World leaders, same-sex kisses and awkwardness: Benetton’s new ad campaign

Benetton is never one to shy away from edgy ad campaigns. They seem to beg for controversy as opposed to pushing their fashion items. And in their newest “Unhate” campaign, they pretty much go all the way.

Huffington Post’s Gay Voices posted these pictures from Benetton where Obama is puckering up to Hugo Chavez and the Pope gets a mouth-to-mouth smooch from Egypt’s Imam Ahmed Mohamed el-Tayeb. The article ponders on Benetton’s attempt at becoming a fashion player again, but the ads refer to its Unhate Foundation as opposed to any outerwear collections for the winter. You can still find that stuff here.

I’m not really sure what this will do for the company, but it’s fabulously risky and so much fun to look at the pics.

—  Rich Lopez

Movie Monday: ‘Circumstance’ at the Angelika

Princess of Persia

The lesbian romance Circumstance breaks many taboos, but for director Maryam Keshavarz, it was simply a story that had to be told.

The Arab Spring has meant a significant liberalization in Middle Eastern countries. But political freedom is one thing; artistic expression is still quite another. And, for that matter, Iran is not Egypt or Libya.

Not that the revolutions in those countries mattered to Maryam Keshavarz, who made the dauntingly radical film Circumstance. Although shot in comparatively open Lebanon (where it is still illegal to be gay), the story tells a tale of two Iranian woman who enter into a romance.

For the entire article, click here.

DEETS: Starring Nikohl Boosheri, Sarah Kazemy, Reza Sixo Safai. 107 minutes. R.

 

—  Rich Lopez

Master of HIS domain

Ben Starr, the recently out Dallas cheftestant on Fox’s ‘MasterChef,’ camps it up on Gordon Ramsay’s cooking competition series

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor
jones@dallasvoice.com

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MASTERCHEF
Airs Tuesdays on Fox (Ch. 4) at 8 p.m.

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When Lewisville-based travel writer Ben Starr auditioned for Fox’s MasterChef, he doubted they’d be interested in his style of home cooking. But not only did he make the cut, he’s been one of the more memorable cheftestants — just this week, he had the judge’s favorite dish.

The series is only halfway through, but for Starr, it’s already made a huge difference in his life: It forced him to come out to his parents just last month. We talked to him about the experience and his favorite meals.

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You’ve been struggling since you wowed the judges at your audition. The audition kinda set me up to expect that I would do well in the competition, but we spun pretty quickly into an emphasis on gourmet cuisine, which is not my thing at all. My street tacos were a little bit spiffy, and I am extremely well traveled, but I tend to eat peasant food even when I travel. I was seeing all these people around me making restaurant quality cuisine and trying to compete on their level. Nice to make a good ol’ catfish in a skillet.

What was the hardest challenge for you? The biggest challenge has definitely been psychological. I’m competitive by nature and I want to feel like I’m competition, but I was surrounded by chefs that were a little more connected to the Food Network that I am. They’d use words like umami [a Japanese word for a savory flavor] and I had to go look it up. There was a common lexicon among the contestants about what these famous chefs I’ve never heard of are doing in their restaurants. I felt like an idiot stumbling around in the dark. That started to leak into my cooking and I began to question, “Is this sophisticated enough? Is this even sophisticated?” The episode this week was a turning point. I felt like for the first time I’m back in my own element.

You certainly have made an impression with your outfits. I don’t wear those hats at home, though I do wear an apron, just for practicality. But [the show] has started this storytelling legacy — people expect me to wear them when they come over. My mom made me the pumpkin hat and apron. Actually, she made me five or six pairs to wear. That’s why you always see a different one on me each episode. I was going through them.

Was wearing them part of a conscious effort to stand during the auditions? I am fairly myself, though I had to set myself apart that wasn’t just about food. I needed to be someone [the judges] remember when they go home at night. That’s why I talked about my rural upbringing, because I thought it would generate a memory.

Had you watched the show before? Did you know what to expect? I don’t watch much TV, but this is not my first time being on TV, which is ironic because I abhor reality television —it brings out the worst in our culture. But I did Rachael Ray’s So You Think You Can Cook in 2007. The audience there was much more caring and nurturing than the machine on MasterChef, but I was a little bit prepared for the frank judgment.

I did not watch the first season of MasterChef, but my friend Karen Rutherford said, “I’ll never speak to you again if you don’t audition [for season 2].” So I watched them all on Hulu. I just sweated my way through them. I knew how intense and stressful it is to cook on TV, and saw how brutal Joe Bastianich and Gordon Ramsay were with the contestants. I thought: Screw this. Then a few weeks passed and the terror faded [and I went through the lengthy audition process]. It was a lot of work — the most difficult full-time job I’ve ever had that doesn’t pay.

What’s your favorite kind of cuisine? While my DNA wants to say Mexican food — I had it in the womb six times a week — I am most intrigued by Thai food. It is so complex, yet so much of it is cooked on the street in a tiny little cart. From the richest to the poorest, everybody eats on the street.

How about a favorite meal? One of the most memorable meals I’ve ever had was in Egypt on New Year’s Eve in 2001. I spent it on Mount Sinai and hiked eight miles back down to the car for the drive back to our resort. [The driver] fell asleep at the wheel and we plummeted into a canyon. Eventually a camel train of Bedouins came by the bottom of this canyon. They took us onto the camels and rode four or five miles to their camp. All the women came out, killed a goat and started cooking while the men tried to pull our car out of the canyon.

It was a humble meal — just a goat stew and some flat bread — but the flavors were really intense and felt they came right out of the desert. I could not even communicate with these people who live in abject poverty, but still they were willing to kill one of their last goats and throw a big feast for us because it’s in their nature to be hospitable. I realized it was important to me to use food to nurture people in my life — I could never be a chef and be in the back. I need to be with the people. My partner is one of the main reasons I cook — we’ve been together eight years and I want to marry him one day.

Did you plan to be “the gay guy” on the show? When I was on [Rachael Ray] it was not addressed and I didn’t talk about it openly. At that point my family didn’t know I was gay — in fact, I didn’t come out to my parents until about five weeks ago. They were totally shell-shocked — they didn’t have a clue.

Maybe mom should have guessed since she made you all those hats. Ha! Maybe.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 8, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

CBS News’ Lara Logan Sexually Assaulted During Egypt Uprising

Logan

How awful:

On Friday, Feb. 11, the day Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak stepped down, CBS chief foreign correspondent Lara Logan was covering the jubilation in Tahrir Square for a "60 Minutes" story when she and her team and their security were surrounded by a dangerous element amidst the celebration. It was a mob of more than 200 people whipped into frenzy.

In the crush of the mob, she was separated from her crew. She was surrounded and suffered a brutal and sustained sexual assault and beating before being saved by a group of women and an estimated 20 Egyptian soldiers. She reconnected with the CBS team, returned to her hotel and returned to the United States on the first flight the next morning. She is currently in the hospital recovering.

There will be no further comment from CBS News and correspondent Logan and her family respectfully request privacy at this time.


Towleroad News #gay

—  David Taffet

News: Lady Gaga, Gay Cruise, Ron Paul, Jamaica, Egypt

 road Lady Gaga to give birth in music video for "Born This Way?"

Allue  road Drug bust on the "world's largest gay cruise."

 road Sign in UK causes outcry: "A hotel owner has caused uproar in his village after putting up a sign outside the building saying 'Poofters welcome here'. Mike Saqui meant the sign to be a pointed reference to the case where a Cornish B&B owner refused to let in gay couples. But many in his village in Hampshire's New Forest were left outraged and he was given a strong talking to by the police."

 road Marriage Equality supporters plan valentine's Day demonstration in San Francisco.

 road Looters stole 18 items from the Egyptian Museum during Egypt's recent social unrest.

 road Ron Paul wins the straw poll at CPAC.

 road Sarah Palin hires chief of staff of her political action committee.

Criss  road Matthew Morrison, Darren Criss and others attend Barbara Streisand tribute.

 road Australian Prime Minister John Key speaks at Oz's Big Gay Out.

 roadFormer New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson criticizes President Obama's action on DADT: "I think the dialogue was advanced, but when it came to 'don't ask, don't tell,' I would've let that court ruling stand."

 road Adam Lambert attends pre-Grammys bash.

 road Mickey Rourke speaks further about the development of the new Gareth Thomas biopic: “I’m meeting Gareth’s parents and his family tomorrow in a box to watch the game. This is an incredibly important story about equality and it’s something I want to make happen. We’re working on the script, the treatment and we have the producers on board. I’m very excited to see Gareth play – it’s a first.”

 road Not a surprise but a study reveals that anti-gay states are unhealthy.

 road Increase in the number of Jamaican gays seeking asylum in the United States.


Towleroad News #gay

—  David Taffet

Watch: Obama On Mubarak Exit, ‘Egypt Will Never Be The Same’

ObamaOnMubarakOust

Speaking to the American people and the world today, President Barack Obama said that Egypt “will never be the same” after the successful revolution to oust Hosni Mubarak as President.

In his speech, whcih praised the Egyptian military for their role in the process, Obama specifically celebrated the non-violent Egyptian youth who helped spark the protests.

“Egyptians have inspired us, and they’ve done so by putting the lie to the idea that justice is best gained by violence,” he said “For Egypt, it was the moral force of nonviolence, not terrorism, not mindless killing, but nonviolence, moral force, that bent the arc of history toward justice once more.”

The president went on to quote Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous saying, “there is something in the soul that cries out for freedom,” before insisting, “those were the cries that came from Tahrir Square, and the entire world has taken note.”

Obama also pointed out that the word “Tahrir,” as in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the epicenter of Egypt’s nationwide protests, means liberation, and contended, “it is a word that speaks to that something in our souls that cries out for freedom, and forevermore it will remind us of the Egyptian people: of what they did, of the things that they stood for, how they changed their country and in doing so changed the world.”

Watch Obama speech, AFTER THE JUMP


Towleroad News #gay

—  David Taffet

Homoerotic commercials in Egypt?

Oh yeah. Andy Towle caught this one.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright

Letters • 07.09.10

Label Schlein ‘Guest humorist’

The next time you publish a column by Dallas’ own Log Cabin Republican it should read Rob Schlein/Guest Humorist.

I laughed out loud when he said he found the term “Tea Bagger” as offensive as the term “Faggot.” Surely this man cannot be serious, and if he is, all the more reason to pull the Democratic lever this November!

Michael Hallock
Dallas


Even a dog knows abuse

I usually let things I read in the paper go by without a comment, but this is one I just couldn’t let go.

I think denial is a river in Egypt. How many times does the person you feel you have the most in common with, and love dearly have to hit you up side the head and say that you are disgusting before you realize that you are in a bad relationship?

Do you continue in the relationship with the idea that if I stay in this relationship, I’m going to change this individual, because I love them, only to get hit again? Even a dog will eventually come to see when it has been abused: And dogs are loyal to a fault.

It seems to my weak imagination that the Log Cabin Republicans are in this type relationship with the Texas Republican party, especially. How many ways and how many times does this party have to show them you are not welcome before they realize that changing it from the inside is impossible?

It is like going as a guest of someone invited to a party and the host, emphatically telling saying, “You are not welcome here.” Would you stick around because you thought it would hurt the feelings of the person who invited you if you left?

How many ways does the Texas Republican party have to say that gay people are not wanted? Because I believe in the principles of smaller government, low taxes etc. etc. should not make me the target of abuse.

I am not fool enough to associate with people who don’t want me. At every step of the way, the Texas Republican Party has shown great contempt for gays, for blacks, for Latinos, and anybody that is not rich.

Joe Bennett
Dallas


Thanks from YFT Collin County

Thank you to [the Voice] and our wonderful community. We now have a VERY discounted storage space and the donated use of a truck to move our stuff.

Now we just need a permanent home. Wouldn’t it be great if we could purchase something in Collin County?

We have lots of handywomen (& men) who could turn it into something the whole community could use in addition to the Youth, i.e., coffee nights, movies, fundraisers, meetings, etc.

Jeanne Rubin
Frisco
Youth First Texas Collin County

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TO SEND A LETTER  | We welcome letters from readers. Shorter letters and those addressing a single issue are more likely to be printed. Letters are subject to editing for length and clarity, but we attempt to maintain the writer’s substance and tone. Include  your home address and a daytime telephone number for verification. Send letters to the senior editor, preferably by e-mail (nash@dallasvoice.com). Letters also may be faxed (214-969-7271) or sent via the U.S. Postal Service (Dallas Voice, 4145 Travis St., Third Floor, Dallas TX 75204). All letters become the property of Dallas Voice.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 9, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

Elton John won't play Egypt anytime soon

The Advocate reports today that Elton John has been officially banned from playing a private show later this month in Egypt. Mounir al-Wasimi, head of Egypt’s Musician Union, wasn’t too happy about John’s comments on the Arab country’s treatment of gays and lesbians or his idea that Jesus was gay.

“The news agency quoted Mounir al-Wasimi, the head of Egypt’s Musician Union, as saying that his country could not allow a homosexual who wants to ban religions, claimed that the prophet Issa (Jesus) was gay and calls for Middle Eastern countries to allow gays to have sexual freedom to perform there.”

But on the upside, Next Fall, John’s show he produced with David Furnish, scored a slew of Tony nominations today, including one for Best Play.

—  Rich Lopez