Saturday, February 2, 2008

Remembering a Community Giant

I am in Palm Springs for the weekend where memorial tributes are pouring in for local out philanthropist Earl Greenburg, 61, who died Friday after a battle with melanoma. His family, including his life partner, David Peet, was by his side. The couple have a young daughter, Kathryn Claire Peet-Greenburg.

Greenburg (far right) is remembered as a man who sustained Sonny Bono's vision of turning Palm Springs and the Palm Springs International Film Festival into the "Cannes of the West."

As chairman of the festival's board, Greenburg built the festival to be the second largest in the country. Out Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet credited Greenburg with "catapulting" the film festival into a "first-class event that earned Palm Springs world prominence."

A former NBC and Home Shopping Network exec, Greenburg, is also credited for being a leader in the local fight against HIV/AIDS. His first partner, Rick Weiss, died in 1994, inspiring Greenburg to create the annual Rick Weiss Humanitarian Awards gala to raise money for local charities. The event is scheduled for April 12.

Greenburg and his partner Peet received a star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars on March 31. They were the first gay couple to receive such an honor. Today, the sidewalk is filled with bouquets of flowers.

Palm Springs resident and music legend Barry Manilow described Greenburg as "one of the pillars of our community."

The Week Ahead for Gay TV

If it's Groundhog Day it must be February Sweeps! With sweeps the networks bring out their big guns — or at least what they've stockpiled since the writers strike. Since scripted programming is at a minimum, most of our stories during the coming week — save Torchwood, The Wire, The L Word, and Cashmere Mafia — will be told in reality programming.

Set your TiVo for these reality superstars:
  • Saturday: 9:00 pm Color Splash, HGTV; David Bromstad turns a garage into a lounge! And at 10:00 pm, The Graham Norton Show, BBC America; Graham interviews Joan Rivers (who I'll be seeing this week in her new one-woman show at the Geffen).
  • Monday: 8:00 pm Dance War: Bruno vs. Carrie Ann, ABC
  • Tuesday: 10:30 pm Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency, Oxygen; the models head to Miami (and I'm heading there at the end of the month for Winter Party!).
  • Wednesday: 10:00 pm Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Gauntlet III, MTV; Ryan (right) remains after breaking Tyler's heart. Brooke and Evelyn? Time will tell. On at the same time is Project Runway, Bravo; the dames of design meet the dames of wrestling. Followed by Dress My Nest, Style at 11:00 pm; Queer Eye’s Thom Filicia designs a romantic bedroom.
  • Thursday: 8:00 pm Survivor: Micronesia, CBS (PREMIERE); Past season favorites including lesbian Ami (Survivor: Vanatu) compete against rookies including gay Chet. And at 10:00 pm, Make Me a Supermodel, Bravo; out model Ronnie Kroell continues!
  • Friday: 9:00 pm How to Look Good Naked, Lifetime. When is Carson going to give me some tips?
•RERUN TO WATCH: Friday's Desperate Housewives is the one in which Bob and Lee’s new water sculpture causes an uproar on Wisteria Lane.

•SPOILER ALERT: A new Lifetime dance competition show will be gay x3. More later!

Find out much more at our weekly TV GAYED listing.

Friday, February 1, 2008

American Idol Touchdown! Gay History Made

It's season seven of American Idol and until now, no contestants have spoken openly about being gay while on the show. This has probably been a combination of careful editing, producers instructions or the contestants own fear of being judged unfairly. But that all changed last week when the show held auditions in Omaha, Nebraska. Of all places, our gay shining star came from the smallest of small places, Charlotte, Iowa.

23-year-old Leo Marlowe was the final contestant to try out on Tuesday, and he had us at hello when one of the first things out of his mouth was "My mom always said she raised the perfect homecoming queen. Too bad it wasn't one of her daughters." With the three judges busting a gut, there was no way producers could have edited out that gem. Well they could of if Leo had sucked, but he didn't as he performed "A Song For You" by Donny Hathaway.

Simon called him a good, honest kid; Paula said he's a "touchdown!" (and she wants to take him home); and Randy said he was "rockin' the bells." Not sure what that means, but whatever, all three unanimously put Leo on through to Hollywood. We'll be watching the next round with fingers crossed that Leo continues to be refreshingly honest — and keeps rockin' the bells!

Check out Leo's performance here and see the thrilled reaction from his family and friends (aka the population of Charlotte, Iowa).

SoCal Black Film Festivals Get Their Gay On

Two Southern California film festivals focusing on films from and about members of communities of African descent are taking place during the coming days, and each feature LGBT-inclusive films and shorts. The San Diego Black Film Festival is going on right now, and the Los Angeles Pan African Film & Arts Festival kicks off next week. We've got your LGBT look at what will be screened here.

The film Blueprint, from director/writer Kirk Shannon-Butts, was chosen to appear at both fests. This film, set amidst the hustle of vibrant Harlem, is a modern-day love story of two college students, Keith and Nathan. They meet one day after class and embark upon a journey of discovery.

In other news, GLAAD Media Award-nominated Dirty Laundry expands to Atlanta, Baltimore and DC. Check it out!

As always, check out what's coming up and coming out in LGBT film at our exclusive cineQUEER database.