Showing posts with label TV. Show all posts
Showing posts with label TV. Show all posts

March 30, 2018

Roseanne Bar is Back on TV and Her Demon's Are Saying ..."She and We'r Back".....and more

"She-devil was what the title meant" Hope you got it...
 Roseanne Barr on her movie hit 'She-devil"

Roseanne Barr is quoted as saying the following (The Los Anges Times) about Trump:

I’ve known him for many years and he’s done a lot of nice things for me over the years. And it was just a friendly conversation about working and television and ratings,” Barr, 65, continued.
“He really understands ratings and how they measure things,” Barr said of the former “Celebrity Apprentice” star-turned-president. “And that’s kind of been an interest of mine too.”
She likes Trump and according to her voted for him, mainly because she liked the way he fired people on the "Apprentice." Also because He talked to her(?)It seems to me by listening to her and I am not going to give an observation about the similarities between Barr and Trump but my question is which one of her personalities is the one who likes Trump? I mean She has been Pro-socialist and GOP Conservative, liking Hillary and calling her a crook. Saying she got gays in her show(?) and she is said nasty things about gays, she is proTrump now but He's been on her demon's hairline too.

Which means she is all over the place like she is everywhere and that's where the different inside personalities come from. I just hope she is not thinking of running for President because until this new generation coming up can turn 18 and get the vote I could see the Republicans getting together with the Bernie people and give us" Rox, she President!"

Now, maybe it could be all of them that like Trump now but with a person who has admitted to having dozens upon dozens of those popping noisy critters it will definitely make the news if all of them were for Trump. Since what Trump does except nuclear war does not directly affects her up at her Macadamia Nuthouse, at this point she still loves the guy. They (Trump, Barr) both like to yell more than talk and they never listen unless you are saying nice things about them but it could be that.

I will go on a limb here and say it must be the "she-devil" personality. You know this is the one where she is not treated right as a housekeeper and at the end, it seems she sets the house on fire.  As I remember it it doesn't show her lighting the match but it shows the house crisply burning on the background while she seats relieved and exhausted  (the same way Trump felt after driving the Casinos to the ground and getting insurance pay for them, declaring bankruptcy and not being on the hook for the money he owed) at the same time  for "She-devil" is trying to figure out how she switches from she-devil to may be the one that at one point hated all men. This is what she said to the Los Angeles Times back in 2016 from her Macadamia Nut House in Hawaii (This all true, is on the tape):
From her macadamia nut farm in Hawaii — sat down in her studio in El Segundo, a glass of bourbon in her hand, and reflected on her foray into presidential politics, this year’s race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, marijuana legalization and the impending end of the world.
The first thing we see you say in this movie is, "This is not a publicity stunt." Looking back on your run, do you feel like people had a hard time taking you seriously as a candidate for the presidency?
They were idiots. I say in the movie, "It's a bunch of clowns and one comedian and they prefer the clowns." You'd say what people hold in their hearts to be true and they'd go, "Nah."
The citizens of this country don't really get that they could work this stuff to their advantage if they wanted, or they're not ready. I just want people to know what's being done to them. Because I hate stupidity. I want people to see this movie because they should know how it works.
Notice that when she mentions "evil' she lowers her voice, like they are listening to her. Good luck to you in listening to this old taping originally from Los Angeles Times.
Warning on language, You could be offended!

 They all ripped off my ...! Bernie [Sanders] ripped my whole ... off, 
like men do in Hollywood from the day I set foot in here.

Well, to be fair to Bernie, he has been talking about these issues for a long time.
Nobody gave a ...! I knew it was there. I tried to help set it up. Now I see all three of them — Hillary, Bernie and Trump — they're all borrowing heavily from my 2012 campaign.
Like what specific things?
Well, socialism. Like, "Hey, bankers ought to pay back the money they stole — or at least not get a bonus for doing so." As soon as you start getting paid, then Satan's got you, and you're going to burn in that huge hellfire lake for all eternity with Satan right there with that pitchfork in your eyeball.

On the one hand, you talk optimistically about the people taking back the system and bringing about revolutionary change. But you also have predicted a few times that the world is about to end.
Yeah, well, it's always two years ahead of now. I know that.
So the world will end in 2018?
Yeah. I do believe we're on the edge of extinction and there's very little if any hope that we'll live through this .... It just seems so finite. They say it's going to be a meteor that takes us out. Well, I say let's party like it's 1999.
Adam Gonzalez

It is adamfoxie's 10th🦊Anniversay. 10 years witnessing the world and bringing you a pieace whcih is ussually not getting its due coverage. 4.9 Million Reads

January 31, 2018

Nicole Eggert Details 'Baio's in Charge' in Her Abuse and How Young She Was

 Nicole ad Scott

Charles in Charge actress Nicole Eggert said her former co-star Scott Baio sexually abused her repeatedly starting when she was 14 years old in an interview Tuesday morning on Megyn Kelly Today.
The actress shared her story with Megyn Kelly following a Saturday tweet she posted referencing the alleged abuse. After the tweet, Baio posted a 16-minute-long video on Facebook denying the allegations, citing previous statements Eggert had made about their relationship.
Ask @scottbaio what happened in his garage at his house when I was a minor. Creep. 
“He immediately took to me and befriended me and earned my trust. And then he started expressing his love for me, and talking about marriage and the future,” Eggert told Kelly while tearing up. “Then, I was still 14, before my 15th birthday, we were at his house in his car in his garage, and he reached over and he penetrated me with his finger. That is when the sexual touching and abuse started, after that.”
Baio would allegedly grope her, pull her up onto his lap and sneak kisses with her while on set, Eggert said. They had intercourse for the first time when she was 17 years old while the show was still on, according to Eggert. Baio has denied this and said they had sex was when she was 18 years old. 
Ask @scottbaio what happened in his garage at his house when I was a minor. Creep. 
“I was very young and it was shocking a little,” she said. “I had never experienced anything like that either so he was playing on not only my emotions but my hormones and all of those things,” she said.
Another issue, she told Kelly, was that Baio was the boss on set. Eggert said Baio told her not to tell anyone about their relationship since it was “illegal” and he would “go to jail,” thus ending the show. “It’s scary,” Eggert said. “That’s intimidating, especially when you’re that young.”
“It wasn’t until getting a little bit older that I started to realize this is not love,” Eggert said.
Eggert said she had told a few close friends about the allegations at the time, but “they didn’t have a good reaction to it.” She said she “always lied about it” in interviews years later. “I got really good at bearing it and putting it away in a box,” she said. Speaking with other women who had gone through similar experiences helped her come forward, she said. During the interview, Kelly shared a statement from Nik Richie, a radio host who said Eggert had told him Baio had molested her. Kelly also said Charles in Charge actor Alexander Polinsky witnessed inappropriate cuddling between Eggert and Baio on set.
Additionally, Kelly pointed to a tweet from Adam Carl, who worked on the set of Charles in Charge, that said he remembers being with Eggert while she cried about Baio on set.
“When I worked on Charles in Charge in ’88, I sat with you while you cried about that abusive asshole,” Carl said in a tweet to Eggert on Saturday. “I know you’re telling the truth and I’m so glad to see you speaking out.” 
Ask @scottbaio what happened in his garage at his house when I was a minor. Creep. 
When I worked on Charles in Charge in ‘88, I sat with you while you cried about that abusive asshole. I know you’re telling the truth and I’m so glad to see you speaking out.
In statements before Eggert’s interview aired, Baio said he and Eggert had a consensual relationship when she was over 18 years old. A representative for Baio did not respond immediately to a request for comment on Eggert’s allegations.
number of men have been accused of sexual abuse, misconduct and harassment in recent months amid a national reckoning in Hollywood and other industries.

August 24, 2017

Out of Jail Yesterday for Killing a Gay Secret Admirer in 1995

Jonathan Schmitz wipes his face after he appears on “The Jenny Jones Show” in March 1995, and finds out his secret admirer is Scott Amedure, a gay man. (AP)
When the camera snapped on, Jenny Jones — the daytime 1990s talk show host responsible for mining tabloid drama and human outrageousness for rating gold — laid a hypothetical on the viewers back home.
“Now which of these ways would you choose to reveal your secret crush on someone?” Jones said. “A. Would you write that person a letter? B. Would you tell that person in private in case he rejects you? Or, C. Would you tell that person that you’re gay and you hope that he is on national television?”
The Chicago soundstage exploded in delighted screams and claps from the audience. The host seamlessly rolled into the segment, which involved springing a same-sex crush on an unsuspecting straight man.
It was not exactly uncharted territory for the show, which trafficked heavily in social taboos, sex, and maximum conflict. But March 6, 1995, taping of “The Jenny Jones Show” unknowingly had just lit a fuse that would detonate three days later in suburban Detroit when Jonathan Schmitz felled Scott Amedure with two blasts from a Mossberg 12-gauge shotgun. 
The murder and following controversy hit just as “shock television” was reaching its high-water mark, the culture’s first brush with showcasing paternity questions, unruly children and general trashy misbehavior for entertainment value — the precursor to today’s reality television standards.
And Schmitz is now walking back out into the world his “Jenny Jones” appearance anticipated: The now-47-year-old was released from prison Tuesday after serving a prison sentence for Amedure’s murder, according to the Detroit News.
The segment that sparked the murder — which never aired on television but is available online today — began with Jones prompting Amedure, 32, to relate his fantasies involving the 24-year-old acquaintance. Jones then introduced the clueless Schmitz. The two men exchanged an awkward embrace before the host dropped her bombshell.
“Well, guess what,” Jones announced. “It’s Scott that has the crush on you.” With the audience hooting at full volume, Schmitz laughed, beamed, and politely explained he was “completely heterosexual.” 
But three days later, after a night of heavy drinking and finding a note from Amedure on his door, Schmitz killed his admirer. He later admitted to police he was driven to murder by the extreme embarrassment caused by the show.
“What you are seeing on the tape is a 24-year-old man facing the studio audience and the camera with what I consider to be an ambush,” Richard Thompson, the prosecutor in the case, told The Washington Post in 1995. “He is visibly upset. People are laughing. It’s like a Roman circus where the audience gives a thumbs up or thumbs down to everything that is going on.”
In 1996, Schmitz was found guilty of the murder and sentenced to 25 to 50 years in prison. That verdict, however, was overturned on appeal due to jury selection errors. In 1999, Schmitz was retried. The second jury returned with the same sentence, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The fallout from the murder was not confined to the criminal courts. In 1999, a Michigan civil jury found the show’s producers liable for the death and awarded $25 million to Amedure’s family. That ruling was also reversed on appeal. Jones’s show remained on the air until 2003. Many of her contributions to the talk-show format — from paternity tests to makeovers — became standards of the genre.
The Washington post

June 23, 2017

American Gods Gives You Food For Thought About Religion

The first season of American Gods ends with an image that compacts the many themes of the series into one odd moment. It's an aerial shot, slowly revealing a line of cars, buggies, and other vehicles crowding the tiny road to a neglected Wisconsin tourist trap called The House on the Rock. Without giving you any spoilers, I can say that this scene captures American Gods' perspective on religious faith in America.
And now, with a generous dose of spoilers, I will tell you what I mean by that.
Though we were left on a cliffhanger, the season's final episode, "Come to Jesus," did resolve one major plot arc. We now know why gods still have power in what Media calls "an atheist world." She's not technically correct about that—surveys show that 89 percent of Americans believe in God(s). But this series, based on Neil Gaiman's 2001 novel, has managed to create a spellbinding story about how true belief rests on healthy skepticism.

From old gods to new

In this series, skepticism basically means understanding how the god sausage is made. That's why it's so satisfying when Mr. Nancy tells the complete tale of Bilquis in the season finale. Though we've seen pieces of many gods' biographies, we finally see a god's life cycle from birth to death to rebirth. It's the ultimate demystification of a mystical being.
Bilquis is known by many names: Queen of Sheba, Bar'an, moon goddess, etc. We meet her earliest worshippers at the Temple of Bar'an (near Ma'rib in modern-day Yemen) in 864 BCE, during what looks like a lunar eclipse. The ancient queen/goddess absorbs dozens of people in a ritual orgy version of what we saw in earlier episodes, where she pulls her sexual partners into the cosmos through her vagina.
But over time, politics and culture change the way she's worshiped. She's a sexually liberated disco queen in Tehran in the 1970s until forces from the Iranian Revolution raid a club where she's seducing a woman. That woman is Bilquis' bridge to America, and when the woman dies of AIDS in the 1980s, Bilquis is bereft. Her once-glorious visage appears only in menus for Middle Eastern restaurants, and she hears about her ancient temple in television reports of fighting in Yemen that has damaged her altar. By 2013, she's living on the street, nearly dead.
That's when the change happens. Technical Boy facilitates the rebirth of Bilquis by offering her a mobile phone, installed with a Tinder-like app called "Sheba." Here we're seeing a deal similar to what Vulcan took, and what Mr. World and Media offered Wednesday earlier in the season. Her ancient worshipers will return, delivered via a modern device. She's no longer worshiped for herself, but as one part of a much bigger system that delivers what Wednesday sneeringly calls "existential crisis aversion." Still, she gets her sacrifices. As Mr. Nancy points out, she survives.
At first, it appears that Bilquis lives only at the pleasure of Technical Boy, Media, and the other new gods. That's what seems to be the case with Vulcan, too. But the real message of this series is quite the opposite.

Religious Darwinism

When we meet all the Jesuses (Jesusi?) at Ostera's Easter celebration, we learn the secret that the new gods are trying to hide: no god, no matter how popular, can ever monopolize human faith.
What's brilliant about the Easter scene, with its multi-ethnic, multi-sect Jesus meetup, is that it manages to respect Christianity while at the same time suggesting that it isn't quite the monolithic faith that you might expect from the world's most popular religion. When we see all those Jesuses, it becomes clear that Christianity is many things to many people. There is no single Christian faith, and therefore the idea of "one God" is impossible. I called this a respectful (though playful) representation because the holiness of Jesus is never called into question. We are simply reminded that America is a land of many gods, and several dozen of them happen to be different flavors of Jesus.
 More to the point, Jesus himself depends upon Ostera to provide context and significance for his holiest day. Though Media insists that Easter is only relevant because it's a Christian holiday, we already know that all the trappings of Easter come from the worship of the pagan goddess of the harvest. The egg hunt, the candies, the imagery of animals and flowers—all these things belong to Ostera. It is a perfect hybrid of two kinds of worship, one old and one relatively new.
To return to my earlier comments about Bilquis, this is clearly the case with many rituals of worship in American Gods. Bilquis gains her power from ancient beliefs in what Mr. Nancy calls "the power of rebirth and creation," combined with the desire for connection and sex that fuel our worship of Technical Boy's Internet. Vulcan combines the Bronze Age worship of forge and sword with modern fealty to guns and state power. Ostera's power encompasses Neolithic prayers for a good harvest and modern Christian ritual.
Showrunner Bryan Fuller posted this picture on Twitter of several Jesuses included in the season finale, called "Come to Jesus." Media calls it "religious Darwinism," where old gods adapt to the new world. And as that world keeps changing, Media warns, one-day humans could "all decide that God doesn't exist." That's why the old gods need "the platform and delivery mechanism" of television, movies, the Internet, and whatever it is that Mr. World embodies.
And yet, as for Wednesday retorts, humans still desperately need to be inspired by gods. Partly that's because they "wonder why things happen," and partly it's because they want someone to blame when things go wrong. But more than that, it's because gods offer humans a simple, appealing bargain. As Wednesday puts it, "You want to know how to make good things happen? You are good to your gods." None of the new gods can offer this bargain because they are just a delivery mechanism, an amplifier.
The new gods depend on the old gods for what Technical Boy would probably call "content." And that, ultimately, is the message of the first season of American Gods. Beneath the glamor, guns, and vape smoke, there's a raw need for the primal bargain that ancient humans struck with the very first gods. We offer them a good sacrifice, and they make good things happen.

(De)constructing faith

In America, where many cultures flow together, faith is as diverse and hybridized as humanity itself. Though American Gods have sometimes stumbled in its effort to represent a full range of religions, cults, and superstitions—and appears to have entirely forgotten that Native Americans exist—it has still crammed an astonishing diversity into eight episodes. What has emerged is an arc that tracks how a nation of immigrants wove a mystical firmament of immigrant gods.
Immigration is, in fact, fuel for faith. America's new gods depend on imported forms of awe, like Bilquis' cosmic eroticism, to lure in new believers. Plus, new-ish gods like Jesus gain power entirely because they are designed for export, nationally and culturally. While Odin is one god with many names, Jesus is many gods with one. He represents hundreds of localized instances of faith that can easily be snuffed out. Indeed, one episode begins with the death of a Mexican Jesus, who is shot down when Vulcan worshipers murder a group of illegal immigrants at the US border.
American Gods revel in the beauty and power of faith, but this show isn't afraid to admit that gods are created by humans. It's a difficult line to walk, and we've watched Shadow try to walk it throughout the season. He begins as someone with no belief in anything other than Laura, the (secular) love of his life. But by the final episode, after Odin reveals himself, Shadow professes belief in "everything." This is what American Gods asks of its audience, too. We must believe everything and nothing. We must assume that gods are real, but also know that they are our creations.
That's why the series' final scenes are such incredibly complicated moments. We watch as Ostera, a queen who has deep roots in ancient and modern faiths, reveals her true power. "I feel misrepresented by the media," she tells Media. And then, a few beats later, she uses her power to steal spring from the world in a kind of magical eco apocalypse. This is a feat far beyond anything we've seen even from Odin, and it comes with a demand for worship.
"Tell the believers and non-believers we’ve taken the spring," Wednesday announces to Media. "They can have it back when they pray for it." As those words sink in, our perspective pulls back to reveal that Laura has arrived. Now the lure of Earthly love is in the mix, tugging at Shadow's loyalties. And finally, we pull all the way back to see the gods are arriving for some kind of showdown at House on the Rock.
House on the Rock is the perfect location for a meeting of the gods as we have come to know them. It combines an ancient need for sacred natural places with a modern-day hunger for cheesy distractions. The fact that it can be both of these things reveals why a war between old gods and the new gods would be catastrophic. These gods don't just need each other; they are each other. They cannot be unbound.
The many unfinished plot threads will continue to unwind next season, but this season ended with a satisfying reveal. We discovered that gods are a cultural construct, but nevertheless, they still have the power to destroy the world. In American Gods, there is no contradiction between knowing something is imaginary and having faith in it.
Listing image by Starz 

June 10, 2017

Adam West, Performer of Batman Has Died

Burt Ward and Adam West on the set of the 1960’s Batman TV series.

Brian Lowry reported today on Variety the news Batman had passed away.

Adam West — an actor defined and also constrained by his role in the 1960s series “Batman” — died Friday night in Los Angeles. He was 88. A rep said that he died after a short battle with leukemia.

“Our dad always saw himself as The Bright Knight and aspired to make a positive impact on his fans’ lives. He was and always will be our hero,” his family said in a statement.

West became known to a new generation of TV fans through his recurring voice role on Fox’s “Family Guy” as Mayor Adam West, the horribly corrupt, inept and vain leader of Quahog, Rhode Island. West was a regular on the show from 2000 through its most recent season. West in recent years did a wide range of voice-over work, on such shows as Adult Swim’s “Robot Chicken” and Disney Channel’s “Jake and the Neverland Pirates.” 
But it was his role as the Caped Crusader in the 1966-68 ABC series “Batman” that defined West’s career.

With its “Wham! Pow!” onscreen exclamations, flamboyant villains and cheeky tone, “Batman” became a surprise hit with its premiere on ABC in 1966, a virtual symbol of ’60s kitsch. The half-hour action comedy was such a hit that it aired twice a week on ABC at its peak. But within two seasons, the show’s popularity slumped as quickly as it soared.

West’s portrayal of the superhero and his alter-ego, Bruce Wayne, ultimately made it hard for him to get other roles, and while he continued to work throughout his career, options remained limited because of his association with the character.

West also chafed against the darker versions of Bob Kane’s hero that emerged in more recent years, beginning with the Michael Keaton-starring, Tim Burton-directed adaptations that began in 1989 and followed by Christopher Nolan’s enormously successful Dark Knight trilogy.

In February 2016, CBS sitcom “The Big Bang Theory,” which had hosted a number of geek favorites over the years, celebrated its 200th episode — and marked the 50th anniversary of “Batman” — with an appearance by West.

Asked by Variety what the character of Batman has come to mean to him over five decades, West said: “Money. Some years ago I made an agreement with Batman. There was a time when Batman really kept me from getting some pretty good roles, and I was asked to do what I figured were important features. However, Batman was there, and very few people would take a chance on me walking on to the screen. And they’d be taking people away from the story. So I decided that since so many people love Batman, I might as well love it too. Why not? So I began to re-engage myself with Batman. And I saw the comedy. I saw the love people had for it, and I just embraced it.” 

Before he donned the mask and cape, West was a rising star in the late 1950s and early 1960s TV series, notably Westerns and cop shows. He logged roles on “Lawman,” “Cheyenne,” “The FBI Story,” “Colt .45,” “77 Sunset Strip,” “Maverick,” “Hawaiian Eye,” “Bonanza,” “The Rifleman,” “Perry Mason,” “Gunsmoke,” “The Real McCoys,” “Bewitched,” “The Outer Limits” and “The Virginian,” among other programs. He was a series regular on the 1959-62 drama series “The Detectives” (which aired on ABC and later NBC), playing a police sergeant.

His film roles in this period were few and far between but included a part in the 1965 Three Stooges vehicle “The Outlaws Is Coming.”

The origins of the “Batman” series are actually quite complex, but the project eventually landed at 20th Century Fox, which handed it to producer William Dozier, who devised the show’s camp comedy sensibility.

Both West and Lyle Waggoner were considered for the part of Batman before West was cast, playing alongside Burt Ward as his sidekick Robin.

In a PBS special that touched on the show, Ward noted that West’s slow, portentous delivery was occasionally designed to eat up screen time, thus cutting into his co-star’s dialogue.

With actors like Cesar Romero (Joker) and Burgess Meredith (Penguin) comprising Batman’s rogue’s gallery of villains, the show became an almost instant success, urging viewers to tune in for the next episode at the “Same Bat-time.” The series spawned a movie — pitting the Dynamic Duo against a team-up of villains — before being canceled after three seasons due, primarily, to its high production costs.

The show came to be viewed with some contempt in comic book circles, especially after the darker vision of Batman became dominant in the ’70s and ’80s.

West found serious film work scarce following the series, though he remained in demand for personal appearances as the character and voice work, including a recurring stint on “Family Guy” and animated versions of Batman. Other roles ranged from “The Happy Hooker” and “Hooper” to the Michael Tolkin-directed movies “The Rapture” and “The New Age.” 

By many accounts, West maintained a good sense of humor about his fame and his caped alter-ego. He remained a favorite of many producers for comedy guest shots, logging roles in recent years on such shows as “30 Rock,” “George Lopez,” “The King of Queens” and this year’s short-lived NBC comedy “Powerless.”

West was also prolific as a voice actor. He worked on dozens of animated series during the past 40 years, from numerous incarnations of the Batman character to “Kim Possible,” “SpongeBob SquarePants,” “The Fairly Oddparents,” “The Boondocks” and “Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero.”

West wrote two books, one, titled “Back to the Batcave” and published in the mid-1990s, in which he said that he was “angry and disappointed” not to have been offered the chance to reprise the role in the Burton movies, despite being 60 at the time. The attendant publicity seemed to put West back on the cultural radar, at least as a source of nostalgia.

Born William West Anderson in 1928 in Walla Walla, Wash., the actor later adopted his stage name and began his career in earnest when he moved to Hawaii in the 1950s to star in a local children’s program.

He is survived by his wife Marcelle, six children, five grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

Let me just add a note about Burt Ward who played loyal pal, Robin. I was much younger than him but I watch Batman because of Robin. Now I know I had a crutch on him. I talked about Robin with friends that related because he was closer to our age (we were half his age or less). I was so proud of the Batman shoes my mom bought me. The salesman kept telling my mom those shoes would not last because they were a fad (they guaranteed shoes for a year at Tom MCcan then). He was concerned my mom would return them. I kept arguing they were great shoes and it was what I wanted. My mom who always wanted to make me happy (up to a point) bought them for me. I was very sickly when young and also the baby of the family so I guess my mom felt bad for me but she tried her best when she knew I wanted something ( To be fair I would also become a pest repeating the request). Those shoes made me the star with my friends in school church. I guess I started the fad in my neighborhood and school. I made sure those shoes lasted me. After a while, I only wore them to church or special occasions.

February 19, 2017

“Homosexuality is an Enigma” (Mike Wallace 60 Min.Documentary)

 Mike Wallace of 60 minutes commenced his documentary on Gays
 with the words “homosexuality is an enigma

This was posted on the New York Times with the tittle “When we Rise”: Stories Behind the Pain and Pride of Gay Rights

Fifty years ago next month, CBS broadcast “The Homosexuals,” an unsettling documentary about a subject “that people find disturbing,” as Mike Wallace, the anchor, put it. For nearly an hour, viewers saw a gay man in shadows describing the tragedy of his life, psychiatrists who depicted homosexuality as a debilitating mental illness and a harrowing clip of a distraught 19-year-old soldier being driven to jail after his arrest on a charge of soliciting sex in a public restroom.

“The average homosexual — if there be such — is promiscuous,” Mr. Wallace told his audience. “He is not interested in, nor capable of, a lasting relationship like that of a heterosexual marriage.”

A more contemporary examination of gay life in America comes to network television later this month, in an eight-hour avalanche of prime time spread across four nights, and with a decidedly different take on the subject. Written by a prominent gay filmmaker, Dustin Lance Black, “When We Rise” is a 50-year history of the gay rights movement beginning on Feb. 27, told through four characters who suffer — and often triumph over — family rejection, landlord discrimination, gay-bashing, police harassment, legislative defeats and AIDS. 
But the world is a different place than it was when ABC first commissioned the project four years ago. Barack Obama was in the White House, and gay leaders were celebrating a series of court and statehouse victories, which would soon include the Supreme Court’s recognizing a constitutional right to marry by same-sex couples. After President Trump’s election, questions that seemed largely settled about gays in American society — same-sex marriage, equal treatment in the workplace and in housing — suddenly seem in doubt.
Mr. Trump is hardly a champion of gay rights, and Mike Pence, his vice president, has a record of explicit opposition to gay rights measures. Mr. Trump could well end up altering the ideological composition of the Supreme Court that handed down the marriage decision.

Still, as celebration has given way to intense anxiety, Mr. Black argues that the election’s outcome has made the mini-series even more urgent.

“We did not create this series for half a nation,” Mr. Black said. “I believe that most Americans, including Americans who voted for Donald Trump, will fall in love with these real-life families and absolutely relate to their stories when they tune in.” 
There have been no shortage of gay characters and gay-themed television shows and films in recent years, be it “Queer as Folk,” “Modern Family” or “Will & Grace.” And ABC was the network that showed what was at the time a groundbreaking gay-themed television movie, “That Certain Summer,” in 1972. But there has never been anything quite as sprawling or historical devoted to this particular topic, a project that is drawing comparisons to “Roots,” the 1977 ABC mini-series that traced the history of African-American slavery.

“We’ve reached the stage in the L.G.B.T. movement when a network not only feels comfortable taking this on — but doing so in a big way,” said Eric Marcus, a gay historian who produces the Making Gay History podcast and is preparing his own multipart documentary on the movement.

Torie Osborn, a longtime gay and lesbian rights leader who was active in San Francisco during struggles depicted in the movie, said, “I hope this is a moment for our allies to learn about our history and young gay men and lesbians to learn about their history.”

“This is a story that could have been told before,” she said, adding: “Better late than never.”

Sipping a cup of tea after flying in from his home in London, Mr. Black, 42, teared up here as he recounted learning that ABC would devote a four-night block of prime time to his work. (“When We Rise” originally was set for four consecutive nights; the second episode has now been delayed a day to make way, fittingly enough, for Mr. Trump’s first State of the Union address.)

It was a far cry from the struggle he endured to get a movie made of his screenplay for “Milk,” the story of Harvey Milk, the openly gay member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors who was assassinated in 1978. Mr. Black said that he went nearly broke financing it and that a studio committed to it only after Sean Penn had signed on to play the title character. Mr. Black won an Academy Award for best original screenplay.
“When We Rise” is the latest in a series of works by Mr. Black focusing on gay issues. He wrote “8,” a play based on the closing arguments over the constitutionality of a voter initiative in California in 2008 prohibiting the marriage of same-sex couples. The production of the play was used to raise money for the legal battle that resulted in the initiative’s being thrown out of court.

“Listen, if I wanted to write movies about people with capes and fangs, I could,” he said. “My good, military, conservative, Mormon mother always said, ‘Wake up every morning and make the world better.’ That’s what I was trying to do.”

Still, telling that story was hardly easy. The history of the gay and lesbian movement is diffuse and complicated, with endless debates over where and when it really began, who its leaders are and, most fundamentally, what the battle was — is — about. Its center of gravity bounced across the country. There are few, if any, people who have risen to define the movement: Figures tend to appear and recede to the sidelines, because of death or the challenges of leading a fractious group of what was, at least initially, outcasts. 

This has long presented a challenge for anyone seeking a neat narrative arc for this history. “By necessity if you’re going to tell the story of the L.G.B.T. civil rights movement, you are only going to be able to tell a slice of a slice of a slice,” Mr. Marcus said. “What invariably happens is there will be people screaming that it doesn’t tell the whole story. Well, it can’t tell the whole story.”

Mr. Black focuses largely on San Francisco — familiar ground, since that was where “Milk” was based. But other cities were arguably as politically significant — New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Washington and Minneapolis among them — and are largely absent from this account.

The four characters who form the frame of Mr. Black’s story may not be the four most important figures in the movement. They were chosen over (just to pluck a few names at random from a very long list) leaders like Arthur Evans, a founder of the Gay Activists Alliance in New York; Virginia Apuzzo, a former nun and early leader of the National Gay and Lesbian Rights Task Force; Steve Endean, a founder of the Human Rights Campaign Fund; Barbara Gittings, a founder of the Daughters of Bilitis in New York City; and Morris Kight, who fought in the trenches of Los Angeles for close to 25 years.

But Mr. Black needed characters whose lives spanned the contours of this history, who would give continuity to a long story and who are, in three cases, played by different actors at different stages of their lives.

Central among them is Cleve Jones. He worked for Mr. Milk when he was a county supervisor, was there the day he was assassinated and went on to become a founder of the Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, an emotionally wrenching commemoration of the people lost to the epidemic, in 1985. Mr. Jones, a historical consultant to this mini-series, stayed in Mr. Black’s home in the Hollywood Hills while writing his own memoir, “When We Rise: My Life in the Movement.”
Mr. Jones, who is played as an adult by Guy Pearce, said that while some details in the production were not true to what he experienced, “When We Rise” captured the spirit and themes of the movement that has absorbed much of his life. “It could be truthful without being accurate,” he said.

“When We Rise” grapples with some of the more difficult chapters of the movement, including the tense relationship between men and women in the early days, and later, how lesbians stepped up to help gay men deal with the health and political ramifications of the AIDS epidemic. Part of that is told through Roma Guy, an early feminist leader in San Francisco, played by Mary-Louise Parker. And it does not avoid the racial discrimination common in gay male bars in the 1970 and 1980s, told through the story of an African-American community organizer in the Bay Area, Ken Jones, played as an adult by Michael K. Williams (Omar, of “The Wire”).

As the production moves into the 1990s and turns to the Clinton White House and its mixed record on gay issues, a fascinating story within a story emerges involving Richard Socarides, who was President Clinton’s gay liaison: He is played by his younger brother, the actor Charles Socarides.
And their father is Charles W. Socarides, a psychiatrist who was one of the most vocal proponents of the view that homosexuality was a pathological disorder. Dr. Socarides is an expert witness, as it were, both in “When We Rise” and in the CBS documentary of 1967.

The fraught relationship between Dr. Socarides and his gay son has been the subject of several articles (including one I wrote in October 1995 for Out Magazine). But Mr. Socarides said there are details about his coming out to his father that he decided to share for the first time with Mr. Black.

“In that interaction with my father, my father takes out a gun and puts it to his head and threatens to shoot himself,” Mr. Socarides said. “Which actually happened. No one ever knew about it. It was really intense. I hadn’t told anybody that ever, because I was trying to protect him, or I guess in some way I was embarrassed or ashamed of myself. I felt enough time had passed.”

The tussles President Clinton had with gay leaders — in particular, over his support of the Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as being between a man and a woman — seem tame in this political environment, where gay leaders are girding for Mr. Trump, and Republicans who control state legislatures, to roll back protections for gays and lesbians. Still, this new climate does not appear to have shaken ABC.

“That doesn’t change things for us,” said Channing Dungey, the president of ABC Entertainment. “This is a true story involving actual events, involving real people. We are not coming at this from a political place or trying to make a political statement. This feels like an emotional story that we just want to share.”

Mr. Black said that if he had learned anything from this work, it is that the gay rights movement is a story of triumphs followed by setbacks. Mr. Trump’s election, he said, is just another turn in this road.

“We are in a period of backlash right now,” he said. “I would give anything for this to be less topical. But this series shows our history is a pendulum, not a straight line.”

A version of this article appears in print on February 19, 2017, on Page AR1 of the New York edition with the headline: Stories Behind the Pain and Pride  

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