Annise Parker to be honored by Family Equality Council

Houston-Mayor-Annise-Parker

Houston Mayor Annise Parker

Houston Mayor Annise Parker will be honored Saturday, Feb. 28 by the Family Equality Council in Los Angeles for her trailblazing career in public service.

Family Equality Council’s Los Angeles Awards Dinner honors distinguished individuals in the worlds of arts, entertainment, politics and the LGBT movement for their efforts to advance equality for all families.

According to a press release, “Mayor Parker has embodied our values and has been a powerful voice in her community and now on the national stage. She and her family have continued to work toward a world where all families are respected, celebrated, and loved.​”

Parker, who is term limited and unable to run for re-election this year, was recently the only mayor in the country included in the City Mayors Foundation’s bi-annual top mayors list. Parker came in seventh overall according to the international think tank dedicated to urban affairs. Last year, she married her longtime partner.

Also being honored are two television shows and a snack brand. The television shows — Modern Family and Glee — for portraying complex and realistic LGBTQ characters and celebrating LGBTQ individuals and families.

Honey Maid will be honored for its #thisiswholesome campaign in 2014, which featured families who fall outside of traditional definitions of family. Matt Bomer and others will also be present at the event.

—  James Russell

PHOTOS: Inside the Screen Actors Guild Awards

In addition to being a standup comedian and local stage actor, Paul J. Williams is also a member of the Screen Actors Guild, and as such, was permitted to add his name to a lottery awarding tickets to folks other than big-name nominees and Hollywood wannabes. Accordingly, he was actually able to attend the ceremony last Sunday, which aired on TNT. Here is Paul’s journey from ticketholder to red carpet walker and proud union member.

By 9:30 p.m., we decided we had had enough. Nibbled on desserts, had some water and headed toward … the gift bag tent. Big canvas bag filled with goodies, mostly beauty stuff. As we left, a woman came up to Carol and said, “I’ve been wanting to tell you all night — your dress is gorgeous!” Carol felt like Cinderella and I like her fairy godfather.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

‘Normal Heart,’ ‘Modern Family’ and Jim Parsons win Emmy Awards

916137691In what could have been a night for firsts, the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards last night stuck with the predictable.

The night was still a great night for LGBT characters, stars and media, however. Houston native Jim Parsons, who plays Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory, the ABC comedy Modern Family and HBO’s adaptation of The Normal Heart all won Emmys in their respective categories. The latter was produced by Ryan Murphy, the out gay director who also produced nominees American Horror Story and Glee.

Among notable nominees in other categories were AHS‘s Sarah Paulson; Orange is the New Black‘s Laverne Cox, who was the first transperson to ever be nominated for an Emmy; Nathan Lane, for a guest appearance on Modern Family; and Kevin Spacey for his performance as a ruthless congressman in House of Cards. (While Spacey isn’t out, he frequently dodges questions about his sexuality.)

You can see a full list of the winners here.

 

—  James Russell

Laverne Cox earns Emmy nomination

Laverne Cox has become the first transgender actress to be nominated for an Emmy, with her nomination today as “Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series,” for her role as Sophia Burset in Orange Is the New Black. The Emmy nod comes a month after Cox became the first trans person featured on the cover of Time Magazine.Laverne-Cox

Orange Is the New Black received 12 Emmy nominations, the most of any comedy series.

Cox told Time today: “I was told many times that I wouldn’t be able to have a mainstream career as an actor because I’m trans, because I’m black, and here I am. And it feels really good.”

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force congratulated Cox with a press release calling her “a true champion of freedom and justice for all LGBTQ people.”

Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, released a statement saying: “Today, countless transgender youth will hear the message that they can be who they are and still achieve their dreams – nothing is out of reach. Laverne’s success on a hit series is a clear indication that audiences are ready for more trans characters on television.”

GLAAD’s press release also noted that openly LGBT actors such as Jim Parsons, Kate McKinnon, Sarah Paulson and Jesse Tyler Ferguson were also nominated for Emmys, and that TV shows featuring LGBT characters and plotlines, such as Orange Is the New Black, Game of Thrones and Modern Family, also got nominatons.

—  Tammye Nash

Emmy nominations are pretty damn gay

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The Tony Awards are always gay, the Oscars less so (at least they are more closeted), but the Emmys? They’ve almost kept up with the Tonys in recent years. Consider: This year’s ceremony on Sept. 22 will be hosted by regular Tony Awards host Neil Patrick Harris — who plays straight on his TV show but is a camptastic song-and-dance man at heart.

Harris and Breaking Bad actor Aaron Paul announced the nominees for the Emmys this morning, and it proved to be a very gay affair indeed. Here are some queer highlights:

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Emmy noms: Some of the gay stuff

The Emmy nominations came out this morning, and the details of them can be hashed over in the coming month, but I wanted to point out a few gay interest items on the list:

• Modern Family continues to dominate the comedy category, with the entire adult cast again snagging nominations, as well as for directing, writing, comedy series and guest actor/comedy Greg Kinnear.

• Once again, officially out actor Jim Parsons looks like the sure thing for actor/comedy for The Big Bang Theory, unless 30 Rock’s Alec Baldwin makes a comeback. His co-star Mayim Bialik was also nominated, but not Johnny Galecki. The show is also up for best comedy series.

• American Horror Story, created by Glee mastermind Ryan Murphy, was nominated in the miniseries category, including nods for miniseries, actress/mini Connie Britton, supporting actor/mini for gay thesp Denis O’Hare and two for supporting actress/mini — Frances Conroy and shoo-in winner Jessica Lange.

• Game of Thrones is again in contention, though only last year’s winner — Peter Dinklage for supporting actor/drama — is nominated for acting. The show has lots of nudity (including men!) and this last season a great gay storyline.

• One of the most welcome nominations was for Kathryn Joosten, who died just days after her touchingly hard-scrabble performance on Desperate Housewives ended with her death, was nominated for supporting actress/comedy. She’d won twice before in the guest actress category. Not in the supporting category? Previous winner Jane Lynch of Glee; Chris Colfer of Glee was also overlooked.

• The reality competition program continues to play it safe — in the history of the category, The Amazing Race has won every year except one, when Top Chef sneaked in. When will RuPaul — the show and the host — get the credit she deserves?!?!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Gay reality version of “Modern Family” seeks cast

We knew it would happen. Desperate Housewives begat the reality Real Housewives franchise. Production on the new Dallas series triggered everything from Big Rich Texas to The A-List Dallas. Success begets success. So it was just a matter of time before the hit sitcom Modern Family would spur its reality-based imitators.

And that time is now.

Worlds of Wonder, the production company responsible for RuPaul’s Drag Race and lots of other TV shows with a gay slant, is in the process of casting for its newest docu-series. My Modern Family is going into production, and is undertaking a nationwide search for their own Mitchell and Cameron. From the press release:

“Are you … gay and married with kids? Does your extended family play an important role in your life? Do you think your family is larger than life and ready for their close-up? If so, we may want to hear from you!”

Interested folks can send an email to realmodernfamilycasting@gmail.com, and need to include a brief description of their family (at least one set of in-laws need to be close and in general get along with you and your partner, and help out from time to time) and similarities to the sitcom, plus “photos of as many family members as possible” and a way to contact you.

Someone local really needs to be on this show. You listening to me, Todd and Cooper Smith-Koch?

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

“Modern Family” cast tonight at Winspear

All in the Family

Get the real scoop on your favorite show — or at least a really good one. Modern Family stars Ty Burrell, Emmy-award winner Eric Stonestreet and Jesse Tyler Ferguson, pictured, stop by for a little chat tonight thanks to the Brinker International Forum. The panel will also include the show’s co-reator and executive producer Steve Levitan.

DEETS: Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora St. 8 p.m. $20–$125. ATTPAC.org.

—  Rich Lopez

What’s gay about this year’s Emmy noms

The Emmy nominations came out this morning, and there are, as usual, lots of gays in the mix.

The most obvious is the continued domination of Modern Family in the comedy category. Last year’s winner for best comedy series was nominated again for that, as well as the entire adult cast (pictured) in supporting categories, including out actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson, who plays half of a gay couple with straight actor Eric Stonestreet. Also up for best comedy series at the very gay (or gay-friendly) Glee (from gay creator Ryan Murphy), The Office, The Big Bang Theory, Parks and Recreation and 30 Rock. The Modern Family men will be up against Chris Colfer, so touching as Kurt, on GleeBig Bang‘s out actor Jim Parsons competes with his castmate Johnny Galecki and prior winner Alec Baldwin of 30 Rock.

Last year’s winner for supporting actress in a comedy, out actress Jane Lynch from Glee, is nominated again, alongside Modern Family’s Sofia Vergara and Julie Bowen, Jane Krakowski (30 Rock), Betty White (Hot in Cleveland) and Kristen Wiig (SNL). Archie Panjabi, who won supporting actress in a drama last year for The Good Wife playing a bisexual lawyer, is also up again, going against Christina Hendricks from Mad Men.

There were big nominations for Emmy (and gay) favorites Mad Men and Dexter, and some real love for the Texas-filmed series Friday Night Lights, which finishes its series run tomorrow on NBC. The cult hit The Killing got several nominations, but best drama series was not among them.

Kathy Griffin’s My Life on the D List was nominated for reality series, with gay hits American Idol, Top Chef, Project Runway, So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing with the Stars are up for reality competition. Gay-ish comedy shows The Colbert Report and The Daily Show are frontrunners for variety/comedy series.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

‘Happily Divorced’ debuts Wednesday; ‘Love Handles’ gets lesbian couple tonight

Actress Fran Drescher’s real life inadvertently turned into a story like one of the sitcoms she has performed in. A few years ago, her producing partner and husband of nearly 20 years, Marc Jacobson, announced they were divorcing because, it turned out, he’d been gay all this time. Drescher took the news like a champ (publicly at least), supporting Jacobson and her legions of gay fans with a shrug of “What can ya do?”

In true Hollywood fashion, though, she turned her personal tragedy into the stuff of comedy for her new sitcom, Happily Divorced, which premieres Wednesday on TV Land.

In it, Drescher plays Fran (big stretch), a Los Angeles housewife whose husband (John Michael Higgins) reveals after 18 years that he’s gay. How could she not have known? He did all the floral arrangements for their wedding. But the economic downturn has made the breakup far worse: He’s still living in the house they cannot afford to sell, while she ventures out into the dating world.

Happily Divorced is, like Drescher’s signature sitcom The Nanny, a bright and airy confection with some unfortunately familiar jokes sandwiching some of the truly clever ones. But Higgins (familiar for his Chris Guest mockumentaries) is a gifted comedian, as are her parents, played by George Segal and Rita Moreno. And Drescher herself a bizarrely likable woman despite that annoying accent.

There are few great sitcoms around anymore — Modern Family and 30 Rock spring to mind — and even fewer great three-camera shows, such as Big Bang Theory. Happily Divorced doesn’t approach any of them in quality or laughs, but it does have a breezy sense of humor about gay issues that’s neither insulting nor bitter. It’s a start.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones