Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Happy Birthday Mariah!

MC turns 43 today. Get into a few of my favorite Mariah songs below.

WATCH: 'Today' Weekend Anchor Jenna Wolfe Comes Out, Expecting Baby With Partner Stephanie Gosk

I don't know about you, but I didn't know Jenna Wolfe, a weekend anchor for Today, and partner Stephanie Gosk were family. But welcome out! Wolfe announced on Today this morning that she is pregnant and that she and Gosk, an NBC news correspondent, are expecting their first child in August.

Wolfe will be blogging throughout her pregnancy on the Today's mommy blog. People magazine reports the couple have been together for three years, and plan to get married in New York. Watch Wolfe deliver the news below.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Food For Thought: Bill O' Reilly

“The compelling argument is on the side of homosexuals. That’s where the compelling argument is. ‘We’re Americans. We just want to be treated like everybody else.’ That’s a compelling argument, and to deny that, you have got to have a very strong argument on the other side. The argument on the other side hasn’t been able to do anything but thump the Bible.”

--Bill O' Reilly on marriage equality (P.S. If Fox News talking heads are starting to see arguments against gay marriage are weak, you know we're making progress)

Stephen Colbert Predicts 'Gay-mageddon'

Stephen Colbert couldn't let this week's Supreme Court marriage equality cases without putting his two cents in, warning of a "gay-mageddon (officially my new favorite word) and "a sea of hedonism" if the court strikes down the anti-equality laws.

“I shudder to think that the unnatural coupling of same-sex partners may be put on the same legal footing as my loving relationship with my gun,” he said in his faux-conservative pundit persona on The Colbert Report, then whispered “You complete me” to a handgun.

“Folks, if we lose either of these two cases, it will be the gay-mageddon,” he continued. “America, lost in a sea of hedonism.”

He went on to say that the Bible “clearly says marriage is between one man and that man’s rib,” and with support for marriage equality “surging like Ryan Gosling in my dreams,” that “if our Founding Fathers knew about the advancement of the gay agenda, they’d be spinning in their silk pantaloons.”

Watch below.

Monday, March 25, 2013

House of Lies Season 2 Ep. 10 Recap: 'All In'

As always, spoilers lie ahead...

Last week Monica lost Roscoe and proceeded to destroy all that was good and sober in her life, Marty put his feelings for Tamara on the table, and Doug and Clyde hugged it out. In this week's episode "All In," the Pod is splintering off into different directions, while Marty's personal life gets even more complicated.

We start things off with the Kahn men--Marty, Jeremiah, Malcolm and Roscoe--sitting around the table playing cards--with pretzels instead of money, probably since Roscoe's present, but also because Malcolm's broke. Speaking of Malcolm, he's in the middle of some righteous rant about the tyrannical nature of Walmart kicking out public housing residents to make room for a new store, and badgering Marty as to why he won't side with the little man instead of the city. Especially after the city was indirectly responsible for him catching a beatdown a few weeks back. Marty claims he's not taking a side, causing Malcolm to snap "not takin' a side is takin' a side," which Marty dismisses by calling his little bro a "bottomless pit of lame cliches."

As the game goes on Marty educates Roscoe in on Malcolm's strategy, which allows them to throw more subliminal shots at each other."It's what he does. He draws you all the way down the river and then he sucks you dry," Marty tells Roscoe about his uncle's tactics, both in cards and in life.  Of course, he might need to take a look in the mirror with that statement, but more on that later.

Cut to the office, where Clyde is talking to Jeannie about Marty blowing him off for some game he had floor seats to. Jeannie mocks him for his "tween girl insecurity" before Doug comes in obsessing about Marty's whereabouts as well. Jeannie proves Marty's still breathing by calling him while he's one his way to "a thing" and hangs up. Doug tries to call seconds after but Marty's cell goes to voice mail faster than you can say catch me if you can.

Marty's thing turns out to be a secret sauna pow-wow with a guy named Eric who he's trying to lure away  to Kahn and Associates. Eric, who by the way is a big fan of the steam room full frontal, is unsure at first, but Marty convinces him with a few bravado-laced quips ("Galweather's a sinking ship. I'm the fucking Coast Guard ") and Eric consummates it with a naked body-meets-toweled-lower body hug. Aww.

Jeannie's been summoned to Julianne's office for a little mental manipulation meeting. She asks about some standard office paper work deadline, but it's she obvious she's trying to keep tabs on Marty's activities. Jeannie bobs and weaves well enough, at least until Julianne throws out an offer for her to lead her own Pod, with the official offer to be on her desk the same day.That Julianne's a crafty one. Sarah, on her way to visit Doug, greets Marty in the elevator, though he clearly doesn't remember her. She goes on some regrettable rhyme tangent involving the word faux that ends with "Faux is my bro. Fa sho."  If that doesn't prove she and Doug are soul mates, I don't know what will. Marty eventually remembers her, and reminds her of how she made Doug come like a foghorn. Classy.

Marty fills Jeannie in his meeting with "steambath Willie"; apparently Jeannie's making the jump to the new firm as well, which if anything, shows a belief in his abilities that Tamara lacks.Marty instructs her to make a list of names that would be willing to both join their new team and keep their mouths shut about it. Basically, it's Ari Gold's  tsetse fly escape plan from Entourage season 2. Jeannie tells Marty about Julianne's offer, making him suspicious that she's having doubts about his start up and is hedging her bets (there go those card metaphors again).

Marty's suspicion seems to blind him to the fact that what appeals to Jeannie most about the idea of heading up her own Pod is the recognition of her talent and hard work. Things Marty is not acknowledging at the moment as he orders her to do his quarterly reports and snaps at her for Doug calling every two seconds. Which kinda makes her the Lloyd in this situation. Or the Peggy Olson to Marty's Don Draper, if the imminent sixth season premiere of Mad Men is all you can think about. But I digress.

Jeannie and Marty aren't the only ones doing business outside the Pod. Doug has been in talks with a software company that's looking for a possible expansion, and, like the good little subordinate he is, is rushing to Marty all about it, even though they asked to meet with him. Sarah points out that he did all the work and should therefore meet with them himself and reap the benefits. Marty comes in and asks Doug why he's been blowing up his phone, but Doug spouts some weak lie about Googling. Marty takes off in a huff, only to spot Monica reminiscing with Tamara about their Ecstasy-filled business school days. Well at least Monica is, as Tamara reads her for being a party girl who somehow managed to ace her exams. "I kinda fucking hated you," she says in her best "have a nice day" tone while Marty looks on with a "that's my girl" smirk.

Meanwhile, poor Clyde bops around the three of them like a lost puppy, boasting his top 25 under 30 status while they ignore him and stroll off to lunch. Clyde's never been the most sympathetic character--as is the case with most of the folks on this show who aren't Roscoe or Jeremiah--but his fear over being left in the dust by the rest of the Pod is palpable. In a way it's even more palpable than last week's reveal about his working-class background and inner turmoil over the P&G lawsuit. Clyde's identity and self-esteem is so wrapped up in his success at work; now that it looks like he's losing touch with Marty and Jeannie's getting a promotion (at least he thinks ahe is), his anxieties are bubbling up to the surface.

At lunch, Marty wastes now time in asking Monica what trickery she has up her sleeve. Monica gets a dig at Tamara about a change in her husband's Facebook status (A side note: seriously, I doubt someone Kevin's age would ever take the time to change their status to "It's complicated." But whatever.), but Tamara matches her tit for tat by slyly admitting Marty's hitting that. Marty calls her out for being jealous, and asks her how her detour into lesbian land is going. She plays tough and says it's done, but it's clear she's hurting more than she's letting on. She blew up her domestic life once Roscoe left, and as the saying goes, hurting people hurt people. "To Marty and Tamara. May both of you come out of this thing unscathed," she says, raising her glass "There's a first time for everything." Judging from the underlying menace in that toast, Monica's on a mission to spread her misery around.

Doug's trying to give himself a pep talk on the way to his meeting, when, like most folks on the edge of a meltdown, he freaks out a minute detail. The detail in question being the restaurant where the meeting is taking place has a health grade of B. Cut to Doug babbling to Sarah about not being cut out to be leader, though he does manage to make an awesome Prince and The Revolution reference. Sarah orders him to get in the car, and gives him a little foghorn relief to settle his nerves. Clyde better start updating his resume.

Back at home, Roscoe, who spent the day with Malcolm at a rally for the public housing residents, pushes Marty to donate something to the cause. Marty asks Roscoe to leave so he and Malcolm can talk. Marty gets on Malcolm for letting Roscoe and taking Jeremiah's money, though Malcolm justifies his actions by saying Roscoe can't stay sheltered forever and he didn't want to embarrass Jeremiah in front of Roscoe by not taking his money. Marty pulls out his checkbook and tells Malcolm to give him a number for a donation and for him to leave. Damn, where's a pack of Lucky Strikes and an old-fashioned when you need it? Marty offers him $5,000 first, then $10,000. Malcolm rightly points out that he's not the only brother who depends on Daddy, saying Jeremiah's "practically raising Roscoe by himself."

However, Marty has a point in that they're two sides of the same coin; one's a "sellout" and one's a "revolutionary," but they both want to get paid. Though the crushed look on Malcolm's face seems to say he does want to stick around, or that he hates the fact Marty is partially right. Clyde, trying to impress someone with his credentials, brings a co-ed to Galweather Stern for some office sex, but his mood sours when he spots Jeannie's Pod offer on the table. Clyde gives a pitiful look back to Jeannie as he leaves.

The next morning, Malcolm, along with Marty's check, is gone. Most of the wine is gone from the bottle the check sat under as well, suggesting Malcolm hasn't quite reached the level of cold ass bastardom his older has yet. Marty tells Jeremiah not to expect Malcolm. Jeremiah figures out Marty offered Malcolm money to bounce, and chews him out for being manipulative. Marty does have a point in that Malcolm could have chosen to stay, but chose to take the money. On on the other hand, Jeremiah's pretty spot on in saying Marty's been trying to shove Malcolm out the door the entire time he's been staying with him, so it wasn't as if Malcolm had an inkling things would be all peachy if he stuck around. I'm sure once Roscoe finds out, it'll be back to silent treatment, or worse yet, back to Monica's house.

Jeannie and Marty are trading exit strategy info, and Marty's changed his mind again and tells Jeannie to call her contacts. "Now you want me to call them?" Jeannie asks. "What do you want me to say?" Marty says, irritated. Jeannie's probably thinking "I want you say thank you for doing your workload and keeping your stuff together while you snap at me for questioning the plan you keep changing every two seconds." Just a guess. Anyway Julianne meets them in the hall and talks about Jeannie getting her own Pod. Marty says their Pod is the company's moneymaker and he needs Jeannie to do that. It's hard to tell if he truly means this or he's just saying it to keep Jeannie in the fold and Julianne in the dark. After all, if he's campaigning to keep his Pod, together, how could he possibly be planning to leave? Either way, Jeannie practically melts at hearing this and forgets all about how crappy he's been to her the past few days. Oh Jeannie Beanie.

The two commiserate about how scary Julianne is and just how much shit is going to hit the fan in the very near future. An awkward dap leads to a sweet, awkward silence and Marty tells her to start calling her contacts. Jeannie then mentions she has a date with Nate, a.k.a. the Dildo King. She offers to cancel it but Nate shows up to take her out. "We're on a good road right? This will work itself out?" she asks Marty before leaving. "Oh yeah. Just blue skies from here on out," Marty reassures her. They could be talking about leaving Galweather or their lingering feelings for each other--though I doubt a smooth, sunny ride is what's in store for them in either scenario.

Friday, March 22, 2013

WATCH: Trailer For '42'

This looks like a must-see. Though advertised as "based on a true story," 42 the true is in question is obviously the life and career of baseball icon Jackie Robinson, who broke the color barrier as the first black major league baseball player when he began playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.  Robinson went on to become the first black baseball player to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.

Of course, since Robinson hailed from BK, a song from Jigga a.k.a Jay-Z, provides a soundtrack for the trailer. Watch it below.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Olivia's Countdown

ABC's Scandal, the Shonda Rimes-helmed political drama starring the uber fabulous Kerry Washington as the ferocious but flawed Olivia Pope returns tomorrow after a mid-season hiatus. Like most of Rhimes' work, Scandal features extended monologues galore, but one in particular--Olivia's epic countdown read of former beau Senator Edison Davis--is the cream of the crop.

Watch and gag below (even moreso because Olivia was dead wrong while reading him for filth).

Chipotle Cancels Sponsorship of Utah Boy Scout Event

Chipotle Mexican Grill announced that they are pulling their sponsorship of the Utah Scout-A-Rama, saying the Boy Scouts ban on gay members violates its anti-discrimination policy.

"After initially saying it would continue to sponsor the event, Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold told ThinkProgress that the decision had been reversed.

"'By way of follow up, we have terminated our sponsorship of this event," wrote Arnold in an email to ThinkProgress's Josh Israel. "As I mentioned yesterday, community support decisions like this are made in a decentralized way and this one was inconsistent with our own policy. We believed that terminating the sponsorship and remaining consistent with our policy was the right thing to do, and we have reinforced our policy with the team that makes these decisions to try to prevent similar issues in the future.'"


Jacob Rudolph Testifies Against Reparative Therapy

Jacob Rudolph, the high school senior who came out to his class during a school assembly back in January is speaking out against reparative, or "ex-gay" therapy. The Parsippany High School senior has started a page to petition New Jersey governor Chris Christie to support legislation that would ban gay conversion therapy on minors.

Along with the petition, which has so far received 110,000 signatures, Rudolph spoke Monday before the New Jersey Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee in support of a bill that would bar therapists from attempting to turn gay minors straight.

“Like every other LGBT person, I am not broken, I am not confused, and I do not need to be fixed,” Rudolph said in testimony before the committee. “It is beyond baffling to me that anyone might actually believe that sexual orientation is a lifestyle choice that can be altered if desired. Even more disturbing, however, is that there are organizations whose sole mission is to ‘cure’ LGBT individuals of their orientation to truculent practices that have been deemed harmful and ineffective by the American Psychological Association.

Watch Rudolph's full testimony below.

Monday, March 18, 2013

House of Lies Season 2 Ep. 9 Recap: 'Liability'

As always spoilers lie ahead...

Last week's "Wonders Of The World" saw Jeannie hook up with Nate (Adam Brody), owner of sex toy company Doc Johnson, while Marty took Tamara up on her offer to share her bed, further complicating their drunken blackout-I-love-you confession. This week's episode "Liability" lets drama breath a bit while showing Clyde has soul, and Monica's a human being.

We start off with Marty and Tamara in the mirror cooing post-coital talk, interspersed with shots of them doing the deed. Everything is all smiles and reminiscing--Marty joking about being married for a decade has Tamara in a sex rut, Tamara saying she would've given him some back in the day if he hadn't starting sleeping with the Anti-Christ, a.k.a, Monica--when Marty tells her he wants her to meet Roscoe. Tamara recoils at this splash of reality, and she shoots him a look that screams "I am so not ready for all that." She tells him as much, and the two trade awkward banter about kids and ex-husbands before she embarks on a scavenger hunt for her panties. Marty looks in the mirror and berates himself for bringing up meeting the kids too soon. It's touching in a way--Marty is usually so detached when it comes to sex, it's nice to seem him be a little neurotic.

Cut to Marty at Monica's house, on the phone with what's assumed to be his accountant as he plots his escape from Galweather and starting his own business. Unfortunately he finds a vial of something that lets him know Monica's sobriety is on shaky ground at best. He lets her gloat about Roscoe coming to live with her due to him utterly screwing up before playing his ace in the hole. She doesn't confirm or deny she's fallen off the wagon, but warns him that she if he wants war, she'll destroy him. Well actually what she said contained  few four letter words, both you get the idea.

I wasn't fully on board with the return of crazy Monica when I saw the previews; it seemed like a cop out, a cheap undoing of what felt like a legitimate attempt by the character to get her shit together. But her saying "I love you" back to Roscoe--a complete 180 from season one, when she wasn't sure if she knew how to love her own child--and the anguished look on her face watching him leave shows a genuine pain deeper than her desire to emasculate Marty. Though there's no doubt she wants to do that too.

Speaking of Marty, he and the Pod have a meeting with their Vegas client Carlson. Carlson of course, is unhappy about some business plan the Pod put in place for him, even though he was the one who approved it--during a six-hour conference call. Oh, and let's not forget he's brought a new pet along with him, a ferrett named Marty. This guy is certifiable. But he is a major account, which is probably the only reason why Marty lets ferrett Marty take a piss all over the aformentioned business plan. Love him or hate him, you can't say Carlson doesn't have a flair for symbolism. And animal training.

Carlson wants Marty to work out a new business strategy, but he can't because he's been subpoenaed to appear in Nebraska for a suit involving P&G. Carlson doesn't give a crap about some "Mickey Mouse subpoena, which leads to an intense exchange between Marty and Carlson over whether the former should stay or go. At least until Carlson starts making kissy face with the ferrett Marty.

After meeting Doug on the phone with Sarah, and ends their call with an "I love you," causing Clyde to sigh with derision. Doug calls him on it, and they get into a hilariously petty argument about it. Doug asks Jeannie to mediate, but she's got more self-absorbed matters to attend to; those matters being working with Tamara and the confirmed fact Marty's "hitting it." Doug immediately jumps to dreams of a double date with Marty and Tamara and he and Sarah (or as Clyde calls her "girl Doug")--dude who are you, Pete Campbell?

Marty's in his office when Tamara's husband Kevin waltzes in all friendly. He tries to play the hurt husband/best bud angle, talking about how Tamara's changed the locks and generally been blowing him off. "I know you have the inside scoop. You've always been a good friend," he tells Marty. "But lately T's been..." "Fucking me," Marty says, finishing his sentence. We knew from the jump Marty was blunt, but dayum. Kevin, understandably as caught off guard as the rest of us, stammers "I'm sorry what?" Marty plows on, saying "I'm sleeping with your wife" like someone just asked him what time it was. Kevin, who by the way probably has about six inches and 40 pounds on Marty, jumps up from his seat. Marty wisely moves back and grabs a heavy object.

Kevin compliments Marty on his directness, and claims he's the same way. But Marty calls bullshit, saying Kevin's whole "hey buddy how's it goin'" routine was just a smokescreen and repeats that he's sleeping with Tamara, likes sleeping with Tamara and will keep sleeping with Tamara. I can't decide if Marty's super sprung or just as nuts as Carlson. He tells Kevin he has to catch a plane. "I guess I'll leave you to your stuff," Kevin says, before letting loose a fake laugh that says "I'm gonna catch you slipping and beat that ass you backstabbing bastard."

On the plane to Nebraska, Doug and Clyde snipe some more. This would be nothing new, save for when Doug mentions some lackluster cookies (one's that tasted like dog biscuits to be exact) Clyde's mother made after he scored big consulting with P&G. "My mom worked a 60-hour work week, so I'm sorry if her cookies didn't meet the standard of your fucking dog biscuit eating palette. It's about time we got at least a small peek into Clyde's past.  Proving he's finally learning to dish out instead of just taking it, Doug spits "Was that below the belt? Well so was hitting on my girlfriend asshole." Snap. Marty congratulates Doug on his balls finally dropping, which allows Doug to again indulge his fantasy of having a double date with "TaMarty." Tamara +Marty=TaMarty. Get it? Yeah I gagged too.

After they touch down, a suit from P&G explains the plaintiff, a widow whose husband fell off a cell phone tower, is trying to claim the company's subcontracting model--which Clyde pitched--was put in place to spare the company any liability. The suit explains the lawyers might try to put Clyde in the middle, and dismisses the husband as an "adrenaline junkie trying to get high on minimum wage." All the while Clyde vacillates between defending himself and trying to keep from being incinerated from the death stares the widow shoots him.

Obviously Clyde sees himself in the little boy and his mother sitting on the couch. While it's nice to see Clyde may actually have a conscience, it comes off as a little too convenient the plaintiff would be a single mother just after Clyde's own background is hinted at. Maybe if the writers had dropped some crumbs for us earlier in the season, it wouldn't feel as heavy handed. But any character development with Clyde is better than none at all, so movin' on.

Back at the office, Jeannie and Tamara are working when Jeannie asks how her kids are doing. Tamara says their fine before letting her know kids don't always have to be the topic du jour when they're alone. Especially when she knows Jeannie wants to cover other subjects. Jeannie takes this as a cue to say "you and Marty sleeping together is none of my business." She forgot to add "not that I wouldn't like it to be." Tamara let's her know it isn't any of her business before saying she was referring to Marty opening his own shop. Jeannie asks Tamara if she'll go with Marty to his new firm, and she laughs, saying she's not a teen tagging along with a boy she likes.

Malcom's still squatting at Marty's apartment, when guess who's at the door? Monica! The two exchange little pleasantries and sip on some alcohol until Monica, being the mercenary she is, lays out what she's really here for. She lets it be known that Marty told her she was a frequent deposit in Malcom's spank bank back in the day. She also lets him know he was in her thoughts as well, and gives him a demonstration. He pounces and she teases him for a bit before letting him in.

Doug and Clyde end up having to share a room because Galweather forgot to book a room for Marty. Another mind game from Julianne? Eh, probably more of an oversight. Either way, the cramp quarters allow Clyde to finally get to the root of what's bothering him; that while he and P&G get away scott-free, a man is dead and a little boy grows up without a father. And boom, we have depth! Doug, being the cornball he is, offers Clyde a two-hug deal; Clyde resists at first, but gives in, leading to one of the few genuinely touching moments between these two characters. Of course, this is Clyde and Doug we're talking about, and Clyde feels something hard in Doug pants. It was a flash light, but insert your own crude joke here. The two lapse back into frat boydom, and go to sleep.

The next day, Tamara confronts Marty about telling Kevin about their hotel rendezvous. Marty explains he's serious about creating something real with Tamara, but she says the reality of their relationship is more complicated than them running off together. He says it's not, causing her poker face to crumble as she tears up a bit. Even so,  I think Marty's way more invested in this than Tamara, but that could change.

While Marty's trying to move forward, Monica's regressing to her old ways. Roscoe's presence seemed to be the only thing holding her together, and now she's falling apart. As I said before, when I watched the preview last week, this scene read more as "uh oh, Monica's psycho again!" But put in the context of both the episode and the entire season, her loneliness and self-loathing resonates. Marty thinks she's damaged, her mom thinks she's damaged, Malcom thinks she's nuts--though he doesn't mind wading into the craziness. She's made a real effort to turn things around for herself, to build a new family and life, but Roscoe's decision to leave has left a gaping hole. So she reverts to playing the role defined for her.

Beyonce 'Bow Down/I've Been On'

Queens, rough trade and ballroom boys, lend me your ears. Or actually, lend your ears to Beyonce, as you are no doubt aware her Creole Majesty has dropped a new track "Bow Down/I've Been On," produced by Hit Boy and Timbaland.

The songs is miles away from the grown folks R&B of 4; it starts with Bey singing over snappy 808s and trippy synthesizers until the beat drops down into trunk shattering chopped and screwed bass, complete distorted vocals as Beyonce recalls sweet memories of her Houston youth--eating boudin and sneaking away to listen to UGK.

Personally, I think the track will appeal to the clubs, remix DJs and hip hop stations; as a Southern gal myself, I can see young ladies getting their life in the club while trade nods their hooded/fitted capped heads in the corner in approval. But as a proper single, I don't feel it matches up to previous blockbusters like "Crazy In Love," "Irreplacable," "Countdown" or "Diva," the last of which also mines similar alpha-female territory. It'll definitely set the club on fire, but it's just not broad enough to appeal to Beyonce's mainstream pop audience (who'll probably be scratching their heads and saying "what's boudin?") or get played on top 40 stations.

More than likely, it's probably a case of Beyonce wetting our appetites for new music while covering all her demographic bases (i.e making sure she keeps a foothold in clubland, where Ri-Ri and Kelly Rowland have been wrecking shop); She's much too savvy/ambitious to make this the introduction to her new album. My guess is she'll drop a few more tracks of various genres and we'll the get the full-blown first single treatment soon enough. Listen to "Bow Down/I've Been On" below.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Random Question: Saturdays

What's your favorite thing to do on Saturday? Me, myself and I like to:

*Sleep late
*Go out
*Catch up on my Netflix Instant Queue

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Documentary 'Friend of Essex' Explores Being Young, Black and Gay'

Friend of Essex, a new documentary created by 23-year-old Amir Dixon, explores the struggles of young black gay men. The film gets it title from late black gay writer, poet, producer and activist Essex Hemphill, who died from AIDS-related complications in 1995. The film also was inspired by filmmaker and writer Marlon Riggs, the creator of 1989's Tongue Untied, which also documented the experiences of black gay men.

Through a series of interviews, the documentary covers topics such as masculinity in gay culture, identity, sexuality and race and religion. Friend of Essex has been screened at many colleges, community centers and other venues since its release in January. Dixon has also made the brave step to screen the film in Uganda in April. The country is currently still considering the controversial "Kill The Gays" bill, and its strict anti-gay laws have forced Dixon to do only screening on a private, invite-only basis.

Dixon told The Advocate "When I started production on my film I had met a young man from Uganda who had just moved to the states. He shared with me firsthand what was taking place in Uganda and the work that we as a community could do to support the LGBTQ community there.”

He said he ultimately sees Friend of Essex as a way to "empower the voiceless. I want that little kid that lives in Small Town, U.S.A., and doesn't encounter anyone that looks like them to know that I do this for them. I fight every day for them."

Dates and times for future screenings are available on Dixon's website. Watch the trailer for Friend Of Essex below.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

WATCH: Tyler Perry's 'Temptation' Trailer

The trailer for Tyler Perry's Temptation (I think the title is pretty self-explanatory) looks interesting. I'm not familiar with the lead actress's (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) work, she seems she'll be able to summon a bit of Olivia Pope-esque emotional messiness as a marriage counselor dealing with her own marital drama. Though I'm not thrilled at the sight of Kim Kardashian on celluloid, I live for Vanessa Williams and enjoy Brandy.

Not to mention Lance Gross is looking mighty ripped and phine--finer than the tempting guy in question IMO--but of course we know Tyler has an eye for on-screen man candy. I guess I'm saying that...I might actually be here for this. Watch the Temptation trailer below.

Microsoft Commercial Features Lesbian Wedding

Yes. The latest commercial for Microsoft Outlook features a lesbian couple on their wedding day. Microsoft's support of LGBT rights is nothing new; founder Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer each donated $100,000 to support Washington state's marriage equality law.

Microsoft also joined other companies in filing a legal brief opposed to the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, citing how banning marriage for gay couples is bad for business. A happy employee is a productive employee. Watch the ad below.

'Ex-Gay' Therapy Group Loses Tax-Exempt Status

Someone will be getting less coins from fleecing the flock. "Ex-gay" organization the National Association For Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, or NARTH has lost its tax exempt status due to failure to file proper documentation for the past three years, according to the IRS.

Things weren't exactly look up for NARTH before this latest revelation. Cofounder Joseph Nicolosi has claimed gay people want make pedophilia normal and spread HIV, and has been accused of distorting research to fit NARTH's claims to help those who "struggle with unwanted homosexuality." The group also mired in scandal in 2010 when it came to light one of its leaders, George Rekers, was traveling with a male escort.

“NARTH’s work throughout the years has amounted to child abuse in every sense of the word,” Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin said in a press release. “Sadly, some therapists have looked to this discredited organization for guidance on treating their most vulnerable patients and this has had drastic results.  The IRS is just the latest organization to take a death blow at NARTH.”  


Berry Gordy To Receive Pioneer Award From Songwriters Hall of Fame

Motown founder Berry Gordy will receive the Pioneer Award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame at the group's induction dinner in New York in June.

Berry's qualifications for the award are pretty obvious. Founding Tamla Records in 1959, the label grew into Motown, which launched the careers of icons such as Smokie Robinson, The Temptations, Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson and The Jackson 5. You know, artists that pretty much helped create the template for modern pop stardom and music.

"Berry Gordy is an innovator and a visionary," Jimmy Webb, chairman of the Songwriters Hall of Fame, said in a statement announcing the honor. "Yes, he created a label but more than that, he created a genre. Think about it, he pioneered a marketplace for African-American artistry and then he invited the world in to enjoy it. Berry was way ahead of his time; his young and immaculately groomed and dressed artists were among the first to receive media training. Berry Gordy and the Motown sound are essential to the American music story."

The award comes just as Motown: The Musical, a new musical based on Gordy's life, is set to debut. Previews begin this week, with an official opening on April 14th. Check out Clay Cane's interview with the musical's costume designer ESosa HERE.

Monday, March 11, 2013

House Of Lies Season 2 Ep. 8 Recap: Wonders Of The World

As always, spoilers lay ahead...

Last week's "The Runner Stumbles" ended with Marty getting assaulted by two cops, after making the soul-sucking decision to play the good negro and cover up U.S. National Bank's "ghetto loans" scandal in order to finance his own firm. This week's episode, "Wonders Of The World," deals with the aftermath, as well as sets up new twists to further complicate Jeannie and Marty's "will they or won't they" story line.

We open with Clyde, Doug and Jeannie at Doc Johnson, a new client who specializes in dildos and the like, or as Jeannie calls them, "silicone fuck toys." Speaking of Jeannie, she's not in the best mood, ranting about where both the shop owner Nate (Adam Brody) and Marty are. Clyde, being about as gleeful as you can expect he'd be in a sex top shop, advises Jeannie to improve her mood by thinking up an anniversary gift for Doug to give Sarah. And judging from his ideas--a hat, or a Jesus light switch plate (since Sarah's Jewish and all)--poor Doug needs all the advice, cynical or not, that he can get.

Marty calls Jeannie and tells her he's taking a few personal days off, which, looking at his stitches and black eye, may not be such a bad idea. Jeremiah walks in with coffee, and asks him when he'll tell Roscoe about the attack, causing Marty to shoot him a look that screams "can I least get a sip of Java before I tell my son about my traumatizing experience?" Things don't exactly improve when Marty realizes the third cup of Joe is for Malcom, who upon making his entrance, promptly tells his brother he looks like shit. Feeling the love yet?

Back at the sex toy shop, Nate shows up, explaining he had to meet with a porn star about making a mold of her nether regions, and causing Doug to quiz him about whether the star of Ass Kingdom 6 is really as down to earth as she seems on screen.

Cut to a tour of the factory, set to some Willy Wonka-esque music as Nate explains the company's product is top notch; you know, hypo-allergenic rubber, medical grade silicone and all that. Jeannie scoffs at this, and Nate calls her out, and she tells him state-of-the-art dildos aren't exactly equivalent to the next scientific breakthrough. Nate offers to send her some of their bestsellers, comparing testing out a vibrator to sampling a slice of  pound cake before repping Sara Lee. Jeannie continues to blow him off, but Nate is unashamed of his job; it's the family legacy that's sent him to Ivy League schools, and he won't apologize for it just because in his words, "some china doll has a stick up her ass."

Harsh words yes, but we know our Jeannie Bennie doesn't scare easy. She fires back, saying stick up your ass could a very good product for Doc Johnson, but Nate gets the last word when he says her scowling mug could be used for the packaging. Touche. Later on, Jeannie's special delivery arrives at the office, and this stuff must be selling like hot cakes, since her co-worker knows exactly what the Doc Johnson box holds inside. Jeannie locks the door, and lets one of the toys work their magic. Who's uptight now smarty pants?

Malcom and Marty are playing video games and talking about their dad. It sounds like Jeremiah had and still has a knack for pontificating about a situation until his original point--to teach his kids a lesson or dole out advice--gets lost. And if Marty's memory of his mother rolling her eyes at his father's lectures is any indication, she was most likely the earthy yin to Jeremiah's overanalytical yang. All of which could make her suicide both more puzzling and disturbing to the Kahn men. Hopefully this bit of information will be explored later on. But back to the recap at hand. The brothers seen to be bonding, until Malcom mentions that some of his people have been calling him and suggesting Marty go to the media about the attack. Marty shows his disinterest by kicking Malcom's ass--in the game at least--and walks away.

Meanwhile, Doug has been brainstorming and has a great idea to help Doc Johnson--allowing everyday folks to make molds of their own private parts, including his own, which of course would the perfect anniversary gift for Sarah. Jeannie and Clyde, being of sane mind and body, shoot his idea down, and Doug brings up Clyde's jealously of his relationship. Though this time I think Clyde was exercising common sense. Nate stops by and offers to take Jeannie to lunch, but she's already eaten. The two banter about going to get tea, which eventually leads to her going back to his house.

Marty, waiting for Roscoe at his school, gets a text from Tamara but ignores it. More on that later. While at the zoo Marty tells him about the attack, and Roscoe is livid. He calls the cops racist, and Marty doesn't entirely dismiss it, but explains that good and bad people aren't always easy to spot. He tells Roscoe he admires him for being who he is and owning it, but warns him life will not get easier, and he must make smart choices. In a heartbreaking moment, Roscoe says something similar could happen to him. Marty presses his head against Roscoe's and tells him it won't, then Roscoe asks if he can move back in with him.

At Nate's house, Jeannie and Nate commiserate over exes; Nate's sends him a Christmas every year, which he explains away as her need for closure. But I don't think anyone who sends an wedding invite addressed to Cunty Cunterson with "Eff you whore" written on it--like Jeannie's ex--is trying to hold hands and sing Kumbaya. No wonder she was in a grumpy mood. She then confesses to Nate she tried out his product, and was, for lack of a better word, impressed. The two flirt a little more, then start making out.

Roscoe and Marty come home to find Malcom and few other random folks in the living. They have names, but they won't be staying very long, so no need to get attached. Malcom pushes for Marty to talk to a big reporter about his attack, but he must talk to him soon. True to form, Marty to tells everyone to get the hell out, as he's not interested in being anyone's poster child. Jeremiah scolds Marty for pushing his brother away, saying Malcom is trying to make a connection, which I don't entirely believe. If Malcom really cared about his brother's well-being and really felt it was important he speak out, talking to him one-on-one and showing some genuine concern would have gone over better than bum rushing him with a bunch of strangers sitting on his couch. Though Jeremiah may have a point when he says Marty needs to use the incident to re-evaluate his life.
In the middle of their talk, or Marty snidely says to Jeremiah, "a session," Tamara calls. Apparently she's in Las Vegas with Carlson, who's having a meltdown over acquisition targets and wants Marty in Vegas now. Marty says it's not a good time, but Tamara advises him that blowing an $80 million account will kill any hope of starting his own business.

Clyde and Doug bust Jeannie for sleeping with Nate, then trade barbed insults, back-handed comments and sarcastic retorts. You know, the usual. All is well, at least until they get a good look at Marty's face. He laughs it off and the guys sit down. Marty tells Jeannie he was attacked, and tries to keep it light by switching the subject to her dildo adventures. He succeeds until Jeannie confesses she likes Nate, which causes him to clam right back up. Cut to a meeting with Carlson, who's ranting about the Grand Canyon or some shit. Marty asks him about the acquisition targets, but Carlson says he's over that, and goes back to living in his own world.

Marty and the Pod resist the urge to beat him into a pulp and go gambling instead. Marty puts a big bet on the table, then leaves Clyde to throw the dice. He goes to a hotel room. Is it Jeannie's? Nope, it's Tamara's, and well, you know what happens once the door closes.

It's not a big surprise Marty ended up at Tamara's door, since any chance of something happen with Jeannie seems to be closed--key word seems.  Perhaps subconsciously, Marty took Jeremiah's advice; Tamara knew him before he became "Marty Kahn" and isn't afraid to challenge him and push him to be a better man, or at least the man he once aspired to be. They're similar in age and status, which means there isn't the whole mentor/protege/daddy issues dynamic that pops up between him and Jeannie. On the other hand, it's not impossible to imagine he and Jeannie as a couple, being that they're both so alike. They've both lived through crappy childhoods, are ruthlessly ambitious, and are self-aware enough to know they are deeply flawed because of it. All of this is to say things are about to get a lot more complicated.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Food For Thought: Cyndi Lauper

"I felt that what he said about the gay community was disappointing because a lot of gay people work for him. It’s just sad. I thought he could have done better for his country than just go to the lowest common denominator and stir up the crap. It’s our country, it’s not wrestling’re an entertainer, and you make ugly buildings, and you’re famous for it. And you have a reality show with very high ratings. Don’t step into the forum like that... Our country is in trouble and he keeps wanting to make [Obama] fail. Let’s call a spade a spade. The guy’s a black man and that’s your issue?"

--On Donald Trump's stance on gay marriage and President Obama

Insurance Will Cover Trans Frat Brother's Surgery

This is welcome news. After Donnie Collins frat brothers opted to raise money for his top surgery, his insurance company decided to reverse its decision and pay for the procedure. According to The Advocate:

"Officials at Emerson told ABC News that the university contacted Aetna insurance to clarify that transition-related procedures are generally covered by the school's insurance plan. 

After the rejection of his initial request, the college contacted Aetna for clarification — knowing that transgender benefits have been part of its insurance policy with Aetna since 2006," the college said in a statement. 

All documentation has been quickly revised, and this week Donnie has confirmed with his surgeon’s office that insurance will cover the procedure," members of Phi Alpha Tau wrote on the IndieGogo page Wednesday. "This is very surprising news, and means that he only needs to pay copay instead of the full $8125. As promised, all excess funds have been pledged to the Jim Collins Foundation."'

Watch Collins explain the whole situation, and the happy turn of events, below.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

LOOK: Mad Men Season 6 Photos, Promo

Mad Men returns on April 7, and if you're in mood to wring out whatever subversive subtext or plot lines you can before then, here are a few morsels to obsess over. Isn't Rich Sommer giving us Freddy from Scooby Doo? I mean, zoinks! And if that's not enough, take a look at the promo to see what you can glean from Pete Campbell's sideburns. Though I hope the absence of Peggy in the clip isn't a clue of things to come.


I'm a little late on this, but it's worth mentioning. Like we LGBT folks, atheists, and particularly atheists of color, suffer from a lack of media representation--i.e. we're pretty much treat like the proverbial unicorn in the black pop cultural forest. And when we do pop up, we're shown as heathens incapable of loving anyone. At least according TV One's sitcom Belle.

If you're not up on Belle, which seems to be a 21st century update of sitcoms like Amen, don't worry, 'cause I wasn't either. Here's a description of the episode I'm talking about, entitled "True Love": "Jill meets the perfect guy and invites him to dinner for an introduction to Bill and the family. His imperfection is revealed and Jill has to decide whether or not to continue dating him." Imperfection? Really? But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Watch the clip below starting at 10:23 below to see how Jill and her family react to his "imperfection" and the subsequent fallout.

Father, if you do exist, help your children. My thoughts?

1)  The family color commentary's during Big Bill and Jack's exchange was annoying as hell. Obviously it's a sitcom and they're going for laughs, but it still, the whole "you betta' tell that big bad atheist somethin'" vibe got on my nerves.

2) It was good to see Jack's (Richard T. Jones) atheism portrayed as being based in reason, and not some "God didn't answer my prayers so I hate him" or any other emotional reason Christians usually try to cite for someone's lack of faith. While emotional reasons can and often do spur the initial questioning of faith, coming to logical conclusions based on critical thinking and research is how many atheists arrive at non-belief.

3) I can understand why Jill would be upset and feel sorta deceived at not knowing Jack was an atheist. They had been dating for two months, and he did go to church with her. I can even understand why she would see his atheism as a deal breaker; obviously she was raised to be religious and it's an important part of her life, and most likely how she wants to continue to raise her daughter (i.e. the narrator). But why portray Jack as some soulless creature incapable of love? Or, even worse, one who could lie to her easily? Because, as we all know, "atheists have no morals."

I can't say I'm surprised by the family and Jill's reaction though. My own experience was a bit different from Jack's, in that when my current boyfriend and I met, I was still a Christian, and didn't deconvert and come out as an atheist until we'd been together almost three years. While he's miles away from being a deluded church queen, he is a believer, and I was prepared for the possibility that I might lose him. Fortunately, that didn't happen. It probably helped that we had a history and were in love, but it was still a struggle for him to understand both my change of thinking and what exactly I did or didn't believe in. As for my parents, well, we've had our moments.

When it comes to Jack though, the writers couldn't even give us the consolation prize of the awkward reconciliation, a sitcom staple. What happened to tolerance, loving your neighbor as yourself? Or hell, just agreeing to disagree? You would think a man as godly and supposedly filled with Christ's love as Big Bill would have compassion for a man whose been disowned by his own parents for over a decade--but I guess not, since he thinks Jack comes from "good parents."

Instead he pulls a Steve Harvey and chunks the deuce after getting up on his high horse and telling Jack once god "gets around" to forgiving him, to call him. Then we're treated to him practically jumping for joy when Jill tells him she'd decided to stop seeing him. So the moral of this story is to label a smart, successful man "unsaved" and undateable just because he doesn't believe in god? Is that all we get? Chile please.

What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

No Hate Crime Investigation For Slain Gay Candidate

The family of Marco McMillian, the openly gay up and coming Mississippi mayoral candidate whose beaten and burned body was found near the Mississippi River last week, is asking authorities to looking further into his murder. McMillian's family said they want the murder investigated as a hate crime, but the Coahoma County Sheriff's Department said they would not explore the option. According to McMillian's godfather, the department has also been mum with the media and the family about the circumstances of his death.

“He was very concerned about his safety—people had tried to talk him out of the race,” Womack said to the paper. “The family feels this ought to be investigated a hate crime.”

His body was recovered a day after his SUV was involved in a head-on collision. McMillian was not in the car at the time of the accident, as investigators believe he had already been dead, and his body had been dumped several hours prior. The man driving the SUV was Lawrence Reed, 22, who was arrested in connection to McMillian's death. Reed was initially airlifted to a Memphis hospital, but is now being held at the Shelby County Jail in Memphis.

Mississippi's hate crime laws currently cover religion, race and gender, but not sexual orientation.


Monday, March 4, 2013

House Of Lies Season 2 Episode 7 Recap: 'The Runner Stumbles'

As always, spoilers lie ahead...

In the last two episodes of House Of Lies, we've seen Doug stand up to Clyde, Doug's girl Sarah tell Jeannie to back up off her man, Julianne tell Marty in no uncertain terms to "know his place" at Galweather, Tamara revealed her marriage is pretty much over, Marty learn that his father may soon be having surgery, and Marty drop the bomb that he was leaving the agency.

Save for that last revelation, this week's episode "The Runner Stumbles," didn't move any of these plot lines forward. At least on screen away. Leaving Galweather, Jeremiah's Parkinson's, Tamara's invite to go to bed,  Jeannie and his blackout antics--they're all playing on repeat in his head. Why else would he go running, since we've never even so much as seen Marty do a pushup until now? If we have, please correct me, but the point is Marty isn't exactly a P90X disciple. Anyway, movin' on.

Speaking of Jeannie, the sole female of the Pod has a surprise for our boys. It turns out she and an ex-boyfriend created a sex tape, long ago when she was in the midst of a goth phase, and said ex posted it when she refused to become a Facebook friend. Talk about overreacting. Anticipating that someone would find it and show it to the Pod, who would in turn mock her mercilessly, she offers to show them the video for a one-time only shredding of her self-esteem.

The guys are ecstatic to say the least, but Marty decides to walk out, saying the build up is never as good as the real thing. Or maybe it's because he'd rather not see the woman he told he loved her go down on a guy whose junk has more holes in it than a pound of Swiss Cheese. Let's just say Lonnie liked to get pierced...a lot. Even Clyde and Doug are bored by the whole thing, and lose interest, which pisses Jeannie off. I mean, if your co-workers won't watch your amateur attempt at porn stardom, who will?

On the flight to Chicago to meet with U.S. National Bank and it's clueless leader Carl Criswell, Jeannie's having trouble getting through one of the bank's firewalls. She chants "Marty, Marty, Marty (think Stewie Griffin saying "Mommy" over and over again) until he, trying to sleep, asks Clyde to help her out. Cut to Clyde criticizing "goth Jeannie" for being too bossy in bed, and Doug causing everyone's insides to rupture by talking about he and Sarah's sex life. Jeannie, curious as to why Marty didn't want to take part in witnessing her porn debut, asks him why, then goes all "Marty, Marty, Marty" again when ignores her.

But back to the firewall. Some girl who has a crush on Clyde--Cinda from IT to be exact--gave him the bank's firewall password. It turns out U.S. National has been doling out "ghetto loans," meaning white customers receive the good loans with low interest rates, but black and brown clients get conned into getting what they think is a reasonable loan, before the bank swaps out low teaser rates for sky-high ones, a.k.a sub-prime loans, regardless of their financial status. Basically systematic racism 101, but you get the drift.

Marty meets with Brynn, who tries to patronize Marty by saying he was a smart "boy (anyone else pick up on that?)" to find the paper trail. Marty, having graduated from kindergarten, sees through that crap and points out she wanted the Pod to find it. And more importantly for Marty, the successful corporate shill and possessor of melanin rich skin, to soften any potential scandal by reassuring the public Carl Criswell is not a racist. Brynn give him the "it's just business" spill, but Marty's reached his breaking point and storms out. On the street with Jeannie, Marty rants about people's perception of him and selling his soul, but then hilariously and sadly points out "you can't sell something you rent." Then he lets Jeannie know he's leaving Galweather, and insinuates that she can have his job, before telling her porn clip "transcended the genre." Awww.

The next morning, Marty meets with Brynn and Criswell to talk about the ghetto loans. Marty, still angry, even mentions call the Justice Department, but they blow his threats off, and bring up how getting U.S. National as client would make Marty Julianne's go to guy. But Marty doesn't want to be Julianne's go to guy,  or anyone's for that matter, since he's starting his own firm, Kahn and Associates. And Marty wants U.S. National to be his first client, both so he can hit the ground running and so U.S. National looks like they actually give a crap about black people by supporting a black-owned business.  Upon hearing the news, Brynn says "okay" in a tone that screams "ahh, the ruthless shark I banged in my office is back!" while Criswell takes about three or four more trips around the mental merry go around before he finally gets it. Marty turn to the camera in disbelief at the chance this "fuck nut" might be president some day. Sigh.

The Pod finds some legal loophole to get Criswell out of any responsibility for the ghetto loans, and a fall guy to take the heat and public scorn. Jeannie, witness to what seemed like Marty's moral awakening, asks him if he truly realizes what he's doing, but he blows her off with his best tough guy PR spin. However, at the press conference, Marty's inner turmoil keeps bubbling up. He gives the prepared speech, but judging from the his self-loathing looks and way he struggled through it, sleeping may be hard for the foreseeable future. On the plane, Jeannie warns him that he can't do what he did at the conference and walk away unscathed. It's unclear whether she's talking about business or his emotional well being. More likely the latter.

Marty arrives home to find Malcom comparing himself to Malcom X, and, likely due to the day's events or because his little brother of full of it, cuts him down the size. Yea Malcom's just like Malcom X, minus the talent, personal struggle or charisma. The two trade barbs about Marty being soulless--and lacking a decent wine collection--before Marty takes off for another run. This time though, he gets stopped by a black and white cop, for no other reason it would seem than JWBWAH (Jogging While Black With A Hoodie). Marty drops a few F bombs, but has enough when one of the officers asks if he has a weapon on him. Marty pushes him away, and proceeds to catch a beatdown.

This episode has gotten mixed reviews by fans, and I'll admit on first viewing that the whole racial profiling scene felt heavy handed (particularly the hoodie--last week was the one-year anniversary of Trayvon Martin's death, a fact that would've been pretty hard for the creators and cast to overlook). And I might be tripping, but was Marty smiling at one point during his beatdown? Some self-flagellation for making a deal with the Devil perhaps?

In fact, the whole episode would've felt inconsistent if we hadn't already been getting signals--Tamara insinuating Marty's lost a part of himself, Malcom say he's a sellout, the realization he has no real power at Galweather--that Marty's big internal conflict this season would be keeping, or this case reclaiming, his integrity and independence or offering it to the highest bidder. In deciding to strike out on his own, he's made a step toward independence. Though deciding to fund his business with what amounts to little more than blood money doesn't give much hope for his integrity.

Friday, March 1, 2013

WATCH: AVAN LAVA "Feels Good" Video

Last year, I raved about indie pop band AVAN LAVA's fantastic single "It's Never Over," and since then, I've played their excellent Flex Fantasy EP, which is chocked full of of bass throttling, 80's-inspired synth pop with endless hooky melodies, non-stop.

Now the group has dropped a visual for "Feels Good," which melds the group's electronic and dance sensibilities with lyrics that touch on living out one's dreams and living in the moment without fear of judgement, both from others or from oneself.

I can hardly wait for their debut album. Watch "Feels Good" below.

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