Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Gay American Idol?

Is the voting bloc of Idol Nation ready to crown a gay (and wonderfully talented) American Idol? The popular Fox show has never had a contestant as polarizing (and wonderfully talented) as Adam Lambert, the current front runner among the 2009 pop star hopefuls. Sure we've had eyeliner wearing rock star wanna-bes in past seasons. But I assure you that no one is as bold, daring, creative, innovative, and, dare i say, flamboyant (Did I mention wonderfully talented?) as our Glambert. People who've known him for years have been open about Adam's sexuality (He has the most fashion forward friends in the audiences, ever!). Those pictures of him in drag and kissing other boys have been posted on and passed around the internet so many times. But none of these seem to hurt his popularity.

But what happens when there's only two people left in the competition? When Adam is just up against a clean cut and wholesome crooner like fingers crossed Kris Allen? Will it be a case of the Red States versus the Blue States all over again? Or will pure vocal prowess and commanding stage presence trump gay issues and homophobia? I guess we'll find out soon enough in three weeks.

What are your thoughts? Not sure what I'm talking about? Are you a reality TV snob? Oh just get over it and catch American Idol, otherwise known as The Adam Lambert Show, on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. You too will be proud of our Glambert. And for the non-fans out there, don't hate him because he is so talented. Hate him because he gets to be Kris Allen's roommate for months now.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

THE INFORMERS at the Little

Opening in theaters on April 24 is the film adaptation of the 1994 Bret Easton Ellis novel, THE INFORMERS, set in LA of the 1980s era of decadence, excess and terrible fashion sense. The book is a collection of short stories so it is a perfect vehicle for an all-star ensemble cast featuring Kim Basinger, Billy Bob Thornton, Mickey Rourke, Winona Ryder (where has she been?), Amber Heard and Jon Foster. Since this is a Bret Easton Ellis story (AMERICAN PSYCHO, LESS THAN ZERO, THE RULES OF ATTRACTION) , expect a subplot of beautiful blond boys and girls sleeping with each other while partying all night with drugs and alcohol.

The film had one screening at the European Film Market last February when I was in Berlin but it was sandwiched between two gay films that I needed to see. So I only caught about 40 minutes somewhere in the middle of the movie. It was interesting enough that I think I'd like to see the whole film. (I do hate having to pay to see it again, LOL.) And the gay/bisexual boys are cute in an 80s kind of way.

This is also Brad Renfro's last film before the actor died at age 25. Although, to be honest, I almost did not recognize him until I found out which role he played (he was in the parts I saw). He was so cute when he first started acting and got even hotter a couple of years later. Also, this film is sort of a reunion for Kim and Mickey, no? But I think they are in separate storylines, so much for that thought. Oh and just a tidbit for the fans of the book, the vampires are not included in the final cut of the film version.

Another piece of trivia for you out there: Jon Foster (pictured above), one of the bisexuals in the film, also plays Art Bechstein in the film adaptation of another high-profile book, THE MYSTERIES OF PITTSBURGH by Michael Chabon. The film opened in limited release last April 10 and I'm not sure if it is scheduled to screen here in Rochester. I saw the film in Berlin in 2008 and I quite liked it. But I did not read the book though which is supposed to be much better and with more emphasis on the gay characters. And those who loved the book hated the film. Oh well.

But it is exciting that our very own Little Theatre is screening THE INFORMERS the same weekend it opens in limited release nationwide. So check it out this weekend and make sure to come back here and tell us what you think.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

DVD Raffle Winner is ...

DEE BRESCIA from Rochester, NY! Thanks for the overwhelming response to the free "Out at the Wedding" DVD giveaway sponsored by Logo. Of course, a lot of the entries were from the Western and Central NY regions but we also had entries from NYC, Texas, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Toronto and as far away as Brazil and New Zealand!

To find out more about the DVD and available discounts, check my previous post here.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Little's Emerging Filmmakers Series

The next installment of the Little Theatre's Emerging Filmmakers Series is this coming Monday, April 27 at 9:15pm. Check it out as two Flower City Flicks filmmakers are featured in this program. Radio programming veteran and ImageOut volunteer Stan Main will present his latest short film "X-Girlfriend." FCF regular contributor Michael Steck will once again showcase the very funny and popular internet cooking sensation Kasha Davis in "Mrs. Kasha Davis: Life of an International Housewife Celebrity." Click here for more information.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Miss North Carolina wins Miss USA 2009

And you probably don't care, right? LOL. Well hear me out here for a second. As in most Latin American countries, beauty pageants in the Philippines, where I grew up, are just like any huge sporting events -- they are popular and they are big business. So to this day, I still love my pageants and beauty queens. Not to mention those male pageants. (Starts daydreaming.)

Anyway, so last night was the Miss USA Pageant 2009 which was being shown live from Las Vegas. I must admit though that pageants today are not as exciting as they used to be. So I was going through my mail and paying some bills while the show was on -- interesting semi-finalists, nice swimsuits, lovely gowns, boring co-hosts, blah blah blah. As with the judges, my favorite was also Miss North Carolina Kristen Dalton. So she was definitely going to win unless she tripped on her flowing gown and fell flat on her face with her hair catching fire somehow.

During the final Q&A portion, the questions the judges were throwing at the finalists were too political and painfully issues-centric, I thought. Do they want these girls to have embarassing moments posted on YouTube (hello, Miss Teen South Carolina 2007 Caitlin Upton - I told you I know my pageants and queens!)? Then the eyebrow-raising moment of the pageant came on from out of the blue.

Miss California Carrie Prejean was asked by judge Perez Hilton (Why is this guy even deserving of a celebrity status? But i digress.) about legalizing same-sex marriage. And I quote the blonde beauty's reply: "We live in a land where you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage. And you know what, I think in my country, in my family, I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anybody out there, but that's how I was raised." Huh? The audience applauded wildly. But then again, most of those people were probably just cheering for her regardless and probably didn't even realize what her answer was.

To her credit, at least Miss Prejean did not give a pageant patty type answer that was politically correct especially considering who (Perez - gay, gay, gay!) was asking her the question. She stood by her beliefs, no matter how ignorant they were. But once again, Miss Prejean just gives a face to that majority that voted for Proposition 8 in California last year. It's scary how clueless some of these normal looking (even beautiful!) Americans are.
(AP Photos/Eric Jamison)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Jamie and Sally Whitbeck in the News

I just wanted to share a Democrat & Chronicle article in today's edition on the amazing work of Jamie and Sally Whitbeck on behalf of the GLBT community. As you know, the Whitbecks were the very first recipients of the ImageOut Volunteer of the Year Award back in 2006. And this year, they are once again being honored for their commitment to fighting for the rights of their GLBT friends as honorees in next month's ESPA Spring Dinner.

Congratulations, Jamie and Sally!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

GOMORRAH at the Little

There are movies that are certainly difficult to describe in a word or two. GOMORRAH (with an "H" as it is internationally known) is that kind of movie. While you want to enthusiastically recommend it to friends, you cannot simply say "I liked that movie a lot" or "I enjoyed that movie." And even if you do, you can't just leave it at that or you'll have some very upset friends who might just decide to stop talking to you after seeing it. An older couple walked out of my screening not even five minutes into the film. Did they wander into the wrong theater? I don't know. Went out to buy the Little's famous popcorn? Probably not.

GOMORRAH follows five story lines of everyday people whose lives are entangled in the mafia dealings of the Comorra family in the Italian countryside. It's almost like CRASH (yes, that movie that stole the Oscar from BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN) for organized crime. With its matter-of-fact violence and grainy cinematography, filmmaker Matteo Garrone seems to be serving up an in-your-face documentary rather than a mob drama. This is not the glamourized version of thug life typical of Hollywood mob fares. It is both difficult and challenging to watch. It will resonate with you days after leaving the theater. For that, I would recommend for friends to partake in the experience.

I was personally very excited to see this film as Garrone holds a special spot in my ImageOut life. I started volunteering for ImageOut in 2003 and Garrone's film THE EMBALMER is the first one I ever wrote a program description for -- about an aging creepy vertically-challenged taxidermist who becomes terribly obsessed with an 18-year old hunk (in fairness, I might be too if I bumped into that god of beauty). And I was not disappointed as GOMORRAH, the 2008 Cannes Grand Prix winner, has that same dark edge to it.
GOMORRAH continues to play at the Little Theatre on East Avenue.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Sunshine Cleaning

Caught this little Independent movie over the weekend. It is not necessarily what I expected, but it was highly enjoyable nonetheless. From the same folks who brought us Little Miss Sunshine, Sunshine Cleaning tells the story of a family struggling to make their own way in the world. That sounds a little cliche, but I promise you this movie is anything but. An unusual set of characters and situations, combined with great performance from Amy Adams, Emily Blunt and Alan Arkin make this one of my favorites of the year so far. There is even a tiny gay sub-plot. Right now the only place in town to catch this little film is the Little theater, but who can pass up their great popcorn anyway?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Amazon Censoring Gay Books?

It's late, and I'm exhausted from a long day of eating delicious foodstuffs with family and friends, but I thought I'd throw a quick post up here about the brewing "de-ranking" scandal.

At some point over the weekend Amazon's site began removing the sales ranking from hundreds of GLBT books. Understandably perplexed, several authors contacted the site including Mark Probst, writer of several young adult novels with gay content, who reports in his LiveJournal that he received the following response from the customer service reps:

In consideration of our entire customer base, we exclude "adult" material from appearing in some searches and best seller lists. Since these lists are generated using sales ranks, adult materials must also be excluded from that feature.

Hence, if you have further questions, kindly write back to us.

Best regards,

Ashlyn D
Member Services Advantage

Now word of the censorship has spread like wildfire, with reports appearing on the websites of the Washington Post and the LA Times, among others. Interestingly, the biggest source in the spread of news on the growing controversy has been the social networking site Twitter, where the hash tag "#amazonfail" has quickly become the number one ranked trending topic of the day.

Publisher's Weekly is now reporting that an Amazon spokesperson has told them that the removal of rankings is a result of a "glitch" in the system and the problem is being rectified. Response from the public has been skeptical to say the least, as many quite rightly point out that a "glitch" couldn't possibly target only books with gay themes and that a "glitch" doesn't send messages to authors explaining it's rationale.

Still, Amazon is widely known as a fairly liberal company, and it seems ridiculous of them to think they could institute such a homophobic policy without provoking outrage from their customers. so I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt for now and I'm not quite ready to jump on the boycott bandwagon that many are calling for.

Supposedly, Amazon reps will be releasing an official statement sometime later today, so we shall see what exactly they offer up as an explanation.

Meta Writers has posted a list of titles being affected, which include gay lit classics like James Baldwin's Giovanni's Room, Annie Proulx's Brokeback Mountain, and Andrew Holleran's Dancer from the Dance among many, many others.

For those curious, the second most popular Twitter trending topic of the day is currently "#glitchmyass".

Saturday, April 11, 2009

New Gay Characters on TV

Anyone who really knows me can attest that I am a TV nut. This is why, for me, the DVR is probably one of the most important technical gadgets ever developed in recent years and ranks high in the emergency evacuation plan in the Gamilla household. Love TV shows! But I'm not here to talk about my favorite shows this time (although I must give a shout out to my new boobtube guilty pleasures namely: DOLLHOUSE, CASTLE, and FRINGE). And no, Echo, played by Eliza Dushku and pictured here, from DOLLHOUSE is not lesbian. Although she could easily be made into one with those snazzy brain imprints, no? But I digress. What I do want to discuss are a couple of new shows that debuted recently.

I applaud some major networks for supporting shows featuring gay characters prominently in their storylines (e.g. BROTHERS AND SISTERS, UGLY BETTY, to name a few). Oh and I get a tingle whenever I discover new interesting gay characters on TV. So imagine (or not) the sensation I felt when characters in KINGS and SOUTHLAND turned out to be gay.

I've actually only seen the 2-hour premiere of KINGS and have missed the last two (or three?) episodes. In that pilot episode, it was revealed that the male heir to King Silas Benjamin's empire is a closeted gay guy (played by hunky Sebastian Stan who also plays the naughty Carter Baizen from GOSSIP GIRL), albeit a conniving one (and very hot!). But I'm not sure how the character has developed since. He could even be dead by now, LOL. You know how those network executives are. I'll have to catch up on new episodes pronto. (ImageOut film selection screenings take up too much of my time!)

And just this morning (recorded from Thursday night), I thought SOUTHLAND was an interesting show and would gladly give it another try. Not just because it stars Ben McKenzie (notice how cute Benjamin from THE O.C. has a more serious adult name now?) but also because the show is gritty and entertaining at the same time. And I was particularly caught off guard by one of the last montage scenes showing one of the lead characters (not Ben unfortunately) ending up his day at a gay bar. Did y'all catch that?

I just hope the networks don't wimp out on realizing these characters fully (and gay-ly!) in future episodes. Anymore gay characters in new TV shows you've been watching?

Also, I enjoy trashy, B-Grade horror flicks so HARPER'S ISLAND excites me somewhat. And who doesn't enjoy Harry Hamlin getting cut in half?

Monday, April 6, 2009

ImageOut DVD Giveaway!

ImageOut is giving away a dvd of the hilarious comedy OUT AT THE WEDDING (IO 2007) courtesy of Logo. Sign up by sending an email to with "FREE Out at the Wedding DVD" in the Subject Line and include your name and contact information. A winner will be chosen on April 22 and the result posted here. Tell your friends about it!

You can also purchase the dvd for 20% off by using the code WEDDING1 at Logo Online. And if you want to be reminded of how funny this charmingly witty film is, check out the trailer here.

Pacesetter Event Another Success

ImageOut hosted our Annual Spring Pacesetter Event to raise donor and membership funds for the current festival year last Saturday morning, April 4, at the Little Theatre and Cafe. The wet and cold weather certainly boosted attendance and the ImageOut Board of Directors mingled with both loyal and new members over breakfast AND lunch. A quick presentation followed by a preview screening of award-winning short films for this year broke up the two meals. It was another huge success for ImageOut and I certainly hope it's a sign of good things to come for this year. If you wish to become an ImageOut member, check out our website for information on how to join or call the office at 585-271-2640.

Here are some pictures from Saturday. Everyone had smiles to share! I myself was happy and gay that morning from all the sweet delights from Hedonist Artisan Chocolates, one of our loyal supporters and sponsors. Thanks Jen and Zahra!
Photos courtesy of ImageOut member Garnetta Ely.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Gay Iraqis Shot to Death

Did you catch this news about six Iraqi gay men who were shot to death because of their sexuality? Their own tribemates carried out the "execution" and the men's own relatives were the ones who reported them to the tribe. Heartbreaking that such things can still happen today.

Friday, April 3, 2009

First Trailer For Bruno Hits The Interwebs

Sasha Baron Cohen, that mischievous imp responsible for the hilarious and outrageous hit film Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, brings another of his signature characters to the big screen. In Bruno, hitting theaters this summer, Cohen portrays a flamboyant (to put it mildly) Austrian television host covering the world of high fashion who comes to America to wreak havoc on the runways and generally whip a little gayness in the faces of everyday citizens across the country.

Bruno's segments on Da Ali G Show (where Cohen's characters each originated) struck an interesting mix: satirical social commentary shining a spotlight on some of the blatant homophobic behavior that occurs in this country, alternating with the more innocuous ritual of poking fun at the superficial and often vacuous fashion industry (witness my all-time favorite Bruno interview, which I've posted below). It will be interesting to see how that mix plays out in the bigscreen version. No doubt the film will also test mainstream audiences' tolerance for explicit gay sexual content; the first cut of the film has been hit with the dreaded NC-17 rating by the MPAA.

Bruno is due out in theaters on July 10th.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Tonight: MTV's PEDRO or Kris Allen?

Just want to remind folks that the movie PEDRO is making its TV Premiere tonight at 8pm on MTV and its affiliate channels. The question is, would you rather watch it live or DVR it (or watch a repeat as I'm sure this won't be the last time MTV would air the movie) so you can watch AMERICAN IDOL live instead? Isn't Kris Allen such a hottie? As ousted DWTS celebrity contestant Belinda Carlisle sang, "I Get Weak" when I see him on TV. And the boy can sing! But of course we also need to support one of our own -- the true Season 8 Diva (eat your heart out Lil Rounds!), the fabulous Adam Lambert.