Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Gayest Video of the Week: We have a Winner

The winner of the gayest youtube video of the week is actually called "That's So Gay" and stars none other that out-lesbian funnywoman Wanda Sykes.   It's sponsored by GLSEN and the Ad Council.

It's a PSA trying to change the use of the term "That's So Gay" amongst high schoolers.  Please, only use the term to describe something fabulous, people!

The Point Foundation Gala - Photos and Dish

This past Saturday, the Point Foundation hosted a gala at the Hollywood Renaissance Hotel and - as usual - it was a star-studded evening with laughs, tears and fun.

(pictured left, Cherry Jones with Point Executive Director Jorge Valencia)

"I like boobs too," Lily Tomlin said starting her tribute to actress Cherry Jones. 

She went on to riff for about fifteen minutes and she had the entire crowd in stitches. "I remember meeting Cherry Jones when she was at Carnegie Melon - undiscovered and very young. Of course, I was a huge star at the time," Tomlin said with her usual deadpan style reminicent of her work in 9 to 5 and Laugh In. She continued with, "Some of the drama students took me up into the hills where we smoked pot....oh, but not Cherry, of course."

Tomlin blamed her irreverent speech on Hairspray director Adam Shankman, "He's sitting at my table and is a very, very bad influence on me."

When Cherry Jones took the stage, she refused to let Lily leave and the two of them continued an off-the-cuff routine that had the entire ballroom falling on the floor laughing.

Miss Jones recently won the Emmy for best supporting actress in a drama for her work playing the president on "24".  Jones has always been an out lesbian, and rose to fame on the New York stage, winning two Tony's there and being compared as the modern day Colleen Dewhearst.

Oddly enough, I heard most of the male audience members didn't know Lily Tomlin was out, and a few didn't even know who Cherry Jones was (admit it, you have to be a theatre queen), yet that didn't stop the huge pile-up on these two at the meet-and-greet afterwards.  Their stage show was so heartfelt and hysterical, they made about 500 insta-fans.

Other highlights included Frenchie Davis from American Idol taking the stage to belt-out I Am Changing from Dreamgirls along with the current Point Scholars themselves, nearly bringing the audience to tears with their stories of coming-out, and conquering discrimination.

The Point Foundation is an organization whose goal is to educate the future generations of lgbt folks. They provide full college scholarships to those of merit and need, and also provide an lgbt mentor. In addition, the students become part of the Point family, and have weekly, monthly and yearly meetups with other Point Scholars across the country. It's a very powerful, and empowering organization that literally saves lives.

It's hard to pinpoint highlights of this evening, since the entire show was absolutely flawless. 

It was hosted by the actors who play the gay couple from ABC's new comedy MODERN FAMILY, Jessie Tyler Ferguson and Eric Stonestreet. They were hysterical and charming. Mary Murphy - the judge from So You Think You Can Dance - ran the live auction - loudly, humorously and all the while outbidding everyone herself ("Well, I want to to go on that trip!"). 
An award was given to Motorola which meant.... you guessed it, lots of goodies in the gift bags (I got a fancy bluetooth headset!) Point Alumni Zach Zyskowski performed a piece on the violin that absolutely stunned the audience (you coulda heard a pin drop during his performance). The "voice of god" for the evening (that's what we call the announcer in the biz) was the hunky Ben Patrick Johnson, author, model and all around fabulous guy.

Those in attendance also included Swoozie Kurtz, Michael Emerson (Ben from LOST!!!!), Lee Rose, Calpernia Adams, and out-gay stars Darryl Stephens, Doug Spearman (Noah's Arc) and Reichen Lehmkuhl.

Anyway, here's all the photos:

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Gayest Video of the Week: Sneak Peak at this week's GLEE

It's only Tuesday, but I can pretty much announce that this is the best gay video of the week already.

Who doesn't love the gay character Kurt on GLEE?  I know, that question was ridiculously redundant since the entire show is so gay.

Here's Chris Colfier dancing to SINGLE LADIES (which I hear from someone is the best music video of all time), from tomorrow night's episode of GLEE on Fox.

Colfier is turning quickly into one of the show's favorite characters - which is funny considering he was the one that showed up to auditions with the least experience, and he didn't even land a single part on the show.  So gay show creator Ryan Murphy created a part just for him.

Good going, Ryan!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Top Ten Gay Stories of the Week

10.  Elton John Denied Adoption
You can't be too rich or too thin, but you can certainly be too old and too gay.

9.  Rosie O Donnell and Star Jones Team Up for New Show?
New show for these two ex-Viewers announced....then quickly denounced.  Hmmm, Barbara Walter's mafia connections at work?

8.  New Lesbian Drama Airs on Twitter
between Lindsay Lohan and Samantha Ronson. 

7.  Auditions start for new Ilene Chaiken Show
Local lesbians respond to the Cattle Call for Chaiken's new reality show for Showtime, entitled The Real L Word:  Los Angeles.  Personally, I'm routing for Rachel Maddow, Martina Navratilova and Lily Tomlin to be cast....and Jodie Foster/Cyndi Bernard as the couple with kids.  And Lindsay Lohan as the new Jenny.  Now THAT ....I'd watch.

6.  Fight for marriage equality heats up in Maine.
LGBT from around the country donates to cause.

5.  Violence Against Homosexuals in the Middle East Continues
Gays captured, killed, tortured and now held for ransom.

4.  Tampa has first Openly Lesbian Police Chief
Because you know how much lesbians love uniforms!

3.  Newlywed Game Gets First Gay Couple Ever
Although, it's kinda funny that these two have been together 30 years and are still newlyweds!
George Takei and Brad Altman did get married in that brief 4 month period when gay marriage was legal in California.

2.  Openly Gay Man hosts the Emmy Awards
Visibility in the media continues with gay actor Neil Patrick Harris - tv and Broadway veteran - taking on the hosting duties this year.

1.  Next Big Hollywood Gay Film Announced
Big gay films - rare.  Philadelphia, Brokeback Mountain, Milk....and next-up a biopic about Liberace starring Matt Damon and Michael Douglas!

Friday, September 18, 2009


Before I made SHELTER, EATING OUT 2 and A MARINE STORY....my first gay film was Gay Propaganda.

I paid for the whole thing myself - in addition to all the crazy karaoke parties we hosted for funds - and everyone on it worked for free. Another bit of trivia...everyone in this video, except for the DP and a few actors ....are all gay! Which made the set an absolutely blast to work on.  It took about a year to make this, and all the equipment, locations and post were also donated.  It was kinda like a big, fabulous community event.

The film went on to play 115 film festivals and win 5 Awards. My hair is brown because I dyed it for GOODFELLAS. It's blonde because that was step one. I'm singing naked, because I'm willing to do anything to raise money! The films we did included The Graduate, Goodfellas, On Golden Pond, Young Frankestein, Casablanca, From Here to Eternity and more. 

You can check out the individual films at my YouTube Page.

Two Great Events this Weekend in SoCal

Hello Everyone and happy Friday! Have a safe, wonderful, and totally gay weekend. And if you live in Los Angeles, you might want to check out these two fabulous events. Click on image to enlarge. The LOGO comedy taping is sold out for advance tickets, but there will be 35 tickets going on sale at the box office if you get there early on Saturday!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Matt Damon to Star in Liberace biopic for Warner Brothers

Director Steven Soderbergh (Ocean's Eleven, Erin Brockovich) is developing a feature biopic about the life of flamboyant entertainer Liberace, with Michael Douglas (Streets of San Francisco) attached for the lead.  

Liberace was an alleged big, flaming homosexual.  I say "alleged" because he denied being gay all the way up until his death in 1986 from complications from AIDS.

Soderbergh just confirmed buddy Matt Damon to play Scott Thorson, the man who sued Liberace in 1982 for palimony, and in essence, finally outed him.  Damon just worked with Soderbergh in The Informant.

Damon has played gay before in The Talented Mr Ripley.  Um, but that was technically a gay serial killer, not a regular gay.  

This is not the first Liberace biopic. The first one starred Victor Garber in 1988.  Is Garber out?  Because if he's not, that's kinda ironic/funny.

The script is being written by Richard LaGravanese (The Ref, The Fisher King, PS I Love You) with Jerry Weintraub (Diner, The Specialist, Ocean's Thirteen) producing. 

Weintraub was also the producer on the gay leather boy serial killer film, Cruising in 1980 starring Al Pacino.  I'm seeing a trend in gay serial killer movies.

Screenwriter LaGravenese also penned The Mirror Has Two Faces for Barbra Streisand, so he clearly must know a  thing or two about DIVAS to use in the Liberace biopic.

Soderbergh exploded onto the film scene with his debut feature Sex, Lies and Videotape back in 1989, which was a huge hit at Sundance, and pretty much kick-started the entire American independent cinema movement (thanks Steve!). 

Soon after, he teamed up with George Clooney for the adaptation of Elmore Leonard's OUT OF SIGHT.  Clooney and Jennifer Lopez might have sizzled on screen, but the true partnership was formed off set between he and Soderbergh.  The two would work together for years producing over 20 films through the company they co-founded, Section Eight (which recently dissolved in 2006). 

Those films included Syriana, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Far From Heaven, The Good German, Good Night and Good Luck and Michael Clayton.  Basically all pretty kick-ass, anti-establishment movies with good intent and political bents.

Liberace was actually Polish/Italian, born Wladziu Valentino Liberace and he was a highly successful pianist/entertainer from the 1940's until the 1970's.

At 21 he played piano with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.  In 1950, he played for then President Harry Truman at the White House.    He was all about glamour and showmanship and not surprisingly had a huge, old lady fan base who just cooed over his fey voice and gentile manner.

His brand of high glam would beget another famous piano playing 'mo, Elton John.  In fact, when John auctioned off all his flamboyant outfits from the 1970's, the reason he gave was that he didn't want to turn into Liberace. 

Rumours of Liberace's homosexuality obviously surfaced quite frequently over the years (gee what gave it away?!).  He smacked them down faster than Tom Cruise does these days.  Liberace sued The Daily Mirror and won.  He also sued Confidential and won.

His final television appearance before his death was on OPRAH in 1986.

Douglas once ruined a Broadway classic by starring as the lead of the film version of A Chorus Line.  

He went on to make a string of misogynistic films including Basic Instinct (he seduces a lesbian, but it's okay because she's an ice pick murderer), Fatal Attraction (he cheats on his wife, played by the lovely Anne Archer, but it's okay since his mistress is a crazed murderer) and Disclosure (a movie about how horrible it is to be raped by Demi Moore).

If you're keeping track of the gay serial killer movie references in this article....with Basic Instinct, that makes three.

Couldn't work in MONSTER or SILENCE OF THE LAMBS.  

What is with Hollywood making so many movies about gay serial killers!?  

Here's Liberace with Scott Thorson, and on the right -  Elton John, who is not only out but is the founder of the Elton John Aids Foundation, which raises money for the cause.

Point Foundation to Honor out-lesbian Cherry Jones

Click on image to enlarge.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The 50 Greatest Gay Films Ever Made!

AfterElton.com just published their 2009 list of the top 50 gay films ever, based on reader polls, and I'm thrilled/elated/flattered/shocked that my film SHELTER came in at...wait for it.... okay, wait some more.... #2!!

Last year we were #3, so we're moving on up!

I know. I'm in shock. For those you that know me - or know any independent film maker - you know how hard it is to find a good script, find financing, then try to make something good for the 3 cents that people give you to make LGBT films. What we lacked in budget, we made up with on SHELTER with an absolutely fantastic creative team who really went above and beyond, due to their love of the material.

Everyone always asks me why I make gay films, and an accolade like this really continues to encourage me considering how much flack I get from my friends who make main stream features and television ("why don't you get out of the small gay pond?"). I like gay film and I want to make good movies for our community for a variety of reasons, but mainly it's due to the fact that we still have no rights in this country, the teen suicide rate in the US if 4 times that of straight kids, and there really is a lack of positive images of us in the media. You can go to your multiplex every weekend and not see a single representation of yourself. So we have this small gay market, and for a change, you and your date or a group of friends can actually go see a movie about us. Then even if your parents, your church or your school mates think you're going to hell or you're a "fag", you can hopefully feel - if only just for a bit - like you're okay.

When Jonah gave me the script for SHELTER (of all places at the Abbey at brunch one Sunday), I loved it on first read and called him immediately, knowing I wanted to produce this film. I was shocked to find out that it had not even won or made the Top 5 at that year's Outfest's Screenwriting Competition.

I just finished production on my follow-up feature A MARINE STORY, and we had the same experience on that film. I love working with writer/directors, and this time it was another talented fellow named Ned Farr. Once again, I fell in love with the script on first read. We had an absolutely stellar creative team and again, relied on the kindness of strangers for handouts all over town. You can read more about that film - which is currently in post production - at www.amarinestorymovie.com For this film, we put together a production blog so everyone can see the process in photos and videos each day of the shoot. (thanks to the love and donation of Cyndi Greening!)

By the way, if you don't know what a film producer does (don't feel bad, no one does!), here's a bullet list I put together.

And of course, I encourage you to check out SHELTER at one of my favorite lesbian owned and operated web sites, Wolfe Video, by click on the photo below:

Buy a copy by clicking on the image above.

You can read all about the poll, the films and everyone's comments at AfterElton.com

Here's the list:
1 Brokeback Mountain (2005)
2 Shelter (2007)
3 Latter Days (2003)
4 Milk (2008)
5 A Beautiful Thing (1996)
6 Get Real (1998)
7 Maurice (1987)
8 Were the World Mine (2008)
9 Trick (1999)
10 Juste Une Question D'amour (Just a Question of Love) (2000)
11 Big Eden (2000)
12 The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994)
13 Torch Song Trilogy (1988)
14 Noah's Arc: Jumping the Broom (2008)
15 Broken Hearts Club (2000)
16 Angels in America (2003)
17 Longtime Companion (1990)
18 Jeffrey (1995)
19 Sommersturm (2004)
20 All Over the Guy (2001)
21 Mysterious Skin (2004)
22 Philadelphia(1993)
23 Burnt Money (2000)
24 Birdcage (1996)
25 Edge of Seventeen (1998)
26 My Beautiful Laundrette (1985) 27 Boy Culture (2006)
28 Parting Glances (1986)
29 Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001)
30 The Trip (2002)
31 Shortbus (2006)
32 The Boys in the Band (1970)
33 Yossi and Jagger (2002)
34 Another Gay Movie (2006)
35 The Bubble (2006)
36 The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
37 C.R.A.Z.Y. (2005)
38 Coffee Date (2006)
39 Making Love (1982)
40 Prayers for Bobby (2009)
41 East Side Story (2006)
42 Love Songs (Les Chansons D'Amour) (2007)
43 Mambo Italiano (2003)
44 Adam & Steve (2005)
45 In and Out (1997)
46 My Own Private Idaho (1991)
47 Rent Count (2005)
48 Eating Out (2004)
49 Mulligans (2008)
50 Transamerica (2005)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Watch Video: Interview with GLEE's own out-lesbian Jane Lynch

Jane Lynch lesbianOut actress Jane Lynch sat down with me as part of TheSmokingCocktail.com Out-Celeb interview series and spoke quite candidly about her life, discussing everything from coming out to breaking in. 

It's honest, revealing and completely outrageous - much like the actress herself.

Lynch's star has been on a meteoric rise since Christopher Guest discovered her and placed her in his improv acting company in the features Best in Show, A Mighty Wind and For Your Consideration.  She followed that with scene-stealing-star-turns in 40 Year Old Virgin, Role Models, Talledega Nights and Post Grad before hitting the thespian mother-load starring as Meryl Streep's sister in Julie & Julia.

In this exclusive video interview (see below), Lynch speaks openly about her childhood ("I was a tomboy and very male identified. I didn't have a name for it, but I knew I liked girls."), coming out ("I didn't come out to my parents until my 30's"), her first lesbian experience ("I had an affair with my voice teacher in college!") and working those sapphic scenes with straight actresses ("Jennifer Coolidge does that dumb thing, but she's dumb as a fox"; "Cybil Shepherd is very interested... perhaps bi-curious..?").

Lynch has always been an advocate for LGBT rights and has even sat on the board of the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center.  Being out as a lesbian is important to her because she believes in positive role models for LGBT folks across the country.  In keeping with this spirit, she has even donated her talents to innumerable gay films, including Tru Loved, Memoirs of an Evil Stepmother, Little Black Boot, Bam Bam and Celeste,  Promtreversy and Love is Love to name just a few. "I think it's important to support the gay film making," she notes, "Our stories just aren't told.  And there are more of us out there than people know, and I think it's important to put a real face on that -  folks learn that way, that we're not these freak of natures."

watch GLEE
GLEE is one of the most highly anticipated new shows of  the season, and openly-gay show creator Ryan Murphy wanted Lynch to be part of it.  The two previously worked together on the FOX series Popular (one of my favorite tv shows of all time), but since Lynch was committed to a new series on Starz, Murphy could only book her as a guest star.  With the long wait between the series premier and the actually series, Lynch managed to get out of her other contract and commit to GLEE as a series regular.

I've already seen the second episode of GLEE (which airs this Wednesday night) and let me just tell you...the magic continues.  Murphy has assembled a top notch cast of Broadway veterans (and newcomers) and the show mixes a sweetness with cutting humor and of course enough musical numbers to strike the band and drama geek in all of us.  Murphy also created Nip/Tuck so you know he's the master of plot twists and surprises, so this ain't your kids' High School Musical, ya hear?  (see a sneak peak at this week's episode immediately following Jane's interview, below).

Although Lynch hasn't performed yet in GLEE, you can get a taste of her musical talents in the video interview I did with her at Dinah Shore last year.  To put a spin on the celeb interview, it's completely done in song! (see below under Celeb Interviews, it's hysterical.)
Watch video here:

Here's a sneak peak of this week's episode of GLEE

And here's some other TheSmokingCocktail.com Out Celeb Interviews, including conversations with Ilene Chaiken, Perez Hilton, Chad Allen and more, including the musical interview with Jane recorded at The Dinah Shore Weekend.

If you live in Southern California, come out tomorrow to the viewing party at East/West in WeHo sponsored by DIVA.

Lesbian Drama Abounds at Power Up Workshop

This past week weekend, Power Up did the impossible.  They locked a large group of lesbians together in a room for the entire weekend and there wasn't a single instance of acoustic guitar playing, golf, broken beer bottles and only a minimal discussion of cats (and by the way, I didn't hear a single woman utter, "I saw you looking at her!", a popular line at Dinah Shore Weekend and the Olivia cruises).  There was, however, an abundance of lesbian drama.   This was mainly due to the fact that the entire weekend was about drama... and comedy.  You see the subject was women who make television, and Power Up assembled a group of the biggest names in writing to tell it all.  Which they did.

The not-for-profit Power Up organization pulled together some pretty stellar female show runners and hosted a weekend on breaking into television writing at the WGA for 42 lucky attendees.  The panelists included Lost's Executive Producer and out lesbian Elizabeth Sarnoff, Everybody Loves Raymond co-exec producer Ellen Sandler,  SNL and Seinfeld writer and recent out-lesbian Carol Leifer, 10 Things I Hate about You scribe Lauren Iungerich (she was so fucking hysterical I immediately wanted a bobblehead of her for my dashboard with some of her killer one-liners programmed for easy access!), Claudia Lonow from The Cashmere Mafia and Accidently on Purpose, and another television lesbian icon Jan Oxenberg from Cold Case, Chicago Hope and Once and Again.

 The women sat in a very casual environment where attendees could interact with them and they sang like canaries about all things writing for television.  Talk about drama!  Each woman was more hysterical than the last, and they not only told vivid stories of the writers rooms and network writing, but of breaking in and their personal lives (divorce! lesbian affairs! cancer! cancellation!).

Some of the highlights included the obvious question to Sarnoff, "Can you tell us what's going to happen on Lost this season?" to which she responded, "If someone would tell us!".   She went on to tell us that it's next to impossible to remember what goes on with the show from season to season because so many ideas are pitched in the writers room that it's hard to remember which ones actually made the show.  "We've even shot flashbacks that haven't been put in!  So between that and the endless ideas tossed out, we have to constantly be reminded of what's happened.  Fortunately, we have a gay man that keeps track of all this," she said referring to their Script Coordinator who - due to the large scope of his job - has recently been promoted to producer.

Sarnoff noted the one job she has on Lost which she never had before was writing fake sides.  "Like I don't have better things to do, I'm up writing scenes with characters in fake situations that we can use for casting."  She said this show has so many leaked stories, it's hard to stay on top.  One way fans find out what's going to happen is from the sides - or script pages - that are sent out to audition guest characters.  So these are fictionalized to hide upcoming plot points.

The job Sarnoff misses most is working on production for Deadwood.  As a story editor on that show, she got to be involved on a daily basis in production.  "Show creator David Milch doesn't even like to give the actors the scripts in advance, so everything was very raw on set," she said, "And sometimes we'd just write scenes for actors we liked at the last minute.  There was one extra that Milch did this for so many times, he became a regular."

Traditionally, writing for television has been a man's world.  Out of 8-12 writers on every show, generally, there are only one or two women. Even today, almost all of these women are the only female in a writers room.   "We had one other on Lost," says Sarnoff, "But she rolled out pretty quick."

The writers room is where all the juicy stuff happens on tv shows.  Depending on how the show runner likes to do things, all the writers are put in a room for 8 hours a day breaking down the season, the episodes then punching up each individual script.  Carol Leifer talked about Larry David as a Show Runner, "He didn't want to hire anyone on Seinfeld that had ever written for a sit com."  Leifer had been a popular comic with stand up shows on Showtime and the like when Seinfeld not only recruited Leifer to the show, but also based the character of Elaine on her.  During her days working the comedy clubs, Leifer had dated Seinfeld as well as Paul Reiser, before meeting the girl of her dreams at a Project Angel Food fundraiser 13 years ago.  She's now been with her partner ever since, with kids and 7 dogs.  Leifer also just penned a collection of funny essays, "When You Lie About Your Age, The Terrorists Win."

"When I worked on Seinfeld, Larry always wanted to know about the most mundane things that happened in our lives and most of the time, those ended up in the show, " Leifer commented.

Due to the nature of their jobs, all the women were hugely entertaining and very funny, and the attendees got to interact with the women freely during the talks, and again afterwards over coffee and danish.

All of them also had very interesting breaking-into-the biz stories.  Ellen Sandler had written a one act play that went up during a festival in Los Angeles and since it starred a then-relatively-unknown actress Rhea Perlman, her husband Danny DeVito and everyone from the hit show Taxi attended.   Show creator James Brooks went up to Sandler immediately and from that alone, asked her to pen two episodes of Taxi.

Sarnoff had a similar path when a 2-person character play she penned got in the hands of David Milch who was on NYPD Blue.  Oxenberg came from the world of independent film making and got her first break on a show called Relativity after making a few (lesbian) shorts followed by a feature that garnered critical acclaim at Sundance.  Claudia Lonow hit big after washing-up as an actress.  Whilst waiting tables at the improv, Lonow sold a series loosely based on her life to Showtime called, Rude Awakenings.  It was about a trash-talking, alcoholic, sex addict and her experiences in AA.

All the women were both honest and hysterical and the entire weekend was very inspirational.  Considering how hard it is to break into the business, much less be working in a man's world, these women were all incredibly charming and extremely encouraging.

For more information on Power Up and their upcoming educational panels (they have one on producing too!), check out www.powerupfilms.org.

Here's some photos from the weekend:

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

EATING OUT 3 Already a Best Seller - and it's not even out yet!

I thought this was hysterical.  The anticipation over the upcoming feature EATING OUT 3 - ALL YOU CAN EAT is so huge with the gay community, that the flick has hit #5 already on Wolfe Video's best sellers...and it's not even out yet!

The film is currently being completed and will be coming to your local LGBT film festival soon.  Not sure what they have planned for a theatrical release, but EATING OUT 2 did release nationwide before going to dvd. 

This is pretty flattering considering the gays are lining up to buy this flick while it's still being edited!

The Eating Out series is the baby of Q. Allan Brocka - the man who brought you Rick & Steve and Boy Culture.  Indie film maker and professional editor Phillip J Bartell joined the team for 2.  For 3, they've both enlisted the talents of their buddy Glenn Gaylord, an award winning short film maker who also produced the Perez Hilton reality show for VH-1.  All the films are produced and executive produced by Michael Shoel of Ariztical Entertainment.

The 3rd film in this series - as the other two - will be another outrageously vulgar sexual romp in the vein of Porky's or American Pie (depending on your generational reference).  Returning is funny girl Rebeka Kochan (who is fucking brilliant) and John Water's staple Mink Stole (I adore her as well).  This one stars a bunch of new half naked (or as usual, probably really full frontal naked) along with diminutive funny man Leslie Jordan.

Gaylord directed the terrific short Lost Cause - which was deeply moving and dealt with the HIV crisis, and he also helmed the music short BOYCHICK, which also garnered awards on the festival circuit.  I don't know where you can buy these - but they are really worth checking out.

Click on any of the titles below for more info.  And yes, jump on the band wagon and go 'head and BUY IT!  They start shipping the dvd in November, and as with most of their releases, there should be a lot of HOT extras on the disc.

American Idol announces new judge: ELLEN to replace Abdul

After much speculation as to who would fill the fourth judge chair left vacant by Paul Abdul, Fox announced Wednesday that it would be none other than out lesbian Ellen DeGeneres.

Yup, she's hired.

Degeneres will continue doing her daily talk show, and pull double duty for the recordings of the new season.  She joins fellow judges Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi in January.

On her show, Ellen joked, "I'm going to have a day job and a night job -- that's the times we're living in.  We're all doing that."

The show will still have several guest judges over the summer for their Idol auditions, including out actor Neil Patrick Harris and Broadway darling Kristin Chenoweth.

Ellen continues to be an advocate and role model for the LGBT community by living her life as an out lesbian.  She also has become a COVER GIRL - appearing in full page print ads and television commercial campaigns for the hugely popular national make-up brand.    Fellow out lesbian Martina Navratilova has joined the ranks of high level corporate representation as well as she recently signed to be a spokesperson for AARP.  

Continued images and placement of out LGBT folks in the mainstream continues to be vital and important as we continue in our movement to achieve equal rights - and more specifically in our fight now in Maine for marriage equality.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The L Word Final Season on Sale

Deal alert. THE L WORD FINAL SEASON is now on pre order, and Wolfe Video is running a special!

Click on the photo above for details!

And here's a little interview from the vaults of me with Rachel Shelley and Ilene Chaiken.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Ellen Show premiers today!

Sometimes I worry about humanity.  Especially when I accidentally turn on VH1 (I mean, Tool Academy, Rock of Love, et el?!), or realize this country voted for George Bush II twice.

But then some other things kinda cheer me up - like realizing two of the biggest stars in America (and on daytime television) are a black woman and a lesbian.  And that the later, is actually a spokesperson for a major cosmetics line (ah, what a brave new world we live in).

Said out-lesbian Ellen Degeneres - is premiering Season 7 of her Emmy winning talk show today, with guests David Beckham and Lady Gaga.

Time to set your tivoes!

Watch Video: MAD MEN: Sal channels Ann Margaret, His Wife Figures out what's wrong...

The closeted and deeply repressed Sal (played by out-gay actor Bryan Batt) had a fantastically uncomfortable scene in Sunday night's MAD MEN.

In it, his wife cuddled up to him in bed and asked why he never wants to have sex.  He made a few excuses, then decided to share with her the subject of his new commercial - a Pepsi ad in the mileu of Bye Bye Birdie. Within moments, she realizes why they never have sex. Unbelievably uncomfortable as seen here:

In the premier of MAD MEN last week, Sal finally had a chance to dip his toes in the pond that dare not ripple it's name when whilst on a business trip with Don, a hotel bel hop made a special late night delivery to our little Salvatore.  Just as he was about to lose it - literally - a fire alarm sounded interupting the Sal's first gay sexual experience (at least, of which we are aware).   About a minute later, Don Draper caught a glimpse of Sal and the bel hop getting dressed from the fire escape.  Sal and Don exchanged a shocked glance. Nothing has been mentioned since (it's not like Don doesn't have an encyclopedia of things he's hiding, so I guess it's professional courtesy).

If you live in Los Angeles, I've had Bryan Batt sightings at the fabulous Show Tunes Monday at Eleven in West Hollywood. Very fun night where often rare and always fun videos are played of movie and theatre musical numbers while the entire bar sings along. And often does the choreography as well. The night starts off with a 20 minute performance by a gypsy (Broadway veteran from the chorus or touring production) which is usually fantastic.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Tennis Channel produces Provocative New Documentary on Tennis Legend Martina Navratilova

Tennis legend and lesbian icon Martina Navratilova tells her life story in a new documentary produced by the Tennis Channel.   The doc is both in-depth and revealing  - no surprise considering the honesty and strength she's always had in tackling the ups and downs of her complex life.   She even narrates it herself.

In it, she discusses her professional and personal life, including coming out, her politics and her father's suicide.   Signature Series: Martina Navratilova  is shot and produced in HD and uses original footage, rare archival video and access to hundreds of family photographs.

The documentary can be seen (or tivoed) this evening on The Tennis Channel at 10 pm.

Can't catch it? No worries. TheSmokingCocktail.com will be giving away an AUTOGRAPHED copy of the doc on DVD to one lucky winner in our monthly raffle at TheSmokingCocktail.com Monthly Mixer at O Bar, Wednesday, September 16th.

This new biography coincides with Navratilova appearing as a commentator for The Tennis Channel's coverage of the US Open. This is the first time the cable net has covered the event, and they're planning  72 live match hours and around the clock news and insights. Navratilova is cohosting with Jimmy Connors and Bill Macatee.

For more information:
Martina's Home Page
The Tennis Channel's Web Site


Energy Balls, that is.  Martina makes her own snacks to help boost her workouts.  These fantastic little nuggets are made from a mixture of figs, nuts, sesame seeds, honey and oatmeal.

I've made 'em.  They're fucking awesome.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Upcoming LGBT Events in SoCal

Click on invite to enlarge.

No On 1
Maine Marriage Equality Fundraiser

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

7:00pm - 9:00pm
East West Lounge
801 Larrabee St


Saturday, September 5, 2009

You Really Oughta Be in Pictures

After the devastating news that once again Ilene Chaiken will be tasked to tell the stories of our lives (see earlier post), I encourage all of you lesbians out there with scripts to check out this upcoming seminar. It's reasonably priced and can get your stuff out there. Help, we need you!

The register, click here: http://www.power-up.net/tv2day1.html

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

SHOWTIME greenlights Ilene Chaiken's new lesbian series

Ever sit around watching The Real Housewives of... and just wish they had a show like that about lesbians? I know, me neither. 

But needless to say, Variety just reported that Showtime has greenlit just that, with Ilene Chaiken at the helm.

The new program is entitled The Real L Word: Los Angeles, and was brought to Chaiken by The Magical Elves production team - those folks that produce Project Runway and Top Chef.

Showtime okayed 9 episodes to be shot, so if you live in town...look out those cameras are coming! Meanwhile, Chaiken had a spinoff of The L Word called The Farm, which was shot then vetoed by Showtime. She also has been attempting to get The L Word movie off the ground, with no luck.

My only question is, is there really no one else on this god's earth that can tell lesbian stories, or does Hollywood think this woman is it?

What the Gays are Watching on Youtube

Two really great new commercials for marriage equality, one from Maine and one from Ireland.

From Maine:

From Ireland:

Help for LGBT Film Makers - the 101 Guide

Hello Kittens,

Every day my inboxes are full of letters from up and coming young LGBT film makers asking for help with their projects, and as much as I'd like to volunteer, it's physically impossible. But you know how much I want all gay film makers to succeed - it's key to having more positive and diverse representations of lgbt in television and film, as well as putting our stories out there (too much of our history is still in the closet).

So, in the spirit of this, I've pulled together a list of resources here for the up and coming film maker that I endorse.

If you are a writer, there is nothing better for you to break-in if you have no contacts than to place or win a major screenwriting competition. The biggest one is The Nicholls Fellowship. There's also the Sundance Lab and Scriptapalooza (more info on that below). Winning or placing in the top ten won't do it for you, you have to research the agents and managers in Hollywood that are representing the screenwriters you most aspire to be like (check out whorepresents.com). Next, send a letter to these agents and mention your placement in any high end competition. The combination of these tactics has yielded fantastic results for friends of mine! If you want a tip, start your letter like this: "I recently placed 2nd in the Scriptapalooza and now producers are contacting me with interest, yet I am currently unrepresented." Mention them personally and why you feel they are the right fit, and it also never hurts to say you are new to the business (if you are old to it, why haven't you signed yet?).

If you are a director the world is your oyster these days. With online distribution and low cost video gear, you can start making films immediately and posting them online. The best training for directors - tried and true - is just doing it. You can read a million books, go to schools, but you are never going to get good at this until you start, and continue. You'll get better with each short and project you do, guaranteed. A great resource for info on lgbt film makers and film festivals is award winning director Jenni Olsen's blog: http://www.qmovieblog.com/

Once you have a fabulous short and an online following, the best move is to get into the biggest film festival possible. You want to hit Cannes, Berlin, Sundance, Toronto, Tribeca and Montreal. These are premier film festivals. You can hit after that The LA Film Festival and the AFI Film Festival locally, but these aren't as prestigious. For LGBT Film Festivals, have your films ready by March each year and hit the top three: Outfest, Frameline and Philly. Once you get into one of these, every other LGBT film festival will be contacting you.


New Sundance head John Cooper (out-gay and pictured right) just announced that The Sundance Film Festival has created a new section for screenings of no and low budget films.  Read all about it at IndieWire, by clicking here.

John Cooper takes over the top spot at Sundance after Geofrey Gilmore departed for a gig at Tribeca.  Before taking the helm, Cooper was previously the long time Director of Programming for Sundance, and prior was the head of programming at our very own OUTFEST:  The Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Film Festival.


Veteran Sundance shorts programmer Roberta Munroe has written a fabulous guide for filmmakers, and has a web site full of tips and resources for film makers. 

Want your film at Sundance? Check out these tips and insider info at www.hownottomakesashortfilm.com

I can't recommend this site highly enough.  Fantastic site for screenwriters to post their pitches for producers to read, as well as a a go-to site for producers looking for undiscovered talent.  Their search options make this an A+ resource, as you can specify searches by genre, name attachments and/or awards won.  Check them out at www.inktip.com

Power Up is an lgbt non profit for education, resources, grants and production of features and shorts. They have a very reasonably priced upcoming two day television seminar:

Find out more at www.PowerUpFilms.org


Variety and The Producers Guild of America present: On September 23rd, representatives from California, New York and Connecticut will give an overview on what type of production incentives they have to offer, as well as commentary on their locations and infrastructure which will help producers meet their budgets and create the best looking film possible from a location stand-point.

Register today for this FREE webinar designed to educate and inform the production community.

Moderated by:
Joseph Chianese, VP of Business Development, Entertainment Partners

Speakers:  Amy Lemisch, Executive Director, California Film Commission
Pat Spinney Kaufman, Executive Director, New York State Governor's Office for Motion Picture and Television Development

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009
11AM (PDT) / 2PM (EDT)
To register for free, please click here.

Didn't make it into the Sundance Lab? No worries, you can be part of the action online.

There are fantastic interviews with the advisors, and you can follow the Lab film makers through every step of the process. It's just like being there, only without going to Utah. Click here.

Is endorsed by the Writers Guild Of America and is currently accepting scripts for their Television Writing Competition.

For info, check out their web site.

Entry fee is $40 and the deadline is October 15th.


A great organization with unending resources.
Check them out on Facebook or at their website.

Pasadena, Sept 22 and 24th
A huge expo where you can get your hands on all the latest production equipment, sit in on free demonstrations, and land killer expo-only deals on gear, including post production software and equipment.  Find out more and register for a free floor pass here:  http://www.dvexpo.com/

Part of the entertainment software company Showbiz Data, there are weekly classes in all areas of production paperwork, laws and contracts. There's an upcoming free class on Feature Payroll on September 15th. To check out all their upcoming free seminars, visit them at www.showbizsoftware.com

Let your minority status work for you!  These are highly competitive, but a great leg up.  You can gain knowledge, killer networking leads and impressive beginning job experience.

1. The Disney-ABC Writing Fellowship


2. NBC Diversity Initiative for Writers


3. Nickelodeon Writing Fellowship


4. The Guy A. Hanks & Marvin Miller Screenwriting Program (Cosby Writing Program)

Drs. Bill and Camille Cosby established the Cosby Writing Program in 1993, at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. It was named in honor of Camille's father, Guy Alexander Hanks and Bill's producer, Marvin Miller. The fifteen-week intensive workshop was designed with a two-fold purpose: To assist writers in the completion of a film or television script and to deepen the participants' appreciation for and comprehension of African American history and culture.


5. Fox Writers Initiative


6. The CBS Diversity Institute/Writers Mentoring Program