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Straight ally Ben Cohen retiring from pro rugby and founding anti-bullying StandUp Foundation rugby player Ben Cohen is one of those people who is helping to make the world a better place.

His website has announced his post-rugby plans: He is chairman to the Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation,  the world’s first anti-bullying organization. His role as an advocate for equality and the rights of the individual has been developing over the past few years through his work with the gay community both in the UK and the USA.

His role as an advocate for equality and the rights of the individual has been developing over the past few years through his work with the gay community both in the UK and the USA. He is the first straight sports star to dedicate his philanthropic efforts for the benefit of LGBT people.

He said in a statement:

To be honest, I would never have imagined my career was going to  move in this direction after my professional rugby career, but here we are – it’s happening. It is incredibly exciting and we have so many plans in the pipeline to be able to make a difference.

In my view, rugby is a very inclusive sport. Everyone can get involved in one way or another, so I will be using it as a vehicle to drive my message of acceptance out to people from  all walks of life, everywhere. There is a lot of work to be done. Attitudes need to change. Young people should not be bullied into taking their own lives. That is what is happening and it needs to stop’.

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John Benjamin Hickey talks to Broadway World about “The Normal Heart” and his Tony nomination very talented John Benjamin Hickey is an openly gay actor who has had great success on stage and screen.

He’s one of the stars of Showtime’s The Big C and has been nominated for a Tony Award for best featured actor in a play for his performance in a play.

Here are some excerpts from an interview he’s just done with

What was it like finding out you were nominated for a Tony Award for THE NORMAL HEART? This is your first nomination.

JBH: I had been in five shows on Broadway – all five of which received slews of nominations – and I was never nominated. I was, of course, always happy to be a part of those shows, but I had never been nominated until now. So, I was just so thrilled beyond words and surprised and honored and grateful. I mean, I’ve been doing shows since ’95, so that’s a solid twenty years on Broadway almost. This is my first one.

Q. How did you find out the news?

JBH: Well, Matthew Broderick – who is an old, great friend of mine – texted me just as the nominations were coming out. He texted me and said, “Turn on the news.” I was on set in Stamford, Connecticut, and I thought maybe there would be good news, but I was called to set that day to shoot a scene. And, then, Laura Linney – who, of course, is my co-star on the TV show – stopped the set when we were about to start rolling and she said, “Everybody – I’d like your attention. Cast and crew please gather around. I just want to let you all know that I am acting with somebody – John Benjamin Hickey – who just got nominated for a Tony Award.” And, you know, the place erupted. … it was just an amazing way to find out about it.

Q. What are your feelings on The Normal Heart?

JBH: It just feels like it was written yesterday, you know? To me, as a piece of dramatic literature, it doesn’t have any age or sense of nostalgia. Of course, it is a period piece and it is about a devastatingly cataclysmic period of time in our not-so-distant past that not a lot of young people are even that familiar with.

Q: Are you excited about Neil Patrick Harris hosting the Tonys?

JBH: Oh, yes! I didn’t know that yet. That’s brilliant, because my mouth kind of hangs open at how gifted he is – and, he is such a wonderful guy, too.

FILE UNDER: Out Stars, Stage

Monday Morning Man: Jonathan Cake! handsome English actor is a terrific addition to the cast of Desperate Housewives.

He’s Jonathan Cake and he plays Bree’s new police detective boyfriend Aaron and they had some steamy then hilarious scenes on last night’s season finale. Their passion finally ignited once Bree got over her suspicions that Aaron was gay (he was merely doing undercover work at a gay bar).

Jonathan, 43, was featured in the last four episode this season and is set to be a series regular next season. He’s already an ABC veteran starring on the network’s sandals-and-toga limited series Empire, recurring on Six Degrees, co-starring in the 2009 pilot Captain Cook’s Extraordinary Atlas. He also recently guest starred on Off the Map.

FILE UNDER: Morning Men (2011)

Out actor Matthew Montgomery is USC graduate!

photoHad a terrific time at a graduation party in Hollywood for actor Matthew Montgomery this weekend who graduated from USC last week.
Matthew has starred in a series of well regarded, gay themed independent films including Gone But Not Forgotten, Back Soon, Socket, Redwoods, Long-Term Relationship, Pornography: A Thriller and Role/Play.
Matthew’s fiancee and Role/Play co-star Steve Callahan (pictured with Matt, below) wrote in the invitation: “I cannot believe how hard he worked.  Last year he went to school full-time, starred in four movies, produced three, and somehow still managed to make the Dean’s list and is graduating with honors.  If anyone deserves a celebration, it’s Matthew!”
[Matthew has three films in post-production: Finding Mr. Right, I Want to Get Married and The Dark Side of Love]

The party was held at the home of actress Rebekah Kochan who has been the best part of the Eating Out franchise (she will have a cameo in the fourth film due out this summer). I’m a huge fan of hers and look forward to seeing her and Matthew in Finding Mr. Right.

Other guests included director Nic Arnzen who I talked to about his upcoming documentary Corpus Christi: Playing With Redemption, director Rob Williams (Make the Yuletide Gay, 3-Day Weekend, Role/Play),  director William Clift who is working on a film about his late cousin Montgomery Clift, and actor David Pevsner.

Congratulations to Matt!

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CNN anchor Don Lemon: “If I had seen more people like me who are out and proud, it wouldn’t have taken me 45 years to say it.” Lemon, the weekend prime-time anchor for CNN, has written out his life and career in a new book called Transparent.

In an interview with The New York Times, he said he knows what will probably get the most attention is that he writes about being gay: “I abhor hypocrisy. I think if you’re going to be in the business of news, and telling people the truth, of trying to shed light in dark places, then you’ve got to be honest. You’ve got to have the same rules for yourself as you do for everyone else.”

He knew that coming out this way would stir up a degree of comment about other television news personalities, and whether any would acknowledge being gay.

“I think it would be great if everybody could be out,” he said. “But it’s such a personal choice. People have to do it at their own speed. I respect that. I do have to say that the more people who come out, the better it is for everyone, certainly for the Tyler Clementis of the world.”

Clementi was the Rutgers student who committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge after his sexual encounter with a man in his dorm room was shown on the Internet.

“I think if I had seen more people like me who are out and proud, it wouldn’t have taken me 45 years to say it,” Lemon said, “to walk in the truth.”

FILE UNDER: Newsmakers

Novak Djokovic beats Rafael Nadal in Rome to extend season-opening winning streak to an amazing 37!

Spain Rafael Nadal (R) And Winner Serbia's Novak Djokovic Hold Their Trophies

Unbeatable Djokovic dethrones Nadal in RomeCHAMPION: This is just astonishing. Novak Djokovic has beaten Rafael Nadal on clay – in straight sets – for the second time in two weeks and established himself as the favorite to win the French Open which begins a week from Monday.

Nadal has lost now lost exactly eight matches on clay in the past seven YEARS.

Djokovic defeated Nadal 6-4, 6-4 in the finals of the Italian Open to win his seventh title of 2011, his 39th match in a row and improved his undefeated record this year to 37-0. Djokovic’s start trails only John McEnroe’s 42-0 start in 1984 and seven behind Guillermo Vilas’ Open era record set in 1977.

“It’s an incredible honor to be a part of tennis history in some way and part of an elite group of players—[Roger] Federer, Nadal, McEnroe, (Ivan) Lendl, guys who were winning so many in a row,” Djokovic said after his win. “I don’t know how much good it brings to tennis, but it’s good that someone else is able to win other than just Federer and Nadal. It makes it more interesting.”

Djokovic’s edge over Nadal could enable him to overtake his rival for the No. 1 ranking the week after the French Open.

“He’s doing amazing things. Every match he’s very tough mentally and physically,” Nadal said. “I’m doing everything I can. I can’t ask myself anymore now. I’m doing very well but one player is doing better than me. I am waiting every week to try solutions, so let’s see.”

Serbia's Novak Djokovic Celebrates


Lily Tomlin interviews Coco Peru!

Coco Peru is currently appearing in a new show at the Renberg Theatre and to promote it, her friend Lily Tomlin interviewed her for the current issue of Frontiers IN LA magazine. Here is an excerpt:

Several months ago I was your guest for A Conversation With Coco, which was such a memorable night for me. We talked about how we both do drag characters, and I became curious—how did you come to create Coco?

There were a few reasons for Coco, but one of the major reasons is that I was profoundly affected by the AIDS crisis in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, and when movements like ACT UP arose I was inspired by them. I wanted to get involved and voice my frustrations, hopes and fears and I thought drag was an empowering art form with which to do that. It really was a different time back then and this is one of the big themes of my new show—change!

You mentioned at that Conversation that I speak of my characters with such joy—and I really do love them all. When did you first fall in love with Coco?

Probably the first time I was mistaken for a hooker. I also fell in love with Coco when I got to express everything I wanted to in those early shows, and I was thrilled as a young artist that I could feel the audience also feeling all those emotions along with me. However, being mistaken for a hooker still feeds my ego in a big way. I used to feel a little ashamed about it, but as I’ve gotten older, I’m learning to fully embrace a compliment no matter where it’s coming from!

I know you were good friends with Bea Arthur. Can you tell us a little about that? How did you meet? What are a couple of your fondest memories?

I met Bea through mutual friends and getting to meet your childhood icons, like you Lily, is a dream come true, but then getting to know them as people is Nirvana. I take meeting Bea and you as a signs that creating Coco was exactly what I was supposed to do in this life.

One of my fondest memories of Bea was when I did the Conversation With Coco with her. She was so nervous leading up to the event and leaving me messages like “Darling! This is Bea. I better not fucking regret this! (click)”

Then we did the event and she loved it and the next day when I went to her home she hugged me and said, “We did it! Now we really are Bosom Buddies.” I mean, c’mon! This gay boy from the Bronx was floating on air. Well…floating more than usual!

Related Post: Lily Tomlin and Coco Peru share an extraordinary conversation at LA Gay & Lesbian Center event

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Showtune Sunday: All about Neil Patrick Harris!’s such great news that Neil Patrick Harris will be hosting next month’s Tony Awards.

Between his two hits TV series Doogie Howser MD and How I Met Your Mother, Neil enjoyed great success on the Broadway stage in Cabaret, Assassins and Proof. He also starred opposite the great Patti LuPone in a concert version of Sweeney Todd and was in the Los Angeles production of Rent.

So he’s got some serious stage cred and won two Emmy awards for singing – one for hosting the Tonys two years ago and the other for his classic guest appearance on Glee.

Here are some of NPH’s memorable musical performances:

FILE UNDER: Showtune Sunday

Morning Man Classic: Prince Andrew!

SBritain’s Prince Andrew was the Prince Harry of his time.

His older brother Charles was heir to the British throne and Andrew was the spare. And, like Harry, he was the bigger heartthrob of the two.

Now Charles’s sons William and Harry have moved ahead of Andrew who is currently fourth in line to the throne. But, let’s face it, his mother Queen Elizabeth II isn’t going anywhere and will probably reign into her 100s (Her mother lived to be 103!).

Andrew, who is the Duke of York, is 51 now and the father of two grown daughters – Beatrice and Eugenie – who wore some seriously wacky hats to Prince William’s recent wedding to the former Kate Middleton.

Although he has long been divorced from Sarah Ferguson, he still lives in the same home with her and their two daughters and the two remain quite close.

FILE UNDER: Morning Men (2011)

With Novak Djokovic’s win streak now at 38, Serbian star faces Rafael Nadal today in Rome final

Novak Djokovic Returns

This is the face of an unbeaten man. Well, unbeaten in 2011 so far. But that could change tomorrow as Novak Djokovic, who is 36-0 this season and on a 38-match winning streak overall, faces Rafael Nadal in the final of the Italian Open – a key warm-up for the French Open which begins a week from Monday.

Djokovic trails only John McEnroe’s 42-0 record in 1984 as the best start to a season. Nadal has lost all three finals he has played against Djokovic this year but remains ranked number one in the world – for now.

“I know Djokovic is playing at an exceptional level right now, but I just have to fight to the end like I always do,” Nadal said Saturday. “If I don’t beat him tomorrow, then the next match.”


An obnoxious dad joins the therapy group in the latest episode of web series “Then We Got Help” over Archie Bunker, Jan is in the house!

When Gerry brings her dad to the meeting to interrogate the couples, he manages to offend everyone. He’s played Sam McMurray (Raising Arizona, Friends, Drop Dead Gorgeous). He is a retired NYPD detective who used to interrogate his kids till they ‘wet their pants’ to get to the bottom of their problems.

On the front of our favorite Gay couple: Dan (Nicholas Rodriguez) is at a meeting with adoption agent Lorraine discussing how the legal adoption is going to go down. This leaves Eric (Blake Hammond) time to complain about how Dan wants to raise the baby, and reveal why he is ‘afraid of babies’.

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It’s time to say goodbye to Kevin and Scotty: ABC has canceled “Brothers & Sisters” after five seasons

I felt fairly certain that ABC would find a way to bring back Brothers & Sisters for a sixth season – even if it was an abbreviated season as was reportedly being considered.

But word came yesterday that the show has been canceled and I must say, I’m not ready to say goodbye. I liked the show this season because it was focused on the core family again and gave lots of attention to Kevin and Scotty who have always better chemistry together than any other Walker family couple. They adopted a daughter and also recovered their biological son who was being kept from them by his surrogate mother.

Matthew Rhys (Kevin) and Luke Macfarlane (Scotty) have been wonderful together from day one – so wonderful that Scotty was made a series regular after he was initially only going to be in a few episodes.

I’m also very fond of Dave Annable’s character of Justin Walker has been a real heart of the show. Justin has had his struggles but he’s so sweet and loves so deeply and the actor has conveyed that so well.

But most of all, I’ll miss seeing Sally Field on television each week in such a meaty role. She won a well-deserved Emmy for the show’s first season and she was just a revelation year after year. Nora was funny, overbearing at times, vulnerable, strong and always interesting.

While Rachel Griffiths and Calista Flockhart were also strong parts of the ensemble, I was mostly indifferent to the trials and tribulations of their characters. But I loved them in the sibling scenes where they would be fighting over dinner with Kevin and/or Justin or how they would immediately tell a sibling something they had just sworn to another sibling that they would never tell.

I’m one of six siblings and believe me, those scenes were right on!


FILE UNDER: Television

Stage Review: The multi-talented Coco Peru is funny and touching in new show “There Comes a Time”

Miss-Coco-Peru,-by-Peter-Palladino - w.jpg

The great Coco Peru kicked off her new one-woman show last night at The Renberg Theater and did not disappoint.

Opening night was a sellout and I was happy as a clam to be in the second row to take all of There Comes a Time in. It’s a reflection of drag performer Clinton Luepp’s 20 years as the brilliant storyteller/monologist/singer that is Coco.

First of all, Coco has changed her look with a shorter wig (sorry, I have no photos of it) and it took some getting used to. “I am finally embracing my inner Coco cougar and I feel sexy and like a hot mama!”

Then she added: “Let’s face it, I feel old. Time rolls on … Rolls on like a f*****g steamroller. Some of us get more steamrolled than others.”

Coco then went on to diss on today’s plethora of reality “stars” who she is not at all impressed with: “These people are not celebrities. Elizabeth Taylor was a celebrity, Snookie is not. Is she an Ewok? … Those Jersey Shore people are horrible, horrible people!”

And don’t expect Coco to be impressed with now openly-gay celebs like Ricky Martin and Lance Bass who came out after their made their millions: “That’s not brave! You know what brave is? THIS (gesturing toward herself) is brave!” the jokes are moving stories about her good friend Bea Arthur, about her friend Jonathan Larson who wrote Rent, about living through the AIDS epidemic, about being bullied.

Some of the topics are less serious. Coco, for example, has trouble with all the modern technology from iPads to DVRs: “The Wizard of Oz came on once a year and that’s when you watched it and if you missed it, well tough sh*t Dorothy!”

Coco refers to herself as a “low-end celebrity drag queen” but the truth is, this is a brilliant performer with impeccable timing and lots of heart. She also sings one helluva number. You will love this show – I promise.

To get tickets, go to to LA Gay & Lesbian Center’s website. It is directed by Micahel Schiralli and is at The Renberg Theatre through May 22.


Matthew Morrison chats with MetroSource about Kurt on “Glee,” Elton John, and those gay rumors

The gorgeous and talented Matthew Morrison, who plays Will Schuester on Glee, has a new solo album out and is doing all kinds of interviews to promote it. One of them is with the LGBT magazine MetroSource.

Here are some excerpts from that chat: the gay character of Kurt Hummel: Morrison has been impressed by the way the show has tackled Kurt’s sexuality — even if Mr. Schuester has not been as central to that storyline. “I love the relationship with Kurt and his father, and I don’t think it could have been done with any other adult,” Morrison says. “I know a lot of that storyline is based on [Glee co-creator Ryan Murphy] and what he wishes he had as a kid, things he wanted to have and he didn’t have. I think that relationship between Kurt and his father is so beautiful and it just touches me to the core every week.”

On working with Elton John on the album: “It was almost a religious experience going into the studio with him,” Morrison says. He describes the result as an “epic seven-minute mash-up of a couple of [Elton’s] songs: ‘Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters’ and it kinda goes into ‘Rocket Man’ and then goes back to ‘Mona Lisa.’ It’s pretty cool.”

Even as the star of one of the most popular shows on television, Morrison admits that he felt some trepidation asking Elton to step up to the mic with him. “I had done some work with Elton John’s AIDS foundation before and had a relationship with him,” says Morrison; however he adds that it was still hard “to go up to Elton John and be like, ‘Uh, do you think you could sing on my album?’” participating in Broadway Bares: His time on the Great White Way also caused a bit of scandal related to to pictures and videos of him performing at a notoriously raucous charity event called Broadway Bares, at which Broadway actors perform in revealing outfits to raise money for charity. “If I knew I was going to get the flack I’ve gotten from those pictures!” Morrison says. “People don’t know what Broadway Bares is … so it just looks like I was doing gay porn or something.”

On the gay rumors: Morrison’s answer is confident and extremely gay-friendly: “To be honest, it doesn’t even get to me these days just because, I mean, I’ve been singing and dancing since I was in fifth grade; so it’s not something new to me to hear that,” he says.

“I know my own truth, and I can’t really say anything about it because some of my best friends in the world are gay. And I feel so lucky to be almost a part of that community — having done Broadway and … to be on pretty much the gayest show on TV right now,” he adds. “I consider being called gay and being associated with gay almost a badge of honor. I don’t have anything bad to say about it. It’s all good in my book.”

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Lunch Break Video: Darlene Love and Bette Midler team up for a hall of fame version of “He’s a Rebel” a glorious duet this is.

When the great Darlene Love was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last year, she was joined on stage by Bette Midler for a performance of Darlene’s biggest hit He’s a Rebel.

Darlene will be 70 this summer and Bette is 65 but onstage, the years just melt away and they are absolute dynamite!

Enjoy this wonderful collaboration.

“Stargate Atlantis” star Joe Flanigan: “Never supported Prop 8. I embrace ALL my fans.” Atlantis star Joe Flanigan wants his fans to know that an Internet claim that he supported Proposition 8, California’s gay marriage ban, is not true.

The handsome actor took to Twitter to set the record straight and write to his more than 17,000 followers: “Somebody named seedypetee spreading lies. Naughty boy. We will expose you. Never supported Prop 8. I embrace ALL my fans.”

Good to hear!

It didn’t really make sense anyway to anyone who remembers one of Joe’s earlier roles as the gay son of Jaclyn Smith and Michael Ontkean on the television miniseries Family Album. He gave such a heartfelt performance and I never forgot it.

SOURCE: On Top Magazine

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Daniel Radcliff on the Tony snub: “It’s such a competitive year, particularly in that category.” may be best known for his role as Harry Potter but Daniel Radcliffe is quickly becoming a respected stage star.

So much so that many people were shocked and outraged that the young actor, a staunch straight ally to the LGBT community, did not receive a Tony nomination this week for role as J. Pierrepont Finch in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

At Wednesday night’s 92nd Street Y event in Manhattan, Daniel did his best to calm everyone down about the snub.

“It’s such a competitive year, particularly in that category,” he said. “It’s amazing to me that I’m talked about in those circles, that people think I belong in that company.” He also joked that people have been treating him “like he’s lost a relative, or something,” inquiring in hushed tones whether he’s OK. “Yes! I’m OK,” he said, grinning.

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Alex Pettyfer cast as stripper alongside Channing Tatum in “Magic Mike” to be directed by Steven Soderbergh was already such an appealing prospect to have Channing Tatum playing a stripper. Now Alex Pettyfer has been cast in the same film, Magic Mike, to be directed by Steven Soderbergh.

It’s a story of friendship set in the world of male strippers. Tatum plays the title character, who schools a young dancer (Pettyfer) in how to hustle on and off the stage. It’s a wild summer of dancing, partying and women. The inspiration for the film is Channing’s own experiences as a stripper when he was 19. He is also producing.

The comedy is slated to begin production in August in Los Angeles.

Pettyfer appeared in two high-profile films this year: I Am Number Four and Beastly.

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“I Love Lucy” Friday: Lucy Ricardo tries to impress Caroline Applebee by dancing with Van Johnson! has written a bunch of letters from Hollywood to her friend Caroline Applebee in New York bragging about all the movie stars she’s been hobnobbing with while Ricky is out in California making a movie.

The only problem is, it’s all a bit of an exaggeration.

So when Caroline shows up in Hollywood on her way to Hawaii, Lucy is desperate to come up with some movie stars so Caroline doesn’t blab all over New York that Lucy had been lying.

The redhead somehow convinces Van Johnson to let her do a dance routine with him during one of his rehearsals. When his regular partner gets sick, he asks Lucy to step in.

FILE UNDER: I Love Lucy Friday

Friday Morning Man: Jason Bentley! people say someone has a face for radio, they usually don’t mean it as a compliment!

But Jason Bentley is someone who’s on the radio and his face is pretty darn handsome

He’s the music director of LA public radio station KCRW and host of their signature program Morning Becomes Eclectic. Jason has also had a distinguished career as a music supervisor for film and advertising, and keeps an exhaustive DJ schedule.

“I think being passionate about music is fundamentally what enables me to be successful,” he says on the station’s website. “I’m driven to share that excitement, whether it’s DJing at an art exhibit, working on a film project, or broadcasting from the radio station every day. It gives me a sense of purpose.”

“I have always been fascinated by the power of music, from translating the most intimate moment to commanding the masses, it’s a profound connection between us all,” he adds. “It’s with respect for that connection that I approach my work every day.”

Jason is 40 and his association with KCRW began as a phone volunteer the summer following high school and scored a nighttime air shift in 1992 with Metropolis running for 16 years.

FILE UNDER: Morning Men (2011)