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Newsweek Writer Ramin Setoodeh Accepts Set Invite from 'Glee' Creator Ryan Murphy; Alan Cumming Slams Setoodeh

Ryan Murphy, the creator of Glee who called for a boycott of Newsweek following Ramin Setoodeh's controversial article asserting that gay actors are unconvincing as heterosexuals, says that Setoodeh has accepted an offer from him to visit the set of Glee, watch the casting process, and discuss why Murphy found the article so reprehensible.

Writes Murphy in an open letter: Setoodeh  

"Ramin Setoodeh, the author of the article, reached out to me today and accepted my offer to sit with myself and the writers of Glee — Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan — to discuss not only why we found the piece so offensive, but also to observe our creative process and see how we construct a TV show dedicated exclusively to the idea of inclusiveness and acceptance for all — ideas solely absent in his ‘Straight Jacket’ article... On Glee, straight actors play gay roles, gay actors play straight roles and no one is discriminated against. I hope observing this process firsthand — and talking with our cast — will be illuminating to Mr. Setoodeh, and inform his future journalistic endeavors."

Murphy also says he's awaiting a better response from Newsweek:

"I want to issue a personal thank you to GLAAD president Jarrett Barrios, writer/director Dustin Lance Black and countless others who have joined me in condemning Newsweek magazine and asking for an apology for their recent article ‘Straight Jacket,’ a hurtful bigoted diatribe in which they basically asserted that gay actors should not play straight roles because they are not “believable.” So far, Newsweek magazine has declined to issue an apology, other than to say they are big fans of the show I co-created, Glee — even the straight dudes around the Newsweek offices. I say thanks for your support, however glib, and continue — with many others offended by the article — to wait for a more substantial articulate response."

Read the full letter at EW.

In related news, actor Alan Cumming writes a long piece on the Setoodeh controversy.

Writes Cumming:  Cumming  

"Ramin Seetodeh is gay. He is a self-hating gay, and he is a danger to us all, not just gay people - as is apparent by the above, hideous quasi-apology for the classroom shooting of a boy - but everyone on this planet because Newsweek is allowing his dangerous and insidiously warped messages to be published and enter society to fuel the flames of shame, fear, anger and, in this case, homophobia. His words allow people to validate their bigoted and fearful views of gay people, especially because he is gay himself. Which brings me to the crux, and I promise, the swansong of my thesis...

It is my contention that Ramin Seetodeh is not happy with himself. He has particlaur shame about being gay. He sees gayness, paricularly open and unabashed gayness, or effeminacy, as a reminder of what he does not like about himself. And so he attacks it. His own shame translates into his paralysis when thinking of others who might have his own curse and yet be able to function fully and happily within the rest of the world: a child chasing his friends around a playground in high heels; an actor who he knows is publicly gay but feels he needs to re-out to make himself feel better about his own self-loathing and lack of acceptance of his most basic needs and happiness. As someone who is a only a decade or so immigrant to these shores, I have noticed that shame is one of America's biggest exports, imbibed more domestically than overseas, and Mr Seetodeh could easily manage its Gay division."

Gay Print Publishing Puts Itself 'Out There'


Here's something that isn't written about so often anymore — the launch of a new gay magazine. The makers of Out There are defying publishing's hard times with "an international queer Culture, Voices, Arts and Travel bi-annual targeted at professional, discerning gay men in major cities across the globe."

The first issue's cover star is actor Alan Cumming, photographed by Minh Ngo.

It's on sale in London this week, and they're planning an international launch beginning in New York in May. Or you can visit them online here.

News: Harold Ford Jr, Italy, Gareth Thomas, Meth, Facebook

 roadHRC: take action on Uganda.

 roadHarold Ford Jr. in NY Post: "It's true: I am strongly considering running for the United States Senate." Governor David Paterson: "I would suggest he would look for another state to run a primary." Christine Quinn: Let Ford run.

Gareththomas  roadOut rugby superstar Gareth Thomas does Attitude.

 roadI'd say yes, it's over.

 roadMore reasons to love Alan Cumming.

 roadGay art champion Fritz Lohman dies at 87.

 roadAuthor Benoit Denizet-Lewis to speak at NYC Gay Center tonight.

 roadBi-national couple discusses being gay in Rio de Janeiro.

 roadLOGO greenlights four new series for 2010: "The four greenlit series include 'The Robert Verdi Show Starring Robert Verdi,' which casts an unblinking eye on the celebrity-filled, super-high-stress lives of "stylist to the stars" Verdi and his creative team; 'RuPaul's Drag U,' where RuPaul and other drag queens apply fairy godmother dust to the looks and lives of people in need of a little assistance; 'The Arrangement,' an original series that follows the surprisingly intense action in a high-end floral design competition; and 'Kept,' the much-buzzed-about project that takes an unflinching look at a handful of gay men in Manhattan who are, or aspire to be 'kept' by another man."

 roadHugh Jackman is a teabagger!!!

 roadVulgar outtakes from Better off Ted.

 roadStudy shows huge drop in meth use among gay men in NYC.

Orangutan  roadHumans wiping out species at 1,000 times the natural rate.

 roadGoogle considering selling advertising on Google Maps street view images: "The link can be associated with a property owner, for example the property owner which owns the physical property portrayed. The link can alternatively be associated with an advertiser who placed the highest bid on the image recognized within the region of interest (e.g., poster, billboard, banner, etc.). Any portion of the geographic display image in which the region of interest is located can be selectable (e.g., hot-linked). For example, the image of the coffee shop can be hot-linked to an advertisement for the coffee shop."

 roadCosmo Skeletor.

 roadPaula Abdul hangs with Chi Chi LaRue (site nsfw).

 roadTucker Carlson's new site kicks off with joke about Rachel Maddow being a man.

 roadMonsanto corn linked to organ damage, which is scary, because Monsanto corn is in just about everything.

 roadFull Frontal Fashion Q&A with Johnny Weir: "This year I have been so inspired by Fabergé eggs. I think inspiration can come from some of the least expected places. I can say that at the moment, I am very inspired by Lady Gaga’s style as well as the style of Sergey Lazarev. Gaga is always forward, while Lazarev dresses the way I think a man should dress, and I find myself somewhere in between."

 roadMadonna to release Sticky & Sweet Tour DVD.

Jesus  roadJesus Luz flashing his undies all over Brazil.

 roadBenched: Taylor Kitsch leaving Friday Night Lights.

 roadItaly to open prison for transgender inmates: "The prison, at Pozzale, near the Tuscan city of Florence, is expected to house inmates who mainly have convictions for drug-related offences and prostitution. Gay rights groups in Italy welcomed the move to convert an almost empty medium security women's prison into a specially equipped detention centre. It is thought that Italy has a total of some 60 transgender prisoners. The centre will house about 30 people, according to reports."

 roadFacebook employee tells all? "Facebook is recording data on everything you do on the site. Everything. And not just the messages you’ve written and received either: it knows how many times you’ve clicked on your friend’s profile, which photos you’ve viewed, and more. Using this data it can establish who your best friends are, which helps it generate interesting stories in your News Feed. According to the interview, this data has recently been used to streamline search (your best friends show up first as your type in your query, rather than an alphabetical list)."

News: Meghan McCain, India, Alan Cumming, Joe Solmonese, Boyzone


Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese suggests that the time frame in his 2017 letter can be seen as a "narrow window" in the scope of the gay rights movement.



Straight Italian couple sues cruise company after showing up for their vacation to discover they were departing on Italy's first gay cruise: "My clients were also left embarrassed because among the passengers were people they knew and had no idea that were gay, which was uncomfortable for all parties."


Gay Al is feeling tender.


Iowa NAACP President announces support for anti-gay gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats.


Report: Iran hanged a man last week for gay sodomy.


Gay activists plan kiss-in at Fort Worth Stockyards: "The kissing booth will be on Exchange Street, right in the heart of the Stockyards and its bound to stir up controversy. In fact, one old cowboy has been quoted as warning gays that if they are not careful, they might be in for a whuppin'."


Dan Savage has never slept with Janet Napolitano.


A Spice Girls musical?


Gus van Sant and Bret Easton Ellis collaborating on film adaptation of Vanity Fair article "The Golden Suicides".


Gujarat state in India becomes home to the country's first elderly home for gay men: "The brainchild of Manvendra Singh Gohil, popularly known as India's gay prince, the project will be ready to accommodate elderly homosexuals by the end of the year. Manvendra Singh Gohil says, 'We will offer food, drinks and medical facilities for the people staying here, it will be their home.' The Rs 25-crore project will be home to 50 elderly gay men to start with. Requests for accommodation have already started trickling in."



Alan Cumming in new photo shoot from David LaChapelle.


Gecko madness!


Boyzone to hold Stephen Gately vigil on night before the funeral: "Grieving Boyzone bandmates plan to stay in the church with Stephen Gately's body the night before his funeral. Ronan Keating, 32, Mikey Graham, 37, Shane Lynch, 33, and Keith Duffy, 35, have taken the decision because Gately 'would not want to be there on his own', a source close to the group revealed."


No! Mia Michaels quits So You Think You Can Dance.


Passerby mistakenly frees female killer of London gay man: "Police are looking for three young people including two blonde teenagers who were caught on CCTV arguing with Baynham and his 30-year-old companion. The victim's friend grabbed one of the girls, receiving cuts and bruises in the process, but the girl was freed by members of the public who wrongly thought she was being assaulted, said Detective Chief Inspector Clive Heys, who is leading the inquiry."


Britney Spears shoots video for new single "3".



Meghan McCain creates Twitter furor with cleavage photo.


Muslim football team kicked out of league for refusing to play gay team.


Congressman Jerrold Nadler: Repeal DOMA now.


Lesbian says she was the victim of a hate crime at the National Equality March.


Bishop Gene Robinson will be appearing tonight at an event in Portland, Maine: "Join us for an evening of edification and education as we gather to worship God and to hear the words of the Right Reverend V. Gene Robinson, Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of New Hampshire. Sponsored by the Religious Coalition Against Discrimination, the Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry in Maine, Rev. Ann Fowler, the Cathedral Church of St. Luke, the Equity Fund of the Maine Community Foundation, and Integrity Maine"

MUSIC NEWS: Noisettes, Free Downloads from Alan Cumming, The Big Pink and Mika, Plus a Rufus Wainwright CD/DVD Contest




The editors of Modern Tonic present a weekly music update here on Towleroad. The rest of the week, they scan the pop culture landscape for movie, TV, book and Web recommendations in their daily email.




The U.K. trio Noisettes roared onto the scene in 2007 with a rough alt-rock sound and a weapon of mass destruction: front-woman Shingai Shoniwa, who paces a stage like the bastard love child of PJ Harvey and Karen O. Now, the raw and punky blues of their debut What’s the Time Mr. Wolf? has been replaced on their second album, Wild Young Hearts, with radio-ready hooks and opulent production, but the uncompromising attitude remains. The title track — like Blondie overdosing on emo — refuses to nurse a broken heart. “Don’t Upset the Rhythm” is erotic disco in which Shoniwa warns her partner not to break the rush towards her oncoming orgasm. And “Never Forget You” is Winehouse Motown with less retro and extra booze — the vocal a sexy slur of post-coital bliss. 


The beauty of Tony Award®-winning actor Alan Cumming’s debut I Bought a Blue Car Today is he acknowledges his roots in the theater with some choice musical selections and he keeps his pop moves on the dramatic end of the spectrum. The musical standouts here are the Scot’s melodramatic Hedwig and the Angry Inch medley “Wig in a Box/Wicked Little Town” and the marvelous weltschmerz of Cabaret’s “Mein Herr.” As for pop, there’s a music hall take on Dolly Parton’s “Here You Come Again” and a dirty little balled called “Beautiful” that might light up a quiet night at your local piano bar. Sample lyric: “f**king beautiful, f**king wonderful, f**king paradise.” We can hear the amateur tenors now! Here's a FREE DOWNLOAD of Cumming's cover of one of Frank Sinatra's signature songs, "That's Life."


The London duo The Big Pink have nothing to do with their seeming namesake, The Band’s Music from Big Pink. (We’re betting “the big pink” is a lot more, um, genital for these boys.) On their debut A Brief History of Love, Robbie Furze and Milo Cordell layer swaths of “shoegaze” guitar over minor-key drones for the children of the rave culture. “Tonight” features hip-hop rhythms while guitars rage in the background. “Dominos” (FREE DOWNLOAD HERE) — which might be one of the year's best singles — is like a great lost “Madchester” classic (Chapterhouse’s “Pearl,” anyone?). And “Love in Vain” is the Gothic ballad The Cure have been trying to write since ‘89. The songs take time to sort out, because the m.o. is dense, echo-y soundscapes with lyrics buried in the mix. But give it three plays and it will unfold more than its share of sonic charms.


Another live album from Rufus Wainwright? The Judy drag is gone for Milwaukee at Last!!! featuring the gay messiah doling out concert favorites of his own material, including a swinging “Release the Stars.” Also on DVD, and in a CD/DVD combo pack. WE HAVE FIVE DELUXE COMBO PACKS TO GIVE AWAY TO TOWLEROAD READERS, JUST CLICK HERE TO ENTER.

Old Wobbly Head is back! (Hey, that’s what the UK press call him.) David Gray releases Draw the Line, his eighth album of soulful new folk.

Michael Holbrook Penniman — Mika to you — follows up Life in Cartoon Motion with more big pop hooks from Planet Freddie Mercury on The Boy Who Knew Too Much. FREE DOWNLOAD HERE: Mika's brand new single “Blame It On The Girls.”


Also released: La Roux — La Roux and Basement Jaxx — Scars (both digitally only this week); Harry Connick, Jr. — Your Songs; Various Artists — NOW! That’s What I Call Club Hits; Brand New — Daisy; Spiral Beach — The Only Really Thing; Lisa Germano — Magic Neighbor; Various Artists — Hotel Costes, Volume 12 (Import); Monsters of Folk — Monsters of Folk; Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band — Between My Head and the Sky; Richard Hawley — True Love’s Gutter; plus singles from Alicia Keys ("Doesn't Mean Anything") and Carrie Underwood ("Cowboy Casanova").





A candid feature interview with Madonna in her London mansion. So detailed you can practically smell the Christian Dior scented candles.


Sony Pictures is planning more than 25 premieres around the world for Michael Jackson's "This Is It" with most to be held on October 27, the night before the film opens internationally. Also, on the night of the 27th, "advance screenings" will be held in about 2,000 U.S. theaters. Earlier this week documentary footage of Jackson singing "Human Nature" just days before his death was released.



With the news that the last founding member of Britain's ever-evolving pop act Sugababes has left, fans wonder if a band with no original members is still the same band it always was. Here's a look at other acts with revolving doors.


The real people behind some iconic album cover images.



Jamie T: “Chaka Demus” (Lyrics NSFW)
From his sophomore album Kings & Queens, this snappy rap-ska tune shows the Wimbledon songwriter Jamie T chased by car through the English countryside by Arabs, Ninjas and — most frighteningly — mimes. 

Alphabeat: “The Spell”
A performance clip of the title track of their forthcoming album is more happy pop from a gang of photogenic Danes that can barely contain their joy. You won’t be able to, either.

Muse: “Uprising”
This slammy glammy slice of Muse muscle from The Resistance is set in a post-apocalyptic world populated by strange dolls and evil bears on fire. Oh, and stuff blows up real good.

The Sounds: “Come On Bring That Beatbox Back”
Swedish new wavers pay homage to the art of beatboxing by splitting the frame in quarters and letting the mouth-music rip.

News: Caster Semenya, Asbury Park, Alan Cumming, Tyra Banks

RoadNY Sex offender who beat gay man to death gets 20 years for manslaughter.

Astronomy RoadAstronomy Photographer of the Year competition winners announced.

RoadIf looks could kill: Cynthia McFadden is not afraid to go there with Tyra Banks.

RoadREPORT: South African runner Caster Semenya has no womb or ovaries. "Tests conducted during the world athletics championships in Berlin last month, where Semenya's gender became the subject of heated debate following her victory in the 800m, revealed evidence [of] both male and female sexual characteristics."

RoadThe NYT visits a revived Asbury Park, NJ: "As is often the case in a town in a process of renewal, gay men and lesbians have a significant presence and deserve considerable credit for the current reawakening."

RoadMadonna to introduce Janet at VMA's?

RoadFederal regulators side with gay adoptive father in Florida over subsidy to foster parents.

RoadWATCH: Whitney Houston's video for "I Look to You".

Alancumming RoadAlan Cumming to release album: "The album title comes from the naturalization test I took to become a citizen of the U S of A. In the test, there is a bit where the man says a sentence and you have to write it down to prove your prowess in English. My sentence was ‘I bought a blue car today,’ which initially I thought was really sweet and childlike, but on closer examination I realized that it’s all about consumerism and gas guzzling, which rather brilliantly encapsulates America’s financial and energy crises in one fell swoop. [The album is] made up of songs and stories about my ten years living in the states culminating in my becoming a citizen."

RoadInterview with Sacramento man who is trying to get a voter's initiative on the ballot in California that would ban divorce.

RoadVampire gives blood.

RoadSotomayor questions "corporate personhood".

Tmagazine RoadActor Michael Fassbender covers fall issue of NYT T Men's Fashion mag.

RoadKids grow up so fast.

RoadGuilt-free download of Mika's new song "Blame It On The Girls".

RoadFort Worth gay bar Stampede heavily damaged in fire: "Then, just before 2 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 10, a fire broke out in a storage area at Stampede and quickly spread to the rest of the building, causing $60,000 worth of damage. The cause of the fire was believed to be electrical, and authorities don’t suspect any foul play."

RoadIan McKellen to receive lifetime achievement award at San Sebastian Film Festival in Spain.

RoadBarry Manilow and Phil Spector: separated at birth?

RoadACLU wants Survivor winner Richard Hatch freed from jail: "Lawyers for the ACLU of Massachusetts on Wednesday sought the “Survivor” winner’s release from the Barnstable County jail in Bourne. Hatch was taken into custody Aug. 18 at his sister’s Newport home after giving TV interviews that the federal Bureau of Prisons said it had not approved. He was serving home confinement for failing to pay income taxes on his $1 million prize for winning the first season of the show. He was convicted in Providence in 2006...The ACLU said Hatch has a right to criticize the government."


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