Friday, January 31, 2014

Colton Haynes by Bruce Weber

Colton Haynes of "Arrow" - Photo by Bruce Weber

Just part of the reason why you should be tuning in on Wednesday night's to the CD's "Arrow."

As if this wasn't enough...

Guess where I'll be tonight in Las Vegas?


MGM Grand Garden Arena tonight!


Executive orders are "tyranny" only when the president is black


Note the numbers...

Sochi Olympics 2014: "We Are All Athletes"

This video - “We Are All Athletes” - features athletes of varying gender, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation and abilities.

Included in the video is openly gay hockey player Chris Brand hugging another man as they exit the rink.

From the US State Department via press release:

In honor of Team USA’s participation in the 2014 Winter Olympics (February 7-23) and Paralympics (March 7-16) in Sochi, Russia, the U.S. Department of State has produced a one-minute video highlighting the diversity of the U.S. athletes competing in the Games as well as everyday Americans. The video focuses on the theme “We Are All Athletes,” to promote diversity, social inclusion, sportsmanship, and teamwork.

“We Are All Athletes” showcases U.S. Olympians, Paralympians, and recreational athletes of various backgrounds, including gender, race and ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, and abilities.

New Jersey: High school friend and Port Authority appointee of Gov. Christie says Christie knew about bridge closing

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie

Not sure, but the other shoe may be dropping on New Jersey Gov. Christie regarding the George Washington Bridge lane-closing scandal.  His high school friend and former top aide says the governor knew about the closings, and can prove it.

From the New York Times:

In a letter released by his lawyer, the official, David Wildstein, a high school friend of Mr. Christie’s who was appointed with the governor’s blessing at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which controls the bridge, described the order to close the lanes as “the Christie administration’s order” and said “evidence exists as well tying Mr. Christie to having knowledge of the lane closures, during the period when the lanes were closed, contrary to what the governor stated publicly in a two-hour press conference” three weeks ago.

“Mr. Wildstein contests the accuracy of various statements that the governor made about him and he can prove the inaccuracy of some,” the letter added.

When news of the bridge closing scandal hit, Mr. Wildstein, the director of interstate capital projects at the Port Authority, resigned.

Pundits have been awaiting the news of "who" from the governor's former team might be the first to save their own skin...

Read more here.

Round up: Macklemore and Lewis announce Vegas; Fox News "Least" and "Most" trusted; Sean Hayes couldn't "save the world" of NBC

News you might like to know:

• Macklemore and Ryan Lewis ink a deal to perform in Las Vegas at the Encore Resort and Casino

• Poll shows Fox News is "Most" and "Least" trusted news source for Americans

• NBC pulls the plug on "Sean Saves the World" starring Sean Hayes after airing only 12 episodes

• President Obama asks major corporations Apple, Ford, Walmart and more to consider hiring long-term unemployed - "They're weeding them out before these folks even get a chance for an interview."

• Human Rights Campaign endorses Wendy Davis for governor of Texas

Christian rapper Bizzle steals "Same Love" for anti-gay version

Christian rapper Bizzle has taken an instrumental version of Macklemore's "Same Love" and written his own anti-gay version of the song. Here's just some of the "Christian" lyrics:

On comparing the African American civil rights movement to the gay civil rights movement:

You rather fight God than fight sin / The Bible is alright until it calls what you like sin / And I feel so disrespected that you were so desperate / You would compare your sexual habits to my skin / Calling it 'the new black?' Tell me, where they do that? / They hung us like tree ornaments, where were you at? / They burned us for entertainment, you go through that?" / Moms raped in front of their kids while they shoot dad / Ever been murdered just for trying to learn how to read, bro? / Show of hands? I didn't think so / So quit comparing the two it ain't the same fight / You can play straight. We can never play white.

Compares gays to pedophiles:

You were never oppressed. The devil was a liar / The only thing oppressed was your sexual desire / Keeping your desires oppressed is so lame to you / But when you get married that's what you expect your mate to do / It angers you if I compare you to a pedophile / Because he's sick, right, and you're better, how?

Bizzle says he's not "hating" just disagreeing:

It's funny how the media portays things / They really pushing hard for this gay thing / And it's so wicked how they manipulate things / Can't even disagree without them making it a hate thing /

My take is - if Bizzle is so smart and talented, why's he gotta take someone else's song and riff on that?  Why's he gotta steal?  (By the way, what does the Bible say about stealing?) Can't be interesting on his own?

More on Bizzle at the Houston Chronicle. You can listen below if interested:

(via Towleroad)

Tim Wildmon of the AFA says he can tell who's gay on the street

In this video, Tim Wildmon of the American Family Association says he can tell who is gay because "they walk like a girl," which Linda Harvey blames on Hollywood.

According to Harvey, even Super Bowl commercials show men who aren't "masculine." But catch how she backtracks several times over herself - she starts what is clearly going to be a gross generalization, then qualifies the statement before she even finishes the sentence.

And trust me, there are MANY gay men who are not "effeminate." And by the way - WHO CARES?

Right Wing Watch reports on the extreme rhetoric and activities of key right-wing figures and organizations by showing their views in their own words.

Fun Friday video: "Snow Bears Happy Twerking "

Very silly but fun video from a couple of guys outside Provincetown on Cape Cod. The snow and cold don't mean nothing to these winter bears.

The lift at the :30 mark made me laugh.  

Happy Friday!

(h/t Towleroad)

Pennsylvania state Rep. Brian Sims to be honored as a National Champion of Choice by NARAL

Openly gay Pennsylvania state Rep. Brian Sims will receive the National Champion Of Choice Award from NARAL Pro-Choice America.

Via press release:

"As President Obama said in the State of the Union, when women succeed, America succeeds! As a first-term representative, I am humbled and honored to receive this national award for my defense of women's rights, and I will continue to stand up for those rights and oppose the attacks on them. Women's rights are human rights," Sims said.

Sims is strongly pro-choice and attracted national acclaim for his impassioned defense of women's rights during an April 2013 state House debate on legislation that restricts a woman's right to an abortion and access to health care by putting government restrictions on private insurance companies and how women can spend their own money.

And from Brian's Facebook page:

Though I've had the opportunity to attend some pretty kick-ass events, being recognized during this NARAL dinner has to be at the top of my list.

First, I want to say how humbled I am to be recognized with women and organizations that I have tremendous respect for: I’ll be joining Dolores Huerta (President of the Dolores Huerta Foundation), Martha Shane & Lana Wilson (Directors of "After Tiller") and Representatives from Young Women United (Community Organizing by and for Young Women of Color in Albuquerque, NM).

Wow. I’m still in shock about this, and again, I’m humbled and excited to get to meet some of my (s)heroes from all across the country who are fighting for women’s health and a woman’s right to choose.

Red Hot Chili Pipers - "Wake Me Up"

My second post on these guys. I'm liking.  It's fun, it's creative, and the furry faces are nice too.

The Red Hot Chilli Pipers performed their version of Avicii's Wake Me Up in Glasgow to launch Radio 1's Big Weekend.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Hawaii: Oahu judge rules state marriage equality law is constitutional

A judge in Oahu has ruled that the recent marriage equality act in Hawaii is constitutional:

First Circuit Judge Karl Sakamoto ruled Wednesday that the Hawaii Marriage Equality Act of 2013 is constitutional under both the state and federal constitutions.

Hawaii Attorney General David M. Louie issued a statement saying the ruling “unequivocally affirmed the right of people to marry the person they love without regard to gender.”

“This is a very good day for the people of Hawaii,” Louie said.

Two injunctions were sought by Republican state Rep. Bob McDermott of Oahu. The first before the law was even signed into law.

The first injunction was to stop the governor from signing the bill into law; the second to stop the state from issuing licenses to same-sex couples. Both were denied.

Since the law went into effect 670 same-sex couples have been married in Hawaii.

Rep. McDermott says he plans to appeal.

Life with cats

New music: Matt Alber "Wind Sand Stars"

Check out the just released teaser video for out singer/songwriter Matt Alber's upcoming new album WIND SAND STARS.

Pre-order  WIND SAND STARS on Feb 1st at and receive an instant download of his new song "Spectacularly."

Deluxe Vinyl, Flashdrive, and Standard CD/Digital packages available for a limited time.

WIND SAND STARS is due to release on 4.1.14.

(via Accidental Bear)

West Virginia: Judge says marriage equality lawsuit can proceed

Federal Judge Robert C. Chambers has ruled that the lawsuit brought by Lambda Legal against West Virginia's same-sex marriage ban may proceed.

However, the judge said without plaintiffs legally married out-of-state, that specific aspect of the suit must be amended.

None of the couples named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit has an out-of-state marriage license, so they don't have legal standing to challenge the fact West Virginia won't recognize them, U.S. District Judge Robert C. Chambers said in his order Wednesday.

Chambers gave the plaintiffs - three same-sex couples from West Virginia -- until Feb. 12 to amend their complaint.

Karen Loewy, attorney for Lambda Legal, said the issue is being considered but the team is leaning against adding new plaintiffs.

The judge also required that more defendants be added to the lawsuit or explain why suing only two county clerks would affect law in the entire state.

Opened the blinds a bit today...

Cracked the blinds open in my office today and the sunshine is gorgeous.

Still - head down. Working.

More wine!

Facts show President Obama has issued least number of executive orders in over 100 years

Graphic via Politics with Jarred and Dave - Click to enlarge
The latest talking point to emerge from the GOP congressional camp is that President Obama, through use of executive orders, is crowning himself "King Obama" and break the law by using this executive branch tool.

Rep. Randy Weber (R-Texas) called the president a “Socialistic dictator” and the “Kommandant-In-Chef.”

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minnesota) wants to "sue" the president for breaking the law.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) says that the president is trying to “write laws.”

But are executive orders "breaking the law?" Is this a "new" thing we've never seen before? And is President Obama issuing them more than other presidents in the past?

From Steve Benen at MSNBC:

The American Presidency Project keeps a running tally of executive orders by president, starting with George Washington. Literally every president (except Harrison, who died a month after his inauguration) has made use of this tool, some more than others.

Franklin Roosevelt was clearly the most ambitious president when it came to executive orders. And who’s the least? That would be Barack Obama, who issued 168 executive orders in his first five years.

All told, Obama has averaged fewer executive orders, per year, than any president in the last 117 years. His totals may yet grow – it’s tough to predict how many orders he’ll issue in his final three years – but at least for now, Republican criticisms about Obama’s excesses aren’t just wrong, they’re demonstrably ridiculous.

Wait a minute! So you mean to tell me that Presidents Reagan and both Bush presidents used the dreaded executive order MORE than President Obama?

Yeah.  They don't mention that part, do they?


Poll: Washington Post shows Hillary clear front runner for 2016

According to a new Washington Post/ABC News poll, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is the clear front-runner for president in 2016.

In a Democratic primary, the poll shows Democratic voters prefer Clinton over Vice-President Joe Biden by 61 points.

On the Republican side of things, former vice-presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan barely leads a tightly ranked group of possible GOP nominees at 20%, a 2 point lead over former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

In a hypothetical general election, the poll indicates Hillary Clinton would beat NJ Gov. Chris Christie 53% - 41%.


Madonna may star in remake of "Valley of the Dolls" film

Eternal gay favorite and over the top 1967 film Valley of the Dolls” – based on the 1966 novel by Jaqueline Susann - looks to be headed back to the big screen in a remake by 20th Century Fox.

While big names are being bandied about for the three leads, Madonna has been mentioned to play the role of the "over the hill but still fabulous" star that "Neely" upstages.

The “new” Valley of the Dolls, will have a decidedly different “spin” on the original with L.A.’s music business being a big part of the story, particularly with the Neely O’Hara character (Patty Duke) the up and coming star who makes it big and has a major fall from grace. One of the writers of the new VOTD is Paul Rudnick, who did the “First Wives Club” and “In and Out” (such a funny Kevin Kline movie!) There will be a dark comedy aspect to the film.

Actresses on the “A List” for this movie are Anne Hathaway, perfect as the prim Anne Welles, Jennifer Lawrence as Jennifer North (the fallen Angel played by Sharon Tate) and Emmy Rossum as Neely O’ Hara (perfect casting!!) and producers are lobbying hard to get Madonna to play the aging Broadway star Helen Lawson, a role intended for Judy Garland in the original movie.

I think Madge would be perfection in the role. No one could do it like Madonna.

Please, oh please, let this happen.

(tip by TRR reader John)

Tweet of the day: George Takei
Just brilliant...

Surprise headline of the day: Justin Bieber

As if this would be a surprise to anyone.  This is in regard to the pop tart illegally drag racing and resisting arrest in Miami Beach last week.

The Hollywood Reporter has more details that won't surprise you.

Skydiver knocked unconscious and rescued in mid-air

Wow. This is a minute and a half of serious drama.

From the YouTube description:

James Lee, 25 was taking part in a jump in Wiltshire when just seconds after leaping from the plane he was hit on the back of the head by another skydiver.

The blow knocked him out and sent him hurtling towards the ground uncontrollably.

Luckily two other skydivers noticed something was wrong and chased after their unconscious colleague.

After realising he was unresponsive the two men managed to roll James into a more stable position and deploy his parachute for a safe landing.

It wasn't until James was under the canopy that he began to regain consciousness, he landed safely on the ground with no memory of the drama that had unfolded seconds earlier.

The mid-air drama was captured by a camera on James' helmet.

(via JMG)

Tenth Circuit of Appeals sets date for oral arguments for Utah gay marriage appeal

The Salt Lake Tribune is reporting that April 10th will be the day the 10th Circuit of Appeals will hear oral arguments on marriage equality in Utah:

On Wednesday, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals announced oral arguments in the state’s appeal will take place April 10.

The case will be decided by a panel of three judges, who will be randomly assigned about 10 days before the hearing.

The 10th Circuit has agreed to let the same panel handle an appeal from Oklahoma, where a lower court struck down a similar ban on same-sex marriage.

The court also will allow amicus briefs to be filed jointly in the Utah and Oklahoma cases.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

First appearance of a gay couple on The Disney Channel

The Disney Channel saw the appearance of its first gay couple on the network's popular series, Good Luck Charlie.

Bob and Amy Duncan set up a play date for their daughter and surprise! - two moms show up with little tot in tow.

But never fear, the Duncans are cool.

Good for Disney.

(via OUT)

Raise the minimum wage to $10.10

Graphic via Raise the Minimum Wage

Website: "Texts from my Homophobic Mom"

According to Buzzfeed, the images below are from a Tumblr account called "Texts from my Homophobic Mom."

Buzzfeed says the author has confirmed that the text messages, which chronicle his three year journey dealing with coming out to his mother, are real. 

Here's just a sample.  Not sure of the dates so may not be chronological.

As mentioned, these text messages are supposedly real between a mother and son.

You can visit the website by clicking here.

Broadway's KINKY BOOTS at the Super Bowl

Everybody at the Super Bowl say "Yeah!"

From the Facebook page of Broadway's hit musical KINKY BOOTS:

Tune in to FOX on Sunday at 2pm ET to see the cast of Kinky Boots on Broadway in the pre-show opener.

Can you imagine the Million Moms folks heads exploding when THIS happens?

Hump Day? Donnie Wahlberg says it's "Rump Day"

If you don't follow NKOTB/Blue Bloods star Donnie Wahlberg on Twitter, you should.

Wahlberg is very self-deprecating, irreverent and funny.

Today on his Twitter account, Wahlberg decided Wednesday's should now be called "Rump Day" instead of "Hump Day." And in commemoration of "Rump Day" he began sharing various pics of his booty.

I think it's funny. And I love celebs that don't take themselves too seriously.

Of this pic Wahlberg posted "Damn, I didn't know it was that plump"

Wahlberg called this pic "Tip of Rump"
The front isn't too bad either...

The Adventures of Ivan and Thor - "Coming Out"

Ivan Cruz and his best friend Thor

Creative and cute video telling the "story" of Ivan Cruz and his best friend "Thor," who helps Ivan deal with coming out.

Ivan tells Buzzfeed, "What I loved about using Thor in this video is the fact that our pets, whether it be a cat, a dog, a turtle, etc, they never judge us and to them we are just their friend and they love us unconditionally. I love that message."

From Ivan on his Youtube page:

"I never imagined the day I'd come out. For a long time, I lived in the same fear that many others currently live in.

"With the help of my best-four-legged-friend, Thor, I decided to make this video and share my coming out story.

"A big thanks to all the brave people on here who have taken the time to share their own coming out stories and that have inspired me to do the same.

This is my story. Enjoy.

Guests at the State of the Union Address - Duck Dynasty and an American hero

Via Teabonics

In a study in contrasts, at last night's State of the Union address, First Lady Michelle Obama hosted and sat next to Sgt. 1st Class Cory Remsburg, an Army Ranger who was wounded in a roadside bombing in Afghanistan.

Praising the 30-year-old Army Ranger, President Obama introduced the Ranger saying "like the Army he loves, like the America he serves, SFC Cory Remsburg never gives up, and he does not quit."  The introduction was the emotional highlight of the address.

Over on the GOP side of guests for the evening, Willie Robertson, of “Duck Dynasty” fame, attended at the invitation of Rep. Vance McAllister, R-La.

Things that make you go "hmm...."

Budweiser's Super Bowl XLVIII commercial: "Puppy Love"

Already gone viral with over a million views in just a few hours, watch Budweiser's 2014 Super Bowl commercial following the special friendship between the Clydesdales and a puppy.

(tip by TRR reader John)

GOP Congressman Michael Grimm apologizes to reporter after threatening to "break him in half"

Staten Island Congressman Michael Grimm

Last night, after President Obama's State of the Union address, NY1 reporter Michael Scotto interviewed Staten Island Republican Congressman Michael Grimm to get his response to the address.

Scotto followed up with questions regarding an ongoing federal investigation into Grimm's campaign contributions. The congressman quickly said he wasn't going to speak "off-topic" and departed.

Scotto reported back to the studio, in a live shot, that Grimm "does not want to talk about some of the allegations concerning his campaign finances." After Scotto's live shot was completed, Grimm approached him and threatened to "throw [him] off this f------ balcony" and "break you in half. Like a boy." Transcript of the exchange:

GRIMM: “Let me be clear to you, you ever do that to me again I’ll throw you off this fucking balcony.”

SCOTTO: Why? I just wanted to ask you…

GRIMM: If you ever do that to me again…

SCOTTO: Why? Why? It’s a valid question.

GRIMM: No, no, you’re not man enough, you’re not man enough. I’ll break you in half. Like a boy.

As the heated moment began to dominate the twitterverse into the evening, Grimm released a non-apology saying the reporter had taken a disrespectful "cheap shot" that prompted him to become "annoyed:"

“I was extremely annoyed because I was doing NY1 a favor by rushing to do their interview first in lieu of several other requests," Grimm said in the statement.

"The reporter knew that I was in a hurry and was only there to comment on the State of the Union, but insisted on taking a disrespectful and cheap shot at the end of the interview, because I did not have time to speak off-topic. I verbally took the reporter to task and told him off, because I expect a certain level of professionalism and respect, especially when I go out of my way to do that reporter a favor. I doubt that I am the first Member of Congress to tell off a reporter, and I am sure I won’t be the last."

Today, Grimm has issued an apology to Scotto.  Grimm also said that he and Scotto would be going out to lunch soon.

"I was wrong," Grimm said in the statement. "I shouldn't have allowed my emotions to get the better of me and lose my cool. I have apologized to Michael Scotto, which he graciously accepted, and will be scheduling a lunch soon."

Scotto later tweeted that he accepted Grimm's apology.

This is probably a good example of "how NOT to draw more attention to a ongoing  federal investigation."


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Average State of the Union lengths by president from LBJ to Obama

Graphic via USA Today

The graphic shows the average length of words of State of the Union addresses for each president from Lyndon B. Johnson to today.

It would appear that Democrats, other than Jimmy Carter, like to talk more than Republicans.

Being a Dem myself, I can personally attest to this.

"CHICAGO at the Hollywood Bowl" wins Broadway World "Best Special Theatre Event" Award

Last summer, I was flattered and thrilled to be asked to step back into CHICAGO the Musical (which I was fortunate to perform in on Broadway, National and International companies) at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.

It was a fun, fast and fantastic experience to be onstage again in a show I always loved being a part of.

Today it was announced that the production of CHICAGO the Musical at the Hollywood Bowl won a Broadway World Award for "Best Special Theatre Event."

Congrats to the whole cast, crew and especially Gregory Butler who handled the choreographic duties and Brooke Shields who directed the production with insight and professionalism.

You can check out some "behind the scenes" blog posts from the rehearsal period here, here, here, here and here.

The experience was one of the very best of my career onstage.  Everyone was great to work with - some old friends, some new.

Glad to see this chapter close on such a high note.

Hollywood Bowl cast of CHICAGO the Musical with the fab Brooke Shields