Doubling Up: Ellen DeGeneres to Host Oscars for 2014 Academy Awards

RT@Dannyboy0713: I totally hope @TheEllenShow gets every celebrity in the ballroom to dance when she hosts The Oscars @TheAcademy

And The Winner Is…

Because Twitter announcements count as official (well…until they don’t…), Twitter scooped most folks on this first: Ellen DeGeneres announced her delight to be returning as the emcee for the Oscars ceremony next year, on behalf of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts Sciences.

DeGeneres (“The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” “Finding Nemo”), in the customary “Aw shucks wink-wink” way we know and adore, shared this joyful tweet on her Twitter page:

It’s official: I’m hosting the #Oscars! I’d like to thank @TheAcademy, my wife Portia and, oh dear, there goes the orchestra.

The broadcast’s executive producers (Craig Zadan and Neil Meron) cosigned her “squee” on Twitter, tweeting:

Neil Meron @neilmeron welcome back to the Oscar stage, Ellen…we can’t wait to start working with you! @theellenshow @theacademy @craigzadan

And they love Ms. Ellen so much, they went from pitch to decision in a mere 48 hours’ time.

“I agreed with Craig and Neil immediately that Ellen is the ideal host for this year’s show,” said Cheryl Boone Isaacs, Academy President. “We’re looking forward to an entertaining, engaging and fun show.”

According to the organization’s CEO Dawn Hudson, “Ellen is talented, wonderfully spontaneous, and knows how to entertain a worldwide audience. She’s a big fan of the Oscars; we’re huge fans of hers. It’s a perfect match.”

 

All This Funny Business

According to Variety magazine, “’The Ellen DeGeneres Show’ has won 45 Daytime Emmys during its 10 seasons. Though DeGeneres’ show airs on NBC owned-and-operated stations, she has a history with Oscar broadcaster ABC, with her landmark sitcom ‘Ellen’ having run there from 1994-98. In 1997, DeGeneres won the Peabody Award and a writing Emmy for the episode in which her character came out as a gay woman, with 46 million viewers watching.

“Over the last eight years, the 2007 Oscars hosted by DeGeneres stands as the top rated in both adults 18-49 (14.1 rating/33 share) and women 25-54 (19.2/40).”

Since coming out in 1997, though Ellen shared myriad challenges she faced because of her public declaration, she’s a master at the art of the “Reboot and Rally.” These days, you feel like she’s never missed a beat.

You always get the sense that even while Ellen’s ribbing you, she’s laughing with—not at—you, and you’re never on the arse-end of even her snarkiest inside jokes. Ellen saves more observational or cutting humor for political issues.

Case in point: remember when she riffed on fatphobia? Ellen quipped:

“Now [Abercrombie & Fitch] actually have a double zero. What are we aspiring to? ‘Honey, do these jeans make my butt look invisible in this?‘”

Crafting jokes, skits, comedic sets and punchlines in such a way is living a rarefied air and artistry we don’t see quite enough of. Too, though reading and shade has its place in queer culture, this type of kidding around is based on finding and digging into flaws, and adding salt to wounds (real, perceived or straight-up made up).

In other words, the origin and intent of reading/shade/the dozens, however creative, is more degrading.

And Now, Your Host…

Ellen’s first Oscars hosting gig took place in 2007. In a tongue-in-cheek self-released press statement Ellen added:

“I am so excited to be hosting the Oscars for the second time. You know what they say – the third time’s the charm….”

Laugh on, Ms. E. Laugh on.

Click below to watch 5 of Ellen’s Best Award Show Moments:

http://www.thewrap.com/tv/article/ellen-degeneres-returns-oscars-host-5-amazing-award-show-moments-video-108091

The 86th Annual Academy Awards takes place on March 2, 2014. So is Ellen the right woman for the job, or what?

 

Cowboys Are Secretly Fond of Each Other:” Singing Gay Cowboys and The Wild, Wild West

This Cowboy Ain’t Found the Right Woman Yet

“John Wayne and Will Rogers, they made real cowboy movies. They portrayed us like we are. There ain’t no queer in cowboy and I don’t care for anyone suggesting there is.”

– (Heterosexual) Rancher Dave Miller, to The Telegraph

When we think of “the cowboy,” we envision Old West or the Wild Wild West. “Rugged America.” Ranch Hand Nobility. Tobacco-Stained Chivalry. Guys who were tough, but fair. We think of heroes. We think of—well—men’s men.

In the States, Gene Autry and Roy Rogers became popular studio-cowpokes, wearing white hats and sweetly singing nostalgic, lonesome songs, wailing to the desert sky in a series of B-movies from the 30s and 40s. “Happy Trails,” anyone? “‘Until we meet again?”

Even Good ol’ John Wayne sang a rare cowboy song, playing the role of Singin’ Sandy Saunders (“Riders of Destiny,” 1933). Somehow, singing cowboys were not seen as effeminate—just dreamy. The trope became popular and took hold worldwide. So much so, inspired Italian/European directors began recruiting American actors to film their own “spaghetti westerns” overseas.

All this is to say that it’s hard to separate the engrained stereotypes from the reality that carries through to this day, and once established, tropes, metaphors and stereotypes therein can leave lasting impressions in others’ minds about how they think things were versus how they truly are. Masculinity, when contextualized in the world of cowboys, incorporates entirely new meanings when you include LGBTQ experience in the mix—this includes modern-day trans* men and women who, living in rural areas and on farmland (or close to it) embrace rodeo/cowboy culture and lifestyle.

“There have been gay cowboys for as long as there have been gay people…. It’s always been a part of the Western frontier lifestyle that wasn’t talked about. It was just there.”

– Brian Helander, for the International Gay Rodeo Association

As for cowboys, the most often looked-to idea in the Old West, the lyrical romanticism of Ang Lee’s brilliantly crafted film “Brokeback Mountain,” begin to build a bridge to speak to LGBTQ desert/rural/migratory experiences, but that too veered toward the tragic, therefore dropping one stereotype to pick up another (gay romance and agreed-upon rules in relationships don’t always have to end in tears).

Interestingly enough, world-famous country musician Willie Nelson’s soundtrack work on Lee’s film (“He Was a Friend of Mine”) and his cover of “Cowboys Are Frequently, Secretly Fond of Each Other” (the first LGBT-focused mainstream country song by a major label artist) brought the idea back into our consciousness beyond the Gay Rodeo circuit.

Gay Rodeo culture represents our (still) unsung heroes: the underground men and women athletes and community made up of the unofficial historians who’ve always cherished this way of life, and who’ve shared it for generations.

Cowboys Never Kiss And Tell

“I’m…a heterosexual guy without any apparent sexual hang-ups. I say that so you know where I stand. Gay people don’t scare me. They don’t repulse me. And they sure as hell don’t offend me. I know that there are gay athletes. There were gay cowboys…. Greeks took homosexuality to whole new levels, as do some Middle Eastern cultures…. Homosexuality is not new, it is not strange. It is also not going away. So why the fear and backlash over a movie? Easy. Men are cowards. They are also more confused and uptight than they should be.”

– Doug Brunell, for “Film Threat”

“There is a fair amount of sexual contact among the older males in western rural areas.”

-Alfred Kinsey, from a 1948 sexuality study

Picture gay cowboys—or even lesbian nuns—having more than a platonic relationship. Do the words “know duh” come to mind? Not when it comes to cultural constructs, facades and fears. In a world so tethered to binary/compartmentalized thinking, it can be challenging to look back retroactively and tease out more accurate versions of the truth.

Of course not all man-man and woman-woman situations are queer-only. Neither are they heteronormative only. Such is the case many historians make, and oftentimes we need pictures and additional documented evidence to firmly believe in the truth of it, even for ourselves. And we need to see and experience not only one image or piece of evidence, but several. It still seems somewhat otherworldly. Unbelievable. As we begin to hear the stories and to bear witness, then the truth begins to unfold itself to us so that we can accept to be true in our souls.

In These Here Cowboying Circles:” No More Secrets

Geographically, the Old West is image and ideation most often dreamed of and seen. But of course, cowboys and gals rode the open range and worked on ranches from California to Montana and beyond.

More and more urban cowboys and cowgirls as well as out gay country stars help to modernize our imagery and understanding. They continue to sing, share, reveal our stories, letting those of us who are in-community write and experience our own narratives.

Just as we (LGBTQIA persons) are everywhere, so are cowboys and cowgirls who are “especially fond of one another.” Euphemisms are still used for literal survival (to avoid violence or shame-based thinking or incidents). Small-town gay and lesbian bars, any cow-town dance-halls in remote or rural areas, community centers near sprawling green pastures and wide open spaces, that’s where folks folks reside. So, that’s where love, lust and all good things in between will reside. So of course, that’s where queer cowboys work and play, and reside.

Coming full circle: just a handful of years ago, the Autry Cowboy Museum took an in-depth look at gay and trans* cowboy culture via their Out West exhibit. They continue to study queer culture and to blog about it. (See: http://blog.theautry.org/tag/brokeback-mountain)

To check out a gay cowboy movie in a post-Brokeback world, click on over to watch the Rom-Com “Adam and Steve” (featuring Parker Posey, no less!) and have a laugh on us. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=970IMbt9JkE

And to you queer theory and gay film elitists out there, sheep herders (Jack and Ennis from “Brokeback”) can also be called cowboys. Did you follow them around all day and night? Did you pay their well-earned wages? We thought not.

A “Brokeback Mountain” opera will premiere in 2014. Even if you’re not into opera, aren’t you curious?

 

 

Crazy, Sexy Hot: LGBT-Recommended & Approved Netflix Summer Rentals

Popcorn? Milk Duds? Edamame, anyone?

This summer at Netflix, it’s the Summer of LGBTQ Love.

The streaming movie monolith’s original production “Orange Is The New Black” (movies.netflix.com/WiMovie/Orange_Is_the_New_Black) has tongues wagging and has acquired brand new insta-fans who are already craving the next season, even while they rave about the first one watching every single episode from back to back.

Netflix is host to myriad gems, treasures and sparkly cinematic jewels that can take a bit of searching to uncover, and that represent queer culture in many iterations from the sublime to the “ridonkulous.” (Hat-tip to RuPaul for this clever turn of phrase). A quick and easy search uncovered some of the selections below, but to find exotic, rare and valued goodies, you’ll have to spend a little quality time at the Netflix search engine, reverse engineer a search at Google, or subscribe to Hacking Netflix or similar.

You’ll find a few ever-so-lovely viewing recommendations below.

Not a Netflix subscriber? Take heart: if these movie delights are available there, you’ll probably also be able to find many of them at Amazon.com, iTunes, YouTube Premium, Hulu or your local rental stop.

Summer (Rental) Lover Recommendations

Margaret Cho: Beautiful – A heartwarmingly cray-cray comedienne, actress, self-confessed “trans* chaser,” and queer in-community advocate. Her comedic set is funny, surreal, challenging, and strong overall. Cho’s comedy shows are forever a don’t-miss-’em situation. movies.netflix.com/WiMovie/Margaret_Cho_Beautiful

Red Without Blue   This documentary explores the lives of identical twins Mark and Alex Farley as they come to terms not only with their homosexuality, but also with Alex’s decision to transition from male to female. We witness challenges in the film, and both have since fully come into their own (according to blog posts and news updates). Their bravery shines here and reminds you to summon up your own courage in the tougher times.   http://movies.netflix.com/WiMovie/Red_Without_Blue

Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagement This love story spans 42 years, and its echos still reverberate today. In fact, we wrote a little something about them, too (http://gayagenda.com/?s=edie+windsor). Check out the movie here: http://movies.netflix.com/WiMovie/Edie_Thea_A_Very_Long_Engagement

Chely Wright: Wish Me Away  This poignant documentary, filmed over three years, profiles country music star Chely Wright (http://gayagenda.com/tag/chely-wright), and her spiritual coming out journey.  In the film, we see her succeed in the music business while hiding her homosexuality from her conservative family and fans. As our articles detail, she’s doing great now, too. http://movies.netflix.com/WiMovie/Chely_Wright_Wish_Me_Away

Outrage This movie will surprise you. Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker Kirby Dick sets out to expose the hypocrisy of gay politicians who passionately criticize the LGBT community in public while concealing their own sexual orientation in private. It IS outrageous. http://movies.netflix.com/WiMovie/Outrage

And because it’s available for streaming (but not at Netflix), here’s one last great one:

Noah’s Arc – SGL African American men are the series’ main creators and main stars. To date, there’s been nothing like this dramedy series—it’s utterly captivating and addictive. You’ll want to watch the whole series, and the accompanying movie before it’s removed from freebie streaming channels. There are many charming scenes and many NSFW scenes, ‘natch. Careful, now….  http://www.logotv.com/shows/noahs_arc/series.jhtml

There’s much, much more where that came from: you can find Alan Cumming’s breakout drama “Any Day Now,” “Small Town Gay Bar,” “Chasing Amy,” “Brokeback Mountain” and other curated selections by visiting Netflix’s “Gay and Lesbian” category page here.  http://movies.netflix.com/WiGenre?agid=5977

What’s your favorite movie?

Alec Baldwin Says Sorry

alec1
Top TV and film actor Alec Baldwin has posted an open letter to GLAAD and the greater gay community sincerely apologizing for ‘questionable’ comments he made recently about a UK Daily Mail journalist.

Last week Alec Baldwin launched a very vocal and public attack via social network Twitter on George Stark a Daily Mail reporter calling him a “toxic little queen” and urging his followers to “straighten out this fucking little bitch.”

Alec’s anger came in response to a factually incorrect article by Stark in the UK’s top selling tabloid newspaper the Daily Mail. The article Stark penned accused Baldwin’s wife, Hilaria, of sending tweets about smoothie recipes and a wedding anniversary during the funeral of Sopranos star James Gandolfini.

Baldwin let fly with a string of tweets calling Stark a “lying little bitch.” He also threatened violence against Stark, writing: “I’m gonna find you, George Stark, you toxic little queen, and I’m gonna fuck…you…up.”

In the open letter to GLAAD, sent to the organisation and posted on the actor’s website, Alec Baldwin said his comments were “ill advised”, and had “absolutely nothing to do with issues of anyone’s sexual orientation.” He wrote: “My ill-advised attack on George Stark of the Daily Mail had absolutely nothing to do with issues of anyone’s sexual orientation. My anger was directed at Mr Stark for blatantly lying and disseminating libellous information about my wife and her conduct at our friend’s funeral service. As someone who fights against homophobia, I apologize.”

“I have worked, periodically, with numerous marriage equality organizations, especially over the past couple of years, to achieve the very rights that gay couples are earning by recent court decisions. I would not advocate violence against someone for being gay and I hope that my friends at GLAAD and the gay community understand that my attack on Mr Stark in no way was the result of homophobia.”

GLAAD Vice President of Communications Rich Ferraro replied to the apology saying ”Alec Baldwin is making it clear that the intent behind his tweets does not excuse his language, especially at a time when there were 11 incidents of violence against gay men in New York City just last month. As we all work to end such senseless acts of violence, allies like Baldwin are right to use these moments to reinforce support for the community and LGBT equality.”

The Daily Mail newspaper however is often dubbed the Daily ‘Hate’ Mail by gay rights campaigners because of its rancid homophobic editorial style, content and campaigns against equality. Many of its writers rely little on fact and are known for ’embellishing’ the truth by incredible amounts to create stories, articles and features. Hilaria, who is pregnant, didn’t even have her phone with her at the funeral of their friend, so it would have been impossible to tweet from it.

 

 

I wonder if a gay actor had made the same remarks about the dodgy hack would they also stand accused of being homophobic?