Monday, June 25, 2018

Pride Month: Ellen's Favorite LGBTQ TV Moments

In observing Pride Month, Ellen DeGeneres shared a video montage of her favorite inspiring LGBTQ+ Pride moments on her show.
Ellen DeGeneres

In observing Pride Month, Ellen DeGeneres shared a video montage of her favorite inspiring LGBTQ+ Pride moments on her show.

The three-minute video includes Ellen's announcement of her wedding, Laverne Cox's appearance on TIME Magazine and Sam Smith saying he wants to be a spokesman for the LGBTQ community.

Also in the highlight reel are transgender military veterans sharing their stories as Donald Trump proposed banning their service as well as touching coming-out stories.

Hit the play button below and feel good.

SCOTUS Dodges Anti-LGBT Florist Case, Orders Lower Court To Revisit Decision

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to rule on the case of anti-gay florist Barronelle Stutzman who refused to sell a gay couple flowers
Barronelle Stutzman
The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to rule on the case of Washington state florist Barronelle Stutzman who refused to create flower arrangements for a same-sex wedding in 2013.

Although SCOTUS didn’t take the case, the justices instead vacated the 2017 ruling against Stutzman by the Washington state Supreme Court and ordered the state’s top court to take another look at the case and consider the SCOTUS ruling earlier this month regarding Colorado baker Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop.

In that case, SCOTUS didn’t decide the central dispute which is: do anti-discrimination laws in 22 states bar “creative artist” business owners from legally discriminating against people based on their sexual orientation or do “deeply held religious beliefs” trump the rights of LGBTs?

Instead, 7 Supreme Court justices found that the Colorado state commission on civil rights appeared to show hostility towards religion in reaching its decision against the baker. In doing so, SCOTUS reversed the fine ordered on Phillips.

Today, SCOTUS told the Washington state Supreme Court to revisit the Stutzman case to see if similar anti-religious bias existed in coming to its decision regarding the florist.

In 2013, Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed were planning to marry after Washington state legalized same-sex marriage the year before. But when they approached Stutzman for flowers for their event, Stutzman refused citing her Christian beliefs. Washington state’s public accommodation laws ban discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Stutzman was fined $1,000 and ordered to sell floral arrangements for same-sex weddings if she were to continue selling arrangements for heterosexual weddings.

Although she’s cried about financial burdens due to the ongoing court case, its important to remember that over $174,000 was raised via crowd funding for Stutzman.

GoFundMe eventually shut down the campaign based on the company’s policy that campaigns can’t be used to raise funds for legal cases where formal charges have been filed.

Stutzman was allowed to keep the $174,000.

The American Civil Liberties Union issued a statement in response to today's decision saying their work for LGBT equality will continue:

“The Supreme Court today asked the Washington courts to re-examine our clients’ case in light of the recent decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop,” said James Esseks, director of ACLU’s LGBT and HIV Project. “To be clear, the court made no indication the lower courts ruled incorrectly and made no decision on the case’s merits. We are confident that the Washington State Supreme Court will rule once again in favor of the same-sex couple, and reaffirm its decision that no business has a right to discriminate. Our work to ensure LGBT equality is the law and the norm in all 50 states will continue.”

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Podcast: Jury Awards $18.4 Million Over Cancelled HIV Test; Web Series Imagines A World Where AIDS Never Happened

In this week's podcast:

• A gay man is awarded $18.4 million over a cancelled HIV test

• New web series Fathers wonders “Who would we be if AIDS hadn’t happened?"

• Tan France, fashion guru for Queer Eye, says his family thought the 'make better' series converted straight men to gay

• There’s new music from out indie recording artist Aiden James "Colorblind"

All that and more in this episode of The Randy Report

Las Vegas: New Production Of "Tony N' Tina's Wedding"

The bride and groom - "Tina" and "Tony"

It's hard to believe that after all my years living in New York City, I somehow never saw Tony n' Tina's Wedding, the longest running Off-Broadway comedy in history.

The "environmental/immersive theatre" piece puts audience members in the middle of a traditional Italian-American wedding and reception.

The new cast of "Tony n' Tina's Wedding" at Ballys Las Vegas

Fortunately, the play has just opened in Las Vegas at Ballys Las Vegas performing at real-life Italian restaurant Buca di Beppo Fridays through Wednesdays at 7 p.m.

I definitely recommend checking out the new production - the interactive theater experience is absolutely hilarious.

Audience members are treated as guests at the wedding by the interactive, improvisational comedy cast which includes over-the-top stereotypes like the hunky/built new husband, the self-absorbed bride, the totally-not-gay gay brother of the bride, a drunk ex-boyfriend, a pregnant matron of honor and more.

With its original director Larry Pellegrini at the helm and an ensemble cast featuring Breon Jenay as Tina and Joseph Ben Shimon as Tony, the production incorporates today’s popular culture into the show’s repertoire.

In addition to the comedy, the cast's terrific actor/singers serenade you with current and classic pop hits.

And yes, you are at a wedding reception, so included in the ticket price is full on Italian dinner with Caesar Salad, Chicken Parmesan, Bake Ziti, Wedding Cake and Drinks. And if you buy the VIP package ($129), in addition to dinner, you also get a two-hour open bar and a post-show meet and greet. Whoo-hoo!

Check out pics from opening night below and you can get more info about the production here.

The 'totally-no-gay' gay brother of the bride

'Tina' chows down as her new hubby 'Tony' watches

Today Marks Trump's 118th Trip To Golf Course

President Trump is at his Virginia golf club today, marking his 118th day at a Trump golf property and his 161st day at a Trump property since taking office.

President Trump is at his Virginia golf club today, marking his 118th day at a Trump golf property and his 161st day at a Trump property since taking office.

Irony: Fox News' Jeanine Pirro "Leftists Are Normalizing Outrageous Behavior"

Irony is officially dead.

On her Fox News show last night, Jeanine Pirro railed about "unhinged leftists" who are "normalizing outrageous behavior" regarding the story of White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders being asked to leave a restaurant due to the owner's deeply held moral convictions.

“Political debate at the very heart of the founding of this country has devolved into political harassment and outright political abuse. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, one of the most of prestigious jobs in Washington, D.C., out to dinner, places her order and is then told to leave by the owner because she works for the president of the United States. Sarah quietly leaves.

“The Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen this week was literally screamed and heckled out of a restaurant while eating her dinner. Trump supporters are being harassed all across this country by a hysterical left unwilling to accept the decision and the will of the American people who put Donald Trump in office. These unhinged leftists are normalizing outrageous behavior which is only getting worse.”

Of course, what's hysterical is Pirro is one of the most fervent supporters of the king of 'normalizing outrageous behavior,' Donald Trump.

Pirro being offended by a restaurant owner quietly asking Sanders to leave when the Trumpster has spent years saying every kind of offensive thing he can think of about his political opponents is truly laughable.

I thought Republicans had decided that businesses are allowed to discriminate and don’t have to serve people they don’t want to serve. Or is that just for gay couples who want wedding cakes baked for them?

Watch the opening rant below.

'Tired Old Queen At The Movies' Deconstructs The Boys In The Band

Steve Hayes' popular web series Tired Old Queen at the Movies deconstructs the film adaptation of the Broadway play, The Boys in the Band.
The film adaptation of "The Boys in the Band"
On the occasion of Pride in NYC this week, Steve Hayes' popular web series Tired Old Queen at the Movies deconstructs the film adaptation of the Broadway play, The Boys in the Band.

From Hayes: "Mart Crowley’s iconic play about the lives of several gay men in the 1970’s comes alive in William Friedkin’s THE BOYS IN THE BAND (1970). Featuring the brilliant original Broadway cast, its alternately hysterical, funny, sensitive, touching, at times lacerating and ultimately unforgettable."

With all the attention being paid to the current all-star, all-gay Broadway revival of the play, its interesting to see the actors from the original production bring their roles to life on film.

Watch the seven minute clip below.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

News Round-Up: June 23, 2018

(image via Instagram)

Some news items you might have missed:

• InstaHunks Justin & Nick say "Celebrate Pride!" with a kiss. #sweet

• For the first time, the Vatican has used the term 'LGBT' in an official document and has invited an LGBT-friendly priest to speak at a major conference. #SmallStepsForward

• The Czech government has agreed to support same-sex marriage with the draft of a first of its kind bill in the former communist bloc country. While the Czech Republic has allowed domestic partnerships since 2006, Germany is the only formerly communist country to legalize same-sex marriage.

• Conservative family groups in Canada are hoping to force Canadian schools to be required to alert parents when their children join LGBTQ groups on school campuses. LGBTQ advocates say that would amount to outing students.

• New York state gubernatorial candidate and actress Cynthia Nixon shared that her oldest child is transgender in a celebratory graduation post on social media.

• The Hungarian National Opera in Budapest was forced to cancel 15 performances of the musical Billy Elliot following a story on a conservative site that accused the musical of turning boys gay.

• Watch LGBTQ seniors read letters to their younger selves.

“I’m very pleased to tell you that you are happy, married to a wonderful man, have two dogs, a cat, and a mortgage.”

“It will come full circle. The word ‘queer’ will be an empowering, pride-filled word.”

Check out the three minute from vlogger Davey Wavey below: