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Top chef on marriage equality

August 28, 2009 in Food & Drink, Online

Tom Colicchio

“The idea that religious leaders are continuing to shape state law is just wrong.”

Remember last fall’s boycott of El Coyote restaurant in West Hollywood by supporters of same-sex marriage after it was learned an owner had donated money to the campaign to pass Prop 8?

El Coyote had a sizable gay clientele on Thursday nights, the unofficial “gay night” at the restaurant, which packed the place. That all changed in the aftermath of Prop 8′s passing when the owner’s name appeared on donor lists that were available online and publicized by some media outlets.

Demonstrators appeared in front of the restaurant, business fell off on Thursdays, the pilloried owner did herself no favors when she tried to explain herself, saying if she had a chance to do it all over again, she would do the same thing, citing her religious convictions.

Such a mess for such a mediocre restaurant.

Enter Tom Colicchio, Bravo TV’s Top Chef lead judge and owner of Craft, his first venture into the  Los Angeles restaurant world, located in Century City. Read the rest of this entry →

CA Gay group will wait until 2012 for Prop 8 repeal effort

August 12, 2009 in Politics

After much handwringing and consideration, Equality California, the gay rights organization, has decided to hold off until 2012 to push for a ballot initiative to repeal Prop 8, which banned same-sex marriage in the state. An impassioned debate over whether to place an initiative on either the 2010 or 2012 ballot had been playing out over the past several months.

I initially wrote about it here last month, when three gay rights organizations successfully got the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force in DC on board  to wait until 2012, which at the time I suspected was the writing on the big gay wall.

In a related matter, some gay leaders are at odds over a hastily planned march for marriage equality in Washington DC this fall, on October 11th.

Newlywed Game seeks gay couples

August 10, 2009 in Announcements, Television

new“From Hollywood, the newlywed capital of the world; here come the newlyweds!” will never sound the same again to Prop 8 supporters. Pity.

The Newlywed Game, the game show that started in 1966 and is now hosted by Carnie Wilson and sponsored by the eHarmony personals site, is scouting for married same-sex couples via Craigslist. Contestants need to be legally married in one state. From Craigslist:

NOW CASTING!!!

The Game Show Network is currently casting season 2 of

“The Newlywed Game”

Producers are seeking fun, outgoing couples to participate in the next season of this classic television game show!

Gay Couples: *Marriages must be legally recognized in 1 state

If this sounds like you or someone you know, please contact the Casting Team IMMEDIATELY at:

[email protected]

PLEASE INCLUDE: Names/Ages, City/State, Phone Number (with area code), Email Address, Wedding Date, and PHOTO.

All participants must be 18 years of age or older and married 2 years or less.

eHarmony recently got on the big gay bandwagon thanks to an anti-discrimination suit in New Jersey that forced them to climb on board. Before that, the site barred same-sex match-ups for their users. Times change.

Date for campaign to repeal Prop 8 still up in the air

July 28, 2009 in Uncategorized

As deadlines for filing, gathering signatures and fund raising loom, gay rights groups are still debating the timing of a ballot initiative to overturn anti-same-sex marriage Proposition 8, which passed last November with 52% of the vote.

The two dates in question are the November elections in 2010 and 2012. Those pushing for holding off until 2012 cite flat poll numbers favoring same-sex marriage since last year’s election, linking them to the difficulties it would create for raising the enormous amount of money necessary to undertake another ballot initiative drive. The Prop 8 campaign cost more than $80 million, with those opposing it spending $43 million.

Two weeks I posted about three gay rights groups in California that joined together, with the endorsement of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force in DC, to release a statement calling a 2010 initiative “rushed and risky.” Called “Prepare to Prevail,” its approach calls for a lengthy grass roots movement that engages minority communities that overall supported Prop 8; and waiting for statewide poll numbers to show a 60% approval rating for same-sex marriage before an initiative appears on the ballot. Read the rest of this entry →

Hollywood liberals eat their own

July 21, 2009 in Online, People, Television

"I’m a blogosphere virgin. I don’t read blogs. Blogs feels like they’re a dime a bushel. They’re endless. Like cockroaches..."

Out, gay-as-a-picnic-basket, proud, loud, blog-challenged and, by all accounts, liberal director Todd Holland inadvertently got sucked on to the Hollywood Liberal Shit List last week. However, the move looks to be temporary in light of his good-natured and at times bitchy response, in addition to being nominated this year for a directing Emmy for 30 Rock, the sitcom starring über-liberals Alec Baldwin and Tina Fey. His placement on the HLSL was further complicated by the fact that he got legally married to his partner last year before Proposition 8 was passed.

How it happened: At a panel discussion about gay Hollywood, Holland answered a question about whether he would advise gay actors in Hollywood to come out. Leave it to some nasty bloggers to take his response and “twist or warp” his words into anti-gay remarks.

The panel discussion took place at Outfest, the Los Angeles gay film festival held each July at The Directors Guild (a.k.a. Hollywood Liberal World Headquarters.)

So now the LA Times, LA Weekly and those spiteful, overly-sensitive gay blogs manned by (to use Holland’s word) “cockroaches” are tripping over themselves as he trips over himself to clarify and over-explain what he really meant or really meant to say– or more likely wishes he hadn’t said at all in the first place.

A condensed version of what played out… Read the rest of this entry →

Project Pushback marriage video contest names winner

June 25, 2009 in Online

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This spring, the Gay and Lesbian Centers in Los Angeles and New York partnered to sponsor Project Pushback, a viral video competition aimed at changing public opinion to favor same-sex marriage.

Out of 68 entries from across the nation, a panel of judges chose eleven finalists. Yesterday the winner who will receive a $2500 grand prize was announced, a video entitled Family Values created by LA-based filmmaker Andrew Putschoegl.

“We received entries from across the country but most of them were from Los Angeles and New York, being film centers,” Thomas Soule, communications director of the LA Gay and Lesbian Center told me. “The contest spurred people to get very creative in their approaches to changing hearts and minds about the freedom to marry for same-sex couples.”

Soule also said some of the entries will be shown at Outfest, the LA Gay and Lesbian Film Festival held each July at the Directors Guild in Hollywood.

The videos are all polished and professional, running the gamut from testimonials from real people to vignettes written for actors. There’s even a Blair Witch Project parody, which won the $1000 People’s Choice prize. But my favorite is the one where the guy says– actually, I don’t want to give it away so you’ll have to watch it and see why. (It made me cry.)

Los Angeles-based judges included Academy Award-winning producer Bruce Cohen (American Beauty, Milk); Rev. Art Cribbs Jr. of the San Marino Congregational Church; CA Assembly Member John A. Perez;  Kirsten Schaffer, Executive Director of Outfest,; Judy Starkman, co-owner of convergencefilms.com and Emmy Award-winning director and producer Paris Barclay (In Treatment, Cold Case, The West Wing.)

View the eleven finalists here.

Two names added to Hollywood Liberals’ shit list: Gary Sinise & Craig T. Nelson

June 24, 2009 in Announcements, Celebrity, Politics

sinisehlslAn occasional round-up of who’s not liberal in Tinsel Town.

I confess, I am the type of person who takes great joy in watching Republicans who call themselves “defenders of traditional marriage” getting SO BUSTED and copping to having extramarital affairs. Last week it was Nevada’s Republican  Senator John Ensign.

Today it was South Carolina’s Republican Governor Mark Sanford explaining that he wasn’t hiking on the Appalachian Trail when he went missing last week, as his staff told the media. Instead he was skipping down the Treasure Trail in Argentina attending to a year long extramarital affair.

Pam’s House Blend noticed that within an hour of Sanford’s press conference about spilling his beans, the Values Voters Summit, a conservative organization, had already removed his photo from its web site.

So now when you look at it, Sanford is gone, but not people like Sarah Palin, Bill O’Reilly, Carrie Prejean and– GARY SINISE?!

And last week I watched Craig T. Nelson commiserating with Sean Hannity on Fox News.

Hollywood Liberals, take note!

Anti-gay infomercial airs in Los Angeles market

June 23, 2009 in Television

A group saying they represent “oppressed Christians” entered the Southern California TV market over the weekend with their anti-gay infomercial Speechless: Silencing the Christians.

Last February the organization, The American Family Association, bought air time for the 60-minute program in Michigan, Ohio and North Carolina.

It resurfaced in California on Sunday. According to GLAAD, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, “One person saw it in West Hollywood, California on Independent Cable Channel, KDOC on Sunday, June 21, where it aired from 7 to 8 p.m.”

KDOC is based in Santa Ana but also serves Los Angeles cable markets.

KDOC’s general manager John Manzi told me, “Our plan is not to run it again.” He also mentioned that the station has nothing to do with content of infomercials nor do they endorse or agree with any of the views presented.

Speechless is hosted by über-conservative talk radio queen Janet Parshall, who lays out the Evil Gay Blueprint at the beginning of the program:

The way Americans think about homosexuality has changed over the last two decades. And if you think that’s an accident, think again.

Two homosexual activists wrote the book in 1989, After the Ball – How America Will Conquer It’s Fear and Hatred of Gays in the ’90s. In that book, Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen laid out powerful and sophisticated propaganda techniques to manipulate people into accepting the homosexual lifestyle.

She’s right; it’s an incendiary book. But her conspiracy theory that it’s behind the growing acceptance of LGBT people is laughable. If anything, both After the Ball and reactive attacks like Speechless speak to the determination (and successes) of gay leaders and their struggle for equality in a society with an ever-evolving awareness.

Even Parshall admits in the infomercial that advances in gay rights in the last 20 years have been “breathtaking.”

If you can bear to watch it, click here.

New blog about sex, etc. from Antebellum Gallery

June 19, 2009 in Online

Antebellum Gallery, the Hollywood fetish gallery owned by photographer-director Rick Castro, has entered the blogosphere. Surprise-surprise, it’s for adults only.

Keeping track of sexuality (and sex) in all of its permutations as it is represented in popular and fringe culture, Castro’s blog might just be a perfect addition for the enlightened age that Obama’s presidency seems to be struggling to usher in. (Now if Obama would just grow a pair.)

Recent posts have been about the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce’s 2010 list of honorees who will receive stars on The Walk of Fame, this Sunday’s celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the Tom of Finland Foundation at Faultline Bar and reaction to the latest sexually-charged Calvin Klein ad campaign.

My favorite post so far: One Straight Guy’s View of Bisexuality– a video by Minneapolis Youtube star Rocci Berrini, who espouses about topics of the day from a slacker’s POV.  And his seemingly clueless, common-sense, pro-gay marriage stance is actually one of the best (and funniest) arguments yet against the right’s clueless bigotry. Fight fire with fire, I say.

Big hair doesn’t save the wicked

June 10, 2009 in Celebrity, Crime, People

Spector deflowered and Prejean dismissed.

spectorbaldprejean2The synchronicity of a rug-less Phil Spector prison photo released by the CA State Corrections Department and the news that big hair-sporting Miss California USA, a.k.a. Carrie Prejean, opposite marriage defender, getting her ass fired by none other than architecturally-coiffed Donald (“You’re fired!”) Trump for treating people “like shit” probably doesn’t say anything about the Power of Hair.

But I’m sure glad I got mine cut last night at Rudolphos, the upscale branch of the Rudy’s chain on Melrose and Orange. To my exacting requirements, it may have cost nearly twice as much as a cut at the low-end shop, but it looks twice as good and it took four times longer, clocking in at 40 minutes.

Two reasons for my haircut: Saturday’s Hot Dog Death March and Sunday’s Gay Pride blow-out in WeHo– another sort of weiner parade.

Cheney supports gay marriage

June 1, 2009 in Politics

cheneyFormer Vice President Dick Cheney is making headlines again but this time it’s not about torture.

Asked today at the National Press Club in Washington DC about recent state level decisions regarding same sex marriage, including California’s  state supreme court ruling upholding Proposition 8, Cheney said,

I think that freedom means freedom for everyone. As many of you know, one of my daughters is gay and it is something we have lived with for a long time in our family. I think people ought to be free to enter into any kind of union they wish. Any kind of arrangement they wish. The question of whether or not there ought to be a federal statute to protect this, I don’t support. I do believe that historically the way marriage has been regulated is at the state level. It has always been a state issue and I think that is the way it ought to be handled, on a state-by-state basis. … But I don’t have any problem with that. People ought to get a shot at that.

The report on Huffington Post also points out the Obama administration being seemingly at odds on the gay marriage question with a growing number of voices on both sides of the political spectrum.

The president has said he supports civil unions for gay couples but that he remains committed to marriage being between a man and woman. His press department has been completely quiet about the recent California Supreme Court case upholding a ban on gay marriage in the state.

Photo: US federal government/public domain

[UPDATE: Video of Cheney's remarks after the jump.] Read the rest of this entry →

Churches ban straight marriage, divorce lawyers threaten legal action

May 29, 2009 in Uncategorized

Just kidding about that second part. Two pastors at churches in Los Angeles County have announced that in protest of this week’s state supreme court ruling to uphold Proposition 8, they will not perform any opposite-sex marriages at their churches.

According to The Advocate,

The Reverend Art Cribbs of San Marino Congregation Church and the Reverend Anne Cohen of the First Congregational Church in Glendale have both said they will not be performing wedding ceremonies of any kind until the ban on same-sex marriage is lifted.

Prop 8 ruling expected as soon as tomorrow

May 20, 2009 in Politics, Social issues

As the 90-day period for California’s State Supreme Court to rule on anti-same-sex marriage Proposition 8 draws to a close on June 3rd, an announcement of its decision is expected as soon as tomorrow. The court normally releases judgments on Mondays and Thursdays.

Meanwhile on the other side of the country, here’s the new ad from the so-called National Organization for Marriage that’s running in New Hampshire, which just passed a same-sex marriage bill in its legislature and awaits the governor’s signature.

[UPDATE: Daily Kos just posted that the New Hampshire House has voted against the state senate's amendment to the same-sex marriage bill, which consisted of changes insisted upon by Democratic Governor John Lynch to protect so-called "religious rights." The bill is likely to be considered dead for the rest of the legislative session.]

I know it’s not the intention of NOM, but to me it shows how easy it would be to teach children about fairness and equality. Of course, the anti-gay crowd shudders at the very thought of it. Confused indeed, and maybe a little uncomfortable about teaching bigotry to young, trusting minds.

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NOM’s last high profile ad, “Gathering Storm,” met with a deluge of mocking parody ads on Youtube. I can’t wait for the responses to this one.

Trump cuts Miss California a break, since she’s so pretty

May 12, 2009 in Celebrity, Politics

So Miss California, Carrie Prejean, who recently got a call from Satan while on television before millions of viewers, will be allowed to keep her crown and continue to represent the Golden State as a good will ambassador around the country, or to at least to those who will have her.

All thanks to Miss USA pageant-owner Donald Trump, who said since she’s pretty it doesn’t matter that she broke pageant rules by not disclosing that she posed for nude photographs, let alone made an ad  for a political organization (another pageant no-no) seeking to deny marriage rights to same-sex couples.

I don’t mind the ham-fisted way she stated her views. She seemed to be saying she thinks same-sex marriage is wrong according to the version of religion that she subscribes to, but there are places where it’s legal and that’s okay with her. I’m cutting her a big break because I assumed she was saying she wasn’t trying to press her views on other people and force them to live accordingly.

But by then choosing to work for the so called National Organization for Marriage, a group  founded on the principals of open hostility to gay people, it makes her seem like either an impressionable dumb-ass, or a media whore clamoring for any attention she can get, or a bigot.  Or all three, which I now suspect is the case.

perezhiltonI never thought I would utter these words, but THANK YOU PEREZ HILTON. Celebrity “journalism” has never held any interest for me, but I guess it sure came in handy here. (He asked Prejean her views on same-sex marriage during the pageant, eliciting her response that started a media tsunami.)

As I think back on the handful of times I noticed the gay boy with the spikey blue hair pecking away at his laptop at the Coffee Bean on Sunset and Hayworth a few years ago, not realizing it was Hilton (nee Mario Armando Lavandeira) building his power base in the online gossip world, I now smile at the political and social purpose he has embraced.

I read somewhere recently how time is the enemy of bigotry. As older people who cling to antiquated social values die off, successively enlightened younger generations will take their place– a gross oversimplification. Carrie Prejean is 21; Perez Hilton is 31.

Photo: Eric from Irvine; Creative Commons Lic.

LGBT Action Fair Highlights Why Prop 8 Passed

January 11, 2009 in Politics

Simply put, the major forces behind the No on 8 campaign ignored all of the grassroots organizations that could have truly helped marriage equality become a reality.

Yesterday’s action fair was organized by quite a few grassroots organizations and heavily promoted through JoinTheImpact’s activist network. All of this was also advertised under a national protest against DOMA: the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Signed into law in 1996 by then-President Bill Clinton, it prohibits same-sex marriages from EVER being recognized by the federal government, effectively delegating the decision to individual states. President-elect Barack Obama promised during his campaign to repeal the law and the event was organized to remind Obama (and his supporters) of the promises made.

Display of LGBT activist pins at the LGBT Action Fair

Read the rest of this entry →