Wednesday, February 13, 2008

ROAD TO THE MEDIA AWARDS: Rufus Wainwright announced the winners of its Gay People’s Choice Awards this week, and Rufus Wainwright got the nod for favorite male musical artist.

It is par for the course for this outstanding performer, whose albums have all been nominated for GLAAD Media Awards, and who will be honored with the Stephen F. Kolzak Award at the Los Angeles GLAAD Media Awards on April 26.

Congratulations, Rufus!


Before interviewing Janet Jackson, allowed its readers to suggest questions to ask the star. Among the top five selected was a question about what it means to her to receive the Vanguard Award at the upcoming 19th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles on April 26.

Her response: “Oh my God, so much to me. It really does.” She continued on to say she “felt so honored” to find out she had been selected, and also acknowledged the gay community as being “so, so supportive.”

Visit here for the full Q & A.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Gay Films Highlight Sedona Fest

The magical setting of Sedona, Arizona will play host to the 14th annual Sedona International Film Festival taking place February 27-March 2. The fest will feature the following three films with gay themes, including writer/director Stewart Wade's (Coffee Date) new film Tru Loved, starring Alexandra Paul, Jasmine Guy, Bruce Vilanch, Alec Mapa and Jane Lynch.

(USA, 2007 — 73 min.) — Documentary
Director: Vince DiPersio
The story of gay Marine Jeff Key, a spiritual kid, who passionately loved his church and struggled desperately with the secret he carried in his heart—a secret his pastor refers to as an 'abomination.' Semper Fi is the story of how after the terrible events of 9/11—knowing he could get out by telling his superiors who he really was—he decided to go to war for the country he loved. And how, once in Iraq, his patriot's heart was broken by what he saw. Back home and broken-hearted, Jeff used his war journals to create a one-man show with which he travels the country--a play that never flinches from what it meant to be gay and at war.

Screening Times: Thursday, Feb. 28, 6:50 PM; Saturday, March 1, 1:40 PM

(USA, 2008 — 99 min.) — Feature
Director: Stewart Wade
Tru (Najarra Townsend), a high school student from San Francisco, is uprooted by her lesbian moms (Alexandra Paul and Cynda Williams) and moved to a conservative suburb. Her non-traditional family makes her an outsider until high school quarterback Lodell takes an interest in her. Lodell is closeted. Tru becomes a friend with whom he can be himself, unlike with his mom (Jasmine Guy), grandmother (Nichelle Nichols), and closest pals. When Tru hears the closed-minded comments about homosexuality from Lodell’s friends, she establishes the school’s first Gay-Straight Alliance. She meets Trevor (Jake Abel), a smart and charming young man being raised by his gay uncle (Bruce Vilanch). Tru begins a romance and fights for social justice as her unconventional family faces familiar struggles.

Screening Times: Thursday, Feb. 28, 4:25 PM; Saturday, March 1, 2:30 PM

(USA, 2007 — 78 min.) — Documentary
Director: Gwendolen Cates
A compelling and intimate portrait of Jock Soto, one of the most recognized and influential modern ballet dancers. Soto, who is Navajo, Puerto Rican and gay, retired in June 2005 from the New York City Ballet after a 24-year career of physically demanding excellence with the company. The film becomes a journey of discovery that will captivate us and endear us to this complex man. Soto is an artist who found his media of expression in dance, but this is not a film solely for a ballet audience. His fascinating and unique story, climaxing with his emotional retirement from ballet at age 40, is accessible to a broad audience. Soto's relationship to his heritage defies stereotypes in the same way that his dancing transcends the expected.

Screening Times: Friday, Feb. 29, 11:30 AM; Saturday, March 1, 9:00 AM

American Idol's Out Leo Out For Good

Leo Marlowe wowed the American Idol judges during the open call in Omaha to become the show's first openly gay contestant. Unfortunately, his luck wore off during tonight's Hollywood round. The 23-year-old from Charlotte, Iowa, performed Bryan Adams' "I Do It For You," a ballad that failed to impress.

"You just went from memorable to forgettable all in the space of thirty seconds, because that's precisely what we're not looking for," Simon told a disappointed Leo who was cut when the contestants were narrowed down to the Top 50.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Lifetime Looking for Longtime Couples

Producers for a new television show being produced for Lifetime are "looking for loving couples, in the New York tri-state area, to retell the story of how they first met and fell in love!"

According to the casting notice, interested participants must be 30 to 100 years old, with good personalities and great storytelling ability, and have been living together for a minimum of 7 years.

Take this chance to share your story and respond immediately to:

Sunday, February 10, 2008


With the Los Angeles GLAAD Media Awards just around the corner on April 26, special honoree Janet Jackson appears on the cover of this week's Parade magazine.

Okay, she also has a new CD, Discipline, out on Feb. 24.'s Jenny Stewart just chatted with Ms. Jackson and will soon have some scoop for us about the new album, her gay fans -- and what Janet thinks of her honor from GLAAD.

The Assimilationists: From Guess Who's Coming to Dinner to Will & Grace

Sony's new Stanley Kramer Film Collection -- containing five films that he produced, two of which he also directed -- is examined by Dennis Liff in today's Los Angeles Times.

The filmmaker is best remembered for tackling important social issues, but Liff asserts that the Kramer-directed Guess Who's Coming to Dinner is condescending today.

Guess (which had its own 40th anniversary DVD release last year) is often mentioned alongside Brokeback Mountain as being a parallel social-justice film: Guess reflected the civil rights movement in 1967 as Brokeback reflected the gay rights movement in 2006.
"This self-important drawing-room comedy, in which a young white woman brings home Sidney Poitier to her chagrined liberal parents, has its adherents, but it seems more quaint and condescending with each passing year," writes Liff. "Kramer has said that the saintliness of Poitier's character -- a noble, well-off, multiply credentialed doctor -- was an attempt to undermine existing stereotypes. But he inadvertently created a new one: the model assimilationist hero, the non-threatening black character who set the benchmark for on-screen minorities for decades."
"Poitier's character is less a human being than a catalog of positive traits, and the film's genteel San Francisco setting, not to mention the terms of its to-marry-or-not discussions, are remarkably untouched by the fury and urgency of the period's civil rights struggle. In that light, the problem with Kramer's films wasn't that they constantly referred to social issues -- it's that they all too often retreated from the messier realities of those issues."
After years of being represented as cartoon stereotypes in TV and film, gay characters began to take their own "assimilationist hero" route in the '90s with shows like Melrose Place, Ellen and Will & Grace. These programs moved gay characters into the mainstream but also created the new stereotype of the non-threatening white yuppie asexual gay character. It would take Queer as Folk and The L Word on cable, Brothers & Sisters (left) on ABC, and Brokeback Mountain on the big screen to show gay men and women as somewhat multi-dimensional sexual beings. Images of gay people of color continue to be few and far between, but Noah's Arc and the film Dirty Laundry have made some inroads in this area.

Bruce Kluger wrote a column for USA Today this week that points out that the entertainment industry has done what it can to assimilate gay characters into programming, but in so doing has left out the issues
"...this significant step forward carries with it a liability: As entertainment executives conscientiously work to bring the gay experience into the mainstream in a non-political way, they also run the risk of neglecting the real-life struggles gays continue to face."
While Law & Order and According to Jim lampoon (or "rip from the headlines") a closeted gay politician tap-dancing in a bathroom stall, headlines of real importance to the LGBT community are often left out. Stories of a non-inclusive ENDA, "Don't Ask, Dont' Tell" or an anti-gay ballot amendment in Florida could seriously add to the discussion -- and to change.

To paraphrase the L.A. Times' Liff, we need the entertainment industry to tell some of the "messier realities" of our lives. The impending end of the writers' strike may bring some added visibility, but the real problem continues to be a lack of characters and shows which feature LGBT characters who can even tell these stories.