Thursday, June 30, 2011

Streisand - "Windmills of Your Mind" - August 2011



This song is from Barbra Streisand's new CD coming out in August 2011.

For everyone who has forgotten - with auto-tune being so prevalent - what a real singer sounds like...

THIS is a real singer.

Matt Zarley on work ethic, Whitney & WTF


Matt Zarley gives a very open and honest interview to guyspy.com - online today.

“WTF,” the first single off Zarley’s upcoming album, “Change Begins with Me,” is about one of those gorgeous guys who seduces you, romances you, claims to love you, then disappears. It’s also a true story. More puzzling to Zarley is that the guy didn’t acknowledge the situation. “He could said, ‘Look, I don’t want to do a long-distance thing,’” he says. “He could have closed the chapter.”

The guy didn’t turn the page, but Zarley did. “I got the song out of it,”

With honesty comes opinions, and Zarley, he has a few. He thinks “The Book of Mormon” is the best Broadway show since “Les Miserable,” but has a little more trouble with TV’s “Glee.”

“I wish the singing wasn’t so Auto-Tuned,” he says, while acknowledging the almost impossible workload of the performers. “It’s the same as using Photoshop. It takes away the uniqueness of the voice. It doesn’t sound like anyone.”

Zarley’s a huge fan of India.Arie and grew up on Whitney Houston (“she was untouchable; the best artist ever”). He also thinks Lady GaGa is amazing, if over-publicized. “She gets shoved down our throats,” he says. “There are four artists that are successful at a time and that’s it. The gay community act like she and Britney are it.”

As for Spears, Zarley is a bit bewildered by her current events. "She's got wonderful star quality and she's always had the "It" factor," he says. "When she performs now there's a vacancy there. I understand that you can't go full out and be singing all the time, but she should be better than ever. I'm not sure if we should just be saying 'this is okay,' when there might be cause for concern."

As a counterpoint, Zarley points to Janet Jackson, an artist who’s also known for singing along to the tune. The difference, he says, it that 45-year-old Miss Jackson can still ace the routine. “She may not be singing live all the time but she still knocks the choreography out of the park."

Read more at guyspy.com

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Graduation Day Surprise

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


As she walks across the stage to accept her diploma and graduate, her brother - a Marine - surprises his sister on her big day.

I love these videos.

The other Bachmann - husband Marcus Bachmann...



Marcus Bachmann, the husband of GOP presidential hopeful Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), said in a radio interview unearthed by ThinkProgress that "barbarians need to be educated" when asked how parents should deal with their homosexual children.

"They need to be disciplined," he said last year on Point of View Radio Talk Show. "Just because someone feels it or thinks it doesn’t mean that we are supposed to go down that road. That’s what is called the sinful nature."

"And let’s face it: what is our culture, what is our public education system doing today?" he continued. "They are giving full, wide-open doors to children, not only giving encouragement to think it but to encourage action steps.

That’s why when we understand what truly is the percentage of homosexuals in this country, it is small. But by these open doors, I can see and we are experiencing, that it is starting to increase."

Marcus runs a Christian-based counseling center in Minnesota.

Politico reported Michele Bachmann attacked President Barack Obama in Charleston on Wednesday for not defending the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman.

"The president refuses to stand for marriage," she said. "One thing we need to recognize in this country is that the family is the fundamental unit of government."
(via rawstory.com)

Rhode Island passes Civil Unions bill


The Rhode Island Senate has approved a bill that would allow same-sex couples to enter into civil unions, a measure that Gov. Lincoln Chafee says he's inclined to sign.

State senators voted 21-16 Wednesday evening to endorse the bill. The legislation, which already has passed the state House, allows gay couples to enter into civil unions that offer the same rights and benefits given to married couples under Rhode Island law.

It is now headed to Chafee's desk for his signature.

Several gay marriage advocacy groups have urged Chafee to veto it because of what they call overly broad exemptions that would allow religious institutions to ignore rights given through civil unions. The measure would, for instance, let religious hospitals refuse a civil union spouse the right to make emergency medical decisions.
(via NPR)

Poll: Obama leads all potential GOP 2012 nominees

In a new poll by McClatchy-Marist, Obama faces determined opposition: 43 percent of voters said they would definitely vote against him in 2012. So would 43 percent of independents, 10 percent of Democrats and 85 percent of Republicans.

But none of his potential GOP rivals would beat him today. Republican candidates, said Miringoff, "have not at this point developed credibility with voters."

Romney maintained a similar level of support as he did in an April survey, despite the attention given his June 2 announcement and a strong debate performance on June 13.

He may have "hit a ceiling," said Miringoff, as doubts continue about his health care stand. As governor, Romney signed into a law a health care plan requiring near-universal coverage, a plan similar to the 2010 federal health care law that Republicans loathe. Romney has explained that each state should be able to decide what's best for its residents.

Three potential candidates who haven't declared their candidacies trailed Romney: Former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, 13 percent; Texas Gov. Rick Perry, 13 percent, and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, 11 percent.

The poll surveyed Republicans and Republican-leaning independents. Giuliani and Palin enjoy widespread name recognition, but the lesser-known Perry's ascendance among them may suggest growing interest in him as he weighs whether to get in.

Next was Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, who declared her candidacy Monday, at 8 percent. Other candidates trailed: Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Texas Rep. Ron Paul and businessman Herman Cain tied at 5 percent.

Current GOP Leaders Voted 19 Times To Increase Debt Limit By $4 Trillion


From ThinkProgress: At the beginning of the Bush presidency, the United States debt limit was $5.95 trillion. Despite promises that he would pay off the debt in 10 years, Bush increased the debt to $9.815 trillion by the end of his term, with plenty of help from the four Republicans currently holding Congressional leadership positions: Speaker John Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl.

ThinkProgress compiled a breakdown of the five debt limit increases that took place during the Bush presidency and how the four Republican leaders voted:

June 2002: Congress approves a $450 billion increase, raising the debt limit to $6.4 trillion. McConnell, Boehner, and Cantor vote “yea”, Kyl votes “nay.”

May 2003: Congress approves a $900 billion increase, raising the debt limit to $7.384 trillion. All four approve.

November 2004: Congress approves an $800 billion increase, raising the debt limit to $8.1 trillion. All four approve.

March 2006: Congress approves a $781 billion increase, raising the debt limit to $8.965 trillion. All four approve.

September 2007: Congress approves an $850 billion increase, raising the debt limit to $9.815 trillion. All four approve.

Database searches revealed no demands from the four legislators that debt increases come accompanied by drastic spending cuts, as there are now. In fact, the May 2003 debt limit increase passed the Senate the same day as the $350 billion Bush tax cuts for the wealthy.

When Bush was in office, the current Republican leaders viewed increasing the debt limit as vital to keeping America’s economy running. But with Obama in the White House, it’s nothing more than a political pawn.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Michele Bachmann and inconvenient facts


Today, on ABC’s Good Morning America, Michele Bachmann defended her statement that the “Founding Fathers worked tirelessly to end slavery” (they didn’t) by insisting that John Quincy Adams was a Founding Father (he wasn’t). After host George Stephanopoulos pointed out that John Quincy Adams — the son of John Adams — did fight against slavery “decades later,” Bachmann stood by her historical interpretation.

When the Declaration of Independence was signed, John Quincy Adams was a nine-year-old boy.

In addition, Bachmann reiterated her long-held belief that a federally mandated minimum wage is a job-killing federal regulation that may need to be abolished.

In 2005, Bachmann told the Minnesota state Senate that abolishing the minimum wage could “wipe out unemployment completely.”

When Stephanopoulos asked her for evidence to back up that claim today, Bachmann struggled to find an answer, initially dodging the question before finally referring to the minimum wage as a regulation that is “inhibiting job growth” and saying it needed to be examined:

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me try this one more time. So you’re saying the minimum wage is one of those regulations you’d take a look at? You’d try to eliminate it?

BACHMANN: Well, what I’m saying is I think we need to look at all regulations. Whatever ones are inhibiting job growth, that’s what we need to look at.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And the minimum wage is one of them?

BACHMANN: All regulations, George. I think every department, we have just too much expansion of government, and what we need to do is tamp that down so the American people can keep more of what they make.

Recent statistics show that wages are stagnant and the majority of jobs that are being added are low-wage jobs. But the workers in those jobs making the minimum wage would actually need an increase in the wage to match the buying power of the minimum wage in 1968.

In other inaccuracies, earlier this year, Bachmann told a group of local New Hampshire Republicans, "You're the state where the shot was heard around the world in Lexington and Concord." However, the first shots of the Revolutionary War were fired in Massachusetts, not the Granite State.

Ironically, she told CNN on Tuesday morning, "I'm introducing myself now to the American people so that they can know that I have a strong academic scholarly background, more important I have a real life background."

Workout like a werewolf - Joe Manganiello



Via popbytes.com: Unless you’re living under a rock, it’s not news that True Blood’s Joe Manganiello has become a sensation this summer TV season. With his lean, mean, hungry-like-a-werewolf look, he’s got everyone talking. Check out the video above for an exclusive behind-the-scenes video of Joe in the gym doing his now infamous workout.

Ummm... I don't have any words, or language, or anything else for this.

I can't type ...

Monday, June 27, 2011

Olivia interview on blackbookmag.com


From blackbookmag.com:

This weekend, I set my sights on interviewing Olivia Newton-John.

She was playing a Josh Woods and FornabaioVoss Events blowout on Governors Island saturday night. Some very helpful people over at Big Machine Media (shout out to Jessica Berek) came to my assistance, hooking me up with Olivia’s person, Michael Caprio. I didn’t even have to grovel much or say things like “Please Mr. Please,” or “You’re The One That I Want,” or “I’m Hopelessly Devoted To You,” or go so far as to invoke “I Honestly Love You.” They worked really hard to get me this interview, and Michael Caprio, I got to believe that you are “Magic.” It had to be over the phone, but I was going to talk to Olivia Newton-John and I, who never gets flabbergasted, was star struck and awe struck at the opportunity.

The phone screamed and it was Michael Caprio: “Could you do Olivia in 8 minutes?” As a thousand OMGs bounced around inside my head, I ran to a deli, got a pen and pad, and called back. I exchanged “hey’s” ‘hello’s” and “where are you’s” with the legendary singer/actress/activist. She knew I was blushing and bumbling and was as sweet, helpful, and fun as can be. She was on a ferry having just finished sound check. A police helicopter hovering directly over my head wouldn’t allow me to get it right. The copter moved as I did and I felt a little like Henry Hill from Goodfellas. Everyone knows I have “Never Been Mellow,” and I must have been a sight yelling at the sky on one of these “Summer Nights.”

I headed to Williamsburg and straight to Graceland tattoo and salon for some advice on what questions to ask. They know Olivia over at Graceland and “Let’s Get Physical” was playing as I entered. They were all busy inking and cutting and I knew I had come to the right place. “What should I ask her?” I implored. Everyone knows the history…Grease, a zillion big records, Xanadu. Everyone chimed in, including the customers. After a couple dozen “I can’t ask her that’s,” a question I could actually dare to ask came forth.

Click here for the interview.

Michele Bachmann compares herself to serial killer



From Gawker: Kicking off her presidential campaign in Waterloo, Iowa, Michele Bachmann explained the geographic significance to Fox News:

"Well what I want them to know is just like, John Wayne was from Waterloo, Iowa. That's the kind of spirit that I have, too."

This is problematic, the Washington Times explains, because "beloved movie star" John Wayne is not from Bachmann's hometown of Waterloo. John Wayne Gacy, the "killer clown" who raped and murdered 33 teenage boys in the '70s, is from Waterloo. Beloved movie star John Wayne is from Winterset, Iowa.

Olivia interview from WeLoveSoaps.net



While in NYC for her performance at NYC Gay Pride's "Bondi Beach" event, Olivia spoke to welovesoaps.net about her new remix of "Magic" and all the proceeds going to help build the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre.

The song is now available on iTunes.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

From JoeMyGod - "Watching The Defectives"

In honor of Gay Pride Month, I'm posting this piece by my favorite LGBT writer, Joe Jervis. I can never hope to come close to the clarity of thought and emotion about what it's like to celebrate Gay Pride as Joe does in this.

Years ago, while on tour with "A Chorus Line" I had one of my straight friends ask me "don't you think gays would be more accepted if you chose different, more mainstream people to be featured on the news at gay pride?"  I remember I started to explain WE don't elect our "news coverage" representatives - the news channels do.  And then I thought to myself: we're ALL different and that's the point of any celebration of equality.

I used to try to "assimilate" - I used to try to be "one of the good ones."  I used to try to not offend anyone with the fact that I happen to love my husband.  That I am who I am.  Then one day I realized - no one was worried about my comfort.  When I read Joe's post the first time I was dumbstruck with how spot-on he was.

Joe wrote this in 2005 and posts it each year. I celebrate his writing and passion.  A book of his writing is coming out later this year.  Believe me, you'll hear about it from me.

Go to his amazing blog - JoeMyGod - and read it every day. He was and is the inspiration for me to even begin blogging.

********************************************************************

Watching The Defectives

Last Sunday at 12:30pm, I was in position on Christopher Street with Terrence, his glamor boys, and touring UK bloggers Dave and Darren. The Pride parade was due to round the corner any minute, but I tore off in search of a bodega, crossing my fingers that my desperate need for a soda wouldn't cause me to miss Dykes On Bikes. Half a block away, I found a little place and ducked in, weaving through the customers clogging the aisles on rushed missions like mine. I was third in line, two bottles of Sprite under my arm, when the man in front of me spotted a friend entering the store.

"David! Sweetie! Where are you watching from? Come hang out with us on Allen's balcony!"

David, a bookish looking middle-aged man, destroyed the festive mood in the little store in an instant. "Absolutely not. Those defectives and freaks?" he spat, indicating the colorful crowd outside the store, "They have nothing to do with MY life, thank you very much. This parade has as much dignity as a carnival freak show. It's no wonder the whole country hates us."

Luckily for David, the Asshole Killer mind ray I've been working on is not yet operational. I settled for pushing him a little, just a tiny bit, just to get by him in that narrow aisle, of course. I returned to my sweaty little group and tried to put what I'd heard out of my mind for the remainder of the day, because I knew that by the next morning, the thousands of Davids of the world, the ones who have media access anyway, would all issue their now familiar day-after-Pride rant. The one where they decry the drag queens on all those newspaper front pages. The one where they beat their chests and lament, "Why don't the papers ever show the NORMAL gay people? Where are the bankers and lawyers? Why must all the coverage be drag queens and leather freaks in assless chaps?"

And every year, the logical answer is that bankers and lawyers are boring to look at and that pictures of marching Gap employees don't sell newspapers. There's no sinister media agenda intent on making gay people look ridiculous, no fag-hating cabal behind the annual front page explosion of sequins and feathers. It's just good copy. Drag queens are interesting. Even the bad ones. Especially the bad ones.

Yet right on cue, the day after Pride, the Davids of the blogosphere dished out their heavy-handed dissections of parades around the country. Only this year, there was a palpably nastier tone to an already traditionally nasty annual debate. Blame the election, blame the recent avalanche of anti-gay legislation, but this year, the usual assimilationist arguments went beyond the hypothetical speculations that maybe our Pride parades were too outlandish, that maybe we weren't doing the movement any favors by showing the country a face that happened to be wearing 6-inch long false eyelashes. This year there was some actual discussion about HOW we were going to "fix" Pride parades. Of how we might go about "discouraging" certain "elements" from taking part in the parades.

This is the part of the story where I have my annual post-Pride apoplectic attack. This is the part of the story where the swelling volume of Nazi analogies overwhelm my ability to speak and all I can do is twitch and bark out little nonsensical bits. This is where I always forget the name given to the Jews who went to work for the Nazis, helping load the trains. "Because that's what you are asking us to do, you assholes!" Then I always ask, "Who are we going to sacrifice to 'save' ourselves? Which child will it be, Sophie?" And this is the part of the story where my friends accuse me of being a hyperbole-laden drama queen, wasting spiritual energy on a non-crisis, and of co-opting the Holocaust as well. More on that later.

These people that want to "fix" Pride don't understand the role that Pride parades have come to play. Initially, the gay parade was about visibility. It was about safety in numbers, and more importantly, "normalcy" in numbers. It was about the idea that if only straight America could see us, could just SEE US, that they'd love us. And accept us. That if we'd mass and march by the righteous millions, the sheer unstoppable force of our collective image would topple bigotry. Would right wrongs. Would stop hate.

Of course, that didn't happen then and it doesn't happen now.

What DOES happen, is that Pride parades, at least in the big cities, have become nothing more significant to straight America than an annual traffic nightmare. As a tool of the gay movement, the Pride parade is now merely a walking photo op for politicians and perhaps not much more. A couple of years ago, the ultimate arbiter of America's cultural zeitgeist, The Simpsons, made note of this:

(The gay pride parade is going past the Simpson house.)

Chanting marchers: "We're here! We're queer! Get used to it!"

Lisa Simpson: "You're here every year. We ARE used to it."

What does all of this mean to the Davids of the world, the gay assimilationists that want to, wish they could, somebody do something, there's gotta be a way we can, Dignify This Parade? The ones begging: "Can't we get our people to at least DRESS respectfully for one lousy day? Is that too much to ask of our people? "

Yes, yes it is.

Because you are kidding yourself if you think Pride parades, in any form, will EVER change the minds of homophobes. The straight people who show up to see Pride parades are already largely convinced. We're parading to the choir, Jesse. Those straight people love our freaks, bless them.

Oh, you could test run a "defective" free parade. You could form urban anti-tranny squads and go around to all the gayborhoods on the morning of the parade and give all the drag queens 50% off coupons for Loehmann's, offer good during the parade only. And they'd GO, of course, cuz hey, those girls love a bargain. But the resultant bland, humorless, "normal" gay parade wouldn't change the course of the gay movement one bit. The part of straight America that is repulsed by drag queens is quite possibly even more terrified by the so-called "normal" gays, because "those clever calculating creatures look JUST LIKE US, and can infiltrate and get access to our precious children. And that's been their disgusting plan all along, of course."

So where does that leave us? Are we post-Pride? Is the parade just a colossally long waste of a miserably hot summer day? Is the Pride parade just an event that does a better job of moving chicken-on-a-stick than it does of moving hearts? I'd say that, yes, as an effective tool of the gay movement, Pride's usefulness has largely waned in many U.S. cities. So do we even need to keep having these parades, since they no longer seem to have much of an impact on the state of the movement? No, we don't.

But...YES, WE DO.

Because even if Pride doesn't change many minds in the outside world, it's our PARTY, darlings. It's our Christmas, our New Year's, our Carnival. It's the one day of the year that all the crazy contingents of the gay world actually come face to face on the street and blow each other air kisses. And wish each other "Happy Pride!" Saying "Happy Pride!" is really just a shorter, easier way of saying "Congratulations on not being driven completely batshit insane! Way to go for not taking a rifle into a tower and taking out half the town! Well done, being YOURSELF!"

I'm not worried what the outside world thinks about the drag queens, the topless bulldaggers, or the nearly naked leatherfolk. It's OUR party, bitches. If you think that straight America would finally pull its homokinder to its star-spangled bosom once we put down that glitter gun, then you are seriously deluding yourself. Next year, if one of the Christian camera crews that show up to film our "debauched" celebrations happen to train their cameras on you, stop dancing. And start PRANCING.

All you suburban, lawn mowing, corpo-droid homos out there, hiding behind your picket fences, the ones wringing your hands and worrying that Pride ruins YOUR personal rep, listen up. Do you think that straight Americans worry that Mardi Gras damages international perception of American culture? America, land of the free, home of "Show Us Your Tits!"? They don't and neither should we. Our Pride celebrations are just our own unique version of Mardi Gras, only instead of throwing beads, we throw shade. No one has to ask US to show our tits. We've already got 'em out there, baby. And some of them are real.

A co-worker of mine heard me discussing my Pride plans last weekend and said, "I really don't understand what it is you are proud about. I mean, you all say that you are born that way, so it's not like you accomplished anything." She wasn't being mean, just genuinely curious, and I think that a lot of gay people probably feel the same way. On this subject, I can only speak for myself.

I'm proud because I'm a middle-aged gay man who has more dead friends than living ones and yet I'm not completely insane. I've lived through a personal Holocaust (here we go again) in which my friends and lovers have been mowed down as thoroughly and randomly as the S.S guards moved down the line of Jews. You, dead. You, to the factory. And you, you, you, and you, dead. I am inexplicably alive and I am proud that I keep the memories of my friends alive. I am proud of my people, the ACT-UPers, the Quilt makers, the Larry Kramers, the Harvey Fiersteins. I'm proud that I'm not constantly curled up into a ball on my bed, clutching photo albums and sobbing. And that happens sometimes, believe it.

And outside of my personal experiences, I am proud of my tribe as a group. Sometimes I think that gay people are more creative, more empathic, more intuitive, more generous, and more selfless than anybody else on the planet. Sometimes I think that if an alien culture were surveying our planet from light years away, they might classify gay people as an entirely separate species of humans. It's easy to spot us because of our better haircuts.

But sometimes I think we are the worst people in the entire world when it comes to standing up for each other. The gay people who'd like to soothe their personal image problems by selectively culling some of our children from Pride events? They disgust me. They appall me. They embarrass me. To them I say: The very road that YOU now have the privilege of swaggering upon was paved by those very queens and leather freaks that you complain about as you practice your "masculine" and give us butch face. If you want to live in the house that THEY BUILT, you better act like you fucking know it. United we stand, you snide bitches. America's kulturkampf ain't gonna be solved by making flamboyant people go away.

I'll end this by making one final Jewish reference. Possibly you've heard the Jewish in-joke that sums up the meaning of all Jewish holidays? "They tried to kill us. We won. Let's eat." My Pride version?

They wish we were invisible.

We're not.

Let's dance.

Pics: Olivia Newton-John at NYC Gay Pride 2011

Saturday night, June 25th, 2011, Olivia Newton-John celebrated NYC Gay Pride AND marriage equality with the LGBT community at the "Bondi Beach" event on Governor's Island.

She dedicated the new version of her mega-hit "Magic" to the LGBT community who, due to the new marriage equality law passed in New York state one night before, can now marry the person they love.

"I have many gay friends that I love and care about, and I am so happy that they can now share their lives with their chosen loved ones and be afforded the same rights as other married couples."

The sales of the new version of "Magic" benefit the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre - download it here on iTunes.

See below for pics of the event:

Olivia with the event producers Tony Fornabaio & Brandon Voss














Leaving the event, while on the ferry back to Manhattan, Olivia jumped out of her car
to take a picture with members of the NYPD

NY Gov. Cuomo at NYC Gay Pride

NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo at NYC Gay Pride after passing marriage equality in NY state

Now THIS is what a "fierce advocate" looks like.

Just in case a certain President is taking notes...

Via the New York Daily News: As the gay pride parade marched through the streets of New York City on Sunday, participants cheered the governor with signs bellowing “Thank you, Governor Cuomo.”

Two days after New York’s senate voted 33-29 to legalize gay marriage, the annual parade became the epicenter for the equality celebration, embodying this year’s theme: “Proud and Powerful.”

Half a million people were expected to take to the streets.

The Marriage Equality Act was passed in the state Senate on Friday evening, and signed into law by Cuomo at 11:55 p.m. ET, less than 2 hours after the vote. The law takes effect in 30 days.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

"Capt. America: The First Avenger" starring Chris Evans



New trailer for "Captain America: The First Avenger" starring Chris Evans

In theaters - July 22nd

Video: Olivia Newton-John soundcheck for NYC Pride Event "Bondi Beach" on Governor's Island

video

I just got this emailed to me and thought I'd share this clip of Olivia Newton-John doing a bit of sound check of "Magic" for her appearance tonight at the NYC Gay Pride "Bondi Beach" event.  I like Olivia starts to dance a bit as the camera pans to the view.

You can download the new version of her mega-hit "Magic" from iTunes - click here. ALL proceeds go to the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre.

Sorry so short - it was all I got.  Emailing videos is a bit tough from an iPhone you know...

The view from the stage and dance area looks like it will be amazing for the event tonight. You can see where they are in the process of putting palm trees in place on the stage for that "beach" feel.

Weather's finally cleared up - and with marriage equality having just passed last night in NY state I imagine there are some folks ready to dance tonight!

Olivia starting soundcheck onstage

View from the event dance floor

Event info: Saturday, June 25th @ 6:00pm // Bondi Beach on Governors Island. With Olivia Newton John, DJ Phil Romano and DJ Hector Romero. Governor’s Island, NYC.

Olivia will be singing about three dance songs (including the new remix of "Magic") during the evening for some happy folks tonight. In addition to Olivia, the party features two of the best DJs in the business. Go out and have a good time kids!

For more information, please visit: www.fvevents.com.

Olivia and John at the Bondi Beach event in NYC - how about the view?

Video: THE moment marriage equality passed in NY state



THE moment marriage equality passed in NY state!

Listen to the crowd in the gallery lose their minds!

Reva Rice in 'Vegas the Show'



LOVE Reva Rice! Great, great talent and friend. I did CHICAGO with her and she is always terrific and always delivers.

She's starring in "Vegas - the show" here in Las Vegas at Planet Hollywood about to celebrate their one year anniversary.

Go Reva!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Done! Governor Cuomo signs marriage equality into law


Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed New York's gay marriage bill, starting what is expected to be a crush of gay weddings starting in 30 days - couples can start marrying on July 24th.

Tonight, the number of Americans who currently have access to marriage equality in their home states or districts more than doubled.

The Democratic governor signed the measure shortly before midnight Friday, following up on a promise to put his name on the legislation as soon as he received it rather than wait the usual 10 days to sign it for it to become law.

New York lawmakers voted 33-29 to legalize same-sex marriage, handing activists a breakthrough victory in the state where the gay rights movement was born.

New York will become the sixth state where gay couples can wed and the biggest by far.

History in NY State - Almost 42 Years After Stonewall, Marriage Equality Passes!

Stonewall tonight - June 24, 2011

The Stonewall riots were a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations against a police raid that took place in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn, in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City. They are frequently cited as the first instance in American history when people in the homosexual community fought back against a government-sponsored system that persecuted sexual minorities, and they have become the defining event that marked the start of the gay rights movement in the United States and around the world.

The last years of the 1960s were very contentious as many social movements were active, including the African American Civil Rights Movement, the Counterculture of the 1960s, and antiwar demonstrations. These influences served as catalysts for the Stonewall riots.

Very few establishments welcomed openly gay people in the 1950s and 1960s. Those that did were often bars, although bar owners and managers were rarely gay. The Stonewall Inn, at the time, was owned by the Mafia. It catered to an assortment of patrons, but it was known to be popular with the poorest and most marginalized people in the gay community.

Police raids on gay bars were routine in the 1960s, but officers quickly lost control of the situation at the Stonewall Inn, and attracted a crowd that was incited to riot.

After the Stonewall riots, gays and lesbians in New York City faced gender, class, and generational obstacles to becoming a cohesive community.

On June 28, 1970, the first Gay Pride marches took place in Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York commemorating the anniversary of the riots.

Gay Pride events are held annually throughout the world toward the end of June to mark the Stonewall riots.

Today, June 24, 2011, NY state gay and lesbian committed couples cross a great milestone to being equal citizens by being allowed to enjoy the rights of marriage.

"I’m not what I want to be,
I’m not what I’m gonna be,
But thank God I’m not what I was"

NY celebrates marriage equality
(Historical details via Wikipedia):

NY state: Marriage equality to come to a vote tonight


New York state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos on Same Sex Marriage Legislation: "After many hours of deliberation and discussion over the past several weeks among the members, it has been decided that same sex marriage legislation will be brought to the full Senate for an up or down vote."

NY Conservative Party Chair Mike Long: "I'm sorry to say but the bill's going to pass."

Word is the 32nd vote is secured and possibly a few more.

Stay tuned kids...

Cantor & Kyl walk out of negotiations to protect tax breaks for those who make over $500K

On Thursday this week, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) walked out of budget negotiations over a dispute with Democrats about raising revenues. Today, more details emerged about exactly what Republicans happened and why the walk-out.

From ThinkProgress.com: Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), a member of the bipartisan debt discussion group led by Vice President Joe Biden, said that Republicans chose to “protect taxpayer subsidies for big oil companies, tax breaks for corporate jets, and tax breaks for millionaires”:

Democrats want to close tax loopholes that benefit oil companies, and eliminate a tax preference that gives corporate aircraft a friendlier depreciation schedule than commercial aircraft. Additionally, Van Hollen said, Democrats were proposing to phase out tax deductions and certain credits for people making more than $500,000 a year. These would be paired with a reduction in the tax burden on lower earners, by eliminating existing limitations on their deductions.

“The message Republicans sent was…unless we accept their lopsided approach…they’re prepared to tank the economy,” Van Hollen said.

Cantor's spokesman, Brad Dayspring, described the impasse as being over “Democrats’ push to raise taxes” on “individuals, small businesses, and employers,” which is the language Republicans often use to make their position sound more pleasant sounding than “defending tax breaks for millionaires.”

Democratic aides also said Republicans’ refusal to consider defense spending cuts to alleviate painful cuts to domestic programs was “central” to the negotiation breakdown. As Democrats have repeatedly emphasized, it’s impossible to improve the country’s debt situation without raising revenues or by slashing discretionary spending alone.

NY Leaders Reach Consensus on Religious Exemptions for Marriage Equality


From the NY Times - 4:14pm on Friday: "The Cuomo administration and legislative leaders have reached agreement on language that would protect religious institutions from obligations to recognize same-sex marriage, two people involved in the negotiations said on Friday afternoon, potentially paving the way for a vote on the marriage legislation."

"Senate Republicans were still discussing the marriage bill among themselves in a close door meeting on Friday afternoon. And it remained unclear whether — and even if — they would permit a vote on the broader legislation. Assembly lawmakers, which approved an earlier version of the same-sex marriage bill last week, would need to approve the new language in a new vote before the full bill could become law."

Of course, all that being said - will the GOP state senators allow a vote on the bill???

Keith Olbermann: Organized Religion Holding Up Marriage Equality



Via Towleroad.com: Olbermann has moved his Countdown program to Current TV, where he used one of his special comments to, first, proclaim that gay marriage is inevitable, and then to blame religion for holding it back.

"Every year the margin by which this country supports this grows," he said of marriage equality. "And within a decade, or perhaps less, it will be universal in this nation. Period."

Watch the video.

Folks are getting frustrated with NY senate Republicans


After a week of mainly calm and respectful attendance by pro-marriage-equality supporters, nerves seem to be getting frayed as no vote is in sight on passing marriage equality.

From the NY Times: "Frustrations flared in the Capitol on Friday as Democratic lawmakers and gay rights advocates suggested that the Republicans in the state Senate were deliberately delaying a vote on whether to legalize same-sex marriage in New York."

"It was a marked change of tone from proponents of gay marriage, and it seemed to indicate that their collaborative relationship with the Republicans, in whose hands the fate of the measure rests, had begun to fray."

“It’s outrageous,” said State Senator Liz Krueger, a Manhattan Democrat. “We were sent home last night without really any explanation.”

Krueger and other Democrats inferred Republicans are stalling on the issue because they fear gay marriage will pass if the vote is put onto the floor.

Sen. Dean Skelos had indicated that he would have vote on the issue this session.

I think it's going to get ugly is they don't have this vote...

Current cast of "Jersey Shore" is OUT...


Well, apparently the current cast is out after the upcoming fifth season.

TMZ reports MTV will be replacing the original cast with new, less expensive folks after the fifth season airs.

But don't think the 'originals' are going anywhere. Several seem to have spin-off series.

Yeah. I guess....

New Matt Zarley interview



Matt kicks in at the 1:11:00 mark.

"Sharing the bill on the mega-episode of Swish Edition with Lynda Carter, we chat with Broadway star / pop singer, Matt Zarley."

"This was one silly conversation that we all really enjoyed. We play his new single "WTF" first (see the video below) then get into it ALL including "what semi-famous gay brother of a very famous actor that plays a superhero" he had a fling with, how he found the bears and otters for his “WTF” video, why he likes pop over Broadway, and much more. You’ll dig this guy, he’s a trip and a real good sport."

For those who haven't seen it yet - here's Matt's new video:

Friday Pic of the day


I know it's only 7:30am on Friday, but I'm pretty sure this will be my favorite pic of the day anyway...

NY Times on the NY GOP inaction on marriage equality


NY Times editorial: "As we wrote this editorial on Thursday evening, we were still waiting for the New York State Senate to do what it should have done long ago — end a basic inequality under the law by allowing same-sex couples the full right to marry. The solution is obvious: Pass a clean bill that allows all adult New Yorkers to marry whomever they choose to marry, without unneeded exemptions for religious-affiliated organizations."

"Gov. Andrew Cuomo introduced a good bill, which was promptly approved by the Assembly. In the Senate, the measure seemed to be only one vote shy of passage, but Republicans have kept it from the floor."

Read more here.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Watch NY Senate Livefeed

Watch live streaming video from nysenate at livestream.com

There may be a late vote on marriage equality for NY state tonight.

for those of you outside of NY, you can watch the live feed here.

And keep your fingers crossed...

Time Magazine's 'Officer X' new posting: "Blackmailed"


Officer X is a young, gay military officer who is currently serving on active duty despite the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ban on open service. He is a pilot and regularly flies throughout the world both in and out of combat. Follow him on Twitter @TIMEOfficerX or email him TIMEOfficerX@gmail.com

Here's an excerpt of his latest post called "Blackmail."

If I were to point to a single person it would be former Army Sgt. Tracy L. Cooper-Harris. Of the dozens of first-hand accounts I've read of troops serving under DADT, hers is the hardest to read. When she was found to be a lesbian by a few of her co-workers, they blackmailed her to perform sexual favors for them in exchange for the honor of continuing to serve her country. “Don't Ask Don't Tell” provided a framework that allowed her to be systematically raped:

"I had a choice: report these men for “sexual harassment/cohesion” and end my military career or submit to their demands. Despite the military's “zero tolerance” policy on sexual harassment, it doesn't apply to those forced in the closet under DADT. I was sexually blackmailed and just a teenager."

Her story struck a chord within me, as I once received a similar ultimatum. It was one of the most stressful times during my senior year of college when a fellow student found out about me and tried to blackmail me for sexual favors and even started stalking me via Facebook.

I refused to humor him, but he continued to persist. He became so obsessed that I received a message from him saying he would report me to my commander if I didn't do as he said. I was alone and had nobody to turn to in order to ask for help. My heart raced. “This guy is a god-damned terrorist” is all I could think of. That very thought reminded me of how our government and military deal with terrorists, and I refused to let myself be his victim.

Read more at time.com

True Blood Gothic


Entertainment Weekly has debuted three covers for its latest True Blood issue, featuring Joe Manganiello with Anna Paquin which riffs on Grant Wood's classic painting "American Gothic".

I understand Alexander Skarsgard and Stephen Moyer are also featured on their own versions of the cover, however, want to guess my favorite?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Lady Gaga & Sen. Jim Alesi - "Born This Way"



Check out this Lady Gaga mash-up that was created in honor of Senator Jim Alesi, the first NY state Republican senator to come out in support of the marriage equality bill, and his remarks at the rally yesterday.

Mama bird in a palm tree



I've never seen a bird make a nest in a palm tree, but this little mama is sitting on her egg in her nest right at eye level in a palm tree in the front courtyard of my house.

So sweet and calm.

We walk by and just say 'hi'....

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Wisconsin Domestic Partnerships upheld


A judge in Wisconsin ruled yesterday that domestic partnerships are not substantially similar to marriages, thus meaning the partnerships do not violate the state's 2006 constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

Judge Daniel Moeser made it clear that domestic partnerships don’t come close:
The state does not recognize domestic partnership in a way that even remotely resembles how the state recognizes marriage. Moreover, domestic partners have far fewer legal rights, duties, and liabilities in comparison to the legal rights, duties, and liabilities of spouses.

Wisconsin’s domestic partnerships allow same-sex couples to visit each other in hospitals, make end-of-life decisions, and inherit each other’s property. The partnerships do not guarantee any ability to share benefits, and same-sex couples still don’t have the right to adopt.

Marriage equality in NY state - vote may happen Wednesday


Marriage equality in NY state is tied to rent control and tax cap bills, it appears.

From the Wall Street Journal: Senate Majority leader Dean Skelos said Tuesday afternoon that the framework for agreement on rent control and a tax cap had been reached. Those agreements appear to clear the way for gay marriage to be addressed separately as early as Wednesday.

Skelos, a Long Island Republican, holds great sway over which bills make it to the full Senate for a vote. He is opposed to gay marriage but says he'll let his members decide its fate.

Now that the Repubs have what they wanted on their two issues - will they let marriage equality come up for a vote tomorrow? And will one more state senator decide to stand on the right side of history?

Stay tuned.

Top enlisted Marine on the repeal of DADT


The Command Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, Sgt. Maj. Micheal Barrett, the top non-commissioned officer, addressing Marines regarding the repeal of DADT:

“Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution is pretty simple,” he told a group of Marines at a base in South Korea. “It says, ‘Raise an army.’ It says absolutely nothing about race, color, creed, sexual orientation.

“You all joined for a reason: to serve,” he continued. “To protect our nation, right?”

“Yes, sergeant major,” Marines replied.

“How dare we, then, exclude a group of people who want to do the same thing you do right now, something that is honorable and noble?” Sgt. Maj. Barrett continued, raising his voice just a notch. “Right?”

Sgt. Maj. Barrett then described conversations with U.K. troops, who saw a similar ban lifted a decade ago, with little disruption. And to drive the point home, he produced a pocket copy of the Constitution.

“Get over it,” he said. “We’re magnificent, we’re going to continue to be. … Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines.”

There. That was pretty simple now, wasn't it?

Thank you Sgt. Maj. Barrett.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Understandable explanation of how the deficit grew



For simple people like me, here's an easy way to understand how we went from surplus to deficit in one President's time in office.

Rally for NY Marriage Equality - Tuesday in Albany


Marriage equality in NY state is very close to happening.  If you can attend tomorrow, please do.
Click on the image for more details.

Are you kidding me??? David Tyree for discrimination


This has to fall under the heading "are you kidding me???"

Giants 2007 Super Bowl hero David Tyree said he'd trade "The Catch" and the team's championship to keep marriage between one man and one woman.

"The catch was a gift, it's not like I'd try to do it. I couldn't do it again so that was a miracle," he said. "There's nothing worth more than [maintaining heterosexual marriage] right here for me."

Asked if he'd give up the Super Bowl to stop gay marriage, Tyree said: "Honestly, I probably would."

He said last week gay marriage would lead to anarchy. Today, he said, the morality of a country is defined by its law.

Ironically, this comes almost 44 years after laws against interracial marriage were struck down.  SRSLY.

Read more: nydailynews.com

Radio station poll leads to bigotry - please vote


Seriously folks - look at the choices. Barely a fair choice available.

Please participate in "democracy"....

:)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day 2011

I originally posted this as my very first post on The Randy Report. I had no idea what I was going to write about. As I wrote, it became clear I had something to say about my father who had passed away a little over a year before I wrote this.

I thought this might be appropriate to re-post this Father's Day.

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there.  To every man who makes a difference in someone's life, and teaches people to have no fear.

************************************************

Growing up in Texas, I was pretty afraid of a lot of the world. Afraid to express myself, afraid I wouldn't be liked, afraid I wouldn't get where I wanted to go. I went to Syracuse University for college - blinding change of temperature, tone and scenery. Opened up my world a bit as a got through four freezing cold years, spent over $40K and walked away with a piece of paper saying that I had done something.

I moved to NYC with my best friend Carlye to pursue dreams of being on Broadway, and eventually got there after serving time in many National touring companies of those Broadway shows I dreamed of being a part of.

In those years I came to deal with the fact that I was gay, fell out of the closet, fell in love with my husband Michael, moved out west, got married and began a new chapter. You'll be hearing much more about Carlye and Michael in future posts.

Somewhere along the way I realized life had taught me a lot about fear and it's uselessness. I once heard the phrase "I'm not afraid of anything" and I really liked how that sounded. I try to honor that. Even if a little fear creeps into a life moment, I chalk it up to reminding me I'm alive - as a cancer survivor I like the "alive" part. But most of the time, I just try to keep moving forward.

I'm not so worried about what people think of me anymore, or what people will think of how I express my thoughts. I think it's the American Way to live and let live, to honor our differences and realize that all our flavors create the best country in the world. I have no time for people who have issues with anyone who is "different." Different is good. And if you believe that, you have to take it to the bank. Live it. So skin color, hair color, religion or lack thereof, sexual orientation, age, blah blah blah.... it all makes life interesting and spicy. At least to me.

Short story: My father loved to travel and loved adventure. Before he died at the age of 91, he had traveled everywhere in the world several times over. Sometimes by himself, meeting new friends along the way. Talk about no fear.

My mother had passed away when I was five, so my father was THE grown up figure in my life. He was very confident, and throughout childhood I always knew he loved me.  But growing up, I wanted his approval. I wanted him to be proud of me. To not only love me, but see me attempt something and hear him say "good job."

When I was very young my father took my brother and me to Mexico for a vacation. For me as a 7 year old, Mexico was a very different world. Other than a swimming pool at a hotel, I was scared of a lot. At one point we were on a beach and my father signed my 9 year old brother Gary up to go para-sailing. They strapped Gary into the harness, and up and away he went. It didn't seem like adventure to me so much as just plain frightening. When the time came for the ride to end, my brother was so small and light in weight and the wind was so strong, it was difficult to get him down to the ground. It took ten minutes for the "technicians" to get him down. My father turned to me and said "you're next" and I went running away, crying. Scared to death. That was Mexico to me for a long, long time.

Fast forward to two years ago. I was on vacation with friends of mine and we all decided to go zip lining through the jungle near Puerto Vallarta. I couldn't wait. Loved it. Taking a zip line hundreds of feet above the jungle floor was beyond exhilarating. The guides asked my name at the start of the day and I gave myself a nickname "Bruno" just to be funny and make my friends laugh. All day long the guides cheered "Bruno" on. It was a great day. No fear in sight and it didn't even occur to me fear should even be in the equation.

The next morning, while still in Mexico, I got the call my 91 year old father had passed away in his sleep of natural causes. I flew from PV to Texas to handle the funeral and burial details. In getting ready to speak at my father's funeral - a daunting and important "one shot moment" at expressing something that needed to be profound - I searched to find the best and most "right" thing to say about this world & life traveler who never showed fear.

And suddenly it came to me the memory of that 7 year old boy who was so afraid of everything in life, and now - having just been in Mexico for the first time since the frightening age of 7, and without thinking twice - I was the one zooming through the canopy of the jungle thrilled at the adventure of it all. I suddenly sensed an amazing closing of a circle and passing of a torch. I think one of our parent's greatest responsibilities is to prepare us, consciously and subconsciously, to face life. To not be afraid.

Standing next to my father's casket, in a moment of clarity I turned and said to my father and his memory - "good job."

That story probably says something about me and my life.

I hope people find this blog, and read and react.

Feel free. No fear.

ONJ: Adelaide Festival Round-up


From Aussietheatre.com: "Welcomed by standing ovations which continued throughout the 90 minute show, the first thing you realise about this dynamic woman who has publicly battled cancer, been a guest on Glee and worn a spandex leotard in public and lived to tell the tale, she has stamina. Any artist who can get an entire crowd on their feet, getting “physical” should be applauded and Newton-John was evidently appreciated. "

"Even the most cynical of audience members was bound to have left the theatre humming the songs and swept up in the star power. Although not quite cabaret (even if you do throw in quick rendition of 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow'), Olivia Newton John was certainly a headlining class act."


From The Australian: "A sparklingly in-form Olivia Newton-John sent her audience into raptures at the opening weekend of the 11th Adelaide Cabaret Festival. The event's headline performer made her long-awaited homecoming to Australia after an extended period overseas in a show of uplifting spirit, energy and generosity."

"Looking trim and sprite in a sequined black outfit, she showed that she was thoroughly recharged and her voice is as fresh as ever. Her youthfully high range remains intact, her rhythmic timing is impeccable and she crosses styles from rock and pop to country with alacrity."

"But it was Newton-John's inclusion of newer songs on themes of personal survival that made the performance special. Grace and Gratitude from 2006 and the tender Help Me To Heal, revealed a woman of great stamina, optimism and heart. It was transfixing, and proved how our Olivia continues to shine as bright as ever as one of Australia's most indelible musical jewels."


From smh.com.au: "Newton-John's concert may have been more country, pop and rock than cabaret but it hardly mattered given the outpouring of love in the room. "

"Essentially a collection of popular songs, including Suddenly and Let Me Be There, and such enduring hits as Xanadu and a suitably pumped-up Physical, the show was a reminder of how multi-faceted and evergreen a career it has been. "

"Remarkably, Newtown-John retains the girl-next-door sweetness that helped make her a star and the resilience, faith and grace that only comes with age. The performance concluded with her signature tune I Honestly Love You penned by Peter Allen. But this was no pat ending. Beautifully arranged and sung, it was genuinely touching and sounded better than ever. On this celebratory night we may have been revelling in nostalgia but everyone was on their feet and having a ball."


From AdelaideNow.com: "Last night the Australian singing superstar showed us she's still the one we want. The evergreen export who's taken Australia to the world brought her world back to Adelaide in a stunning concert at the Festival Theatre."

"Looking slinky and sensational in a shimmering black outfit, Newton-John won the crowd over with the things that have made her a special performer: a beautiful voice, a natural personality and a massive heart that reached out to everyone lucky enough to be there. "

"Starting with standards like Little More Love and Sam, she revealed all the qualities that have made her a star of undiminished glow."

"One of the many highlights was a song called Heal Me, an anthem to the many people facing the challenge of cancer and to help raise awareness for her wellbeing centre in Melbourne."

"Newton-John then unleashed a collection of her classic up-tempo numbers that set pulses racing and showed she knows how to rock with the best of them."

"Clad in a leather jacket and pants, David Campbell joined Newton-John in a raunchy rendition of You're the One that I Want. She then sang Totally Devoted to You and ended the night with her signature tune I Honestly Love You."

"And so do we, Olivia."

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Ben Cohen strips in public - photo shoot

Uber popular UK rugby star and gay rights champion Ben Cohen recently took these pics getting his taking his clothes off to promote Hilton Hotels Great Getaway Promotion.

Ben led a flashmob onto the Millenium Bridge in London where they proceeded to disrobe down to their underwear. Of course the real question is, why didn't Ben do this when he was in the US?

(I know, I know... any reason is a good reason to post a picture of Ben...)






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