Friday, June 29, 2012

Watch: New 'For Colored Boys' Trailer

The latest trailer for the upcoming anthology For Colored Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Still Not Enough has been released. The anthology is slated for an August release. Check it out below.


Here We Go Again: 'The Real Mistresses of Atlanta' that's where we are now? The Real Mistresses? Like every other show of it's ilk, this "slice of reality" stars a female cast (and one good gal, hey at least he's not a sassy sidekick) and contains outsized personalities, backstabbing, bitch fits, delusions of grandeur and compulsive, mindless consumerism.

Now, let me say that I don't believe sex work is immoral, nor should it be illegal. It may not be the most lofty profession, but if an adult wants to exchange sexual favors with another consenting adult for money, then that's their business. Literally and figuratively. Or even if they don't want money, but just love sex, it's no tea or shade in my book. This isn't the first show about where money and sex meet--granted it isn't a Real Sex -caliber documentary style production--and it won't be the last. Not that any of these folks are straight up prostitutes, but you get the drift.

But why knowingly be a mistress? If all you want from a man is good sex, career opportunities and shopping sprees, why not sleep with a rich, single guy, or at least one who's in an open relationship. Why contribute to the other spouse's--and possibly their children's--pain, public embarrassment and heartache? That the cast and the producers are trying to put some empowering, post-modern feminist spin on seeking out and sleeping with married men is what irks me about this show. Aside from one of the characters being from Louisiana (Baton Rouge to be exact).

Also, while the show doesn't exactly show women in the best light--you know fighting, cursing each other out, being portrayed as money hungry and materialistic--it doesn't exactly do us any favors as well. Like I said before, if Branden or any other adult wants to use nature's credit card as a down payment on a fabulous life, then that's fine and dandy. But when there are already so few images of black gay men in the mainstream media, there needs to be a balance. The white, and at least to a certain extent, black female cast members are not the only representation of womanhood currently residing on the small screen. If black women in particular are turned off by the show, they can change the channel to Reed Between The Lines, Community, OWN,  Let's Stay Together  or even The Game if they want to watch real actors with talent play a role these shows slavishly imitate. Hell, they could watch Tara as a vampire on True Blood or just rewatch Girlfriends, Everybody Hates Chris, Living Single, A Different World or Cosby Show reruns.

With a few exceptions--Lafayette from True Blood, Calvin from the now canceled ABC series Greek--that option does not exist for black gay men. We are not even at the point where we can retreat to watch past glories when the present reality is less than savory. In a TV landscape where successful series like Noah's Arcare canceled after two seasons (am I the only still hurting over that? I mean the movie was cute but you just knew the third season was gonna be off the hook!) and Real Housewives spin-offs grow like noxious weeds, balance and diverse images are very much needed.

Watch this hot mess in the making below.

Food For Thought: Quincy Jones

"[He]couldn't recognize a B-flat if it hit him. P. Diddy has a doctorate in marketing. He's got clothes companies and Ciroc Vodka."

For the record, Quincy did post a message on his Facebook page saying ""No controversy, no diss. I have nothing but love and respect for Diddy and all that he has achieved as an artist and an executive. Always have and always will."

But let's compare track records shall we?

Quincy Jones

Notable Albums: Off The Wall, Thriller, Bad,

Worked with:Michael Jackson, Donna Summer, Miles Davis, Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Sarah Vaughn, Ella Fitzgerald.

Other Achievements: Scored music for The Color Purple, In Cold Blood, The Italian Job. Seven Oscar nominations.


Notable Albums: What's The 411, My Life, Forever My Lady, Ready To Die, Life After Death, Faith.

Worked with: Mary J. Blige, Notorious B.I.G., Faith Evans, Jodeci, Heavy D, Mase, Lil' Kim, 112, The Lox, TLC, Mariah Carey, Nas

Other Achievements: Sean Jean, Men's perfume, Justin's Ciroc.

So should Diddy be clutch his plaintum-coated pearls with a diamond studded hand? Should he just keep his mouth shut and bown down to Quincy's musical greatness? Or should be it recognized that both Diddy and Quincy have been influential forces in music/pop culture, albeit in different ways and in different eras (even though Quincy clearly has more musical aptitude)?



Thursday, June 28, 2012

U.S. Embassy Holds Kenya's First LGBT Pride Event

The U.S. embassy in Kenya held what's believed to be its first ever LGBT pride event on Tuesday. A small, invitation only forum attended by activists, allies and diplomat, the event, like other embassy gatherings, was part of the Obama administration's push for global LGBT equality. “

"The U.S. government for its part has made it clear that the advancement of human rights for LGBT people is central to our human rights policies around the world and to the realization of our foreign policy goals,” said John Haynes, a public affairs officer at the embassy in Nairobi, in opening the event. 

MaqC Gitau, general manager of the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya, acknowledged the forum’s groundbreaking nature. “What makes this day stand out for us here in Kenya … is that more than anything else, it is about visibility,” he said."

Read the rest HERE.

Tyler Clementi's Parents Say They Should Have Embraced, Not Accepted His Sexuality

Tonight's Rock Center With Brian Williams will feature an exclusive interview with Jane and Joe Clementi's the parents of Tyler Clementi, the 19-year old Rutgers student who committed suicide in 2010 after being spied on by his roommate while kissing another man.

Along with talking about their grief over Tyler's death, the Clementis discuss their son's coming out and how they should have embraced, not just accepted his sexuality. More parents could stand to do the same. Watch an excerpt below.


Anti-Marriage Equality Maryland Group Deep In Debt

Bigotry and blind ignorance just don't pay the bills like they used to. A group looking to repeal Maryland's same-sex marriage law is $88,000 in the red, most of which is owed to a signature-gathering firm owned by a state legislator. What tangled web we weave...

"Out of that total, the Maryland Marriage Alliance owes $74,000 to, owned by Neil Parrott, a Republican member of the House of Delegates, The Baltimore Sun reports. It also owes $5,000 in legal fees and raised just $5,000 in the past month.

Marylanders for Marriage Equality, which is seeking to preserve the law, tweeted that it raised more money in a single day, Tuesday, than its opponents have this month. Gov. Martin O’Malley, who signed the marriage equality law in March, cohosted a benefit for the group Tuesday in Ocean City. Also, an event in Baltimore Sunday brought in about $20,000, according to the Washington Blade."


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Nationwide Call For Vigils For Lesbian Teen Couple Shot In The Park

Friends, family and LGBT activists are organizing vigils for 19-year-old Mollie Judith Olgin and 18-year-old Mary Christine Chapa, the teenage lesbian couple who were shot by a gunman in a Portland park this past weekend. Olgin has died from her wounds but Chapa is still in the hospital in serious condition.

No suspects have been arrested in the shooting, and police say that they cannot determine yet whether it was a hate crime. Meanwhile a makeshift memorial of "rainbow ribbons, goodbye messages, flowers and cut-out hearts" has been made at the crime scene. According to SheWired:

"Cleve Jones, an activist, contemporary of Harvey Milk, and the creator of the AIDS Memorial quilt put out a call for national organization of vigils in response to the crime.

Jones posted on Facebook regarding the tragedy and called on people to join him:

Last Friday, as millions of LGBT people and their allies were celebrating Pride, something awful happened in Portland, Texas. We need to respond publicly to this tragedy. 

Whoever shot Mary Christine Chapa and Mollie Judith Olgin, whatever the motive, regardless of where it happened, two beautiful girls were shot and one was killed

We need to honor the memory of Mollie and pray for the recovery of Mary. Please, take some time to organize public vigils for Mollie and Mary in your communities this week. 

Let me know the locations and times and I will post them here. Mary and Mollie loved each other. Now we need to show our love for them and their families and friends. Please share this and organize vigils in your hometowns."

So far, vigils have been scheduled in Portland, Texas, Washington D.C. and San Francisco. View the dates and times HERE.

WATCH: Pentagon Hosts First Pride Celebration

The Pentagon is hosting its first ever LGBT Pride Celebration in honor gay pride month. Watch the celebration live over at The Advocate.

Monday, June 25, 2012

True Blood Season 5 Ep. 3 'Whatever I Am You Made Me'

Just like last week's recap, spoilers lie ahead. So either be an honorable vampire or an intelligent whore. Your choice.

This week's episode, "Whatever I Am You Made Me," threw the rarest of curveballs in the True Blood universe: choosing plot development and emotional revelations over the usual gore/sex shenanigans. All of which made for a subdued--at least by True Blood standards--but entertaining, night in Bon Temp.

Tara, still pissed at Lafayette and Sookie for turning her into the creature she despises most, dashes out of her former best friend's home, but not before getting doused with a face full of silver spray mist. Walking through the woods dazed and temporarily blinded, Tara takes a moment to marvel at and silently freak out about her new healing abilities and the way everything looks so shiny and pseudo-psychedelic.  One thing that she hasn't gotten a taste of is blood, and she almost finds her snack for the night when she spots a young girl having car trouble.

Is it just a coincidence her car looks nearly identical to a certain hoopty and her clothing and hair are screaming season one Sookie? Me thinks not. Anyway, the girl's resemblance clearly resonates with Tara, who catches a glimpse of herself in the mirror, recoils in horror, apologizes to Sookie 2.0 and speeds off. Still starving, she ends up scaring the hell out of Sam when he finds her hiding in the bushes at Merlotte's. After plowing through most of his True Blood stash, she passes out, and he hides her in the meat locker, a place that held its share of dead bodies--Daphne's for example--and secrets. Remember Jason's nether region nightmare when he took V and tried to cool himself down with a pack of cold meat (and remember it was Tara who helped him? It's also where Pam once quipped she could "sleep in a pinch," before telling Lafayette to sell vamp blood.

But back to Tara. She wakes up from a nightmare/fantasy of ripping out Arlene's throat to find Lafayette holding out a bottle of True Blood and instructing her to drink. Tara being Tara, she's still livid and nearly break's his arm, causing Arlene (whose throat is still in tact thank you very much) Sam, Sookie and Alcide to see what the commotion is all about. Sookie makes a lame attempt to play stupid about why her best friend is walking out of a meat locker covered in blood and baring fangs, but Tara won't let her off the hook.She and Lafayette made this mess, and now they have to live with the consequences They may have thought they were doing her a favor, but Tara is conflicted, bloodthirsty, miserable, and utterly guilt-ridden about impulses that feel both natural and monstrous to her. In short, she's baby vampire Bill. After telling everyone to go to hell in no uncertain terms, Tara walks the streets alone until she happens upon tanning salon. Still not adjusting to her new life, Tara decides to bring vampire suicide into the 21st century and forgo a stake for a tanning bed's UV rays. Pam feels her progeny's pain, but instead of rushing to her side like Bill or Eric would do for her or Jessica, she merely rolls her eyes and says "stupid bitch" in her trademark sardonic snarl.

Perhaps Tara wouldn't be so buck wild if, as her maker, Pam actually gave a damn about her. It seems to be the one lesson she hasn't gleaned from Eric. Still wondering where her maker is, we delve deeper into Pam's human past, as Eric pays a visit to her brothel to sample her merchandise. She declines at first, then thinks back to the site of one of her girls lying dead after being killed by a vampire. This leads to Eric busting in on Bill and Lorena glamouring and draining a girl dry. Who knew the three of them went back like babies and pacifiers? Speaking of babies, clearly Bill was in a savage, infantile state when he and Eric first crossed paths, as he foolishly tries to stake Eric and has no knowledge of vampire stalking ground etiquette and respecting your elders.

After Pam and Eric have sex, she presses him to turn her and then leave, anything to save her from suffering the stigma and disease of being an aging prostitute. Of dying alone. He lectures her about the supreme responsibility that being a maker entails and says leaving her would be like dumping a baby in a gutter. All of which leads to the episode best lines: "An honorable vampire? Isn't that a contradiction?" "No more than an intelligent whore. Yet here we are." Eric shoots back. Little did he know that Ms. Pam had a trick (more like a powerful death wish) up her sleeve, slicing her wrists and giving him an ultimatum: turn me or watch me die.

This was one of the episode's best scenes for what it reveals about Pam and Eric's relationship. I don't know about anyone else, but I always assumed that when the two met Pam charmed Eric with her femininity and icy charisma--that she basically acted like a vampire sans the fangs and super speed--and that he gladly turned her during some lustful sexfest. But her decision was an act of desperation, a desire to escape a dead-end existence; no wonder she takes a trip down memory lane after telling Hoyt, looking pitiful in dime store eye-liner and fishnets, that he'll get eaten alive in Fangtasia and he responds "that's what I'm hoping for." Maybe all of this reminiscing will inspire some empathy for Tara's plight. In other Pam news, Sookie totally owned her in her own club by blasting her with fairy dust. Sorry girl, I love you, but I calls 'em like I sees 'em.

In other vampire business, Eric and Bill have convinced Roman to let them find Russell Edgington and bring him to the Authority, lest he lead a sanguista revolution and undo all the hard mainstreaming work Nan and now Steve Newlin, (who looked like he was about to cream his slacks when Chris Meloni was holding him up--not that I could blame him:) have done. But not before being outfitted with contraptions that both track their whereabouts and feeding habits and can stake them with just the push of an App button. Think of it as a deadly, portable house arrest blanket. Since torturing them with silver didn't work--although it made Eric's maker-in-sister-lover Nora show her true sanguista colors--Authority chancellor Salome decide to use her own special brand of interrogation. I guess her bedding Eric and Bill shouldn't come as surprise, being that she is the Salome; you know, the one who wanted John The Baptist's head on the platter and did the dance of the seven veils, at least if that US Weekly known as the bible is to be believed. They're really pushing religion this season.

After her physical examinations come up with nothing, Salome tells Roman that Bill is still searching for something to believe in and Eric only believes in himself. Perhaps Bill's uncertainty is a layover from all those years of trying to the fit the nihilistic mold Lorena made for him, or having his own merciful nature towards humans (i.e not torturing/devouring post-Lorena) co-opted and coldly marketed by vamps like Nan solely for political gain? Could Eric's self-absorbed attitude stem from pre-hippie Godric's "there is only survival or death" mantra? It'd be hard to argue that it isn't, since the series has shown time and time again the lasting influence of a vampire's maker. But who knows what our biblical-turned vampire femme fatale has in store our boys?

The werewolf story line rested on Alcide's broad shoulders this week. Or his and the now deceased Debbie, whose parents have come looking for their daughter. Alcide tells them they broke up, or more accurately, he adjourned her, and that she's probably hanging with a drainer now that she's back on V. Nevertheless he goes searching for her and eventually asks Sookie about his ex. Unlike the Tara situation, Sookie doesn't wait to be caught and confesses to killing Debbie, causing Alcide to growl, punch what has to be a massive dent in his trunk and takes off, not letting her know if he'll take his newfound knowledge to the authorities. Sookie and Lafayette better get their stories straight, 'cause something's about to hit the fan. Of course, seeing Jesus's demon in the mirror after he pours adds some bleach to spice up some gumbo could leave Lafayette more than a little shook up. Alcide may be a loner at heart, but the demise of he and Debbie's relationship, Debbie's actual demise and Sookie's betrayal of their friendship could set him on a course to become the leader of the pack.

Not much going in shape-shifter land, thank goodness. Sam's scene with Tara was more interesting than anything he's had with Luna and Emma in a season and three episodes, though maybe now we know for sure Emma's a were, things might actually become interesting. And, if Jessica's fiend-like reaction is any indication, the fairies are coming back, a development I'm not all that thrilled about. Honestly, unless Sookie's going to lead some type of fairy invasion/mutiny, I don''t see how they fit in in any way, shape or form to what's happening on the show now. They were only relevant to Sookie's discovery of her true identity, and now that she knows that and is gaining  better control of her powers, what's the point of going there? At least, outside of Andy Bellefleur possibly being a fairy's baby daddy.

Speaking of the humans, who knew this season would be the emotional maturation of Jason Stackhouse? Since the first episode, he's actually been turning down sex and feeling remorse and confusion about some of his past escapades with women. But it's not until he meets the teacher he was hot for (sorry had to Van Halen it) and had hot statutory rape sex with back in his school days that he gets a revelation about his promiscuous ways. After sleeping with her for old time's sake, Jason realizes that sex long ago became and has been a distraction from an emptiness--his parents' death? only being seen as a handsome jock?--that he couldn't put his finger on. No doubt the teacher's, a.k.a Anna Draper's, cat conjured up some unwelcome big mama kitty memories. Either way, the whole encounter leaves him cold and empty. See, that's what happens when a you have a former Mad Men cast member on your show. You get all deep and introspective and stuff.

On a serious note, it was sweet the way Jessica pushed aside her libido to pursue the friend side of their friends with benefits relationship. They'll probably end up having sex somewhere down the line, but perhaps this is the start of a deeper connection between them. Sweetness is the key word for Andy and Holly's awkward, My Name Is Earl-esque romance (butt cheeks on Facebook!)and Andy asking her to go steady. Arlene and Terry's Army story line still hasn't taken off, but Carry Preston is paying it in her scenes. Her face is saying "you may give me scraps of screen time, but dammit I want my Emmy!" Here's hoping this plotline takes off.

So what did you think of "Whatever I Am You Made Me?" Discuss.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Gay Conservative Leader Defends Romney Endorsement

GOProud co-cofounder Jimmy LaSalvia defended his organization's endorsement of Mitt Romney, saying the GOP candidate has “demonstrated that he believes that we are a part of America.” Ugh. Read on...

"In the GOProud endorsement statement, LaSalvia called President Obama “openly hostile to free market capitalism” and said that Romney was “light years better” on a range of economic issues that affect LGBT Americans. The group acknowledged its disagreement with the candidate on his support for a federal marriage amendment, a fact that Uygur pressed in the interview. 

“I know that you want to talk about this issue, and the president wants to talk about this issue, because the president’s record on jobs and the economy and the debt crisis is indefensible and I know that that’s why all the liberals in Washington and across the country want to talk about issues like gay marriage and contraception and everything else to divert the attention from the issues that are facing us all,” he said."

Yes, the economy is an important issue that affects everyone. I want job security, to make enough money to save some of it and to know that I'll at least have the opportunity to retire someday. But to actively support a man who has gone record saying he will ban same-sex marriage, who has a known history of gay-bashing (that he conveniently forgets and strangely laughs about when questioned) and kicks out openly gay members of his campaign team?

Someone needs to read this bitch and get her ass together. So allow me: she shall not be allowed to enter into the gates of any gay club or circuit party, nor shall she be allowed to create a profile on Adam 4 Adam, Manhunt or any other hookup site. KY Jelly shall not be sold to her at any store, nor shall her eyes ever be allowed to glimpse hot man-on-man action, be it hardcore or softcore. In short Jimmy, your rainbow card is officially revoked. In all seriousness though, this is just sad. Watch this mess below.


Southern Baptist Convention: Same Sex Marriage Is Not A Civil Right

How ironic that an organization that just celebrated the election of its first black president s now declaring that same sex marriage is not a civil right. One step forward, two steps back.

"The resolution, passed nearly unanimously, reiterates the denomination’s long-held belief that marriage is “the exclusive union of one man and one woman” and that “all sexual behavior outside of marriage is sinful,” the Associated Press reports. It also says, “It is regrettable that homosexual rights activists and those who are promoting the recognition of ‘same-sex marriage’ have misappropriated the rhetoric of the Civil Rights Movement.”

Watch Rev. Fred Luter Jr. explain his and the Southern Baptist Convention's position on gay marriage during an interview on CNN's Starting Point.  many times do we have to go through this same song and dance? We are talking about CIVIL rights, not RELIGIOUS rights. Believe it or not, there is a difference. If your holy book tells you that gays and our sexual/romantic relationships are "sinful" and "wrong"--nice that the good reverend hid behind the old "I think what God thinks" mentality, but I digress--and you cannot allow our abominable nature to be sanctioned in your sanctuary, then so be it. But outside of your church walls, you have no right to tell other consenting adults what to do with their personal lives, so long as they aren't forcing anyone to do anything against their will.

Rev. Luter says he and the Southern Baptist Convention say they love LGBT folks and have gone on record saying they don't endorse any hate speech or bigotry. That's all well and very good; but how can you say you love us when can't exercise enough critical thought to separate what the secular laws of the country should say from your own personal faith that is not based on anything tangible save for your own tingly subjective experiences?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

'The Dark Knight Rises' Latest Trailer

July 20 can't get here fast enough. Lawd...Magic Mike and The Dark Knight Rises coming out in the same month? What us gon' do?

WATCH: Trans Singer Laura Jane Grace Talks About Coming Out

Musician Laura Jane Grace, formerly known as Tom Gabel of the punk band Against Me! gives her first interview since coming out as transgender. She talks about her early female influences (name-checking Madonna, always a good decision:) and how fans, bandmates, and family have reacted since she began her transition. Watch below.

Dharun Ravi Out Of Jail Early

Ain't this some mess...Dharun Ravi, who was convicted of spying on his roommate Tyler Clementi, including watching him kiss another man, is scheduled to get out of jail early after serving just 20 days.

"The New Jersey Star-Ledger speculated earlier this week that Dharun Ravi's 30-day sentence at Middlesex County Jail might be cut short. The warden said Ravi could get an early exit for good behavior. And the Associated Press confirms that Ravi left this morning.

He is also sentenced 300 hours of community service and must pay more than $10,000 in fines while also undergoing three years of probation. The AP reports that all inmates can get five days shaved off their sentence for working and another five for their behavior.

In May, Ravi was found guilty of multiple counts related to Clementi's suicide in 2010. He was not charged with causing Clementi's death. And the judge decided opted for a punishment that far avoided the maximum possible 10 years."

I don't believe it's fair to hold Ravi solely responsible for Clementi's death--suicide is often more complicated than that. But the public embarrassment inflicted on him by Ravi obviously contributed to his anguish, and should be worth a lot more than 20 days in jail and community service. Ravi's lawyers are appealing the conviction, while the prosecution is appealing his sentence.


Monday, June 18, 2012

True Blood Season 5 Ep. 2 Recap 'Authority Always Wins'

As was the case with Mad Men, spoilers lay ahead. So glamour yourself or retract your fangs.

Last week's season premiere of True Blood found our heroine Sookie Stackhouse in a familiar position: on the ground in a dark, wooded area, screaming for her life while some blood-thirsty creature closes in. This time though, the blood-thirsty creature in question was newly made vampire/former human (and from the looks of things, former best friend) Tara.

Sookie mentions to Lafayette that it took while for Jessica to get used to her new afterlife, but I don't ever remember Bill's progeny being quite so ready to go in for the kill. She tosses Lafayette to the ground like a rag doll and takes a bite out of Sookie, all while her maker Pam gets her kick watching the whole spectacle. She eventually gets bored enough with the three of them to tell Tara not to devour Sookie and Lafayette and takes off to Fangtasia. Tara continues her rampage until Lafayette lures her in with some fresh blood ("Drink hooker!"), allowing the opening for Sookie to silver her so they can make her go to ground.

Later Sookie convinces Lafayette, wracked by guilt over what he feels is a selfish decision in the wake of Jesus's death (whose body is still M.I.A. by the way) not to stake his cousin. Once nightfall comes, Tara charges back into the living room, gives the two of them a glare that screams "I don't know whether to eat you or kill you," and says "I'll never forgive you for this." With that she's off, mostly likely to join Pam at the club. If the human Tara held a grudge, you can a bet a bottle of True Blood O negative that relations between vampire Tara, Sookie and Lafayette will be strained for long time to come--or at least until the end of the season. If anything though, this story line will give us more scenes with Lafayette and Sookie, a duo that rarely gets screen time. They share a secret--Debbie's death--are both sans a man/vampire and will have to stick together if they ever hope to get back on Tara's good side. It'll be interesting to see what new twist their friendship takes.

Speaking of Pam, this episode offered a glimpse into her pre-vampire past. Although still as bitchy as ever ("I was in the ground. What's your excuse?" she snaps to Ginger) she's still missing her maker, and thoughts of Eric transport her and us back in time. As she once purred to Lafayette, Pam was a hooker a long time ago. Turns out that time was 1905 in San Francisco. After giving a co-worker a boost (old school blow I presume?), Pam finds another working girl nude and dead in a hotel room. When's she attacked on her way home by a would-be rapist, Eric comes to her rescue by ripping out his throat. Eric notices her lack of fear at the sight of a dead body--though it's unclear if her "I'm no stranger to dead bodies" comment was meant to be trademark Pam sarcasm (dead body meaning limp you know whats) or a small clue about her human life to be explored later. Whatever the case, Eric speeds off into the foggy night, leaving Pam to fret and fantasize about her unknown savior. This definitely won't be the last time we get a Pam flashback, which is a good thing because she's one of True Blood's most charismatic but underutilized characters.

However in the present, it looks like Eric is the one who's in need of rescuing. After a botched attempt to skip town, or continents (with vamps you never know), Eric, his sister-in-maker-lover Nora and Bill are thrown into authority jail, where spouting transparent lies (shame on you Bill) gets you blasted with UV rays and interrogations consist of being of injected with silver. The two then meet the other chancellors, who debate whether they shall meet the true death. Chris Meloni clearly drew from his Law and Order SVU days in this scene, though I will say he fought the urge to cross his arms and flash his signature "you son of a bitch" stare. Correct me if I'm wrong. But I digress.

Aside from serving us a new spin on vamp torture, Bill and Eric's prison stint seems to be laying the groundwork for what will probably be one of this season's main story lines. Apparently, there are those within the vampire ranks who believe in a fundamentalist interpretation of vampire scripture (i.e. humans were created solely to serve as vampire nourishment) who are fighting against the Authority's mainstreaming agenda. It's an interesting juxtaposition to former fundamentalist anti-vampire crusader turned baby vamp Steve Newlin. In season two he was all "praise his light"; now he's claimed to have found light in darkness. Throwing in Lilith, supposedly Adam's rebellious first wife, was a nice touch.

Things look bleak for Bill and Eric until Bill confesses Russell Edgington is still alive, and they will help the Authority find and destroy him, regardless of whether they meet the true death. But you just know Bill and Eric have a got trick up their sleeve. Though that last shot of Russell looking like The Thing's anorexic cousin on life support shows they probably won't have to worry about him for at least a few more episodes.

Back in werewolf/shifter land, the wolves, still dining on former pack master Marcus's corpse, try to put some peer pressure on Alcide to be their new leader. But this lone wolf will have none of it and takes off, leaving Luna and an a beat up Sam to walk home. Sam and Luna have domestic spat after Marcus's mama tries to see Emma and stress the need for her to have pack to come to once that first full moon transformation hits. Luna wants Sam to play his position and support whatever decision shes makes regarding, which is really no position at all. A litany of F-bombs are dropped and Sam walks out. After which Luna discovers Emma has shifted into a tiny werewolf. Score one for the trashy grandmas.

In human news, Terry is still acting nuttier than usual, having wartime flashbacks and freaking Arlene out. After he finds Arlene at his soldier buddy's hotel, the two make plans to visit another war buddy who may responsible for a string of fires. Not sure where this is going, but I hope it's better than the demon baby/Syfy channel ghost story arc he and Arlene had last year. They, and us, deserve better. Andy finds a vial of V juice in Debbie's car, but resists temptation and gives it Jason. Hoyt still pissed off at Jason for sleeping with Jessica post-breakup, while a random kid punches him in the face for sleeping with his mom. He and Jessica are still enrolled in a friends-with-benefits package, but it's obviously not enough for him. Maxine thanks him for breaking her son and Jessica up. And if Steve Newlin has his way, he won't be stopped until he gets a piece of Jason Stackhouse--and well, you know what piece that is. All around him are reminders of his past escapades and people who are intent on keeping him stuck in his old womanizer ways.

Will Jesus be True Blood's first zombie? Will the fairies finally get an interesting story arc? Will Pam have the best one-liners while teaching Tara the tricks of the vampire trade? You already the answer to that one.

What did you think of "Authority Always Wins?' Discuss.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Web Trailer For New Anthology 'For Colored Boys' Debuts

The web trailer For Colored Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Still Not Enough, the hotly-anticipated anthology by author Keith Boykin, has been released. The trailer introduces the book with the harrowing stories of Carl Joseph Walker Hoover, Jaheem Herrera, Raymond Chase, Joseph Jefferson and other Black and Latino youth who have taken their own lives. Watch below.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

That Muscly Hot Magic....

The latest trailer for Magic Mike amps up the raunchiness--bare chests and buttock shots abound. Watch and enjoy below.

Gay Like Me...

Timothy Kurek was once a prime candidate for a first-rate reading from yours truly: a homophobe hiding behind the Bible to justify his bigotry. But after a friend of his came out as a lesbian and was subsequently disowned by her family, Kurek decided to take a different road to enlightenment and empathy: he posed as a gay man for a year.

He came out to his family and immersed himself in Nashville's gay scene, going to bars, bookstores and clubs. In an interview with MSNBC's Tom Roberts--who is gay himself--Kurek, who's also writing a book about his experience, is asked a pertinent question (one that's probably been swimming laps in your mind by now): how can hanging out in the local gayborhood give him a deep, honest understanding of the internal day-to-day reality of someone struggling to understand and accept a part of themselves that has often been maligned and disrespected?

"I will be the first one to say that my experience is severely limited," Kurek said. "There is no way I could possibly understand what it’s like to actually be gay. And the book itself is not at all about what it is like to be gay, but only about how the label of gay impacted my external life and how those things kind of altered my faith and challenged my beliefs… I was doing everything I could to understand and going as far as I could, but being I’m straight was obviously very limited in what I was able to do."

Kurek's undercover experiment may rub some the wrong way; after all, he may have been a gay man in name, but he couldn't realistically go "all the way,"as far as having a sexual/romantic relationship with another man, or working to accept his sexual orientation because it wasn't truly his in the first place.  And his family may have had to deal with his coming out, but not the subsequent realities such as meeting the boyfriend, having him get married, possibly adopting a child etc. But if his experiment opened his eyes and mind, then more power to him.

So what do you think there's a method to Kurek's madness. Watch the interview below and discuss.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

WATCH: Dallas Pastor Frederick Haynes III Defends President Obama On Gay Marriage

Dallas pastor Rev. Frederick Haynes III provides a refreshingly sane prospective on President Obama's support of gay marriage, the need for a discussion on sexuality in the black community and the separation of church and state. A choice quote:

“Notice it does not say that all straight men are created equal. It does not say that all men unless you are gay or lesbian are created equal. He swore upon oath to uphold, protect and defend the Constitution, not the Bible, but the Constitution of the United States. He is not the pastor of the United States; he’s the president of the United States. And for the first time in the history of this nation, we have a president who has dared to use his position to make the Democratic promise available not just for a select few who are up and in, but for everybody regardless of their race, their creed, their color or their sexual orientation.”

Watch below.


Meditation May Reduce Heart Disease Risk For Black Teens

A new study has revealed that meditating can lower black teens' risk for heart disease. So can laying off the neckbones, cracklins and foods drenched in salt, fat and grease (I'm guilty too, so no tea no shade), but this is welcome news. According to BET:

"Meditation, an ancient practice that focuses on the mind-body connection, has plenty of health benefits. Whether it’s practicing yoga, tai-chi or sitting in a corner and clearing your mind, past research has suggested that it has helped those with arthritis, asthma, chronic pain, depression, insomnia, high-blood pressure, cancer, HIV/AIDS and heart disease.

But don’t think that meditation is just for older folks — it’s for young people, too.

A recent study from Georgia Health Sciences University Institute of Public and Preventive Health found that meditation helped African-American teens lower their risk for heart disease.

Of the 62 teens in the study, half of them were taught transcendental meditation, which is a simple procedure of sitting comfortably for 15 to 20 minutes twice each day with your eyes closed. The other half were only given education on how to lower their blood pressure. Researchers found that those who meditated twice a day for 15 minutes each for four months had significantly lower left ventricle mass than those who did not. Higher mass is an indicator of future heart disease."

While everyone might not be in the mood for downward dog, anyone can take twenty minutes twice out of the day to meditate.

Read the rest HERE.

Washington Will Vote On Whether To Keep Gay Marriage Legal

Will it stay or will it go? We'll know soon enough as Washington has decided to place marriage equality to a vote. Opponents of the state's gay marriage law had collected 247, 331 signatures, more than the 120,577 the needed to get a repeal on the ballot.

"The state also found a significant number of “questionable petition sheets” that are being forwarded to police. But there weren’t enough to scuttle the entire push.

So when voters go to the polls in November, marriage equality will be on the ballot in one form or another in four states — Washington, Maryland, Minnesota and Maine.

In Maryland, opponents also recently qualified to put the state’s newly passed marriage equality law up to a majority vote. Marriage equality opponents needed to gather more than 55,000 signatures and also turned in more than needed.

In Minnesota, PPP found a 10-point swing toward the pro-marriage side in four months, with independents driving fresh support. Now 49% of voters are against amending the Minnesota constitution to ban same-sex marriage.

In Maine, voters will have to decide whether to reverse a previous decision made at the ballot box in 2009, when voters scrapped the state's marriage equality law. Polls there also show marriage equality ahead early on."

Looks like November shaping up to be a do-or-die civil rights battle.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

WATCH: Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert Says ENDA Is "War On Religion"

Chile, what else do you expect when the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins is involved? Listen and cringe (the comment about "plumbing God created" takes the cake) below.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Mad Men Season 5 Ep. 13 'The Phantom'

As always, spoilers lay ahead. So walk boldly or carry a big blindfold.

After a season marked by explosive moments--Don and Megan's tumultuous S&M-tinged fights and makeup sex, Don's murderous dream, Betty's battle with the bulge, Joan prostituting herself, Pete's beatdown, Roger's LSD trip, Lane's suicide--the finale, entitled "The Phantom," was remarkably subdued, but not without the dark clouds of melancholy and dread that have hung over the Mad Men universe since Megan decided to play sexy chanteuse for her man in a roomful of strangers.

No doubt Lane's chilling departure has more than a little to do with said dark clouds. Whether they like it or not, everyone is reacting to the sight of his lifeless corpse in his office. And in projecting what they think would have prevented a tragic situation or make its aftermath better, they reveal truths about themselves. For Joan, her former office pal's tender admission that she could do his job has become a cold hard reality, as she has traded being office eye candy for the role Lane was so under-appreciated for: the voice of reason. The other partners are so distracted by "outside interests (Pete)," sheer impatience (Don) or just the usual lack of concern for money matters (Roger and Bert) that she's forced to almost have a debate with herself over the idea of expanding SCDP's office space.

While talking with Don, Joan racks her brain with what she could've done or said to stop him, but ultimately comes to the conclusion that sex would have given Lane everything he needed and brought him back from the brink. For Don money was and still is the answer; it covers Lane's crimes and his debts, and will ease his family's grief. A notion that blows up in his face when Lane's wife dismisses the $50,000 that was her husband's undoing as chump change compared to what the other partners truly owed him. For her it would've been better that Lane remained in his meager middle manager position than to attempt to aspire to anything more. Roger thinks of the act as a misguided attempt to find something better--philandering and dropping LSD will do trick for him in this life thank you very much, while Pete dismisses it as a weak cop out to the perpetually depressed housewife Beth.

And speaking of Beth, how awful and sad was it to find out her husband periodically ships her off to get electro shock therapy and to temporarily erase her emotional problems and permanently erase any short term memories. It makes Don's secret talks with Betty's therapist back in season one seem like an act of mercy.  No wonder she's so unstable. It almost makes you wish Pete had gotten a few good licks in with Howard before getting punched in the face (again!) by the train officer after mouthing off. The lie to Trudy about his injuries coming from "another car wreck" was both darkly funny and an ominous omen for what may lay ahead for Pete in his Manhattan abode next season. Beth's blank-slate demeanor in the hospital does provide Pete with a moment of clarity--that any boudoir action with his train buddy's wife, or playing happy husband and father with Trudy in the suburbs, will only be "a temporary bandage on a permanent wound."

Peggy, who got scant screen time, looks to be at home at her new job, reaming out the junior copy writers, smoking cigarettes and going to the movies to get the creative juices flowing. She runs into Don, and the two have a civil conversation about her career and her future. With her first out of town business trip coming up, she's moving upward and onward, and the chance her coming back to SDCP doesn't look too good right now. Though her female perspective is clearly missed by the firm's clients. But Don wishes her well, and Peggy asks him to give Megan her love, so they may have come to some sort of mutual understanding. For now.

Doors are a frequent image in "The Phantom"--serving as a gateway for isolation, for escapism, to reveal one's inner turmoil. And turmoil is something Megan is dealing with mightily; her acting career is still in the doldrums and her mother's cruel remarks ("We can't all be ballerinas") and requests from fellow actors for to use her connection to Don to get them jobs are not helping. The latter brings up a lingering phantom that has been haunting her all season--there is not an area of her life, be it advertising or acting to her friendships, that is not entangled with Don's. She is constantly being reminded of her rich housewife status, and her request Don throw her name into the model pool for a commercial, not to mention her drunken tumble into bed with Don almost feels like an admission of defeat.

Of course Don's been trying not to wave the white flag for something far smaller--a toothache--but no less significant, at least metaphorically. The tooth keeps him from eating, from intimately interacting with Megan--two things essential for survival. If he'd waited any longer, it would have cost him his jaw. Seeing his dead brother Adam, who also hung himself, all over the place only adds to his sense of alienation and guilt. That he has to witnesses his youthful, optimistic bride in such a sad state is even more disorienting. It's why he smiles so much when he views Megan's screen test--it's the perfect, pristine image he feel in love with and impulsively proposed to.

Marie advises to Don to use her daughter's disappointment to his advantage so he can have the marriage he truly wants. It's hard not to think he heeded her words when he changes his tune and helps Megan land the commercial--a move that goes against any artistic principles Don believed she had--then leaves to go to a bar and smoke a cigarette against the doctor's orders. I think in Don's mind, she has admitted defeat. Megan may have put on a good act and talked a big game--she was an independent, artistic woman with her own goals who was determined to succeed at any cost. However, by asking Don to help her, all that has become null and void.

Unlike Peggy, Faye, or to some extent Joan, she cannot blaze a trail without a man--in this case Don--clearing away the brush. She is a beautiful, glamorous woman whose identity is wrapped up in Don's and whose success is orchestrated by him--the parallels between Betty's short-lived re-entrance into modeling world and Don securing this job for her are inescapable. In short she has become Betty, albeit more driven and emotionally mature. When the beautiful blond asks him if he is alone, you can almost see the old Don Draper creeping back with every puff of the cigarette.

Don's back in the driver's seat, both at work and at home. It's only a matter of time before he peels off and leaves Megan in the dust.

--Other Notes:

--I think it was wise choice by Matt Weiner and the writers not to try and go for another big, explosive moment. After the last two episodes, almost anything would've been a let down, save for Don Draper falling down an empty elevator shaft--which probably would've been criticized for being too obvious. Instead this episode dialed things back while setting up some tantalizing plot lines for next season.

--I am highly disappointed Dawn barely had a story line this season. There is a lot to explore with her character beyond the cliched civil rights, dogs and fire hoses stuff--which can be dealt with as well. Mad Men has done such a consistently good job of going beyond the well-worn issues of the decade--sexism, racism, burgeoning feminism, the increasing focus on youth culture--by making the show's characters respond to these topics as real life, three dimensional individuals, rather than have them merely be symbols of said topics. I see no reason why Dawn can't get the same treatment.

So what did you think of "The Phantom?" Discuss.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Creflo Dollar Charged With Assaulting Teenage Daughter

Hmmm...the tea is spilling and it is scalding hot. Apparently Creflo Dollar decided to put his hands on his teenage daughter when she became, in his words, "very disrespectful"  after he told her she couldn't go to a party, choking her and allegedly even hitting her with a shoe. Will Ms. Eddie intervene and call Creflo's tough love "a wreck?" Watch the report below.

Lady Gaga's Third Album Finished, Title Will Be Revealed In September

While she is currently on her Born This Way tour, Lady Gaga has already completed her third album.

Mother Monster surprised her army of little monsters the world over with a  Twitter announcement earlier today, saying she already played material from the album for record execs.  Gaga also revealed that she plans to reveal the album's title in September, two years after she unveiled Born This Way at the MTV Video Music Awards.

It'll be interesting the see what direction Gaga will take with her third studio effort. After treading in the dance-pop kiddie pool with her 2008 debut The Fame, she went bigger and more huge industrial with The Fame Monster before diving into the pummeling currents of the Europop-meets-80's-pop-meets-hard rock ocean with Born This Way. Too much on the water metaphor? Maybe, but work with me people! Each release has plunged her deeper and deeper into eletro and dance, with good results for the most part.

Though I will admit the non-stop thumping bass on Born This Way did wear on my ears a bit, and while "You and I"  and "Speechless" were catchy and cute, both of them seemed too campy, too purposely "bluesy bar band" to truly move me.  But perhaps her new album will see her moving away from clubland and four-on-the-floor beats into a new musical space. Guess we'll have to wait and see.

What sound, or even aesthetic, do you hope Gaga goes for this go around? 

American Apparel Unveils New T-Shirt For Pride Month

American Apparel's latest T-shirt slogan is now being sold for Pride month as part of its "Legalize Gay" series, a partnership with GLAAD. This one, entitled, GAY O.K. (Sounds like fabulous city or country doesn't it?), features Top Model alum and transgender activist Isis King.


Moscow Bans Gay Pride For The Next 100 Years

All I can say is wow....apparently the idea of LGBT folks gathering together to celebrate, ya know, feeling good about themselves and such, has the Moscow City Court so riled up that it upheld a new law banning any gay pride celebrations in the city until 2112. on:

"The Moscow municipal government had decided to issue a blanket refusal of any request to hold a gay pride demonstration for the next 100 years. But the decision was immediately challenged by LGBT rights leader Nikolay Alekseyev, and this week’s ruling was the final in a series of appeals by Alekseyev. He had simultanesouly helped organize a letter-writing campaign in an attempt to stop the law. 

Andre Banks of the LGBT rights organization AllOut aimed higher up than the municipal government in assigning blame. "Remarkably, President Putin has stayed silent as members of his party advance a provocative antigay agenda that is putting him on a collision course with his allies in Europe and around the world,” Banks said in a statement. “Denying 100 years of Pride is no way to make friends in 2012.” 

The next step is to bring the issue to the European Court of Human Rights, which Russia recently became a member of."

My grand diva Madonna plans to speak out against Russia's anti-gay atmosphere when her MDNA tour stops in St. Petersburg and Moscow in August. Will Madge's words/actions instantly repeal the draconian law and cause rainbows to shine over Russia? Highly doubtful. But they'll no doubt do what she's always been a master at: get attention.

Read the rest HERE.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

New Bond Hearing Set For Zimmerman

In the wake of the tea being spilled on Zimmerman and his wife's stunts and shoes in deceiving the court on the amount of money he actually had and his bond was revoked, a new bond hearing has been set.

"The hearing is set for June 29 in a case that raised national questions about race and self-defense laws. 

Zimmerman returned to jail Sunday when his $150,000 bond was revoked after prosecutors claimed he and his wife, Shellie, deceived the court during an April bond hearing. Prosecutors say Zimmerman actually had raised $135,000 in donations from a website he created. 

 Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder for fatally shooting Trayvon Martin during a confrontation in a gated community where Zimmerman lived. He has pleaded not guilty, claiming self-defense under the state’s “stand your ground” law."


Lauryn Hill Faces Federal Tax Charges

It could all be so simple...apparently L-Boogie has neglected to pay coins to Uncle Sam, as federal prosecutors are charging her with willingly failing to pay income tax.

"Authorities say Hill earned more than $1.6 million during the three years that she failed to file returns. Prosecutors say her primary source of income is royalties from the recording and film industries. The 37-year-old South Orange, N.J., resident is scheduled to appear before a federal magistrate on June 29."

Perhaps her looming IRS battle will prompt her to resurrect her recording career....*sips tea and looks at watch*. Well chile, we can hope.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Janet Jackson Producing Documentary On Transgender People

Janet is set to executive produce a documentary that aims to "stop the hate and find understanding" toward transgender people. Directed by Robert Jason the film, entitled Truth will explore "a journey through the lives of trans- and nongendered people around the world and their epic struggle for equality."

"All people are very important to me," Jackson says in a statement released to the media. "I've been fortunate to make friends and learn about very different lives. Truth is our small chance to ask that you try and understand someone who lives their life in a way that is a little bit different from yours, even though all of our hearts are the same. We want to stop the hate and find understanding."

Truth is expected to begin production this summer.

LOOK: Lindsay Lohan As Elizabeth Taylor

Hmmmm...I'll admit Lindsay looks better than I expected. But then again, my expectations weren't all that high. And it is a closed-eye, side shot. Let's see how fab she looks serving Liz Taylor face on into the camera. And of course there's the issue of her actual portrayal of the icon. But she's safe from having to walk through the valley of my shade...for now.

Your thoughts?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Mad Men Season 5 Ep. 12 'Commissions and Fees'

As always, spoilers lay ahead, so watch your step.

Sally becomes a woman, Betty becomes a mother (at least temporarily), Don tries to kick-start his wunderkind mojo, and Lane know what happened to Lane. There's no avoiding it, so let's dive headlong into the darkness shall we?

The episode opens with Don in the barbershop getting a trim, when another ad man congratulates him on snagging Jaguar. Of course after last week's  "The Other Woman," we know all that was involved in getting that account, and it's left a hell of a bad taste in Don's mouth. "I already said no. Or should I leave so you all can do whatever you want?" he mouths off during a meeting. His demotion from office alpha male still stings. The steely look on Joan's face says it all--though it may hurt, she's adjusting to her new position with characteristic aplomb, sitting at the conference table with the other partners like the logo read Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce Harris from the jump. Don's not the only one feeling a post-Jaguar hangover though; the entire fiasco is lingering in the air like the smell of weeks old garbage. Even happy-go-lucky Ken is in a funk--"I don't wanna be a partner. I've seen what's involved,"  his tells Roger over drinks, rendering our favorite loquacious silver fox momentarily speechless. And he refuses to share his father-in-law's account with Pete Campbell, otherwise known as the main source of the stench.

But back to the lecture at hand. Don's dissatisfaction does bring out the fighter in him; he practically gives Ed Baxter--who told him no one would ever work with him after the infamous Lucky Strike letter--a tongue lashing for actually being happy with his company's success. He gives Sally the day off from school because he has a meeting with the aforementioned Baxter, while neglecting to inform Megan that Sally's even sleeping over. And he's cold as ice when he tells Roger to fire Ken if he stands in the way. Post-Peggy, it looks like ambitious, self-interested, workaholic Don is back and in full affect. Though it remains to be seen if he and everyone else will bounce back after Lane meets an unfortunate end.

Lane's undoing starts the moment Bert Cooper walks in Don's office, brandishing a check for "Christmas bonuses" with his forged signature. Confronted by Don, Lane quickly cracks under questioning and confesses. Lane's reaction is gut-wrenching, even before we know what his fate will be--he's by turns humiliated and resentful, angry and remorseful, defiant and self-pitying. All the other partners are/have gotten rich since SCDP has been in business, while Lane drowns in debt. Like Joan, he has made an extreme, life-changing sacrifice , while the other partners walk away largely unscathed.  Don tells Lane he could have always asked him for the money. But he's missing the point; in Lane's mind, he shouldn't have to.

Don shows him mercy by not calling the cops or telling the other partners, but it's not much of a gesture in the grand scheme of things. Lane now faces to possibility of losing his Visa and going back to London in disgrace. And if his father's still the same crotchety old man who whacked him with a cane for having an affair, and his wife reverts back to her sour, home-sick demeanor, it's easy to see why Lane isn't all that eager to start over. He also manages to further alienate Joan, his closest office ally, by coldly quipping that she'd probably like him to imagine her "in some obscene bikini" when she talks about her Easter vacation plans.  A cruel, sexist thing to say, especially in light of recent events. "I think you should take your party elsewhere," she snaps.

However, the real twist in the knife is when Lane comes home to find his wife in festive mood, ready to go out. And what's waiting for Lane in the parking lot? A Jaguar she got for him as a surprise. Lane looks like he's about to implode-- the car is a tangible manifestation of his ruined career, a toy Don a could write check for without breaking a sweat, an opportunity to become an account man snatched from him. And there it sits, mocking him. His wife continually pushes him to take it for a spin, unknowingly sticking the dagger in further. Lane does decide to go for one last ride , clogging up the exhaust pipe and turning on the gas to suffocate himself; but true to the Jaguar's nature, and in perhaps this series' blackest twist of irony, the car won't start.

I'll admit that after his failed suicide attempt, that I thought the writers were giving us a classic Mad Men fakeout, a la Don coming to visit Joan at her apartment after she already slept with dealership head Herb. Or that it was a dream sequence. Then again, Matt Weiner and the writers have been messing with our heads the whole season; from Pete talking about  life insurance covering suicide to Don drawing a noose in a meeting and staring down an empty elevator shaft, to Megan lying like a corpse in an acting class, death imagery has been virtually omnipresent.

Still, I was not at all prepared for the actual scene. When Joan tries to open the door to Lane's office and hits the leg of a toppled chair, I knew the writers had faked us out, but in the way I'd hoped. Joan informs the others, who send everyone home. Don, all to familiar with suicide, and perhaps feeling some deja vu--he gave his brother Adam similar advice ("start over, move forward"), and threw money at the situation, and he met the same fate as Lane--insists on cutting Lane down and laying him on the sofa for the coroners. The entire sequence has to be the saddest, darkest moment in Mad Men's history--there's no snappy one-liner from Roger, no wheeling Lane's body out of the office covered in blanket Miss Blankenship-style to lessen the impact.  This is death-- in all its awful, unexpected, uncomfortable, inconvenient bleakness. After laying Lane's body down, the partners find a note-- his resignation. Perhaps it was Lane's way of following Don's advice, and going out with elegance. Damn, sometime I hate that I love this show.

Lane's story was so harrowing the Betty/Sally/Glenn/Megan arc pales in comparison. But it did add some much needed lightness to this episode. Sally, still being a brat and pushing all of Betty's buttons ("She lets me eat whatever I want--Birdie, you've created a monster), gets dropped off and Don and Megan's after refusing to go on a ski trip. Not only does she smart off to Don, she's also scheming to meet Glenn while she's in the city. The two plan a typical playing hooky outing, going to the museum and complaining about the time-honored pre-teen woes of parents, bullies and school. I may be reading him wrong, but I think Glenn wants to be more than friends. He tells her he told his classmates that he was going to visit her so they could "do it" to fend off the bullies, but the way his face deflates when she tells him she doesn't like his mustache says otherwise.  He tries to save face (no pun intended) and says he forgot to shave (like he needed to), but that's a lie. What guy isn't proud of a little peach fuzz at that age? He "forgot" because he wanted Sally to see him as a man. Unfortunately for him, mustaches just aren't her thing.

While Glenn may be trying to be a man, one anguished trip to the lady's room lets Sally know she's a woman, ready or not. Terrified, she doesn't call her gal pal/stepmom Megan--who did give some decidedly motherly advice when she said "holding hands is enough" when talking boyfriends--but runs home to Betty, who looks startled when her daughter falls into her arms. Underneath all the attitude and big-girl talk, she's just a scared kid. There could be some subtext to Sally and Lane's stories--Sally's terror at realizing she's now able to birth life, Lane's grim determination to end his life--but at this moment I'm sure what that subtext is, so let's get back on track.

Betty being Betty, she can help but get a few digs in while reassuring a panicked Megan Sally is safe. "She needed her mother" Betty says, her satisfied smirk almost leaping through the phone as she slyly lets Don's "child bride" know the deal: "You may be the fun one, but when things really hit the fan, she comes home to Mama." All cattiness aside, a genuinely tender moment happens between the two when Betty sweetly explains the burden and the joy of being a woman. Betty's smile doesn't just come from getting one up over Megan, but from actually being needed. From being acknowledged.

Don also takes time out to be a mentor to a throw-away kid in the making. After finding Glenn in his apartment, he decides to give the boy a ride home. "Everything you think is gonna make you happy, just turns to crap," Glenn says in the elevator, giving voice to sentiments that have probably been running marathons in Don's mind. Still shell-shocked from Lane's suicide, Don will have none of Glenn's cynicism and asks him a simple question: "What do you wanna do?" For Glenn, that's driving Don's car, which provides a poetic and hopeful end to a chilling episode. While a car was Lane's death sentence and almost served as his literal coffin, for Glenn, it's a pathway to freedom and, at least in that moment, happiness.

Other notes:
--After this episode, I have absolutely no idea how this season's going to wrap up. And that both thrills and terrifies me.

--I've pretty much given up all hope that Dawn will any semblance of a story line. Oh well, season six is just one year away.

--Obviously the title of this episode applies to more than just Lane, who paid the biggest fee for his deeds. Megan has to continually remind Don that she's an actress, not a stay-at-home wife with limitless time on her hands, a cost she must pay for leaving his world; Don's cost for focusing all his attention on Jaguar is that he's lost Peggy, and that drumming up big business in the wake of Lucky-Strike gate will be an uphill battle. As for Joan, every time the words "partner" and "Jaguar" are mentioned, someone will be thinking of her--and it won't be in the best light. She'll keep paying for her decision, whether it s flippant remarks from Don or shaming/pitying comments from Cosgrove.

--Speaking of Ken, he clearly doesn't approve of the direction SCDP took with landing Jaguar. Could he be joining Peggy at  her new agency gig?

So what did you think of "Commissions and Fees?' Discuss.

Friday, June 1, 2012

WATCH: 'Magic Mike' Cast Strips To "It's Raining Men"

Channing and the boys are talking right to us with this movie. Believe that. Get into the clip below.

New York Court Says "Gay" Is No Longer Defamatory

A New York court has ruled that calling someone "gay" is no longer considered slander, citing changing cultural attitudes. Hmmm, could this lead to the end of ridiculous lawsuits by closeted celebrities? Only time will tell.

"Justice Thomas E. Mercure of the Appellate Division’s Third Department wrote that earlier rulings equating the words “lesbian, gay or bisexual,” with defamation were based on a “false premise that it is shameful and disgraceful,” reports the Associated Press. The absence of defamation precludes slander, the court said, while noting that previous rulings were “inconsistent with current public policy and should no longer be followed.” 

The court ruled in the case of a Binghamton-area man, Mark Yonaty, who claimed that a woman had spread a rumor that he was gay in the hope it would cause his girlfriend to break up with him. The plaintiff claimed that the incident destroyed his relationship. 

 Legal experts interviewed by the AP said the ruling reflects a change in public opinion more than civil law. Being called gay, whether falsely or not, is still difficult for people in many parts of the country, as antibullying campaigns devoted to eliminating phrases such as “That’s so gay” attest.


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