Monday, March 25, 2019

Netflix: Offbeat, Heartwarming New Comedy Series 'Special'

Ryan O'Connell and Punam Patel in 'Special'

Netflix drops the official trailer for Special, an offbeat comedy series about a gay man with mild cerebral palsy.

Loosely based on the critically-acclaimed memoir by writer/actor Ryan O’Connell - I’m Special: And Other Lies We Tell Ourselves - the series stars O’Connell as a man who “decides to rewrite his identity as an accident victim and finally go after the life he wants.”

After years of dead-end internships, writing in his pajamas as a blogger, and communicating mainly via text messages, Ryan is hit by a car in the street. When his new co-workers assume his limp is due to the accident, he just never bothers to correct the misunderstanding.

"If you could get rid of the thing you hate most about yourself, the thing no one understands, wouldn’t you do it?"

The hilarious and heartwarming 8-episode series is being produced for Netflix by O’Connell along with Jim Parson’s That’s Wonderful Productions and Warner Bros’ Digital Networks’ Stage 13.

The series also stars Jessica Hecht, Punam Patel, Marla Mindelle, Augustus Prew, and Patrick Fabian.

O’Connell’s past writing includes being a contributor for Buzzfeed, Vice, Thought Catalog and other publications as well as serving as Executive Story Editor for the reboot of the hit NBC series, Will & Grace.

Special makes its Netflix premiere on April 12. Check out the trailer below.




San Antonio Votes 'No' On Chick-Fil-A Airport Location Due To Anti-LGBTQ Donations

The San Antonio City Council has voted against allowing a Chick-Fil-A franchise to open at the local airport.
(image via Pexels)

The San Antonio City Council has voted against allowing a Chick-Fil-A franchise to open at the local airport.

According to USA Today, the fast-food restaurant was originally included in a seven-year concessions agreement for Terminal A at the San Antonio International Airport. But, a new report from Think Progress citing continued contributions by the Chick-Fil-A Foundation to anti-LGBTQ organizations gave the council pause.

That report showed donations of more than $1.8 million in 2017 to companies that have public records of anti-LGBTQ animus, including the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

The amendment to remove Chick-Fil-A from the airport plans was approved by the city council by a vote of 6-4.

In a statement after the vote, Councilman Robert TreviƱo said that the council “reaffirmed the work our city has done to become a champion of equality and inclusion.”

“San Antonio is a city full of compassion, and we do not have room in our public facilities for a business with a legacy of anti-LGBTQ behavior,” added the councilman. “Everyone has a place here, and everyone should feel welcome when they walk through our airport.”

For its part, Chick-Fil-A told USA Today that the company found the news “disappointing.”

“We wish we had the opportunity to clarify misperceptions about our company prior to the vote,” read the statement. “We agree with  the council member  that everyone should feel welcome at Chick-fil-A,” the company said in the statement.

“In fact, we have welcomed everyone in San Antonio into our 32 local stores for more than 40 years,” the statement continued.

The fast-food chain has had a long history of donations to anti-LGBTQ organizations.

When asked about donations to Exodus International, a company that promoted so-called ‘conversion therapy,’ Chick-Fil-A president Dan Cathy proudly told the Baptist Press in 2012 his company was “guilty as charged.”

The restaurant’s foundation has also made donations to Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council, groups identified as anti-LGBTQ “hate groups” by the Southern Poverty Law Center.


Broadway Diva Patti LuPone Set To Join Cast Of FX's 'Pose"

Producer/director Ryan Murphy made news Saturday night at PaleyFest in Los Angeles when he announced a new diva would be joining the cast of FX’s Pose.  While moderating a panel with cast members of the ground-breaking series, Murphy surprised the audience - and cast - that Broadway icon, Patti LuPone, will be joining the show for season two.
Tony & Grammy Award winner Patti LuPone
Producer/director Ryan Murphy made news Saturday night at PaleyFest in Los Angeles when he announced a new diva would be joining the cast of FX’s Pose.

While moderating a panel with cast members of the ground-breaking series, Murphy surprised the audience - and cast - that Broadway icon, Patti LuPone, will be joining the show for season two.

According to Deadline, Murphy told cast members MJ Rodriguez and Billy Porter they would be sharing plenty of scenes with the two-time Tony Award winner.

LuPone is currently appearing in the gender-bending revival of Stephen Sondheim’s Company in London, where she has been nominated for an Olivier Award for “Best Actress in a Supporting Role.”

Murphy also told the crowd that the series will time-jump from the late 1980s to the year 1990. The first episode of the new season will take place on the day Madonna’s mega-hit “Vogue” was released.

Expect to hear about Madge’s co-opting of the vogueing/ ball culture of New York City for her now-iconic music video. Plus, since LuPone has been an outspoken critic of Madonna in the past, we’ll be curious to see if any of that animosity surfaces in the diva’s scenes.

The talk-back took place after a screening of episode six from season one of the series, “Love is the Message,” which was written and directed by acclaimed transgender activist Janet Mock. The episode, the first in television history to be directed by a transgender woman, was also Mock’s directorial debut.

And speaking of directing, Murphy announced during the panel that Mock, Porter and producer Our Lady J would all be helming episodes in the upcoming season.

Season two of Pose begins shooting next week and will premiere in June.

(cropped image via Flickr/Etro053 - CC license)

Iowa: Mayor Pete Buttigieg Jumps To Double-Digit Standing In Democratic Poll

Openly gay presidential hopeful Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, has jumped to a double-digit third-place ranking in a new Iowa poll.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg
Openly gay presidential hopeful Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, has jumped to a double-digit (11%) third-place ranking in a new Iowa poll.

Via The Hill:

Eleven percent of likely Democratic Iowa caucusgoers surveyed by Emerson Polling said they would pick Buttigieg to be their 2020 presidential nominee.

Overall, Buttigieg placed third behind Former Vice President Joe Biden, at 25 percent, and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), at 24 percent.

The only other candidate to receive double-digit support was Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), who was the choice for 10 percent of respondents.

"The biggest surprise in this poll is Mayor Pete, last week we saw him inching up in our national poll, and now he’s in double digits in Iowa, America is going to be asking who is 'Mayor Pete'?" Spencer Kimball, director of the Emerson Poll, said.

Buttigieg, who has formed an exploratory committee but has not officially declared, was polling at 0 percent in Emerson's January survey of Iowa, which shows his recognition and support have grown significantly in the last few months.

Here's the full ranking from the Emerson Poll:





Sunday, March 24, 2019

Mueller Investigation "Does Not Conclude" Trump Committed Obstruction, But "It Also Does Not Exonerate Him"

Donald Trump

U.S. Attorney General William Barr has sent a letter of 'principal conclusions' summarizing the results of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigations.

The key clause to know up front: "While this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him."

That will drive Donald Trump crazy.

From the New York Times:

The investigation led by Robert S. Mueller III found that neither President Trump nor any of his aides conspired or coordinated with the Russian government’s 2016 election interference, according to a summary of the special counsel’s findings made public on Sunday by Attorney General William P. Barr.

Mr. Barr also said that Mr. Mueller’s team drew no conclusions about whether Mr. Trump illegally obstructed justice. Mr. Barr and the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, concluded that the special counsel’s investigators lacked sufficient evidence to establish that Mr. Trump committed that offense, but added that Mr. Mueller’s team stopped short of exonerating Mr. Trump.

“While this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him,” Mr. Barr quoted Mr. Mueller as writing.
Bolding/underscoring is mine.

Here's a link to the full letter from the Attorney General to Congress.

Ultimately, six Trump aides/associates were indicted for mainly lying to investigators.

Twenty-five Russian players were charged for actions involved in interfering with the 2016 U.S. election.







Even though Mueller specifically stated he did not "exonerate" Trump, White House press secretary has tweeted out a statement which includes the LIE that "the findings of the Department of Justice are a total and complete exoneration of the President of the United States."

A complete lie.






House Judiciary Chair: Democrats Will 'Absolutely' Fight All The Way To SCOTUS For Mueller Report

Speaking to CNN's Dana Bash this morning, House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler said his committee was prepared to subpoena the full report from Special Counsel Robert Mueller' investigation.
House Judiciary Chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY)

Speaking to CNN's Dana Bash this morning, House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler said his committee was prepared to subpoena the full report from Special Counsel Robert Mueller' investigation.

He also said House Democrats would "absolutely" take the issue all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court in order to obtain the report.

Nadler also preemptively addresses the idea that Donald Trump may claim executive privilege in order to keep the report from Congress, but has no right to do so.

"He has no right to claim executive privilege on any evidence of wrongdoing. That was made clear by the 9-0 ruling by the Supreme Court during the Nixon (Watergate) case."






Streisand Clarifies Comments On Michael Jackson Allegations 'I Am Profoundly Sorry'

Barbra Streisand

Earlier this week, Barbra Streisand raised eyebrows with comments to the Times of London regarding Michael Jackson and the new documentary Leaving Neverland, which details allegations of sexual abuse of children by the late King of Pop.

Streisand has now released a statement clarifying the comments.

Via Variety:

“To be crystal clear, there is no situation or circumstance where it is OK for the innocence of children to be taken advantage of by anyone. The stories these two young men shared were painful to hear, and I feel nothing but sympathy for them. The single most important role of being a parent is to protect their children. It’s clear that the parents of the two young men were also victimized and seduced by fame and fantasy.”
La Streisand added on her Instagram:

“I am profoundly sorry for any pain or misunderstanding I caused by not choosing my words more carefully about Michael Jackson and his victims, because the words as printed do not reflect my true feelings. I didn’t mean to dismiss the trauma these boys experienced in any way.”



In the Times of London interview, after being asked her thoughts on the documentary, the EGOT-winner said:

“It’s a combination of feelings. I feel bad for the children. I feel bad for him. I blame, I guess, the parents, who would allow their children to sleep with him. Why would Michael need these little children dressed like him and in the shows and the dancing and the hats?”

“His sexual needs were his sexual needs,” she added. “Coming from whatever childhood he has or whatever DNA he has.”

“You can say ‘molested,’ but those children, as you heard them say [the grown-up Robson and Safechuk], they were thrilled to be there. They both married and they both have children, so it didn’t kill them.”








Saturday, March 23, 2019

News Round-Up: March 23, 2019


Some news items you might have missed:

• DWTS and ANTM champ Nyle DiMarco (above) is living for the west coast sunshine - "Sun's out, guns out!"

• The Alabama senate unanimously voted for a bill this week that would eliminate marriage licenses because some judges in the state don’t want to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

• The organizers of Houston’s Drag Queen Story Time project are calling it quits after harassment and death threats by so-called Christians.

• The House will vote next week on a measure rejecting President Trump’s ban on transgender people serving openly in the military.

• Thanks to a lawsuit by the ACLU, state-funded faith-based adoption agencies in Michigan can no longer discriminate against LGBTI people.

Sofi Tukker invite you into their new music video, "Fantasy."

The track has been a fan favorite at concerts thanks to its intimate, introspective lyrics and vocal delivery.

The video is a sneak peek into what's to come from the duo ahead of their world tour which will take them across five continents.