Right Wing Watch shares the latest in wingnuttery.
Right Wing Watch shares the latest in wingnuttery.
I have no particular reason to post this interview with Lupita Nyong'o and Conan O'Brien. She is just so stunning and poised. Their discussion of the advantages of wearing a cape does remind me of a revue at the National Theatre in the mid-1980s (it was an MLK Birthday celebration) in which a bunch of us from the Gay Men's Chorus were in the balcony watching an Elizabethan dance troupe which, let's just say, was way more gay than we were. One of the dancers wore a cape, and his absurdly elaborate and stylized moves caused a very bad boy among us (whom we nicknamed Crystal) to call out, "Work the cape, honey." I remember my friend David Sisson dissolving into tears of laughter.
(Hat tip: Rod 2.0)
Jimmy Fallon on Wednesday mentioned the D.C. Council's action to decriminalize mj possession. (He also mentioned the bill last fall.) Oh, what we have to do to get attention!
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) issued the following statement:
In a country where many states are permitting medical marijuana, or have decriminalized or legalized marijuana, I do not expect Members of Congress to interfere with D.C.’s local right to pass its own law on marijuana decriminalization. If Members try to interfere, however, I will stoutly defend D.C.’s right to pass such legislation, just as 17 states have already done.
I encourage you to take the time to watch these remarks by Lupita Nyong'o on the gatekeepers of beauty and learning to love oneself and the beauty inside that has no shade. This was prior to her winning an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her performance as Patsey in 12 Years a Slave. What a class act this young actress is, and how well she is using the limelight. Brava.
Some American troops donned drag for a charity performance in Okinawa. World Net Daily is appalled.
Ellen's selfie with several stars during the Oscar telecast last night established a new retweet record, with 1.8 million RTs as of midnight EST.
The hottest guy in the picture (IMHO), charmingly enough, was not one of the stars but Lupita Nyong'o's brother Peter, whom she called "Junior" during her acceptance speech. They are a photogenic family. Okay, Bradleys, you're cute too.
The radiant Lupita Nyong'o gave an eloquent acceptance speech as she won an Oscar last night for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Patsey in 12 Years a Slave. It also won for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay. This is the first film by a black director to win the top prize in Oscar's 86-year history. A fine moment of recognition for a magnificent, powerful film. It is a much-needed corrective to filmic falsehoods from "The Birth of a Nation" in 1915 to "Gone With the Wind" in 1939. Congrats and thanks to its makers.
Judy's three children (Liza, Lorna, and Joey) are going to do a tribute at the Oscars next week to mark the 75th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz. This could be painful. I may call up one of my Wiccan friends and ask them to cast a spell to keep it scripted and mercifully short.
Let's hear it for Suzie Snowflake's brave protest at the Sochi Olympics opening ceremony, where she refused to open into an Olympic ring.
Nathan Lane, Tim Gunn, and other New Yorkers help Jon Stewart plead with Sean Hannity not to carry out his threat to leave New York.
He was a good sport to do it, but Mitt Romney just isn't very funny.
This is what happens when you allow Swedes to serve in the military.
This image (click here and scroll down for the un-cropped version) has an entirely different vibe than the misogynist one to which it responds. It reminds me of a lyric by my late friend Michael Callen from his album Purple Heart:
"I’d like to be your music
I’d like to be your chair
I’d like to be the food you eat
and be the clothes you wear"
Broadway World reports.
This will be fun. The talented Laura Benanti is the niece of the late Bob Wonneberger, long a favorite soloist with the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington. She has talked about her beloved uncle during her own Kennedy Center concerts. Thus she is not just any guest artist, she's family. And she's a wonderful singer.
For more information and tickets, visit the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington.
(Photo of Laura Benanti by Joseph Marzullo/WENN)
This was the night five years ago when Oscar Grant was fatally shot on the Fruitvale Station platform by BART police in Oakland. His story, as told by young film director Ryan Coogler, moved a lot of people this year. Here is to his memory and to the cause of equal protection and justice for everyone.
Somehow, an Alabama town invited a troupe of black drag queens to dance in its Christmas parade. This took some parade-goers by surprise. The above news clip includes footage of them in the parade.
My year-in-review for 2013 was published before the news broke of Her Majesty's Alan Turing pardon; but it was already a jam-packed year for the LGBT community. Here are a few excerpts:
2013 was a momentous year for the LGBT community, with nine states (California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Rhode Island and Utah) joining the marriage equality ranks; landmark marriage rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court; the Social Security Administration making it easier for transgender people to obtain Social Security cards reflecting their true gender identity; strong moves in sports and the arts; and Presidential Medals of Freedom awarded posthumously to Bayard Rustin and Dr. Sally Ride….
In late June, the U.S. Supreme Court delivered historic rulings in the Windsor and Perry cases, overturning the federal denial of recognition to same-sex marriages and restoring marriage equality in California. Edith Windsor, whose irrepressible personality made her the perfect "poster girl" for marriage equality at age 84, was a finalist for Time's Person of the Year….
The cause of marriage equality grew more bipartisan in 2013, when former RNC Chair Ken Mehlman organized a pro-equality amicus brief in the Perry case signed by more than 100 Republican officials; Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) endorsed marriage equality after learning his son was gay; and former president George H.W. Bush and wife Barbara served as witnesses at the wedding of Bonnie Clement and Helen Thorgalsen in Maine.
The year's remarkable string of marriage equality victories ended on an exhilarating note when U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby, an Obama appointee, ruled Utah Measure 3 unconstitutional, setting off a rush of same-sex couples to county clerk's offices in the conservative state ahead of an expected stay of the ruling. Shelby deliciously cited Justice Antonin Scalia's bitter dissents in Lawrence and Windsor to bolster the argument in favor of marriage equality.
I also touch on sports, the arts, and the international front. Read the whole thing here.
Two members of the Pussy Riot punk band were released today as part of Russian President Vladimir Putin's pre-Olympics amnesty. Maria Alyokhina was released in the western city of Nizhny Novgorod, and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova was released in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk. NYT reports:
In a telephone interview on Monday, Ms. Alyokhina said she did not want amnesty and that officials had forced her to leave the prison. She said that the amnesty program was designed to make Mr. Putin look benevolent, and that she would have preferred to serve the remainder of her sentence.
“I think this is an attempt to improve the image of the current government, a little, before the Sochi Olympics — particularly for the Western Europeans,” she said, referring to the Winter Games Russia is hosting in February. “But I don’t consider this humane or merciful.”
She added, “This is a lie.”
Tell it, Maria!
Meanwhile, our left-coast friend Michael Petrelis shares the news that Russia's Straight Alliance for LGBT Equality has awarded Putin its Golden Enema prize. Follow the link for pictures. Bravo to these brave souls.
In the above clip, Rick Santorum agrees with suspended Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson's views on homosexuality but distances himself from Robertson's crude language. This is the same former U.S. senator who compared homosexuality to "man on dog" relationships.
In reactions ranging from relatively polite to unhinged, conservatives have rushed to portray A&E's suspension of Robertson as part of an assault on free speech and an attack on Christianity, despite there plainly being no shortage of outlets for conservative and anti-gay viewpoints. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who had previously warned that the GOP needed to "stop being the stupid party," called Robertson and his family "great citizens of the State of Louisiana." Meanwhile, GLAAD spokesperson Wilson Cruz was the target of a death hoax.
What do you do when you are stuck in bed with whack jobs and unvarnished bigots? These days, Republican office holders who make the slightest move to pull back from the most extreme intolerant rhetoric are vilified by others on the right. This does not mean that the GOP's control of the U.S. House of Representatives is in serious danger; gerrymandering will make it hard to dislodge them. But their ability to govern, to do anything but hurl rhetorical bombs and threaten to wreck the country if they do not totally get their way, is gone. If this is not starkly clear, it is only because the media is doing so much to fuel every controversy, generating much heat and little light.
If Democrats do not confront head-on the damage being done to the country by right-wing intransigence, obstruction, hate-mongering and political blackmail, they will be aiding and abetting that damage. As the midterm elections heat up in 2014, those aware of what is at stake must press Democrats to find their backbone and press the fight for our country. The more we allow America to be held hostage by know-nothing fanatics, the less our economy will be able to compete internationally with the likes of China, India, and Brazil. Smirking ignoramuses like Sarah Palin, and demagogues like Ted Cruz who exploit them, are not going away. The signal-to-noise ratio will remain low as the media continue behaving like nihilist whores. It is time to step up, organize, and speak out using all the tools available to us.
The only time I met actor and GLAAD spokesperson Wilson Cruz was at the White House in June 2009 when I was Frank Kameny's date for the Stonewall 40th anniversary reception. (He came up and introduced himself to me, and I right near melted into the carpet.) But Cruz was on TV this week, addressing the furor over anti-gay remarks by Phil Robertson of A&E's Duck Dynasty (in the above clip he squares off with Dr. Albert Mohler on CNN), and yesterday I got the following email from someone named Seth, who confused GLAA for GLAAD:
I am completely disgusted with comments made by your spokesperson in regards to Phil Robertson's interview and his response regarding homosexuality. First of all, what do you think a Christian minister is going to say when asked if he approves of that lifestyle???
A "true Christian" would READ and PRACTICE God's word. Homosexuality is not part of God's plan. If it was, there would be no reason for the creation of 'woman'. Phil reiterated that and was chastised and berated by your spokesperson for not only sharing God's word, but also expressing his opinion on the subject matter. That is his right as an American. The automatic response from the media and your organization is that he is essentially a closed-minded bigot going on an anti-gay tirade and not a true Christian. Really???
The irony of the response expressed by your organization is that there was more anger and hatred in those few lines than ever expressed by Phil. In fact, he spoke plainly as he always does; not with bitterness, but consideration and without a constant agenda to push his sexual preference down the throat of America.
On December 3 at the National Air & Space Museum, the U.S. Air Force Band performed a flash mob version of "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" and "Joy to the World." Here's to high musical and production standards.
(Hat tip: Bob Witeck)
Another Peter O'Toole clip, the delightful climax of the 1982 film My Favorite Year, in which the aging star of old swashbuckler movies is terrified of doing a live 1950s TV show, but rises to the occasion when the show's host is interrupted live by real-world thugs who work for a mobster he has lampooned. A gem of a movie.
Peter O'Toole, star of David Lean's 1962 masterpiece Lawrence of Arabia and an eight-time Oscar nominee, has died at age 81. In this indelible scene, a drawing-room chat with Claude Rains leads to sunrise over the desert via the blowing out of a match, and we know we are in epic territory. May this charismatic actor who shone in larger-than-life roles rest in peace.
The Soweto Gospel Choir performs a stirring flashmob version of Johnny Clegg's Asimbonanga ("We have not seen him"), written in the 1980s as a call for the release of Nelson Mandela from prison, in the Woolworth's store in the Parkview suburb of Johannesburg. In the season of Advent, a joyous celebration of an avowedly flawed mortal who rose to greatness by persevering and leading his people to freedom.
You can watch a version here in which Mandela himself appears onstage as Clegg performs the song.
The above video is a parody of the one below by Kanye West. Oh, how times have changed.
You may have heard about Katy Perry's impersonation of a Geisha at the American Music Awards. Ravi Chandra, M.D. writes at Psychology Today that Perry's performance was racist. The term "yellowface" comes up.
Setting aside Ms. Perry for a moment: If all cultural appropriation is racist, am I allowed to sing (or even enjoy) jazz or R&B? Such appropriation runs through all of human history. That doesn't make it okay, necessarily, but it is universal, flowering wherever different cultures encounter one another. Words are not just fossil poetry, as Emerson said; they are fossils of conquest and cultural encounters.
So our cultural policing needs to be more nuanced. If Perry's performance was exploitive and patronizing, that should be the point. If (say) your beautiful imported shirt from Mali or Japan was made in a sweatshop by someone who earned at most one percent if what you paid for it, that exploitation (and trade policies that protect it) is the issue. So the question is, how do we mix greater respect and equity into the inevitable cultural borrowing and its attendant commerce?
Fifty years ago, the Boston Symphony Orchestra was preparing to do its regular Friday afternoon concert, starting with a work by Rimsky-Korsakov. But conductor Erich Leinsdorf came out and announced the terrible news (you can hear the audience gasp). Instead of the Rimsky-Korsakov they performed the funeral march from Beethoven's Eroica Symphony, the sheet music for which had been distributed to the musicians moments before onstage.
Haunting. I appreciated hearing that musical performance, in contrast to all the rehashing of the events of that awful day and conspiracy theories about it. The Beethoven wordlessly conveys grief and respect, far better as a response in my view than all the yammering and speculating.
Andrew Sullivan writes:
Baldwin is not just an actor; he hosts a political show on MSNBC. He behaves as a political actor with his support of various causes, all of them noble. He has set himself up as a pro-gay progressive. If we concede the point that because you are somehow formally pro-gay, it doesn’t matter if you hurl murderous homophobic threats against people in public, then we have sold our soul.
Maybe Baldwin is pro-gay as long as he gets to be the top. Maybe his analyst needs to point this out to him. Or his accountant.
I admire Baldwin's acting and find him likable in interviews. He appears to be a smart and thoughtful guy. And I can sympathize with him for the constant harassment by paparazzi. But by this time he should have worked out a response that does not include homophobic and misogynistic epithets and violent threats. In any case, he has done this too many times to pass it off as a mere lapse. And Andrew is right that we must not be enablers.
Speaking of science fiction, I am afraid I let my people down over the weekend: I went with a friend to see the movie Ender's Game, based on a book by the homophobic Orson Scott Card, and liked it. I did not see any homophobia in the movie. I am a big fan of Harrison Ford. Besides, my friend wanted to see it. I am not big on boycotts; I generally favor marching into places more than marching out of them.
Bill Maher's latest salvo against un-Christlike Christians.
Former rugby star Ben Cohen and Kristina Rihanoff dance the Paso Doble on Strictly Come Dancing.
The moment of revivification from the classic 1931 movie Frankenstein, directed by James Whale.
Patrick Jason reports on a new BBC documentary:
Stephen Fry Out There follows the popular comedian as he travels around the world to learn what it means to be gay. He visits the countries of Uganda, America, Russia, Brazil and India and along the way encounters some of the most notorious homophobes on the planet.
Rod 2.0 shares this:
Football diva, sporno hotness, animal rights activist pin up star and homoerotic superhero slash fiction fantasy hotness Chad Johnson adds yet another hyphen to his ever-expanding skill set: Movie star.
The former Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots and Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver was spotted last week shirtless on the set of Overtown, a low-budget independent drama currently in production and that is being filmed in Miami. The film is directed by Cess Silvera and is scheduled for a 2014 release.
Metro Weekly reports:
First screened locally earlier this year during the DC Black Pride Film Festival, the documentary God Loves Uganda from Oscar-winning director Roger Ross Williams (pictured, right) opens in D.C. ... Oct. 25, at West End Cinema. The film is about the role of the American evangelical movement, particularly conservative Christian missionaries, in the African country's anti-LGBT mores, including the proposed “Kill The Gays” bill. A reviewer for the Huffington Post called it “the most terrifying film of the year.”
Isn't it comforting to know that malignant frauds like Frothy Mix here can make a good living off of people gullible enough to buy this crap?
This came up in conversation, and I had to post it: "Great Is Thy Faithfulness," sung by the Morgan State Choir under the direction of Dr. Nathan Carter and with extraordinary countertenor soloist Ernest Saunders. Dr. Carter and Mr. Saunders have passed away, and others have taken up their mantles. I was invited to the campus in Baltimore twice in recent years to debate gay marriage with ministers on the radio; but I sang in my college choir and I thought of these fellow spirits during those visits. With people trying to wreck our country, even non-believers may find solace in this stirring music.
The precision of the soloist's meshing with the choir in the delicate passage at about 3:30 astonishes every time--especially if you've sung in a large chorus and know how hard it is. This is virtuosic singing.