958 posts categorized "Arts-Entertainment"

October 17, 2014

In celebration of hermaphroditic snails

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("Snail Shell on Keys" by Garry Gay)

In an update on my earlier post regarding the new snail species Aegista diversifamilia, Manon Verchot at Treehugger.com quotes me, including my new lyrics channeling Cole Porter:

Bi-curious whales do it, quails do it,
New hermaphroditic snails do it.
Let's do it, let's fall in love.

Below, though sadly without benefit of my special lyrics, Billie Holiday gives her rendition. Use your imagination.

Tim Hauser of Manhattan Transfer dies

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Tim Hauser, founder of famed close harmony group Manhattan Transfer, has died at age 72. As a fellow former member of the Villanova Singers and Spires (though I never had the pleasure of meeting him), I tip my hat to our illustrious alum. Well done! I expect he is meeting another alum, Jim Croce, on the other side.

October 07, 2014

Geoffrey Holder, 1930 - 2014

NYT reports:

Geoffrey Holder, the dancer, choreographer, actor, composer, designer and painter who used his manifold talents to infuse the arts with the flavor of his native West Indies and to put a singular stamp on the American cultural scene, not least with his outsize personality, died on Sunday in Manhattan. He was 84.

Charles M. Mirotznik, a spokesman for the family, said the cause was complications of pneumonia.

Few cultural figures of the last half of the 20th century were as multifaceted as Mr. Holder, and few had a public presence as unmistakable as his, with his gleaming pate atop a 6-foot-6 frame, full-bodied laugh and bassoon of a voice laced with the lilting cadences of the Caribbean.

In the clip above, Holder dances with the original Scarecrow as he receives his Tony for directing The Wiz. Below, a glimpse of his work for Alvin Ailey. May this great artist rest in peace.

October 03, 2014

Key & Peele - Gay Wedding Advice

Very funny.

September 24, 2014

Who says there's no good news?

I am delighted to hear this news of a sequel. On the other hand, what could possibly outdo this reading by Samuel L. Jackson?

Trust me on this one

Very funny.

(Hat tip: Joel Lawson)

September 23, 2014

Artie Raslich, whale photographer

Whale in NY waters

Ian Frazier in the Sep. 29 issue of The New Yorker writes about photographer Artie Raslich of East Rockaway, who took the wonderful photo above.

Tel Aviv party organizers slammed for ISIS spoof

Ynet News reports:

Drek – one of Tel Aviv's most popular gay party organizers – has inspired a massive wave of criticism and anger online after using imagery inspired by the Islamic State group's executions on a number of posters promoting the club's parties.

Here are a couple of the offending images.

Drek poster 1

Drek poster 2

It does seem in dreadful taste. But dark humor generally is. As I do not live in the Middle East, I am not inclined to judge the Drek promoters too harshly.

September 04, 2014

R.I.P. Joan Rivers

Comedian Joan Rivers has died at age 81. Here is a 1986 appearance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, her trademark style on full display. May she rest in peace.

August 29, 2014

Daily Show mocks ESPN focus on Michael Sam's showering habits

Samantha Bee normally annoys me, but this is funny. Michael Sam outclasses the people who persist in trying to marginalize him with their locker room fantasies. Rooting for you, Mike.

As for Mike's performance as a football player and his chances of making the final roster cut Saturday, more coverage here and here.

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August 28, 2014

Colbert Report: Outrage in Ferguson

Jon Stewart on #Ferguson: Race/Off

Love Is Strange

This movie about an older gay couple opens Friday at Landmark E Street Cinema. Randy Shulman in Metro Weekly interviews stars Alfred Molina and John Lithgow.

August 25, 2014

New Yorker cover: Ferguson, MO

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Beautiful New Yorker cover this week, by Eric Drooker. Hands up, don't shoot.

August 19, 2014

Shorties

An odd piece that cropped up today. The music is Mozart's Turkish March.

August 16, 2014

The Imitation Game

Churchill said this alleged security risk should have gotten a peerage. He needed to break an unbreakable Nazi code, so he invented the modern computer. Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing. American release November 21.

August 12, 2014

Lauren Bacall, 1924-2014

Another great one passes. In this scene, accompanied by Hoagy Carmichael, Bacall sings to an adoring customer I imagine was her first gay fan.

Years ago, I worked a column around "How Little We Know" and the movie it's from, To Have and Have Not.

It seemed we would have Betty Bacall forever. She was 89.

'Oblivion together does not frighten me, beloved'

I was looking around for something that would make you smile amid all the horrors going on in the world, and here it is in the form of an unorthodox marriage proposal. Be sure to watch to the end.

(Note: the title of this blog entry is a line spoken by Diana Muldaur in an episode of the original Star Trek. Extra points if you guess correctly to whom she said it. And no, I did not look it up, because I've had this silly stuff in my head for the past 46 years.)

Robin Williams, R.I.P.

The Motion Picture Academy posted the above tweet yesterday after the death of actor and comedian Robin Williams at age 63. Below is a performance Williams gave in England after Barack Obama's first presidential election victory. May he rest in peace.

August 04, 2014

'Meet me after service for some one-on-one praying'

Our friend the comedian Sampson was back in town over the weekend. For those who missed him, here is a clip from his 2013 show at the historic Howard Theatre.

August 01, 2014

I Can't Breathe: a Broadway protest of the killing of Eric Garner

The Daily News today reports that the NYC Medical Examiner has ruled that Eric Garner was killed by a police chokehold, a restraining tactic that is still being used despite being long forbidden.

July 29, 2014

Get On Up

Chadwick Boseman, who played Jackie Robinson in 42, stars as the James Brown. This looks like fun. Opening in cineplexes on August 1.

John Oliver on our insecure nukes

Quick, hide under a picnic blanket!

July 26, 2014

Shade

Jeopardy! includes "shade" in a clue.

July 24, 2014

This Land Is Mine

Pretty well sums it up. Lovely singing by Andy Williams.

July 17, 2014

Culture Thieves

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(Photo by Raz Birkshaw. Courtesy Wiki Commons)

My column this week looks at a recent flare-up in the culture wars. Here's the opening:

Sierra Mannie, a University of Mississippi senior, wrote a commentary picked up by Time last week titled, "Dear White Gays: Stop Stealing Black Female Culture." Here's a portion:

"I need some of you to cut it the hell out. ... I don't care ... how cute you think it is to call yourself a strong black woman, who taught you to twerk, how funny you think it is to call yourself Quita or Keisha or for which black male you've been bottoming -- you are not a black woman, and you do not get to claim either blackness or womanhood."

Someone was looking for a throwdown. She talked about Beyoncé, white privilege and the legacies of racism and sexism. She made some valid points. She also said that black women "cannot hide their blackness and womanhood to protect themselves the way that you can hide your homosexuality."

Let's pause there. David Mariner, Executive Director of The DC Center for the LGBT Community, posted a response on Tumblr. He did not imitate a black woman saying, "Oh no you dih-int." He was conciliatory and thoughtful:

Follow the link above to read the whole thing at Metro Weekly.

R.I.P. Elaine Stritch

NYT reports that legendary Broadway actress and comedian Elaine Stritch has died at age 89. May she rest in peace.

The video above shows her onstage in 2002. Below, she appears with David Letterman in 1996.

July 15, 2014

From the comics: Archie to die saving gay friend's life

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Granted, I haven't paid much attention to the comics in a very long time, but they've certainly goosed up Archie from the piffle I remember. Rolling Stone reports:

Archie Andrews fans already know that their beloved, red-haired comic book icon is going to die while trying to save a friend's life. Now Archie Comics publisher and co-CEO Jon Goldwater has offered more specifics about the character's sacrifice: Archie will perish after intervening in an assassination attempt on the series' first openly gay character, Kevin Keller, The Associated Press reports.

Really, Mr. Goldwater? Assassinations? I think I'll send this to the reader who ranted at me from Rehoboth for interrupting his beach reading with my views on current affairs.

July 12, 2014

Cultural appropriation goes in multiple directions

Sierra Mannie is a senior at the University of Mississippi, in whose student newspaper she wrote a strong article that has been picked up by Time. It is titled, "Dear White Gays: Stop Stealing Black Female Culture," and here's how it opens:

I need some of you to cut it the hell out. Maybe, for some of you, it’s a presumed mutual appreciation for Beyoncé and weaves that has you thinking that I’m going to be amused by you approaching me in your best “Shanequa from around the way” voice. I don’t know. What I do know is that I don’t care how well you can quote Madea, who told you that your booty was getting bigger than hers, how cute you think it is to call yourself a strong black woman, who taught you to twerk, how funny you think it is to call yourself Quita or Keisha or for which black male you’ve been bottoming — you are not a black woman, and you do not get to claim either blackness or womanhood. It is not yours. It is not for you.

She then explains. She makes legitimate points. But then I read a response on Tumblr by my friend David Mariner, Executive Director of The DC Center for the LGBT Community. Here are a few excerpts from his thoughtful and eloquent piece:

The second thing I need you to know is that I can’t change who I am. I know you may suggest, as you did in your article, that gay men can simply ‘hide’ who they are. Perhaps I should lower the pitch of my voice artificially? Butch it up? Let me assure you, I tried that for the first twenty years of my life, and it came very close to killing me. I can’t hide who I am, nor should I....

Fourth up, and I really need you to hear this one, many of the expressions, sayings, mannerisms, and culture that you claim white men have appropriated from black women.... well a lot of it never really belonged to to straight women to begin with. It originated from LGBT culture, and predominately the Black and Latino Gay scene. Do a little research and look into Ball Culture. Watch Paris is Burning or Tongues Untied. Learn where all those expressions come from.

I encourage you to read both pieces. In a diverse society, respect and understanding must be reciprocal.

July 11, 2014

Rick Santorum warned us about this

UCBComedy explains: "Ron Spiner is the only candidate brave enough to fight for your right to marry whoever you want, as long as they're a dog and not the same sex as you." Apparently they're parodying Dr. Keith Ablow, who is seen below on Fox News discussing his concerns about polygamous bestiality.

For students of depravity, I note that these guys don't go nearly as far as Madonna did in her sex book twenty years ago. But what's with the guy and the peanut butter? How insensitive toward people with peanut allergies.

June 28, 2014

'Vicious' brings its camp stereotypes to PBS

The British sitcom starring Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi as a long-time gay couple is coming to PBS, NYT reports. Good for them, but from the YouTube clips I've seen, Jacobi's over-the-top stereotypical queen is too much. Such a pair of world-class actors deserves better material. I have seen both of them in theaters give extraordinary, nuanced performances. Don't expect that here.

June 22, 2014

Melissa Etheridge at WorldPride opening ceremonies

From WorldPride, now going on in Toronto.

June 04, 2014

Jonah Hill shows how to make a sincere apology

Alec, babe, you should watch this. Thank you, Jonah.

June 02, 2014

Give this man anything he asks

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(Image courtesy of GPN/Nebraska ETV Network and WNED Buffalo)

Congrats to LeVar Burton on his huge crowdsourcing success with his Reading Rainbow reboot. He exceeded his $1 million goal within 24 hours, and has now set a new goal of $5 million to expand the program into more classrooms. A great many of us fell in love with him (and those eyes) 37 years ago with his legendarily soulful and shattering performance as Kunta Kinte. How the hell can we be that much older? Anyway, the cause of literacy just got a much-needed boost. Good on him and all the people who joined the cause. You can kick in here.

May 29, 2014

De Niro talks about his gay father in HBO documentary

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New York Daily News reports on a documentary that actor Robert De Niro has made about his gay father, who was an artist and died 20 years ago from cancer:

The award-winning actor took a seat behind the scenes to produce a documentary about his late father, who was openly gay, called "Remembering the Artist: Robert De Niro Sr."

"I felt I had to. I felt obligated. It was my responsibility to make a documentary about him," he said in an interview with Out magazine about the film, which includes archival footage from the '70s, and was edited by Thelma Schoonmaker, a longtime editor for Martin Scorsese.

May 28, 2014

Maya Angelou, 1928 - 2014

A great spirit has left us. And yet, of course, she hasn't. Keep rising, Maya Angelou.

Our friend Ernest Hopkins writes on Facebook:

Hard, very sad day. It is impossible to measure of the depth and import of her contributions to our culture. Her impact is broad and rolling like the sea. The Gods are smiling with her return. Rest in Peace Sister Angelou. Job well done.

May 26, 2014

Bring Them Home

A tribute for Memorial Day.

(Hat tip: David Sisson)

"You shall not pass!"

A belated happy 75th birthday to the magnificent Sir Ian McKellen, born on May 25, 1939. In this clip, matched with Peter Jackson's flawless composition and special effects, he falls through fire into the abyss battling the Federal Marriage Amendment in the form of a balrog: "You shall not pass!" And indeed it did not. All hail our brother Sirina, whose career certainly was not harmed by coming out.

May 23, 2014

Too happy in Tehran

MTV reports:

Six young Iranians have been arrested after they uploaded a video of themselves dancing throughout Tehran to Pharrell’s “Happy.”

“Happy in Tehran” was uploaded to YouTube last month and garnered more than 165,000 views before being made private. It shows three men and three women — all unveiled — looking, well, happy as they dance and lip-synch to Pharrell’s hit.

But authorities in Tehran are calling the video “vulgar,” and all six were arrested and forced to formally apologize on state television. (Under Islamic law, women are required to cover themselves from head to toe in public, a rule monitored by “morality police.”)

Do not take your freedom for granted.

Larry Kramer Lives to See His ‘Normal Heart’ Filmed for TV

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NYT talks to Larry Kramer on the occasion of the TV version of his landmark play The Normal Heart. Congrats to him.

However. "We have no power in Washington, or anywhere else," says Kramer, who doesn't do nuance. In the week of Frank Kameny's 89th birthday, I say what he once said to Kramer in Lambda Rising bookstore: Larry, you are wrong.

That we haven't won everything doesn't mean we won nothing. Kramer has done much to admire; but his boorishness and disrespect are gratuitous and increasingly ridiculous.

(Photo of Larry Kramer by David Shankbone)