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Gay Hotelier Ian Reisner Lied About Cutting Check for Ted Cruz Presidential Campaign


Throughout the ongoing firestorm directed at Ian Reisner and Mati Weiderpass over their decision to host a reception for Ted Cruz at their penthouse in Manhattan last month, the two gay real estate developers have repeatedly stressed the event was an "informal dinner" and not a fundraiser.

Weiderpass"It is amazing that my businesses are being boycotted by some because I hosted a discussion with an elected official. Not a fundraiser. Not an endorsement. A dialogue," wrote Weiderpass in an op-ed for The New York Observer. "Despite media reports to the contrary, I did not organize the Cruz dinner, but did embrace the opportunity—again, in a non-fundraising setting—to discuss a number of important issues, including support for Israel and support for gay rights."*

“There were no checks given, it was nothing like that,” Reisner told New York magazine. 

Well it turns out Reisner wasn't exactly telling the truth, as The New York Times has revealed he cut a $2,700 check (the max individual contribution allowed) to the Cruz presidential campaign around the time of the dinner. Only after the NYT first reported on the dinner did Reisner ask for his check to be refunded. 

“In the interest of transparency, I gave Senator Cruz a $2,700 check to show my support for his work on behalf of Israel,” Mr. Reisner said in a statement he provided after The Times learned of the donation from two people with direct knowledge of it. “When I realized his donation could be misconstrued as supporting his anti-gay marriage agenda, I asked for the money back. Senator Cruz’s office gave the money back, and I have no intention of giving any money to any politicians who aren’t in support of L.G.B.T. issues.”

A spokesman for Mr. Cruz declined to comment. Mr. Reisner, a friend insisted, was aware that his donation — and the refund — will appear on Mr. Cruz’s campaign finance filing when it becomes public in July.

Weiderpass, for his part, said he had not given a check to Cruz himself and "seemed surprised" when he was told about Reisner's donation. 

* In the original NYT article that broke the story, the paper noted Cruz "did not mention his opposition to same-sex marriage, saying only that marriage is an issue that should be left to the states."

Previously, "Gay Hoteliers Continue Defending Ted Cruz Reception, Call Man's Death in Bathtub a Result of Their Generosity" [tlrd]

Blade + Blue Designer Peter Papas on the Inspiration Behind the Brand's Timeless Style: INTERVIEW



In 2013, designer Peter Papas decided to do something not many in the fashion industry have the guts or the perseverance to do: follow one's voice and start a fashion brand. But Papas was inspired. Photos of his father and grandfather from the '50s and '60s sparked an idea — create a clothing line based on the fact that men share fashion traditions through generations. Because many styles from back then look as good on men wearing them today.

PpapasA 20-year fashion industry veteran in design and merchandising, Papas (right) also sought to give men something he didn't see in the market place: impeccably tailored men's staples from high quality material with personality to match the guys he encountered on a daily basis.

So Blade + Blue was born and the San Francisco-based designer and retailer (Papas lives in the Castro and married his husband in 2008) recently unveiled a summer 2015 collection filled with classic menswear pieces that embody the brand's commitment to timeless style.

Towleroad sat down with Papas to find out more about his fashion line on the rise and the inspiration behind the brand.

RedWhat inspired your latest collection?

The inspiration for this collection was how to balance fire and ice. Last year was a really intense year for Blade and Blue with lots of highs and some lows as well. I’m doing everything on my own so there were some times when I needed a break just to have some cool down time. But at the same time I would get so restless because I have these ideas for things I want to make and create.

So I was finding myself really in this pickle of, how do I balance this need to cool down with this intense fiery passion that I have to make and create beautiful things. So that’s what I wanted this season to be about: how do you find that balance between the fire and the ice? The collection reflects this crossroads with dreamy prints and icy tones contrasted with hits of flaming red and shocking blue to balance it out and give it energy.

Blade Blue05162015-130What is your most iconic item?

The paper planes necktie. I was thinking back to high school and we used to make paper planes and throw them. I was doodling and I thought there was something beautiful about the pattern of it. I worked with a local screen printer, we took strips of chambray fabric and we screened the artwork onto the chambray and I had some ties and bowties made up. It’s been phenomenal to see people respond to it.

I also have to mention the boxer shorts. This is something that has caught fire. Their inspiration came from the fact that all pants are just cut slim cut now. So when you try to wear boxer shorts from any other company, they are so big and so baggy they end up feeling like a diaper. I basically wanted a boxer short that was as sexy as my skinniest pair of jeans.

Your models are a little different than the average male fashion models we often see. What do you look for when choosing a guy to represent Blade + Blue?

The models are my friends. It’s a very natural thing. These are all people that are just trying to rally around someone they care about and help them achieve their dream. Like my neighbor Brian Maier (pictured in boxers, who has developed quite a following on Instagram). I approached him one day and said here’s what I’m doing, it’s a start up, would you be interested and helping me out and doing this with me? And he agreed to do it. He has become one of the faces of Blade + Blue. People associate my brand with his face. I think there’s something incredibly different about that. It’s not staged and not affected and i think that’s something people really respond to. 

Blade_Blue03042015-181_largeWhere does the name Blade + Blue come from?

Blade + Blue comes from one of my dogs. He was so sad in the shelter that they called him "Lonesome Blue". He looked so handsome but miserable. I adopted him and named him Blade because of the blade of white fur on his black face. He has grown into an incredibly strong, athletic champion. He has shown me that I should never underestimate the underdog.

The logo is my other dog, Gavin. One night when I was in my studio working, pinning some inspirations onto a board about what I wanted Blade + Blue to be, I completely lost track of time and I looked to my side and Gavin was sitting next to me and there was something in his eyes that said, ‘You've been questioning what you want to do with your life?' So when I thought about a logo I went right back to that minute when the look in that dog’s eyes told me this is the path you need to take.

OldschoolTell us more about the company ethos behind Blade + Blue? 

I wanted to do something that had a human connection. I wanted to feel like when people buy something on the internet there’s a real person whose life they are affecting when they make that purchase. I’m trying to have a conversation with customers by saying, ‘Here’s who I am, here’s what I’m really excited about and passionate about, I hope you like it too and thank you for supporting this small company because you have a lot of choices out there.’ When someone buys something on the site they get an email directly from me that thanks them for their purchase and just lets them know that if they need anything else at all they can contact me and I’ll do everything I can to make them satisfied with Blade + Blue. I don’t think they get that from a lot of other companies.

Blade + Blue is donating a portion of its sales this month to The Matthew Shepard Foundation to celebrate Pride. What this organization?

In 2014 a shot of two boyfriends who were modeling for Blade + Blue was used on the website. Then the reaction happened and it was so shocking to me. People were sending me emails saying we should all just go and die of AIDS and lots of uses of the word ‘faggot.’ It made me realize that I haven’t had to deal with many of these types of things since high school. So we decided to turn a negative into a positive. [Donating a portion of our proceeds to The Matthew Shepard Foundation] is something I’ve continued to do periodically. And I thought, what better way to celebrate Pride month?

Now through through July, use promotion Code: MATTHEW at checkout on Blade + Blue's website and 15% of these sales will be donated to The Matthew Shepard Foundation. Plus, you'll receive free shipping on your order. 

You can also check out a comprehensive list of all locations where Blade + Blue is sold HERE


North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory to Veto Anti-gay Marriage Recusal Bill

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory has announced he will veto a bill passed by the state legislature today that would allow public officials to opt out of marrying same-sex couples for "sincerely held religious" objections, Raleigh's WTVD reports:

McCrory"I recognize that for many North Carolinians, including myself, opinions on same-sex marriage come from sincerely held religious beliefs that marriage is between a man and a woman. However, we are a nation and a state of laws. Whether it is the president, governor, mayor, a law enforcement officer, or magistrate, no public official who voluntarily swears to support and defend the Constitution and to discharge all duties of their office should be exempt from upholding that oath; therefore, I will veto Senate Bill 2," said McCrory.

The News and Observer adds:

With McCrory planning a veto, Thursday’s House vote tally indicates that a three-fifths majority to override a veto might prove challenging for the Republican leadership. About 61 percent of the legislators voting Thursday supported the bill, but 10 House members were absent or didn’t vote.

McCrory made his position on Senate Bill 2 clear during a Charlotte radio interview in March: “I don’t think you should have an exemption when you took an oath to uphold … the constitution of North Carolina,” he said.

Same-sex marriage was legalized in North Carolina last year

News: Hawaii, Aaron Schock, Jaws, Chris Pine, Putin, Judy Shepard

Road Hawaii's Supreme Court dismisses lawsuit challenging the state's gay marriage law. 

ClarkeRoad Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke explains why she turned down Fifty Shades of Grey. “I really wanted to work with [Fifty Shades director] Sam Taylor-Johnson because she’s f--king amazing. But there is a huge amount of nudity in the film. I’ll never say, 'I’m never doing nudity' because I’ve already done it, but I thought I might get stuck in a pigeonhole that I would have struggled to get out of."

Road Ex-Aaron Schock aide dishes to the FBI about the former Rep's lavish private jet flight with two employees.  

Road Early buzz surrounding The Wachowski's Netflix series Sense8 is mixed

Road Tom Hardy shoots down sexist Mad Max: Fury Road question at Cannes Film Festival. 

Road Woman charged in the Feb. 9 killing of a D.C. lawyer has pled guilty to second-degree murder.  Court documents allege she answered an ad that the lawyer had placed on Craigslist for gay sex. 

Road National Review's Michael Walsh blames Catholic Church for the 'No' defeat in Ireland's marriage referendum. "The Church doesn’t need a reality check — it just got one. With the Yes vote, the entire sordid mess of the sex-abuse scandals came crashing down in the most Catholic country in Europe. Given the nationwide revulsion against the Vatican’s mishandling, it was easy to tag the Church with the topmost of the modern Seven Deadly Sins — hypocrisy, especially in matters of sexual morality."

JawsRoad Jaws returning to theaters for 40th anniversary this summer. 

Road Internet troll who claimed President Obama is gay has been banned from Twitter. "Charles Johnson, a journalist and “debunker of frauds” from California, is known for his openly racist, homophobic and misogynistic remarks. He has blamed the Amtrak train derailment on homosexuality, verbally attacked alleged rape victims and described black people as intellectually inferior to white."

Road Chris Pine in negotiations to co-star in DC's Wonder Woman film as Army officer/love interest Steve Trevor. 

Road Sen. Bernie Sanders addresses the importance of addressing climate change. "According to the scientific community, climate change is the great planetary crisis we now face. Do you think we might want to be discussing that issue?"

Road 21-year-old Vermont woman hospitalized after allegedly being bitten by black widow spider hiding in supermarket bag of grapes

Road Russian President Vladimir Putin defends FIFA's embattled president, accuses U.S. of "illegally persecuting people."

Road Tracy Morgan reaches settlement with Walmart over last year's deadly car accident. 

ShepardRoad Judy Shepard pens op-ed in The Advocate on how Laramie finally made her proud after passing comprehensive LGBT non-discrimination ordinance this month. "This change starts with conversation — sharing our experiences of triumph, struggle, and loss to change the hearts and minds of others. To some, the actions in Laramie are “better late than never,” but to the rest of Wyoming, to the rest of the country, we say that there’s no better time than now to move forward in achieving equality."

Road Chris Pratt reaches cuteness overload teaching his son Jack the pledge of allegiance. 

Road Bill O'Reilly claims more Americans identify as liberals because they're "simpletons."

Iowa Conservative Bob Vander Plaats Abandons Anti-Gay 'Marriage Vow' for 2016 GOP Presidential Race

Vander plaatsYou may recall Bob Vander Plaats of The Family Leader as the Iowa conservative behind the campaign to oust pro-equality state Supreme Court justices back in 2010, or the guy behind a failed boycott of Starbucks over its pro-LGBT policies a few years back, or perhaps the activist charged with selling his 2012 presidential endorsement (which eventually went to Rick Santorum). 

But Vander Plaats is arguably best known for his group's anti-gay, vaguely pro-slavery "marriage pledge" that was used in a (failed) attempt to get the most extreme social conservative elected as the party's nominee in the 2012 election. 

"The Marriage Vow -- A Declaration of Dependence Upon Marriage and Family", requires opposition to Sharia law, pornography, infidelity, and same-sex marriage, among other things.

The document also contained a section which said that African-American families were better off during the time of slavery, reading:

Slavery had a disastrous impact on African-American families, yet sadly a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA's first African-American President.

Vander Plaats now tells The Des Moines Register he has no plans to ask candidates to sign the pledge this election. 

"One of the reasons why we are not doing it this time is that we saw it as more of a distraction" than as a benefit, Vander Plaats said. "We thought that there were other ways to do this. You know, our opponents want to pick apart things that we do. We want to make sure that the candidates are full-spectrum, pro-family conservatives."

He added that as an alternative, The Family Leader is sponsoring a series of leadership forums for presidential candidates to presumably tout their anti-LGBT positions. 

Said Donna Red Wing, executive director of the LGBT group One Iowa:

"I think the world is changing, and I think folks like Bob Vander Plaats and The Family Leader, while they are not abandoning their very deep convictions around family and marriage, they have made a decision not to make it a litmus test for candidates they support. ... I don't say this very often, but I have to applaud Bob Vander Plaats and The Family Leader for this small, but significant step,"

Watch Whoopi Goldberg whoop Michele Bachmann's ass for signing The Marriage Vow back in 2011, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Iowa Conservative Bob Vander Plaats Abandons Anti-Gay 'Marriage Vow' for 2016 GOP Presidential Race" »

Andrew Rannells Reveals the Crush That Made Him Realize He Was Gay, at Age 5: VIDEO


In a new clip from the docuseries 'It Got Better' (now in its second season), the collaboration between Lisa Kudrow and Dan Bucatinsky's production company and Dan Savage's 'It Gets Better' campaign, actor Andrew Rannells (Girls, Hedwig, The Book of Mormon) talks about realizing he was a gay man and how those around him did too.


Who was your earliest same-sex crush?

Continue reading "Andrew Rannells Reveals the Crush That Made Him Realize He Was Gay, at Age 5: VIDEO" »


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