Susan Sarandon: An American for marriage equality

Award-winning actress and progressive activist Susan Sarandon has made this video (below) for the Human Rights Campaign’s marriage equality campaign. She says: “While marriage might not be my thing, if it’s your thing you damn well ought to be able to have it equally and unequivocally.”

—  Tammye Nash

Reviews: ‘Zero Dark Thirty,’ “Not Fade Away’

Jessica Chastain is only in her second year in films, and already she’s one of the most commanding actresses of her generation: From her brittle beauty in The Help to carrying her own opposite Brad Pitt and Sean Penn in Tree of Life (two best picture nominees last year that she starred in) to her current part in Zero Dark Thirty, where she shows resolve and vulnerability within the same breath, the depth of her mastery of the film medium is staggering. From the first 30 seconds of director Kathryn Bigelow’s epic examination of the war on terror and the quest for Bin Laden, Chastain engages us with her Jodie Foster-esque inquisitiveness, and for the next two hours, she never lets us go. It’s the kind of performance Oscars were designed for.

That’s good, because with her as the anchor, Zero Dark Thirty almost makes sense. If you go by the TV ads, it’s about the on-the-ground hunt for Bin Laden, culminating in the raid by Seal Team 6 nearly two years ago, but really, it’s about the massive intelligence-gathering machine and how it’s a miracle it ever works.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Tex’n the City: The checklist

Editor’s note: This week we launch a new online series, Tex’n the City, by Brandon James Singleton. A combination web diary and advice column, Tex’n the City will track Singleton’s plans to get his life together as he narrows in on his 30th birthday. Enjoy!

 Tex’n the City: The Checklist

by Brandon James Singleton

Do you have a list of things you just knew you’d accomplish by a certain age? Sure you do.

First car by 16 … Study abroad before graduation … Throw the best 21st birthday party ever — or at least one epic enough to make all your friends and enemies jealous …  Get discovered after college walking out of a Starbucks, and become America’s new male Oprah ….

OK, maybe that last one is just me. Point is, everyone can own up to at least one such goal.

Then, reality hits.

No matter how hard you work or how detailed your plans, most things don’t turn out like you expect.

With my next birthday — the big 3-0 — slowly creeping up, I’ve been inspired to try and break the curse I’ve imagined was placed on me by that one kid in elementary school I renamed “Stinky McRoach” in front of the classroom — hey, it kept the heat off me for a bit. I know, kids can be mean! But if you’re the poor, short, gap-teeth pudge with bifocals, in a rich private school filled with mini-Channing Tatums and little Kristen Bell look-alikes, try to grow up blameless. (Way to go, Ryan Murphy, waiting until now to make geeks popular. Where were you when Stinky and I needed you?)

To prep for this new passage in life, I re-read some really, really old journals I managed to find. (Thanks, Myspace.) Imagine my disappointment in realizing not only had I not accepted my fourth Academy Award by 25, I hadn’t been nominated for my first. (Maybe if I worked on a movie first…). Nor am I fighting off the paparazzi who bombard my home in the Hamptons simply to get a shot of me and my fiancé, Tyson Beckford, lounging around our Olympic pool like the one in Toni Braxton’s “Unbreak My Heart” video. I don’t vacation in Florida with Diddy and J-Lo, or spend nights laughing it up around the Hills with the cast of Party of Five.

Strangest of all, I seemed to have misplaced the extra 25 lbs. of sexy greek-god muscle I was to spend ages 26 to 27 putting on for that Spielberg summer blockbuster he would beg me to star in.

Maybe some dreams are just that.

But many others aren’t. I made my list of the top 10 things that truly are achievable, and should be by 30. Call it my Life Timeline Checklist:

—  Arnold Wayne Jones