Oscar-winning actor and perpetual voice of God (or is that James Earl Jones?) Morgan Freeman says he will be opting out of seeing the critically acclaimed 12 Years A Slave.
“I saw a television movie that was made a few years ago about the same character [Solomon Northup]. But I don’t particularly want to see it,” he told the Daily Beast. “I don’t want my anger quotient exacerbated, you know? Things are bad enough as they are. I don’t want to keep punching myself in the face with it.”
Hmm, interesting word choice, but I guess I can see his point. Though I do plan on seeing 12 Years A Slave, between Djano Unchained, Lincoln andthe slew of other upcoming movies featuring or focusing directly on slavery, I could see why some folks would need a breather. How about next year Hollywood tackles the Harlem Renaissance, MLK or the Black Panthers?
If your eyes weren't already rolling after reading that headline, get ready for those sockets to do the electric slide after you read (and hear) the rest. Apparently a group of pastors gathered in Springfield, Illinois earlier this week to rally against marriage equality legislation. Fox News 32 spoke to a group traveling to the rally, including a local pastor, who compared LGBT couples who want to get married to toddlers who want to drive cars.
"Well, we have five-year-olds who think they can drive cars, but the reality is, there’s a certain way that things are structured," the pastor told Fox 32. "There’s a male lion and a female lion. There’s a rooster and a chicken. And biology tells us what was ordained and for us to have this conversation while the state is 100 million dollars in debt, our nation is 16 trillion dollars in debt, we have children being murdered every day, and I think the politicians have a lot more on their table that need to be addressed other than what two adults do in their bedroom."
First of all, screw you for insinuating grown men and women seeking equal rights are synonymous with impulsive, immature and ignorant behavior. Secondly, why are you and the rest of the flock cheering and praying and holding hand across America to deny folks their rights if this is so unimportant? If what adults do in their bedroom is so minuscule in the grand scheme of things then what's the whole point of your rally?
Even worse, the pastor contradicts the above statement with one he made seconds before:
"Our nation is not built on the strength of its army or its finances, but what goes on in our living rooms, and family always has been and will always be the foundation and bedrock of society. And so we're gonna stand for what God ordained; it's one woman, one man. Every child needs a mom and a dad."
So which is it? Are LGBTs and our desire to be legally married a monumental, foundation-destroying blow to society? Or is it a complete non issue? Sis get it together!
Photographer Gerard H. Gaskin's new book Legendary: Inside The House Ballroom Scene visually documents the always vibrant, uber creative world of the black and Latino gay ballroom room scene, immortalized in Jennie Livingston's 1990 documentary Paris Is Burning (if you haven't seen it, get thyself to Netflix immediately).
Comprised of photos taken in New York, Philadelphia, Richmond and Washington D.C., the book was the winner of the CDS/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography.
“The balls are a celebration of black and Latino urban gay life. They were born in Harlem out of a need for black and Latino gays to have a safe space to express themselves...women and men become fluid, interchangeable points of departure and reference, disrupting the notion of a fixed and rigid gender and sexual self," he explains. "My images try to show a more personal and intimate beauty, pride, dignity, courage, and grace that have been painfully challenged by mainstream society."
A few thoughts on VH-1's Crazysexycool: The TLC Story:
All of the actresses did a fantastic job, but of the three, Lil' Mama had the strongest performance. She was really giving you Left Eye's craziness, creativity and a sense of the demons that plagued her. Drew Sidora channeled T-Boz's coolness and tomboy swag really well. Keke Palmer definitely conveyed Chili's sweetness and some of her vulnerability (the abortion scene comes to mind), but I don't know...at some points it felt she was, as Tyra would say, resting on pretty.
The recreation of the outfits, the stage shows, the music videos *gets choked up with 90's nostalgia* were perfection. Point blank. Incorporating actual footage into the film was a nice touch too.
Watching the real-life T-Boz and Chili record "Meant To Be" in the studio with Ne-Yo (damn he's got a nice smile--just sayin') was really touching, especially with the montage of classic TLC images and videos.
Pebbles...oh Pebbles. I almost wished they included more scenes with her just to for the puremusic biz Mommie Dearest shade she was serving. A 25-dollar a week stipend? Rav 4s and Pathfinders for going platinum? Gurl bye! LA Reid came out much better, plus it was nice to see Carl Anthony Payne, a.k.a. Cole/Cockroach, working.
I wish we had gotten a more in-depth look at the girls' romantic relationships. Of course we know the basics about Left Eye and Andre Rison and Chili and Dallas Austin's (Evan Ross was criminally underused) affairs, but I expected a biopic to give us more than the bare bones version of events. T-Boz's relationships with Mr. Dalvin from Jodeci (which I didn't know about--guess I'm late!) and Mack 10 hardly went beyond the surface. It doesn't take a world-class psychiatrist to figure out that three girls with absent or combative fathers are gonna grow up to have some daddy issues when it comes to men. It would have been good if the movie included more scenes detailing the ups and downs so we got a deeper sense of the girls and the men in their life. But perhaps and T-Boz and Chili didn't want to "go there."
Ok totally random, but where was Jermaine Dupri? He played a pretty pivotal role in the group's early days and worked on their debut Ooh On The TLC Tip. Some celeb cameos would have been fantastic, but of course there's only so much you can do in two hours. Too bad they didn't go The Temptations/Jacksons(I'm still tight they didn't feature Janet at all)mini-series route.
To quote the late great Amy Winehouse, what kind of fuckery is this? A 19-year-old black man has filed a lawsuit against Barneys and NYPD after he said he was arrested for buying a $350 belt from the high-end store.
"According to the New York Post, a Barneys clerk asked 19-year-old Trayon Christian for identification at the register. He reportedly did not believe the young man could afford the item. The clerk subsequently alerted the authorities. As Christian exited the store, undercover officers approached him and asked “how a young black man such as himself could afford to purchase such an expensive belt,” according to the suit. He was then arrested and taken to the local precinct. Prior to this, Christian had no arrest record."
Christian, who mind you, is a student at NYC College of Technology, bought the belt with money he saved from working at a part-time job. According to the lawsuit, Christian showed officers his identification, Chase debit card and the receipt from his purchase, but was told "his identification was false and that he could not afford to make such an expensive purchase.” Officers then called the bank, which confirmed the purchase and they released Christian.
Christian says he returned the belt and will never shop at Barneys again. I hope she gets enough money to buy the store (I know it's not good to make assumptions, but a $350 Salvatore Ferragamo belt from Barneys? He sounds like "family" to me:). Gay or not, good for him.
North Carolina gay couples married in other states are registering their licenses with county officials across the state. Though the act doesn't make their unions legal in the state, it does send a symbolic message against North Carolina's ban on same-sex marriage.
The move is part of the Campaign for Southern Equality's We Do Campaign, where unmarried gay couples in southern states apply for marriage licenses.
“This was important because we are legal strangers in North Carolina,” said Lisa, an assistant pastor, who along with her partner Cindy Bovee-Kemper, were the first couple to register their license. “Even though North Carolina doesn’t recognize our marriage, there’s something important about existing in public records.” Also, Buncombe County's Register of Deeds Drew Reisinger became the first county official in North Carolina to accept marriage license applications from same-sex couples, saying the state’s ban is unconstitutional."
Right wingers, unsurprisingly, are not amused by these developments. The mayor of West Union lost his shit in spectacular fashion, ranting on Facebook "What’s it gonna take to get these queers to realize they don’t need a piece of paper. God will not bless their union because he plainly speaks against queers in the Bible.”
What's it gonna take for this idiot to realize LGBT folks are asking God (or in most cases, churches) to bless our unions, but that they be recognized by the constitution?
"Whether you agree with the decision, as do I, or you disagree, there is something very special about America and our state that this could happen. It's a testament to who we are as people that we can change opinions in an orderly, respectful manner, and God willing, to be better people for it."
---On New Jersey marriage decision
Newly elected New Jersey senator Corey Booker will officiate weddings of gay and straight couples as mayor of Newark now that the state is allowing marriage equality. Booker released a statement saying he was excited to marry couples beginning at 12:01 a.m. Monday.
Booker has long been a strong supporter of LGBT rights, evening refusing to officiate any weddings for the past seven years on principle. His announcement comes after New Jersey's highest court ruled unanimously to uphold an order that same-sex weddings must start October 21, denying a delay sought by Governor Chris Christie.
Head over to Butlerway.com and read my recap of this week's Scandal episode, "Mrs. Smith Goes To Washington." Season three has not been kind to Olivia:
It’s remarkable how far Olivia has fallen from the uber competent, white-hat pedestal she occupied in season one and for most of season two. So far this season, she’s been stuck in survival mode, trying to keep up appearances while flailing personally, and for the first time, professionally. Fitz one upped her by falsely confessing to having an affair with Jeannine last week; her client base has dwindled, and she tragically failed to save a client despite her best efforts. Now she’s comes to the awful realization she’s merely a pawn in her own father’s grand scheme, whatever that may be. Damn, Liv needs a win like Harrison needs a backstory.
Oh, Oprah the things you say. If you aren't up on things, a quick recap: Diana Nyad, who successfully swam from Cuba to Florida after four unsuccessful attempts, appeared on Oprah's Super Soul Sunday to talk about her accomplishment. During the interview, Nyad revealed she was an atheist, and added her lack of faith doesn't prevent her from appreciating the awe and majesty of nature.
All of which lead to the following exchange between Nyad and the big O:
Silly Oprah, experiencing awe and wonderment isn't just for Christians! Did you notice how Sophia's mouth widened into an "I still have all the answers" grin when she asked "But are you a spiritual person?" I mean respect Oprah and what she's achieved, but sometimes... *argh*.
But I digress. I'll have to side with Diana on this one (I know, it's a HUGE shock:). Just because you don't believe in a god, doesn't mean you still can't notice and derive joy from nature and the things that make up this world. If anything, the idea that all of this complexity, our human race and millenia of culture all started seemingly from random chance and not at the hands of an all-knowing creator (though I can get how that would be awe-inspiring as well) is all the more reason to marvel at the beauty of it all. This wasn't "supposed" to happen; we weren't preordained or "chosen" to survive, let alone thrive. But we have, and that in itself is miraculous.
Secondly, Oprah, like many religious folks, seems to equate atheism with a total lack of spirituality. Of course, if your definition of spirituality is actually believing in spirits, then many atheists, would probably fall into that category. But I willing to be most atheists would give Nyad's definition, that being spiritual is having a deep love of and respect for humanity. At least that's how I'd define it. Christianity, Islam, Buddhism or any other of the many religions that have, do and will ever exist, don't have a copyright on what constitutes spirituality, nor do they have the final say on whether their adherents alone can feel awe and wonder.
Contrary to popular belief, atheists aren't cold, unfeeling androids, and I love how Diana held her ground firmly while displaying a live and let live attitude.
If you're a Scandal addict like moi (and if not, disregard:), go over to Butlerway.com to check out my recap of this week's episode, "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner," which delves deeper into Olivia's relationship with her father (chile that's drama central) and her past with Huck. An excerpt on Huck and how dear ol' Dad expresses love for his baby girl: "Up until now, the dynamic between Olivia and Huck seemed to be one of savior and disciple, with Olivia saving Huck from himself while occasionally exploiting his killer instincts for her own purposes. But it’s revealed their relationship really began with Huck literally saving her life by beating down two would-be muggers. Inquiring Huck about where he picked up his homicidal tendencies leads her back to her father and confronting him about what he does for a living. Eli tries to warn her about asking questions she really doesn’t want the answers to, but his delivery is all wrong; instead of expressing say, guilt or remorse or some discomfort about his job, he belittles and tries to bully Olivia into dropping the subject and play along with what she now knows is a partial, if not complete charade.
Liv walks out of the restaurant, but walking away from Eli is not as easy, especially after Huck suddenly disappear from the subway. She makes a deal to get him released—pushing Edison to go for a higher security position was a nice try– but it ends up costing her a fiance, as Eli arranged for Edison to get banged up and orders her to give back her engagement ring. Checkmate, Eli Pope."
FYI: I'll be doing recaps for the rest of the season.
TLC have released "Meant To Be," their first new song in 10 years. It's a mid-tempo, soft track with introspective lyrics that remind me of "Turn Table" from their last album 3D. I like it; it's not trying to be too trendy but doesn't sound hopelessly dated either.
"Meant To Be" is the first single from the group's greatest hits album 20, which is set to drop October 15. Of course, the album is dropping just in time for the premiere of the VH-1 biopic Crazysexycool: The TLC Story, which airs on October 21.
Even more good news: T-Boz and Chili are planning to release new album of original tunes in 2014. Listen to "Meant To Be" below and tell me what you think.
It's been a minute since I've given an update on my writing activities so here it goes. On the freelance side, I've been writing political and entertainment blog posts for Butlerway, as if the numerous links I've posted here aren't proof enough (BTW, check out my latest piece about Russia's horrendous new legislation that if passed, could allow children to be taken from the custody of their gay parents. Plug, plug, plug:). I've also been writing music reviews and artist profiles for an indie music promoter.
On the fiction side of things, it's been a tough road submitting short stories to literary mags. So far I've only gotten one story, "The Payback," published, while the others have been met with 'declined' statuses or "it's just not for us' type e-mails *wrings hands in frustration.* Thankfully, a chat with an insider in the publishing/literary world last week helped me back away from the ledge and realize I'll have to endure a lot of no's before being blessed with a "yes."
That said, I plan to keep submitting stories to magazines, but regardless of whether or not they're accepted I'll compile all of them, along with some poems, for a collection. Being that most, if not all the stories and poems have gay main characters or deal with gay-related subject matter, I'm tentatively titling it Fairy Tales (get into the double meaning lol). I can already envision the cover in my head:).
As for my novel, I finished editing the third draft of it last week, and am currently putting it through the beta reader ringer. I've also started to dabble in writing its sequel, which I think will get easier once the first one is finally put to bed. Then it's on to querying, querying and more querying to see if there's any interest. The Omega Squad, the fantasy novel/novella I was tinkering with, is on the back burner at the moment; to be honest I'm not sure when I'll go back to writing it. I do have some ideas for it, along with other fantasy/horror fiction, that I feel are just too intriguing to let rot. I'll keep you posted.
Feel free to share any creative projects you're working on in the comments.
Anderson Cooper and Republican congressman Raul Labrador were going back and forth over the current government shutdown on Monday's AC360, particularly over House Republicans' increasingly delusional quest to vanquish the Affordable Health Care Act. Labrador then decides to dip into a tired time-honored talking point, accuses Cooper of being on the side of Democrats. Listen to Anderson coolly but firmly get him together around the 4:50 mark below.
Ugh, what fresh foolishness is this? The Persian Gulf kingdom of Kuwait is planning to identify LGBT folks through "medical screening tests" to stop the from entering the country and its neighboring nations.
"According to the Kuwaiti health ministry's director of public health, Yousouf Mindkar, routine clinical screenings of those entering the Gulf Cooperation Council countries will soon include tests to detect LGBT people and keep them from entering. “Health centers conduct the routine medical check to assess the health of the expatriates when they come into the GCC countries," Mindkar told local newspaper Al Rai. "However, we will take stricter measures that will help us detect gays who will be then barred from entering Kuwait or any of the GCC member states.”
And what would these tests be exactly? Throwing on some Beyonce, Lady Gaga or Madge and checking the dopamine levels in our brains? Detaining men who know all the songs to Rent (I'm out) or women who have intimate knowledge of power tools and a love of cats? It's a ridiculous idea, and an even stupider use of medical resources. But if taken to the extreme, it has the potential to go to some very dark places, especially when you consider that homosexual acts are illegal in all GCC countries, and punishable with a jail sentence of up to 10 years for those under 21.
Announcement of the tests have got some calling for a boycott of the soccer World Cup tournament set to take place in Qatar in 2022. Hopefully it would take that long for other countries to condemn this mess.
Two Pittsburgh men were beaten by a group of men outside a gay bar in the city's Lawrenceville neighborhood Sunday morning.
The attack happened around 2:30 a.m. near the well-known bar Remedy on Butler Street. Ben Stoviak, who was attacked along with his friend Aaron, says three men began yelling antigay slurs at them after they left the bar. One of them men eventually punched Stoviak, kicking him in the face as he hit the ground.
“We’re not ashamed of ourselves — and that’s when they ran after us and one of them threw a punch at me, got me on the ground and they started kicking, punching, weren’t stopping, stomping — I have a boot mark on my face,” Stoviak told TV station KDKA. Three suspects fled the scene in a black Hyundai. An additional person witnessed the attack and was able to take down the license plate number from the suspects’ vehicle."
Stoviak believes he and his boyfriend were attacked because they were showing affection toward each other outside the bar, and says the assault was a hate crime. Police are investigating the incident, and have identified one suspect. However, their name has not been released, and they have only been charged with simple assault and will receive a summons in the mail. No arrests have been made at this time.
Coolest grandpa ever. FCKH8's Facebook page posted this epic read, in which a grandfather tells his daughter off for disowning her gay son, whom he has taken in.
"Kicking Chad out of your home simply because he told you he was gay is the real 'abomination' here. A parent disowning her child is what goes 'against nature,'" he writes. "He was born this way and didn't choose it more than he being left-handed. You, however, have made a choice of being hateful, narrow-minded and backward. So while we are in the business of disowning children, I think I'll take this moment to say goodbye to you. I now have a fabulous (as the gay put it) grandson to raise, and I don't have time for heartless B-word of a daughter."
Yaas. Scandal's(imagine that was said Rupaul-style) third season starts tomorrow night. If you recall--or if you don't, spoiler alert!--last season ended with Liv's secret dalliance with the president, a.k.a. Fitz, being put out on front street by none other than her own Daddy (or for A Different World aficionados, Whitley Gilbert's ex-fiance Brian Douglas). Will you be watching tomorrow night? Check out the trailer below.