Saturday, 22 December 2012

Dear God, please don’t let me be anything other than straight

"For twenty-one years, I have been paralyzed by the fear of what this society will do with me if they ever were to know of the thoughts that I continually push away. For more than two decades, I have made a choice to be straight. After all, it’s as easy as making a choice, isn’t it? This culture has made sure that I know that. Anyone who is anything other than straight was just someone deceived by the devil. He is unnatural. He is confused. He is mistaken. He is weak. He can control it if he desires to control it. Such a compelling and ongoing argument has been made that I have always trusted it.

I believed that if I hid it long enough, and ran from it long enough, and refused to acknowledge it for long enough, I could indeed succeed at living up to their decrees. I believed that I could force myself to never be anything else.

Teeter-tottering on that belief, I got married. To a woman. Our marriage was laced with sexual anxiety and dysfunction. I loathed having sex with her not because I wasn’t attracted to her, but because my sexuality continually screamed to me that I was a deceitful sell-out who lacked integrity. We eventually got divorced.

I got married again. Quickly. To another woman. Surely, surely if I married someone fantastically beautiful and to whom I was very attracted, I would never have to acknowledge the truth whose screams were silenced inside of me all those years. I would never have to grant further thought to the feelings of self-betrayal that plagued me for so long. It was my choice, damn it, and I was choosing to be what I had to be.

She finally left. The last words that she chose to use before she drove away were, “I don’t care what you say, I know that you’re gay.”

Source: Anything Other than Straight

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Only One Right Choice

Mitt Romney believes that  LGBTQ people don't deserve the same rights. He wants to add a constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage.

Mitt Romney also believes that being at your partner's side in the hospital is a benefit, not a civil right - if you aren't straight.

Says a lot about what kind of man he is.

Makes the choice easy.

President Barack Obama.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

How To Spot Publicity Whores?

Caught in the Act! 

How Hollywood's bold-faced names secretly steer the celebrity news machine.

Excerpts from The Wall Street Journal article, March 4, 2006:

A delicate new game is under way between the stars and the vast gossip industry of TV shows, magazines and Web sites that feeds upon them.

It has always been a relationship built upon animosity and mutual need. But tensions have grown with the explosion of media running paparazzi photos of stars canoodling or emerging from coffee shops in frumpy track suits.

Now many stars including Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie and Jessica Simpson are fighting back. They are hiring their own photographers to capture supposedly private rendezvous, tipping off reporters to their whereabouts and developing relationships of mutual back-scratching with magazine editors.

The result is the flowering of a genre: fake paparazzi journalism, or the staging of "unstaged" moments. It is an art form that benefits both stars and the press. Stars get to participate in the framing of their image and magazines appear to give readers a glimpse of the real celebrity untouched by public-relations varnish.

When Ms. Paltrow gave birth in 2004, she knew there would be a high bounty on the first photo of her newborn daughter. A staple of the celebrity press, the actress and her husband, Chris Martin, leader of the band Coldplay, decided to take matters into their own hands and tip off a photographer they knew, Steve Sands.

Mr. Sands took what appeared to be surprise shots of the two emerging from the hospital in London with the baby and sold them to People for $125,000, according to a person familiar with the arrangement. Larry Hackett, managing editor of People, says he knew that Mr. Sands had been tipped off by Ms. Paltrow. But he didn't see the need to inform readers about it. "I just don't know how illuminating it is," he says. Stephen Huvane, a publicist at public-relations firm PMK/HBH who handles Ms. Paltrow, confirms Mr. Sands's account. "You'll see a lot more of that happening," says Mr. Huvane.

The magazines are lucrative. US Weekly sells a million copies a week on the newsstand at $3.49 apiece. The magazine turns an operating profit of $50 million a year, says a person familiar with its accounts.

Network TV programs like Access Hollywood, cable channels like E! Entertainment Television Inc. and Web sites have added to the coverage. All these outlets compete for photos documenting the daily lives of a small cast of celebrities. These stars, in turn, seek to control their images without appearing to, because doing so would ruin their mystique.

"All those dirty little secrets in Hollywood include tipping paparazzi off and playing games with them," says New York-based public-relations professional Ken Sunshine, whose clients include corporations and stars such as Ben Affleck and Leonardo DiCaprio. He says people might find that "unethical" if they knew about it, "but unfortunately it seems to be an accepted part of the business."

Magazines have generally played along. In 2003, Ms. Jolie tipped off US Weekly that she would appear in a park one afternoon with her adopted son, Maddox, according to two people familiar with the situation. The actress had recently divorced actor Billy Bob Thornton, a relationship which was portrayed as reckless and bizarre. These two people say US Weekly knew Ms. Jolie had green-lighted the photo, which softened her image by showing her maternal side.

The photographers' onslaught has put stars in a tough spot. If they ignore the magazines, they let such pictures define their public image. But sitting down for formulaic interviews and staged publicity shots won't necessarily satisfy the magazines' lust for juicy stories.

The answer is manipulation so subtle it's hard to say if there's any manipulation at all. In January, when rumors swirled in the press that Ms. Jolie might be pregnant with the child of actor Brad Pitt, Ms. Jolie arranged for an employee of the charity Yéle Haiti to take a picture of her with her growing belly.

Ms. Jolie then let Yéle Haiti sell the picture to People, according to Mr. Hackett, the magazine's managing editor, and a representative for Mr. Pitt. A person familiar with the situation says People paid $400,000 for the picture. It appeared on the cover of the magazine with the headline: "Angelina Reveals: 'Yes, I'm Pregnant.' "

By arranging the Haiti photo, Ms. Jolie reaped several benefits. She ensured the picture was flattering. In diverting the money to charity, she put a twist on a tactic used by celebrities in recent years in which they arrange to be paid for wedding or baby photos with the proceeds going to charity. And Ms. Jolie reminded fans of her devotion to humanitarian causes. She had taken a hit months earlier when she struck up a relationship with Mr. Pitt shortly after his marriage to actress Jennifer Aniston broke up.

In many cases, stars don't need to try that hard. When celebrities pick a location like the terrace at the Ivy restaurant in Beverly Hills, they know they're liable to appear in the glossies the next week. A bank of photographers regularly sits on the other side of the street with long-range lenses. Actor Tom Cruise was thus captured on film last year when he roared up to the Ivy on his motorcycle accompanied by then-new girlfriend Katie Holmes.

"I would probably say at least 50% of what you see in terms of Hollywood coverage is something that was not necessarily born organically," says Janice Min, editor in chief of US Weekly. "This is a totally symbiotic relationship. This is how celebrities survive."

Source: The Wall Street Journal - Caught in the Act!

Thursday, 5 July 2012

End of Toothy Tile Saga?

Jake Gyllenhaal - Pink Elephant In The Room

July 5, 2012

Ted Casablanca

The images are countless, breathtaking: Four editors-in-chief, 16 years online, piles of exclusives, plenty of gossip, invented languages, maddeningly fascinating celebrities (dead and alive) and most importantly — you. The reader.

We did this for two decades, folks! When The Awful Truth, which I founded at Premiere magazine 20 years ago, ends this week, it's not the deliciously decadent Blind Vices I will miss the most...

It's you barking types who always made me feel gloriously alive, with all you had to say and scream and be so real about.

That community is my life's (professional) work up until now. It has meant more to me than each of you will ever know.

But it really is time to move on.

If you don't agree, just keep in mind that when I first took this job at E!—in 1996, when the network founded E! Online—I was working at the established and respected Premiere magazine. Scores of people told me, "Online just isn't the place to go."

Everybody told me to pass on the job, and so I did. Then I called back the next day and an amazing man named Lew Harris said, yes, of course, I could change my mind. And I did.

So that's what I'd like my last words to be: Always do what you're not supposed to do.

And see you on Twitter @Ted_Casablanca.

Source: Thank You by Ted Casablanca

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Obama: The First Gay President

It was the spring of 2007, back when Barack Obama’s bid for the presidency seemed quixotic at best. I’d seen Obama speak to a crowd and was impressed but wanted to see if what I’d seen from afar held up under closer scrutiny. So I asked to attend a private fundraiser in a tony apartment in Georgetown. I promised not to write anything. I just wanted to see the man up close and get a better sense of him and his character. At one point in the question-and-answer session, a woman looked him square in the eyes with what can only be called maternal grit. “My son is gay,” she said, and the room went suddenly quiet. “I don’t understand why you don’t support his right to marry the person he loves. It’s so disappointing to me.” Obama, without losing eye contact for a second, told her: “I want full equality for your son - all the rights and benefits that marriage brings. I really do. But the word ‘marriage’ stirs up so much religious feeling. I think civil unions are the way to go. As long as they are equal.”

My heart sank. Was this obviously humane African-American actually advocating a “separate but equal” solution - a form of marital segregation like the one that made his own parents’ marriage a felony in many states when he was born? The sudden equivocation made no sense - except as pure political calculation. And yet it also felt strained, as if he knew it didn’t quite fit. He wanted equality but not marriage - but you cannot have one without the other. On this issue, Obama’s excruciating nonposition was essentially “Yes we can’t.”

And yet somehow, simply by the way he answered that mother’s question, I didn’t believe it. I thought he was struggling between political calculation and his core belief in civil rights. And it was then that I realized he was both: a cold, steely, ruthless, calculating politician who nonetheless wanted to do the right thing in the end.

Last week he did it — in a move whose consequences are simply impossible to judge.

Source: Newsweek’s Andrew Sullivan on Barack Obama: The First Gay President

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Ricky Martin and family

Ricky Martin, his twin sons Valentino and Matteo, and partner Carlos Gonzalez Abella:

Source: La nueva vida de Ricky,  Vanity Fair Spain, April 2012

Evita on Broadway - Official Site

Monday, 13 February 2012

Gay Sex Is The Last Hollywood Taboo?

When Ellen DeGeneres came out of the closet as the first openly gay sitcom star in 1997—and her fictional self followed suit—a parade of gay characters came after her. There was Will & Grace, and Carrie Bradshaw’s Sex and the City sidekick, Stanford. In movies, the gay best friend became a staple, from My Best Friend’s Wedding to Mean Girls. Yet none of these characters do what gay men do. As Hollywood portrays it, the homosexual man is, astonishingly, sexless.

The film’s screenwriter, Dustin Lance Black, who won an Oscar for his Milk screenplay, says that a love scene would have been too revisionist historically. "I certainly didn’t want to see J. Edgar doing it," says Black, who is gay. "In the 1930s, oftentimes, a loving relationship with gay men was never consummated."

Max Mutchnick, the co-creator of Will & Grace, remembers attending a party the night before the show’s pilot was filmed. Mutchnick recalls being told by (the also gay) director Joel Schumacher: "Whatever you do, don’t make it too butt-fucky. Don’t let anyone in the audience think about butt fucking and you’ll be fine."

Mutchnick continues, "The sad reality is, if you’re in a theater and they show gay sex, someone in the audience will shout, ‘Ewww!’"

That’s the crux of it. Studio executives aren’t necessarily homophobic, but the film business is in a financial slump and averse to risks even in the best times. Though gay marriage is now more accepted across the United States, the industry is driven by tickets sold to straight men. That’s why lesbian sex gets a pass: when Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis spend a steamy night together in Black Swan, it helps sell tickets. There’s no similar financial bump attached to gay male intercourse. As one producer noted, anal sex is still considered something out of the ordinary, anyway. In The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, the anal sex scene is part of a rape between a man and woman—existing as a symbol of sexual sadism.

I emailed our film critic David Ansen, the artistic director of the Los Angeles Film Festival, to ask whether there was gay sex I had overlooked in any recent movies. He wrote back: "There were actually movies this year with gay sex but really nobody saw them because they only played film festivals, like the very sexy Christopher and His Kind, which was made for Brit TV, and the still unreleased Leave It on the Floor, a musical with an all-black cast about the voguing world. Or James Franco’s experimental student film about Hart Crane, which has very explicit gay sex in it. The movies with gay sex tend to be ghettoized as gay films and not seen by crossover audiences."

When you ask gay screenwriters and directors to name the most explicit gay sex scene in a mainstream film, they often gulp in silence. Then they name 2005’s Brokeback Mountain. But that tent scene between Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger is still relatively tame. "I don’t think I would say Brokeback Mountain, because it’s not that explicit," says B. Ruby Rich, the film professor at UC Santa Cruz who coined the phrase New Queer Cinema. "We’re in the post–Brokeback Mountain moment. Even a film like Gus Van Sant’s Milk is astonishingly chaste. The actual life of Harvey Milk was drastically different than that, given it was the ’70s in San Francisco and men were fucking in every doorway."

Real societal change is always the product of the stories we see. In 1967, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner made interracial marriage normal just months after the Supreme Court ruled that anti-miscegenation laws were unconstitutional. That’s why there’s more at stake in this gay-sex debate than just the titillation. If Hollywood refuses to push boundaries, to make more people comfortable with something that a segment of America is still uncomfortable with, gay people remain second-class citizens. "Here’s my thing with gay sex," Dustin Lance Black says. "In terms of sex, we get plenty of that every day in our own lives and thrown on the Internet. I feel like what I’m really interested in is gay romance." And that’s the real problem with no gay sex. You can’t tell a real love story if nobody is doing it.

Source:  Why Does Hollywood Hate Gay Sex? by Ramin Setoodeh

Sunday, 22 January 2012

River of Silence

Heath Ledger
"Only when you drink from the river of silence
shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top,
then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs,
then shall you truly dance."

Kahlil Gibran
"The Prophet"

Heath Ledger's Memorial in Heathcote, Perth