Thursday, December 29, 2011

WATCH: Trailer For Byron Hurt's 'Soul Food Junkies'


Filmmaker Byron Hurt, the creator of documentaries Beyond Beats And Rhymes, Barack & Curtis and I Am A Man, has switched gears from tackling patriarchy, black manhood, sexism, homophobia and misogyny to talk about the history of soul food and its affect on black culture. The documentary, entitled Soul Food Junkies, also covers how the food industry has negatively impacted eating habits, as well as the lack of healthy eating options in poor black neighborhoods.

The film is currently unfinished, but if the trailer is any indication, it looks like it'll be a good one. To help Byron Hurt complete Soul Food Junkies, you can donate online or send a check. Find out more about how to contribute HERE, or go to Hurt's Kickstarter page. Watch the trailer below.



Soul Food Junkies Webtrailer - 12 min. version from Byron Hurt on Vimeo.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Madonna Truth Or Dare Fragrance Ad Debuts


The first ad for Madonna's fragrance Truth or Dare has been unveiled. While the images aren't new, they are fabulous. With the new album, W.E. and the Superbowl performance, next year looks like it'll be a big one for Madonna (and the last one for us if the Mayans are correct:). But we all have to be destroyed, listening to some new Madge would be some consolation. 

Same Sex Couples Pay More Taxes


According to a CNNMoney report, due to the lack of recognition the federal government gives same-sex marriages, gay couples have to file their tax returns separately, resulting in as much as $6,000 a year in taxes. Where dem dollars at indeed.

"The imbalance persists despite increasing acceptance of gay marriage as a legal right. More than 12 states now grant full or partial marriage rights to same-sex couples, and a recent Gallup poll showed -- for the first time -- that a majority of Americans favor gay marriage.

But not the federal government, which is constrained by the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. Even as more same-sex couples are able to file jointly at the state level, they are still forced to file as single when submitting federal returns to the IRS.

This means they can't combine their income and deductions to take advantage of lower tax rates. It's also harder for them to qualify for certain tax breaks because the credits phase out sooner for single filers.

The report cited some living arrangements, such as one spouse working while the other stays at  home with the kids, as an example of how gay couples pay more, saying "In the same-sex family's case, the working spouse files as "head of household," and the stay-at-home spouse is considered a "qualifying relative."

"Say that couple reported no other income or deductions. In that case, the same-sex household's federal tax bill is $15,199, which includes tax the head of household must pay on health insurance premiums to cover the stay-at-home spouse. That's $4,543 higher than the straight couple's liability."

Read the full report HERE.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Root Reviews 'Pariah'

Check out The Root's Teresa Wiltz's rave review of Pariah, the coming out, coming of age story of a black lesbian directed by newcomer Dee Rees. Wiltz writes:

"In lesser hands, Pariah, which opens in limited release Dec. 28, would read like some after-school special, earnest and heavy-handed, pounding the viewer with big themes and messages. Rees, a former NYU film student, was mentored by executive producer Spike Lee, and his influence is evident throughout, from the spot-on dialogue to the skillfully unforced performances. (Rees first produced Pariah as a film short; this is the expanded version.) Notwithstanding Lee's influence, Pariah, which was a big hit at Sundance earlier this year, is a distinct original, breaking up pathos with moments of high hilarity. (You'll never look at a dildo the same way again.)"

I'd love to see this in the theater, but something tells me it, like Milk or A Single Man, won't be playing at my local theater anytime soon. Guess I'll just have to wait for the DVD. Rest the rest of the review HERE.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

ABC Sitcom 'Work It' Needs A Pink Slip


ABC, a network known for LGBT-friendly fare like Modern Family, Happy Endings and the recently canceled Greek, has found itself in hot water over its upcoming sitcom Work It. In case you ain't up on thangs, a quick synopsis: two out-of-work dudes, frustrated that they can't find a job in the midst of this 'mancession' (their word, not mine) decide to dress up as women in order to get jobs. Hilarity Cringe-worthy, dated stereotypical comedy ensues. Check out Cathy Renna's excellent Huiffington Post piece to read some of the tired dialogue from the pilot episode to get a better idea.

I'll be honest. After viewing the trailer a few times, my first thought was "Is this really that offensive/that big of a deal? Obviously men donning women's clothing is nothing new, and has been going on since ancient Greece (but of course that was due to women being banned from the stage--old school sexism at its best!), and has continued in movies and TV ever since, from Milton Berle, Flip Wilson and The Wayans Brothers to Martin Lawerence, Robin Williams and Eddie Murphy. In the past I've watched and chuckled at Mrs. Doubtfire, White Chicks and The Nutty Professor and thought little of it.

But now all of the controversy surrounding Work It has given me cause for pause about some of my viewing habits. While I don't know a lot of transgender people, I am supportive and empathetic towards their struggle, and as such, wouldn't want to inadvertently support things that demean or degrade them. However, like portrayals of us gays, lesbians and bisexuals, I think each representation of transgender men and women has to taken in its own context. I've never seen Busom Buddies, the 80's show this farce is often compared  so I can't comment on that. As for Nutty Professor, I'd contend that the humor derived not from Eddie dressing up as women, but from the fact the women he portrayed were quirky, kooky and generally crazy as hell.

Upon reflection though, I'll admit that films like Doubtfire, White Chicks, Norbit, and Madea (to an extent--Ms. Perry's character is so exaggerated and over-the-top she almost transcends the whole concept) all start from the same place: that men who dress up as or become women are to mocked, laughed at, and disrespected. In light of this realization, I know I need to be more discerning of when media depictions of transgender folks tread into transphobic territory. And in my opinion, Work It definitely falls into that category, trying to wring fresh humor out of big, macho men squeezing themselves into skirt, stomping around in stilettos and slapping on too much makeup. Notice how smaller, more effeminate men are never chosen in these scenarios?

Adding insult to injury, the trailer for the show used Rupaul's classic "Supermodel," which only offers more proof the show's creators consider being transgender as synonymous with (in this case) very bad drag. Some would argue that the two are the same, but they couldn't be more wrong. Although it can and does often challenge notions of gender, drag is ultimately a performance; living life as transwoman or man, which often involves fears of facing violence, hatred and discrmination, is not.

Needless to say, I won't be watching, for all the reasons above. That and the show just doesn't look all  that funny (and there has been good comedy involving transgender folk--Hedwig And The Angry Inch anyone?). But what do you think of Work It? Discuss in the comments, and read transwoman Sara Jakubowski's letter to ABC HERE.


Monday, December 19, 2011

WATCH: 'The Dark Knight Rises' Official Trailer

GUURRL PLEASE!


Does this post have an actual point? Not really lol. But I'd thought it'd be funny to post some of my fav sasstastic moments from movies, TV and awards shows. I'm sure you'll recognize a few below. Enjoy.




















(Go to about the 0:50 mark)



Thursday, December 15, 2011

Columnist Discusses Being Young, Black and Gay In Chicago


Via Rod 2.0

Twenty-six-year old ChicacoPride.com society and nightlife columnist Terrence Chappell is the latest subject in a special series on Chicago's Southwest Side Auburn Gresham neighborhood. In the clip, Chappell and his mother Marilyn talk about the challenges of being young, black and gay in their neighborhood. The close relationship between Chappell and Marilyn is pretty heart-warming as well. Watch below.


Auburn Gresham, Chicago - Terrence Chappell from WBEZ on Vimeo.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Pursuit of Happiness....


Joshua Lyon over at The Huffington Post has a good piece about the impact of Happy Endings character Max, played by straight actor Adam Pally, on gay images in the media. Lyon writes:

"A recent episode of ABC's Happy Endings ended with Max, the resident gay character played by Adam Pally, stretched out on a couch, shirtless, with a look of ecstasy on his face. Because he was stuffing it with a huge sandwich, its contents spilling out all over his large, exposed hairy stomach.

In terms of positive portrayals of gays on mainstream television, that one scene did more for me than three seasons of Kurt on Glee. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy that a massive hit has a main character like Kurt, who's adamant about believing in and being yourself. But it also bugs me that Kurt reinforces the same cartoon stereotypes we've been fed for years -- he's what I imagine Dr. Smith from Lost in Space must have been like as a teen, before growing old and bitter."

I'm not sure about the Lost In Space reference (forgive me sci-fi gay geeks, you know I'm a Star Wars gal:), but for the most part I agree with him. While some queens may think Max isn't quite gay enough, I think gay dudes like him need to be shown on TV alongside the Kurts and Blaines. For every one of us that is stylish, witty and a little flamboyant, there is another who's messy, a little lazy and unfashionable. And that diversity needs to shown. Of course, being that it is a sitcom, Max is a bit of an exaggeration, and I am a little perturbed the writers haven't blessed him with a BF yet.

Hopefully the networks will throw us black gays a bone and give us another "Calvin" now that Greek has ended, or *keeps fingers crossed* another Carter (who else remembers Spin City lol). Any who, read the rest of Lyon's article HERE. And, if you haven't caught Max in action, watch an episode of Happy Endings below.

George Clooney To Star In Marriage Equality Play


George Clooney is set to star in 8, a play written Dustin Lance Black and adapted from actual transcripts of of the Proposition 8 trial for marriage equality in California.

Clooney told The Hollywood Reporter "It is astonishing that gay and lesbian Americans are still treated as second-class citizens. I am confident that, very soon, the laws of this nation will reflect the basic truth that gay and lesbian people — like all human beings — are born equal in dignity and rights."

Rob Reiner will direct the one night only production March 3 at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles. The L.A. production will also serve as a benefit for the American Foundation For Equal Rights. Other cast members will be announced soon.

Read the full story HERE.

Monday, December 12, 2011

California's LGBT Education Law Faces Challenges


Anti-gay groups are banding to together in an effort to overturn or substantially water down California's new FAIR Education Law, which requires public schools to include the historical contributions of LGBT people. According to Talking Points Memo:

A number of right-wing groups have filed initiatives to repeal the law, or at least gut out the pertinent language, because it teaches kids to "endorse transgenderism, bisexuality, and homosexuality, looking to individuals with these lifestyles as models and viewing their sexual lifestyles positively," according to Stop SB 48.

“We all know that the issue of homosexuality is controversial,” said Jack Hibbs, an initiative sponsor. “It is unacceptable to require that our schools shine a spotlight on this lifestyle on the one hand and then demand that history books and teachers censor shortcomings on the other.”

The group Save California, run by Randy Thomasson, is also touting web ads that “Urge California Parents To Rescue Their Children from Sexual Indoctrination,” and asking for donations to help the group run them.

“The most in-year-face [sic] law that forces children as young as 5 years old to admire homosexuality, bisexuality, cross-dressing, and ‘sex changes’ is SB 48, which goes in effect in January with its ‘supplemental materials’ mandate on every public school in the state,” Thomasson said in a statement.

“Because of the Democrats’ social-engineering laws, children left in California government schools are guaranteed sexual brainwashing, but proficiency in reading, writing, and computing are not guaranteed at all,” he added.

Five initiatives have  already been filed with California's attorney general. Read the full report HERE.

Gay Veteran Responds To Rick Perry Ad


Gay veteran Jay Foxsworthy, who served the Gulf War, has released the latest response video response to Rick Perry's now infamous political ad, in which Perry claims soething is wrong with America when gays can serve openly in the military but kids supposedly can't celebrate Christmas (on what planet?) or pray in schools (they can, schools just can't require that they do--but you know Perry doesn't worry himself with critical thinking and such).

"I am not ashamed to admit that I"m an out, gay Christian," says Jay Foxworthy, who lives in California. "My family goes to church every Sunday, and there is something wrong in this country when conservative Christians want to use God to attack my family."

Foxworthy, who is the subject of the documentary called The Right To Love: An American Family, along with his husband Bryan Leffew and their two children, told the Advocate "It’s so easy to only think of these issues as ideas or concepts that you agree or disagree with. It turns into something else when you know these are matters of life and love for real people who have names. You probably know many of them.” Watch Foxworthy's response below.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Random Video: Screw Destiny!



I came across the clip on YouTube and thought I'd repost it here. In the clip, Rational Warrior (his YouTube name) talks about the dangers that can arise in believing your destiny or life's purpose comes from outside of yourself. And I have to say I agree; while I'm certainly on the other side of religious now, I still do have the moments where I think my path is already laid out for me, or read too much into coincidences as part of some big picture. It's good to be reminded that we give our lives meaning and purpose.Watch the clip below and tell me if you agree or disagree.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Bubble Buttz...



A few weeks I somehow stumbled across this fantastic blog, Bubble Buttz, a catalog of the backsides of singers, rappers, actors and athletes, and have been hooked ever since. Some of the pics are familiar, but there are enough unseen booty shots to keep you coming back for more, or at least reminisce on the ass you wished you had:). Take a look a few pics of The Rock, Rockmond Dunbar and a few other celebs below and after the jump, and visit the site HERE.






Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Disbelief That Dare Not Speak Its Name...


Ronnelle Adams with fellow atheist and journalist Jamila Bey
The New York Times has a very interesting article about the rise of black atheists. One of those interviewed, 30-year-old Ronnelle Adams, talked about coming out to his devoutly religious mother twice--once for being gay, and again for being an atheist.

“My mother is very devout,” said Mr. Adams, 30, a Washington resident who has published an atheist children’s book, “Aching and Praying,” but who in high school considered becoming a Baptist preacher. “She started telling me her issues with homosexuality, which were, of course, Biblical,” he said. “ ‘I just don’t care what the Bible says about that,’ I told her, and she asked why. ‘I don’t believe that stuff anymore.’ It got silent. She was distraught. She told me she was more bothered by that than the revelation I was gay.”


The NYT piece also touches on the isolation many black non-believers feel both from the larger black community and white atheist organizations as well as how social media have helped black atheists connect..

Read it HERE.

Eddie Long Planning To Take "Time Off"


Ms. Eddie is taking a break from the pulpit in the wake of his wife Vanessa filing for divorce (then withdrawing it) to focus on his family. I guess it's been tough year for the old gal--you know, facing charges of tricking on young boys for sex in the name of Jesus then coming out largely unscathed while having fellow pimps of the cloth defend him and scold his flock for using common sense and logic--it's enough to blow the glue off any queen's lace front.

According to CNN:

"I'm going to take a little time off to work with my family," Long said Sunday to a packed house at the televised service.



"I do want you to know that this is, for me and my family, especially with me, one of the most difficult times and things I've had to face, and only because my strength, other than God, is in Miss Vanessa," he said to huge applause.


"And I want you to rest assured that I love her and she loves me. ... In all the things that I've ever had to deal with and being pastor, my rock has been to be able to come home to a virtuous woman who always had peace in my house," he said.


"We're going (to) work it out," he said.


He insisted that the two of them are not fighting, and that they are not mad at each other.


Long said the situation is "not because of allegations" of sexual relationships last year and instead blamed the pressures of being a pastor's wife.


"It's been very difficult to her, some of the things that she's had to endure," he said.


The church issued a statement emphasizing that Long is not stepping down, and "will continue to be the senior pastor of New Birth."


Read the rest HERE, or watch the report (note how he instructs the sheep to "give more") below.

Friday, December 2, 2011

VH-1 TLC Biopic In The Works

VH-1 is planning to release a scripted biopic on TLC. Now before you roll your eyes and mutter "chile please," "gurl BOOM," or any other assorted shade at the thought of a Lifetime movie-esque rendition of the trio's story, there is a ray of hope.

According to VIBE, T-Boz and Chili will serve as executive producers on the project. "The reality of this brings me to tears because I am seeing one of my dreams come to life. I always felt our story had to be told," said Chilli, who is executive producing with T-Boz.

In my opinion, T-Boz, Chili and especially Left Eye, always came across as straightforward and candid about the ups and downs of their career, so I don't expect this to be a completely watered down treatment of their story. Hopefully it will be on the level of The Last Days Of Left-Eye (Was anyone else shocked that wasn't released in theaters?).

What do you think? Is this a good idea? Discuss.

D'Angelo Set To Stage Comeback Next Year

After years of battling the bottle and run-ins with police, it seems D'Angelo may be finally getting himself together. According to SPIN:

D'Angelo will be performing at least six headlining shows in Europe in 2012: Stockholm on January 26, Copenhagen on January 27, Paris on January 29, a two-night stand at the Paradiso in Amsterdam on January 30-31, and London on February 3. The Guardian points to a link where fans can still buy tickets for the London concert.

A new album, his first since 2000's Voodoo, is also in the works.


?uestlove, the drummer for the Roots, has confirmed D'Angelo's European tour, Pitchfork reports. "It's an extremely real thing," ?uestlove is quoted as saying, noting that bass player Pino Palladino and drummer Chris Dave have already signed on to do the shows.


The outlook is finally looking positive for D'Angelo's long-delayed third album, too. "The album is pretty much 97 percent done," ?uesto told Pitchfork. "He's just finishing his lyrics now."


Read the rest HERE.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Random Question: Kanye West


Is it just me, or has Kanye gotten...sexier all of a sudden? Granted, he's always been cute in an offbeat, quirky kind of way, but lately it just seems Yeezy's hotness level has increased. I'm really not sure why though. Maybe it's because he's a little older now and has a certain grown man swag about him. Or perhaps the leather pants and chest-revealing blouses have something to do with it. Take a look a few pics below and you decide.






Obama Announces New AIDS Initiatives


President Obama is stepping up in the fight against HIV and AIDS by planning to help more people across the globe get life-saving drugs, as well as increase spending on treatment in the U.S. by $50 million. According to The Advocate:

The president announced the initiatives Thursday at a high-level panel discussion on “the beginning of the end of AIDS” hosted by ONE and (RED) in Washington, D.C. to mark World AIDS Day. In remarks prior to the panel, Obama reviewed progress toward "the real possibility of an AIDS-free generation" while he noted obstacles that remain the United States and challenged major partners including China to increase their share of funding to the global effort.

"The rate of new infections may be going down elsewhere, but it’s not going down in America," said Obama. "The infection rate here has been holding steady for over a decade. There are communities in this country being devastated by this disease. When new infections among young, black, gay men increase by nearly fifty percent in three years, we need to do more to show them that their lives matter. When Latinos are dying sooner than other groups; when black women feel forgotten even though they account for most of the new cases among women, we need to do more."

The president is also wants to put antiretroviral drugs in the hands of 2 million more people by the end of next year, as well as deliver drugs to 1.5 million HIV-positive pregnant women.  Read the whole article HERE.
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