Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Gay Marriage, Immigration Tackled In Film 'I Do'

A new film tackles the hot topics of gay marriage, immigration and the intersection between the two.

According to The Huffington PostI Do, directed by Glenn Gaylord and written by David W. Ross, tells the story of "a British gay man (Ross) working as an assistant photographer. After suffering the loss of his brother (Grant Bowler) and being required to help raise his niece -- not to mention falling in love and then having his work visa denied -- he comes to a crossroads and has to make an enormous life-changing decision."

The movie, which opens in select theaters and on VOD May 31, also stars Alicia Witt, Jamie Lynn Sigler and Maurice Compte. Find out more about screenings and events, visit the official website. Watch the trailer below.

WATCH: Co-Workers Help Gay Google Employee Propose To Boyfriend

For the record, the BF said yes:). Watch below.

Food For Thought: Jason Collins

I'm a 34-year-old NBA center. I'm black. And I'm gay. I didn't set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am, I'm happy to start the conversation. I wish I wasn't the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, "I'm different." If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I'm raising my hand.

No one wants to live in fear. I've always been scared of saying the wrong thing. I don't sleep well. I never have. But each time I tell another person, I feel stronger and sleep a little more soundly. It takes an enormous amount of energy to guard such a big secret. I've endured years of misery and gone to enormous lengths to live a lie. I was certain that my world would fall apart if anyone knew. And yet when I acknowledged my sexuality I felt whole for the first time. I still had the same sense of humor, I still had the same mannerisms and my friends still had my back.


Monday, April 29, 2013

Mad Men Season 6 Ep. 5 Recap: 'The Flood'

Photo: Michael Yarish/AMC

As always, spoilers lie ahead...

As with the assassination of JFK in season three's "The Grownups," in "The Flood," a national tragedy--in this case the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr--has stopped the the characters of Mad Men and their insulated world in their tracks. And just like "The Grownups" the crushing world events outside seep into everyone's personal lives, shaping or warping their decisions as well as their interactions with others.

Don and Megan haven't exactly been on the same page this season. Megan's career is blossoming while Don's is struggling at the moment, and when he isn't acting detached at her dropping bombs like having a miscarriage, he's calling her a cheap whore for doing a love scene whilst running off to bang Sylvia, his latest mistress and wife of his friend (or as close to a male friend as we've seen him have at this point) Dr. Rosen, a few floors down. Needless to say, they and we are a long way away from the halcyon days of "Tomorrow Land."

Though they seem all smiles as the episode begins, glammed up for an evening at an advertising awards banquet. Naturally they run into the Rosens, who announce they're heading to a conference in D.C. where Dr. Rosen is speaking. During their chit chat Megan explains she's up for an award for her work on Heinz baked beans, though it's worth noting she dismisses Sylvia's "you're really are good at everything" (well not everything) compliment by downplaying her crucial part in landing the account. You'd expect this would push one of Don's many buttons--I'll take abandonment and control issues for 200--but he's too busy making googly eyes at Sylvia to be notice--which is also why he had to be told they'd be in D.C. three times before walking out the door.

Once at the banquet, he gripes about SCDP being pushed to the back table, and stays back when Megan notices Peggy and goes over to say hello, but not before instructing her to tell Peggy her radio spot for laxatives is the sentimental favorite. Hmmm, I'm all for Don not taking the petulant brat route he's been traveling down this season, but I don't know if the words laxative and sentimental could, or should, ever belong in the same sentence. Anyway, Megan and Peggy hug, and Peggy congratulates her on her soap success, though admits she hasn't seen it, but says her mother and sister watch. "Do they hate me?" Megan asks with glee, an interesting position for her to take given Don hated her enough for her entire fanbase last week.

Peggy introduces her to Jim Culter, head of accounts for CGC (a.k.a Roger with bad breath) and after some rather depressing shop talk (both are nominated for they did work for SCDP, though both have jumped ship, and in Megan's case, so has the client she brought to the company) Peggy gushes about the apartment she's thinking about buying, but then tries to downplay her own success by saying she's only looking because of a tax problem. In a nice moment of sisterhood, Megan encourages her to enjoy what she's worked so hard for. It's soft call back to last season's "At The Codfish Ball," where Peggy gave her similar praise after landing Heinz.

Roger introduces Don to Randall Walsh, an insurance guy who clearly must be on some good LSD, as he tells Don they've already met and their meeting was a success. Walsh does seem to have been plunked down into the proceedings, but his strange manner (he doesn't even shake hands! He...waves) definitely added some much needed humor such a heavy episode. All is going well as guest speaker Paul Newman takes the podium ("I need binoculars," says Joan) until someone screams out Martin Luther King Jr. has been killed. Everyone of course reacts in shock and horror, but the show must go on. Megan buries her head in Don's chest, and while he does comfort her, he also comforted Betty during JFK's assassination. Or at least attempted to, as their marriage was officially over after she found out about his Dick Whitman past. Megan hasn't learned the truth yet, but Don's world is crumbing in every other area of his life, and it doesn't mean their union won't fall apart as well. Especially since he tries to out to call Dr. Rosen (meaning Sylvia) in D.C.

When JFK was assassinated,  Don was strangely detached, pushing Betty to attend Roger's daughter's wedding and telling her to turn off the news. While he doesn't avoid watching coverage of MLK's assassination and the subsequent riots, he's still checked out emotionally, forgetting to pick up the kids ("You don't even know how strange they're acting," Betty says),  and staying home while Sally, Gene and Megan go to a vigil, and knocking back the alcohol. Though he does take Bobby, who faked a stomachache, to see Planet of The Apes. 

Of course, the original's big reveal is Charlton Heston's character hasn't actually traveled to a foreign planet, but to a decimated Earth destroyed by humans. Part of me thinks Weiner's drawing parallels to MLK's death, the riots and the general insanity of the late 60's to the film is way too obvious; then again, it does strike a realistic chord as many who saw the movie at the time probably drew similar parallels while watching it. Bobby certainly does. "Everybody likes to go to the movies when they're sad." While he may have bonded a bit with Bobby, Megan joins Betty in calling him out for his aloofness with his kids. "You don't have Marx, you've got a bottle," she snits, referring to an awful comment her own father made about the assassination and connecting the dots between both his and her husband's cowardly attitude toward emotion. Though she also unwittingly makes a case for the "you marry your father" school of thought.

Anywho, her remarks give Don the opening for a quiet, reflective moment we only got a glimpse of at the end of "The Doorway," as he admits not feeling anything when his children were born and only pretending to love them, citing his own horrible upbringing. This would just come off as self-pitying if Don was exaggerating about just how much his childhood sucked, but most importantly, if he hadn't busted out this gem about finding love for his children. "Then one day they get older, and you see them do something. And you feel that feeling you were pretending to have. And it feels like your heart is going to explode." Don then goes to lie down in Bobby's bed. Bobby tells him he's afraid Henry may be shot. "He's not that important," Don says, both reassuring his son and getting dig at Henry. Don then heads outside and lights a cigarette as police sirens wail, the chaos of the streets and society now irrevocably at his doorstep.

Peggy's story covered somewhat similar territory, at least in terms of thinking about family. As mentioned before, she's looking to buy an apartment, and forgive me uber serious MM fans, but she so had a Sex And The City/Miranda moment when the broker assumed Abe was paying for the place. If Peggy is Miranda, Abe is certainly behaving like Steve, calling himself "a trusted adviser" instead of a boyfriend, and thinking of her money as her instead of "what's yours is mine." Though Peggy calling him "an interested party" isn't much better. Their relationship seems stable, but there is clearly some sexual tension going on between her and Ted, as was made abundantly clear by Ted sitting in Abe's seat (wink wink) at the banquet and the longing look he gave to her after saying she'd be a shoe-in to win an award next year. The news about MLK then calls Abe away to work, leaving her alone to see Don comfort Megan. Her secretary rams the point home when, referring to what felt like the inevitability of MLK's assassination, says "I knew it was going to happen. He knew it was going to happen. But it's not going to stop anything."

Peggy's "I'm so sorry," to her secretary irked me as being patronizing (i.e. "I'm so sorry your people's leader died) but it comes off as genuine. At least way more genuine than Joan's "We're all so sorry," complete with awkward hug, to Dawn when she arrives at the office. Dawn, who unlike Peggy's secretary (and like Peggy in the wake of JFK's assassination) wants to be in the office to take her mind off things, gives her a bewildered look that screams "Yes girl I'm sad too, but it was MLK, not my daddy." At first I figured  Dawn's reaction to the news would be a major subplot, and kind wanted things to go that way. But after further consideration, I'm glad "The Flood" didn't go that route. One, it would have been so cliche and obvious. Plus, we're just getting to know Dawn as a character (which is partly the show's fault, but hey, no use crying over spilled season five milk) and it'd be a little jarring to have an entire episode built around her. And in the end, Dawn's only a minor character; this is a show about a particular group and class of folks, and how their world is being turned upside by the events of history. MLK's death just brought the issue of race, something they've had the luxury to ignore, front and center for them.

But back to Peggy, who, after silently agreeing with her broker to engage in some scuzzy scheming to get the apartment (let the fear of the riots drive other clients away), doesn't get the place. "What are you gonna do?" Abe deadpans, causing Peggy to lash out at him that she feels alone in wanting to move. Abe tries to blame his flat reaction on covering MLK, which Peggy dismisses by accurately (IMO) telling him he's having a blast working on the story. Abe confesses he pictured them raising their kids in a place with more diversity, and fixing up a place together. Peggy looks thrown by this (their kids?) at first, but her face lights up and she reassures Abe he's a part of her life, so he gets a say in wherever they live. Looks like her mother may have been wrong about this one. Oh Pegs, beware of the extramarital affair.

Pete also reached out to Trudy, but was firmly (but I might say calmly, given the events) kept at arm's length by Trudy. It might explain his outburst with Harry at the office the next. Of course, most of his rage (as did mine) came from the fact Harry's an insufferable douche bag who only cares about money and ad space, so much so he can't stop whining about air time being sucked up by special reports on the assassination.This is shouldn't be a surprise--after all this is the same man who referred to the civil rights movement as "stirring up trouble" and dismissing it as "bad for business." He deserved every ounce of Pete's indignation. God, I can't believe I'm on Pete's Campbell side in something.

Compared to his partners, Pete has always been forward-thinking and pragmatic when it comes to race. He recognized the potential for black consumers when it came to Admiral television a few seasons back, brought up buying ad space in Ebony and Jet, and recoiled at the sight of Roger in blackface. His reaction doesn't come off as fake or patronizing, but it's hard not to see some of his own personal drama fueling his anger; while he's obviously very much alive, he's basically dead to Trudy and Tammy, except as a figurehead to keep up appearances.

Ginsberg got some screen time this week, and went out on a blind date his father set up. The scenes with he and his date Beverly gave him the chance to show some endearing vulnerability to go along with his general kookiness, and the two do seem to have some chemistry, but it didn't resonant the way Don and Peggy's story arcs for me. His father telling him tragedy is the perfect time to snag a girlfriend may come off as sleazy, but isn't off base. Though Ginsberg's desire to couple up may come less from actually liking Beverly and wanting to escape his father.

Henry and Betty's story line interested me the least, but it did lay some groundwork for future episodes. Henry was called in to work the riots, making sure the mayor came out looking good and maintaining his popularity. The back alley dealings with corrupt cops and dirty politics of dealing the unrest make Henry sick. Sick enough to go for the state senate. Betty is happy for him, and the chance of becoming a senator's wife seems to be inspiring her to drop the extra weight in a way nothing else could, if looking at herself in mirror with one of her old dresses is any indication. But is that what she really wants? The way she strokes her now black mane and walks away makes it appear as though she may be conflicted going to back to her old existence as a trophy wife.

Of course, I could be reading too much into the scene, but what's Mad Men without a little (or a lot) of overanalyzing?

Other Thoughts:

--Am I the only who thinks Bobby 5.0 looks like he could be Andrew Rannals's (Girls, The New Normal) son?

--Who else thought Stan was on cloud nine during the meeting with Walsh?

--Weiner hinted with Abe (Peggy saying he was "having the time of his life" covering MLK's assassination and the riots) and with Henry (being exhilarated going Harlem) but I wonder if they'll explore the idea of the media/politician/reporters getting a thrill from covering violent/dark subject matter? Season five's "Mystery Date" dealt with this somewhat, but it'd be interesting to explore in the context of Abe and Peggy's relationship, and the affect it could have on them

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Out Basketball Player Brittney Griner Signs Deal With Nike

When it comes to being out and proud in professional sports, our lesbian sisters are doin' it for themselves. Just days after coming out officially, basketball star Brittney Griner signed a deal with Nike, which according to the 22-year old, is "big time."

While some athletes worry being out might cost them endorsements, Nike has made it clear they will back "anyone thinking about becoming the first openly gay athlete in major U.S. team sports — the company wants him as an endorser," according to Rick Welts, an openly gay basketball executive."

Of course, Griner isn't the first openly lesbian WNBA player, but the Nike endorsement is significant. Hmmm...wonder when one of the boys will step up?

Duke University To Offer Health Insurance To Transgender Students

This is welcome news. Duke University will begin offering student health insurance coverage for gender reassignment surgery, joining just a handful of other institutions that offer similar coverage. The new plan, which will begin this fall,  will include up to $50,000 to cover reassignment surgery.

"'The addition of sexual reassignment surgery with a $50,000 cap makes Duke’s student health care plan one of the most, if not the most, transgender-inclusive plans in the country,'” Sunny Frothingham told The Chronicle. Frothingham is the incoming outreach chair of Blue Devils United, a campus LGBT undergraduate advocacy group.“This is a huge step forward for Duke.”

Blue Devils United President Jacob Tobia believes the new policy will be helpful in recruiting students.  “This is really important symbolically for the Duke community,” said Tobia. “I hope that this will help us remain really competitive as an institution when recruiting students, because I know that in the past we have had transgendered students that have been extremely successful at Duke, including merit scholars.”


Monday, April 22, 2013

Mad Men Season 6 Ep. 4 Recap: 'To Have And To Hold'

As always, spoilers lie ahead...

After three hours of focusing primarily on the men of Mad Men, this week's episode, "To Have And To Hold," was a decidedly more female-driven affair, as we caught up with Joan and delved more into Megan's career. And of course, Dawn who finally got a story line. Yay!

As far as theme goes, the episode's title is an obvious reference to marriage (and the soap opera Megan appears in); but it can also apply to relationships in general,  particularly how one can feel bound to roles and ties they feel they have outgrown. And, as Don and Pete's foiled caper shows, breaking said ties can have consequences.

Joan is certainly caught between her old role as office queen bee and new role as partner. She seems at home with the latter when chatting over dinner her mother and friend Kate, an ambitious Mary Kay rep, as they give her props on her success. But a minor secretary scandal at SCDP reminds her that those who know the truth don't see her partnership as a triumph.

After firing Harry's secretary Scarlet for skipping out on work and having Don punch her time clock--which, FYI Scarlet girl, if you're gonna traffic in deception, you need to do a hell of a lot better than doing the "no no no," panic wave behind your boss's back--Harry pitches a fit against Joan's "dictatorship" and tells Scarlet to go back to her desk. "Do whatever you think is best," Joan tells her in steeliest voice and stares at her so intently you'd think the poor girl is about to incinerate before walking into a partner's meeting. Of course on one level Joan's reaction is more than slightly hypocritical; she had many a lunchtime dalliance with Roger back in the day, and while she's definitely about her business, I highly doubt Joan never played hooky. Then again, she only skipped out during lunch hour or after work, so maybe the issue isn't so much Scarlet had some fun, but she had it on company time. That and the fact she was so indiscreet, a cardinal sin in Joan's world.

But back to Harry, who, fresh from putting out a fire with Dow Chemical by making them sponsor of  a family-friendly variety show, is feeling his oats, and barges into the meeting to finish what he started. Honestly, I expected this to another Harry Krane whipping boy fest, but he goes for the jugular. "I'm sorry my accomplishments happened in broad daylight, and I can't be given the same rewards...the next time this group is called to order I expect to be sitting at this table. I actually earned it."

As much as I loath and laugh at Harry 90 percent of the time, he has a point. He created the TV department from scratch, and has pretty much been running that ship solo ever since. He may be a skeeze, but he's a survivor, and like Peggy before him, has not been given his due, in part because everyone still thinks he's a complete joke. However, the venom he spews at Joan is particularly vile. Perhaps if he hadn't been so clueless as to how great she was the reading scripts/advising clients gig back in season two, she would've moved up SCDP's ranks in a more humane way. Of course Joan still chose to sleep with Herb, but maybe she wouldn't seen that as her only option if other, more legitimate doors to advancement weren't slammed in her face.

Adding direct insult to vicious shade, the rest of the partners overrule Joan's firing of Scarlet and stop whatever punishment she had in store for Dawn to keep up a facade of workplace diversity. After a day like that, who could blame Joan for having a girls' night out with Kate? If anything, the scenes between them provide Christina Hendricks the chance to deliver some hilarious lines ("I need a drink, and this place is a soda fountain."). The confrontation with Harry clearly hit a nerve. "You did everything smart" she says to Kate, recalling a failed marriage to a guy named Scotty. Though her mood picks up a bit when she realizes Kate wants to get lil' out of town action, and switches into a role she's perfected: a master interpreter and manipulator of men and their affections. Having been stripped of any power at work, she exerts it elsewhere; though I have to admit she looked as out of place as Betty in Greenwich Village in that psychedelic club.

The next morning, through runny mascara and messy hair, Kate expresses regret for her one night stand, while Joan reassures her everything will be back to normal when she gets home. Think of it as a softer version of Don's "it will shock you how much it never happened" line. Anyway, Kate goes on to express admiration for Joan's survivalist skills in staking out her territory in New York and in life. "I always had Dennis to fall back on. You didn't," Kate says. "And I never will. How did that happen?" Joan responds, sounding resigned to the reality she may never have a permanent man in her life. What seems to bother her more though, is her status at work. "I've been working there 15 years and they still treat me like a secretary," she says.

Something clicks though, when Kate tells her it doesn't matter what the other partners or anyone at SCDP thinks; she's there and the opportunity is hers for the taking. In a way, the moment is an echo of when Joan bluntly told Peggy to stop dressing like a little girl in season two's "Maidenform." Joan has the power and the position, now she just has to accept it herself. Her handing off the punch clock and supply closet keys to Dawn seems like a step in that direction. Though her warning to Dawn--"Don't thank me. You don't understand this is a punishment--is ambiguous. Is she saying Dawn is the new Joan, resented by other secretaries for spoiling their fun and dismissed by the men as a frivolous secretary in an important but thankless job? Damn, I guess it's not that ambiguous.

Of course Dawn doesn't just have to deal with being a woman in the workplace, but a black woman as well. It's why she was hired and why she kept her job after her snafu with Scarlet; she and SCDP are bound together. Though it's a tense relationship at the moment. Dawn doesn't get why everyone is so edge, or men cry in elevators or women in bathrooms, or drink their livers away, or hang themselves in their office. It's definitely not a place to find a husband, as she tells a friend/bride to be after said friend drops the bomb that her date for the wedding fell through.

Their scenes touch on race in both of personal terms--as when Dawn talks about how there are less of "us" on the train she takes to work, until it's just her and the shoeshine man, who doesn't give her a second glance--and in work terms as, when her friend rightly points out Scarlet asked her to punch her out so if things hit the fan, they could blame the black girl. Her friend calls her out for being scared to speak up, but as Dawn points out, "What am I gonna do? Throw a brick through their window?" Unlike said friend, she's not on the fast track to matrimony, so going along to get along is the better strategy at the moment.  In some ways their conversations parallel Joan and Kate's, and it's nice to finally get Dawn's perspective, as she's an outsider to both the advertising world and the upper-middle class white men and women who occupy it. It's also notable Dawn wants Joan to like her, as it looks like she's on the same career girl/perpetually single path as both she and Peggy have traveled.

Out of the three main story arc's, Don's interested me the least this week. But maybe that's because we've seen so much of him earlier. Anyway, Don was not as his best in "To Have And To Hold"; he and Pete attempted to pull off a secret coup a la season three's "Shut The Door. Have A Seat" and season four's "The Chrysanthemum And The Sword" by meeting with Heinz Ketchup behind Raymond's back and failed miserably, and he ruined Megan's big love scene on her soap before going off to sleep with Sylvia.

But first the pitch; while it was great, the true surprise (or in Don's mind, more like treachery) came when he, Stan and Pete walked out to see Ted and Peggy. What's worse, his former protege has taken a liking to using some of his patented phrases ("If you don't like what' being said, change the conversation"). Long story short, Peggy's pitch's didn't win the account either, as Walter Thompson swooped in and, as Ted reveals "bought it in the room." Cue a pissed off Ken, who says Raymond found out about the secret meeting and has dropped SCDP. "There's nothing better than being be known for your loyalty," Ken spits before storming off. While Don was the target, his words definitely hit their mark with Peggy as well.

Ted, who under other circumstances would enjoy watching Don flail, does try to commiserate,  does try to commiserate, saying big companies throw scraps out for the small firms like them to fight over. But Don being Don, he can't lower himself to find common ground with the enemy. "Speak for yourself" he says, walking off, not giving Peggy so much as a glance. Stan of course, is more transparent with his feelings, and flips her the bird on his way out. Aww, I'll miss their late night phone calls. Maybe they'll dial and make up? Yeah right.

Don broke his business ethic of loyalty, and it cost him, but he doesn't pick up on how that could also be costly in his personal life. No doubt seeing Peggy succeed without him with things he taught her put him in the worst head space possible to see Megan's first love scene. Though it's not as if he was over the moon about that in the first place. Over dinner with her co-star Arlene and her husband Mil, she tries to downplay the potential steaminess of her scene, but the Arlene and Mil don't follow her cues. That's because they got other things in mind, like inviting Don and Megan over for some weed and group sex. Oh yes, the swingers have arrived, but Megan and Don choose not to partake.

With all that in mind, how else could things have ended after he watched her scene than with a vicious fight in her dressing room? "I don't understand why you'd do that to yourself," she says, before calling him out for never stopping by the set until now or even watching the show.  "I'm sick of tip toeing around you every time something good happens to me," she snaps, but Don's got plenty of emotionally damaging shots to fire off. "You kiss people for money. You know who does that?" he says, an ugly (and enlightening) remark in light of last week's whorehouse flashbacks.

"You couldn't stop it, so I guess ruining it is enough for you," Megan says. Oh honey, but Don's not done crapping all over your big day yet. He tells her to go to dinner with Arlene and Mil, since "they're much more open-minded." A cruel thing to say, especially since Don laughed off the whole swinging invitation with Megan in the cab on the way home earlier, giving her a false sense of security that he was fine with her job and with her love scene, then pulling the rug out from under her.

Speaking of rugs, Don picks up a penny under Sylvia's so he knows he can go inside her and Dr. Rosen's place and get lucky. The two start their usual  dance, until Don asks her to take her cross off. She refuses, saying it means something to her. Don (jokingly?) asks if she prays for absolution or for him to come back after they finish. "I pray you'll find peace," she says, stroking his now pensive face. Oh Don. Just when I'm ready to write you off you get all human on me.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Attack of The Man Leggings

Apparently man leggings, or "meggings" are the latest thing. Chile no....just no. What's next, Jheri curls? Parachute pants? Lip Liner? Would you slip on a pair?

WATCH: Transwoman Arrested For Exposing Breasts, Jailed With Men

As a commenter said over at The Advocate, if she was arrested for being topless (which personally I don't see the big deal about--I mean nipples are nipples), why be jailed at a men's prison? Watch the report below.

WSAV: News, Weather, and Sports for Savannah, GA

College Hoops Star Brittney Griner Comes Out

College basketball star and Phoenix Mercury number-one draft pick Brittney Griner has come out in an video interview with Sports Illustrated. 

When asked why professional women's sports seem to have more openly gay players than their male counterparts, Griner said "I really couldn't give an answer on why that's so different. Being one that's out, it's just being who you are... again, like I said, just be who you are. Don't worry about what other people are going to say, because they're always going to say something, but, if you're just true to yourself, let that shine through. Don't hide who you really are."

Griner said the decision to come out "wasn't too difficult. I wouldn't say I was hiding or anything like that. I've always been open about who I am and my sexuality."

Second and third round draft picks Elena Della Donne and Skylar Diggins, who also appear in the video, say they support openly gay players. Watch the video below.

'Ex-Gay' Focus on The Family Figurehead Denounces Past

John Paulk, who at one time was one of the leading faces of the "ex-gay" movement, has spoken out against his past in an interview with a local gay newspaper in Oregon.

Paulk told PQ Monthly that "I have made many mistakes and I have hurt many people." Now he's working at "giving generously to the gay community in Portland where I work and live." Though as The Advocate reports, some gay activists are skeptical of Paulk's change of heart.

"It is not enough to simply send an e-mail that says, 'I'm sorry,'" Besen said in a news release touting the story in PQ Monthly. "John Paulk must work to atone for the damage he has done to LGBT families by taking a public role in renouncing and working against the harmful 'ex-gay' industry by embarking on a speaking tour to show that he truly has changed. Further, he should advocate for a bill in Oregon that would ban so-called 'reparative therapy' for minors. Only then can he start to repair the damage he has done to countless LGBT people and their families."

Paulk himself says the last decade has been "a journey" to "understand God, myself, and how I can best relate to others."

While it's great Paulk has changed its tune, I agree with Besen that he burned a lot of bridges back in the day  as an ex-gay poster boy, and may need to do more to make amends. What do you think?

Monday, April 15, 2013

Mad Men Season 6, Ep. 3 Recap: 'The Collaborators'

As always, spoilers lie ahead...

Last week's double-header season premiere "The Doorway" used lighters, Hawaii, Dante's Inferno and one train wreck of a funeral to dredge up old demons to illuminate how unhappy Don (to an extent Roger) are with their lives. This week's "The Collaborators" pulls back a bit more of the Don/Dick curtain via a few flashbacks to a whorehouse he grew up in. No doubt the experience has had a lasting affect on his relationships with women, along with knowing his birth mother was a prostitute.

But more than that, "The Collaborators" was about all the alliances people make in their personal and work lives every day to meet various ends, more often than not selfish ones. The private and public places where secrets are shared, plans are made, and true feelings are poured out and laid bare. The episode also showed how those same alliances can wreak havoc on other relationships. But most importantly, we learn Trudy Campbell's personal anthem should be "It's Not Right, But It's Okay."

Let's start with Pete and Trudy shall we? We find the former Manhattan dwellers at the tail of end of a night entertaining two couples. The women are asking Pete questions about the musical Hair and asking for tickets, with one being particularly flirty. Meanwhile Trudy is fending off leering stares and bunny costume fantasies from the women's husbands. The second the couples leave, Trudy and Pete lapse into their bored suburban couple routine and grumble about having to feed every new face that moves into the neighborhood.

What's telling though, is Pete isn't even the slightest bit irked by another man flirting his wife about skinny dipping in his own pool. Then again, Trudy didn't seem all that bothered by her husband chatting up the other women--in fact, compared to last season's "Signal 30," dinner party, where Trudy held court with the wives and Pete showed off his toys to Ken and Don, the two are mismatched in who they're supposed to be entertaining, at least in the traditional sense. If anything their disinterest in each other shows their collaboration doesn't go beyond keeping up appearances. Or, as we'll shall, it's on the verge of breaking down entirely.

In that context, Pete bringing one of the women, named Brenda, to his Manhattan abode is hardly a shock. Though Pete still went out and did his thing when he and Trudy were happy, so maybe the only surprise is the woman in question is the one who was all flirty and obvious. The apartment certainly has made Pete more secure in his douche baghood, as he responds to Brenda's excitement over the affair--buying toilet paper for the place, arranging secret phone messages and the like--with a flippant "Can you move it along a little?" post-coitus. Last year's dalliance with Beth brought him to the brink of absolute desperation; now it's simply "NEXT!"

If you're like me, you probably thought the writers were going to drag this Manhattan/cheating arc over a few more episodes. But surprise! Brenda's husband finds out, gives her a bloody nose and kicks her out. Naturally she ends up at Pete and Trudy's doorstep. Pete is/acts concerned at first, though Trudy had to be wondering what the husband's "hey Campbell! She's your problem now," comment meant. He momentarily freezes when Trudy asks him to get something from Tammy's room to treat her wounds, scared of leaving his wife alone with his latest tryst but also afraid to draw too attention to himself by not doing what his wife asks. Later on, they try to call a friend or relative for her to stay with. While Trudy goes to get ice, Pete and the Brenda make small talk:

Pete: "What did you say to him?"

Brenda: "Take me to the city. I wanna be with you."

Pete: "Absolutely not."

Personally, I would have gone with a "chick please. Are you insane?" But that's just me. Pete finds a hotel room for Brenda, and she asks to take him. Pete then fumbles his last attempt to come off as chivalrous instead of suspicious by offering to call a cab. Trudy offers to drive Brenda herself, and even though Pete tries to backpedal and offer, it's too late. The look Trudy shoots him a look as they leave that says "I know that you know that I know, and that's all you need to know."

The next morning Pete tries to Don Draper the situation by kissing her on the cheek like nothing has happened. But Trudy is no Betty and she calls him out immediately for his indiscretion, as his lack of it--sleeping with a neighbor less than two blocks away--is what bothers her the most. As twisted as that idea is (bang whoever you want honey, just make sure it doesn't make me look bad) it was their own unspoken agreement, and now Pete's broken it.

The two trade barbs, and Peter asks if she wants a divorce--and, forgive me while I pull up a chair and gorge on popcorn--opening the door for Trudy snaps back with an epic read that would make Joan weep with joy. "This is how it's going to work.  You will be here, only when I tell you to be here. I am drawing a 50-mile radius around this house and if you so much as open your fly to urinate, I will destroy you." Game, set and match. Pete tries to save face with some crap about her going to bed alone and being unsure, but who is he kidding? If any woman on this show fit the definition of The Good Wife, it was Trudy, and just as Don destroyed whatever was good about his life with Betty and the kids, so did Pete lay waste to his family.

Of course, Don can't exactly lay claim to the moral high ground right now. The man who just pulled up his pants on the world a season ago has let them drop once again. He's being just as reckless as Pete with his affair with Sylvia and the end result could be just as disastrous.

A brief flashback to the whorehouse of his youth cuts to him in bed with Sylvia. She asks about whether their affair makes him feel bad, but true to form, he responds with an "I don't think about it." Of course Don's "don't think about it/move forward" approach to living is well known at this point, but what's fascinating about their conversation is they the both talk about their spouses as if Arnold and Megan are a random, annoying couple (Don: "They're good company." I think I just felt the temperature drop) they're forced to hang out with and as if he and Sylvia have been together for years. It's an interesting peek into the private, alternate universe in which affairs take place and flourish.

However, in the light of day--or in a crowded restaurant--things are much different. "Just because they cleared their place settings doesn't mean we're alone," Sylvia snaps at Don once Arnold leaves to treat a patient. Don though, refuses to feel bad either in private or in public and calls her on it. "You only want to feel shitty up to the point I take your dress off," he says in a tone both sexy and just a bit menacing. "Don't pretend." Though for Sylvia, what's eating at her is the fear that if Megan showed up to dinner, she'd be the one getting her dressed ripped off. Don reassures her that's not the case and her top does indeed drop after dinner. Mid-kisses/heavy breathing, she apologizes for being jealous and tells him neither of them can fall in love. "This is just us here tonight," Don whispers, offering further evidence that's he regressing back to compartmentalizing his life and the people in it.

The other half of the Drapers isn't having that great of a week. Megan suffered a miscarriage and confides in Sylvia, who's supportive up until the point Megan expresses relief over not having to get an abortion. She tells Don, who says he wants she wants, which seems like the right thing to say. But when you think about it, his response really sounds more like he's placating her, keeping a safe emotional distance from her/their problems without having to get his hands dirty by answering how the news makes him feel and what he wants to happen. Maybe if Megan weren't so vulnerable at the moment, she'd pick up on this detachment disguised as sensitivity; but given her state, it's understandable she'd rather be reassured than mull over suspicions.

While all's fair in love and philandering, Don's a model of loyalty at work. "Dance with one that brought you,"  he tells Ken when Raymond from Heinz beans brings in Timmy, a coworker who's interested in bringing Heinz Ketchup to SCDP. Though he makes it clear via a tirade that Don is to give Timmy none of their business. Raymond, weak and mercurial as he is, believed in the company when they were at a low point, and like Mohawk and Freddy Rumsen before him, Don's got a soft spot for the underdog. But he still has a rebellious streak, as seen when scuzz bucket Herb from Jaguar makes an appearance (earning him a hilarious put down from Joan--"I know there's a part of you, you haven't seen in years").

When Herb suggests SCDP shift the marketing from the upscale clientele Don's pitch centered around to a radio-driven one targeting middle of the road customers, Don seems like he'll reluctantly tow the line. But in the meeting he snuffs out the idea via a subtle, horrible pitch (the used car bit was a nice touch) that on the surface extols Herb's idea but reinforces to his partners that Jaguar's marketing should target men of some means. Don's main reason for bucking the plan was most likely his hatred of Herb, and it was great to see him in screw you mode, particularly after watching his Hawaii pitch go down in flames (or drown in the depths of the sea) last week.

Though his victory looks to be a temporary one. After another flashback to the whorehouse, during which young Don witnesses his Uncle Mac consummating things with his stepmother, we cut to him standing at the door to his apartment, Instead of turning the key, he simply slumps down and sits in the hallway, looking utterly exhausted. It's worth remembering that Don once said he liked Uncle Mac "because he was nice to me." Don's mother issues are always front and center, but if the only versions of manhood he had growing up were his abusive, alcoholic father, a random hobo and kindly, gigolo stepfather, his daddy issues still have plenty of fertile soil to be tilled.

Peggy's story was pretty similar to last week's--she's the Don of her agency, instilling fear, admiration and loathing from her underlings, etc. But now that Ted has asked her to use the information she got from Stan about Heinz Ketchup to land the account for their agency, the lengths she'll go to honor her professional and private collaborations while keeping both intact could provide some exciting moments.

--Other Notes

--More Joan. Now! Granted, we're only three episodes in, but I'd like to see how being partner has affected her life outside of work.

--Peggy has her own Dawn, or in this case, Felicia!

--Am I the only who thinks Ted Chaough looks a bit like a grown up Bart Simpson?

Friday, April 12, 2013

Parental Advisory

Rick Santorum just can't understand why students at Grosse Point High School in Michigan would need their parents' permission to hear him speak. There could a plethora of reasons, but off the top of my head: Probably because you've done things like tell the mother of a gay son that her child doesn't deserve to be married and is engaging in "unhealthy activity" and compared gay relationships to bestiality.

But keep on guessin' Rick. Watch below.

DC Shelter Accused Of Rejecting Trans Women

A privately-operated Washington D.C. shelter for homeless women, funded by the local government, is accused of violating the city's Human Rights Act by turning away transgender women unless they provide "documentation" of a legal name change or gender reassignment surgery, according to separate complaints filed by the two transgender women.

According to The Washington Blade, two women say employees at the John L. Young Women's Shelter said they could not be admitted because of their transgender status.

An attorney with the D.C. Trans Coalition filed the lawsuit on behalf of Lakiesha Washington against New Hope Ministries, Inc. of Woodbridge, Va., which operates the John L. Young Women’s Shelter under a city funded contract.

One of the suits was filed on behalf of Lakiesha Washington says Washington "who was homeless, attempted to gain admission to the shelter on April 3, when the lawsuit says the alleged discriminatory action took place. An unidentified female employee at the shelter asked Washington, 'Are you a woman or a man,' the lawsuit says. “Ms. Washington replied, ‘I’m a transgender woman.’ The employee then asked Ms. Washington if she had any documentation, to which Ms. Washington replied that she did not.

The lawsuit says the employee then told Washington, “We don’t do transgenders here. You have to leave.”

John Shetterly, executive director of New Hope Ministries, which operates the shelter under a city-funded contract, says the organization is "taking immediate steps to make structural changes to better accommodate transgender women and plans to hold a special staff training session to address transgender-related issues."

Read more HERE.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

WATCH: 'We Are Not Monsters: Revelry' Trailer

We Are Not Monsters: Revelry is an in-the-works documentary by Ethan Sigmon and Sam West about the perception of atheists by religious leaders, media pundits and pop culture (which in this case means Steve Harvey). The duo expect to release the film this year, but still need help gathering coins to finish it.

Check out the two trailers and visit their official website to donate.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Random: It's 3 A.M. I Must Be...

What do you think about at three in the morning (or whenever things are quiet and contemplative for you)?

Batgirl's Roommate Comes Out As Transgender

Something for the comic book buffs: With characters like out lesbian Batwoman and the openly gay Green Lantern, DC Comics have shown themselves to be friends to the friends of Dorothy. Now with Batgirl #19, in which the superhero's roommate Alysia Yeoh comes out to her as transgender, the company has expanded its inclusion of LGBT characters.

"Look, we have a problem most media don’t have, which is that almost all the tentpoles we build our industry upon were created over a half century ago… at a time where the characters were almost without exception white, cisgendered, straight, on and on. It’s fine — it’s great that people love those characters. But if we only build around them, then we look like an episode of The Andy Griffith Show for all eternity,” Batgirl writer Gail Simone said. 

Simone, who said she wanted her characters to reflect the diversity she saw among comic book aficionados, says Alysia will be more than just a token character. Alysia "will be a character, not a public service announcement. Being trans is just part of her story. If someone loved her before, and doesn't love her after, well — that's a shame, but we can't let that kind of thinking keep comics in the 1950s forever."

Read Alysia's coming out below.

Washington State Sues Florist For Refusing Gay Couple's Wedding

Washington state's Attorney General has filed suit against a florist who refused to provide flowers for a gay couple's wedding, citing her belief in Jesus.

"According to the [Seattle] Times, attorney general Bob Ferguson filed the lawsuit in Benton County Superior Court Tuesday against Barronelle Stutzman, who owns Arlene's Flowers and Gifts in Richland, Wash., after the florist refused to serve a longtime gay customer, citing her 'relationship with Jesus Christ.' Just days earlier, the AG's office issued a letter asking Arlene's to comply with state law. 

"Under the Consumer Protection Act, it is unlawful to discriminate against customers on the basis of sexual orientation," Ferguson said in a statement. "If a business provides a product or service to opposite-sex couples for their weddings, then it must provide same-sex couples the same product or service."

The suit argues that Stutzman violated the state's laws by refusing to provide the gay couple with flowers, and is seeking $2,000 in penalties along with a permanent injunction requiring her to comply with state law, which recognizes marriage equality. Stutzman attorney charges that his client's religious beliefs are being targeted, as she has gay and lesbian employees and customers.

"This is about gay marriage, it’s not about a person being gay," defense attorney JD Bristol told the Times. "She has a conscientious objection to homosexual marriage, not homosexuality. It violates her conscience."

Aaah, the old "I'm not against gays. Some of my best friends are gay" defense. Of course, if she's so gay-friendly, it makes even less since for her to turn down a gay couple. Regardless of her personal reasons, she is the owner of a business that serves the public and should follow the law.


Monday, April 8, 2013

House Of Lies Season 2 Ep. 12 Recap: 'Til Death Do Us Part'

As always, spoilers lie ahead...

At the end of my recap of last week's "Hostile Takeover," I lamented the show seemed to be taking the easy way out character-wise by having the Pod close ranks and gloss over any emotional impact Marty's decision to take Mr. Pincus as a client over Carlson would have on Clyde, or closing a deal solo would have on Doug's self-confidence. Thankfully I was very wrong. In fact "Til Death Do Us Part" was this season's, if not the entire series's, most emotionally volatile episode, as Marty gets what he wants at the expense of destroying everything around him.

"Til Death Do Us Part's" plot, like last year's season one finale "The Mayan Apocalypse," is revealed through a series of flashbacks for each of our foursome. We start with the Pod, plus Sarah, taking a photo for she and Doug's wedding (Waah? Yep.)  Everyone's arguing and being pissy with each other, before the photographer snaps a picture and the shot freezes on Jeannie. Cut back to earlier in the day in L.A., where Marty is meeting with "the kids" about the final stage of their escape from Galweather. Doug suggests doing a little more research before setting up a new shop. On cue Clyde mocks Doug, and they go back and forth until Jeannie tells "Team Dipshit" to listen up.

Marty explains Carlson is out and Pincus will be the client they close and take to Kahn and Associates. Clyde entire face deflates as it dawns on him he's the latest victim of Marty's ruthlessness. "You knew about this?" he asks Jeannie, who confirms and he walks out. Marty picks up on the tension, but, in a self-absorbed move that will come back bite him in the ass, doesn't follow Clyde to explain the change in plans or calm him down. Truthfully, Marty could have kept Carlson on and taken him to the new firm. While he is a certified nut, Marty's main reason for screwing Carlson over was to payback Tamara for her betrayal. He could have chosen to close the deal with Carlson, let Tamara take what she needed and leave for DeMarc's  and take the whole affair on the chin. But Marty always shoots first and thinks later, and much of what follows is a sad, lonely comeuppance for that mentality.

But back to Jeannie. She asks if everything is okay post-Tamara, which Marty dismisses with a "fuck that" and tells her to get her purse so they can check out their new office space. "I like it," she says, and the two trade playful husband and wife quips. They embrace and we cut back to Vegas, where Clyde is delivering a wedding toast. At first it looks like Clyde is going his usual douchebag route, dissing Doug and pissing off Sarah. Then Clyde gets real, for want of a better phrase, calls Doug his best friend and says he admires him. What's in that champagne, mollies? After his toast Jeannie gets up and walks over to Marty, and tells him she needs to talk to him.

You know where this is going, but wait! As the they walk off we flash back to the group and freeze frame on Doug. Cut to Doug and Sarah in L.A. at dinner, with Doug on some man-crush rant about Marty and the Pod, and comparing them to the Fantastic Four (Just FYI, Marty's Reed Richards, Jeannie's Sue, Clyde is The Thing and Doug deems himself the human torch. Doug is so not Johnny Storm, but movin' on.) Even with all his gushing, he's a bit torn about whether to see what opportunities develop at Galweather or whether to stay with the Pod. Sarah tries to get a word in as dessert is served, and picks at her food until she spies a ring.

Cue tears, champagne and kisses and Doug internally freaking out before freaking out in front of Jeannie and Clyde the next day. Jeannie expresses disbelief over him taking another girl's ring, while Clyde calls him out for not telling Sarah for because the bonus of getting a free ring. "Absolutely not...entirely," Doug says. Oh Doug you tightwad. Doug stops Marty in the hallway and asks him to do a reading at his wedding. Marty doesn't say anything, but the "hell to the naw" look on his face pretty much says it all. Fast forward to Vegas and Doug in a kilt as Sarah walks down the aisle. "With this ring, I do commit myself as your everlasting lover," he tells her. "May it encircle your finger, the way I will encircle you." Umm yeah. Doug looks at Marty gives him a genuine smile, while Marty nods and smirks before checking his phone again.

That moment erases any doubts Doug may have had about staying behind at the firm. He wants to talk Sarah about it--mid-vow exchange of course--but Sarah's got a secret to spill. It turns out she orchestrated the whole proposal, free ring and all. "It's pretty batshit crazy," Doug says, and she concurs, but saves herself from permanent residence in psycho town by telling him he doesn't have to go through with the wedding. "I really need you to forgive me. Because I don't know what I'd do if I lost you," she says, tearing up. Doug looks like he doesn't wanna hear it at first, but realizes no one's ever been scared of losing him before (a dig at Marty perhaps?) and decides to go through with it.

We flash back to the group photo and the shot freezes on Clyde, who's got a particularly self-satisfied grin on his face. Cut to Clyde's face in Marty's office when he realizes he just got screwed and he walks out with Doug following behind. Clyde goes on a rant about the aborted Carlson deal, the deal with the Dushkins and all the money he won't be earning because of Marty. "This was supposed to be a game changer for me and he just does whatever the fuck he wants without even thinking," Clyde seethes. Doug misinterprets his anger as just being another "Marty's an a-hole," dish session, but it's not until Clyde confesses that he really thought of Marty as a friend that Doug almost starts to get he's serious. Marty again notices the tension, but chooses to ignore it and leaves with Jeannie.

Knowing how insightful and perceptive Marty is about people makes those little moments all the more frustrating. His gut/intuition is likely telling him something is up, but he's either so arrogant that he believes Clyde and the rest of the Pod will follow him no matter how he treats them, or is too afraid to "lower" himself to their level and consider their feelings. No matter now, as Clyde is too through, and meets with the Anti-Christ, a.k.a. Monica, for lunch. Monica, of course, is dismissive, and after Clyde pushes away her foot from his nether regions, bored. Though she does offer some harsh truths. "I did not agree to this lunch to play shrinky Mommy to your man crush on Marty Kahn. He breaks hearts, you know that," she says. She then blows off his claim that he was instrumental in the Carlson deal. "Why should he take you seriously? Better yet, why should I?" Monica's got one heel out the door until Clyde tells her he's about to make her mountains of cash.

And with that we're back to the group photo once again. Marty's complaining about getting the picture over and done with, when--oh snap!--a fist makes a love connection with his face! The camera freezes on a bloody lipped Marty and we flash back to him at Galweather, getting into the elevator. He looks up from his phone and sees Julianne, standing in the corner and staring at him like a black widow in the mood for fly chow. He tries to escape, but she draws him back into her web (last arachnid reference I swear). Julianne mentions a conversation she had with Carlson, and predicts Galweather will get after work from online gambling. Marty more accurately predicts Carlson's a big bag of a crazy who wants to toy with him for his own sick pleasure. "As long as we get paid, right?" Julianne says, before fist bumps are exchanged.

Marty walks over to Tamara and hands her info for the Vegas trip. She tells to she's not doing his bidding, but he shoots back that if she doesn't, he'll crush her deal with DeMarc. Checkmate. Fast forward to Vegas, where Sarah has surprised Doug with a huge cake replica of Harvard. As I've said before,these two belong together. Clyde asks about the Pincus deal, and Marty tells him to chill out. Marty checks his phone but sees all his information and contacts have been erased. Uh oh. Marty immediately thinks the rat is Tamara, and confronts her in her hotel room.  She denies it, and oh, there's her ex-husband/maybe still her husband Kevin, standing at the door with her. "Marty I would never do that to you. We have way too much history," she says in a quiet, steely voice. "I would never," she repeats, which on the surface just sounds like an honest denial; but read between the lines and you can almost hear her saying "because I may be a little trifling, but I still have a soul."

Marty bids them adieu and heads back into the lobby, and nods at Jeannie to come over. She babbles for a bit about breaking up with The Dildo King before bringing up their blackout escapades after last season's failed merger. "I love you," she says without a trace of snark. Marty's response? "Jesus Jeannie," he spits, before going into a spiel about Julianne and Carlson and the Pincus deal. "You're gonna pick now to tell me about your school girl crush?" Jeannie looks devastated but gives him one more chance. "Don't tell me Marty that you don't know that there's something here and whatever it is has you too scared to move a muscle." Marty being Marty, he plays dumb and asks her what she wants him to say.

Jeannie storms off with Marty in pursuit until Doug hops in his way and asks to talk. He tells him he's staying at Galweather, and it's hard to tell if Marty is sad, disinterested or just surprised. He pushes Doug aside and goes into the ladies room where Jeannie's fishing something out of her bra--a jump drive with all his contacts--gives it too him and storms off. Marty asks Doug for a phone, and they start to pose for the photo when who lands a sucker punch? Carlson! I know, the gray sweater totally had me thinking it was Kevin with a surprise attack too.

The two start going at it, and Marty demands to know who Carlon's mole is. Clyde reveals he's the one who dimed him out to Julianne and he's taking Carlson with him to Monica's firm. Marty lunges for Clyde before Carlson throws him onto the table where the Harvard cake sits. Carlson strangles Marty while hurling a thousand threats, until Jeannie, who loathes Marty right now but isn't in the mood to see him die, knocks Carlson out with a gift. The cake slides down and splatters all over our two combatants. Sarah lights into them for being jerks, and Doug goes all old school Sean Penn on the photographer's camera before they walk off. Jeannie picks up Doug's phone and a "ain't this some ish" look settles on her face. "Pincus deal closed. Congratulations Marty," she says, dropping the phone on his chest and leaving him to have his cake and eat it too.

The whole fight scene was great. Though the first thought that came to mind when I saw the look on Marty's mug after Clyde dropped the bombshell was "This is so Don Draper." Though Don probably wouldn't throw down at a wedding--he saves that for drunken nights in the office with dudes named Duck.  Of course, Mad Men and House of Lies are too vastly different shows. And Marty Kahn and Don Draper are two different men living in two very different eras (had Don met Marty back in the day he'd probably mistake him for Hollis the elevator operator). But the two are alike in that they hold others to a high ethical standards while doing whatever to whoever they please, no matter the collateral damage. Marty's also like Don in that he treats relationships, and people in general, as disposable commodities, rather than individuals who can help him achieve his goals. They demand absolute loyalty while offering little to none in return.

Marty shows off his office space to Jeremiah and Roscoe and the toast to Kahn and Associates. Roscoe asks where Clyde and Doug's offices will be, and if Jeannie's coming. Marty bobs and weaves well enough for him, but Jeremiah can see the writing on the wall. He opts out for a quick psychoanalysis though, and tells Marty he's proud of him. Marty walks over to a window and calls Jeannie's cell, but Jeannie, on a plane to somewhere, doesn't pick up. He leaves an awkward message, at one point pausing while his reflection eggs him on to come clean about his true feelings.

"I can't do this without you okay? I can't do any of it without you," Marty says. Just when it looks like he's about to drop the L word, he chickens out and put his bravado back up. "So stop being a baby," he says, before the beep sounds and both me and mirror Marty are shaking our heads. "You're a fuckin' idiot," mirror Marty says, and it's hard to disagree.

In the end Marty did/does need Jeannie. He also needed Doug and Clyde. But he didn't value any of those relationships beyond how they could serve him, so everything fell apart. Season one ended with the Pod sticking together and surviving, no matter the cost to their personal lives. "Til Death Do Us Part" ends with the Pod imploding because of their leader's single-minded selfishness. Marty's always managed to hold his work life together but now that's, if not completely shattered, definitely damaged. One the personal side, aside from Jeremiah and Roscoe, he's an island unto himself.

It was pretty daring of the show to end the season on such a dark note, when they could have easily wrapped things up with some rote Las Vegas insanity and have Clyde and Doug fall back in line as they tag along with Marty to the new firm Olivia Pope and Associates style. But these aren't gladiators in suits, these are sharks (well maybe not Doug, but he's finally getting some fins), and it'll be interesting to how the four of them swim solo once season three starts up. Especially if we get more episodes like this ambitious finale. See you in January.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Magic Johnson Talks About Son's Coming Out, Expresses Support

Yaasss. NBA legend and HIV/AIDS activist Magic Johnson has come out in strong support of his gay son E.J., who earlier in the week was filmed by TMZ walking down a Los Angeles street holding hands with another man--not to mention rocking a coat straight out of Andre Leon Tally's closet.

'"We've known for a long, long time that my son E.J. was gay," the Johnson said in an interview with TMZ. "It's interesting, you know, when you're his parents — we finally had to sit down and talk about it, and I told him, 'Look, I'm going to love you regardless. Just let me know: Are you or aren't you?' And finally, he just said, 'Yes, I am.' [...] Because he wasn't going to to come to me with it.

"[...] It was, I think, a hard conversation only because he was so young, and what do you tell him at that age? What do you say to him?" Johnson continued. "But other than that, I told him, 'Hey, we are here to support you, and we're going to love you no matter who you are and what you do. We just want you to love yourself and just make sure that you have all the information.' And that's what I wanted to give him — just provide him with advice and guidance."'

Johnson's obvious love for his son his refreshing, particularly at a time when Ms. Tyler Perry is throwing the gays and those living HIV under the bus (scratch what I posted a little while back about being here for Temptation. After reading some of these articles, the most it'll get of my time is a bootleg viewing and cruising for Lance Gross pics on the 'net). Hmmm...I wonder what Magic would to say about TP's latest production? To E.J., be happy, snatch edges and prosper.

Anyway, watch Johnson talking about E.J. and on athletes coming out below.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

WATCH: Melissa Harris Perry Guest Snatches Off Her Wig To Make Statement About Black Hair

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

I'm a few days late on this, but it's still fabulous. A segment on this past Sunday's Melissa Harris Perry Show on MSNBC tackled the politics of black hair. To make a point that all hair types are beautiful, University of Pennsylvania religion professor Anthea Butler snatched off her own wig to show her natural gray hair. Watch below.

Republican Senator Mark Kirk Announces Support For Marriage Equality

Illinois senator Mark Kirk has joined Ohio senator Rob Portman as the second sitting Republican senator to come out in support of marriage equality.

"When I climbed the Capitol steps in January, I promised myself that I would return to the Senate with an open mind and greater respect for others," Kirk wrote on his blog today, after taking a break from his duties to recover from a stroke. "Same-sex couples should have the right to civil marriage. Our time on this Earth is limited, I know that better than most. Life comes down to who you love and who loves you back — government has no place in the middle."

According to Freedom To Marry's Evan Wolfson, Kirk is the 50th senator to voice support for marriage equality. "Senator Kirk's heartfelt words about values of treating others as we'd all want to be treated in our precious time on this planet powerfully make the case for the freedom to marry — and the need for decision-makers to end marriage discrimination in the United States," Wolfson said.


Monday, April 1, 2013

House of Lies Season 2 Ep. 11 Recap: 'Hostile Takeover'

As always, spoilers lie ahead...

One episode away from the season finale, this week's penultimate episode "Hostile Takeover" saw relationships fall apart and our foursome pull back together, raising the stakes both personally and professionally as Marty and The Pod plan to flee Galweather.

We open with a shot of Jeannie riding shotgun with Nate (The Dildo King), whom she called after she got a flat tire, to work. The two exchange sweet banter about flat tires and road side assistance before Jeannie takes off and is greeted in the elevator by the boys. Clyde makes a comment about being surprised Jeannie showed up, which causes Doug to marvel at the fact the entire Pod is in the exact same place at the exact time. Which probably happens, I don't know, innumerable times throughout each work day? The moment seems primed for a standard "STFU Doug" from Clyde or Jeannie, but Marty hands the task off to a cleaning lady. Hi-fives are had all around.

Tamara and Marty walk into his office, where Marty unveils that he has a venture capitalist interested in bankrolling Kahn and Associates. Tamara is less excited though, and reminds him of the pending Carlson deal and how much is riding on closing it. Marty tries to assure her that she can handle Carlson on her own, and that all is well, but she pushes him to stay on. In light of forthcoming events, the real reason for her anxiety is pretty clear. But Marty's so blinded by love/infatuation/sex that he ignores the red flags flapping in front of his face. "Do this for me," she says, and promises to do "the unspeakable" if he comes through for her. Draw your own mental conclusions/pictures for that, 'cause I'm kinda at a loss.

Back at the kids' table, Clyde is being, for lack of better word, a jealous prick, riding Jeannie for making "personal" calls to have her car towed. He's doing his usual shtick of cloaking his insecurity in arrogance, bragging that his club expansion plan will bring mountains of after work to Galweather once he sits down with the Dushkin twins. That's right, the douche boys are back in town.  Clyde gets in a low bow dig on his way out about Julianne's Pod offer not being based on merit. Doug, with all the subtlety of a two-ton sledgehammer, gives his apologies for Jeannie's car troubles, before using them to make a segue way that's about as transparent as Saran Wrap as to why Jeannie should be Sarah's "L.A. gal pal" and "Sex and The City it up." Jeannie scolds him for his dated pop culture references.

Doug pleads for to give Sarah a chance, but before we hear him give a shout out to a Beatrix Kiddo/Copperhead-style meetup, some random club rap drowns him out, signaling the arrival of the Dushkins. Their entrance is about as douchey as you'd expect, as the twins strut in in garish shades, pimp canes, pseudo-tough guy swag and duds they probably got from dumpster diving in Ari Gold's and Bishop Don Magic Juan's trash. Jeannie tries to veer out of their eyesight, but is snared into the meeting anyway.

Clyde starts to talk about his plan to expand the Dushkin brand through global nightspots, but the boys want to go the P.Diddy route--clothing lines liquor, and cologne. Speaking of cologne, they've made a prototype and christened it Snatch by Dushkin. Which smells exactly like...well, you know. Marty enters and exchanges idiot hand signals before recoiling from Snatch's scent and asking Jeannie what's the deal with her lady parts. Jeannie shifts the blame to the bottle, and Marty declines a Snatch spritz, opting instead to take in the "contact Snatch." The lesser of two evils I suppose.

Marty changes to the topic to Carlson, and the twins explain he's not happy with Marty at the moment, being that he blew him off for the P&G deposition. "When it comes to business he's an extremely sensitive soul," one of the twins says. I'd settle on a lunatic insulated by enough money to live in his own pissy ferett, manic-depressive world, but that's just me. Like Tamara, the twins have a lot riding on this deal, and pressure Marty not to screw it up. After Marty leaves, Clyde tries to shift the conversation back to a viable business strategy but the Dushkins have their hearts set on Snatch and set off to do a little focus group around the office.

Jeannie mocks Clyde until she can stand the stench no more and books it to the ladies' room. Julianne pops out of a stall, and zeroes in for her patented face-to-face intimidation until she gets a whiff of snatch and recoils. Hey, maybe it does have a benefit. Julianne'a off her game a bit anyway; her cool exterior cracks as she tells Jeannie she went to a business school reunion and learned from old classmate Karen Anderson, CEO of Demarc Consulting in New York, and according to Julianne, "the most passive aggressive narcissist you will ever meet (hmmm, better take a look in the mirror sister)" that one of her girls is making a move. Jeannie assures her she's isn't planning on making a move anywhere, and Julianne, regaining her terrifying aura, goes on a rant about New York. "I do not understand. People can think they can fuck me over," she seethes, making the trash can top spring up with a steely step of her heel, "and get away with it." She walks off, leaving Jeannie wide-eyed and frightened in her wake.

Mary heads out to meet his venture capitalist, but gets ambushed by Carlson, who has a copy of the deal in Vegas and will sign it, if Marty will ride with him. Marty agrees and the two set off on a bizarro road trip that ends with them in the dessert. Carlson asks Marty if he's ever run into a problem he couldn't solve and proceeds to unlock the back of his Hummer, revealing a stash of high-powered guns. Given how unstable Carlson is, I wouldn't blame Marty for thinking he was about to sleep with the scorpions.

Back at the office, Sarah has arrived for her BFF tryout with Jeannie. After attempting to commiserate on boss-employee affairs, during which Jeannie mistakes the Rainmaker reference for Marty, Sarah spots Tamara and engages some horrible, fake junior high "ugh we hate her" spiel before waving to Tamara as she passes by. "No wonder her husband left and moved to New York," Sarah says, causing Jeannie to put two and two together and tell Sarah she needs to make a phone call. Sarah interprets this as Jeannie attempting to blow her off, and drops the act, explaining she only went through with the whole "let's be friend" charade because she loves Doug.

This seems to leave an impression on Jeannie, and she makes a call to the man she loves. Nate? Of course not. Marty, who's getting a mouthful of the watermelons he's setting up in the desert for Carlson to shoot at. Fun right? Jeannie reveals a source told her Tamara has taken a job with DeMarc in New York. Which also explains her reason for wanting to close the Carlson deal so badly. Marty's hurt by Tamara's betrayal, and is likely more than a little shocked--he's used to being the user, not the one getting used. As Tamara reminded Marty and told us back in "When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth," Marty hates being on the receiving end of a surprise. Probably even more so from someone he genuinely cared for. I mean who else besides April has he wanted to introduce to Roscoe?

Marty being Marty, his hurt lasts for about one point two seconds before he switches into revenge/conqueror mode. First on the list is ditching Carlson, which he does by duping him into thinking he's actually having a good time blowing watermelons to bits, then taking off in his car. True to crazy-ass form, Carlson flips out and takes a shot at Marty as he drives away. Next is dropping by rival casino owner Mr. Pincus, pitching the  online gambling he rejected in the season opener and explaining that not only are all the successful casinos doing it, but Carlson wants to take his under performing casino over.

I groaned when I first saw this playing out. Fooling Pincus once by putting out the Carlson bait and him taking it once, shame on him. Putting it out there twice, shame on the writers. It felt lazy and unrealistic that a successful businessman wouldn't want proof his most hated rival was really trying to sabotage him. Fortunately Marty provided proof in the form of Carlson's cell phone--conveniently left in his car no less, but I'll roll with the plot manipulation--that contained the numbers of city officials. City officials who've done things like deny Pincus permits to keep him from renovating. Pincus's desire for revenge beats his stubbornness to resist technology and a deal is struck.

Clyde's still struggling to make the Dushkin twins see Snatch cologne and man scaping products for boys aren't exact the stuff global brands are made of. Deciding a divide and conquer strategy would be better (and pretty easy, considering they have one brain between them) he convinces one twin the other is jealous and trying to drag him down the wrong path. Or something like that. The twin buys it hook, line and BS, and Clyde strikes a deal. Unbeknownst to him though, is that all his trickery is for naught, now that the Carlson deal is dead in the water and the brothers won't be getting that hefty finder's fee from Carlson. Since she's in the know, Jeannie tries to temper his excitement, but Clyde's jerkiness wears her down and she leaves him to his delusions. Jeannie tells her that Sarah really loves him, and Doug concurs, causing Jeannie's mind to drift to thoughts of Marty.

Marty arrives home to find Jeremiah staring out at Tamara, who's alone on the terrace. After crushing his dad's hope that Tamara's not exactly wifey material, he offers Tamara a glass of wine, and fills her in on the details of his latest coup. Tamara stammers and says she would have told him about New York. "Sorry I hurt your feelings," she says in a voice that's all business. He cuts through her crap and says she screwed him. In a sad, ironic moment, she says, "How far did you think this thing was gonna go? You think I don't know who you are? I know exactly who Marty Kahn is."

Apparently she didn't know him as well as she thought.  In fact, the last line makes her entire dalliance with Marty suspect. At first she criticized him for selling out, then encouraged him to strike on his own, but didn't believe in him enough as a businessman or a boyfriend to go further down either road with him. Was she really in love with him and got scared, or was she being manipulative all along? Her trepidation is understandable--after all, this is the same man who paid own his brother to go away, tap danced to cover up racist business practices by corporate imbeciles and stole his then-pregnant wife's prospective client while she was in labor with his child. He's got issues aplenty. But he was also equally willing to run off with Tamara and at least try to build a life with her. In the end though, Monica was right in that neither walked away unscathed.

Interspersed with Marty and Tamara's breakup are shots of Jeannie and Nate getting down with the get down. All would be beautiful in this love nest except that Jeannie can't help but blabber about Marty and Tamara. Or about Tamara's betrayal. Or about how wrong Tamara is for not being straight up with Marty about going back to her husband. Talking about your boss's love life while banging your current sorta boyfriend? Girl stop the madness! And she does (in mid coitus no less), knowing that Nate was a good guy for which there was no logical reason to break up with, but knowing herself well enough to (finally!) acknowledge her feelings for Marty.

Marty makes a call to Jeannie to assemble the troops at the office. Cut to a shot of Marty greeting the rest of the Pod and telling them to soak Galweather in. "Come this time tomorrow. We know longer work here." Honestly, I was kinda let down at the sight of Doug and Clyde. On one hand, it's great the Pod is sticking together and hatching a grand escape. On the other hand, it would been great to see the tensions play out between Clyde and Marty after the latter basically destroyed the business he schemed so hard to get. It also would have been interesting to see what the fallout would have been if Marty found out about Doug's solo success. If anything, the second scenario would have left a much bigger cliffhanger for next week's finale. But I'm sure Julianne will bring the drama.

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