Saturday, August 31, 2013

WATCH: Trailer For '12 Years A Slave'

Ejiofor (L), Fassbender (R)/Fox Searchlight

12 Years A Slave, based on the true story of Solomon Northup, a freeman who was kidnapped by traders and sold into slavery, might rival Lee Daniels' The Butler come awards season. The movie, directed by Steve Mcqueen, has already sparked a big buzz at the Telluride Film Festival and inspired whispers of Oscar talk.

The film stars Chiwetel Ejiofor (2012, American Gangster, Salt), Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt (who also acted as producer) and Alfrie Woodard (so you know I'm here for this).

The trailer almost plays like a somber version of Djano Unchained (i.e. slavery and it horrors minus the spaghetti western overtones). Watch below.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Question: Do You Know Where You Going To?

Do you like the things that life is showing you (who knew Miss Ross could be so existential)? And, with yesterday's 50th anniversary of MLK's March on Washington in mind, what are your dreams? For yourself? For the world?

Monday, August 26, 2013

My Reaction To Miley Cyrus' VMA Performance

I had to summon the power of three to properly describe the level of shade I must throw at...whatever Miley Cyrus was doing on stage last night. Britney, Bey, and Madonna pretty much mirror the stages of my reaction--confusion, mild abhorrence, and finally, bemused detachment.

Honestly I've never felt strongly one way or the other about Miley Cyrus, her image or her music, though I appreciate she's a friend to the gays. Regardless, what the hell was that? Giant teddy bears all over the stage (a furry's wet dream come true, if that's what you're into), supremely awkward dancing followed by random, regrettable twerking on Robin Thicke dressed as the Hamburglar? I mean, that was some visual and audio egregiousness I have not had the misfortune to watch since Britney Spears' '07 VMA implosion.

And while we're on the subject, when did twerking suddenly become the "new" dance trend of 2013? I type new in quotation marks because anyone with at least a cursory knowledge of the last 10 to 15 years of Southern rap history knows twerking ain't nuthin new under the sun or the stripper pole. Neither are the grills Madge seems so fond of sporting all of sudden--but let's focus on Miley. Did everyone just decide to erase "Get Low," "Whistle While You Twerk" from their cultural memory and not tell me? Then again, everyone caught amnesia when it came to the bastardization of the "new" Harlem Shake, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised.

All that aside, it was a horrible performance. Not because of the raunchiness; by all means if you want to bring the sexy and provoke folks Miley, then shake your shimmy girl. But it wasn't polished or effortlessly choreographed a la Beyonce/Janet, or trashy flashy like Rihanna. Nor was it intentionally off-beat, provocative or artistic in the style of Madonna, Gaga or Pink. It just looked like a little girl dancing in her skivvies shouting to world "Ooooooh, look at me being bad. I'm SO outrageous!"

It reminds me of when Christina Aguilera was in her "Dirty"/Stripped phase and was flashing her goodies all over the place. She was so intent on eradicating her bubblegum image and proving "I'm a big girl now" that everything else got swallowed up in the hoopla. It was all flesh but little substance. Thankfully her vocal chops and musical output from that period was strong enough to withstand the backlash. "Don't Stop" and "Party In The USA" are good pop fluff, but chile I'm not certain we'll being saying the same about Miley's catalogue a decade from now.

Chile watch this foolishness.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

One Big Bloodbath: True Blood Season 6 In Review

Head over to Kerry Ann Butler's blog to check out my piece "Back From The Dead: How True Blood Got It's Groove Back," where I offer four reasons why season six was a marked improvement over the bloated mess of season five.

Here's a preview:

Problem: Fairies and witches and fire demons, no more!–It’s a given True Blood would and will always have supernatural creatures lurking about in the backwoods and bayous of Bon Temp. Relationships between vampires and humans, along with the occasional shifter, manaed and werewolf, are the foundation on which show is built. But somewhere along the line, say, the end of season three to the tail end of season five, True Blood‘s universe became overrun by werepanthers, witches, witch ghosts, mediums, fire demons, fairies, alternate fairy dimension burlesque clubs, fairy baby mamas—well, you get the picture. At a certain point the show lost it’s original small-town, Southern Gothic appeal, splitting the entire cast of the characters off into what felt like a million separate plots. When a show is juggling that many plates in the air, some of them *cough* Ifrit demon *cough* are bound to smash to bits.

Solution: Get Rid Of The Dead Weight—Warlow may not have gotten his dream wedding with Sookie Stackhouse (hard to say “I do” when you’re a puddle of goop), but if the only thing the 6,000-year-old fairy-vampire hybrid ever did was slaughter all the fairies at the burlesque club, a.k.a. The Moulin Fae, he earned his stripes in my book. New showrunner Brian Buckner promised  True Blood would dial back the supernatural zaniness on his watch, and he meant business. Luna croaked in the season premiere, and three of Andy’s fairy daughters bit the dust courtesy of a hungry Jessica. Except for the scourge that was the werewolves, tensions between humans and vampires were what mattered most. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Wentworth Miller Comes Out, Rejects Invitation To Russian Film Festival

'Sup Snowflake! Wentworth Miller, best known for his starring role as Michael Scofield in Prison Break, has used an invitation from the St. Petersburg International Film Festival as both an opportunity to come out and slam Russia's anti-gay laws. Read the letter in it's entirety below.

Dear Ms. Averbakh:

Thank you for your kind invitation. As someone who has enjoyed visiting Russia in the past and can also claim a degree of Russian ancestry, it would make me happy to say yes.

However, as a gay man, I must decline.

I am deeply troubled by the current attitude toward and treatment of gay men and women by the Russian government. The situation is in no way acceptable, and I cannot in good conscience participate in a celebratory occasion hosted by a country where people like myself are being systematically denied their basic right to live and love openly.

Perhaps, when and if circumstances improve, I'll be free to make a different choice.

Until then.

Wentworth Miller

Member, HRC

Member, GLAAD

Member, The ManKind Project

Police Search For California Trans Woman's Killer

Police are searching for the murderer of a California transgender woman. According to NBC's Los Angeles affiliate 32-year-old Dominque Newburn was killed around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday in her apartment in Fontana, California.

"Officers responding to a call from neighbors found the residence’s front door unlocked and the victim’s body near a window, indicating she may have been trying to escape from her assailant.

The San Bernardino County coroner's office reported that Newburn’s body showed signs of physical trauma, but the cause of death is not yet determined.

Neighbors said they saw a man in his late 20s or early 30s of average height and build leaving the scene in the victim’s black 2004 Mercedes C240 sedan. The California license plate number is 7AAY925. KTLA reports that he was seen taking a computer and clothes from Newburn’s apartment."

Newburn was a cast member of the Web series Hollywood House Boys, a reality show about four friends attempting to make it in the entertainment business. The show had been put on hold in 2010 but had recently gone back into production. Watch the NBC report below.

Janelle Monae Covers British Lesbian Mag 'Diva' Speaks On 'Queer Communities'

The uber fab "ArchAndroid" Janelle Monae graces the September cover of British lesbian magazine Diva. The star is making the media rounds to promote her latest release The Electric Lady, but also took the time answer a question on how she feels being associated with a queer label, which she recently referred to in Billboard as "queer communities."

“I think we are all… um… part of each other and when someone from the queer community is discriminated against, or not treated like a human being, it bothers me. As a woman, a black woman, there are parallels to that. I mean, my community, being an African-American, we’ve had to deal with slavery, Jim Crow laws – my ancestors dealt with that. So I connect all the dots, between the ex-communicated, the untouchables, the immigrants and the negroids. As different as we may look or feel, we are all connected. So I guess that we do feel connected to the queer community, and as an artist I should speak out against things that are evil. To me, treating someone as if they are less than you is an evil act. It’s my job to use my platform to speak out against it.”

Speak out girl. The Electric Lady is set to drop September 10, and will feature guest appearances by a who's who of avant garde R&B, including Prince, Miguel, Solange and the inimitable Miss Erykah Badu, who joins Monae on the aptly titled "QUEEN." Watch the video below.

WATCH: Behind The Scenes At David Beckham's H&M Bodywear Campaign

David Beckham and skin-tight underwear go together like peanut and butter, and while this behind-the-scenes clip of the former soccer phenom's H&M Bodywear Campaign isn't on the level of his delicious H&M underwear commercial, this will definitely make do. Watch below.

Monday, August 19, 2013

True Blood Season 6 Ep. 10 Recap: 'Radioactive'

Photo: HBO

As always, spoilers lie ahead. Now read on so we all grab beers and vampire protection at Bellefleur's Bar and Grill...

Hell. To. The. NO! They fucking killed Eric Northman! There he was, just casually reading a book in the nude on a snowy mountaintop, when Warlow magic fairy juice wore off (more on that in a minute) and he started to incinerate. This couldn't be happening. It had to be a nightmare Pam was having because she couldn't find him. Surely she'd wake up screaming to face a frightened Ginger, fire off a bitchy comment at her and go back to fretting while cursing his existence. But alas, that was not the case. My mind was screaming "Don't burn baby! Dig baby, dig! Dig a freakin' snow coffin!" but once a mythological creature screams "NOOOOO!" and the camera pans out, you know it's wrap.

Or maybe it's not. After all, we didn't see the requisite explosion and pile of red goop we've come expect when the true death strikes. Maybe there's still hope. Maybe Pam swooped down and shoved them both into a cave and he healed! Yeah, that's it. Chile, I know I'm sounding irrational, but take a minute to realize what this means. No more shirtless Eric. No more naked Eric. No more sexy eyes or dreamy smile or seductive flirtation. It was all taken from us in less than five minutes, while Terry damn Bellefleur gets an hour-long sendoff. I mean what the hell? He and Pam could have at least banged their way into oblivion. At least they had the decency to let Eric go out in a blaze of full frontal glory. Jason and Alcide better step their game up in the showing skin department, 'cause they won't have Northman to pick up the slack for their lazy (though admittedly tight and firm) asses anymore.

*Sips tea, massages temples, counts to ten*

But seriously, on a character level the death of Eric irrevocably alters things in the True Blood universe. While certainly compelling in his own right, Eric always served as the charismatic bad boy yin to Bill's brooding, self-loathing yang. Where Bill was always fighting his vampire nature, his loyalties swinging which ever way the wind blew him (Sookie, Queen Sophie Ann, the AVL, The Authority, Lilith) as he searched for an identity, Eric, save for the occasional witch spell, always knew who he was and reveled in it. Where Bill is often crippled by indecision, only taking action when others scream at him or come to him in a vision, Eric is a man (or vampire) of action, and his plans were more than often not, wildly effective. Like Bill, he could be duplicitous and manipulative, but he never pretended be anything other than ruthlessly interested in his own, and to a degree Pam's, self-preservation. In other words, love him or hate him, what you saw is what you got. Even when Sookie wasn't in the picture, their dynamic was still compelling, especially when Bill transformed into Billith.

Now that Eric's met the sun, who will be there to balance Bill out, now that Lilith's powers have drained out of him and he's back to plain old Bill? Alcide is an okay guy, and will likely be a big part of season seven now that he and Sookie are playing house, but he's not a vampire and even if he was, he's no Eric. And I don't even want to think about how Pam's going to react. I complained earlier about the swiftness of his death, but when I think about it, how else could Eric have bitten the dust? He definitely wasn't suicidal, so the chances of him slurping down Hep V-laced True Blood were slim to none. And he was too strong and smart to be taken out by a random human vigilante. His demise had to be one he never saw coming, and the fae blood wearing off was the wild card he didn't predict. Although his departure is highly unfortunate--and could prove highly problematic if the show doesn't wrap its head around how to deal with his absence--it leaves a gap for other vampires, such as Pam, Tara and Willa, to step into a more prominent roles.

Okay, enough about Eric *tear*. The big "what if" going into "Radioactive" was whether Sookie would become Warlow's vampire fairy bride. Or, more accurately, how the writers would find a way for Sookie not to become his bride, as it became pretty clear when she started to give Warlow the "let's take things slow" speech they weren't going to be getting his and her coffins anytime soon. Warlow doesn't take the news well; he back slaps her and ties her to a maypole, explaining he's not interested in sharing her with her "friends of low birth." Sookie summons her vamp-killing light ball and dares to throw it away so she'll no longer be fae, but as is often the case comes to matters of the heart, she's all talk and no action.

"You really are a danger whore, aren't you?" Warlow says as he reinforces her restraints. "You risk everything on the belief you are special." You don't have to tell us Warlow, but for Sookie it could bear repeating. Further illustrating she should go with her first mind with it comes to men, he tells her her original instincts about him were right as he begins to suck her dry. Though as we all know, there really is always someone willing to save Sookie, and this time it's a rag tag crew of Bill, Adeline, Violet, Jason and Andy, who use Adeline to get to the fairy realm and rescue her. Warlow, being ancient and all, proceeds to kick everyone's ass, and is about to make Sookie his when guess who pops out of the nether realm? Grandpa Niall! He holds him while Jason comes in to provide the fatal stake to heart, and it's bye bye Warlow. Though if Warlow really wanted lock things down with Sookie, he'd have disposed of Violet instead leaving her on the floor to wake up and unglamour Jason. But I digress.

I really didn't expect any other outcome than Warlow meeting the true death, but it was disappointing to watch Sookie play no real role in his defeat. What happened to the badass who broke into Russell Edgington's house and staked Lorena, gave Debbie a beatdown, or hell, even attempted to stake Billith? Using her fairy bomb to destroy Warlow would have both freed her from the immediate danger and from the perpetual cycle of attracting vampires and the chaos they bring with them. There would have been no turning back. Instead, she watched helplessly as the good men in her life destroyed the current bad man in her life. You might as call her Princess Peach.

Warlow's words about her belief in her uniqueness may have left a mark though; six months after his death she's dating Alcide and going to church with him in her Sunday best, her life for all appearances being one of any young Southern girl in a committed, vampire-free relationship. She even reels off a pretty blunt assessment of her years with Bill when he says he can be trusted again: "Even at your best, I could never really trust you." Snap! Sookie's not the only one who's changed; Sam's the mayor of Bon Temp, Arlene now owns Merlotte's, now known as Bellefleur's Bar and Grill, and Jason still hasn't gone all the way with Violet (talk about a big buildup). The vampires are back to being creatures of the night, as Warlow's death rendered their day walking abilities moot (hence Eric's flaming on), but Hep V has still managed to spread to the masses, infecting vampires across the country and causing them to feed on humans in desperation.

Bill has taken the lead on the epidemic, writing a book (copies of which should be available on Amazon, if True Blood's marketing team is smart) about Vamp Camp and the origins of the Hep V and popping up on talk shows promising a new openness between humans and vampires. He and Sam have also come up with a controversial solution for the problem; all humans who aren't carriers of the virus will pair up with an uninfected vampire, so that said vamp can feed and said human can be protected. Yeah, that went over real at the church service/town hall meeting, as some folks waved their funeral home fans and walked out. But the plan provides the opportunity for several frayed vampire-human relationships to be mended. Jessica bravely reaches out to Andy, offering to protect him and Adeline, to which he begrudgingly agrees. Lettie Mae offers herself to Tara, in a nice scene where she apologizes for abandoning her after she was turned, and takes full responsibility for her failings as a mother.

Sookie's taking her chances with Alcide, being cordial to Bill but refusing his protection, or any other vampire's. But if the final shot of a herd of Walking Dead-esque vamps shuffling towards Bellefluer's Bar and Grill is any indication, she better have a hell of a back up plan.

All in all, it's been a good season of True Blood, arguably the most consistent in the show's entire history. Much of the residual crap and supernatural zaniness from past seasons was cleared away (though the werewolves somehow managed to stick around for way too long), to focus on a main plot where the stakes felt real and urgent. Not having a veritable encyclopedia of magical creatures left space for the show to reconnect to its down home roots and its characters, paving the way for an episode like "Life Matters," or scene's Eric's meltdown over Nora in "In The Evening."  The latter has been this season's real strength as the show finally found the courage to let the bodies hit the floor, and to mine the aftermath for emotional resonance. Death and human-vampire relationships actually mean something again. And now that humans and uninfected vampires must literally depend on each other to survive, they stand to mean even more in the season ahead.

Other Thoughts:

---Nice touch having many of the black and white congregants sit the opposite sides of the church before the good reverend cajoled them into mixing together. It showed the segregation that still goes on in many church services (the most segregated hour in Christian America as MLK said). The vampires may lurk outside, but prejudices still exist on the inside.

--Where the hell is Pam? Don't take away my Pam True Blood. I like my campy horror mixed with detached, snarky color commentary, and Pam is the voice for that.

--Sarah Newlin's obviously gone into hiding, as she probably would've been on some right-wing talk show speaking out against Bill's book if she weren't. Hopefully Anna Camp will come back for season seven so we can savor more Whore for Christ insanity.

--All seems well, if a little strained, between Jason and Violet. But being Jason is a known horndog and Violet has a possessive streak a mile wide, I don't how long things could remain good between them. Now that the Hep V vamp herds are out, their union will likely end up being one of mutual survival.

---Is anyone surprised James fronts an alt-rock band? Me neither, though I'm glad they didn't try to mold him into a wannabe Lestat.

What are your thoughts on this season?

Friday, August 16, 2013

Justify My Love

Madonna, a.k.a, the Queen of Pop, a.k.a, Creamy Smooth Pop Icon Goddess, a.k.a. the Queen of The Universe, a.k.a Madge, turns 55 today. Ya'll know I LOVE me some Madonna--can't wait to snatch up the MDNA tour DVD so I can reminisce and gag until my heart's content--so get into a few megamixes below.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Russian TV Anchor Comes Out On Air, Gets Fired

Russian TV anchor Anton Krasovsky has been fired after coming out on-air earlier this year.

"I'm gay, and I'm just the same person as you, my dear audience, as President Putin, as Prime Minister Medvedev and the deputies of our Duma," he said, according to an interview with He was reportedly fired from KontrTV, a government-backed cable network that he helped launch in December, and the footage of his announcement was quickly deleted from KontrTV's website and YouTube.

In an interview with CNN, Krasovsky said he knew he would be fired for coming out, but felt it was important to take a stand. Though the studio audience and crew applauded after his announcement, he went into his dressing room and cried for 20 minutes, before being fired a few hours later.

"They immediately blocked all my corporative accounts, my email. Literally immediately, overnight," Krasovsky said. "They deleted not only my face from the website, but also all of my TV shows, as if I’d never really existed. The next day I wrote to [network head Sergey] Minaev that I was totally shocked. Because it takes them half a day to put up a banner when I ask them to, and here we had such efficiency. One could say they can when  they want to. Now they’ve put everything back, but you couldn’t say why, really."

One reason they may have put everything back is because of the international heat Russia is catching for their anti-gay laws, which in turn has generate new interest in Krasovsky's story.

Food For Thought: Robert Griffin III (RG3)

"I think there are [gay players] right now, and if they're looking for a window to just come out, I mean, now is the window. My view on it is, yes, I am a Christian, but to each his own. You do what you want to do. If some Christians want to look at being gay as a sin, then thinking about other women, committing adultery — or any of those sins that are in the Bible — those are sins too. And God looks at all of us the same way."


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

True Blood Season 6 Ep. 9 Recap: 'Life Matters'

John P. Johnson/HBO

Apologies for the late recap. I had some personal stuff to take care of, and it didn't help that my Internet connection was having a meltdown. As always, spoilers lie ahead. Now go forth and kill the humans...

Well that was quite a tearjerker wasn't it? With one episode left to go, this week's "Life Matters" continued with the season-long buildup to the great human vs. vampire war with the destruction of Vamp Camp and ended with all of our favorite blood suckers (plus fang cushion Ginger) frolicking in the daytime after Bill offered up himself to save them from the sun. But what promised to be a glorious vampiric retribution in earlier episodes was tempered by an emotional tour de force, a.k.a. Terry Bellefleur's funeral.

Leave it to True Blood to give a character his best episode after he's taken a dirt nap. But that's just what it was, as everyone in Bon Temps gathered around share fond memories of Terry and collectively anoint him to sainthood. As I said in an earlier recap, True Blood has, for the most part, erred on the side of realism when it comes to funerals, showcasing all the bickering, cardiac-inducing comfort food and gossipy, morbid curiosity that accompanies them, while also tapping into the "everybody knows everybody" reality of small-town life.

However, what's so pleasantly surprising about "Life Matters," is how well the funeral scene plays out. Terry was always a minor character, and after say, season two's Mary Ann maenad madness, didn't have much to do all until last season's awful Irfit arc. My point being it's been a long time since Terry truly felt like an organic part of whatever was happening on True Blood at any given moment. Initially, when I got an idea where the episode was going, I found myself tsk-tsking and shaking my head. Fortunately I was wrong. While the writer's may have hit a break wall in how to make Terry compelling in life, they succeeded in doing in death.

The funeral also gives many of the characters we've watched for years a legitimate reason to come together, sharing and reacting to the sorts of mundane, intimate details long-life residents of a town often share with each other. Maxine gives us an update on Hoyt (he's got an "ugly as sin" girlfriend) with some casual vampire bigotry thrown in (though Terry's grandmother may have her beat in that department); Tara's mom Lettie Mae, gags at Lafayette's eyeshadow while he reminisces on his first memory of Terry. Even ol' Big John gets up and sings, a decision Arlene rightfully deems as "the shit." Sookie both comes out to the town about her telepathic abilities (though as she said, it's not like they didn't know already), and uses them to help Arlene; she reads her mind and speaks ahead of her when it's clear she's not ready to say goodbye, then tells Arlene she knows Terry loved her from the first night he saw her via her powers. All the right emotional notes are hit. Even the usually groan and/or eye-rolling inducing flashbacks work, if only because they genuinely feel like memories these characters would have at a moment like this.

The anchor of it all though is Carrie Preston, who strikes the perfect balance of grief, dignity and inner resolve (not to mention her lace black veil and matching gloves were giving Southern Gothic chic for your nervers). Although the bit with Sookie hearing her thoughts about how the 21-gun salute she fought against actually gave her some solace felt a little too on the nose, it was the perfect sendoff, both for this plot line and for Terry as a character.

The funeral scenes are more jarring when juxtaposed against the violence and bloodshed going down over at Vamp Camp. Eric, pumped up on Warlow's blood, breaks into the compound, leaving a road of bloody limbs and castrated doctors in his wake (did we really have to see a bloody cock?). He frees the vampires and, true to form, they return cruelty with cruelty, feeding upon and torturing their former captors. Granted, they've been starving and living in what basically amounted to one big vamper nest for weeks on end, so I guess I shouldn't have expected Godric-style mercy.

Bill spends most the of episode stalking Eric, since he's the reason his everybody-drain-Warlow-dry plan went bust. Finally he comes to an epiphany via a flashback to he and Sookie's fight at the start of the episode and lets everyone feed on him. Afterwards he's so weak he starts seeing Lilith's naked crew, who've come to take him home, or where the hell Lilith lives. Somehow, Jessica and James, who was with her at the time, save him from whatever fate Lilith had in store.

It would have been so much more powerful if Bill died after his sacrifice; it would have certainly fit thematically (though you could argue Jessica deciding to look past his all-powerful prick with a messiah complex exterior and rescue him fits in as well), and given the whole Vamp Camp/death vision arc more weight. Oh well, at least we got the consolation prize of watching Steve Newlin utter "I love you Jason Stackhouse!" before frying to a crisp. R.I.P. Steve. May you and Russell Edgington slow dance to "Teenage Dream" and drain housefuls of frat boys in hell.  But back to Bill. Was it just me, or did he look considerably like his gentler, pre-Lilith self as he strolled into the sunlight with everyone else? Perhaps the lasting effect of this turn of events may be that it's set Eric and Bill on divergent paths. Bill, with his self-sacrifice, sought to preserve life. Eric, with his edict to kill all humans and lust for vengeance, feels the opposite, at least when it's not vampire life. It'll  be interesting to see how this potential dynamic could play out in the finale.

Sarah Newlin, who of course was the culprit who tried to barbecue the vampires (all while reciting Psalms 23), narily escaped the massacre, after a pissed off Jason Stackhouse holds a gun to her chin while telling her she a fake Christian with no soul. In the end he lets her go, which may have been the merciful thing to do but may come to bite all vampires and their allies in the ass. As our favorite whore for Christ has made clear, when she's doing the Lord's work, she is an unstoppable woman. But for now, the vampires have the upper hand.

One more episode to go, and I can't wait to see how season six wraps up.

Other Thoughts:

---I know I wasn't the only one who saw Sookie throwing a few lingering looks Alcide's way during the funeral. Granted, she was in a fragile state, when has fragility not led Sookie into another man's arm? Though if I'm right, Alcide is a more serious rival her affections at this point; he's a supernatural like Warlow, but unlike him, he actually ages and doesn't gorge on humans. And with Alcide relinquishing his pack master title and exiled from Shreveport, he'll be around to tempt Sookie a lot more.

--Was it a coincidence Sarah was wearing a white suit as she fled in defeat, just as her now deceased hubby Steve did when Godric put the kibosh on his "meet the sun" ceremony back in season two? Is True Blood trying to make a point that bad guys don't always wear black, or are they just fond of putting uber religious nutjobs in tacky white ensembles?

--Warlow's certainly been taking it easy these last few episodes, the attack from Eric notwithstanding. Now that every vampire and their mama can walk in the sun, will his affection for Sookie be as strong, being that he know has other potential partners to choose from?

---No werewolf pack and/or father-son drama this week. Hope this carries over into season seven.

Friday, August 9, 2013

President Obama Opposes Boycotting Winter Olympics

President Obama has weighed in on whether the U.S. should pull out of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia over it's anti-propaganda law, saying he opposes the call to boycott.

“I want to just make very clear right now, I do not think it’s appropriate to boycott the Olympics,” Obama said. “We’ve got a bunch of Americans out there who are training hard, who are doing everything they can to succeed.”

Obama suggested a better form of protest would be gay and lesbian athletes winning medals at the games, which will be held in Sochi. “And one of the things I’m really looking forward to is maybe some gay and lesbian athletes bringing home the gold or silver or bronze, which I think would go a long way in rejecting the kind of attitudes that we’re seeing there,” he said. “And if Russia doesn’t have gay or lesbian athletes, then that would probably make their team weaker.”

The president's remarks came during a press conference in response to a question about the current tensions between the United States and Russia. Earlier in the week the White House had announced Obama had canceled a private meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin that was scheduled to take place during the G-20 Summit next month.


From Russia With Boycotting

Photo: Reuters

With legislation banning "gay propaganda" on the books and ex-paratroopers attacking human rights advocates, Russia seems to be growing ever more hostile toward its LGBT citizens. Now the question of whether or not the U.S. should boycott the Winter Games in 2014 in protest has become a hot button issue among both Russian and American activists. You can read my two cents in my latest article for butlerway HERE.

Didn't We Almost Have It All

Whitney Houston would have turned 50 today. What's your favorite Whitney song/album/performance?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Study Says LGBT Youth Of Color Lack Resources, Support

Some sobering news about LBGT youth of color. A new survey of providers who work with gay, bisexual and transgender youth of color in L.A. shows many face discrimination when it comes to their race and gender at school, gang violence, bullying, and conflicts with family members, as well as a lack of resources and role models. This can leave many of them at risk for homelessness and unwilling to come out to their peers.

"'There's tons of places that take youth, but making sure they're gay-friendly and safe… I think that's still the biggest challenge," said Tamara, an LGBT outreach coordinator who took part in the survey. "I've had youth refuse to go to certain places because they felt it wasn't safe for them."

“GBTQ youth of color struggle with homelessness, poverty, family rejection and bullying,” said Ilan H. Meyer, the study’s principal investigator and Williams Institute Senior Scholar for Public Policy. “Yet, serious barriers exist to providing youth with culturally competent care.”'

Mentorship is definitely an area where we need to step up as a community. If I had someone in my community to guide me or at least up to from a distance, my teen years might not have been so chaotic and dark, and I probably would've accepted my sexuality sooner. Just having someone to look at and see firsthand gay doesn't equal miserable would have helped immeasurably. 

Though at the same time, I can see why many of us (those who aren't still struggling with their own sexuality) are reluctant to jump into that role, particularly in small-knit and/or deeply religious towns where being openly gay and outspoken can be a serious liability. 

If you grew up in a small town, or were raised up in church, you know what I'm talking about. The sanctuary is not just a place to worship, but where important employment, business and social connections are made, and if you're viewed as a living a "sinful lifestyle," folks may not be willing to lend a helping hand.

What do you think?

Bayard Rustin Awarded Presidential Medal Of Freedom

Bayard Rustin, close advisor to Martin Luther King Jr. and key organizer of the historic March On Washington, where King delivered his iconic "I Have A Dream" speech in 1963, is being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The award is the highest civilian honor available.

The openly gay Rustin was, as The Advocate notes, the "lost prophet" of the Civil Rights Movement. Along with organizing the March On Washington, he organized demonstrations, rallied activists and lobbied politicians to support civil rights. He was also instrumental in King's embrace of Ghandian tactics of non-violent civil disobedience. Rustin died in 1987.

President Obama's recognition of Rustin's contributions to civil rights comes just as the 50th anniversary of the March On Washington approaches.

"Bayard Rustin’s contributions to the American civil rights movement remain paramount to its successes to this day," said HRC President Chad Griffin in a statement. "His role in the fight for civil rights of African-Americans is all the more admirable because he made it as a gay man, experiencing prejudice not just because of his race, but because of his sexual orientation as well." In all, 16 recipients, including Sally Ride, the first woman in space, will be honored.

All of this is long overdue, but what's really interesting is Ms. Donnie McClurkin herself will be performing at a concert being held at the site of Dr. King's memorial in D.C. later this month. "ex-gay" queen performing at event commemorating a march a gay man helped to create. *Sips tea and cackles*. Oh the irony.

Monday, August 5, 2013

WATCH: Orange Is The New Black's Laverne Cox On Melissa Harris Perry

H/t Rod 2.0

Actress, reality star and activist Laverne Cox appeared on the Melissa Harris-Perry show to talk about her role as transwoman Sophia on the Netflix smash Orange Is The New Black (which, if you haven't seen, get thee to Netflix and binge watch immediately). Watch Cox's solo clip--the audio is low--along with another segment with several other cast members and author Piper Kerman (on whose memoir the show is based) talking about prison reform below.

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True Blood Season 6 Ep. 8 Recap: 'Dead Meat'

John P. Johnson/HBO

As always, spoilers lie ahead. Now read on so we can get oozy and productive...

With only two episodes left to go this season, this week's entry "Dead Meat" begins to bring plotlines to a head for the finale as Sookie makes a hard choice and Eric puts a wrench in Bill's vampire savoir game plan, just as his visions of Vamp Camp are starting to come true.

Let's start with Bill and Eric, being that we ended on that horrific scene of Eric losing his shit while Nora crumbled and rotted in his arms last week. Given what happened, you figure Bill would try to strike a more empathetic tone and give him, I don't know, at least ten seconds to grieve for his sister before bringing up his sacred mission for the umpteenth time? Nope, and Eric, already fragile and needing someone take his rage out on, unloads on him, as the two engage in pretty much the same argument they've been having for six seasons (i.e. Eric thinks Bill's a love sick, self-loathing weakling, Bill thinks Eric's a self-absorbed opportunist). The difference now, particularly for our ancient undead viking, is the stakes are higher, both internally (Nora's death, Pam, Tara and Willa on lockdown) and externally (vampire's impending destruction via the hepatitis V-laced True Blood).

Eric's never been one to cower in a crisis, so it's only right when he spies Sookie teleporting in from fairy land that he snacks on Adeline's blood to go there himself and take a bite out of Warlow so he too can walk in the sun. A day walking Eric Norman? It's about time. Of course, it's not like Warlow had a choice in the matter; his arc was pretty much the same as it was last week, with him being tied up and left alone after making yet another plea for Sookie's hand in marriage. Adding insult to injury, Sookie asks him to do her a favor letting Bill use his blood so she can save her friends from Vamp Camp.

Warlow asks Sookie she's still in love with Bill, and she manages a believable "hell no." At least until Bill, who seems quite comfortable in his new identity as all-powerful douchebag, despite Eric's earlier assertion, tells her he really doesn't care if helping him means being Warlow's vampire fairy bride for all eternity. The reaction on Sookie's face, along with a breathless "Oh my God," is one of a person whose delusions have just been shattered.

In fact, many characters delusions are blown to bits in "Dead Meat." Alcide's belief he can handle being a ruthless pack master is undone when Rikki exposes him as liar by bringing out a very much alive Nicole and her mother, who he claimed to have killed, then challenging him to a fight to the death. Alcide also has to face the fact he's not as ruthless as he thinks, as Rikki rightly points out she'll catch a beatdown for going against him but knows she'll live because he's too afraid to kill her.  Any allusions Eric had of Bill possibly being God are laid to rest when he doesn't save Nora; and Arlene's view of her husband as a deeply tortured man whose demons finally got the best of him is destroyed when Lafayette tells her about the insurance policy Terry took out days before his death.

Learning Terry played an active role in his demise causes Arlene to stand up for her husband in a way she might not have, as other relatives try to hijack his funeral arrangements from her. Though rightfully infuriated at his actions-- Carrie Preston was serving pissed off widow realness with a vengeance--Arlene comes to accept the tragic situation for what it is, with the help of Holly and Andy. And carnations, bacon and alcohol. When you think about, for all its camp and craziness, funerals (at least humans ones), and the family bickering, morbid curiosity and artery-blocking cuisine  that surround them, are handled pretty realistically on True Blood.

But I digress. No one character had to face the harsh truth more than Sookie. For True Blood's entire run, she has jumped from not only from supernatural's bed to the other, but from life-threatening situation to the next. And while she's had moments of clarity about the perpetual drama that is her existence in previous years, they've never lasted this long, which might explain the cynical, weary aura she's given off much of this season. Seriously, go back and watch a few clips from the first two seasons and compare that bubbly waitress to the Sookie Stackhouse of the present, who embraces her self-proclaimed "danger whore," status not with gleeful abandon, but grim resignation. She's also never been this desperate. What else would possess her to make a ridiculous confession to Sam about how he was the one she always thought she'd end up with? Oh honey, the clock struck midnight on that fantasy a long time ago.

And as Sam tells her, she couldn't have picked a worse time, as Nicole is pregnant (he sniffed her/his unborn child out). Oh and they're in love. Forgive my sarcasm, but his talk with Alcide about how to "play" his knowledge of her pregnancy (which she's totally in the dark about at the moment) makes me doubt just how deep his love is, their past dalliances notwithstanding. Either way, the conversation kills any dreams Sookie had about giving up her fairy light and becoming fully human. Next on her misery tour is a trip to her parents' graves. Anna Paquin is pitch perfect in revealing Sookie at her breaking point; on the verge of tears, she reminisces about happy childhood memories before lamenting how they've all been ruined by their plan to kill her. As a final screw you, she says she'd rather "walk the earth as a corpse, than spend eternity with you." Of course she could give up her powers and shack up with Gran in the afterlife, but I guess she didn't want to put Adele in the middle of that mess. Cut to Sookie primping in the mirror and putting on her best dress fit for an engagement party as she goes to meet Bill so they can go retrieve Warlow. Though as we know, Warlow's been drained by Eric, who can only assume he'll be heading to Vamp Camp to wreck shop.

Of course, he'll have Sarah Newlin to contend with. Just as with the other characters, Sarah's illusions of just how cutthroat she must be to keep Governor Burrell's death and the hepatitis V operation under wraps were put to the test when his business partner Suzuki comes in demanding answers. Sarah shuffles through her stack of B.S., first treating her like a fan from her preacher's wife days, then trying to sell some hokey sisterhood jibber jabber. Then Miss Suzuki discovers the tainted True Blood and it is ON. Fighting and chasing commences until Suzuki's heel gets caught in a hole. Sarah's unease about finishing her off lasts about two seconds before she starts slamming her face into the metal floor, then stabbing her in the head with her own stiletto while a vampire jumps up and sucks her dry. If there was any doubt, Sarah confirms she's reached a new level of crazy, crying "Thank you Jesus" with total sincerity.

Jason's arc was almost incidental, as he spent the whole episode under the numb (and fangs) of gen pop queen bee Violet as she went on and on about her medieval Catholic sexual ethics and how she would make him wait until he was crawling the walls in heat before they consummated their union. It's strange the show would introduce a new character and give her so much screen time this late into the season, so Violet better get compelling quick, fast and in a hurry. Though I'd be willing to bet they're setting her up to a major character in season seven.

Two more episodes left, with what's shaping up to be an epic showdown.

Other Thoughts:

---Sookie might be willing to join Warlow in holy matrimony right now, but will she feel the same once she learns of Naill's fate? She'll no doubt want to put her wedding dress search on hold when she finds out about Jason's predicament.

---How sad was it that Steve Newlin cracked under questioning while running on a hamster wheel? And that Sarah was able to trick him by calling for UV light that wasn't even in the room? Dude you suck.

---Jessica seems so ready to meet the sun--ya' know, having end-of-the-world sex with James and all--I wonder how she'll handle things if she and all the other vamps live to bite another night.

---"Fuck caution! I'm pissed!" Oh, Miss Suzuki, we barely knew ye.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Raven-Symone Comes Out

Well welcome out family! At least officially anyway. Actress Raven-Symone put rumors about her sexuality to rest with a simple tweet supporting marriage equality:

"I can finally get married! Yay government! So proud of you"

A nice, clean coming out. No muss, no fuss. Symone had been rumored to be dating America's Next Top Model contestant AzMarie a few years back, but had kept mum about both the relationship and her orientation until now.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Obama Snaps For The Kids

This was too cute not to post. President Obama had a light moment when welcoming the University of Connecticut women's basketball championship team at the White House. Werk lmao!

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