‘Little Shop of Horrors’ plays tonight at WaterTower

Green thumbs beware

When a good idea turns into a blood-craving monster plant — well, lives get turned around. WaterTower Theatre premieres the fun and frantic Little Shop of Horrors, where Seymour, a lowly florist, tries to turn his fortune around and ends up with a big mess. Alan Menken and Howard Ashman’s songs only add to the wacky flair of it all.

DEETS: WTT, 15650 Addison Road, Addison. Through July 31. $30. WaterTowerTheatre.org.

—  Rich Lopez

Howard Surprised by Gay Controversy

RON HOWARD X390 (GETTY) | ADVOCATE.COMOscar-winning director Ron Howard says he “was a little surprised” by the controversy surrounding the “electric cars are gay” joke in his new film The Dilemma, which had a disappointing opening yesterday.
Advocate.com: Daily News

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Watch: Channing Tatum Describes Being ‘Taken from Behind in a Very Sexual Way’ by Ron Howard


Channing Tatum boasts to Jimmy Kimmel about how he's the only actor in Hollywood to have been sexually taken from behind by Ron Howard and his well-moisturized hands.


Director Ron Howard: 'Gay' Joke Will Stay in The Dilemma [tr]

Towleroad News #gay

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Dutch TV’s Out of the Closet Beats Howard Bragman To Coming Out TV Show

Howard Bragman, the Hollywood publicist who only speaks kindly of celebrity gays when they pay him, has been talking up his A&E reality show Coming Out for months. "It is a difficult series to cast and produce, but celebrities have been approaching me," he said in November. But while we wait for his premiere, the Dutch program Uit de Kast (or Out of the Closet) is already on air, and broadcasting real-life coming out stories. Yea!


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Ramin Setoodeh + Howard Bragman Both Need To STFU About Gays In Hollywood

Tonight Joy Behar welcomed two of the most disingenuous homosexual "experts" (who happen to be homosexuals themselves) on her program to debate, or whatever, Hollywood's homophobia. There's Ramin Setoodeh, the Newsweek scribe who, seven months after making terrible arguments about gay actors made more terrible arguments about gay actors. And publicist Howard Bragman, who only says nice things about other gays when they pay him. My god these men are awful. And between Setoodeh trying to reinvent himself as a defender of gay actors (after trampling all over them), and Bragman attacking and laughing at (ahem, non-paying client) Rupert Everett for the way plastic surgery has changed his appearance (aren't you the same bully who's about to help people come out, you fucking jerk?), I'm not sure who's worse. But I do know that when it comes to a conversation about what's good for gays in Hollywood, neither of these men are it.

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In wake of tax cut compromise, Howard Dean asks ‘what about DADT?’

Good point from Howard Dean in the last graf of this excerpt, below. What about DADT? Why wasn’t it included int his tax cut deal? The GOP got their top priority, why didn’t we include more of our priorities in this deal? I think it’s going to be very difficult to get anything else passed in the Senate, now that the GOP has already been given what they want. Once you trade away your biggest chit, you’re kind of SOL.

Sam Stein at Huff Post:

Obama’s decision to craft a deal with Republicans on the Bush tax cuts … has created deep reservoirs of distrust with the president’s ability to handle high-stakes negotiations and has compelled even former staffers to level blunt criticisms about the White House’s politics. “I think the president made a huge mistake in supporting any extension of tax cuts,” said Steve Hildebrand, the deputy national director of Obama’s presidential campaign and a strategist who has long grown sour on Washington. “We can’t afford it as a country, and we should recognize that. We need his leadership and bipartisan congressional leadership on it. And the whole idea of negotiating with Republicans who won’t negotiate in good faith, it is not the direction the president should be taking.” […]

“We clearly have to deal with the deficit; it is probably the biggest problem facing the country,” said former DNC header Howard Dean. “But you can’t deal with the deficit from a political point of view if you say to Democrats, we are going to cut Social Security and Medicare and, by the way, give tax cuts to those who make a million dollars a year.”

Antipathy, however, was saved as much for the process of securing the final tax cut package as for the substance of the package itself. Suggesting that the deal could die in the House, Dean echoed a question other Democrats offered in the hours after Obama’s announcement: Was enough secured in return?

“I’m not so sure you can get the House to agree to this in conference committee,” he said. “And what about the president’s other priorities: Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, START, DREAM Act? I mean, do we not get anything for the 0 billion?”


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Ron Howard defends the fag joke

By now you may have heard that Ron Howard has a new movie coming out that includes a line where a character says about an electric car, “it’s gay.” Universal pulled the joke from the movie’s trailer since, you know, scores of gay kids just happened to be killing themselves after being bullied.

But Ron Howard says the joke is staying in the film. And his reasons are as warm and all-American as embracing a n-word joke.

Let me share a little bit of what Howard had to say about gay jokes.

So why was the joke in the movie? Our lead character of Ronny Valentine has a mouth that sometimes gets him into trouble and he definitely flirts with the line of what’s okay to say. He tries to do what’s right but sometimes falls short. Who can’t relate to that? I am drawn to films that have a variety of characters with different points of view who clash, conflict and learn to live with each other. THE DILEMMA is a story full of flawed characters whose lives are complicated by the things they say to and hide from each other. Ronny is far from perfect and he does and says some outrageous things along the way.

Good try.

You see, you can really only get away with using fag jokes to show how bad a character is when you actually show how bad a character is for demeaning gay people. For example, when Finn in Glee used the word “faggy,” he was ripped to shreds by an adult in the popular TV series, thus sending the message that it’s not okay. Is the lead character in Howard’s film going to be ripped to shreds for calling something “gay”? Somehow I doubt it.

Now, note how Howard referred to the recent spate of gay suicides:

It’s true that the moment took on extra significance in light of some events that surrounded the release of the trailer…

Did you catch that? The recent tragic suicides of young gay kids are “some events.” Nice.

More from Howard:

I believe in sensitivity but not censorship.

Do you tell n-word jokes, Mr. Howard? I’m going to guess that you don’t. And if you don’t, is that “censorship” or simply being a decent human being?

It is a slight moment in THE DILEMMA meant to demonstrate an aspect of our lead character’s personality

I cry BS on that one. Does Howard really want us to believe that the audience is going to recoil in horror at what a bigot the lead character is for saying “it’s gay”? Seriously? The audience is going to laugh. It’s not going to be a teaching moment, it’s not going to show anything about the character’s personality other than he’s funny and cool because he mocks fags.

Did you think it wasn’t offensive? I don’t strip my films of everything that I might personally find inappropriate. Comedy or drama, I’m always trying to make choices that stir the audience in all kinds of ways.

Right. We’re to believe that Ron Howard put the “gay” joke in to help stir the audience. Or was the joke put in because Hollywood is notoriously more than a tad homophobic and Howard thought it might be funny to put a fag joke in, since that’s what regular funny guys do, they tell fag jokes?

But if storytellers, comedians, actors and artists are strong armed into making creative changes, it will endanger comedy as both entertainment and a provoker of thought.

Again, you only get strong-armed when you think it’s okay to throw bigoted jokes in your movies. If you got it, if you didn’t find bigotry funny, you wouldn’t put it in in the first place. And when notified of it, you’d take it out because it would offend YOU. Again, would Ron Howard have a character tell a black joke simply because he knew the audience would find it funny? I somehow doubt it. He’s using a free speech smokescreen to keep a fag joke in his movie because he thinks it’s funny and not a big deal.

You can read the rest of the interview for yourself.

Look, I can handle the fact that Howard doesn’t want to be censored. But if Howard understood the problem, he wouldn’t have put the joke in the script to start with – or he’d have another well-liked character tell the bigot that it’s really not right to use that kind of language. But I’m gonna bet that no such teaching moment happens in Ron Howard’s film. It’s Howard’s own intolerance that’s forcing others to be intolerant with him. And at some point, artists, and everyone else in society, have to stop using free speech to justify bigotry. Yes, you have the right to be a bigot, and we have the right to call you on it.

Oh, and next time you get interviewed about the topic, Mr. Howard, show a little respect for all the kids who have killed themselves by referring to their deaths as something other than “some events.”


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Ron Howard Refuses to Remove Antigay Joke

VINCE VAUGHN THE DILEMMA X390 (GRAB) | ADVOCATE.COMDirector Ron Howard and Universal Studios have refused to remove the
controversial antigay joke from the upcoming Vince Vaughn comedy The Dilemma, which is scheduled for release in January 2011.
Advocate.com: Daily News

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Who’s Going to Dole Out Pieces of Steven Slater? Quisling Flack Howard Bragman

Internet fame. A reality TV show offer. And surely countless offers to get laid via Facebook. Clearly flight attendant Steven Slater needs a handler, and he's found one in Howard Bragman, Hollywood's most self-aggrandizing gay rep — and Slater doesn't even need to come out! Bragman already hooked Slater up with Barry Manilow, so you know he's earning his retainer. May Slater's inevitable press junket take place at the Manchester Grand Hyatt. Well, Slater, nothing is going to unravel your folk hero status more than working with this guy.

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—  John Wright