‘Project Runway’ returns next month, Dallas designer among contestants

PR_13comp_RLifetime has announced July 24 as the start date for the new season of Project Runway. And Michael Kors is officially just a dim memory.

Zac Posen, Nina Garcia, Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn are back, but as I predicted more than a year ago — and again about a year ago — the loss of the show’s bitchiest critic has cooled my enthusiasm. Indeed, the series usually has two editions per calendar year, but the spring collection was replaced by Under the Gunn, a kind of Project Runway Lite thrown together when Klum wasn’t available to host.

The good news is, one of the new season’s contestants is gay Dallas designer Emmanuel Tobias, 29 (far right), and two others are Texas natives. We like our Texans on the show. No one does big hair better.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Gays at the creative arts Emmy Awards

HeidiTimWhile we were all getting our Pride on Sunday, in Hollywood, the gays were dressed up (sans Speedos) to attend the creative arts Emmy Awards ceremony — the precursor to next Sunday’s primetime ceremony. And if these awards (for design, casting, guest actors and such) are any indication, the gays have some mo(mentum) headed into the big game.

Among the big winners were Project Runway‘s Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn (co-winners for best reality show host) and Behind the Candelabra, the HBO film about Liberace, which won a staggering eight awards (casting, costumes, art direction, hairstyling, editing, sound mixing, prosthetic makeup and non-prosthetic makeup). It’s still up for six more next week, including two for best actor, best miniseries/movie and best director.

Other gay interest winners: Gay actor Dan Buchatinsky, who won best best actor in a drama for Scandal; American Horror Story: Asylum (for sound editing); Lily Tomlin’s narration of An Apology to Elephants (for best voice-over performance); and “IF I Had Time,” Neil Patrick Harris’ closing song at the 2012 Tony Awards (for best song).

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

‘Project Runway’ ad presses the flesh

pr12_key_artProject Runway launches its new season — its 12th — a week from tomorrow on Lifetime, and honestly, I haven’t been all that excited about it. No more Michael Kors. More gimmicks. No Texans in the cast.

But I have to say, the new ad campaign for the season has me, ummm, intrigued.

Now, I know the models in this photo are not the contestants. It’s just one more gimmick for the aging franchise. But if you have to have a gimmick, using racy nudity of hard-bodied men (and, admittedly, women) isn’t such a bad idea. And Heidi dressed as Marie Antoinette (and Tim Gunn standing beside her in a pose that’s slightly evocative of something S&M) probably has the desired effect: I’ll be watching.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

‘Project Runway’ jumps the shark?

PROJECT RUNWAYDo you hear that slight ringing sound? That’s the death knell for Project Runway.

Well, maybe not dead, but if this isn’t its last season, it’s in earshot.

Last year, Lifetime buried the lead when they casually mentioned that Michael Kors would be back only for the finale, with Zan Posen replacing him in the judge’s chair. At the time, I felt it was a mistake, and felt the decision basically meant Kors was off the show for good. No, folks emailed me — he’ll be back. It was just a “scheduling issue.”

Uh-huh.

The new season begins July 18, and the judges, once again, are Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia and Posen, with the addition of Tim Gunn not only as mentor but spy now, filling in the trio of behind-the-scenes goings-on, and even exercising a veto to save a designer. Tinker, tailor, solider, spy indeed, Mr. Gunn.

And there will be virtually no role for Kors this season.

This isn’t good news. Posen is a good designer but makes for dull TV. (Remember last season’s creepy “I go to high school proms every week” non-sequitur?) Season 11 was the dullest since the first season on Lifetime. The addition of a mystery contestant and Gunn’s new role have the whiff of desperation to prop up an aging series. (And this season no Texans among the 16 designers.)

It may be time to say, “Auf Wiedershesen.”

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Kors you’re out, Posen in on ‘Runway’

I got a press release from the Lifetime network, teasing the big change in the next cycle of  Project Runway, starting Jan. 24: All the designers will compete in teams! Big news, huh?

Eh. Teams is reality TV competitionspeak for “we set up folks to fight more.”

No, what really interested me was that in discussing the return, they noted Heidi would be back with Tim Gunn and Nina Garcia and new featured guest judge Zac Posen.

No mention at all of Michael Kors.

Then, later down, we find out Kors will be the final celebrity guest judge during Fashion Week.

Auf Wiedershesen.

Gotta say it: Bad move. Kors’ catty quips, as only a gay man can be, are for me the raison d’etre of Project Runway. I love me sum Tim Gunn, and me likee Heidi’s brush-off, but Kors is the tart souffle to Nina’s logy cheese course. We’ll have to see…

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

“Project Runway” crowns a gay winner — we just don’t know which one yet

Ever since Project Runway moved from Bravo to Lifetime two years ago, its entertainment quotient has taken a nose-dive. Season 8 was the most boring until the current season, an All-Stars edition which brings back players from Seasons 1 through 8. (Season 9 also crowned a controversial winner, someone who had been a designer for only a few months.) This version has been marred by dumb competitions and a substitute slate of less interesting judges. (No Tim Gunn! No Heidi! No Michael Kors! No Nina Garcia!… OK, that last one’s not so bad.)

But the one thing you can say about this season is: Whoever wins will be a gay guy.

That may seem like a ho-hum moment, but considering just how gay the show is — from the judges to the mentor to the contestants to the audience — it’s rather remarkable how poorly the gays have fared over the years. Last season, every male contest was gay (though one claimed not to be but… I mean, c’mon!); two were in the final three, but lost to a straight woman. Since the beginning, at least seven gay men have made the top three, but none has won since Season 4′s Christian Siriano. He may even be the last truly deserving winner.

That changes tonight. In the second of the two-part season finale, the three finalists are all gay: Austin Scarlett (Season 1′s fourth placer), Michael Costello (8′s fourth placer) and Mondo Guerra (8′s runner-up). Kenley Collins was kicked off fourth.

The fact Kenley and Costello stayed in the running so long — or that either is considered an “all-star” — is another one of the problems with the series: You become acutely aware what flashes-in-the-pan some of these designers were, and that they got further on the show than their talents would bear out. (Costello continues to steal others’ ideas, then drape a goddess dress to eke through.)

Mondo was the deserving loser a few seasons back, and Austin has become such a fun personality over the years (especially after his travel-fashion series with Santino Rice), so our loyalties are divided. But we’ll be watching for sure.

So … who do you hope wins?

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Gaga gunning for Tim after he disses Hillary’s pantsuits

Ok, I am a Tim Gunn fan. He and Heidi Klum are the only reasons I watch Project Runway. But I have to admit I am a little, well, flabbergasted I guess, if not downright insulted by comments he made last week on George Lopez’s late-night talk show (Lopez Tonight) about Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her penchant for pantsuits.

Tim told George, “She’s the secretary of state…why must she dress that way? I think she’s confused about her gender, all these big, baggy, menswear, tailored pantsuit.” Then, as the crowd groaned audibly, Tim added, “No, I’m really serious. She wears pantsuits that are unflattering.”

Wait a minute there Tim. It’s one thing to question Hillary’s fashion sense. But the “confused about her gender” remark was way off base, in my opinion.

Apparently, according to this E! Online report, Lady Gaga wasn’t too thrilled with Tim either. Gaga cohosted The View today, and when the View women started questioning Gunn’s comment, Gaga made it clear what she thinks about it: “”He’s being a bully. I think Hillary Clinton has more important things to think about than her hemline.”

I think that about sums it up. Tim, buddy, rethink your comments, come up with something better and make it work.

You can watch video clips of Gunn’s comment and Gaga’s response below.

—  admin

Steve ‘Santa Claus’ Sprinkle’s message to gay youth goes national: No, God doesn’t hate you

Dr. Stephen Sprinkle’s “It Gets Better” video has been viewed almost 12,000 times.

The other day we shared with you the Rev. Stephen Sprinkle’s “It Gets Better” YouTube message to LGBT youth. Sprinkle, a gay 58-year-old assistant professor at TCU’s Brite Divinity School, may lack the celebrity appeal of some others who’ve recorded these messages in recent days, such as Chris Colfer, Tim Gunn or Ke$ha (also, $prinkle doesn’t usually spell his name with a dollar sign). But out of more than 1,000 videos submitted to the “It Gets Better” YouTube channel, Sprinkle’s is among a handful featured in a national story about the campaign from the Associated Press. That’s because, according to AP, Sprinkle is like the gay Santa Claus. And after all, for the average LGBT youth who’s not going to become a celebrity, a grandfather figure who’s a man of the cloth probably has a lot more cred than Perez Hilton. At least we’d like to think so. Here’s the excerpt about Sprinkle from the AP story:

It’s been 40 years since Stephen Sprinkle was in high school. At 58, he rocks gently in an office chair, his trim gray beard and gentle smile offering a touch of Santa Claus in his video. He describes his Christian upbringing in rural North Carolina and his decision to deny himself an “affectional life” as a gay man when he received his call to the ministry in his 20s.

“It made me lonely for a lot of years,” he tells his viewers, as he constantly looked over his shoulder and lived in fear he would slip up and reveal his secret.

It wasn’t until he was hired as an assistant professor at Brite Divinity School in Fort Worth, Texas, that he decided to come out “utterly, fully and completely,” surviving attempts to have him fired and earning tenure, Sprinkle said in an interview.

Since posting the video, he’s heard from several young people, including one so upset that Sprinkle tracked down professional help.

“He’s 18. He’s a closeted religious person and he told me he was afraid he was going to explode,” Sprinkle said. “He kept asking over and over, `Does God hate me?’ I said ‘Heavens, no. God created you beautiful and complete. God makes no mistakes like that.’”

—  John Wright

Tim Gunn gets dishy with new tell-all

Tim Gunn, the avuncular mentor on Project Runway and creative director of Liz Claiborne, might be the last person you’d expect to dish cattily and gossip about his colleagues. But that’s exactly what he’s rumored to do in his new book, in stores today, Sept. 7.

“My deathly ill mother, if she’s alive Tuesday, won’t be Wednesday,” Gunn said about the explosiveness of some of his observations in Gunn’s Golden Rules, including Gunn’s suspicion that his father was a closeted gay man who had a sexual relationship with former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover. Among the other revelations:

• “I keep thinking Martha Stewart will never have me back on her show again. I mean, I love her. It’s her bratty daughter who troubles me so, and especially because Alexis is so willing to do this in public.”

• About Gretchen Jones, a contestant on the current season of Project Runway: “The behavior that Gretchen demonstrated on the runway during that Q with the judges is about as close to psychosis as anything I have seen on the show. … I would have sent Gretchen home! I probably would have been mistaken but that’s what I would have done.”

The enitre interview, which appears on the Web site TheFrisky.com, can be read here.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones