Archive for the ‘Activism’ Category

Dynasty: Blake’s Trial & Homophobia and the Reincarnation of Steven Carrington

July 28, 2017

The two Steven Carringtons played by Al Corley and Jack Coleman.

The CW prepares to air a brand-new version of Dynasty this fall. It might be helpful to take a look back at this popular and troubled series before jumping into the 2017 version.

It’s incredible how my memory of the 80’s television soap continues to feel so positive. I remember my friend Pat coming over to my house and having a glass of champagne with my parents while we watched the ridiculous, over-the-top series. I remember a huge group of gay men in college converging on my friend Duane’s apartment because he had the biggest television. We howled, we screamed, we laughed together. In hindsight, I suppose any gay content was positive back then.

Watching the original Dynasty today streaming on Netflix, I am appalled at how homophobic and disgusting the plot lines were. Gay character Steven Carrington started out being gay and proud. Then he had an affair with a married woman – sleeping with her more than once, then slept with his male ex-lover Ted from NYC once, then Stephen’s father, Blake (the star of the show) went on trial for Ted’s murder. He did murder him. And Blake’s behavior towards Steven was nothing short of a bully. Blake was the perfect image of the disgusting treatment LGBT people faced during the Reagan Administration by Reagan himself (silence on AIDS) and the formation of the Religious Right. On Dynasty, fictional Steven married a woman and had a child with her. Why not make him bisexual? Such sad and revolting writing for a gay male character to endure.

There’s no way I could continue watching Dynasty today. Truth be told I fast-forwarded through episodes in Season 1 and Season 2 for a reminder of the murder trial. It’s unbelievable things were that bad for gay people in my lifetime. Yes I was an adult at the time and out. I guess we didn’t demand the respect in the media we do today. Of course things are far from perfect today, but we have a slew of LGBT characters on film and in television who do us proud.

I wrote extensively on Steven Carrington, The Two Steven Carringtons Legacy in 2015 for Reel Charlie.

For more on Blake’s disgusting behavior towards Steven later in the series, see Cora Buhlert’s blog post from 2013, Dynasty and socially acceptable homophobia.

The Dynasty reboot promises to be filled with a decidedly not confused Steven salaciously bedding a man named Sam – a nod to Heather Locklear’s Sammy Jo character. Gotta love 2017. Australian actor James Mackay plays Steven. The new Dynasty premieres October 11, 2017 on the CW after Riverdale.

Queer Icons (BBC Radio 4)

July 24, 2017

From BBC Radio 4 Front Row,

LGBTQ guests champion queer artworks which are special to them, to mark the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality. From the poetry of Sappho to the songs of Frank Ocean. More guests coming soon, including Mary Portas, Nicholas Hytner, Rebecca Root, David Sedaris, and Colm Toibin.

These 5 minute audio pieces are powerful examples of the various types of LGBT art and how something influences a person at a certain moment in time. What’s your icon?

See the entire list of guests discussing their favorite queer icon on BBC Radio 4.

13 Essential LGBT Indies From the Post-‘Brokeback Mountain’ Era (Indiewire)

July 22, 2017

Good mainstream list of LGBT indies (I’d question a few of these titles being called “indies”) released after the success of Brokeback Mountain in 2005. Reel Charlie agrees with the following films from Indiewire’s list,

A Single Man
I Killed My Mother
Laurence Anyways
Stranger by the Lake
The Kids are All Right

Missing from the list in order of release date 2006 –
Ha-Buah (The Bubble)
Avant que j’oublie (Before I Forget)

Clapham Junction
Itty Bitty Titty Committee
Were the World Mine
Hollywood je t’aime
Contracorriente (Undertow)
Les amours imaginaires (Heartbeats)
Mine Vaganti (Loose Cannons)
I Do
Mommy is Coming
Freier Fall (Free Fall)
Interior.Leather Bar.
Reaching for the Moon
The Way He Looks
Holding the Man
Paris 05:59: Théo & Hugo

Remember these are indie films, so Milk doesn’t qualify for this list.
Does not include documentaries.
Culled from Wikipedia lists.

Read the full article on Indiewire.

I Am The Ambassabor

July 17, 2017

Lovely, upbeat look at the life of Rufus Gifford, the U.S. Ambassador to Denmark from 2014 – 2016 during Obama’s last term. Gifford became a celebrity in Denmark and so the idea came to create a reality series around his life as Ambassador. During his tenure, marriage equality happened and so he wed his partner, veterinarian Stephen DeVincent in 2015. I Am The Ambassador covers the life and duties of Gifford as he warms his way into the heart of the Danish people. At a simple nine, 30-minute episodes for the combined two seasons, this series is easy to digest. You might learn a few things about being an ambassador. But mostly you will pine away for a simpler time when our U.S. President inspired people to go out in the world and partner with other nations as equals and to learn from their hosts as much as they gave. 3.5 out of 5.

A 78-Year-Old Gay Man Shares Sobering Truths With A 13-Year-Old Gay Boy (Logo)

July 11, 2017

May the generations reach out to each other in unique and creative ways. From Logo,

Commemorating 50 years since the decriminalization of homosexuality in the U.K., a new video sits a 78-year-old gay man across from a gay boy 65 years his junior.

The heartwarming video, produced by YouTubers duo Trent & Luke in collaboration with London Pride, gives the two British blokes the rare opportunity to compare their experiences coming out and living as gay in two very different times.

 At 13, Louis already has a boyfriend and is overwhelmingly supported by his peers and family. “I think you’re so lucky the world has changed and you can just be yourself,” Percy tells him.
Watch the 11-minute short interview on YouTube.

50 Shades of Gay (2017) – Channel 4

July 11, 2017

An unfortunate title, Channel 4’s 50 Shades of Gay turns out to be a brief, compelling look at the progress made in Britain’s gay community since the repeal of sodomy laws 50 years ago. Rupert Everett wrote and presented this snapshot of how lives have changed since 1967. Remarkably, Everett manages to include older gay men, people of color, television actors, laborers, a lesbian community, a lesbian trans couple, Princess Diana’s former assistant and the former head of BP. Quite an impressive collection of diverse stories for 47 minutes. And Everett himself softens his persona in order to welcome the changes that have taken place allowing the viewer to decide which are positive and which may be troublesome. 4 out of 5 for 50 Shades of Gay. Watch it on YouTube.


July 2, 2017

Netflix hit one out of the park with their new feature film, Okja. I haven’t felt this excited about the creative expressions of a film in a very long time. I keep thinking of I Heart Huckabees, even though the films aren’t even close to being similar. The artistic chances Okja takes and where it succeeds remind me of the best film making can do. Okja transports the viewer through humor, absurdity, and consciousness all wrapped up in a movie which tells the simple story of a little girl, her big pig and the lifetime love these two beings share. Filmed in South Korea and the U.S., I wanted to recommend this to my niece and nephew’s kids, but like any good creatively forward film the creators of Okja break convention and have some of the characters swear like sailors. So this is a film for “kids” who are old enough to understand the nuance of the word fuck. Directed by South Korea’s Bong Joon-ho (Snow Piercer, Mother), Okja takes the best fairy tale, animal rights activism, corporate greed, and bumbling humans everywhere mixing it up and putting it in his slow cooker until the subjects and genres blend into the most delicious cinematic experience. Outstanding cast featuring Tilda Swinton, Hee-Bong Byun, Giancarlo Esposito, Jake Gyllenhaal, Shirley Henderson, Paul Dano, Steven Yeun, Daniel Henshall, Lily Collins, Jihoon Park, Devon Bostick and introducing Seo-Hyun Ahn to American audiences as Mija. Darius Khondji’s (Amour, Se7en) gorgeous cinematography makes the crazy good animation seem all the more real. Bravo to the cast and crew. I’ve been avoiding watching the slew of factory farm documentaries out there because I knew I’d have to give up eating most meat. Okja provided a much-needed push in that direction. I want to watch more Bong Joon-ho’s films. Okja made my senses come alive. 5 out of 5 for this complex and masterful film.

The PrEP Project Ep 1: Pop!

June 26, 2017

Safer sex for gay and bisexual men in 2017 includes PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis). The PrEP Project recently released a very sexy series of videos aimed at men who have sex with men (MSM).

Watch Episodes 1-4 on YouTube.

2017 NYC Pride March: Watch it LIVE!

June 25, 2017

Historic! ABC 7 in New York City is broadcasting the NYC Pride Parade live for the very first time ever! ABC7NY is the broadcast partner of the 2017 NYC Pride March. From WABC NY,

WABC-TV is the official television partner and broadcast the 48th NYC LGBT Pride March on Sunday, June 25, 2017.

The NYC Pride March started in 1970 as a civil rights demonstration on the 1-year anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising. Today, it is one of the world’s best known LGBT events, with 350 marching contingents and more than 2 million spectators in 2016.

WABC-TV broadcasts the annual trek down Fifth Avenue from Noon -3 p.m. on Channel 7 and on its website, abc7NY.

Watch it streaming on ABC 7’s website.

Michael Lost and Found

June 16, 2017

To be perfectly honest, the story of Michael Glatze who spent his young adulthood helping LGBT teens feel better about themselves only to have a breakdown, break off his long-term relationship with his boyfriend Benji Nycum and resurface as a born-again Christian vilifying his former life and marrying a woman makes me feel queasy. I don’t want to watch the James Franco feature film, I Am Michael based on Glatze’s story. The story itself freaks me out. I realize people make choices every day which go against their innate nature. I get that. But when someone does it in such a public way and vilifies their former gay life (whatever that mean), it makes my skin crawl. So I reluctantly watched the 18 minute short film produced by Benjie Nycum, Michael Lost and Found which chronicles the first meeting of Benji and Michael since the feature film has been released. In the interim, Michael married a woman named Rebekah, they’ve both left their former church and are preaching at their own church where they claim they accept everyone and don’t judge. Nycum goes to visit Glatze and his wife in rural, desolate Wyoming in hopes of finding answers and finding Michael’s mental health in a better place. Benji does seem to find Michael more calm, less agitated, but he doesn’t get the answers he wants nor does the audience get to hear Michael answer any really hard questions such as does he still believe being gay is a sin. Is he now straight? Was his time with Nycum just as fulfilling as his time now with Rebekah? Glatze skirts every question.  His answers sound like he’s not speaking from his heart but from rhetoric he has adopted. In the end, it seems like Benji is grateful Michael doesn’t seem to be suffering or out of control. The audience can’t help but feel frustrated with Michael. Benji’s tenderness shows the person he is. For Michael, his life still comes born out of  a place of fear and internalized self-hatred. Glatze doesn’t talk about being sexually fluid nor does he speak of being bisexual. One day he was a gay rights advocate, the next he was a born-again converted straight preacher. Perhaps it is the extremes he is most comfortable in. 3 out of 5 for this sad story.

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