1072 posts categorized "Arts-Entertainment"

August 27, 2015

Above the Keyboard Warriors’ Din


In my Blade column this week, artists and activists overcome the background noise:

Hyenas would be better conversationalists, I sometimes think as I scan political arguments on social media. This is not unlike a Republican presidential debate, where a Bad Lip Reading parody is just as enlightening as the original.

When former president Jimmy Carter spoke candidly and with good humor last week about his cancer, millions were inspired by his serenity, humility, and grace. But the next day, Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz attacked him. When I said on Facebook that I recently read Carter's 2006 book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid and found it fair and reasonable, I was met with scorn by someone who had not read it.

This reckless speed is all too common in public forums. So let us look at a few examples of activists and artists rising above the din of the keyboard warriors to propose useful reforms or tell their stories in ways that help us see differently.

After weeks of squabbles by various people over direct-action tactics in the Black Lives Matter movement, policy solutions were issued by activists DeRay Mckesson, Johnetta Elzie, Brittany Packnett, and Samuel Sinyangwe. The effort, called Campaign Zero, is described as a "comprehensive platform to create systems and structures to end police violence." Their detailed plans (see joincampaignzero.org) are informed proposals by practical public policy advocates, notwithstanding sniping and trivializing like that of a self-described anarchist I encountered on Twitter.

The #CampaignZero planning team writes, "Police in England, Germany, Australia, Japan, and even cities like Newark, NJ, and Richmond, CA, demonstrate that public safety can be ensured without killing civilians. By implementing the right policy changes, we can end police killings and other forms of police violence in the United States."

Read the whole thing here.

#CampaignZero #StraightOuttaCompton #BlackLivesMatter #HugoAwards

Kentucky clerk vows to die fighting gay marriage

Well then he can just forget having Voices of Kentuckiana sing at his funeral.

August 21, 2015

Gay D.C. film festival returns from hiatus

August 19, 2015

Islamic State beheads leading Syrian antiquities director


August 16, 2015

Thumbs up for Straight Outta Compton

Straight Outta Compton is a stirring and superbly done movie. Not to be missed. It is eerie how current it is. This is compelling storytelling.

August 15, 2015

Stonewall trailer parody

Part of the controversy over the new Roland Emmerich film about the Stonewall riots, of which we have only seen the trailer, is bound up in ongoing battles over historical revisionism and the substitution of favored myths for evidence. For those interested in what really happened, I recommend David Carter's Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution.

August 11, 2015

The Invisible Moor Speaks: Who's afraid of a large black thespian? #americanmoor


My Blade column this week looks at Keith Hamilton Cobb's tour de force performance in his all-too-timely play, American Moor, now showing at Washington's Anacostia Playhouse:

The lively arts can give us fresh eyes when they beguile us into identification with other people and places. In the body and voice of a living performer, a long-vanished composer or playwright can provoke a flash of recognition. Such moments can bind us together more than political arguments could do. Yet their transformative power flies on delicate wings. It requires collaboration and vision and receptivity and mutual challenge. Our impulse to connect can be thwarted in a hundred ways.

The urge to come together despite difference is brought powerfully and movingly to life in the play American Moor, written and performed by Keith Hamilton Cobb, at Anacostia Playhouse through August 16. The situation is an actor's audition. His agent used to tell him, "You're an actor. You can do anything!" But people didn't buy him as 'anything,' only as one thing. He is invisible, as Ralph Ellison wrote, because people refuse to see him. So the tall black thespian, with unrealized visions of Hamlet, Prince Hal, and Romeo dancing in his head, tries out for Othello.

While waiting, he recalls his student days when he recited Titania's "forgeries of jealousy" speech from A Midsummer Night's Dream. His skeptical teacher asks why he chose Titania. "I like what she says," he answers. "The Faerie Queen?" the teacher mocks. "Yeah, sure." Decades later, his intoxication with Shakespeare still inspires him to climb into selves unlike his own. He channels Desdemona's thoughts of Othello: "For the fact that such as you so much as breathes I am jubilant. I feel you deeply, great and lovely thing, in my heart, and in my throat, and in my belly."

Ironically, the actor himself is caught in a mistaken identity, like an unarmed black man stopped by police on a false suspicion. The young white director's privilege blinds him to the possibility that the tall black actor might understand the tall black character better than he. The actor confronts him: "It will not grace my cause, nor Othello's cause, the play's cause, the American theatre's cause, to pretend that I don't know that you are frightened of me. You are afraid of me. I am afraid that nothing will ever change. And these are the forgeries of jealousy."

Read the whole thing here.

Click here for tickets.

August 07, 2015

Roland Emmerich responds to 'Stonewall' "whitewashing" complaints: see the movie

Emmerich, who is gay, insists that the movie features activists such as Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, and Ray Castro. I will withhold judgment until I see the movie.

August 06, 2015

Miss M weighs in

Wardrobe malfunction here.

Uganda Gay Pride will go on despite hostility

August 05, 2015

"But that I see thee here, thou noble thing!"


Blast from the past--favorite lines from Shakespeare Theatre production of Coriolanus, 1999-2000 season, delivered by Keith Hamilton Cobb (@KeithHamCobb) as Tullus Aufidius:

Let me twine
Mine arms about that body, where against
My grained ash an hundred times hath broke
And scarr'd the moon with splinters: here I clip
The anvil of my sword, and do contest
As hotly and as nobly with thy love
As ever in ambitious strength I did
Contend against thy valour. Know thou first,
I loved the maid I married; never man
Sigh'd truer breath; but that I see thee here,
Thou noble thing! more dances my rapt heart
Than when I first my wedded mistress saw
Bestride my threshold.

(Keith Hamilton Cobb as Tullus Aufidius. Photo by Carol Rosegg.)

Metropolitan Opera says its 'Otello' tenor will not wear blackface

Mighty white of them. It's as if they were listening to @KeithHamCobb in his searing American Moor, as he challenges the director during an audition for the non-operatic version of Othello:

You ain’t gotta pick me. But you’re gonna respect that walkin’ in the door, purely by virtue of being born Black in America, I know more about who this dude is than anybody could ever teach you.

I seem a little angry to you?... You think any American Black man is gonna play Othello without being in touch with his anger... at you? If that’s what you think, then you better go back to having white guys do it...

Stonewall: in theaters September 25

Above is the trailer, below is a critique of director Roland Emmerich's upcoming film on the Stonewall Riots.

August 03, 2015

Is Caitlyn Jenner willingly and purposefully getting schooled on her own show?

August 02, 2015

Do not miss Keith Hamilton Cobb at Anacostia Playhouse: American Moor

(Photo: C. Stanley Photography)

I cannot praise highly enough the author and star of American Moor, Keith Hamilton Cobb (@KeithHamCobb), at Anacostia Playhouse through August 16. If you love theater, and Shakespeare in particular, do not miss this. His passion, love, intelligence, and rage are powerfully and movingly expressed. The situation is an audition for Othello, but the first character he inhabits is that of Titania in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Wonderful stuff.

Here is a review.

Click here for tickets.

July 28, 2015

Kanye West's trans-affirming decency

There is so much hating on Kanye West, I thought I'd show you this video in which his decency shines. Caitlyn Jenner gives him credit for helping Kim Kardashian deal with Caitlyn's transition. And in case you forgot, Kanye came out strongly against homophobia in hip-hop ten years ago.

July 23, 2015

Betty Bowers: Charity scams belong to religion!

America's Best Christian strikes again.

Saying no to Tom Cruise led to big movie success for Ian McKellen

Ian McKellen trusted his instincts, and it paid off.

July 17, 2015

HuffPost relegates Trump to entertainment page

Sounds right to me.

July 15, 2015

Gay Men's Chorus of Washington on tour in Cuba

I wish I were there. So proud of these guys.

July 14, 2015

'No advice on killing mockingbirds'

Memories of the man who inspired Atticus Finch

July 10, 2015

Gay Men's Chorus of Washington goes to Cuba

Have a great trip, guys.

June 30, 2015

Colbert reads from SCOTUS dissents

June 26, 2015

Gay Men's Chorus of Washington sings National Anthem after SCOTUS ruling

I am so proud today to be a co-founder of this chorus. Thanks, guys.

June 25, 2015

The Gayest 36 Hours You Can Possibly Have in New York

Comic Book Fans Adamant That Human Torch Be Played By Actor Whose Body Actually Engulfed In Flames

Michael B. Jordan came to many people's attention with his Oscar-worthy performance in "Fruitvale Station." The fan complaints about his casting as the Human Torch are silly and racist.

June 24, 2015

June 28 - Sir Derek and Sirina are NYC Pride grand marshals

That these two are among the most distinguished actors working in our language makes this almost surreal, in the happiest possible way. Kiss kiss.

June 22, 2015

Justice Kagan's Spider-Man opinion

Meanwhile, near Red Square

Feel free to send us your Wilde-style quips.

Dear Kennedy Center, take down those treasonous banners!

Hey, folks, why not ask the Kennedy Center to remove all treasonous banners from its Hall of States?

I'm just trying to start some trouble.

June 19, 2015

Jeffrey Tambor HATES Frozen Bananas

Please stop sending Jeffrey Tambor frozen bananas.

June 16, 2015

A fun night at Chef's Best

Savada-Stevenson table Chefs Best 2015

The 25th anniversary Chef's Best was held Monday evening at the Marriott Marquis. I was a guest of my friends Alan Savada and Will Stevenson. Here's a picture of our table. The whole thing was a bit chaotic, but was a lot of fun and we had some wonderful food. One highlight was a small plate of cookies from pastry chef Peter Brett. Also the lobster mac and cheese, but I forget who that was from. And there was a tasty shrimp and corn salad, and the most incredible deviled eggs, and....

The event was a fundraiser for Food & Friends, which is expanding to serve people with diabetes.

June 15, 2015

We have a winner!


We've done the drawing from the entries submitted at GLAA's booth at the Capital Pride Festival, and the prize winner is local activist Joseph Martin of Petworth, who serves on Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4C. He will receive the Bruce Weber art photography book, The Chop Suey Club, which was donated anonymously. Joe's "apology" was for "bad make-up and not coming out before 6 years old."

Check out the "apology" ideas we provided at our booth.

For more on our theme for this year's pride booth, see this GLAA Forum post. I also wrote about the right wing's habit of blaming LGBT folk for all manner of ills in a Blade column last month titled, "Backlash, Bullies, and Victory Blindness."

Thanks to all who participated. We may post some of the other "apologies" once we've had a chance to go through them all. Thanks also to those who volunteered at our booth.

On a more serious note, check out our Pride Update 2015, titled "The To-Do List." And enjoy the rest of Pride Month.

Hoosier Hospitality

Republican Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard served as grand marshal in his city's gay pride parade on Saturday. Hoosiers are still smarting from the damage done by Gov. Mike Pence.

#RachelDolezal plagiarized 19th century artist

June 14, 2015

June 14 - Your chance to win at GLAA's Pride booth!



We're having a little fun this year at GLAA's booth at the Capital Pride Festival. Our theme involves a picnic basket, Toto, and gay tornados. Stop by and sign up for our email announcement list, and you'll be entered for a drawing. The prize is a rare, mint-condition art photography book by Bruce Weber, The Chop Suey Club, valued at $300. There is no cost or obligation.

June 13, 2015

Under arrest for excessive hotness


Wilson Cruz at the Capital Pride Parade, surrounded by members of the Metropolitan Police Department's Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit.

June 12, 2015

Pride, Pride, and More Pride

R.I.P. Christopher Lee

When an actor is still making hit movies into his nineties, that's longevity. Christopher Lee was a marvelous entertainer. In this old photo, he is playing chess with fellow horror movie legend Vincent Price. Rest in peace.