- Sufjan Stevens releases music video for ‘Mystery of Love’
- ‘The Fosters’ ending after five seasons, spin-off planned
- History of the sex toy book is stimulating read
- ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ author Elizabeth Gilbert’s partner dies
- Out actor/director brings authenticity to ‘On Your Feet!’
- Trans women struggle to survive in El Salvador city
- Movie greats of ’17 now streaming
- Anthony Rapp speaks out on aftermath since Kevin Spacey allegations
- Ellen Page marries girlfriend Emma Portner
- Doug Jones’ gay son serves VP Mike Pence side-eye at swearing in
Posted: 05 Jan 2018 09:42 AM PST
Sufjan Stevens has released the music video for “Mystery of Love,” one of three of his songs featured on the “Call Me By Your Name” soundtrack.
The music video includes various clips from the critically acclaimed film mixed with shots from the Museo Archeologico Nazionale of Naples.
Stevens, 42, wrote “Mystery of Love” for the “Call Me By Your Name” soundtrack. His other contributions to the soundtrack include “Visions of Gideon” and a Doveman remix of "Futile Devices” featured on his album “The Age of Adz.”
“Call Me By Your Name” hits theaters nationwide on Jan. 19.
Watch the music video below.
Posted: 05 Jan 2018 09:21 AM PST
Freeform is ending “The Fosters” after a five-season run, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
The family drama will wrap up with a three-episode limited series airing in the summer. “The Fosters” also celebrates its 100th episode during the 10-episode, second half of its fifth season.
However, this isn’t the end of “The Fosters” universe. Freeform has ordered an untitled, 13-episode spin-off series which will follow Callie (Maia Mitchell) and Marianna (Cierra Ramirez) embarking on their post-high school lives.
"First and foremost, we want to thank our fans — our supportive 'Fosters Family' — and Freeform for fostering this show," executive producers Joanna Johnson, Bradley Bredeweg and Peter Paige released in a statement. "It's been the privilege of our lives to get to shepherd this beautiful family through five seasons of love, laughter, heartbreak, tribulation, and triumph — and message to the world that DNA doesn't make a family, love does. All while allowing us to explore some of the most pressing social issues of our era. Now that the kids are growing up, it's time to take them out into the world, to see them make their way into adulthood, continuing their search for identity and love, and the pursuit of their dreams and purpose in this ever-changing world."
“The Fosters” followed the lives of moms Stef (Teri Polo) and Lena (Sherri Saum) as they navigate raising their blended family of adopted and biological children. Jennifer Lopez executive produced the groundbreaking series along with Johnson, Paige and Bredeweg.
The second half of “The Fosters” final season premieres on Jan. 9 at 8 p.m. on Freeform.
Posted: 05 Jan 2018 08:58 AM PST
It has many uses, that little word-dash-letter. It's good for future baseball players. Good for a pre-teen girl. Great, if you're a student trying to bring those grades up. And, as you'll see in "Buzz: A Stimulating History of the Sex Toy" by Hallie Lieberman, if you're an adult, double-A is something you never want to run out of.
A dozen years ago, to make a little money, Hallie Lieberman found an unusual job: she was a home-party sex toy salesperson in a state where the selling of sex toys was illegal. Ever afraid of being arrested, she stuck to the "script" that the company gave her; it was stilted and full of euphemisms and the job was demeaning and embarrassing. She felt like she "wasn't actually teaching people anything."
From her Ph.D. studies, Lieberman learned that "sex toys were ancient." Some 30 millennia ago, ancient Germans carved phallic objects, though some historians argue that sex mightn't have been their intention. At any rate, the practice of using artificial devices for sexual pleasure spread across Europe and into Asia and, soon after the Middle Ages, mentions of sex toys began showing up in literature.
Closer to home and beginning in Victorian times, rectal dilators and vibrators were made in the U.S. and sold as "medical devices," approved by doctors; the former were made by "respected rubber companies," while the latter were available for discreet purchase in department stores for decades. Until laws were created against it, you could even have the devices mailed to your home; later, to circumvent those and other laws meant to keep sex toys out of the hands of everyday citizens, vibrators, dildoes and dilators were sold as "novelties."
In 1965, a ventriloquist who was an engineer by profession started manufacturing sex toys; in the early 1970s, a paraplegic welder began making them for women and advising the disabled on their use. Others joined the revolution until, in 1972 (and though they'd long been a staple of sleaze), sex toys gained respectability inside a narrow waterbed store-turned-sex-shop run by two gay men, hetero people welcome.
Of course, there's so much more to this story but here's one interesting thing about this book: while you might think it'd be titillating with maybe a few nudge-nudge-winks, that's not the case. Author Hallie Lieberman doesn't do that to her readers.
Instead, what you get is exactly what its subtitle promises: "Buzz" is a history of sex toys from ancient times to modern day and their use by straight people, the disabled, the LGBT community and feminists. Through the narrative, you'll see how advocates tied sex toys to equality and self-confidence and how the struggle to make the devices acceptable unfolded but is still not over (including a surprise-not-surprise toward the end). That's serious stuff and Lieberman offers it in a well-rounded way, though not without lightheartedness when appropriate.
This isn't a book to shock — it's meant to inform and that's accomplished, enjoyably. The prurient, the curious and pop-culture fans will love "Buzz," no batteries required.
Posted: 05 Jan 2018 08:52 AM PST
“Eat, Pray, Love” author Elizabeth Gilbert’s partner Rayya Elias has died from pancreatic and liver cancer. She was 57.
Gilbert confirmed the news on Thursday by posting a tribute to Elias on Instagram.
"She was my love, my heart, my best friend, my teacher, my rebel, my angel, my protector, my challenger, my partner, my muse, my wizard, my surprise, my gift, my comet, my liberator, my rock star, my completely impossible non-cooperator, my otherworldly visitor, my spiritual portal, and my baby," Gilbert captioned the picture. "I loved you so much, Rayya. Thank you for letting me walk with you right to the edge of the river. It has been the greatest honor of my life.I would tell you to rest in peace,” but I know that you always found peace boring. May you rest in excitement. I will always love you."
Gilbert revealed she was in a relationship with Elias in 2016. The pair started as best friends but Gilbert shared that Elias’ pancreatic and liver cancer diagnosis helped her to realize her romantic feelings.
"Something happened to my heart and mind in the days and weeks following Rayya's diagnosis. Death — or the prospect of death — has a way of clearing away everything that is not real, and in that space of stark and utter realness, I was faced with this truth: I do not merely love Rayya; I am in love with Rayya," Gilbert wrote at the time.
The couple celebrated their relationship with a commitment ceremony in June 2017.
Posted: 05 Jan 2018 08:44 AM PST
When out actor/director Andy Señor, Jr. learned his old Grammy Award-winning friends Gloria and Emilio Estefan were doing a jukebox musical about their lives titled "On Your Feet!," he reached out to the show's director Jerry Mitchell, asking to be taken on as associate director.
After Señor, 43, explained that he's Cuban and from Miami and about his relationship with Gloria and Emilio, Mitchell quickly hired him and nicknamed him "the authenticity police." "On Your Feet!" premiered on Broadway in 2015 and currently the national tour production is at the Kennedy Center throughout most of January.
WASHINGTON BLADE: What's your connection to the Estefans?
ANDY SENOR: My father was Gloria's parents' neighbor in Havana. When Gloria's mom's water broke to give birth to Gloria, my dad was there and watched the splash. My dad helped get her to the hospital. They reconvened later in Miami. My sister and Gloria's sister started the first Miami Sound Machine fan club and my dad's band was the Gloria's opening act for a lot of quinceañeras and weddings. I grew up hanging out underneath the soundboard most weekends.
BLADE: How'd you get into theater?
SENOR: I wanted to be a singer. But as a teenager I was too embarrassed to say I was a singer around all these famous people like the Estefans and Jon Secada, so I got into musical theater instead. It was a way to sing and not claim I was a singer. Studying theater at Florida International University, I fell in love with theater, both the performance and community aspects.
BLADE: Tell us about was playing Angel, the Latin drag queen in 'Rent' on Broadway.
SENOR: When "Rent" came out I was 22. Being a gay Latin guy, I had never seen many parts that reflected what I could do, and then I watched the Tony Awards and saw a guy who looked just like me win a Tony for playing Angel. It blew me away. Seeing a gay Latin character with a lover represented who I was. So, I auditioned and got the part and played Angel for a long time on Broadway and tours.
BLADE: What was it like directing and producing the historic production of "Rent" in Havana, Cuba in 2014, marking the first Broadway musical co-production between the United States and the Cuba in 50 years.
SENOR: Yes, that was an opportunity I couldn't pass on. My family was against me going to Cuba for political reasons. They left during Revolution. But for me having taken the show to so many places, of course I was going to Cuba. How could I not? Many Cuban Americans like me feel divided. We want to honor parents, but we also know that we're the ones who have to make the shift. We have inherited this conversation. To engage and create a vehicle that opens conversation not only in entertainment but also politics is powerful. Soon we'll be releasing a documentary "Revolution Rent" that follows me through the experience.
BLADE: How did you shift from acting to directing?
SENOR: I never set out to be a Broadway director. At one point I found myself onstage and was like, "This is good but so what? There must be more here." In college I was directing and pitching ideas so it was inevitable it would go that way but that day came more quickly than I expected. I assisted director Michael Grief on the off-Broadway revival of "Rent," and then Japan acquired rights and he had me direct the show in Japan with double cast in Japanese. I thought, "Oh shit," but I had to do it. Life takes me where it wants to take me. It's still taking me places I don't know. I'm always there to serve the project in whatever capacity that might be whether it's acting, directing or producing.
BLADE: How was your coming out experience in Miami's conservative Cuban community?
SENOR: It wasn't hard compared to some stories I've heard. I always had unconditional love but it was challenging. I was in a frat in college when I came out and they dealt with it. Then I got into "Rent" and was playing a drag queen and my parents had to deal with it. They had their moment and then they were over it.
BLADE: What's your future hold?
SENOR: I'm on the board of Viva Broadway. Its mission is to nurture and develop Broadway's Hispanic audience. The audience needs nurturing and that's what I'm looking at. Life is taking me in that direction. Right now, I'm single but I'm open to a relationship.
Posted: 05 Jan 2018 06:00 AM PST
SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador — Andrea, a transgender woman who lives in San Luis Talpa, a small city that is near El Salvador's main international airport, was walking to her mother's home on Aug. 29 when a man stopped his motorbike and began to yell at her.
Andrea was talking with her friend on her cell phone when the man confronted her. Three cars stopped on the highway on which she was walking a few minutes later and men with guns stepped out.
"I ran, ran into the hallway of a small school," Andrea told the Washington Blade a few weeks later during an interview at a restaurant in the Salvadoran capital of El Salvador, which is roughly 45 minutes northwest of San Luis Talpa. "I was scared."
"Thank God they didn't kill me," added Andrea. "I don't leave my house anymore. I don't leave because I am completely afraid of the danger."
MS-13 forces trans women to traffic drugs
El Salvador, a small Central American country that borders Guatemala and Honduras, has one of the world's highest per capita murder rates.
Violence and discrimination based on gender identity remains commonplace in El Salvador. The murder of three trans women — Yasuri Orellana, 24, Daniela Flores, 27, and Elizabeth Castillo, 23 — in San Luis Talpa in February 2017 underscores the risks that Andrea and other trans Salvadorans face on a daily basis.
Isabel, a trans activist who lived in San Luis Talpa from 2010-2014, told the Blade as Andrea listened that the three trans women who were murdered were "known."
"It is a small town," said Isabel, referring to San Luis Talpa.
Violence linked to the MS-13 street gang has made San Luis Talpa and the surrounding area one of the most dangerous parts of El Salvador. Isabel said MS-13 last February told trans women they would be killed if they did not traffic drugs for them.
The Blade interviewed Isabel and Andrea in San Salvador because local sources said it was too dangerous for reporters to travel to San Luis Talpa. Isabel and Andrea also asked the Blade not to use their real names or disclose their identities in order to protect their safety.
"I live in San Luis Talpa," said Andrea.
Police, soldiers also target trans women
The Justice Department last July in a press release announced an MS-13 member who allegedly killed three LGBT people in El Salvador is in U.S. custody.
The announcement — which coincided with U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions' trip to El Salvador — noted the gang member shot three people in La Paz Department "who were believed to have committed extortions without authorization from MS-13." A Justice Department spokesperson at the time declined to tell the Blade whether the MS-13 member is a suspect in the killing of the three trans women, but San Luis Talpa is located in La Paz Department.
Isabel said trans women who live in San Luis Talpa lack access to education and “dignified” employment. She told the Blade that police officers and soldiers also target them.
She said they "surround" the perimeter of municipal celebrations and Halloween parties in order to prevent armed men from entering. Isabel said trans women "are outside of these dances and we are talking, doing our thing."
Isabel told the Blade that police officers often proposition them for sex.
"What do you prefer," she asked hypothetically. "That they don't hit us or that we feel better that she (a trans woman) prefers to have sex and not get hit."
"Exactly," said Andrea.
Isabel told the Blade that street gangs and other "collective groups" do "the same thing" as police officers and soldiers.
"They call you outside of the dance and if you do not want to leave you are going to have to face the consequences when you leave," she said. "It is a mortal sin to deny your body to a leader of these gangs."
Andrea told the Blade that authorities often dismiss trans women when they file a complaint.
"They smile and say that you like it, it's what you like," she said. "Why are you crying?"
Isabel noted Castillo’s body was burned without its eyes before it was thrown onto a highway. Isabel told the Blade that machismo, misogyny, a lack of respect for women and religious fundamentalism are among the factors that contribute to the brutality of the killing of trans women in El Salvador.
“There is no value of life,” she said.
Authorities have ‘done’ nothing to investigate murders
The Salvadoran government insists it is fighting violence and discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.
An amendment to the country's legal code that lawmakers approved in 2015 enhances penalties for anti-LGBT hate crimes. Three of the five police officers who Alex Peña of Generación de Hombres Trans de El Salvador, a group that advocates on behalf of trans Salvadoran men, accused of attacking him after a 2015 Pride celebration in San Salvador were convicted and sentenced to prison.
Cruz Torres, director of the Office of Diversity in El Salvador's Ministry of Social Inclusion, told the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights last March during a D.C. hearing on anti-LGBT violence in El Salvador that the government has directed public agencies to stop discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. He also noted he specifically works on LGBT issues.
"For the country of El Salvador, this hearing held to talk about the situation of the human rights of the LGTBI community in our country constitutes an important space to highlight so many of the advances that we have made in this area as well as the challenges that all of us have," said Ambassador Carlos Calles, who is El Salvador's permanent representative to the Organization of American States, which created the commission in 1959.A Salvadoran trans advocacy group told the Blade this week that eight gang members have been detained in connection with the murders of the trans women in San Luis Talpa, but authorities have not classified them as hate crimes.
Isabel said the police and prosecutors have “not done” anything to investigate them. She also told the Blade that two of the three trans women who were murdered in San Luis Talpa last February were killed in “broad daylight” near a municipal police station.
"When a trans woman dies, she is responsible, she asked for it, she put herself in a situation, she, she, she," said Isabel. "And she is the only one who is responsible."
‘I am very afraid’
Isabel said more than half a dozen trans women fled San Luis Talpa in 2017. She told the Blade that she and her colleagues "know nothing" about a dozen others.
As for Andrea, she said she has cut her hair in order to change her appearance. She told the Blade when asked whether she would like to leave San Luis Talpa that no organization has helped her.
"I am very afraid," said Andrea.
Posted: 04 Jan 2018 11:11 AM PST
The cold snap in D.C. offers film fans the chance to entertain friends and family with some of the most intriguing movies of 2017. All of the films discussed below are available now on DVD or through streaming services and are sure to start some lively discussions over dinner or dessert.
"Battle of the Sexes" is a thrilling recreation of the famous 1973 tennis match between feminist pioneer Billie Jean King (a fierce Emma Stone) and male chauvinist pig Bobby Riggs (a fascinating Steve Carell). The dazzling screenplay by Simon Beaufoy ("Slumdog Millionaire") clearly retells the public battles between King and Riggs, but also captures their private struggles. Andrea Riseborough is great as Billie Jean's first girlfriend and Austin Stowall and Elisabeth Shue turn in fine performances as their conflicted spouses.
Almost a year ago, first-time director Jordan Peele made an accomplished cinematic debut with "Get Out," a troubling and thoughtful movie that uses both comedy and horror to create a chilling portrait of racism in contemporary America. Daniel Kaluuya stars as Chris, a black man who visits the family of his white girlfriend at their suburban estate. Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener are deeply sinister as her liberal parents.
In the lush "A Quiet Passion," legendary queer auteur Terence Davies creates a searing portrait of poet Emily Dickinson, played with fervent intensity by Cynthia Nixon. Jennifer Ehle and Keith Carradine turn in strong supporting performances as Dickinson's sister and father who struggle to understand the unconventional and increasingly reclusive poet who remained largely unpublished during her lifetime.
Salma Hayek is simply stunning as the title character in "Beatriz at Dinner." She plays a holistic healer who is stranded at the home of a client (an excellent Connie Britton) when her car dies. The well-meaning client invites Beatriz to her dinner party that evening, but tempers flare when she meets fellow guest Doug, a repulsive businessman played with great relish by John Lithgow. Chlöe Sevigny turns in a richly layered performance as a conflicted dinner guest.
Written by and starring "Saturday Night Live" regular Kyle Mooney, the delightfully quirky "Brigsby Bear" is about a sheltered young man whose carefully constructed world suddenly crashes down around him. To make sense of it all, he tries to recreate his favorite television show, a low-budget series about a bear with amazing gadgets and superpowers. Mark Hamill is both creepy and creative as the bear's creator.
Is she a murderess or is she being slandered by her naïve love-struck cousin? That's the central question behind "My Cousin Rachel," a lovely period drama based on the popular novel by bisexual author Daphne Du Maurier. Rachel Weisz is amazing inscrutable as the title character (she even refused to tell director Roger Michell if she thought the character was innocent or guilty). Holliday Grainger is equally enigmatic as Rachel's rival and Pierfrancesco Favino is delightful as Rachel's sexually enigmatic lawyer.
"Patti Cake$," developed by writer/director Geremy Jaspar at the Sundance Institute, is a raw family saga about three generations of powerful and outspoken New Jersey woman. At the center is a powerhouse performance by Australian actress Danielle Macdonald who learned how to rap and speak with a Jersey accent for the role. She plays Patty Dombrowski, a white working-class woman who dreams of becoming a famous rock star. New York cabaret singer Bridget Everett and acclaimed actress Catherine O'Hara turn in equally strong performances as her bitter alcoholic mother and her feisty grandmother.
Based on the award-winning novel by Julian Barnes, "The Sense of an Ending" features a beautifully nuanced performance by Jim Broadbent ("Moulin Rouge" and "London Sky") as a quiet camera shop owner who is forced to reexamine his life when he receives an unexpected legacy. Charlotte Rampling, Harriet Webster and Michelle Dockery are terrific as his ex-lover, his ex-wife and his very pregnant daughter.
Finally, on a very different note, "War for the Planet of the Apes," is a visually inventive and thought-provoking continuation of the latest franchise reboot. Andy Serkis and Woody Harrelson (both of whom turned in several notable performances in 2017) are well-matched as deeply conflicted leaders on opposing sides of the inter-species struggle. Twentieth Century Fox is mounting a campaign for Serkis to be nominated in the Best Actor Category at the Academy Awards; his fine motion-capture performance as Caesar has already been recognized by several critic's groups.
Posted: 04 Jan 2018 10:31 AM PST
Anthony Rapp opened up about why he chose to go public with his sexual misconduct allegation against Kevin Spacey in an interview with Attitude magazine, his first since he originally shared his story with BuzzFeed last year.
Rapp says he chose to come forward with his allegation after witnessing numerous women share their stories of sexual harassment in the industry.
"In this moment, with what's happened, it's become clear that people can be believed and that it can have an impact," Rapp says. "The entire apparatus that kept people silent and also kept [those guilty of harassment] safe is being dismantled."
The actor told BuzzFeed that when he was 14 years old Kevin Spacey, who was 26 at the time, made a sexual advance on him at a party. His story sparked an onslaught of numerous sexual misconduct allegations against Spacey who apologized for his behavior. Spacey also used his apology to publicly come out as gay. The allegations led to Spacey being fired from his hit Netflix series “House of Cards” and his removal from the cast of the film “All the Money in the World.”
Rapp says the public’s response was unexpected for him.
“I was surprised that it [was] met with a positive or meaningful response,” Rapp, who says he consulted a lawyer before speaking with BuzzFeed, remarks. “I was incredibly moved by the supportive responses from so many people in my life. I’m hopeful that it will continue to have a positive effect in the future.”
The actor continued on that he hopes to empower other victims of sexual harassment to speak out on their experiences.
“There are so many different shades and degrees of this kind of behavior and these kinds of situations, but the most insidious to me is when it's an abuse of power," Rapp says. "No matter what, I would urge anybody to stay safe, take care of themselves and each other and to get help and support when they need it."
"There is no such thing as truly being alone, which is what I hope this moment demonstrates, that there is strength in numbers," he adds. "I did it to stand on the shoulders of all that I was witnessing around me. I was hopeful that sharing my story would have an impact.'
Rapp has also been breaking down barriers in his own career. His character Lieutenant Paul Stamets and Doctor Hugh Culber (Wilson Cruz) on “Star Trek: Discovery” shared the Star Trek universe’s first same-sex kiss.
Posted: 04 Jan 2018 10:14 AM PST
Ellen Page and her girlfriend Emma Portner are married.
Page, 30, made the surprise announcement on Instagram on Wednesday. The post features the newlywed couple showing off their wedding rings.
“Can't believe I get to call this extraordinary woman my wife,” Page writes.
Portner also posted the same image on her Instagram captioned, “I get to call this incredible woman MY WIFE! @ellenpage I LOVE YOU.”
Portner, who hails from Ottawa in Ontario, teaches contemporary jazz at the Broadway Dance Center in New York City. Her credentials include choreographing Justin Bieber’s Purpose World Tour. She also performs in Bieber’s “Life is Worth Living” music video.
Page and Portner have shared videos of the two of them doing interpretive dances together and singing cover songs. Page came out as a lesbian in 2014 while giving a speech at a Human Rights Campaign event.
Posted: 04 Jan 2018 10:00 AM PST
Doug Jones was officially sworn in for his Senate seat in Alabama after defeating Republican candidate Roy Moore but a photo from the ceremony has gone viral for more than just taking office.
Jones’ gay son Carson posted a photo of his father being sworn in by Vice President Mike Pence on Instagram but Carson is the one who has taken the internet by storm. In the photo, Carson appears to be serving Pence with a major side-eye look while his father is taking his oath. Carson posted the photo with a series of hashtags including “#nocaptionneeded.”
Carson’s facial expression was particularly amusing for some people as Pence has notoriously supported anti-gay agendas and backed Moore, who also has supported anti-LGBT agendas, in the election.
Carson confirmed to the Advocate that he is gay shortly after his father’s historic win. His Instagram features photos of him at Pride events and even a snapshot of himself meeting Lance Bass at a gay bar.
"I am obviously thrilled with my dad's victory," Carson said in an interview with the Advocate. "We have been overwhelmed by the support of so many people that made this happen. Alabama made a really big statement that unity wins out. I couldn't be prouder of him or my home state."
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