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News: Gorillas, Lindsay Lohan, Michael Moore, Disney, Matt Damon

road.jpg Eric Hainstock trial begins in Wisconsin. Hainstock is the 16-year-old Wisconsin boy who last year (at age 15) armed himself, entered his high school, and shot his high school principal John Klang three times. The homicide has gained attention because it came after what Hainstock claims were years of abuse at the hands of his family and repeating bullying at school, harassment which school officials continually refused to recognize. In May, Hainstock entered a plea of not guilty.

Belfryroad.jpg The belfry is back. Provincetown landmark has its cap put back on. The belfry, known to many who have visited the Cape Cod gay resort, has been sitting on the ground since 2002.

road.jpg Bush administration hits Michael Moore with subpoena over Sicko Cuba trip.

road.jpg You can now visit Matt Damon on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

road.jpg New study links pot smoking to mental illness: "People who smoke marijuana daily or weekly double their risk of developing a psychotic illness over their lifetime, according to a study published Thursday. Among all cannabis users, including sporadic experimenters and habitual users, the lifetime risk of psychotic illness increased by 40%, the report said. 'It's not as if you smoke a joint and you're going to go crazy,' said Richard Rawson, who directs the Integrated Substance Abuse Program at UCLA and was not involved in the study. But he cautioned: 'It's definitely not a good idea to use heavy amounts of marijuana.'"

Gorillasroad.jpg SICK: Four mountain gorillas slaughtered in the Democratic Republic of Congo as revenge killings in inter-personal feud...between humans. "The gorillas were habituated to people and well-known to tourists and park guards who knew the females as ‘Safari’, ‘Neeza’, and ‘Mburanumwe’. The male silverback was known as ‘Rugendo’ and he was the alpha male who fulfilled a leadership role within a group. In the absence of an alpha male, the integrity of a group is often compromised."

road.jpg Audience erupts in laughter as Lindsay Lohan is hit in face with shovel at screening of new movie I Know Who Killed Me.

road.jpg UK Channel 4's gay bashing drama Clapham Junction hits sour note for some: "I tuned in expecting a gritty, hard-hitting drama but instead found a clichéd, relentlessly negative piece that portrayed gay men as selfish, morally bankrupt human beings. Even what was supposed to be a happy storyline - the civil partnership of a long-together couple - had to be spoiled by one of them getting off with someone else at the wedding. Don't get me wrong, I didn't want it to be a rose tinted view of gay life but the sheer grinding bleakness of the piece astounded me."

Sandlerroad.jpg Adam Sandler to return as hair stylist.

road.jpg Disney to eliminate cigarette smoking in some films: " Family movies from Disney, the first studio to make the pledge, won't show cigarette smoking, and executives will discourage scenes in Touchstone and Miramax productions, the Burbank, California-based company said today in a statement. Disney also will include anti-smoking advertisements on DVDs with films that have cigarette smoking and will ask theater owners to run the ads before showing those movies."

road.jpg It's been one year since Lance Bass came out and he's blogging about it: "If you are having trouble being yourself , and are scared to tell someone you are gay--- find that loyal friend, family member, or even hotline and tell someone. All it takes is to tell one person and the ball starts rolling. You will get great advice and and be so much happier. Or, if you have always wanted to ask that family member or friend if they were gay.. do it now.... in a very positive and private way , tell them it is ok and you will always be there no matter what. Sometimes its easier for someone to just flat out ask you. To bulid the courage to say it sometimes takes years."


Star Mag Apologizes for Sandler/James "Not Normal" Label

Chucklarry

You may remember on Wednesday I posted about an item in Star magazine in a section entitled "Stars: Are They Normal Or Not?", brought to my attention by blogger Matthew Rettenmund. Star had published a photo of Adam Sandler and Kevin James in a mock kiss at Shea stadium as they promoted their film I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry. However, Star's implication by the photo and caption was that "man-to-man" kissing was "not normal".

This morning I received an email from GLAAD, who contacted Star after reading the post.

Editor-in-Chief Candace Trunzo has issued a formal apology on behalf of the magazine.

Said Trunzo: "'Normal/Not Normal' is supposed to be funny, and I regret that this particular photo caption was offensive and not written in a way to make it clear that we were being humorous. The joke was that Kevin James and Adam Sandler are not gay. If the kiss was between Lance Bass and his boyfriend or any other gay celebrities it would be 'Normal.' Let me point out that in the same issue of STAR, we devote the entire Couples News lead to Neil Patrick Harris and his boyfriend moving in together. Now that's normal. I sincerely apologize that our attempt at humor was perceived by some to be offensive to the gay community. That was certainly not our intent. We are proud that we support the gay community and will continue to do so."

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Star Declares Chuck & Larry "Not" Normal

Chucklarry

Blogger and author Matthew Rettenmund has called on Star magazine to apologize after featuring a photo of Adam Sandler and Kevin James in a mock kiss to promote I Now Pronounce you Chuck & Larry at Shea Stadium. Chuck & Larry, which tells the story of two firefighters who pretend to be gay in order to collect domestic partner benefits from the city fo New York, was the #1 movie at the box office last weekend, taking in $34.8 million.

Star, which according to Rettenmund regularly features a "Stars: Are They Normal Or Not?" section in the magazine, placed Sandler and James in the "Not" portion of the feature.

Writes Rettenmund: "'Pucker up, lover boys!' is Star's suggestion. My suggestion is that Star pucker up and kiss my normal, gay ass."

Trunzo is Dunzo [boy culture]

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FDNY's LGBT Group Says Chuck & Larry's Journey Feels Familiar

FireFLAG/EMS of the Fire Department of New York, "the nation’s oldest and largest LGBT firefighter organization", was invited by Universal Pictures to screen the new Adam Sandler film I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry. While they said that some of the jokes might be considered offensive, they were generally pleased at the message of tolerance and said that the movie depicted experiences similar to ones many firefighters face when 'coming out' on the job.

ChucklarryFireFLAG/EMS President Mike Vissichelli issued a statement:

"While 'I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry' is a broad comedy, the reality is there are gay firefighters in many departments across the country, including the FDNY. The 'coming out' process in the movie mirrors what I, and many of my colleagues, have gone through on the job. Initially we may have dealt with disbelief, disdain, and even prejudice from our fellow firefighters. But significantly, as in our experiences, the film shows the process gay firefighters go through on the job as they move towards acceptance by their fellow firefighters. The film shows the journey that gay firefighters go through in their careers, the brotherhood of firefighters, and ultimately their respect for one another based on actions and deeds. Over the years, the FDNY and its members have become more supportive of gay firefighters and have made strides in improving how they are treated on the job. FireFLAG/EMS supports this progress and is actively involved in the department’s actions on gay-related issues. 'Chuck and Larry' is, of course, a comedy and some of the humor may be considered offensive to some, but the growth of the principal characters during the course of the film is the ultimate measure of how to judge the intent and heart of the filmmakers."

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Strange Bedfellows Director Wary of Chuck & Larry Similarities

Dean Murphy, director and co-writer of Strange Bedfellows, which was Australia's highest-grossing film in 2004 according to the Brisbane Times, is concerned that filmmakers involved in I Now Pronounce you Chuck & Larry, which opens in the U.S. this weekend, may have ripped off his idea.

FilmsThe Times reports: "Starring [Paul] Hogan and Michael Caton, Strange Bedfellows was about a straight cinema owner and a mechanic who pretend to be gay to claim a financial benefit."

In Chuck & Larry, Adam Sandler and Kevin James play firefighters who pretend to be gay in order to claim domestic partner benefits from the city of New York.

According to the paper, "While he is yet to see the new movie, Murphy said he was struck by the similarities when he saw the trailer on the weekend. He heard other cinemagoers mention Strange Bedfellows as the trailer screened. Murphy has also been receiving emails every day saying Chuck and Larry seems like exactly the same film. 'It's obviously annoying if they have ripped the film off but until we see it, it's so hard to know,' he said. The American distributor of Strange Bedfellows is looking at possible copyright infringement. 'I don't think they've seen the other film yet but … they're going to have a careful look at it and see if there have been any breaches,' Murphy said."

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Steve Buscemi Defends Pro-Gay Message in Chuck & Larry

Actor Steve Buscemi, who plays an investigator for the city of New York looking into claims that two firefighters may be defrauding the city by posing as domestic partners in I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, defends the film's approach to gay rights and gay marriage:

Buscemi"I don't think you can tell what any movie is like by the trailer, and the premise is two very straight guys who are homophobic, pretending to be gay. It's what they learn about people's attitudes about gay people and gay marriage and that's what I found very interesting about the film; that this is being explored in this broad, comedic, hopefully, commercial film, and, from what I've experienced on set, to me, it champions gay rights and gay marriage. I don't think that is any kind of message that he wants to portray. I would not have been involved with (the film) if I felt like that's what it was doing."

Meanwhile, reviews have begun trickling in for the film.

James_sandlerThe Advocate calls it a big yawn: "Though Chuck and Larry begin the film as mildly homophobic, their time posing as queer is supposed to open their eyes to gay acceptance. Really, though, it's just an excuse for the film to throw lecherous gay guys at them. While fending off one man's advances, Larry protests that “just 'cause you're gay doesn't mean you're horny for every guy you meet,” but in this film, it kind of does. Virtually without exception, the gays here are presented as sex-obsessed or as men who really want to be women. Biel's oblivious attorney enjoys spending time with Chuck because 'girls rule,' and even when another firefighter comes out for real, he's immediately drained of all masculinity and starts to sing 'I'm Every Woman' in the group shower."

And for a more mainstream perspective, Reuters says the movie wants to have it both ways: "Hit the audience with a barrage of homophobia and gay jokes yet wind up with an ecumenical, politically correct embrace of all points of sexual orientation."

They add: "The curious thing here is that Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor rewrote this long-in-development screenplay. Yet the authors of such smart comedies as 'Sideways,' 'About Schmidt' and 'Citizen Ruth' can't move the film away from the world of easy laughs and sitcom jokes into a realm where sexual prejudices and presumptions get examined in a whimsical yet insightful manner. One longs for something like Paul Rudnick's script for 'In & Out,' which was very funny yet delved into the trauma of coming out and the perplexing issue of homophobia in society."

I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry opens July 20.

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