You know who's been enjoying the hell out of Pride Month? New York's Neo-Futurists, who've been performing Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind since 1988, and who, for June, have taken to performing Too Much Pride Makes The Baby Go Gay. (Incidentally, the Neo-Futurists are not all gay.) Watch 'em get their pride on AFTER THE JUMP ...
The closet monster hall of shame! Featuring Roy Cohn, George Rekers, and more ...
Magnum photos of summerlove.
Each of these portraits is made from a single thread.
Sandusky Victim #6, in the courtroom:
He is 25 now, lean and broad shouldered with short brown hair and big dark eyes. For years, he struggled with the fact that Sandusky, a local football hero, crossed the line with him in a locker room shower in 1998.
No. 6 was the only one of the accusers, the so-called "Sandusky 8," to come to court for the verdicts. He chewed gum with intensity, his jaws clenching and releasing as Sandusky, looking wan and bent in a brown sports jacket, lumbered into the courtroom shortly before 10 p.m.
The jurors took their seats, looking tired and sad. One woman appeared to be crying.
The young man's mother locked fingers with him with one hand, placed the other over his forearm and her head on his shoulder. She started to cry. Soon, they would hear whether there would be justice.
Vatican hires a journalist to handle PR. Guess where from?
The Vatican will be getting some (much needed) PR help after hiring a Fox News correspondent as a senior communications adviser for the Church's top administrative office, the Associated Press reported on Saturday.
The Fox News staffer, Greg Burke, is also a member of the conservative Catholic Opus Dei group. He will leave his job at Fox, where he is a Rome-based reporter. Before working for Fox, Burke was a Rome-based journalist for Time.
Can religion justify bullying children?
What universal coverage meant to Obama, and how he's bracing for its possible repeal:
... Mr. Obama did not relent. He had an economic rationale for stabilizing a dysfunctional health system, but he also “saw what Teddy called the moral issue,” Victoria Reggie Kennedy, Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s widow, said in an interview, referring to her husband. For those who wondered what Mr. Obama really believed in, universal health coverage seemed to be the answer.
As the brutal fight continued, the president sacrificed more and more in its name: an overhaul of energy and environmental laws, greater focus on economic issues, some of his own popularity and that of House Democrats, who eventually lost their hard-won majority. “Michelle and I are perfectly comfortable if we’re only here one term if we feel like we really accomplished something,” he told aides.
That declaration sounds different today. Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, uses “Obamacare” as an epithet and applause line, promising outright repeal if he wins. A few years ago, the health care law seemed a reason for Mr. Obama to risk losing re-election, former aides said. Now, it is a reason he feels he must win re-election.
What we talk about when we talk about the solar system:
... an accurate model of the solar system is literally impossible to visualize. Most of its constituent parts are so far from each other, and so tiny relative to the distances involved, that the human eye cannot see them at once. Even if you were to reduce the sun to the size of a tennis ball, and reduce the sizes of and distances between other solar objects by a commensurate amount, even a keen-eyed human standing beside the sun would be unable to locate our system’s planets without a telescope.
Let’s say the sun really was the size of a tennis ball. If you like, picture it sitting in the turf, smack in the middle of the 50-yard-line at a football stadium. The nearest planet is Mercury, and you can’t see it. It’s less than half the diameter of the period ending this sentence, and it’s lost in the grass, ten feet from our tennis ball sun ...
Americans place a lot of faith in the church, the military, and the police, but very little in judges and journalists.
Bonus: They're also getting their audiences to lip-sync, on-cam, to "Call Me Maybe," in the hopes of emerging with a viral video. How do you think it's going?
Posted Jun. 23,2012 at 6:00 PM EST by Brandon K. Thorp in "Ex-Gays", "I'm Gay", 2012 Election, Art and Design, Barack Obama, Catholic Church, Crime, FOX News, Health, Mitt Romney, Religion, Republican Party, Science, Theatre | Permalink | Comments (15)
HAPPY GAY PRIDE EVERYONE! Hollywood isn't really celebrating, but we should.
This weekend's new cinema choices aren't so gay. Not to get all labelly but you can choose between an apocalyptic hetero romance (SEEKING A FRIEND AT THE END OF THE WORLD) or a new Woody Allen hetero romantic comedy (TO ROME WITH LOVE). Regarding the latter, it's worth noting that the Mayans were wrong and we'll live to see 2013. The only sure sign of the apocalypse would be a year without a new Woody Allen movie. A truth: He hasn't missed a single film year since 1981! Your other big multiplex choice this weekend is between an axe wielding US president (ABRAHAM LINCOLN, VAMPIRE HUNTER) and a new Disney/Pixar Princess with a bow and arrow (BRAVE).
The latter two films sound gay at least. Secret Abraham Lincoln diaries unearthed? Yes! Finally the truth about his relationship with "personal friend" Joshua Fry Sp-- oh. It's about vampire hunting? Really? (Sigh). And it's not even funny but deadly earnest about it? Damn. Brave's heroine is Princess Merida, a tomboy who doesn't want to marry. That's closer. In more closeted olden times that would have qualified her as a latent lesbian icon (think Peppermint Patty's Marcie or Calamity "Secret Love" Jane) but given our rapid strides in the past two decades with actual lesbian icons, it's a stretch. Merida just isn't "ready" for marriage yet - give her a few years. Or a sequel.
When will we see the next Great Gay Film? MORE AFTER THE JUMP...
It might sound old school in a "post gay" world to ask for films which so neatly fit the LGBT labels but given the newish cultural flexibility, shouldn't the movies be reflecting it? TV is trying harder but we need more gay or gayish films. On the Kinsey Scale Hollywood's movie studios are still pretending to be a "0".
Are there new gay films on the horizon? It seems like every time you hear of one it's indefinitely delayed. Remember when Ellen Page was going to star in the feature version of that Oscar winning lesbian documentary Freeheld? It still hasn't gone before cameras. Remember when actresses as high profile as Gwyneth Paltrow, Charlize Theron, and Nicole Kidman were attached (at one point or another) to the transgendered period piece The Danish Girl?
There's is at least one brand new gay ticket. Jonathan Lisecki's buzzy and reportedly very funny GAYBY (2012), which I haven't yet had time to see, is hitting screens this weekend in New York for Pride and will hopefully emerge in more venues as the summer progresses. But otherwise if you want gay cinema right now, your best bet is to reach back into the classic vaults over at Focus Features.
Brokeback Mountain (2005), the crown jewel of modern gay cinema, is obviously the headliner in Focus Feature's current "10 YEARS OF CELEBRATING PRIDE" feature. Among Hollywood's mini-major studios, Focus has a great deserved reputation for supporting high quality LGBT movies and the careers of gay directors (Todd Haynes, Lisa Cholodenko) or gay-friendly directors like Brokeback Mountain's Ang Lee. Lee's US breakthrough, a full decade before Brokeback, was the gay-themed Oscar nominee The Wedding Banquet. There's only one week left in Gay Pride month but you can screen several Focus films on On Demand for another week and the Focus Features gay classics are also available at iTunes.
The film they're pushing most heavily is the newish Loose Cannons (2010) from the prolific Turkish/Italian director Ferzan Ozpetek who has made a number of gay themed features recently. This one is about the closeted gay son and heir to a conservative Pasta empire. He really just wants to be a writer. I won't spoil the flim's early twist that prevents him from coming out as he's planned but it took me by surprise. Elsewhere the film is far more predictable though still enjoyable. It's indisputably "light" but it has a good heart which is too rare in movies -- even the homophobic characters are viewed with compassion despite the laughs the movie has at their ignorant histrionics. It also has good fun with the clichéd tropes it clings to like a Birdcage like setpiece where the lead's visiting gay BFFs try to pass as straight.
Among Focus' more familiar titles are Best Picture Oscar nominees like Brokeback Mountain (2005), Milk (2008) and The Kids Are All Right (2010), magnificent art pieces like Far From Heaven (2002) and smaller lesser seen lesbian titles like My Summer of Love (2004) - one of Emily Blunt's first and best screen roles - and last year's excellent indie Pariah (2011) which I've raved about right here on Towleroad.
Here's a peek at Focus Features' decade-long gift-giving to LGBT moviegoers.
If you've seen all of Focus Features gay treasures, Netflix has a number of terrific still underseen or underdiscussed gay films on their Instant Watch service: The touching Swedish romance Show Me Love (2000) about two high school girls; the erotic and thrilling Argentine crime film Burnt Money (2001); The intimate peek at drag ball culture in Paris is Burning (1991) which is only one of the best gay documentaries of all time; Yossi & Jagger (2002) a wonderfully brief but impactful Israeli feature about two soldiers in love (that's just spawned a sequel, in fact); the religious ethical angst of Priest (1995) starring a great Linus Roache is still powerful; (André Téchiné's The Witnesses (2007) about the first days of the AIDS crisis in France; and even Ang Lee's aforementioned breakthrough The Wedding Banquet (1993) about a closeted gay man's struggle with his visiting family's marital expectations for him. That's but a small sampling.
Just think how far we've come. If a gay movie were released in 2012 called The Wedding Banquet everyone would assume it was a comedy about gay marriage. Now if only Hollywood would propose to us on bended knee with a slew of great new big-ticket LGBT films.
(UPDATE: Mea culpa. This thing's premiering Monday night, 9 p.m. Not Tuesday night, as previously reported. Read on. - BKT)
As Andy reported in May, Chris Crocker, internet celebrity and creator of uniquely diquieting YouTube videos, is the subject of a documentary entitled Me @ The Zoo, which premiered last winter at Sundance. It's been picked up by HBO, and debuts on that channel on Tuesday, at 9 p.m. It looks extremely cool -- a meditation on internet celebrity from two whip-smart fiimmakers who know exactly what they're after, and who may be seen discussing their film AFTER THE JUMP.
To plug the film, Crocker chatted this week with HuffPo's Noah Michelson. As always, he's a lot saner in interviews than his videos would suggest. A sample:
HuffPo: With the documentary coming out, some people are saying this is your second chance at fame. Some are even calling it your last chance. How do you respond to that? Are you plotting how you can ride the current interest in you to the next level?
Crocker: That’s so funny. I think that people -- especially people I work with and that are around me -- they want me to be more strategic, but I genuinely did this documentary because of the therapeutic relief of just needing to be understood as a person. It was never for the fame in the beginning and it’s not about the fame now. It’s so interesting because, yes, I have played up being this "fame whore." And I’ve played up to that because I knew that’s what people thought of me, so I wanted to be in on the joke. But the whole time it’s never been about fame for me. It’s literally been an outlet. I do consider myself an entertainer and if entertaining people happens in the process of having therapy, then great.
I’ve met with some really amazing people recently -- I was just at John Waters’s party in Provincetown -- and I’ve really been encouraged by people who it’s so hard for me to even walk into a room with because there’s all these preconceived notions about me wanting to be famous and these preconceived notions of me not being genuine -- like I'm this 15-minutes-of-fame, desperate person. That kind of gets to me. It’s like, if I do have any ambition about me whatsoever, that’s perceived as me being a fame whore. If I do something I want it to really be grassroots -- maybe an indie film? I’m not sitting here wanting to be on tabloids. It’s not what I’m in it for.
We are now two days deep in the "Fortnight for Freedom" -- a two week exercise in "prayer, study, catechis, and public action" ordained by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, devoted to ceasing the alleged erosion of religious freedom in the USA.
Already, the Archbishop of Baltimore, William E. Lori, has delivered a special "Fortnight for Freedom" homily, a tearful lament of the terrible indignities suffered by the Church, which somehow never quite gets around to explaining what Catholic freedoms are most under threat. Joseph Amodeo, the gay Catholic researcher who resigned in protest from Executive Committee of the Junior Board of Catholic Charities in April, does a much better job at HuffPo:
... In an April 2012 statement the bishops outlined what they viewed as "concrete examples" of religious liberty being "placed in jeopardy," including the federal government's mandate regarding the coverage of contraception, and state-level adoption laws permitting same-sex couples to adopt children. In addition, Church leaders, including Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, have cited civil marriage equality for loving and committed gay and lesbian couples as being among these "infringements" on religious freedom. As a response to these issues, the bishops have asked parishes and dioceses throughout the country to use Fortnight for Freedom as a means for mobilizing Catholics to defend religious freedom. In light of this, some parishes and dioceses have launched a series of events associated with the effort, while others have quietly refused to participate.
Amid this call to action, sitting in the pew of my parish a few weeks ago, I listened to my pastor proclaim during a homily, "Uniformity is not unity, and conformity is not community." Sadly, with the Fortnight for Freedom and other recent actions, the bishops appear to be working toward a Church that is defined by unquestionable adherence to proclamations from Church leaders that lack moral and ethical clarity. In Dogma and Preaching, Pope Benedict XVI writes that the Church is called "to be in reality the milieu or 'living space' and not the 'dying space' of the Word." In order to truly be the living Church and honestly embrace the living God, the Church must witness the presence of the Spirit that is evident in our world today.
As bishops argue that their religious freedom is "at risk" because of a federal government working to be just, I'm left wondering why the religious principles of a single faith tradition's leaders should define public policy for an entire nation. If the Church argues that the word lives today through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and that such inspiration is manifested through the spoken and written word of men and women, then why would such a Spirit stop at the doors of Congress and countless legislative halls throughout the country? In short, I don't think the Spirit has stopped; instead it seems rather evident that men and women who have been chosen to lead and govern America are discerning great questions of our time and are deliberating in a way that calls to mind the great debates of the Second Vatican Council.
One week ago Friday, at the White House's LGBT Pride Month reception, President Obama delivered a stirring speech, a trans man proposed to his girlfriend, and many pictures were snapped. Two of them have now made news.
Both pics were taken in front of the Ronald Reagan presidential portrait. In one, photographer Zoe Strauss mugs furiously; in the other, Matty Hart, of Solutions for Progress, Inc. (which helps eligible families obtain public assistance), smiles mischievously. In both, the pictures' subjects flip off their dead president.
From The Philly Post:
Hart posted his photo on Facebook with the caption, “F*** Reagan.” Strauss simply posted hers without commentary. After all, the murderous facial expression and double-barreled bird-flipping seem to speak for themselves. Comments ranged from “you forgot to add with a chainsaw” on Hart’s “F*** Reagan” note, to my personal favorite, “star wars … up yours,” on Strauss’s.
Strauss ... declined to comment for this story (“I’m keeping out of the press!” she texted me), but made crystal clear her position on Reagan by posting on Facebook a long list of things that happened under his watch, including the Supreme Court’sBowers v. Hardwick decision, upholding the constitutionality of Georgia’s anti-sodomy law, the Iran-Contra affair and the invasion of Grenada.
Additionally, Strauss posted Reagan’s memorable statement on LGBT rights from the 1980 campaign trail: “My criticism is that [the gay movement] isn’t just asking for civil rights; it’s asking for recognition and acceptance of an alternative lifestyle which I do not believe society can condone, nor can I.”
The Log Cabin Republicans have since responded:
In a statement Friday, Christian Berle, deputy executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans, criticized Hart and Strauss for insulting Reagan, whom Berle said gave aid to the pro-gay GOP group's founders as California governor in the 1970s.
"It is unfortunate that the image conservative America is seeing today of LGBT people is of gay leftists misbehaving at the White House, rather than the millions of patriotic, decent LGBT citizens, many of whom, like Log Cabin Republicans, hold President Ronald Reagan in high esteem," Berle said. "These photographs have hurt our community and make advocating for inclusion and equality more difficult. The participants should be ashamed."
... and so has the White House:
"While the White House does not control the conduct of guests at receptions, we certainly expect that all attendees conduct themselves in a respectful manner. Most all do," Shin Inouye, a White House spokesman, said. "These individuals clearly did not. Behavior like this doesn’t belong anywhere, least of all in the White House."
He was born in London and attended public school in Dorset, where he showed astounding aptitude for math. While there, he began some kind of relationship with fellow pupil Christopher Morcom, who shortly perished from bovine tuberculosis. The boy's death destroyed Turing's religious faith and cemented his belief in materialism, which would inform Turing's later work on computation and his musings on consciousness.
Turing went on to study at King's College, Cambridge, and at the Institute for Advanced Study, at Princeton, where he theorized what came to be known as the "Turing Machine." In 1938, Turing began work for the Government Code and Cypher School, where he concentrated on German Enigma machines -- code-making machines, which in the coming years allowed German military commanders to believe their electronic communications were private. They weren't, because Turing's prodigious cryptological genius had broken the Enigma machines wide open. In particular, he had co-created the Turing-Welchman "bombe," a machine that could rapidly test interpretations of secret Nazi codes and discard false ones. By the end of World War II, there were hundreds of "bombes" in service, and Winston Churchill credited Turing with having provided the single greatest contribution to the Allied war effort.
In the late 1940s, Turing did pioneering work on early computers at England's National Physical Laboratory and the University of Manchester, where he began to think seriously about the nature of intelligence and how it might be emulated by a machine. His writings on the subject gave us the "Turing Test." Towards the end of his life, Turing's mind turned towards solving pernicious problems in plant biology, which he did.
In 1952, Turing brought home a trick: a young man named Arnold Murray. The two had several dates before Murray and an accomplice burglarized Turing's home. Turing reported the matter to the police, to whom he divulged the nature of his and Murray's relationship. As homosexual acts were illegal in England, Turing was charged with and convicted of "gross indecency," and given a choice between imprisonment and chemical castration. Turing chose the latter, and was forced to begin a regimen of synthetic estrogen injections. Turing's government clearances were revoked.
In 1954, Turing died of cyanide poisoning. It was likely intentional -- he died eating an apple, which an inquest determined he'd probably poisoned -- though Turing's mother insisted otherwise.
Since his death, Turing has been written about and lionized endlessly -- almost guiltily. He's the subject of plays, movies, and biographies. Streets are named after him. The Alan Turing Award is the computing word's highest honor, and all modern computers can rightly be considered Turing's technological progeny. In 2009, in response to a petition by John Graham-Cumming, Prime Minister Gordon Brown issued this apology to Turing's ghost:
... The debt of gratitude he is owed makes it all the more horrifying, therefore, that he was treated so inhumanely. In 1952, he was convicted of gross indecency – in effect, tried for being gay.
His sentence – and he was faced with the miserable choice of this or prison – was chemical castration by a series of injections of female hormones.
... Thousands of people have come together to demand justice for Alan Turing and recognition of the appalling way he was treated. While Turing was dealt with under the law of the time and we can't put the clock back, his treatment was of course utterly unfair and I am pleased to have the chance to say how deeply sorry I and we all are for what happened to him.
Alan and the many thousands of other gay men who were convicted as he was convicted under homophobic laws were treated terribly. Over the years millions more lived in fear of conviction.
This recognition of Alan's status as one of Britain's most famous victims of homophobia is another step towards equality and long overdue.
But even more than that, Alan deserves recognition for his contribution to humankind … It is thanks to men and women who were totally committed to fighting fascism, people like Alan Turing, that the horrors of the Holocaust and of total war are part of Europe's history and not Europe's present.
So on behalf of the British government, and all those who live freely thanks to Alan's work I am very proud to say: we're sorry, you deserved so much better.
Google is celebrating Turing's birthday with a mathy, gnomic tribute-doodle that asks visitors to spell "Google" using binary, and to arrive at the binary characters using a kind of digital mockup of what appears to be a primitive Turing bombe. Try solving it! If you can't, seek instructions AFTER THE JUMP ...