Irene Monroe She is a Massachusetts-based religion columnist, public theologian, and motivational speaker


Logo begins production on lesbian sitcom

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Logo begins production on lesbian sitcom

Exes and Ohs, the Logo channel's new lesbian comedy series, has begun production in Vancouver, Canada, network president Brian Graden announced Thursday.

Exes and Ohs follows the romantic entanglements of Jennifer (Michelle Paradise) and her gay pals in caffeinated Seattle. One of those friends is Crutch, a wannabe rock star played by gay actress Heather Matarazzo.

The sitcom is based on the short film The Ten Rules: A Lesbian Survival Guide. Paradise, Lee Friedlander, Billy Grundfest, and Blueprint Productions serve as executive producers on the show. The six-episode, half-hour series will premiere in 2007. (The Advocate)

November 17, 2006

Longoria denies lesbian role with Beyoncé

Eva Longoria has denied rumors that she and Beyoncé Knowles would play a lesbian couple in the film version of Tipping the Velvet. The film, which is to be directed by Sofia Coppola, is based on a Sarah Waters novel about an 1890s music star and her female lover.

The London Daily Star reported that the two were taking on the roles and quoted Knowles as saying there should be a lesbian version of Brokeback Mountain.

Longoria said that while she would like to work with Knowles, she has never confirmed she would work on Tipping the Velvet. "This is definitely not something we are doing together," she said. "It's completely and absolutely not true."

Longoria went on to say she was more upset that fabricated quotes attributed to Knowles and her were used to confirm their involvement in the project. (The Advocate)


Oprah's lipstick lesbians respond to Scarborough and company
When partners Nikki Weiss and Carole Antouri appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show earlier this month, they had a great time. That is, until they heard themselves discussed on the MSNBC talk show Scarborough Country. Now the women respond.

By Paul Florez

An Advocate.com exclusive posted October 26, 2006

Partners Carole Antouri and Nikki Weiss appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show on October 2 for an episode about women who have left their husbands for other women. In addition to telling Oprah about their life together, they showed the talk-show diva their "lipstick kiss," the thoroughly innocent air kiss they do so as not to ruin their lipstick.

Antouri and Weiss, who work in marketing and PR and are based in Los Angeles, enjoyed the experience and received plenty of positive feedback. However, when conservative TV personality Joe Scarborough hosted a discussion of the Oprah episode a few days later on his nightly MSNBC program, Scarborough Country, the feedback took a different tone. Talking with two reporters, one from Us Weekly and one from The Star, as well as a representative of the conservative group Citizens for Community Values, Scarborough raised objections to the sight of lesbians on TV at a time when kids could be watching. But the outrageous moment came when the representative from CCV stated her belief that gay parenting is the ultimate form of child abuse.

Antouri and Weiss respond.

How did you find out about the Scarborough coverage?

Weiss: We had gotten calls that night from friends of ours who said, "You are all over the news." And I said, “For what? The show?” And they said, "Oh, yeah, MSNBC."


Antouri: And, honestly, that night we didn't look up. We didn't think anything of it. But the next day, more calls, so we finally went online and watched the clip.

Was it emotional to watch it?

Antouri: I wasn't even offended. Sometimes you have to consider the source. I felt sorry for them—I thought, They're very isolated. Do they think the clerk at the grocery story is straight? Do they think the chef at their favorite restaurant is definitely straight? I just figure they are uneducated. I don't want to say anything that sounds angry because that doesn't make me any better, but I just think they didn't educate themselves.

Weiss : The only thing that really bothered me was the statement if you have children and you are gay, that's abusive. That is what put me over the edge. That's why I wanted to do this interview.

What do you make of Scarborough's claim that lesbians shouldn't be seen on daytime TV?

Weiss : I think this show, unto itself, would have been very educational for a child and they probably would have asked a lot of good questions—and not grown up being afraid [of homosexuality] and accepting it.

And what about your "lipstick kiss"? They were obsessed with it—and it was so innocent!

Weiss : They were very focused on the whole lipstick kiss. Yet you have shows like The Bachelor where they're making out with different women, maybe five a night, and that’s OK. But Carole and I have real feelings for each other, so I think it’s a little bit threatening for people.

Do you know if Oprah said anything about this?


Weiss : What we do know from Oprah is that she really enjoyed the show, as did all of her staff. And we heard there might be a follow-up show because there has been so much attention. She was very thrilled with the show.

Florez is an intern in The Advocate's New York office.

November 17, 2006



Delta Burke, Leslie Jordan disinvited from Nashville talk show

A local Nashville television talk show rescinded an invitation to Delta Burke and Leslie Jordan to appear on the program, saying the show's conservative viewership could be offended by a discussion of their current work, according to celebrity site TMZ.

The two are currently starring in a Del Shores revival tour that recently won accolades from the L.A. Stage Alliance Ovation Awards and they were scheduled to appear on Talk of the Town on November 10. But the show's producer e-mailed them saying that after reviewing the subject matter of the plays, he "decided that it would not be in the best interest of Talk of the Town to [have] an actor come on the show to discuss the plays. We are dealing with a very conservative viewership who we feel would be offended by the show's titles and their topics."

Tennessee native Leslie Jordan, who won an Emmy award for his appearance on Will & Grace, called the incident a slap in the face.

Del Shores said the show is underestimating its audience. "Somehow I think that the people of Nashville are a little more diverse and open-minded than the producers of Talk of the Town are giving them credit for," he said. "At least that's been my experience in one of my favorite cities." (The Advocate)

Race's first gay casualty

By Neal Broverman

An Advocate.com exclusive posted October 2, 2006




So Lauren and Duke, last night was the airing of your final trip on The Amazing Race . How are you two reflecting on your experience?
Duke: The experience is so difficult to articulate, you actually have to live it, there are no words to explain it really. We are very fortunate and grateful to have been on the show. The friendships we made with all the other team members were just priceless.
Lauren: I had a truly amazing experience traveling with my dad, encountering new cultures that I wouldn’t have encountered otherwise. And even though we didn’t win that million-dollar prize, I know that together we came out on top. Had it not been for the show, we might not have had the opportunity to bond in the special way that we did. The memories we made together are priceless, and they will stay with me forever. Our relationship can only get better from here and I’m really excited for us to learn from one another and continue becoming friends. He will always be my dad, but he’s no longer just my dad, he really is a friend.

Do you have any regrets about the show?
L: I guess last night when we were together with all the other contestants and asked for directions to find the coal [part of the show’s Detour challenge]. Then, all of a sudden, it seemed like they vanished into thin air. So, we weren’t able to find the coal before we stumbled upon the bird cage. Despite that, we completed the task and worked really well together, as we did with every other task. We were both very supportive and helpful to each other and we never argued during tasks since that really doesn’t get you anywhere.
D: We worked really well as a team. I was always impressed by her and I think that came through on the show.

L: We endured some of the most stressful situations that anyone could ever face. So it’s been great to take home that knowledge that I can work with my dad through those difficult situations


What made you decide to audition in the first place?
L: Well, I had originally applied for Survivor, and since I made it through many rounds of interviewing, they learned how my dad and I were just recently starting to end our estrangement and work on our relationship. Then [CBS officials] approached me and suggested we apply for The Amazing Race together to see if the race could bring us any closer. So I called my dad and told him what they had told me, and since we were both big fans of the show there wasn’t much to consider. It was really the opportunity of a lifetime.

How much of the estrangement was due to your coming out?
L: I’d say about 95% of it. My dad just had a really hard time coping with and accepting my being gay. And it was really difficult because we went years without talking to each other and going to family functions without seeing each other. But I understood that he had his own process for dealing with it that I couldn’t change, just like I had to go through my own process when I came out to myself. I always hoped he would come to accept it and not just see me as Lauren his lesbian daughter, but as his daughter Lauren, who happens to be a lesbian.

So how has your relationship changed since doing the show?
L: It has changed dramatically; it’s really been amazing. We’ve really bonded and become incredibly close, and if it weren’t for the race we probably wouldn’t have had this time to work on and strengthen our relationship. And it really did pay off for us.

Duke?

D: I completely agree with Lauren. It took me a long time to come to terms with things, but the race literally brought us closer together. I’m so happy and grateful that it did. All of my previous issues are really behind me now and I’m glad I can keep them there.

L: I think this opportunity has inspired us to enjoy life’s journey and appreciate things in the present tense rather than concentrating on issues from the past. We have started living life to the fullest and we now appreciate each other much more as people.

Of the teams left on the show, whom are you rooting for? Who do you think will win?
D: I think we’re both rooting for Peter and Sarah; we became good friends with them on the race and think the world of them.
L: They’ve got what it takes; they’re very strong both physically and mentally.
D: It’s no secret, though, that we thought we would be in the final three with them and Tyler and James.

Do you think Peter and Sarah will pull through?
D and L: We hope so!

|| Film Review ||



Queens reigns


Nobody has more fun than the characters in a Spanish comedy, and that holds true for this fictional story of the first 10 gay couples to be legally wed in Spain, in a spectacle broadcast live on TV.

By Marc Breindel

An Advocate.com exclusive posted August 11, 2006

When I'm reborn, I want to come back as the heroine of a Spanish comedy like Reinas. Nobody has more fun than the characters in a Spanish comedy, especially the women!

Spanish comedies typically involve sex, dancing, crazy mixups, ultramodern decor, sex changes, sex with inlaws and sexy, outrageous fashions. It's not unusual for a character to wake up and discover that her gigolo lover may be her long-lost son, except it's really the gigolo's gay roommate she gave up, so she can divorce her husband, run off with the gigolo and send her gay son a postcard from Morocco. ¡Viva España!



Reinas fits squarely in that colorful, naughty Spanish comedy mode, with the gay sons front and center this time out. Reinas tells the fictional story of the first 10 gay couples to be legally wed in Spain, in a spectacle broadcast live on TV.

Spain legalized same-sex marriage while Reinas was in production in 2005, which makes you wonder: Would it help America to make Brokeback Mountain II: Cowboy Wedding . . . ? It couldn't hurt to have the stars of Reinas on our side. Reinas is Spanish for "queens," referring to the gorgeous gay grooms of the film, but even more so to their fabulous "queen" mothers. There's no question who rules this queendom: The boys are very pretty, but it's the women who command the throne.

Take Magda, the steely owner of a Madrid boutique hotel so edgy you could cut yourself just looking at it. Magda's was the first hotel in Spain to cater exclusively to lesbians and gay men, years before her son Miguel came out, and now the franchise is going global. Carmen Maura (a favorite actress of Oscar-winning gay director Pedro Almodóvar) plays Magda as a delectably brittle ice queen, vulnerable in love but almost always in control. Even when her hotel's head chef goes on strike just days before the wedding, Magda blows off steam by having angry sex with said chef, labor strike and spouses at home be damned!

For a more sweet, seductive but equally potent queenly sighting, gaze upon heavenly diva Reyes (Marisa Paredes), mother and movie star, as she descends the stairs in slow motion to the tune of Peggy Lee's "Fever." Paredes, the star of Almodóvar's All About My Mother, may be 60 years old, but that doesn't stop Reyes from slinking her way into the bed of her handsome younger gardener (Lluís Homar of Almodóvar's Bad Education). Like mother, like son: Reyes's boy Rafa (Raúl Jiménez) is engaged to the gardener's even-hunkier kid Jonás (Hugo Silva).

And on it goes. The frisky queen mothers indulge themselves with strangers on trains, their children's therapists, fellow queen mamas and even one of the gay grooms himself the night before the wedding. Same-sex marriage has opened up a whole new world of sexual temptations for Spanish comedies to explore.

As delicious as the dames are, the guys are even hotter, although they're less interesting when they open their mouths. Hotel heir Miguel (Unax Ugalde) and his masseur fiancé, Oscar, (Daniel Hendler) make the sexiest pair, and also the stiffest. Miguel looks like a golden trophy with his chic, severe white-blonde hair and spa-smooth copper skin. Oscar is Miguel's beastly beautiful complement, a hairy god with hypnotic grey eyes. Unfortunately, they fight like an old married couple through most of the film, stopping only to have sex as an act of defiance against Oscar's meddlesome -- and adorable! -- mother, Ofelia (Betiana Blum). Oscar does a fierce stage dance to "Unchain My Heart" at the bachelor party, but otherwise, he and Miguel, along with their fellow gay grooms, are just straight men for the royal queen mums.

Europeans have always gone to sunny Spain for fantasy vacations, and now we can all enjoy a carefree Spanish fling with some of the world's most fabulous leading ladies, right in the comfort an air-conditioned local movie theater. Reinas is the perfect virtual honeymoon for queer moviegoers awaiting our own big gay wedding.

|| Events ||

November 17, 2006


West Coast premiere of All the Rage in L.A., November 10–December 16

Event date: November 10, 2006 - December 16, 2006

The ATTIC Theatre and Film Center in Los Angeles will debut Keith Reddin's queer-inclusive dark comedy All the Rage on Friday, November 10, at 8 p.m. The play, which was first performed at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago to numerous accolades before premiering at the 12 Mile West Theatre Company in New Jersey, was also made into a feature film with Joan Allen and Jeff Daniels in 1999 under the title It's the Rage. The ATTIC's production, helmed by Brian Shnipper, the director who headed the New Jersey run, will be performed Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. through December 16.

Tickets are $20 and can be purchased by calling (310) 525-0600, ext. 2, or by visiting www.attictheatre.org.

|| Commentary ||



Why should being gay be a crime?
In 75 countries being gay is still a crime. French activist Louis-George Tin, founder of the International Day Against Homophobia, hopes to change that by having the United Nations adopt a resolution calling for the decriminalization of homosexuality worldwide. Tin spoke to The Advocate ahead of a press conference in Paris where he announced the news.

By Doug Ireland

An Advocate.com exclusive posted November 15, 2006On November 17 the Paris-based International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) will launch a global campaign for a United Nations resolution declaring that homosexuality should no longer be considered a crime anywhere in the world.

The proposed U.N. resolution is the brainchild of IDAHO’s founder, Louis-Georges Tin, 32, a professor and author of a number of books (including the Dictionary of Homophobia) who is also a rising star of France’s emerging black movement for equality.

Tin will simultaneously release a list of hundreds of VIP endorsers of the proposed U.N. resolution, including a gaggle of Nobel Prize winners (among them, Bishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, Dario Fo of Italy, Elfriede Jelinek of Austria, and Amartya Sen of India); political leaders, including two former French prime ministers (Laurent Fabius and Michel Rocard); academics (such as Princeton University President Shirley Tilghman and world-famous sociologist Richard Sennett); entertainers (such as Academy Award-winning actress Meryl Streep, David Bowie, Edward Norton, Mike Nichols, Lily Tomlin, actor-playwright Wallace Shawn, humorist Bruce Vilanch, and Spanish actress Victoria Abril); and a host of renowned writers, including Doug Wright, Jon Robin Baitz, Salman Rushdie, Gore Vidal, Sir Tom Stoppard, Tony Kushner, Martin Amis, Ian McEwan, Russell Banks, Bernard-Henri Levy, John Berendt,

Lady Antonia Fraser, Christopher Hitchens, Michael Chambon, Peter Carey, and Edmund White.

Getting the U.N. to commit to universal decriminalization of homosexuality is destined to become the central objective of the international LGBT movement for the next decade. Tin spoke to The Advocate.



What chance do you think this resolution has of passing the U.N.?
Many people believe such a resolution is beyond reach. I personally don't. Why? Because there is already U.N. jurisprudence in our favor. In 1994, Mr. Toonen, a citizen of Tasmania, who had been condemned for same-sex relationships, won his case in what was then the U.N. Commission on Human Rights—it said his arrest was a breach of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and of the right of privacy. So we just ask the U.N. to extend this jurisprudence to other countries—75 in the world!—where same-sex relationships are still forbidden. There’s recent evidence that this is not as utopian a project as it might seem at first glance: In October this year, the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention declared that the imprisonment in Cameroon of 11 men who’d been caught in a raid on a gay bar on charges of homosexuality was "an arbitrary deprivation of liberty" that violates the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. That’s encouraging.

How will you and IDAHO work for its passage?

The campaign for the U.N. resolution will have two main components. An external media campaign to raise awareness within public opinion and governments will begin with the November 17 unveiling of a petition—for which VIP signatures are now being gathered—on IDAHO’s Web site, www.idahomophobia.org. Also, a host of international and country organizations have already signed on as cosponsors of the campaign for the resolution, like the International Lesbian and Gay Association and France‘s Ligue des Droits de l‘Homme. The second battle has to be waged within the new U.N. Council on Human Rights. We have to lobby the states that are members and ask them to support the resolution or at least not to vote against it. We are talking with the government of South Africa, which is a member of the council to sponsor the resolution. South Africa was the first country in the world to include the principle of nondiscrimination against gays and lesbians in its constitution—and their sponsorship would show that LGBT rights are not just a "Western issue."


What exactly does the resolution say?

The text I wrote asks for a universal decriminalization of homosexuality. It is very clear, easy, and simple, and based solely on the articles of the U.N.‘s Universal Declaration of Human Rights that were used to justify the decision in the Toonen case. I did not want to write a philosophical text on the issue, because an argument that may be relevant in one country will certainly be irrelevant in another one. We need a common language to support human rights. What could be more relevant and more international than the Universal Declaration of Human Rights itself?



Why did you choose this moment to launch this campaign?
The Toonen case was ruled on 12 years ago, so I thought it was high time that LGBT organizations decided to take advantage of it at the U.N. To be honest, I fail to see any issue that could be more important than this one for LGBT organizations. On May 17, 1990, the World Health Organization
decided that homosexuality could no longer be regarded as a disease, which is why I chose that date for the International Day Against Homophobia. The first IDAHO was only celebrated in 2005, so we really couldn’t do anything before that—but now our organization has spread to more than 50 countries and been endorsed by the European Parliament, so I think we are ready to go farther. Look, gays and lesbians around the world cannot wait any longer for their love to cease being made a crime. Many are in jail, or at risk of being jailed. Some are being killed. This has to stop now.

Ireland is a veteran political journalist who can be reached through his blog, DIRELAND, at Direland.typepad.com/direland/. Photo by Alix.

|| Arts & Entertainment ||


Getting Real gay once again
The Advocate catches up with MTV's newest gay Real Worlder, a Southern boy who bucks stereotypes and defies labels from Marietta to Buenos Aires.

By Daniel Blau

An Advocate.com exclusive posted November 13, 2006As MTV's mainstay reality show The Real World relocates to Denver for its 18th season (premiering November 22), The Advocate checks in with its latest gay cast member, 23-year-old Davis from Marietta, Ga. While a gay or lesbian character is a staple archetype in almost every season of the show, Davis wants the world to know he is no ordinary reality show fag. We caught up with him vacationing with his boyfriend in sunny Buenos Aires to let him explain in his own words his feelings about homosexuality, conservative Christianity, reality TV typecasting, and what it feels like to come out to your grandmother.



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