WATCH: Is this Bud for us? New Budweiser ad appears to support gays in the military

Budweiser has released a new military-themed ad that some folks are saying is also a “pro-gays-in-the-military” ad.

The ad starts off with a soldier calling another guy and saying, “Hey man. I’m coming home.” Then in a split-screen, continues with scenes of the soldier making his way home while the other guy goes about planning and organizing a welcome home party, and then being the first one to step forward and hug the soldier when he gets home.

If it is a “gay” ad, it isn’t, well, flamboyantly gay. And that’s perfectly fine, since there are many, many, many LGBT people out there — including many of our men and women in uniform — who are definitely not flamboyantly gay themselves. We deserve to have our diverse community portrayed (and honored and celebrated) realistically in all our diversity.

Is this a gay ad? Did Budweiser mean for it to be a gay ad? Huffington Post has a poll up, and readers there are pretty evenly split, with 33 percent saying it is totally gay, 25 percent saying no way it’s gay, and 41 percent saying probably not but I can see why some folks think it is.

And AfterElton.com points out that “if you substituted a woman for [the guy the soldier calls first], it would read pretty much exactly like a heterosexual relationship.”

Only Budweiser knows for sure, of course. But — again, as AfterElton notes — this is a mega-big company with some pretty experienced advertising folks working for them, and do you really think they would let something so very obviously possibly gay slip through inadvertently?

Watch the ad yourself (below) and see what you think. All I know for sure is that I don’t drink beer of any kind, but if I did drink beer, I think I’d probably drink Bud.

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Cynthia Nixon + Christine Marinoni Welcome Newborn Son

Speaking of gay women raising kids, Cynthia Nixon's wife Christine Marinoni ("a short man with boobs")yesterday gave birth to their son Max Ellington Nixon-Marinoni. He joins Cynthia's kids Samantha, 14, and Charles, 8, from her relationship with Danny Mozes. Just as wonderful as the newborn: the couple's ability to hide the pregnancy from the press. Just like NPH+DB!


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Elton John + David Furnish Welcome Baby Boy Zachary

Congratulations to Elton John and David Furnish, 62 and 48, who welcomed son Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John, born via surrogate, on Christmas Day in California. If you're as surprised as we, there's a reason: John and Furnish had not revealed they were expecting. The new baby comes after last October's failed attempt to adopt a HIV-positive baby from the Ukraine.


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Movies: Welcome to “Burlesque”


Burlesque_wink

NATHANIEL ROGERS

Guestblogger

…lives for the the tail end of each year. That's when Oscar buzz wags the film dog. He blogs daily at the Film Experience. Follow him on Twitter @nathanielr.


YOUR FEATURE PRESENTATION

Happy Thanksgiving to all you Towleroad Readers. Care for some turkey? Cher, XTina and gay filmmaker Steve Antin shall provide a succulent bird. If you’ve been looking forward to the new musical BURLESQUE, relax. I come not to disparage the movie, but to (mostly) praise it. Consider this a corrective protest. It will prove too easy a target for critics and haters, who often seem to despise girlie or flashy movies before they’ve even seen them, but it’s not truly a turkey. It’s more like a (hot) pink flamingo; the plumage is so colorful, you forget that it looks like it should fall over.

The basic plot of Burlesque is so typical as to be personality free: small town dreamer arrives in big city to make it big. Does. The End. But let’s backtrack. Christina Aguilera, referred to as “Ali” since she’s acting or “Iowa” since she’s just off the bus, chances upon the club “Burlesque” run by Cher. For some reason everyone in the movie keeps calling Cher “Tess" but even Cher knows she’s just playing Cher. Tess even gets an 11th hour power ballad "You Haven't Seen the Last of Me Yet" to remind you that she's Cher. But no matter. Cher plays herself so superbly she reconfirms her status as the best actress pop music ever produced.

MORE AFTER THE JUMP

Cher_burlesque
"Are you Tess?" "No, I'm Cher, dummie"

Cher finds Christina/Ali annoying (I know the feeling) but reluctantly hires her. Metrosexual bartender Jack (Cam Gigandet) finds Ali sexy and invites her to sleep on his couch. Queen bee Nikki (Kristen Bell) finds Ali threatening and things turn sour between them immediately though you might find it absolutely jarring to hear Christina Aguilera of all people diss another woman for looking like a drag queen. Just sayin'. Cher’s right hand man Sean (Stanley Tucci) finds Ali interesting and opts to pretend that Christina Aguilera is Anne Hathaway, playfully recreating his entire Devil Wears Prada performance. (What? You loved it the first time.) Alan Cumming playfully recreates his Cabaret emcee performance (also, still great) but the movie barely notices. The club has a new star and things are looking up. Or are they? Unfortunately, a vulture (Eric Dane) is circling both “Burlesque” the club, still having financial problems, and Ali who is having ‘fresh meat’ problems as the new girl with the giant breasts/voice.

Christina_burlesque At times Burlesque plays almost exactly like a well choreographed flashy long form Christina Aguilera music video but for those who aren’t particularly drawn to her, Cher is a genius counterprogramming buffer. Aguilera’s voice has always favored the charm offensive, as if every note of each song is the climax or a new opportunity to demand fan submission but Cher merely warbles within her limited range knowing full well that she already has your full attention. Cher’s opening number “Welcome to Burlesque” provides brilliant meta-commentary.

“Show a little more” (That’s Christina.)

“Show a little leh—eess” (That’s Cher)
“Welcome to Burlesque” (Hey, they’re in a movie together!)

Writer/director Antin unfortunately misses a huge dramatic opportunity in the reveal of Ali’s giant sized voice, which comes about half an hour into the movie. The moment is meant to be an astonishment to everyone from Burlesque patrons to the club managers while providing a smart wink to the moviegoing audience (who are ahead of the game, being familiar with Christina's pipes). But Antin spoils it by having Christina sing twice before the reveal, once to herself as the movie begins and once in a stupid fantasy sequence that’s a direct lift from Roxy’s “All That Jazz” interruption in Chicago (2002). There's already too little of Kristen Bell in the movie, and then they have to take her big number away from her and give it to Christina? Dirrty.

Burlesque_cam The movie is riddled with derivative problems like this, but in our current post-everything mash-up culture, this weakness can work as an interactive strength. Before Ali becomes a showgirl, for example, she’s a cocktail server prone to performing the dance steps while serving and all of these little cutaways scream Nomi Malone discovering “Goddess” for the first time in Las Vegas. If you can’t smile when reminded of Showgirls (1995), I weep for you. Perhaps Burlesque shouldn’t work but from the big budget presentation of its frequent musical numbers to the banter between the characters, it finds ways to be entertain. It helps to have actors as fun and confident as Cher and Tucci and Bell in any movie’s corner. But, shockingly, even Cam Gigandet, whose body has always dwarfed his acting ability, finds a way to make Jack endearing during an improbably cute snacky seduction scene in his kitchen. That he’s most endearing while completely naked is perhaps no coincidence. If the sales of Famous Amos cookies skyrocket post Burlesque, Cam is to blame.

The movie's biggest misstep, if you excuse all the shameless borrowing from superior films, is how soggy it gets, weirdly diluting its own bitchiest moments. The ladies from Showgirls and Chicago, this movie's twin revered towers, never worried about their likeability and we liked them more for it. They’d eat Ali and Nikki alive. Embrace the bitchy, Antin! It’s a show queen movie, for Nomi’s sake.

Burlesque_cher_tucci After the all-media screening I mostly heard “disaster” comments and one critic, shocked that anyone (like myself) enjoyed it, lost it. ‘Crossroads is a masterpiece in comparison,' he say. 'This was pure torture.' Clearly time heals all wounds or this critic has never been waterboarded. Christina Aguilera is never going to win an Oscar but by virtue of her total mediocrity as an actress she is instantly eliminated from the Most Wooden Pop Diva wars. (That title has to go to Mariah in Glitter or Kelly Clarkson in From Justin to Kelly, right?). It may sadden the perverse reader that Burlesque is too competent for the Bad Movie We Love sweepstakes and perhaps it’s a must-avoid if neither of the two divas do it for you. But if you love Cher and/or Christina, it’s a must-see and an obvious future member of the Movie You Always End Up Watching When Channel Surfing Club.

Picture 44 ALSO OPENING
Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway get naked and battle Parkinsons in LOVE AND OTHER DRUGS. The haunting gay romance UNDERTOW (Peru’s Oscar submission, also known as CONTRACORRIENTE) is opening in select cities this weekend. It’s well worth a look. I spoke to its debut director, out filmmaker Javier Fuentes-Leon this week, and I’ll share some of that conversation next week. See it! It has some stiff competition for the foreign film Oscar nomination but it’s a moving gay romance so cross your fingers. The Oscars could stand to be a little gayer (he said ironically). And, finally, the ad campaign for TANGLED, Disney’s latest animated musical, promised a snarky Shrek/Hoodwinked style twisted fairytale. It lied (thank God). This musical version of Rapunzel is an admirable sweet return to classic Disney fairytale form. You can add Mother Gothel (voiced by Broadway’s ever brilliant Donna Murphy) to the list of Disney’s best screen villains. But skip the 3D. You'll save money and you won't miss a thing.


Towleroad News #gay

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Welcome To Tulane, Where Your Professor Outs You As Trans

"I hadn’t gotten my name change yet, so beforehand I e-mailed [the professor]," says transgender Tulane University student Max Wallace of his first day of a new semester. "He e-mailed me back confirming that it was not a problem, and then in class called out my birth name. Finally, he called out my chosen name and looked at me and said, ‘Oh, you wanted to go by Max, right.'" Not to mention, Tulane doesn't have gender identity included in its equal opportunity and anti-discrimination policies, which means students must have a legal document to register a name change — or rely on the kindness of faculty, administrators, teachers' aides, office staff, food court workers swiping your ID, security guards, and pretty much every person on campus with a modicum of access to your identity to respect your privacy. [Tulane Hullabaloo]


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Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka Welcome Twins

Twins

Congrats!


Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright

Andrew Shirvell’s Welcome Back To Work Present: Disciplinary Hearings

Though he's currently taking a "voluntary" leave of absence from the Michigan attorney general's office following his off-the-clock attacks on gay U-Mich student assembly head Chris Armstrong, low-level staffer Andrew Shirvell has some fun awaiting him: hearings to see whether he should face disciplinary action for being a cyber bully.


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Welcome to 2010 NC Pride!

Photo: The openly gay Mayor of Chapel Hill, Mark Kleinschmidt (l) and local anchor/reporter for the CBS affiliate here, WRAL-TV’s Pam Saulsby. It’s her first appearance at Pride. There’s a photo of me with Pam floating out there somewhere. Hopefully it will turn up.


I wasn’t feeling too well today (lots of muscle pain), but I got myself together to head downtown to Duke’s East Campus on Main Street where the parade for NC Pride is held each year.

Durham is an excellent host town, with a very LGBT-friendly police and fire department, and LGBT and gender-non-conforming folks can take over the city without fear of some fundie eruption (outside of protesters). The neighborhood here is Old West Durham and I ran into the association prez, my friend John Schelp, along with ally City Councilman Mike Woodard (you’ll see them in the photo album).

I didn’t see any this year, but I didn’t walk the parade route this time, so if any Blenders were there, please report on whether Operation Save America or one of the local Baptist/evangelical churches bothered to come out in the gawdawful heat.

We hold Pride in September to avoid a sweatbox, but we were SOL this year as temps were in the 90s. My car registered 102 when I got in it. My feet were on fire from walking on the cooked asphalt. The searing heat went through my shoes! On my way back to the car, I stopped to chat with one of our friendly police officers and he had parked himself in the numerous areas of shade provided by the pin oaks on campus near the sidewalk. He was still burning up, since his uniform is of course polyester (eek), and the bulletproof vest underneath is like insulation. I don’t know how they do it.

Anyway, I did take photos and video with my Droid phone just to give you a sense of the festivities.

Here’s the video I mostly shot the colorful floats, noisy stuff, dancing scantily-clad men, etc. It’s tame by gay metropolis standards, but hey it’s the South!

A photoalbum is below the fold. It gives you a better idea of who was marching — lots and lots of LGBT-affirming churches, many people of color (black and Latino) and a ton of parade watchers and supporters. I don’t have a head count yet.
 

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

A Big Gay Welcome Back To Barbara

Barbara Walters returned to the cast of The View yesterday after a long hiatus due to heart surgery. As a surprise at the end of the show, Mario Cantone sang a version of Hello Dolly to her with the backing of four chorus boys and an orchestra.

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright