Tuesday, May 29, 2012

New York Times Profiles Pro-LGBT Black Church In Harlem

So often we devote blog space to reading fools of the cloth--which needs to be done mind you--that the stories of accepting houses of worship get overlooked. For those who don't I'm not religious (anymore anyway:), but I do feel if you have to worship somewhere, let it be place where you feel welcome. If you have time today, there's a short but sweet New York Times piece about Rivers at Rehoboth, a church in Harlem that has made ministry to black LGBTs part of its mission.

'"The congregation was formed by the merger of two churches, Rivers of Living Faith and Rehoboth Temple. The pastor of Rivers, Vanessa M. Brown, 41, is a lesbian, and the pastor of Rehoboth, Joseph Tolton, 45, is gay, and both were born and raised in Harlem. Their merged congregation rents space out of Grace Congregational Church on West 139th Street, where Mr. Tolton’s former church worshiped for four years. 

Ms. Brown, the church’s senior pastor and Ms. Gause’s partner, preaches what she calls a “radically inclusive” message, while Mr. Tolton, the associate pastor, offers as a mantra the phrase “Gay by God.” “God doesn’t make any junk,” Ms. Brown said. “He made us knowing who we were going to be before we were it.” 

Mr. Tolton said that for over 20 years, he believed his sexual orientation was a spiritual demon from which he needed to be saved. As a young man, he asked clergy to pray for him to be straight. Mr. Tolton said he left his church after a friend told him he could not be the best man at his wedding because he is gay. 

 “It broke my heart,” Mr. Tolton said. Ms. Brown said she, too, struggled with the church’s stance on homosexuality. She said she married a man who was gay, to help him cover up his sexuality and protect his image in the church. But Ms. Brown divorced him after growing tired of living a lie, she said. “I was ruining my own self,” she said. “I wasn’t happy.”'

Read the rest HERE.

Green Lantern May Be New Gay DC Character

Hmmm. This might have Ryan Reynolds turn as The Green Lantern a little bit more exciting. According to The Advocate, the original Green Lantern, known as Alan Scott, will be the DC character reintroduced as a gay man.

"Bleeding Cool blogger Rich Johnson reports that after he heard that information from other sources, “a much stronger source” at the Phoenix Comic Con told him it is definitely Alan Scott. Still, Johnson offers the caveat, “I could be wrong.” 

The character, introduced in 1940, appeared briefly in the first issue of DC’s new series Earth 2. Johnson advises fans to “start queuing up” for the second issue “right about now.”'

Comic book fans, is this a good move or a bad one?


Monday, May 28, 2012

Mad Men Season 5 Ep. 11 'The Other Woman'

As always, spoilers are lurking about. So gird you loins or get out of the way.

If you ever needed confirmation (as if the previous four seasons weren't enough) that being a woman in sixties sucked ass 90 to 95 percent of the time, then last night's Mad Men provided some compelling evidence.

Entitled "The Other Woman," an appropriate subtitle could have been "Misogyny on Parade," or Ginsberg's tagline for Jaguar: "At last. Something beautiful you can truly own." Beautiful, temperamental, unattainable things--in this case women, were the focus in this episode, with notions of mistresses and money thrown in for good measure. The underlying question Mad Men's female characters seemed to be asking themselves was "How much am I worth?" And each of them tries to answer it in their own way.

Continuing with last week's "The Christmas Waltz," the coveted Jaguar account is still in play, and all of SCDP's creative muscle  is going to into landing it. But after Herb, the head of the dealers' association, has expressed a desire to "date" Joan, it seems a bigger sacrificed must be made.

Pete, never short on ruthless ambition, lays it out to Joan: if you don't sleep with Herb, we won't get Jaguar. Joan, rightly appalled, cuts Pete down with a few sharp remarks and sends him on his way. Though that's not the end of it, as the partners stage a meeting to discuss whether to go through it. Classy isn't it? However sleazy his logic and condescending his statements come off, at least Pete is upfront about what he's asking her to do. Lane, though upset upon hearing the news, is too invested in protecting himself and the company--everyone still thinks the Christmas bonuses are actually bonuses--to truly be a genuine friend. He gently advises her to demand a stake in the company and become a partner, but it still comes off as "if you're going to be a ho, be a smart ho." Only Don, no stranger to employing the services of ladies of the night, tries to convince Joan not to do it. Unfortunately for him, it's too late: in a brilliant slice of editing, it's revealed that by the time Don stops by her apartment, Joan has already done the deed.

The whole sequence of Joan's tryst (if you want to call it that, since tryst implies some semblance of fun) with Herb, set alongside Don's Jaguar pitch, is riddled with deep sadness and is devastating to watch. Even though Joan is no stranger to extramarital affairs and the occasional one night stand, she has always maintained her sense of control, her rape at the hands of Greg notwithstanding.  Which in a way, makes this even sadder: with Greg she was forced to give up her power; this time she chose to give it away. Now a soon-to-be divorcee and single mother, she may feel doesn't have the luxury of turning away a man's affection or his money, no matter how repulsive she may find him. Perhaps she fears, like her mother so eloquently put it, that she's "drying up inside."

Of course she could've gone back to Roger and accepted his offer to help with Kevin, but after learning he didn't walk out of the "pimp out Joan" pow wow--hey at least he refused to pay for it-- she undoubtedly felt betrayed, and mentally closed the door on that option. Christina Hendricks does a superb job of showing Joan's inner anguish without hardly saying a word. Joan being Joan, she'll most likely push this incident, like many others, back into her mind and keep it moving. In the end she may have chosen to go ahead with the plan because she wanted a sense of security, which none of the men in her life--Roger, Lane, Greg--have ever been able to offer her.

Joan's action may have also inadvertently emboldened Peggy's decision to leave SCDP; the look on her face almost screams "that's strike three" when Don tells her Joan's become a partner in the company. Then again, her departure has been a long time coming. Everyone's working on the Jaguar account, except for Peggy, and although Don has given her control over all of the other accounts, she is still treated like a second-rate employee, or, as Freddy Rumsen put it, "a girl from Brooklyn who's just helping out." The shot of Peggy staring longingly at the trays of lobster sums up how she's been treated this season: everyone else gets to gorge on gourmet, while she's left scrounging for scraps.

Her humiliation continues when she's asked to fill in for Ginsberg, who's at work on the Jaguar account, to have a conference call with Chevalier Blanc cologne and pose as the junior copy writer for the man she discovered.  But things really hit the fan when she single-handedly salvages the account then expresses dissatisfaction when told to her hand over her idea to Ginsberg. In what will definitely go down as one of the show's top ten shocking moments, Don pulls a few bills out of his pocket and decides to make it rain by tossing them in Peggy's face, his anger over the the partners' discussion to prostitute Joan completely blinding him to the fact he's just taken swan dive into the lake of misogyny himself. It's also clearly a metaphor for the mistress/money theme--Joan is a valuable commodity and important to Don, while Peggy has been reduced to being the other woman. Ken tries to console Peggy and reminds of her of their pact, but she's too through with SCDP, and cuts him down with the line "save the fiction for your stories."

It's a shame Ken had to bear the brunt of her anger, as he has been one of her biggest supporters. After discussing her future with Freddy, Peggy takes a meeting with Don's rival Ted Chaough of Cutler Gleason and Chaough, who gushes about her work and offers her $1,000 more in salary than she asked for. Chaough's open-minded attitude could be the real thing, but he could be using her as a pawn to get back at Don. His lines--"You know how much you'll do it for," and "you didn't make me wait" also conjure up the mistress/money theme again. Peggy eventually breaks the news the Don, who even then is still distracted by the news SCDP landed the account, as well as how Joan suddenly became a partner.

The whole scene between the two, from the dialogue ("You finally picked the right time to ask for a raise--it's still all about the money isn't Don?) to Jon Hamm clutching Peggy's hand before she leaves to Elizabeth Moss's gut wrenching goodbye of "don't be a stranger," is one of the best of the season, if not the whole series. When Peggy tells Don she's going to Chaough--the enemy--you can see the transformation in his face. Recalling last season's "The Suitcase," Don cruelly tries to pull a "that's what the money is for" moment, saying "Let's pretend that I'm not responsible for every good thing that's ever happened to you." Ouch. But Peggy is undeterred; unlike Joan, there is no price. Over the toasts and cheers of everyone else, she gathers her things and walks out of the office, noticed by no one. But that's fine--she's been invisible for a long time now.

Megan can't seem to decide if she wants to be a Jaguar, or in her words, a Buick. (i.e. the wife). She's almost borderline offended when Don tells her about the Jaguar-as-mistress angle they've been working on. Perhaps she was annoyed that Don, again, was asking her about advertising and ignoring her acting ambitions; or her anxiety about his own storied history of philandering could have been rearing its ugly head. Either way, she quickly leaves the room to go focus on an upcoming audition.

But then when she and an actress friend visit the office, she turns aggressive and sexual, seducing Don in his office with an ease that would have been alien to her when she still worked there. Ginsberg, who shuns the sex kitten, or Jaguar(there's that word again:) act Megan's friend is putting on for the boys, still shows his chauvinistic colors when he says in an almost mystified tone  "she just comes and goes as she pleases."

While it may intrigue Ginsberg, her independent streak continues to rankle Don, who forbids Megan from traveling to Boston for rehearsals for a Broadway show before she even lands the gig. In an gruffer echo of Ginsberg--not to mention his mother/abandonment issues--Don yells "Just keep doing whatever the hell you want!" as she storms out. Megan has her own prostitute moment when the men at the audition coldly ask her to turn around so they can see her goodies in her best casting call dress. The two makeup later on, and Don reassures her that he's rooting for her success, but I'm still not convinced he truly means it. And now that Peggy's left him and he's seen a few cracks in Joan's armor, who knows what will happen Megan finally lands a gig.

Megan may be strong-willed, but even she's willing to give up her dream, even if may cause her to hate her husband, as she confesses to Don. In that sense, she's just as trapped by as Joan, because she's willing to conform to a man's expectations, regardless of the emotional or psychological cost to her self-worth. In that way, she's like Betty, or her mother Marie. It'd be wise for Don to fully get behind Megan's ambitions, if he really wants their relationship to work.

In the end though, only Peggy, standing alone at the elevator and smiling to herself as she leaves SCDP behind, is truly free.

--Other Notes

--Dawn spoke a couple of words this episode. YAY! *Note the sarcasm.*

--Trudy may have been spared Joan's fate, but she's still being devalued and lied to by the man in her life, even she doesn't know the full extent of it. Something tells me Pete will be getting that apartment in Manhattan, and, if Beth isn't willing, the mistress to along with it. He's going ruin his marriage even if it kills him.

--How will the writers' continue to link Peggy to Don and the rest of SCDP now that she's gone? Obviously that's more of a season six question, but it'll be interesting to see how the link their worlds together. Folks don't seem to get along too well once they detach themselves (or get detached) from Don's life; how Peggy fares at her new firm will probably be a big story arc next season.

So what did you think of 'The Other Woman?' Discuss.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

"For Colored Boys" Anthology Debuts Website, Book Details

A new website for author/television commentator Keith Boykin's anthology For Colored Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Still Not Enough has officially been launched. The book is set for release in July. According to Rod 2.0's Rod McCullom (who also contributed to the book):

"For Colored Boys collects writings of more than three dozen Black LGBT writers—read the full list and bios—media personalities, activists, scholars and other thought leaders. The book was launched in the wake of numerous "young Black men literally committing suicide in the silence of their own communities" such as Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover, Jaheem Herrera, Raymond Chase, Joseph Jefferson and others reported on Rod 2.0, says Boykin. 

"There are 44 pieces from 42 authors, including 37 African-Americans, 3 Latinos, 1 Asian-American, 1 Canadian and 1 British writer," Keith Boykin told R20. "The contributors' ages range from 23 to 63. We have at least 5 writers in their 20s."'

Visit the website to find out details about the book's soundtrack, the full list of contributors, an upcoming book tour and a crash course in black/latino LGBT history.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Random Jam: Jill Scott "Only You"

A masterpiece that sounds like it was mixed solely for midnight riding. The deep, sensuous bass, the haunting piano chords that sound like passionate sighs of desire, and of course Jill's intoxicating vocals. Actually, it's a masterpiece for any and every occasion, 'cause Jilly from Philly gives me pure, unadulterated LIFE everytime she opens her mouth. Matter of fact, she gives me afterlife, because I feel like I'm floating on a cloud and communing with the damn spirits whenever I hear her music. Okay enough diva stanning. Get into "Only You" below.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Willow Smith To Play Annie

Willow...chile I know you can whip your hair back and forth (though truth be told Leyomi Mizrahi taught you the tricks of the trade) and belt out a cute pop ditty...but Annie?

"In an interview with Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts, on Wednesday, Will Smith confirmed that the youngest of the Smith clan, Willow, 11, would be following in her parents and older brother Jayden’s (The Karate Kid) footsteps, with a starring role in the modernized film version of the 1982 musical Annie. 

The film will be set in modern-day New York and will feature a host of new updated songs. Hip-hop, mogul, and hit maker Jay-Z is in charge of the music and is expected to write new musical tracks for the soundtrack. Jay-z is not new to re-imagining Annie tracks. His 1998 hit single “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)” featured samples from the Broadway musical version. 

Willow told People magazine in 2011 that she wanted Brad Pitt to star as her adoptive father, Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks. The rest of the cast has yet to be announced and they are still looking for a production team as Annie is set to begin filming in 2013."

Hmmm...I don't know about you, but all of this just screams side eye to me. I'm no Broadway baby by any means, but I hope Jay-Z and Will's idea of updated doesn't equal Autotune or Lil' Mama style "Lip Gloss" chants. I mean, incorporating new sounds is cool and can introduce Annie to a new audience, but there still needs to be good, structured songs with strong melodies and real singing...this is a musical. Hopefully this turns out to be a good re-imagining and not a silver version of MTV's Carmen: A Hip Hopera (no shade no tea! It was cute for TV, but not exactly Oscar-worthy material). Of course the silver lining, along with Brad Pitt as Daddy Warbucks, could be a cameo by Will. Let me stop before I get slapped.

Read the rest HERE.

WATCH: Trayvon Martin Case, Witnesses Change Stories

True Blood's Alan Ball Stepping Down After Season 5

If True Blood sticks around to the daylight of season six next summer, it will do so minus Alan Ball. The force behind the similarly death obsessed Six Feet Under will be replaced by co-executive producer Mark Hudis.

"A regular producer on True Blood since the beginning of season four, Hudis wrote two of last season’s episodes (Me and the Devil, and Soul of Fire) and has solo writing credits on two more in season five. 

Alan Ball is expected to remain as a consulting producer on the Louisiana-set vamp show, but will be directing most of his energy towards prepping new Cinemax martial-arts-meets-the-Amish series, Banshee."

It'll be interesting to see what direction takes without Ball at the helm, after season five of course. And the premise of Banshee sounds absolutely Quentin Tarantino-esque.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

12 Reasons Gay Marriage Will Ruin Society!

Via Boy Culture

WATCH: Behind The Scenes of The Walking Dead Season 3

Here'a little sneak peek of The Walking Dead's third season. I still a little broke up that Shane had to bite the dust, but the preview looks promising. Watch below.


Monday, May 21, 2012

Mad Men Season 5 Ep. 10 'The Christmas Waltz'

As always, spoilers are afoot. So walk softly or take the scenic route.

Kinsey's a Krishna, Harry shows he still has a soul, Joan and Don reminisce, Roger wants to do more than reminisce, and Lane is engaged in backdoor misdeeds. Everyone's jockeying for position, re-evaluating their direction and choices in life and suffering varying degrees of emotional trauma in the process. In short, it's Christmas time on Mad Men.

'Christmas Waltz' was one of the few (or perhaps first) Harry-centric episodes in the series, and it begins with our bespectacled hero receiving word Paul Kinsey has been trying to meet him for a lunch. Harry reluctantly agrees to his former co-worker, only to find Kinsey become a Hari Krishna and has claimed to renounce the material world. No matter how many times I watch it back, the sight of the formerly bearded, pipe-in-his hand "artiste" in a flowing robe and nearly shaved bald head is startling, and a bit hilarious. He invites Harry to chant, and he eventually gets into it after some sensual coaching by Kinsey's new love Lakshmi, so much so he's still chanting after everyone's stopped.

Kinsey being Kinsey, he has to managed to retain his pretentiousness, pontificating about how much he has changed and grown spiritually. But the facade quickly crumbles as he confesses Harry over lunch that he's unhappy and wants out of the group, but won't leave without Lakshmi. Kinsey's had a tough time since we last saw him: he's bounced from ad agency to ad agency to the A&P--yes that A&P. And try as he might to get into the religious groove, he can't clear his mind, and feels lost. He still wants to be writer, but is so desperate and/or deluded that he hands Harry a script for the season premiere of Star Trek, thinking that the leap from Krishna recruiter to Hollywood screenwriter is just one phone call or meeting away. Harry knows the script is terrible, but gets a second opinion from Peggy anyway, who advises him to be honest and tell Kinsey to give up his dream.

Later, Lakshmi makes a surprise visit to the office and seduces Harry. At first she's all free-love c'mons, moaning about the fire inside her that Harry ignited, but her true manipulative demeanor comes out after the deed is done ("you thought I was some confused little girl?")--she wants Harry to stay away from Kinsey, for fear he'll be sucked back into the material world, and has used nature's credit card as a down payment. "He's our best recruiter. I mean he really can close," she says, not even catching the irony that her movement is just as much of product as anything that's being pushed at SCDP. Despite a slap to the face by Lakshmi, Harry decides to do somewhat right by his old pal; he doesn't tell him that his script sucks, but he does advise him to get the hell away from Lakshmi, and gives him $500 towards a west coast move. A change of scenery maybe what Kinsey needs, but if the best writing he can come up with is white Negroines, the he better learn a trade out there. Nevertheless, it was nice to see this empathetic side of Harry; over the past four seasons we've watched him go from happily married man to a shallow, convention-whore banging douche. It was good to show someone on the show occasionally thinking beyond themselves.

Speaking of douchebags, Joan's soon-to-be ex husband Greg may be out of the picture, but he can still manage to inflict pain on his wife. While at work, Joan is told she has a visitor at the front, but surprise! It's divorce papers from your rapist! The sight of the paperwork sets Joan off in a way she's never acted in public, unleashing a vicious tirade on a secretary ("Surprise! There's an airplane here to see you!").

It wasn't like Joan was having a particularly good day at work to begin with. She's finally spilled the beans to Roger about being Kevin's father, but refuses his money, despite what seems like his honest attempt to be a part of his son's life; perhaps after her ordeal with Greg she isn't in a rush to be beholden to a man anytime soon. She casts a cynical eye towards Roger's post-LSD enlightenment, and probably sees the money as involving her child in her longstanding secretive/mistress role in Roger's life, and doesn't want any part in that. After all, he's offered her many things over the years--an apartment, a bird--but never a ring. Or even the opportunity being his girlfriend--you know, out in the open and all that. "We made a baby," a drunken Roger says. "Yes, and now it's some other lucky girl's turn," she snaps before seeing him out.

In the middle of her blowup, Don calms her down a bit and the two go Jaguar scouting, pretending to be husband and wife (a interesting twist given Joan's "that's kind of girl Don Draper marries" speech a few episodes back) before heading out for drinks. Joan drops her mask, telling Don about her divorce and longing for the days when she was greeted with flowers instead of legal documents. The days when, like Don, she could enjoy being bad then going home and being good.

Maybe it's just me, or maybe it's Joan's dress/hairstyle and Don's hat, but the two almost seemed to have stepped back into the 50's while sitting at the bar. Whatever the case, the atmosphere certainly lends itself to the two reminiscing about the their first impressions of one another. The conversation between the two easily contains the episode's best  dialogue, showing Joan worrying about how her single mother status will affect her dating life and how easily Don has forgotten his chaotic bachelorhood of the recent past. Or at least he's acting that way, agreeing that Megan is perfect and he's truly happy. The conversation about knowing what men and women want is fantastic, with Joan unknowingly hitting on Don's past with Betty and possibly his present with Megan, if the look on his face on the way home is any indication.

But we saw this coming earlier; his unhappiness with her decision to pursue acting is becoming more apparent (to her anyway) with the two clashing after seeing a play decrying advertising/consumerism.  And while he may have been helping Joan by taking out her of the office mid-tantrum, he was also playing hooky--from the moment Pete tells him about Jaguar, Don is unimpressed and is listless at work; last week's spark of creativity and competition with Ginsberg over Sno Ball has faded.  At least until a furious Megan, possibly fearful of Don reverting to his old ways, lays into him when he comes home late. After tossing her meal into the wall, she screams at him for being selfish and inconsiderate and reminds him that he loved his work before he met her.

Rather than unload on her after she doesn't play into a bid for angry sex, Don, looking slightly astonished, sits down and eats dinner. Megan seems determined not to be Betty and let Don do whatever he pleases. And demanding he be home for dinner, or at least tell her where he is, is step one in her plan. At first her words seem to have a positive effect; when he makes a rousing speech at a SCDP meeting the next day, the result is like watching an old statue coming back to life. But from the look on Joan's face as she watches him in action--not to mention flowers he sent her--Megan may soon have some competition on her hands. And so will Roger. Her reminding Don of how much he loved work may come back to haunt her.

Last but not least Lane. Our British boy is deep in debt and owes some back taxes in his homeland--so deep that he must resort to lying to banks to get more credit for SCDP that he can play off as a company surplus and use as an excuse to hand out Christmas bonuses. So deep he must forge checks in Don Draper's name to pay off his bills. Lane's tense mood was palpable throughout the whole episode, as he fought for the partners to keep their Christmas bonuses even after news Mohawk Airlines was suspending their ad campaign with the company. Whatever the case, Lane's debt woes and money fraud schemes will definitely to a big blow up down the road.

Come to think of it, with Joan and Don's teasing flirtation, Megan's anxiety over not knowing where her husband is at all times (as well as their obvious disagreement on advertising vs. acting), Roger seemingly wanting back in in Joan's life, a lot of bombs may be going off in the near future.Or since it's Christmas time, a lot of folks may be getting what they think they want or thought they wanted, but will find themselves holding lumps of coal. Disappointment and dashed expectations: they're the gifts Mad Men keeps on giving. God Bless us every one.

Other Notes:
--The unenthusiastic response to Pete snagging Jaguar was a nice running gag, as and his "What ghost visited you Ebeneezer?" was one of the best lines of the night.

--Dawn...chile I give up at this point. Maybe they'll throw you a bone in the season finale.

--Roger's "Bazooka Joe" was nice gum/pubice! reference.

--Will the writers chronicle Paul's west coast journey? Probably not, but his return was unexpected and an interesting twist on the character IMO. Paul always cast himself as an outsider and a rebel (he went down South for the civil rights movement, dating a black girl, was playing guitar during Sterling Cooper's British takeover in season three as a way to stick it to the man) even though he wasn't much of either, so in a way it made since he would fall in with such an extreme, alternative sect. Getting sloshed all day would've been too easy. If Paul's gonna be unhappy then dammit, he'll be the Picasso of unhappiness.

So what did you think of 'Christmas Waltz?' Discuss.

The Grio Examines Homophobia In Black America

This week TheGrio.com will publish a series of essays discussing homophobia in Black America. First up is an essay entitled "I Love The Black Church, But The Black Church Doesn't Love Me," which describes the all-too familiar don't ask don't tell atmosphere of condemnation and hypocrisy (or more like igorance--more on that in a minute) that exists in many houses of worship.

"We know people in the church who sin openly, and even have children out of wedlock. We are there to shout 'amen' for our church leaders and wish them well as they move from one failed marriage to the next one. We accept that the most important people in the church and their children are "only human" when they fail to abstain from evil. And yet President Obama is called evil for being human enough to recognize love when and where he sees it. 

We think gays are a threat to the manhood of African American men, however as a Christian community we would rather only whisper about love on the 'down low' as opposed to addressing it openly...We ignore the real threat to our communities: schools that are continually failing our children; while, "at least my pastor drives a fancy car and lives in a fabulous home." 

We think that being gay is the worst sin against God, yet fornication, adultery, gambling, and lying, all get a free pass from the pulpit. We think if you are gay, you have no right to marry, and we forget that people who are black were once denied those same rights in this country, in the name of Christianity. We believe you can "pray the gay away" in others, but you can't pray away your own daily transgressions. We know family members who are gay, and we invite them to feel the shame of their sexual orientation because it makes us feel more like a saint. We live the black version of "don't ask don't tell" inside the sanctuary, where Deacon Never-Been Married can really "sang," because all that matters is having a church with the best choir."

My thoughts? As an atheist, I could really give two craps about what a preacher or bible does or doesn't say about my sexual orientation. However I recognize religion is what forms many in the black community's ideas and values about sexuality. It formed mine for a long time, so I know from whence I speak, m'kay? For any fellow LGBTs who are adults and religious: either find a church that accepts for you who are or just stay home. It's not worth the cost mentally, emotionally or financially to have to conceal your identity--especially from folks who you're supposed to forming close spiritual bonds with--and get bashed from the pulpit by someone who is oftentimes a closet queen themselves. No choir is that good, and no church is that prestigious. No pastor and/or deacons are that fine--I know what some ya'll gals are there for! Of course, you could always come over to the dark side with us non-believers. We heathens are for the most part a very welcoming bunch:).

But I digress. One thing that bothered me about the reader's essay was the link between the constant focus on homosexuality but no attention given to other "sins" like gambling, lying and adultery. Personally, I feel believing our sexuality is "no worse" than any other bad behavior is detrimental to our cause; it would be better to not to compare a sexual orientation to or say they are no worse than behaviors--key word behavior, being gay requires no action--that are deceitful and self-destructive, because being gay in and of itself is not bad, "evil" or destructive. It gives homophobes the leeway to say that deep down we know what we're doing is wrong or sinful, which I don't think the author intends to do.

Why not change the conversation to "Being gay is not bad or good. It just is. Now if your faith  says it is bad or sinful, that LGBT people should work to change their sexuality or should repress it, but offers no real tangible proof as to why, then we should be re-evaluating the validity of your faith, not the sexual orientation or gender identity of the LGBT person." Then again, who wants to do all that critical thinking and questioning? Ewww. Note my sarcasm.

You can read the rest of the piece HERE.  But be warned, some of the comments ain't nothing nice. If you're in the mood to do battle, then by all means click ahead.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Ice Cube: 'I'm Cool' With Gay Marriage

Yeah Yeah! Following Jay-Z's announcement of support for President Obama's stance on gay marriage, fellow rap legend Ice Cube joins other hip hop heads in giving his support to gay marriage.

In an interview with AdAge, Cube said "I've had people in my family, myself and a lot of my ancestors have been victims of discrimination. So I don't want to discriminate on nobody. And I'm not worried about what people do in their bedrooms. "I'm cool with it. I'm already married, so I ain't worried about too many other people, what they're doing."

Cube talks goes on to talk about Mary J's controversial Burger King ad and his current partnership with Coors Light. All of this is pro-marriage talk is good news. But hopefully this conversation about gays among rappers--and black folks in general--will extend beyond Jay-Z and Obama and go into topics like bullying, suicide, gay-bashing and homophobia in the music industry (i.e, why are openly LGBT rappers still non-existent, would they knowingly sign/collaborate with one etc). Then we'll see real progress.

Read the full  AdAge piece Monday.

WATCH: True Blood Season 5 Trailer

Season 5 looks promising. Get into it below.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Tupac's Family Says Rapper Wasn't Homophobic

The family of  Tupac Shakur is defending the late rap icon against allegations (made by perennial shit-starter Suge Knight--*eye roll*) that he was homophobic, using his close friendship with the late fashion designer Gianni Versace as evidence. According to The Advocate:

Knight, founder of Death Row Records, has discussed Shakur's alleged homophobia during recent interviews, including an appearance on Howard Stern's Sirius XM program. While speaking with Stern, Knight claimed that 95% of rappers he worked with are closeted and took a few shots at his longtime rival Dr. Dre, who Knight claims is gay. Knight recalls a meeting between the three men during which Shakur allegedly called Dre "a faggot." Shakur's family has called Knight's accusations "totally false."

While being able to hang in the fashion world and walking the runway doesn't automatically mean one isn't homophobic, aside from a "gay ass Dre" diss in "To Live And Die In L.A.(If I'm remembering right--correct me if I'm wrong)" there's little evidence to back up Suge's claim.

Bull all this talk of homophobia and gay rights among hip hop heads is interesting to watch, and much needed. Love or hate Jay-Z, you can't deny when he talks, folks listen. Don't wear jerseys? Check. Boycott Cristal? Check? Don't be homophobic? Check. It seems ever since Jigga announced his support of President Obama's stance on gay marriage, it has been the topic du jour, with everyone from T.I. to Nick Cannon (I know, not exactly the most credible name in hip hop , but hey, he did rap at one point) weighing in. True, Yeezy really started the conversation back in '05, but it seems Jay-Z's words have set off a renewed rippled effect.

Read the full article HERE.

Love To Love You Baby: A Diva Tribute To Donna Summer

In light of hearing the news of the legendary Donna Summer's passing from cancer today at the age of 63, I thought I would repost a tribute I wrote about her artistic impact and her music. While she was technically not of my "era" I loved her sound, her personality, style, grace and beauty, and recognize and respect the influence she has had on music and pop culture. She was a true artist. R.I.P Donna Summer.

I've always felt Donna Summer has never gotten her due. Yeah, she's been recognized (or in some cases, almost typecast) as the Queen of Disco  for eons, but whenever the great divas of that era are mentioned--Aretha, Barbara, Diana, Patti, Chaka, Cher, and so on--Ms. Donna always seems to be left out. I'll admit that even I made the mistake of leaving her out of my "Divas Live" post a while back. But being a good gay and diva lover, a grievous wrong must be righted.

The only reason I can think of as to why she isn't mentioned in the same breath as often as the aforementioned Aretha, Chaka, Diana and Patti by young R&B starlets in particular is because the majority of her music was rooted in Europop and dance, and was made in a time that is often looked back on with either disdain (Disco Sucks!) or as a novelty/guilty pleasure. Personally I feel her music transcends disco, both as a genre and musical era. "I Feel Love," "On The Radio," "Last Dance," "Bad Girls," "Love To Love You Baby," "Hot Stuff" and other classics are not just great dance songs, but great songs period.

Furthermore Donna was a trailblazer musically, her dance-pop sound and mainstream success paving the way for the next generation of divas like Madonna, Whitney, Janet and Beyonce. Hell, she helped make dance music mainstream, and her influence over the genre is still felt almost four decades later. Moreover, her fashion was eclectic as well, especially for a black woman in the 1970's music industry. True she wasn't gettin' all intergalactic on our asses like Labelle (you can't beat Patti when it comes to being outlandish), but you can still see glimpses of her style--the big hair, berets, scandalous gowns--in 80's artists like Jody Whatley (don't act you never sang "I"m Lookin' For A New Love" in the mirror :) and the aforementioned Janet, as well as modern day singers like Bey and Kelly (view the pics below for confirmation :).

Anyway, get into a few of Donna classics.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Magic Is Working...

All I can say is I've got to see this movie! Check out a sneak peek of Channing and the boys on the cover of Entertainment Weekly.

It's All For You...

Ya'll know who my Grand Diva is (Hint: Ciccone:), but I would be remiss not wish Janet Damito Jo Jackson a happy 46th birthday. Mama is almost 50 and looks fabulous enough to give Rihanna and Bey a run for their money. Hopefully she'll release some new music soon, and put out some videos that showcase her often imitated but never duplicated choreography. Until then, watch a few of my favorite Janet videos below.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

What If....

How do you think things would have (and would be) gone/be going down if this was this case?

Will Smith Supports Obama's 'Brave' Stance on Gay Marriage

Looks like someone's no longer taking career advice from Denzel Washington. While promoting Men In Black III in Berlin, actor voiced his support for President Obama's stance on marriage equality.

Smith says marriage equality really comes down to semantics, and stated "if anybody can find someone to love them and to help them through this difficult thing that we call life, I support that in any shape or form."

Ahh, thanks boo!


Monday, May 14, 2012

Mad Men Season 5 Ep. 9 'Dark Shadows'

As always, there are spoilers ahead. So shield your eyes or just scurry away.

Betty's back, Bobby spoke, Don's made a new rival, Roger and Jane have a boudoir backslide and Sally learns secrets. And the secret to throwing shade I might add. But more on that in a minute. The title "Dark Shadows" is appropriate, not only because much of this season has been pretty grim and morbid, but because all of the characters are facing their own inner demons. Like "A Night At The Codfish Ball' a few weeks before, everyone's being confronted with their worst fears--of being replaced, of being forgotten, of missing the boat (or getting on the wrong one), or not being taken seriously.

Let's start with Betty shall we? The episode opens with the her in the kitchen, watching her food portions and chewing like she's afraid she'll chomp down on a bone--that and the site of a roomful of women weighing themselves unveils that she's in Weight Watchers now, trying to get back to her Grace Kelly peak.  When we last saw the former Mrs. Draper, she seemed intent on stuffing her face with desserts and wallowing in her discontent. It's nice to see Betty finally taking some initiative about her life, in this case he weight--which by the way, looks way more realistic than it did in "Tea Leaves." The costume designers wisely chose to emphasis her heavier frame in other ways--by having her bump into a lamp at Don and Megan's apartment and dressing her in layers of clothes. But this being Mad Men, there are sure to be a few mines, or shadows, on the road to temporary happiness.

The first of which Betty faces when she has to go into the belly of the beast, otherwise known as Megan and Don's fashionable, cosmopolitan love nest. It's clear why she's reluctant to get out of the car--it's also clear Henry can't pick up that "they're probably tying their shoes" is Betty speak for "I don't want to have to go upstairs and see that trollop." Her nervous behavior, from checking herself out in the mirror outside the apartment (you can almost hear her thinking "C'mon, get it together") to telling Sally to hurry up so she won't have to see Megan--is so relatable, especially for a character that's often unsympathetic. Though she can still summon enough iciness to make Megan breath a sigh of relief when she and the kids leave.

Despite herself, Betty goes in and gazes around the apartment, then spots Megan's lithe body in bedroom. Her facial expression seems to confirm her worst case scenario--that Don is happy without her and has no need for her anymore in his world, what with his new, model perfect wife. Emphasis on new model; the scene with Megan getting dressed could have been Betty in any scene seasons one through four.  Meanwhile, she's battling the bulge and stuck in a monster mansion with a husband whose political career is about to take a downturn. Henry unknowingly puts her fears on the table when he says "I bet on the wrong horse Betty. I jumped shipped for nothing." In a surprising turn, Betty turns empathetic, telling Henry they'll work through this setback and advocating personal responsibility over playing the blame game. Damn...could it be Betty is *gasp*growing up?

That might be the case, until she comes across an innocuous love note Don left Megan on the back of Bobby's drawing.This time her shadow side wins big time--Betty spills the beans about Don's past by "innocently" telling Sally to include her father's first wife, Anna Draper, in her family tree project, then crumples up the drawing and tosses it in the trash. While her plan does somewhat cause the intended affect--Don and Megan fight when she tells him she told Sally about Anna ( his "fat nose" comment should be a warning to Megan to never gain weight), and causes a rift in Sally and Megan's relationship (her "why did he marry you" line to Megan was particularly vicious)--but ultimately backfires. Don clues Sally on some of his past, and the real reason behind her mother's revelation, albeit in a way that poisons her attitude toward Betty. Now Sally knows her mother's triggers and is all too eager to push them ("she's hungry Bobby"). It's not as if the two weren't going to have a combative relationship anyway, but Betty's little slip of the tongue definitely sped up the process. "I'm thankful I have everything I want. And no one has anything better," Betty says at Thanksgiving dinner. And I think part of her truly wants to believe it. But for whatever reason, she can't let Don or the life she had with him, for all its flaws, go.

Not to fear Birdie--Don has his own shadows to face. The writers wisely didn't make Don's Dick Whitman drama the sole dark shadow in the episode--it's been explored pretty thoroughly, and there's only so much he would reveal to Sally at this point anyway. Instead his fears lay in work. Since marrying Megan, he hasn't exactly been firing on all cylinders, and one flip through SCDP's recent ads shows Michael Ginsberg is on the verge of becoming the new creative wunderkind, as well as show how Peggy got buried with the Heinz account (thanks for finally noticing Don). He seems to take Ginsberg's talent in stride--that is until Ginsberg, ever the social klutz, makes some offhand remark about his pitch for Sno Ball actually being good. That and Pete's comment that Ginberg's idea--hated authority figures getting hit with actual snowballs-is funnier than his Devil one, brings out the shadow side in Don, who conveniently forgets his employee's ad in the taxi.

The two engage in an alpha male pissing contest in the elevator the next day, with Ginsberg boasting he has a million more ideas, while Don snappily comes back with "I guess I'm lucky you work for me." Ginsberg may be talented, but he's got miles to go before he can beat Don in the withering put down department. Even so, his words hit their mark; Don can pretend he's not worried about this younger version of himself snapping at his heels, but his actions say otherwise. Now with Megan off pursuing her dream, there should more office battles between Don and Ginsberg on the horizon.

Ginsberg's success may have shaken up Don, but it's practically eclipsed Peggy. Stan's warning that Peggy shouldn't hire someone more talented than her has come true, as Ginsberg's name is on nearly every ad poster (along with a nice reference to last week's Don and Peggy showdown with a shot of the Cool Whip ad). He's even taken her place as Roger's silent partner/extortionist. When Peggy confronts Roger about his perceived disloyalty, he reminds her (surprised she needed one at this point) that it's every ad man or woman for themselves. After being schooled in the ways of self-interest, it's no wonder she smirks when Ginsberg finds out his work only saw the backseat of a cab. Peggy's frustration at being passed over in favor of Ginsberg's Jewish credentials, is understandable, but her anger is stopping her from learning from the situation and considering another strategy. Perhaps she she shouldn't try to write for everything, but use the things that make her different (being a woman, Catholic, from Brooklyn etc.) and fill that niche, or at least use it to put a unique stamp on her work.

Roger's shadow comes in the form of soon-to-be-ex-wife Jane, who still seems bitter over the LSD trip that broke up their marriage, or at least brought home the fact it needed to end. Seeking to impress some Jewish clients, he trots out Jane so they can play the happy couple, but not before shelling out more coins for a her new apartment. Damn how rich is this guy? But I digress. Things are going well until the couple's handsome son Bernard shows up and flirts with Jane; feeling threatened the old Roger comes out, and he and Jane sleep together in her new apartment. But their sex isn't so much about love or even lust; it's about control and satisfying his ego."You get everything you want and you still had to do this," a devastated Jane tells him the morning.  She wanted to leave the old place because it was filled with memories of him (shadows if you will:), but now her new home is "ruined" as well.  The lessons gleaned from the trip must have stuck, because Roger doesn't fight or dismiss her opinion, but simply agrees and walks out.

Other characters had to face down their own darkness. Megan may not be working with her husband anymore, but her dream is still seen by others through her relationship with Don, and the luxury it affords her, as one of her fellow actresses points out. She may be an aspiring actress, but she's not struggling, and others still resent her for it. It will be interesting to watch if this either makes her more determined to prove everyone wrong or to grow complacent, as she may start to believe whatever success she attains is tainted because she's not living in a roach-infested studio apartment. Sally's bratty "you're not special" remark probably didn't help ease any fears she wouldn't become Betty 2.0.

Bert Cooper seems worried that his role at the agency is growing even smaller--surely Roger's "Sterling, Campbell, Draper, Pryce" had something to do with he going around Pete Campbell for the Jewish account. And Pete is so preoccupied with thoughts of Harold's wife Beth (is it me or did it seem like she belonged in a Tim Burton film during that dream sequence?), that he can self-righteously tell Harold to go spend the holiday with his mistress while he beds Beth with a straight face. I guess that means more food for Trudy and her family.

Unlike last week's "Lady Lazarus," conversations about life insurance and suicide, empty elevator shafts,  limp bodies, lonely planets, surrendering to the void and other allusions to death were largely gone. But fear and insecurity still permeate the Mad Men universe, like the smog that Megan wanted to keep out on Thanksgiving--dictating the characters' actions and reactions, driving to them to either confront or run away from their shadows. And right now things are looking pretty dark.

Other notes:

--Next week seems to be checking in on Lane Pryce, and Joan (yay!). The last time we had a Joan-centric episode, she was kicking Greg's sorry ass to curb. It'll good to see what's happening outside the office for her now.

--Will Dawn get another story arc? I'd like to think so, but at this point, chile your guess is as good as mine at this point.

--Will we see more sneakiness from Bert Cooper in the coming episodes?

What did you think of 'Dark Shadows?' Discuss.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

WATCH: Michael Eric Dyson On Black Clergy, Mitt Romney

Rev. Michael Eric Dyson acted as guest host for the Friday edition of The Ed Show, where he hosted a discussion on President Obama's support of marriage equality with other black clergy, as well as Mitt Romney's bullying of a gay student in  high school. If you've ever watched Dyson at work, then you it's time open up the library and watch him read. Get into both clips below.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Mitt Romney's Gay Bashing Past

The Washington Post has a telling piece about Mitt Romney's prep school years. Along with the usual high pranks, the article also details a troubling incident in which Romney and a few other classmates held a closeted gay student down and cut off his bleached blond hair.

"John Lauber, a soft-spoken new student one year behind Romney, was perpetually teased for his nonconformity and presumed homosexuality. Now he was walking around the all-boys school with bleached-blond hair that draped over one eye, and Romney wasn’t having it.

“He can’t look like that. That’s wrong. Just look at him!” an incensed Romney told Matthew Friedemann, his close friend in the Stevens Hall dorm, according to Friedemann’s recollection. Mitt, the teenaged son of Michigan Gov. George Romney, kept complaining about Lauber’s look, Friedemann recalled.

 A few days later, Friedemann entered Stevens Hall off the school’s collegiate quad to find Romney marching out of his own room ahead of a prep school posse shouting about their plan to cut Lauber’s hair. Friedemann followed them to a nearby room where they came upon Lauber, tackled him and pinned him to the ground. As Lauber, his eyes filling with tears, screamed for help, Romney repeatedly clipped his hair with a pair of scissors.

The incident was recalled similarly by five students, who gave their accounts independently of one another. Four of them — Friedemann, now a dentist; Phillip Maxwell, a lawyer; Thomas Buford, a retired prosecutor; and David Seed, a retired principal — spoke on the record. Another former student who witnessed the incident asked not to be named. The men have differing political affiliations, although they mostly lean Democratic. Buford volunteered for Barack Obama’s campaign in 2008. Seed, a registered independent, has served as a Republican county chairman in Michigan.

All of them said that politics in no way colored their recollections. “It happened very quickly, and to this day it troubles me,” said Buford, the school’s wrestling champion, who said he joined Romney in restraining Lauber. Buford subsequently apologized to Lauber, who was “terrified,” he said. “What a senseless, stupid, idiotic thing to do.” “It was a hack job,” recalled Maxwell, a childhood friend of Romney who was in the dorm room when the incident occurred. “It was vicious.”

Romney has said he has no recollection of the event, then went on to minimize the attack by saying “if there’s anything I said that was offensive to anyone, I certainly am sorry for that, very deeply sorry about that. No harm intended.” Aah, the old non-apology, such pure, unadulterated crap.

Of course, all of us can point to things we did back in high school that we now shake our heads at and regret, and our whole life shouldn't be judged by those four years. People evolve. Just like President Obama's not the same kid who drank, smoke weed and did cocaine back in the day, Romney has probably changed as well.  But to pretend you don't remember, when all those involved can recall your role in the incident clearly to this day? Then to dismiss it as stupid teenage hi-jinks? That in and of itself says more about Romney's character than the actual attack.

As a gay-bashing victim myself, there's nothing light or funny about being descended on about a pack of bullies, not knowing what they have in store for you. It's terrifying and awful. The feelings of helplessness, of anger and humiliation, push themselves inside of you, hooking themselves onto your mind like tentacles. Those feelings eventually subside, but the memories--and most of all, that moment of fear and helplessness, of being at the mercy of someone else-- never fully leave you.

The honest thing for Romney to do would be to admit his role in the attack--and call it an attack, not a prank, because that's what it was-- and apologize. By that I mean saying "I'm sorry." But to pretend this less than savory part of his past didn't happen or to treat like it was no big deal, leaves one with the impression that he believes gay-bashing is no big deal--then or now.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

WATCH: Obama Endorses Gay Marriage

Of course this is much appreciated, to say the least. But it'll interesting to see how this plays out politically. Is this too much too soon?  You know the Republicans will all over this like two closet queens in a bathroom stall. Will this backfire come November? Is this a bid to shore up gay support in the wake of North Carolina's passage of Amendment One? Right now it's all too early to know, so for now just sit back and enjoy the sweet sound of an historic moment: A U.S. president putting his support behind marriage equality.

Food For Thought: Rev. Carlton Pearson

"It grieves me that we treat people the way that we do once we find out they stop impersonating who they aren't. The impostors are falling away....Usually the people that speak the most vociferously against something are dealing with their own life. And it's not the issue of homosexuality, it's the issue of human sexuality."


Random: Tom Cruise On The Cover of W Magazine

Ya'll will have to caption this, 'cause I just can't....will you go see Rock of Ages? Tom may be able to serve up some 80's rock star craziness.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

It Could Happen To You...

Shane Bitney Crone (left), Tom Bridegroom (right)

If you have time (and a few tissues handy) be sure to watch the heartbreaking story of Shane Bitney Crone  and Tom Bridegroom, a young gay couple whose world was torn apart when Tom died in accident last year.

What's worse is that Tom's very religious and conservative family not only rejected him while he was alive--his father pointed a gun at him and called him a sinner--but after his death kept Crone from being involved in the funeral service and threatened him with violence if he came. Like many gay couples the two didn't have a will and were of course unmarried, leaving Crone little to no legal recourse. He wasn't even able to learn the details of how his boyfriend died, being that he wasn't family. Watch the video and get my thoughts after the jump.

Gay Teen Can't Accept Matthew Shepard Scholarship On Stage

A gay Iowa teen has been told he will not be able to receive the Matthew Shepard Scholarship at his Catholic high school's award ceremony.

"Prince of Peace Catholic school senior Keaton Fuller was initially told that he could accept the scholarship at his school's awards ceremony on May 20. According to the Eychaner Foundation of Des Moines, which granted the scholarship, Fuller even learned of the scholarship from his school, and the principal issued a statement to notify the scholarship committee that he could accept the award at the ceremony. But weeks later, the opportunity to formally accept the scholarship at his high school has been revoked after pressure from the local Catholic diocese. 

"It is difficult to understand how after I have spent 13 years at this school and worked hard during all of them, I would be made to feel that my accomplishments are less than everybody else’s," Fuller wrote in a letter to the student body and staff. "This whole ordeal has been incredibly hurtful, and I am even sadder that this will be one of my last experiences to remember my high school years by."'

Read the full article HERE.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Mad Men Season 5 Ep. 8 'Lady Lazarus'

As always, this field's loaded with spoilers. So if you haven't watched the show, step softly or just get to steppin'.

Well, well, well. Emile may be a bitter, condescending, philandering prick, but you can't say he's not perceptive when it comes to his daughter. Although he harshly honed in on the source of  Megan's unhappiness with her life-- she gave up her dreams and skipped the struggle in order to fast forward to success and wealth--his words hit their mark nonetheless, inspiring her to put 'aspiring' back in front of actress and try to succeed in show business. 

But before we get to our heroine's plans to live forever, first things first. Both she and the writers give us a first-class fake out at the episode's beginning. There's Megan, throwing an anxious, deer-in-the-headlights look at Don after the other Dawn informs her she has a call from a man (a man who knows her by her maiden name no less), and takes said call in the telephone booth outside the office. Then later on that evening she's lying to both Don and Peggy, telling the former she's staying at the office to work late while strolling out of the office in full glamour puss mode after telling the latter she's meeting the former for drinks. 

Unfortunately Megan has misjudged (or forgotten--damn girl, did you forget all the calls you got from your husband when he thought you were missing/dead?) the depth of Don's neediness, as he repeatedly calls the office only to get a confused, and quickly annoyed (Pizza House!), Peggy instead. The next day, Peggy corners Megan in the ladies' room and lays into her about putting her in the mix of whatever deception she's working on Don. Perhaps recalling their bonding moment after her success with Heinz last week, Megan reveals the truth--that she snuck off to an audition and still wants to be an actress. At first Peggy is a cooperative audience. That is until she talks about her fantasizes of getting fired, then whines that she knows she never could be canned. Wrong move girl. Peggy, who has had to claw her way up the corporate ladder for the past six years, rightfully tears into Megan about her flippant attitude toward a gig she lives for. She almost looks like she wants to vomit when Megan and Don act out a cutesy Mr. and Mrs. Draper skit for Cool Whip. 

Despite their meeting in the ladies' room Megan takes her advice and comes clean with Don, who is uncharacteristically sanguine about the news. He tries to make her realize her natural talent for advertising and giving a pitch, and attempts to school her on how to find satisfaction in her work, but basically rolls over after she stands firm in her decision. 

For her part, Peggy stands up for Megan when she says she's quitting the next day,though her "Yep, been here for a while" quip is too hilarious. She makes Michael (who's "son of a bitch" comment about Don rang completely false) and Stan pay attention to her, keeps Michael's twenty questions routine about acting at bay, and in an echo of Joan's previous pep talk, says she admires Megan's bravery . Michael attribute's her departure to Don's controlling hand, while for Stan it's more a question of reality vs. fantasy: "You work your ass off for months, bite your nails and for what? Heinz baked beans."

Don continues to play the supportive husband, kissing her goodbye, telling her to enjoy her goodbye lunch with girls and that he'll take care of her things at the office. In a way its good; he realizes how important this is to Megan and doesn't want her to feel guilty about pursuing her dream. But his long stare down an empty elevator shaft (nice symbolism--didn't see that one comin'), as well as the look on his face after Megan kisses him good night post-confession tell us all we need to know--Don feels abandoned. And pissed. And true to form he's gotta unload on somebody. Can you guess who, do you have a clue? Peggy! The two go all "Suitcase" on each other after Peggy fills in for Megan for their husband and wife skit at the Cool Whip meeting. Let's just say Elizabeth Moss may be a terrific actress, but Peggy better keep her day job. Peggy snaps at Don for phoning in his job for the past eight months, while Don accuses her of being jealous of Megan and scaring her away. The two both have valid points--Peggy just confessed to Joan she felt she was too hard on Megan, while Don was clearly unaware of just how little the other copywriters thought of his wife, only recently becoming aware of her talent himself. Peggy, who's been pretty volatile this season, puts an exclamation point on the fight when she says "You are not mad at me, so just shut up!" Checkmate.

Despite his temper tantrum, Don does seem to reach some level of acceptance with the situation, especially after thinking about the road stifled dreams led Betty and Marie down. Roger's advice to keep up a good routine to keep both of them out of trouble seems sound. However long Don can stay out of trouble remains open for the debate.

Now on to Pete, who spent most of this episode in a deep sex haze. When we last left Pete, he was battered and bruised, both literally and emotionally, and generally feeling lost. In his state, train buddy Howard, who has an apartment and a mistress in the city, is the last person he needs to be listening to. And the last person he needs to run into is Howard's wife Beth.

Betty may not bet getting much screen time this season, but the spirit of unhappy housewife-dom is here in Beth. Like the former Mrs. Draper, she's a trophy wife who's only been valued for her looks her entire life and now has been shuttled off from the city to the suburbs. But unlike Betty, she's no fool--or at least not as willing to stick her head in the sand. She's knows exactly what her husband is up to, if not the exact specifics, and calls Pete out on it almost immediately after he agrees to give her a ride home.

Pete tries his best to maintain the ad man wall of silence, but Beth breaks him down. She then uses her husband's infidelity to her advantage--"Are you really worried that Howard's coming home?" she asks Pete, right before the two tear off each other's clothes.  My mind kept screaming "No Pete no! Don't!" during the entire sex scene, but this being Mad Men there'd be a snowstorm in hell before a character walks away from some easy sex. 

"I used to be like this. Reckless," Beth says during their post-coital talk. On the outside she may be a Betty, but inside Beth is more a Marie; a woman who was once wild and free but has now been tamed by wedded misery. Pete comes off surprisingly endearing, as if he truly believes he's found someone as empty and lonely as himself with whom he can form a connection. And the whole pictures-of-the earth-Pete's-eyes metaphor was some of the best dialogue in the episode. 

After their tryst Pete is a man possessed,  calling her from the nefarious phone booth at work, and in a serious WTF move, inviting himself over to the scene of the crime under the guise of getting insurance from Howard so he can slip Beth note for a hotel rendezvous. He waits like a sprung schoolboy for her, but she's a no-show. Even though he has enough love waiting for him at home, Pete's obvious desperation and despair at her rejection makes it hard not to feel at least a little sorry for him. The last scene with foggy heart in the car window was particularly crushing, if only because it shows how much he wants to cling to anyone or anything that he thinks will make him happy, if only for a moment. Dammit Pete Campbell, you are human after all.

Other Notes:

--I'm not sure if Roger actually had a winter gear client and is simply using Pete to do all the heavy lifting, or if he doesn't have a client at all and wants Pete to go out and get one so he won't have the burden of bringing  in all the new business. Either way, it's brilliant, as was his line "And I got to see that" after watching Pete struggle to haul away the equipment.

--No Betty, but she'll probably pop up sooner or later.

--No major developments with Dawn either, but there's always hope.

--Michael Ginsberg's character seems intent on getting in good with Don (and kissing ass in general), especially during the whole "it's not the Beatles" scene in the office. It's almost Eve Harrington/Margo Channing-esque. I may be reading him wrong (its still hard to see what's he all about), but that's what it seems like right now.

--Speaking of The Beatles, I thought the whole conversation between Megan and Don about music was to show another instance of how Don may be behind the curve when it comes to recognizing the influence of pop music in advertising. Another sign of the times so to speak.

--Rick, the obvious queen who throws a little flirtation Don's way and Stans references to toilet sex simultaneously showed homophobia and the increasing awareness of gays in day-to-day life. If anything it just made me wonder what Sal's doing. Sigh.

So what did you think about "Lady Lazarus?" Discuss.

WATCH: Melissa Harris-Perry Show On Black Gays and North Carolina Amendment One

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