Showing posts with label Entertainment Series. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Entertainment Series. Show all posts

March 28, 2017

In1983 Where Everybody Knew Your Name(and Sexuality?)Cheers

Cheers‘ first gay-centric episode is all about judging a book by its cover — literally. What looks like a bawdy baseball memoir full of drunken exploits is, in fact, a coming out memoir. This fictional book kicks off a wave of gay panic in Cheers, the bar where everyone knows your name and also your sexuality — or so the regulars think. 
Halfway into the first season of Cheers, writers Ken Levine and David Isaacs used the real life coming out of Los Angeles Dodgers and Oakland Athletics player Glenn Burke as inspiration to tackle homophobia in an episode titled “The Boys in the Bar.” The January 1983 episode was deemed “risky” by NBC, but the writers stuck by their script and series lead Ted Danson reportedly cheered them on. “The Boys in the Bar” didn’t even land in the top 40 shows that week. What viewers missed at the time (and have no doubt seen in the following years via syndication and streaming) was an episode structured to deconstruct the notion of stereotypes. On a larger scale, this Season One episode confirms that while some of the regulars may not be open-minded, Cheers is a bar for everyone. 
The episode starts with a press conference at Cheers for a memoir written by Sam Malone’s (Danson) old teammate Tom Kenderson (Alan Autry). When it’s revealed that Catcher’s Mask is about Kenderson’s double life as a womanizing athlete and closeted gay man, the bar becomes home to a major moment for Boston’s gay community. Once the photos of bar-owner Sam with major league gay Tom hit newspapers, the regulars —led by Norm (George Wendt) and Cliff (John Ratzenberger)— fear that Cheers will become a gay bar. The boys in the bar don’t want boys coming to the bar looking for boys.
Norm worries that Cheers will go the way of Vito’s Pub, a bar that came out after they hosted one Gays for the Metric System meeting. Norm, who brags about having gaydar, surveys the bar and sees no gay men: “Looks like a straight crowd to me. Too ugly to be gay.” Diane (Shelley Long) points out that you can’t judge a man’s sexuality by their mustache. After all, as she explains, Cheers has always been frequented by gay men — and there are two in the bar at that very moment. The regulars then go full “Twilight Zone” and start accusing each other. The panic intensifies when a pair of plausibly gay men (mustache, leather vest, skinny tie) enters the bar. It turns out that those aren’t the boys Diane meant, and she reveals that the two gay men “have had a wonderful time watching [the regulars] make complete idiots of yourselves.” The two men flanking Norm lean in and kiss him, and the episode ends.
“The Boys in the Bar” wanted to challenge its 1983 audience. A big baseball player can be gay (much to Carla’s disappointment), and those mustached guys in skinny ties might just be really into Hall & Oates. Norm’s “spot ’em a mile away” gaydar doesn’t work because it’s powered by uninformed stereotypes. Additionally, Cliff, Norm and Carla’s gay panic stems from their insecurity. Norm and Cliff, two schlubby guys that don’t exactly meet the hyper-masculine ideal, puff out their chests when their (faulty) gaydar pings. They lob accusations about each other’s virility and they test the maybe-gays by shouting about “bagonzas” on TV. Carla gripes that gay men are competition for her: “If guys keep coming out of the closet, there isn’t going to be anybody left to date and I’m gonna have to start dating girls.” 
Norm, Carla and Cliff give into gay panic because gay people are what they whisper about, if they consider them at all. The fate of Vito’s Pub is even treated like an urban legend, and an “it happened” from Cliff is treated like undeniable proof. Gay people have come and gone in Cheers, a bar these guys are in every single day, and none of them noticed. It’s also inconceivable to Norm that a gay man might actually prefer Cheers’ sports bar aesthetic over — as he says with a shudder — “ferns.”
It’s tricky now to depict three beloved characters as homophobic. It was less tricky in 1983, when odds are a huge chunk of Cheers then-tiny viewing audience agreed with Norm, Cliff and Carla. Two lines in particular, though, really highlight just how totally awful the usually lovable regulars are acting. After the presumed gay men fail to notice the aforementioned “bagonzas” on TV, Diane puts on a macho voice and says, “They’re not watching. Let’s string them up.” Here, Diane highlights how disproportionate the men’s frenzied reaction is compared to the perceived “crime” of being gay in a bar — and the writers are doing it by conjuring up images of public hangings. This line still hits hard.
A little later, Norm preps to lead the regulars to another bar called Clancy’s. Norm says they’ll check back in on Cheers in a couple weeks, just to make sure it’s still the kind of bar where a single woman can “be assured of being harassed and hit on.” That line draws a mixed reaction from the crowd, a half-gasp leading into the usual chuckles. The line is so self-aware and on the nose, it’s hard not to see it as the writers’ way of highlighting how mean-spirited the guys are being. They want a Cheers where it’s okay to exclude gay people and harass women. 
Sam, Diane and Coach are on the other side of the argument. Diane, the episode’s moral center, is incredibly disappointed with her regulars and lets them know. When Cliff begs Sam to kick the new guys out, Diane suggests Sam say, “We’re a group of sniveling bigots and we don’t care for your kind.” Still, Diane’s role within the Cheers ecosystem generally makes her more of a spoilsport. It would be easy for audiences to see this as Diane ruining some good ol’ boy fun, thus learning no lessons.
That’s why Sam’s placement on the pro-gay team — a side he joins after a talk with Diane — underlines this episode’s message. At the top of the episode, Sam wails to Diane that “guys should be guys.” But Diane gets through to Sam by telling him that Tom is still the same man he used to “tinkle off balconies with,” and that Tom needs his support. Sam sticks up for Tom and only slightly wavers in his newfound conviction once. Sam pointedly agrees with Coach that yes, those fashionable guys are okay. Sam only hesitates when he’s confronted with potentially losing all his regulars (as well as a steady flow of single ladies). But Sam doesn’t back down; he serves the guys drinks on the house and proudly says, “Those guys are staying. [Cheers] is not gonna turn into the kinda bar I have to throw people out of.” Sam is the hyper masculine lead of the show, the kinda guy that plenty of straight male viewers (and also Cliff and Norm) idolized. If super macho Sam fought his discomfort, changed his perception and stood up for what was right, then viewers could — and should — too.
As progressive as this episode is for 1983, it still falls short in the same ways that most sitcoms of the 20th century did when handling LGBT issues. There are no regular LGBT characters in the cast, so Cliff, Norm and Carla aren’t challenged to grow after this episode. Sam’s friend Tom disappears after the press conference, never to be seen again. Even the supposedly gay guys turn out to probably not be gay. In the absence of any actual dynamic gay characters, it’s Diane that takes on the ally role and acts as the voice of gay rights. 
With “The Boys in the Bar,” Cheers challenged a lot of commonly held perceptions at the time, as well as its early ’80s audience. Whatever ambiguity might have been present upon its initial airing has only been clarified by the passage of time. It’s also an episode about gay rights that doesn’t really give any gay characters a voice. This episode, or at least a later one, should have had one of the regulars come out, too; recurring character Paul almost did in the final season, but that plotline never ended up going anywhere. Instead, any gay characters in the Cheersuniverse presumably kept their tabs open at Vito’s, even after Sam’s photo-op. But during this one episode, there was room at the bar for all of the boys.
By Brett White a comedy writer living in New York City. His work can be heard at Left Handed Radio and seen at UCB1. He watches old sitcoms and tweets about them at @brettwhite.

September 26, 2016

Game of Thrones } A Gay Man in Westeros

Renly and Brienne
Gethin Anthony wasn’t given the easiest of roles to play on Game of Thrones: a gay man in Westeros. The world of the show is far from the most accepting place in fiction. Women, homosexuals, bastards, and other groups are all put at a disadvantage, and King Renly Baratheon had to step carefully.
We’ve complained before about the portrayal of homosexuality on Game of Thrones, although usually in terms of how Loras Tyrell was reduced to a caricature of the man we knew in the books. But when it comes to Renly, there was something of a beauty to the way the “love that dares not speak its name” in Westeros was allowed to flourish on screen. In a recent interview, Anthony said that this was a deliberate choice.
Speaking to Attitude, Anthony reflects on his time with the show and says that he wanted to make sure there were positive portrayals of relationships in the brutish world of Westeros, where marriages are more like alliances, and many love affairs are unhealthy.
Credit: HBO/Helen Sloan
Westeros is a very scary world, with all the politics and violence going on, so it was nice to play an affectionate gay couple within that world. We were very passionate about it being a positive thing. I still hold on to that and I’m still very proud of it.
It was certainly a change from the books, where no one ever says outright that Loras or Renly are lovers. In fact, there are precious few references to anyone outside their immediate families even realizing they are gay. (At one point, Cersei even accuses Margaery and Loras of incest, oblivious that Margaery might not be his type.)
But the show’s choice to make them far more out afforded it a chance to to deepen their relationship. And Anthony sees it as a net positive for on screen LBGT relationships.
I got some lovely letters. One that sticks out was from a gentleman who was about to propose, or has perhaps just proposed, to his partner. He said some really nice things about seeing a gay relationship on television. Whenever people connect to things you’re involved with or a story you’re telling, it’s a lovely thing

Credit: HBO/Helen Sloan

July 13, 2016

Why doesTakei (Sulo) Criticizes Character Being Gay Even though He Himself is Gay

‘Pegg was right to make sexuality a facet of an existing character’. John Cho as Sulu, with Zoe Saldana as Uhura, in Star Trek Beyond. Photograph: Everett/Rex/Shutterstock
It was such a marvelous event to make a character that all Trekkers respect and love Sulo gay.
You would think that the character he represents which happens to be gay would be honored. But Takei which played Sulo on the original series wasn’t so thrilled about it. The 79-year-old actor told The Hollywood Reporter that while he's "delighted that there's a gay character," he doesn't think it should have been Sulu, or any of the original characters. 

"Unfortunately, it's a twisting of Gene's creation, to which he put in so much thought. I think it's really unfortunate," Takei said, referring to Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry's original intentions for Sulu.

Takei reportedly shared his apprehensions over a gay Sulu when he heard the news from Cho last year that Sulu would have a husband in the next film. Takei also advised Beyond director Justin Lin to create a new, gay character when Lin called him about it, THR reported. 

Actor Simon Pegg, who plays Scotty and co-wrote the screenplay for Star Trek Beyond with Doug Jung, told The Guardian that he disagrees with Takei.

"Justin Lin, Doug Jung and I loved the idea of it being someone we already knew because the audience have a pre-existing opinion of that character as a human being, unaffected by any prejudice," Pegg said. "Their sexual orientation is just one of many personal aspects, not the defining characteristic."

Takei, who spoke at the University of South Florida earlier this year, has been an outspoken activist for LGBT rights and diversity in Hollywood for years.

Takei is showing his age with his anti gay Sulo comments. He wants the show to stay faithful to Roddenberry who was notorious for changing stories at a wimp and went just by instinct in many occasions. He would probably be the first one to say what a nice change. But wether he agreed with it or not the importance here is that by placing a gay character in such a high position on a show loved by millions without making any fuzz, it shows that is the real gay character of today. We want no fuzz we want just what everyone else has, no more and no less. It translates in such a true message that some people have not yet realized.

We have Pride day with a parade because we had to show on our bad times that we were here because for centuries we have been here but hiding. Even people that loved us wanted us in the closet. As long as we don’t talk about it as long as we don’t show it. But the way to show we are here and like everyone else is to show it and Takei knows that among the whole crew of the Enterprise with the percentages of Gay and Lesbians in the community as we now know, there had to be at least one gay or lesbian in that crew. To bring a new character as gay would be to be making a fuzz about being gay and about wanting to be special in the show who would need a gay token as homophobes would say it.  The right way to introduce someone gay to the Enterprise is the exactly the way is being done with smarts and class.

Star Trek Beyond opens in theaters July 21.

Adam Gonzalez  the Net as source.

With special remembrance to a very special actor Anton Yelchin, who was 27 at the time of his death, portrayed Chekov in the film.

November 10, 2015

Actor Playing Aaron in Walking Dead, Shocked at Negative Reaction to Gay Character


Aaron was introduced to viewers as the first gay character to appear in The Walking Dead but actor Ross Marquand reveals he was shocked by the abundance of negative responses he received over the role. However, the TV star admits he was "grateful" for the opportunity to bring attention to the issue.

Marquand, 34, began playing the Alexandrian resident in season five and the character has become a good friend to other survivors including Rick Grimes and Daryl Dixon. Explaining the public response to his role as a gay man, Marquand told the IBTimes UK: "It's been a bit mixed. On one hand, we've had very negative [responses]. But for as many negative responses, there were just as many, if not more, fans who were coming to the defence of not only Aaron but the LGBT community in general, which is really lovely to see."

He continued: "I think at first I was really shocked by the response and kind of baffled as to why people would be writing such vitriolic comments, but as time went on I was actually grateful because it sparked a debate. I think when people can talk openly about social issues, you never think your work is going to have a great social impact and then it does. It's nice to see that."

So far in season six of the hit zombie series, viewers have seen Ross discover that he may have been responsible for the Wolves finding the Alexandria safe zone, which resulted in a brutal attack on the community. Addressing his character's guilt, Marquand said: "There's a distinct possibility that even though Aaron didn't draw up the directions to Alexandria, somehow the Wolves managed to put the pieces together by looking at those photos.
"That ultimately drove them to the community in the first place. There's a massive responsibility that he feels squarely placed on his shoulders and the guilt will drive him throughout the season and the responsibility for what he's done indirectly or directly. He wants to make amends."

Viewers were thrilled with the action when the Wolves attacked Alexandria in episode two and Marquand admits it was pretty chaotic on set. The actor revealed: "I only had a few days on that episode, but even for those few episodes that I was there, it was insane. We had so many moving parts and this ever-present horn blaring first until he gets taken off the wheel when Morgan dispatches that walker, but it was insane.

"It was just utter chaos and of course, people don't know this, but Alexandria is a working community already so there's people who live there in real life. Often times we'd be shooting these crazy fight sequences and the PA will get a call and they'd have to stop production so someone could drive through and get their groceries. It was nuts but you just have all of these insanely talented stunt people falling around, leaping and doing insane stuff.”

April 20, 2015

The Gay “Longest Ride" Interview

East1 The hunky shirtless star of the Western romance The Longest Ride talks with our Chris Azzopardiabout his famous dad, gay marriage and sex in a barn.
Scott Eastwood has already provided a generous hunk of swoon-worthy shirtlessness, but the model-turned-actor is just getting started. In his first lead role as Luke Collins in the film adaptation of Nicholas Sparks’ The Longest Ride, Clint’s sexy son makes you feel all the feels as a bull rider pursuing a hard-won girl (and, for good measure, flashing his now.
— Chris Azzopardi
Dallas Voice: Scott, you were obviously blessed with good genes, and people have taken note of that, many of them in the gay community. At this point in your career, how aware are you that gay men enjoy you?  Scott Eastwood: Now I am — you’re bringing it to my attention! I love it. I don’t discriminate against any fans. Fans are fans, and gay men are great. I support gay marriage and the whole bit. I think everybody should be able to be with who they want to be with. My dad is the same way. He’s a total Libertarian — everyone leave everyone alone. Everyone live their own private life. And why does everyone gotta be all up in arms about it? 
Your dad put it best when he spoke about gay marriage: “I don’t give a fuck about who wants to get married to anybody else! Why not?!”  I’d give the same fucking quote — that’s perfect. I’m a firm believer that everyone’s human. We’re only on this planet for a short period of time, and we should all just be as kind as we can to other people because, in life, all you really have is how you affect people, in a negative way or a positive way.
How did you learn to embrace that mentality?  My mom — and my dad, too — was really a firm believer of it, and really compassionate and selfless. She’s such a firm believer that in life you gotta be compassionate. Everyone’s from different walks of life and everyone has their own reality, and to be uncompassionate is not very human.
You were a model for so long …  I wasn’t really a model for that long. People say that, but they don’t really know. I mean, I did a couple of modeling jobs, but I never really pursued that. I was like, “Oh well, that’s not really for me. I’m gonna do something different.”
East3Why wasn’t modeling for you?  I didn’t find it creative enough. It was cool, though. It paid some bills when I was in college as a struggling, broke actor.
Your body, however, is breaking barriers. I read a web comment recently that said, “Even I, as a Gold Star lesbian, look at this guy and state categorically, ‘A-hummina-hummina-hummina.’” What’s it like to know you can have that effect on even the lesbian community?  That’s awesome! I mean, I don’t really know what I’ve done that’s worthy of it.
You’ve taken your shirt off a few times, so there’s that.  Yup! 
The hat, the Levis, the boots. You rock that look like you were born a cowboy.  There’s probably a little bit of cowboy in me somewhere.
When it comes to gay roles, could you see yourself playing one? Is it too soon to get you in a Brokeback Mountain remake?  Oh my gosh, that’s funny! To me, it’s all about the script and the director. I’m very director-driven and material-oriented, so if it’s a great script and a great director, then yeah.
What do you look for in a great script and a great director?  Ohh. That’s hard to put into effect. It’s gotta have that je ne sais quoi, as they say. You don’t know why it’s amazing but it is.
What about this Nicholas Sparks movie stuck out to you when you read the script?  Well, for one, I love [director] George Tillman, Jr. — his films are great. I loved Men of Honor. I thought it was a fantastic movie. I thought that movie was an old ’90s drama, which don’t exist anymore. I was really so excited to work with him. I thought it was a very unorthodox choice to have him direct a Nicholas Sparks movie. And then geez — what else? The script was great.
East2The name of the movie, The Longest Ride, really lends itself to a porn spinoff down the line, don’t you think?  That would be amazing. That’d be so funny if that happened. And why not?!
Your sex scene in this movie wasn’t your first.  I’ve had a few. I’ve had about four or five.
What’s the trick to shooting a sexy sex scene?  Keeping your thoughts sort of… controlled.
In addition to keeping other things “controlled.” I’m only one man! I can only do what I can do. But I think it’s sexy. I mean, being in a shower with a beautiful, sexy woman — I was turned on! I had fun!
You’ve shown full butt before, and in this film, you graciously give us a glimpse. With this movie, how was it determined how much butt would be in the shot? For me, I didn’t really care. The butt thing — to me, this was a really classy story and a really classy movie, so I didn’t care about showing a little butt in there. That’s part of it. Sex scenes … you see a little bit of action, right? And that’s what makes a good sex scene. Not too much. You don’t wanna give it all away. You gotta leave something to the imagination.
Has your father seen the movie?  He hasn’t.
How do you feel about him seeing those scenes?  I’m really proud of the film, and I hope he enjoys it. It’s not all the time you do a film you’re really proud of.
What are or have been some of the challenges of creating a career independent of your father?  That people take me seriously. I’ve been doing it for 12 years, and I always say Hollywood is like high school. If you’re not the cool kid, you’re the outcast. And nobody really cares and people don’t take you seriously. I was never the cool kid. Definitely not the cool kid. And so I split. I split LA. I lived in San Diego. And there’s been a couple of moments I thought about throwing in the towel, for sure. I once heard from Mel Gibson. His advice was, “Just stick around and keep plugging away at it. Keep your head down and keep working hard.”
With so much attention on your shirtlessness, is there more pressure to prove yourself beyond the hunky exterior?  I don’t really think about it like that. I don’t spend a lot of time on it. There’d be a lot of wasted time if I let that consume my thoughts. I just keep my head down and do the best I can.
When you’re in a movie about love and relationships and sex, people are interested in your own personal experiences.  [Laughs]
How do you deal with those kinds of questions? Are you an open book?  Partially. I don’t give everything away. You gotta have your private life too. But I’m not shy. I love women.
Well, then, barn sex – yay or nay?  I mean, why not?!

October 29, 2014

The Only Thing Naughty on”Getting away with Murder’ is Bottom Shaming


An (actually great) Thought Catalog essay on the phenomenon, back when bottom shaming popped up in HBO's Looking, offers this blunt explanation:
Gay sex is only legible to straight people in terms of the heterosexual matrix … [and in that context] if [a guy] is fucking a dude/is a top, well then that’s way preferable than if he was getting plowed by D’s all day long. This attitude is wholly cultural and deeply rooted in how we think about gender. Like, men are supposed to be men. Like, men don’t take dicks up the ass.
When you start paying attention to examples of this dynamic in HTGAWM, you’ll be struck by how often they creep in—and, what’s worse, how unnecessary they seem to be.
In the pilot episode, Connor and I.T. whiz Oliver’s first sexual encounter—which occurs after Connor has preyed on Oliver’s insecurities to gain information for his professor’s case—shows Connor gruffly ordering Oliver to “turn over”—an event realistic and not in itself troubling. But in Episode 2 we discover that Oliver apparently did not like turning over. When Connor appears with dinner after a missed date earlier in the week, Oliver scolds: “You really think I’m that desperate, that you can buy me some takeout and bat your eyes, and I’ll get down on my knees like some sad twink?” Note that the gay archetype of twink is being used here in its pejorative sense, as in a young, silly, effeminate guy who is definitely a bottom. After initially closing the door on Connor, Oliver reconsiders the offer of sex, with a caveat. “OK,” he says, “but tonight, I do you.”
It’s amazing how much ideological weight can be carried by two little words. It would seem that in HTGAWM’s universe, bottoming, despite the preparatory efforts and assumption of health risks it requires relative to topping, is not really “doing.” To do—i.e., to be a true sexual agent; to not be a twink—is to penetrate. This evening, Oliver will “do” Connor (who will, as a consequence, apparently not be doing anything) both to obtain authentic sexual satisfaction and to punish Connor for being an inconsiderate fuck buddy. Bottoming is not a role one takes on willingly, but the price one pays for missing a date.
If you think I’m making too much of one sentence, give the subsequent episodes a look. Episode 3 trades bottom-shaming for full-fledged gay shaming in the storyline where Michaela Pratt (Aja Naomi King) discovers that her fiancé once got off with Connor back in boarding school, the confrontation over which ends with the fiancé dismissing his consensual and presumably enjoyable encounter as “stupid” because it involved another man. But let’s leave that troubling choice of words aside and examine Episode 4. Early in the hour, Connor arrives to court a bit late after having again goaded Oliver into sex, and the bro-tastic Asher Millstone (Matt McGorry) is concerned. “Really dude? Asher asks. “Isn’t your ass tired?” Connor smirks: “Who said it’s my ass?” Who indeed, because that person would be assuming that Connor might like to bottom, and we already know that’s patently ridiculous.
Later in the episode, Connor can again be found “doing” something with Paxton, a client’s sexy personal assistant, including a mysterious (and possibly acidic) maneuver that makes the young man’s “eyes water.” All this eventually leads to Paxton being exposed as a traitor to his boss, at which point said boss indulges in a bit of bottom-shaming and prison-rape joking: “You’re going to be in jail, with the other inmates, who are going to love the hell out of your ass,” she fumes. Good thing Pax commits suicide rather than subjecting himself to that fate.
Impressively, the bottom shame/prison-rape combo is deployed again in Episode 5, when Laurel Castillo (Karla Souza) laments that a client will likely go to prison “where he will probably become somebody’s bitch boy.” It’s a line that makes Asher’s joking about Connor knowing how “to use a back door” seem almost classy. With all this happening in just the first five episodes, who can tell what fresh insights future installments will bring?
Snark aside, here the thing: I find the inclusion of this bottom shaming leitmotif in HTGAWM more confusing than offensive. As I said, it is not at all clear to me that Connor needs these tiresome little asides to establish his character, and I think we can all agree that the ha-ha-prison-rape stuff should have long since been banned from any writers’ room. I’ve watched the clips many times, and I just don’t get why they’re there. Leaving them out would have done nothing—except prevent a show that wants to be progressive in its sexual politics from taking up a damaging old stereotype and broadcasting it to audiences that may not know any better.
Peter Nowalk, HTGAWM’s creator and lead writer, is gay, and he has said that he wanted to “push the envelope” with gay sex in the show. “Writing the gay characterization and writing some real gay sex into a network show is to right the wrong of all of the straight sex that you see on TV,” he told E! “Because I didn't see that growing up, and I feel like the more people get used to two men kissing, the less weird it will be for people.”
Audience education is an admirable goal for a soap, and you have to commend Nowalk (and executive producer Shonda Rhimes) in that regard. But it’s a shame that Nowalk and his co-writers felt, for reasons that remain opaque to me, that gay sexuality had to be rendered as a kind of game in which one is always striving to win at the supposed expense of the bottom, always angling “to do” instead of being “done to.” Do they really think that gay sex won't be “legible,” as the TC essay put it, to viewers without an old-fashioned male/female, taker/taken gloss? This vision of gay sexual dynamics is not only crude, but also largely inaccurate. (And where bottom shaming does exist in real life, we ought to be quick to stamp it out.) If Nowalk is truly interested in using HTGAWM to present a version of gayness that “feels more modern,” he is undermining his project by undervaluing his bottoms. But lucky for him, I think the fix is easy: Less trite talk, more hot action.
J. Bryan Lowder is a Slate assistant editor. 
He writes and edits for Outward
Slate’s LGBTQ section, and for the culture section.

September 27, 2014

Staten Islander Joins 'Saturday Night Live Regulars’ {Pete Davidson}

 Great Kills native Pete Davidson is joining the cast of NBC's "Saturday Night Live."

STATEN ISLAND in NewYork City — This weekend’s premiere of “Saturday Night Live" will have a familiar name in the opening credits.
Great Kills native Pete Davidson makes his first appearance on the iconic sketch comedy show Saturday, Sept. 27, after joining the cast less than two weeks ago.
At 20, he’s one of the "SNL's" youngest members.

Davidson spoke to the Advance the day NBC announced he would be added to the cast. At the time, he wasn’t sure if he would appear in any skits, but said his name would appear in the credits.

"I'm freaking out a little but I'm excited," he said at the time. "It's such a crazy thing you never thought would ever happen."
The son of Scott Davidson, a firefighter who died during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, has been performing stand-up since he was 16 years old. After touring the country doing shows at colleges and comedy clubs, he made his standup TV debut on AXS TV's "Gotham Comedy Live" before appearing on Comedy Central's "Adam Devine's House Party."
The comedian's young age is often the subject of his standup comedy and humor. He appeared on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" in April to talk about his quick rise to comedy success.

"I just dropped out of college," Davidson told the late night host of his departure from St. Francis College in Brooklyn Heights. "That's my big move this year."
He joked during a standup routine that he couldn't get past "dorm life."
Comedian and actor Nick Cannon discovered Davidson when he cast the 17-year-old newcomer on MTV’s "Wild 'n' Out."

"That kind of just gave me a buzz," Davidson said in a previous interview with the Advance. "People would look at me a little differently."
Cannon and Davidson went on tour together and co-hosted radio station 92.3 NOW's morning show, "Rollin With Nick Cannon." Last year, he guest starred on FOX's "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" and made his film debut this year in Cannon's "School Dance."
Davidson attended St. Joseph's School, then Tottenville High School before transferring to a school in Brooklyn. Growing up on Staten Island gave him a certain resilience, which has helped him along his career in comedy, he said.

"It's one of those places where you have your few friends and everyone else doesn't like you," he said. “It helped me develop a thick skin, which helps in stand-up when jokes don't always go the way you want them to go or people don't laugh or they don't agree with everything you say."

Davidson's name isn't the only new addition to the show. Former cast member Darrell Hammond will now announce the credits. He replaces longtime SNL announcer Don Pardo, who passed away in August at 96-years-old. Pardo had read the credits every year since the show began in 1975.

Davidson also joins Colin Jost — another Staten Island native, who will co-host the parody news show Weekend Update with Michael Che.
"SNL's" 40th season starts at 11:30 p.m. on Saturday. “Parks and Recreation" actor Chris Pratt hosts the show and musical guest Ariana Grande will perform.

Davidson joins the cast of season 40 that includes Che, Kate McKinnonBobby MoynihanCecily StrongAidy BryantVanessa BayerTaran KillamJay Pharaoh,Beck BennettColin JostKyle MooneySasheer Zamata and Kenan Thompson.
 Quotes and source of information:

January 24, 2014

“Not Enough Hot Gay Sex on Game of Thrones”

Game of Thrones star Finn Jones stated the obvious in a new interview: There’s “not enough hot gay sex” on the show, and Season 4 won’t be much better.
Chatting with Access Hollywood, Jones—who plays Margaery Tyrell’s gay elder brother, Loras—teased that his character will enjoy a “slight Loras-Tyrell-Season-3-Promotional-Stillflirtation” with some of the other dudes on the show, but that’s about it. “There’s not enough hot gay sex for Loras this season,” he said lightheartedly. “I’m afraid there’s just not enough.”
Still, Jones, 25, thinks fans will be psyched when GoT returns: “It’s been a fantastic season. Everyone’s worked really hard and the show is just going from strength to strength. It feels like it’s really finding it’s ground now and it’s about to explode so I’m really excited.”
 Loras Tyrell is a rather unique character for American television: Unreservedly gay, but fierce as any other Westeros warrior. Initially he was the lover of Renly Baratheon, and supported his claim to the throne. When Baratheon was murdered, Loras promised to avenge his death and joined forces with immature King Joffrey and ruthless Tywin Lannister.
Game of Thrones returns to HBO on April 6 and, despite the lack of man-on-man action, we’ll definitely be watching. Check out a trailer below.

January 19, 2014

Inside on the Lives of Gay Men (HBO)


A continent may divide them, but HBO's "Girls" will have to shove over and cede some of the Frank New Voice limelight to "Looking," the network's charming and deceptively significant new half-hour series that premieres Sunday about a trio of gay men living in San Francisco.
What at first seems like your standard (if R-rated) banter-heavy, young-urbanites-seek-love/meaning tale, this time told from a gay perspective, quickly proves to have a truer heart and loftier ambitions.
Yes, creator Michael Lannan is clearly determined to depict and discuss male homosexuality with the same semi-erotic-realism that has become commonplace among heterosexual sex scenes — We’re here, we're queer, we're copulating on screen, get used to it.

Having established this (again and again and once more for good measure), the story becomes both more universal — who among us is not looking for love/meaning? — more pointed, and way more interesting.
In the decades following the Stonewall riots and then the AIDS crisis, gay men became symbolic of society's seesawing definitions of diversity and tolerance (see please the recent "Duck Dynasty" kerfuffle). This story too has been viewed through a mostly heterosexual prism — how are we as a nation, i.e., all the straight folk, feeling about “those" gays today?

Even shows like "Queer as Folk" and "The L-Word" often seemed to have "A Straight Person's Guide to Understanding Gay People" subtext.
Here, not so much. As with "Girls," the purpose is not the view as the vantage point. The world has changed, is changing, just as fast and radically for gay men as it is for everyone else and isn't it time a show dealt with that?
Why yes, yes it is.

"Glee's" Jonathan Groff pulls lead as Patrick, a 29-year-old Midwest transplant struggling to take his work as a video-game designer and his love life to the next level. Antic, unfiltered, anxious and adorable, Patrick can't quite align his vision of life with its realities. We meet him as he engages in a requisitely awkward first time in-park encounter (that evokes, almost litigiously, a similar park scene from "Angels in America") until it is interrupted by a cellphone call. Which he answers. 

January 11, 2014

HBO’s TCA All Gay Characters Are Meant to Be Just Normal Everyday People

 “All the characters are gay, but that’s not the big issue in their lives. It’s not coming out stories,” said Looking star Jonathan Groff today at TCA about the new HBO series. “It is such a different time now there are a lot of pressures that gay people have from their parents that they didn’t have before, like getting married,” added creator/writer 
20140109_161448Michael Lannan. “Welcome to the mainstream, what do you do now?” he said, noting that the goal of the series was to explore the diversity of backgrounds of its characters not merely their sexuality. “Its not just a show for gay people,” said EP/director Andrew Haigh.  He then joked with Groff that “there are some people on the street that you walk by that are straight.”
 Set to premiere on January 19, the 8-episode dramedy chronicles the life and loves of a trio of gay men
looking in their 30s in modern day San Francisco. “As Queer As Folk was of its time, Looking is of this time,” Lannan told the crowd in response to a question comparing the 2000-2005 Showtime series about gay men. Actors Frankie J. Alvarez, Murray Bartlett and Raul Castillo joined Lannan, Haigh and Groff, who is one of the voices in Disney’s Frozen and appeared on Starz’s now cancelled Boss, onstage at the panel today.
 One thing that all agreed was that another character in Looking is the city of San Francisco itself. This was a chance to do a show in the San Francisco that had never been done before. I hadn’t seen the San Francisco that I knew on screen. So we went for a new way to portray San Francisco, the lived-in look and the rough edges,” said Lannan of what he called the “idiosyncratic” city. “There’s a lot of gay history there and we thought that was good backdrop to investigate the characters.”

January 10, 2014

Mark Ruffalo and Julia Roberts to Headline “The Normal Heart”

Academy Award nominee Mark Ruffalo (Marvel's The AvengersThe Kids Are All Right), Matt Bomer ("White Collar," Magic Mike), Taylor Kitsch (Lone SurvivorJohn Carter), Emmy winner Jim Parsons ("The Big Bang Theory") and Academy Award winner Julia Roberts are set to star in HBO Films' The Normal Heart.

Directed by Emmy winner Ryan Murphy (Eat Pray Love, "Glee") and written by Academy Award nominee Larry Kramer (Women in Love), adapting his groundbreaking Tony Award-winning play of the same name, the drama tells the story of the onset of the HIV-AIDS crisis in New York City in the early 1980s, taking an unflinching look at the nation's sexual politics as gay activists and their allies in the medical community fight to expose the truth about the burgeoning epidemic to a city and nation in denial. The Normal Heart will debut exclusively on HBO in May.

Ruffalo portrays Ned Weeks, who witnesses first-hand a mysterious disease that has begun to claim the lives of many in his gay community and starts to seek answers. Matt Bomer plays Felix Turner, a reporter who becomes Ned's lover. Taylor Kitsch plays Bruce Niles, a closeted investment banker who becomes a prominent AIDS activist. Jim Parsons plays gay activist Tommy Boatwright, reprising his role from the 2011 Broadway revival. Roberts plays physician Dr. Emma Brookner, a survivor of childhood polio who treats several of the earliest victims of HIV-AIDS.

Alfred Molina plays Ned's older brother, Ben, who is a successful attorney. Joe Mantello plays Mickey Marcus, who is an instrumental member of the Gay Men's Health Crisis. Jonathan Groff plays Craig, Bruce's lover, an early victim of HIV-AIDS. Denis O'Hare portrays Hiram Keebler, Mayor Koch's gay aide. Stephen Spinella plays Sanford, one of Dr. Brookner's first patients. Corey Stoll portrays presidential senior advisor John Bower. Finn Wittrock plays Albert, a male model. BD Wong portrays Buzzy, a nurse who works with Dr. Brookner.

In 1981, writer Larry Kramer hosted a gathering of six gay men and their friends to discuss the "gay cancer," and to talk about fundraising for research. This informal meeting in Kramer's home would lead to the formation of Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC), one of the first advocacy groups for HIV prevention and care.

Kramer's play debuted at New York's Public Theatre in 1985 and was revived in Los Angeles and London, and off-Broadway. The 2011 Broadway revival garnered five Tony nominations, winning for Best Revival, Best Featured Actor and Best Featured Actress.

The film also stars Alfred Molina (An Education), Tony Award winner Joe Mantello ("Law & Order"), Jonathan Groff ("Looking"), Denis O'Hare ("True Blood"), Stephen Spinella (Milk), Corey Stoll ("House of Cards"), Finn Wittrock (Unbroken) and BD Wong ("Oz"). 

The talented behind-the-scenes team includes production designer Shane Valentino (Beginners), director of photography Danny Moder (Jesus Henry Christ), editor Adam Penn ("American Horror Story"), costumer designer Daniel Orlandi (Game Change), composer Cliff Martinez (Drive) and casting directors Amanda Mackey (The Proposa) and Cathy Sandrich Gelfond (Ronin).

An HBO Films presentation of a Plan B and Blumhouse production in association with Ryan Murphy Productions, The Normal Heart is executive produced by Ryan Murphy, Dante Di Loreto ("Glee"), Jason Blum (Paranormal Activity), Brad Pitt (Moneyball), Dede Gardner (12 Years a Slave). Ruffalo is co-executive producing with Scott Ferguson (“Temple Grandin") producing.

Source: HBO 

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