Andrew Rannells: The gay interview

Posted on 18 Mar 2015 at 8:07am

AndrewRannells3As the out Tony nominee ends his fourth season on Girls, he talks co-stars, sex scenes and what it would take to get him back on Broadway.

Andrew Rannells won’t soon be living down the handjob he gave to a boy in a bathroom. Thanks to Lena Dunham and the other writers turning out sharp social commentary and anecdotal writing for this current installment of HBO’s Girls, now finishing up its fourth season, the theater-turned-TV star didn’t just speed-race his way through a handy — he’s danced, de-clothed and continued to lambast the fogey fashions of Dunham’s Hannah. And god bless him for it.

— Chris Azzopardi

Dallas Voice: So, Andrew, what’s up with Marnie getting all the sexy sex scenes on GirlsAndrew Rannells: I know! She gets to do all sorts of crazy shit this year and poor Elijah just gets an awkward handjob in the bathroom. We’ll see if we can’t fix that.

I like seeing the gender roles being subverted, though. Most people would expect to see the gay guy getting rimmed, not Marnie.  That is true. Lena’s pushing boundaries all over the place!

How did you end up with a bigger role on the show, especially this season?  Well, I was really excited: Last season was the first season that I got to be a full-fledged regular on Girls. They’ve always done such an amazing job of making me feel like a full part of that team, but last year was the first season that I really got to just be devoted strictly to them. In the past, during the first season, I was still doing The Book of Mormon, so with the second season, I only got to do half of it. And then we started The New Normal, and then after The New Normal ended I got to do the back end of the third season. They’ve always been so welcoming, and I’m just thrilled to be a full-time cast member over there.

I mean, literally, I don’t think it was even 20 minutes after they had made the announcement that The New Normal was canceled that I got phone calls — one from [executive producer] Jenni Konner, one from [executive producer] Judd Apatow and one from Lena Dunham — all saying, “Please come back and join us.” Even though they had started prep for their season, they worked me in very quickly. Again, I’m so grateful to them and so touched that they include me. I feel really at home with that group.

Which of the Girls characters would you most likely hang out with in real life?  Lena and I actually hang out a fair amount, and Allison [Williams] and I hang out a fair amount as well. Particularly during this past year, [Allison and I have] kept in very close contact over our hiatus, which is great. Character-wise, I feel like it might be a Marnie situation, I think. I know that she’s a little high-strung, but, particularly now with her new sexual awakening, I feel like she would be a fun girl to hang out with.


Equality California becomes first LGBT group to endorse Hillary

Posted on 17 Mar 2015 at 4:44pm
Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

Equality California has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president in 2016, even though she has yet to declare her candidacy.

“We want Hillary Clinton to run and are ready to mobilize our 800,000 members to help her win,” said Equality California’s Executive Director Rick Zbur.

Citing her experience as secretary of state and as senator from New York, the organization said Clinton would be the best candidate to advance LGBT equality. In its press release, Equality California quoted Clinton when she said, “gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights.”

With 800,000 members, Equality California says it is the second largest LGBT membership organization in the U.S. Human Rights Campaign would be the only organization with more members.


Bill would bar reparative therapy for Texas youth; garners national praise

Posted on 17 Mar 2015 at 12:46pm

Rep. Celia Israel, D-Austin.

Bill filing season has ended in the Texas Legislature, and the sausage making has begun. The March 13 issue of Dallas Voice includes a list of bills that had been filed as of 5 p.m. Thursday, March 12.

Friday, March 13, was the last day for your favorite cattle callers to crack their whips. And a few of ‘em filed some doozies; some good, most predictably bad.

Among the good bills is HB 3495 filed by Rep. Celia Israel, an out lesbian and Democratic lawmaker from Austin, that would ban the harmful and discredited practice of reparative therapy on minors.

Similar bills have gained steam in other states and already California, New Jersey and Washington, D.C. have  enacted laws protecting LGBT youth from the discredited practice.

Numerous national groups, including the Human Rights Campaign and National Center for Lesbian Rights, lauded the move in a statement.

“No child should be subjected to this extremely harmful and discredited so-called therapy,” said Human Rights Campaign National Field Director Marty Rouse. “These harmful practices are based on the false claim that being LGBT is a mental illness that should be cured, using fear and shame to tell young people that the only way to find love or acceptance is to change the very nature of who they are. Psychological abuse has no place in therapy, no matter the intention.”

“We commend Representative Israel on making the lives of LGBT children a priority, as well all the local organizers who have worked tirelessly to get this bill introduced and ensure all Texans have the opportunity to grow up in a safe community where they are loved for exactly who they are,” said National Center for Lesbian Rights Staff Attorney and #BornPerfect Campaign Coordinator Samantha Ames.

Legislative observers expressed concern a bill condoning the practice would be filed at the last minute after the June 2014 Texas Republican Party convention voted to include a plank, submitted by Texas Eagle Forum’s Cathie Adams of Dallas, embracing conversion therapy.

Then-Texas Republican Party chair Steve Munisteri told Texas Public Radio he disagreed with the language. “And I just make the point for anybody that thinks that may be the possibility: Do they think they can take a straight person to a psychiatrist and turn them gay?”


UPDATE: Camp Mabry again refuses service to same-sex spouses

Posted on 17 Mar 2015 at 12:40pm


AMPA reports this afternoon that Texas Military Forces refusal to serve same-sex couples was a mistake.

From AMPA:

After intervention today by representatives of AMPA, the Texas Military Forces clarified that three same-sex couples should not have been denied assistance at the federal military identification card enrollment center at Camp Mabry, the headquarters of the Texas Military Forces, in Austin.

All three couples had been turned away on March 13 after being told that they would not be provided service because their marriages were not recognized by the state of Texas. One of the couples was contacted today and given a priority appointment to enroll for their benefits and ID card.


Three same-sex military couples were denied assistance by the federal military identification card enrollment center on March 13 at Camp Mabry, the headquarters of the Texas Military Forces, in Austin. All three couples were told by the center’s employee that they would not be provided service because their marriages were not recognized by the state of Texas, regardless of the fact they were seeking federal military benefits.

The American Military Partner Association (AMPA), the nation’s largest organization of LGBT military families, strongly condemned the blatant discrimination in a letter to the Adjutant General of the Texas Military Forces, Major General Berry, outlining the situation that occurred and calling for an immediate investigation and clarification.

In 2013, Camp Mabry was the sight of a similar uproar when Texas Military Forces sent a military spouse with a 3-month-old baby to Fort Hood to register rather than forwarding information to the federal government as they do for opposite-sex spouses. After Texas refused to register spouses, other states followed suit.

That controversy was settled when the federal government threatened to withhold funds and equipment from states that didn’t accept registration information. No state was compelled to offer state benefits.


Rep. James White’s legal logic on gay sex

Posted on 16 Mar 2015 at 4:55pm

State Rep. James White, R-Hillister.

Over the weekend, the Houston Chronicle reported that Rep. James White, R-Hillister, thinks Texas’ anti-sodomy language is just fine where it is.

When asked about how it’s different from his proposal to erase language about the state’s hair-braiding rules, recently ruled unconstitutional by the state Supreme Court, he said, quite contrary there is a difference.

“Absolutely, there is a difference,” he said. While the braiding regulation “was a way of disenfranchising them out of the marketplace. I don’t necessarily think this was the case with sodomy.”

But there’s one slight problem: the law was ruled unconstitutional in the Supreme Court’s 2003 Lawrence v. Texas decision.

“By leaving this provision in the law it’s insulting to Texans in the (lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender) community. It’s inconsistent, bordering on hypocritical to say one should remove something that’s been struck down … and not remove other statutes and language that has been struck down,” Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, told the Chronicle.

But sodomy doesn’t end with an ass crack. Indeed, that ass crack’s only a gateway to bestiality. “Sodomy covers a lot of instances. It can even cover bestiality and there are a lot of public health standards and even decency standards,” White said.

Lest you forget, however, facts do not matter in Legeland.


Star-Telegram runs first same-sex wedding announcement

Posted on 16 Mar 2015 at 4:02pm
Star Telegram wedding ad

Photo from first Star-Telegram same-sex wedding announcement

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram ran its first same-sex wedding announcement on March 15.

Joshua Adam Rogers and David Apolonio Hernandez were married in New York on July 14, 2014 after having a ceremony in Fort Worth on July 12. The announcement didn’t run until the newspaper changed its policy this month.

According to the announcement, the Fort Worth ceremony was “on the 10-year anniversary of their personal commitment to one another.”

The paper listed a best man and best woman and the picture shows the couple holding hands.

We found it interesting that the Star-Telegram said the couple married in Fort Worth on July 12 and were legally married on July 14 in New York. With marriage equality spreading across the country and Texas still on hold, most Texas couples call their Texas ceremony their religious ceremony or their ceremony at home in front of friends and family. Most announcements we’ve seen recently call the out-of-state legal ceremony the marriage.

That’s nothing more than something we found interesting, certainly not a criticism.

As of this writing, there were seven comments in the online version — all of them words of congratulations.

Let us add our congratulations to the couple on their now 10-years-plus together and on their wedding and its announcement. And congratulations to the Star-Telegram that decided equality is good business. Engagement and wedding announcements come under paid advertising.


The WWE smack down you may have missed: Rafael McDonnell v. Matt Krause

Posted on 16 Mar 2015 at 11:09am


Oklahoma freedom to discriminate bill pulled from consideration

Posted on 16 Mar 2015 at 10:27am

Oklahoma state Rep. Emily Virgin

Oklahoma state Rep. Emily Virgin drew the blueprint for how to defeat bills legalizing discrimination popping up in legislatures across the country.

The so-called Oklahoma Religious Freedom Act would have allowed businesses to refuse service to individuals that business owner perceived as being gay, lesbian or transgender. The bill was meant to target same-sex weddings.

According to her Facebook page, the bill has been pulled from consideration for this session, but she warned bigots in the Oklahoma House of Representatives she’d be keeping an eye on their attempts to legalize discrimination.

Virgin amended the bill agreeing that is was fine to discriminate as long as you gave notice. All she was doing was saving everyone from embarrassment. Post a notice in your business, put it on your website and place it in your advertising. Hell, she even included race as a class you don’t have to serve in your business as long as you post it.

After all, you’re a bigot. Own it. Be proud of who you are and what your religion teaches you. Impose your values on everyone else. That’s what business does, right?

That way, business owners would avoid the embarrassment of having to throw out the gays. In fact, they wouldn’t even have to worry about the gays walking into their businesses. And the gays would avoid the embarrassment of being thrown out. And as we pointed out, not only would the LGBT community avoid being refused service by these businesses, but our friends, families, coworkers and allies could also avoid them.

Understanding that the bill could bankrupt many well meaning, church-going business owners, the bill was pulled.


What’s brewing: D&G, Kathy G

Posted on 16 Mar 2015 at 10:19am

dolcegabbanacampaign5Geez, what a weekend of gay drama. (Come to think of it, that’s pretty much every weekend.) TBRU concluded yesterday after causing the Growlr app to implode, but even before that, the gay world was abuzz about two big happenings.

First came word early Friday morning that Kathy Griffin was stepping away from hosting Fashion Police after barely two months on the job. This comes right on the heels of Kelly Osbourne quitting in a huff when she disagreed with a barb lobbed by Giuliana Rancic. Of course, what Giuliana said was tame compared to Joan’s one-liners. It seems like the show is imploding. Maybe it’s time to pull the plug.

Speaking of imploding fashion, gay style mavens Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana — who used to be a couple but now just run a multi-billion-dollar empire — got in hot acqua over the weekend for attacking not just same-sex marriage (they have been on record for disparaging that for years), but the rightness of gay families to raise children. “We oppose gay adoptions,” the Catholic Italians told a European news mag. “The only family is the traditional one.” (They went a lot further, attacking all forms of medically-assisted fertilization.)

Sir Elton John wasted no time shooting back, urging his followers on InstaGram to boycott D&G products — which, let’s face it, will be a challenge for a lot of label-conscious gays. But while I’m not personally a big fan of boycotts, this is one I can passively endorse: Screw these self-hating gays for going out of their way to alienate their base supporters.

Of course, D&G shot back at Sir Elton on Twitter, with Gabbana calling the singer a “fascist.” Hmmm… that’s the Italian calling the kettle Mussolini.


Donald Fowler’s long-brewing Jack the Ripper musical, ‘Creep,’ will bow in Oct.

Posted on 16 Mar 2015 at 1:35am

Fowler CreepIt’s been almost exactly five years since out Dallas actor Donald Fowler went behind the scenes to share a passion of his with audiences: Creating an original musical. In March 2010, Fowler debuted an in-the-works musical, Creep, at the Out of the Loop Fringe Festival. I thought it showed great promise at the time, and over the years, I’ve asked Donald if there are any developments I can report. “Soon… hopefully” was his most frequent response.

Well, I don’t think five years is “soon,” but better late than never. Just as this year’s OOTL fest ended yesterday, came word that a revamped version of Creep  — a fantasia about Jack the Ripper, full of foggy Victorian London streets and introspective ballads (the subtitle is The Very , Very Sad and Unfortunately True and Completely Fabricated Tale of Jack the Ripper) — would be fully produced … the season opener, in fact, of WaterTower Theatre’s 2015-16 season. I was at an announcement party Sunday night where Fowler’s team performed two of the new numbers for the show. And given the arc — Fowler wrote the book, music and lyrics starting more than 10 years ago — it’s truly been borne of blood … and expect plenty of blood when it debuts Oct. 5, following a gala preview on Oct. 4. Until then, a fundraising group, called the 2015 Producers’ Circle, has been established to raise a minimum of $75,000 to supplement the cost of mounting a new production. Already about $25,000 has been raised.

WTT will announce its complete season on May 26.