actress, who is celebrating her 51st birthday today, was among the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards nominees unveiled this morning. She competes with Modern Family cast members Julie Bowen and Sonia Vergara as well as Kristen Wiig for Saturday Night Live, Jane Krakowski for 30 Rock and television legend Betty White for Hot in Cleveland.
As expected, Glee and Modern Family will once again square off in the outstanding comedy series category with Glee hoping to avenge last year’s loss. They will also compete with CBS’s The Big Bang Theory and a trio of NBC Thursday night comedies: 30 Rock, The Office and Parks & Recreation.
The actors who play Modern Family’s gay couple were both nominated for supporting actor in a comedy: out actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson and last year’s winner Eric Stonestreet. [Nathan Lane, the openly gay actor who played the couple's friend Pepper in a pair of episodes, was nominated in the guest actor category.] Out actor Chris Colfer, who plays gay high school student Kurt on Glee, earned his second nod for supporting actor. Rounding out the category are are 2009 winner Jon Cryer for Two and a Half Men and Modern Family’sEd O’Neill and Ty Burrell.
Surprisingly, Neil Patrick Harris was snubbed in the best supporting actor category after four consecutive nominations for How I Met Your Mother and a win at last month’s Critics Choice Awards. He has yet to win for his portrayal of Barney Stinson but did take home a pair of Emmys last year for hosting the 2009 Tony Awards and for his guest appearance on Glee.
Out star Alan Cumming earned a supporting actor in a drama series category for his performance as Eli Gold in The Good Wife. His competition includes fellow castmate Josh Charles, John Slattery of Mad Men, Peter Dinklage for Game of Thrones, Walter Goggins for Justified and Andre Braugher for Men of a Certain Age.
For a full list of nominees, here is a LINK to the TV Academy’s official website.
It’s got to be pretty great being Jane Lynch these days.
She’s about to start the third season of Glee in her Emmy winning role of Sue Sylvester, will be hosting the Emmy Awards in September – and will probably receive another nod when nominations are announced this morning – and is also filming a role in the upcoming Three Stooges feature film and working on her memoir, Happy Accidents, to be released Fall 2011.
And on top of all of that, she’s into her second year of marriage to Dr. Lara Embry!
Looks like this mega-talented actress, who has been turning in first-rate performances in movies (The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Best In Show), television (Party Down, The L Word) and on stage (The Real Live Brady Bunch) for decades, has a lot to celebrate on her 51st birthday today!
Watched a DVD screener of the documentary With You the other night about the life of 9/11 hero Mark Bingham. With the 1oth anniversary of that terrible day coming up, this is a timely tribute to a man who was among the heroes on United Flight 93. I heartily recommend you catch tonight’s screening of the film at Outfest. [Ticket info HERE].
It is such a wonderful thing that so much video exists of Bingham from throughout what looks to have been a very full and happy life. We see him in younger years then on the rugby field, in college, on trips abroad and through the eyes of his dynamic mother, Alice Hoagland, who is really something special. You will wish you had her in your life!
My friend Karen Ocamb has posted an in-depth interview with Alice on her blog LGBT POV. Here are a few highlights:
“For me watching that film was the very first time seeing many scenes in my son’s life,” she said of With You. “It was really wonderful in that respect.”
Hoagland also candidly conceded – as she does in the film – that it was difficult for her to accept Mark’s homosexuality when he first came out:
“When my son first told me, my subconscious mind just rejected it. I acknowledged and believed it on an intellectual level but it took me a while to really come to grips with it and accept it. And when I did, in a matter of months, I guess, I became grateful then that Mark had enough confidence in me and love for me and thought enough of me that he wanted me to be one of the first people in his life to know something very fundamental and true about himself. Even though he knew that my attitudes towards gays was vague and not accurate. I would say that I was vaguely antigay –imbued with stereotypes. I’ve had to fight through that. I am one of those lucky human beings that has done an about face and rejected a lie and embraced the truth. But I wish I had had the courage and goodness of heart to do that on my own.
But it took my son to do that for me by acknowledging, by telling me – challenging my stereotypes and telling me, “Mom, I’m gay.” Because of him, I have gone on a different journey in my life. And with all the important things in my life – and all the accomplishments that I have – most of them have been because I had a little boy who grew up to be a man who set me on an important life’s quest.”
It seems that no character – no matter how popular – is safe on Glee.
Creator Ryan Murphy tells The Hollywood Reporter that after this season, he plans to write Lea Michelle (Rachel), Chris Colfer (Kurt) and Cory Monteith (Finn) out of the show because their characters will be graduating from high school.
“You can keep them on the show for six years and people will criticize you for not being realistic, or you can be really true to life and say when they started the show they were very clearly sophomores and they should graduate at the end of their senior year,” Murphy said.
He added that who’s graduating and who’s staying will be revealed in the Sept. 20 season premiere:“We’ve never done anything by the book. We made that decision and I involved Chris and Lea and they thought that was a good idea. They both trust the writing and trust me and felt that it would be great to have an open and closed experience for them to go out while they were on top.”
What do you think Glee fans? Is it a good idea to start phasing core characters out or would you rather see these performers playing high school students well into their 20s and early 30s?
I’ll be writing more about the outstanding drama Weekend later today. It screened last night at Outfest and was clearly much appreciated by the sellout crowd.
One of the stars of Weekend is a hugely talented actor named Chris New who makes his feature film debut in the movie. I was so impressed with him that I change-up my planned Morning Man line-up and moved this 30-year-old from Great Britain to the front of the list!
According to his IMDB profile, Chris trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and, after graduating in 2006, built up an impressive reputation for his stage and small screen work. He starred opposite Alan Cumming in the 2006 revival of Bent in London’s West End. He then went on to work at the National Theatre, under the direction of Sir Richard Eyre, the Royal Shakespeare Company, The Young Vic, The Royal Exchange and London’s Sadler’s Wells.
In 2009 he returned to the West End to star as Joe Orton in the stage adaptation of Prick Up Your Ears, and last year, Chris made his New York stage debut leading the company of Peter Nichols’LIngua Franca which transferred to New York from London’s Finborough Theatre. He has also worked regularly for the BBC in numerous television and Radio Productions.
When it returns for its fourth season this fall, 90210 will have all kinds of straight characters. But the character of Teddy, who came out as gay over the course of last season, will only be around for five episodes.
Actor Trevor Donovan deserves major credit for making the most of the storyline which never got equal time to the others. It still managed to show Teddy accepting himself, getting involved with Ian, coming out to his friends at school, having a fling on spring break and dancing at the prom with new boyfriend Marco.
Donovan not only shined on screen, he also gave man thoughtful interviews about playing a gay character and emerges from the show a promising new star.
Not sure how Teddy will be written out of the show but I think we should enjoy him while we can! Here are some shots of Donovan shooting some beach volleyball scenes. To see dozens more, go to Socialite Life.
When it comes to remarkable people in public life, Betty Ford was pretty much up there near the top of the list.
She was candid about the troubles in her life – including alcoholism and breast cancer – and about issues important to her.
In tribute to this great woman, here is her memorable guest appearance on The Mary Tyler Moore Show made while her husband was in office. Mary and Lou Grant (Ed Asner) are in Washington DC and Mary does not believe it is the First Lady on the other end of the telephone.
I bumped into Robert Gant on Sunday at, of all places, the El Pollo Loco at Sunset and Crescent Heights.
I was on a break between Outfest films and assumed he was also attending the festival where his movie, Save Me, screened a few years back. But he was just grabbing a quick bite, unaware of all the Outfest activity going on just a block away!
Hey, the Queer as Folk alum is a mighty busy guy.
He recently did guest spots on ABC Family’s The Secret Life of the American Teenager, CBS’s Mike and Molly, TV Land’s Hot in Cleveland, FOX’s Bones and ABC’s Castle.
Hopefully Robert will find time to celebrate his 42nd birthday today!
NFL Hall of Famer and former Dallas Cowboy Michael Irvin and retired rugby icon Ben Cohen – now an anti-bullying activist – are ideal selections for the cover of OUT’s magazine’s new ‘straight ally’ sports issue.
Irvin, whose brother is gay, talks about LGBT equality: “I don’t see how any African-American with any inkling of history can say that you don’t have the right to live your life how you want to live your life. When we start talking about equality and everybody being treated equally, I don’t want to know an African-American who will say everybody doesn’t deserve equality.”
We are all well aware that no athlete in one of the major team sports has ever come out publicly during their playing days. Irvin offers words of support for anyone who finally does: “If anyone comes out in those top four major sports, I will absolutely support him. I think growth comes when we share. Until we do that, we’re going to be stuck in the Dark Ages about a lot of things. When a guy steps up and says, ‘This is who I am,’ I guarantee you I’ll give him 100% support.”
Well, yesterday I featured one of the leads from the new romantic comedy eCupid and today I present to you the other one: Noah Schuffman.
The gay romantic comedy, which screened earlier this week at Outfest, has Noah as Gabe, a young man struggling with his restaurant and with his boyfriend.
. “I am hoping that the film can start a dialogue about love and relationship,” Schuffman said in an interview last month with the Columbia Daily Tribune. “I am so proud to be in this movie because it shows a relationship, … not a gay relationship, not a straight relationship, just a relationship. … I hope that this film, in a small way, can show that we all are searching for the same thing and that there is no reason to look at one relationship any differently than another.”
Noah had a role in the 2007 series Coastal Dreams and has since done many guest spots on various television shows including Grey’s Anatomy, House M.D., and Desperate Housewives and had a role in the TV movie Married Not Dead.
The handsome actor is originally from Columbia, Missouri where he graduated from the University of Missouri with a BS in Marketing and a minor in Theater.
It was nearly a full house Monday night at the DGA Theatre for the screening of the very appealing romantic comedy eCupid from filmmaker J.C. Calciano who was at the festival just last year with Is It Just Me?
“Showing your movie in an incredible venue like this is always a dream for a filmmaker,” Calciano (pictured above with three cast members) told the crowd which included Tony winner Alan Cumming of television’s The Good Wife and Oscar winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black (Milk).
The film tells the story of Marshall (a terrific Houston Rhines), a guy on the verge of turning 30 who is working at a dead-end job at an ad agency and is feeling stagnant in his relationship with Gabe (Noah Shuffman), his boyfriend of seven years.
He downloads a mysterious dating app called “eCupid” that guarantees to find true love. It turns his life upside down. Marshall soon finds that all the attention is more than he bargained for.
The film has a few familiar faces including former soap star John Callahan (Edmund on All My Children) as Marshall’s obnoxious boss and the ageless Morgan Fairchild as an angelic waitress who is a real cupid in a way. Also look for The Real World: DC alum Mike Manning (flashing his abs, below) who nicely nails his small role.
But the film is carried by its attractive cast of new discoveries. Rhines is the real star here as his character bumbles his way through some major turns in his life. He’s funny, sexy, touching and maddening through the journey. Schuffman carries the more emotional material and conveys Gabe’s heartbreak and anger well.
Quite delicious in the film is Matthew Scott Lewis (pictured with me below) who plays Marshall’s scheming new co-worker Keith in the film. Keith would be irresistible to most guys with his good looks and charm and Marshall does at times gets swept up in his antics. But his heart belongs to Gabe.
Writer-director Calciano told us after the screening was shot in just 12 days on a production budget of just $75,000. This is astonishing considering the production values and the quality of the performances. Since hand-held devices are a critical player in the movie, Calciano confessed that many times it is his hand holding them and not the character’s! He did all those pick-up shots in a single day. That’s how you do a movie in 12 days.
It helped to have two main leads with easy chemistry.
“We became fast friends,” Schuffman said of he and Rhines. “When you are dealing with an intimate story, you get to know each other really well, really quickly.”
Added Rhines: “I was fortunate to have someone I had instant chemistry with.”
The critics may not have been kind to The Brady Bunch and Gilligan’s Island but they are classic sitcoms that have lived on and on.
The man who created those shows – and their classic theme songs – was Sherwood Schwartz who died today at the age of 94.
How wonderful that he lived so long and saw how beloved those shows became.
In December 2008, I attended the Television Academy’s Hall of Fame dinner where Mr. Schwartz was inducted along with Bea Arthur and Merv Griffin.
I remember Florence Henderson inducting Schwartz at the ceremony with not only kind words, but singing The Brady Bunch theme song with special lyrics that she wrote for the occasion. She also pointed out that both of his classic sitcoms had at their core about “a man who tried to express in his own way that people need to learn to live together.”
Schwartz, who was still amazingly sharp at the age of 92, said in his speech: “I understand I’m the oldest person ever to be inducted. …Oh, to be 91 again.”
I chatted with him prior to the ceremony about the honor: “It’s very exciting actually because this is like the creme de la creme. I don’t know where you can go from here!”
Rest in peace Sherwood, and thanks so much for the memories.
Here is a LINK to the Gilligan’s Island theme song (can’t find a link to embed) and also can’t find a version that includes “The Professor and Mary Ann.” They were originally relegated to “…and the rest.”
Yes, there’s a reboot of Charlie’s Angels coming to television this fall and I may check it out but boy, does it have a tough act to follow.
One of the reasons the original show, which aired on ABC from 1976-81, became so iconic was Cheryl Ladd who played Kris Munroe from the second season on. Miss Ladd, of course, replaced Farrah Fawcett who was one of the original stars alongside Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith.
The continued success of the show hinged on her being able to fill Fawcett’s shoes and connect with the public. Ratings for seasons two and three soared and did not drop off until season four when Jackson left and was replaced by Shelly Hack.
Fawcett and Ladd did work together for a total of six episodes during seasons three and four when Farrah made guest appearances as part of a legal settlement with producers. Since their characters were sisters, the two had many of their scenes together which added richly to the Angels legacy.
In celebration of Miss Ladd’s 60th birthday, here are some videos that showcase her talent and beauty and her enduring friendship with Jaclyn Smith.