Thursday, 24 December 2009

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Happy Birthday Jake!

Jake Gyllenhaal
Whatever with the past has gone, the best is always yet to come.

- Lucy Larcom

Friday, 11 December 2009

True Blue

December 11, 2009

Something our dear, closeted Toothy Tile most certainly does not share with his also-in-the-closet brethren like Lloyd Boy-Toyed, Crotch Uh-Lastic and Jackie Bouffant is a virtual cornucopia of straight buds.

I don't mean the pretend kind, but the ones you never see Toothy photographed with. Yeah, you heard me right: These are heterosexual bros with whom Toothy loves to shoot the shit, have a few brews, talk about the broads, all that 100-percent-cotton American man stuff Toothy just can't seem to let go from his, like, totally gay life.

OK, it's cool, I have tons (maybe a few) gay friends who are completely into the SUVs/watching sports/unshowered thing, maybe it's not so completely weird that Toothy's wired that way a little, too?

But what's wacko is when these boy-buds o' Toothy's start, shockingly...

...coming to the put-upon pooftah's defense! At parties! At bars! At ball games! At beach barbecues! It's getting friggin' hi-larious!

And no, these dudes who actually do know Toothy rather well are not defending Mr. Tile's very publicized fauxmance and whether or not it's legitimate, hardly.

Nope, instead, they're busy saying, as of late, that Toothy and his man are doin' just fine, thank you, and further more, "They're the real thing." These het amigos like to tell this to anybody who starts talking crap about their good friend.

Backstabbing gossip gets these hetero friends of Toothy's so very riled up, they've lately been stating how "in love" Mr. and Mr. Toothy Tile happen to be right now. So there!

Wow. With friends like that, who needs gossip columns? But ain't it nice to now how truly true-blue Toothy is?

I knew it all along, didn't you?

I mean, come on, I would never have given a hateful scum-schmuck such press. Toothy's cool. Just currently a bit lost.

And It Ain't: James Marsden, Kellan Lutz, Javier Bardem

Source: Ted Casablanca's Blind Vice, Straight Dude Buds Stand Up Tall for Toothy Tile

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Fauxmance is Over!

November 29, 2009

Reese Witherspoon and Jake Gyllenhaal have split, a source close to the actress tells PEOPLE. No further details were given.

Source: People magazine, Reese Witherspoon and Jake Gyllenhaal Split

Jake Gyllenhaal, Reese Witherspoon, fauxmance

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Gay Edition

Jake Gyllenhaal
Jake Gyllenhaal
Jake Gyllenhaal
November 19, 2009

Dear Ted:
I was just looking through People's Sexiest Man issue. How many of the drool-worthy guys pictured in that issue are something other than hetero? Adam Lambert is one, so two or three? Four? More than five? Or would it be easier and less litigious for me to ask you which ones are straight as an arrow?

Dear Yummy Edition:
People's (Out) Gayest Men Alive just wouldn't really sell, now would it?

Source: Ted Casablanca's The Awful Truth
Screencaps from Access Hollywood Jake Gyllenhaal On 'Brothers' & Working With Tobey Maguire video

Thursday, 12 November 2009

In or Out?


There's been a great deal of discussion on the site [After Elton] over the past couple of weeks about gay celebrities, the closet and what constitutes being "out." And even though we've discussed the issue numerous times before, it seems like it is once again time to revisit the topic. And it's a subject that is as tricky as ever and that can have real consequences for the celebrities involved.

Perez kicked the latest round of debate off when he posted an item about White Collar's Matthew Bomer. Without citing a source or saying how he knew, Perez simply claimed Matt was an out gay man. If true, we were certainly interested in writing about Matt and his show, but as we aren't a gossip site, I wasn't going to simply repeat Perez's claims — for lots of reasons.

But I did call up Matthew's publicist and request an interview if, in fact, Perez's information was correct. Through his publicist, Matthew passed on doing the interview and the publicist told me they don't comment on their client's personal lives. And that post set off a heated discussion about outing, the closet and all the other related issues.

The issue of the closet is something we deal with at a lot and we are constantly evaluating how we cover celebrities that may or may not be gay. First and foremost, we do not out people. It's our firm belief that despite the undeniably greater gay acceptance in society today, coming out still has serious ramifications for many people and is a decision to be made only by the individual in question (excluding closeted politician's, but that's another conversation for another site).

That being said, we also don't believe there is anything wrong with treating everyone the same and the questions asked of a straight celebrity are perfectly fine to ask of a gay celebrity when appropriate. Are you married? Single? What was your childhood like? How does being straight influence the way you play a gay character? Does your husband get jealous when you kiss another man? And so forth.

Here are some general observations and thoughts about where we stand today.

1) For our readers: Just because "everyone" in West Hollywood or New York "knows" Celebrity X is gay because you've seen him around town with another guy does not make it true or mean that the person is out publicly. First of all, New York and Los Angeles are not the entire world and secondly, being seen out in public with another man is not being out in any practical way.

2) For gay celebrities: Just because your family and friends know you are gay does not make you publicly out.

3) For representatives of gay celebrities: If your client is gay and your response is "no comment" because "we don't ever comment on our client's personal lives" all I have to say is "Poppycock." I may understand why you are hiding the info, but I'm not an idiot and neither are our readers. If your client discusses raising funds for Alzheimer's because their dad had it or working to fight testicular cancer because they have it or anything else not specifically about a particular role, then they do discuss their private lives.

4) There are legal issues involved. Like it or not, claiming a person is gay still has legal ramifications and you can be sued for defamation in almost half of the states in the U.S. Yes, the celebrity has to prove you are wrong, but the fact of the matter is not every celebrity rumored to be gay is gay, and I'm not about to risk my job on Perez Hilton's say so.

BTW, publicists? Please don't tell me information "off the record" and then hint you don't care what I say as long as it's without any attribution at all. Again, that could end with your client suing me and I don't traffic in gossip. Thanks, but no thanks.

5) Dear fellow journalists, please don't treat gay celebrities differently than straight ones. If you regularly ask straight actors about their spouses, children and how they personally relate to playing an ad executive from the 1950s, a starship captain or a serial killer, but avoid similar questions with those you suspect to be gay, you aren't doing your job. And given how quick you usually are to ask officially out actors about the same things you do straight ones, you know I'm right.

I can honestly say that after the success of Neil Patrick Harris has had after coming out publicly (apparently everyone in New York knew he was gay all along) I really thought things would be different and more actors would follow the Luke Macfarlane model and simply acknowledge the fact of their sexuality and move on. But I can tell you from personal experience that we still aren't there no matter how much I'd like us to be.

Which isn't to say I don't understand and appreciate the issues gay celebrities face. But the only reason things ever get better is because some people have the courage to care enough to make things better for all of us.

Source: Best. Gay. Week. Ever. (November 06, 2009), After Elton

Thursday, 29 October 2009

One Gay at a Time

Page Six today has a not-very-thinly-veiled item about Anderson Cooper going on a very gay vacation with his very gay boyfriend who owns a very gay bar. Enough: Anderson Cooper is very gay. It's time he said it.

Anderson Cooper's see-through closet is such a joke that it doesn't make sense to call him in the closet anymore. If he won't say it, we will: Anderson Cooper is officially out. There's no difference between him and Neil Patrick Harris. They both play it straight at their day jobs and then openly go about town with their boyfriends and do TV interviews about how much they love Kathy Griffin and The Real Housewives of Atlanta.

It's not like Cooper's in a club all of his own, either. He is part of an increasingly large crowd of notables who won't come out but have given up trying to hide that they are gay. Queen Latifah denied that she was going to marry her girlfriend, a girlfriend who she tries to pass off as her "trainer." Kevin Spacey got busted lying about being mugged in a London cruising park. Ricky Martin has stopped even trying to fight the gay rumors. Jodie Foster has never said she's a lesbian out loud, but she basically came out when she thanked her partner in an acceptance speech.

These gay-not-gay celebrities are different from the Hugh Jackmans, John Travoltas, Tom Cruises, and Kenny Chesneys, who are all constantly plagued with gay rumors that they strenuously try to deny or deflect. If they're gay, they're doing it in secret. Cooper and his set of cohorts live openly gay lives — and that's a good thing — but they refuse to acknowledge what the public already knows.

In Anderson Cooper's specific case, we sort of understand why he won't open his mouth and let the rainbows fly. All the guy has ever wanted to do was be an old-fashioned newsman and unfortunately him coming out would make him a part of the story. Every time he tried to cover something having to do with gay civil rights (or Madonna or Fire Island) plenty of people would claim that his reporting was biased because of his sexual orientation. It's not fair: Katie Couric doesn't have to worry when she covers pay inequality for women, and neither does Harry Smith when discussing new medicine that will eradicate baldness.

Coming out would open Cooper up to irrational accusations from those waiting to pounce on the "liberal media" just as quickly as A.C. pounces on his muscle man in an Indian hotel room. That sucks, but it's the way it currently is. How does it get changed? Well, by having some major national news figures come out and show that they can still get blown over in a hurricane or report live from a war zone without breaking into a anti-Prop 8 rant.

That's right, Anderson, it's going to take you to change it. Rachel Maddow has paved the way, but all the baby gays out there need you to man up and be our Jackie Robinson. The first step is the easiest, you just have to say what everyone already knows.

Source: Gawker, Anderson Cooper Is a Giant Homosexual and Everyone Knows It

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Hollywood's Coming Out Guru

An LA Weekly profile of Hollywood publicist Howard Bragman asks a provocative question: is the time ripe for an A-list male actor to come out of the closet? Bragman thinks the answer is yes.

Patrick Range McDonald writes that Bragman, openly gay himself, has helped numerous celebrities and pro athletes with the "tricky and, for decades, risky terrain" of coming out. He currently works with Chaz Bono, whose gender transition from female to male was recently reported on TMZ. He's brought out actor Mitchell Anderson and NBA player John Amaechi. But now, he says, it's time for someone really big. McDonald writes,

"The publicist hasn't brought out an A-list, gay male actor - yet. But Bragman says that day is coming, and after the first superstar decides to reveal himself, a fundamental shift in American acceptance of gay leading men may not be far behind. He's currently working with a famous musician who's still closeted from the public, but who will come out next year. And the manager of one major movie star approached Bragman a year ago and asked about his client's possibly going public, but the actor still refuses to pull the trigger.

"I felt a little frustrated with that superstar," Bragman says in reflection, "because it had to be 'handled.'"

Bragman's frustration aside, Hollywood remains "a surprisingly conservative entity." Stars mobilized for a "No on Prop. 8" campaign, but McDonald says "the big studios and their mostly male chiefs - and the scores of socially liberal men and women who play key roles as casting directors and agents - have together created a kind of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, which places enormous pressure on gay, male actors to remain in the closet." Bragman is confident this can change — he even says, "coming out can be used as a marketing tool." And McDonald cites some hopeful statistics — 89% of Americans now believe that gay people should have equal job opportunities, and 72% say they would not change their opinion of an athlete if they found out he was gay.

Still, gay actors face some challenges. Foremost is the fear that, as McDonald writes, "audiences would be uncomfortable seeing a known gay actor like Cheyenne Jackson kissing or fondling Kate Winslet, and box-office earnings would nose-dive." Neil Patrick Harris is famously both out and doing well, but he says that for years, "I wasn't thought of in a sexual way, which is easy when you have big ears and are called Doogie all the time." If someone who was a sex symbol and a "superstar" to boot chose to come out, the response might be different. And the process would be even more complicated if said superstar also had a high-profile heterosexual cover relationship, as it's safe to assume at least a few do.

Then again, the fiction that no one — or almost no one — in Hollywood is gay can't last forever. It's already been much remarked-upon that while straight actors can "play gay" (like Sean Penn in Milk), only a very few gay actors are permitted to "play straight." Given that the entire film industry is based on audiences agreeing to believe for a few hours that someone very famous is actually someone else, this seems obviously ludicrous. And perhaps it's true that if one "superstar" — one with enough clout to get movies made regardless of sexual orientation — actually came out, everyone would have to confront the ridiculousness of Hollywood's straight-washing. Still, when the movie industry can campaign against Prop. 8 one day and enforce a "don't ask, don't tell" policy the next, it's no surprise that no one's clamoring to be the first.

Sources: Jezebel, When Will A "Superstar" Come Out Of The Closet?
Mediabistro, LA Weekly Discusses Hollywood's Closet
LA Weekly, The Secret Lives Of Queer Leading Men

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Prince of Persia: The Story of Jake's Pecs

Lego Prince of Persia
Jake Gyllenhaal
September 28, 2009 by Ted Casablanca

We seriously didn't think Jake Gyllenhaal's campy costume for the upcoming Disney flick Prince of Persia: The Story of Jake's Pecs could get more guffaw-worthy (despite the pretty damn doable bod itself, minus overdone Fabio trappings), but then we saw J.G.'s Lego action figure. Sorry, folks, we don't even get a pint-size superhero-esque action figure of chiseled Gyllen-hon to play with, but this supercute and totally harmless plastic children's toy instead? And it pretty much captures the doability—or lack thereof—of present-day Jakey perfectly.

Oh no?

Try as we might, we just can't drool over a guy who's become as vanilla as the soy latte we always catch him sipping alongside Reese. Manically manicured biceps 'n' abs in themselves don't make a real man, and neither does prancing around in a supersilly getup with an even more impractical piece of arm candy. We so know Gyllen-babe would rather jump back into indie film land and do his less pumped-up, more moody thing. He's so damn good at it, remember?

Is being a big, sweaty H'wood He-Man that important to ya, Jake? 'Cause this Lego figure almost pulls it off better than you have so far.

Please. For the sake of those three of us left who still swoon over ya, Jake, replace the gym and the GF with your true self. It was the hottest thing round there for a while.

Source: Ted Casablanca's The Awful Truth, Would You Do Jake Gyllenhaal With These Plastic Abs?

Friday, 18 September 2009

Confessions of a Late Bloomer

Neil Patrick Harris used to be an underage doctor on TV. Now he’s another Hollywood first: an out gay actor who can host award shows, play a womanizer, walk the red carpet with his boyfriend, and then get cast in movies as a straight dad. Neat trick.

Neil Patrick Harris
Coming out is its own kind of theatrical performance: It’s a reveal. For most of show-business history, it’s been more like an exposure — often in the aftermath of a scandal, as with George Michael. But then there was Ellen DeGeneres, whose famous "Yep, I’m Gay" on the cover of Time seemed to presage a new era of openness, an end to the double life. Instead, it hobbled her career until she returned, years later, as a talk-show host. That was twelve years ago, and each year there’s more give in the social fabric, with openly gay newscasters (Rachel Maddow), talk-show hosts (Rosie O’Donnell), singers (Michael Stipe), American Idols (Adam Lambert), comics (Mario Cantone), and actresses (Wanda Sykes, Sara Gilbert, Portia de Rossi, Cynthia Nixon). Even some long-closeted female stars have quietly shifted their status, including Lily Tomlin, Jodie Foster, and, most recently, Kelly McGillis.

Yet there’s one set of performers for whom coming out is still considered a career death sentence: male actors, particularly those who play romantic leads or star in action films. The few who are out — Alan Cumming, Nathan Lane, David Hyde Pierce, Ian McKellan — are seen as niche performers. Rupert Everett, once a contender for the first Gay Bond, has been relegated to the margins of the industry. When Grey’s Anatomy’s T. R. Knight came out, it underlined his lack of chemistry with his female co-stars. Meanwhile, a retinue of major stars hover in limbo, their relationships haunted by the suspicion that it’s all for show, their performances (onscreen or on talk shows) scrutinized for indicators of some hidden self. The assumption is that they have little choice, since the conventional wisdom hasn’t budged: An out male star can never be a leading man. Straight women won’t be able to fantasize about him; straight men won’t be able to relate.

Harris has violated all these expectations. He staged his own revelation beautifully, with a clear and upbeat statement for People magazine in 2006, an interview with Out, and a good-sport appearance on Howard Stern, in which he shot back "whatever you please, man" when asked whether he was a top or a bottom. The idea all along has been to acknowledge the fact of his sexuality, then change the subject to his talent. Still, there was a kind of alchemy involved. Maybe it was Harris’s easy style of masculinity, at once unthreatening and seductive. Maybe the timing was right, coming after he’d proved he was more than a Trivial Pursuit punch line. Or maybe he’d learned, from his own extended personal coming-out process, how to handle the expectations of a wider audience.

Harris is careful never to complain about stardom. He always adds a caveat explaining that he is very lucky, that he is grateful for every opportunity, that he has learned a lot. But if there’s a strain of early fame that feels like heavenly power — when you’re the most super-popular person in the room and everyone wants you to take them to bed — that’s clearly not what Neil Patrick Harris experienced at 16. Mention Doogie Howser, M.D., the diary-keeping prodigy he played on the show, and Harris’s whole body language changes. He grimaces, and an extra diagonal line on his forehead appears like an arrow pointing far away.

Back in those strange L.A. years, Harris says, he was preoccupied almost entirely by work. It was a distraction that allowed him not to think about dating. "There were gay adults in L.A., and that kind of made me panic a bit?" His voice rises uncertainly with the memory. "Made me a little sweaty in my palms — and uncomfortable. That was just kind of the elephant in the room. Or not the elephant in the room, but the ringing in my ears: that that was some sort of horrible inevitability. And I tried many different angles to head in a different direction. Dating different girls, being the funny, witty guy at the party, to avoid being the sexual being. I wasn’t thought of in a sexual way, which is easy when you have big ears and the neck and are called Doogie all the time. So I just never really contemplated physicalizing any kind of sexual ideas until much, much later."

Source: New York Magazine, High-Wire Act

Saturday, 5 September 2009

What If G.I. Joe Were Gay?

G.I. Joe is like watching fireworks with a blindfold on: it's deafening and you feel under attack. The story makes no sense — why does the Eiffel Tower topple over after being covered in sparkling slime? And worst of all: Sienna Miller and Channing Tatum, a charismatic guy whom The New York Times once compared to Marlon Brando, have the chemistry of two ice cubes. As my mind wandered, I started to imagine ways for the director to have reinvented the franchise for the 21st century. What if the G in G.I. Joe didn't just stand for "government"? What if it also stood for "gay"?

To many G.I. Joe fans, who grew up collecting the action figures, this might be blasphemy. Who cares? The best summer action movies — The Bourne Identity, The Dark Knight — always come with tortured heroes who carry around deep secrets. Imagine the dramatic possibilities! For starters, we could ditch Sienna Miller, which would be a big improvement right from the start. Duke's (Tatum) new love interest would be a male soldier. The movie would even strike a note of social relevance, given that our troops still adhere to "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (i.e., Duke couldn't blab about his love life to any of his friends).

Hollywood likes to cast gay characters in supporting roles, as background scenery, but they still don't anchor movies that often. You can understand the cold feet: the movie business is about selling tickets to teenage boys, and even BrĂ¼no tanked. This week, there was a storm of protest online when Robert Downey Jr. suggested his onscreen Sherlock Holmes — scheduled to hit theater screens on Christmas — might have had a gay fling with Watson (Jude Law). Gawker described the "full blown gay panic" from conservative film critic Michael Medved. "Who is going to watch Downey Jr. and Law make out?" he asked. "I don't think it would be appealing to women. Straight men don't want to see it."

Medved's off base — the Sherlock Holmes screenplay doesn't even feature a male kiss, and action heroes have been a little gay since the beginning of the genre. Look at Superman's revealing red tights. Or Batman's "friendship" with Robin. James Bond is such a good dresser, he might as well be gay (at one point, Rupert Everett even wanted to star as a gay James Bond). So maybe it's just a matter of time before we see our first openly gay action hero. At 2 a.m., I'd wasted enough of my time on G.I. Joe. But before I fled, I wanted to check in on an elderly woman who had come to see the movie alone. She looked shellshocked in the lobby, but it turned out that she was only crying tears of joy. Apparently, she couldn't wait for the sequel.

I started to back away, but it was so late that I didn't think it would hurt if I sprang my idea on her. What if, in the next movie, G.I. Joe were gay? Would she still buy a ticket? Her face lit up. "Absolutely!" she said. "Just because you're gay doesn't mean you're not powerful."

Source: Newsweek, What If G.I. Joe Were Gay?

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Q&A: Alan Cumming

Q: When were you happiest?
A: A couple of summers ago, walking through a forest illuminated by fireflies, with my man and our dogs.

Q: What is your greatest fear?
A: Dying on the same day as someone much more famous than me.

Q: What is your earliest memory?
A: My mum and brother lifting me up to look out of a window to prove to me it was still dark and too early to get up to open my birthday presents.

Q: Which living person do you most admire, and why?
A: Mary Darling, my mum, for leaving my father and finding happiness.

Q: What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
A: Being an open book.

Q: What is the trait you most deplore in others?
A: Being closed off to the world.

Q: What is your most treasured possession?
A: Wild Thyme Way, my country retreat in the Catskill Mountains.

Q: What would your super power be?
A: To zap angry, bigoted people.

Q: What makes you unhappy?
A: Our obsession with the worthless and unimportant, like Sarah Palin.

Q: If you could bring something extinct back to life, what would it be?
A: Socialism.

Q: Who would play you in the film of your life?
A: Cate Blanchett. She'd pull it off.

Q: What is your favourite smell?
A: Rosemary. I rub it in my armpits.

Q: What is your favourite book?
A: The Trick Is To Keep Breathing, by Janice Galloway.

Q: What is your guiltiest pleasure?
A: Being in the first-class cabin and not refusing anything that is offered.

Q: What do you owe your parents?
A: My mum always told me I was precious, while my dad always told me I was worthless. I think that's a good grounding for a balanced life.

Q: What, or who, is the greatest love of your life?
A: Grant Shaffer, my husband.

Q: What does love feel like?
A: Being hit on the head with a brick, and like a bowl of hearty soup.

Q: When did you last cry, and why?
A: An hour ago, on a plane, watching a show about teenage mums.

Q: What single thing would improve the quality of your life?
A: The Obama administration keeping their promises and granting equal rights to the LGBT community.

Q: What do you consider your greatest achievement?
A: When someone tells me that I have inspired them.

Q: How would you like to be remembered?
A: By people who love me raising a glass and laughing and remembering fun times we had.

Q: What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
A: This above all: to mine own self be true. And it must follow, as the night the day, I canst not then be false to any man.

Q: Tell us a joke
Q: How many therapists does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: Why do you think the lightbulb is so keen to change?

Source: Guardian, UK, Q&A: Alan Cumming

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Saturday, 25 July 2009

.002 percent

Director Todd Holland on gay actors coming out.

"I’m an out gay director and producer.

Coming out is the single most important event in my life. I came out in 1992 while directing and producing on "The Larry Sanders Show." I was scared, sure. But I did it -- because I needed to live authentically.

My parents were slow to come around. Being Republicans and big-time Christians, they love me, I know. But I think they still have a hard time accepting the gay me. That hurts but, hey, that’s the real world.

And for me, living authentically means living in the real world. And maybe that’s how I came to be the anti-queer poster child of the week.

See, I work in this factory called Hollywood. It’s a strange place. (But remember, we make dreams here -- so it’s bound to have a few quirks.) And here are a few of the things I’ve learned.

One: No one cares that I’m gay. Like ... no one.

Two: there are still prominent creative people living in the closet.

No one cares that they’re gay, either. They care -- mostly because they feel incapable of enduring the perceived rejection of their families.

Three: As far as actors go, if you’re a character actor or a woman, no one cares.

Four: If you’re a guy, no one cares ... unless you're in that fractional .002 percent of the young male actor population, and you really have the goods to become a true leading man. Then there may be obstacles to both living authentically and achieving that Holy Grail of dreams: real, tent-pole-sized Hollywood Stardom.

Gatekeepers abound at every level. Studios are like feisty Chihuahuas -- they are inherently fearful, and if their bottom lines are at risk, they’ll bite. Agents and managers do not push rocks up hill -- they’ll push level (but prefer downhill).

And their bottom lines are also at risk. Casting directors (sometimes gay ones especially) are often very reluctant to promote openly gay actors fearing, I imagine, some “what the f--- are you thinking?” response from straight employers.

My damning words were: "If you are that .002 percent ... I can't tell you to come out."

I never said stay in the closet. And that matters. My meaning in "I can't tell you to come out" is inherently parental.

Translation: “If you take the path of coming out, you will be living authentically -- and that is a great achievement in anyone’s life. But I can't promise you're going to skirt the gatekeepers or scale the hurdles the system has in place.”

To me, that is a real and honest answer. Yes, it is neither activist nor idealistic -- but it is the real world I work in every day. It is the world in which I live authentically."

Source: The Gatekeepers at Hollywood's Closet Door, The Wrap

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

The Price of Success

July 13, 2009

At Outfest on Sunday afternoon, three-time Emmy winning and openly gay director Todd Holland told a small audience that he advises young, gay male actors to "stay in the closet." The remark came during a panel at the Directors Guild of America titled, "Taking It to the Streets: LGBT Directors Get Political." Outfest, which pushes the slogan "protecting our past, showcasing our present, nurturing our future," is one of the premiere gay and lesbian film festivals in the United States.

Holland, who was talking as one of the featured panelists, and who once worked as a director on the critically acclaimed HBO sit-com The Larry Sanders Show, explained that it's a necessary career choice if a gay actor wants to succeed in Hollywood.

Fellow panelist and filmmaker Kirby Dick, director of Outrage, a 2009 documentary about gay politicians who stay in the closet to further their political careers, told Holland: "I know where you're coming from, but it's a regressive argument."

Holland, who was legally married before Proposition 8 was passed by California voters in November, responded that he was just being realistic, but Dick, who is heterosexual, believed that if "an A-list actor came out, it would have more impact on the culture than an A-list politician."

No one talked about the personal repercussions of a gay actor succeeding in Hollywood by lying about his sexual orientation to the general public.

Holland's comments underscore a decades old problem in Hollywood, where gay and straight studio executives, agents, and other major players often advise up-and-coming gay, male actors to live in the closet. Rarely, though, has someone like Holland been so public with that advice.

Besides Holland and Dick, "Taking It to the Streets" featured filmmakers Jamie Babbit, Katherine Brooks, Frieda Lee Mock and Charles Herman-Wurmfield, and was billed as a discussion about how gay and lesbian filmmakers "are taking a more active role in creating social and political change."

One audience member, openly gay filmmaker Matthew Mishory, later told Queer Town that Holland's mind set is pervasive throughout the entertainment business.

"This stuff doesn't just extend to actors," says Mishory. "We've been told, as gay filmmakers, not tell queer stories or else we'll get pigeonholed."

Mishory has just finished a film about legendary gay director Derek Jarman called Delphinium. Through that work, Mishory has come to believe that "the promise of the New Queer Cinema of the 1980s and 1990s has not necessarily been delivered."

Before the panelists started their discussion, blogger and lesbian filmmaker J.D. Disalvatore warned Outfest crowds on her blog, The Smoking Cocktail, that several of the filmmakers "were not particularly political, so looking forward to seeing what they pull out of their asses for this one."

A few hours later, the 47-year-old Todd Holland publicly shared his "advice," with young, gay and lesbian filmmakers sitting in the audience. One person who heard the remark, and didn't want to be identified, told Queer Town, "What kind of message is that for an older gay filmmaker to send to young gay filmmakers? It's the kind of thing that will keep people in the closet."

Source: Queer Town: Emmy-winning Director Todd Holland to Young, Gay Actors: 'Stay in the Closet', LA Weekly

Sunday, 5 July 2009


Jake Gyllenhaal in Brothers
Jake Gyllenhaal in Brothers
Jake Gyllenhaal in Brothers
Jake Gyllenhaal in Brothers
Jake Gyllenhaal in Brothers
Jake Gyllenhaal in Brothers
Jake Gyllenhaal in Brothers
Jake Gyllenhaal in Brothers
Jake Gyllenhaal in Brothers

Screen captures from 'Brothers'
Directed by Jim Sheridan.
With Jake Gyllenhaal, Natalie Portman, Tobey Maguire.

Source: 'Brothers' trailer, ET Online

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

I Dish, Therefore I Am

On March 10, 2005, gossip columnist Ted Casablanca ran an item online under the heading "One Adorable Blind Vice".

The story was similar to numerous blind items Casablanca has run since bringing his column, "The Awful Truth," to E! Online in 1996. He relates a potentially scandalous story, usually with the kinds of revelations a major media gossip columnist would avoid, but disguises the object of his gossip behind a fanciful name like Morgan Mayhem, Furrowed Frank or Toothy Tile.

The ongoing saga of Toothy Tile says a good deal about Internet gossip, its place within the gay community and its function as a moral compass. It also points to some interesting intersections of gossip and gendered performance.

Hollywood gossip, of course, was around long before the Internet. Usually dated from the start of Louella Parsons' syndicated column in 1925, the field has traditionally been female-dominated, with Parsons and her chief rival, Hedda Hopper, engaged in an often-uneasy power struggle with the movie industry. The film studios used them to promote their films and personalities but also dreaded the effect of a personal attack or untimely revelation. One unwritten rule, however, was that the most damaging items — criminal arrests, long-term affairs and homosexuality — were not for publication in any but the least reputable venues. Parsons, Hopper and most of Hollywood may have known that Ramon Novarro was gay, but they weren't about to publish the fact. And if a writer broke the rules — as Bill Robinson did when he wrote about Spencer Tracy's drinking problems and his relationship with Katharine Hepburn in a 1962 issue of Look — the offender was cut off from industry sources.

Even with the decline of the studio system, some restrictions still hold. Unless a star's drug use is impossible for the media to ignore, it's kept out of the gossip columns. And "outing" is still considered off-limits, at least to columnists working in the major media.

For the gay on-line community, gossip serves a variety of purposes. If nothing else, it provides its readers with a sense of titillation as they vicariously enjoy celebrities' lives, even when the object of interest is masked behind the veil of the blind item. Like many on-line discussion boards, gay gossip sites provide their geographically dispersed users with a sense of community.

One element unifying gossip communities is a shared sense of morality. Gay gossip unites the gay and lesbian community by establishing behavioral norms for that community, creating insiders aware of those norms and outsiders unaware of or opposed to them.

In the case of Toothy Tile, the nature of those norms depends on whether one is inside or outside the gay community. Within the world of heteronormativity, Toothy Tile is at fault both for being gay and, more important, for wishing to make a public proclamation of that fact.

Despite the social changes of the past 50 years, the entertainment industry appears to be dealing with sexual orientation by the same standards in operation when Universal Pictures forced Rock Hudson to take a wife to forestall suspicions of homosexuality. The current attitude is described quite simply in one publicity-shy, or rather gay-publicity shy actor's legal complaint against a porn star who had claimed a relationship with him: "While plaintiff believes in the rights of others to follow their own sexual preference, vast numbers of the public throughout the world do not share his view and, believing that he had a homosexual affair and did so during his marriage, they will be less inclined to patronize [his] films, particularly since he tends to play parts calling for heterosexual romance and action adventure. " No doubt, these are the same audiences who would expect the actor to know how to pilot a jet fighter in real life.

Who, then, is thought to be the perpetually closeted Toothy Tile? Consensus gives the honor to Jake Gyllenhaal.

So, what team is Jake playing for? How many beards do you see in this picture? And...well, do I really have to say anything.

Source: I Dish, Therefore I Am: Performing Toothy Tile and Ted Casablanca by Frank Miller, Georgia State University

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Bearding isn't Cool

Adam Lambert on making his sexuality public:

There are so many old-fashioned ways of looking at things, and if we want to be a progressive society, we have to start thinking in a different way. There's the old industry idea that you should just make sexuality a non-issue, just say your private life's your private life, and not talk about it. But that's bullshit, because private lives don't exist anymore for celebrities: they just don't.

I don't want to be looking over my shoulder all the time, thinking I have to hide, being scared of being found out, putting on a front, having a beard, going down the red carpet with some chick who is posing as my girlfriend.

That's not cool, that's not being a rock star. I can't do that.

Source: Adam Lambert in His Own Words: Sexuality, Kris Allen and Life After Idol, Rolling Stone

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Friends and Allies

Kris Allen on his frustration with Christians who wouldn't accept Adam Lambert:

"There [were all these rumors] about how all the conservative, Christian people that would vote for me hate Adam and never want him to win because of who he is. Oh, it was so frustrating — really bad, because we are really good friends. Why can't everyone get along? It never made any sense for me to judge anyone, who they are. It frustrates me that people can't get along with people because of their differences. And I'll tell you what, especially Christians.

Christians have a hard time accepting people like Adam — liberal, from L.A., looks different, maybe acts a certain way. He's a great, great guy. They don't even give him a chance. And it's frustrating because I come from that. A lot of my friends are not that way, which I appreciate, but a lot of people in Arkansas or in the South or wherever are that way. We really hope that our relationship can be an inspiration to people. I could go on about that forever."

Source: Entertainment Weekly

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Playing gay, being gay

24 November 2005

This well might be the Year of the Gay at the Oscars. Not the year of the gay actor - heavens forbid - but the year when actors are rewarded for playing gay parts. Philip Seymour Hoffman has produced what is said to be a virtuoso account of Truman Capote's mincing style in Capote. Felicity Huffman, the put-upon one in Desperate Housewives, has been persuaded to play a male-to-female transvestite in Transamerica. And Annie Proulx's great short story, Brokeback Mountain, about an extended and tragic love affair between two cowboys, has been filmed by Ang Lee with Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal in the leads.

Oscars surely await some of these. There are half a dozen other big name actors playing gay roles this season, and it's evidently now a safe career move. It's worth noting, however, that none of these actors themselves is gay, and indeed most of them have been at some pains to distance themselves from any such suggestion. Michelle Williams, the mother of Ledger's child, appears in Brokeback Mountain as his character's betrayed wife. That, one must assume, could only happen when there was no possibility whatever of it being, for instance, a sardonic joke on a real-life gay affair. The casting of Williams is a spectacular example of the sexual alibi; for anyone who cares to wonder, we are reassured that this could only be a piece of "let's pretend", and the actor's real interests are nervously displayed on screen.

As if that wasn't enough, the actors in these films are always at pains to stress the incredible trauma involved in having to pretend to kiss a person of the same sex in front of cameras. To be fair, this is always a subject that unhealthily obsesses interviewers, but actors' responses are often highly amusing. Jake Gyllenhaal has said: "Heath and I were both saying, 'Let's get the love scenes over as fast as we can - all right, cool. Let's get to the important stuff.'"

We are left in no doubt at all. The actors in these films are so extraordinarily heterosexual that playing gay presents them with incredible challenges. Personally, I've spent a day down a working coal mine, and think that, as jobs go, being asked to snog Heath Ledger is not among the world's more demanding professional tasks.

But Hollywood, evidently, agrees with the actors. When you look at recent Oscars, the tendency is fairly clear. Tom Hanks - famously uxorious - won for playing a gay man in Philadelphia. Hilary Swank's burlesque turn as a transsexual teen in Boys Don't Cry followed, and then Charlize Theron won for the fat, ugly, lesbian serial killer in Monster. Of course, as is customary, some of the Oscar-winning credit goes to the make-up artist here - golly, look at Charlize, she's made herself all ugly - but most of it is surely down to the incredible fact that an artist was prepared to demean herself enough to play a lesbian.

When you look at the history of Oscar-winning performances, Hollywood's new enthusiasm for embracing minorities seems less than profound. Notoriously, the easiest way to win an Oscar is to play somebody bravely fighting against a physical condition or a mental handicap. The easiest route of all, in fact, is to play a gifted artist suddenly struck down by disability - the early years of the Academy awards are littered with long-forgotten tales of deaf sopranos and ballerinas with gout. As the "Kate Winslet" character in Ricky Gervais's series Extras scabrously observed, "Daniel Day-Lewis in My Left Foot? Oscar. Dustin Hoffman, Rain Man? Oscar. Seriously, you are guaranteed an Oscar if you play a mental."

The way Hollywood is rushing to reward heterosexual actors playing gay roles does not, really, reflect very well on its engagement. It is just too much like its fairly disgraceful engagement with mental and physical disability, and too much like rewarding a variety turn. Hollywood, so admiring of an actor's ability to project a sexuality not his own in these cases, has never been in a hurry to reward those far more common examples of gay actors convincingly playing heterosexual roles. In most cases, that involves rather more than the requirement of kissing this year's starlet in front of the cameras - a requirement no less or more demanding for a gay actor than Mr Gyllenhaal being asked to kiss Mr Ledger, surely. It may involve an actor's whole life.

One of the very striking things about this whole curious fashion is that not one of the actors involved is gay themselves. Moreover, it seems fairly likely, in view of the tone of the attendant publicity, that a studio just wouldn't cast a gay actor in one of these roles. It is quite impossible to imagine Heat magazine asking a gay actor how they enjoyed kissing their straight co-star, or indeed, their gay co-star. It would raise questions of enthusiasm which the world of publicity is not quite ready for and we can only, it seems, watch such kisses with the assurance, as swift as can be arranged, that nobody involved could possibly have derived pleasure from it.

But there's another, rather bigger reason why the studios wouldn't cast a gay actor in such a role. In America, evidently, there aren't any gay actors. One may grow rather satirical on the subject, but the truth is that whereas in every other country in the world it is widely accepted that theatre and film offer a congenial and sympathetic area in which gay men and women can work, this is simply not true in America. There are no gay actors - or at least, there weren't until Nathan Lane, to everyone's utter incredulity, came out. Of course, there were gay actors in America's past - James Dean, Cary Grant, Dirk Bogarde, Rock Hudson, Danny Kaye. Plenty of them, in fact. But, for whatever reason, there's hardly a single gay actor of recognisable stature working in Hollywood. An incredible fact.

Sooner or later, one of those non-existent gay actors will take a role as a gay character, and tell us all subsequently how difficult they found kissing their co-star, to general derisive hilarity. In fact, it's not hard to think of a recent film where exactly that situation arose, starring one of those gentlemen with a boyfriend on the payroll and a lady hired for the purpose of premieres. But Hollywood will only seem truly tolerant when it allows gay actors to play gay roles, kissing included, and no whining about it in the publicity afterwards. Until then there's - how should one put it - a slight air of Al Jolson about the whole business.

Source: Gay for today by Philip Hensher, The Guardian

Saturday, 9 May 2009

This Is a Question of Fairness

It is by no means a fast and easy path, but the cause of same-sex marriage is moving forward — proof that justice can triumph over wedge politics and prejudice. It happened this week in Maine and New Hampshire, where both states’ legislatures voted to legalize same-sex marriage and promptly put the final say to their governors.

In New Hampshire, Gov. John Lynch — who previously defined marriage as strictly between a man and a woman — promised his “best decision” after consulting lawmakers and constituents. Mr. Lynch would be wise also to consult his neighbor in Maine, Gov. John Baldacci, who signed his state’s same-sex marriage bill. He previously had opposed the idea, with the familiar hedge of supporting the half-step of civil unions.

Mr. Baldacci described his change of heart — and what we hope is the changing sentiment of many other American politicians. “I have come to believe that this is a question of fairness and of equal protection under the law, and that a civil union is not equal to civil marriage,” he said. Precisely.

Maine was the fifth state to legalize same-sex marriage. We urge Mr. Lynch to make New Hampshire the sixth. Similar proposals are pending in other states, with a major debate expected in the New York Legislature.

This week, the City Council of the District of Columbia took a preliminary step, voting 12 to 1, to recognize marriages between gay people certified in other states. A fuller debate is anticipated on a proposal to legalize same-sex unions. Unfortunately, there already are calls for Congress to once more tread on home rule and block this progress in the nation’s capital.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is right to caution against such grandstanding. Governor Baldacci heard the people speak. Congress should listen.

Source: The New York Times, 'This Is a Question of Fairness'

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Stephen Fry: Dearest absurd child

Just who was the young, arrogant and confused man to whom Stephen Fry recently felt compelled to write a long and heartfelt letter? Himself, 35 years ago.

Oh, lord love you, Stephen. How I admire your arrogance and rage and misery. How pure and righteous they are and how passionately storm-drenched was your adolescence. How filled with true feeling, fury, despair, joy, anxiety, shame, pride and above all, supremely above all, how overpowered it was by love. My eyes fill with tears just to think of you. Of me. Tears splash on to my keyboard now. I am perhaps happier now than I have ever been and yet I cannot but recognise that I would trade all that I am to be you, the eternally unhappy, nervous, wild, wondering and despairing 16-year-old Stephen: angry, angst-ridden and awkward but alive. Because you know how to feel, and knowing how to feel is more important than how you feel. Deadness of soul is the only unpardonable crime, and if there is one thing happiness can do it is mask deadness of soul.

I finally know now, as I easily knew then, that the most important thing is love. It doesn't matter in the slightest whether that love is for someone of your own sex or not. Gay issues are important and I shall come to them in a moment, but they shrivel like a salted snail when compared to the towering question of love. Gay people sometimes believe (to this very day, would you credit it, young Stephen?) that the preponderance of obstacles and terrors they encounter in their lives and relationships is intimately connected with the fact of their being gay. As it happens at least 90% of their problems are to do with love and love alone: the lack of it, the denial of it, the inequality of it, the missed reciprocity in it, the horrors and heartaches of it. Love cold, love hot, love fresh, love stale, love scorned, love missed, love denied, love betrayed ... the great joke of sexuality is that these problems bedevil straight people just as much as gay. The 10% of extra suffering and complexity that uniquely confronts the gay person is certainly not incidental or trifling, but it must be understood that love comes first. This is tough for straight people to work out.

Straight people are encouraged by culture and society to believe that their sexual impulses are the norm, and therefore when their affairs of the heart and loins go wrong (as they certainly will), when they are flummoxed, distraught and defeated by love, they are forced to believe that it must be their fault. We gay people at least have the advantage of being brought up to expect the world of love to be imponderably and unmanageably difficult, for we are perverted freaks and sick aberrations of nature. They - poor normal lambs - naturally find it harder to understand why, in Lysander's words, "the course of true love never did run smooth".

You would little believe that I can say to you now across the gap of 35 years that we are the blessed ones. The people of Britain are happy (or not) because of Tolpuddle Martyrs, Chartists, infantry regiments, any number of ancestors who made the world more comfortable for them. And we, gay people, are happy now (or not) in large part thanks to Stonewall rioters, Harvey Milk, Dennis Lemon, Gay News, Ian McKellen, Edwina Currie (true) et al, and the battered bodies of bullied, beaten and abused gay men and women who stood up to be counted and refused to apologise for the way they were. It has given us something we never thought to have: pride. For a thousand years, shame was our lot and now, turning on a sixpence, we have arrived at pride - without even, it seems, an intervening period of well-it's-OK-I-suppose-wouldn't-have-chosen-it-but-there-you-go. Who'da thought it?

But don't kid yourself. For millions of teenagers around Britain and everywhere else, it is still 1973. Taunts, beatings and punishment await gay people the world over in playgrounds and execution grounds (the distance between which is measured by nothing more than political constitutions and human will). Yes, you will grow to be a very, very, very, very lucky man who is able to express his nature out loud without fear of hatred or reprisal from any except the most deluded, demented and sad. But that is a small battle won. A whole theatre of war remains. This theatre of war is bigger than the simple issue of being gay, just as the question of love swamps the question of mere sexuality. For alongside sexual politics the entire achievement of the enlightenment (which led inter alia to gay liberation) is under threat like never before. The cruel, hypocritical and loveless hand of religion and absolutism has fallen on the world once more.

So my message from the future is twofold. Fear not, young Stephen, your life will unfold in richer, more accepted and happier ways than you ever dared hope. But be wary, for the most basic tenets of rationalism, openness and freedom that nourish you now and seem so unassailable are about to be harried and besieged by malevolent, mad and medieval minds.

You poor dear, dear thing. Look at you weltering in your misery. The extraordinary truth is that you want to stay there. Unlike so many of the young, you do not yearn for adulthood, pubs and car keys. You want to stay where you are, in the Republic of Pubescence, where feeling has primacy and pain is beautiful. And you know what ... ?

I think you are right.

Source: Stephen Fry's letter to himself: Dearest absurd child
Official website: The New Adventures of Mr Stephen Fry
Wikipedia: Stephen Fry

Friday, 24 April 2009

To Out or Not To Out?

Did you hear the one about the upcoming summer blockbuster heartthrob who has a clause in his deal that allows the studio to dump him if he comes out? Or how about the one about the world-famous singer who celebrates his concerts with all-boy after parties? Everywhere you look, there's a new "Is he or isn't he" rumor. This week, British singer Marilyn admitted to a five year-love affair with Gwen Stefani's hubbie, Gavin Rossdale. A new documentary promises to prove once and for all that Florida Governor Charlie Christ is gay. And heck, Hugh Jackman just loves the gay rumors. But is it "coming out" when you're dragged kicking and screaming out of the closet?

Here's a real story, with the details removed for privacy. A few years back, while casting a tent pole action blockbuster, the studio in charge discovered that it's lead was a big 'mo. They went to him and said essentially, "Look, we need to know you aren't going to come out. We can get you dates with a girl for public appearances, but you can not possibly come out." He refused and was dropped from the project like a hot potato.

Why haven't you heard this story? Because the actor in question wanted a career. It's easy to think of the Hollywood closet as some relic of the past, but it's alive and kicking. Gays and lesbians who come out, do it at enormous professional risks and unlike many other industries, there is no such thing as "employment nondiscrimination" in Tinseltown, whose very existence is about being discriminating.

So, when a celebrity chooses his career over his sexuality, do we blame them? For the most part, it seems we take each outing as a 'victory'. "Aha! I knew you were gay!" we shout and feel vindicated, but let's put it this way – How many of you have gone out and bought a Clay Aiken album since he came out of the closet?

Bruce Vilanch, a constant source of wisdom told me once that we should ask ourselves why we would want to include somebody who doesn't want to be a part of our group? He has a point. Shouldn't we want willing allies? Certainly, of you go out to a gay club or walk hand in had with your boyfriend in the park, you're opening the door to talking about it. After all, we don't want to encourage any more celebrities to do the "Yup, I'm Gay" story in People (which always makes the celeb in question seem like they think we should throw them a fucking parade), but how different is it when we tell a celebrity, "Oh my god, you're totally gay!" from the annoying guy in high school who taunted us with the same remark?

So, tell us – do celebs deserve to be yanked out of the closet or is it a personal decision? Do you have any personal ethics of outing people in your own life?

Source: Are Gay Affairs Awesome or Awful?

Photo: Hollywood's Silent Closet

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

10 Reasons a Bike is Better than a Boyfriend

Jake Gyllenhaal and Austin Nichols
April 13, 2009

The top ten reasons a bike is better than a boyfriend:

10. He always follows your directions.

9. He doesn’t care if you ride more than one bike.

8. You can always add performance-enhanced upgrades.

7. He doesn’t complain about being tired if you want him to go faster.

6. It’s a good thing if he’s full of gas.

5. He naturally vibrates without extra accessories.

4. He only whines if something is actually wrong.

3. He can take you from zero to "Oh, my God! Oh my God!" in 3.4 seconds.

2. He doesn’t worry if his engine isn’t the biggest you’ve ever ridden.

1. You’re guaranteed to get off at least once at the end of every ride!

More photos: IHJ

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Heath's Birthday

I remember a conversation with Robert Richardson, the Director of Photography on "Four Feathers": "Just make sure that the audience are able to look into Heath's eyes. They tell a story of ancient wisdom and all of humanity." Not an easy job for a DP when Heath would so easily break into an Australian crinkle and narrow his eyes, so that the point of light so carefully placed by the DP would search desperately for its subject! I used to tell Heath that he was an ancient soul in a youthful body and mind. That his struggle was between the ancient wisdom he carried in his soul and coming to terms with his youth.

That struggle showed and I - the 'brother from another mother' as he called me - embraced him at those moments.

I wish I was there to embrace him when he passed away. I was so close. But then, it was not meant to be.

Shekhar Kapur

Source: A friend remembers Heath Ledger on the one-year anniversary of his death, New York Daily News

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Gay Cowboys

A 33-year-old rancher, Mr. Glover comes from a family that has worked the land around Lusk for generations. His father still runs 300 head of cattle.

Seated at a table in the smoky Outpost Cafe alongside Highway 85, Mr. Glover laid out the story of a typical ranch-country boyhood: herding, branding, culling and haying, horses hobbled on picket lines and calves pulled forcibly from their mother's bodies during spring calving. Every summer Mr. Glover sets out with his brother in a panel truck carrying their two quarter horses, to compete in calf and steer roping competitions. "I never had any intention of leaving the cowboy lifestyle," Mr. Glover said. "Ranching is who I am."

Yet next month Mr. Glover will quit Lusk and that part of himself in order to move to the bright lights of Lander, Wyo. (population 6,864). "I don't really want to do it," Mr. Glover said. Yet he has to, he explained, if he ever wants to live his life openly. Like Jack Twist, the rodeo-loving character portrayed by Jake Gyllenhaal in "Brokeback Mountain", Derrick Glover is gay.

"They always define it as coming out of the closet, but I don't consider myself to be out of the closet," Mr. Glover explained. There is a reason for that, he said. "Where I live, you can't really go out and be yourself. You couldn't go out together, two guys, as a couple and ever be accepted. It wasn't accepted in the past, it's still not, and I don't think it ever will be." That he and some of the others interviewed for this article were willing to be named and photographed was not without social and even physical risk.

When Mr. Ledger's character defiantly asserts, "I ain't queer," following a drunken coupling with Mr. Gyllenhaal's character in their sheepherder's tent, it seems clear that as much as he fears the loss of his cowboy machismo, he is equally scared to relinquish his physical safety once the two come down from Brokeback Mountain.

"I grew up with that same kind of fear and conflict," Ben Clark, a fourth- generation rancher from Jackson said on Tuesday. "Growing up, I never even dreamed that a real cowboy would be gay," Mr. Clark added. It is a belief in which he is not alone.

"I awakened to my same-sex attraction when I was 12," said Mr. Clark, who is now 42. "But I had no idea what to do about it, ever. I was raised in a ranching, rodeo world - wrangling, packing horses, riding bucking stock, working in hunting camps - but always with the sense that I had to conceal who I was because cowboys could never be gay."

The experience was "extremely, extremely lonely," Mr. Clark said, leaving him feeling so isolated that he more than once contemplated suicide. "I could not accept being gay because of the stereotypes that were drilled into me," he explained. "Gay men are emotionally weak. They are not real men. They are like women."

Like Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist in the film, Mr. Clark dated women for a time, bowing to the pressure to be "normal" although, unlike them, he never married and led a double life. There's a joke out here about how one goes about finding a gay man on the frontier. The punch line is deadpan: "Look for the wife and kids."

Fortunately, Mr. Clark said, "I never did get married, because I never wanted to hurt a woman like that."

"When I was in my 20's, I worked in a hunting camp for three years as a wrangler," Mr. Clark said. "I heard the jokes, but I kept my feelings inside. One of the hunters asked me, 'Have you been married before?' I told him no. And he gave me a look and said, 'Most of the guys who aren't married by now are getting involved with being hairdressers.'"

"I know there are a lot of gay guys in Cheyenne, and it's pretty much accepted, in a way," said Julie Tottingham, the manager of Corral West Ranchwear in Cheyenne, the city's largest purveyor of boot-cut Wranglers, ostrich-skin Tony Lamas and broad-brim buffalo-felt Stetsons. "But at the same time, a lot of our customers would be offended if a gay guy was in here shopping," Ms. Tottingham said. "They'd feel it's an insult to the cowboy way of life."

Among the locals who got an opportunity to see "Brokeback Mountain" at the screening in Jackson was Jade Beus, an openly gay former cowboy raised on a sheep ranch in Soda Springs, Idaho. "I had more or less that same experience," said Mr. Beus, referring to the characters' struggles. "Trying to find self-acceptance literally took me to a place where I thought I was such a bad person I once put a pistol to the roof of my mouth."

Mr. Beus, who now owns a heating and plumbing contracting company, is not certain what it was that prevented him from taking his own life. "But something clicked over," he said. "I believe greatly in a higher power and I realized He dealt me this particular hand," Mr. Beus said. "I'm a man's man. I'm not feminine at all. Other people might slander me for who I am, but I made a decision a long time ago that I'm not going through life hating myself because I love men."

Source: Cowboys, Just Like in the Movie, The New York Times,
December 18, 2005

Thursday, 19 March 2009

12 Reasons It's Better to Be Gay

Oh sure, we can't get married, we can get fired for no good reason at all and there are angry pastors claiming we're all going to burn in the eternal pits of damnation (so long as they're not there, that's fine, by the way). But if you asked if we could trade being gay for being straight, we'd laugh in your face. Here are 12 ways that being a homo beats the pants off the breeder lifestyle any day of the week.

1. The Sex.
By far, the best part about being a gay dude is that sex is totally easy. I know this sort of propagates the whole 'gay men are sluts' meme, but it's the god's honest truth. Men like sex and so, stick two of us together and sex comes pretty easily. It's a fact of life that lots of gay men, meet, hook-up and become friends and when we tell this to our straight friends, they're very jealous.

If you really want to depress your straight friends, explain that your partner will never withhold sex until you do the dishes or take out the trash or what not. Never happens.

Oh – and nobody ever gets accidentally pregnant!

2. Double the wardrobe.
This is an old Seinfeld joke, but as a closet full of ex-boyfriends' clothes (we trade!) attests to, you don't just get the boy, you get his fashion, too. There's something incredibly sexy about seeing the guy you're into hopping into your jeans.

3. We're more open-minded.
Look, I'm a blond-haired, blue-eyed white boy who grew up in middle-class suburbia. I'd like to think that I would be a tolerant, open-minded person regardless of my sexuality, but being gay has done a lot to make me a better human being. There's a world of difference between sympathy and empathy and knowing what it's like to be treated differently simply because of who you are. It opens your mind to the casual racism and classism in this country.

4. We can ask for directions.
Lost your way? No reason to demand you know the right way to go, just pull over and ask a gas station attendant. Can someone explain to me why straight guys can't do this?

5. We do not presume every straight person wants to sleep with us.
Without fail, at some point in the friendship of every straight pal I've ever had, they've alluded to the fact that I must secretly want to bang them. I used to explain to most of them that they aren't my type, but after one-too-many bruised egos, I've learned to keep quiet and just smile.

6. All these awesome people.
Sexuality crosses so many boundaries that when you're gay, you're bound to meet people who are not like you. In seeking out people who are like you, you inevitably meet people who are not like you at all. One of my first friends at college was this gay guy named Don. We bonded over a love of Kenneth Branagh and the Dewey Decimal System, and when I dumped my first college boyfriend, Don was worried I was doing it to be with him and divulged to me that he was a female-to-male transsexual. At 19, this blew my mind and I had all sorts of questions: "Why would you go from being a straight woman to being a gay guy?" ("All the good ones are gay"), "But, it'd be so much easier!" ("Yeah, but I've always seen myself as a boy—sexuality is independent of gender") and while we didn't find love, we became best friends. I don't know that's something that would have happened if I were straight.

7. The Toaster Oven.
As you all know from your own coming out experience, one of the great gay thing about being gay is all the toaster ovens you get when your recruit new gays to the cause. The only down shot of this is that, at this point, I'm eating toast morning, noon and night.

8. We're not threatened by strong-willed women.
In fact, we love them and idolize them. If you're a gal who knows what she wants and is willing to claw and fight to make it in a man's world, gay men will be there cheering you all the way. The straight boys will cower in fear and call you a bitch. Bitch? Honey, you have no idea.

9. It's easier to be yourself.
We don't envy our straight male buddies. There's a lot of discussion about female gender roles being constricting, but most guys don't even talk about it; it's just "drink beer, watch football, dress slobby." One of the great things about the gay rights movement is that it's making it easier for straight guys to be themselves and express non-standard interests. For gay guys, it's just expected. Want to unrepentantly sing musical theater songs in the shower? Go for it. For instance, I'm a nerdy bookworm. I talk about the NYTimes Books Review section with my friends. I drag friends to art gallery openings—and until this moment, I never really thought twice about what people might say about it.

10. It is much easier to get cast in a reality TV show.
Oh, so you juggle, are related to the British crown and live on the back of your motorcycle? Awesome. We're gay and have snappy catchphrases. Do you really want to compete?

11. We have friends everywhere.
Go to any major city and ask where the gay district and you'll have an instant network. Gays are all about creating their own families and, for the most part, we take kindly to strangers. In fact, a lot of the time, we don't even have to try. How many times has someone come up to you and said, "Hey, you have to meet my friend, Kenny! He's gay too!" which can get really old, but how many straight guys have a cavalcade of girls trying to set them up? Exactly.

12. To the kids, we are the coolest members of our family.
Everyone loves the guncle. You bring the coolest toys, you listen to what the kids say and when they come over, they get treated like royalty. While some of the adults in your family may judge you, to the kids, you are God—God with a frozen hot chocolate.

13. We are inherently fun.
It's right there in the name: "Gay." There's an expectation that gay folks are good times, and while we get depressed like the rest of the world, for the most part, we're happy to oblige. If you want to do something, it takes on an instant cool cachet, simply because you're a big 'mo who must know what he's doing. It doesn't matter if it's stock car racing or ballet, you come with an instant stamp of cultural authority that you can use to your endless amusement.

Source: Queerty

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Four Years of Toothy Tile

Austin Nichols and Jake Gyllenhaal
March 5, 2009

March 10, 2005

Jolie's lesbian boasts
Sultry screen siren Angelina Jolie has boasted she is an expert at lesbian sex - because she's a woman. The Tomb Raider actress, 29, has admitted to relationships with females in the past, as well as her high-profile marriages to Jonny Lee Miller and Billy Bob Thornton. She enthuses: "I absolutely love women and find them incredibly sexy. I have loved women in the past and slept with them too. I think if you love and want to pleasure a woman, particularly if you are a woman yourself, then certainly you know how to do things in a certain way."

Stallone Launches his Own Brand Pudding
Actor Sylvester Stallone has shown his awareness to make better American diets, whom he suggested to snack the sugar-free chocolate mousse in a can. As a solution of the many unhealthy foods sold in the market and to help people to find like so-called wholesome food that doesn't need much time to prepare, he promotes his own brand of high protein dessert.

Simpson and Lachey Recording New Albums
After taking time out to make movies and star in the reality TV show, newlyweds Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey are back to music. They are both recording new albums that will soon be released.

Elton teams up with Beckhams to buy house
Elton John is teaming up with the Beckhams to buy a home in South Africa. The trio want to buy a holiday home they can share. Elton is godfather to Brooklyn Beckham so the whole family is very close to the legendary singer.

Robbie Williams gutted at Michael retirement
Robbie Williams is devastated George Michael is quitting the music industry because he was planning to record a duet with the ex-Wham! Star. Williams approached Michael about the collaboration when they were filming their cameo appearances for a charity episode of television comedy Little Britain. But Michael has since announced his decision to step away from the limelight to compose songs for other artists. Williams moaned: "I'm gutted. I wanted to duet with him on my album."

One Adorable Blind Vice
Okay, sugar-muffins, the only reason this one's in the Vice section is because until quite recently, Toothy Tile was dating his superpopular, superannoyingly perfect girlfriend. Not boyfriend. Which, if you ask this old gossip whore, is the classification Tile would prefer his significant others be filed under in the very near future. read more

More photos: IHJ

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Musicals and the Gay Gene

March 18, 2003

Arguments about whether there's a "gay gene" have roiled scholars for years. But as Oscar night approaches, I'm going out on a limb to declare that while we may never stop arguing about that, we can be sure of one thing: There's a Broadway musical gene, and gay men have it. Solid proof is on movie screens all over America.

Chicago, the most sizzling movie musical since Cabaret, is single-handedly reviving what was until recently considered a moribund art form. And no surprise to me, it was created in almost every sense by gays: namely, its writer, producers, and brilliant director. Pure coincidence? Puhl-e-e-eze. Chicago is just the latest bit of scientific evidence that while the homosexual hypothalamus may not necessarily determine sexual orientation, it sure knows how to tap its toes.

It's funny about gay men and musicals. Sure, the theater queen stereotype may be a bit overblown. But when you count up the sheer number of Cole Porters and Michael Bennetts, Stephen Sondheims and Noel Cowards, Jerome Robbinses, Jerry Hermans, Leonard Bernsteins, and Tommy Tunes, you have to admit that a velvet mafia has always had Broadway in its pocket.

And what's true onstage is just as true out there in the audience. Starting in junior high, boys blessed with the Broadway gene reflexively shun the gridiron to embrace Gypsy. And what happens? They're almost automatically pegged as gays-in-training. (I know--I was one.)

As we grow older, the gene manifests itself in strange and eerie ways. For decades phrases like "friend of Dorothy" were pillars of the secret code of the closet. Today's repository of this genetic lore isn't so much the Broadway stage as the big city piano bar--as gay an institution as the leather bar. There you'll find theater queens, driven by an impulse Freud never addressed, sitting around singing obscure songs from shows that closed out of town--and somehow knowing every word!

So Foucaultians can whistle against the wind. Homosexuality and hoofing go together like ... well, like song and dance.

Need more proof? Consider this. For the past couple of decades the musical was considered a dying art form. Rock overthrew Broadway show tunes as America's most popular music, and audiences supposedly didn't buy actors spontaneously bursting into song. Maybe. But it's just as possible that musicals declined because the vital gay link had been damaged.

AIDS swept away many of Broadway's leading gay lights, like Michael Bennett--people we needed to keep the genre going. And gay lib itself may have thrown a wrench into the genetic works. After all, an intense biological attraction to Ethel Merman and clever lyrics used to create the kind of bond for gays that sports do for many straights. Once we were liberated, our genes went all wooky, confused by a culture that produced disco, the gym, and the circuit. Cut off from what we knew best, gay men were cast adrift.

But biology is destiny, and the sudden success of a movie musical put together by a top gay team has profound clinical implications. The fact that writer Bill Condon, producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, and director Rob Marshall were able to cook up such a stunning reinvention validates musical essentialism and refutes any constructionist blather that they just "happen" to be gay.

After all, Chicago's gay creators report that they didn't fall in love with musicals because of gay culture or gay oppression, and they certainly weren't "recruited." They "always knew" they loved musicals. Rob Marshall reports that he "knew" when he was 4; Craig Zadan when he was 8. Sound familiar?

This, people, is the mysterious gay musical gene at work. Its fruits are now up on the screen to razzle-dazzle the clueless masses.

So on Oscar night I'll tip my hat to other gay-related films, like The Hours. But I'll be rooting for Chicago. Not just for what it is but what it represents. As Tevye says in Fiddler: Tradition! In this case, a major gay biological tradition, battered and bruised but still all-singing, all-dancing, and all-dreaming, despite changing tastes and the circuit and all that jazz.

Source: The Advocate, article by Gabriel Rotello

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Gay BFF: A User's Guide

Jake Gyllenhaal and Penelope Cruz
Vanity Fair Oscar Party 2009

If you're a girl of a certain age, or even a metrosexual boy with an enlightened sense of style, chances are you have a gay best friend. You two are probably pretty tight and tell each other everything. After all, gays are like really understanding well-dressed genies, right? Like all cute, smart and adorable animals, your gay is more complicated than you think. To help you get the most out of your gay BFF, we've assembled a brief manual of operations.

Gay men are like straight men, it's just they're not trying to fuck you.

"Why can't there be straight guys, like you?" you ask us and we smile, secure in our knowledge that we're more talented, charming and well-groomed than any straight boy you'll ever encounter. Here's the dirty little secret the gays have been keeping from you: We're huge horrible jerks, too—it's just we have no desire to pork you, so we won't fuck with your head. Yes, we listen to you and talk about our feelings, but believe it or not, these are things that straight guys do as well, they just don't do it with you. Again, because of the whole fucking thing. They're trying to get into bed with you and men, in general, always assume there's some sort of secret game of indifference and emotional manipulation that's needed to score. How do we know this? Because we do it to other guys all the time. We don't call our dates back. We act aloof and have terrible fears of commitment. You know how we tell you about all the terrible things our various boyfriends do to us? Well, guess what? We're doing them, too. Why do we seem like such a better catch than straight dudes? Because we don't want to have sex with you. If we did, we'd be jerks, too.

Never fall in love with your gay.

Following from this, the single most important thing to maintaining a long term friendship with your gay is to never-ever fall in love with them. Remember how you felt about N'Sync growing up? Chances are, your gay BFF brings up a lot of those old pre-teen feelings. At some point, perhaps during some 2am chat about the various merits of Ben & Jerry's Mint Chocolate Chip, you'll think to yourself, "This is so much better than the annoying singles scene. If only I could get him to sleep with me." When you start having these thoughts, you need to send your gay home. While we can have deep emotional relationships with our girlfriends, we're never going to be able to give you what you want. The reason the relationship is easy is because it's not going anywhere. Real relationships are messy, complicated and riddled with self-doubt and expectation. Pursuing a gay boy will only wind up with you resenting them, not just because they can't return your love, but because you've spent all your time wooing them instead of finding a man who will give you what you want.

Do not call yourself a "fag hag." Do not let your gay call you one.

"Fag hag" is a really demeaning term. It's a fat girl who can never get a date. It's someone who still has unicorn posters in her bedroom. You're a woman. Your life isn't defined by your gays and if it is, you should reconsider what you're doing with your life. Don't hide behind your gays. Don't use them as a crutch. Instead, face life fabulously together.

Don't ask "So are you the guy or the girl?" Do ask about gay sex.

Don't laugh! This happens more often than you think. At some point, you're going to start becoming interested in how this whole gay sex thing happens and despite everything the Japanese manga industry has told you, it's not all longing gazes and hand-holding. Believe it or not, most gays are shy about talking about their sex lives, at least with straight people. This is because, for the most part, the heterosexual world considers what we do gross and icky. Taking an active interest in your gays sex life will show them that you're actually interested in them. On a related note, feel free to ask them about gay rights and gay causes. Don't just tell them you agree with them, but ask their opinion. It's a two-way street girlfriend. It is totally okay to ask if they're a top or a bottom, though. Just don't laugh when they say they're a top.

If he drags you to a gay bar, drag him to a straight one.

Another dirty little secret about your gay BFF: The reason he drags you out to gay bars is to get laid. As previously mentioned, gays are just as bad as straights when it comes to dating and hooking-up and having you by his side takes off a lot of the pressure. Just as he's your emotional safety net, at a gay bar, you are his rejection safety net. You're also a convenient conversation starter: "Oh, yeah, this is Dana. I thought I'd take her out and show her how the gay half lives!" You're someone who can vouch for the fact that he's not a psycho without looking like competition.

This is great and all, but you need to make sure there's some parity. Use your gay boy to get you some straight tail. Promise him a night of breeder fun and hold him to it. The best way to lure a gay out on a straight night is say you want to start off at Hooters. As we've mentioned many times before on this blog, Hooters is gay catnip. We don't know why, but seriously, just thinking about Hooters makes me want to call up The Hostess for hot wings. Once you have them out, drag them to a straight bar, point out men you're into and use them as props.

Now, here's how this works for both of you. At some point in the night your gay is going to meet a man or you are. You need to have a signal for each other which means, "I am ready to get laid now. Time to go." If you think this is mean or unfair, just imagine you've met a really cute guy at a bar, you're getting along famously and your gay friend is there, talking about the latest Daft Punk album. Remember, the key to a healthy straight-gay relationship is to be having sex with people who will have sex with you. Never let that trump your desire for emotional snuggle time.

Don't make your boyfriend hang out with your gay. If you're a straight dude, please don't assume we want to sleep with you.

Congratulations! You've followed all our advice and instead of developing a tragic codependency with your gay, you've both found boyfriends are maintaining a healthy friendship. Now, do your straight lover a favor and don't insist that he become BFF's with your gay, too. If it happens, let it happen, but as many a Craigslist rant attests to, straight guys don't like competition, even if it's from gay dudes.

And now a word for the straight guys: We don't want to sleep with you. Now, because we're guys, we know that underneath that macho exterior, there's a insecure guy constantly craving validation. But it's amazing that no matter how unattractive, unshaven or slovenly they are, every straight guy I've known for any length of time has admitted that he assumes I am secretly into them. What's worse is that they're crestfallen when I say, "Sorry, you're not my type." Yes, some of you guys are really hot, but for the most part, our desire not to get beaten up and killed trumps whatever desire we have to make a move on you. Now, if you start reciprocating, all bets are off, but so long as you don't want to sleep with us, we're probably not going to try to sleep with you.

Because you know another gay person, do not assume that they will make the perfect boyfriend for your gay BFF.

You know what happens when you set us up on a date with the other gay you know? We go for dinner at a mid-scale restaurant and talk about you the whole time. We smile politely at each other and go our separate ways. Why? There's nothing so unsexy as being set-up by our straight BFF.

Source: Queerty, The Care and Feeding of Your Homosexual: A User's Guide for Straights; Photo: IHJ