Thursday, January 31, 2008

ELLEN TURNS 50, Friends make gag video

To celebrate Ellen's 50th birthday, a few of her celeb friends got together and made a video birthday card.

It's Jake Gyllenhaal, Paris Hilton, Victoria Beckham, David Spade, Jamie Foxx, Queen Latifah, Heidi Klum and others lip synching to I WILL SURVIVE.

Ilene Chaiken takes on Girl Bar's Sandy Sachs on The L Word

Will wonders ever cease? I guess if you live long enough...

Ilene Chaiken does nods to famous and infamous real lesbians in her show - that's no secret.Well, maybe it's  a secret, so if you don't know yet... Chaiken draws on her own real life experiences to create her characters.  Something that's an even bigger "no secret" is who her new character Dawn Denbo is based on, none other than famed LA Girl Promoter Sandy Sachs.

Sach's, along with partner Robin Gans, have been ruling the Sapphos night scene in Los Angeles for about twenty years now with their GIRL BAR brand.   

Actress Elizabeth Keener, (who also starred in Liz Lachman's hysterical lesbian short, GETTING TO KNOW YOU, and is the sister of Catherine Keener, both pictured here flanking director Lachman) nails the Sandy Sach's impersonation to a TEEEEEEEE with hand gestures and even the voice, as you can see from this sneak peak scene to next week's episode below. It's a flashback to fifteen years ago and Chaiken's version of what might happen behind closed VIP room doors:

Back in the day, Sachs had quite the reputation for crushing any competing lesbian promoter, and although a scene like this is a little over the top, her behind the scenes business tactics were as such.  Sachs was one of the subjects of a documentary called POWER LESBIANS, which aired last year on the LOGO network, where she even discussed her rise to success and admitted, "I crush my competition".  

Things have mellowed lately and now there are several really fantastic promoters producing a variety of nights for the ladies here in LA. But back in the day... I swear, it was like watching a lesbian sequel to The Goodfather watching all the promoters conspire and vie for the lesbian nitelife crowd. Some casualties were Stephenie with Fuel, and Joanni Weir with CLUB BANSHEE (which I always enjoyed and can still remember spotting a younger Ellen and others in the crowd some nights).

In honor of Chaiken's portrayal of Sachs, I thought I'd share with you another hysterical parody, if you will, made by television writer and stand up comedian Karey Dornetto, called "Hi, I'm Ilene" where she spoofs, well, Ilene Chaiken.

I guess if you're a famous lesbian, you are bound to be lampooned by other famous lesbians.

I still can't see Ilene in person or on tv without chuckling and thinking of this video! I don't know why, but this just cracks me up so much, I never tire of watching it.

If you have a good eye, you'll also notice stand up Erin Foley in this, as well as former VP of the now defunct Q Network Alexis Fish.
And in honor of all the lesbian promoters in WeHo, here's a list of 'em.
Tuesday Nights - EVELEN Niteclub - Fuse Events
Thursday Nights - East/West - Shannon K
Friday Nights - Truck Stop, Here Lounge, Fuse Events
Friday Nights - O Bar, Shannon k
Friday Nights - Girl Bar, The Factory
Sunday Nights - The L Word Screening - Falcon, Fuse Events

And here's the latest Dinah Shore event by Sandy Sachs called - ironically enough - SHE BAR (after the club in this season's THE L WORD)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

When Will We Say "Enough"?

Hello Darlings,

I know you tuned in today to get a glimpse of the latest in Gay Hollywood, and I promise to give you a STELLAR blog tomorrow full of photos of hot hunky celebs and fabulous women (promise tomorrow, really), but today is one of those days where you're instead getting an assignment. Time to pull out your composition book and take out your number two pencil - metaphorically speaking. Your keypad and email program will suffice. Stop groaning.

Just so you know I'll have dish tomorrow, here's a few of the folks I hung out with ALL DAY tune in tomorrow for all the details and tons of wonderful candid photos from my pals, photojournalists Brian Putnam and Faye Sadou.
Okay, now time to do a little something for me, for yourself and for our community.

We ARE FAMILY is not just a song by the Pointer Sisters, k? First here's the story. Then you'll see your homework to follow after.

So ya'll probably guessed right away that some right wing nut jobs would somehow link Heath Ledger's death to his role in BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN.
That came true as we've now seen. Today, let's talk about FOX NEWS.
What burns my hide is a supposed news source, FOX, allowing John Gibson to make light of Ledger's death because he played gay. Gibson actually made fun of Ledger's death.  On a national news program run by Fox.

The following is a great clip from another news show where reporters comment on John Gibson's anti gay hate statements against Heath Ledger. This clip includes the remarks, if you haven't heard them and also includes the apology Gibson had to make after the network was inundated with calls and mail in protest to his outrageous anti gay remarks.

Let me show you why we must not stand for this brand of hate being broadcast across the country. Let me just show you one picture and tell you one story so you can see what the above hate leads to for us and our community.

This is Sean Kennedy. He was a young gay man, out in his community and beloved by friends and family. Eight months ago, someone in his neighborhood saw him outside a gay bar, jumped out of his truck, called him a "faggot" then punched him in the face. After he landed he was called a "faggot" again.

The blow Sean received to his face following the "f" word shattered his face bone, and when he landed on the pavement, the impact severed his brain steam. He was left on the pavement to die. A few hours later a phone message was left for one of his friends, "When you see your faggot friend tell him he owes me $500 for breaking my hand!"

Sean was dead and because there was no hate crime legislation in that town in South Carolina, the murderer was given only 4 months in jail. Because this was an attack on a gay man, the local police and political figures did nothing to help and the family was shunned by friends because of the gay element of the murder.

Look at that boy's face and tell me when will the time come when we say "enough"? You are not allowed to hate us. You are not allowed to spread hate. You are not allowed to send hateful messages on legitimate news sources (Fox, of course, as usual) that fuel angry people out there and give them permission to kill us. While the police and the city and everyone else does nothing.

If you're upset by this, please send a note with your thoughts to:

Also I urge to to visit the sponsor page of FOX NEWS and send their advertisers a notes as well. Names and addresses can be found at

For all the up to date information on this story, you can check in at GLAAD, our advocacy group which exists to police gay defamation in the media.

To learn more about Sean, and all our other LGBT brothers and sisters who have been slain in the last year, visit

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Baptists to Picket Ledger's grave for Playing Gay

A radical Baptist church in Kansas known for picketing the funerals of soldiers who perished in Iraq said it intends to protest Heath Ledger's memorial service with signs claiming the actor died and is in Hell because he played a gay character in “Brokeback Mountain.”

Shirley Phelps-Roper of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka said that she and other members will picket Ledger’s United States memorial services, not those held in his native Australia.

“You cannot live in defiance of God,” she said. “He got on that big screen with a big, fat message: God is a liar and it’s OK to be gay.”

A press release circulated by the church references Leviticus 18:22 in the Bible, which states that “thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.”

“Heath Ledger is now in Hell, and has begun serving his eternal sentence there,” the Westboro Baptist announcement says.

Started 1955, the Topeka, Kan.-based church has conducted over 34,000 peaceful demonstrations opposing the homosexual lifestyle, according to their Web site,

The organization runs various Web sites, including and others that condemn lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, Muslims, Roman Catholics and Jews as well as certain nationalities, according to Wikipedia.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

BROKEBACK star Heath Ledger dies at 28

Heath Ledger, star of the groundbreaking gay wide-release feature BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN, was found dead Tuesday afternoon at a downtown Manhattan apartment in what authorities are reporting as a possible drug related death.

At 3:20 pm the housekeeper went to get Ledger for his massage
appointment and found him naked, unresponsive and surrounded by prescription pills. The massage therapist phoned the police. The NYPD is suspecting a drug related death, but that cannot be confirmed until the autopsy which is scheduled for tomorrow.  There may yet be another cause of death.  Ledger had also been  suffering from pneumonia.

His family has adamantly denied that it was a suicide, claiming that was not in his character.

Sources are reporting that the loft apartment he where he was found belonged to Mary Kate Olsen, 21, who is currently in Park City for the Sundance premiere of her film, THE WACKNESS. This has been widely reported but as yet unconfirmed.  Reports also state the massage therapist called the Olsen's bodyguard, who was a few blocks away because he was an EMT and that there is no other connection.

Only a few weeks ago, actor Brad Renfro was discovered dead from an drug overdose.  Renfro was the the star of out-gay director Brian Singer's APT PUPIL starring out actor Ian McKellen. Just a few months ago, actor Owen Wilson tried to take his own life.

Ledger was dating fellow BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN costar, Michelle Williams, but they split up last September. They have a daughter together named Matilda.

Ledger received an Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of the gay cowboy Ennis Del Mar in BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN.

Ledger recently played one incarnation of the title character in
the Bob Dylan biopic I'M NOT THERE and will be seen in the 
upcoming BATMAN film as the younger version of The Joker. As recently as last Saturday, Ledger was on set in London on Terry Gilliam's THE IMAGINERIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS.

Prior to Williams, Ledger dated other Hollywood starlets including Naomi Watts and Heather Graham.

Ledger was 28 years old.

"It was a friendship that became a secret..."

Here is the trailer for the seminal gay film:

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Sundance 2008 - Queer Brunch, Black House, Glaad and SHELTER trailer unveiled

Certainly at this point a staple in every gay person's Sundance visit is the Queer Brunch, always held on the first Sunday of the festival at Grub Steak on Sidewinder.

Everyone from Sundance programmers, studio people, filmmakers, actors, writers, LGBT film festival executives from around the world, distributors and
journalists are there.

This year, a nice surprise.... since the gay pay cable channel here! was sponsoring the brunch
with OUTFEST, they took that opportunity to push their new feature...which happens to be the film I produced, SHELTER.

So of course, I ran around and had my picture taken with a few of the posters! Then after the presentations from here! and OUTFEST, they showed the trailer!

If you want to feel like you were there, set your AC to 45, make yourself some wonderful food (the food here is always STELLAR!!), pour yourself a stiff bloody mary or mimosa and click play below to watch the trailer for SHELTER.

Here's some of the folks I got to talk to whilst there. If I look happy in the photos it's because it really does thrill me to be around fantastic out, proud, creative and talented LGBT folks.

This is David Courier, who is a Sundance Film Festival Programmer. I got to know David when he was a programmer at Outfest.

These are two lesbian filmmakers from San Fran who are my "myspace friends". I try to connect with LGBT folks around the world on myspace who are interested in LGBT filmmaking and political issues related to our cause. It always makes me so happy to meet them in person! Every festival I go to, I always get at least 3 myspace friends coming up and saying "hi".

Next photo is of a man no one ever seems to see or know, but he is the co-founder and co-ceo of here! and Regent, Mr Stephen P Jarchow.

Stephen is a very serious, super genius Republican STRAIGHT businessman from Texas. He and Paul Colichman run the companies and Paul always comments on how great it is that a Republican straight man is forging the way for LGBT folks out there.

Ah, Ms Jane Clark. Dear me, where do I begin with this one!? Jane was the star of a play I was hired to direct way back when at the Coast Playhouse (BURN THIS, by Lanford Wilson).

Suffice it to say, she is an alpha she wolf, like myself and all the positioning that went on in the first few weeks was hysterical to say the least (I mighta been the director, but she was also one of the producers. If she didn't like something I was doing, man she let me know).

The play went on to glorious reviews and even a standing ovation one night! The team was certainly magic.

These days Jane is a prolific film maker, recently having made several shorts - including a lesbian one. She is currently developing a lesbian tv show and feature. The lesson here is - for all you alpha she wolves out there in the business - two powerful women can make a powerful team working together!!

Outfest and Sundance programmer Kim Yutani takes a brief moment from her busy schedule to smile for my camera.

Filmmaker, star/writer/director Ash Christian from FAT GIRLS.

One of my favorite documentary filmmakers is Leslie Klainberg, pictures here on the right pointing (like all good lesbian film directors should!).

We got to know each other a few years back when she was on the board of OUTFEST and I was doing a stint as the Festival Manager there.

Here's a fellow I've just recently gotten to know a bit and I just adore him, Reichen Lehmkuhl . He is so adorable I don't know whether to adopt him or eat him for breakfast.

I just read his book, Here's What We'll Say, and his whole experience of being a gay cadet at The Air Force Academy was so moving. He is a true gay hero for coming out and sharing his experiences with the world, and for being such an advocate to overturn the horrible "don't ask, don't tell" policies of our US Military.

Sundance, more Sundance...GLAAD, QUEER BRUNCH

The Gift Bag Review Vlog from Sundance
with special guest Jason Stuart

I review the gift bags we got today with special guest Jason Stuart. Jack, my usual cohost, is of course still in California.

Jason and I bicker, review films, dish about Christine Vachon and Robert DeNiro and gossip about our condo mates.

Darlings, I'm way too tired to write'll just have to look at the photos.

But meanwhile, check out my fellow blogger, Damon Romine from GLAAD to get all the real news at