07/24/2014

Nelsan Ellis Rips Former 'True Blood' Co-Star Luke Grimes, Who Refused To Play Gay

Nelsan Ellis, known for playing True Blood’s Lafayette, has come forward with a few choice words for former co-star Luke Grimes.

LafayetteGrimes abruptly departed the popular show last winter after learning that his character James would become romantically involved with Ellis’s in the upcoming season. True Blood, a cult gay hit, has been known to throw its characters, both male and female, into homoerotic situations at a moment’s notice, even if only for a few scenes. Ellis felt as if Grimes should have been aware of the show’s reputation, and was sending a clear message in leaving the show.

“If you have a child, if you have a son, and he comes out as gay, what are you going to do?” He asked the Huffington Post.  “You just made a statement, and it has ripple effects. I didn't like what he did because he made a statement, and sometimes you have to take responsibility.”

Nathan Parsons, who replaced Grimes, opened up to the Hollywood Reporter to talk about the importance of delving into the narratives of characters still questioning their sexualities.

[T]his story is important and should be told and needs to be shared. It’s a story that’s being told all over the place, and TV doesn’t pay enough attention to it. The "Do I love this guy or love this girl?" and "Is this right or is this wrong?" becomes more important than the act itself.

Check out a video of Nathan Parsons describing his new take on James AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Nelsan Ellis Rips Former 'True Blood' Co-Star Luke Grimes, Who Refused To Play Gay"

Posted Jul. 24,2014 at 11:45 AM EST by in Luke Grimes, Nelsan Ellis, True Blood | Permalink | Comments (25)


Queen Elizabeth II Photobombs a Selfie: PHOTO

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Two women from the Australian women's hockey team may have captured the selfie of the year.

Posted Jul. 24,2014 at 11:20 AM EST by in Australia, News, Queen Elizabeth II, Selfie | Permalink | Comments (16)


New 'Saint Laurent' Biopic Gives a Noir Feel To Fashion Icon: VIDEO

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Yves Saint Laurent, the renowned French fashion designer — celebrated for bringing stylish, ready-to-wear clothing to high-end consumers and using non-white models — has an artistic biopic coming out called Saint Laurent.

The trailer is entirely in French, but the editing and camerawork give it the feel of a noir thriller. Another biopic about the famed designer also came out earlier this year.

Laurent and his long-time partner Pierre Bergé joined in a French civil union a few days before Laurent died of a brain tumor. The auction of his estate brought in over $522 million.

Watch the trailer AFTER THE JUMP…

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Posted Jul. 24,2014 at 10:55 AM EST by in Film, Video, Yves Saint Laurent | Permalink | Comments (14)


New Musical ‘Piece of My Heart: The Bert Berns Story’ Opens Off Broadway: REVIEW

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BY NAVEEN KUMAR

No one can claim a shortage of Broadway musicals about Brill Building artists who became household names—between them, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons (Jersey Boys) and Carole King (Beautiful) have the Baby Boomer market cornered—so it seems fitting that Piece of My Heart, an engaging and surprisingly sexy new musical about lesser-known chart-topping songwriter Bert Berns, opened on a more modest scale Off Broadway Monday, at the Pershing Square Signature Center.

Piece2Writer of ubiquitous ‘60s hits like “Twist and Shout” and “Cry Baby,” Berns didn’t attain the notoriety of some of his peers, perhaps due to his early death from a heart condition at age 38. With two of his children as lead producers, the new musical tells the story of Berns’ career and his surviving family’s conflict over promoting his legacy.

Berns’ daughter Jessie (Leslie Kritzer) is called to New York City by her dad’s old friend and manager Wazzel (Joseph Siravo), warning her that Berns’ catalogue is in danger of being sold off for a lump sum by her mother (Linda Hart). Predictably, in dad’s Brill Building office, Jessie discovers who her father really was, herself by extension, and finally confronts her mother.

Piece4While its underlying plot is only slightly more original than the E! True Hollywood Story blueprint of its Broadway predecessors, Daniel Goldfarb’s book steers the show, rather than taking a backseat to showcasing the songwriter's hits. Instead of a litany of studio sessions or live performances, Berns’ songs are, for the most part, integrated into the musical’s several love stories. And because much of his music is about different stages of love, the formula works quite well.

Playing a relatively unknown, behind-the-scenes artist is a different kind of challenge from playing an icon, and Zak Resnick’s pitch perfect performance proves he has the makings of a star himself. His voice is both sweet and strong, and he manages to bring a modern sort of sex appeal to Berns that’s rare and refreshing to see in a jukebox musical.

Piece3Director-choreographer Denis Jones hints toward the decade of sexual excitement the songs portend, rather than their author’s achy-breaky heart—to fine affect. While dance numbers pay homage to the decade’s musical mix of styles, Jones forgoes nostalgia for originality and brings a carnal energy to songs otherwise known for being saccharine, if not exactly chaste.

Unlike most artists who die young, Berns knows his heart condition will lead to an early death, fueling his drive to succeed. His story (despite being true) is a potential minefield of clichés that the production for the most part successfully avoids. Maybe because its producers have their father’s legacy as their primary concern, Piece of My Heart stays focused on telling Berns’ story and making his songs sound their best, rather than pleasing the crowd—though it does that, too.  

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Follow Naveen Kumar on Twitter: @Mr_NaveenKumar (photos:jenny anderson)

Posted Jul. 24,2014 at 10:30 AM EST by in Naveen Kumar, New York, News, Review, Theatre | Permalink | Comments (1)


Here's What it Looks Like When a Massive Whale Lifts Your Kayak: VIDEO

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A pair of kayakers in Puerto Madryn, Argentina had the good fortune to spot some whales during their time in the water, most likely some southern right whales.

It just so happened that the whales spotted the kayakers, too, and decided to swim closer for an inspection...MUCH closer. One curious cetacean swam right up to the boat and for reasons unknown decided to play with it by lifting up and out of the water a few times, much to the kayakers' delight.

Fortunately they caught it all on a waterproof video camera and uploaded the encounter to YouTube for the world to enjoy, which you can too, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Here's What it Looks Like When a Massive Whale Lifts Your Kayak: VIDEO"

Posted Jul. 24,2014 at 9:59 AM EST by in Nature, Video | Permalink | Comments (17)


Arizona Gubernatorial Candidate Pledges To Stand Up To Gays, Immigrants: VIDEO

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Arizona gubernatorial candidate Andrew Thomas just released his first campaign ad. It states, “he’s the only candidate who has stopped illegal immigration, stood up to the gay lobby, and opposed liberal judges.”

Thomas helped write Arizona’s infamous “show me your papers” law requiring police to racially profile anyone they suspect of looking like an undocumented immigrant.

In 2010, he resigned as Maricopa County Attorney to run for attorney general of his state and lost. In 2013, he was stripped of his legal license and disbarred as an attorney. AZ Central explains why:

Among the most serious findings were that he and his former prosecutors pressed unwarranted criminal charges, obtained indictments, filed a federal racketeering lawsuit and initiated investigations against his political enemies and those of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio from 2006 to 2010.

On the “Push Back against Liberal Bullies” section of Thomas' issues page, it reads:

Liberal professors and other zealots in higher education, subsidized by federal tax dollars, indoctrinate young people and stifle free political expression by conservatives and others at our colleges and universities.

Gay-rights activists assail anyone who believes in marriage between a man and a woman.

Unelected activist judges, appointed and egged on by Obama, rule by decree, gutting or throwing out our laws against illegal immigration.

Thomas ignores the fact that the judge who blocked key provisions of his “show me your papers” law was in fact appointed by former President Bill Clinton. And he has 

Not that it matters. Current polling has Thomas far behind Arizona’s other GOP gubernatorial candidates Ken Bennett and Doug Ducey — neither of whose websites even mention LGBT rights.

See Thomas’ ad AFTER THE JUMP…

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Continue reading "Arizona Gubernatorial Candidate Pledges To Stand Up To Gays, Immigrants: VIDEO"

Posted Jul. 24,2014 at 9:13 AM EST by in Arizona, Immigration, Video | Permalink | Comments (16)


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