Tony Award wrap-up: Totally gay (again)

It was an untenable situation for the gay Dallasite: Watch the Tony Awards or game 6 of the Mavs? Thank god I had two DVRs. Best of both worlds.

Of course, the Tony Awards are always the gayest of award shows, and they did nothing to disguise that Sunday night starting with the opening number by the telecast’s gay host, Neil Patrick Harris, “‘[Theater] is not Just for Gays Anymore.” He then did a medley duet with Hugh Jackman that was damn funny. (It got even gayer when Martha Wash performed “It’s Raining Men” with cast of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.)

Then the first award of the evening went to Ellen Barkin for her Broadway debut in Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart, giving a shout out to the 30th anniversary of the AIDS epidemic. She was immediately followed by gay actor and Plano native John Benjamin Hickey for his role in The Normal Heart. (He even chastised his family: “You’d better not be watching the Mavericks game.” Sorry, John, I for one kept flipping between them.) The play also won the award for best revival — a controversial choice, since The Normal Heart never opened on Broadway until this year, usually a requirement for a revival nominations (some thought it should be eligible for best play). Kramer accepted the award. “To gay people everywhere whom I love so, The Normal Heart is our history. I could not have written it had not so many of us so needlessly died. Learn from it and carry on the fight.”

The very gay-friendly Book of Mormon from South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone won several off-camera awards, including score of a musical (the composers thanking gay producer Scott Rudin), orchestrations, scenic design, lighting design and sound design, before taking their first onscreen trophy for best direction of a musical to Parker and gay director Casey Nicholaw (The Drowsy Chaperone), on its way to winning nine total awards, including best musical, best featured actress (newcomer Nikki M. James, defeating prior winners Laura Benanti, Patti LuPone and Victoria Clark and prior nominee Tammy Blanchard) and book of a musical.

“This is such a waste of time — it’s like taking a hooker to dinner,” said best musical presenter Chris Rock before announcing The Book of Mormon for the night’s last prize, best musical.

Other winners in the musical category include John Larroquette for best featured actor (How to Succeed…, apparently the only straight nominee in his category), choreographer Kathleen Marshall for Anything Goes, which also beat How to Succeed for best revival of a musical and won best actress for Sutton Foster. Norbert Leo Butz was the surprise winner for best actor in a musical for Catch Me If You Can. One more really gay winner: Priscilla, Queen of the Desert took best costumes, natch.

The big winner in the play category (other than The Normal Heart) was the brilliant War Horse, which won 5: best play, direction, lighting design, sound design, scenic design, as well as a special Tony for the puppet designs of the horses.

Other play winners include The Importance of Being Earnest (costumes), Good People (best actress Frances McDormand) and Jerusalem, a surprise winner for best actor Mark Rylance.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Local Briefs

CCGLA surveys candidates, sets meet-and-greet events

As municipal elections approach, the Collin County Gay & Lesbian Alliance has sent an online survey to city council, school board and mayoral candidates in Allen, Frisco, Plano and McKinney, and “meet-and-greet” sessions for candidates are planned in Frisco, Plano and McKinney in April.

The organization will also create and distribute a voters’ guide.

The Plano “meet-and-greet” will be held on Friday, April 8, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at a private residence. For more information, go online to CCGLA.org.

Results of CCGLA’s candidate surveys will be posted on the CCGLA website prior to each event. The events are informal, non-partisan, and all candidates are invited.

Oak Cliff Earth Day to feature vendors, info booths and more

Oak Cliff Earth Day, which has become the largest all-volunteer-run Earth Day since it started five years ago, will be held on Sunday, April 17, from noon to 5 p.m. at Lake Cliff Park, located at the intersection of Colorado Street and Zang Boulevard in Oak Cliff.

There is no charge to attend the event, which will include art, food, plants and other environmentally-friendly products available for purchase.

There will also be educational booths on topics such as how to save energy and clean up the environment, along with locally-grown honey, animals to adopt and native plants for gardens.

Parking at the park is limited, however, free parking is available at Methodist Hospital, in Lot 10 only, located at 1400 S. Beckley Ave. across from the hospital entrance on Beckley Ave. Methodist Hospital is providing a shuttle bus from the parking lot to the event.

Participants are also encouraged to take DART to the event or walk or ride a bicycle. There are a number of bike racks, funded by Oak Cliff Earth Day, at the park.

Mayoral candidates to speak Sunday on animal issues in Dallas

Dallas’ mayoral candidates will participate in a forum on animal issues in the city of Dallas on Sunday, April 10, at 2 p.m. at the Central Dallas Library, 1515 Young St., in downtown Dallas. The Metroplex Animal Coalition is sponsoring the forum, with is free and open to the public. Journalist Larry Powell with Urban Animal magazine will moderate.

The mayoral candidates are former Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle, Councilman Ron Natinsky, real estate consultant Edward Okpa and Mike Rawlings, former Pizza Hut CEO and Dallas homeless czar.

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

—  John Wright

Larry Kramer: AIDS Is A Plague That Was And Is Allowed To Happen

As the world approaches the 30th anniversary of the first noted cases of AIDS, famed activist Larry Kramer publishes a typically blistering editorial for CNN International in which he shouts that AIDS is a plague that was allowed to happen. And still is. An excerpt:

Governments and bureaucrats and presidents and politicians and the people who run this world lie to people. They tell us HIV is under control. They tell us case numbers are decreasing. They tell us that all is being done that can be done. They tell us HIV is too complicated to eradicate. They tell us gay people and people of color have made more progress than ever before. These are all lies. [snip]

For some 30-plus years, I have been trying to tell the world where this plague came from and why, and I will continue to do so until I die, too. You see, I simply can’t get the memories and the ghosts of just about every friend I had out of my life. And since there is no doubt in my mind that this plague of HIV/AIDS that took them from me was and continues to be allowed to happen, I am duty bound to tell this hideous history as best and as fully as I can. It’s the least I can do. That is correct: This plague of HIV/AIDS was intentionally allowed to happen. It still is. Nothing has changed in the intentionality department. Hate has a way of hanging around forever and too often winning out in the end.

Please read Kramer’s full piece, especially his “ten realities about AIDS.” And read the comments, where AIDS denialists and anti-gay Christians are rushing to attack.

Joe. My. God.

—  admin

Help Equality NC send Fruit Loops to bigoted State Representative Larry Brown

He wants to talk about Fruit Loops? EqualityNC will send State Rep Larry Brown an all-you-can-eat bonanza…

Take Action!

Over the years, you've no doubt heard plenty of derogatory language targeting the LGBT community. Equality NC supporters, volunteers, and staff are regularly the targets of such slurs, ranging from the unmentionable to the downright silly. (“Homosexualist activists” comes to mind.) And although some of these terms make us roll our eyes, the sentiment they represent is anything but funny.

Last week, State Representative Larry Brown from Kernersville sent an e-mail to 60 of his fellow Republicans in reaction to Equality NC Foundation's announcement of this year's legislative leadership award, which will be presented to NC House Speaker Joe Hackney at the 2010 Equality Gala next month. Rep. Brown's e-mail reads:

I hope all the queers are thrilled to see him. I am sure there will be a couple legislative fruitloops there in the audience.”

Queers? Fruitloops? Really, Rep. Brown? 

As of this morning, Rep. Brown has not apologized to his LGBT and allied constituents, nor have any of the 60 colleagues who received the e-mail spoken out against his use of bigoted language. 

Well, if it's fruitloops Rep. Brown wants, then that's what we'll give him! 

From now until Monday, October 11th, at 5pm, each donation you make to Equality NC in Rep. Brown's name will come with a box of Froot Loops cereal to be delivered to his office, complete with your personal message.

Let's show Rep. Brown and all of our elected officials that anti-LGBT slurs–and the unfair and outdated beliefs that spur them–have no place in our discourse. And let's give Rep. Brown a tangible reminder of the people of our state who refuse to put up with such trash talk by sending him Froot Loops! 

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

Who’s The Gay Senator Larry Flynt Is Going To Out?

Who needs old Jack Kemp rumors when you can have present day mudslinging courtesy Larry Flynt? The Hustler publisher, who's had a long-standing million dollar offer for anyone who can prove they had sex with hooker lover Sen. David Vitter, says the coming months might see him reveal a closeted senator.

CONTINUED »


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Queerty

—  John Wright

Celebrities Combat Anti-Gay Bullying On ‘Larry King’

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Larry King dedicated his entire CNN show to homophobic bullying last night, and invited gay celebrities like Lance Bass, Chely Wright, Tim Gunn and Nate Berkus to share their stories.

Bass admitted that he used laugh along while his friends taunted gay classmates. "When you're 13, 14, you just go along with what the other people are doing. You just want to fit in. You want to make sure that your friends like you," the singer confessed. "You're going to crack jokes, you're going to laugh along with it. And when you're a teenager, you're not really thinking, oh, I'm being a bully by laughing along with it… But you know, you're also a bully by condoning the behavior and making the jokes along with them."

Meanwhile, Berkus verbalized the isolation of living in the closet, unsure of what "gay" even means: "You are trying to hide a fundamental part of yourself, what happens is that you cannot focus on anything else. Please understand, too, there was no Youtube. There were no — there was no Internet, nothing like that, when I was growing up."

Wanda Sykes also made an appearance, and tied the rise of anti-gay bullying to homophobic legislation, like Don't Ask, Don't Tell. "I believe that it is assisting," she said. "I'm not going to say that that's… the crux of it, because this has been going on for decades. But I think maybe what's making people a little more vocal… is because of issues that — like Don't Ask, Don't Tell and Prop 8. They're so much in the forefront right now of politics that maybe that's, you know, causing people to do more harm."
 
At the end of it all, gay favorite Kathy Griffin reminded viewers that they're not alone, and that our collective efforts can put an end to bullying: "If you're watching this at home and you feel enraged but helpless, you can help. All right, come see me at the Gibson Theater. Make a monetary donation. Come get a pamphlet. Sign up for the Trevor Project. Sign up for Give a Damn. Go talk to somebody."

I've included the entire episode AFTER THE JUMP…



Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright

Larry Kramer: Barbra Streisand a Hypocrite on Gay Rights

Following Wednesday's ruling striking down Proposition 8, Barbra Streisand released this statement of support:

Streisand "With this judge's decision, we are closer to the day that all people will have access to the same fundamental rights. Hopefully, this remaining civil rights violation will soon be a part of our past and we can look to a future where all people will be treated equally under the law."

Streisand's statement really rubbed playwright and activist Larry Kramer the wrong way, enough so for him to post this searing response on the ACT UP forum:

"Barbra Streisand is a hypocrite. If she had made my play about AIDS, The Normal Heart, in 1986, when she first acquired the rights, only to sit on them for a full ten years without filming it, she could have done something for gay rights when we were really in the sewer of death. But no, she chose to go off and make such vitally important and classic movies as Nuts and The Mirror Has Two Faces. Barbra Streisand cares about gay rights as much as i care about spending a zillion dollars decorating a colony of houses in Malibu. As the mother of a son who is not only gay but HIV positive, she should be ashamed of herself.

Fortunately and at last, an exciting movie version is now being prepared by openly gay director-producer Ryan Murphy to star Mark Ruffalo. i hope it will prove that the best thing that happened for The Normal Heart is that Barbra Streisand didn't make it.

I think it is important for all her many gay fans around the world, which certainly had once included me, to know the above.

Note: Kramer sent a correction regarding the earlier, incorrect date.


Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright