In 1993, Mel White came out publicly when he was installed as dean of the Dallas Cathedral of Hope.  Now he’s the founder of Soulfouce, an organization that tries to cut off homophobia at its source — religious bigotry.

White is also the father of actor-director-producer Mike White ("School of Rock," "Nacho Libre, "Chuck & Buck" and "Year of the Dog.") And the White men recently added another credit to their resumes: reality TV stars.

They are one of 11 teams on the 14th season of "The Amazing Race," where they’ll race around the world for $1 million. White, by the way, is 68 years old and the season’s oldest competitor.

Here’s a blurb from their team online profile: "Mel, a gay rights activist, has worked as a writer, professor, filmmaker and a pastor and is eager to have a once-in-a-lifetime experience with his youngest child. He’s confident that his people skills will give him an advantage over some of the other racers. He describes himself as energetic, caring and passionate and he enjoys scuba diving and racquetball. When asked who he would model his style of game play after, he pointed to Season 7 winners Uchenna and Joyce, while Mike will model his game play after the ‘never say die’ attitude of Charla and Mirna."

This will be the first time that the "Race" has traveled to Siberia and Romania, on a jaunt that will span 40,000 miles and nine countries over 22 days.

There is one Texan in the cast, Jodi Wincheski, a 39-year-old Houston-based flight attendant.
The new season premieres on Feb. 15 at 7 p.m, on CBS.

"The Amazing Race: 14" premieres Sunday, Feb. 15 at 7 p.m. on CBS.

‘Push’ a Sundance hit
The Sundance Film Festival’s prizes for best U.S. drama on Saturday went to "Push," the dark yet hopeful story of a young woman finding her way out of nightmarish circumstances in 1980s Harlem.

"Push" tells the moving story of overweight, illiterate, sexually abused teenager Precious Jones (Gabourey Sidibe) whose life is changed thanks to the guidance of a lesbian teacher. Director Lee Daniels assembled an exceedingly eclectic African-American cast for this drama, including comic Mo’Nique (as Precious’ toxic mother), Paula Patton, Sherri Shepherd, Mariah Carey, and Lenny Kravitz.

Based on the 1996 first novel by the poet Sapphire and directed by Lee Daniels, "Push" won both the grand jury and audience awards.

Sam Rockwell’s ‘Winning Season’

When you think of the WNBA, what’s your next thought?

That’s right: Sheryl Swoopes.

And your next thought after that?

Exactly: lesbians.

So why are there never any teen lesbians in TV shows or films featuring girls basketball (or any sports for that matter)?

The closest Hollywood will get is allowing the tough-girl protagonist of the little-seen "Stick It" to escape the third act without a male love interest.

Will "The Winning Season," a new feature about a down-on-his-luck coach (Sam Rockwell) and his underachieving high school girl’s basketball team (featuring Emma Roberts and Shareeka Epps), address this omission?

Early reviews out of Sundance Film Festival don’t say one way or the other. But it is an indie feature from "Grace Is Gone" director James C. Strouse, which means that the odds are better than if Disney was behind it. Here’s hoping for some balance.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 30, 2009.
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