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Towleroad Interview: 'Looking' Creator Michael Lannan

Castillo
(instagram raul castillo)

BY BOBBY HANKINSON

If you were hooked on HBO's dramedy Looking by the end of its first season, you should be excited for its return, Sunday at 10 p.m. Eastern. The first few episodes of the sophomore season build on the rich character study established last year and have a fresh, playful ease.

Of course, you still can't compare the San Francisco-based show to some faster moving fare, like ABC's breakneck How To Get Away With Murder. Looking has maintained the leisurely pace and subtle sensibilities that endeared it to fans of director Andrew Haigh's Weekend -- and may have turned off some viewers that gave up on the show before last season's high-water mark, episode five, "Looking For the Future."

A bit more unburdened from the early expectations the show faced before its premiere, everything about season two feels more confident. Looking's commitment to its characters continues to bear fruit this year, extending from the excellent chemistry between the show's primary trio -- Patrick (Jonathan Groff), Agustin (Frankie J. Alvarez) and Dom (Murray Bartlett) -- to stand-out secondary characters like Doris (Lauren Weedman) and new addition Eddie (Daniel Franzese).

We spoke to Looking creator Michael Lannan about working on the show and what to expect from season two.

Mlannan

Towleroad: There’s been an overwhelming amount of response to the show since it was first announced. What’s surprised you most about the reaction the show’s received?

Michael Lannan: I think it’s been really awesome and surprising to see how many people have written about it. There’s been such an incredible positive reaction that it resonated with people. I think there were many people who didn't like the show who also wrote about it, and that’s awesome too, because the worst is people not having any opinion about you. It’s been really awesome. It feels like we touched on something that’s very personal to a lot of people. One of our executives at HBO was like, 'Wow, people really take this show personally in a way that most shows aren’t taken,' which I think is really exciting. It feels like we’ve touched on something that matters and is sensitive to people, and that’s cool. I love that.

CONTINUED, AFTER THE JUMP...

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American Idol Contestant Josh Davalia Transitions To Jaidah Christina

Josh-Jaidah

American Idol season 12 contestant Josh "JDA" Davalia was out and proud during his run on the show and made it to the Las Vegas semi-finals. Josh has been successful in more ways than one since the end of his time on the show. First, he landed a dream job singing at Chicago’s biggest Trans-friendly nightclub. And second, Josh has successfully transitioned to Jaidah Christina.

In an interview with TheTVPage.com, she talks about the transition process, her life on and after American Idol, and what it was like to come out to her family. Ironically enough, the one person in her family who appeared to have a problem with her transition was her gay uncle. However, she's receiving support from the rest of her family and has found a man whom she was able to come out to about being trans, and a year later they're still together.

The interview is beautiful and worth taking the time to read.


TLC's 'My Husband's Not Gay' Documents Gay Mormon Men Dating Women To 'Overcome' Their Sexuality: VIDEO

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TLC will air a documentary on January 1st about gay Mormon men in Salt Lake City who are married to women.

The men claim to use their faith in god to overcome anything that goes against their religious beliefs. Featuring three married couples and one bachelor, one of the men says he has “chosen an alternative to an alternative lifestyle.” Another participant helpfully explains “I’m interested in men, I’m just not interested in men.”

Some of the wives are delusional.

Watch a trailer for the TLC special, AFTER THE JUMP...

Mormon leaders recently reiterated the church's opposition to homosexuality.

Continue reading "TLC's 'My Husband's Not Gay' Documents Gay Mormon Men Dating Women To 'Overcome' Their Sexuality: VIDEO" »


Duck Dynasty Star Isn't Quite Sure If You Choose To Be Gay, But He's Trying to Figure it Out: VIDEO

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Duck Dynasty star Willie Robertson is studying the Bible in a quest to figure out if being gay is a choice.

Willie’s dad Phil got into some serious hot water a year ago when he attacked gay “sinners” who are going to hell. In an interview with GQ, Robertson senior also oddly said “we never, ever judge someone on who’s going to heaven, hell.” Phil later defended his views but claimed that although he's a homophobe, gay people "need to know that I love them".

Speaking with Larry King, junior Robertson said that he doesn’t agree with everything his old man said in the interview because “we love everybody.” Her also helpfully pointed out that there are many, many gay people in the entertainment world.

Asked if he believes that being gay is a choice, young Willie said:

“Larry, I’m trying to figure that out right now. I really am since the controversy and since I know all these people — and if the thought is ‘I’m born this way.’

“I don’t know. I’m trying to figure out myself through the passages, because I always have to look to the scriptures to see what’s there and then I put it up against people — put my time in, so I’ve spent time with people.

“I’m not the judge. God’s going to be the judge, so it’s not my job to convince people to change their lives — it’s really through Jesus. If I just introduce them to Jesus, he’ll do that.”

Willie didn’t elaborate on when he made the decision to be heterosexual.

Watch the interview, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Duck Dynasty Star Isn't Quite Sure If You Choose To Be Gay, But He's Trying to Figure it Out: VIDEO" »


Appeals Court Denies Gender Reassignment For Trans Prisoner: VIDEO

  Michelle Kosilek

The full First Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed a ruling that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts must provide an incarcerated transgender woman with medically-necessary gender reassignment surgery, reports Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD).

The Court of Appeals issued an initial ruling in January upholding an earlier finding that the Massachusetts Department of Corrections (DOC) engaged in a pattern of “pretense, pretext and prevarication” to deny Michelle Kosilek (above) treatment against the recommendations of multiple doctors, including those hired by the DOC itself. Born Robert Kosilek, Michelle Kosilek is serving a life sentence for the murder of her wife Cheryl (below, right) in 1990.

Cheryl KosilekThe latest decision was divided with a 3-2 majority and two sharply worded dissents.

Predicting that the case will not stand the test of time, Judge Thompson wrote:

“I am confident that I would not need to pen this dissent, over twenty years after Kosilek’s quest for constitutionally adequate medical care began, were she not seeking a treatment that many see as strange or immoral. Prejudice and fear of the unfamiliar have undoubtedly played a role in this matter’s protraction.”

Jennifer Levi, director of the Transgender Rights Project at GLAD, said:

“I am appalled by this decision, which means that Michelle Kosilek will continue to be denied the life-saving medical care she needs and has been seeking for years.  

"It is difficult or impossible to imagine a decision like this one – that second-guesses every factual determination made by the trial court – in the context of any other prisoner health care case.  

"This decision is a testament to how much work remains to be done to get transgender people’s health care needs on par with others in the general public.

“There is no scientific or medical basis for denying transgender people their health care needs. The consensus position of the medical community is that surgery may sometimes be essential treatment.”

Watch a report on a television interview with Kosilek, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Interview: Cheyenne Jackson 'Gets On With It' in Two Memorable Gay Films

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Cheyenne with his legendary co-star at a recent Academy screening of "Six Dance Lessons..."

BY NATHANIEL ROGERS 

Cheyenne Jackson's gone Hollywood. Though the 39 year old actor and self proclaimed "Broadway Baby" came to fame via musicals like "All Shook Up" (Theater World Award, 2005) and "Xanadu" (Drama Desk nomination 2008) and promises to return, TV and film came calling soon thereafter and appear to have stuck. His most notable early filmed roles were as a heroic passenger in the Oscar-nominated true story United 93 (2006) and a recurring gig on Emmy favorite 30 Rock as Danny Baker, a singing actor with a voice so beautiful he gave Jenna Maroney "rage strokes."

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That first flush of mainstream success seemed to have been briefly eclipsed in the media by upheavals in his personal life, a divorce from his first husband and sobering up. But Cheyenne is eager to move on from that topic which he feels was overblown by the media. "Definitely with the gay press, it was rough there for a bit. Things were never not together; I think that's the misconception," he explains. Was it a rough patch? "I guess other people can think of it that way but to me it was just the next chapter. Time to clean up." 

And the next chapter is moving along well. After his brief note-perfect cameo in the Liberace movie Behind the Candelabra (2013) he's filmed several more roles including a small part as half of a gay cop couple affectionately referred to as 'The Policewomen' in one of this year's very best films LOVE IS STRANGE (2014, reviewed here). Ira Sachs moving drama recently won a handful of Spirit Award nominations.

As a longtime fan of Cheyenne Jackson, I confess to an atypical case of the nerves during our phone interview from separate coasts. Cheyenne helpfully tells me to imagine him in his underwear, and we both laugh immediately realizing that is not going to help. 'No wait. Maybe not. Maybe not'.

 

NR: Things seems to be on a real uptick in terms of your movie career!

CHEYENNE JACKSON: I’ve really kind of thrown myself into film and it’s been great. Some make their way to theaters, some go video on demand, some get nominated for things. I live out here now so it’s easier.

NR: Your new film SIX DANCES IN SIX WEEKS just opened this weekend. We don't see Gena Rowlands in lead roles much these days but she's one of the most influential actors of all time. How did your casting happen and how nerve wracking was is to work with her?

   Sixdance-tango

MORE AFTER THE JUMP...

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