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Hillary Clinton Makes Her Announcement...on SNL: VIDEO

Clinton_mckinnon

Kate McKinnon opened SNL by imagining the behind-the-scenes preparation for Hillary Clinton's expected 2016 announcement today. After coming off a little hard, she channels her inner, more humble Hillary.

With Hillary in charge, it will be a brand new White House.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Snl_clintons

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'90s Political Sex Farce 'Clinton the Musical' Opens Off Broadway: REVIEW

Clinton The Musical _13. Photos by Russ Rowland

BY NAVEEN KUMAR

Hillary may have just set up campaign digs in Brooklyn, but Bill’s two terms are getting a bawdy send-up across the river in Clinton the Musical, which opened Off Broadway at New World Stages last night. The loose-limbed romp down memory lane offers a Mad TV meets Cliff’s Notes-style recap of the scandals that rocked Mr. Clinton’s reign, from Whitewater to Lewinsky. But, it’s also an origin story for the Clinton on everyone’s lips, and in the brilliantly zany hands of Kerry Butler (whose turn as Olivia Newton John’s character in Xanadu is the stuff of Broadway musical legends), the likely nominee for 2016 is a comedic force to be reckoned with.

Clinton The Musical _10. Photos by Russ RowlandFirst presented stateside at the 2014 New York Musical Theatre Festival (and previously in Edinburgh), the musical by Peter and Michael Hodge has plenty to delight, not least of all the kooky and charming Ms. Butler. While these may not be the first descriptors the former First Lady calls to mind, the scribes take (many) liberties in their behind-the-scenes peek at a national sex farce in era of dial-up modems and monochrome pantsuits. While Butler’s two rousing solo numbers are worth all that comes between, this is a story about Bill—or, rather, two dueling sides of him.

Clinton The Musical _02. Photos by Russ Rowland“In my whole life, I have only ever loved two men—and they happen to be the same man.” With her opening line, Hillary introduces two versions of the former president: one, “William Jefferson” (Tom Galantich), is upstanding and trustworthy, while the other, “Billy” (Duke Lafoon), likes French fries, sex, and thumbing his sax. The two are often on stage at once, meant to be just one person (at first, only Hillary can actually see Billy). But trying to wrap your head around the stage logic of this simple, two-sides-to-every-coin metaphor proves to be more trouble than it’s worth.

Shoehorning a (relatively) high-concept stage gag into what is otherwise a low satire proves to be an awkward endeavor. Quarrels between the two Bills, presumably meant as inner dialogue, offer little insight on the man’s thinking, and Hillary debating them both makes for an odd political threesome. It’s Billy (the id among the three), of course, who meets Monica (Veronica J. Kuehn), who the Hodges have written as a scheming, blow-up-doll of a character that makes for easy laughs but feels uncomfortably misogynistic.

Clinton The Musical _09. Photos by Russ RowlandThe musical’s score has its ups and downs (the opening number, entitled “Awful-Awesome,” is inadvertently and mostly accurate), and director Dan Knechtges (Tail! Spin!, Lysistrata Jones) makes fun use of a rotating set and recurring sight gags (including a life-sized cutout of Al Gore and a singing portrait of Eleanor Roosevelt). The show’s juiciest laughs come from its super villains, Newt Gingrich (a rotund and petulant John Treacy Egan), first seen scarfing marshmallow goo from the jar in the sub-sub-basement of Congress, and Kenneth Starr (a gleefully maniacal Kevin Zak), whose pursuit of Bill is as awesomely perverse as it is sinister.

With the real political stage about to light up, a silly escape to root for our heroes and vilify our opponents may be just what the 24-hour pundits ordered. And, focusing on Hillary (and the idiocy of her family's rivals) while allowing Bill to fade into the background may be perfect practice, too.

Recent theatre features... 
Possessed Puppet Comedy 'Hand to God' Opens on Broadway: REVIEW
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Elisabeth Moss and Jason Biggs Open on Broadway in ‘The Heidi Chronicles’: REVIEW

Helen Mirren Reigns on Broadway in ‘The Audience’: REVIEW
John Cameron Mitchell on Returning to 'Hedwig': INTERVIEW

Follow Naveen Kumar on Twitter: @Mr_NaveenKumar (photos: russ rowland)


Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) Says Activists Should Be Thankful Indiana Doesn't Execute Gays: VIDEO

Tom Cotton

Appearing on CNN Wednesday, Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) said that critics of Indiana’s “right to discriminate” law should get “perspective” because the state doesn’t execute gay people, reports Think Progress.

Cotton also - incorrectly - suggested that Indiana’s law was the same as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) signed by President Clinton in 1993.

According to Indiana trial lawyer Matt Anderson, the Indiana law opens up “the path of least resistance among its species to have a court adjudicate it in a manner that could ultimately be used to discriminate.”

Yesterday, Dan Savage dismantled Cotton's argument in a segment over on MSNBC.

Watch both videos, AFTER THE JUMP...

Cotton has the dubious honor of support from the National Organization For Marriage.

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Bruce Springsteen, Chris Martin Step in for Bono at U2 'World AIDS Day' Concert in Times Square: FULL VIDEO

Springsteen

U2 played a surprise World AIDS Day concert for (RED) last night in Times Square but had some last minute substitutions.

Because Bono is still recovering from a November 16 bicycle accident in Central Park, the band announced via its Facebook page at 3 pm yesterday that Adam Clayton, The Edge and Larry Mullen Jr. would be joined by Chris Martin and Bruce Springsteen, who donated their time and talents.

Martin wore a t-shirt that read 'SUBSTITU2'.

Carrie Underwood and Kanye West performed as well. Former President Bill Clinton introduced the band.

Watch the full concert, AFTER THE JUMP...

Martin

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Judy Shepard Talks 'Incredible' LGBT Progress and Why She Thinks Bill Clinton Got 'Bad Advice' on DOMA - VIDEO

Judy

Judy and Dennis Shepard recently sat down with HuffPostLive to talk about the "incredible" LGBT progress made since Matthew's passing, as well as the new documentary film on their son - Matthew Shepard is a Friend of Mine

While there, Judy also shared her thoughts on Bill Clinton and why she think's "bad advice" played into him signing the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996. 

Said Shepard:

I think in his heart he wanted to do the right thing and he knew what the right thing was, but the political advice was not right.  

Watch the full segment, which also includes Judy's thoughts on the GOP midterm election vicotry "setback" and whether she's planning on voting for Hillary in 2016, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Bill Clinton Praises LGBT Progress, Highlights the Movement's Next Steps at HRC Dinner: VIDEO

Clinton

At the HRC's National Dinner last night, former president Bill Clinton gave a impassioned speech about the importance of the many victories the LGBT community has won since he last addressed the HRC back in 1997. Clinton also pointed out the work that still needs to be done in the South and abroad to bring about full LGBT equality. 

The speech is about 30 minutes long, but is well worth a watch AFTER THE JUMP...

Some memorable lines from the speech, if you don't have the time for the full address:

>"I remember so well when I came here in 1997 and I ask everybody to stand up who was involved in our government and a lot of people stood up. As an example of how far we have come, believe it or not 17 years ago that was a big deal because everybody could remember a time when no one who was LGBT who was working in the government in a prominent position could stand up in public and say so. That's how far we've come. Everybody was cheering that night because it was such a unusual feeling. Now it would be unusual if anybody noticed. And that's a good thing." 

>"I love HRC, the initials are great, the other person with those initials once famously said as Secretary of State that gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights."

>"This campaign that the HRC is going to undertake in Arkansa, Mississippi, and Alabama - if you had asked me ten years ago if this was a good idea I would have offered to personally pay for Chad's psychiatric treatment. But one thing we have learned is that no human heart is immune to an honest outreach. No one can forever ignore their personal experience. If you asked somebody who the most conservative member of President George W. Bush's Administration was, most people would say Dick Cheney. But Dick Cheney was for gay marriage and gay rights because of his daughter, because of his personal, human experience."

>"I also want to say that i think the effort to take the HRC international is profoundly important. There are people who lost their battle to hold you back in the United States who think you can take the show on the road and win somewhere else. And there are about 80 countries now that have very serious restrictions on LGBT rights."

>"You should be happy and proud tonight, I've never seen a civil rights movement, at least in our country, move as far, as fast as your movement ever. But don't kid yourself, there's a lot of people who are left out and left behind. There's still some barriers that need to be brought down. And all over the world, there are young people who still have to cower in fear of their governments, their leaders, and sometimes their families. They need the poetry of your campaign."

There was conspicuously no mention of Don't Ask, Don't Tell or the Defense of Marriage Act, both of which were signed by Clinton while in office. 

Continue reading "Bill Clinton Praises LGBT Progress, Highlights the Movement's Next Steps at HRC Dinner: VIDEO" »


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