Hometown Honey on RuPaul’s Drag Race
Worcester-based queen Joslyn Fox, a.k.a. DJ Patrick Allen, makes a run for the tiara
Note: Story originally appeared in Boston Spirit magazine's April/May 2014 issue.
Update: Joslyn Fox is still in the running for the big prize, having survived through 'Episode 4: Shade: The Rusical' this week. She'll be strutting her stuff again when 'Episode 5: Snatch Game' airs on March 24.
by Scott Kearnan
Let the games begin.
RuPaul’s Drag Race just revved up its sixth season. And among the competing queens introduced on the Monday, February 24 premiere was a local lovely: Joslyn Fox, a Worcester, Massachusetts-based performer whose sassy, ultra-femme style recalls the glittery glory days of MTV-ready pop princesses. But you might know him by his other stage name, DJ Patrick Allen, a familiar face (makeup off, this time) spinning at New England’s gay nightspots and Pride events. We’ll be rooting for this hometown honey.
Of course, only time will tell if Fox has what it takes to seize the crown, and this queen can’t drop any spoilers. But she did spill the t to Spirit about her early inspirations, current competition, and biggest fan. Spoiler: it’s one awesome, doting dad.
[Spirit] How did you discover drag?FULL ENTRY
A Florida couple might have gotten more than they asked for when they wrote in to Dear Abby seeking advice. The couple, who referred to themselves as “Unhappy in Tampa” wrote to the columnist looking for input regarding a situation with their “new neighbors”. The couple recently moved to Tampa and found out that several of their neighbors are gay. When it came time for the “Unhappy”couple to host the neighborhood get together they did not invite the gay couples because they “do not approve of their lifestyle choices.”
Since that time the “Unhappy” couple have been excluded from other neighborhood events and “someone even suggested that we are bigots!” the letter states.
“Abby, we moved here from a conservative community where people were pretty much the same. If people were "different," they apparently kept it to themselves. While I understand the phrase "when in Rome," I don't feel we should have to compromise our values just to win the approval of our neighbors. But really, who is the true bigot here? Would you like to weigh in?” the letter concludes.
At this point Abby took the opportunity to respond.
DEAR UNHAPPY: I sure would. The first thing I'd like to say is that regardless of what you were told in your previous community, a person's sexual orientation isn't a "lifestyle choice." Gay people don't choose to be gay; they are born that way. They can't change being gay any more than you can change being heterosexual.
I find it interesting that you are unwilling to reciprocate the hospitality of people who welcomed you and opened their homes to you, and yet you complain because you are receiving similar treatment.
From where I sit, you may have chosen the wrong place to live because it appears you would be happier in a less integrated neighborhood surrounded by people who think the way you do. But if you interact only with people like yourselves, you will have missed a chance for growth, which is what you have been offered here. Please don't blow it.
For all of today's top stories from the LGBT world visit Boston Spirit's Fab 5.
Disney Channel’s ‘Good Luck Charlie’ television show has introduced network’s first openly gay characters in a series.
Entitled “Down a Tree,” the episode revolves around a storyline where Amy and Bob Duncan set up a play date for their daughter Charlie and one of her new friends, Taylor. Taylor, it turns out, has two moms.
Upon meeting Taylor’s moms, Bob declares "Taylor has two moms!"
"Wow, nothing gets past you, Bob," replies Amy
In a statement to TV Guide Magazine, which first reported the story line last June, a Disney Channel spokesperson said, "This particular storyline was developed under the consultancy of child development experts and community advisors. Like all Disney Channel programming, it was developed to be relevant to kids and families around the world and to reflect themes of diversity and inclusiveness.”
Actress Desi Lydic, who played mom Susan, tweeted to excited fans after the episode aired, "I'm so proud to be part of that episode! Go Disney! #equality."
Not everyone, however, is pleased with the plotline. One Million Moms, who is best known for attempting to organize a boycott of JC Penney after the retailer hired Ellen Degeneres as a spokesperson, has released the following statement; "Conservative families need to urge Disney to avoid controversial topics that children are far too young to comprehend. This is the last place a parent would expect their children to be confronted with topics that are too difficult for them to understand. Mature issues of this nature are being introduced too early and too soon, and it is extremely unnecessary."
For all of today's top stories from the LGBT world visit Boston Spirit's Fab 5.
Juan Pablo Galavis, also known as “The Bachelor” for this season’s hit show on ABC, The Bachelor, does not think that a gay version of the show would be a very good idea.
In an interview on Friday with TV Page, Galavis it would not be a “good Idea” stating “No… I respect [gay people] but, honestly, I don’t think it’s a good example for kids…”
“Obviously people have their husband and wife and kids and that is how we are brought up. Now there is fathers having kids and all that, and it is hard for me to understand that too in the sense of a household having peoples… Two parents sleeping in the same bed and the kid going into bed… It is confusing in a sense,” he said.
“But I respect them because they want to have kids. They want to be parents. So it is a scale… Where do you put it on the scale? Where is the thin line to cross or not? You have to respect everybody’s desires and way of living. But it would be too hard for TV.”
Galavis added: “There’s this thing about gay people… it seems to me, and I don’t know if I’m mistaken or not… but they’re more ‘pervert’ in a sense. And to me the show would be too strong… too hard to watch.”
Galavis, 32, is a former Venezuelan soccer player, a single father and the show’s first Latino bachelor.
ABC had no immediate comment.
ABC and Galavis have both released statements. From ABC:
“Juan Pablo’s comments were careless, thoughtless and insensitive, and in no way reflect the views of the network, the show’s producers or studio.”
From Galavis' Facebook Page:
"I want to apologize to all the people I may have offended because of my comments on having a gay or bisexual Bachelor. The word pervert was not what I meant to say and I am very sorry about it. Everyone knows English is my second language and my vocabulary is not as broad as it is in Spanish and, because of this, sometimes I use the wrong words to express myself. What I meant to say was that gay people are more affectionate and intense and for a segment of the TV audience, this would be too racy to accept. The show is very racy as it is, and I don't let my 5-year-old daughter watch it."
For all of today's top stories from the LGBT world visit Boston Spirit's Fab 5
If the ratings for Duck Dynasty’s first episode of the season are any indication of things to come then it appears that patriarch Phil Robertson’s racist and anti-gay remarks made in GQ last year might have had an effect after all.
The A & E series launched its fifth season on Wednesday night and saw a significant decline in viewership with only 8.5 million viewers tuning in. This number is down a staggering 28 percent from the season four debut (which had 12 million viewers).
You might recall that Robertson, in the now famous magazine interview, went on an anti-gay rant in which he described homosexuals as “sinful” and compared them to “drunks and terrorists”. In that same article he went on to say that black people were happier during the pre-civil rights era.
On homosexuality Robertson had this to say:
“Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong. Sin becomes fine," he later added. “Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men. Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers -- they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”
As for black people, pre civil rights:
“I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person," Robertson is quoted in GQ. "Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field.... They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’—not a word!... Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”
Also noteworthy within the ratings decline was a sharp drop in key demographics of the show’s audience, including adults 18-49, which were down 33 percent and averaged 4.2 million viewers.
For all of the today's top stories from the LGBT world visit Boston Spirit's Fab 5.
Grammy nominated performers Macklemore and Ryan Lewis surprised New York City bus passengers recently when they broke into an impromptu performance of their hit song Can’t Stop Us.
The duo, well known for their support of LGBT rights and marriage equality, have been nominated for seven Grammy awards for their album The Heist. Included on The Heist is the hit song Same Love which has become an anthem for marriage equality.
Same Love was written in response to Washington Referendum 74, a Washington state referendum to approve or reject the February 2012 bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in the state. In addition to Referendum 74, Macklemore explained that the song was also written in response to rap music’s perceived acceptance of homophobia
"Misogyny and homophobia are the two acceptable means of oppression in hip hop culture. There needs to be some accountability. I think that as a society we're evolving and I think that hip hop has always been a representation of what's going on in the world right now," he said in 2012 when the song was released.
The cover artwork for the single shows a photograph of Macklemore's uncle, John Haggerty, and his partner, Sean.
For all of today's top stories from the LGBT world visit Boston Spirit's Fab 5
Local fashion and style maven Ricardo Rodriquez gets the scoop on Boston’s favorite former mayor’s favorites — book, breakfast place, underwear(!), and more!
Mayor Menino is not only the longest sitting mayor in the history of Boston but undoubtedly the most appreciated and beloved. He has made sure that during his tenure everyone from every walk of life was represented, respected and welcomed.
As we all know, the time has come for him to move along in his life journey. I find myself (along with my husband Michael) very fortunate to count him and Angela as friends. And I know that most people in the city feel the same way. Strike up a conversation with anyone at a coffee shop, cocktail party or park and it becomes clear that there are not many people that he hasn’t met, helped, shook hands with or had a conversation with.
Despite how much we already know about his extremely high profile public life we still want more juicy details. Just a little bit more. And this is where I come in…
I have taken the liberty of putting the Mayor in the hot seat (okay, not so hot, maybe warm) and asked him some questions, some personal and some too personal.
I wanted this to be a chance for all of us to get to know a little bit more about the man. So, thank you Mister Mayor for your candor and for a job incredibly well done!
Chocolate or vanilla?
Ellen Degeneres is starting to get excited about her upcoming role as host of the 86th annual Oscars. The daytime television host, and recent Peoples Choice Award winners as Favorite Daytime TV Host, has tweeted out a series of promotional pictures which were part of a photo shoot for the awards show. One of the pictures, which has Degeneres posing while sitting crossed legged on floor with an Oscar, will be the official poster for the show.
In addition to the photos the Oscars has also released the official trailer for the upcoming show which features Degeneres, surrounded by a group of dancers, walking through city streets to a soundtrack provided by the group Fitz and the Tantrums.
See the trailer below:
by Scott Kearnan
(photo: courtesy Winter Rendezvous)
Mark your calendar for January 22-26, when Winter Rendezvous will take over scenic Stowe, Vermont and bring to the resort town the 30th anniversary of the popular gay ski week.
It’s not just for snow bunnies! A lineup of dance parties, live entertainment and other events will ensure there’s plenty of other activity warming up the icy mountain.
Of course, superb Vermont skiing is the centerpiece of the Winter Rendezvous: from downhill dashing at Stowe Mountain Resort, home to the state’s highest peak, to cross-country treks at the Trapp Family Lodge, founded on property settled by the Austrian von Trapp family on which The Sound of Music is based. (Descendents still own it today, and a costume-optional sing-along screening is part of the Winter Rendezvous lineup.)
Outdoorsy types will also find options for dog sledding, snow shoeing and sleigh rides.
And there’s also an entertainment series offering different experiences at various Stowe venues nightly: including a “kick-off” party, climactic “blow-out” bash, and indoor pool party with DJ Harrison of Club Café’s Back 2 Basics Tea Dance. (Probably the only excuse you’ll have to break out a bathing suit in late January.)
Add performances by the stud string quartet Well Strung and drag beauty shop quartet Kinsey Sicks, and you have a mountainous heap of excuses to hit the road, head north, and enjoy a gay ski week that will be the highlight of winter getaways: it’ll all be downhill after that.
For more info on Winter Rendezvous and to purchase packages (starting at $160), visit winterrendezvous.com.
Must-Sees, Must-Stays, and Must-Dos in the Fabulous Vermont Resort Town: From snow-covered mountains to roaring lodge hearths, Stowe has plenty to offer for a quintessential New England winter escape. Here are our picks for an itinerary:
City slickers and the luxury-minded will love Stowe’s Topnotch Resort, a recently remodeled property that blends the charm and rustic details of a contemporary ski lodge with the kind of sleek, contemporary architecture featured on a Dwell cover, and chic-meets-simple-life décor in guest rooms, suites and overlook homes; plus there’s fantastic dining at on-site restaurants Flannel and The Roost, a pampering spa, and an indoor swimming pool and hot tub with waterfall.
Just 15 minutes away in nearby Waterbury is Moose Meadow Lodge, a gay-owned B&B in a luxury log cabin that overflows with antlers, wildlife taxidermy, and various backwoods bric-a-brac. You can also go “glamping” in the Lodge’s elaborate, sprawling two-story tree house, with 29 windows offering panoramic views of the forest and pond.
Indulge in farm-to-table dining at Crop, offering upscale takes on American bistro and pub fare that constantly changes to reflect what’s fresh and local; sip six craft beers made in its imported, Bavarian-constructed on-site brewhouse. (We also suggest a flight of German hops-made lagers from the Trapp Lager Brewery.)
Refined but unpretentious, Harrison’s Restaurant is a local favorite, and you’ll regret not riding by Blue Donkey for some of the biggest, best, and yes, sloppiest burgers in the Green Mountain State.
Stop by the adorable antique shops and art galleries downtown. Check out the film screenings, musical artists and live theatrical events taking up residence at Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center.
And visit gostowe.com for a lineup of daily events throughout town.
(photo: courtesy Winter Rendezvous)
For all of today's top stories from the LGBT world CLICK HERE check out the Boston Spirit's Fab 5.
According to an article in the Washington Blade, former American Idol runner up Clay Aiken is considering running for Congress. Aiken is exploring running for the seat currently held by Rep. Renee Ellmers (R) representing North Carolina’s 2nd congressional district.
Aiken, who came out as gay in 2008 after years of rumors, has been active in politics in the past especially regarding North Carolina’s Amendment One which defines marriage as solely between a man and a woman.
"The polls in North Carolina show that over 60 percent of North Carolinians actually support some recognition for same-sex couples, be it civil unions or domestic partnerships," Aiken said. "As North Carolinians see what it's done, and what it will do, I think they will support the fact that President Obama did speak out on principle... I think we'd like to see politicians speak out on principle a little bit more."
According to the article Aiken has “made phone calls to gauge support, talked to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and has met with figures in Raleigh, N.C., about a potential bid.”
"Good Morning America" co-host Robin Roberts came out publicly for the first time Sunday in a Facebook message that reflects on her health battles and expresses gratitude for the people who supported her, including her longtime girlfriend, Amber Laign.
“I am grateful for my entire family, my long time girlfriend, Amber, and friends as we prepare to celebrate a glorious new year together,” Roberts wrote.
Roberts made headlines in May 2012 when she landed the interview with President Obama where he first announced his support for marriage equality. A month later, Roberts was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome, a blood and bone marrow disease, which was related to treatments that followed her 2007 breast cancer diagnosis. In yesterday’s Facebook post, Roberts also thanks her sister, who was also her bone marrow donor.
The theme of the post is gratitude.
“Reading this comforts me and I hope the same for you: ‘If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present,’” Roberts wrote. “At this moment I am at peace and filled with joy and gratitude.”
For all of today's top stories from the LGBT world, check out the Fab 5 on BostonSpiritMagazine.com
I think we can all agree, some people are gay, some are not. Some people support and/or ‘tolerate’ the LGBT community some do not. One of the great things about this country is that we are free to have our own beliefs and opinions. That goes for Phil Robertson too.
In case you haven’t seen the story, Phil Robertson of the TV show Duck Dynasty took part in an interview with GQ magazine recently. In the article Robertson goes on a bit of an anti-gay rant. Suffice to say that Robertson, a born-again Christian, is not a supporter of the gay community. As a result of the article A & E has now suspended Robertson indefinitely from the show.
In the wake of the suspension there has been the expected response from both sides of the aisle…those who agree with A & E and those who don’t. For example, Sarah Palin does not agree with the decision to suspend Robertson stating, “Free speech is an endangered species. Those ‘intolerants’ hatin’ and taking on the Duck Dynasty patriarch for voicing his personal opinion are taking on all of us.” Wilson Cruz – speaking for GLAAD – falls on the side of A & E stating “What’s clear is that such hateful anti-gay comments are unacceptable to fans, viewers, and networks alike. By taking quick action and removing Robertson from future filming, A&E has sent a strong message that discrimination is neither a Christian nor an American value."
On the social media front a change.org petition to get Robertson reinstated on the show has already received more than 20,000 signatures and a Facebook page supporting Robertson has more than 35,000 ‘likes’.
As the publisher of an LGBT magazine I am obviously biased, no news there. I also realize that there is a large portion of society that does not agree with the “gay lifestyle” or the “gay agenda” ... whatever term they wish to use. And, believe it or not, I am OK with that too. To each his own. In the words of Pope Francis “who am I to judge.”
Robertson’s comments, however, went beyond respectable dissent. They were crass, ignorant and disrespectful. In the article Robertson compares homosexuality to polygamy, adultery, bestiality, and terrorism. Yes, apparently he feels that homosexuals and terrorists belong in the same conversation. That’s where Robertson lost me, as well as the decision makers at A & E. Just as Robertson is entitled to his opinion, management at the network is entitled to theirs as well, and they have made it clear where they stand on the issue, stating:
“We are extremely disappointed to have read Phil Robertson’s comments in GQ, which are based on his own personal beliefs and are not reflected in the series ‘Duck Dynasty.’ His personal views in no way reflect those of A&E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the L.G.B.T. community.”
Does Robertson deserve to be suspended by A & E? Everyone can have their own opinion on that question, just like we can all decide whether or not to watch his show. One thing is clear, Duck Dynasty probably shouldn’t count on many viewers from the LGBT community going forward…not to mention they probably also just lost the terrorist, polygamy, and bestiality communities too.
For all of today's top stories from the LGBT world, check out the Fab 5 on BostonSpiritMagazine.com
In a recent interview with GQ magazine, Phil Robertson, star of A & E’s top rated show Duck Dynasty, shared his views on homosexuality, the bible, and sin.
A former alcoholic and drug addict, Robertson is now a self described born again Christian.
When asked in the article to give his definition of what is sinful, Robertson responded:
“Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men,” he says. Then he paraphrases Corinthians: “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”
(Also noted in the article, Robertson had to pay off a bartender in Arkansas in the 1970s after he beat up the man AND the man’s wife. There is no mention as to whether or not that behavior falls under his definition of sinful)
Robertson goes on to say:
“It seems like, to me, a vagina — as a man — would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”
There is, however, some good news. Apparently Robertson is not one to judge, that is “the Almighty’s job.” “We just love ’em, give ’em the good news about Jesus — whether they’re homosexuals, drunks, terrorists. We let God sort ’em out later, you see what I’m saying?” he stated.
Homosexuals, drunks, terrorists ???
To quote Mr. Robertson himself “It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”
For all of today's top stories from the LGBT world, check out the Fab 5 on BostonSpiritMagazine.com
In a recently released interview from 1993 late Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain stated that he “thought he was gay” while in high school.
The interview, conducted by Jon Savage, took place in New York City and can now be heard on the YouTube channel Blank on Blank. In the interview Cobain discusses feeling “different” and “alienated” in high school. He went on to say “I even thought that I was gay. I thought that might be the solution to my problem. Although I never experimented with it, I had a gay friend, and then my mother wouldn't allow me to be friends with him anymore because... well, she's homophobic. It was real devastating because finally I found a male friend who I actually hugged and was affectionate too, and we talked about a lot of things... I couldn't hang out with him anymore."
Later in the interview Cobain confirmed that he was not gay but that he was “really glad that I found a few gay friends, because it totally saved me from becoming a monk or something."
Cobain, who committed suicide on April 5, 1994, was long known as a strong ally to the LGBT community. Said Patty Schemel, the lesbian drummer from the ban Hole “"He said that being gay is cool, and that made the climate even better for us."
Club Café New Year's Eve celebration 2000 (photo: courtesy Club Café)
This weekend, Club Café celebrates its 30th birthday, when co-founder and owner Frank Ribaudo marries his longtime partner; big party!
The following story was originally published in the September/October 2013 issue of Boston Spirit magazine.
The Beat Goes On
Club Café celebrates 30 years as the heart of Boston’s LGBT scene
by Scott Kearnan
Club Café founder Frank Ribaudo will never forget his anniversary. Either of them.
On October 13, Ribaudo will marry his longtime partner Joe Posa. They’ll celebrate their reception, which after certain hours will be open to the whole community, at Club Café. That’s because their wedding coincides with a second reason to celebrate. October marks the 30th anniversary of Club Café, which has become iconic in New England’s gay scene. For one generation, it has been a community center: a comfortable second home filled with old friends. For another, it’s a party palace: where stepping inside, grabbing your first drink, and scoring your first date has become a veritable rite of passage. And Club Café shows no sign of slowing down.
“2013 has been a banner year for us,” says Ribaudo joyfully. In a more accepting world, where it’s harder and harder to keep gay establishments afloat, Club Café is enjoying some of its best business.
But that success wasn’t always a sure thing, and Ribaudo admits that early on he never would have believed that Club Café could wind up a decades-spanning landmark in New England’s LGBT culture. “To be honest, for the first five years all I thought about was how to keep from going bankrupt,” says Ribaudo. “I don’t think we made a dime.”
That’s because 30 years ago, everything about Club Café was a calculated risk: from its willingness to challenge a bullying nearby business to its wide wall of windows that, in a brazen move at the time, planted a highly visible gay establishment right on the Boston streetscape.
Here’s the story of how it stayed there.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has announced that Jennifer Lopez will receive the 2013 Ally for Equality Award at HRC’s sold-out National Dinner on Saturday, October 5 in Washington, DC.
“Jennifer Lopez embodies the spirit of an ally to the LGBT community and we are thrilled to present her the Ally for Equality at our National Dinner in October,” said HRC president Chad Griffin. “We recognize Jennifer for her talent, style, compassion, philanthropy and generosity, but foremost for her public commitment to LGBT equality.”
The Ally for Equality Award recognizes the outstanding efforts of those who dedicate time, energy, spirit and whole-hearted commitment to better the lives of LGBT people. This award is given to allies outside the LGBT community who stand up on behalf of equality for all Americans.
For years, Jennifer Lopez has been vocal about her love for the LGBT community, from her outspoken support for marriage equality, to the millions of dollars she’s raised for HIV/AIDS research and her efforts on behalf of bullying and youth anti-violence causes. Currently Lopez serves as executive producer of ABC Family’s hit TV series The Fosters, the #1 new cable TV series of the summer with millennials. The Fosters is a compelling, one-hour drama about a multi-ethnic family mix of foster and biological kids being raised by two moms. Lopez was on the receiving end of a boycott campaign from One Million Moms, a project of the radically anti-LGBT group American Family Association.
“Even facing pressure from anti-LGBT groups, Jennifer stands her ground as a strident equality supporter,” added Griffin. “Throughout her career, Jennifer Lopez has always stood for fairness, justice and equality, and that’s what being an ally is all about.”
The HRC National Dinner, which is expected to draw 3,400 guests, will be held the evening of Saturday, October 5th at the Washington Convention Center. Also in attendance will be the plaintiffs and attorneys from the historic Proposition 8 and Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) cases before the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year. This will be the first time all five plaintiffs will be together in the same room.
by Loren King
TORONTO — I knew I could only be at the Toronto International Film Festival when one minute I was sitting next to Matthew McConaughey as he talked about losing weight to play a man with AIDS in Dallas Buyers Club and the next I was talking with Boston filmmaker Mark Phinney about his low-budget indie film Fat.
The mix of red carpet glitz and unknown names, of high profile films and obscure indies, is what makes the TIFF, which runs to September 15, such a heady event for filmmakers and viewers alike. Often it’s the little film that dazzles — yes, it was cool to be at a press conference just two feet away from Jake Gyllenhaal or to spot Juliette Lewis in a hotel lobby. But for cinephiles the real kick is the under the radar film that turns out to be a real gem.
Boston writer/director Mark Phinney and the cast and crew of Fat (which includes lots of Boston talent) made the trip to Toronto by van and were clearly basking in the glow of a break-out films that’s garnering lots of buzz. Shot entirely in Boston, Fat is a funny and poignant film about a man’s battle with food addiction and the toll it takes on his emotional and physical health. It won’t be in theaters until 2014 but keep your eyes open for a local screening before that.FULL ENTRY
Acrobat, Author ... Addict
Joe Putignano kicked heroin, launched a career as a Cirque du Soleil star and wrote about it all in a new memoir, Acrobaddict, released this week. He will have a book signing on October 16 at Porter Square Books in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Note: This story originally ran in the May/June 2013 issue of Boston Spirit magazine.
By Tony Giampetruzzi
“I was training to become a contortionist and detoxing from heroin at the same time — I don’t recommend that to anyone. Ever. At all.”
That pretty much sums the dogged, no-nonsense and humorous spirit of 36-year old gymnast/performer/model and now author, Joe Putignano.
Heroin? Contortionist? Model? It’s a dichotomy that’s only likely to play itself out in the most outrageous Lifetime movie specials. So, to hear Putignano’s story — a promising pre-teen gymnast from Raynham, Massachusetts, who went on to endure nearly 15 years of extreme drug use and endless bouts of rehab, only to finally take the stage for a late-career comeback in his 30s as a Cirque du Soleil performer — is quite inspiring if not fantastical.
Putignano recently took a hiatus from the stage and, although six years clean, was forced to face his demons again: in March, he was in Atlanta recuperating from surgery to correct a superior labral tear in his shoulder which, among various other localized injuries, was caused by more than five years and nearly 1,000 performances in Cirque’s Totem. The surgery was successful, but, for someone with Putignano’s relapse rap sheet, rehab would need to be narc-free, a must for someone who has used as much as him.FULL ENTRY
Despite protests from many within the LGBT community, including a Change.org petition that gathered more than 28,000 signatures, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant will remain in Russia.
Bravo television host and celebrity Andy Cohen, who is openly gay and was slated to host the pageant, has told organizers that he is boycotting the event due to Russia’s "discriminatory" and "unsafe" policies.
The pageant, which is owned by Donald Trump, issues a statement saying it
"believes in equality for all individuals and is deeply concerned by the laws recently enacted in Russia and currently in place in several other countries." The statement also points out that Russia’s anti-LGBT laws are "diametrically opposed to the core values" of the company. “It is our hope this year's Miss Universe contest in Moscow will help foster a common understanding and appreciation of the rights of all individuals, regardless of their nationality, race, religion or sexual orientation."
LGBT media watchdog organization GLAAD appears to agree with the pageant’s decision stating, "Miss Universe is an organization with incredible impact all around the globe. Following this important first statement, Miss Universe has a unique opportunity to continue to speak out against the anti-LGBT violence and laws in Russia and demonstrate that the international community does not support Russia's anti-LGBT brutality" said GLAAD spokesman Omar Shariff Jr.
Darren Young, a wrestler with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) has come out as gay.
The admission came during an impromptu interview with a TMZ cameraman while Young was at Los Angeles International Airport. The cameraman asked Young if a gay wrestler could be successful in the WWE. Young answered "absolutely, look at me. I'm a WWE Superstar and, to be honest with you, I'll tell you right now, I'm gay, and I'm happy. Very happy."
Young continued, “"I guess if you want to call it 'coming out,' I really don't know what to say it is," he said. "I'm just letting you know that I'm happy [with] who I am, I'm comfortable with myself, and I'm happy to be living the dream ... Some people might not like it. Some people will like it. I'm here to please myself. I'm here to be happy ... I'm hoping to make a difference. It's very important to me to make people understand that someone's sexual preference shouldn't really matter. It should be about the person."
WWE has since commented on the interview. In a statement released to The Huffington Post, the WWE announced. “WWE is proud of Darren Young for being open about his sexuality, and we will continue to support him as a WWE Superstar. Today, in fact, Darren will be participating in one of our Be A Star anti-bullying rallies in Los Angeles to teach children how to create positive environments for everyone regardless of age, race, religion or sexual orientation."
Young began wrestling professionally in 2002 and joined the WWE in 2005.
A new book entitled ‘Erotic Lives of the Superheroes’ by Italian author Marco Mancassola has “outed” Batman and Robin going so far as to portray the dynamic duo as “a bickering couple” whose sex life has “gone flat.”
As if that weren’t shocking enough for many fans of the DC comic superhero, Mancassola’s Batman also picks up a variety of young men for one night stands. “Batman has always had a very dark side. And it shouldn’t be a shock that my version of this character indulges in weird forms of fetishism and extreme sex,” said Mancassola.
“Narcissism is his inner abyss. He let his only real love story miserably fail because he is in love with the mystery of youth – that inaccessible, fleeting kind of spirit that he sees in the eyes of his young male and female pick-ups.”
This is not the first time that Batman’s sexuality has been brought into question. Grant Morrison, who authored several Batman stories for DC comics, previously stated that “(Batman’s) intended to be heterosexual, but the basis of the whole concept is utterly gay”. And George Clooney, who played Batman, in the 1997 film Batman & Robin said he intended for his character to appear gay.
Mancassola realizes that there are some fans who “can’t forgive me for what I’ve done to their beloved characters. This is true especially when it comes to Batman, who comes across as the least nice character of the book – egocentric, ridiculously vain, in some way ‘perverse’. But, actually, I depicted him that way because I love him. He is human. He embodies the tragedy into which contemporary society has transformed the fact of getting older.”
The novel also delves into the erotic obsessions of Superman, Mister Fantastic and Mystique.
Chances are you have never heard of country singer Steve Grand. He doesn’t have a record label, isn’t touring with a big band, and his latest music video cost only $7,000 to produce. That video, however, is currently taking the YouTube world by storm.
The song/video, titled “All American Boy” has topped 600,000 views in only one week.
The song is about a young gay man who thinks he is falling in love only to find that the object of his affection is not gay. The lyrics reflect a true life event for Grand. "I was a 13-year-old boy (at camp)," said the 23-year-old singer-songwriter. "One of my counselors was warm and strong and he took an interest in me — not sexually, but as a friend, and it really moved me. I remember leaving with a horrible ache in my heart."
The song has resonated not only with gay youth, but all youth. Grand has received messages from people across the country who have idenitifed with his lyrics of heartbreak. "Just the hundreds of people who have said, `Your story is my story. Thank you for this,' is enough for me," he said recently.
Grand realized he was gay in the eighth grade. When his parents found out they forced him to go to conversion therapy (which he did for five years).
As for the future, Grand doesn’t know what is in store just yet, but he does know that finally, after years of ‘failed conversion therapy’ and heartache he is finally happy. "Like I said, I would die a happy man today," Grand said. "And it's the first time in my entire life I can say that."
by Ricardo Rodriguez | photos by Natasha Moustache
I am unabashedly a summer kind of guy. To me there is nothing better than a warm evening of delicious dining al fresco, a cold glass of champagne and the company of friends. Plus I love any excuse to dress as light and minimal as possible …
So I recruited some friends to help me put together a night to remember. Set at the unbelievably perfect home of South End royalty Bobby Kelley and Eddie Luis, this evening was a dream come true. Included in the guest list, fashion designer Daniela Corte, the brainchild behind Bodega Jay Gordon, designing genius Alina Wolhardt, entrepreneur Mike Kelley and his brother, real estate enfant terrible, Brian.FULL ENTRY
Nicole Polizzi, better known as “Snooki” from the MTV reality series Jersey Shore, wants to have a gay son. At least that is what she told the audience on Monday night at TrevorLive, a fundraising event for the Trevor Project.
"Me and Jenni (Jenni ‘JWoww’ Farley, also from Jersey Shore) weren't exactly the best role models, but now that I'm a mom I'm so grateful for The Trevor Project to support the LGBT youth so they have someone there for them because I'm praying I have a gay little boy one day."
The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and
suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth.
Snooki has long been a supporter of the lgbt community having participated on the NOH8 campaign and speaking up in support of President Obama’s stance on marriage equality.
"We're very strong when it comes to the gay community," she said. "[JWoww] has a lot of friends; her best friend is gay. I have a lot of friends who are gay. They need to be equal because they are amazing friends."
"We're huge supporters of the LGBT community. ... So we would do anything to help them and to protect them," JWowww added. "We feel like moms when it comes to our gays. We really do."
Featured on LOGO, HBO and Comedy Central, funny girl Marga Gomez arrives in Boston for a one-night performance this evening, Thursday, June 13 at Club Café in the South End.
By Jennifer Dettman
Her comedy has been featured on LOGO, HBO and Comedy Central. She has been called “astounding” by Armistead Maupin. In Premiere magazine Robin Williams hailed her as “amazing” and described her as “a lesbian Lenny Bruce.”
On Thursday June 13 Gomez plays Club Café one night only in a show called Marga Gomez, Funny Lesbian.
[Boston Spirit] From comedy clubs and blockbuster movies to the beloved Celluloid Closet, you’ve been on every size stage and screen. What has been your most gratifying and/or proudest work so far?
[Marga Gomez] I lived in Hollywood for a couple years. Had the manager, the agent, the hair. Auditioned for crap with a bunch of hos. Hated it. I do like the residual checks. My passion is live performance. I’m not just kissing up here, but the most gratifying moment in 2013 was in Boston at the lounge of the Charles Street Playhouse during the Boston Women in Comedy Festival. It was standing room only and the audience was mostly straight, like they had just come a Red Sox game. I was scared, but charged up. Go big or go home, I told myself. Well they roared from beginning to end, and it showed me a lot about the hearts of your people and how humor can cut through all our differences. It certainly wasn’t the biggest room I ever played, but I’m still high from it. My lifetime greatest moment was doing five minutes of comedy on the pitcher’s mound of Yankee Stadium during the Gay Games way back in, I think, 1994 — just before Cyndi Lauper.FULL ENTRY
20 year old Jonathan Allen from Lawrenceburg Tennessee made quite an impression on viewers and judges on last night’s America’s Got Talent.
Allen, in a behind the scenes interview, told the story of how his family disowned him at age 18 when he came out as gay. While he said he still loves his parents very much he also has not seen them in more than two years.
After performing Andrea Bocelli’s “Time to Say Goodbye,” Allen received a standing ovation from the audience and all four judges. Judge Howie Mandel told the young singer “With your talent, the show has become your family, and we’d like to say, welcome home. We love you, and we accept you.”
Check out Jonathan’s performance below.
Glee star Jane Lynch has announced that she and her wife of three years, Lara Embry, are getting divorced. The couple, who were married in Western Massachusetts, met at a fundraiser in 2009. “I thought she was cute,” Embry told People magazine when she and Lynch married.
“Lara and I have decided to end our marriage. This has been a difficult decision for us as we care very deeply about one another. We ask for privacy as we deal with this family matter,” Lynch told People magazine.
Lynch was also the stepmother to Embry’s daughter Haden. "My greatest pleasure is Haden, my stepdaughter," Lynch told People last March. "I am surprised how much love you feel and how you would do anything for your children."
Lynch, 52, is currently making her Broadway debut in a revival of "Annie." She's portraying the role of Miss Hannigan from May 16 to July 14
Divine (photo: Lynn Davis)
15th Annual Provincetown International Film Festival — June 19-23 — keeps getting bigger and better
By Loren King
A documentary about Divine, director John Waters’ muse and star, is just one of many LGBT-themed films that will grace the 15th annual Provincetown International Film Festival (PIFF), running June 19-23. From its first year, when Waters himself was honored as the festival’s “Filmmaker on the Edge,” PIFF has championed LGBT films and filmmakers. For this milestone year the festival will do it again — but even bigger.
As the PIFF has grown in reputation and popularity, its organizers have been savvy about attracting not just A-list talent more than happy to spend a few days in P-town but the funding to put on a destination event. This year, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awarded grants to PIFF for its 15th annual fest. It will be used to bring back several “Filmmaker on the Edge” awardees from the past 15 years.
Besides Waters, directors Mary Harron and Gregg Araki and producer Christine Vachon are among past guests slated to return. PIFF will screen seminal films from each of these filmmakers, who all have strong LGBT ties. These include Waters’ legendary Pink Flamingos; Vachon’s Kids; Harron’s I Shot Andy Warhol; and Araki’s Mysterious Skin, the 2004 drama starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and based on gay writer Scott Heim’s novel. Other past honorees Jim Jarmusch, Todd Haynes and Quentin Tarantino have been asked to invite a rising director they admire to attend. PIFF artistic director Connie White says this underscores and continues the festival’s mission to recognize independent filmmakers “on the edge.”FULL ENTRY
Boston Pride Week launches with a Rainbow Flag-raising ceremony at City Hall at noon on Friday, May 31 (photo: James Lopata)
It's Pride Week again in Boston!
The 2013 festivities commence this coming Friday at noon with the raising of the Rainbow Flag over City Hall.
This year, Thomas Menino hosts the flag raising for the last time as mayor of Boston. Menino is also being honored as a Marshall for the Pride parade on Saturday, June 8.
Below is a rundown of some of the key events happening in conjunction with Boston Pride Week.
For more information on all the events, be sure to check out Boston Pride’s web site at www.bostonpride.org.
Rainbow Flag Raising Ceremony
Friday, May 31 — Boston City Hall
With host Mayor Thomas Menino.
Pride Day at Faneuil Hall
Saturday, June 1 — Boston’s Faneuil Hall
Live music and performances from The Urban Ballet, South End Show Stopperz Dance Team, Crystal Foxx, Rolla and more. Hosted by Raquel Blake. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Monday June 3 — Machine Nightclub
Lake Mondale and Raquel Blake crown the king and queen of Boston Pride at 7 p.m.
Boston Pride Festival
Saturday June 8 — City Hall Plaza
From noon to 6 p.m. with vendors and live entertainment — including Boston-based headliner Karmin.
Boston Pride Parade
Saturday June 8 — The streets of Boston
Parade starts at 12 p.m., with celebrity marshal Denise Crosby (Star Trek).
ESME Women's Block Party
Saturday, June 8 — 1 Boylston Place
DJ Linda Lowell spins the annual women's favorite. 2 p.m. in the alley at 1 Boylston Place.
Pride Block Party: Back Bay Edition
Sunday, June 9 — St. James Avenue in the Back Bay
Dancing in the streets from noon to 8 p.m.
Pride Block Party: JP Edition
Sunday, June 9 — Perkins Street, Jamaica Plain
Dancing in the streets of JP from noon to 7 p.m.
Behind the Candelabra, Steven Soderbergh’s upcoming movie about Liberace and Scott Thorson, is getting great pre-release buzz. The movie stars Michael Douglas as Liberace and Matt Damon as his lover, Thorson.
In a recent interview Soderbergh discussed his memories of Liberace (comparing him in one instance to Lebron James), the movie, and the performances of both Douglas and Damon.
Soderbergh worked with Douglas on the movie Traffic and it was then that he first approached the actor with the idea of playing Liberace. “Well, that’s the first time I discussed the idea with him, and he did do a little impression, which I thought was excellent”.
After coming across Thorson’s book on his life with Liberace, Soderbergh know he had his storyline for the movie. After initially trying to tackle the storyline with Liberace as the centerpiece he changed his thinking and used Thorson as the “trojan horse” to get into Liberace’s life. “It gave me a definitive time period, and it gave me a structure because of the arc of the relationship,” said Soderbergh.
As for Damon, Soderbergh recalled “(Matt) was in Spain doing his cameo in Che, and I gave him the book. I can only imagine what was going through his mind five years later before we started shooting. But Matt doesn’t have anything to protect. That’s not how he makes his decisions. He makes his decisions based on whether he’s engaged by the piece or not. If it turns out to be something that’s really gonna push him as a performer, even better. And Michael, he was just fearless. They both are. The movie just doesn’t work if they don’t both literally join hands and jump off the cliff. It’s intimate stuff, even if it was a guy and a girl. But for a lot of people it’ll be hard to see Jason Bourne on top of Gordon Gekko.”
For anyone who is old enough to truly remember Liberace, count Soderbergh in that group, the memories are of a truly unique performer. That, above all, is what drew the director to the movie. “I’m old enough to have seen him on TV at my parents’ place, and found him very entertaining. I was kind of intrigued by the incredible technical skill being masked by this flamboyant persona. Underneath this performer who was all about entertaining his audience and giving them a good time was actually a concert-level skilled keyboardist. It’s kind of like if LeBron James decided to play for the Harlem Globetrotters. There really wasn’t anybody like him. And there are a lot of people now that owe him a real debt because of how he presented himself. This guy invented bling,” said Soderbergh
Four year old Kia Langer and Ellen Degeneres are now "going steady" according to comedian and talk show host.
Langer, who has appeared on the Ellen show in the past, is known for his cover renditions of Bruno Mars songs. Appearing this week with Ellen, Langer gave Degeneres a bracelet to signify that they are boyfriend and girlfriend and then serenaded her with the Bruno Mars song "When I Was Your Man"
Larry Sousa (photo: courtesy SpeakEasy Stage)
SpeakEasy Stage’s In The Heights features the work of a local choreographer gone big time. New production runs May 10 to June 8
By Loren King
Director/choreographer Larry Sousa remembers the first day of his first Broadway show, My Favorite Year. Sousa, who was part of the chorus, visited the craft services table. Dozens of coffee mugs were set out, each one emblazoned with the show’s logo and the cast member’s name. “I was shocked. I had my own mug!” recalls Sousa. As he stood there in awe of the validating welcome, a voice behind him said, “I know. It’s my first Broadway show, too.” Sousa turned and came face to face with Andrea Martin, one of the stars of the musical.
Now an in-demand choreographer/director on the Boston theater scene, Sousa has had other pinch-me moments over the course of 12 years working in television and theater in Los Angeles and New York. While appearing in the 2009 Broadway musical Busker Alley, composed by the Richard and Robert Sherman of Mary Poppins fame, Sousa recalls a rehearsal when the cast members broke into one of the composers’ signature songs. “We were sitting around a table singing ‘Feed the Birds’ to the guy who wrote it,” he says.
G.B.F. (Gay Best Friend) (photo: courtesy Boston LGBT Film Festival)
NOTE: STORY UPDATED TO INCLUDE THE LATEST SCHEDULING AND IS ADAPTED FROM THE MARCH/APRIL 2013 ISSUE OF BOSTON SPIRIT MAGAZINE.
The 29th Annual Boston LGBT Film Festival holds its annual launch party this coming Sunday, April 28, at Post 360 (406 Stuart Street, Boston). The event is free and open to the public. Those interested can RSVP through the festival web site at www.bostonlgbtfilmfest.net.
By Loren King
That Boston marches to its own drummer is hardly news in the political or LGBT arenas. That this is also true in rarified atmosphere of film festivals, particularly in the niche world of LGBT film festivals, is one more reason to wear the badge of Bostonian with pride.
The Boston LGBT Film Festival, which runs May 2 through 12, has, at 29 years, earned the distinction as one of the oldest LGBT film fests in the nation. Through many changes in both the film and the LGBT scene, Boston has managed to annually deliver a celebration of international queer cinema that’s as diverse as the city itself.
“We’ve learned what works here. Our audience doesn’t mind subtitles; one of the biggest hits of recent years was the Tom Twyker film 3. Gay Hollywood movies don’t work for us. We program rom-coms for a date night film, but what sells out in Phoenix doesn’t do well in Boston. Women’s films do well here, sometimes better than men’s,” says James Nadeau, the festival’s executive director.
Among the more than 100 fiction features, documentaries and shorts that will screen at six local venues — the Museum of Fine Arts, the Institute of Contemporary Art, the Brattle Theatre, the Coolidge Corner Theatre, Theater 1 at the Revere Hotel and the Paramount Center — are several films that deal with LGBT history and others that offer transgender characters. Notable among these is Laurence Anyways (5/5, 7 p.m., MFA), from Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan who directed Heartbeats (2010) and I Killed My Mother (2009).FULL ENTRY
DC Comics, who introduced openly gay and lesbian superheroes last year, has taken lgbt inclusion a step further with their first ever transgender character.
Alysia Yeoh is the roommate of Batgirl Barbara Gordon in DC’s relaunched Batgirl series. In the newly-released Batgirl #19, Alysia – who is also bisexual – comes out to Barbara as a transgender woman.
Over the past year DC has presented several gay and lesbian characters including
Batwoman, Northstar and Green Lantern Alan Scott.
“I looked out into the audience (at the Wondercon Convention), saw dozens of faces I knew well — LGBTQ folks, mostly — all avid comics readers and superhero fans and DC supporters,” writer Gail Simone told Wired magazine. “And it just hit me: Why was this so impossible? Why in the world can we not do a better job of representation of not just humanity, but also our own loyal audience?”
She went on to state, “Look, we have a problem most media don’t have, which is that almost all the tentpoles we build our industry upon were created over a half century ago… at a time where the characters were almost without exception white, cis-gendered, straight, on and on. It’s fine — it’s great that people love those characters. But if we only build around them, then we look like an episode ofThe Andy Griffith Show for all eternity.”
Simone wanted to have “trans characters who aren’t fantasy-based,” noting that Alysia will be a “a character, not a public service announcement… being trans is just part of her story.”
Simone hints that she’s working on a transgender character for another comic and would like to see a trans character take center stage. “It’s time for a trans hero in a mainstream comic.”
Out Magazine has released its annual Power List of the Top 50 most powerful “gay men and women whose power and prestige is instrumental in influencing the way Americans think about, and engage with, the world.”
The list is cross-section of personalities from the worlds of business (Megan Smith from Google, Robert Hanson from American Eagle Outfitters, Tom Cook from Apple), politics (Congressman David Cicilline, Senator Tammy Baldwin, New York City Councilor Christine Quinn) and entertainment (Neil Patrick Harris, Andrew Cohen, Jane Lynch).
New comers to the top 10 include the darling on the 2012 presidential election “statistics guru” Nate Silver and musician Frank Ocean who came out last summer. You can see the entire list HERE. The Top 10 are below.
10 Frank Ocean
9. Tammy Baldwin
8. Shepard Smith
7. Peter Thiel
6. Nate Silver
5. Anderson Cooper
4. Rachel Maddow
3. Ryan Murphy
2. Ellen DeGeneres
1. Tim Cook
In a recent interview with Huffington Post Jeremy Irons, who won an academy award for his role in Reversal of Fortune, opined that legalized marriage equality could lead to a father and son getting married.
"Could a father not marry his son?" Irons asked Huffington Post’s Josh Zepps. “It’s not incest between men" because "incest is there to protect us from inbreeding, but men don't breed," he continued.
Irons went on to state, "It seems to me that now they're fighting for the name. I worry that it means somehow we debase, or we change, what marriage is. I just worry about that." He also discussed whether same-sex marriage might allow fathers to pass on their estates to their sons without being taxed.
Despite all of this, Irons stated several times that he "[doesn't] have a strong feeling either way" on same-sex marriage, and said that he "[wishes] everybody who's living with one other person the best of luck in the world, because it's fantastic."
"Living with another animal, whether it be a husband or a dog, is great," he said. "It's lovely to have someone to love. I don't think sex matters at all. What it's called doesn't matter at all."
"Prestigious? What exactly is that supposed to mean?" Landry replied in response to a question about his new play 'M' being produced by the "prestigious" Huntington Theatre. "In my humble opinion, the word 'prestigious' should go the way of 'upscale' and 'High End.' All should be wiped away, flushed and left for the sanitation department to handle."
Ryan Landry tackles Fritz Lang’s masterwork M for the Huntington Theatre. He shares more of his vibrant mind in this exclusive interview with Boston Spirit magazine.
By Loren King
[Note: the following story first appeared in the March/April 2013 issue of Boston Spirit magazine. Ryan Landry's 'M' opens plays at the Huntington Theatre in Boston through April 27. For tickets and more information, visit The Huntington Theatre's website.]
Ryan Landry refuses to be compartmentalized as an artist.
Landry is the master of gay camp with his original, theatrical riffs on classic movies that have entertained audiences for years in both Boston and Provincetown.
His last show, Mildred Fierce, a lavish musical about the mother of all pie-baking mothers, starred Varla Jean Merman and played this Winter at the nightclub Machine, the Boston home of Landry’s longtime troupe, The Gold Dust Orphans.
Now, the hard-working, prolific Landry is debuting a bold new work, his adaptation of M, German director Fritz Lang’s 1931 film noir classic starring Peter Lorre about a child killer hunted down by the criminal underworld.
Ryan Landry's M is being staged from now through April 27 at the Huntington Theater Company where Landry has been a Playwriting Fellow since 2008. The Huntington’s Artistic Director Peter DuBois calls the production an “amazing collaboration between two Boston theatre legends.”
Boston Spirit recently had the following e-mail interview with Landry whose responses are characteristically opinionated, thoughtful and very funny as he prepares for his most challenging work to date.
[Boston Spirit] A German film from 1931 about a child killer ... what made you want to turn this into a play?
[Ryan Landry] Because it is a beautiful masterwork. A goal to which other artists should aspire.
I chose this film because I wanted to write a play based on the most unfunny thing in the world and still make it [the play] funny.
It is a sad play too. It is a human play.
People often say that I am a funny person but I also think of myself as somewhat sad at times. This is not because I am a depressed individual. It is because I am a human being.
I like to be sad, for brief periods anyway. Because I am human, I possess all the colors in the spectrum within my soul, as anyone who has the courage to let those colors in must have in order to live out a full existence.
I am not made up of just “happy” colors. By these I mean the obscenely bright Barbie pinks and putrid Easter Day purples so often used in today’s most offensive toys. These colors are also used (in the most violent manner imaginable) to decorate the bedrooms of innocent teenaged girls. Poor things. Their msothers should be arrested.
To me, these are simply put: ungodly colors.
They are the colors I see on my television. The colors I see within the eyes of our current “celebrity” zombies.
People like Justin Bieber, Beyonce and Kim Kardashian appear freakishly inhuman to me. Like cheap marshmallow chicks gone past their expiration date, I want them out of sight as soon as possible. They are plastic, they are phony and worse of all, they rot your teeth.
[Boston Spirit] Were you a fan of Fritz Lang or the film before taking this on?FULL ENTRY
Is Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly pro marriage equality?
Judging by his comments to fellow Fox anchor Megyn Kelly this week it would appear that he is. O’Reilly stated that he didn’t "feel that strongly one way or another" about gay marriage. "I want all Americans to be happy," he said, adding, "I live in New York. New York is fine with it." He also stated that he felt that decisions regarding marriage equality should be left to the states.
In response to Kelly’s statement that pro-marriage equality proponents have been very convincing as opposed to their opponents, O’Reilly agreed, stating, "I agree with you 100 percent. The compelling argument is on the side of homosexuals. That is where the compelling argument is. We're Americans, we just want to be treated like everybody else. That's a compelling argument, and to deny that you've got to have a very strong argument on the other side. And the other side hasn't been able to do anything but thump the Bible." He finished by adding that the bible thumping approach was not a basis on which to enact public policy.
In the past O’Reilly has argues that legalized marriage equality would lead to polygamous marriage and has asked if people “should be allowed to marry turtles” if they want.
Jenna Wolfe, weekend anchor for the Today show, has announced that she and girlfriend Stephanie Gosk, a news correspondent for NBC, are expecting a baby.
“This is the most exciting thing that has ever happened to us,” Wolfe told PEOPLE exclusively in its new issue. “But I don’t want to bring my daughter into a world where I’m not comfortable telling everyone who I am and who her mother is.” Added Gosk, “The beauty is that we live in a time where there’s no need for secrecy. This is a spectacular moment for us.”
Wolfe made the announcement on NBC’s morning show Wednesday, saying, “I’m quite pregnant, actually.” The baby is due in August. Wolfe has also started a blog in which she will post stories related to the pregnancy and allow her fans to follow along in the process.
It's the month 5 B.C. (Before Childbirth, as in 5 months before I give beautiful birth), and I'm sitting down to share what's been brewing on my mind lately. I assume that by the time 5 A.D. comes around. (After Delivery, as in 5 months after this little kicker comes out) the following will be nothing more than a barrel of laughs. But for now, it's taking up a lot of real estate in my daily life.
Of all the jaw-dropping, head-turning and eye-popping things I've ever told my friends and family ("I swam with killer sharks," "I jet-packed 30 feet out of the water," "I scaled the tallest building in Canada"), nothing garnered more shock and awe (and, yes, some tears) than when I told people I was pregnant.
Just writing those words -- "I'm pregnant" -- is surreal to me. After all, I was never the kid that ran around playing house. I never had daydreams about being a mom and raising a family. I was the kid who jumped out of trees and skinned my knees and taunted bees. As a kid, I would have chosen raising my adrenaline over raising children any day of the week. But then a funny thing happened on my way to adulthood … I grew up. I ran smack into the old nursery rhyme: "First comes love. Then comes marriage. Then comes Jenna pushing a baby carriage." Granted, things aren't falling into that exact order. (And are they still called carriages? Aren't they strollers? Clearly I have a lot to learn.)
But while my life didn't quite unfold as rhymed, it's awfully close. How close? My girlfriend, Stephanie Gosk, and I are expecting a baby girl the end of August
Stephanie, a foreign correspondent here at NBC, spent years in war-torn countries, risking life and limb in the most dangerous places on earth to tell amazing stories. Ever since I can remember, I've been a thrill-seeking, dare deviling, adventure-hopping, fearless chick who enjoys the rush of life. Between the two of us, we've seen and we've done more than most will in a lifetime. And yet both of us agree that THIS little girl will be the biggest and best adventure of our lives.
Folk singer Michelle Shocked, who made headlines earlier this week for her spontaneous anti-gay rant during a show in San Francisco, and the subsequent fall out from the rant, has issued an apology...of sorts.
During the show, at club Yoshi, Shocked stated “If someone would be so gracious as to please tweet out, ‘Michelle Shocked just said from stage, God hates faggots.’ Would you do it now?” among other anti-gay sentiments (the audio can be heard HERE).
In a statement distributed by her publicist yesterday the singer has attempted to distance herself from the rant.
I do not, nor have I ever, said or believed that God hates homosexuals (or anyone else). I said that some of His followers believe that. I believe intolerance comes from fear, and these folks are genuinely scared. When I said “Twitter that Michelle Shocked says “God hates faggots,” I was predicting the absurd way my description of, my apology for, the intolerant would no doubt be misinterpreted. The show was all music, and the audience tweets said they enjoyed it. The commentary came about ten minutes later, in the encore. And to those fans who are disappointed by what they’ve heard or think I said, I’m very sorry: I don’t always express myself as clearly as I should. But don’t believe everything you read on facebook or twitter. My view of homosexuality has changed not one iota. I judge not. And my statement equating repeal of Prop 8 with the coming of the End Times was neither literal nor ironic: it was a description of how some folks – not me – feel about gay marriage.
The show, and the rant, was spontaneous. As for those applauding my so-called stance that “God Hates Faggots,” I say they should be met with mercy, not hate. And I hope that what remains of my audience will meet that intolerance with understanding, even of those who might hate them.
Folks wonder about my sexuality, but denying being gay is like saying I never beat my husband. My sexuality is not at issue. What is being questioned is my support for the LGBT community, and that has never wavered. Music and activism have always been part of my work and my journey, which I hope and intend to continue. I’d like to say this was a publicity stunt, but I’m really not that clever, and I’m definitely not that cynical.
But I am damn sorry. If I could repeat the evening, I would make a clearer distinction between a set of beliefs I abhor, and my human sympathy for the folks who hold them. I say this not because I want to look better. I have no wish to hide my faults, and – clearly – I couldn’t if I tried.
That statement was followed by a second:
I believe in a God who loves everyone, and my faith tells me to do my best to also love everyone. Everyone: gay or straight, stridently gay, self-righteously faithful; left or right, far left, far right; good, bad, or indifferent. That’s the law: everyone.
I may disagree with someone’s most fervently held belief, but I will not hate them. And in this controversy, that means speaking for Christians with opinions I in no way share about homosexuality. Will I endorse them? Never. Will I disavow them? Never.
I stand accused of forsaking the LGBT community for a Christianity which is – hear me now – anathema to my understanding of faith. I will no doubt take future flack for saying so. I’m accused of believing that “God hates fags” and that the repeal of Prop 8 will usher in the End Times. Well, if I caused such an absurdity, I am damn sorry. To be clear: I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of any so-called faith preaching intolerance of anyone. Again, anyone: straight or gay, believers or not: that’s the law.
That means upholding my punk rock values in the most evangelical enclaves and, in this case, speaking up for the most fearful of fundamentalists in, well, a San Francisco music hall full of Michelle Shocked fans.
As an artist in this time of unbearable culture wars, I understand: this means trouble, and this is neither the first nor last time trouble has come my way. And that’s fine by me.
I know the fear many in the evangelical community feel about homosexual marriage, as I understand the fear many in the gay community feel toward the self-appointed faithful. I have and will continue speaking to both. Everything else – facebook, twitter, whatever – is commentary.
After news broke of the singers rant all 11 of her remaining scheduled shows were cancelled...10 by the clubs where she was to play, and 1 by Shocked herself.
The British Film Institute (BFI) announced the discovery of a 1959 made-for-television gay drama, called South, which it says may be the first of its kind.
According to The Guardian:
South, adapted by Gerald Savory from an original play by Julien Green and screened on 24 November 1959, "is a milestone" in gay cultural history, said the BFI curator Simon McCallum.
The Guardian's arts correspondent Mark Brown describes the drama as follows:
It involves a dashing Polish army lieutenant exiled in the US deep south as civil war approaches and the question of who he really loves: the plantation owner's angry niece, Miss Regina, or the tall, blond, rugged officer who arrives suddenly – a handsome man called Eric MacClure.
The television play is heady, emotional stuff tackling issues of race as well as sexuality and that it was broadcast by ITV on a winter's night 54 years ago is nothing short of remarkable.
South, will be screened on March 23 and 24 as part of the BFI London Lesbian and Gay FIlm Festival this year.
UPDATE: All 11 remaining shows on Michelle Shocked’s current tour have been cancelled. The singer was scheduled to appear at HopMonk’s Tavern in Novato, Calif., SPACE in Evanston, Ill., eTown in Boulder, Colo., the Alberta Rose Theatre in Portland, Ore., Meander’s Kitchen in Seattle, Cozmic in Eugene, Ore., the Palms Playhouse in Winter, Calif., Moe’s Alley in Santa Cruz, Calif., and McCabe’s in Santa Monica, Calif. and at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival
Harmony Bar in Madison, Wisc., announced that Shocked’s May 5 appearance has been canceled “by the artist.”
Folk singer Michelle Shocked stunned the audience at her Sunday night show at San Francisco club Yoshi when she broke into a hate filled anti-gay rant complete with the statement, “God hates fags and you can tweet that I said so.”
“I live in fear,” said Shocked, “that the world will be destroyed if gays are allowed to marry.”
According to the San Francisco Chronicle approximately two thirds of the audience walked out of the concert after the singer’s rant. The manager, assistant club manager, and sound production engineer who were on duty shut down the show immediately, turning off the lights and cutting off the microphone, said Yoshi’s representative Lisa Bautista.
The club also apologized to the audience and offered refunds to anyone interested.
Shocked, who had been rumored to be a lesbian earlier in her career, is a born again Christian and has, in the past, stated that she feels homosexuality is a sin.
Shocked followed up her performance on Sunday with a tweet that read, “Truth is leading to painful confrontation.”
As of late Monday afternoon, at least four venues (in California, Illinois, Colorado and Oregon) have cancelled upcoming performances by Shocked.
Grindr is an app that helps gay men connect with each other. But, because of its success, it is reshaping the way social media leaders think about how people meet up, according to a New York Times article about a new book that explores the popular application's implications.
"It is easy to write off Grindr — a location-based dating application for gay men — as a hookup application because, well, that is what it is," writes Jenna Wortham for the New York Times, but, she says:
… the company, which is approaching its fourth anniversary, has amassed more than five million users who spend on average 90 minutes each day using the application. Billions of messages fly across the service every year, and 76 percent of the company’s revenue comes from money generated by Grindr users who fork over cash for the service’s premium features.
The implications of that success are explored in a new book by Jaime Woo, called Meet Grindr: How One App Changed the Way We Connect. Woo spoke recently at a South By Southwest conference. According to the New York Times:FULL ENTRY
"I've always known I was gay from the time I was a little kid. I can't remember a time when I wasn't aware of it, even before I knew what it was or the name of it."
- Anderson Cooper
CNN Anchor/Reporter Anderson Cooper, winner of the 2013 GLAAD Vito Russo Award, has opened up to Sirius XM radio host Michelangelo Signorile about winning the GLAAD award, being gay, and Madonna.
Cooper, currently in Rome covering the Vatican conclave for CNN, called in to Signorile’s OutQ radio program and said that being gay “is a blessing.” On the award, Cooper stated, "It has tremendous meaning, I wish I knew him (Vito Russo). The work he did founding GLAAD and producing The Celluloid Closet, to get more people to know who Vito Russo was … I certainly don't think I'm worthy of it, but if it helps GLAAD and if it helps have more people know who Vito Russo is, then I think it is certainly worthwhile."
Past winners of the award include Rosie O’Donnell and Ellen Degeneres.
Cooper talked about coming out to his closest friends in high school and to his family in college. He remained closeted professionally until just last year (Cooper stated that reporting from war zones around the globe was a major factor in not addressing his sexuality publicly). On finally coming out he said, “over time I started to realize that by not saying something I was sending a message or giving some people the mistaken impression that I was uncomfortable or ashamed and that made me really sad because I really didn’t want to give that impression. I think that being gay is a blessing. I couldn’t be more proud of being gay.”
Further discussing his coming out, and whether others should follow his lead, Cooper stated that “as a community I think we are all better off, gay people and straight people, when we are all visible.”
Cooper also said it was “amazing and crazy” to learn that Madonna would be presenting the award to him, and said he is a “huge fan” of her music.
In a particularly touching part of the interview Cooper also discussed his bother’s suicide and the effect that it has had on his life.
You can listen to the entire interview HERE.
Boston Spirit magazine's 2013 LGBT Executive Networking Night originally scheduled for March 7th has been rescheduled for Wednesday night March 20th. For more information and to RSVP visit www.bostonspiritmagazine.com
Carly Rae Jepsen, whose song ‘Call Me Maybe’ took the world by storm last year, has backed out of a scheduled performance at the Boy Scouts of America 2013 National Scout Jamboree.
Jepsen tweeted that “as an artist who believes in equality for all people, I will not be participating in the Boy Scouts of America Jamboree this summer”
Another major headliner for the Jamboree, the band Train, has also stated that they will not perform at the Jamboree unless the BSA changes its anti-gay policies before the summer.
GLAAD, who orginally asked Jepsen and Train to reconsider performing at the event has commended their decisions to back out of the Jamboree. “No fair-minded media outlet, corporation or celebrity will want to partner with the BSA as long as the organization puts discrimination and anti-gay bias before the needs of young people,” Rich Ferraro, GLAAD's vice president of communications, said in a statement. "GLAAD will continue to call for partners of the BSA to speak out against the anti-gay ban until the BSA puts Scouting first and adopts a national non-discrimination policy. Carly Rae Jepsen and Train's decisions not only send the right message to the BSA, but remind LGBT young people that they are supported and accepted."
Please join Boston Spirit magazine this Thursday night, March 7th, for our annual LGBT EXECUTIVE Networking Night. This is the largest LGBT business networking night in New England with more than 1,000 attendees and 50 exhibitors. Also, this year's Keynote speaker is Gautam Raghavan, the LGBT liaison in the White House. This promises to be an amazing night. To RSVP visit www.bostonspiritmagazine.com.
One of the most popular international gay travel publications, Spartacus, ranks the United States of America at 38 when it comes to best gay tourist destinations.
Sweden takes first place in the publication's Gay Travel Index.
The USA racks up points for anti-discrimination, marriage/partnership, and equal age of consent, but loses points for religious influence and hostility from locals.
The USA shares 38th place with eight other countries, including Aruba, Cambodia, and Italy.
The full report can be accessed in PDF form at www.spartacusworld.com/gaytravelindex.pd.FULL ENTRY
TV (and lesbian) icon Ellen DeGeneres has weighed in on the Proposition 8 issue headed to the Supreme Court. Degeneres has filed a brief with the Court....via Facebook.
In the brief, which appears on the Facebook page for the Ellen Degeneres show, she quotes Benjamin Franklin as saying "We're here, we're queer, get over it." (Yes, it was a joke)
California’s Proposition 8 is headed to the Supreme Court. Hundreds of companies and families as well as Republicans are submitting briefs urging the 9 judges to allow gay people to marry. I thought that was ridiculous. Why would judges want all of that underwear? Then, after a quick talk with some people, I found out what a brief was.
I’ve never filed a brief to the Supreme Court, so I thought I would post mine here. I’m sure someone will tweet it to them.
Portia and I have been married for 4 years and they have been the happiest of my life. And in those 4 years, I don’t think we hurt anyone else’s marriage. I asked all of my neighbors and they say they’re fine.
But even though Portia and I got married in the short period of time when it was legal in California, there are 1,138 federal rights for married couples that we don’t have, including some that protect married people from losing their homes, or their savings or custody of their children.
The truth is, Portia and I aren’t as different from you as you might think. We’re just trying to find happiness in the bodies and minds we were given, like everyone else.
Coming out was one of the hardest things I ever did. I didn’t intend to be on the cover of Time magazine saying, “Yep, I’m gay.” The truth is, I don’t even remember saying that. I mean, I definitely said the “I’m gay” part. It’s the “yep” I don’t remember. I’m not really a “yep” person. “Yes siree Bob” maybe. But not “yep."
In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “We’re here, we’re queer, get over it.” And there’s another famous quote that says “A society is judged by how it treats its weakest members.” I couldn’t agree with that more. No one’s really sure who said it first, so if anyone asks, tell them I said it.
I hope the Supreme Court will do the right thing, and let everyone enjoy the same rights. It’s going to help keep families together. It’s going to make kids feel better about who they are. And it is time.
*I was just told Benjamin Franklin did not say that first quote. I apologize and see that I have a lot to learn about stuff.
Please join Boston Spirit magazine this Thursday night, March 7th, for our annual LGBT EXECUTIVE Networking Night. This is the largest lgbt business networking night in New England with more than 1,000 attendees and 50 exhibitors. Also, this year's Keynote speaker is Gautam Raghavan, the lgbt liaison in the White House. This promises to be an amazing night. To RSVP visit www.bostonspiritmagazine.com
Tonight, USA Network's Necessary Roughness imagines what it would be like to have a professional football player come as gay.
From the press release:
On Wednesday, Feb 20, tune in to see the emotional and provocative second half of USA Network's 'Necessary Roughness' at 10/9c as the team tackles their quarter's coming out. The fear, anticipation, support and relief will resonate with viewers who have faced this milestone and give strength to others faced with their own coming out not to mention the current fervor over the iron-clad closet of professional sports.
A trailer can be accessed here: http://usanet.tv/NR216cl1
Fowl play in the Galapagos (photo: James Lopata)
A British academic is accusing BBC nature host David Attenborough of ignoring homosexual animal behavior in his documentaries.
The UK news organization The Sun reports that University of East Anglia Professor Brett Mills:
claims Sir David’s BBC documentaries focus on family values in animals and shun “alternative interpretations”.
Sir David, 86, described male chimps hugging as “friendly affection”, while male sandpiper birds filmed circling each other were being “aggressive”.
"The central role in documentary stories of pairing, mating and raising offspring commonly rests on assumptions of heterosexuality within the animal kingdom.
"This is despite a wealth of scientific evidence which demonstrates that many non-human species have complex and changeable forms of sexual activity, with heterosexuality only one of many possible options.”
Both news outlets said that the BBC declined to comment.
"A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, ..." love only existed between one man and one woman. Until now.
But don't expect any hanky panky between Luke Skywalker and Hans Solo — not just yet anyway — Star Wars: The Old Republic is set 3,500 years before the start of the storyline made popular in the Star Wars films. Furthermore, same-sex relationships are currently limited to the planet Makeb.